The adventures of the Z-warriors around Son-Goku are now 30 years old. We'll tell you why Dragon Ball Z has stood the test of time.

When we first met Son Goku, everything in the Dragon Ball world was still very contemplative. But the years passed and Son Goku grew older like his fans. The series also changed. Toei Animation dared to restart the anime saga exactly 30 years ago on April 26, 1989 with Dragon Ball Z and created one of the most influential anime series of all time.


Dragon Ball Z paves the way to the west

The original Dragon Ball anime, which included the first 16 volumes of Akira Toriyama's successful manga, is one of the most important anime today. Not only because he had a lasting impact on his genre and the entire medium, but also because he opened the door to the west. However, the series only achieved its international breakthrough in the late 1990s and early 2000s with its successor Dragon Ball Z, which paved the way for as many subsequent anime series.


Twenty years ago, no format comparable to Dragon Ball Z was shown on western TV, especially not in the children's program. Certainly there were parallels to well-known western film classics such as Superman, Star Wars or Terminator, which were all important sources of inspiration for Son Goku's later adventures.

Dragon Ball Z challenged our (western) viewing habits

For example, we have the narrative structure of the anime classic. In many western cartoons or other children's series such as Power Rangers, it was common to have one opponent of the week. This antagonist was introduced within 22 minutes and mostly defeated for good. Son-Goku's opponents in Dragon Ball Z, on the other hand, were of a completely different caliber and often determined the further course of the action.

Our protagonists around Son-Goku were all incredibly strong in Dragon Ball Z, but they were always just outsiders against their new opponents. The opponents in Dragon Ball Z were larger than life and swept over our heroes like invincible forces of nature.

A victory against Vegeta, Freezer, Cell or even the demon Boo seemed unthinkable for a long time. In addition, in contrast to western series, the regular cliff hangers at the end of an episode ensured that we viewers remained on the ball.

Dragon Ball Z shaped subsequent anime generations

All of this becomes particularly clear in the fight of our protagonists against Freezer. The self-proclaimed most powerful being in the universe easily and repeatedly kicked our heroes into the dust, even though they even allied themselves with their former enemy Vegeta. Freezer looked invincible, almost like God, and not only defeated Piccolo and Son-Gohan, but also killed Vegeta and Kuririn.

The subsequent first-time transformation of Son Goku into a Super Saiyan and the victory over Freezer after a truly visually stunning showdown felt all the more deserved after all the sacrifices and privations.

With its Manga volumes 17-42, which were adapted in Dragon Ball Z, oriyama again set standards that have shaped the Shonen genre for 30 years now. Similar courses of action as we see them in the Freezer saga can also be found in subsequent anime greats such as Bleach, Naruto or One Piece.

In these series too, enemies become allies, the heroes have to put up with tremendous efforts and it is not uncommon for victory over a previously invincible opponent to succeed only after a transformation. These parallels to Dragon Ball Z are by no means coincidental, as many mangaka that are successful today are themselves longtime fans of the anime classic.

Dragon Ball Z has something for everyone

Another reason why Dragon Ball Z can still show a loyal community even after 30 years is due to the dazzling characters, who despite their superhuman strength were always approachable for every viewer. Her emotions and motives, especially in the big moments, could and still can be understood.

Every Dragon Ball Z fan is guaranteed to remember the boundless relief of seeing Son-Gohan's true power unleashed, and the dismay on his face as his father dies because Son-Gohan has become too arrogant.

In addition, the motifs, feelings and motivations of the characters represented by Toriyama are understandable for everyone. Of course they are easy to grasp and understand, but from this simplicity Dragon Ball Z draws its great strength and fascination, today as it did 30 years ago.

All of this culminated excellently in Vegeta, who developed from a merciless killer to a loving father and could not reconcile this change in character for a long time, which is why he even sold his soul to bring back his old self. Seeing how he then made the ultimate sacrifice to protect those he loves is still a magical moment that many fans will surely have loved.

Dragon Ball Z has stood the test of time

Dragon Ball Z is certainly not perfect, after all, as in the previous series, there are again various drawing and continuity errors. But as is well known, something does not have to be perfect to be able to withstand the ravages of time, even in the case of this anime classic.

At its core, Dragon Ball Z tells a never-getting-old story of overcoming your own weaknesses, your old self. It's about larger-than-life, yet approachable characters who accomplish impossible things, which should not only shape an entire industry, but fan generations and thus change everything.

What do you associate with Dragon Ball Z?