Why Dragon Ball is so popular?

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#1 Posted by sakaiXx (4185 posts) -

More popular than Naruto, Bleach, One Piece in the west and in popular culture. Sure I grow up with Dragon Ball, loved it but I never get the lasting effects of the series and why its so popular compared to the others I mentioned.

The only other that I can think off that is very huge in popular culture is Sailor Moon but has fallen off in recent years.

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#2 Posted by Byshop (19175 posts) -

@sakaixx said:

More popular than Naruto, Bleach, One Piece in the west and in popular culture. Sure I grow up with Dragon Ball, loved it but I never get the lasting effects of the series and why its so popular compared to the others I mentioned.

The only other that I can think off that is very huge in popular culture is Sailor Moon but has fallen off in recent years.

I think a lot of people just grew up with it. It's been around a lot longer than the next oldest series by about a decade and it got a lot of airtime on US television even before anime ever got anything close to mainstream popularity here. Personally I was never a fan. Didn't like the art style. The ratio between solid action and all the other nonsense was just too low. I'm not saying that it's not without it's merits, just that there are other, better shows like some of the ones you mentioned.

-Byshop

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#3 Posted by MrGeezer (59702 posts) -

I can see the appeal, at least with the Dragon Ball Z stuff (up to a certain point in the plot).

I never really watched any of this stuff very much, but I've seen some of Dragon Ball Z up through the early Buu storyline, and I kind of see the appeal. They're kind of dumb easily watchable shows about the power fantasy of constantly getting stronger. I'd certainly never say that it's even good anime, but I get the appeal. Same as how I'd never say that McDonalds is good fast food, but I'll still eat it every once in a while.

Having said that, that's me seeing the appeal in the concept. Like, I watched through the Frieza stuff and was like, "that's kind of cool". Then Cell came along and rendered the Frieza stuff irrelevant. And by the time they beat Cell and brought Buu in, I was like, "okay, I've seen enough." Power fantasies about getting stronger have an appeal, but there's only so long that that kind of stuff can get stretched out (particularly when the series isn't particularly good to begin with). I'm actually on-board with the concept of Dragonball Z, but at a certain point it just started to look to me as if it was JUST a never-ending ratcheting up of power levels. And that's not enough to sustain interest. Because any growth in power becomes meaningless. You know that as soon as the good guys get powerful enough to beat the unstoppable bad guys, that the writers will just throw in even more powerful bad guys in order to knock the good guys back down to square one. And that's not even getting into how long and drawn out this stuff is, how sometimes they'd find ways to make it take an entire goddamn episode just to have a character perform a single move.

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#4 Posted by npiet1 (1304 posts) -
@Byshop said:
@sakaixx said:

More popular than Naruto, Bleach, One Piece in the west and in popular culture. Sure I grow up with Dragon Ball, loved it but I never get the lasting effects of the series and why its so popular compared to the others I mentioned.

The only other that I can think off that is very huge in popular culture is Sailor Moon but has fallen off in recent years.

I think a lot of people just grew up with it. It's been around a lot longer than the next oldest series by about a decade and it got a lot of airtime on US television even before anime ever got anything close to mainstream popularity here. Personally I was never a fan. Didn't like the art style. The ratio between solid action and all the other nonsense was just too low. I'm not saying that it's not without it's merits, just that there are other, better shows like some of the ones you mentioned.

-Byshop

Pretty much this. We grew up with it. It was on at 7:30am for me so it was the last show before I left for school. I have tried re-watching it but it doesn't hold up well. I don't mind bleach though I'll binge watch that here and there to catch up to the Dub release.

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#5 Edited by uninspiredcup (29159 posts) -

When I was about 12-13 randomly flicking through the channels, checking out Cartoon Network, I caught the fight between Zardon and Vegita.

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Vegita wasn't a good guy, he was a bad guy, fighting a bad guy. Which, I hadn't seen before.

The fight, unlike other cartoons was brutal, he was beaten to the point Zardon thought he was dead leaving his body in a lake.

All this stuff to a kid was new and amazing. And it just got better. It went from some strange wire fighting "The Good, The Bad And Ugl"y to a story of Tyrants destroying worlds and legends of Super Sayian, which got cheapened to the point of meme, but back then,a kick in the West with limited internet had no idea what it was. You also were't aware that death was meaningless, so when I saw this scene I thought he was legitimately dead.

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Freiza's design was also something new. As a Western kid you are use to villains being large, muscular, monster like creatures. Usually shouting and cackling. Instead it goes in the reverse, his form becomes androgynous, sleek, small and devoid of sharp angular edges, he's quiet and reserved, and then half way through the 60 hour fight you learn he's only using 1% of his powah. Shocking revelations!

