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Anime / Dragon Ball Z Kai

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Don't stop, don't stop! We're in luck now!
Don't stop, there's so much to be found!
We can find paradise!
All we have to do is go, go! Free your soul!
Dragon Soul!
Dragon Soul, the series' first Theme Tune (English version)

Dragon Ball Z Kai (Dragon Ball Kai in Japan) debuted in April 2009 in time for the 20th anniversary of Dragon Ball Z. In a nutshell, Kai is a recut of DBZ for the 21st century; it tells the same old story of the original show but with a few new tricks up its sleeve.

Toei Animation took the animation from DBZ, updated the coloring, and converted the recut footage to HD. Kai turns down the amount (and frequency) of talk breaks and features next-to-no filler or padding. The end result of these changes? A sleeker, faster, more faithful, and action-packed show than the original anime adaptation. For comparison, DBZ had 194 episodes from its beginning through to the end of the Cell Arc; Kai has only 98 episodes for that same timeframe. Counting the Buu arc episodes, Kai has a total of 167 episodes to DBZ's 291.note 

Toei announced in 2012 that it would produce the Buu Saga for overseas markets; these episodes starting airing in Japan on April 6, 2014. While the international version (subtitled The Final Chapters) has 69 episodes (down from 92, for a 25% reduction in length), the Japanese version was cut down even further to 61 episodes.note 

Christopher Sabat directed the English dub of the series. Unlike previous dubs of DBZ, the English dub of Kai comes considerably closer to the Japanese version; lacking the character rewrites, replacement scoresnote , and major dialogue changesnote  that their dubs of DBZ had.

The uncut version of the English dub would be aired via Toonami on [adult swim] in November 2014, followed by reruns on [adult swim] proper beginning in February 2015. The Final Chapters began airing on January 7, 2017, running alongside Funimation's dub of Dragon Ball Super. It formally concluded its run on June 23, 2018.

Kai contains series-exclusive examples of the following tropes:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects:
    • The opening to The Final Chapters, particularly for backgrounds that the camera flies through.
    • To a lesser degree, the redrawn shots in the original Kai series are plainly digital, having far more vibrant colors than the original footage whilst also lacking the grain, frame drift, and quality of background and line art compared to the original footage they're spliced into. For The Final Chapters, this only applies to the recap of the original Kai arcs, as The Final Chapters opted to not use redrawn shots.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • The intent of this recut was to distill the original show into a much faster-paced, action-oriented adventure more akin to the original manga. The efficiency of the recut is up for debate, but it has been largely praised for avoiding the filler, shortening the talk breaks that plagued the original show, and including flashbacks as far as the original Dragon Ball. The original DBZ had 194 episodes at the end of Cell Saga. Kai got to the same point in 97 episodes.note  For those who don't feel like doing the math, that means exactly 50% of DBZ was cut from Kai's original network run.note 
    • The Final Chapters didn't cut out as much from the Buu Saga as the original Kai run did from the earlier material, but the numbers are still impressive all things considered. As covered above, DBZ's airing of the Buu Saga added 92 episodes, not counting the initial five-episode filler Other World Tournament Saga, which Kai completely bypassed. The international release of The Final Chapters covered this ground in 69 episodes, cutting out exactly 25%, and the Japanese broadcast version cut out just over one-third (about 33.7% to be exact) and got there in 61 episodes.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • The penultimate episode of the Android Saga has Goku saying that the Dragon Balls revived King Kai, Bubbles and Gregory, presumably because the series was canceled in Japan at that point. Yet in the next episode, they all have halos over their heads, indicating they are all dead. Not only are they all still dead in the Buu Saga, when the series was Un-Cancelled, but King Kai being dead due to Goku’s actions is a Running Gag in Dragon Ball Super, which follows the continuity of this series.
    • In The Final Chapters, the filler scene of the villains in Hell was kept. This includes Goz and Mez referencing Goku falling off of Snake Way, despite the fact this didn't happen in Kai. Not only that but actually showing Hell in Kai directly contradicts Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F', which shows a more Buddhist-influenced representation of Hell instead of the more Christian-influenced version from DBZ. Kai is supposed to be closer to the manga, so trying to watch this part of the series before either Resurrection 'F' or Super will be confusing if you don't know this, since Super acts like a direct sequel to the manga's version of events over the anime adaptations.
