I finished Dragon Ball Recut, the definitive and perfected fan made version of the ancient Dragon Ball anime, which Kai never covered.
This wonderful product only has one seed left to it, so anyone who hasn't downloaded it yet had better get on it quick.
The editor had a difficult choice leaving in episodes 63 and 64, which were mainly filler, but were the only animated version of the events that occurred in the manga chapters 151-152. My suggestion is that you simply skip those episodes and read the manga instead, then go back to the anime on the other side. Other than that, this Recut is essentially flawless. It turned an almost unwatchably bad show into what would have been a great anime in my rankings all on its own, nevermind how it ties into Kai and Super in the future.
If I had to rate the various arcs of this recut, I would order it like so in quality:
1. Pilaf Saga
2. Ma Jr. (3rd Tenkaichi)
3. Tenshinhan (2nd Tenkaichi)
4. Red Ribbon Army
5. Piccolo Dai-maou
6. Fortune Teller Baba
7. 1st Tenkaichi
I have a huge bag of complaints with the 1st Tenkaichi tourney. The fights were way too corny and full of dumb gags. There was no tension to them because the author kept deliberately breaking the tension. Bacterian is an unforgivable existence that never should have been published. Goku's fight with Giran was way too close considering how weak Giran was. But worst of all, Roshi blowing up the moon was power to a scale never before or after seen for the rest of Dragon Ball, even though people kept insisting they were much stronger than Roshi from there on. Roshi should not have been able to blow up the moon. If he simply hadn't blown up the moon, power levels in this series would have made infinite more sense. The next time we see that level of destructive power is when Piccolo blows up the moon in the train Gohan arc. That's much, much deeper into the series, it's unclear if Piccolo could even have done that during the Ma Jr. arc. At the very least, none of Piccolo's devastating, 'full power' ki blasts wrought anywhere close to as much damage to the Earth. And after doing all those weakass ki blasts that did barely any damage to the Earth, he was visibly exhausted and out of strength.
So we have Piccolo, the strongest villain in Dragon Ball Recut, totally wiped after blowing up a mountain and a prairie, whereas Roshi could blow up the moon in the middle of a tough fight, then go back and win the original fight anyway. And you're telling me Roshi is weaker than all these other characters from the 2nd tourney onwards? Bullshit.
The Fortune Teller Baba arc had some dumb moments, and was extremely short. I find it unbelievable that Gohan was as strong as Goku when he was only Roshi's disciple, and Roshi had earlier said Goku was much stronger than him now. Everyone in the story and the lore respected Roshi as the undisputed strongest in the world. If Gohan really were so strong, then why didn't anyone know or talk about his legacy? Why hadn't he climbed Karin tower like Goku and Roshi had? Also, Devilman's beam is stupid. Why didn't they just recruit him to kill Piccolo, Vegeta, Frieza, etc? If he can make anyone with an evil heart explode he's the go to answer to all the villains in the series. Don't write in dumb status-effect based attacks that don't consider stats, they'll always create plot holes in the future.
Piccolo Dai-maou is too flat a character as simply 'the epitome of evil.' Everything about him is crude and petty. He's always angry, laughing maniacally, demanding people respect him, etc. Just an obnoxious person whenever he's on screen. Goku being spared by opponents who beat him twice in the same arc is pretty unbelievable. Furthermore, what's with this dumb cheap free instant power-up called the super sacred water? It's ridiculous. Power should never be free and easy, otherwise what did everyone train so hard for in life? Isn't the theme of shonen jump 'effort, friendship, victory?' The super sacred water is the exact opposite of that.
Worst of all, when Piccolo took Tenshinhan hostage, Goku allowed himself to be beat to a pulp and rendered mostly helpless even though the whole world was at stake and he absolutely had to win that fight. This isn't a difficult calculus. If Goku loses, the world is destroyed, including Tenshinhan. If he ignores the hostage, Tenshinhan dies, but the world is saved. Unless the whole world, including your own life, is worth nothing to you, the balance of the scales is to ignore the hostage. Who knows, once you make it clear that you care nothing about the hostage, Piccolo might even give up and let him go again. But Tenshinhan definitely won't survive if you pay attention to his threats to the hostage. Any hero who gives in to blackmail and lets a villain win, especially when the villain is planning the destruction of the world, mass murder, etc, is utterly obnoxious and retarded. The fact that Goku prevailed was just due to authorial majesty, in the real world, Piccolo wouldn't have released his hostage until Goku was definitely dead. The fact that he released Tenshinhan prematurely and that allowed Goku to defeat Piccolo and save Tenshinhan was just put in to excuse Goku for his horrible decision. In the real world decisions like that are never forgiven. You never give in to blackmail or terrorism, because all that does is encourage more of it in the future. If you can't beat it the first time, you're entirely helpless from then on, because whenever you oppose them, they can just resort to blackmail again, and as a result, you just end up their lackey forever more. It's an absolutely unacceptable decision in any circumstance.
