I'm not going to waste space soap boxing about how great Dragon Ball is, anyone reading this already knows. I want to talk about what DB is in Japan and the Toriyama myth. I've seen the US version a few times but it is far too painful to watch. The voice acting is contemptible, but seems to be the norm in dubbed animation. I was already expecting a crappy American theme song and various violence and nudity censors, but they simply went too far. On the other hand Funimation gets a few points for bringing DB to the US. I mean this is better than nothing ......I think...maybe?
First off the TV series is watered down DB, period. The real DB is the manga that Toriyama wrote for Shonen Jump. The TV series is full of pointless dialogue and filler to lengthen the TV series. Although,
the fight scenes are unforgettable, as well as Goku's (and the other's) kiais (but that's all lost in the US version anyway.)
While I was going to High school in Japan (during the end of the series.) All of my friends had fond memories of DB but got tired of it after Goku started to grow up (Japanese love Chibi Goku.). The
real audience for DB at that time were the kids ages 6-14. I Once asked a friend why he didn't like DB anymore and he replied that Toriyama kept killing characters, then bringing them back, and then doing it again. Other responses yielded similar complaints but it seemed that they had outgrown DB. The other thing I noticed was the incredible market saturation of DB products. I mean it goes way beyond T-shirts and toys, you can get DB desks, toothbrushes, comestibles, eyedroppers, ANYTHING! And don't get me wrong, all that stuff is very cool (I'm the proud owner of a lot of it) but there is no doubt that Toriyama is very familiar with capitalism.
It's also clear that Toriyama didn't take DB as seriously as some of his fans do. The characters name's are a good example; "Yamucha" is the Japanese word for Dim sum, and with names like Vegita and Radiz... (Maybe he was hungry when he created DB?). So, was Toriyama more interested in money than preserving the integrity of his creation? we will never know. As we will never know just how much control he had over it all. the decision may have been completely out of his hands, so
Toriyama's integrity is a moot point.
The US series is bad, really bad. However, the US series is important, just as Robotech was important to most of us. This doesn't excuse any of the atrocities of the US version but at least it's progress.
- Mike Yamazaki