What the Original Dragon Ball Did Better Than Dragon Ball Z

Although Dragon Ball fans are preparing for a brand new anime of their favorite franchise to debut in the fall of 2024, which is known as Dragon Ball Daima, we can’t completely forget about how Dragon Ball began. It all began almost four decades ago with the adventures of a small boy named Goku, who was also exceptionally strong. That series was simply known as “Dragon Ball.”

Later on, the Dragon Ball Z anime came along, which followed the adventures of Goku as an adult. He also made a lot of allies, and some of them were even terrifyingly evil in the beginning, such as Vegeta and Piccolo. The franchise became a lot more mature than it was with the first Dragon Ball series, as the stakes in Dragon Ball Z were raised a lot more. Goku & Co. had to defend the Earth from evil aliens and androids who wanted to destroy it. Also known as the Z warriors, the good guys achieved much greater heights in terms of power.

Although the majority of Dragon Ball fans agree that Dragon Ball Z was better than the first Dragon Ball series when Goku was a kid, guess what? No, I’m not here to contradict them. As a long-time Dragon Ball fan, I just want to point out that the first Dragon Ball series did some things better than Dragon Ball Z:

More martial arts

There’s a lot of martial arts going on in the first Dragon Ball series, with the characters focusing more on fighting strategies rather than sheer strength and power levels. It was not the strongest who always got to win a fight, and characters such as Kid Goku, Master Roshi, Tien, or Tao Pai Pai were a lot more inclined to martial arts and the different strategies for overcoming an opponent.

As for Dragon Ball Z, those who won battles were almost always those who powered up more and blasted their energy waves harder. In other words, the show fosters transformations and ki blasts to the detriment of traditional martial arts. While that’s not necessarily a wrong approach, given that the powers of Goku & Co. were supposed to rise a lot, even considering the latest episodes of Dragon Ball, it was too exaggerated sometimes. The concept of fusion in Dragon Ball Z, in which two fighters merge into one being, is one of the worst ideas ever, in my view. Instead of doing something like that with two very different characters such as Goku and Vegeta, wouldn’t it have been a lot better if Goku and Vegeta fought side by side against a terrifying villain? That’s one of the areas where Dragon Ball Z has taken things far too much.

More humor

While Dragon Ball Z had a much more serious vibe, given the tense situations in which the Z warriors were, the show lacked a lot of the humor that was present in the first series. Seeing how lecherous Master Roshi is, how shy Yamcha is with girls, and how goofy Goku are all valuable moments of the first Dragon Ball series. That was all gone in Dragon Ball Z, although this latter show still had its decent levels of comedy.

However, the kind of humor in the first Dragon Ball series was concentrated more on the absurdity of the situations that were normally crucial for the development of the show. We couldn’t expect that level of humor in DBZ’s Frieza Saga or Cell Saga, for instance.

More character development

In the original Dragon Ball, Goku’s character goes all the way from that of a goofy kid from the cave (literally speaking) to a teenager who saves the world and falls in love with Chi Chi. He obviously goes through a lot of character development, and he’s not the only character who can fall into that category. Characters such as Krillin, Yamcha, and Tien were all Goku’s rivals when they first met him, but along the way, they became members of the good guys team.

On the other hand, Goku in Dragon Ball Z was pretty much the same character throughout the entire series, which lasted for almost 300 episodes. He’s the naive and pure-hearted Saiyan who always embraces a new challenge to prove his new fighting skills. Surely, DBZ also has its fair share of character development, as Piccolo and Vegeta were mainly introduced as terrible villains and slowly became good guys willing to protect the Earth from exterior threats. However, Piccolo saw his debut in late Dragon Ball, not in Z. In other words, Dragon Ball Z doesn’t have as much character development as the original Dragon Ball series.

No transformations

In the original Dragon Ball series, there are no transformations in which the fighters change their hair color or the color of their skin. On the other hand, DBZ is teeming with such transformations that have truly become ridiculous in Dragon Ball Super. Surely, this is more like a subjective perspective, but a show maintains its original and true feeling as long as the characters’ appearances change as least as possible.

There’s no denying that both the original Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z have their charm and unique vibe, and each and every person can decide which one of the two shows is more suitable.

Cristian Antonescu
Cristian is in love with technology, as are many of us. He has a vast experience as a content writer in the field. He's involved especially in the hardware area, where he covers the latest news regarding smartphones, laptops, PC components, and so on.