Son Goku Got His Name Back, But Radish Got All of His Game

dragon-bal-kai-op-title-page

This is not an episodic review. I really just need to get this post out of my system. I had finally seen the highly anticipated Dragon Ball Kai series, which is a remastered version of Dragon Ball Z trimmed of most of the filler. This is good news for fans of the franchise, or guys like me who suffered through the show way back in high school.

The good news from this first episode:

The story is very compressed. This bodes well as the filler and the never-ending staring in between never-ending power-up sequences will be removed.

The bad news:

The uneven animation: the OP and ED look very much in high definition, but the whole ep hardly looks remastered. This and several other apparent gaffes are documented here.

From this:

dragon-bal-kai-op-goku-shen-long

To this:

dragon-ball-kai-01-bardock-last-stand

According to Toei personnel when they first told me about the project, they were remastering by drawing over screen captured images from the original shows. The original cels are already lost, and they also weren’t drawing new frames per se. One thing’ is for sure, Dragon Ball Kai translates well into the HD screen aspect ratio. Most remastered works, even on blu-ray format retain the original aspect ratio (i.e. Mobile Suit Z Gundam). Some new drawing work and some image editing had to be done to make this aspect ratio possible.

The episode moved at a very brisk pace. The origin stories, not only Goku’s but also the destruction of the planet Vegeta were there; setting up Frieza as the big bad almost immediately. Son Gohan benefited from the attention, and the whole reunion of the old friends set up how the rest of the series will go on pretty much.

dragon-ball-kai-01-frieza-shining-finger

Processing all this information took me back in time. While Dragon Ball Z isn’t one of my favorite shows/franchises, it influenced me a lot back in the early ’90s when we didn’t even have cable TV. DBZ actually showed, while the only other choices were Sailor Moon and Robotech (I watched a whole lot of Robotech). DBZ was superb figtan animu. The power and violence was spectacular. It really made western superheroes (I had collected comics too) seem pedestrian. Furthermore, in the early 90s it would have been over half a decade since I got to hear an OP in Japanese. And my goodness: CHA LA HEAD CHA LA! Fun times. But also, the pain:

Dragon Ball Z – Totally ruined by local tv who for years only showed the Raditz arc up until the Snake Road arc. I would dutifully watch the re-runs every week only to find after a few months that Goku was at the start of the Snake Road. I never saw the whole series to this day, but my goodness – the dutiful following I gave this series was considerable.

-From my post on the shows that made me the otaku that I am

What we didn’t expect was how long, drawn-out and dragging each story arc would be. We’d be teased with awesome violence only that it’d be 3-5 episodes down the line, and in the mean time there would just be a truckload of staring, grunting, powering up, and shitty dialogue. Every episode felt like Waiting for Godot.

dragon-ball-kai-01-radish

It was watching the DBZ movies that got me to appreciate the franchise more, though there were a lot of awful ones too. But I have a lot of fond memories playing the Dragon Ball Z fighting games on the Super Famicom console with my brothers, and man those were good times. I’m not expecting Dragon Ball Kai to suddenly transform the series into a really good show, but the very idea that I can actually complete it is of significant service. It really is a pain how I ended up dropping a lot of the shows I tried to watch back when I was younger due to limitations of TV broadcasts (including Mazinger Z and UFO Grendizer). I will look out for the episodes every week,  just like 16 years ago.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in fanboy, first impressions and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Son Goku Got His Name Back, But Radish Got All of His Game

  1. Pingback: Undeniable Evidence that DBZ is Getting the HD Treatment from TOEI « We Remember Love

  2. adaywithoutme says:

    This has nothing, nothing, nothing to do with the post, but… I really miss your old layout! I really liked the banner =(

    • ghostlightning says:

      Don’t worry. We’ll be migrating soon out of WP.com and we’ll have a proper Macross-inspired love-remembering layout. Right now I’m enjoying the hot blood and functionality of this theme and taking notes as to what to include after the move.

  3. Turambar says:

    Hmm, I missed out on the entire DBZ phase. I should actually check the show out and see why it was so popular.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Finding reasons why it’s popular should be easy enough. Naruto and Bleach are its descendants and they’re hugely popular.

      I’m optimistic that the bad habits in shonen fightan animu that DBZ perpetrated may be minimized here, so by all means check it out.

  4. schneider says:

    I rather liked Gohan’s development up to the Cell arc, but things just went downhill for him after that. As for DB Kai itself, I’ll pick it up later.

    • ghostlightning says:

      I agree, I found Gohan to be an interesting main protagonist. However, my favorite is and will always be Vegeta.

  5. picchar says:

    Not a big fan of Dragon Ball either. Didn’t watch the series but did play the SNES game XD
    Nice new layout btw ^_^

    • ghostlightning says:

      Thanks! There were at least two SNES games we got to play. Remember how you had to MASH TEH BUTTONS when you beam spam each other? KAMEHAMEHA!

      • picchar says:

        Haha, I’m not so sure. All I can remember was that I didn’t have an SNES so I used to play it with my sister in Robinsons Galleria when they used to have it there XD

  6. DonKangolJones says:

    I was actually really happy to see that you were checking this out. Dragonball Z isn’t one of my top 5 favorite anime and definitely not one of the better put together ones I’ve seen. But it is the most important and influencial anime I’ve watched. The “Toriyama re-edit” should help people understand why the show was so popular.

    I have to admit that I would have prefered them to re-animate the series along with a re-edit, the opening animation completely fit and looked stellar! I still have hope. And I will still be watching regardless, because I am a fan. And that’s what we do, we put up with the bad because we love the good so much more.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Yes. Abso-fucking-lutely. There’s a whole lot in DragonBall to be enjoyed, despite the obvious drags that even a heavy re-edit may not fix. I’m definitely stoked about being to able to complete the show in one way or another.

  7. I remember the pain of waiting for Goku while the Saiyans were destroying and killing people. I like Dragonball – it is the most action packed anime I’ve ever seen.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Yes, that awful pain of waiting. In episode 2 there’s still some of that – though I’m buoyed by the fact that there’s resolution in the next episode. So far, so good.

  8. ETERNAL says:

    I actually have a pretty solid memory of DBZ thanks to the fighting games that I keep buying for some reason or another, but I think I just might watch this anyway. Not for quality, per se (which is why flaws in the animation wouldn’t bother me too much), but for the sake of. That’s not the best reason to watch a show, I know, but I really haven’t watched the anime in years, and I’m sure there are a ton of battles that would bring back fond memories. Plus, I doubt I’ve seen a long, epic, drawn-out shounen-style fight since I first got into anime with Naruto and the like.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Well, you’re in the right place. Watching just for the sake of sounds like ‘We Remember Love’ to me ^_~

  9. Pingback: Making a Manga is a Man’s Love: Bakuman Teaches Me to Be a Man « We Remember Love

  10. Nguyễn tuấn nam says:

    Alex king

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