Things That "Justify" Dragon Ball Kai

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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MagicBox
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Re: Things That "Justify" Dragon Ball Kai

Post by MagicBox » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:39 am

Fulicer wrote:In regards to point #2 of the original OP: The original Dragon Ball Z sounded muffled in mono because of the masters they used for the DVDs. There are clips of the original broadcasts that sound very good. Also the Dragon Box the movies sound great too. Being in stereo has nothing to do with audio fidelity.
I'm aware. But unfortunately, no home video release has the broadcast audio yet, and FUNimation, despite claiming that they had acquired the Dragon Box: The Movies masters, never did anything with them. As such, all of my home video releases are in muffled mono, making Kai a nice alternative.

I never meant to imply that "muffled" and "mono" go together; it's just the state of the current DVDs that we own.
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Re: Things That "Justify" Dragon Ball Kai

Post by NinjaGoku » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:32 am

I didn't think Stereo was too bothersome to any DBZ fan until I read up about it on this forum. Things that justify Kai from Toei's perspective:

- Easy re-marketing of old brand, easy to remaster, easy to crop, cost effective.
- Easy franchise for merchandise, more deals.
- Opportunity for artist deals with record labels for new opening and ending themes.
- Easy program to fill in the gap before One Piece, reels in a new audience.
- Easy indicator of how popular the franchise still is.

With all these incentives there was a lot lost from the original series, the attention to detail, the charm of the intro and ending music, etc. However, without the success of Kai and probably the Buu arc there would be no 2 new films and no Super being released.

Kai was never produced for fans that wanted perfection, it was the best way for them to attract a new audience without having to spend a lot of money, which came with all the other benefits. A new series was born from it, Toei wants a new audience to watch the Super for obvious reasons, but there would be no context for younger fans to understand a lot of the characters and plot with out all the Kai that aired before it.

Even if it's not aimed at original fans, Kai is still a great choice for them to watch because not everyone is willing to view all of Z when Kai cuts out roughly 40 hours of filler.

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Re: Things That "Justify" Dragon Ball Kai

Post by OmegaRockman » Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:44 pm

I could say obvious things like the dub or the pacing as reasons why Kai is justified. But personally, if my adoration for Kai wasn't solidified already by those factors it definitely was when my niece called me a few weeks back to tell me that she met King Kai for the first time. We have to bring in our new blood, and I couldn't be happier using Kai to bring my niece into the fold. Of course, I watched the original DB dub with her before getting her to watch Kai, but still. She called me today to tell me that she's on Part 3 Disc 2. Holy cow. My cute little niece is growing up. She's watching the Dragon Ball by herself now. Before you know it we'll be watching Heya! Son Goku and Battle of Gods to get ready for F in theaters.

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Re: Things That "Justify" Dragon Ball Kai

Post by kei17 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:52 pm

NinjaGoku wrote:With all these incentives there was a lot lost from the original series, the attention to detail, the charm of the intro and ending music, etc. However, without the success of Kai and probably the Buu arc there would be no 2 new films and no Super being released.
Toei and Namco Bandai's sales figures do not seem to agree to that, though. Kai didn't boost the merchandising sales at all. There was no success that you refer to. It just failed and got cancelled. It was actually DB Heroes that helped the franchise.

Kai's failure might have helped them realize that the franchise needed something actually new, though.

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Re: Things That "Justify" Dragon Ball Kai

Post by fadeddreams5 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:07 am

I haven't watched it subbed, or care to. Despite its shitty soundtrack replacements, it's still a fresh and faithful dub for English fans. I've enjoyed it a lot. Really wish they'd air it on weekdays like they used to back in the day. I've never understood the direction of the network since the 2000s.

Also, we got this theme. Oh, and this one, which never even aired. Wouldn't be surprised if, during the Kid Buu battle, they played the theme Ajay linked to twice instead...
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Re: Things That "Justify" Dragon Ball Kai

Post by Naruto6583 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:33 am

fadeddreams5 wrote:I haven't watched it subbed, or care to. Despite its shitty soundtrack replacements, it's still a fresh and faithful dub for English fans. I've enjoyed it a lot. Really wish they'd air it on weekdays like they used to back in the day. I've never understood the direction of the network since the 2000s.

