Dragon Ball Z Kai (lost unaired Ocean Productions English dub of anime series recut; 2010)

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Dragon Ball Z Kai titlescreen.jpg

Title screen for the series.

Status: Lost

Dragon Ball Z Kai is a re-edited cut of the Dragon Ball Z anime that originally aired for 98 episodes between 2009 and 2011 in Japan. It features remastered visuals, a redone soundtrack and the removal of "filler" episodes that were part of the original anime. Like earlier Dragon Ball series, the Fort Worth, Texas-based anime distributor Funimation Entertainment licensed the series and produced an English dub that was released in 2010 through 2013.

A separate English track, aimed specifically at Canadian and European television markets, was created by the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Ocean Productions between 2010 and 2014.[Notes 1] The company had previously worked with Funimation, Saban, and Pioneer on creating a partial English dub of the Dragon Ball Z TV series and its movies in the mid-1990s. In the early 2000s, European Dragon Ball distributor AB Groupe was believed to have paid Ocean to continue production on Z, as well to create new dubs for Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball GT through its Calgary, Alberta-based sister company, Blue Water Studios. These were aired in Canada, the United Kingdom, and other select European markets in the same time period.

To date, no footage from Ocean's version of Dragon Ball Z Kai has ever been released. The production itself has yet to be officially announced and it is not known which company commissioned it, or whom its intended broadcast partners would have been.


Though the dub has never been officially announced, various leaks through actors, crew members, government agencies and individuals outside of its production, have confirmed its existence. The dub was initially mentioned by an anonymous user named 'Subzero Ice' in a now-deleted Facebook conversation that took place in late April 2010. The conversation was with Funimation voice actor Sean Schemmel who revealed that he knew of the dub's existence:

"Here is why the Ocean group dub will suck. And it has nothing to do with the actors as I have enormous respect for all of them. As far as I know, the Ocean group dub is going to have this really shitty music (some of which I have heard) and a whole host of added sound effects such as "doinks" and "boinks" and even in one scene, where Bulma simply turns her head in a conversation you hear a "whoosh" sound ala a bad martial arts movie. We are giving you the purest DBZ experience possible, and if you don't like that, then you don't like DBZ.[1]

Ocean credited in the Nicktoons version of Funimation's Dragon Ball Z Kai dub.

When Funimation's English dub premiered on the U.S. Nicktoons network in late May 2010, it was noted that Ocean Productions, some of their headlining employees, and the affiliated Advantage Video company, were credited with video editing. At the time, this revelation led some fans to believe Schemmel's earlier comments were simply misinformed.[2]

Schemmel's information proved correct on September 8th, 2010, as episode 26 of the podcast Voice Print with Trevor Devall went live. In it, actor Kirby Morrow was interviewed and admitted to having auditioned for the part of Goku in a Canadian dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai.[3][4] Morrow had previously played Goku in the final batch of episodes in the Canadian Z dub. The podcast episode was later re-uploaded to remove the references to the series.[5] The dub was mentioned again in Episode 28 by actor Paul Dobson, who stated Ocean Productions was responsible for it.[6]

The province of British Columbia listed the show in their production database for 2010 and 2011.[7][8] The entry suggests it was produced for Toei Animation, though it's not known if that refers to the dub or the show in general.

During June 2012, actor Brendan Hunter indicated his involvement with the show on Facebook.[9] He had played Tien and Oob in the Blue Water dubs of Dragon Ball and GT. His comment was the first indication this production would use talent from both Vancouver, British Columbia and Calgary, Alberta - the cities that individually played host to the earlier Canadian Dragon Ball dubs.

In 2013, actor Scott McNeil stated during a Q&A session at a convention that the dub of Kai had "finished" and that they had not started recording for the Final Chapters portion of the show.[10]

In late February 2014, a member of the Kanzenshuu forums asked Peter Berring, the composer who worked on the first Dragon Ball for Funimation in 1995, if he knew the singer of the show's opening theme.[Notes 2] There it was revealed that David Steele, a prolific session musician in Vancouver, was the performer behind it. The Kanzenshuu member discovered that Steele had uploaded a sample of a theme song for Dragon Ball Z Kai onto his website.[11][12][13] Steele later responded to emails about the Kai track, saying it was produced sometime in 2009 and that he was not sure if it was the final version.[14][15]

On April 1st, 2014, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission approved 98 episodes of the series as Canadian content, indicating post-production had finished.[16]

In May 2014, reaffirming Schemmel's earlier comments, a member of the Kanzenshuu forums spotted a listing for Dragon Ball Z Kai on the website for AniTunes, a Canadian music production firm run by Tom Keenlyside and John Mitchell.[17] The listing claims the company scored 105 episodes of the show for Cartoon Network U.S. It's believed the specifics of that are incorrect, as the first block of Kai consists of 98 episodes and their work on the series has never aired in the U.S.[18][19] The two musicians had previously created music for the AB Groupe Z production.

