Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dragon Ball Z Kai Blu-ray vol. 1 Impression

Dragon Ball Z Kai Blu-ray
Can three little letters make that big a difference to a legendary anime franchise? Can three little letters take an anime that’s not seen new material in years and make it relevant again? Can three little letters make fans who have purchased re-mastered, collected seasons and dragon box’s shell out more duckets for the same story again? Answer is a satisfying and surprising yes to all three counts as FUNimation has released on DVD and Blu-ray the first 13 episodes of the newly titled Dragon Ball Z Kai. The first change of course is to the title, adding those three magical letters, Kai, but is this just another release of the long running, outstanding franchise or something truly new and magical that both anime fans and blu-ray owners should check out? Let’s take a look …

The Story
– Goku, Dragon Balls, tons of fighting. This volume gives a recap of who Goku is and the story is condensed down and goes from Raditz appearance to Goku facing off with Vegeta the first time. Yes this is the same story that fans have seen but what makes it unique this time is the editing, how FUNimation has pulled out all the fluff from episodes and gets to just the core story points. This is great for fans, for noobs and makes the purchase much easier on repeat buyers.

The Design & Animation
– So it’s a mixed of new and old. The old is the animation that, while cleaned up, is still dated. Seeing the cast in their younger days if like looking through an old photo album, funny how they’ve changed. The older animation really shows when compared to the newly animated opening and closing as well as intermission images. These are top level quality only seen in the recent DBZ video game segments and will leave viewers dreaming of a DBZ feature with this quality of animation. Seeing the buff, high quality Goku and Vegeta faceoff in the opening makes viewers realize just how far this series has come. The design is classic Akira Toriyama and still unique to this day in anime. The audio tracks have been updated and the voice work is excellent, polished on a level the original dubs could never dream of.

Why Fans & Gamers Should Care
– Kai is not a re-packaged of a great thing but rather a revamp of a classic. Fans should care as the adventure and action flows at a great pace and it looks outstanding on any HD television. Getting over the fact the filler content is omitted will be necessary for die-hard fans but it’s perfect, just perfect for noobs.

Gamers should care because Namco Bandai has revamped the franchise on consoles and there will be more titles showing up so brushing up on the source material and watching it in true HD is not just a treat, it’s a must for gamers taking a stroll with Goku and friends.

even non-fans should know the story and basics of Dragon Ball Z. It would have been too easy to just release the franchise on blu-ray with no major changes but the effort put into Kai makes it a tribute to fans and shows that FUNimation is not just out for a quick buck. Like Naruto, Dragon Ball Z is one of the most relevant anime to gamers and this new release needs to be paid attention too.

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