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Weskalia's Dragon Ball Tv Review

Dragon Ball Dragon Ball Screenshot The Z Fighters during the Android Saga. Dragon Ball Screenshot Three big bad Saiyans! Dragon Ball Screenshot Goku becomes a Super Saiyan, one of the most epic in anime. Dragon Ball Screenshot Cell's is terrified by Gohan's power level.

Dragon Ball tv Review

Dragon Ball is a 42 volume manga by Akira Toriyama that ran from 1984 to 1995.
The story follows Son Goku in a tale reminiscent of the 16th-century Chinese legend Journey to the West.
Beginning with Goku as a child, the story traces his life all the way to him becoming a grandfather.

Dragon Ball is about the warrior Saiyan race, the defense of Earth, and the search for the Dragon Balls that will allow
any wish to be granted for the person who can gather all seven.

Dragon Ball Z is the second portion of the anime and follows Goku's adult life, later edited and remastered into Dragon Ball Kai.
Dragon Ball GT follows Dragon Ball Z and is not based on the manga.

Note: The characters' Super Saiyan transformations are listed under their respective character's tag.

Description by DokiDokiChan.

Story & Characters

To many veteran anime fans and those who just recently start watching anime, the name Dragon Ball Z is not only a familiar title, but is also recognized as one of the all-time great anime action series. For all of its merits, the Dragon Ball franchise set the standard for all long-running shounen action series which followed, including originating and standardizing many of the most common shounen action gimmicks and story elements: stories about young men as they forge their way along the path they have chosen (or stumbled upon) in life, surmounting obstacles, defeating powerful enemies, and succeeding against all odds on the way towards achieving a cherished and seemingly impossible dream. To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the franchise, Toei Animation produced a remade of the original DBZ, which cuts all of its petty fillers including the final Saga, thus restoring the anime closer to the manga. The result is Dragon Ball Z Kai.

Following the events of Dragon Ball, years have passed since Goku settled down marrying Chi Chi and now has a son named Gohan, whom he brings to visit his longtime companions. That peace isn't going to last long when an alien warrior known as Raditz arrives, claiming not only that he's a part of the dying warrior race Saiyans, but Goku is, too, and is his little brother to boot. He also claims that Goku was sent to Earth to slaughter its inhabitants, but is shocked to discover that Goku has lost all his memory, as well as his blood-thirsty Saiyan nature. Raditz doesn't take kindly to that, and an intense battle soon begins, forcing Goku to team up with his old enemy Piccolo and they manage to win, but at the cost of his own life. Before Raditz dies, he tells them that his even more powerful Saiyan pals are coming: evil prince Vegeta and his sidekick Nappa. With one year to prepare, Goku's fellow Z Fighters train diligently on Earth to improve their abilities, while Piccolo works to develop Gohan's immense fighting potential and Goku receives special training from King Kai in Otherworld. In the face of these new powers, can Goku battle against them and becomes the Earth's greatest champion?

Compared to the original DBZ, Kai does a better job of not taking itself to seriously annoying traits. This run is a triumph editing, as the scene transitions are so smooth, fans who fondly remember watching the original would not be bothered by anything that has been cut. Even so, it is because Toei didn't bother to change their cutscreen from DBZ, that some of the early materials are still here, such as Bulma and frog prince Ginyu, or Mr. Satan's overconfident students. Despite cutting fillers, perhaps the biggest problem is the insane amount of repetitiveness of the trash-talking that didn't get trimmed much or at all by the edit to DBZ. The power-up sequences for the Spirit Bomb or final Kamekameha struggle between Gohan and Cell, go on much too long and characters piddle around too much before resorting to their elite techniques when clearly they should have been necessary from the start. It's a mixture of tedium and anticipation that will be very familiar to show's fans. Despite more than half of the original have been trimmed, this is a rousing success, the way the series should have been done in the first place: a tight, fast-paced action story which does not dillydally around with ultimately minimally important details.

