Dragon Ball Kai, (ドラゴンボール改「カイ」, Doragon Boru Kai, lit. Dragon Ball Revised), retitled Dragon Ball Z Kai for international audiences, is a high-definition remastered recut of Dragon Ball Z, done for its 20th Anniversary. It features remastered as well as re-traced footage adjusted for 16:9 widescreen television, re-recorded vocal performances from the surviving/available members of the original cast, re-edited sound effects and a new opening and closing. Produced by Toei Animation, the series was broadcast in Japan from April 5, 2009 to March 27, 2011 on Fuji TV, and later continued with the final story arc from April 6, 2014 to June 28, 2015 as Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters.
Kai attempts to stick closer to Akira Toriyama's original manga, cutting most of the filler scenes and episodes from the original TV series, making the story flow somewhat faster and cutting down the 291 episodes of the original down to 167.
Dragon Ball Z Kai was dubbed in the U.S. by FUNimation Entertainment at Christopher Sabat's OkraTron 5000 dubbing studio. In contrast with the original Dragon Ball Z dub, their dub of Kai was largely more faithful to the Japanese script than their adaptation of Z. Less liberty was taken with the script, and episode titles were mostly literal translations of their original Japanese versions. Terminology such as "Kamehameha" and "Kaio-ken" were pronounced correctly, while certain character attacks retained their untranslated titles (i.e. "Makankōsappō" instead of Special Beam Cannon, "Kienzan" instead of Destructo Disc, etc.). The cast for Kai was mostly the same as Z except for a few re-casts for various reasons. For example, cast members such as Stephanie Nadolny (Gohan) and Tiffany Vollmer (Bulma) had just recently left FUNimation, thus necessitating recasts.
The dub retained Kenji Yamamoto's musical score, however it was later changed to Shunsuke Kikuchi's cues (following Japan's example) after it was revealed scores by Yamamoto were plagiarized. FUNimation's dub of Kai first aired on Nicktoons, beginning in May 2010. Censorship for the show was done for Nicktoons' broadcast to fit the intended audience, such as digitally editing out blood, blacking-out certain violent blows, and replacing profanity with milder phrases. The Toonzai/Vortexx kids block on The CW also aired FUNimation's dub of Kai, beginning in August 2010. Their broadcast contained most of the edits of the Nicktoons version, as well as extra editing to fit the stricter broadcast standards. This broadcast has been notorious for its questionable editing practices (even compared to the Ocean Dub of Dragon Ball Z), such as erasing Shenron from the opening theme in some episodes, colorizing Mr. Popo blue, changing halos into shining spheres, adding sparkles to Chiaotzu's fatal explosion, drawing an eye over Gohan's swollen face, renaming Goku's Spirit Bomb attack as "Spirit Blast", and replacing dialogue considered objectionable with sound-a-like voices. The uncut version of the series would later air on Adult Swim's Toonami block, beginning in November 2014, which has been the only version released to home video.
Another Ocean Dub?
On Episode 26 of radio show and podcast "Voice Print with Trevor Devall", Kirby Morrow (Ocean Dub's Goku from episodes 175-291 of Z) revealed that a Canadian dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai was in the works. He did not mention the name of the company behind the production, however, he stated that casting had already begun with him having already been ruled out for the role of Goku. According to Morrow, the television version of the FUNimation dub for Kai was only slated to be distributed in America, therefore, the new dub being produced in Canada was being created to serve the Canadian and European markets in a fashion similar to the Westwood dub of Dragon Ball Z episodes 123-291 (though FUNimation's dub of Kai would end up airing in Europe instead). On Episode 28 of the same show, Paul Dobson confirmed that Ocean Productions was, in fact, the company behind the Canadian dub of Kai. Dobson also stated that "there's been word of re-casting and there's been word of holding onto members of the cast as the way that they were." In addition, FUNimation's Christopher Sabat and Sean Schemmel had previously hinted at a Canadian re-versioning of the series.
As of 2017, the current official status of this dub is unknown. Since 2013, several actors from Ocean Productions have suggested that the entire Cell and Saiyan/Frieza arcs have already been dubbed, and a theme song for the dub has leaked online. As such, some have speculated that legal issues or lack of interest from broadcasters may be preventing the dub from being released to the public.
The only voices confirmed so far for the currently-unreleased Ocean Dub.
|Goku||Masako Nozawa||Richard Ian Cox|
|Vegeta||Ryō Horikawa||Brian Drummond|
|Piccolo||Toshio Furukawa||Scott McNeil|
|Gohan||Masako Nozawa||Saffron Henderson|
|Tien Shinhan||Hikaru Midorikawa||Brendan Hunter|
|Dr. Brief||Jōji Yanami||Scott McNeil|
|Nappa||Tetsu Inada||Michael Dobson|
|Frieza||Ryūsei Nakao||Lee Tockar|
|Jeice||Daisuke Kishio||Scott McNeil|
|Android 17||Shigeru Nakahara||Cole Howard|
- Opening: "Dragon Soul"
- Musical Direction: Brina Palencia
- Vocals: Sean Schemmel, Justin Cook, Vic Mignogna, Greg Ayres, Sonny Strait, Brina Palencia
- Ending 1: "Yeah! Break! Care! Break!"
- Some various reasons behind certain English dub recasts.
- Monica Rial replaced Tiffany Vollmer as Bulma due to the latter having moved to New Orleans in 2010.
- Christopher Ayres replaced Linda Young as Frieza due to Young finding difficulty in keeping up with the faster pace of Kai's dialogue. Young is still heard providing Frieza's laugh in the first episode.
- Brina Palencia replaced Monika Antonelli as Chiaotzu and Puar due to Antonelli moving to Minnesota.
- Bryan Massey replaced Brad Jackson as Oolong due to Jackson moving to Denver, Colorado. However, Jackson would eventually return to voice acting, reprising Oolong in the Battle of Gods movie, Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters, and Dragon Ball Super (though Massey would replace Jackson again towards the end of Super).
- Colleen Clinkenbeard replaced Meredith McCoy as Android 18 due to McCoy going into retirement. However, she would later come out of it and return to the role starting with Battle of Gods.
- R. Bruce Elliott replaced Brice Armstrong as Captain Ginyu due to Armstrong's retirement the previous year.
- Todd Haberkorn replaced Phillip Wilburn as Android 19 due to Wilburn's retirement from voice acting.
- Many recasts were simply to reduce the number of characters voiced by the same voice actor. The biggest example of this was many of the characters previously voiced by Christopher Sabat being recasted (i.e. Mr. Popo, Moori, Grand Elder, Turtle, Jeice, Burter, and Zarbon).
- Cell was originally expected to be voiced by Travis Willingham, who has acted as a replacement for Dameon Clarke in video games due to Clarke leaving FUNimation for his live-action career. However, Clarke agreed to reprise his role.
|2010-2013||Nicktoons Network||United States|
*This new release is for revisions to the soundtrack due to the aforementioned plagiarism incident with the original score.
- Funimation Dragon Ball Z Kai website
- Dragon Ball Z Kai at the Internet Movie Database
- Dragon Ball Z Kai (anime) at the Anime News Network