One of, if not the most iconic Anime series of the last 20 years can now be bought for next to nothing on The Playstation Network. Yes, the Anime series that has seen more video game adaptations than any other anime PERIOD can be bought at an astounding $1 per episode. It’s only available in Standard Definition but the fight scenes are uncut (ie. the fighters bleed blood, not sweat). Hercule is called Mr. Satan in the uncut versions of the Anime. Only in the video games and the version airing on TV is his name changed to Hercule since the TV series was very popular with the kids when it came to the U.S.
Let me back up a bit and provide some backstory for those who for whatever reason may not have heard of this Anime before. Dragonball Z, its predecessor Dragonball and its successor Dragonball GT follows the story of Son Goku (just Goku in the U.S.), a Saiyan who grew up on Earth and serves as its protector. Dragonball follows his adventures as a child. Bulma, Master Roshi, Krillin, Chi Chi and other memorable characters are introduced. Dragonball ends with Goku’s fights against the Red Ribbon Army, Master Roshi and Piccolo in The World Martial Arts Tournament on two separate occasions. Before I forget, the Anime is called Dragonball/Z/GT because of 7 mystical Dragonballs that, when collected will summon the Dragon Shenron who will then grand one wish a year. The wish can be anything the summoner desires from riches to bringing someone back from the dead.
Dragonball Z is what I like to call the main course. Of the three Dragonball series, Z is both the longest and the most well known. Due to the length of the Anime, Dragonball is broken up kinda like Bleach and Naruto into Sagas. They are as follows:
- The Vegeta Saga (Episodes 1~35; originally The Saiyan Conflict)
- The Namek Saga (Episodes 36~67)
- The Captain Ginyu Saga (Episodes 68~74)
- The Frieza Saga (Episodes 75~107)
- The Garlic Jr. Saga (Episodes 108~117)*
- The Trunks Saga (Episodes 118~125)
- The Androids Saga (Episodes 126~139)
- The Imperfect Cell Saga (Episodes 140~152)
- The Perfect Cell Saga (Episodes 153~165)
- The Cell Games Saga (Episodes 166~194)
- The Great Saiyaman Saga (Episodes 195~209)
- The World Tournament Saga (Episodes 210~219)*
- The Babidi Saga (Episodes 220~231)
- The Majin Buu Saga (Episodes 232~253)
- The Fusion Saga (Episodes 254~275)
- The Kid Buu Saga (Episodes 276~291)
*Denotes this Saga is filler to buy time for either more episodes to be made or for the Manga to write the next Saga
…Yeah, that’s alot of episodes. The only Anime that are longer are Bleach and Naruto but in both cases, those Anime are still in progress. Naruto and Bleach both have over 300 Episodes so…yeah. Anyway, Dragonball Z also holds the record for the most movies for an Anime series at 14. Unlike in the U.S., movies based on Anime are used purely to promote the Anime and usually have no continuity with the series itself.
Dragonball Z English dub titlesEdit
- Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone (1997) (Remastered/Re-released on May 27, 2008)
- Dragon Ball Z: The World’s Strongest (1998) (Remastered/Re-released on May 27, 2008)
- Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might (1998) (Remastered/Re-released on September 16, 2008)
- Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug (2001) (Remastered/Re-released on September 16, 2008)
- Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge (2002) (Remastered/Re-released on November 11, 2008)
- Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler (2002) (Remastered/Re-released on November 11, 2008)
- Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13! (2003) (Remastered/Re-released on February 18, 2009)
- Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan (2003) (Remastered/Re-released on March 31, 2009)
- Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound (2004) (Remastered/Re-released on February 18, 2009)
- Dragon Ball Z: Broly – Second Coming (2005) (Remastered/Re-released on March 31, 2009)
- Dragon Ball Z: Bio-Broly (2005) (Remastered/Re-released on March 31, 2009)
- Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn (2006) (Remastered/Re-released on May 19, 2009)
- Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon (2006) (Remastered/Re-released on May 19, 2009)
I have broken up the movies based on where they would be placed in each Saga’s timeline. Both Cooler Movies would take place after the Namek Sagas. For those who don’t know, Cooler is Frieza’s brother and seeks revenge against Goku and Vegeta. In Super Andriod 13, Dr. Gero hid an android in a glacier and ordered one of his assistants to activate it should the other androids be destroyed. It’s not known if Cell was a prerequisite but it’s presumably not as the movie’s placement is before Cell challenges the Z Fighters. It’s interesting to note Goku’s first contact with Super Android 13 is censored in the U.S. In the original version, Super Android 13 grabs Goku and punches him in the crotch before slamming him into a wall of ice. In the edited versions (this includes the DVD releases which are supposed to be uncut, mind you) Super Android 13 grabs Goku, you see a flash and then Goku is slammed into a wall of ice.
Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan was so hugely popular in both the U.S. and Japan it got not one but TWO sequels. Those who watched the Namek Saga knows that among Saiyans, the ability to become a Super Saiyan (or Super Saiya-jin in Japan) is believed to be only possible for the most powerful Saiyans. Broly was literally born with this ability. He was so powerful at birth, King Vegeta (Vegeta’s father) tried to kill him moments before Frieza destroyed the Saiyan homeworld. Not even the destruction of the planet could kill the infant Broly, who grabbed his father and escaped to safety.
Years later, Broly faces off against Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Piccolo and Future Trunks. In the tough battle Goku barely manages to defeat Broly. Years later during the Saiyaman Saga, Broly returns (Broly: Second Coming). Goku’s dead at the time so Broly fights Gohan, Goten and Trunks. Goten and Trunks, who were collecting the Dragonballs at the beginning of the movie use its power to summon Goku’s power to help them defeat Broly. Broly is launched into the sun where he is destroyed forever, or so it seems. Yet he comes back for the third time in Bio Broly.
Anywho, Dragonball Z is easily the most prolific of the three Dragonall series. In addition to movies, there are several dozen video games based on the anime. My all-time favorite is Dragonball Z: Legacy of Goku II for the Game Boy Advance. The game spans The Trunks Saga to the Cell Games Saga with Cooler as a secret boss and Mr. Satan (Hercule) as an unlockable character after Goku dies. The followup game Buu’s Fury spans the World Tournament Saga to the Kid Buu Saga with Broly as a secret boss. The events of the movie Fusion Reborn are included in this game to explain how Goku finds Vegeta in the Underworld after he dies during the Majin Buu Saga in the game.
The most popular Dragonball Z games are the fighting games but as fans have been saying for the last decade, you can only do that so many times before folks get tired of it. The only Dragonball Z fighting games I’ve played are Budokai 1 and 2.
Overall, I give Dragonball Z a perfect 10. Despite the obvious fact the lead character Goku is a Mary Sue the memories are priceless.
For those who don’t know, a Mary Sue is generally a person in fiction that can solve any problem they’re faced with without too much effort on their part. It’s argued Goku’s personality should spare him from this label but the fact is, Goku defeats almost every single one of his opponents be sheer force of will. In both instances where he dies, he takes his opponent with him. As Vegeta notes when Goku becomes a Super Saiyan for the first time, he gained the ability to do transform without prior knowledge of it and by simply being overcome with rage during his fight with Frieza. The only fights he needed help to win were against Raditz (where he dies for the first time) and Kid Buu (Spirit Bomb) and no I’m not including the movies since they’re considered non-canon from the series.
As I mentioned twice now, there is a followup series in Dragonball GT. It takes place 12 years after the end of Dragonball Z. It opens with Emperor Pilaf (remember him?) using the Dragonballs to turn Goku into a kid. Goku, Trunks and Gohan’s teenage daughter Pan travel to other worlds to collect the Dragonballs they will need to change him back into an adult. Since Earth’s Dragonballs can only oe used once a year, they leave to find the Dragonballs of another world instead. Sometime after being turned back to normal, Goku and Vegeta reach the iconic Super Saiyan 4. In true Mary Sue fashion, Goku goes on to literally become a God.
Four major characters are born between the end of Dragonball and the beginning of GT: Gohan, Goten, Trunks and Pan. Pan is introduced in the second to last episode of Dragonball Z but her power is used to help Goku become a Super Saiyan God before she’s born in the 14th movie. There are also two versions of Trunks: The one that comes from an alternate future during and the present one, both born to Vegeta and Bulma. Goten is born shortly after the Cell games which would mean Chi Chi became pregnant shortly before Goku died for the second time. Looking at Gohan when he’s introduced at the beginning of Dragonball Z, it’s hard to believe he would one day defeat Perfect Cell, become a Superhero and give Goku a grandchild. Out of all the characters introduced Gohan has shown the most growth in Dragonball Z.
I have my favorite moments from Dragonball Z and it’s for that reason I’ve never watched a single episode of GT ^_^