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New to Dragon Ball? What You Should know
So, you’ve been living under a rock since 1989, or just aren’t old enough to remember when Dragon Ball Z first aired on TV? And now you have decided to give the Dragon Ball franchise a go, but don’t know where to start? It is your lucky day, as this is the perfect article for you!
Before you dive head first into Dragon Ball Super, and crack your skull on a Super Saiyen God, there are a few things you should know. Luckily for you, in this article we will be covering the three major things that you should know before setting out watching a Dragon Ball series.
Dragon Ball series in Order
- Dragon Ball
- Dragon Ball Z
- Dragon Ball Super
You may be thinking “Weren't there more Dragon Ball series”? Yes, there were. You see, the shows listed above are all officially canon. But a series like Dragon Ball GT is considered a “side story” by the franchise’s creator Akira Toriyama. Similarly the movies are original stories, and not directly based on the Dragon Ball manga. Actually only the first two series - Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z - cover the manga, while Dragon Ball Super is an official continuation sanctioned by Akira Toriyama.
Can I skip to the latest series (Dragon Ball Super)?
In short, no. You can if you’re just in it for the action, but really you’ll be missing out on a lot of context for where the current series is, as well as all the abilities and relationships which make the series what it is. There is little to no context given in Dragon Ball Super for how the fighters attained their current power levels, or why they do the things they do. Therefore you may feel somewhat lost by skipping all the way into Dragon Ball Super.
However, you can quite happily skip Dragon Ball and just watch Dragon Ball Z. In-fact many people did exactly that when Dragon Ball Z aired on UK TV back in the 90s. In the Z series you really get to the meat of the story, and you won't be too confused by skipping over the original Dragon Ball series (though it does provide some interesting context for Goku and a few other characters).
It's OK to skim episodes
If you're itching to watch Dragon Ball Super, you can skim over many of the Dragon Ball Z episodes. A lot of it is just filler, and screaming. Nothing you've not seen before... it's all good though. In fact, if you watch the entire Frieza arc you may just hate the series for it. It's needlessly long and, to be honest, feels like a bit of a drag. And this is coming from a huge DBZ nut.
There’s also another option: Dragon Ball Z Kai, which offers a slimline version of the original series, removing much of the filler that plagues it. Dragon Ball Z Kai sticks much closer to the original manga than it’s predecessor, so you could argue that Dragon Ball Z Kai represents Dragon Ball Z in it’s purest form, though the series isn’t without it’s critics.
Sshhhh... Dragon Ball GT Never Happened
Technically Dragon Ball GT succeeded Dragon Ball Z, but it was largely shunned by fans. Overall, GT was a bit of a horror show, even with the few great moments it manages. Dragon Ball GT sees Goku turned back into a child by Emperor Pilaf wishing on the Black Star Dragon Balls. Kid Goku then goes looking for the Black Star Dragon Balls, ostensibly to revert himself back to his adult form. In the GT series you get to witness the Z-fighters go up against much stronger foes than any previous Dragon Ball series, including facing off against evil versions of the dragons themselves.
The point is that Dragon Ball GT is not at all necessary to watch for anyone wanting to dive into the franchise at this point. Many fans believe GT didn’t work because it tried and failed to reimagine many of the epic moments from it predecessors. In that regard Dragon Ball Super is far more successful.
Toriyama had very little involvement with Dragon Ball GT, and rumour has it he wasn't pleased with the outcome. The fact he likes to refer to Dragon Ball GT as a “side story” somewhat corroborates that.
You Should watch the Battle of Gods movie... it's Good
Dragon Ball: Battle of Gods was originally released back in 2013. If you're confused and need some context on the movie, let me enlighten you. Out in the far reaches of the Universe a being named Beerus is looking for some entertainment. Being a God of Destruction Beerus likes two things: good food and a good fight. To satisfy his entertainment needs, Beerus sets his eyes on planet Earth and the “Super Saiyen God” of legend.
Interestingly Dragon Ball Super’s first arc retells the story of this movie. Therefore if you want to save yourself some time you can just watch the movie, as our Anime Editor indicated in his review of the series.
Resurrection F is important too
Resurrection F is the movie released after Battle of Gods, and as you might expect from the title it involves a resurrection. The one resurected is none other than classic Dragon Ball Z villain Frieza, the evil alien. Frieza is arguably the best known villian in the entire Dragon Ball universe, so you’re going to want to be familiar with him before watching this film.
In summery Frieza struts around the universe, like a self-proclaimed God, destroying planets, slaughtering people, and generally stomping on anyone weaker than him - and he does so with no remorse. He has now come back from the dead and wants to start a whole new killing spree, starting with his nemesis Goku. Our former editor-in-chief - Andy Hanley - said the film was "An entertaining mix of comedy and action that knows what fans want and delivers ably".
Ok, I’m ready, so where can I watch Dragon Ball Super?
Dragon Ball Super is currently streaming in it’s entirety on Crunchyroll, you can also buy Season One Part One from Manga Entertainment here in the UK, with Season One Part Two is due to be released soon.
Let's Wrap it up Shall We?
I remember when the Dragon Ball series was introducing itself to the West. In fact, Dragon Ball was one of the first mainstream anime made widely available in the West. When anime felt still new to the world outside of Japan, the Dragon Ball series really made it’s mark on the industry. Dragon Ball is a franchise I believe every anime fan should give a shot at least once and, with Manga Entertainment making so much of it available in the UK, there couldn’t be a better time to take the plunge.
This is a post by guest writer Kess. Kess is a huge anime nut and can’t get enough of it. They are 19 years of age and post for multiple geek blogs and YouTube channels. Kess is also the founder of TechAnimate.com, which is a blog dedicated to anime and gaming. Kess wants to travel the world, and especially visit places like Japan.