Kai Japanese Track

Discussion specifically regarding the "refreshed" TV version of DBZ created in Japan for its 20th anniversary, including individual threads for each episode.

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LettuceJUMP
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Kai Japanese Track

Post by LettuceJUMP » Sat May 30, 2015 7:38 pm

Good day Kai fans! I myself am a HUGE dragon ball / z / gt fan, but please don't judge when I say the following:

"I have only watched the dub"

It is true. I started with toonami and ocean and vhs releases, then pioneer dvd, then rerelease and have rebought and rewatched EVERY version. Dragon box, season sets, you name it.
My current definitive version is Kai Season sets then Blu-ray season sets until buu is released.

I do have a point...and a question. That is:
A) is the japanese track for kai a new script and new voices like the dub (stupid question and i assume the answer is yes)

B) to any other dub fans out there, do you think i should watch the show again start to finish in original japanese?
Every other anime i have watched in my life (one piece, trigun, naruto, etc) have always been in japanese with subtitles
And i have seen clips here and there before english had released end of z and they had japanese clips online back in the day

What is your opionion and would i enjoy? I feel like i'm robbing myself a bit, by NOT trying the jap track.

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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by Lord Beerus » Sat May 30, 2015 8:03 pm

To answer your two questions:

- The Japanese version of Kai doesn't really have that much of a changed script as the original script from Z was already quite faithful of the manga. But there are bit and pieces change here and there, but they're not really that significant.
- Hell, yes. I could not recommend watching any Dragon Ball anime, DB, Z or Kai, without listening to the original Japanese cast. It truly is a whole different experience, especially with the original Japanese Z cast.
Last edited by Lord Beerus on Sat May 30, 2015 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TheBlackPaladin
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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by TheBlackPaladin » Sat May 30, 2015 8:05 pm

To your questions, the script for the Japanese track is pretty much identical (like in the high 90%ish area) to the original Japanese audio track for DBZ (minus the cut scenes, of course). The vast majority of the original cast returned, especially for the big roles, but some notable-but-smallish roles had to be replaced for one of three reasons:

1) The death of the voice actor in question, either before Kai went into production or during.
2) The unavailability of the voice actor in question...although really, this only applies to Videl's DBZ voice, who is now living in the U.S., studying abroad.
2) Certain voice actors being too costly. For example, Kenji Utsumi, who provided the voice of both Shenlong/Shenron the dragon as well as Reacome in DBZ, only came back for Shenlong this time around, with Reacome being recast. The payment system for Japanese voice actors is a ranking-based system, with the highest rank being "No Rank," meaning in this case that a voice actor is too popular to even have a rank. At this point, they (and perhaps their agent) can negotiate their own fee. With DBZ being the legendary anime that it was, in addition to the fact that many of the voice actors went on to even bigger stuff (like Mayumi Tanaka, who plays Kuririn in Japanese and went on to play Luffy in One Piece) a lot of the original voice actors were heightened to "No Rank" status, so once they came back for Kai...that's a lot of "No Rank" voice actors all at once, translating to a loooot of money. Couple that with Kai's overall lack of popularity in Japan, and some voices had to be recast for economic reasons. None of the big roles, though.

And when you ask if you should watch it in Japanese, do you mean the animes in general, or Kai specifically? If you're talking about Kai, then my thought is, no, you can skip it. They gave very good performances in Kai, but they were freaking spectacular in DBZ. It's not bad by any means, but I couldn't help but notice an overall lack of enthusiasm, likely because they were coming back to do the exact same roles, with the exact same script, that they had already done years ago. That contrasted heavily with the dub cast, who overall sounded much more excited to finally get a chance to dub Dragon Ball properly. Part of the appeal behind the dub of Kai is that the dub of DBZ was, overall, not particularly good in terms of adhering to the original script (and, in particular sections, like "Season 3," it was dreadfully inaccurate). Honestly, were it not for the dub, I'd have almost no interest in Kai...the spectacular dub has made it worth it, and I love the show for that reason, but just as a show in and of itself, it's little more than a less enthusiastic rehash of an old hit, with a bare-bones minimum effort put into labeling it a "new" show just so that Toei could revive an old hit.