Pretty much anyone who is interested in watching already knows all of this. The question is what this release provides that the others before it didn't. By shifting to the time of adult Goku, replacing his pint-sized status with Gohan, revealing Piccolo's nature (and origin) and bringing alien warriors into the pictures, the story becomes more intense, increasing both threat level and the immense of power level dramatically. Focusing on the Saiyans instead of collecting Dragon Balls, the presences of supporting characters like Bulma or Master Roshi decrease while the plot boiling its essence as a pure action series. Watching Piccolo changes into an ally rather than enemy or warriors like Nappa getting advantage against the Z Fighters is a great development; the Vegeta fight, arguably the Saga's best, is but a distant specter by the time the set waddles to a close. If there's any problem, then the whole Saga could be counted as a big brawl with little going on though.

The Saiyan Saga may lack good plotting, but it does provide first taste of action for Gohan, and give away a suitable fare the next Namek Saga, which will bring more major impacts for the Dragon Ball universe. With Frieza, who stands on the same level as King Piccolo did in Dragon Ball, DBZ finally gets its first ultimate villain and an important drive for later episodes. Lesser characters got stronger, Vegeta receives more development, the introduction of Piccolo/Kami's home planet is a treat. Actually, the biggest development of this Saga is the return of collecting Dragon Balls quest (technically, this continues in later arcs but only here it gets the most prominent role), and, in term of the grand scheme of anime over the years, is the occurrence when Goku finally accepts his Saiyan heritage, thus shapes the course of the rest of the franchise.

Overall, though, this piece of the story is all about how the Namek Saga feeds into (in a rather literal sense!) the Android Saga. Some parts of this period are very promising for the introductions of three new sets of important characters. One is Trunks, when first appeared, raises question about his identity in a mysterious fashion, he has his own share of story and it's pretty dark as well. The other is the Androids with supposedly-infinite power, in the sense that they can even defeat the entire group of Z Fighters in a flash is nearly impossible. Though the "road trip" idea by the Androids is just a silly plot device to delay their arrival at Goku's place – and hence allow the Z Fighters to safely relocate Goku – it does allow the series to develop their personalities a bit more. However, the most significant period is the emergence of Cell as the second boss villain and what he can do both throws out some nasty twists and provides yet another extension of events from Dragon Ball. Getting to see fighters like Piccolo, or Vegeta struggle to power up and go head-to-head with an enemy who cannot overcome them unless he powers up is a treat, as is seeing the first time Krillin falls for someone and notably, when Gohan finally comes out of his shell. This collection also firmly entrenches the powermongering and one-upmanship in power levels which became a staple of DBZ as it progressed through the rest of its run and the ensuing unaired Majin Saga.

Rating: 8

Art

The artistry efforts on par with its early releases. Character design for Goku sets the standard spiky hair, muscular build for shounen heroes; all the characters have aged since their DB days, Gohan has enough different look to distinguish himself from his father at younger ages, and of course the gold-haired Super Saiyan status presents one of the greatest individual moments in anime. New villains look satisfying enough, Vegeta is slightly built but has the menacing presence, Frieza and Cell's pre-final forms are monstrous and evil-looking, the Androids are among the only rare characters have modern fashion styles, while villains like the Ginyu force fail to impress much (in fact, they look like generic alien bad guys).

Unlike many Toei productions, the animation in this one never takes a nose dive, but neither does it raise its game like the writing does. Given its source material, the graphic is graded from decent to mediocre at best; it lacks the glitz and coloring sharpness from recent fare but retains a endearingly familiar feel which suits well. The new OP and ED animation, all done with updated animation and graphical techniques, create a big contrast that they feel livelier and more eyecandy. The background art, while normally good, suffers from inconsistencies; in the scene before fighting Frieza, for instance, the placing of characters looks like it was done by an amateur. (See this comparision shot.)

The main reason to watch DBZ was, of course, for all of the outlandishly super-powered fighting, and in that respect Kai's take on the series will not disappoint. Goku's fight with Vegeta is a furious and nasty bit of business, replete with fists and knees fly, mighty blasts of energy, and nuclear-level explosion. This span essentially covers most of the preliminaries which set up the upcoming epic battles of Goku/Frieza and Gohan/Cell.

