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Review: Dragon Ball Z sends anime into mainstream culture


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Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z are masterpieces that brought shounen anime to the West and basically made the formula that many shounen anime of today follow.

But what makes this show so special? Well to get to that we need to start at the Original Dragon Ball. Although and Dragon Ball Z are apart of the same manga series, there are a lot of differences between the Cell Saga and the Pilaf Saga.

The original series starts off as a more episodic adventure type show. But after they find the dragon balls the show starts tournament sagas which shape the Dragon Ball style we know and love.

These tournaments have more weight to them because it seems like Goku (shown in image to the right) can actually lose to many of the other contestants and would not totally stomp everybody else out. But the best archenemy has to be the Evil King Piccolo saga.

Piccolo is the first real obstacle of the show as he seems truly unstoppable after he gets the power of youth. But when Goku gains the power to combat him he doesn’t completely overpower him and destroy him with ease, he struggles to defeat him and nearly loses-  but that final punch is truly iconic and is well earned.

And when Piccolo Jr comes to fight a now Teen Goku the same stakes apply, making for another intense fight. But when he defeats Piccolo he instead saves his life and revives him which leads into Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball Z continues this style of sagas of fights that take a long time with a great almost unstoppable threat and gives even better villains with Nappa, Vegeta, The Ginyu Force, Frieza, the androids, Cell and Majin Buu.

Dragon Ball Z aired on Toonami in the early 90’s and brought a whole new world to kids. 

Dragon Ball blew up and made anime known to the United States, creating thousands of anime fans who still watch to this day. This major blow up has made anime somewhat mainstream and has had a major effect on the anime genre in general. Dragon Ball has been so successful that some shows like Naruto and My Hero Academia use some of the Dragon Ball templates. 

Now that Dragon Ball has returned with Dragon Ball Super and a new movie coming out right around the corner the future of Dragon Ball looks bright.

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Review: Dragon Ball Z sends anime into mainstream culture