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Dragon Ball Z is the long-running sequel to the anime Dragon Ball. The series is a close adaptation of the second (and far longer) portion of the Dragon Ball manga written and drawn by Akira Toriyama. (in the United States, the manga's second portion is also titled Dragon Ball Z to prevent confusion). The anime features characters, situations and backstories not present in the original manga. Those portions are considered non-canon by many fans.

The series follows the adventures of the adult Son Goku who, along with his companions, defends the earth against assorted villains. While the original Dragon Ball anime followed Goku through childhood into adulthood, Dragon Ball Z is a continuation of his adulthood life, but at the same time parallels the maturation of his son, Gohan. The separation between the series is also significant as the latter series takes on a more dramatic and serious tone.

The anime first premiered in Japan on April 18, 1989 (on Fuji TV) at 7:00 p.m. and ended on January 31, 1996. In the U.S., the series ran between 1996 and 2003, though not always on the same networks or with continuity of dubbing. It aired in the UK, albeit with the same dubbing problem, on Cartoon Network, premiering on March 6, 2000 and running until 2002, with the Majin Buu Saga being shown on CNX with the Fusions and Kid Buu Sagas being broadcast on the network, with the channels name changed to "Toonami", with the show ending on February 28 2003. After the finished run it was repeated daily until the Toonami merge with Cartoon Network Too, where it was unsaved and remains unbroadcast in the UK since.

After Dragon Ball Z, the story of Son Goku and friends continues in the anime-only series Dragon Ball GT. This series is not based on a manga by Akira Toriyama.

Toriyama's humor/parody manga Neko Majin Z features several concepts introduced in Dragon Ball Z (several Dragon Ball Z characters even make various appearances), but that manga is designed as a parody and not a true continuation of the series.

ImpactEdit

The impact of Dragon Ball Z is enormous. For more than 15 years, the series has stood the test of time and has reached out to many children and adults alike across the globe. This is mainly due to the series' very clear representations of good overpowering evil, love overpowering hate, the importance of family and friends, and an unyielding passion toward achieving goals. The series also featured heavy sci-fi overtones, and a greater emphasis on fighting - making it extremely popular among adolescent boys who had grown up alongside the original series.

Dragon Ball Z has also played a large part in contributing to the popularity of anime in westen culture. Though the first two seasons of the series were played on various networks in the U.S. in 1996, it would not take off for two more years until August 31, 1998, when Cartoon Network featured the show in its action-oriented Toonami lineup. Toonami heralded the show as "The Greatest Action Cartoon Ever Made," and it greatly boosted the popularity of Toonami, but unknowingly did so much more. Dragon Ball Z's newfound popularity helped to bring about a greater interest in Japanese cartoons in the eyes of western youth, which in turn fueled the western anime industry to new heights.

Censorship IssuesEdit

Dragon Ball Z was marketed to appeal to a wide range of viewers from all ages, and contains crude humor and occasional excesses of violence which are commonly seen as inappropriate for younger audiences by American standards. When it was marketed in the US, the distribution company FUNimation alongside with Saban decided to initially focus exclusively on the young children's market, because the anime market was still small compared to the much larger children's cartoon market.

Starting with the Ginyu Saga (3rd US season) on Cartoon Network, censorship was reduced due to fewer restrictions on cable programming. FUNimation did the dubbing on their own this time around with their own voice actors. In 2003, FUNimation began to redub the first two sagas of Dragon Ball Z, to remove the problems that were caused from their previous partnership with Saban. They also redubbed the first three movies tha

FillerEdit

Filler is used to pad out the series for many reasons; in the case of Dragon Ball Z, more often than not, it was because the anime was running alongside the manga, and there was no way for the anime to run ahead of the manga (since Toriyama was still writing it, at the same time).

The company behind the anime, Toei Animation, would occasionally make up their own little side stories to either further explain things, or simply to extend the series. Filler doesn't come only in the form of side stories, though; sometimes it's as simple as adding some extra attacks into a fight.

As the anime series was forced to expand 12 pages of manga text into 25 minutes of animation footage, these changes were introduced to kill time or to allow the (anime) writers to explore some other aspect of the series' universe (the Anoyo-ichi Budōkai (Afterlife tournament) between the Cell Saga, Majin Buu Saga and the Garlic Junior Saga, a.k.a. Garlic Jr.'s return from the Return my Gohan!! (Dead Zone) movie between the Freeza Saga and Trunks arc (pre-Cell Saga) are both good examples of this). They have also been known to contradict the manga and often create new plot holes.

