When I was a child, I loved to watch Toonami. I loved all the shows on it, but especially DBZ. I loved the villains, the heroes, how well-written it was and how heartbreaking it could be at times. Years passed, I became older and DBZ became a show I made fun of-a show that everyone made fun of. It became a joke to like DBZ in the anime fandom.

Recently, I got back into it and I’ve only just realized how great the whole thing was. Everything that major animes do today was all influenced by DBZ. Naruto, Luffy, Ichigo-none of them would be around if it wasn’t for the brilliant mind of Akira Toriyama.

By far the best sagas had to be the Cell Saga and the Androids saga. Toriyama planned to end the series with Goku’s death. Fortunately, the fans created enough of an uproar that he gave up on that and decided to create the Android saga. He made a brilliant character in Trunks, my favorite DBZ Character in general.

The guy has major daddy issues, true, but he comes from a bad future that was well-portrayed in the History of Trunks. A lot of people bash the English Dub, but I don’t mind it-it’s well-acted for the most part. Trunks sounds cocky-Goku sounds good.

Naruto and Bleach are good, but I stopped watching both because both got too overblown and ridiculous. Naruto has heart, but there’s a big difference between having heart and having ridiculous OOC characters.

You see, DBZ is much more than just fighting. It’s got heart, feelings, emotions-every single battle in there has a tremendous amount of emotion involved. When Piccolo died taking a shot for Gohan, I cried. His feelings for Gohan made him human. When Krillin’s death pushed Goku into becoming a super saiyan, I cried, too. In that series, the bonds between the characters are DEEP. That’s why they resurrect them-they’re so close that it actually hurts to be without them.

Unlike Naruto, Goku’s habit of making friends with his enemies does result in him nearly getting killed numerous times-Raditz, Frieza, and Cell all take advantage of it. He learns to grow out of his naivete and makes tremendous leaps and bounds as a character.

Gohan’s anxiety at fighting? Well, he was a little four-year old stuck in battle. His reaction is perfectly natural. He was well-developed, too. He got spunkier as time went on, but he never ceased to be a fighter.

Krillin was first a coward and a liar in DB, but by Z, he and Goku were so close that he was willing to do anything to be with him. He overcame his flaws.

Piccolo overcame his hatred of humans by seeing the good in them from Gohan’s point of view.

Trunks is full of sadness because his future is so messed-up-he’s probably the most flawed of all. One can watch the way he mercilessly cuts Frieza in half and then say, “Well, he’s heartless,” but then we forget to mention how his lenience and mercy cost him Gohan’s life before. He learned you cannot be kind in that sort of future and in that regard Trunks is more like his father (who scares the crap out of me to this date) in his arrogance. But he still has hope.

Bruce Faulconer’s music was by far one of the best things about the dub. I just remember listening to the music and being in total ecstasy about it. Dub is preferable to Goku sounding like a whiny five-year old. It’s true that sometimes the dub does not make sense-like sometimes they toss in stupid jokes. For the most part, however-I think they did an excellent job with the dub-Sean Schemmel is perfect at Goku, Eric Vale fits Trunks perfectly-Piccolo sounds just like he needs to.

You know what really sucks nowadays about anime? It really sucks how a lot of them decide to just talk in fights instead of doing what Toriyama mastered-stop talking and just FIGHT-with fists and attacks, but no overblown BS like the Sharingan, Rinnegan and all of that crap.

Another great thing about the series are the villains. Toriyama wanted to make it clear that these guys were dangerous, and he had no mercy on the viewers. Frieza was a racist genocidal fanatic-not unlike Hitler, and was ruthless to the core-while he does like to brag about his power, he’s got enough to back up his talk. He pays the ultimate price-being destroyed by Trunks.

Cell? A disturbing monster with absolutely no likeable qualities whatsoever-that Toriyama reminds us-absorbs humans and eats them. This guy haunted my nightmares. He’s just that scary.

Vegeta? A sociopathic warrior who would gladly destroy the whole earth were it not plagued entirely by evil bad guys all the time. Toriyama reminds us that he’s not the good guy people think he is-he’s ruthless and doesn’t hold back.

The Androids, minus 16 and perhaps the good 17 and 18 of the modern timeline? All creepy, Uncanny Valley types. Dr. Gero is a homicidal maniac who has no redeeming qualities-Android 19 walks and talks like a broken doll-which makes his defeat at the hands of Vegeta all the more eerie, where his head is just severed from the rest of his body….*shudders.*

Android 17 and 18 in Trunks’ timeline were absolutely ruthless, though 17 is probably more of an asshole than 18 is-18 decides to spare someone because he let her take his clothing and said she was pretty-and then 17 decides to kick the dog and blows up the place, leading to 18 complaining about that.

He makes it clear that these guys are not the lovably evil kind you usually see in Pokemon or Yugioh-these are the kinds of sociopathic, depraved people you’ll find in real life-that’s what makes it all the more hard-hitting. He hits on racism with the death of the saiyans, reflects on the worth of humans…..you won’t see many creators choosing to do the things Toriyama did.

Though it was ponderously long, the good qualities outweigh the bad and by far make DBZ one of the best anime I have ever had the privilege of watching. 9.9/10

By far a modern-day classic in television-face it, they don’t make them like they used to-especially true in the case of Slayers, DBZ, and Sailor Moon. Most anime these days aren’t as great-with a few exceptions like Pandora Hearts, Higurashi, Monster, Geass, Madoka, and D-Gray man.

Here’s a DBZ trailer for Toonami about Vegeta http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAqiNBAFNcA

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