    • The scene with Van Zant and Smitty, the gunmen who ultimately "create" Super Buu, shooting an elderly couple was cut out due to its cruel nature. Thus, the pair's first appearance here is immediately before they arrive at Buu's house when they decide to kill him, making their entire contribution to the story seem more than a little contrived. Weirdly enough, this was manga-adapted material that was cut, so this is played even more straight.
  • Advertised Extra: Launch, a character featured in both Dragon Ball and some filler of DBZ, which most of is removed here, is prominently featured in the first credits sequence, despite being nowhere to be seen in Kai, apart from a mention early on and a cameo in The Final Chapters, long after these credits stopped being used.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Astoundingly, Ryūsei Nakao manages to make Frieza's suffering, as he lay dismembered and begging for Goku's help, invoke the pity and sorrow that the latter felt from the audience this time around. Living and breathing the character for over twenty years helped him bring a genuinely pathetic vulnerability and sincere "humanity" to his performance.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Deliberately invoked by Toei when they created The Final Chapters for an international audience with "Fight it Out!!" and "Never give up!!!" as the opening and ending theme, which they replaced with "Kuu-Zen-Zetsu-Go" and a series of ending themes for the Japanese broadcast version. Curiously, they didn't bother to replace "Fight it Out" from the background score, so the title card and eye-catching music in the Japanese version is an arrangement of a song it doesn't use.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Kai's original end with the Cell Saga rewrote the story this way, giving a teaser to "unseen" adventures with Goku's new life in Other World, as well as Gohan's new role as Earth's greatest savior. Naturally, this wasn't the case with the original series or DBZ, which kept the narrative going, albeit after a Time Skip:
    Narrator: Goku's adventures continued, of course, but the tales of those exploits will have to be saved for another time.
  • Animation Bump: Even disregarding the new opening, within the series, there are some digital clean-ups alongside other moments of the series that really look its age.
  • Art Shift:
    • An accidental and relatively minor example. Because of the recut of the story, the first episode ends up opening with scenes from a TV special made much later in the series run, then cuts to the original beginning of the series, and the difference in the art is pretty noticeable.
    • The fact episodes are made of several episodes cut and pasted together makes for some obvious shifts when you go from a well-animated episode to a not-so-well-animated one.
    • Several scenes were touched up digitally. This is painfully obvious when it happens as it's largely a trace job, resulting in some hilariously weird proportions.
    • For whatever reason, when Toei recut the Buu Saga footage, they both cropped the frames, as was done with the first half, but didn't bother saving 4:3 versions of the episodes, which will cause some weirdness when watching the entire series in the future, and added a green tint to the footage, which is often a point of contention amongst fans, as it sort of ruins the viewing experience for some, despite the better dub.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • Goku specifically mentions that Mr. Popo is terrifying when he's angry.
    • One of the edited TV broadcasts also changes the correct translation "It's over 8000..." to "It's over 9000!" and of course has Vegeta Suddenly Shouting as in the original Ocean Dub.
    • In the Buu Saga, the Cell Games Reenactment has a version where Team Four Star voices the characters and spouts off a bunch of memes from the original DBZ dub. It isn't present in the TV broadcast version. Rumor has it that it was cut because Toei wasn't happy when they found out.
  • Auto-Tune: On display in Sean Schemmel's version of "Dragon Soul".
  • Big "NO!":
    • Vegeta, after breaking free of Goku's Kamehameha and before transforming into a Great Ape/Oozaru. The fact that Goku was able to stop Vegeta's Galick Gun doesn't sit well with him.
    • When Goku seems to be stuck on the exploding Namek.
  • Bowdlerise: Three levels:
    • Japanese broadcast:note 
      • In DBZ, Piccolo's Makankosappo leaves Goku and Raditz with big bloody holes in their torsos. This is changed to mere burn marks in Kai.note 
      • Shots of baby Goku and Gohan's genitals that were shown are covered in Kai.
