With the first full length "Dragon Ball Z" movie in over eight years set to be released in less than two months, the almost impossible feat of finally watching and finishing all of the television episodes rose to new heights. During the time when "Dragon Ball Z" ran in its entirety on Toonami (2002-03), the greener pastures of college and a better life came knocking (but wound up not working out). Being stuck in the middle of the Cell saga finally became overpowering after the first official trailer for "Battle of Gods" made its way to the internet and the goal of finishing the series before the March 30th release of the film in Japan seemed to become a necessity. Starting at the end of December of 2012 and finishing February 1, 2013, it's safe to say that that goal was reached. But how does the series hold up? Starting at the beginning was the only option and it wasn't long before the series made it very apparent that it's as equally frustrating as it is extremely entertaining.
Five years after the events of “Dragon Ball,” a reunion is being held at Kame House. As Goku arrives introducing his son Gohan to everyone, a Saiyan named Raditz appears claiming to be Goku’s brother, informs Goku that he’s also a Saiyan, and demands that Goku join forces with him. Once Goku refuses, Raditz lays out Goku, kidnaps Gohan, and tells Goku that he needs to kill one hundred humans by the following day or else he’ll kill Goku's only son. Goku decides to team up with Piccolo, his arch-enemy, to defeat Raditz. They succeed, but Goku dies in the process. As Piccolo brags about using the Dragon Balls to resurrect Goku, Raditz informs him that his scouter was also a transmitter and that two more Saiyans even more powerful than him named Nappa and Vegeta will be arriving in a year’s time. Vegeta makes the call to travel to earth, collect the Dragon Balls, and wish for immortality. Piccolo takes it upon himself to train Gohan while Krillin and the rest of the Z-Fighters do their own form of training. Meanwhile, Goku travels along Snake Way to get to King Kai’s and train with him where he learns the Spirit Bomb and Kaioken techniques. No amount of training can prepare the Z-Fighters for the strength of Nappa and Vegeta and most of them die by the time Goku arrives. With the help of Krillin, Gohan, and surprisingly Yajirobe, Goku barely defeats Vegeta.
Let the inconsistencies begin. When Piccolo gets his arm blown off by Raditz, his blood is red. Once everyone goes to Namek though, Namekian blood is purple or green (it’s mostly green during the resurrection of a limb); sometimes purple and green. When Piccolo gets shot through his right man-boob by Frieza on Namek, he bleeds purple. Just how many different types of blood do they have running through their veins? They’re being presented as the most elaborate jelly donut in existence. Vegeta is completely different colors during his first few appearances as well. When he's first introduced, he's sitting at a campfire so you credit the different colors to that. But then his hair remains brown and his armor is orange and green until it just magically defaults a few episodes later. Gohan's training with Piccolo is also ridiculous. Not only is Gohan unbearable thanks to all of his whining, but he magically receives a miniature version of Piccolo's clothes. Gohan and Piccolo get in some last minute training, the show cuts to Nappa and Vegeta arriving in the city in their Saiyan space pods, and when they cut back to Gohan and Piccolo, he has a different set of clothes that no one ever acknowledges. It’s the world’s worst magic trick.
The writing of the series contradicts itself nearly at every turn, as well. Piccolo destroys the moon and removes Gohan's tail after he transforms into a Giant Ape. A few episodes later, Goku's old Saiyan space pod decides to activate itself and portrays a hologram of the moon in the sky. Gohan's tail suddenly grows back and this hologram causes him to transform. Could you imagine if whatever light source that causes Saiyans to change into Giant Apes was utilized in the fluorescent lighting used in most shopping centers? What about car headlights? You'd want to go grocery shopping or drive at night every day and there would be just as many people developing phobias for those things.
You watch the series for the action, but it takes so long to get to that. There’s far too much juvenile humor to get to. Then the series seems to force you to spend time with characters that you hate. It’s usually the female characters like Launch, Bulma, and Chi Chi. Every woman on the show who is a reoccurring character is always super emotional and fluctuates between being angry, stubborn, and hard-headed and then completely switching gears and being flirtatious, understanding, and compassionate. Between Launch’s obsession with Tien and their life on the lamb, Bulma constantly getting into scream matches with Fortuneteller Baba at Master Roshi’s, and Chi Chi blowing everything surrounding Gohan out of proportion and fainting at every turn, you’re about ready to feed them to Vegeta’s Giant Ape form yourself before Goku even manages to catch Bubbles while training with King Kai.
The highlight of the first season is obviously the battle with Goku and Vegeta. Even Nappa’s battles with the rest of the Z warriors are pretty entertaining. But Gohan is extremely bothersome with his constant bellyaching and display of ignorance. He is only like 4 or 5 at the time, but he complains about absolutely everything and cries whenever he has the chance. He watched his dad die and he’s been kidnapped by a green alien who hates his father, but it’s downright insufferable when you have to hear him complain about being cold and missing his mom and dad for three straight episodes. And for some reason, this is what the show revolves around while Goku takes Snake Way to King Kai’s. A pivotal factor in Goku’s fight against Vegeta is the Kaioken technique, which he supposedly learns from King Kai but is never actually shown practicing the technique at King Kai’s. There’s a split second sequence of Goku practicing the Spirit Bomb, but Kaioken is this mystery technique that Goku learned while he was dead that King Kai seemingly just takes credit for.
Sources: dragonball.wikia.com, thedragonballblog.blogspot.com, tumblr.com, imdb.com, wikipedia.org