Dragon Ball Z Kai Season 2 is here from Manga Entertainment and brings with it one of, if not, the most iconic villains in the entire Dragon Ball franchise – Frieza. Finally, we get to experience the epic showdown between Goku and Frieza in this remastered and filler-free release available on both Blu-ray and DVD.
“Krillin and Gohan test out their new and improved powers in a throw down with Vegeta, Frieza struggles to unlock the magic of the Dragon Balls, and Goku races through space on a collision course with the Ginyu Force! This installment of Kai has it all: seven Dragon Balls, four epic heroes, and three horrifying villains bent on world domination!” – Manga Entertainment
Following on from where season one left off, we’re treated to, or forced may be a better word, to bear witness to the ever ridiculous Ginyu Force and their over the top poses that only serve to highlight their ridiculousness. That said, they are in fact elite fighters within Frieza’s fighting force and deserve a small amount of seriousness. The best aspect of Kai, and season two, in particular, is the fast pace; gone are the endless fillers that serve only to delay the most important parts of the series and who even remembers them? Do we really need all of that chaff when all we really want is to see Goku finally turn Super Saiyan for the very first time and Frieza’s final form; if that’s what you came to see, then you will not be disappointed in season two.
Season two and the battle between Goku and Frieza really look stunning; the animation is clear and crisp, and the remaster has really brought the series to modern-day standards. There’s some obvious redrawn animation in places, but it serves a purpose and still keeps in line with the same original visual style.
It is a known fact that in the original airing of Dragon Ball Z Kai the composer Kenji Yamamoto was accused of plagiarism and subsequently fired; the series then began to use the original Dragon Ball Z score from Shunsuke Kikuchi. When FUNimation released the series in part sets, parts 1 to 4 used Kenji Yamamato’s score with Shunsuke Kikuchi’s score replacing it from part 5 onwards. The complete season sets, however, including seasons 1 and 2, used the Shunsuke Kikuchi score from start to finish. While the Madman release, which Manga Entertainment’s is based on, uses FUNimation masters, they somehow ended up with half of season 1 and half of 2 using the Kenji Yamamoto score, essentially parts 1 and 3 of the original FUNimation part releases. All in all, not a major concern, although you will notice the change from disc three of this release, as neither of the Japanese scores have been used in western releases before.
Extras can be found on disc two and four; included on disc two is an interview with the US cast, textless opening and closing animation as well as trailers for Sengoku Basara: Samurai King, Dragon Ball Z Kai and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Disc four includes, again, textless opening and closing animation and trailers for Soul Eater, Evangelion 2.22, Eden of the East: The King of Eden, D.Gray Man and Dragon Ball Z Kai. Given that there are two versions of the opening and closing animation depending on which language option you are watching the textless versions are available in both language options.
Dragon Ball Z Kai continues to stake its claim as the definitive edition of the Dragon Ball story, staying true to original creator Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball manga, Kai is what you should be watching. Whether you’re a long-time Dragon Ball fan who watched it as a kid or a new-comer then Kai should be your first point of call when it comes to experiencing Dragon Ball Z. The issues surrounding the score of the series will not impact on viewer enjoyment but there is a noticeable change in the background music.