ReleasesEdit

Japanese releasesEdit

Originally, only the Dragon Ball Z movies, and the Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans OvA were available for home viewing in Japan. The movies were released on both VHS, and Laserdisc format. The Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans OVA was released both on VHS and on the PlayDia, as an interactive FMV.

Dragonbox releasesEdit

In 2003, all of the Dragon Ball Z TV series was finally released for home viewing in Japan, on two large DVD boxed sets, following the release of a similar set for Dragon Ball. Each Dragon Ball Z Dragonbox had a large amount of DVD extras, as well as an action figure and a book.

The video and audio transfers of the show used on these DVDs came off of the Fuji TV master tapes of the show, as this allowed Toei to put out a far superior and completely accurate version of the show on DVD which was helpful since the entire plot of a season could be summed up in about ten minutes. This allowed all episodes to have their original openings, endings, eyecatches, next episode previews, etc., compared to what was available in the US.

In late 2005 the Dragon Box Z DVDs were re-released in single volumes with six episodes per disc. While the packaging and DVD menus are different from the 2003 release, and so far no plans have been announced for the two TV specials and the Playdia footage released with the 2003 versions, the Audio and Visual quality is the exact same as those discs found in the 2003 Dragonbox release.

At the end of March, 2006, a Dragon box: The Movies DVD-BOX was released. This release contained all 17 Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z theatrical features, along with a book, and two scouters in the form of walkie-talkies. The video and audio are remastered, however the video is cropped and contains less picture than the full-screen versions, a common occurrence for films from Toei, based on long-running and popular TV series (See Saint Seiya, Fist of the North Star, and One Piece).

All Dragon box releases contain Japanese language audio only (with exceptions to foreign-language bonus clips), and no subtitles.

Pioneer DVDsEdit

During the late 90's/early 00's, The first 53 (Saban/FUNimation version numbers, originally uncut as 67) TV episodes were released on to DVD by Geneon Entertainment USA (then Pioneer Entertainment). These contained only the edited, US-TV broadcast versions, and totalled 17 volumes. At a later date, the first 8 DVDs were released as the 'Saiyan Saga', while the final 9 were released as the 'Namek Saga'. As of August the 31st, 2004, Geneon's license for video distribution of these episodes ended, allowing FUNimation to re-release these episodes.

Along with these episodes, Pioneer Ent. also produced bilingual, uncut DVDs of the first three Dragon Ball Z theatrical features. These DVDs retained the original Ocean cast for the English track, as well as being one of the first uncut and bilingual releases in the U.S. The English versions of these films were also subject to a different treatment, rather than replacing the original music, the original OP and ED themes, as well as background music, were retained. The only noticeable differences besides languages are the inclusion of a few different sound effects which are not present on the original Japanese version.

These films were released as a three-disc boxset by Pioneer, however much like the 53 TV episodes Pioneer had license to, the first three Z film's home video rights now belong to FUNimation.

FUNimation DVDsEdit

As of 2000, FUNimation has released uncut versions of their Texas-based English dub on to DVD, uncut and with Japanese language track, and English-translation subtitles. Beginning with the Captain Ginyu saga, which took place directly after the Saban/FUNimation-produced episodes, FUNimation has released bilingual, uncut DVDs for every episode covering (Japanese numbers) 68 till 291. Boxsets for the Garlic Jr., Androids, Imperfect Cell, Perfect Cell, World Tournament, Majin Buu, Evil Buu, Fusion, and Kid Buu U.S. sagas have also been released. However, in order to maximize profits, the DVDs were released out of continuity (certain amounts of one section of the series were released, and then FUNimation would go back and release others). With no noticeable numbering visible, this caused frustration to those trying to follow the series from start to finish.

After acquiring the video rights to the first 53 (67) episodes from Pioneer, FUNimation announced that they would release these episodes uncut, with a new 5.1 English language track and uncut footage. The Ultimate Uncut Edition line was born. The release would be 22 volumes, Bilingual, and with extras. The Saiyan Saga was renamed the 'Vegeta' Saga (Parts I and II, covering 12 DVDs), probably to avoid confusion with the Pioneer volumes. No one is sure what the Namek saga would have been called. This was the same version shown on Cartoon Network. However, as of DVD volume 9, FUNimation has cancelled these box sets and are planning to re-re-release them in the new DVD sets they are currently working on. This has greatly upset fans who have purchased the expensive Ultimate Uncut DVDs, as the Vegeta Saga Part II will never be completed.