In 2016, voice actor Brian Drummond wrote on Twitter that recording had been completed but he had no idea what happened to the dub, saying he had not seen it.[20]

Sometime in early 2018, Chinook Animation, Ocean's Calgary casting agency, started listing the series on their website.[21] This was the first time Dragon Ball Kai had been publicly acknowledged by any branch of the company.

In July 2018, Toei Animation USA confirmed that they are in possession of the dub and that they're willing to license it out to interested broadcasters.[22] Wow! Unlimited Media, a then newly minted Canadian broadcasting company, had expressed interest in acquiring the dub and running it on their upcoming television channel. Unfortunately, plans to launch the channel were dropped in 2020.



The following information assumes the credits from the Nicktoons cut of Funimation's dub also applies to Ocean's dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai.

Executive Producer: Ken Morrison[Notes 3]

Producer: Dennis Hrehoriac[Notes 4]

Supervising Producer: Diana Gage[Notes 5]

Music: Tom Keenlyside, John Mitchell

Video Post-Production: Ryan Smith, Sam Mynott, Sean McConkey

Video Post-Production Company: Advantage Video, Inc.


Scott McNeil, the original English voice of Piccolo, reprised his role in the Dragon Ball Z Kai dub

In the episode of Voice Print with Trevor Devall where the dub was announced, Kirby Morrow stated that actors who had participated in the AB Groupe dub of Dragon Ball Z had been asked to re-audition their part, and that he had been rejected for the role of Goku.[4] Paul Dobson stated in Episode 28 of the same show that the producers considered keeping some roles the same and recasting others, although he did not elaborate on the extent of the changes or which actors were involved.[6]

Unlike previous Canadian Dragon Ball English dubs, which were historically recorded in either Vancouver, British Columbia with Ocean Productions[23] or alternatively, utilizing their sister studio; Blue Water Studios[24] in Calgary, Alberta, this dub of Kai utilizes both talent pools at once, a common trait of the more recent anime dubs from Ocean.

The following actors have confirmed their involvement in the unaired dub:

Ocean - Vancouver

  • Don Brown (as King Kai and Mr. Satan/Hercule)[25]
  • Richard Ian Cox (as Goku)[26][Notes 6]
  • Trevor Devall (as Zarbon)[27][28]
  • Michael Dobson (as Nappa)[29]
  • Brian Drummond (as Vegeta)
  • Saffron Henderson (as Gohan)[30]
  • Cole Howard (as Android 17)[31]
  • Scott McNeil (as Piccolo, Jeice, and Dr. Briefs)[32]
  • Kirby Morrow (Character unknown)[33]
  • Lee Tockar (as Frieza)[34]

Blue Water - Calgary

  • Carol-Anne Day (as Bulma)[28]
  • Lucas Gilbertson (as Yajirobe)[28]
  • Tim Hamaguchi (Character unknown; credited under James Beach)[35]
  • Dawn Harvey (as Fortuneteller Baba)[36]
  • Brendan Hunter (as Tien and Captain Ginyu)[37][28]
  • Steve Olson (Incidentals)[38]


Subzero Ice

Despite their link to the production being unknown, for a long time anonymous user Subzero Ice was a consistent source of information regarding this dub. Not only was he technically the first to talk about it in a (now deleted) Facebook chat with Sean Schemmel,[1] effectively revealing the dub's existence, but he had also publicly expressed eagerness to see Scott McNeil reprise Piccolo in Kai on McNeil's Facebook page long before he had announced it himself at a convention panel.[39]

Along with having insider knowledge of the Ocean dub, Subzero Ice also seemed to have insider connections with CSC Media, a British broadcasting company, as he correctly pointed out that Toei Animation's announcement of Kai's U.K. airdate was incorrect.[40] However, he did not predict that the Funimation dub would be aired instead of the Ocean Dub.