The show never really peaked past Namek, it's where it was originally suppose to end, but by that time it had became the Disney of anime and they weren't going to let that shit go.

Super more an obligatory nostalgia watch, like visiting an old friend. It's quite bad in alot of respects. The animation in the original seasons was so terrible they had to redo it.

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#6 Posted by newyorkcables (21 posts) -

The reason behind the humongous popularity of DBZ is Dragon Ball series and it's manga. When the DBZ was released it was already having a huge fan Base which grew due to release of Dragon Ball series and it's manga which is one of the mostpopular manga of all time.

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#7 Posted by PSP107 (17282 posts) -

@uninspiredcup: "The show never really peaked past Namek, it's where it was originally suppose to end, but by that time it had became the Disney of anime and they weren't going to let that shit go."

Z was good up to the Namek saga. The Android/Cell/Buu sagas were lacking.

"Super more an obligatory nostalgia watch, like visiting an old friend. It's quite bad in alot of respects. The animation in the original seasons was so terrible they had to redo it."

In addition to going super sayain 1/2/3/God nonsense, Super is another example of how they're are milking the show.

Anyway, I still say the orginal(when they were kids) is still the best.

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#8 Edited by Jag85 (12408 posts) -
@sakaixx said:

More popular than Naruto, Bleach, One Piece in the west and in popular culture. Sure I grow up with Dragon Ball, loved it but I never get the lasting effects of the series and why its so popular compared to the others I mentioned.

The only other that I can think off that is very huge in popular culture is Sailor Moon but has fallen off in recent years.

The reason should be obvious: Dragon Ball was the OG, which came first, long before the others. It was Dragon Ball that set the Shounen action template for the others to follow. Without Dragon Ball, there wouldn't be any One Piece, Naruto or Bleach... Although it's worth noting that the real OG was actually Fist of the North Star, which set the Shounen action template for DBZ. But FOTNS was too graphic and violent, aimed at mature audiences, so it was DBZ which introduced that style of action to younger audiences.

By the time DBZ was introduced to English-speaking countries, it was already a huge phenomenon across Asia, Mainland Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. It took almost a decade before DBZ caught on in English-speaking countries, long after it had already become popular everywhere else. I remember the first time I ever watched Dragon Ball was on the German satellite channel RTL, in German! Yet despite not understanding German, Dragon Ball was still entertaining to watch, up until English DBZ finally began airing in the UK. And then DBZ left its mark on Western popular culture, introducing millions to anime, and inspiring numerous Western comics, cartoons, games, movies and shows.

Dragon Ball's legacy is something that the likes of One Piece, Naruto and Bleach simply cannot compete with. Despite evolving the Shounen template in various ways, they're not the OG like Dragon Ball is. It's like how Pokemon was followed-up by the likes of Digimon, Beyblade, and Yu-Gi-Oh, yet they couldn't reach the same heights as Pokemon, because that's the OG which set the template for them to follow... Which kind of answers your second line, as Pokemon is easily bigger than both Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon combined. Pokemon is the biggest cultural phenomenon to come out of both the anime and video game industries... or any entertainment media industry, for that matter.

P.S. One Piece is better than Dragon Ball. That's the one Shounen anime that has exceeded even Dragon Ball's popularity in Japan. Yet in the West, One Piece is a niche show, not as popular as Naruto or Bleach, let alone DBZ... If only 4Kids didn't screw-up the One Piece dub. If the dub was handled better, One Piece could've become popular in the West, since it's like Dragon Ball meets Pirates of the Caribbean, except it came before POTC, and is better than both DBZ and POTC.

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#9 Posted by omegaMaster (1022 posts) -

Because it's better than those anime you mentioned. It was cool, looked awesome, great artwork and had everything to get us pumped up during our childhood. It was such a manly anime with all those bodybuilders fighting like aliens lol.

Most 90's kids grew up watching Dragonball and Sailor Moon on the television. that is why 90s kids grew up watching the best cartoons and video games :D

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#10 Edited by Jag85 (12408 posts) -
@uninspiredcup said:

The show never really peaked past Namek, it's where it was originally suppose to end, but by that time it had became the Disney of anime and they weren't going to let that shit go.

Super more an obligatory nostalgia watch, like visiting an old friend. It's quite bad in alot of respects. The animation in the original seasons was so terrible they had to redo it.

