Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Ball Z (ドラゴンボール Z Doragon Bōru Z) is the long-running sequel to the popular Anime, Dragon Ball. To reduce confusion for the American audience, the second part of the manga Dragon Ball is also called "Dragon Ball Z" in the United States. The anime is a close adaptation of the manga, though due to its considerable length it also features characters, situations, and backstory which were not present in the original. (This "filler" material is generally considered non-canonical and occasionally contradicts itself.)
Specifically, it follows the adventures of the adult Son Goku (a Saiyan) that was to destroy Earth but, he fell off a cliff and hit his head and got amnesia so, now he and company defends the Earth and other planets against assorted villains such as, Garlic Jr., Freiza, Cell Androids 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 (Dr.Gero) , Baby, Broly, at one time Vegeta and King Piccolo, Nappa, Raditz, the Ginyu force, Omega Shenron, Dr. Mew, and Majin Buu, Super Buu and Kid Buu. The distinction here is that while the original Dragon Ball anime followed Goku through childhood into adulthood, Dragon Ball Z continues his adventures until he is a grandparent. The distinction between the two is significant in that Goku's earlier adventures were much more comedy oriented, while as an adult the series took on a more dramatic and decidedly serious tone.
The anime first premiered in Japan on April 18, 1989 (on Fuji TV) and ended on January 31, 1996. In the US, the series ran between 1996 and 2003, though not always on the same networks or with continuity of dubbing.
After "Dragon Ball Z", the story of Son Goku and friends continue in the anime-only series Dragon Ball GT. That series was not based on a manga by Akira Toriyama and many fans reject it as an entire series of "filler." Toriyama's humor/parody manga Neko Majin Z features several concepts introduced in Dragon Ball Z (several Dragon Ball Z characters even make various appearances), but that manga is designed as a parody and not a true continuation of the series.
The main character is Son Goku, an extremely powerful, yet simpleminded and kindly character. After a visit from his previously unknown brother Raditz, he discovers that he is an alien that was sent to Earth to destroy it. When he informs Raditz that he has no intention of doing this, Goku and his friends become the erstwhile defenders of the Earth from the oncoming invasion by more of his kind.
As the series progresses, Son Goku, his son, Son Gohan, and their companions age, get immensely stronger, and fight increasingly powerful and sinister villains. Many of the main characters die, are resurrected, get married and/or have children. The series has had a dramatic progression throughout its entire run.
- Son Goku is an alien from Planet Vegeta. This is the source of his previously unexplained abilities, and why he has a tail (which was later removed, and not seen again until the next series Dragon Ball GT).
- Son Goku's enemy from the first series, Piccolo, is an alien from Planet Namek. He is the product of Kami (guardian of Earth) splitting himself in half to purge the evil from himself.
- Porunga - Dragon of Namek, grants 3 wishes every 128 days.
- Shenlong - Dragon of the Earth, grants 1 wish (and later 2 wishes when Dende takes over as Earth's Guardian) every Earth year.
SagasThe Dragon Ball Z series can be (sometimes) logically broken into 4 series, which can be broken further into sagas, based on the current enemy or theme:
- The Saiyan Saga (Renamed to the Vegeta Saga in the Funimation Redubs)
- The Namek Saga
- The Ginyu Saga
- The Frieza Saga
- The Garlic Junior Saga (Note: This saga was not based on the original Manga, and serves as a transition period into the Cell Series)
- The Trunks Saga (Note: The Trunks Saga can be placed into either the Frieza Series or the Cell Series)
- The Great Saiyaman Saga
- The World Tournament Saga
- The Babidi Saga
- The Majin Buu Saga
- The Fusion Saga
- The Kid Buu Saga
- There are also movies that have separate storylines and villains.
Dragon Ball Z has had several movies made based on the popular series. Although some can be counted as side stories(see gaiden) that happen between sagas many are based in their own universe having nothing to do with the series timeline. These movies include:
- Bardock: Father of Goku (TV Special)
- The History of Trunks (TV Special)
- Dead Zone (Return My Gohan!)