The Red Ribbon Army arc had too many things go Goku's way. The fact that Blue never secured the kill no matter how many times he paralyzed his foes is ridiculous. The fact that Sergeant Metal's batteries just happened to run out while Goku was fighting him was too convenient. The dumb gags about the ninja were dumb. Why didn't he just use the same old tatami mat to block multiple shuriken? Then there wouldn't have been any problem.
Arale and Turbo were too overpowered and made Goku's life too easy. They don't fit into the story at all and should not have been in the story.
Why couldn't Tao Pai Pai fly when the Crane Hermit, Chaozu and Tenshinhan could? Plot hole. There was also another stupid hostage scene with Commander Yellow, and I will never forgive any hostage scene.
For these reasons, I couldn't really enjoy the bottom four arcs of the story, except as nice bridges and explanatory notes for the other arcs.
However, the remaining top three arcs are virtually spotless. In fact, if someone wanted to watch an even further abridged version of Dragon Ball Recut, watching just these three arcs wouldn't be a bad idea. The 1st arc is a great introduction of many characters who will carry the story for hundreds of episodes to come, and has a lot of genuinely funny jokes, mainly based around how differently Bulma and Goku see the world. Bulma's really hot, too, and the show is very generous in showing that to full effect, something you just don't see in future Dragon Ball.
Tenshinhan is an awesome character and a great rival to Goku where they fought only for pride and no world ending issues were at stake. It felt very pure and good. I also really like that Goku lost, it was a real twist that normally you wouldn't see coming.
The last tournament with Piccolo delivered a lot of presents to the viewers. We got to see everyone as grown-ups for the first time. In addition, we got to see cool fights on a scale never before seen in the series -- tons of ki blasts, everyone can fly, no gags like that horrid Tenshinhan volleyball combo in the 2nd tourney, etc. Tenshinhan beating Tao Pai Pai was a very satisfying ending to his character arc, as was his rematch with Goku. Piccolo did a great job acting both evil but also more than evil, like someone who was genuinely enjoying the tournament and earnestly just trying to do his best. You could really feel there was more to this character than the previous Piccolo.
My favorite aspect of the Ma Jr. arc has to be Goku's reunion with Chi Chi. Chi Chi acted super cute in her match with Goku and afterwards, and Goku had the integrity to fulfill his promise. Goku's honor flies squarely in the face of what everyone in modern society preaches. That promises don't matter, that you can only mean something at the time, that if a promise is no longer convenient you can just forget about it, etc. Goku's rigid adherence to a promise he made, even though he didn't know what it even meant, makes him a role model for my kind of world, and is diametrically opposed to the 50% divorce rate and 50% adultery rate of the modern day. Also, Dragon Ball is almost unique in shonen action series for including love, marriage, and children, even grandchildren. Goku becoming a father and raising his kid adds a whole new dimension to the story that's extremely valuable and welcome. Without the Ma Jr. arc, none of those future family moments could have ever occurred. Gohan and Goten wouldn't even be alive, not to mention Pan.
The idea that careers are important, but so are families is also reinforced by this decision to have Goku marry. Goku is the strongest man on Earth and its one and only guardian, facing off against giant alien menaces one after the other. However, it wasn't Goku training and fighting that ultimately saved the day. It was having Gohan and training him into the man who could beat Cell that saved the world. Ultimately Goku's greatest achievement was as a father, not as a fighter.
If anyone hasn't seen Dragon Ball yet but is a fan of Kai or Super, then they no longer have an excuse. You simply must download this Recut version and start marathoning. You will not be disappointed. Combined with the Super that's also coming out this year, I think it's pretty clear that Dragon Ball will be the headline series of 2016. What a long and twisted road it took, for an anime that was made in the 1980's, to finally arrive in 2016 in its finished form. What an unexpected blessing we've received. Now we just need the announcement of a new Bleach anime to finish off that manga's adaption as well. . .