Dragonball Z

Dragon Ball ZAs regular readers might know, I have my own corner of this site dedicated to Japanese Horror.  Don’t get me wrong I like anime, just not as much as my brother does.  Some of them are cool, and some have decent stories and memorable characters as well.  Many of them though have a lot of bad habits, a list of which I helped flesh out although I didn’t write it.  Anime does some things very, very badly.  And, while a lot of fans might disagree, I feel Dragonball Z is a poster child for these bad habits.

I wasn’t much into anime in high school, the only show I watched consistently was Inuyasha, but even then I’d heard of Dragonball Z.  It’s billed as the best fighting manga ever written, and it was pretty popular amongst my peers who were into that sort of thing.  I only watched one episode in high school, and literally NOTHING happened. Needless to say, I was less than impressed and paid the show no more mind.

It wasn’t until later, when I had an appreciation for anime and its style and stories, that I decided to give DBZ another look.  I watched the first season and part of the second season, and have since given up on the show.

Nappa, caught mid-bluster

For a ‘fighting manga’ there wasn’t all that much fighting. There was a lot of talking about fighting, but not a lot of fighting.  There were whole episodes where little or nothing happened.  When stuff finally did happen, the rest of the episode would be spent yammering about it.  There was too much bluff and bluster and not enough action to back it up.  That’s a pet peeve I have about anime in general though, so I’m not picking on DBZ in particular; the combatants spend way, way too much time blabbering at each other about how strong they are. They sound like little boys on a schoolyard. SHOW how much of a badass your character is, don’t have him or her tell us.  Actions speak louder than words in anime and in life.

Also, the “surprise” dodges and what not got annoying.  It’s one thing to make a villain imposing and seemingly invincible, but I felt like the show’s writers were just trying to pad out the fights.  They could have cut out a ton of scenes and made the fights much more engaging and interesting.  One telling example is when Vegeta dodged probably three super powered attacks meant to take him down.  I’m sorry, but once that little trick is used once it’s not surprising the second or third time.  That’s just lazy writing.  It frustrated the heck out of me and took me out of the fight. Not a good thing for a show that’s supposed to be all about the fighting.

Oh, and the whole dues ex machina thing got old too.  Having the magical beans that healed everyone up, and then Gohan’s tail just magically grew back from nowhere so he could finish Vegeta.  Really?  That was never explained…it just kind of happened.

That was pretty much how the entire show went. It was silly, over the top, and more irritated me than entertained me.  It just seemed like a lot of stuff happening, and like the writers were just padding the show for length.  Much better to write a story that’s lean and mean.  DBZ is neither of those.


  • I like to say a lot of Shonen shows like Naruto, Bleach, etc. suffer from DBZ syndrome. This means that the story arc goes like this: Introduce foe-good guys vs bad guys fight #1 (good guys lose)-good guys train-fight #2 (good guys lose but not as badly)-train some more (good guys gain some new power or ability or grow extremely stronger)-fight #3 and final fight (both good guys and bad guys are extremely stronger, good guys do good, then bad guy transforms 2-3 times, good guy wins). Though I do have a few problems with this article, you note that DBZ is billed as “the greatest fighting manga ever written” however there is no definitive article anywhere that I have found that says so. Also after you note this “fact”, you never once talk about the manga series itself you only continue to go on about the anime series.

    • Yeah they all sort of have the same general format from what I’ve heard. Bleach and DBZ are really the only ones I’ve watched though so I can’t say much when it comes to anything else. And as for the greatest fighting “manga”, I think I meant to say “anime” and I saw that phrase on the box art for one of the DVD sets. I’ve heard it elsewhere too, and I probably just flipped “anime” and “manga” when I wrote the article. So, just a little typo from a guy who isn’t really up on the lingo. That’s why I usually stick to the horror movies, haha

      • Yeah a little typo, but all in all i agree, these shows get way outta hand, though I guess thats why they are good starter anime, they are easy to follow for new viewers

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