      • Scenes where Epileptic Flashing Lights occur have been significantly reduced.
      • All instances of characters Flipping the Bird have been removed.
      • For The Final Chapters, the scenes of Van Zant and Smitty terrorizing a town of innocent people and shooting an elderly couple dead with sniper rifles were removed despite being canon scenes from the manga.
    • Nicktoons:
      • Here is a handy in-depth Nicktoons edit guide, the following is a basic summarization:
      • The Kai dub contains a considerable amount of cursing which was censored on Nicktoons, often substituting swears such as "damn" with "darn it" much like on pre-[adult swim] Toonami.
      • The TV version of the series edited out heavy violence to accommodate it for younger audiences. The blood was left in, but it's usually colored brown to resemble dirt.
      • Actual mention of the words "death" or "die" as well as "kill", and even "funeral" at least once, were replaced with "destroy" or "defeat". However, there were still occasional instances where the words "die" and "kill" were still left in. This is definitely a step up from simply referring to death as "another dimension" like in the Saban/Ocean dub, and a step down from Toonami leaving in nearly all references to death for DBZ.
    • The CW4Kids/Toonzai/Vortexx:
      • Considerably more censored than the Nicktoons version, for example, one of the most confusing and rather pointless edits was the removal of Shenron from the opening.
      • The bullet that the farmer shot at Raditz was turned into a blue glowing thing. They never bother to explain what it was.
      • The dead had a little ball of light over their head, rather than a halo. Later episodes, the ones on Vortexx, just split the difference and cut the differentiation completely.
      • Mr. Popo was blue, as the block made it a policy never to show blackface stereotypes uncensored after Jynx caused a stir. Unlike the halo change, this one carried onto Vortexx, albeit leaving the lips red rather than recoloring them a flesh tone as previously done.
      • Spirit Blast. Gallick Blast too. The latter isn't nearly as bad, however, since the Gallick Gun is only used twice in the series.
      • Goku punching Vegeta in the stomach while using the Kaioken was changed to a shot of Vegeta's surprised face and Goku looking constipated. The scene in the opening "Dragon Soul" where Vegeta punches Goku in the face was also cut.
      • Apparently, when you explode and die, you turn into glitter. In the same video, all of the dialogue from Chiaotzu is muted, along with shortening one of Tien's lines to fit the edit.
      • Unlike Nicktoons, 4Kids cared heavily about death. As such, all references were edited.
      • They cut out the scene where Android 18 forces a kiss onto Krillin. This created a noticeable plot hole when he was trying to destroy her; the kiss was a huge part of his decision against it.
      • In one episode, Trunks cries out "Damn it!". This one was later rectified in reruns. The very same episode cut out every scene that showed #18 being absorbed into Cell.
      • For whatever reason, Cell's crotch was digitally recolored in all forms, albeit inconsistently.
    • This is subverted with the broadcast version on Toonami. It is completely uncut and would have in fact parodied past DBZ bowdlerization with Team Four Star's removed cameo:
      Fake Mr. Satan: I shall now send you... TO THE NEXT DIMENSION! SEE! YOU! IN! HFIL!
  • Brief Accent Imitation: During the sequence with Vegito in the dub, Sean Schemmel imitates Chris Sabat's speech patterns from his Vegeta voice, since Sabat recorded Vegito's lines first and Schemmel matched his recordings to better match Vegito's personality being more like Vegeta's than Goku's. This makes his Goku sound posher/upper-crust like Sabat's Vegeta compared to how he normally talks as a result.
  • Call-Back: In The Final Chapters, when Goku meets Videl for the first time he says, "Well, aren't you going to introduce us to your friend, Gohan? Your friend is a girl, isn't she?", calling back to the original arc of Dragon Ball where Goku couldn't tell the difference between girls and boys.
  • Casting Gag: In the English dub of The Final Chapters, the Cell Games Reenactment originally had the fakes being voiced by members of Team Four Star "reprising" their roles from Dragon Ball Z Abridged before they were replaced. Notably, the exceptions are the Fake Mr. Satan and Fake Cell. Fake Mr. Satan is voiced by Curtis Arnott (Takahata101) with his Abridged!Nappa voice rather than Anthony Sardinha (Antfish), while Fake Cell is voiced by Scott Frerichs (KaiserNeko) rather than Arnott.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Kai makes it more apparent due to some footage from the original series being cut out, resulting in shorter fights.
