10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

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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10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by SuperSaiyaManZ94 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:03 pm

I do realize that the actual anniversary of Kai itself isn't until tomorrow, but i felt with the 30th anniversary of the original source series coming that i'd put up a sort of equal parts encapsulated retrospective/write up thread in anticipation of the milestone a day in advance. So anyways, it was indeed ten years ago that the series premiered on April 5, 2009 on Fuji TV alongside One Piece as part of the Dream 9 block on Sunday mornings. It was of course touted as an all new, recut version of DBZ using most of the same base footage but converted from the original film elements into an HD format with varying degrees of re animated/re drawn frames and scenes as well as some edits here and there for various reasons (violence, nudity.etc) though the biggest and by far most notable thing about the series was it's attempt at being much closer and accurate to the original manga, primarily through the cutting of filler material ranging from small scenes to whole arcs worth of episodes. The series of course also eventually debuted in the U.S. later on in mid 2010 courtesy of FUNimation, and around the world still by other companies under the name Dragon Ball Z Kai. The extensive cutting of the non manga accurate filler material in turn greatly reduced the series (in terms of Kai 1.0) from the original 194 episodes down to just 98 total going from the Saiyan to Cell arcs, but the series was unfortunately also rocked during the course of broadcast by the scandal involving Kenji Yamamoto's music score, which was outed as being plagiarized and (haphazardly) replaced by Shunsuke Kikuchi's original Z score, and eventually was cut short at this point after episode 98 due to the deadly earthquake that struck Japan in March 2011. This caused the last epsiode to ultimately be unaired on TV and later included on the home releases as a special episode, though after all of this the series was eventually revived just three short years later in Summer 2014 now known as The Final Chapters as a quick replacement for Toriko and continued on to the Majin Buu arc for the rest of the series. The series eventually wrapped up it's six year run in June 2015 as Dragon Ball Super was preparing to take over, thus bringing the staggered saga of the recut version of DBZ to a close at long last.

So here's to the big 1-0 to the "Toriyama's original manga edition" cut of DBZ.
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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by JohnnyCashKami » Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:17 pm

Whaaat? Already been 10 years since Dragon Ball Kai came out? Holy crap, it still feels so fresh for me.

Dragon Ball Kai regrettably had a horrible fate but overall I love it, the episodes look fantastic and being able to watch 01-95 with the original score is quite a nice treat, too bad TOEI scrapped the Yamamoto score from 96-97 of the TV broadcast version otherwise we'd gotten nearly all episodes with it's proper soundtrack. Episode 98 didn't air on TV due to an earthquake, I think.

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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by SuperSaiyaManZ94 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:09 pm

JohnnyCashKami wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:17 pm
Whaaat? Already been 10 years since Dragon Ball Kai came out? Holy crap, it still feels so fresh for me.

Dragon Ball Kai regrettably had a horrible fate but overall I love it, the episodes look fantastic and being able to watch 01-95 with the original score is quite a nice treat, too bad TOEI scrapped the Yamamoto score from 96-97 of the TV broadcast version otherwise we'd gotten nearly all episodes with it's proper soundtrack. Episode 98 didn't air on TV due to an earthquake, I think.
I know i can't believe it's been that long either, i remember when i first found out about the series which was sometime around mid 2009 or so when i'd seen a few episodes that had already been fan subbed from the Japanese broadcast on an anime video website (of which name i don't remember at the moment) as it was still quite a while yet before Kai came out here on home video and TV broadcast from FUNi. Interesting story about all this is that Kai is actually what got me into the franchise once again after several years of being out since DBZ had finished airing on Cartoon Network, it was also around that same time that i first stumbled upon this website back when it was still known as Daizenshuu EX after hearing about it from some friends of mine at high school who also browsed around on it. Then of course later on once it came over here proper i really started getting full into it with watching the broadcast on Nicktoons and slowly buying the DVD sets (i only got up to Part 6, still haven't picked up the rest of 1.0 or The Final Chapters) then of course everything hit the fan over in Japan and the series ended for a while, though of course i did eventually watch The Final Chapters once it reared it's head over here on Adult Swim/Toonami in early 2017 where i watched pretty much all of the episodes.

So yeah, it's hard to believe that ten years have already passed since then. A lot of things have happened in the franchise since the series aired. Also, i did note in the top post that it was indeed the March 2011 earthquake in Japan which caused the final 1.0 episode to be unaired and relegated to home video.

