Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part 7
Studio: Toei Animation
Versions: Blu-ray, DVD (reviewed)
Release Date: March 20, 2012
Price: Blu-Ray $34.98 – Available Here, DVD $29.98 – Available Here
The Dragon Ball Z series is one that nearly every anime lover has seen. In fact, even non-anime fans have probably watched the entire series at one point during their lives given the fact that the series has been broadcasted multiple times and released multiple times for English audiences. However there is one thing that DBZ was always notorious for, and that was plenty of filler and moments of downtime.
However work began to create a revised version of Dragon Ball Z that would provide the same level of action without a stop in-between. As such, Dragon Ball Z Kai was born. FUNimation has brought over the past six releases of the series, and have continued with this trend by releasing part seven to North American audiences. Has nostalgia road been paved smooth with this new release or have pot holes made it a bumpy ride?
When we last left the Z warriors, things were looking a tad grim. The strange and extremely powerful Cell had arisen to dash any hopes that the fighters had in defeating Dr. Gero’s creations. In fact, with the absorption of Android 17, Cell has only one more step to take until he reaches his perfect form and that is to find Android 18 and absorb her as well.
Though things aren’t going to be easy for him, as three forces converge to stand in his path, the arrogant Vegeta and the mysterious boy from the future Trunks have been training and discovered a new level of Super Saiyan that far surpasses anything previously thought possible. To make things even more difficult, Krillin approaches the hidden 18 and 16 with a remote that will force 18 to shut down, allowing for easy disposal. With Krillin’s heart uncertain of what action to take and the arrogance of Vegeta growing faster than his power level, what will happen to the Z warriors if Cell reaches his perfect form?
While nearly everyone will know how things turn out, there are still those out there who have never seen Dragon Ball Z before, and obviously Kai provides the simplest and most streamlined way possible to introduce a new viewer to the series. Though dropping them in at this point would be extremely counterproductive as it starts right in the middle of the Cell Games story arc.
In Part Seven we are able to see Cell’s perfect form as he demonstrates his nigh invincible powers by single handedly defeating their strongest warriors. With the fall of the Androids early in Part Seven we are given nearly a full release of Cell battles and training to defeat Cell. Obviously this makes Part Seven one of the best parts of the series for fans of Cell’s perfect form, but makes things a bit disappointing as they face off against this one opponent, with only a momentary change in enemies throughout the entire episode set.
Unfortunately those hoping to see the fast paced action of “The Cell Games” will only be able to catch a brief glimpse of that action as Part Seven ends just as Goku and Cell begin trading blows with one another. As it stands on its own, Part Seven is the turning point in the Cell saga where Cell finally becomes a true threat instead of just a possible one. However it is clear to see that this release can be seen as a stepping stone for the height of action viewers can expect in Part Eight.
One of the major advantages Kai has over all other releases of Dragon Ball Z is the fact that the animation has been cleaned up and given a more crisp look. This means that a lot of scenes have been fixed up with some modern animation methods in an effort to provide the best looking Dragon Ball Z possible, though one brief glance at the opening and ending animations still leave us wishing for a full HD treatment, as the disparity between these sections and the show itself is quite obvious.
There are also a number of scenes where the quality can significantly shift between shots. More so than in the past release, there are a number of times that viewers will be seeing something that has been touched up for the Kai release of the series, and then see a scene that was left alone and this fluctuating quality will likely hinder viewers’ experience with this release.
As in past releases, Dragon Ball Z Kai Part Seven contains both an English and Japanese voice track, with each one containing quality voice acting. While some may choose to view this release in Japanese, many will take to the English release which contains nearly all of the same voice actors that we knew and loved from our childhoods. It is worth noting that a few characters sound a bit different than they did originally, but the differences are miniscule at best.
One treat that viewers will be happy to see is that the opening and ending songs for Part Seven have been dubbed completely in English, as in past releases of this series. However the opening animation is now sung by two male voice actors as they perform a duet, providing a little variety from what was seen in Part Six.
Unfortunately the release itself has barely any extras except a clean version of the opening and ending and some trailers for past and upcoming FUNimation releases, with a lack of any other extra feature minus a nice slip-case and two slim-pak cases.
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Seven provides us with a stepping stone in the Cell Saga as we draw close to the end of the series. It gives us the entire set-up for the big showdown at the Cell Games and leaves us wanting more. Kai still provides us with the most streamlined and action packed Dragon Ball Z experience ever, though Part Seven unfortunately does not deliver the same quality of action fans have grown used to.