  • Cut Short: The initial Japanese airing ended after the Cell Games. Due in part to the Earthquake and Tsunami in Sendai, the episodes were delayed by a week. Since they didn't have broadcast space to add an episode, the final episode (98) was delayed until August 2011 in Japan. It's available on DVD and Blu-ray as a bonus episode.
  • Digital Destruction:
    • Some fans have lambasted the efforts of Q Tec in regard to the footage. It's not entirely unfounded, as it's pretty obvious they're working for the cheap. This got worse during the series' version of the Buu Saga, which was remastered by Toei themselves. In this case, the picture is permanently cropped to 16:9 and features a noticeable green tint compared to the Blu-ray releases of DBZ, which appear to use a similar remastering process. Also, if you look carefully during the opening sequence of The Final Chapters, it looks like it was animated in 4:3, but then cropped or stretched to 16:9, due to some shots being weirdly framed, notably Babidi and Dabura's shot where Babidi's lower half cut off a bit and Majin Buu is weirdly framed as well when he appears in it. This could mean that either they were planning for the show to be in 4:3 from the start, or they animated it in that aspect ratio to save money, then cropped it, or at least certain shots.
    • There's a weird discrepancy with Funimation's releases for The Final Chapters, where, depending on what you use to play the discs, the English dub audio is improperly mixed, causing the sound effects to become muffled. Sabat has been made aware of this problem and has had the audio engineers at Funimation fix the problem for the TV airings, but it's not known if they'll do replacement discs for the people who bought the sets already. Depending on your viewer, you may not notice, but it is there.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: In the English dub:
    • In the first volume DVD, Sean Schemmel, the voice actor of Goku, sang the opening theme (with an unfortunate amount of auto-tune).
    • Each successive volume has its own singer (Justin Cook for the second volume, Vic Mignogna for the third volume and in the Nicktoons version, Greg Ayres for the fourth volume, Sonny Strait for the fifth volume, and Brina Palencia for the sixth volume). The last two have different mixes of 3-4 of the different voices switching off lines.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: In Episode 88, Cell uses Tien's "Multi-Form" technique to create multiple versions of himself. When they all attack Goku at the same time, they force him to flee. Goku tricks Cell into spreading out the copies and defeats each of them individually.
  • The Easy Way or the Hard Way: In Episode 26, Vegeta confronts Krillin and Bulma, who have one of the Dragon Balls he wants. He threatens them by saying they can do this the easy way or the hard way, meaning that they can either give him the Dragon Ball or be killed.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: In Episode 75, Imperfect Cell rises up out of the ground behind Android 17 right before absorbing him.
  • Face, Nod, Action: In Episode 98, Androids 17 and 18 are facing off against Future Trunks. Android 18 says to get him, both androids look at each other, nod, and then attack Trunks.
  • Filler: The series was designed to avert this as hard as possible, but certain instances exclusive to the original animation weren't able to be excised (likely for timing reasons), such as Ginyu swapping bodies with an unsuspecting Bulma or Krillin's encounter with Imperfect Cell. Notably, the very last Breather Episode of Znote  was left in its entirety, despite not being relevant to the overall plot.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The TV-Y7 rated Nicktoons airing of left in Future Android 18 yelling "Now I'm pissed!", the kind of "infrequent coarse language" that warrants a TV-PG rating at minimum.
  • Good News, Bad News: The good news is Frieza wants his fight with Goku to last a bit longer. The bad news is that Goku will spend his remaining time in excruciating pain.
  • Groin Attack: In Episode 65, Android 18 knees Vegeta in the groin once he's running out of energy.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: During the On the Next segment after Captain Ginyu uses his Body Change technique on Goku, he declares that he should be the star from now on and the series should be called "Ginyu Force Kai."
  • Human Hammer-Throw
    • In Episode 50, while fighting Frieza, Goku grabs him by the arm, swings around several times, and throws him away.
