1989 -2009 : Dragonball Z
My celebration of DragonBall Z's 20th anniversary as an Anime
families (or ... people who liked it ... didnt have to be families) gathered round their television sets and turned on to see ...
"Mini GokÅ« wa Obocchama! Boku Gohan desu"
[Here comes mini goku! My name is Gohan] (translated by me)
... also known as Dragon Ball Z episode 1
The episode was mainly an introduction to the character of Gohan, showing mostly him getting lost in the forest, and introducing Radditz, Goku's long lost brother. However it started one of the most popular anime series ever, a series that lasted for 291 episodes and will never be forgotten.
It featured Son-Goku, now grown up (though we're never really told how old he IS) and with a son, named after his "grandpa" who raised him, named Son-Gohan. Throughout this series, we saw that Goku was actually a member of an alien race called the Saiya-jin, we met quite a few members of his race including prince Vegeta and the idiotic Nappa (Brawns before brains here). His father Bardock was introduced in a special as well. There were movies where more Saiya-jins appeared, but we'll go onto them in a moment. it deserves a section dedicated to itself.
for the story of DragonBall Z (i know this technically involves the manga but its still Dragonball Z timeline stuff) Akira Toriyama had it all planned out. Goku would grow up, learn he was an alien, and then go to space, defeating the one who destroyed his planet, an evil being named Frieza, and make the hero of earth give his life to defend the universe, killing Son-Goku in a blaze of glory, leaving the earth under the eyes of his son.
That is how he wanted it to end, however you cant always get what you want (although if you try sometimes you get what you need, but thats got nothing to do with this blog). The fans wanted more, and so after enough pushing, he complied by saying that Goku survived. In the anime at this point we were treated to the horendous filler arc of Garlic Jr, though again i wont go into this right now as its part of my movie problem. all will become clear soon, I promise.
Then we get the androids saga, which i think was quite a strong point for the series, although that is only my opinion. The story went on through the Androids saga, where the earth was threatened by killer androids whos jobs were to, youve guessed it, take over the world
Bison(Vega if japanese... what??) : OF COURSE!!!
... okay im sorry, critic. I couldnt resist
In turn, the creature called Cell arrived from the future, draining whole cities of life in order to get what he wanted, perfection. He manages to absorb both Androids 17 and 18 and achieve perfection, when he decides to ... hold a tournament.
that was a little ... odd. He has all the power to destroy the world but no, he wont do that yet, he will have the courtesy of holding a tournament against him just to prove that he's worthy, because of course NOBODY is going to attempt to blow him up, and then blast him with a super powered ki energy beam are they? hahaha thats just silly ... oh, they did.
Okay partially i can understand. He DOES have Goku's cells inside him and so he may get his "fairness" from them, but if that was the case, surely he wouldnt want to kill and destroy for the fun of it at all. ahh well, we must remember it is but an anime series.
Anyway, the series ends with Goku sacrificing his life in a failed effort to defeat Cell, and then Gohan finally achieving Super Saya-jin level 2 in order to crush Cell after witnessing Android 20 get killed (seriously ... his father dying does nothing, but android 20 who was once their enemy getting killed makes him into an angry killing machine ...).
AGAIN, this was meant to be not the end, but a major change in the series. Goku was now gone, and so Gohan was meant to take the limelight. In the first episodes of the world tournament saga after the timeskip you see that they are based a lot on Gohan's life ... but once again the fans complained that they wanted goku back and so we had him back in time for the next villain, Buu. The big fat blob who didnt want to destroy the world, he just wanted to eat the world. He could turn anyone into chocolate and candy.
Buu turns out to not be such a bad person. He is more ... childish, and doesnt really know what is right and wrong, being ordered around by his master Babiddi, son of bibbidi (and yes the joke is "bibbidy babiddi buu". I wish it wasnt but there we go), and with some help from Mr.Satan, he decides not to do bad things any more, however when his puppy is killed, he gets angry. due to the conflict of emotions, his evil manifests itself as another Buu, one of pure evil, and absorbs the good buu, leaving a creature known as "super buu", now no longer the fat jolly creature, but a thin being of evil. He goes through the world destroying what he can. There are many battles with him , until Goku and Vegitta fuse together to form Vegitto.
(for people who dont understand where the tto came from at the end of his name, allow me to explain. in the american version of the anime, Goku's saiya-jin name is Kakkarot, but in the japanese, his name is Kakkarotto. the tto comes from the end of that.)
They manage to remove all the people from within him ... only then to realise that those people he had absorbed had actually weakened his original form, a small, compact, and yet overly powerful being. After managing to defeat him with a Genki-dama, Goku wishes that he be reborn as a good person, and thus we get Uub, the young boy with the potential to be as powerful as Kid Buu was.
and that is DBZ in a very abridged nutshell
that wasnt it though. last year we had an extension to the series with the special "yo! Son Goku and his friends return!". it was a half hour episode containing fanservice and not much else. its story was that Vegita's brother Tarble had come to earth with his wife, and wanted protection from two aliens named Abo and Cado (their combined names being a pun on Avocado, a food joke like many DBZ characters are named after). the premise was good but in my opinion it just went downhill. Nothing really happened. its a lot of fun, a lot of laughs, much Goku x Vegeta arguing, and Gotenks as usual saves the day. it was a bit too much fanservice to me.
