Toei Animation’s Dragon Ball Z is a Japanese Anime television program. It’s part of the Dragon Ball media franchise and is the follow-up to the 1986 Dragon Ball animated series. It adapts the final 325 chapters of Akira Toriyama’s original Dragon Ball Manga series, which ran in the Weekly Shonen Jump from 1988 to 1995.
From April 1989 till January 1996, the series aired on Fuji TV in Japan and also was subsequently dubbed for a webcast in at least 81 countries around the world.
Because of the Anime’s success in the United States, the Manga chapters that comprise its story were initially published by Viz Media under the “Dragon Ball Z“ title.
The popularity of the Anime has also resulted in a plethora of media and merch that has ended up coming to constitute the majority of content inside the Dragon Ball franchise.
Despite numerous adaptations as well as re-releases, such as a remastered broadcast titled “Dragon Ball Z Kai,” Dragon Ball Z remains an undisputed cultural icon.
Dragon Ball has evolved into one of the most prolific Manga and Anime series in history, with the Manga being sold across over 40 countries and also the Anime being broadcast in over 80.
The Manga has sold over 160 million copies in Japan and 300 million copies globally, which makes it the second best-selling Manga series of all time, right behind One Piece.
At this point in history, if you haven’t watched or even heard of the revered and influential Dragon Ball series, then you’re probably living under a rock.
What is Dragon Ball Z?
Toei Animation’s Dragon Ball Z is a Japanese anime television series.
It is the sequel to the 1986 Dragon Ball anime series and adapts the final 325 chapters of Akira Toriyama’s original Dragon Ball manga series. It is part of the Dragon Ball media brand. From April 1989 through January 1996, the series ran on Fuji TV in Japan and was then dubbed for broadcast in at least 81 countries worldwide.
Dragon Ball Z continues Son Goku’s adult adventures as he and his friends protect the Earth from villains such as aliens (Vegeta, Frieza), androids (Cell), and magical creatures (Majin Buu).
What does Dragon Ball Z stand for?
Before I can answer, it’s crucial to note that the Z was only inserted for the anime.
In Japan, the original manga by Akira Toriyama, which detailed the story of Son Goku from boyhood to adulthood, is simply known as Dragon Ball. However, in English-speaking countries, Viz Media and other publishers renamed the manga Dragon Ball Z to clearly differentiate the two eras of Goku’s journey and avoid confounding readers familiar with the anime.
Regardless, for a long time, the meaning of the “Z” was, if not mysterious, certainly not well known.
How did Dragon Ball Influence Anime?
Although now we can comfortably consider Anime a worldwide sensation, It wasn’t always this way, particularly in the west. Most Anime that aired on western tv were months and sometimes even years later than the original airing date, and would only air during odd hours of the morning.
This would leave many Anime fans sleep-deprived trying to catch the airing of their favorite shows, although our sleep-deprivation problem hasn’t ended, even after a few decades.
Alas, western television broadcasting services’ outlook on Anime drastically changed after Dragon Ball Z was released.
Let’s be honest, almost all modern-day Anime fans who watched Anime a decade ago can attest to Dragon Ball being a huge part of our childhood, in a way was like a learning station for us, we learned about Goku’s values of friendship, hard work, and honesty. It’s no surprise how Goku’s character was able to influence thousands of Anime like One Piece and Naruto.
We had to pass around VHS tapes of imported shows, watch Mighty Morphin Power Rangers exclusively, or wait until an animation network decided one of the more popular Anime was worth a 3 AM timeslot. That is until Toonami showed up and tried something new. And fortunately for them, Dragon Ball Z helped their big gamble pay off. After that, it was just a snowball effect of Anime until we got to where we are now.
|Directed by||Daisuke Nishio (#1–199)|
Shigeyasu Yamauchi (#200–291)
|Produced by||Kenji Shimizu (#1–199)|
Kōji Kaneda (#108–291)
|Written by||Takao Koyama|
|Original run||April 26th, 1989 – January 31st, 1996|
Transformations and Power Ups
The transformation sequence, eh? It’s become so commonplace that we’ve forgotten where it came from. Dragon Ball Z has a lot of them, and they vary depending on who is experiencing them. If it’s a villain, such as Freiza or Buu, the transformation usually makes them more grotesque and less sane.
