“Dragon Ball Kai” Aspect Ratio News
Published by 25 June 2009, 8:35 PM EDT

As we mentioned in our last Blu-ray/DVD release update, Amazon Japan had listed the Blu-rays as being presented in the original 4:3 full screen aspect ratio. This fact has been confirmed on Happinet’s website, which lists the screen size for the Blu-ray releases as 4:3 full screen (full HD) and the DVD releases as 16:9 widescreen. Obviously everything was remastered in full screen, but cropped simply for broadcast. Which begs the question — why did they crop it to begin with? Is there some television restriction in Japan that requires high definition broadcasts be in widescreen? All of this really raises more questions than anything, especially considering they are now releasing Blu-rays in the original aspect ratio but DVDs in the new cropped widescreen. We are so confused Toei!

So, what is the 4:3 full screen going to look like? Well, we actually got a bit of a preview on Fuji TV following the last Dragon Ball Kai episode when they aired a commercial for the first Blu-ray and DVD releases. Here are some comparisons, and you will have to excuse the difference in picture quality, but that is just the video quality of the live stream:

We also initially mentioned that it was not clear if there would be multiple individual Blu-ray volumes, or just the one already announced. Well, according to Happinet’s site, there will in fact be only the one individual volume, but confirms that there will be a 4th box set, as we originally only knew about the first 3 box sets. This box set will retail for ¥15,960 (~$166) and is set to be released sometime in June 2010. It is listed to contain 10 episodes, which we assume will be episodes 40-49. Be sure to note this episode count.

From Amazon Japan’s listings, we know there will be at least 10 individual DVD volumes, but Happinet’s site has now listed an additional 7 volumes, bringing the total to 17. I will note that it mentions nothing about any DVD box sets which I think we can assume means we will not be seeing any, or at least not until after the series ends. Volumes 11-16 will contain 3 episodes each and is retailing for ¥2,940 (~$30), while volume 17 will contain 2 episodes and is retailing for ¥1,995 (~$20). At the moment, there are no set release dates for these volumes. So, with the first 16 volumes containing 3 episodes and volume 17 containing 2 episodes, this brings us to a total of 50 episodes. If you will remember, this differs from the Blu-ray release, which covers 49 episodes. It makes you wonder why the 4th Blu-ray box set does not contain 11 episodes, instead of 10, to bring it up to 50 episodes. Oh well…

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