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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by sintzu » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:57 am

Kai overall was a great thing to come out of the franchise. As good as Z was, it was hard to get through due to its length and if you're a dub fan it was nearly unwatchable. I know Kai has many issues but overall I think it's a great, modern way to watch the Z part of the original story. I do wish they included the original DB but Z was better than nothing.
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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by SuperSaiyaManZ94 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:05 am

sintzu wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:57 am
Kai overall was a great thing to come out of the franchise. As good as Z was, it was hard to get through due to its length and if you're a dub fan it was nearly unwatchable. I know Kai has many issues but overall I think it's a great, modern way to watch the Z part of the original story. I do wish they included the original DB but Z was better than nothing.
Yeah, and another thing i really like about the series is of course FUNi's English dub of Kai. It's way more faithful and not to mention much better acted than the old DBZ dub with representing some of their best voice work in their entire 20+ history with the franchise. This definitely showcased their development and how far the actors and everything else had come since the early days of the in house cast's affiliation with the series when they had first stepped into the roles of the characters back in 1999 to be theirs for many many years. It was a second chance for them to do the series again, and right a majority of the things that had been so derided during their first go around.

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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by Lord Beerus » Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:43 am

Looking back on Kai, it is very much serviceable if you're looking for a decent performances and a accurate script from the FUNimation cast. But for those who were originally fans of the original Japan broadcast of the show, Kai is completely redundant. Yes, Kai certainly benefits from having less fat in the plot compared to bloated nature of the plot of DBZ, making it a far more streamline experience and story much easier to digest. But it comes at the cast of lesser performances from some of the original seiyuu, a much more generic soundtrack, terrible editing, more censorship, awful redrawn scenes, and some of the iconic seiyuu from the Z anime not being in Kai or being able to stay for it's entirety.

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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by SuperSaiyaManZ94 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:34 am

Lord Beerus wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:43 am
Looking back on Kai, it is very much serviceable if you're looking for a decent performances and a accurate script from the FUNimation cast. But for those who were originally fans of the original Japan broadcast of the show, Kai is completely redundant. Yes, Kai certainly benefits from having less fat in the plot compared to bloated nature of the plot of DBZ, making it a far more streamline experience and story much easier to digest. But it comes at the cast of lesser performances from some of the original seiyuu, a much more generic soundtrack, terrible editing, more censorship, awful redrawn scenes, and some of the iconic seiyuu from the Z anime not being in Kai or being able to stay for it's entirety.
True, the flaws including those you mention are there. But overall if you're someone who wants a version of the show that's overall much closer to the manga then Kai is definitely something you're bound to enjoy with that fact in mind. The thing that really drew my interest to the series was the new dub from the FUNi cast, and it no question blows the old highly inaccurate DBZ dub out of the water.

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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by Dragon Ball Ireland » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:00 am

It was a quick 10 years for sure. Kai has honestly been a wonderful addition to the franchise, and while I was initially unenthused by the recycled animation I decided to give its a shot because its Dragon Ball and I'll always take what I can in terms of new content. I love almoat everything about Kai. The new openings and endings. The faster pace and flow of a shorter series. The superlative English dub featuring much needed cast changes. Hearing Ayres and feeling jealous of the kids growing up with his Freeza. The Yamamoto score was breathtaking while it lasted. The Kikuchi placement, while a step down from Z I still enjoy for the most part. Sumitomo also had his moments. Oh, and can't forget the Blu-Rays. Added some variety to my ever growing collection of Dragon Ball home releases. Hopefully we will have Ocean Kai before the end of the year to wrap up the 10 year celebrations :)
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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by Robo4900 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:45 am

Something I've noticed in slowly dipping my feet into anime over the past few years is that the sense of pacing that generally goes into anime, including Kai, is generally quite a slow one.
Dragon Ball, Z, GT, Kai, and Super are all quite slow. Kai doesn't really solve this problem by upping the pace, so much as it just cuts out a bunch of non-manga material making it superficially faster, throwing a lot of great stuff out in the process.

Yes, Kai is shorter than Z, but honestly, it's still pretty slow. Especially once you get into the Boo arc, and the recutting gets lazy. It only has a reputation for being faster because it doesn't have the frequent diversions into filler episodes and storylines Z did. It's still a pretty slow-paced show, from a western point of view at least.