If you're talking about Dragon Ball and DBZ, though, then YES, you should absolutely watch it in Japanese! I would also recommend watching it in the proper order (starting with Dragon Ball episode 1), because the characters keep the voice actor that first started playing them throughout the course of that character's life. In other words, they weren't recast when they got older. So it's very weird to hear adult Goku being voiced by a woman, but the transition is much easier--and more memorable--if you start it when Goku is still a kid.
Last edited by TheBlackPaladin on Sat May 30, 2015 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
A "rather haggard" translation of a line from Future Gohan in DBZ, provided to FUNimation by Toei:
"To think of fighting that is this fun...so, it was pleasant fight, as many as, therefore is a feeling which is good the fight where."

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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by Ajay » Sat May 30, 2015 8:16 pm

TheBlackPaladin wrote:If you're talking about Dragon Ball and DBZ, though, then YES, you should absolutely watch it in Japanese! I would also recommend watching it in the proper order (starting with Dragon Ball episode 1), because the characters keep the voice actor that first started playing them throughout the course of that character's life. In other words, they weren't recast when they got older. So it's very weird to hear adult Goku being voiced by a woman, but the transition is much easier--and more memorable--if you start it when Goku is still a kid.
Yeah, you should absolutely do this. If you're gonna try out the Japanese cast for the first time, you should experience them when they were still in their prime!

Doing so in the proper order also lets you hear how each actor developed their voice for their characters as they aged or changed in personality. It's a wonder to hear.

Good luck! It's a pretty lengthy task, but it's so worth it. You'll absolutely walk away with a new found respect for the show.
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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by Saago » Sun May 31, 2015 8:01 am

Quite frankly, I've never quite understood the whole "Japanese Kai is pointless. Unless you're interested in the English dub, you should skip Kai altogether". I've never understood it because the removal of 40 hours worth of filler doesn't seem trivial to me (and Z's atrocious narrative pacing doesn't seem trivial either). I understand there are arguments to be made about the music department, but why is it that everybody in the forum seems to assume that Japanese Z was "absolutely fine"?

The "Japanese Kai is pointless" thing seems particularly questionable in this case, considering that the OP has said that, with the exception of Dragon Ball, he watches all anime in Japanese. If he always favors the original version, why should he watch Kai in English? The Japanese acting of Kai is perfectly fine and, from what I've heard of it, the English dub is equivalent but not superior. The fact that the English version improves the most when compared to Z (simply because the English version of Z was a disaster) doesn't make the Japanese version any worse than what it is.

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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by Ajay » Sun May 31, 2015 8:25 am

It's not 'pointless', it's just nowhere near as good.

Freeza example: http://www.daizex.com/misc_stuff/freeza ... arison.mp3

Plenty more examples like that where the Kai delivery totally flops in comparison to the original.

The music is also a huge deal. Unless you feel like downloading near 80GB of 1080p video just to experience Kai with the Yamamoto score, you'll be dealing with the shoddy Kikuchi replacement music.

Nobody wants that. It's terrible.

Why bother with a vastly inferior version of the show when you have the original easily available. It's not particularly hard to skip through arduous moments of filler - especially when you've seen it all before.
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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by Darkblade1995 » Sun May 31, 2015 8:50 am

I'm sorry but to me, better acting or even better music placement won't save Z for me. I also have watched the series with the English dub. Kai was the first show I have watched in Japanese with subtitles. After the first Kai ended I tried to watch Z in Japanese and I couldn't get myself past episode 28. And the pacing wasn't even that bad in the Saiyan arc in my opinion.

''It's not particularly hard to skip through arduous moments of filler - especially when you've seen it all before.''

I don't get this. Why would I start watching a show knowing I'm gonna skip like half of it, when there is a version available that already does that for you? While I love the Japanese voice actors and Kikuchi's music, and I agree that they were better 20 years ago and I agree that the music is better and better placed, those things just cannot save Z from having a atrocious pacing. But that's of course my opinion.