Also, we got this theme. Oh, and this one, which never even aired. Wouldn't be surprised if, during the Kid Buu battle, they played the theme Ajay linked to twice instead...
What theme did he link to?
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Re: Things That "Justify" Dragon Ball Kai

Post by NinjaGoku » Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:41 am

kei17 wrote:Toei and Namco Bandai's sales figures do not seem to agree to that, though. Kai didn't boost the merchandising sales at all. There was no success that you refer to. It just failed and got cancelled. It was actually DB Heroes that helped the franchise.

Kai's failure might have helped them realize that the franchise needed something actually new, though.
Are you sure? Kai still got much higher ratings than Toriko which took its place after the initial run, only Toriko was cancelled to have the Buu Kai take its place. It has been getting a decent amount of viewers. I always thought a steady viewership went hand in hand with DB Heroes, which is the biggest DB merchandise franchise in Japan. Figures with DB Kai slapped on the boxes probably never had a chance because it's the same thing being released in an already saturated market.

For the amount of money Toei had to invest Kai certainly wasn't a failure, and it was most likely the Battle of Gods above anything else that made Toei realize there was a lot of money to be made making something new like Super.

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Re: Things That "Justify" Dragon Ball Kai

Post by VegettoEX » Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:55 am

It sorta seems like you're just making up what you want to be the story, because that's not what the facts support.

Merchandise sales dropped and stagnated while Dragon Ball Kai was originally on the air. The instant it went off the air - which was, incidentally, the point at which Dragon Ball Heroes really kicked into high gear - is when merchandise sales suddenly began to climb again for the first time in many, many years. Merchandise sales were ALREADY dropping by the time Kai came around, and at NO POINT during its broadcast did they ever recover.

Viewership doesn't mean anything in and of itself. You can have people that watch something, but if they're not buying anything (of either its own franchise products or its advertisers' products), there's nothing to sustain its existence. People watching something for free on TV provides no revenue stream; it's the supporting merchandise sales that make or break it.

We have a direct correlation with Kai doing absolutely nothing to support merchandise sales here. Sure, let's not confuse correlation with causation, but... c'mon, now :).

Kai was a failure in pretty much all regards, domestically. The viewership dropped (again, noting that viewership in and of itself isn't really anything, but worthwhile to note), merchandise sales dropped, and it took external influences outside of Toei themselves for the franchise to pick up steam (read: make money) again. Toei then capitalized on what other people had done by trotting out Battle of Gods, and yeah: suddenly new material got the veins pumping again.

Side note: they started taking the Kai branding off of merchandise before Kai was even done the first time (Cell arc). It was that toxic.

We of course have to acknowledge that the international licensing revenue from Kai did pretty well (if not great), but from everything we've seen and heard, they don't seem to even realize what they heck they're doing with the international market. They talk it up big, but then don't capitalize on it or even seem to remotely acknowledge it. It's disgusting.

We covered all of the financials in our big Dragon Ball Kai feature from 2011. Rest assured, those merchandise numbers started going back up after 2011.

In comparison, for Bandai Namco (so we're talking pretty much all merchandise sales), the franchise did ¥8.9 in fiscal 2013, ¥11.4 in fiscal 2014, and ¥19.4 billion in fiscal 2015. Get rid of Kai, support the franchise with new material, and suddenly we're talking again.

Pretty clearly, Kai did nothing to help revitalize the franchise, and at worst, it temporarily hurt it. <-- This is all in Japan, but the way this franchise works, with no new interest in Japan, and with how insular and old-school they operate, without that internal Japanese interest revival, there was no hope...
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Re: Things That "Justify" Dragon Ball Kai

Post by NinjaGoku » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:47 am

You've caught me out, sorry for doubting you Kei, and here I thought all along Kai did well, I had no idea it was that bad.... Makes me wonder what were the main aspects about Kai that was so unappealing, I'm guessing it was the name 'Dragon Ball Kai' as if it was an entirely different series to Z, but I'm still unsure.

