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Dragon Ball Z Kai- Color Differences Comparison
By Marc | May 5th, 2010

After doing the review of Dragon Ball Z Kai on Blu-ray I decided to check the DVD.  Very quickly I noticed a difference in colors in the remastered Z footage.  When I showed some screen shots to a friend to find out about the Japanese Kai Blu-ray, he actually ran it over right then so I could take a screen shot for a comparison.
I’ll let the image and my notes on it speak for themselves.  Feel free to share.  I didn’t include the Japanese DVD because I don’t know anyone who has it.  Click on it for full size.

Each version has its own odd quirks and I’m quite sure arguments over which of the three has superior colors will go on for years.  It’d also be interesting to find out who tweaked each version and why any tweaks were made (did Funi tweak their versions or did Toei? If so, why the Blu-ray and not the DVD?)
After doing that image comparison, I decided to check the intro, which has entirely new animation. Each one is different in the intro also, but in different ways than in the episode itself, which suggests each intro was tweaked separately from the episode. (Click to see full size)

For the remastered footage you could argue any of them could be better based on how you feel about color in general, but for the brand new animation, the American Blu-ray clearly seems superior.
It’s worth mentioning that a slight difference in brightness between an American disk and a Japanese disk is normal. Japanese and American TVs have different black levels, so tweaking of the brightness is normally done to make them match when being viewed, but this doesn’t appear to be the tweaking that caused these differences (especially since there are three clearly different examples instead of two.)
Think I should update the first image with other DVD versions of Dragon Ball Z for comparisons sake?
Update- I chose to leave the original comparisons up as they are more relevant seeing as they all have the same and proper aspect ratio, but I’ve made an updated version that adds the Japanese DVD into the mix.
Thanks to Hujio from Kanzentai for the lossless captures of the proper frames.

The show content itself is interesting in that there is a slight addition of footage on the side and that (once again) the colors are different.
Although frankly the shot of the intro is a bit crazier

Yeah… it’s pretty terrible. It is definitely the worst of the four in this case. It definitely makes it appear that DVDs from Toei were a late addition to the plan for Kai in Japan, as no care seemed to have been taken with the encode at all.
If you’d like to read a review of the Blu-ray of Dragon Ball Z Kai, we actually have one (it is actually what ended up leading to this article.) Feel free to have a read: Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part One (Blu-ray), Early Review


Categories: Feature
  • Schmullus

    I personally think each of them have their own strong and weak points. If Funi were the ones to change the US Blu-rays though, I think they did the right thing, since overall, there isn’t really any more detail lost over the Japanese Blu-ray, but the color seems a little richer without being over-saturated.

    A shot of the Dragon Box version as a comparison might be nice, since Funi has been advertising that as the ultimate version of DBZ. I think it would be interesting, if only just to compare to the latest DVD release, and leaving the Blu-rays to be compared strictly to the assorted Kai versions.

  • http://otakurevolution.com/ penguintruth

    I hate that Funimation feels the necessity to brighten pretty much every anime they get their hands on, especially DB-related material.

  • Schmullus

    With the updated OP shots, I would certainly back the US Blu-ray as the superior one, at least in regards to the new animation. The colors really pop without any major impact to detail. Considering the difference between the US Blu-ray and Japanese Blu-ray in the first comparison shot, I don’t think there is enough of a change overall to write off the US Blu-ray as inferior or anything. Could the colors be balanced a bit more? Sure. But that could also be said of the Japanese Blu-ray.

  • http://www.fanboyreview.net Marc

    I’m not quite sure Funimation did the brightening. They generally don’t tweak native HD material. And the DVD clearly is naturally darker than either Blu-ray. Not to mention the tweaking is different on the OP. Not to mention the tweaking appears different than the way Funimation tends to do it (they don’t really do it that often anymore.)