Ah, Dragonball. The beginning of one of the longest and arguably most popular anime franchise on both sides of the pacific. Unfortunately, this anime seems to be shunned by a few based on its affiliation with its sequels. That's a shame, really.
One huge reason why this anime holds its own is that the entire franchise is in its infancy. There are no Super Saiya-jin stages to worry about, and the fights aren’t stretched out to their barely tolerable limits. The various quests that the young Z-Senshi embark on are just that: quests. There are no interstellar enemies to fight (early on), and the majority of
the time spent is on the team simply trying to find the dragonballs. The comedic element in Dragonball shines just as brightly and flows smoothly with the story. The characters have such a genuinely portrayed chemisty between each other. Dragonball never seems to take itself too seriously, allowing the viewer to sit back and enjoy the ride.
For a twenty-year-old series, Dragonball looks the part. Time has taken its toll, as the art and animation haven’t aged very well, though by 1980's standards, it's pretty good. On the other hand, the fights are better planned out, particularly during the Tenkaichi Budokai. Instead of the “beat-down-to-the-brink-of-death-only-to-tap-in-to-a-hidden-power-and-win-at-the-last-second” routine, combatants actually have flaws and human weaknesses, including Goku. Some are actually enjoyable with comedic moments placed within them. As the series begins its final arc, however, we begin to sees shades of the future for this franchise. Fights begin to grow longer and longer and the comedy slowly begins to wane.
Like I said earlier, it’s a real shame that this series gets such a bad reputation because of its successors. Sure, it eventually parts into its lackluster sequels, but as the saying goes, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’ Dragonball is a fun series that should be worth anyone’s time, be you a newcomer or a seasoned veteran.
This show is a masterpiece, kicking off with an amazing story, great characters and some of the best anime humour! The art is quite obviously outdated, but not awful! And to top it all off, the music is awesome!
At the time of this review, I have only seen the Goku and The Tournament sagas but they have been great and have beaten what I have seen of Dragonball Z and Dragonball (Z) Kai.
Overall, Dragon Ball is a funny, action-packed anime and definitely worth watching!
This won’t be an in depth review because everyone knows about Dragon Ball and its influence and there are already numerous reviews written about it. This will just give you an idea of whether you should watch it or not, for those who haven’t yet.
Dragon Ball undeservedly doesn’t receive the same attention as its more popular sequel. The Dragon Ball series does receive a lot of flack for being really repetitive and for its unnecessarily long fight sequences but it’s really unfair to compare the franchise to what the shonen genre has become today. Because of this people tend to overlook Dragon Ball.
is divided into multiple story arcs, some longer than others, which are hilariously funny and manage to entertain with fantastic battles. Dragon Ball is gut bustingly hilarious, and it might surprise people how sexual the jokes are and how comfortable Goku is naked but the gags never got stale. The fights were always entertaining and well thought out. It was never just a case of running in, attacking and (if a foe was just too great) tapping into a hidden power. Although the first two thirds of the show are quite funny, the tone grows a lot more serious starting with the last third, a lot like the tone throughout Dragon Ball Z.
Goku might come off as one dimensional since he was one of the first traditional shonen hero archetypes, but the more you watch the show, you’ll realise he isn’t just some stupid and strong fighter. The rest of the cast move the plot along pretty well with some of them playing major roles, which is a shame really because in the sequels they basically serve no meaningful purpose, not in the story or with the fighting.
The animation is dated, but one does get used to it rather quickly. Sometimes the same animated shots are reused but this doesn’t detract from the enjoyment. Characters designs are also exaggerated for comedic slapstick purposes that manage to gain quite a few chuckles.
I saw the dubbed version and all the voice actors fit their roles well, especially Barbara Goodson as Goku and Mike McFarland as Master Roshi. The English OP was really catchy (some may disagree) but the ED was forgettable. The Japanese songs scattered throughout the series were not too shabby but were usually drowned out by the chatter of the characters.
A classic that will forever be in the shadow of its sequel that manages to be fun from start to finish. Despite a few hiccups in the animation, Dragon Ball is truly a remarkable and fun show to watch. It’s long, but it never stops being entertaining. If for some unexplainable reason you have yet to watch the Dragon Ball franchise, this is the perfect place to start.
Oddly enough not alot of people know of the anime that started it all. Yet most of them have probably watched the sequel. Why is this? I catch myself in this thought all the time, because the prequel is strikingly good when compared it to it's Z counterpart.
This anime succeeds despite it's shortcomings in my book. This is simply because it know's it's a goofy fighting anime and thus dosen't try to be anything else. The focus is therefore put on fighting, cracking jokes and gags, and last but certainly not least: The journey that Goku goes on in itself.
The story in here is very
simple; finding the Dragonballs. At least that's what the gang spends a large bulk of the series doing. Due to the length of this series it's obvious that there will be fillers. However the fillers do more than just fill in the time where we aren't fed the canon story. The fillers generally retain the quality of the canon episodes, and there aren't that many of them either. his is largely due to the fact that the humour in Dragonball is fantastic and feels naturally woven in with all the characters and the story. This also applies to the fillers.
Some viewers may criticize Dragonball for the reptitive nature of the story, saying that it's the exact same thing over and over again. And to a certain extent they're correct. But this leads back to what i was previously talking about; a "proper" story would do more bad than good here. It would leave less freedom to make this anime as goofy and hilarious as it is. And you shouldn't be watching a fighting shounen for the story.
The characters in Dragonball are all lovable. No matter the size of their role in the story. They are all fleshed out over time and you will either love or hate them. Goku in particular is very fun to watch, because the majority of Dragonball viewers saw Z first, which may have left you wanting to see what Goku was like during his early years. He is truly a treat to watch, and is quite clearly the staple for all other shounen protagonists.
The fights are the main driving points of this anime along with the comedy aspects. Thankfully they don't make the fights ludicrously long in an attempt to make them exciting. The pacing of the fights is well done the fights well thought out. Strategy plays an integral role in the majority of the fights earlier on the series, and as the series progresses it slowly reaches the point Z is at.
