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A Legion of Animators Remade a Classic Dragon Ball Episode Frame for Frame [Update]

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Especially if you grew up watching it, Dragon Ball is hard not to love, with its rich landscapes, totally unexplained animal people, and of course, Goku, the gifted but naive fighter at the center of it. Where formative experiences with anime are concerned, this show holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts. Which is why the Seven Star Re-Animate project exists.

Tumblr posts calling for recruits to remake an episode of the anime started appearing as early as November of 2014. Teasers and trailers graced the project’s YouTube channel last year. Now, the full episode is finally available for the watching, with a staggering variety of 2D and 3D art styles represented by over 200 different animators.

While it would have made just as much sense to start at episode one, this fan project chose to remake episode eight, the one where Goku first learns his trademark kamehameha wave—a move which would become a staple of not only Dragon Ball but its many sequels and spin-offs.


Update June 10 10:38am: We heard back from Tim Tapp, the lead on the project, who provided some insight into the inner workings of Seven Star Re-Animate worked.

However, the biggest issue in completing the project wasn’t wrangling so many people, but navigating the two different versions of the episode. “Because this project was a combination of 2 versions this episode (1994 Ocean dub, and 2002 Funimation dub) there were some confusion when someone would look for a shot they liked,” Tapp told io9. A new version was stitched together in Adobe Premier and sliced into sections based on where there were cuts in the source material. Those tiny chunks were assigned out (unless animators requested specific scenes) to the 250+ animators involved. Tapp estimates the project took a little over a year from start to finish.


The project was inspired by a similar reanimate for Sailor Moon that was posted last year by Kaitlin Sullivan, as well as Tapp and the other animators’ nostalgia for Dragon Ball—which he describes as a “gate keeper” to his interest in anime. And yes, he’s considering making more in the future. “If people really like what they see, and the demand is there, I have some ideas for another,” Tapp told io9, “I’m just glad it’s finally done and put out there. There are so many talented people all over the world that helped make this possible, and everyone seeing all that great work is the really biggest thing.”