Anime Reporter heads to Namek for the second season (episodes 27-52) of Dragon Ball KAI. If you’re unfamiliar with Dragon Ball KAI, don’t worry it isn’t a Dragon Ball Z sequel that you’ve never heard of, it’s actually a remastered and edited version of that exact series. The first season of Dragon Ball KAI has already been reviewed here and naturally, if you’re reading any further, you should beware of spoilers.
The last collection ended up with Bulma, Krillin and Gohan on the planet Namek searching for yet another set of Dragon Balls. Unfortunately Vegeta and Frieza have their own plans for the wish-granting treasure and they’re not above killing to get them. Goku’s on the way to help his comrades out, but they’re still going to have to pull out all the stops to stay alive until he does.
This storyline was really when the Dragon Ball Z series took off, taking things to an intergalactic scale and upping the strength of characters exponentially. If there was one flaw that the original series had, it was the sheer amount of time and episodes that it took for this particular story to progress. I still recall spending what felt like forever, and was seriously several episodes, waiting for something that the characters claimed was ten seconds away.
There were endless recaps and internal monologues summing up fairly self-explanatory fight scenes and it made the original series drag considerably. KAI has remedied all of that wonderfully, making this story as fast-paced and engaging as it always should have been. The alien menaces facing down Goku and co, in particular the Ginyu Force, are rendered with a lot more personality by virtue of losing the repetitive narration and summarising.
For my money, Dragon Ball KAI truly is the series that Dragon Ball Z always should have been and this is precisely where it starts to reach greatness. If you haven’t seen Dragon Ball Z, or if you had to give up due to its length and slow pace, then you absolutely have to give Dragon Ball KAI a chance, especially with the brand new Dragon Ball series guaranteed to make its way to English release in the future. It’s got all the action of the original, with smoother animation, higher energy and the pace that intergalactic martial-arts deserves.
Dragon Ball KAI Season 02 is available on DVD and Blur-ray in the UK and Ireland from the folks at Manga Entertainment starting Monday September 28th 2015. Think of it as the best way to watch a piece of classic anime that’s learned from its own mistakes.