The anime is old and you can easily tell by the art and the visuals. (hehe penises.) No, but seriously. The animation and art are average for their time, which means that it obivously pales in comparison to modern standards. But if you look at it through a more objective scope it has suprisingly aged quite well. Remaking this series with updated visuals would be mistake because I feel there is a charm in the old art style. The magic of the show would certainly go lost along with the old feel of it.
Dragonball is an anime that cannot be missed. Do not let the length or the visuals of this anime discourage you. It's truly worth your time.
Join Goku in his mystical adventure for the Dragonballs!
Influenced heavily by Journey to the West, Dragonball follows the journey of the world's most popular anime and manga character of all time: Son Goku, the innocent yet powerful hero we follow on his adventures as he and his friends explore the mysterious world in search of the seven Dragonballs.
Contrary to common believe, Dragonball is not all about fighting. No, it is about much, much more than that. Dragonball is story of great adventure, friendship, pain and suffering and love. Most of today's seemingly generic morals in series such as "protecting nakama" or "never giving up" are derived from Toriyama's brilliance in this series.
In my eyes, Dragonball will always be the number 1 undisputed anime and manga series. It was the first of its kind to feature such a strong cast and plot in the shounen genre that it became an ambassadorial series to the world, creating conditions under which modern day series such as One Piece, Naruto and many, many others of all genres could thrive under.
As said previously, Dragonball has a strong adventurous plot and cast of characters, all of whom are very interesting and relevant to the story (an unfortunate lacking in the DB's sequel: DBZ). However, Dragonball's greatest charm is its setting, which greatly compliments the adventurous and rather ambitous plot written by Toriyama.
Dragonball takes place in a mysterious world filled with mysterious places and creatures and cohesions of real life cultures. Goku visits a great many strange and unusual places inhabited by strange and unusual people on his journies to collect the Dragonballs at first and later to become the Strongest Under the Heavens. For example, in one of the earlier episodes of Dragonball, Goku visits a village populated by cowboys and Indians (I should say Native Americans), a rather interesting and humurous occurence considering the world of Dragonball being quite futuristic over all, if not in most places. It is this unusualness, this incredible sense of awe and adventure that have made people love the series and its main character and thus made it easy for them to follow Goku's journey, during which we met creatures like Oolong and Puar and animals that could walk on their hind legs and speak the human tongue, and vampires, mermaids and zombies, mummies and androids and aliens. I could go on, but I believe I've already sketched you a painting of what it is I'm trying to convey.
Dragonball sets not limitations on the imagination of the viewers. It is truly a unparallled masterpiece in a league of its own. This is reflected in the fact that Dragonball, 30 years later, remains the highest selling manga series of all time with 300 million world wide sales to Once Piece's 228 million sales and Naruto 180-odd million sales.
I recommend all appreciators of manga and anime, new and otherwise, to at least make the effort of trying this great and wonderful series. Once you have watched this masterpiece, you will forever have a different view on manga and anime in general as this series immense influence becomes apparent.
Dragonball, without a doubt in my mind, is the greatest series of all time and deserves all the recognition it has been given and more.
Dragon Ball, sometimes romanized as Dragonball, is an anime series that ran for 153 episodes from 1986 to 1989, produced by Toei Animation, directed by Minoru Okazaki, based on the manga by Akira Toriyama. Its an epic adventure story, chronicling nearly 10 years of the lives of group of friends, as they grow stronger and travel the world; in search of 7 wish-granting magic balls, doing wacky shit and fighting an assortment of over-the-top villains along the way. Not that you didn’t already know all that, as Dragon Ball is one of, if not the, most famous anime of all time. To make myself clear:
This is a review of Dragonball, not Z, GT, the manga, or Super.
Because Dragonball splits itself up into arcs, this review is going to have to be structured rather strangely. Essentially, I’ll cover all the aspects that are in all the arcs, and then talk about each arc individually.
While the animation in Dragonball is rather standard for long-running shonen, with speedlines and explosive reactions, yet still having the occasional fight scene that blows you out of the water; the aesthetic is anything but standard. It’s constantly colorful and fun, with pastel-esque colors and cheesy music, which fits the series to a T. Even the more epic or intense moments of the series fit with the artstyle. When it comes to sound, I’d be a criminal if I didn’t mention two things. One: the opening, as it’s one of the most seminal OPs in all of anime, silly lyrics and all. Second and more importantly: The dub. Dragon Ball invented good anime dubs, with its ridiculously over the top, but perfectly fitting, adaptive script and actors. Stephanie Nadolny’s voice as Goku, as she portrays his innocence and growth into an adult is simply beautiful, and the witty casual dialogue is even more enjoyable with Funi’s english script.
The comedy is always on-point, with some lines being downright classic. From when I first watched the show, 7 years ago, to this day, the best comedy gets me on the floor laughing, which I can’t say for most anime.
Next is the characters. Every character is extremely enjoyable to watch, with fun personalities and playful dialogue. Additionally, the abilities and strategies of each opponent, and hero, are interesting, and often comical. Not to say that these characters aren’t well written, as the main cast has fantastic development throughout the course of the series. Goku was raised his entire life secluded in the forest, only ever knowing his grandpa, who died when he was 8. Because of this upbringing, Goku is rather ignorant about the world around him, and watching Goku accept the call to action and develop into a more capable adult is cathartic, yet genuine. Goku is also easy to root for, with his childish ideals and powerful friendships. Speaking of friendships, Bulma’s cross development with Goku is palpable. While Bulma helps Goku become a more sensible teenager, Goku helps Bulma become more human and have more fun, as it is implied that she hasn’t had many friends until she met Goku, and, in the beginning, she tended to act rather arrogant. Krillin and Goku are the first real shonen friendship, and it’s completely adorable. These guys are teenage friends, through and through, and I can’t get enough of their banter. The way they subtly grow closer and closer as friends is something you don’t even notice until you re-watch the show. Master Roshi is Master Roshi; there isn’t much else to say about him, except that his lines are some of the funniest in the show. Finally, we get to our last recurring character. Do you like bad boys? Well let me tell you, Yamcha is pretty bad… at everything. As overused as that joke is, Yamcha is actually kind of a badass in the early arcs, before Bulma slowly softens him up; it's a solid arc, funnily enough. The rest of the characters are arc-specific, so I’ll talk about them when I get to their arc.
