I just would like to say, you have picked a wise choice, for choosing Dragon Ball as an anime to get interested in. It is a worldwide anime that has changed the lives of many and may change yours. It is considered a comedic, dramatic, emotional, influential, and down right the coolest anime ever.
Welcome to Dragon Ball
One reason you may have gotten interested, is because, you have watched the show from "FUNimation", the company that runs it. Most fans do, so don't feel left out. So, you want to know more do you? Ok, let's proceed.
Dragon Ball, started out as an idea. It originally was going to be about 13 comics long, and, based on a story called, "Journey to the West". Confused? I was. Ok, so, a guy named, Akira Toriyama decided to draw something like that story, but, to his own idea. It was supposed to be about a half boy half dragon that, could put capsules in water, and make transportation come out. He was a very good fighter, and, could make something called, Dragon Balls. He went on many adventures, and, saw lots of people. But, that isn't how it went; it was just an idea. I will try and scan this image from my Daizenshyu later. Ok, the real story is, it's about a monkey boy, that, went through adventures with his friends. It was made in the 1980's, and, was supposed to be about comedy. The boy's name was, Son Wuukong. He has a staff, and, was very strong. But, that named didn't suit Akira, so, he made, Son Goku. Son Goku is based on the monkey in, "Journey to the West," and, has a staff called, Niyoibo.
As Akira Toriyama drew the comic more, it seemed to get more popular, and soon, it became so popular, they ran a TV show. The first episode aired on February 16, 1986. That day became a very great day among hard core DB Z/GT fans.
The anime and manga of Dragon Ball soon grew to be bigger. It also contained allot of fighting, but still had its comedy. But, the comedy soon died, and, fighting soon took over. It became from a very funny manga, to, a very dramatic and serious story, that took Japan, and the world, by storm.
While the manga stayed the same as Dragon Ball, the TV series all of a sudden changed to Dragon Ball Z. After 153 episodes of Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama finally moved on to a more serious show. At that point in time, it was revealed to Son Goku, that he was an alien, and, the new enemy he had to fight was his brother.
The show Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z ran for a total of 444 episodes, with 2 TV Specials, 16 movies, and 1 OVA (Original Video Animation). The manga soon concluded to 42 Tankuban, which are the volumes of books of the manga.
Toriyama was through with the series after Dragon Ball Z had ended. But, TOEI Animation, the company that made Dragon Ball on TV, decided to make their own show, without Akira Toriyama. They made Dragon Ball GT. It continued almost 10 years or a little less where it left off of Dragon Ball Z. It went back to comedy in the first episodes of it, and, that was what made it drive people away. They had missed the fighting, so, TOEI brought them fighting.
Dragon Ball GT, after, 64 episodes, one movie, and one TV special, on November 19, 1997, had ended, for good.
However, in about 1995, Dragon Ball had been brought to North America.
Around the year 1995, a company called, "FUNimation Studios/Productions, Inc." had bought the rights to 13 episodes, of the original Dragon Ball series. They had dubbed it, put their own music in, and, started to what you have probably saw on TV today. After 13 episodes, they had given up.
However, they didn't stop there. They had learned of the series after the one had they were doing.
They saw that, Dragon Ball Z, would be a little bit better to the audience they wanted. Soon, they had acquired 53 episodes of Dragon Ball Z.They had dubbed it, and, also made their own music for it as well. They had shown it on mostly UPN and WB on Saturday or Sunday mornings, really early. The earliest I heard was at 4:30 a.m. E/P. They had also dubbed the first three movies as well. While making that show, a company called Saban was guiding them through it, letting them not make any mistake of taking blood or swear words out. After two seasons, FUNimation wanted to go there own way. The reason that Saban was so concerned by editing Dragon Ball Z is that, much of it was due to FCC regulations and Saban themselves. It was still Dragon Ball Z, but not just the full hype it should have been.
Around the summer of 1998, FUNimation Studios/Productions, Inc., made a deal with Cartoon Network, for cable broadcasting. Cartoon Network showed it on a block of shows called, "Toonami" at 5:00 p.m. E/P.
On August 31, 1998, history happened. Dragon Ball Z, owned only to FUNimation Studios/Productions, Inc., had shown it, making its way into thousands upon thousands of homes.
Cartoon Network, however, took the full blame, of showing the episodes, over and over again. They even had to show the three movies to stop people from getting at them. FUNimation was in the works to change that, for good. That is why you didn't see the end of the Ginyu Force, or Goku turning Super Saiyan, or anything like that. It was still in the works.
FUNimation finally showed their claim to fame, by showing 53 new episodes, during 1999. Also, on that year, they had planned to dub movie 4, work on making hybrid DVD's with both the English and Japanese in it, plus, more episodes. That had been scheduled for fall of 2000.
Now, in 2001, the show has gone to close to 200 episodes, and, is about to go to more than that. Season 5 is scheduled for this year, for the Annoyichi Budoukai, the Great Saiya Man saga, and, even the releasing of Majin Buu.
However, FUNimation isn't just covering this anime only. A comic company, called VIZ, is now translating the comic that was shown in Japan. They are currently doing both Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z comics. Also, Irwin Toys is making their models of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z toys.
Now, you have basically learned the basics behind the ever-popular anime.
Dragon Ball Z/GT may have ended for good, but, as long as some fans remember it, it will remain in every fan's heart.
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