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Dragon Ball Kai debuted in April 2009 in time for the 20th anniversary of Dragon Ball Z. In a nutshell, Kai is a Re Cut of Dragon Ball Z for the 21st century; it tells the same-old story of how Goku learned that he was a Saiyan and his subsequent battles against Nappa, Vegeta, Frieza and Cell. What else is new? Plenty!

The animation has been updated, the talk breaks are few and far between, and there is next-to-no Filler or Padding. The end result is a sleeker, faster, more action-packed show than the original series. The original Dragon Ball Z took 194 episodes to reach the end of the Cell Saga, while Kai takes only 98.[1]

The vast majority of the original voice actors in both Japanese and English were recruited to reprise their roles. Masako Nozawa returns as Goku's Japanese voice, as well as Sean Schemmel for the English dub. Christopher Sabat again directs the English dub by FUNimation.

The English dub of Kai is noted to be considerably more accurate than the Z dub, without any of the character rewrites, replacement scores, or massive dialogue changes (though there are a few dialogue alterations in the Toonzai version of Kai) that the Z dub was most notable for.

Dragon Ball Kai: The Final Chapters debuted in 2014, ending the entire Dragon Ball Z series with the Majin Buu Saga.

A character sheet can be found over here.


Tropes used in Dragon Ball Kai include:
  • Actor Allusion: In the English dub of The Final Chapters, the Cell Games Reenactment originally had the fakes being played by members of Team Four Star "reprising" their roles from Dragon Ball Abridged, before they were replaced. Notably, the exceptions are the Fake Mr. Satan and Fake Cell. Fake Mr. Satan is played by Curtis Arnott (Takahata101) with his Abridged!Nappa voice rather than Anthony Sardinha (Antfish), while Fake Cell is played by Scott Frerichs (KaiserNeko) rather than Arnott (this itself may also be an Actor Allusion, as Frerichs was originally planned to voice Cell in the abridged series before the role went to Arnott).
  • Actor Existence Failure:
    • Daisuke Gouri, who reprised the roles of Ox-King, King Yemma and Porunga, committed suicide part way through Kai's run and his ongoing roles were recast with Ryuzaburo Ohtomo. Mr. Satan (whom he voiced in the original) was recast with Unsho Ishizuka.
    • Similarly, Tien Shinhan, whose voice (Hirotaka Suzuoki) died from cancer during the intervening years between Z and Kai, was recast in Kai with Hikaru Midorikawa.
    • Likewise with Dende, Marron and Bee's voice actress (Tomiko Suzuki), who died suddenly from a heart attack in 2003; she was replaced by Aya Hirano, Hiroko Ushida and Masami Suzuki, respectively.
    • Takeshi Aono, Kami's Japanese voice actor, suffered a stroke in between the Frieza and Cell Sagas, so Bin Shimada took over for his final few appearances. Aono ultimately died in 2012 due to complications from the stroke.
    • Kenji Utsumi, the voice of Shenron, died from peritoneal cancer in 2013 during the three-year gap between the Cell and Buu Sagas. Like with Daisuke Gouri above, Ryuzaburo Ohtomo took over the voice for Shenron when the series resumed and the Buu Saga began airing.
    • Barely averted with Ichiro Nagai, who had managed to record all of his lines for Korin in The Final Chapters before he died from a heart attack in 2014.
    • In the Latin American Spanish version, Jorge Roig took over Master Roshi for the first 98 episodes, followed by Miguel Angel Sanróman for The Final Chapters, to replace his original voice actor Jesús Colín, who had died in 2011.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • The intent of this recut was to distill the original show into a much faster-paced, action-oriented adventure more akin to the original manga. The efficiency of the recut is up for debate, but it has been largely praised for avoiding the Filler, shortening the talk breaks that plagued the original show, and including flashbacks as far as the original Dragon Ball. The original Dragon Ball Z took 194 episodes to reach the end of the Cell Games Saga. Kai got to the same point in 97.[2] For those who don't feel like doing the math, that means exactly 50% of Dragon Ball Z was cut from Kai's original network run.[3]
