Dragon Ball Z was an anime that most 90s kids loved. Not only has it achieved legendary status in Japan but DBZ was what really catapulted the Anime genre in the West. But was it that perfect show we all thought it was as kids? Certainly not. Perhaps our standards for entertainment were lower in our younger years and now we’ve seen other anime since then that do certain things better. But it’s safe to say DBZ did had its flaws.
1: Frieza is DBZ’s Greatest Villain
In today’s day-and-age, fans love their villains just as much as their heroes. Characters like Loki and The Joker are just as loved as their hero counterparts. Names like Broly, Kid Buu and Cell first come to mind when it comes to DBZ’s most popular villians. However, did you ever consider that maybe, just maybe Frieza is the epitome of DBZ villains?
You’re supposed to cheer for the villain to lose and while the likes of Vegeta and Broly may split fans down the middle but nobody likes Frieza. Nobody. He has this ability to fabricate anyone and everyone into forgetting their own problems and focusing all their hate of him instead and that’s why Frieza is such as great villain. Frieza brings out the worst emotions out of everyone. He is the worst person in the whole of Dragon Ball.
While Kid Buu was just a brainless brute Frieza knew exactly what he was doing when he was raiding and enslaving entire planets and species for decades. Frieza had played the strings in the heroes’ lives from the start. Goku’s landing on Earth and Gohan being forced into fighting were both indirectly due to Frieza’s actions. And Vegeta is the way he is because of Frieza. Frieza represents the corrupt politician, the slave trader, the racist, the remorseless tyrant. Despite not being human; he represents the worst of humanity.
2: DBZ should have ended after the Frieza Saga
Did you know Dragon Ball Z was supposed to end at the conclusion of the Frieza saga? When considering everything that happened in the world of Dragon Ball by the end of Frieza’s arc everything had come around full circle. Questions asked from the very beginning of the Dragon Ball anime such as Goku and Piccolo’s heritage as well as the origins of the Dragon Balls themselves had been finally answered.
As mentioned before, Frieza’s actions contributed to the show long before he made an appearance. DBZ often dealt in escalation. The show started off with the gang chasing the Dragon Balls for trivial desires and by the Frieza Saga they needed them to save their fallen friends. Goku once fought for the honor of his school against Tien, Goku once fought to protect the planet Earth and now he was fighting to save the entire universe as well as to avenge his fallen race. How do you escalate from the entire universe?
Not very well is the answer. But evidently there was still money to be made and the show went on and creator, Akira Toriyama, managed to make two more solid sagas before things eventually went south.
3: Too many Super Sayians
The Super Sayian was supposed to be a legend that only occurred once every thousand years. Well, Toriyama cr*ped all over that as DBZ became The Super Sayian Show. It’s literally the first thing you think about when you think of DBZ. Goku, in order to save his friends, the Dragon Balls, the honor of his people and ultimately the entire universe from its ruiling tyrant; Goku had to fulfill an ancient prophecy of a extinct race that hadn’t occurred in over a thousand years which was previously dismissed as a myth. That was a cause worthy of becoming that legend.
But then everyone started doing it and some with great ease. Vegeta was desperate to reclaim his life-long “birthright” when he achieved the feat, another worthy cause, but over time it came to a point everyone was doing and it was no longer special but instead a standard requirement that everyone eligible had to have. It really cheapened its “legendary status”. And once Super Sayians came into play; the others Z Fighters had no chance of keeping up.
4: Fighting styles are too similar
“There are things that I can do and there are things can you can do.”
Usopp isn’t much of a fighter but Sanji reminded him that he is a expert marksman and only one at that in the team. A huge part of One Piece is that Luffy knows what he can and can not do and every member of his team was picked to make up for those things; they each do something he can not. Everyone has a purpose which earns their presence in the show.
On the other hand, in Dragon Ball Z, everyone does the same thing. Everyone fights. Few do little else. So with most of these characters doing the same thing, and with Goku better than them at the only hings they have to offer, what do these side characters really offer? And that why so many characters over time became worthless and redundant and ended up spending their days sitting idle in Kame House.
Also, everyone more or less fights the same way. It seems as if they all went to the same fighting school of Flying, Martial arts and Ki blasts. In Dragon Ball there was more of a focus on martial arts and individual signature attacks but as the level of strength and power escalated there became and great emphasis on flashy ki blasts and it became rather one-dimensional. Goku fighting Cell isn’t going to be much different to him fighting Frieza. They fight the same way.
5: Dragon Ball Z lost its way
Using it again as an example, One Piece has had a set goal from the very beginning and that goal has remained constant throughout the series. Even after a main arc, Luffy may have overcome another obstacle or achieved another goal but because he still has not met his ultimate goal the story goes on because it always has a reason to. One Piece will end once Luffy finds the One Piece treasure but the show will continue until then.
Dragon Ball Z has never had this. It was more of a stop and start anime especially after the Frieza saga. It became very much a case of waiting for the next big-bad villain to show up every time the current one had been defeated and you can only do that for so long before it becomes mundane.
Still, Manga and Anime will forever be in debt to Dragon Ball. Shows such as One Piece, Naruto and Bleach were all inspired by DBZ in some way or another. While Dragon Ball Z wasn’t perfect it left a very good impression on our childhoods!