DragonBall Z Review

DragonBall Z is a 1989 martial arts adventure anime television series produced by Toei Animation and directed by Daisuke Nishio. The anime is a sequel to the DragonBall anime and an adaptation of the DragonBall manga series created by Akira Toriyama. The story follows the adventures of the protagonist, Goku, and his friends and allies as they defend the Earth against a variety of enemies.


Positives:

  • Great memorable characters
  • Good voice performances
  • Great score
  • Good storylines
  • Great action
  • Memorable dialogue

Negatives:  

  • Low budget animation style 
  • Cardboard characters
  • Irrelevant characters
  • Less than memorable voice performances (Funimation)

Plot: DragonBall Z does have a great story that can be exciting and suspenseful, but there are a ton of plot holes that keep the story loose. The series does go at a decent pace as it follows Goku and his friends and allies as they defend the Earth from a variety of enemies, the underlining themes focusing on friendship, persistence, and personal growth.  The series is focused around several arcs, the best being the Saiyan Saga, Namek/Frieza Saga, Android/Cell Saga, and the Buu/Fusion Saga.  Some of the later seasons do feel uneventful such as the Garlic Jr. Saga and the Great Saiyaman Saga. (3 out of 5)

Characters:  There are tons of characters, some good, some bad, some completely crazy. Goku, as the main protagonist, is a very fun and likable guy. Other fun characters include Piccolo, Krillin, and Vegeta. There are several characters who have developing arcs and even some of the villains turn good. Some favorite characters are Krillin, Goku, Vegeta, #18, and Kid Buu. Some of the more memorable characters are the villains including Vegeta, Frieza, Cooler, Broly, Cell, and Majin Buu. Although the villains are great most of them are cardboard characters whose ambitions are only fueled by the fact that they’re evil with little to their backstories or motivations. (4 out of 5)

Animation Style:  In the original anime, DragonBall Z features a low budget animation style which does still looks good for its time.  The color schemes are very vibrant and appealing to look at. The Funimation dub introduces blood into the animation style which does help to flesh out the severity of the characters wounds and injuries. (3 out of 5)

Score:  The anime features a really good score. The voice performances are really good, many of them memorable and diverse. Characters like Vegeta, Frieza, Racoome, and Cell are really memorable voices. For example, Vegeta has a more deeper toned voice that does work for the character in the Funimation dub. However, others do suck.  Either the characters feel congested or totally effeminate. The soundtrack does feature a grand and epic adventurous feeling.  Many of the characters have their own themes that do reflect their personalities. The Funimation dub sucks.  The soundtrack seems more focused on themes from the DragonBall anime.  (4 out of 5)

Writing: The overall story is written really well although there are more than a few inconsistencies as well as plotholes.  The dialogue is unique; it’s humorous, it’s witty, and it does flesh out the DragonBall universe. An example of this is the statement “the next dimension” which means killing or murdering someone.  (4 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, DragonBall Z is a pretty cool anime.  The anime is held back by lack of character backstories, plotholes in the story, the low budget animation, and many good characters who take a back seat.  However, the anime does features some of the most memorable characters in anime, good voice performances, a great soundtrack, an entertaining story, awesome dialogue, and great action sequences. DragonBall Z gets 4 out of 5.

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