Below are some pieces of information Subzero Ice revealed before his interactions with the fan community ceased:

  • He claimed it started production in 2010 (pre-production stages, setting overall strategy, direction for the dub, etc)
  • There were some recastings and some actors returned.
  • Scott McNeil was one of the first to reprise his past role(s).
  • A new Goku was cast (now believed to be Richard Ian Cox). According to him; "they took more trouble to cast [Goku] than they needed to, however they were hoping to get the essence of the character as it is in the Japanese version."
  • Peter Kelamis was not asked to re-audition for the role of Goku.[41] (Presumably, Ian James Corlett wasn't asked to either)
  • Maggie Blue O'Hara will not be coming back to reprise Bulma.[42]
  • While there are some Calgary (Blue Water) actors on the cast, the bulk of it should be the Vancouver cast (Ocean).
  • The dub has words which are pronounced closer to how they'd be said in the U.K. rather than the U.S.[43] (Scott McNeil himself has confirmed that "Namek" will be pronounced closer to Naw-Mek)[44]
  • When CSC Media's Kix channel broadcast the Funimation dub of Kai in 2012, Subzero Ice had this to say:

"CSC Media (owners of Channel Kix; the current broadcasters of Dragon Ball Kai in the UK) were NOT given the option to purchase the Ocean dub of Kai. Toei Animation ONLY gave them the option of the Funimation dub of Kai. CSC Media are aware of the existence of the Ocean dub."[45]

  • At one point this user also mentioned allegedly speaking to the Head of Programming at Turner Broadcasting (presumably the U.K. or European branch), mentioning:

    "At the time, he said that they were not looking to get Kai but if they did, it would be the Ocean dub."[46]


New York voice actor and internet personality Christopher "Kirbopher" Niosi has teased details about this dub throughout the years, including the reveal of Richard Ian Cox as Goku.[47] He has also claimed to have met the "new" voice of Zarbon in the Canadian dub, which would suggest that Paul Dobson did not reprise the role. Likewise, Dale Wilson has also been mentioned as an actor unlikely to reprise Cell as he had supposedly claimed not to have done any recording for the dub.[48] As he often interviews other voice actors on his YouTube channel, it's speculated that he could have received information about this dub through members of the voice cast.

On October 9th, 2016, Kirbopher posted on the Kanzenshuu forums that he learned the dub would not be released, stating that;

"it was created for a very specific purpose and that purpose has more or less passed."[49]

He would later follow that by saying:

"I'm inclined to agree with the last couple folks I talked to, who seemed pretty sure it's staying in a vault never to be aired anywhere, and certainly not to be given a physical release."[50]

This sparked a Facebook page and a fan petition to get the show on the air in Canada - the home country of the dub's production, as well as one of the few English-speaking countries to have not aired any version of Dragon Ball Z Kai on television. This was buoyed by another alleged leaker claiming the show was pitched to a Canadian channel but was turned down multiple times.[51][Notes 7]

On April 6, 2024, Kirbopher hosted an interview with voice director Karl Willems where he revealed the names of several previously unknown cast members.[28]