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Re: Things That "Justify" Dragon Ball Kai

Post by VegettoEX » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:54 am

NinjaGoku wrote:Makes me wonder what were the main aspects about Kai that was so unappealing, I'm guessing it was the name 'Dragon Ball Kai' as if it was an entirely different series to Z, but I'm still unsure.
It was clear to Japanese audiences what Kai was; there was no confusion there. It just wasn't new or novel for Japan. They had just gotten a complete home release of the entire franchise via the Dragon Boxes from 2003-2006, and then single discs of that same material from 2005-2009. It was also still available to see in reruns on cable TV. The manga has never gone out of print, received the kanzenban version in 2002-2004, and then even got new covers for the tankobon version in 2009.

And that's when Dragon Ball Kai started: 2009. It was just a rehash of the exact same material, and provided no real benefits that many international adaptations were promoting (things like a re-translation, more experienced cast, first home release in a long time, etc.).

It just wasn't new. No-one cared. They tuned in to watch something like Goku turn Super Saiyan, shrugged, and moved on to other stuff. The same story without its original music wasn't enticing, when if they wanted a shorter version of the story closer to the manga... well, it's Japan, so everyone and their little sister already has the manga.
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Re: Things That "Justify" Dragon Ball Kai

Post by fadeddreams5 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:06 pm

Naruto6583 wrote:
fadeddreams5 wrote:I haven't watched it subbed, or care to. Despite its shitty soundtrack replacements, it's still a fresh and faithful dub for English fans. I've enjoyed it a lot. Really wish they'd air it on weekdays like they used to back in the day. I've never understood the direction of the network since the 2000s.

Also, we got this theme. Oh, and this one, which never even aired. Wouldn't be surprised if, during the Kid Buu battle, they played the theme Ajay linked to twice instead...
What theme did he link to?
It's the 6th post in this thread. lol.
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Re: Things That "Justify" Dragon Ball Kai

Post by Mewzard » Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:34 pm

The international markets needed Kai far more than Japan ever did. Especially in America.

When FUNi started their own local dubbing, Z was their first thing. Almost nobody involved had any acting experience, and their writing (certainly not adapting at first), directing, etc, were all incredibly rough at first. It got better as the show went on, but there was a lack of consistent quality (and for a while until the Ocean stuff was redubbed, a lack of consistent cast).

But everyone got better come the time Kai came around. FUNi went from some small time thing to the biggest dubbing company in America, all of the actors went from inexperienced beginners to decade/near decade-long veterans of the field, they finally got accurate translations and had good script writers to adapt it properly into English (walking the line of accuracy/flow and sounding like natural English well), and got good voice direction. Most of the actors were able to stay and provide anywhere from serviceable to great performances while some actors were replaced with good casting choices (Chris Ayres especially so).

They had all of that and they stopped replacing music (>_> Well, THEY didn't replace any at least), dubbed the music over making their own original songs, and ensured we had an uncut, bilingual release from the start.

Honestly, not only did FUNi need Kai more than Toei did, I'd argue FUNi did a far better on their part for Kai than Toei did in theirs (replacement music fiasco, censorship, questionable work on the footage at times, and one could argue it was cheap going this route over pulling a Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and redoing the series with lower filler). FUNi wasn't perfect with Kai (especially in marketing, given so many people seem to think Kai's DVDs are as censored as what they saw on Nicktoons and Toonzai), but they put an admirable level of effort into it.

But yeah, all of that is in the "Getting good dubs for many countries" category, speaking from my own personal experience as an American fan who liked some of my old voices, but wanted more out of them and a better overall release in English.

...Though I'd take a complete redub of the franchise at this quality over Kai if it was possible (but I doubt it'd be worth the cost to do so).
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