FUNimation has also released Dragon Ball Z movies 4-13, finishing the release of the movies with 'Wrath of the Dragon', the 13th movie. These are all bilingual and subtitled, but do not follow the trend set by Ocean's first three movies. Music has been changed and altered, including the insertion of songs from rock bands such as Pantera and Deftones. The movies utilize the TV series Texas cast, though they also include the original Japanese version with subtitling by Steve Simmons.

FUNimation re-released the first movie under the Ultimate Uncut line, but movie 2 and 3 were not named 'Ultimate Uncut' even though they had they same cover style as movie 1. All of these movies had a 5.1 English track, new subtitles, different DVD extras and come in a boxset titled 'First Strike'. However, they do not retain the original Ocean dub, and contain a new English dub produced by FUNimation's Texas cast. This version contains different music to the original dub or Japanese version.

FUNimation has officially dropped the 'Ultimate Uncut' line and are working on their season boxsets.

FUNimation Season Box SetsEdit

In November 2005, FUNimation announced they would release a remastered form of Dragon Ball Z on DVD beginning in 2007. It was later announced that "Season 1" (the entire Vegeta Saga) would be re-released on February 6, 2007. The first 39 episodes of Season 1 are spread across 6 discs, and cost $30-$50 USD (the original intention was for 5 discs, but there was a risk of quality reduction). The series has been re-transferred at 1080p resolution with digital restoration technology removing all grain and scratches from FUNimation's original prints of the series. It is important to note however, that like many late 80's-early 90's Toei productions (for example, Saint Seiya, Sailor Moon, Marmalade Boy, Ghost Sweeper Mikami and Slam Dunk), the series was produced on 16 millimeter film which tends to be fairly grainy and soft. The new restoration was supervised by colorist Steve Franko. It was reported from FUNimation's online trailer that the series would be presented in widescreen format (1.78:1, cropped from the original full frame) for the first time. This was highly controversial among fans, as this is not how the T.V. episodes were intended to be seen and this substantially alters them. Many fans lauched a letter-writing campaign against the release. The boxset contains a revised English track in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound (it contains the original Japanese score by Shunsuke Kikuchi, although it is unknown just how the English dialogue is revised). For the first time ever, there is a choice between having the Japanese dialogue with Toei's original Japanese music, or English Dialogue with either FUNimation's dub music or Toei's original Japanese music. Special features include a featurette on the remastering of the original Japanese print and a 24-Page booklet with Episode summaries, character descriptions and a DBZ timeline. All other 291 episodes are to be remastered and released in boxset form as well. FUNimation released a trailer for the new set on the Dragon Ball Z official website.

Comparison images from the new set show that while there is missing footage on the top and bottom, there is at least additional footage on the right and left that has not appeared in any prior release, having been taken straight from the original Japanese film master recording. In response to negative fan outcry regarding the release's apparent cropping of the source video, a FUNimation representative has released a document from the team remastering the video, which explains the logistics of the new release. This document details how certain areas of the original film are damaged, and admit that though the video is cropped, this release will eliminate the grain that would be present on prior 4:3 releases. It has also been theorized that it is ultimately more inexpensive to transfer the series in 16:9 and thereby remove the damaged portions of the frame than to repair 291 episodes' worth of damaged film.

FUNimation has announced that the Second Season Set is set for release in May 22, 2007. It is to contain both the Namek Saga and Ginyu Saga. This means there should be a total of 35 episodes included. The set will once again be in widescreen (1:78:1). It has also been confirmed by voice actor Kyle Hebert that the Ginyu Saga will be re-dubbed by most of the voice actors to keep consistency with the dub.

The Third Season Set has been released, including the Freiza Saga. Fourth one was released in February of 2008, inclusing the Garlic Jr., Trunks, and Android saga.

Season Five was released in June 2008 which contains both Imperfect and Perfect Cell Sagas.

