May 10, 2008
L-sama (All reviews)
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.