The last thing I want to talk about before the individual arcs is just how timeless this show is. Its damn near atemporal, and the infinitely iconic character designs and moments don’t exactly weaken that effect. Dragon Ball being immune to the passage of time is rather ironic, considering the overlying theme of the series, which I’ll get to later. The only consistent flaw in the series is the pacing; 16 volumes into 153 episodes is just too much. Luckily, the pacing is steady, which is preferable over faster, but inconsistent pacing.
The first saga, as they are called, is the Emperor Pilaf saga, which covers the first 13 episodes. This saga is by far the most comedic of them all, with the final climax being more like a punch-line than an epic moment, and most of the silly quirks of the characters being played up.
That’s not to say that the saga doesn’t have epic shit in it, as these first 13 episodes introduce something that would change anime and manga forever: The Kamehameha Wave. Every time you see a cool shonen power, remember to think about the one that started it all, from this iconic classic.
Lastly, this arc has our characters traveling across tons of different landscapes, which brings out the adventurous nature of the series. Nearly half of this arc is anime original, but, as we’ll come to learn, Dragon Ball’s anime original episodes are anything but filler, as they tend to add tons to the narrative, and are always fun.
The next saga is the 21st Tenkaichi Budokai saga, which runs from episodes 14 to 28. The comedy is pushed back slightly for the sake of training and action, which is hugely effective. The wins feel totally deserved, and when the action looks good, it looks damn good. The arc manages to be even more enjoyable than the previous one, which is a miracle in its own right.
Each opponent introduced in the tournament isn’t worth talking about individually, but that by no means labels them as unmemorable. To Nam’s peaceful nature, and all his fighting techniques, to Ranfan’s sexual manipulation, to Bacterian’s total stink, to even the ways this wacky bunch was defeated, everything this arc does burns into your memory for years to come.
Up until episode 26, every fight in the series has been wrapped up with in an episode or so. That all changes with the mammoth 3 episode climax of the tournament, which combines everything great the series has done into one glorious fight. Its funny, exciting, creative, clever, and most importantly, possibly the first great shonen battle.
The Red Ribbon Army saga covers episodes 29 to 67. It combines the comedy centric first arc, with the more action focused second arc, to create a beautiful synthesis of elements. The comedy is still consistently funny, but it now relies more on visual cues and Goku’s attitude rather than dialogue, because, unfortunately, the saga neglects most of Goku’s friends.
Fortunately for the arc, the new villains are enough to make up for it. Mercenary Tao is the first legitimately scary villain, as he fucking murders people for looking at him funny, and it’s as hilariously awesome as it sounds. He’s a real threat to Goku and the people around him, which really adds to the stakes of the arc. Speaking of stakes, this saga is the most intense yet, with Goku having real drive to collect the Dragon Balls. General Blue is another new villain with tons of personality; his flamboyant attitude and weird powers making up the meat and potatoes of who he is. And, of course, ARALE IS IN THIS ONE! Arale’s short section of episodes makes for some of the best comedy in shonen, and I’ve re-watched it more times than can be counted.
Perhaps most integral is the fact the amount of places Goku travels throughout the saga. He travels deftly through mountains, rural villages, cities, corporate headquarters, secret bases and icy cities, which leads to the most adventurous part of the entire franchise. Goku meets more new faces in this arc than I can count, to the absolute joke of a ninja, Murasaki, to the loveable Eighter. It all makes for another strong entry in the series.
The Fortuneteller Baba Saga runs from episodes 68 to 83, and is the return of Goku’s friends. It’s a barrage of fights in quick succession, all of which, while refined, are some of the least memorable in the series. With exception to the final two fights of the arc, one being the return of Emperor Pilaf, being the same dumbass he always was, and the other being the conclusion to Goku’s first character arc. The latter is an intensely satisfying emotional conclusion that was long overdue, and it makes the arc all worth it. Its great to see everyone together again, and the ending is masterful, but the saga is still the weakest in the series, and I don’t have too much to say about it.
Luckily, this all leads to the best saga in the series thus far, the 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai, which runs from episodes 84 to 101. Take everything the original Budokai did well; the epic fights, memorable characters, climactic conclusion, solid character development and on point comedy, and multiply it by 100, and you get this saga. Remember the giant 3 episode final battle of the previous tournament? This one has 3 fights with that level of intensity, and a 5 episode finale, with even higher stakes and even more creative and inventive powers.
While this sounds like it would lead to power creep, it somehow doesn’t… until Z, that is. Despite the myriad interesting characters that are introduced in this saga, I will focus exclusively on two of them: Tenshinhan and Chiaotzu. Tenshinhan is my favorite character in the series, as his scary demeanor, horrible past deeds and murderous teacher all combine to create a poignant, but, in the end, conclusive and powerful character arc. Chiaotzu is more of a companion to Tenshinhan than his own character, but his deadpan attitude and strange abilities lead to well timed comedy, and his interactions with Krillin always put a smile on my face.
This might just be me, but this saga leads really well into the next one. While the narrative of Dragon Ball always flows well, this one is particularly noticeable, especially considering how horrendous the flow is in Z.
The 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai is a saga I’d consider a flat 10, and absolutely love watching. Yet, despite that, it’s not my favorite arc in the series; that would be the next one...
The King Piccolo Saga runs from episodes 102 to 122, and it’s literally the shonen arc. It’s by far the most intense thing we’ve seen thus far, with actual heartbreaking moments, a darker tone, and an overlying sense of fear. The villain of the arc, Piccolo, is fucking mortifying. His actions all spiral back to years before the series begins, and he breaks rules that you’d never expect anyone in this story to break. Piccolo isn’t the only scary villain here, as all of his henchmen are a force to be reckoned with as well.
Unlike the rest of the series, this saga only has one real fight, and it’s at the end. It’s the template for every final shonen battle to come, and it surpasses almost all that copied it. My blood boils like wild every time I watch that final episode, and I always have my nails digging into the arms of my chair, ready to explode, by the end.
Goku and Tenshinhan’s characters are at their peak in this saga, with Goku being more desperate and intense than ever before, and Tenshinhan getting his arc fully resolved in a masterful stand-alone episode. While there is a dearth of comedy from most of the characters, the new character, Yajirobe, makes up for that in spades; and even has his own sweet moment by the end!
