On Saturday, the iconic anime series Dragon Ball Z launches on Hulu with the first 15 episodes from the show, available with subtitles or dubbed in English, with fresh episodes rotating in on a regular basis. To introduce — or, in some cases, reintroduce — us to the eye-popping series, FUNimation copywriter Aaron Anderson wrote us a guest blog entry.
Entertainment is escapism. We fall in love with television shows, movies, comics, and manga because it’s a blast to fantasize about strange, far-away worlds where the unthinkable is an everyday occurrence. That, in a nutshell, is the magic behind the international phenomenon that is Dragon Ball Z. Any scenario you can dream up can likely be found in one of the 291 mind-blowing episodes of DBZ. This is, after all, a show where heroic mortals fall in love with high-tech androids and produce impossibly implausible offspring. Yup. It happens.
When they asked me to blog about the reasons to love Dragon Ball Z, I spent the next couple of days communing with the hardest of hardcore Dragon Ball Z fans. I discoursed with the devoted men and women who’ve watched every episode of every installment of the franchise. I looked for old-school Otakus who decorate their dwellings with Super Saiyan figurines. And last but not least, I sought the wisdom of wild-eyed, spiky-haired dreamers who are doggedly determined to live their lives according to the code of Goku. Their collective reasons for loving DBZ filled 14 legal pads, seven external hard drives, and a supercomputer named Earl. It was a literal barrage of fanboy gushing. Tears were shed, hugs were exchanged, and Kamehameha Waves were blasted into the night as we howled at the moon.
But enough about my decent in to Dragon Ball hysteria, let’s get down to business. The following is brief rundown of the most popular answers for why fans love Dragon Ball Z. Here we go!
Action! If you want an endless supply of martial arts mayhem and bombastic battles, Dragon Ball Z is what you’re looking for. This show is all about fighting. If the characters aren’t actually fighting, you can bet they’re immersed in grueling training for an upcoming fight against an opponent more powerful than anything our world has ever seen. Goku and the Z-Fighters battle dinosaurs, alien warriors, seemingly-indestructible androids, and a host of other bad guys that would leave ordinary men shaking in their boots. But not these heroes. In DBZ there is always a way to power up or an amazing new technique to master. This is a big part of the magic that makes the show so addictive.
Heroes and Villains! Simply put, Goku is the greatest hero the world has ever known. Forget about those other comic book chumps because they’ve got nothing on Goku and the Z-Fighters. No matter how bleak the outlook may be, Goku never gives up fighting for all that is good in the universe. Not even death can stop this legendary warrior from unlocking the secrets of his mysterious origins and attaining a level of power that strikes fear into the heart of the vilest villains. Speaking of those villains, nefarious ne’er-do-wells such as Vegeta and Piccolo give the show an extra kick and an edginess that resonates with fans of all ages. These cocky, smack-talking villains get increasingly more powerful as the show goes on, and sometimes, they even defeat the heroes — which is a nice change of pace from typical good versus evil plotlines. Furthermore, a particular villain’s story arc doesn’t always end with his — or her — defeat. Sometimes, losing is just the beginning of the adventure for a DBZ bad guy.
Endless Possibilities! There is no such thing as impossible in the DBZ universe. Death is not the end. Time travel is a reality instead of a science fiction fantasy. Pigs can talk AND shift their shapes. Dinosaurs walk the Earth. Heroes grow stronger by training in special rooms with increased gravity. Entire buildings can be carried around in your pocket thanks to the advance technology of the Capsule Corp. And as if that weren’t enough, any wish you could dream up can be granted by the awe-inspiring powers of the seven magic Dragon Balls.
Space Ninjas for the Win! This is what it all boils down to. Action aficionados of all backgrounds love ninjas. It’s a proven fact. They also love space. The unprecedented genius of Dragon Ball Z is the combination of space AND ninjas. We’ve got ninjas fighting on Earth, ninjas fighting in space, ninjas fighting in the future, ninjas fighting in the past, and ninjas fighting in otherworldly realms that may not even exist on this plane of consciousness. These ninjas fight anywhere, anytime, and against any foe. It’s nothing short of amazing.
To close this demented DBZ diatribe, I’d like to borrow the words of one particularly enthusiastic fan who said: “the show is about karate men that fly around in space and shoot out energy beams from their hands. No concept is better than this.” Well said, sir. I must concur. No concept could ever be better than this. — FUNimation copywriter Aaron Anderson