Rating: 6

Sound

Replacing the original rocky songs are two new themes performed by vocalist Tanimoto Takayoshi, who is known for his previous works with many shounen series. From the Android Saga onwards, the ED changes to "Kokoro no Hane" done by Team Dragon of AKB48, offering a stranger but newer taste.

More relevant to one's experience is the audio. Most of the original cast return and provide Kai with a light, humorous score; of the significant changes, the likes of Tenshinhan, Dende, Captain Ginyu and Mr. Satan have their seiyuu changed. The English version is hammier and more serious, thanks to some bombastic acting and a darker score. Many dialogues from DBZ have been replaced though, but the writers clearly come up with sufficent manga script equivalents. The casting generally fits the characters well and is well-enough performed that the issue on this one should entirely be a matter of personal taste. (At least Cell doesn't love cornbread anymore, that'll help!)

Rating: 7

Presentation

Since its release, Dragon Ball has become and still remains one of the most successful manga and anime series of all time. So it's no surprise that finally a dedicated adaptation of the manga appears after such a long time. Despite some annoyances, Kai does its best to be considered the best version of this classic shounen franchise. Even if it seems like it is treading unfamiliar grounds in places, cutting of the final Saga, the storytelling and merits provide the lighthearted sense of adventure and great entertainment that make this remade, once in a long time of those long-run shounen anime, such fun.
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Story: 6 (Saiyan)/7 (Namek)/8 (Android)
Characters: 9
Art: 7
Animation: 5
Voice: 7 (sub)/7 (dub)
Music: 7
Overall: 7.75

Good:
+Return of the forefather of all shounen series in an even more entertaining fashion.
Bad:
+Die hard DBZ fans will not like the change much.
+No Majin Saga.

Rating: 8

Final Verdict

7.50 (good)

Reviewed by Weskalia, Mar 17, 2012

Comments

  1. CyanideBlizzard Retired Moderator Mar 17, 2012

    I will admit, when Kai was first announced, I sort of rolled my eyes at it. At this point, in the United States, we've seen numerous re-releases of the Dragonball Z saga. So much to the point that it's the equivalent to beating a dead horse with a stick. However, when I got a chance to watch Kai, well, I was completely shocked.

    I was originally expecting more revisions to the show's production value to be made, and while that didn't happen I'm sort of glad that it didn't. It preserved the show for what it is, even though it was pretty inconsistent at times (as you mentioned). However, my biggest surprised was how much of a blast it was to watch the show now. What originally felt like a forceful journey to slog through mountains of filler and useless episodes, was now a refreshing journey that had much better pacing and far more enjoyable storytelling.

    To be completely honest with you, I can understand why fans of the show do not like the series, but I can't at the same time. Dragonball Z is the anime that got me INTO anime, and honestly I never bothered purchasing it because while I liked the show, it was nothing more than a slightly above average show with everything factored in. As previously mentioned, the show became unbearably painful to watch after awhile and I actually dropped the show around the Majin Vegeta part, simply because I could not stand it any further. Kai really changed a lot of that, and while I'm saddened by the fact that they removed the Garlic Jr. Saga and Majin, I honestly think it's for the best.

    As for the review itself, I had no idea that you planned on tackling such a series and to be honest, you really outdid yourself with this. It's hard to stop a review from becoming too lengthy, especially considering that even with the revision, DBZ Kai is still around 100 episodes. My only real stand out complaint would be to change to wording of "the name Dragon Ball Z is not only an unfamiliar title" to "the name Dragon Ball Z is not only a familiar title". Otherwise, I think you've got some seriously great structure here and some fantastic flow.

    Seriously, what really impresses me the most is how trimmed down this review is and how well of a job you did keeping it fairly straight to the point and easy to read. Great work, Wes!

  2. Drakill Oct 10, 2012

    Nice review. But I probably would've rather given it a 6/7. I agree where CB said that he rolled his eyes when Kai was announced. I've skipped through a few episodes and it look basically the same a Z o.O?
    And I agree with your score of 6 for art. They could've done better.
    Well done over all on this review

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