Then i said i would go onto the movies, and here we go. Dragonball Z must be unique in the fact that it has had many movies, but none of them to my knowledge can actually fit into the storyline of the anime. they cannot actually fit in anywhere because things that are established in the anime are ignored in the movies. take for example movie 1, "Return my Gohan!", also known as "The Dead Zone". in this movie, Gohan gets kidnapped and its up to Goku and his friends to save him, but the problem arises when this is supposed to happen BEFORE the series of Dragonball Z, so between Dragonball and Dragonball Z, but in the second episode of Dragonball Z when Kuririn, Bulma, and Muten Roshi see Gohan, they are amazed that Goku has a son, something that, if the movie was canon, they would already have known. This also means that the filler series "Garlic Jr." that happens between the Frieza saga and the Android saga cant be canon either because it refers to things that couldnt have happened. Many of the movies do this in one way or another and, although fun and enjoyable, cannot be part of the anime series timeline.
A bit of information that many people may not be aware of, but while the anime of Dragonball changed its name from Dragonball to Dragonball Z, the manga in japan didnt do this, sort of how the anime to Naruto is split into Naruto and Shippuuden, but the manga isnt. This isnt very well known in america or the UK because the manga is called "Dragonball Z" as soon as the timeskip occurs, but in actuallity there are a few clues.
take a look here at this cover to the american volume 8 of Dragonball Z, however notice that Goku is wearing a badge that holds the number 24. This is because in the originals, the volume number was being held somewhere on the picture, be it on a badge like that, on Goku's gi where the kame-sennin logo should be, or on different places depending on the picture. when VIZ made their own covers, they left the original pictures, meaning the old volume number is visible. a bit of pointless information i know, but i thought it was worth it.
The characterisation in the series had its ups and downs. The rivalry between Goku and Vegita. I must admit that it was done well most of the time with Vegita not wanting to admit that Goku WAS truly more powerful than him, but then it got silly at certain points where it just went over the top. Pride only goes so far. And then we had Vegita's breakdown when fighting Brolly ... when would Vegita EVER just stand in the background, open mouthed, repeating "its impossible, we cant win" every 10 seconds, having to be knocked out of it by PICCOLO? it just wasnt in character.
Something many people complain about too is the fact that it always seems to follow the same rythm. enemy appears, Goku fights him, he kicks Goku's ass. Goku's allies fight him, he beats them one by one, Goku reaches new power level, kills enemy, and then sometimes enemy becomes good and joins the good guys. Now okay i admit that its true and kinda funny if you think about it, but it IS in some ways due to the fans.
Think of it this way, first off Goku went super-saiya-jin just before he was meant to die, so it would be fitting for him to die as a legend. Then the fans wanted him back, so they got it. the android saga ... okay, it was a bit lame showing that all saiya-jins could become super saiya-jin, as it lost some of the legendary aspect to it. Then GOHAN became Super saiya-jin 2, something that Goku hadnt, because Akira Toriyama had wanted Gohan to take the limelight of the series. Makes sense to me to give your new main character the boost. Then we have the point that people wanted Goku BACK, and so he comes back as main character and once again, has new Super Saya-jin level 3. I will admit that even if Gohan was there he would have gone level 3 instead but the fact that it was Goku AGAIN was partially to do with the fans wanting it. However im not trying to say it wasnt an overuse of the gimmick, it was definately using it to the point where it meant nothing more than "oh hes a saiya-jin, whens he gonna go super?" instead of "whoa! hes a super-saiyajin! this is gonna ROCK!!!".
Anyway, with all this said, Dragonball Z is one of the most well known Japanese anime series throughout the world, and has been widely aclaimed as the greatest action animated series of all time. its been around for 20 years, with many spin offs and video games to its name, with Dragonball Online coming soon. Sure it has its downsides, but so does any series.
20 years and still going strong, may it's popularity continue for another 20 years and more!
I hope this was an okay blog. I know it wasnt perfect but hey, Dragonball Z was the first anime that i watched, and i wanted to do something special for it's 20th anniversary, so here it is. may not be perfect, but i gave it a shot :)
and I know i didnt get to everything, but DBZ is just too huge a phenomenon to cover completely in a single blog. I may post a blog soon about the games or something, but for now ... this is my contribution to the phenomenon that is DBZ. Thankyou Toriyama for a great series!
now im off to watch the Saiya-jin saga...
p.s. I think I should mention the "official" celebration for the 20th anniversary. Dragonball Kai. The opening and ending animations are amazing, but ... i think its a bit lazy. sure its a redub and they DID make a few new scenes for it but its mostly just a cut version getting rid of all the filler and some scenes that were cut for time, making it into a 100 episode series. I think its a lazy way to celebrate the series, but ... hey, at least we dont have to watch Garlic Jr. anymore, eh?
p.p.s. I am suffering from MAJOR hayfever right now, and so what with the allergy itself and my medication my head is in a fuzz, so if theres anything that looks a bit messed up or doesnt make sense, thats my story and im sticking to it.
useless info : chichi is japanese for boobs
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