Dragonball Z
Review By: Mack Salmon

(Reviewer's note: This review contains copious amounts of spoilers about the show, but chances are you're not going to make the decision of whether or not to watch the show based on this review alone.)

When I was in my beloved pre-pubescent stage, I, like many of my fellow snot nosed brats, would watch copious amounts of toy commercials cleverly disguised as cartoons. There were all the classics we know and love; G.I. Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and for the girls (and boys that wished they were girls), Barbie. Meanwhile, in the midst of Reagenomics and the collapse of the Soviet Union, little children in Japan were exposed to intensely violent cartoons. One of these such shows is Dragonball Z, which is only just now recieving major exposure in the United States.

"I screamed like I was constipated for a few minutes, then my hair changed color. That makes me really strong, so watch out, or I might let you get away!"

Dragonball Z features the adventures of Goku, and his family and friends, as they battle evil space alien mutants in a series of epic adventures. Most of these adventures revolve arond the seven golden spheres the show is named for, which when gathered together can summon a magical dragon that can grant any wish. Dragonball Z is actually the successor of Dragonball, which feature Goku as a small boy having several wacky adventures, but in Dragonball Z all the wackiness has been cut out in favor of long and drawn out fight scenes.

Let me go into detail about these fights. For the most part, they consist of people hovering in the air shouting insults at each other, then cutting to scenes of people not involved in the fight, then back to the hovering screaming fighters. Occasionally some combat will occur, in which case soon afterwards the character who is losing will complain about how low his power level is and how he didn't expect the other guy to have so high of a power level, especially after twenty episodes of preparing and training to increase his power level. In some instances, the losing character will say something to the extent of having more tricks up his sleeve, in which case he will undergo a drawn out transformation to increase his power level. In Dragonball Z, how big your power level is determines how good of a fighter someone is, or something. Of course, the best way to increase power levels is to act as constipated as possible, replete with grunts and screams of over exertion.

As I have mentioned before, the cartoon itself was originally made in the late 80's-early 90's, and it especially shows in the animation of the actual fighting. It seems to focus on repeating the same few frames of animation repeatedly, so a sequence with Vegeta and Cell blocking and attacking will loop for about a minute, all the while grunting with each blow. It sounds approximately like this: "HOO HA HA HA HOO HOO HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA." Maybe it's supposed to sound like they're having an intense battle, but they just sound like idiots. The music consists of really terrible synthesized shit, and there are only about four tunes, continuously blaring in the background. Apparently the music in the original Japanese version was slightly more tolerable, which makes turning it all into synth garbage quite inexplicable. Being a Japanese cartoon, the characters words don't always match the motions of their mouths. To help remedy this, the writers have the actors speak meaningless one syllable words to fill in the animation. But they do a terrible job of it. Here's a paraphrasing of a scene:

What a typical DBZ fan wears on Prom night.

King Kai: Oh my! Goodness, oh I'm getting a message!
Yamcha: Wow! Gosh! Really, King Kai? A message? I wonder if it's from Goku.
Tien: Darn! Is it Goku?

The show is also overly drawn out, as some confrontations will take many episodes to finish. For instances, the "thrilling" and "climactic" battle between Goku and Freeza drags on for about 20 episodes. Then, Goku gets angry, does some constipated screaming, and becomes a Super Sayian (The Sayians are a race of aliens that have the ability to increase their power level by changing their black hair to blonde). Goku and Freeza fight for another 15 or so episodes, then the utterly anti-climactic end happens, when Goku casually blasts Freeza into oblivion. Or does he? No.

The hero of the story, Goku, is completely and utterly unlikable. The guy is such a moron, and not in the funny sort of way, but more in the, "He let the fucking villain get away again! What a retard!" sort of way. He always makes everyone wait for him, on Earth when the Sayians first arrive, everyone's waiting for Goku to show up while getting killed, and when Vegeta, Gohan and Krillen are fighting the Ginyu Force, they all get their asses kicked while waiting for him to show up, and then again when everybody is getting killed by Freeza. Far too much of the show is spent waiting for Goku's retarded ass to show up, so he can beat up the enemy and then let them get away. Goku's son sucks too, as he spends most of the series as a whining little piece of shit who can only release his hidden power level (an assload) when he gets really mad. So in addition to finding ways to make everyone wait for Goku, the plot also entails finding a billion different ways to make Gohan mad enough to get strong, most of which entail the bad guy making fun of him.

Relive your favorite Dragonball Z scenes, with this umbrella that has Goku's picture on it.

How this show is so popular is completely mind baffling. Somehow, it appeals to the minds of teenaged nerds who will buy DVD's of the original untranslated form of the show at thirty dollars for three episodes. That's ten dollars for one episode! And, as I mentioned, there are more than two hundred episodes in the series! So, to summarize, fans of this show = morons. How they have enough money left over from buying Magic: The Gathering cards I don't know. But with the mass amount of toys, shirts, and other worthless collectables, I see now that the spirit of using television shows to pimp crappy merchandise lives on in Dragonball Z.

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