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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by Cold Skin » Sun May 31, 2015 9:00 am

AjayLikesGaming wrote: Why bother with a vastly inferior version of the show when you have the original easily available.
Well, it's really a matter of opinions, I guess.
I would say: "Why bother with a vastly inferior version of the show when you have Kai instead, making it finally watchable and listenable again." 8)

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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by Saago » Sun May 31, 2015 9:29 am

Why bother with a vastly inferior version of the show when you have the original easily available. It's not particularly hard to skip through arduous moments of filler - especially when you've seen it all before.
But they're not arduous "moments" of filler: as I said, they are more than 40 hours of filler. Literally, almost half the show was filler. I simply can't agree that the occasional line here are there in which the actors gave a better performance is worth dealing with 40 hours of filler. Especially when it's not like those not-as-great-as-in-Z acting moments are not actually bad per se (nobody who hears Nakao's Kai clip without hearing Z first would say "Hey, that's awful!").

The music department is the only aspect of Z which I think is distinctly better than Kai. I haven't seen the whole show with the replacement score, and my only contact with the Buu arc are all the clips that have been posted in the forum. Still, from what I have heard (Z having much better music notwithstanding), as a whole it's not bad enough for me to run off to Z's disastrous pacing. And, for that matter, it does seem to me that when judging Kai's music (especially when it comes to Sumitomo) there is a lot of "it's different so it's bad" going on, even though some of the points people have brought up make sense. But when everybody is saying Kai is a disgrace because they used heroic music during Vegeta's sacrifice (one would think they had used Piccolo-san Daisuki, seeing the reactions), I can't help but put some perspective into the matter. I mean, it's great when people analyze how this or that track being slightly more or less cheerful, heroic or sad detracts from the show, but then this meticulous, no-holds-barred analysis takes the back seat when every single important scene is systematically interrupted by pointless crap in Z? So having serious music during a recap is a major deal-breaker, but all the important (or unimportant, for that matter) scenes and battles from the show being interrupted every two minutes by poorly written and useless throwaway scenes (or being drawn out to parodic extents) is totally acceptable?

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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by TheBlackPaladin » Sun May 31, 2015 12:56 pm

Well, as with anything, this is totally opinion-based. For me, I honestly didn't mind Z's pacing except in some places here and there. I was happy to say goodbye to some of the filler (don't let the door hit you in the *** on the way out, "Fake Namek Arc"), but most of the filler that was cut was stuff that helped make the show feel more complete. The pacing was better, the music placement was (much) better, and the acting was better...all in my opinion, of course....in DBZ. DBZ is, I feel, more superior as a show. It's not perfect, but the pros outweigh the cons, and I don't think the same can be said for Kai.

And that's just when we're talking about the first 99 episodes of Kai. I haven't watched a ton of the Japanese version of the Buu arc except for some famous key scenes here and there, but I have been continually underwhelmed and, if the talkback on the Kanzenshuu forum is anything to indicate, the consensus seems to be that Kai's problems somehow managed to grow exponentially worse when the Buu arc began, with the less-than-charming bonus of new problems like the Matrix-esque green tint that somehow nobody at Toei noticed.

Quite frankly, when talking about the English dub, my preference would have been that FUNimation redub DBZ with the level of care they showed in the Kai dub, but that's never going to happen, nor do I blame FUNimation because that would make zero sense for them from a financial perspective. It's not cheap to dub a show, especially one as long as DBZ, and the dub they have, inadequate though it is in many areas, is also what causes most of their current customer base to buy DBZ when it's released on home video. Kai was the perfect, "have our cake and eat it too" solution for FUNimation...they got to keep the dub that's continually generating good income for them, while at the same time doing a new dub that's infinitely closer to the original material. I've come to mentally register Kai as an English-speaking show, even though that's technically not true, because that's the primary purpose that Kai serves for me. When I hear "Dragon Ball Kai/Dragon Ball Z Kai," I hear in my head, "the good English version."

So, is the Japanese version of Kai bad? As I said, I don't believe it's bad by any means. It's just that it's--again, in my opinion--an inferior show, with acting on the Japanese end that's only "very good," and not spectacular like it was in DBZ. Not to mention that it's the exact same story, just trimmed down. The show would be entirely skipable were it not for the vastly improved English dub.
A "rather haggard" translation of a line from Future Gohan in DBZ, provided to FUNimation by Toei:
"To think of fighting that is this fun...so, it was pleasant fight, as many as, therefore is a feeling which is good the fight where."