    • The Final Chapters didn't cut out as much from the Majin Buu Saga as the original Kai run did from the earlier material, but the numbers are still impressive all things considered. As covered above, DBZ's airing of the Buu Saga added 92 episodes, not counting the initial five-episode Other World Tournament filler arc which Kai completely bypassed. The international release of Kai: The Final Chapters covered this ground in 69 episodes, cutting out exactly 25%, and the Japanese broadcast version cut out just over one-third (about 33.7% to be exact) and got there in 61 episodes.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plothole:
    • In The Final Chapters, the filler scene of the villains in Hell was kept. This includes Goz and Mez referencing Goku falling off of Snake Way, despite the fact this didn't happen in Kai. Not only that, but actually showing Hell in Kai directly contradicts Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, which shows a more Buddhist-influenced representation of Hell instead of the more Christian-influenced version from DBZ. Kai is supposed to be closer to the manga, so trying to watch this part of the series before either Resurrection ‘F’ or Super will be confusing if you don't know this, since Super acts like a direct sequel to the manga's version of events over the anime adaptations.
    • The scene with Van Zant and Smitty, the crazed gunmen who ultimately "create" Super Buu, shooting an elderly couple dead with a sniper rifle was cut out due to its horrific nature. Thus, the pair's first appearance here is immediately before they arrive at Buu's house, when they decide to kill him, making their entire contribution to the story seem more than a little contrived.
  • And Zoidberg: King Kai once refers to Bulma as "that other lady" after talking about Gohan, Goku and Piccolo.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Deliberately invoked by Toei when they created The Final Chapters for an international audience with "Fight it Out!" and "Never Give Up!" as the opening and ending theme, which they replaced with "Kuu-Zen-Zetsu-Go" and a series of ending themes for the Japanese broadcast version. Curiously, they didn't bother to replace "Fight it Out" from the background score, so the title card and eyecatch music in the Japanese version is an arrangement of a song it doesn't use.
  • Animation Bump: Even disregarding the new opening, within the show, there are some digital clean-ups alongside brand new animation that looks absolutely wonderful.
  • Art Shift:
    • An accidental and relatively minor example. Due to the recut of the story, the first episode ends up opening with scenes from a TV special made much later in the series' run, then cuts to the original beginning of the series. The difference in art-styles is pretty noticeable.
    • For that matter, the fact episodes are made of several episodes cut-and-pasted together makes for some obvious shifts when you go from a well-animated episode to a not-so-well-animated one (i.e. Frieza's death).
    • Several scenes were touched up digitally. This is painfully obvious when it happens as it's largely a tracejob, resulting in some hilariously weird proportions.
    • For whatever reason, when Toei recut the Buu Saga footage, they both cropped the frames, as was done with the first half, but didn't bother saving 4:3 versions of the episodes, which will cause some weirdness when watching the entire show in the future, and added a green tint to the footage, which is often a point of contention amongst fans, as it sort of ruins the viewing experience for some, despite the better dub.
  • Auto-Tune: On display in Sean Schemmel's version of "Dragon Soul".
  • Big No:
    • Vegeta, after breaking free of Goku's Kamehameha and before transforming into a Great Ape. The fact that Goku was able to stop Vegeta's Galick Gun doesn't sit well with him.
    • When Goku seems to be stuck on the exploding Namek.
  • Bowdlerise/Edited for Syndication: Three levels:
    • Original Japanese broadcast[4]