In most cases, having an arc this dark in tone would be jarring, but Toriyama subtly made the tone darker and darker throughout the series in preparation for this. It all feels real, instead of feeling forced, which is the most important thing in making an arc like this.
The King Piccolo Saga is an absolute triumph of an arc, which is why so many other series, and even some of the Dragon Ball movies, rip it off. It’s just as effective now as it was when I was 7 years old, and it’s my favorite arc in the series.
Finally, we have the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai Saga, which runs from episodes 123 to 153. Nearly half of that is anime original content, though it’s highly enjoyable, and, as always, adds to the overall story. Because the previous arc was such a masterpiece, this one doesn’t even try to surpass it; rather, it goes for something entirely different. This is not a climax, it’s a resolution; like a dessert to wrap up your meal, or a 30 episode Return to Sabaody.
Every character gets a showcase of how far they’ve come, both in strength and in personality, and it’s one of the most satisfying conclusions you could give to a series. Every fight has somewhat of a dry-cynicism to it, as if it knows that the fights aren’t what this arc is about, almost poking fun at the things that have become staples in every tournament arc. Of course, the finals are still over-the-top epic and important, Yamcha loses in the first round to the MVP, Krillin is doing great, but gets an unfair matchup, Goku is in the final round and fucking mystery fighters. “Everyone’s story is over for now, so just enjoy what happens next” is the ethos of the arc, and it works extremely well.
And, finally, we piece together what the underlying theme is: The passage of time. Dragon Ball is a story about how people change, how they affect each other and the world around them, the way time can leave you behind, and how, someday, everything will come together again. It almost reminds me of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, except with an optimistic twist.
The Dragonball Series, is the first in a line of series. It is about the adventures of a young boy Goku, and his travels as he quests to find the 7 magic dragonballs, which can grant anywish! This series is both a comedy and a fighting anime. I enjoyed it quiet a bit and it even enjoys a home in my personal anime collection.
At times the story can be pretty simple, or obvious, or completely random. But overall the general story and the progression through it are very good. Although it doesnt measure up to other animes as well, its own orginal story and characters
keep your interested and coming back for more.
To say it is simple is an understatement. They do recycle alot of animation, like in chase sequences, but over all well done animation, Sometimes it can be a bit crude but it never gets as bad as say: Scooby Do (an American Cartoon from back in the day.)
A decent sound tract, the intro song I always fast forward through because it is annoying. But other then that the series has decent soundtracks within the series.
Probly the main draw of this anime. The Characters are funny and orginal and have all kinds of quirks and flaws that makes you laugh. Alot of the characters are exteremly skilled in Martial arts and other techniques which gives the shows action sequences some major rewatchability and excietment.
I loved this series it made me laugh, or at least chuckle, quiet a bit. A solid favorite of mine that i even went to the trouble of buying the commercial DVDs for the series. In fact writing this review has inspired me to crack it out and rewatch the series.
If you enjoy silly humor, amazing martial arts fighting (which comes in later in the series the first several are very light on any actual fight sequences of any length.) But I love this series and Im pretty sure that you will too. So please give it a try.
One of Toei Animations (Galaxy Express 999) best franchises anime ever made, Dragon Ball. Spanning at 153 episodes this is the shounen epic of all shounen anime. Thanks to the work by Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball was one of the first anime that came to the west and started a revolution.
The first arc in the epic starts with a little boy with a tail called Goku living alone in the forest when a teenage girl named Bulma runs into him looking for dragon balls (mysterious balls when all 7 are gathered together they grant one wish). In the beginning, the banter between the two is
absolutely hilarious, and continues when they start adding companions to their quest such as Oolong the shape shifting pig and Yamcha the teenage bandit. During their quest together, they run into various villains and more comedy and what not ensues. And that’s only the first arc, episodes 1-13.
Afterwards the story continues with a couple martial arts tournaments all the way to Goku single handily taking on an evil army.
Goku, as a character is adorable, naïve, and super strong. He has a pure heart and wants to train in martial arts to be the strongest. No overpowered forms, power levels, or robots in this one. Just good old fashioned martial arts and fighting, and something as simple as flying is something to behold.
Of course there are many other characters met along the way, but telling about them all and each arc would ruin the fun. What else to do, but if the time allows for it, this is one of the best shounen anime ever made. Dragon Ball is a must watch, and a great anime for anybody to start out with.
Where oh where do I begin? Firstly, you can rate this review as 'not helpful'. It's my opinion anyway, so if you like it, that's fine too. I just...DON'T.
First, with the story. 4/10. I gave this anime a try. I truly did. At around episode 50 or so I just...stopped. I mean, the first arc, the Pilaf saga, where Bulma, Goku and friends go to get the dragon balls to make a wish - that was the ONLY arc i liked. after that, the plot repeated itself again and again. Goku would fight against enemy, lose, train, win. Next arc would follow the same thing.
It got boring really fast.
Art ......... 2/10. Goodness. I will say that the 80's didn't have the greatest of animation at that point, but, that's not the whole problem. I didn't find any of the characters remotely appealing in any way - except Puar, that cat-thing. That was about it. Towards the end, all the guys look the same. When they go Super Saiyan ect., I can't even tell whose who. Overall, not very appealing character designs. Though, that's just me.
Sounds 4/10. I will admit some VA's in Japanese version sounded ok. English sounded like nails on a chalk board. The only thing keeping this rating high is Japanese VA and some openings were catchy. Though, that's about it.
Character 2/10. Design aside, I found most of the characters either really annoying or useless. The females all drove me crazy - abusive, butch - not really what I would call a "strong female character" (or me, a strong female would be someone like Lina Inverse from Slayers, who can easily deal some damage, stand her own ground with little to no assistance, but does have female qualities as well. Watch the anime/ read the manga for more info. None of the females did it for me. Bulma drove me crazy acting like a bit of a floosy the whole time, or getting herself in trouble. Overall, not very strong and didn't do a thing really. With ChiChi, I could at least stand her a bit, until she got to be a complete control freak and hypocrite (she used to fight, then when she got married she didnt want Goku or her son to fight, instead had him study.) As for the guys - either they were very useless like Yamcha who got killed or lost a lot, or just god-moding like Goku. Other characters like Vegeta didn't really do much for me either. Also, no character developement. At all. At least, not that I could tell.