Combine all this with the general crappiness of the video remastering (yes, I know Kai 1.0 has nice colours; it's still a blurry, soft mess with awfully-redrawn frames. It would be an okay standard-def master, but as a HD master, it's crap), the screwy music shenanigans, and the fact its ability to gel with DB and GT is debatable at best, and really, Kai is only valuable for quickly getting up to speed for Super, or for its decent dubbing work.

Kai fixes some flaws of Z -- the Namek arc was really bogged down by unnecessary crap -- but it throws out a lot of the artistry of Z; the masterful Kikuchi soundtrack, the careful flow from DB to Z to GT, the consistent Japanese cast across 11 years of TV... For sub viewing, Kai is a bit pointless and silly, not because of the performances (yes, everyone was older than they were in Z, that's also the case with Super, but there's a reason people don't criticise the voices there; if you're expecting them to sound exactly as they did in their prime, when Dragon Ball and their characters were still fresh, and you're directly comparing lines delivered then to lines delivered now, as people have done with Kai, you're going to be disappointed); Kai is pointless in Japanese because Z is just a better viewing experience for sub fans.
For the Funi dub (and presumably for the Ocean dub, when Wow finally gets off the ground; whether that's June, or if it's pushed back to December, or even next year), Kai is the acceptable half-measure we got in absence of a full redub; we were never going to get a full redub, so this is the best we were ever going to get, and for what it is, it does the job. Dub fans have a dub of the Z era they can watch that isn't awful. Still leaves DB out in the cold somewhat, but it's an improvement at least. (GT has the Blue Water dub, which has some iffy castings but is generally an okay dub. DB almost got there, but Blue Water relied on reusing Funi's scripts too often, and AB Groupe's footage had a lot of censorship baked in)
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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by OmegaRockman » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:52 am

Dragon Ball Kai rekindled my love for DB. I mean, it never really went away considering I still played the games a ton, but Kai was my first rewatch of the show in earnest since it aired on Toonami, and it introduced me to the Japanese cast in the show proper; I'd heard them through the games, of course, but that's a wholly different context than the show. It also pushed me to seek out the original DB and finally watch through the whole thing. I watched through the 22nd BudokaI on Toonami, but I never got too much further than that either due to a move or my parents having to cut cable out of the budget or a combination of the two. Forgive my memory, this was elementary school, haha.

At any rate, Kai started my path to becoming a more educated DB fan as well as one who loves the Japanese version. It was also this rekindled love sparked by Kai that led me to discovering Daizex before it became Kanzenshuu. I wanna say I stumbled upon the Rumor Guide first. Later I would lurk the forums looking for info on the Funimation dub of Kai and the Parts sets as they came out.

Hell, DBZ Kai Part 1 was my first non-movie anime purchase, and it was the most amazing thing in the world. I watched through the original DB and Kai with my then-girlfriend-now-fiancee. I used Kai when watching the Z material with my niece. My late aunt, who usually hated cartoons, watched Kai on Nicktoons with me before I got the Boo arc through the Dragon Boxes, which she also watched a good bit of with me before she passed away. In recent years, my mom would watch Kai on Toonami and ask me questions about the show on occasion.

The point is that Dragon Ball Kai is immensely important to me for a great many reasons. Yes, it has flaws. Yes, I understand preferring the performances in the original Japanese Z. Yes, Kikuchi isn't as well placed, Yamamoto is a thief, and Sumitomo is just okay. But it got me back into my favorite show. It introduced me to my favorite voice cast. It gave a cast I like a lot a chance to finally do things right. It gave me a way to introduce folks to the show that doesn't make me want to rip my hair out. It influenced me to start doing fandubs of DB stuff. It helped me build and maintain relationships with the people I care about. There's no way I couldn't love it.

