Written by Shiggins
If you were to ask the average fan of Dragon Ball Z whether or not they had seen the original arcs of Dragon Ball, you'd have a 50/50 chance of being told they never have. It's not uncommon for people born in the 90s and onwards to have started at the Saiyan Saga and then never been curious enough to go back to Goku's origins. I did however, and there are quite a few surprises for someone who adores Z and Super. However, is it able to stand with the rest of the franchise?
|Look at this little shit... Back when tails were the weirdest thing in Bulma's life.|
|I wonder how many are aware of what the very first ever wish of Dragon Ball was...|
The first arc, with Emperor Pilaf, is a short one filled with some good jokes and adequate action, like Roshi using the first Kamehameha wave. It clearly isn't trying to be more than what it is; Some light-hearted fun. The majority of the scenes involve Goku's caveman-confusion at the modern world, jokes about Bulma having breasts, and Pilaf being a nutcase. It's a lot better than it sounds.
|I really want him to appear in FighterZ.|
The tournament itself is a mixed bag though, at least by comparison of what we see today. While Toriyama finally gets to show off his unique designs, (which I would argue is one of the reasons Super is so fantastic too), a lot of the battles feel quick and mainly used for gags. A perfect example of this is the only female fighter in the tournament who strips down to seduce men. It doesn't feel like a tournament worthy of the title "First Dragon Ball Tournament". The only real exception to this is when Goku fights Jackie Chun in the finals. Not only is that hilarious and tense, it has a great moral behind it and is full of twists and turns that keeps the audience guessing.
|Oh god, I forgot how creepy Krillin used to be...|
The next and final saga however is great, and still stands up high as one of Dragon Ball's all-time best. This is the saga of King Piccolo and then his son, Piccolo Jr! King Piccolo has been freed from his rice cooker after being sealed up by Roshi's master, and now he is back for revenge and world domination! Of course, he fails but not before spitting out a son that would one day come back for revenge and destroy Son Goku!
|Now that's one familiar throne.|
The final tournament of the original series is also a lot of fun, and probably the closest the series has ever become to Z-levels of action. Piccolo Jr, who you will most likely realise as the Piccolo that trained Gohan in Z, is very over-the-top and ridiculous though. Compared to the version in Z where he is far more mature and patient, this one feels almost... silly. Then again, this is a younger Piccolo so you could argue that's part of his development as a character.
|Did Goku punch his organs? ALL OF THEM?!|
So in the end, does Dragon Ball still hold up? The answer honestly isn't as simple as a "yes" or "no". It has some wonderful moments, and the animation and music are surprisingly timeless. (No offence to YuYu Hakusho but it has aged a bit, especially by comparison to Dragon Ball). If I'm being as blunt as possible, around half of the series is still really worth watching. The Red Ribbon Army can easily be skipped without missing much, but the laughs of Pilaf and the exciting events of the Piccolo family are more than worth your time.
You may find the story a bit too cute at times, especially when compared to Goku fighting literal Gods in Super or super evil space emperors in Z, but I think there is still something to enjoy. Sit down and step back in time to when it all began.
|And you thought Roshi's perversions were disturbing in Super...|
Born under the stars of the Dark Gods, Shiggins owns the power of the Great Eye and is utterly magnificent in his omniscience. If you dare to discover more about someone as great as him, then go ahead. And to all my friends and family members, YOU are wrong and I should be disappointed! Not the other way round!,. You can find out about him or ask him stuff on ask.fm/shigginsishere or go to his tumblr page http://otakugajeel.tumblr.com/