Pissing away all of the good will it built...
When I started churning out episodes of Otaku Evolution, my anime review video project, on a weekly basis, I fell behind doing text reviews for this site. The biggest victim of that wasn't the reviews I always intended to start on Terror in Resonance or my occasional review of anime classics, but my weekly Dragon Ball Kai reviews. I'd reviewed over 100 episodes of Toei's "manga cut" version of DBZ, from its shaky early days, to the highs of its Freeza and Artificial Human/Cell arc, to it's current plot line involving Babidi and Majin Buu. By now, I've fallen so far behind, it would take quite an effort to catch up, but with a little elbow grease I could revive my Dragon Ball Kai reviews, right? I mean, it was Kai that restored my interest in the DB franchise back when news of its debut broke! It's become an insistution of my blog, so why not?
Well, I'll tell you why not. Because Dragon Ball Kai is a complete fucking waste of time now.
There are two upcoming shows I'm pretty hyped up about right now, Yoshiyuki Tomino's new Gundam series, G in Reconguista, and Kunihiko Ikuhara's Yuri Kuma Arashi, which has the potential to be the new Penguindrum (but probably with distressingly fewer penguins). Despite my intense dedication to my Otaku Evolution videos, I'd be willing to take a week off here and there to catch up on reviews for either of these shows once they premiere. Fortunately, the former (in G) debuts in the Fall season while the latter debuts in Winter, but I'm sure the new Gundam will still be around by the time Ikuhara's new show appears. These shows are new and have not (yet) dashed my hopes and expectations.
Dragon Ball Kai, on the other hand, has become a dire morass of failed potential. The Buu arc has kept more unnecessary filler than any previous arc covered by the "manga cut", probably more in the past few episodes than in the entire rest of of Kai's run. The ridiculous snail's pace it has halted to, combined with the use, or misuse, of Norihito Sumitomo's musical score, has made watching every new episode of Kai a cringe worthy chore. If I'm going to watch this story arc with all the filler, I might as well be watching it with Kikuchi's score, and when the Japanese voice actors were at their prime (though many of them still deliver very well). I can understand keeping a lot of Goku's battle with Vegeta, as it's actual plot-involved content, and it's what we want to see in a DBZ show. But some of the utter nonsense like Goten and Trunks stopping to pee and fleeing from a dinosaur? And in the next episode to air in Japan, they even plan to retain all the Dragon Ball hunt filler from this arc. It's intolerable.
Ages ago when Dragon Ball Kai first "ended", after the Cell arc was finished, I asked myself, and the readers of my blog, if the show had been a sucess or a failure. After all, even thought it told the story with less filler, it stopped before the DBZ story was even finished! But now that it's actually delivering that final story arc, I feel even less satisfied than when it didn't. Maybe I'm just that hard to please, but it seems to me that Toei is doing the least possible work to make this portion of the show, maybe even intentionally, as with more filler, there's more content to sell, and thus more money can be made. But they're doing it at the cost of failing to deliver on the show's very premise, a version of DBZ with filler cut. Maybe Kai never truly delivered a completely fillerless experience, but we could forgive it. But at this point, you might as well just be watching regular DBZ, shitty English dub or not.
So, hey, maybe I'll finally get to reviewing more of Kai, maybe not. Right now I'm thinking, probably not. It's a shame that things are stronger on the Funimation front than they are on the Toei one right now. It's a weird reversal.
Oh, and fuck the green tint, too. What am I, watching it through a HMD or what? That's embarrassing, Toei.