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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by ShaneisMC » Sun May 31, 2015 5:32 pm

AjayLikesGaming wrote:It's not 'pointless', it's just nowhere near as good.

Freeza example: http://www.daizex.com/misc_stuff/freeza ... arison.mp3

Plenty more examples like that where the Kai delivery totally flops in comparison to the original.

The music is also a huge deal. Unless you feel like downloading near 80GB of 1080p video just to experience Kai with the Yamamoto score, you'll be dealing with the shoddy Kikuchi replacement music.

Nobody wants that. It's terrible.

Why bother with a vastly inferior version of the show when you have the original easily available. It's not particularly hard to skip through arduous moments of filler - especially when you've seen it all before.
I am sooooo glad I made a point of getting parts 1-4 with Yamamoto, those genuinely were terrible. That being said I actually do like the Cell scene just fine. It seems to kind of feel like a bittersweet heroic tone at least to me, and seeing as how most of that scene is about Goku calmly saying goodbye to everyone it works. Now if hed died in front of them or he were anything but calm it wouldn't have worked.

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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by TheKingOfKamehamehas » Sun May 31, 2015 9:27 pm

Another thing to comment about is that the Kai Japanese Track has better sound quality with stereo while the Dragon Ball Japanese Track has mono. Better audio quality is a nice bonus.
As for my view, I think you should watch Dragon Ball Z and not Kai in Japanese because of the placement and their is a lot more emotion in the original, but it is your choice.
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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by LettuceJUMP » Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:13 am

Thank you guys for responses.
My follow up question is:
If i watch dragon ball z and not kai, do i stick with dragon box or dragon ball z blu-ray season sets. I hate cropping and prefer 4:3, but audio quality will probably be lousy on dragon box. Mono as you said

Is the japanese kai track stereo or surround?

Thanks

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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by Ajay » Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:57 am

The audio quality is monaural regardless of whether you go with the Dragon Box or the Season sets. They did some very minor clean-up work on the audio for the Blu-ray, but it's hardly anything to write home about. Certainly nothing worth missing out on the Dragon Box footage for.

Kai's Japanese track is stereo.
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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by TheBlackPaladin » Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:44 am

If you can get the Dragon Boxes, go with them. That is, however, a big "if." They're no longer in print, and the only way to get them now is on eBay, where they sell for a fortune.
LettuceJUMP wrote:Mono as you said
Fun bit of trivia here...mono doesn't necessarily mean bad audio, it just means the audio's coming from one direction. When DBZ first aired on TV in Japan, it was still in mono, but the audio quality was much, much, much better. Because there was not a market for home video releases of an entire TV show back then, and the materials for the original audio took up a decent amount of warehouse space, Toei immediately discarded them after they were aired one time. So the only way we have of hearing the original broadcast audio is from people taping it and uploading it to YouTube.

If you are so interested, here's a comparison of the original broadcast audio alongside the audio that was used in home video releases.

-Vegeta's atonement, original broadcast audio.
-Vegeta's atonement, Dragon Box audio (fast-forward to 1:23).
A "rather haggard" translation of a line from Future Gohan in DBZ, provided to FUNimation by Toei:
"To think of fighting that is this fun...so, it was pleasant fight, as many as, therefore is a feeling which is good the fight where."

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Re: Kai Japanese Track

Post by LuckyCat » Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:54 am

I like both Japanese Z and Kai but I'll try to throw out some notable differences:

Z:
Norio Wakamoto gives a stellar performance in his youth for Cell. This was also a breakout role for him at the time and led to other famous roles such as Vicious from Cowboy Bebop.

Daisuke Gori has a famous performance as Mr. Satan, bring a very deep but somehow funny voice.

Juouji Yanami does a very different take on Babidi making him sound like a creepy alien geezer.

Kai:
Aya Hirano of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (Haruhi) voices Dende.

The Ginyu Force has been totally recast with pop stars and has an awesome insert song.

Bin Shimada (Broli) takes over and does Kami part way through the series. If nothing else, it's interesting to hear two takes on the voice in a single watch.
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