    • In Episode 92, while the protagonists are fighting the Mini Cells, Piccolo grabs one of the MCs by the arm, spins around several times, and throws him away.
    • In Episode 98, just before destroying Imperfect Cell, Future Trunks grabs him by the tail, swings around several times, and throws him into the sky.
    • The Final Chapters episode 25. When a giant snake attempts to eat some pterosaur eggs, Goku grabs the snake by the tail, swings it around repeatedly, and throws it away.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One
    Gohan: You're stupid and ugly and — you SMELL!
    Nappa: [genuinely horrified] Augh! I smell? Why you - it's not my fault! I've been cooped up in a space pod for a year, what do you expect?!
  • Image Song: Vegeta and Future Trunks each gets themes ("Saiyan Blood" and "Lonely Soldier", respectively) sung by their voice actors Ryō Horikawa and Takeshi Kusao.
  • In-Joke: In the English dub, while King Kai searches his address book for the planet Namek's exact coordinates, he mutters, "This thing might as well be written in Japanese."
  • Inconsistent Dub: In addition to what's mentioned in the Bowlderise section, in the American home releases, some terminologies can change in between mentions, mostly with attack names.
  • Is That the Best You Can Do?: Goku hits Freeza's ego hard by asking this after forcing him to go 100% for the first time in his life. This leads right into Freeza's Blood from the Mouth moment.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The first five minutes of the first episode reveal that Goku is an alien, and that Frieza destroyed the planet Vegeta. Both of these are plot twists in the original series and are treated as such in Kai itself when they come up again.
  • Lighter and Softer: Editing laws in Japan have gotten much stricter since DBZ's original run; some of the blood and nudity had to be cut out.
  • Lost in Translation: The Cell Games Reenactment movie becomes this for dubs derived from the English one, as they use the version used for the initial release. The problem comes in that it's a reference to Dragon Ball Z Abridged, down to using the same voice acting cast, and that it pokes fun at the less-than-stellar English dubs of the original anime.
  • Market-Based Title: The series is marketed internationally as Dragon Ball Z Kai, likely because the series is a recut.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: King Kai once refers to Bulma as "that other lady" after talking about Gohan, Goku, and Piccolo.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Goku says this during his fight with Frieza:
    Goku: I'm a proud Saiyan who calls Earth home, and I'm here to defeat you. I am the warrior you've heard of in legends, pure of heart, and awakened by fury. That's what I am. I AM THE SUPER SAIYAN, SON GOKU!!!
  • Necessary Drawback: After awakening #17 and #18, Dr. Gero mentions that, in order for their infinite energy reactors to function, he had to disable their behavioral limiters, resulting in their rebelliousness.
  • Never Say "Die":
    • Zigzagged with the edited broadcast; it uses "gone" and such usually, with mentions of "death" being rare, but very much present and/or implied.
    • Even the TheCW4Kids/Toonzai/Vortexx version lets people die. But with added sparkles or agonizing breathing beforehand.
    • The world of the dead is still referred to as "Other World",note  but King Yemma does specifically mention "heaven" when he first meets Goku, and while it's a pretty generic term, it still has some minor religious overtones.
    • All references to death in the same version get wiped out. For example:
      Piccolo: Your father gave himself.
      Compared to:
      Piccolo: Your father sacrificed himself.
    • The Yemma scene is highly edited:
      King Yemma: So even though (Goku) is a shoo-in, he still wants to risk training to meet with King Kai.
      Goku: [to Kami] So this is the place everyone goes when they... you know, right?
      Kami: Yes. Every being, human or not, gets judged to see where they will spend their time.
      Goku: [to Yemma] Yo! Did a big guy named Raditz come here?
      King Yemma: Yeah. He went, go figure.
      Goku: And he didn't give you any trouble? Hey, maybe I oughta stick around with this big guy here!
      Kami: Oh, no. King Kai is much stronger than him.
      King Yemma: What was that, Kami? Maybe you need a demonstration of just how strong I am!
      Kami: Oh no, sir. You must have the demon's own ears, the demon himself!
      Compared to:
      King Yemma: So even though (Goku) is a shoo-in to go to Heaven, he still wants to risk training to meet with King Kai.
