With Korean fans starting to chatter online about their dub and some of our own community members getting out and about, we are starting to piece together a few more details about the “alternate” — or, perhaps more fittingly, “original” — version of Dragon Ball Kai‘s Majin Buu arc.
As we detailed the other day, it appears that Toei and Fuji TV have further condensed the by-default-already-edited-down version of the Majin Buu arc for their Japanese television broadcast of Dragon Ball Kai. What will likely be roughly 69 episodes internationally may end up as only about a year’s worth of episodes in Japan. At first it seemed as if the raw content of the episodes themselves was the only differentiating factor, but in addition to that, the opening and ending themes are in fact completely different.
While the Japanese broadcast of the Majin Buu arc for Dragon Ball Kai brought back Takayoshi Tanimoto to perform the new opening theme “Kuu-Zen-Zetsu-Go” (as a part of the unit “Dragon Soul”, and as a follow-up to the first opening theme also itself named “Dragon Soul”), the Korean dub of the arc has an entirely different song. Most confusing is the fact that this other song is also a Japanese song and is produced by artists that worked on the original 2009-2011 run of Dragon Ball Kai. Named “Fight it out“, the song is performed by Masatoshi Ono with the musical composition by Yō Yamazaki and lyrics by Hiroshi Yamada. While Ono is new to the Dragon Ball franchise (most notably recently contributing an opening theme to the revived Hunter x Hunter anime), Yamada provided lyrics for a slew of previous Dragon Ball Kai insert songs, while Yamazaki composed the fan-favorite “Take the Stage!! Ginyu Special-Squad!!” insert song.
It is perhaps worth noting that the opening theme song to the 2008 PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game Burst Limit, “Kiseki no Honō yo Moeagare!!” by Hironobu Kageyama, had an English version included on the game’s original soundtrack under the same title of “Fight it out”. These are two separate songs, with the alternate Kai opening composed (as noted above) by Yō Yamazaki, and the game opening composed by Kenji Yamamoto.
Incidentally, the title of “Never give up!!!” also shares in-name-only similarities with another Dragon Ball video game theme song: the closing theme to 1996’s The Great Dragon Ball Legend on the PlayStation and Saturn, “Never Ending, Never Give Up” performed by Hironobu Kageyama.
It remains to be seen if these “international” theme songs will make their way back to the Japanese version and/or vice versa. We know that we will likely have four total ending themes for the Japanese broadcast, with two of them already either in-use or announced (“Dear Zarathustra” by Good Morning America and “Junjō” by Leo Ieiri). The “international” version’s songs seem to be even more “in-house” than seen with Japan’s broadcast, whose ending themes seem to be more of the promotional tie-in types with record labels such as Columbia.
The animation for each is a combination of animation we have seen in the Japanese broadcast’s theme songs, combined with as other “new” cuts, some of which were used in the initial preview trailers for the Japanese broadcast. It seems likely that these sequences in the international version are how they were originally conceived, with the Japanese broadcast editing them (including removing footage and speeding up certain cuts) to match the new music. The animation accompanying “Never give up!!!” in particular reveals who the characters are fighting against — Babidi, Dabra, and Majin Buu — where the version of the sequence used with “Dear Zarathustra” leaves it a mystery.
Curiously, the eyecatch tune — even in the Japanese broadcast — appears to be an arrangement of “Fight it out”, further indicating that the international “Final Chapters” cut is the “original” version from which the Japanese broadcast cut has been derived. Likewise, the next-episode preview music in the Japanese broadcast — an arrangement of “Kuu-Zen-Zetsu-Go” — has seemed bizarrely under-orchestrated and over-synthesized for its prominent and recurring role at the end of every episode. Its being written at the last minute (to complement a replacement opening, rather than the originally-intended “Fight it out”) would explain this discrepancy in quality, although we have yet to hear the next-episode preview music from the Korean dub to verify that it is indeed different there.
The “international” broadcast keeps Norihito Sumitomo’s musical score to the show, though certain pieces are placed differently due to the additional footage.
To recap, so far the theme songs include:
- Opening Theme: “Kuu-Zen-Zetsu-Go” by Dragon Soul (episodes 99-???)
- Ending Theme #1: “Dear Zarathustra” by Good Morning America (episodes 99-111)
- Ending Theme #2: “Pure Heart” by Leo Ieiri (episodes 112-???)
- Opening Theme: “Fight it out” by Masatoshi Ono (episodes 99-???)
- Ending Theme #1: “Never give up!!!” by Junear (episodes 99-???)
Special thanks in particular to DongHyun for providing various bits of information and to kei17 as well.