Ah, Anime. Something I definitely grew up with and bonded with family and friends over. Yes, it happened a little more often with western animation, but there was something always very very alluring to me about anime. Perhaps it was simply the fact that it was “foreign.” It was drawn in a different style. All the characters had bright eyes and humorous expressions. It was from the same country that brought my siblings and I Nintendo. The same place where ninjas and samurai came from. It was just so fascinating, especially as a young kid.
Perhaps my earliest exposure to the world of Japanese animation was Sailor Moon. As maligned as the English dub is, I have a special place in my heart for the doofiness. It’s hard for me not to like Serena/Usagi after growing up with her all those years. No matter how ditzy of a blonde she was.
“ohohohoho” -Sailor Moon
I used to watch that show with my brother a lot when I was younger. But this was still before the advent of Toonami. Oooh boy, the nostalgia just came flooding back like a tidal wave. Perhaps a portion of my nostalgia lies in the fact that this was before my brother had passed. But this was certainly a gift to western television nonetheless. If I’m remembering it right, at first it was an hour of Dragon Ball Z and an hour of something else, from 3 to 5 pm on weekdays. The schedule changed often enough that I soon lost track of all the shows I didn’t really watch that much. The ones that stand out to me would have to be the Gundam series, Dragon Ball, DBZ, and eventually Sailor Moon again, and yes, I watched the shit out of Hamtaro too. How could I not? I’m a sucker for cute stuff.
Erm…not this guy.
So, speaking of Toonami…
Ebichu Meets Hamtaro By Kenny21 of DA
*Cough* When I first saw Dragon Ball Z and saw Krillin get his ass kicked through the side of the house by Goku’s evil space brother, I was like, “DAAMMNN!” And then I was grounded for 3 days for cussing. No, but I was at an age where I really got invested in my cartoon worlds, and I wanted to kick Raditz’ ASS for that. That night I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited thinking about it and how I wanted to do a Kamehameha for real and life was so unfair because I COULDN’T.
And so began my insomnia problem I still have to this day.
Even though Dragon Ball predates DBZ, I remember watching the latter for a while first before seeing the “kid” version. At first, I didn’t watch it much because it lacked as much of the sweet, sweet violence I saw in its sequel. But these days, when I re-watch these series, I tend to spend a little more time and attention with the predecessor. So, case in point: Dragon Ball vs Dragon Ball Z! Which one do I prefer?
Well, I still like DBZ a lot. I really do. But I feel like the plot wasn’t as strong as in DB. Every season of DBZ was basically the same situation with a different monster, kind of like Power Rangers, another show I’m nostalgic as crap about. Some new threat would show its ugly face, Krillin and Yamcha would die within days or hours, and Goku would have to make a Spirit Bomb or something. It’s repetitive, but it certainly isn’t uninteresting. One could argue that most cartoons are predictable and repetitive anyway. Everybody already knows the protagonist(s) is/are going to win, they stay tuned to know HOW it winds down and what specifically happens. That said, Dragon Ball was a lot less formulaic overall. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of episodes felt formulaic and self-contained, but it doesn’t make them any less enjoyable to watch. DBZ’s seasons can be broken up very easily, and are often referred to as “sagas” anyway, but it seems DB was all about the adventure as a whole. Goku was a strange kid with a tail. He met Bulma and Krillin and became best friends with them as well as several other main characters. He fought androids and defeated the Red Ribbon Army. He fought in a tournament or two. Adult Goku and company killed Raditz, then Frieza, etc. It certainly feels like DBZ is more linear in its progression. But again, I must say, DBZ is well loved and for good reason. It’s a great show, and no matter what, the plot is one and the same as far as Akira Toriyama is concerned. The Manga is simply entitled “Dragon Ball” and it follows the entire story all the way through, from DB to DBZ, so it’s not like you can really have one without the other anyway.
Following that, I have to confess, there’s still a few things that are bothering me:
Krillin doesn’t deserve the hate/death he gets. In DB, he was my favorite character and he was the strongest human alive at some point. Not only that, but he married Android 18 and had a baby (somehow). Go, dad!
DBZ introduces some really good characters, not the least of which is Vegeta. Seriously, he went through some SERIOUS character development.
Some of the actors apparently passed out while recording screams for the DBZ Dub. Wow.
DB has a special place in my heart simply because it’s cuter. So I’m a little biased when it comes to this stuff. What can I say, it’s heartwarming. < 3
And in conclusion, let us find solace for the lost souls Shenron forgot to resurrect, by remembering the fact that Dragon Ball GT is totally (not) cannon.
This is a thing that actually happened.