      • In DBZ, Piccolo's Special Beam Cannon leaves huge, bloody holes in Goku and Raditz's torsos. This is changed to mere burn marks in Kai due to heightened censorship regulations in Japan.
      • Shots of baby Goku's and Gohan's genitals are covered up in Kai.
      • Scenes where Epileptic Flashing Lights occur have been significantly reduced.
      • All instances of characters Flipping the Bird have been removed.
      • For The Final Chapters, the scenes when Van Zant and Smitty terrorize a town full of innocent people and shoot an elderly couple dead with a sniper rifle are removed, despite them being canon scenes from the manga.
    • Nicktoons
      • Here is a handy in-depth Nicktoons edit guide, the following is a basic summarization:
      • The Kai dub contains a considerable amount of cursing, which of course is censored on Nicktoons, often substituting words such as "damn" with "darn it", much like on Toonami.
      • Naturally, the TV version of the series has edited out heavy violence to accommodate it for younger audiences. The blood is left in, but it's usually colored brown to resemble dirt.
      • Actual mention of the words "death" or "die" as well as "kill" (and even "funeral" at least once) are replaced with "destroy" or "defeat". However, there are still occasional instances where the "die" and "kill" are still left in. This is definitely a step up from simply referring to death as "Another Dimension" like in the Ocean dub.
        • One theory is that Funimation did it intentionally to boost DVD sales. They had similarly ridiculous edits on Toonami, like changing 'butt' to 'rump' and the death talk censorship is rather inconsistent on Nicktoons. One example is censoring a very obscure 'late Father' to 'lame Father' after the word 'killed' was left uncensored just prior. A couple of cases even had a flashback with the same line that Funimation had censored in the episode it was spoken.
      • Physical attacks in general are edited out by just showing a Hit Flash or completely cutting the scene, far more akin to the edits made by Saban Entertainment with the original DBZ back in 1996-1998
        • They seem to have gotten more lenient about the fighting violence in general, even showing Vegeta, in slow motion no less, getting his arm snapped in half by Android 18.
    • TheCW4Kids/Toonzai/Vortexx
      • Considerably more censored than the Nicktoons version, for example, one of the most confusing and rather pointless edits is the removal of Shenron from the opening.
      • Took the bullet that the farmer shot at Raditz, and turned it into a blue glowing...thing.
      • The dead now have a little orb of light over their heads, rather than a halo. Later episodes (the ones on Vortexx) split the difference and just cut the differentiation completely.
      • Mr. Popo was re-coloured blue, as the block has made it a policy to never show blackface stereotypes uncensored after Jynx caused a stir. Unlike the halo change, this one carried onto Vortexx, albeit leaving Popo's lips red rather than recoloring them a flesh tone as previously done.
      • Two words: Spirit BLAST.
        • Gallick Blast too. Not nearly as bad, though, since the Gallick Gun is only used twice in the series.
      • Goku punching Vegeta in the stomach while boosted with Kaioken is changed to a shot of Vegeta's surprised face and Goku looking constipated. The scene in the opening Dragon Soul where Vegeta punches Goku in the face is also cut.
      • Apparently when you explode and die, you turn into glitter.
        • In the same video, all of the dialogue from Chiaotzu is muted, along with shortening one of Tien Shinhan's lines to fit the edit.
      • Unlike Nicktoons, 4Kids cares heavily about death. All references, even vague references to death (for example, "sacrificed himself") would be edited ("gave himself").
      • For whatever reason, Cell's crotch is digitally recolored in all forms, albeit inconsistently.
    • This is subverted with the broadcast version on Toonami. It is completely uncut, and would have in fact parodied past DBZ bowdlerization with Team Four Star's removed cameo:

Fake Mr. Satan: "I shall now send you... TO THE NEXT DIMENSION! SEE YOU IN H-F-I-L!"

  • Call Back: In The Final Chapters, when Goku meets Videl for the first time he says "Well, aren't you going to introduce us to your friend, Gohan? Your friend is a girl, isn't she?", calling back to the first arc of the original Dragon Ball where Goku couldn't tell the difference between girls and boys.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The same as the original, but more apparent because some footage is cut out and the fights are shorter.
  • Cut Short: Due to the tragic 2011 earthquake that devastated Japan's eastern seaboard, the episodes were delayed by a week. Since they didn't have broadcast space to add another episode, the final episode (98) was delayed until August 2011 in Japan. It's available on DVD and Blu-Ray as a bonus episode.
  • Death by Adaptation: An odd version here: Goku did die in the original series, but was resurrected at the end of the Buu Saga; Kai, however, ends before getting to the Buu Saga, making Goku's death permanent.
    • Ultimately subverted after The Final Chapters, a Kai adaptation of the Buu Saga, was announced.
  • Digital Destruction:
    • Some fans have lambasted the efforts of Q-Tec in regards to the footage. It's not entirely unfounded, as it's pretty obvious they're working for the cheap. This got worse during the series' version of the Buu Saga, which was remastered in-house by Toei themselves. In this case, the picture is permanently cropped to 16:9 and features a noticeable green tint compared to the Blu-ray releases of Z (which appear to use a similar remastering process). Also, if you look carefully during the opening sequence during The Final Chapters, it looks like it was animated in 4:3, but then cropped or stretched to 16:9, due to some shots being weirdly framed, notably Babidi and Dabura's shot where Babidi's lower half is cut off a bit and Majin Buu is weirdly framed as well when he appears in it. This could mean that either they were planning for the show to be in 4:3 from the start, or they animated it in that aspect ratio to save money, then cropped it, or at least certain shots.
    • There's a weird discrepancy with FUNimation's releases for The Final Chapters, where, depending on what you use to play the discs, the English dub audio is improperly mixed, causing the sound effects to become muffled. Sabat has been made aware of this problem and has had the audio engineers at FUNimation fix the problem for the TV airings, but it's not known if they'll do replacement discs for the people that bought the sets already. Depending on your viewer, you may not notice, but it is there.
  • Do-It-Yourself Theme Tune: In the first volume DVD, Sean Schemmel, the voice of Goku, sang the opening (with an unfortunate amount of Auto-Tune) theme.
    • Each successive volume has its own singer (Justin Cook for the 2nd volume, Vic Mignogna for the 3rd volume and in the Nicktoons version, Greg Ayres for the 4th volume, Sonny Strait for the 5th volume and Brina Palencia for the 6th volume)
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In the uncut version, Master Roshi attempts to squeeze Bulma's breasts. He also reads porn magazines and utters, "Naughty, naughty girls! Hee hee hee!"
    • Yes, even present in the edited version... this line here.

Trunks: (to Goku) "Please don't say anything, especially [Bulma and Vegeta getting together]! If things end up getting weird between the two of them, I might blip out of existence, because they won't have... well, they won't... you know!"

    • Due to DBZ Kai's popularity on Nicktoons, the network started airing the original DBZ movies. Amazingingly the network aired Movie 12, "Fusion Reborn" almost completely uncensored, save for the short gag scene with Adolf Hitler, and it's still all under a Y7 rating.
      • What about Super Android 13? The movie had seven uses of "ass!", four "damn!"s, two "crap!"s and one "aw f-!", still under a Y7.
  • Good News, Bad News: The good news is Freeza wants his fight with Goku to last a bit longer. The bad news is that Goku will spend his remaining time in excruciating pain.
  • Home Version Soundtrack Replacement: Due to the copyright infringements made by Kenji Yamamoto's compositions (as noted below), the show's soundtrack has since been replaced with Shunsuke Kikuchi's compositions from the original DBZ.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: During the "On the Next..." segment after Ginyu uses his Body Change technique on Goku, he declares that he should be the star from now on and the show should be called Ginyu Force Kai.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One

Gohan: "You're stupid and ugly and... you SMELL!"
Nappa: (genuinely horrified) "Augh! I smell? Why you... it's not my fault! I've been cooped up in a space pod for a year, what do you expect?!"

  • In Joke: In the English dub, while King Kai searches his address book for Planet Namek's exact coordinates, he mutters, "This thing might as well be written in Japanese".
  • Inaction Sequence: Very much absent this time around.
    • Even acknowledged/lampshaded by 18:

(Piccolo and 17 are staring at each other after a round of attacks)
18: "Hey! Stop staring at him like a fool! Or do I have to come up there myself?"

    • After the Namek Saga, this subversion is very much downplayed, as less new material is inserted into the show, and the Inaction Sequences are back in full-force again during the Majin Buu Saga. There is even a piece of music on the soundtrack which sounds like clocks ticking, and it is exclusively played during sequences where people stare at each other.
  • Inconsistent Dub: In addition to what's mentioned in the "Bowdlerise" section; on the American home releases, some terminologies can change in between mentions, mostly with attack names.
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: The first five minutes of the first episode reveals that Goku is an alien, and that Freeza destroyed Planet Vegeta. Both of these are twists on the original series, and treated as such in Kai itself when they come up again.
  • Lighter and Softer: Editing laws in Japan have gotten much stricter since Dragon Ball Z's original run, so some of the blood and nudity had to be cut out.
  • Market-Based Title: The series is being marketed internationally as Dragon Ball Z Kai. This is likely to lessen confusion about what the series actually is, as well as capitalizing on the fact that almost any English Dragon Ball product is more popular if you slap a Z on it.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya:

Goku: "I'm a proud Saiyan who calls Earth home, and I'm here to defeat you. I am the warrior you've heard of in legends, pure of heart and awakened by fury. That's what I am. I AM THE SUPER SAIYAN, SON GOKU!!!"

