I first heard about the show Dragonball Z through a friend
named Roger Smith. It was at the very beginning of the whole
Dragonball Z "phenomenon." Cartoon Network was
rerunning the Saiyan and Namek sagas, leaving viewers to wonder
if Goku had truly become the legendary "Super Saiyan,"
as Vegeta had silently wondered, or if he was still levels away
from that plateau. The episodes I first remember seeing and
watching with intent were the episodes with Gohan and Kuririn
hiding out of sight from Dodoria, Zarbon and the dreaded Freeza;
silently watching them torment little Dende and his Namek
brothers. They get their tails handed to them but make a comeback
once Saichourou unlocks their "hidden talent." It's the
classic tale of the underdog and I think that's what drew me
initially. Once I had watched the rest of the Namek saga and then
all the way back again through the Saiyan saga, my curiosity
blossomed. When were there going to be new episodes? What happens
Cartoons don't flip people off! Oh, it's anime. Cool! Thanks to Gallagtor of the DaizEX boards for the pic.
I searched the internet and found
that I wasn't the only one wondering. I also found that something
was missing from what I had been watching. At this time, I was
only curious and interested. Once I saw the picture at the left,
I was hooked. I don't remember Recoome giving anyone the finger,
ever! Reading on, I found out there was a lot I didn't remember
that was supposed to be there. The Japanese version became this
magical thing for me, forbidden by the Cartoon Network but
celebrated by the Dragonball Z web community. DBZ Uncensored and
Planet Namek were daily visits in my quest to uncover the truth
behind "what really happened."
Season three, the Freeza saga,
eventually did come out. By this time, I was a Dragonball Z
fanatic. I had a bunch of the toys and I watched every day, never
missing an episode. My friends and I had all become experts on
the subject of Dragonball. We knew that Goku turned Super Saiyan
soon, we knew that Freeza came back and that Trunks killed him
again. We also knew there were two other Dragonball Z shows,
Dragonball and Dragonball GT. GT stands for Gohan's training,
Roger told me once, because after Goku dies in the explosion on
Namek, Gohan becomes the focus of the series. Yeah, we were
experts in Dragonball knowledge.
The first DvD I ever owned. Wow.
Once season three was over my
thrist for DBZ was unquenchable. I spent a huge percentage of my
paychecks on stuff like action figures and VHS episodes. I
remember how exited I was the day my mother drove me up to
Suncoast to purchase the two volumes of the Trunks saga. These
episodes weren't even on TV yet and I was buying them, UNCUT.
That was another buzz word. They had two minutes of additional
footage and those two minutes meant the world to me. This was
before DvD and the availability of the legendary Japanese
Version. I got home and watched those episodes over and over
again. Following Trunks, I bought all four Androids saga VHS
tapes. I was the coolest kid on my block, in my own mind at
least. Then I learned about fansubs, the actual Japanese Version
that you could buy from other fans that translated it for you. Oh
my god, I was so excited to learn that a friend of mine was
borrowing the first twenty episodes, fansubbed! I kept bugging
him and bugging him to have me over to watch them and when he
finally did I sat and watched episode after shitty-quality
episode, loving every moment. After that, nothing less than the
Japanese Version would do. I went out and spent the $150 on a DvD
player along with the first Trunks DvD. If I thought Trunks was
cool before, I had another think coming. I replaced all my VHS
with DvD as they came out.
My hoodrich manga Vol. 27. Goku goes Super Saiyan! OMG!
Back in the good old days, you
could download the entire manga off of Planet Namek for free. I
didn't want to spoil the anime for myself so I only read the
chapters I had seen on TV and DvD but I got so into it that I put
an entire volume of manga onto a floppy disc and took it to
typing class and printed the entire thing out using the school's
printer. I still have it, taped a printout of the cover onto the
front of a folder and there it sits to this day, telling the tale
of Goku going Super Saiyan.
I had amassed quite a collection of
the action figures by this point and it was at this point where I
got into making stop-motion movies. Almost every one I made was
about Dragonball Z. Battle, Budokai 69, Gotenks and the Gundam,
Freeza's Fury, Cells and Trunks Big Adventure, these names
probably mean little to you but to me each was an epic at the
time of creation.
Freeza's quite a thug in his own right.
As time went on, the Cell saga
played out on Toonami and my interest in the english version
waned. I mainly liked the Japanese Version now and bought the
DvDs steadily. By the time Buu showed up, I was barely watching
it once a week. I played some of the GBA Legacy of Goku games but
my interest as a whole was waning, as was many fans I think. A
lot of the bigger websites were dying and I just didn't care
anymore. Being a DBZ fan was looked down upon.
So, I forgot about Dragonball Z for
a long time.
The last DvD I've bought to date. Wow.
Then, this last summer the release
of the Ultimate Uncut Edition DvDs sparked brand new interest in
Goku's adventures for me. Back in the day it was widely known
that the original two seasons of Dragonball Z were owned by
someone else and DvDs with the Japanese Version would not be
coming out for a very long time. This was perhaps one of the
reasons I stopped buying the DvDs because I'm anal and I didn't
like the idea of having an incomplete set, especially when the
missing episodes were the first 65. I bought Volume 1 on a whim
against the advice of my brother, "No, you'll only waste
your money on more." He was right. All summer long, the
majority of my purchases have been Dragonball related. I decided
to read up on the original Dragonball so I bought one or two
volumes of the manga every week. Great read, in a lot of way I
like it better that Dragonball Z honestly. I plan to start buying
the DBZ manga soon. I got three more Ultimate Uncut volumes, each
on the day they were released. I bought movie 7, Super Android
13! and the two volumes of the Cell Games where Gohan goes Super
Saiyan 2 on DvD. I've also downloaded and watched nearly all the
DBZ movies and several sagas of the english Dragonball. It's
actually pretty good, in my opinion, not nearly as flawed as the
DBZ english version.
The future looks healthy for my
Dragonball obsession. I've been playing the super-addicting
Dragonball Z Budokai 3 a lot in the past two weeks. There are
still 26 volumes of manga to buy and read and many many DvDs with
that ever so magical Japanese Version on them. Also, I've started
doing stop-motion again. Ha!