However, in the case of a hero, the transformation comes from within and represents their personal growth. They achieve it through sheer willpower. It’s still used today in things like Naruto’s Sage Mode, Luffy’s Pound Man, and Gon’s Muscle form.
To be honest, although it’s predictable and clique, we can’t help but get hyped every time the protag gets a super crazy and strong new form.
Goku as a Protagonist
But that’s not all; Goku himself is a popular inspiration for Anime characters! Though, to be honest, we’re not sure why.
He’s a terrible father and a very selfish hero. Still, his upbeat airhead personality is contagious, and he always seems to do well with Manga readers, even if this is sometimes due to poor adaptation.
And something is endearing about a character who is obsessed with their brand of justice. Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece is the closest equivalent, as he’s essentially just pirate Goku, but this Super Saiyan has influenced thousands of other main characters.
The Legendary Shounen Scream
I’ve covered a wide range of Dragon Ball Z topics that have inflicted Anime in one way or another. But, among all of these things, one stands out as the most important lesson DBZ trained future generations of Anime fans.
If you desire to be a protagonist, you must be able to scream. Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Gohan, and the others can all yell. Something about yelling to bring forth your maximum capabilities just gets us going.
It’s done by Luffy, Naruto, Ichigo, Midoriya, as well as the normal volleyball students in Haikyu!! after a great spike. Everything depends on the yell.
How Influential is Dragon Ball?
Unmeasurable, Dragon Ball essentially birthed the Anime revolution in the west.
This great series made it more socially acceptable and cool to watch Anime. Before this, people who watched Anime were considered weird and faced bullying of various levels.
It’s not a huge stretch to claim that Anime wouldn’t be as popular in the West or the rest of the world without the Dragon Ball franchise essentially carrying it on its back.
Without the clique shonen style, shonen Anime can be a bit boring, but a lot of works, such as Naruto, have their ideas traced right back to Dragon Ball Z, and if I remember right, even Masashi Kishimoto (Creator of Naruto) asserted in interview sessions that a lot of his personality ideas came from Dragon Ball Z.
Not only has Dragon Ball Z influenced modern Anime, but it was also responsible for introducing Anime to a broader audience.
With the number of dubs available, it effectively modernized Anime for anyone in the United States and around the world. It toured North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Not many Anime series makes it that far.
Which Animes were Influenced by Dragon Ball?
Any shonen Anime that has the main character as a goofball who constantly screams and is loud and yet is a kind-hearted hero is directly or indirectly inspired by Dragon Ball.
Animes with a power-ranking system or Animes with long grueling training sequences have also been heavily inspired by Dragon Ball.
So with these two sentences, we can cover almost every Shounen Anime known to man. Besides this, some of the most popular Animes that have been directly/officially inspired by Dragon Ball are:
- One Punch Man
- Assassination Classroom
- One Piece
- Toei Animation’s Dragon Ball Z is a Japanese Anime television program. It’s part of the Dragon Ball media franchise and is the follow-up to the 1986 Dragon Ball animated series. It adapts the final 325 chapters of Akira Toriyama’s original Dragon Ball Manga series, which ran in the Weekly Shonen Jump from 1988 to 1995.
- The 42 collected tankbon volumes of the Manga have sold over 160 million copies in Japan and 300 million copies globally, which makes it the second best-selling Manga series of all time, right behind One Piece.
- Anime was not always as popular in the West as it’s now. In the 1990s, kids would have to watch Anime in the early hours of the morning months or even years after it aired in Japan. However, with the emergence of Dragon Ball Z, the industry was forever changed.
- If you desire to be a protagonist, you must be able to scream. Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Gohan, and the others can all yell. Something about yelling to bring forth your maximum capabilities just gets us going.
- It’s not a huge stretch to claim that Anime wouldn’t be as popular in the West or the rest of the world without the Dragon Ball franchise essentially carrying it on its back.
- Any Shounen Anime that has the main character as a goofball who constantly screams and is loud and yet is a kind-hearted hero is directly or indirectly inspired by Dragon Ball.
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