What They Say:
Earth’s heroes continue their brave battle against the Android attackers, but a far greater evil looms on the horizon! As Goku hovers between life and death, the monster known as Cell blazes a trail of death and destruction on a quest to achieve his horrifyingly perfect form. Should the hideous creature succeed in devouring his Android brethren, not even the combined powers of a Super Saiyan and a Super Namekian will be able to spare the people of Earth from excruciating extinction!
Contains episodes 66-77.
The audio presentation for this release is spot-on as both language tracks get an updated stereo mix. The English 5.1 mix was very solid and we noticed no distortions or issues. The soundstage does a pretty decent job of using the soundstage effectively. However, do not expect the rears to get much of a workout. As with the previous releases, it all comes down to viewer preference as to which cast you prefer despite the casting changes. Overall, this is a solid audio release for the standard definition collection.
Originally airing from 1986, Dragon Ball Z Kai is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Remastered in 2009, Dragon Ball Kai looks as good as it is ever going to be. The remastering is on the same level as Robotech and much better than what was done with Voltron. The colors look good and the detail is much better than what I can ever remember with this series. Granted, this is my first in-depth exposure to the franchise, but I did get to see television broadcasts in the past. Of course, you will see some blemishes. Overall, this is a very clean and solid look for the series. One thing that you will notice is that there several kinds of animation pieces that are grafted into the footage. This is noticeable at the first several viewings, but soon becomes less noticeable as you become more immersed in the story and action. The different video segments are hard not to notice, but can easily be forgotten.
Following the format of the previous Dragon Ball Kai collections, this release features two thin DVD cases with case with a cardboard slipcover. The front cover features Cell and Vegeta. This is set against a white background with a turquoise vertical bar on the right side. The logo is featured on the lower left corner. The back cover is oriented horizontally with another image of Cell. A dark grey background with white and purple text provides a summary for the collection. A few clips from the episodes in the collection is displayed on the back along with the technical specifications. The DVD cases features larger images of Cell and Vegeta.
The menus for this release are a bit disappointing in that there is nothing more than a static image of the famous dragon from Dragon Ball and a horizontal navigation menu. Some clips from the series scrolling on the screen would do this menu well. Of course, packing seven episodes per disc might limit what can be put on the menus, but it still would be nice. The menus were easy to navigate and worked with absolutely no issues.
The extras included in the collection are found on the second disc. The extras include the textless songs for the series and a handful of the latest FUNimation trailers.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
Each release of the Dragon Ball Z Kai always leads to me anticipating the next collection of episodes. As a first time viewer of Dragon Ball Z, this has been a lot of fun to watch as the material is fast paced and does not drag on into much monolouging. As fast paced as this series has been, I still wonder about what I have missed from the original, which I plan to delve into once Dragon Ball Kai is finished.
In this collection, there is a lot going on with time travel, the Androids, and Cell himself. While a lot of training is taking place for Team Goku, we get a clearer picture of Androids 16, 17, and 18. They are every bit as formidable as Trunks paints them to be. It’s always interesting to watch the villains while the heroes are off to training.
Taking Trunks’ advice, Team Goku is doing everything they can to power up for a fight with the Androids. This sets up for some interesting pairings on who gets to train with King Kai. While this would seem like the most logical choice of action, another time machine makes its appearance. In fact, this machine arrived a whole year before Trunks and it has something in it that hatched from a little egg. From the little egg, comes a huge problem for Earth and it has a name. It is known as Cell.
Cell is another creation, somewhat like the Androids, from Dr. Gero’s computer. The Androids are nothing compared to Cell. He is designed to have all the abilities of the greatest fighters to have ever inhabited or visited Earth. Coming from a future timeline, Cell knows that he must absorb 16, 17, and 18 in order to fully evolve into the ultimate super being. Cell will stop at nothing in order to evolve.
Dr. Gero has really lived up to his legacy as he has become a formidable opponent even though he has been dead for some time. His hatred for Goku extends even beyond the grave. The time travel puzzle presented here brings about a fun plot twists. However one looks at it, there is no denying that the biggest of fight for Goku and the gang is going to take place in the here and now. While the Androids and Cell run amok, Goku and the gang have some serious powering up to do.
The Androids are caught in the middle as they want a shot at Goku, but know that Cell will not stop until he absorbs them. For them, it may come down to a fight for survival as Cell is unstoppable.
Aside the gloom and doom, our heroes are working feverishly to power up. Piccolo’s transformation is unique as he merges with Kami. Taking things ever so seriously, Piccolo knows that he must do this if he is to fight with the Androids or Cell. Vegeta, always with a chip on his shoulder, decides that he needs to help out in his own selfish way. Going beyond Super Saiyan and getting a leg up on Goku is what he’s all about. Plus, he has some skin in the game with Trunks, but that will have to come to fruition a bit later. You can’t help but cheer as Goku and Gohan work together to become stronger as the father/son technique is going to be key in the fights yet to come.
Dragon Ball Z Kai is a lot of fun to watch. The fastness of the plot and the action are definitely its strong points. However, I do feel like I might be missing on some important insights that were skipped over from the original Dragon Ball Z. This collection places the villains prominently in a very dire and desperate time for Earth. The introduction of Cell is genuinely sinister, if not disturbing as he is a monster of a creation. The training time seems to drag a bit, but does lay for some important ground work in how the gang will face off in the showcase matchups. The best is yet to come as I am sure several big fights are about to just get started.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: C+
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: September 13th, 2011
Running Time: 290 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Samsung UN46B6000VF 120Hz LED HDTV, Samsung HT-WS1R/XAA 2.1 Channel Soundbar Speaker System with Wireless Subwoofer, and Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p