      Goku: [to Kami] So this is the place everyone goes when they get killed, right?
      Kami: Yes. Every being, human or not, gets judged to see where they will spend their afterlife- heaven, or down below.
      Goku: [to Yemma] Yo! Did a big guy named Raditz come here?
      King Yemma: Yeah. He went, go figure.
      Goku: And he didn't give you any trouble? Hey, maybe I oughta stick around with this big guy here!
      Kami: Oh, no. King Kai is much stronger than him.
      King Yemma: What was that, Kami? Maybe you need a demonstration of just how strong I am!
      Kami: Oh no, sir. You must have the devil's own ears, the devil himself!
    • When Vegeta is fighting 18 and a semi gets thrown off the mountain, the tension is broken by an offscreen shout. Bizarrely, this appears in the home releases as well:
      Driver: Dude! My truck!
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Frieza's leitmotif, "Only a Chilling Elegy", contains ominous Japanese chanting. It plays briefly near the end of both Episodes 37note  and 40.note  The Nicktoons and TheCW4Kids/Toonzai/Vortexx version use the instrumental instead, but the Nicktoons version did leave Japanese chanting left in initially.
  • Padding:
    • Very much absent this time around. This is even acknowledged by 18:
      [Piccolo and 17 are staring at each other after a round of attacks]
      18: Hey! Stop staring at him like a fool! Or do I have to come up there myself?
    • This would return in full force in The Final Chapters. There is even a piece of music on the soundtrack that sounds like clocks ticking, and it is exclusively played during sequences where people stare at each other. Better yet, even later there is epic staring with orchestral chanting in the background.
  • Power Levels: Same as before involving the scouters, but they seem to have adjusted some bits of dialogue and how the whole process works to highlight the need for strategy along with their "combat rating." It's implied that although Goku had a higher power level than Nappa if the latter had actually focused, he could give Goku a good fight. A particular lampshade comes from Vegeta in his Curb-Stomp Battle with Jeice:
    Vegeta: Anyone ever tell you you fools put way too much stock in those silly little gadgets!? I think fighting these Earthlings would have taught you that by now!
  • Prodigal Hero: At one point in the English dub, Frieza refers to Vegeta as the "prodigal son". The comparison isn't without merit: by that point in the series, Vegeta was a confident and powerful Elite Mook under Frieza's army, then had gone to Earth with full assurance of his power, was promptly humiliated, then had to go back to Frieza with his (proverbial) tail between his legs to be healed.note 
  • Raised Hand of Survival
    • In Episode 58, while Vegeta trains at 300x gravity to prepare to fight the androids, the building he's in blows up. When Bulma runs over to see if he's still alive, his hand thrusts out of a pile of rubble to make it clear he's okay.
    • In Episode 77, when Cell is knocked backwards a huge distance by Vegeta, he ends up underwater. A few seconds later, his hand rises up out of the water, showing that he survived the attack.
  • Recut: Kai removes a lot of filler and padding from the original series, making it more fast-paced.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: Kenji Yamamoto — who did the music for the DBZ video games — composed a new soundtrack for the recut. However, during the Android Saga, it was discovered that Yamamoto had plagiarized music from other sources (and had been doing so for years), he was fired and Shunsuke Kikuchi’s original soundtrack from DBZ was reimplemented for the rest of Kai.
  • Retraux: There's a lot of new material in the series, particularly during the Namek Saga, but present in other episodes as well. It's integrated almost seamlessly and can be spotted only by a couple of things like more "clean" looking dirt and scratches on the characters, more vibrant colors, and a notably higher frame count during action sequences, which the new material mostly consists of.
  • Same Language Dub: The Ocean Group reportedly recorded their own English dub, just like they did with DBZ.
  • See You in Hell: Super Saiyan Goku yells "See you in hell, Frieza!" while firing a Kamehameha.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • In the first episode, Linda Young still voiced Frieza, but when he appears later in the second arc, he's now voiced by Chris Ayres.
    • One conversation between Zarbon and Frieza before the former's death reveals that they knew about Goku and Gohan. Later on, however, before Frieza's final transformation, he seems genuinely surprised that Gohan is a Saiyan from Earth, and also wonders who the father could be before settling on Raditz.
