Dragon Ball Z Kai

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Dragon Ball Kai logo
Dragon Ball Z Kai logo

Dragon Ball Kai (ドラゴン ボール(カイ), Doragon Boru Kai; Literally meaning "Dragon Ball Revised"), known in America as Dragon Ball Z Kai (ドラゴン ボール ゼット (カイ), Doragon Boru Zetto Kai; Literally meaning "Dragon Ball Z Revised") is an anime series that is a high-definition remaster and recut of Dragon Ball Z done for its 20th anniversary. It premiered on Fuji TV on April 5th, 2009 at 9:00 A.M. just before One Piece. The two shows were marketed together as "Dream 9", which refers to the hour in which they both aired. Two issues of Shonen Jump have included some primary information about the series. The series ended on March 27, 2011 after a run of 98 episodes.

The 改 (Kai) in the series' name means "revised". Interestingly, despite the series being only a director's cut of Dragon Ball Z, the 'Z' has been completely removed from the title in the Japanese dub.

FUNimation has dubbed Dragon Ball Kai into English for a North American release under the title of Dragon Ball Z Kai (more information can be viewed below). It was first released on DvD and Blu-ray volumes on may,18 2010 The series aired on the Nicktoons network on may 24 2010. This was quite a change, as all the Dragon Ball series have almost always appeared on Cartoon Network in the United States. In addition to Nicktoons, the series also airs on the CW's Toonzai/Vortexx programming block. Japanese voice actress for Krillin, Mayumi Tanaka reported on her blog on Monday, that she & the other actors are recording the dialogue for the Majin Buu Saga. However she also stated that the anime will no longer air in Japan, but it will contiue overseas.

Series information

A comparison of aspect ratios between Dragon Ball Kai (left) and Dragon Ball Z (right).
New ending credits with new animations of Dodoria and Zarbon (top left), the Ginyu Force (top right), Freeza (center left), Raditz (center right), and Vegeta and Nappa (bottom left).

The series was extensively "refreshed" for Japanese television. This is not a new animation, but rather a remastered edit that runs through certain events of Dragon Ball Z. Part of this is reformatting and extending the picture to 16:9 widescreen. Through digital processing, the image is made vibrant. All the grime, damage, and noise remaining on the "Dragon Ball Z" film is removed, making the image much clearer in high-definition.

A comparison with the original video side-by-side shows considerable cropping to achieve the 16:9 aspect ratio. However, it seems carefully done to avoid missing anything important. The original image is not stretched, just cut where it would be more appropriate, being a "tilt and scan" or "reverse pan and scan" of the original Dragon Ball Z footage.

Dragon Ball Kai includes a complete re-recording of the dialog by most of the original Japanese voice cast, as well as completely new sound design with updated sound effects. The opening and ending themes are completely new. Takayoshi Tanimoto performs the series' new opening and closing themes, "Dragon Soul" and "Yeah! Break! Care Break!". This new opening and closing credits have newly animated appearances by most of the main cast, as well as for the villains, such as Raditz, Nappa, Vegeta, Freeza, Zarbon, Dodoria, and the Ginyu Force. There is also a new artwork clip after every intermission, such as one of Kewie and Vegeta in Episode 19. Unlike the original Dragon Ball Z, which only had 2 sets of eyecatches for the entire series, in DBZK it changes every few episodes to feature an appropriate character ensemble/situation.

The Garlic Jr. Saga will also not be airing in DBZK. Originally lasting from Episode 108 to 117, the saga featured the return of Garlic Jr., the main villain from the first movie. The saga was completely filler and Garlic Jr. or any of his henchmen did not appear in the original manga. Since Dragon Ball Kai stays truer to the manga, this saga has been completely cut out.

For the Androids Saga, the animation in the opening scene and closing credits has been altered a bit to fit the current storyline. New animations of Doctor Gero, Artificial Human No. 19, Artificial Human No. 17, Artificial Human No. 18, Artificial Human No. 16, and Cell appear, as well as the Super Saiyan appearances of Son Goku, Vegeta, Future Trunks, and Son Gohan. The new intro also showcases battles taking place within the saga, such as Vegeta vs. No. 18, Piccolo vs. No. 17, No. 16 vs. Cell, Goku vs. Cell, and ends showing a sequence of the Z Warriors standing together with their Cell Saga appearances. The ending credits are also different, showcasing Goku flying with Shen Long as the faces of the main cast appear. He proceeds to transform into a Super Saiyan and the cast joins him in flight. The sequences ends with the Z Warriors standing in front of Earth and Shenron and Porunga in the backdrop.