  • Never Say "Die": Either played straight or averted with the edited dub; it uses "gone" and such usually, with mentions of "death" being rare but very much present and/or implied. A huge step up from the very first dub which twisted the death concept into "another dimension".
    • Even the 4Kids version lets people die - but with added sparkles and/or agonized breathing beforehand.
    • Granted, the world of the dead is still referred to as the "Other World"[5], but King Yemma does specifically mention "heaven" when he first meets Goku, and while it's a pretty generic term, it still has some minor religious overtones.
    • Note, the line is clipped out of the Toonzai version, merely having Yemma state that Goku is a "shoe-in".
    • All references to death on 4Kids get wiped out. For example:

Piccolo: "Your father gave himself."

in contrast to the uncut dub's:

Piccolo: "Your father sacrificed himself."

    • The Yemma scene is highly edited too.

King Yemma: "So even though (Goku) is a shoe-in, he still wants to risk training to meet with King Kai."
Goku: (to Kami) "So this is the place everyone goes when they... you know, right?"
Kami: "Yes. Every being, human or not, gets judged to see where they will spend their time."
Goku: (to Yemma) "Yo! Did a big guy named Raditz come here-"
King Yemma: "Yeah, he went. Go figure."
Goku: "And he didn't give you any trouble? Hey, maybe I oughta stick around with this big gut here!"
Kami: "Oh, no. King Kai is much stronger then him."
King Yemma: "What was that, Kami? Maybe you need a demonstration of just how strong I am!"
Kami: "Oh, no sir! You must have the demon's own ears, the demon himself!"

in contrast to the uncut dub's:

King Yemma: "So even though (Goku) is a shoe-in to go to Heaven, he still wants to risk training to meet with King Kai."
Goku: (to Kami) "So this is the place everyone goes when they get killed, right?"
Kami: "Yes. Every being, human or not, gets judged to see where they will spend their afterlife - heaven, or down below."
Goku: (to Yemma) "Yo! Did a big guy named Raditz come here?"
King Yemma: "Yeah. He went, go figure."
Goku: "And he didn't give you any trouble? Hey, maybe I oughta stick around with this big gut here!"
Kami: "Oh, no. King Kai is much stronger then him."
King Yemma: "What was that, Kami? Maybe you need a demonstration of just how strong I am!"
Kami: "Oh, no sir! You must have the devil's own ears, the devil himself!"

