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With the release of Dragon Ball Z Kai Season 1 now available to fans on both Blu-ray and DVD, we take a look at what sets Kai and Z apart.

Dragon Ball Z Kai, produced by Toei Animation, is a remastered version of the original Dragon Ball Z series to commemorate its 25th anniversary. This four-part release of Dragon Ball Z Kai, unlike the original, only takes us up to the end of the Cell Saga. This does not signal the end of the series however, as the Buu Saga has aired in Japan, hopefully an overseas release will one day follow.

Kai is all killer, no filler; a much closer interpretation of Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball manga series. It also features remastered visuals, sound and special effects. Presented in 4:3 aspect ratio, the Toei Animation remaster uses the footage from the original but has cut out all non-essential elements and scenes that never appeared in the manga, to fully present the Dragon Ball Z story to fans as it was originally intended by the author.

Visually, the series has been updated to High Definition, with several scenes featuring new animation and special effects; this is due, in large part, to some of the original animation cels being discarded, lost or damaged since the airing of the original. Criticisms have been made over the apparent censored gore within the series; this largely only affected the television broadcast of the series and not the home video release. However, when scenes do feature reduced amount of blood or gore, it is only in an attempt to be more faithful to the source material.

This release includes both the original Japanese audio track in 2.0 stereo and the FUNimation English dub track in 5.1 surround sound. The Japanese audio is largely re-recorded using most of the original cast. The dub features a more faithful adaptation of the Japanese dialogue, using most of the cast from the FUNimation dub of Dragon Ball Z, rather than the “Ocean dub” cast that fans might be more familiar with from the UK TV broadcast. Anyone that has watched the Dragon Ball Z DVDs, or the Battle of the Gods film in English will recognise the FUNimation cast. Singer Takayoshi Tanimoto provides both the opening and ending themes for the series, titled ‘Dragon Soul’ and ‘Yeah! Break! Care! Break!’ respectively; in the FUNimation dub track an English version sung by various voice actors is used.

It’s the Blu-ray release fans have been asking for; Akira Toriyama’s vision realised perfectly in anime form. With remastered sound, visuals and special effects, available on Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio, this is the best looking Dragon Ball release yet!

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