what makes this franchise special?

The franchise dragon ball it has had as many mutations as transformations of its protagonists. The story that began with a boy recreating a classic adventure story evolved into a pure and simple action story. Goku, his friends and villains became pop references that transcend anime and manga to blend with different layers of culture. The most recent event linked to this narrative is the box office boom of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.

During his first weekend in the United States, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero grossed over twenty million dollars. It became the best anime premiere in the history of the genre in that country. The figures invite us to think that the story is still alive, moving masses and reaching new spaces. A huge universe through which a mythology has grown that, even with these dimensions, can be recognizable.

This occurs even in a context, the current one, in which productions related to dragon ball They have been transforming into something very different at the beginning of the story, with stories that sometimes give more weight only to the fighting and not to the internal narrative. This is understood from a commercial perspective, with a base of followers and opportunities open to almost any content. But it is more complex to validate when you think about the essence of the story. Even so, there is no doubt: it is still a contemporary benchmark for anime.

The origin of Dragon Ball

The story of Goku and his friends began on December 3, 1984. That day, the publisher Shueisha published the first issue of the manga. That story, in essence, was based on the classic path of the hero. A character who must go through different situations, evolve along the way and reach a goal. dragon ballfrom the beginning and up to the present, was presented as a shonen attached to the theory of that manga subgenre. Those first installments of Akira Toriyamawere the beginning of one of the most important cultural and commercial phenomena in the history of graphic novels and television.

The original foundation of dragon ball closely related to an ancient Chinese novel, journey west. It was developed by Wu Cheng’en and published in the 16th century during the Ming dynasty. The story, over time, became famous for telling the adventures of the monkey king. At first, influenced by this story, Goku’s story was presented as dragon boya few years before 1984. It was about combining the idea of ​​a character taking a trip together with the tradition of kung-fu, as recalled on the YouTube channel Toffee Díaz.

The relationship between both works can be perceived in graphic details such as Goku’s tail or the presence of a pig, Woolong. To these characters were added others, such as bulma Y yamucha, which have transcended through the different stages of history. Although the subsequent huge amount of content was not in the initial plans of Akira Toriyama. What happened? The manga had an unexpected success. He had to turn it around for that trip to become something else, along with the search for the dragon balls. So, he thought about the tournament. Thus, a different gap was opened in the story: it ceased to be one of adventures to become, progressively, one of action.

The ultimate change

The gradual transformation of the story into an action manga and anime marked a before and after. He did both in the franchise dragon ball as in genres. During the 1980s, readers enjoyed Goku’s natural growth. Towards the end of those years, on April 26, 1989 it premiered Dragon Ball Z. The child became an adult had to face different threats. Within them, in the long term, one of the most important villains appeared: frieza.

Goku, transformation phase 1 of super sayayin 1

To do it, dragon ball It ceased to be a story focused on the adventures and relationships of the characters. It expanded beyond earth and human adversaries. In this way, extraterrestrial creatures or laboratory inventions appeared, such as androids, Cell and then the versions of majin buu. Through them, Goku began to expand his power levels. It was not enough to beat Vegeta, In the first moment. With Frieza, regardless of the movies, the possibility of the Super sayayin. Thus, another line was opened in the key of action: the transformations, a success both graphically and narratively.

However, what was initially a key part of the story, with the Saiyans unlocking levels of power, also led to the corruption of the discourse. Goku became Super Saiyan due to a traumatic situation (the murder of krillin, at the hands of Frieza). After this, the next great warrior to present himself in that form was Trunks. From then on, that power up that seemed exclusive became common. It was necessary to expand it in phases until reaching the third, within Dragon Ball Zand the fourth, in Dragon Ball GT. Other levels were then sought after in subsequent story expansions. Farewell to the traditional hero’s journey in favor of the spectacular.

The detail is not minor: that decision may have alienated some followers, those who grew based on the early stages (dragon ball, Dragon Ball Z Y Dragon Ball GT) but, in turn, brought others closer, hooked by the displays of power in later adaptations (Dragon Ball Z Kai Y Dragon Ball Super). All this comes together in one idea: the expansion and cultivation of mythology based on the history of Goku and his friends.

dragon ball: a story for different generations

From the 1980s to the present, narrative dragon ball diversified. It stopped being just a manga to become an anime with movies and long seasons. Its rise in this format led to its transfer to other formats. Albums, t-shirts, collectible figures, and almost any entertainment resource. At the same time, he continued to advance in the construction of his story, based on the relationship of characters, until he reached the spectacular combat.

Meanwhile, Goku was taking more space in everyday orality. Like who makes a joke about starwars, Game of Thrones either The Lord of the rings. This is relevant. suggests that many people share the same reference system based on dragon ball. The story lives beyond the pages, television and cinema. That explains part of the success of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. A new installment that revives that universe and makes it a shared experience inside the movie theater.

The globalization of gender

dragon ball It was produced at a time when there was neither the connectivity nor the means of distribution that we have today. A story that began with a daily broadcast of a chapter in some parts of the world reached the age of streaming, with all their stories available. The manga, perhaps relegated or exclusive to the most committed readers, reached other frontiers through the internet.

Progressively, the image of Goku grew and came to be represented in boots for professional soccer players or turned into memes of the type: “I will tell my children that this was Jesus” or some other variant of that style. This is influenced by the fact that the current context of the entertainment industry has progressively opened up to anime and manga as narrative formats. In that search, one of the key references is dragon ball. This story has inspired dozens of other stories, from Naruto until demon slayer have some relationship with dragon ball.

What does this imply? dragon ball, growing up in a different environment than today, has that fan base and, due to the media present, has added new layers of fans. A narrative capable of nourishing itself to the point of continuing to fill theaters and captivating audiences beyond its narrative meaning, while an important part of viewers and readers continue to recognize and be moved by it.

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