    • Averted right in the opening with the line "Nothing ever dies, we will rise again!".
  • Off-Model: The openings, outside of a few scenes, tend to forget that Krillin has six spots on his forehead.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Freeza's Leitmotif contains Ominous Japanese Chanting.
    • And during the moments before Second Form Frieza guts Krillin, we actually hear this song in the American dub.
    • Also present as Krillin, Gohan and Piccolo are attempting to fight Frieza's final form. Mind you, in the Nicktoons version as the Toonzai version simply plays the instrumental.
      • Note that the Nicktoons version plays the actual song until the music is replaced with old Z music, suggesting it has to do with the Yamamoto incident.
  • The Other Darrin: Used for quite a few characters whose original actors are either dead or unavailable. Several characters' voice actors are replaced in the dub as well, like Kid Gohan and Bulma (the narrator was also replaced with one closer to the Japanese version's).
    • Most notable is Frieza's English-dubbed voice. In the original Ocean dub and the early FUNimation dubs, female voice actors (Pauline Newstone and Linda Chambers-Young respectively) played the role of Frieza. This, along with Frieza's character design and effeminate personality, led to Viewer Gender Confusion amongst Western viewers. In Dragon Ball Z Kai, a male voice actor (Chris Ayres) was selected to portray English-dubbed Frieza, and he's superb, on par with the original seiyuu Ryusei Nakao.
    • Invoked midway due to the tragic suicide of Daisuke Gouri; his roles have been filled by Ryuzaburo Ohtomo and Unsho Ishizuka.
    • Bin Shimada later replaced Takeshi Aono as Kami during his last appearances in the Android Saga following Aono's hospitalization for a debilitating stroke that would ultimately kill him.
    • Yuko Minaguchi was replaced by Shino Kakinuma as Videl, due to a combination of her studying abroad at the time and being heavily affected by the aforementioned suicide of Daisuke Gouri.
    • Todd Haberkorn, the voice of Allen Walker in D.Gray-man, has taken over duties as Android 19, sounding even MORE robotic than the original dub voice.
    • Monica Rial replaced Tiffany Vollmer as the voice of Bulma after Vollmer retired from voice-acting.
    • For the first 98 episodes, Oolong was voiced by Bryan Massey. In The Final Chapters, Bradford Jackson was finally brought back to reprise his role.
    • The broadcast dub also switched Sean Schemmel for Vic Mignogna as the singer for the shortened opening, while the second DVD boxset switched him for Justin Cook.
    • Subverted in the case of Cell. Many thought that Travis Willingham would play the role (as in the previous video games), but Dameon Clarke (who voiced the original Cell) has confirmed that he will indeed reprise his role.
    • The Latin American Spanish dub has an interesting case: Yajirobe is voiced by the daughter of the original Mexican voice actress, since her mother had died from a heart attack during the interim between the original DBZ and DB Kai.
  • Power Levels: Same as before involving the scouters, but they seem to have adjusted some bits of dialogue and how the whole process works to highlight the need for strategy along with their "combat rating". It was implied that although Goku had a higher power level than Nappa, if he actually focused, he could give Goku a good fight.

"Anyone ever tell you you fools put way too much stock in those silly little gadgets? I think fighting these Earthlings would have taught you that by now!"

