Dragon Ball Z Kai – The Final Chapters: Part 3 Review

The Final Chapters of Dragon Ball Z Kai (or in other words, the final arc that wasn’t previously adapted in the original Kai series) comes to a close in this set, covering Kai Episodes 145 to 167, adapting Dragon Ball Z Episodes 259 to 291, or to put it more simply, reducing 31 episodes down to 22. This was actually the first time Kai: The Final Chapters actually felt like the original Kai series, as the fights in this set (and there are a lot!) are almost entirely free of cut-away gags with side characters, leaving us with just episode-to-episode of adapting the fights seen in the manga (plus Z’s added fight sequences). It’s not guilt-free as you can see a bit further down in the spoiler section, but it’s a big improvement.

*Note: These pictures do not represent the image as it exists on the release*

We left off the previous set with Gotenks, a fusion of children Goten and Trunks, fighting the now thin and muscular Buu in the time-altering dimension known as the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, or Room of Spirit and Time, depending on whether you watch dubbed or subbed. If that’s not a hard to understand sentence if you’re coming into this set blind, then I don’t know what is, but the Buu arc gets pretty damn weird! Eventually the fight between the two gives way to Toriyama having one more go at Gohan being the new hero character as his powered-up self appears to fight, and then that makes way for Goku and Vegeta to fight Buu (both as one fighter named Vegito thanks to fusion, and then by themselves) and then that makes way for them to fight a new, more powerful child-like Buu seen on the front cover of this release (which I why it’s not a spoiler to talk about what comes before it…) Literally Episodes 145 to 164 are wall-to-wall fighting, as I mentioned earlier, with very little downtime.

That being said, alongside the fighting we do see some really great character development for both Vegeta and Mr. Satan (alias Hercule), which among all the punching and large blasts of energy, is nice to see…

Spoilers for exact details on how this arc ends follow for the next paragraph:

I just have to mention a major gripe I have with this adaptation. When we look at the original Kai series, we see that they fixed bad animation frames and even re-coloured Vegeta’s armour in his original appearance to better match his later look, so it becomes glaringly obvious that another team is doing this in the last few episodes. Goku gathers all the spirit energy from the Earthlings to defeat Buu, during which Piccolo, Gohan, Goten and Trunks all wake from death (long story) and eventually fly up to Kami’s Lookout to reunite with family and friends… except in the next episode the anime team adapt the original panels of them still standing where they woke up, talking about the fight Goku is having, completely at odds with the fact we saw them wake and leave earlier… and it’s still in this Kai version! You’d think they would have just edited out the extra anime-original scene at the Lookout, or edited out the scene back at where they woke, hell, or even just swapped them around, but they kept them both in the same continuity error sequence, which is really jarring.

I’m not even going to mention the fact they kept in an entire episode of filler set in between the Buu arc and the final few episodes! A whole standalone filler episode kept in what is supposed to be a cut-down version of the show… Oh, I guess I did mention it.

Major spoilers are now over…

The set ends with a pair of episodes set ten years after the Buu arc, which is now retroactively interesting as all of Dragon Ball Super supposedly took place during this gap. We see the old adult versions of previously child characters and all that jazz. It leads to the pretty unsatisfying ending from the original manga, an ending that even Toriyama admits he rushed, but I won’t go into details.

As per the previous sets, it comes with new background music from Norihito Sumitomo, though once again, with the exception of one or two tracks, it’s rather underwhelming. There is also the usual new voice acting from both languages and a forced-via-cropping 16:9 ratio. “Fight it out!” by Masatoshi Ono and “Never Give Up!!” by Junear are still your opening and ending, respectively, and yes, they’re still really bad, both to look at and listen to…

The set also comes with the same style of extras as the other two, that being a single in-video commentary from English voice actors (for Episode 157 in this case, which while it does have a big moment in it, doesn’t seem like the most interesting one to comment on…), textless opening and ending, and trailers.

Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters – Part 3 is the best of the three parts, thanks mostly to only having entertaining fights to adapt and Toei’s in-house team actually doing a good job of cutting all the forced comedy cut-away gags out of the fights and concentrating on the action as depicted in the original source material (you know, like they were always supposed to do…). And although it stumbles a bit towards the end, it’s still the best adaptation of the final moments of the original manga/anime, though I’m not sure if it’s worth sitting through the still-filler-filled previous two parts to get to it…

7 / 10

Cold Cobra

Having watched anime since it was airing late night on the Sci-Fi channel in the late 90s, I consider myself... someone who's watched a lot of anime, and then got hired to write reviews about them. Hooray!

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