SagasEdit

Toei Sagas
  1. Saiyan Saga (Episodes 1~35); 1989
  2. Freeza Saga (Episodes 36~125); 1990 - 1991
  3. Cell Saga (Episodes 126~199); 1992
  4. Buu Saga (Episodes 200~291); 1993 - 1994 - 1995
FUNimation's Sagas

Saiyan Saga:

  • The Vegeta Saga (Episodes 1~35)

Freeza Saga:

  • The Namek Saga (Episodes 36~67)
  • The Ginyu Saga|Captain Ginyu Saga (Episodes 68~74)
  • The Freeza Saga (Episodes 75~107)

Garlic Junior Saga:

  • Garlic Junior Saga (Episodes 108~117)

Cell Saga:

  • The Trunks Saga (Episodes 118~125)
  • The Androids Saga (Episodes 126~139)
  • The Imperfect Cell Saga (Episodes 140~152)
  • The Perfect Cell Saga (Episodes 153~165)
  • The Cell Games Saga (Episodes 166~194)

Buu Saga:

  • The Great Saiyaman Saga (Episodes 195~209)
  • The World Tournament Saga (Episodes 210~219)
  • The Babidi Saga (Episodes 220~231)
  • The Majin Buu Saga (Episodes 232~253)
  • The Fusion Saga (Episodes 254~275)
  • The Kid Buu Saga (Episodes 276~291)

Movies, TV Specials, OVAEdit

Movies
Toei Titles
  1. Return my Gohan!! (1989)
  2. The World's Strongest (1990)
  3. Super Deciding Battle for the Entire Planet Earth (1990)
  4. Lord Slug|Lord Slug (1991)
  5. Cooler's Revenge|The Incredible Mightiest vs. Mightiest (1991)
  6. Return of Cooler|Clash!! 10,000,000,000 Powerful Warriors (1992)
  7. Super Android 13|Extreme Battle!! The Three Great Super Saiyans (1992)
  8. Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan|Burn Up!! A Close, Intense, Super-Fierce Battle (1993)
  9. Bojack Unbound|The Galaxy at the Brink!! The Super Incredible Guy (1993)
  10. Broly: The Second Coming|The Dangerous Duo! Super-Warriors Can't Rest (1994)
  11. Bio-Broly|Super-Warrior Defeat!! I'm the One who'll Win (1994)
  12. The Rebirth Of Fusion|Fusion Reborn!! Goku and Vegeta (1994)
  13. Wrath of the Dragon (1995)
FUNimation's Titles
  1. Dead Zone (1997) (Re-released in 2005)
  2. The World's Strongest (1998) (Re-released in 2007)
  3. The Tree of Might (1998) (Re-released in 2007)
  4. Lord Slug (2001)
  5. Cooler's Revenge (2001)
  6. Return of Cooler (2002)
  7. Super Android 13 (2003)
  8. Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan (2003)
  9. Bojack Unbound (2004)
  10. Broly: The Second Coming (2005)
  11. Bio-Broly (2005)
  12. Fusion Reborn (2006)
  13. Wrath of the Dragon (2006)
TV Specials
Toei Titles
  1. A Lonesome, Final Battle: The Father of Z-Warrior Kakarrot, who Challenged Freeza {1990)
  2. Resistance to Despair!! The Remaining Super-Warriors, Gohan and Trunks (1993)
FUNimation's Titles
  1. Dragon Ball Z - Bardock: The Father of Goku (2000)
  2. The History of Trunks (2000)
OVA
  • The Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans (1993)

Theme songsEdit

Japanese ThemesEdit

  • Openings
    1. "CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA"
      • Lyrics: Yukinojō Mori, Music: Chiho Kiyooka, Arrangement: Kenji Yamamoto, Vocals: Hironobu Kageyama
        • Version 1: episodes 1~21 (Not on FUNimation's DVDs, but is on movie 1 Pioneer's DVD only)
        • Version 2: episodes 22~117
        • Version 3: episodes 118~194
    2. "WE GOTTA POWER"
      • Lyrics: Yukinojō Mori, Music: Keiju Ishikawa, Arrangement: Keiju Ishikawa, Vocals: Hironobu Kageyama
        • Episodes 195~291
  • Closings
    1. "Detekoi Tobikiri ZENKAI Pawā!"; でてこいとびきりZENKAIパワー! (Come Out, Incredible ZENKAI Power!)
      • Lyrics: Toshihisa Arakawa, Music: Takeshi Ike, Arrangement: Kenji Yamamoto, Vocals: MANNA
        • Episodes 1~194
    2. "Boku-tachi ha Tenshi Datta"; 僕達は天使だった (We Were Angels)
      • Lyrics: Yukinojō Mori, Music: Takeshi Ike, Arrangement: Osamu Tozuka, Vocals: Hironobu Kageyama
        • Episodes 195~291