  • Re Cut: Kai removes a lot of filler from the the original series, making it much more fast-paced.
  • Retcon: At the end of the Cell Saga, King Kai, Bubbles and Gregory were revived along with everyone else wished back by the Dragon Balls in the Kai series finale. This is contrary to both the original anime (where the wish only covered JUST the people on Earth) and the manga (where King Kai declined revival, largely so that he could guide Goku around in the Other World).
  • Retraux: There's a lot of new material in the series, particularly during the Namek Saga, but present in other episodes as well. It's integrated almost seamlessly and can be spotted only by a couple of things like more "clean"-looking dirt and scratches on the characters, more vibrant colors and a notably higher frame-count during action sequences (which the new material mostly consists of). The new material even contains its fair amount of QUALITY as well...
  • Role Reprisal: Quite a few, some of whom Dragonball Z was their first voice acting role before becoming major features in the industry.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • In the first episode, Linda Young still voiced Frieza, but when he appears later in the Namek Saga, he's now voiced by Chris Ayres.
    • One conversation between Zarbon and Frieza before the former's death reveals that they knew about Goku and Gohan (that they are Saiyans, they live on Earth and are father and son). But later, before Frieza's final transformation, he seems genuinely surprised that Gohan is a Saiyan from Earth, and also wonders who the father could be before settling on Raditz. I guess he was close enough on that part.
    • The TV-aired dub had a minor case of this where Piccolo's attack name is "Special Beam Cannon" to accommodate the original dub name but then becomes "Makankosappo" in a flashback, which the DVD version uses.
      • Also, during the Saiyan Saga on the Nicktoons airing, Krillin uses the "Destructo Disc" attack, but calls out the attack name by the original Japanese name, "Kienzan". Krillin calls it "Destructo Disc" later on in the Nicktoons airings.
    • During Vegeta's rematch against Zarbon, he reveals that Saiyans grow stronger after recovering from near-death. Krillin hears this and realizes that was how Goku managed to get so much stronger after he was beaten. Later on, however, while taking Gohan to see Grand Elder Guru, Krillin remarks that he doesn't know how Vegeta had gotten stronger than he was on Earth.
    • Just before he escapes the Z-Fighters, Cell tells them he knows the Kaioken technique. This, of course, raises the question of why he didn't use it when he was clearly outmatched against Vegeta and later Gohan.
  • Spoiler Opening:
    • The series' openings tend to show major characters, villains and events before they're introduced in the show itself. It's downplayed since this show is a recut of Dragon Ball Z and many longtime fans already know these details.
    • The Eyecatches for the Buu Saga also do this, showing off the Fusion Dance and Potara Earrings before they're introduced in the show proper.
  • Stunt Casting: Arguably Aya Hirano as Dende.
    • His recast VA Maxey Whitehead could count, given her recent breakout role of Alphonse Elric, but she'd already developed a niche for voicing young boys by then.
  • Stylistic Suck: The Cell Games Reenactment, as shown in a deleted scene. It features bad costumes, hammy line readings, Bad Bad Acting and obvious special effects. It also mentions numerous memes from older dubs of Dragon Ball, like "Over nine thousand!", the bowdlerizing "sent to another dimension", and "My power is maximum!". Notably, Team Four Star provided the voices. Even Mr. Satan thinks it's terrible.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: This ended up being so widespread in composer Kenji Yamamoto's work that Toei Animation actually kicked him off the show towards the end of its run, and the music for the series, except for the eyecatch and opening/closing themes, was replaced with the original Japanese DBZ soundtrack. The English dub followed suit, starting with episode 64 and all reruns of episodes previous to this.
    • The most blatant example: The track "The Ebb and the Flow" is a very blatant ripoff of "War" from the Avatar soundtrack. It is an almost note-for-note copy.
    • It should be noted that Yamamoto was doing this as far back as his days working on DBZ: the insert-song "Battle Point Unlimited" (used in episode 120, when Trunks goes Super Saiyan and kills Freeza) is a pastiche of an entire album (1985's A Secret Wish) by the German synth-pop band Propaganda.
  • Talking to Himself:
  • Toilet Humor:
    • When Goku first meets King Kai, the latter lists off the benefits of his home planet, ending with "being able to pee long distances!". The edited version appears to have erased the urine streams.
    • In the uncut version, Master Roshi was taking a crap. It was taken out in the Nicktoons edit.
      • Also, Yajirobe biting Krillin's ass was edited too.
  • Truer to the Text: It serves as a remastered Adaptation Distillation of Dragon Ball Z, with most of the Filler removed (not to mention greatly reducing the original show's infamous abuse of Talking Is a Free Action).
  • Vocal Evolution: Compare the Japanese/English voices from the original series in 1989/1999, and compare them to the voices now. Playing the same role for over 10-20 years works wonders. Even those assigned new roles seem to fit in...
    • A very good example of this: compare Christopher Sabat's Vegeta when FUNimation just started dubbing DBZ's Season 3 in-house in 1999 (when they finally broke away from Saban) to his performance on DBZ Kai today. In 1999, Sabat was simply trying to imitate Brian Drummond's Vegeta, making him sound constipated. Only a few episodes later in the same dub, Sabat gave Vegeta his current deeper voice, but gained a strange accent along the way. Sabat's Kai Vegeta compared to his 1999 Vegeta is worlds better.
    • Compare Sean Schemmel's Goku voice and screams from Kai to that of Schemmel's voice back in 1999.
      • Hell, compare the original FUNimation dub of Goku's first transformation into a Super Saiyan to the new dub for Kai.

Goku (old dub): "I... won't let you... get away with this! I won't... let you..."
Goku (new dub uncut):: "Y-you ruthless... heartless... bastard! I will... make you... suffer!"
Goku (new dub edited): "Y-you ruthless... heartless... monster! You're going... to... pay for that!"

    • Also, Christopher Sabat greatly improved his voice for Piccolo. In the original series, he had quite a hoarse and harsh sounding voice, but in Kai, he sounds much cleaner and it's actually a lot closer to Sabat's natural speaking voice.
    • Frieza is voiced by Chris Ayres, so he sounds male now.

"How many Saiyans does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Just one. And nowadays, they are actually doing it rather... efficiently."

Notes

  1. This gives us a ratio of roughly 1 Kai episode for every 2 DBZ episodes.
  2. The 98th episode mentioned earlier was turned into a bonus episode after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster resulted in its airdate being cancelled.
  3. And if we want to include episode 98 per the DVD releases, it's still about 49.5%.
  4. (These are also present in the "uncut" English version.)
  5. a literal translation of the Japanese "Ano Yo"
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