Disagree. I would argue that Dragon Ball peaked with the Android Saga. The Namek Saga very much followed a similar template to the Saiyan Saga (but improved on it, of course). Whereas the Android Saga followed a different template that set it apart from the other sagas. The story went much deeper into sci-fi territory, with a dystopian cyberpunk plot, and things like androids, time travel, and alternate timelines. Also, unlike the main villains in previous sagas who start out incredibly powerful and other characters have to catch-up, the Android Saga flipped the script with the main villain Cell instead starting out weaker, before having to catch-up and eventually overtake the heroes. It was also the Android saga where we truly see Vegeta's character growth, showing a softer side to his character, and eventually completing his transformation from a villain to a reluctant hero, much like Piccolo's transformation from villain to hero in the Saiyan Saga. And for once, Goku doesn't come to save the day like he usually does, but instead other characters like Piccolo, Vegeta and Trunks overpower Cell at different points, before it eventually comes down to Gohan to save the day. While previous sagas felt like the Goku show, the Android saga was the one saga where DBZ didn't feel like the Goku show (except for the filler Garlic saga, which isn't canon anyway).

And unlike the Saiyan and Namek Sagas which have very little connection to the original Dragon Ball (besides the Piccolo Saga), the Android Saga is a culmination of everything that the entire DB and DBZ series was building up to. It's a follow-up to the Red Ribbon saga from the original Dragon Ball. And it gives a fulfilling conclusion to the character arcs of Vegeta and Gohan, with the Android saga being the culmination of Gohan's potential that DBZ had been hinting towards throughout the Saiyan and Namek sagas. If DBZ had ended at the Namek saga, it would've felt incomplete, since it doesn't give a fulfilling conclusion to Gohan's character arc and Vegeta's character growth would also be limited, nor does it have much to do with the original Dragon Ball where the series started. The most fitting conclusion for DBZ would've been the Android Saga, which ties up all the loose ends from throughout DB and DBZ. That's why it makes sense that Toriyama decided to continue after the Namek Saga and finish with the Android Saga... until his fans and publisher persuaded him to continue writing DBZ after that, resulting in the trainwreck Buu Saga.

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#11 Edited by uninspiredcup (29159 posts) -

@Jag85 said:
@uninspiredcup said:

The show never really peaked past Namek, it's where it was originally suppose to end, but by that time it had became the Disney of anime and they weren't going to let that shit go.

Super more an obligatory nostalgia watch, like visiting an old friend. It's quite bad in alot of respects. The animation in the original seasons was so terrible they had to redo it.

Disagree. Dragon Ball peaked with the Android Saga. The Namek Saga very much followed a similar template to the Saiyan Saga (but improved on it, of course). Whereas the Android Saga followed a different template that set it apart from the other sagas. The story went much deeper into sci-fi territory, with a dystopian cyberpunk plot, and things like androids, time travel, and alternate timelines. Unlike the main villains in previous sagas, who start out incredibly powerful and other characters have to catch-up, the Android/Cell Saga flipped the script, with the main villain Cell starting out weaker before becoming stronger than the heroes. And for once, Goku doesn't come to save the day like he usually does, but instead other characters like Piccolo, Vegeta and Trunks overpower Cell at different points, before it eventually comes down to Gohan to save the day.

And unlike the Saiyan and Namek Sagas which have very little connection to the original Dragon Ball (besides the Piccolo Saga), the Android Saga is a culmination of everything that the entire DB and DBZ series was building up to. It's a follow-up to the Red Ribbon saga from the original Dragon Ball. And it gives a fulfilling conclusion to Gohan's character arc, with the Android saga being the culmination that DBZ had been hinting towards throughout the Saiyan and Namek Sagas. If DBZ had ended at the Namek saga, it would've felt incomplete, since it doesn't give a conclusion to Gohan's character arc nor does it have much to do with the original Dragon Ball for where the series started. The most fitting conclusion for DBZ would've been the Android Saga. Which is what Toriyama also had in mind when he wrote the Android saga.

We also find out in detail what happened to his race and father. He becomes the super sayian of legend, basically fulfilling his role as far as I'm concerned. Dragonball indicates he's an alien, but it isn't until the Saiyain Saga, which Namek is essentially an extension of, that we know anything beyond that. It also recontextualizes the Sayians to a degree, in a more sympathetic light, where "bad guys" were dominated by a far worse bad guy. It's probably the most important lore in the entire series.

Although I do agree, Gohan - Hulk Mode, wasn't completed. I don't necessarily think it needed to be, nor bringing Vegita back to life towards the end, as in most of the series, death becomes cheap.

I'll watch the Andriod/Cell/Buu stuff, and Super beyond that. But it's not something I felt that was required. More a bonus.

-

Bardock is also a superb creation. Much like Harley Quinn in Batman: TAS, Bardock became canon through the anime, "Toriyama stated that Burdock's tragic story moved him and so decided to include him in the manga", unfortunately he changed it from the series/special for the worse- which we will see in the upcoming Brolly movie.