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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by Robo4900 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:57 am

Heh. I quite like the two vastly different takes on Kai in these last two posts. My cynical take vs one of optimism and nostalgia. :lol:

Guess that's Dragon Ball for ya... The official fandom of the phrase "One man's trash is another man's treasure." :)
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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by JohnnyCashKami » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:00 pm

Lord Beerus wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:43 am
Looking back on Kai, it is very much serviceable if you're looking for a decent performances and a accurate script from the FUNimation cast. But for those who were originally fans of the original Japan broadcast of the show, Kai is completely redundant. Yes, Kai certainly benefits from having less fat in the plot compared to bloated nature of the plot of DBZ, making it a far more streamline experience and story much easier to digest. But it comes at the cast of lesser performances from some of the original seiyuu, a much more generic soundtrack, terrible editing, more censorship, awful redrawn scenes, and some of the iconic seiyuu from the Z anime not being in Kai or being able to stay for it's entirety.
That's not really true. Dragon Ball Kai in Japanese holds a special place with the original score by Kenji Yamamoto. Saying Kai in Japanese is redundant is complete nonsense.

The Japanese VA did get older and some had to be replaced but it was overall fantastic with the genuine soundtrack.

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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by Lord Beerus » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:23 pm

JohnnyCashKami wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:00 pm
Lord Beerus wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:43 am
Looking back on Kai, it is very much serviceable if you're looking for a decent performances and a accurate script from the FUNimation cast. But for those who were originally fans of the original Japan broadcast of the show, Kai is completely redundant. Yes, Kai certainly benefits from having less fat in the plot compared to bloated nature of the plot of DBZ, making it a far more streamline experience and story much easier to digest. But it comes at the cast of lesser performances from some of the original seiyuu, a much more generic soundtrack, terrible editing, more censorship, awful redrawn scenes, and some of the iconic seiyuu from the Z anime not being in Kai or being able to stay for it's entirety.
That's not really true. Dragon Ball Kai in Japanese holds a special place with the original score by Kenji Yamamoto. Saying Kai in Japanese is redundant is complete nonsense.

The Japanese VA did get older and some had to be replaced but it was overall fantastic with the genuine soundtrack.
Yamamoto's score is a shit stain on Kai, and Dragon Ball as a whole, because it exposed his long catalogue of plagiarism across the Dragon Ball franchise.

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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by coola » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:30 pm

For me, Kai Saiyan-Cell saga was ok in English dub only , Kai Buu was complete mess, ugly green tint, 16:9 aspect ratio, at some i was wondering if they were even trying? (Buu origin was already retcon by Toriyama, yet they kept filler showing Bibbidi creating Buu, Oni commenting Goku fall to hell)

Overall, i feel like Dragon Ball Kai was experiment from Toei, that luckly failed, they wanted to see if they can get away with just repackage, and for other anime we got actual sequels (They are still mess for most part, but that's Toei :) ) and it was sadly disappointment for me, what could be excellent retelling, turned out to be cheap repackage. Looking at modern remakes like Dororo or Fruits Basket make me even more realize how Toei is cheap :( And yes, i realize i can only blame myself for having too huge expectations, especially when Kai was advertised as DBZ director's cut, but still... (With is probably only directors cut edition i know, that only remove, instead of adding something :) )
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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by sintzu » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:35 am

coola wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:30 pm
Buu origin was already retcon by Toriyama, yet they kept filler showing Bibbidi creating Buu.
That's because it was produced before Toriyama made those comments. His comments aside, Bibidi creating Buu is in the manga which is what Kai follows.
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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by VDenter » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:11 am

I don't know how to feel about Kai. I don't hate it but i don't love it either. I think the JP cast performances, while not on par with the original, are still great. Wakamoto sound a bit off and the rest of the cast just sound older, as is to be expected but it's still great. I think the English dub started off strong and sort of started to fall off the longer the show went on. It's still leagues better than the original FUNI dub but it's still roughly a 7/10 dub overall. Which i guess as far as a Funimation dub is concerned is quite impressive. I think the remastering is good overall, redrawn scenes aside. It's a bit blurrier than i would like but the colors are nice and it's great to see the series in HD.
Sucks that Kai didn't start out with DB but instead went straight to DBZ.

The Yamamoto score plagiarism debacle really sours Kai. I don't think "his" score was all that remarkable but i think it fits Kai more than the sloppy Kikuchi placement, which also had an extremely limited selection for some reason.

I guess Kai is not bad overall. Still i would recommend sticking with DBZ, unless you really need to watch the series dubbed.

The Final Chapters are a complete joke tho. They didn't even cut that much filler and you have to suffer through the awful remastering and the new score sucked. There is really no point in owning the Final Chapters portion of Kai.

