It's under 9,000? Review: Dragon Ball Z Kai

Thursday, August 12, 2010 Laura Fitzgerald

A lot of people are at least familiar with Dragon Ball Z even if they don’t follow the Anime industry closely. They’ll be remembering its censored Cartoon Network days. I loved Dragon Ball Z as a kid and I still have my Vegeta punching bag. I’ll be honest though, in the intervening years between middle school and my adult life, Dragon Ball Z got harder and harder to watch. DBZ was terribly flawed, but those were different days in the industry. The dubbing and translations were horrible. The filler was endless and the pacing was dreadfully slow. Did it really need to take five episodes for Namek to explode when Goku only had twenty minutes to make his escape? Why couldn’t this have been done in real time?

But now we have Dragon Ball Z Kai, and I am such a fan. It’s a reboot of the series using the original animation digitally cleaned up or redrawn in cases where the cells had deteriorated past the point of being useful. In the first 13 episodes the story already reaches the first exchange of blows between Vegeta and Goku, skipping the all that boring filler along Snake Way and the training episodes. There are a few things we miss out on. Some of my favorite filler didn’t make the cut. Vegeta’s and Nappa’s side adventure on the bug planet is not included. “Nappa’s Best Day Ever” is severely truncated, but sacrifices needed to be made for the sake of brevity (which was characteristically lacking in the original series). The action and story sped along and the sequences fit together well despite the cuts. Overall I was happy with a lot of the changes. And hey, they even redubbed the whole thing. The horrible pronunciations were fixed and in my opinion they got a marginally stronger performance out of the returning crew. The cast members that were replaced, were replaced for the better. Gohan actually sounds like a young boy now.

The first box from Funimation comes complete with 13 episodes on two discs. The exterior of the collector’s box has a much more modern and clean look to it compared to those god awful orange boxes that I hated (and yet still bought).

There is one last thing and I must applaud Funimation for even if it makes me mildly grumpy. They went so far as to change the most iconic line from DBZ so it would match the original Japanese broadcast. So now:

Nappa: “Vegeta, what does the scouter read?”
Vegetta: “It’s over EIGHT thousand!”

Damn, that’s attention to detail just doesn’t feel the same anymore. The moment is gone. The original meme is now...retro. In short: I feel old!


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Nick Enlowe said...

Hahaha, this brings back memories. The wait to charge a spirit bomb seems to take forever when watching it on TV, but that's what marathons are for! My friends and I used to import VHS tapes, nearly 300 episodes and something like 13 movies later, we were horribly sleep-depraved.

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