Ah, Dragonball Z. Once an innocent retelling of Journey To The West, then the Ur-Shonen fighter. Really, what is there to say about the series? Obviously, it's a requirement of every anime fan, young or old, to at least be familiar with the show. If you were born in the 90s like me, you remember fondly watching in anticipation as Goku was ready to battle the all-powerful Freiza, only to have to rewatch the entire series on Cartoon Network just before it occurred. And who could forget spending ten minutes on a dial-up computer, all so you could see a ten-second clip of Goku turning Super Saiyan? That was childhood, man. Every single character in the series, from the anti-hero Vegeta to the tough-but-fatherly Piccolo, were relatable to any kid. And of course, the fights were amazing at the time. Of course, even the Ur-fighter has its faults. The filler used in the series is legendary; lest we forget, the entire Majin Buu saga, which took place within one day, took 78 episodes and two years to complete. Character development was filled out with some characters (Vegeta's struggle with not being the universe's greatest fighter), but not with others (During the Buu saga, Gohan, once the world's most ultimate fighter, was defeated after his first powerup). As the series dragged on, more of the characters seemed unnecessary (seriously, who gave a fuck about Puar and Chaotzu?), only there because Akira Toriyama couldn't kill them off. Speaking of killing people off, the series relied too much on the reviving nature of the Dragonballs. Someone could possibly die? Who the fuck cares? We've got Dragonballs! In fact, the one thing I liked about Dragonball GT, as "blasphemous" as it was to the series, was that it actually understood this Deus Ex Machina and made it into a viable plot point. Also, many actually interesting characters, villains included, were often left out of the limelight; Raditz, Goku's brother, was killed within three episodes of his introduction. When you think about it, Dragonball is just like any other show of its day: there are problems with it, but nostalgia makes it a staple for all anime fans. Watch a few episodes to get you familiar with the characters, then read the plot summaries on Wikipedia and read Dragonball Multiverse or Dragonball Abridged.
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