Anime DVD Review: Dragon Ball Z Kai Season One

The Dragon Ball Z Kai Season One box set includes four DVDs that contain the first 26 episodes of the series. The first and third discs contain seven episodes, while the second and fourth discs contain six episodes and bonus features.

Dragon Ball Z Kai Season One
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: May 22, 2012

When you see the menus on the discs, it’s obvious that all FUNimation did to put this box set together was to combine the Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part One and the Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Two box sets into one set, since the discs are labeled “Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part One, Disc One,” “Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part One, Disc Two,” “Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Two, Disc One,” and “Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Two, Disc Two.”

Dragon Ball Z Kai (which is known as Dragon Ball Kai in Japan) is a re-working of the first 194 episodes of Dragon Ball Z that was produced to commemorate the series’ 20th anniversary. When this series was produced, it was done in a way to remove much of the content in the original series that was not featured in the original manga. The series also includes a remastered high definition picture, sound, special effects, and a re-recorded voice track with most of the original voice actors.

By removing the extra material that had been added to the original anime series, the story in Dragon Ball Z Kai goes at a much more natural pace, and doesn’t feel nearly as stretched out as the original series. The material that is included in the first 26 episodes of Dragon Ball Z Kai is covered in the first 54 episodes of the original Dragon Ball Z series.

On the main menu for the first and third discs, you can choose to watch all of the episodes, choose which episode you want to watch, and to set up your language and subtitle options. For the second and fourth discs, a selection for the extras is also included. In the setup menu, you can choose to have either English or Japanese audio, as well as whether or not you want to have the subtitles on.

The extras on disc two contain a textless version of the opening song, a textless version of the closing song, and trailers. The two textless songs that appear on this disc have the credit text removed, but you can still see the logo, as well as the subtitle text if you watch them with the subtitles on.

The extras on disc four contain three versions of the textless opening, the same textless closing that appears on disc two, and trailers. The first two textless openings are labeled as “DVD Version 1” and “DVD Version 2”; however, when I watched both of these textless openings, I really couldn’t tell any difference between them. My guess is that there’s some kind of really minor change in the video images, where if you blink, you’ll probably miss it. The other textless opening is the “Broadcast Version,” which is the version used when the series airs on American television. Personally, I thought the lyrics for this English version were weaker, and I didn’t personally care for the singer.

One of my biggest disappointments with this set is the fact that there is no marathon feature. I really appreciated having this feature when I watched the DVD box sets for the original Dragon Ball series, the “orange brick” releases of Dragon Ball Z, and the complete collection set for Dragon Ball GT; it made it so much easier to watch several episodes in a row in one sitting. However, as an upside, you get to see the next episode previews at the end of each episode, which you didn’t get to see on most of the releases for the other series.

Dragon Ball Z Kai is a decent series, which should appeal to viewers who enjoy the Dragon Ball Z storyline but don’t enjoy the slow pacing of the original series. I would recommend this release to Dragon Ball fans who must own every Dragon Ball DVD release on the market, to viewers who want to be able to watch Dragon Ball Z without the long and drawn-out story arcs, as well as to fans who are familiar with Dragon Ball Z Kai from seeing the series when it aired on American television.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of the Dragon Ball Z Kai Season One box set that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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