- The World's Strongest (The World's Strongest Guy)
- The Tree of Might (Ultimate Decisive Battle For Earth)
- Lord Slug (Super Saiyan Son Goku)
- Cooler's Revenge (Best of Strongest Verses Strongest)
- Return of Cooler (Warriors Clash! The 10 Billion Powerful Warriors)
- Super Android 13 (Extreme Battle! The Three Great Super Saiyans!)
- Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan (Burn Your Spirits to the Max!! Close Battle, Violent Battle, Super Bloody Battle)
- Bojack Unbound (The Galaxy is in Danger! The Super Awesome Guy!)
- Broly: The Second Coming (Dangerous Partners! Super Warriors Never Rest!)
- Crushing Super Warrior! I Am The Winner! (Not released in English)
- The Rebirth Of Fusion! Goku and Vegeta! (Not released in English)
- Dragon Fist Assault! If Goku Can't Do It, Who Can? (Not released in English)
See: Dragon Ball Z movie
DBZ and anime fandom
Dragon Ball Z was (and largely still is) one of the most popular shōnen anime series in the United States. Due to its length, associated varying quality, creative devices, and its sometimes overenthusiastic young fanbase, the rest of the anime fandom at large have very mixed reactions to it. These range from simple disinterest to downright vocal hatred of the series (or specifically its fans) as overrated and superficial; while contributing much to the shōnen genre in Japan, some feel it has created a stereotype associated with anime at large in the West amongst those outside the fandom.
It is also tightly associated with the stereotypical young, obnoxious otaku, and some fans are even afraid to mention an interest in the series amongst others. In contrast, less hatred tends to be espoused towards the original Dragon Ball series, perhaps because of its relatively obscureness in America (until FUNimation released the anime) and stronger mix of comedy and adventure. Many fans feel with Dragon Ball Z's age, the fandom of a new series in a similar genre, Naruto, shows some strong reflections to DBZ's fandom. The shows are usually compared in flame wars, although the premises are quite different.
One of the biggest criticisms of the series in North America from fans is the extensive amount of editing it faced, especially when it was on network television.
The original series was created for teenagers and adults (actually it IS aimed at children in Japan, where non-sexual nudity, violence, and other taboo subjects in the West aren't that big a deal), and accordingly has adult humor in it and the violence can be over the top. When it was marketed in the United States, the distribution company FUNimation alongside with Saban decided to focus it as a children's show, because the market for Japanese animation was still relatively small, while the children's cartoon market was much larger. The series underwent many changes, with the removal of nudity, partial nudity, references to sex, alcohol, and smoking (FUNimation digitally removed the cigarette from one character's mouth, and digitally pasted the word ROOT above a sign that said BEER to make it say "ROOT BEER".) A lot of violent scenes were left on the cutting room floor, and others had wounds digitally removed, and blood removed or re-colored as spit. The dialogue was changed, removing references to Heaven, Hell, God, and death.
Naturally, this amount of censorship lead to characters saying things which didn't match what was occurring on screen, unrealistic and twisted plots, major plot holes, and obviously altered images. Combined with the replacing of the original musical score, all this left many fans irate, resulting in some Dragon Ball purists who refuse to watch the American version of the show. One of the biggest points raised by critics of the censorship of violence is that the removal of wounds, blood, and death from a show ultimately about fighting will encourage violence without showing any of the consequences.
Starting with the Ginyu Saga (3rd US season) on Cartoon Network, censorship was reduced due to fewer restrictions on cable programming. Funimation did the dubbing on their own this time around with their own voice actors. Some types of censorship, nudity for example, was still unavoidable. Subsequent DVD and VHS releases of those episodes were not censored in any way. In 2003, Funimation decided to redub the first two sagas of Dragon Ball Z, to remove the problems that were caused from their previous partnership with Saban. They will also be redubbing the first three movies that were also dubbed by the Ocean Group voice actors but was distributed by Pioneer. It has been recently announced that the distribution of the redubs will start in April 2005.
Shortly after the September 11 attacks, Cartoon Network cut an episode of Dragon Ball Z where Gohan saves a plane from crashing, then later has to deal with a burning skyscraper office building, due to the obvious parallel imagery.
- English Dragon Ball Z website
- YTV Dragon Ball Z Site
- Toei Dragon Ball Z website
- DBZ Uncensored
- DBZGT Information Database
- Information about Dragonball Z Movie
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