Manga Redemption: DBZ.
(AfroGamers.com) “What?! Dragon Ball Z needed redemption?!” Yes and no. I got into DBZ through the anime when it first aired stateside in 1996. I didn’t know what was going on initially because a year prior Goku was just a kid and now he’s living in the woods with a wife and kid. Then his kid gets kidnapped by his brother and—it was just a lot going on in that first episode. But you know what, the pacing of the Raditz fight was great. The pace was set at “Things got real fast.”
Then we got to the Namek/Frieza Saga and the show started to drag. The pacing was Houston hip-hop slow but it featured enough fights to not turn you off of it. Who was the culprit for this? Goku and his spaceship taking forever to get to Namek. To be honest though, the payoff was worth it when you finally saw Super Saiyan Goku after a year of finding Toriyama’s artwork on dial-up internet.
The pacing of the show would continue like this for the other sagas and I basically went to manga to finish the series. Besides, the true about Dragon Ball Z is that there is just enough story there but the story is roughly the same each saga. We’re all here for the fights, to see Saiyans turn up, and see the greatest scrub of all time—Yamcha–get his mouth caved in.
I did eventually finish the anime but that was years later after I bailed on it. What’s funny is that a lot of classic anime or popular anime series get this treatment from me.
Just like my redemption with Naruto, the manga got me through Dragon Ball Z to where I found the later sagas enjoyable. Watching DBZ and waiting for episodes to be dubbed had become a chore of sorts. I mean, sure I did eventually watch the Cell Saga but I did so via a fandub with Chinese dubbing in the 11th grade. Before that, it was finding fan scanned and translated manga and blasting through DBZ.
As we know now, the pacing in manga is what it is. You can get through several chapters in a sitting and not even know you’re sitting there eating up chapter after chapter. That passage of time isn’t there like it is with watching a show because sometimes an episode can feel more like you’ve been watching 40-plus minutes than an the 22 minute run time.
As an aside, I’d watch the movies since they were all non-canon and the time investment wasn’t necessary. Just sit down, enjoy this standalone movie, and keep it trucking. However, the DBZ anime sat there in background and I felt a little guilty about not finishing it. I’m a big Toriyama fan and love his art-style but after you figure out the series formula for different arcs—let’s just say you have to be a DBZ diehard to sit through episode after episode. Mind you, that’s even with the cool villains that show up post-Frieza.
When I finally finished DBZ it felt like nagging weight was lifted. It was weird because it wasn’t like trying to catch up on One Piece. If you hadn’t been keeping up with OP regularly you’re just left in the dust. DBZ is an anime series that can be finished and the manga had a large part in me eventually do that.
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.