The Bardock movie is a superb companion piece, probably the best Dragonball movie, as the majority are villains of the week, with essentially no story beyond an excuse to fight. This movie has a good story and relevance.

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#12 Posted by Jag85 (12408 posts) -

@uninspiredcup:

You ninja'd my edit. I added more reasons for why I think the Android saga is better. Not that it matters much. A good argument could be made for either the Namek or Android sagas. But what we can at least agree upon is that the Buu saga was a trainwreck.

I don't remember the original DB hinting at Goku being an alien. DB was originally based on the medieval Chinese novel Journey to the West, with Goku based on Sun Wukong. Since Sun Wukong was not an alien, but rather a fallen deity that Buddha cast out of the heavens, it didn't make sense to assume Goku was an alien in DB. It was DBZ that gave Goku a sci-fi alien origin story. Since I started with the original Dragon Ball (although I didn't understand it much, since I was watching in German on RTL), the alien origin story came as a surprise, rather than feeling like a natural progression of DB. Whereas the Android saga does feel like a natural progression of DB, since it's connected to Goku's adventures in DB.

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#13 Posted by jeezers (1945 posts) -

Im a big fan, seen every episode more than once, have all the movies on an external, its my favorite anime. I actually dont like anime, only dragon ball. I tried one piece and Naruto, I hated them. I liked one punch man tho, it made fun of dbz in alot of ways.

Also Namek saga is overated, I prefer android through buu. Hated how tonnami always played namek saga re runs as a kid.

Im stoked to check out the new broly movie.

(Btw my friends who do love anime shit on dragon ball) imo it will always be the best anime.

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#14 Edited by uninspiredcup (29159 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

@uninspiredcup:

You ninja'd my edit. I added more reasons for why I think the Android saga is better. Not that it matters much. A good argument could be made for either the Namek or Android sagas. But what we can at least agree upon is that the Buu saga was a trainwreck.

I don't remember the original DB hinting at Goku being an alien. DB was originally based on the medieval Chinese novel Journey to the West, with Goku based on Sun Wukong. Since Sun Wukong was not an alien, but rather a fallen deity that Buddha cast out of the heavens, it didn't make sense to assume Goku was an alien in DB. It was DBZ that gave Goku a sci-fi alien origin story. Since I started with the original Dragon Ball (although I didn't understand it much, since I was watching in German on RTL), the alien origin story came as a surprise, rather than feeling like a natural progression of DB. Whereas the Android saga does feel like a natural progression of DB, since it's connected to Goku's adventures in DB.

I liked the Buu Saga up until Vegita and Goku disappeared. It devolves into nonsense. And, once again, Vegita comes back after X episode nullifying death. A major problem with the show.

Goku is basically Superman. He displayed unnatural power other people can't comprehend, learning the kamehameha in minutes. Most people are baffled by his tail and he turns into an ape fighting Jackie Chun requiring the moon being blown up and his tail eventually cut.

The problem with the show, or advantage depending on how you look at it, it doesn't really detatch itself from either fantasy or sci-fi. People can be baffled by Gokus tail, yet not by talking humanoid dogs. People can be baffled by two sayians arriving but not a man walking around with a halo on head, or a talking turtle, or a gaint cat walking around with a blue wizard. Gods exist but they have scientific time travel laws etc...

Personally, I think it's a good thing Draginball is different from Z much like how the Hobbit is different from Lord OF The Rings. Super, for all it's faults, does a pretty good job of straddling between the two. It's only really when Trunks arrives and The Tournament Of Power that it goes into full on Z territory with doom and gloom, extended fight sequences, ultimate super-duper form.

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#15 Posted by Jag85 (12408 posts) -

@uninspiredcup:

I didn't really like the Buu saga much even before that either. Ever since the Saiyaman arc, which turned Gohan into a dabbing Sentai-wannabe... although the show did improve after Goku and Vegeta came back. If anything, I slightly preferred the Buu saga more after Goku and Vegeta disappeared, since Gotenks and Gohan got a chance to shine in the spotlight... before it returned to being the Goku show again, with Goku once again saving the day (and with Vegeta as his backup).

In the original DB, Goku was Sun Wukong, a mythical fantasy hero with superpowers. He even has the same name, as Sun Wukong is called "Son Goku" in Japanese. So for Japanese audiences, Son Goku = Sun Wukong. And then with DBZ, Goku became less like Sun Wukong, and more like Kenshiro and Superman, along with a Superman-like origin story... Ironically, Japan already had Superman-like superheroes years before the first Superman comics, dating back to the early 1930s: Golden Bat (also a bit like Batman) and Prince of Gamma (who had a similar origin story to Superman as well). But that's all history. Nowadays, Goku is pretty much the Japanese Superman.

