Toshio Furukawa (the voice of Piccolo) updated his blog yesterday to say that they were recording lines for the first episode of Dragon Ball Kai, while Naotoshi Shida (keyframe animator for Dragon Ball Z) also had a blog update noting that they finished up the keyframe animation for the new ending theme to the series.
It sounds like everything is starting to come together for its 05 April 2009 debut on Fuji TV in Japan!
We have some final confirmation about the most recent guide, Dragon Ball: Super Exciting Guide – Story Volume, which was released today in Japan. It appears our original guess was correct, and it will indeed be a manga-specific guide. Here’s the book description from Shueisha’s site:
A complete guide to the highlights of the world-famous comic masterpiece!
Friendship – It thoroughly tracks Goku and friends’ exciting episodes!
Effort – Through the training data supervised by Akira Toriyama-sensei, Son Goku’s growth is completely analyzed!
Victory – The blazing battles with strong opponents are profiled, together with Son Goku’s thoughts!
They were even nice enough to post a couple preview pages from the new guide. You can check out the rest of the pages (10 total) on Shueisha’s manga site.
Back in December we first told you about the “Chapter Books” coming out under the Viz Kids label. Courtesy of Amazon (by way of our buddy Tanooki Kuribo), we have cover art for the first four announced volumes:
While I am sure that very few of us are genuinely interested in the contents of these books (like we say with the “animanga”: if you want to read the story, why not just read the original manga as the author originally drew/wrote it…?), the cover art nevertheless leaves us intrigued. The art comes from sources like various chapter title pages, but some things are swapped around and re-colored. Quite honestly, they are rather nice looking! Volumes 1 & 2 are due out 04 August 2009, while volumes 3 & 4 are due out 01 September 2009.
Jump’s official DVD blog has updated with a batch of new character designs, this time all tying in with the last batch of movies to hit R2 DVD:
With only days until its release, Shueisha has finally posted the cover art for Dragon Ball: Super Exciting Guide – Story Volume, which appears to have been drawn by our main-man Akira Toriyama. Based on Goku’s age span on the cover, I think we can confidently say that this new story guide will cover the entire series story, though, we are still not sure if it will be covering the manga or the anime (or both?).
If you would like to grab it yourself, so far you will have to get it from Amazon Japan, as I have not been able to find the guide listed anywhere else. It will run you a nice 630 yen (~$6.50 US) for 96 pages, and is a little smaller in size than their most recent guides. This will actually be closer in size to the tankōbon. I will mention, though it is pure speculation, that this appears to be the beginning of a new line of guide books. If so, I truly look forward to calling them the “Super Exciting” guides. I think the name alone might be enough to propel them above the daizenshuu… well, maybe not.
Episode #0166 of the podcast is available for download! This week we’re up to volume 25 in our “Manga Review of Awesomeness”. This was definitely a strange volume to analyze, but I think we ended up with some interesting points. In addition to that, we’ve got all the news you’ve come to enjoy (though nothing from today, as we recorded the show on Friday). DBZ ABCs, March’s releases, and even Meri’s Top 5 makes a brief return… all good stuff. Definitely check it out.
Episode #0166! VegettoEX, Meri, Julian and Jeff go through volume 25 in our “Manga Review of Awesomeness”. This one seemed like an awkward volume to go through, as the action just doesn’t stop and Goku is incapacitated right after (finally) arriving back on the scene. Does this hurt the volume’s enjoyment, though? DBZ ABCs, Meri’s Top 5, March’s releases, the obligatory “DragonBall Kai” news, and your e-mails round out the episode.
- “DragonBall Kai” Official Website
- Viz Layoff News @ Anime News Network
- Top 5 Couples We Only Saw Half Of @ Daizenshuu EX
- “DragonBall” Vol. 3 (VIZBIG) @ Amazon
- DB Movie 1 R2 DVD @ CDJapan
- DB Movie 2 R2 DVD @ CDJapan
- DB Movie 3 R2 DVD @ CDJapan
- DBZ DVD Vol. 31 (R2 PAL) @ zonadvd.com
- “DragonBall Evolution” (JP PSP) @ Play-Asia
- “DragonBall Evolution” Sticker Book @ Amazon
- DBZ Movies 8, 10, 11 “Triple Feature” DVD @ Amazon
- DBZ Movies 8, 10, 11 “Triple Feature” Blu-ray @ Amazon
kei17 let us know that a new idol group named “Sherry” is going to be releasing their debut single, which happens to be yet another cover version of “Romantikku Ageru yo” (the closing theme to the Dragon Ball TV series). There is no word on whether or not this is going to be used as the closing theme to Dragon Ball Kai or if its release is just a coincidence, but it is interesting none-the-less. It will be out 22 April 2009 for ¥1200 (UPCH-5586). I do not see any pre-orders up yet on any sites, but they should be coming soon enough.
The basic details:
Sherry – Romantikku Ageru yo (“I’ll Give You Romance!”)
22 April 2009
- Track 1: ロマンティックあげるよ
Romantikku Ageru yo
(“I’ll Give You Romance!”)
- Track 2: SEPARATE
- Track 3: SEPARATE＜ajapai goes to Brazil remix＞
SSj_Rambo wrote in to let us know that Bandai is going to be releasing new “Real Works Warriors of the World” figures later this year in May, also under the Dragon Ball Kai label (similar to the new DS game also getting the new “Kai” branding). They will run about ¥3500, and a little bit of information has popped up online. We will let you know when we get some pictures of them!
Now that we have had time to digest the first commercial for Dragon Ball Kai, we are ready to dive in and pick apart what little we have to go on.
Big thanks to Taku and Snaku for spreading the word and providing up some screen shots to compare with. The below comparison shots showcase the differences between the Dragon Box masters and what was presented to us in this first commercial for Dragon Ball Kai:
With this image, you can see that a bit of the top and bottom of the screen have indeed been cropped for the new presentation. Like FUNimation’s releases, there is also additional footage on the sides to help bring it into the new 16:9 aspect ratio. However, take a look at the next shot:
Drastically different from FUNimation’s own faux-“remastered” releases (which are a dead-on-center cropping), it appears that Dragon Ball Kai will actually be selectively re-framing the shots to focus in on the most important visual information. As you can see above, the cropping is shifted from the center all the way up to the top of the screen.
While an HD version of the trailer did make its way online, I think it is important to wait until the actual TV broadcast of the full show to comment on things like colors, and even for a little additional commentary on the cropping. At a quick glance, however, it does appear that the colors have been adjusted, though they are much softer and consistent in tone than FUNimation’s over-saturation adjustments. The softness carries over to the upscaling, which is not nearly as sharpened (causing a loss of detail) as FUNimation’s.
The first commercial (a simple 15-second spot) for Dragon Ball Kai, the upcoming “refreshed” version of the Dragon Ball Z TV series put together for its 20th anniversary, has made its way online.
The screen shot above is from the 16:9 commercial, and showcases a bit of the color correction, clean-up, and other work put into the footage, along with music that we have not heard before (perhaps an instrumental version of a new theme song?). Expect further analysis in the coming days as we have a chance to review and compare!