My first real experience with anime came from 5am airings of Sailor Moon. I thought 'wow, this is extremely cool. Progressive storyline, not like Inspector Gadget where you are eternally searching for Dr. Claw, but bad guys die, characters die, its so.... what I was always searching for.' So, I would wake up at odd hours to sit and watch Sailor Moon only to be constantly thwarted by channel changings and time changes.. its been on 3 channels since I started paying attention to it 2 years ago.

Then, about 6 months ago, my friend James showed up with a bunch of tapes he had gotten. First, I watched the first 10 episodes of Dragon Ball. I thought that they were pretty cool, but the first 10 are aimed at a lot younger age level, and so I didnt really get 'into them'. Then, along came "Arrival". You must understand that I didn't have television at college, or at least cable, so all of my exposure until a week ago when Cartoon Network began airing the series was through the tapes FUNimation sells at Suncoast and other various stores.

Arrival (the first 4 episodes of DBZ) blew my mind. When Raditz runs into Piccolo for the first time, I was hooked, and also became a devout Piccolo fan. I'll brush on that a bit later. Fighting, deaths, it was everything I wanted, and instead of having just about every character be a sort of whiney girl like Sailor Moon, and all combat being limited to the same special power over and over and over, it was... just... so enlightening. I was able to see the first 10 episodes, and I couldnt wait for the next. But FUNimation is rather slow with the tapes, and they come out "two per month" which would be six episodes. However, they are sort of slow sometimes and there are usually two month gaps all the time. So, the next 6 tapes came out. And then I first noticed how badly the censorship was, on "Doom", or the first 2 episodes after Vegeta and Nappa land. Cargo robot my ass. The worst was the 'invisible parachutes'. This all brought me down a bit, but since I still have yet to be graced with something better, I am very pleased.

Piccolo's voice rocks, and I dont have a problem with really any voice save Freeza. Thats just wrong. I know, you all know what I am going to say, so I'll leave it at that. And, after months of buildup, finally the next 6 episodes came out. They begin with 'The Saibamen Strike' and end with 'Goku Strikes Back'. The months of waiting, and many trips to Suncoast to return empty handed were worth it. The only problem with having to wait so long, and hungering for information, its easy to stumble upon things you would rather not know about what happens. I am now trying my best to avoid finding out what happens further in the series, the last set of tapes to come out ended with Vegeta and Zarbon's first battle. But, I must say that overall, the dub really isn't that bad. To be honest, the first time i heard Peter Kelamis' debut, i couldn't tell there was a new Goku until I read about the change here. Now it is rather evident, but for me to not notice, he has to be doing a pretty good job in itself.

Now, a few of the things that irk me about the series.. lets start with the non Saiya-jin bias. If you arent some arch villain, or a Saiya-jin, you pretty much take the back seat. All the time. Piccolo, who i love, unfortunately will never ever ever be stronger than Goku, like he pretty much was in the battle with Raditz. He won't come close. Neither will all the other humans, which really kind of sucks. I understand the need for drama, but they are always waiting on Goku to come save them. This means that Piccolo and the others are always vainly holding off the enemy while Goku is on the way. Though, if Goku showed up and beat everyone up, I guess that would sort of ruin a lot of the suspense.

Another thing that bothers me is when they removed the link between Kami and Piccolo. I still dont know what their connection is, really, but for such a major event to happen in the first season, to totally erase any knowledge of it, and sum it up into a few sentences, I was rather displeased. I assume if I ever get to see some original japanese tapes, I will feel FUNimation as the 'great enemy', but for now, as long as they get those tapes out fast enough, I will be satisfied. One change I have seen in the second season, is that the combat is a bit more evolved. Whenever Nappa would take a few minutes to power up, I was always wondering "why not attack him now? He's just standing there." In the second season, combat is a lot more fluid and doesnt seem to draw on lengthy powerups leaving you open for attack. That was really my main problem with the first season.

I'm sort of surprised more feminists haven't boycotted the show. I mean, the only two females who really play a role at this point, Bulma and Chichi, sort of have this... well.... lets say 'eternal bitchiness' to them. Chichi is either screaming or overly worried (or fainted), and Bulma is either being her sweet self then turning into the wife from hell. I hope Kulilin gets his act together and moves on. Poor guy seems to get screwed a lot, except for the fact that he's still alive ;)

I guess I should wrap up now, though I'm sure that many points I wanted to get across will come to mind after typing send... basically, Dragonball Z has completely vanquished Sailor Moon for the title of my favorite anime. And lets hope that Cartoon Network doesn't play USA and drop Dragon Ball Z after a run through or two. I mean, hell, if they can run Popeye cartoons, they had better be running Dragon Ball z.

- Darryl Brown