Toei released the first set on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in September, 2009 in 4:3 aspect ratio, which is said to be how it was originally created and was only 16:9 ratio before because it was cropped for HD TV. The end of Dragon Ball Kai was announced to air on March 27, 2011, with Toriko taking its time slot. Unlike the original Dragon Ball Z series, Dragon Ball Kai ended with the finale of the Cell Games Saga.

FUNimation (English dub)

"The phenomenon that defined a generation... is back for more."
— FUNimation's tagline in the Season One release trailer

A comparison of the opening scene in Dragon Ball Kai. The shot on the left is the original uncut scene and the shot on the right is the one that appears on Nicktoons. It is clearly shown that all traces of blood have been removed from Bardock's face.

Navarre revealed during its Q3 2010 earnings conference call on the morning of February 2 that its North American anime distributor, FUNimation, had licensed Dragon Ball Kai for release in the U.S. It is re-titled Dragon Ball Z Kai'. The FUNimation voice cast for DBZK is mostly the same as DBZ except for a few re-casts. The first DVD/Blu-ray Disc set of the dubbed series was released on May 18th, 2010. DBZK premiered on the Nicktoons network on May 24, 2010, and continued to air new episodes until January 1, 2012. The CW's Toonzai block also began airing the series on August 14, 2010 and the series continued to air on Toonzai's successor, Vortexx, beginning on August 25, 2012.

The series is edited on Nicktoons and Toonzai to fit the expected audience, and occasionally contains different verbiage than the home release which is entirely unedited. Some character attacks regained their correct and untranslated proper noun announcements in the unedited dub, (i.e. Makankosappo instead of Special Beam Cannon and Kienzan instead of Destructo Disk). Other names that have always been engraved in the English dub remained the same, (i.e. Krillin and Tien instead of Kuririn and Tenshinhan)). The new dub also features a more accurate translation of the Japanese dialogue and the episode titles are mostly faithful translations of their original Japanese versions.

Voice recasts


Main article: List of Dragon Ball Kai episodes

Toei Animation stated that the Dragon Ball Kai episodes would be edited to more closely follow Akira Toriyama's original story in the manga, resulting in a faster moving story, and to remove any damaged frames. Dragon Ball Kai will minimize the filler material produced for Dragon Ball Z's original production run. On the broadcast episodes, only a few minutes of filler material with no impact to the story have been left in, probably to help the chapter reach its full 20 minutes of screentime, and Gregory's appearance on North Kaio's World, who was not present in the manga. It was initially planned to last 98 episodes, however, due to the the delayed TV schedule caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Episode 98 was not aired, though it was later released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc as an "extra" episode.

Dragon Ball Z Kai

Main article: List of Dragon Ball Z Kai episodes


FUNimation's title screen translations are far more similar this time around, but are changed to fit properly into English. Edits have been made to the version appearing on the Nicktoons network; these include the removal of blood, profanity, overly violent moments, and others. The CW's Toonzai/Vortexx airings, however, are censored even more so than Nicktoons', due to tighter restrictions on broadcast programming. These edits include re-coloring Mr. Popo's skin blue, replacing dead characters' halos with glowing orbs, removing virtually all death references in both dialogue and episode titles, editing out Shenron from the beginning of the opening theme song, and renaming certain special techniques (i.e. Goku's Spirit Bomb renamed as the "Spirit Blast" and Vegeta's Galick Gun as "Galick Blast"). Also, following the plagiarizing accusations of the series' original musical score in Japan, both the Nicktoons and Toonzai/Vortexx airings of DBZK have been featuring the original DBZ background music composed by Shunsuke Kikuchi.

DVD/Blu-ray Disc

These are the uncut DVD/Blu-ray Disc releases of FUNimation's Dragon Ball Z Kai.

Title Release Episodes Region Details
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part One May 18, 2010 1 - 13 DVD 1/Blu-ray Disc A Runtime of 325 minutes, Not Rated, available on DVD and Blu-ray
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Two September 14, 2010 14 - 26 DVD 1/Blu-ray Disc A Runtime of 325 minutes, Not Rated, available on DVD and Blu-ray
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Saiyan Set Ocyober 12, 2010 1 - 26 DVD 1/Blu-ray Disc A Runtime of 650 minutes, Not Rated, available on DVD and Blu-ray
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Three December 14, 2010 27 - 39 DVD 1/Blu-ray Disc A Runtime of 325 minutes, Not Rated, available on DVD and Blu-ray
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Four March 8, 2011 40 - 52 DVD 1 Blu-ray Disc A Runtime of 325 minutes, Not Rated, available on DVD and Blu-ray
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Five June 28, 2011 53 - 65 DVD 1/Blu-ray Disc A Runtime of 325 minutes, Not Rated, available on DVD and Blu-ray
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Six September 13, 2011 66 - 77 DVD 1/Blu-ray Disc A Runtime of 290 minutes, Not Rated, available on DVD and Blu-ray
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Seven March 20, 2012 78 - 88 DVD 1/Blu-ray Disc A Runtime of 275 minutes, Not Rated, available on DVD and Blu-ray
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Eight June 5, 2012 89 - 98 DVD 1/Blu-ray A Runtime of 250 minutes, Not Rated, available on DVD and Blu-ray
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Season One October 18, 2011/May 22, 2012 1 - 26 DVD 1/Blu-ray Disc A Runtime of 625 minutes, Not Rated, available on DVD and Blu-ray
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Season Two May 12, 2012 27 - 52 DVD 1/Blu-ray Disc A Runtime of 625 minutes, Not Rated, available on DVD and Blu-ray


Original palette
Revised palette
New Scene: Vegeta's Assault.
  • Among other things, Vegeta's unique palette while on a random planet in the beginning of the series has been altered, however, Nappa's armor is still different from the armor he wears on Earth. Piccolo's blood in the Raditz fight has also been recolored to the proper purple color. (In Dragon Ball Z, he was drawn with red blood in this fight which was inconsistent with the rest of the series.)
  • In the ending credits, Launch is shown along with the rest of the cast. This is interesting because all of the scenes from Dragon Ball Z that she was in were filler and have been cut out.
  • Some (but not all) of the gory moments have been edited to a degree along with nudity. In Dragon Ball Z, when Piccolo fires his Special Beam Cannon at Raditz and Goku, he creates a hole through both of them and a heavy amount of blood is shown. In Dragon Ball Kai, blood is not seen at all save for the holes that Piccolo creates in the centers of their bodies. More recently, in the scene where Kuririn blasts a hole through Vegeta, only blood stains are seen in DBZK. In DBZ, there is blood coming out of the hole. Nudity is notably edited, as in the first episode of DBZK when the scenes of Goku (as a kid) are shown and his genitals are covered up by making objects that he is sitting on appear to be covering his genitals. Kid Gohan's genitals are edited as well by using his tail to cover him when he is shrinking from his Great Ape form to his base form. All these edits are made quite possibly because Japan's television broadcasting laws have become more strict since Dragon Ball Z originally aired.
  • Episode 16 is the first episode in the series that includes several instances of completely new animation spliced in with the original. More than likely this was done to bridge gaps left behind when filler material was removed, so as to keep the length and pace of the episode intact; however it is also possible that this was done to replace damaged frames. This is seen again in Episode 21 at time indexes 14:25 through 14:50 and again, numerous times, interlaced with the original animation, starting at 18:44 and lasting until 21:44 (the end of the episode). The style of the animation should be considered "neo-classic" for it is designed to blend in seamlessly with the existing animation.
  • In Japanese, as well as Hawaiian, the word "kai" means "ocean", or "sea". It also has an additional Japanese meaning of "release".
  • Confirmed episodes of Dragon Ball Kai to have new animation inserted include: 16, 21, 22, and 24 through 47.


Opening theme

Ending theme

External links