Monday, June 17, 2024

What Sticks Out About Dragon Ball Z Sagas?

May 7, 2021 by  
Filed under Anime, News

( Sagas in Dragon Ball Z have always been oddly defined. A saga is often a long tale about the life and adventures of the protagonist.

Dragon Ball as a whole is the saga, not the individual story arcs. Of course, putting “saga” on the end of a long-running story arc sounds better than just putting “arc” at the end.

Let’s look at a few “sagas” from DBZ that were always hard to explain.

Goku and Vegeta: The Saiyan Saga

I use “Saiyan Saga” because I’ve seen it used a few times and figured “Hey, that’s actually more accurate than ‘Raditz Saga’ and ‘Vegeta Saga’.” Honestly, I don’t know how Raditz even got a saga.

His involvement in the franchise is minimal overall but very significant. By arriving on Earth to follow up on his brother Goku’s work, DBZ really began.

Actually, the idea that his older brother showed up just to check up on what his 20-something-year-old brother is doing is an odd way to kick things off.

It goes much deeper than that but at the root that is what the first episode of DBZ is. It’s a supervisor check that escalates into a Kill Bill fight after someone’s child is kidnapped.

Despite that, Raditz wasn’t around long. The “Vegeta Saga” would make sense if we look at it as the long-running story from Vegeta’s fight with the Earthlings up until his death on Namek.

However, a lot of the Saiyan Saga is centered around Earth’s heroes training for their fight with this invading menace—Vegeta and Nappa. Plus, the rest of Vegeta’s story continues in…

2021 Goku and Vegeta: The Saiyan Saga

Goku Cements His Legend: The Namek Saga

This is probably my favorite of the series’ four main sagas. Starting with Vegeta’s defeat on Earth and retreat back to Frieza’s base, the Namek Saga kind of goes back to old school Dragon Ball.

I’ll dive into that at another time but the quest to retrieve the Namekian dragon balls were two-fold. First, revive the friends and allies who died fighting Nappa and Vegeta. The second goal was simply to keep Vegeta from making a wish with the dragon balls.

Even though this saga was actually far too long, had a bit too much filler, and didn’t benefit from a late 90s-early 00s broadcasting schedule, it was the turning point for so much.

My only gripe with it was how the saga was always defined. You had the “Namek Saga” and the “Frieza Saga”. They’re somewhat interchangeable but actually, the Earthlings weren’t aware of Frieza until they arrived on Namek.

Again, more on this in another piece.

Gohan’s Intended Push: The Android Saga

The “Android Saga” was a story arc that is often divided into the “Trunks Saga” where Vegeta’s future son arrives to save Goku and warn everyone, the named saga where Earth’s Special Forces face off against the androids, and the “Cell Saga” where the team fights Cell.

Originally, it was just referred to as the “Cell Saga”. It makes sense if you just name the whole thing after the main villain. However, that kind of spoils it for people who hadn’t experienced DBZ.

Then again, this series hit the U.S when I was in 5th grade, that’s more than enough time not to get hit with spoilers. At any rate, I think that “Android Saga” works since Cell was an android as well and it’s not like some other kind of being or monster appears.

Perfectly Acceptable Writing: The Buu Saga

Actually, this saga is pretty valid. The majority of it is a build up to a showdown with Majin Buu. One problem with it is that things kind of start off with filler.

A lot of the story between Gohan—Goku’s eldest son—starting high school and the showdown with Buu seems to go on for a bit. Although, I will say that I love a tournament arc in manga and anime, so the Buu Saga gets a nod for that.

Apart from all of the catching up on Gohan and the Son family, it was interesting when more of the friends and family were reintroduced. Remember: there’s a time skip between the defeat of Cell and when Gohan starts high school.

In a way, this saga was DBZ coming full circle as everything got to this point after Raditz kidnapped a four-year-old Gohan during a reunion years earlier.

I’m not saying this was the perfect arc but it was the perfect cap to a long-running, even longer broadcasted series. It’s hard to say that Toriyama raised the sakes following the Namek Saga but he created a final boss so threatening that it seemed hopeless for victory.

Another nod and a double thumbs up for that.

What’s Your Favorite Dragon Ball Z Saga?

Each of the sagas follow the same formula of a previously unknown or unmentioned menace show up and bodying members of Earth’s Special Forces before Goku shuts things down.

Sometimes, the formula hits perfectly while other times it just seems tired and done before—and that’s possible in the same series. Weird, I know.

What are your favorite sagas from Dragon Ball Z? Let us know in the comments below!

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.

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