Enjoyment 3/10. I just didn't enjoy it with a repetitive plot, poor design, no character development, god-moding and honestly lack of plot I should add.
Overall 2/10. I wouldn't recommend it. I really wouldn't.
Though I do give it props since it helped influence many other animes out there like Bleach, Naruto, One Piece ect., but that's about it. I also am aware many people grew up with it, and that is one reason why so many like it.
Anyway, thanks for reading - helpful or not helpful c(: you still read it anyway!
Today I pay my respects to one of the all time classics of shonen anime. Some of you might be thinking, "seriously? This filthy casual weak sauce!?" As someone who has always loved reading classical literature, biology, history, and art, the gradual evolution and shaping forces on a medium is of great interest to me. It is impossible to discuss shonen anime without bringing up Dragon Ball. The tremendous influence that Dragonball had on both the fighting Shonen genre and anime in general must be acknowleged, even by those that dislike the series. What the hell made this series so freaking popular and influential? That
is what I wish to delve into.
The story as most people reading this review are no doubt aware, was based on the Chinese novel Journey to the West. In addition to this novel, Dragon ball also spoofs many East Asian folk tales that would all be instantly recognizable to the young Japanese audience in the same way the fairy tales being spoofed in Shrek are well known to Western audiences. In addition to folk tales, Toriyama REALLY likes Kung fu movies. The training from Master Roshi seems to be heavily inspired from the 1978 kung-fu movie "36 Chambers of Shaolin". Goku is based off the Monkey King Sun Wukong and instead of going on a Buddhist journey to India, he must accompany the daughter of a famous scientist to collect the Dragon Balls, which will grant any wish, such as immortality, or the panties off a hot babe. The first villain of dragonball is not a super powerful being that threatens the existence of the universe, but instead the bumbling "emperor" Pilaf. Although what country he is supposedly the emperor of is never explained. Dragonball starts out with a LOT less action focus and more comedy, similar to Toriyama's previous manga Dr. Slump. In fact, some of the early chapters of Dragonball reference running gags from Slump (like poop on a stick)... don't ask. The series gets more and more action oriented as tougher villains emerge like Tao Pai Pai, Tien-Shinhan, and Piccolo. However, the humor throughout dragonball is far more balanced with the action portions unlike DBZ, which often takes itself a bit seriously for such a silly story and characters. Another advantage that Dragonball has over its far more famous sequel is that prior to Kai, Dragonball had a LOT less filler. There is some bad filler to be sure, including an episode of nothing bu Piccolo powering up, but the total amount is FAR less than the original run of DBZ. The fight scenes in Dragonball are also more interesting to me because the emphasis is actually on martial arts and not JUST on screaming and lasers. By the time it got to DBZ, the battles were far more like a wizard duel firing spells back and forth and flying around than an actual martial arts match. In Dragonball however, people actually kick and punch each other, and it doesn't just show 2 blurs colliding across the screen because "they are moving too fast to see", which may be the laziest artist excuse in the history of comics. Even Toriyama himself admits this.
The characters may not be very deep, but they are a lot of fun. In DBZ only a few characters actually mattered and the rest were pretty much worthless. In Dragonball it is far more balanced and the human characters actually manage to help out a LOT more often. The human characters that helped in all of DBZ were: Yajirobe once and Mr. Satan twice. That is really about it. I don't even think it is up for debate that Mr. Satan is the most useful fully human character in DBZ, which is pretty sad for humanity. Note that I said the most useful, NOT the strongest. The strongest fully human character in DBZ according to Toriyama is Krillen, so apparently Tien and #18 don't count as fully human? I guess since one is a cyborg and the other is...a mutant maybe? Either that or Toriyama simply forgot about Tien in that interview because he hasn't given a flying fuck about DB/DBZ in 20 years. Back to Dragon Ball, I also like the use of more comedic villains including General Blue (a psychic, gay Nazi) General Red (a guy who wants to collect the Dragon Balls so he can wish to be slightly taller) and Tao Pai Pai (a hilarious spoof of 70s Kung Fu movie masters that kills people with his tongue and throws objects so he can jump on them and ride them for hundreds of miles).
The soundtrack is pretty awesome overall, although some tracks are repeated a bit too often.
The art and animation is not exactly gold standard today, but was acceptable considering this was the 1980s.
Along with spoofing already famous and well liked stories and characters, Dragon Ball manages to do an excellent job combining action and comedy together into a fun adventure with a little something for everyone. This formula may seem obvious now, but in the 1980s, most anime was VERY niche and most of it was not written to appeal to a very wide, general audience. Anime consisted largely of giant robot series including: Mazinger Z, the original Gundam, Macross, and Go Lion (known as Voltron outside Japan). These giant robot and sentai series were the most wide reaching and popular anime of their day, but still couldn't capture that large a demographic. Female viewers especially seemed to show ZERO interest in giant robot series. The martial arts anime that existed in the 80s were bloody, dark, and had little to no humor in them, except of course for the unintentional humor caused by the amount of sheer 80s action cheese. Some of the big martial arts anime prior to Dragon Ball were Fist of the North Star, Violence Jack, and the dozens of ripoffs that followed in their wake. Dragon Ball changed shonen manga and anime forever by finding a much larger audience and bringing it more into the mainstream, at least in Japan. The popularity of shonen anime and the magazine Shonen Jump exploded thanks to Dragonball and the entire industry began to grow rapidly and spread out demographically. Without the existence of Dragonball, anime may have stayed extremely niche and never really expanded outside of Japan with few exceptions. Were that the case, I wouldn't be writing this because no english language site devoted to anime reviews would exist.