FUNimation ThemesEdit

  • Openings
    • "Main Title" (AKA "Rock the Dragon")
    • "DragonBall Z" (AKA "DBZ Theme")
    • "DBZ Uncut Theme"
    • "DBZ Movie Theme"
    • "Eternal Sacrifice" (Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan theme song)
Vocals: Tendril

Cast ListEdit

Character Name Voice Actor (Japanese) V.A. (U.S. English) V.A. (Int'l English) Ep 108/123+ Only
Son Goku Masako Nozawa Ian James Corlett
Peter Kelamis
Sean Schemmel
Peter Kelamis
Kirby Morrow
Son Gohan Masako Nozawa Saffron Henderson
Stephanie Nadolny
Kyle Hebert
Jillian Michaels
Brad Swaile
Son Goten Masako Nozawa Kara Edwards
Jillian Michaels
Piccolo Toshio Furukawa Christopher Sabat
Scott McNeil
Scott McNeil
Vegeta Ryo Horikawa Brian Drummond
Christopher Sabat
Brian Drummond
Bulma Hiromi Tsuru Lalainia Lindbjerg
Tiffany Vollmer
Maggie Blue O'Hara
Future Trunks Takeshi Kusao Eric Vale Allistair Abell
Trunks Takeshi Kusao Laura BaileyCathy Weseluck
Kuririn Mayumi Tanaka Terry Klassen
Sonny Strait
Terry Klassen
Yajirobe Mayumi Tanaka Brian Drummond
Mike McFarland
Brian Drummond
Yamucha Toru Furuya Ted Cole
Christopher Sabat
Ted Cole
Tenshinhan Hirotaka Suzuoki Matt Smith
Chris Cason
John Burgmeier
Matt Smith
Chaozu Hiroko Emori Cathy Weseluck
Monika Antonelli
Cathy Weseluck
Chichi Mayumi Sho (1-66)
Naoko Watanabe (88-291)
Laara Sadiq
Cynthia Cranz
Laara Sadiq
Muten Roshi Kohei Miyauchi (2-260)
Hiroshi Masuoka (288-291)
Ian James Corlett
Don Brown
Mike McFarland
Terry Klassen
Oolong Naoki Tatsuta Doug Parker
Mark Britten
Bradford Jackson
Doug Parker
Pu-erh Naoko Watanabe Cathy Weseluck
Monika Antonelli
Cathy Weseluck
Lunch Mami Koyama Teryl Rothery
Meredith McCoy
Teryl Rothery
Mr. Satan Daisuke Gori Chris Rager
Don Brown
Videl Yuko Minaguchi Kara Edwards
Moneca Stori
Android 18 Miki Itou Meredith McCoy Enuka Okuma
Uranai Baba Junpei Takiguchi (9-34)
Mayumi Tanaka (207-271)
Helen Kennedy
Linda Young
Brian Drummond
Dende Tomiko Suzuki (49-288)
Hiro Yuuki (290-291)
Laura Bailey
Justin Cook
Andrew Francis
Gyumao Daisuke Gori Dave Ward
Mark Britten
Kyle Hebert
Dave Ward
Mr. Popo Toku Nishio French Tickner
Christopher Sabat
French Tickner
Karin Doug Parker
Mark Britten
Christopher Sabat
Ted Cole
Kami Takeshi Aono Michael Dobson
Christopher Sabat
Dale Wilson
North Kaio Jouji Yanami Don Brown
Sean Schemmel
Don Brown
Freeza Ryusei Nakao Pauline Newstone
Linda Young
Pauline Newstone
Cell Norio Wakamoto Dameon Clarke
Dale Wilson
Djinn Boo Kozo Shioya Josh Martin
Justin Cook
Scott McNeil
Brian Dobson
Supreme Kai Yuji Mitsuya Kent Williams
Michael Dobson
Rou Dai Kaioshin Reizo Nomoto Kent WilliamsScott McNeil
Shen Long Kenji Utsumi
Masaharu Satou (193)
Don Brown
Christopher Sabat
Don Brown
Narrator Jouji Yanami Doc Harris
Dale Kelly
Kyle Hebert
Doc Harris

External LinksEdit