Seven years of tranquility have passed since the original quest for the Dragonballs. Earth is once again threatened by mysterious forces, this time from the depths of space. The new opponent reveals himself to be Son Goku’s brother, and makes him aware of his troubled past. Soon the Z Senshi are locked in a battle to protect the Earth and the dragonballs from falling into the wrong hands. Can Son Goku and his comrades summon the strength to overcome the odds?
summary by Kain
Highs: Appeals to thousands of pubescent males
Lows: Appeals to thousands of pubescent males; redundant plot; “drag on” ball; uninspired, poorly animated combat scenes
The original Dragonball is a likable anime because it blends humor with action, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Remove the humor and aloofness, stretch the episodes and fight scenes to the limits of human tolerance and you have Dragonball Z.
I wouldn’t have been so bored if the fights were choreographed and animated well. Instead, the animators appeared lazy and reused cels over and over, attempting to simulate motion. The plot is so redundant and unimaginative that I was left reaching for a Police Academy tape to satisfy my need for a story. That’s desperation right there, folks. Stronger menace threatens our heroes and the planet? Yawn. Been there, done that. And in better incarnations.
The only real credit I can give it is that by being the most popular anime import in the US, it has opened up doors for other (i.e. better) anime to hit mainstream America. But this review is on the merits of the anime itself, not on its impact. I digress.
What can I say? I like anime with an inventive plot and characters that don’t have eternal grimaces on their faces. Someone give these guys some Prozac. If you want to watch a good fighting anime, go get Yu Yu Hakusho or Blue Seed. Just stay away from this one.
Highs: Easy to get into; great music
Lows: Goes on and on; poor animation
Dragonball Z can easily be described as a transitional anime. It catches everyone’s attention with flashy fight scenes and a hero vs. villain plot, which can actually be enjoyable at times. You can also credit Dragonball Z with causing an eruption of popularity of anime in America.
But why did it become so popular? Well, kids like the transforming and supernatural characters; older fans just haven’t been exposed to better anime, as was the case for me.
Dragonball Z is very flawed, but also has its strong points. The characters (good and evil), are incredibly creative and unique. The ability to become a Super Saiya-jin also makes the story very climactic, but by the time eight people can do it, no one really cares and it isn’t such a big deal. Each level of Super Saiya-jin is intended to be as big a deal as the previous one, but it is really reminding you that the story is old and it’s time to put this one to rest. The animation is nothing to brag about either. It is very choppy and the battles later on in the show are boring, although the longer ones really didn’t bother me.
Perhaps one of the highest aspects of the show is the music, which I must admit is good. It’s a shame as the show was intended to end after the Frieza saga, but due to its exploding popularity it kept going on and on and on. This left the story open for several plot holes, which had to be made to keep the series running. I am not implying that Dragonball Z is a terrible show (in fact, I was hooked on it for quite some time) but if you really want to get the best from anime, look somewhere else.