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Dragon Ball Z Kai: Season 2

Krillin, Bulma, and Gohan have arrived on Planet Namek to gather the Dragon Balls and resurrect their friends who fell fighting Vegeta. But there they will have to contend not only with Vegeta but also his former cohorts the Ginyu Force and worst of all... Lord Frieza.

For the uninitiated, Dragon Ball Z Kai is a kind of director's cut of the classic anime favourite. The show has not only been given a considerable spit and polish with remastered visuals and a brand new soundtrack, but has also been re-edited so that it hems closer to Akira Toriyama's original manga. With the majority of the filler material removed it moves much faster through the storyline and makes it arguably much closer to how it's creator originally intended. New animation has also been added in places, to help cover the gaps and replace damaged footage. While it doesn't always blend as well as you might have hoped, Kai is still an impressive feat, and it looks much better than you'd expect from a show of this vintage.

Thanks to the compressed version of the narrative, this second season (containing 26 episodes) packs in the Frieza saga, which didn't wrap up until after the 100th episode in the original version. It's therefore quite considerably edited down, but yet it doesn't feel like a truncated show. In fact, it flows just fine and every bit as enjoyable as Z ever was.

This season, in particular, contains many of the franchise's most iconic moments. Thanks to the presence of the dastardly Frieza- long before his reappearance for this year's smash move, the show-downs here are some of the most memorable, with plenty of the epic action that makes DBZ as popular as it is.

While the action scarcely lets up, it wouldn't be a Toriyama creation if it was lacking in humour. So while the stakes may get incredibly high, it still takes time out for some light-hearted funny moments, with the antics of the Ginyu Force proving particularly amusing. DBZ may be a series where the very existence of the universe may frequently in peril, but it never stops being fun. And Kai is no different.

If you are a Dragon Ball newbie hoping to catch up quickly so you can watch the new movie, then Kai is an ideal option (although start with season 1, natch). Kai is certainly a much more manageable length for first timers. In the UK, it's also the only way to collect the series on Blu-ray for now at least.

There will be hardcore fans of the original for who this version just won't cut it, as it's not quite the show as they remember or grew up on. For others though,  this show- and this season in particular- is a brilliant way to revisit some of the best bits of the series without all the original extra padding.

DRAGON BALL Z KAI SEASON 2 is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD from MANGA ENTERTAINMENT in the UK and FUNIMATION in the US