(May contain Spoilers) I give this Anime an 8, here is why. First reason, GOKU. If this anime was crap, had audio that made me want to listen to Nickelback, and visuals that made me want to poke my eyes out with rusty spoons, and a plot so bad, that it made School Days seem like a Quentin Tarantino film, This would still get at least a 5. It is like a Katy Perry song. You can feature Based God in it and it would still number 1 because of Katy Perry. Goku is the superman of Anime. He can do whatever he wants and
not get into trouble. He smacks Bulmas coochie a few times, lives alone, and uses the 4 star ball as a butt plug. Bulma's character is kind of annoying, is never happy, tries to kill Goku with Second Degree murder, but Goku is still nice to this dumb gatorade color hair broad. Goku's strength increases tenfold throughout the film. If he started out as Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory, he ended up as Arnold Schwarzenegger in his Prime. One thing I do complain about is the Red Ribbon Saga, especially the Muscle tower part. I would rather watch golf, or live in England, or shove Deodorant sticks and ghost peppers up my urethra. I will end this off by saying, If you want to know how badass Goku is when he was a child, and how many porn mags Master Roshi keeps in his rock he calls home, watch this Anime.
This series simply doesn't get the credit that it should, instead DBZ seems to get majority of the praise. I enjoyed both series and have watched them a ridiculous amount of times, but Dragonball has something that DBZ didn't, I don't know what that something is, but it's what makes Dragon ball the better series.
-Comedy (Not much of this carried over to DBZ)
-The series based around the tournaments
Three things that made DB great; don't get me wrong, I would still rate DBZ perfect as well, I just don't think it's as clever as Dragonball.
Oh DragonBall, I consider this the greatest anime of all time. Better than DragonBall Z or DB GT (in my opinion).
The story of a boy (with a monkey tale) Goku and a girl Bulma who travel the world looking for the 7 dragon balls that when brought together grants a wish. They eventually make friends who join their team…
I prefer DB over DBZ because DB Kid Goku was a clueless kid which was adorable. DBZ Adult Goku is a clueless adult not really interesting.
DB had more actual fighting hand-to-hand while I found that DBZ had too much standing around charging energy and firing energy.
a nice simple, enjoyable, funny adventure with great characters that were useful, but in DBZ these loved characters were put aside and the show focused on Saiyans (monkey-like warrior aliens from a planet called Vegeta).
DB had a great villain King Piccolo. DBZ also had great villains such as Frieza and Broly, I find the rest of the villains of DBZ to be the same thing repeated…
DBZ introduced us to the SuperSaiyan which was cool but then I find that they went overboard with SuperSaiyan 2, 3, 4…too much.
DB will always have a special place in my heart, I consider kid Goku to be the best anime character of all time.
Oh, my sweet angelic butter on toast, I really can't figure out any justified, coherent reason, of why oh why did I give this piece of a mess so many chances and opportunities, to win me over! Trust me, that I did! and now... all I can do, is to weep, and pout for ever laying my eyes onto this... what the hell ever this was!
I guess it's needles to say at this point, that I never saw Dragon Ball as a child - I was very happy in the Pokemon/Moomins/Sailor Moon-camp, thank you very mutch! I didn't learn of DB,
before I entered into high school, and even then, I thought it would be some old fighting game - or at least a parody of that - and not an actual manga, or even anime, for that matter! In fact, my very first interaction with this franchise, was through internet, about a year ago, with TFS's marvelous parody series, DBA. Without getting too mutch into the details in this particular review, I watched DBA, loved it, got myself into DBZ, and ended up hating it... with passion. Encouraged by literaly hundreds positive reviews, I decided to give DB a shot - mainly for a Piccolo-saga, because of the reasons. I got myself into a halfway of episode number 36, and purged my brain with a 40 shots of vodka, as an counterattack! Needles to say, I'm not going back!
The stories about... Oh, what the hell I'm saying - this section is completely useless! Find dragon balls, make a wish, repeat if needed. Meet some generic bad guys, fight as much as inhumanly possible, and... well... that's about it, really.
This franchise is to me, like a colorful, pretty candy, that tastes like a wet cardboard, and some jerk behind my back urges me to suck it, and enjoy it... like I seemengly should, as a animefan! Guess what... I don't! The characters are either boring, stupid, perverts, shallow, or disgustingly bland and non-appealing - not to mention, unmotivated sosiopaths - that I swear, I could have seen them all get blasted to infinity, and couldn't give two shits about them! I usually like goofball-heroes and over-the-top- villains, but here... I just can't stand any of them! Goku in special! Why is he so special? Why?! And what was all that hype among the Fandom, about tight, fast-paced and detailed action that I heard so much about?! Where was that?! All I got, was some staring, grunting, flexing, more staring, and then some blurry lines and random pows and smacks, that culminated into nothing! Nothing! I've seen better action in Doctor Phil for f*ck's sake!
The story itself shouldn't really even be all that bad, considering it's originaly aimed for stupid little kids (=boys), but when you have such a paperthing story, like this one, and you keep stretching and stretching it, with no real direction or clear image, of where that story's ultimately gonna lead you, or if it's gonna end at all - thanks, Pokemon! - you get an experience, that's just as enjoyable, as a lollipop, with a little nice color, but no sugar, constantly scraping off the skin of your tongue! It just goes on and on, and never seems to make up it's mind of where it wants to end itself... and set me free of the pain!
I'm a fan of much more... substancial works, such as Death Note, FMA:B, and such - something what challenges me... makes me think! This anime doesn't make me think, wonder, or enjoy myself, and I hate it for it! Though I can easily see, why this franchise was so popular in America as it was, since it literaly is so easy to follow, that even the most stupidest kid can get behing it... which, in my point of view, isn't a merit that it should be proud of! A country, that lounches such a literary masterpieces, such as Transformers, Avengers and Fast and Furious, should easily know the very definition, for the terms like 'below mediocrity', 'pretty junk-food' and 'simple stupid fun' out of their hearts! It really pains me to see, how popular, and how loved this franchise is... expecially, since I, for one, can't for the death of me to understand, why! I know that even I'm not an immune to the powerful force of Nostalgia, but come on... not like this! Don't leave me out of all the fun like this... please?
