I feel like I have to preface this news by stating that we here at the site have no particularly strong opinions any which way on what the future may be for Dragon Ball Kai. It is not an adaptation we particularly loved, but it was quasi-new, brought a fresh group of fans in, gave us more material to talk about, etc.
That all being said, we have been closely following its performance, especially in Japan. From the exponential drop in sales figures, merchandise branding, Toriko taking its time slot next month, and everything in between, it has been a fascinating ride — a ride that is likely over. All we have had to go on up until now has been speculation and a few educated guesses, but now it seems as if confirmation is getting out there that Dragon Ball Kai is over.
Our Japanese buddy kei17 posted up a page from the magazine TV Pia on our forum that contained a short interview with Takeshi Kusao, the voice actor for Trunks:
In addition to some minor tidbits about how he went about doing the synchronized voices with Masako Nozawa for Gotenks in the past and how much he learned from her (such as ad-libbing breathing that was not in the script), the article provided two very significant items:
(1) Takeshi Kusao notes that he hopes, if there is an opportunity, that they can also remake the Majin Boo story arc
(2) The article specifically notes that there are only four episodes of Dragon Ball Kai left
There you have it, folks — four episodes puts us right in the ball park to be ending with Episode 98 (the end of the “Artificial Humans & Cell arc”) on 27 March 2011. This is the first we are seeing with someone involved with the series’ production actively stating that it is coming to a close, and I expect that while we may see more, information will likely be limited and vague. Will they return to do the Majin Boo arc at some point later down the road? What does this mean for the international licensees? Any fallout from this turn of events is likely only just beginning.