    • The broadcast version had a minor case of this where Piccolo's attack name is "Special Beam Cannon" to accommodate the original dub name but then becomes the "Makkankosappo" in a flashback, which the DVD version uses.
    • During the Nicktoons airing of the Saiyan Saga, Krillin uses the Destructo Disc. However, he refers to it by its original Japanese name, Kienzan. Krillin calls it the "Destructo Disc" in later uses in the Nicktoons airings.
    • During Vegeta's rematch against Zarbon, he reveals that Saiyans grow stronger after recovering from near-death. Krillin hears this and realizes that was how Goku managed to get so much stronger after he was beaten. Later on, however, while taking Gohan to see the Grand Elder, Krillin remarks that he doesn't know how Vegeta had gotten stronger than he was on Earth.
    • Just before he escapes the Z Fighters, Cell tells them he knows the Kaio-ken technique. This raises the question of why he didn't use it when he was clearly outmatched against Vegeta, and later, Gohan.
    • After the defeat of Cell and our heroes making the wish, Goku notes that King Kai was brought back to life as well. In the next episode, he can be clearly seen with a halo still on his head.
    • During Goku's final battle with Kid Buu, two of the oni in Hell recognize Goku as "that guy who fell off Snake Way", which came from a Saiyan Saga filler episode that was excised from Kai. This scene is also anime-exclusive, and thus the dialog is a holdover from DBZ.
    • invoked The mere showing of Hell in Kai is one, as Toriyama never showed Hell in the original manga. The first true glimpse of Hell that is shown in the Dragon Ball franchise is in Resurrection 'F', where Frieza is in his own personalized Hell, stuck in a cocoon being tortured in a Sickeningly Sweet world populated by angels, fairies, and stuffed animals.
  • Spoiler Opening:
    • The series' openings tend to show major characters, villains, and events before they're introduced in the series itself. It's downplayed since this series is a recut of DBZ and many longtime fans already know these details.
    • The eye catches for the Buu Saga do this, showing off the Fusion Dance and Potara Earrings before they're introduced in the series proper.
    • Subverted concerning Gotenks as in The Final Chapters, he is shown in a silhouette in the opening until he makes his debut. Once he does, he's fully revealed.
  • invoked Stylistic Suck: The movie made of Mr. Satan's defeat of Cell, seen in a deleted scene. It features bad costumes, hammy line reads, Bad "Bad Acting", and obvious special effects. It also mentions numerous memes from older dubs of Dragon Ball, like "Over nine thousand!", the bowdlerizing "sending to a different universe", and "My power is maximum!". Notably, Team Four Star provided the voices. Even Mr. Satan thinks it's terrible.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: "Dragon Soul", lyrically, appears to represent Goku and Gohan's Heroic Spirit, drawing their strength, love, and desire to protect one another:
    I'll give you strength, you'll give me love, that's how we'll live! Courage won't fade, when you're with me, my enemies can never win!
  • Toilet Humor:
    • When Goku first meets King Kai, the latter lists off the benefits of his home planet, ending with being able to "pee for distance!" The edited version appears to have erased the urine streams.
    • In the uncut version, Master Roshi was taking a crap. It was taken out in the Nicktoons version.
  • Truer to the Text: It serves as a remastered Adaptation Distillation of DBZ, with most of the filler removed, greatly reducing the original series' infamous abuse of Talking Is a Free Action. This is exemplified even more by the English dub accurately translating the scripts, as opposed to what happened to the original DBZ.
  • Vocal Evolution: Compare the Japanese and English voices from the original series to the voices in Kai. Playing the same role for over 10-20 years works wonders. Even those assigned new roles seem to fit in.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Perfect Cell invokes this word-for-word...about the Cell Games' ring, of all things.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Dragon Ball Kai


Vegeta's pride

Vegeta willingly subjected himself to a mind control spell for the powerup it provided, but when the wizard who cast it tries to actually order him around, he flatly refuses, purging the mind control while keeping the powerup.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (24 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeroicWillpower

Media sources: