Opinion Prone

My opinions, let me tell them to you.

I just finished watching the first episode of Dragonball Kai with my roommate. It was very… strange. It was nostalgic in many ways, but somehow, it also felt like a completely new experience. Dragonball Z, along with Sailor Moon, was one of the first series that really propelled me into anime on the whole. It wasn’t the first anime I’d seen or the first I’d loved (those would be My Neighbor Totoro and Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh), but I’m sure that I’m not the only one to have ever-sweet memories of coming home from school every day with Toonami to look forward to. I haven’t rewatched DBZ since it ended its initial run on the block years and years ago, and I never did dig up the Japanese original to take a gander at either.

In reality, it really hasn’t been that many years. DBZ’s original dub run ended in April 2003. Six years. That’s not that long… right?

Though I’ve never seen the Japanese version of DBZ, I have heard its opening theme, and it really struck me just how similar in style and mood the new opening is to the original. I think it’s pretty amazing that they were able to do something like that — the nostalgia factor is definitely there, but it’s still a new song set to new animation, allowing for a new experience for everyone. The music is very energetic in that sweet, innocent kind of way: fun, but not that deep. The updates in animation are mostly apparent in the increased levels of shininess all around. It’s a great improvement while still maintaining all the charm of the older animation style — at the very least, no one is going to mistake this as a new series. It’s a remastering for sure.

The first episode contains a fair bit of recap and flashback since it’s only DBZ that’s being remastered and not Dragon Ball. It’s a good refresher though, especially since the beginnings of DBZ/K involve so many of the minor characters that don’t really make it to the second half of the series. Hearing the original voice cast for the first time was kind of shocking, honestly. Bardock sounds like his balls never dropped, and Goku is similarly afflicted (among other reasons, perhaps this is why everyone is so shocked to find out that Goku has a kid? :P). For the former, that’s just hilarious; for the latter, it’s humorously appropriate. Of course, both characters are voiced by women (the same one, in fact), and women voicing men in anime isn’t exactly a new or strange phenomenon, but considering how manly both characters are supposed to be, it’s kind of jarring?

Everyone else sounds pretty awesome though. Bulma doesn’t sound nearly as annoying in Japanese, and Gohan is actually kind of cute? (All of Toriyama’s silly name puns are also five times more obvious now, haha.) I am kind of excited to know that there will be no dealing with Cartoon Network’s censors this time around, so Roshi is free to be as perverted as he wants! The episode goes on to introduce both Raditz and Piccolo. Raditz feels so much more badass here — his voice is much, much more manlier than his father and brother’s, anyway. Meanwhile, Piccolo has been deemed weak and useless already, and I can already imagine the Internet’s resounding cheers when we finally get to the “over 9000” part.

I don’t remember how the first couple of episodes of the original DBZ went exactly, but the tempo of the series does feel much quicker. They’ll be shrinking a 291-episode series into ~100 episodes; even with all the filler axed out, this is going to be some amazing compression job. Nothing in this first episode felt rushed though; on the contrary, it was a pretty relaxing and well-paced episode.

Overall, it was a pretty good time. I’m still kind of surprised at DBK’s existence though. It’s one thing to just remaster it digitally, but this is really more like an super upgrade than any simple remastering job though. DBK is renamed and re-airing in a different aspect ratio; it’s in HD. The series itself is being re-cut to better fit Toriyama’s manga, and it’s getting new opening and end themes to boot. Compare that to a simple renewed edition like the Blu-ray of Akira or a freaky remake like whatever’s happening to Fullmetal Alchemist (haven’t watch it yet; holding out for FUNimation’s official stream). I find it pretty interesting, too, that DBK feature’s DBZ’s original voice cast, but FMA doesn’t. This is going to be a pretty fun run, but I’m glad DBZ/K is getting the treatment it’s getting. I owe this series a lot, after all. I wonder if there’s any US-made cartoon that’s revered as much to even think about getting something like this.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to sitting down every week with my roommate to watch this, especially considering we first met seven or eight years ago, on the Internet, on a DBZ forum. ;D Oh, the memories!

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  1. AstrayP03 on April 7, 2009 3:53 am

    i didnt really follow the whole of DB or DBZ cus it was too long winded lol…. but if this is 100 epi i wouldnt mind watching it ^^ any idea where can i dl?

  2. Kiriska on April 7, 2009 9:53 am

    I never finished DB because of Toonami’s scheduling, I think, but I stuck DBZ out to the end. The fillers were quite fillery, but what can you do when you love a series? XD Downloads are wherever downloads are usually found. :3

  3. Dragonball Kai on April 7, 2009 11:08 am

    This will be very cool, I hope they Dub it too.

    @ Astray, You cant download it yet, Episode 1 aired jus on sunday in japan, It curently has been subbed tho.

    And @ kiriska, I think the fillers were ok for dragonball Z, Atleast the series wasnt over in 5 weeks

  4. AstrayP03 on April 7, 2009 11:40 am

    kk..found it ^^ is it released weekly?

  5. Kiriska on April 7, 2009 3:07 pm

    @DBK: I also hope they dub it, though it may be a little late to revive the Dragonball hype in the States. I’m predicting that DBE will crash and burn in theatres and no one will care, etc.

    Well, the fillers ensured that the series lasted many, many years. Even at 100 episodes, which is almost two times as short as the original DBZ, this remake will last at least two years if they air one episode a week.

    @Astray: Yup. It’ll be airing weekly on Sundays at 9am JST. Speed subs are generally available within the day. As far as I know, there’s no legit way to watch it.

  6. Authoritaters on April 8, 2009 8:16 pm

    T_________T oh dearies, what a time I live in. Times like this I still kick myself for deleting my Vegeta folder on the whim of ‘maybe I’m too old for this’, oh dearies.

    I watched it (the first episode of DBK), it’d be quite interesting to see for the future, though I have to say, I still have something funny about the hard vector outlines they use for anime these days, I don’t mind them being used on stationeries and whatnots, but on actual anime, noooooo they lose the old school personal inking touch (pro-outlines!), sigh, this should be interesting.

    In NZ they’re selling the DBE toys in BK already, sigh.

  7. Kiriska on April 8, 2009 8:28 pm

    Haha, I rarely actually delete things, but I’ve switched computers a few times since the hay day of DBZ and have lost a bunch of files as a result. Still, the Internet has evolved a lot in that time, so it’s much, much easier to find dedicated galleries of images for certain characters, series, etc. I don’t think recovering your collection would be too hard if you sit down for a few hours to do it. XD

    I don’t mind the shiny vectors as much on the newer shows, but it is interesting to see them show up now and again for DBK (it's actually pretty inconsistent though).

    I wouldn't be surprised if they're already selling the DBE toys here already too, but I'm not looking. <_<

  8. Joe on April 11, 2009 11:50 am

    I hadn’t even heard of this, but I have to say, it sounds like the show is actually going to more properly with that much time constraint.

    DBZ was always a bit of a mess, entertaining as it was. I remember on toonami the first five minutes of an episode were always the last scenes from the one before– and when the commercials ended they always replayed the last 30 seconds or something. I remember watching entire episodes and wondering exactly what had changed…

    I had been thinking about watching DBZ over again, but the format bothered me. I think I’d be able to take it if they managed to get it down to 100 episodes.

  9. Kiriska on April 11, 2009 11:57 am

    Well, DBZ suffered from the fact that Toriyama was still serializing the manga while the series aired, so there was a ton of filler in the anime while it waited for the manga to catch up. Obviously, the tons of repeated material was also to add to the buffer. For a while, this was all really fine, but even kids begin to realize that things aren’t progressing that fast after a while. :P

    But yeah, a lot of people are considering DBK to be sort of like a huge director’s cut to the series. Cutting down a 291 episode series to ~100 will be something of a feat, but that also demonstrates exactly how much filler was in the original.

  10. Authoritaters on April 13, 2009 5:36 am

    Sorry, I just have to say one more thing.

    If DBZ series was a piece of ham, then the fillers would be the fat that has yet to be cut out XD

    Mmmmm ham.