And just to make couple of thing perfectly clear... I'm not above of "brainless fun", nor am I free from such a trifles such as guilty pleasures or nostalgia - I gave Hetalia a perfect 10, and I still enjoy good old pokemon movies, god dammit! Heck, if I would've seen pokemon when I was in my late teens, there's no doubt in my mind, that I would've ended up hating that show too... but, for a whole different reasons, than DB to be sure! Ultimately, it just falls down to the fact, that this is indeed the form of entertainment, that doesn't, and will never ever seem to please me in a way, like it pleases it's fans. I'm not entertained by some mediocre storytelling, overly simplistic characters, clumsy art style, or overused plotpoints/storyarcs repeating themselves over and over again! As a child, I too liked all these very same things in my cartoons, but now, in my older age, I could easily consider them as a flaws, and would justify them to myself as a merits only, because of the nostalgia.
This anime is obviously keeping itself alive, because of nostalgia, and while it may indeed tug someone elses heartstrings, me for the death of me, cannot comprehend the appeal, and propably I'll never will.
Overall, this anime is for those, who have seen it as a kids, and love it simply for it's nostalgia - there's really no other reason, why I would ever imagine someone to actually like this - or those, who haven't seen that much anime to begin with, and grand this as the absolute best... and even those two groups are really streching it to it's limits! This is way too stupid and immature for adults, unsuitable for kids - this comes from finnish gal, who's not against blood, violence or nudity! - and way too simple for any of those, who enjoy deep stories and multicolored characters, instead of mindless action, clumsy poses and dirty comedy. Those, who are still interested, go into youtube, and search for some parodies, or at most, watch some 1-2 hour long flex-wests of those Tournaments-or-what-nots, because, seriously... that's all what this anime has to offer. Anybody, who tells you, that DB franchise is the best of the best, what anime has to offer, is either lying, or hasn't seen that much of an anime! Don't be like me, and be fooled by the raging fanboys saying, that this anime has something more in it... something far more greater, deeper and with meaning, than what meets the eye... because it really doesn't! No fast action, no deep stories, no three-dimensional characters, and little to no payoff! All I hate in anime, culminates into this mess, and that's saying something!
Thank goodness I grew up watching Moomins, or pokemon, because even a Trubbish is a piece of gold, compared to this turd!
If you haven't heard about Dragon Ball then you are not a true anime fan. I rate this keeping in mind that the art and sound is what it is because it was created in the 80's. Dragon Ball was NOT a part of my childhood although I truly wish it was. Most people I know were exposed to the series because of it's sequel, Dragon Ball Z (so was I). Several years back I decided to download the entire series already having watched Dragon Ball Z on TV in my teen years. I wanted to know Goku's back story, how he and his friends
came to be and the genesis of this anime classic. I was definitely not disappointed. Many a times, watching something backwards from it's sequel, one can get a little disappointed because you already know how powerful the character is and to go back and see him crawl his way to the top in 150 episodes might be kinda draining and dull... but that's not true. Sometimes understanding and learning about a beloved character's past can be just as interesting and exciting.
I watched all episodes and was entertained and gained knowledge of these characters and appreciated them far more than I would have in Dragon Ball Z alone. To watch and grow along with them, and see the long journey unfold into something more intense is exciting and worth the watch. If this is to be watched by any one, I recommend the uncensored version because watching it the way it's meant to be watched makes it way more interesting and at times, funnier.
Now, I can pretty much guarantee that everyone reading this already knows this information since Dragonball is one of the best known anime/manga franchises out there. Dragonball was first created by Toriyama Akira in 1984. In 1986 Toei animation picked up the license to adapt it into an anime. They have been swimming in the money bin filled with the profits from the license ever since. Let's take a look at the series and see how well it holds up. Keep in mind, I'm not going to worry bout spoilers in this one since both it and its sequels are so well known that even
people who haven't seen it are probably familiar with how it goes. If you're one of the few people who isn't, then you may not want to continue.
The narrative begins with the wild young Son Goku, named for the Journey to the West character but lacking any of that character's signature traits, encountering a car for the first time and by encountering I mean getting hit by one. Thinking it's a monster, he tips it over. The driver, Bulma, comes out and convinces Goku that her vehicle is not a monster nor is she a witch. Sh's on a journey to collect the titular dragonballs, which can grant any wish when all seven are gathered. Goku has the four star ball, but refuses to give it up. Bulma does, however, manage to convince him to come with her on her journey. From there the story separates into arcs with the first arc being the journey to collect the dragonballs followed by the red ribbon army arc, the Piccolo Daimao arc and the young Piccolo arc. The arcs are separated by short strings of episodes that show the characters training, usually in preparation for the Budokai tournament, which we see thrice over the course of the series.
There are some aspects of the series that really don't hold up or were just weak to begin with. The biggest one being that the series is really predictable. It does try to throw twists at times, but it's really obvious where they're going with those twists and how things are going to end up. There are also some of the attempts at humour. There are a lot of jokes, for example, about Master Roshi or Oolong being perverts. There's also a reoccurring joke, at least for a while, about Goku patting peoples' crotches to figure out their sex. It never seems to occur to him to just follow Oak's example and ask. And he's definitely in for a learning experience the first time he tries that with a transgendered individual. There are also some really homophobic jokes at the expense of Blue, and they all come down to the entire joke being that he likes other men. At least with the pervert jokes you usually get the main punchline being that Roshi or Oolong is punished for their lecherousness and that can be amusing even if it does get repetitive. In contrast, the gay jokes are just mean-spirited.
Those problems aside, there are a lot of good things about the series too. The pacing is really good with events flowing naturally from one thing to the next with very little filler. Which is surprising given both the length of the series and the notoriety its more popular sequel has for just that problem. It's also got a lot of charm that stems from its simplicity and high levels of optimism. Most of the humour also does work well in spite of those moments that are head scratching.
The cast of Dragonball isn't a particularly deep or complex one. Although it is functional for what the series is doing. Goku is your dumb but exceedingly powerful hero. Krillin is the former rival turned best friend. Tenshinhan is the bad dude who redeems himself and becomes a good guy. All in all, they are a pretty typical cast. Although I'm not sure how much of that was true in 1984 and how much of it comes from other action writers copying Dragonball. There is one point I do have to definitively give in Dragonball's favour, unlike a lot of western cartoons of the 80s and even 90s it has female characters who aren't there solely to be the token girl character. It has three major female characters, Bulma, Lunch and Chichi and none of them are stereotypically feminine. Bulma has the advantage of doing science and inventing things. Chichi is a strong fighter. Of all of them Lunch comes the closest until she sneezes and her second personality emerges to shoot things.
