Young_Scott (Level 4)

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Hey guys,
I don't normally post on Anime Vice (I followed the Giant Bomb guys from back in the HotSpot days), but I've seen a number of DragonBall articles on the site, mostly well-informed but not all written with the perspective that the author has actually seen the show in its original form. ;)

So often, when DragonBall is discussed, people are talking about the Z part of the franchise. I should clarify: I do love this part of the story (volume 17 of the manga and onwards, for those following), but ignoring the first part of the story and the growth of Son Goku and friends not only sucks away some of the impact of particular moments far into Z, but you'll be missing some of the best examples of comedy and characterisation in the series, not to mention some cool battles!

I'm going to get a lot of hate for this, but some of you can guess what I'm going to say: stay away from the dub versions of the shows. I respect that some people like the version of Z that aired on Toonami because that's what they grew up with, but the dubs are so far from their original source that they are practically different shows; character personalities and important plot details are changed on a whim, dialogue is often made up, and censorship is all over the place. Finally, in Z at least, Shunsuke Kikuchi and Hironobu Kageyama's wonderfully epic/cheesy/whimsical mix of orchastria and 80's J-rock is traded for some soul-less, generic trance/rock (sorry, Bruce Faulconer), killing a lot of tension and fun of the BGM. It's pretty heavy.

Also, the production staff for DragonBall and Z remain consistent across the original Japanese production, which means that the style and tone of the music and VA is the same, making the transition between the two minimal (they follow on from each other immediately, just like the manga).

If you must watch a dubbed version, stick to Kai, which is far more faithful to the intentions of the Japanese script. On Kai in general: While it's a valiant effort to curb the filler present in the original production, it often goes way too far in the other direction, cutting out plot material that was actually present in the manga, and rushing important moments of build-up and tension. The BGM, while a step-up from the old dubs, isn't really a patch on the score of the original shows, although it does have some great "one-shot" songs.

Yes, I know the DragonBall franchise does have flaws (some crazy pacing issues, major filler, etc), but you've got to remember that this is a franchise from the 1980's. The charming characters, contrasting moments of end-of-the-world-battles against silly pun-based jokes, and overall theme of redemption make it one of the most influential pieces of "classic" shonen out there, being a major inspiration for current mangaka big-names, such as Eiichiro Oda and Masashi Kishimoto. If you have the time, give it a shot! I'd recommend picking up the manga, the uncut DVD sets for DragonBall, or the awesome Dragon Boxes for Z.

(I have too much time on my hands).

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