Toonami Honours Series Creator Akira Toriyama With ‘Dragon Ball Z Kai’ Marathon

The surprise passing of Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama has spawned countless tributes from all over the world, and Toonami is holding one of its own. The programme block will host a Dragon Ball Z Kai marathon this weekend, covering the first eight anime episodes from 2am to 6am ET.

Dragon Ball Z Kai Toonami

“As a tribute to anime legend Akira Toriyama (1955-2024), we’re celebrating his legacy Saturday night with a DBZ Kai marathon from 2a to 6a,” Toonami wrote in their Facebook post. “May he rest in Super Saiyan power.”

For the uninitiated, Dragon Ball Z Kai is a recut version of the Dragon Ball Z series and was released in 2009 to commemorate the anime’s 20th anniversary. The HD remaster also streamlined the original to 167 episodes instead of 291, with re-recorded dialogue featuring most of the original cast.

The decision to air Dragon Ball Z Kai may come across as bizarre, but it’s likely chosen for its accuracy to the source material. The show proved to be a more faithful adaptation of the Toriyama’s manga, as it excluded a lot of the anime-exclusive content found in the original, such as specific story arcs.

The world mourned the loss of a legend when Toriyama succumbed to an acute subdural hematoma on 1 March. While the late manga artist was best known as the creator of Dragon Ball, his diverse portfolio spans the anime and gaming genres, including Dr. Slump, Dragon Quest, and Chrono Trigger.