  1. Ocean Productions has also officially been referred to as The Ocean Group, Ocean Studios, Ocean Media, and Ocean Entertainment.
  2. Funimation's original dub for Dragon Ball was produced in Vancouver, British Columbia but wasn't produced by Ocean Productions.
  3. Morrison was previously executive producer of the Blue Water dub of Dragon Ball GT.
  4. Hrehoriac was also involved in the Blue Water dubs of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball GT as production coordinator.
  5. Gage was production coordinator on the Ocean dub of Dragon Ball Z, as well as the original dubs of the first three Dragon Ball Z movies: Dead Zone, The World's Strongest, and The Tree of Might.
  6. Richard has later denied his involvement, likely because he does not want to break NDA.
  7. While the leaker never mentions the channel by name, all prior Canadian Dragon Ball broadcasts were on YTV, so it can be speculated they were pitched this dub. As the channel has shifted focus away from action-based programming, fan efforts temporarily moved to its sister channel Teletoon and later, to the far more receptive new Canadian broadcaster Wow! Unlimited Media.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Schemmel: "The Ocean Group is doing their own dub" Retrieved 30 May '17
  2. Ocean dub possibility discussion. Retrieved 30 May '17
  3. Dragon Ball Kai Alternate English Dub Revealed? Retrieved 30 May '17
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kirby Morrow talks about ocean dub kai Retrieved 30 May '17
  5. Re: Ocean Studios' Dragon Ball Kai dub seems to be coming. Retrieved 30 May '17
  6. 6.0 6.1 my fan mail gets on the Trevor Devall show. Retrieved 31 May '17
  7. Production Credits - Creative BC Retrieved 20 May '18
  8. Production Credits - Creative BC Retrieved 20 May '18
  9. Re: Ocean Studios' Dragon Ball Kai dub seems to be coming. Retrieved 31 May '17
  10. Scott McNeil confirms no Buu arc so far in Ocean Kai. Retrieved 30 May '17
  11. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming. Retrieved 31 May '17
  12. Cartoons - e-session-singer Retrieved 31 May '17
  13. Opening to Alternate/Ocean English Dub of “Dragon Ball Kai”? Retrieved 31 May '17
  14. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming. Retrieved 31 May '17
  15. Opening to Alternate/Ocean English Dub of “Dragon Ball Kai”? Comment 2427 Retrieved 31 May '17
  16. List of CRTC Canadian Program Recognition Numbers Retrieved 30 May '17
  17. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming. Retrieved 31 May '17
  18. Anitunes.com Retrieved 31 May '17
  19. List of Dragon Ball Z Kai episodes Retrieved 31 May '17
  20. Brian Drummond on Twitter: "Beats me...Maybe we made it solely for some crazy rich #DBZ superfan's private collection. I haven't even seen it !" Retrieved 30 May '17
  21. Chinook Animation, Voices For The World! Retrieved 20 May '18
  22. Re: Ocean Studios' Dragon Ball Kai dub seems to be coming Retrieved 05 Oct '18
  23. The Ocean Group - Anime News Network: UK Retrieved 31 May '17
  24. Blue Water Studios - Anime News Network Retrieved 31 May '17
  25. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming. Retrieved 19 August '21
  26. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming. Retrieved 31 May '17
  27. INTERVIEW: Trevor Devall Retrieved 31 May '17
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 The History of "The Ocean Dub" with Voice Director Karl Willems Retrieved 9 April '24
  29. Michael Dobson on Twitter: "Will do for sure! I'll do some digging and see if I can get some clues...thanks again my friend for the kind words." Retrieved 31 May '17
  30. Saffron Henderson on Twitter: "@garrettk18 Awwww... I heart Gohan! Years ago I got married in the US & lived in CA. Temporarily replaced but got to do lots more." Retrieved 31 May '17
  31. https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-_iuLJ8wn8Sw/VVYnOtNQhQI/AAAAAAAAAfs/PiGgTqyhvwQ/w530-h386-p/11251773_963354097017884_227143352556700662_n.jpg
  32. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming Retrieved 03 Jun '17
  33. HC4L Exclusive: Lee Tockar on Dragon Ball Z Kai (Ocean Group Dub) Retrieved 8 May '21
  34. Lee Tockar on Twitter: "After nearly 2 years I'm finally able 2 announce that I M playing Frieza in the new Ocean group version of Dragon Ball Kai coming out soon!!" Retrieved 31 May '17
  35. Would anyone have Kai Episode 21 dubbed from Canada? Retrieved 31 May '17
  36. Dawn Harvey's ACTRA Online profile Retrieved 11 Mar '24
  37. Andrea Libman and Brendan Hunter panel part 1 of 5. Retrieved 31 May '17
  38. Hi, my schedule at the time was limited. For Kai, I only did some incidental voices. Retrieved 07 Apr '19
  39. Some facts and information on the Ocean dub of Kai Retrieved 31 May '17
  40. Re: DBZKai comes to the UK Retrieved 31 May '17
  41. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming. Retrieved 31 May '17
  42. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming. Retrieved 31 May '17
  43. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming.
  44. Shadocon 2012 - Voice Actor Alliance Part 2 (Scott McNeil and Sean Schemmel) Retrieved 31 May '17
  45. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming. Retrieved 31 May '17
  46. Re: DBZKai comes to the UK Retrieved 31 May '17
  47. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming. Retrieved 31 May '17
  48. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming. Retrieved 31 May '17
  49. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming... Retrieved 31 May '17
  50. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming... Retrieved 31 May '17
  51. Re: Ocean Studios' "Dragon Ball Kai" dub seems to be coming... Retrieved 31 May '17