The new Dragon Ball Z video game is inviting comparisons to the anime. The series is wildly popular in the states, but games actually weren’t originally guaranteed to be released here. Dragon Ball Z served as somewhat of a gateway drug to anime for U.S. audiences. Here is a look at how it made its way, and eventually took over, the states.
Akira Toriyama, who created the series, wanted it to feature a particularly Asian aesthetic, basing it off of a Chinese novel Journey to the West. Chinese influence is all over the show, like with the red gees worn by some of the characters — inspired by Buddhist monks. But there is also plenty Japanese influence. The original show “Dragon Ball” was originally a hard sell for American broadcasters who didn’t think the jokes would translate. Funimation knew that the show had a lot of potential and, in a last-ditch move, broadcasted the show’s sequel “Dragon Ball Z.” This featured plenty of intriguing elements from fighting to explosions to aliens.
This caused its popularity to soar and allowed Funimation to bring over other appendages of the series. Today it is totally beloved and paved the way for plenty of other Japanese cartoons to have a home in the states.