Review by Cegi Hart:
As an anime series, Dragon Ball Z is one of the most well-known, having clawed its way out of syndicated television and into the American mainstream in about a year. While its simple storyline and lack of major moral resonance may leave something to be desired, children and young people eager to become familiar with the world of anime will gobble it up like candy.
The plot, an unusual and rambling yarn adapted from the similarly-titled manga series, centers around an inordinately strong martial artist and his friends, caught up in a snowballing series of battles that eventually concerns the very fate of the universe.
Fighting is a mainstay of the series, as characters, well aware of the responsibility at hand, spend days or even months at their training; their efforts are then subsequently tested in explosively violent showdowns that make the Power Rangers seem laughably tame. Concerned parents should take note of this; however, the characters' grave dedication to their training could prove to be an interesting conversation point: What are the values of commitment and goal-setting? Can excessive enthusiasm for a particular activity or thing become an unhealthy obsession?
The enthusiastic, fast-moving pace of the series should be more than enough to capture the attention of most children; the story often tends to take a backseat to the fighting action, but, even as a mere "background" element, it remains an important driving force for the series' energy as well as a vehicle for Dragon Ball Z's ever-more-frequent fight scenes. In addition, the integrity and moral strengths of the hero, Goku, are prominent without becoming too saccharine; he makes a consistent effort to be compassionate to both ally and antagonist with equal abandon, yet does not hesitate to hammer immoral warriors into place.
If not for the occasional presence of kanji symbols on clothing and buildings, Dragon Ball Z could easily be mistaken for an American cartoon; the storyline doesn't lend itself well to cultural insights. However, the series does employ a somewhat caricatured view of the Japanese afterlife, and an unusual, almost casual perspective on death and revival. If nothing else, Dragon Ball Z makes for a great introduction to the vast and diverse anime universe; more often than not, its broad appeal will captivate audiences of any age.
Review by Bill Stewart:
(Pioneer dubbed version, 3 episodes per volume)
This series continues the original Dragon Ball series. The story is about Goku and his son Gohan. The first series ( 30 episodes aprox.) covers Goku's origins and his home planet. The Earth's warriors are attacked by the Sayians, a group of warriors that attack planets, wipe out all lifeforms and sell it on the intergalactic market. You find out about the origins of the Sayain race and are introduced to 3 new characters: Rattex, The brother of Goku from the planet Vegita, Prince of the planet Vegita and Nappa, bodyguard of Vegita and one of the 4 surviving Sayans.
This series has very little plot and relies on cheap humor and constant violence to keep its audience. But it has been cleaned up for it's target audience of 10 and up.
Parent's Guide Rating:
yellow (parental guidance advised)
Profanity: No foul language as it airs on many U.S. Channels for children.
Nudity/Sex: Gohan is seen naked but a leaf is placed in front of him to cover up all objectional parts.
Violence: Constant and often extensive violence. Many characters are killed and later brought back to life by the dragon balls.
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