After School Kung-Fu

The action packed, martial-arts, drama, Dragon Ball Z, was a drug to children devouring weekday-afternoon animation. Talk of the show dominated conversation during recess as boys jabbered about their favorite characters, speculated about what would happen next, and role played fights as the show’s fighters; screams of “Ka-me-ha-me-haaaa!” echoed across the playground.

The show, now well past its youth, is still charming and the novelty hasn’t worn off. It’s a timeless, Supermanesque serial about martial artists who save the day time and time again. The characters grow, develop, switch allegiances, betray their destinies, exact revenge, and suffer sacrifices all throughout the shows roughly 150 episodes. All the while, the literal power levels grow as characters endlessly train for the next fight.

After all these years, the show still remains a joy to watch. Some differences an audience member may realize when returning to the series for the first time since their youth is the clever editing, gorgeous cinematography, and beautiful background art. The animators achieved incredible close ups with astounding depth and action choreography some even displaying little to zero animated movement, but still projecting fist-tightening suspense. And yes, it’s still action packed and charmingly funny enough to keep a thoroughly modern kid occupied.

Despite having almost 300 episodes in it’s run, those interested in rewatching the show can really jump in at any time. Characters constantly remind the audience and recant the exposition through internal dialogue and conversations between bouts of a fight – not to mention the narrator who nicely bookends each episode. That being said, why not try starting from the beginning in the original Japanese, it doesn’t disappoint.


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