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[R1 DVD art]
AKA: ドラゴンボールZ, Dragonball Z
Genre: Insane fighting / mythological fantasy
Length: Television series, 291 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by FUNimation, available streaming on Crunchyroll..
Content Rating: North American version: Y7, Japanese version: PG-13 (violence, gore, brief non-sexual nudity)
Related Series: Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball GT, Dragon Ball Z (movies), Dragon Ball Super, Dream 9 Toriko & One Piece & Dragon Ball Z Super Collaboration Special (crossover), Dragon Ball Daima (TV)
Also Recommended: Dragon Ball, Naruto, Yu Yu Hakusho
Notes: Based on the Dragon Ball manga by Akira Toriyama, which ran from 1984-1995 in Weekly Shonen Jump. It is available in North America, licensed by Viz.

We are reviewing not only the TV series available in the United States, but the series as a whole. The reason it earns the "mythological" label is because it was originally based on the legendary story "Journey to the West", albeit VERY loosely.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Dragon Ball Z, Toei re-edited the series and showed it in high definition under the name Dragon Ball Z Kai, which reduces the episode count of the series, as well as fix animation errors.

Do note this review was written a couple of years before the much, much better received Dragon Ball Z Budokai games came out on the PlayStation 2, and the games following.

Dragon Ball Z


The original Dragon Ball TV series was about the adventures of a young, powerful boy, and his friends as they searched for the elusive seven Dragon Balls, which could grant any wish. Dragon Ball Z continues the story of his adult years, and of the adventures of his two sons Gohan and Goten. Needless to say, Dragon Ball Z is NOT the cute, lighthearted romp the original was; for in Z it is revealed Gokuu is a member of a super powerful and ultra violent alien race known as the Saiyajin.

Which opens up a whole new can of beans, so to speak...


For a series called "Dragon Ball Z", there isn't a lot of reference to the actual balls themselves. They seem only to exist to bring back the main characters when they die. And die they do...often, and usually violently. DBZ fans will hate me for this, but... this is NOT the "Mother of All Anime". In fact, it's repetitive, low-quality animation, with a middle-of-the-road storyline and wasted characters, and it's ultimately pointless. Why it's popular is beyond me.

Wait, I take some of that back. The show actually does have good characterization. You do care about them, and want to get to know more about them. Sadly, the fights are so long and drawn-out that character development is completely lost. For example, there was so much comic potential in the relationship between Vegeta and Bulma...namely, that she was such a shrew, she was able to not only tame, but beat into submission the most powerful and possibly evil being in the universe, and even bear his child. That could've been a foil for so much of the repetitive blood, guts, and whatnot, but in the end, it's all but forgotten.

Don't get me wrong, I won't deny Dragon Ball Z its place in anime history. Not only did this series solidify Toriyama Akira's status as a national treasure of Japan, but launched a worldwide marketing blitz rivaled only by Sailor Moon, and recently, Pokemon. But that still doesn't excuse the fact that it's at best, a mediocre show. You can only go so many episodes watching buildup to a fight that lasts all of three seconds. But it IS a glorious three seconds.... I think... Really, you'd want to believe this would make a perfect video game, if anything...but oh the irony. Every single fighting AND role-playing game based off this series has been a complete lemon.

Dragon Ball Z will be an anime that will be long remembered, even after we're gone, but I have to pose this question: Is that truly a *good* thing? (Or shall all our posterity's intelligence be forever insulted?)

There's just so much better stuff out there, and unless you worry about looking trendy at the mall in your DBZ t-shirt, move on. Actually, scratch that. Just PLEASE move on.Carlos/Giancarla Ross

Recommended Audience: There's been enough censorship in America for it to be rated Y7, and there are good family relationships touched upon (between all those fighting scenes, they actually DO interact!) The original version, however, is at LEAST for teens and above, for where someone is "sent to another dimension" in the dubbed version, they die rather violently in the original. (Besides, wouldn't you want your children to see something more socially redeeming anyway? Like Plastic Little! *smirk*)

Version(s) Viewed: VHS, English dub
Review Status: Partial (30/291)
Dragon Ball Z © 1989 Bird Studio / Shueisha / Toei Animation
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