The History of Dragon Ball Z

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Dragon Ball was created by Akiro Toriyama first published in the manga series “Weekly Shonen Jump” 1984. The story begins when a young boy named Goku was found in the woods by an old karate master who trained him in martial arts. Goku meets a female named Bulma who reveals that scattered throughout the Earth are seven dragonballs and if gathered will summon a wish granting dragon.

Venturing to collect these magical objects Goku makes friends along the journey that he must protect. The story takes Goku through various karate tournaments as he easily defeats his opponents in a nave happy go-lucky manner. The series features action packed fi ght scenes, interesting character driven plots, and a young Goku e ortlessly vanquishing the most menacing foes with a humorous goodhearted innocence within the show.

The story of Dragon Ball Z was partly inspired from the classic Chinese novel “The Journey to the West”. The character of Goku was infl uenced by the monkey character in the story, Sung Woo Kong, who had a tail, a pole that can change its length and a fl ying cloud.

Incorporating more fights and martial arts tournaments; Toriyama set the stage for a shift in Dragon Ball's format as the dragonballs themselves served as more of background story. The comedy elements of Dragon Ball were toned down and more villains appeared. While Dragon Ball was originally made to be something cute and funny it was missing the serious tone envisioned. To reboot the series the character of Goku was developed from a young child to an adult and the show took on a new name, Dragon Ball Z (DBZ), due to the belief that the series would soon end. The seriousness was underscored as audiences learn that Goku was sent to Earth as the last of his race when his home planet was destroyed.

Goku's companions (and some former foes) called, “The Z fi ghters”, go about defeating adversaries and protecting the Earth. The series ran seven years and 291 episodes which can be divided by the four major enemies of each saga: Saiyans, Frieza, Cell, and Majin Buu.

In 2000 the manga was re-released in Japan condensing the original 42 volumes to 34. The anime also got a fresh revised, condensed release as well called DBZ Kai.

Dragon Ball GT (DBGT) was an anime only continuation without the backing of the original creator supporting the story. It was hotly debated among fans whether or not the series was considered cannon. Once new material was released DBGT was to be considered an alternate continuation of the story.

The live action adaptation of DBZ came to the west in the form of “Dragon Ball Evolution” in 2009 which was utterly disdained by fans as it is set in a modern high school and skewed too many aspects of the original story.

Although there haven't been other live action attempts at the series there were other anime movies that were written in the DBZ universe: three movies in the Dragon Ball time period, 13 set during the DBZ era, and two made-for-television-movies. In 2014 the success of the movie Battle of the Gods ultimately led to the continuation of the series and the release of Dragon Ball Super which premiered in 2015 and continues airing every Saturday night.

For many DBZ might've been the first anime they were exposed to and helped to introduce the genre of anime to the west. DBZ has impacted fans, the genre of anime, and popular culture; it has captivated audiences creating a generation of long-lasting hard-core fans. YouTube creators Team Four Star have lovingly created a fan-made comedic parody to mock the series called DBZ Abridged.

If not for DBZ there may not have been an anime boom. Anime was once called Japanimation and was seen as taboo being more violent and sexualized than what people may be used to coming from cartoons; some people may be surprised to learn there're are gorier versions of your favourite animes.

DBZ made it cool to watch anime and opened the door for other shows like Ronan Warriors, Gundam Wing, Pokmon, Sailor Moon and many others. DBZ wasn't supposed to last as long as it has but its popularity has created a legacy leaving its mark for generations.