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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by Robo4900 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:18 am

VDenter wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:11 am
It's a bit blurrier than i would like but the colors are nice and it's great to see the series in HD.
Sucks that Kai didn't start out with DB but instead went straight to DBZ.
Right here, you've kind of hit on my two big "Kai was a bit pointless" points. Yes, it was technically HD; it was produced on a digital video format that used a 1440x1080 pixel resolution (or 1920x1080 for the widescreen version), but it's very blurry... In fact, it's so blurry... Well... Something a lot of people don't consider about Kai in regards to its "HD" nature is this: Downscale a screengrab of Kai to standard-def, then upscale to HD again using whatever nice scaler your media player or TV will put on standard-def content. Compare the two HD images, and you'll likely see no difference.

Kai is technically HD, but the level of detail in the picture -- due to the intense blurring -- is standard-def.
The 35mm episodes are an exception, but... They're not the rule.

And then yeah, they skipped to Raditz. They took "Let's make a director's cut of the manga" and turned it into "Let's do a shortened rehash of the most marketable parts of the manga."
The two main core things about it -- a HD "Refreshed" broadcast, and being a revised, shortened, more manga-accurate adaptatation -- are both essentially moot due to poor production choices.
VDenter wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:11 am
The Yamamoto score plagiarism debacle really sours Kai. I don't think "his" score was all that remarkable but i think it fits Kai more than the sloppy Kikuchi placement, which also had an extremely limited selection for some reason.

I guess Kai is not bad overall. Still i would recommend sticking with DBZ, unless you really need to watch the series dubbed.

The Final Chapters are a complete joke tho. They didn't even cut that much filler and you have to suffer through the awful remastering and the new score sucked. There is really no point in owning the Final Chapters portion of Kai.
I sort of agree. I totally agree with everything up to the last part, but I will have to disagree with "There's no point in owning TFC"... Final Chapters is such an annoying part of Dragon Ball. It took the already-really-messy Kai production, and made it unspeakably worse in every way. Even Funimation's dubbing of it wasn't as good as Kai 1.0; despite all the steps they took towards more accuracy for Kai 1.0, they fell off the wagon again. "Strong boy", "Totally pwn'd", the TFS scene, etc. In isolation, these deviations aren't too bad, but with the amount they put in... It really hurts the integrity of their "More accurate" approach, and given they showed in the early parts of Kai 1.0 that they could do it right, it makes the whole thing all the more frustrating.
But, TFC's dub is still better than the Boo arc of Funi's Z dub, by a country mile. So it's still the best option, despite its numerous deep flaws.
And my god does it have flaws. Probably the one that bugs me the most is -- Piccolo: "Your soul will be cleansed, you'll be reborn, and you'll never see Goku again." Later scene: [Freeza, Cell, the Ginyus, etc. all standing around in Hell watching Goku fight Boo]
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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by SpiritBombTriumphant » Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:54 pm

I can't believe Kai is 10 years old already. I really wish they had properly re-inserted Kikuchi into it and not fucked up Boo Kai. It would be the perfect and definitive way to watch the series if so. Now it's a struggle between Kai for the pacing/speed, and Z for the less annoying score placement of Kikuchi. And then there are all of the problems with Z like the DNR holocausts by Funimation or the Dragon Box by Toei that is in standard definition only.

Kai was so close to being perfect... But Toei got too cheap and lazy to make it so. ='(
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At this point, I think it's safe to say everything he did was plagiarized. Basically, if you hear a tune that sounds like it could have vocals, then it most likely did.

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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by coola » Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:20 pm

I'm not sure if Kai was intended to replace Z, but if it was, than it failed, sales were prety bad in Japan even before whole scandal started, and even before Super came, toys stopped having Kai name after a while, even with upcoming Kakarot game, they used DB/DBZ Kikuchi score.
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Re: 10 Years of Dragon Ball (Z) Kai (2009-2019)

Post by Paulo Gabriel » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:53 am

coola wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:20 pm
I'm not sure if Kai was intended to replace Z, but if it was, than it failed, sales were prety bad in Japan even before whole scandal started, and even before Super came, toys stopped having Kai name after a while, even with upcoming Kakarot game, they used DB/DBZ Kikuchi score.
The idea of a ''new'' series including less filler and more accurate to the manga was the best thing ever, though. Too bad it wasn't executed that well.

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