I cant talk for other countries, but it was the first manga/anime my generation read. Sure Akira came as the first manga in Denmark, but it was Dragon Ball that for all of us was our first meeting with manga and anime, besides Pokemon. It was something all-new. It had a style that we had never seen before, and the stories was something else too. Dragon Ball wasn't afraid of being "naughty" and the names and character seemed very exotic with names as Son Goku and Kuririn, and weird words like Kamehameha when straight to our heart. The fighting was something new too. I swear, there was not one single kid (and a couple of adults too, to be honest) who didn't pretend to make a Kamehameha at least once after reading Dragon Ball, hell, even if they hadn't read it yet.