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#16 Edited by uninspiredcup (29159 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

@uninspiredcup:

I didn't really like the Buu saga much even before that either. Ever since the Saiyaman arc, which turned Gohan into a dabbing Sentai-wannabe... although the show did improve after Goku and Vegeta came back. If anything, I slightly preferred the Buu saga more after Goku and Vegeta disappeared, since Gotenks and Gohan got a chance to shine in the spotlight... before it returned to being the Goku show again, with Goku once again saving the day (and with Vegeta as his backup).

In the original DB, Goku was Sun Wukong, a mythical fantasy hero with superpowers. He even has the same name, as Sun Wukong is called "Son Goku" in Japanese. So for Japanese audiences, Son Goku = Sun Wukong. And then with DBZ, Goku became less like Sun Wukong, and more like Kenshiro and Superman, along with a Superman-like origin story... Ironically, Japan already had Superman-like superheroes years before the first Superman comics, dating back to the early 1930s: Golden Bat (also a bit like Batman) and Prince of Gamma (who had a similar origin story to Superman as well). But that's all history. Nowadays, Goku is pretty much the Japanese Superman.

Technically it was this guy.

Which to me is probably the aspect that stands out in that arc, aside from resolving the Vegita/Goku rivalry. He helps Gohan as well in the Cell Saga by throwing 16's head, but this is better done. Even though he's clown, and weak, much to Vegitas dismay of bringing him back, he's ultimately good and uses what abilities he has to help. Saving Vegita, distracting Buu, getting earth help.

I really, really didn't like what they done to Gohan in the Buu saga, Super shits on him as well for the longest time, but he does get time to shine in The Tournament Of Power where his intellect rather than an obligatory XP boost is used.

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#17 Edited by Jag85 (12408 posts) -

@uninspiredcup:

Personally, I found Mr. Satan to be kind of annoying... almost as annoying as Roshi was in the original DB. But at least Mr. Satan doesn't give pedo vibes like Roshi did, so he's definitely a big improvement over Roshi.

Gohan was my favourite character in the show, up until they ruined his character in the Saiyaman arc. They did bring some of the old Gohan back again in the Super Buu arc, but that didn't last long.

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#18 Posted by Ovirew (8394 posts) -

I think, having rewatched the first two seasons and a good chunk of the third season of Z earlier this year, Dragonball had a really great story planned out through those early years of Z.

I always remembered Frieza saga being a high point when I was younger, but I found the Saiyan saga to be a high point this time around. Namek was also great. I was able to buy the idea that it took Goku forever to travel along Snake Way, and that it again took him forever to fly in a spaceship to Namek while training like crazy. I think Frieza saga was complete overkill though - you expect me to buy that they spend several episodes waiting for Goku to heal after being damaged by Ginyu, and it was only supposed to have taken an hour? The formula became rinse-and-repeat for a third season in a row. The scene with Vegeta dying was something, but again it was a bit overkill having Goku take a moment to bury him right then and there. And then....commence a ton of episodes showing this ongoing battle between Goku and Frieza. I still think Frieza is my favorite villain in Z, but that fight gets extremely drawn-out.

I don't think Trunks, Android or the Cell sagas were bad either. The show needed to change gears a bit after Frieza. I remember even liking the Garlic Jr. saga, which was kind of a placeholder season. I am not even sure if Buu's saga was as bad as I remember it being. But the show got further and further away from what it was in those early seasons, and became less interesting when so many characters were super saiyans and the show introduced things like fusions.

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#19 Posted by Speeny (593 posts) -

Strangely enough I wasn’t a huge fan of it growing up. They used to air it on TV a lot here. But I think what didn’t appeal to me is that the fights dragged out for quite some time. It’s considered a must watch but I probably won’t ever get around to watching the entirety of it all.

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#20 Posted by Needhealing (2006 posts) -

I dislike Anime now, though growing up I loved it. Dragon Ball for me was the king of kings. Its crazy, weird, manly and over the top. Nothing better than it.

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#21 Posted by CreasianDevaili (4382 posts) -

It was a simple progression from start to end. It didn't really try and be something it's not or become so "complicated" they couldn't even find a way to finish an arc. Naruto and Bleach had that issue, and tbh while i hate the artwork I think One Piece is the closest thing to true homage to DB, and is why I figure it's still going strong.

I think Hero Academy is doing well too.

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#23 Posted by Glitch- (287 posts) -

Probably just because the action and cool fight scenes.