There are certainly aspects where the visuals have not aged well. The backgrounds can be sparse at times and the action sequences do resort to motion lines fairly often. However, Toriyama Akira's visual style also has a lot of strengths that still hold up. The distinctive character designs evidenced in this, Chrono Trigger and the Dragon Quest series is probably the foremost of them. All of the major and supporting characters have distinctive and interesting looks, even with Goku's crazy hair. The background characters also look interesting frequently. Particularly all of the random beast people you see running around. There's no explanation for why there are beast people, but I honestly like them. I find their designs quite charming in general. The futuristic technology that shows up looks really good as well. And, in spite of the over-used motion lines, the fight sequences do have a good amount of intensity and the series is really visually appealing overall.
There are some really good actors in this series. Nozawa Masako, Furukawa Toshio, Tanaka Mayumi, Tsuru Hiromi & Suzuoki Hirotaka being the most prominent at least in this particular series. The only real issue I have with the acting is that there are times when someone will overly exaggerate. Particularly during moments that are supposed to be shocking. The music is really strong, frequently reinforcing the atmosphere in moments of triumph or moments where things look bad. I especially like the song they play during the first two Budokai tournaments.
There's certainly a little. Both because of General Blue and because the cast is predominately male so there are times when they'll interact in a way that seems a bit homo-erotic. There's also a scene where Krillin talks about how another guy is cute, thinking he's a girl. But there isn't much. Blue doesn't have a boyfriend that you ever see and pretty much every major character gets a girlfriend at some point. So the ho-yay factor is going to be a 3/10.
Dragonball isn't one of the greatest anime ever made and it certainly has its share of issues. However, it is a charming series that provides some good fun. If you aren't into long action series, you aren't going to like it. But if you like that type of thing, whether in general or on occasion, check it out. In spite of its occasional cringe worthy scenes, it is definitely a good series. My final rating is going to be a 7/10. Next week, horror anime month begins with a look at Galerians: Rion.
Dragon Ball The Original Series has many great aspects than it's Sequel Series but it also has a tiny bit of flaws:
1. The characters are useful, fun, and interesting.
2. The story may be long but it's a really good story though.
3. The aspects of The Monkey King is really brilliant.
4. The music, environments, and art style are really good.
5. Advanced Martial Arts.
1. Pilaf is nothing but a comic relief and is a poor excuse of a villain.
2. Oolong is not that great of a character.
So there you have it. Lastly my most favorite character is Launch because she is Adorable, Hot, Sexy, and so
damn Awesome. I wish Launch was in Dragon Ball Z though.
Dragon Ball is the beginning of Goku's adventure that has spanned decades and is still enjoyable despite first airing in 1986. Dragon Ball is the predecessor of the DBZ series, easily the most popular Anime ever, and what introduced a lot of people to Anime in the West.
The plot of Dragon Ball surrounds the mystery of the Dragon Balls (which was a mystery at the time) and Goku's adventures where he meets friends that are still in the series today.
While the character animations and the main set still look nice (watched remastered version) the backgrounds are very plain and look washed out. This can
be overlooked because of the Anime's age.
The characters are designed well and well written. With the exception of Launch, every main and supporting character still makes appearances in the Dragon Ball Super series.
Overall, the series is still very enjoyable today if you don't mind the old animation style and the occasional corny voice acting.
I missed the opportunity to watch Dragon Ball as a child which both fills me with sadness and happiness. I envy those people who had Dragon Ball impact their early life but I'm also pleased to have had the chance to view the entire series consecutively and without nostalgia to influence my final opinion.
We are starting to live in a politically correct world where entertainment is beginning to stagnate. You want to make some light hearted jokes? Not allowed, someone might be offended. Dragon Ball doesn't care and welcomes jokes and stereotypes without giving a damn. Dragon Ball is the most humour filled Anime that
I've ever seen and I've laughed incredibly hard over the most simple things.
The story is rather fragmented; consisting of multiple arcs and fillers. The main story isn't really about the Dragon Balls but Goku growing up and becoming continually stronger and making a few friends along the way.
I watched the remastered version which has better colouring. The original colours are very washed out looking in comparison. The art is decent considering the time period.
The sounds are very good. Good OP and decent ED.
The characters are great. Master Roshi and Goku are my two personal favourites.
I really enjoyed this series. I originally began watching it before sleeping to relax but it didn't take long before realizing that I was watching four or five episodes per day. The series is highly addicting and while some arcs can be bad (Muscle Tower... ) it's a really funny Anime with lots of heart.
Story - 7
Art - 5
Sound - 9
Character - 9
Enjoyment - 10
Overall - 8
Dragonball is great story of a boy in search of strength, companions, and adventures. Goku, an orphan boy with a tale, is raised by a hermit by the name of Gohan. Gohan is Goku's first master who teaches him of the marshall arts. However, more importantly, sets an example of morals, such as honesty and integrity. Goku personifies these virtous throughout the series, showing some of the great aspects of the Martial Arts.
As You first begin watching dragon ball you see great animation and scenery.
The characters are drawn rather round, creating an atmosphere of drawing that is aimed towards younger audiences. As the story progresses so does the art. They add more and more detail every episode. Unlike other animes where the animation is great only for key points in the story, Dragonball is a great example for dedication to animation following a constant improvement towards the series.
Sorry to say but the music in this anime is fairly corny. For today's time I should say, but one can't knock it for the time it was created. Even so it works. The music does not get annoying with repetition, which is a big plus.
The character development is not the strongest I've seen in an anime. I believe the development of the main characters is vital for any good story. Short or long. Physically it's great development of all the character, but the mental state of the character does not change greatly. Which I can understand with the perfect 8 year old character it's a bit difficult to improve his way of being.
Dragonball is an anime for all age groups, everyone can enjoy the humble warm hearted Goku, and his innocence to the world that he presents. The foundation for this anime is its' morals. Therefore if you can enjoy a story of the balance mind, body, and soul. If you enjoy the good guy doing the right thing. You cannot go wron with this story.
Overall this is a spectacular anime. I would recommend it to anyone, especially if they are fairly young in their anime experience.