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Dragon Ball Z Kai: Season One (2009. 650 mins) is a revamp of the original Dragon Ball Z series with various changes made so that the show, among other things, better followed the original manga. The new version also sported a new HD print as well as a new audio track for both the music and the vocals and changed opening and closing sequences. The "Kai" in the title translates as "updated".
It is not unusual for an individual film to be remastered and even enhanced, but for a whole series this must have been a mammoth task. There is also the question of just who would want to watch, let alone purchase, a show which essentially they already own. Well the multiple versions of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings attests to the fact that audience will do just this.
This means that all the, anime only, filler arcs have been removed making the overall pace of the story that bit quicker. The HD transfer cannot hide the underlying age of the show, but the inclusion of better special effects do much to make Kai a more pleasurable viewing experience.
One of the oddities of the new print is the variable quality on show. Animators had to redraw many of the show's elements as well as providing material to keep the show's aspect ratio. Although the animators have done what they could to mesh the old with the new, the differences are sometimes glaringly obvious. The show is further enhanced by the newly recorded vocal track which finally sees the back of the pretty awful '80s mono original.
The new release has the advantage of being both uncut, or at least the edited Japanese version which reflect changing cultural mores, and shown in the original 4:3 aspect ratio. All of the surviving vocal actors were brought back to rerecord their tracks and so you can choose from a DD5.1 dub or the original DD2.0, although why they did not record the Japanese version in DD5.1 is beyond me.
The four set DVD set covers episodes one to twenty-six. Given the amount of work that went into the creation of this revised edition it seems surprising that the only extras on the set are the textless opening and closing sequences as well as a bunch of trailers.
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