Dragon Ball has been around since the late ’80s as a staple of childhood anime for multiple generations. It has blossomed and exploded into one of the most successful anime of all time, thanks to its enthralling action and the endless hours of entertainment from its countless video games. Widely considered as one of the greatest shonen anime of all time and credited for providing the bedrock for what makes a successful shonen, Dragon Ball can be enjoyed by watchers of all ages.

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Of course, there is definitely an aspect of nostalgia when it comes to the older series Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z since the animation and art style compared to their modern counterparts doesn’t appeal as much to younger fans. That being said, there are definitely aspects of these former shows that have aged gracefully and can be more appreciated when fans are older.

10 The Storyline

Obviously, the main appeal of an action-packed shonen anime will always be the fighting sequences, and as kids, all fans craved episodes with big battles. One of the biggest criticisms of Dragon Ball Z was the number of filler episodes it had, something Funimation tried to fix in the shortened adaptation of Dragon Ball Kai.

Watching back as adults, fans are far more appreciative of the plot. There were twists like Raditz being Goku’s brother, and moral conundrums like Krillin using the detonator on Andriod 18 and wishing her human without her permission.

9 Appreciation Of The Art style

The animation of the originals pales in comparison to new shows like Dragon Ball Super, but it needs to be kept in mind that they ran from the late ’80s through the ’90s and didn’t have the luxury of using CGI to add awesome auras or believable backgrounds.

That being said, the animators did an amazing job for their time, especially during the transformations and energy battles. If a child looked back to compare old animation with what’s capable now, they wouldn’t be impressed, but adults would find it remarkable.

8 Everyone’s Capable Of Redemption

Watching Dragon Ball as a kid, it was always confusing how evil villains could seemingly turn good in a few episodes. Vegeta definitely took some wearing down, but he came around eventually. And Piccolo, the main antagonist in Dragon Ball, suddenly becomes one of the most loyal Z Fighters in the sequel.

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As an adult, it’s a lot easier to appreciate the nuance of characters and the duality of virtue. Not everything is black and white, and it’s never too late for someone to change the path they’re on.

7 The Dedication Of Training

Youths are primarily watching shonen anime for the big battles and the immediate gratification that comes along with seeing a climactic fight. Having time gaps that lasted years between the protagonists finding out about the threat, and the threat actually arriving, was infuriating before.

Now though, it helps fans appreciate the time and effort required for the Z Fighters to master their craft, and it would have definitely cheapened the experience if all their hard work happened offscreen.

6 The Love-Hate Of Filler Episodes

Filler episodes are also more appreciated now than they were before. This isn’t because they actually do anything for the plot, character development, or any substance at all, but rather for the welcomed humorous break between stressful situations.

Adults understand far too well the need to sit back and relax sometimes without having to agonize over decisions, so sitting back and watching a gratuitous episode about Goku and Piccolo learning to drive is exactly what the doctor ordered.

5 Forgiving Your Enemies

This aspect goes hand-in-hand with redemption, but for opposite reasons. If fans as kids struggled to see how villains could suddenly become good, what was even more difficult to understand was how the heroes seemed to forgive them so easily despite attempting to kill them and their loved ones multiple times.

As previously mentioned, nobody is perfect, and everyone is deserving of an opportunity to prove they are willing to do better. The fact that Goku is capable of trusting his arch-nemeses is a testament to his character.

4 Chi-Chi’s Frustrations

It’s a running internet joke that, as a kid, people resonate more with Spongebob, and adulthood has been reached when you empathize with Squidward. The same could be said for Goku and Chi-Chi.

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It must be difficult to have a husband who is never around and always putting himself in perpetual danger, all for the good of the universe. It must be even more agonizing when he takes your children along with him. The stress she must have gone through is unimaginable.

3 Grieving For Loved Ones

Trying to teach a child about death and the finiteness of life is one of the most difficult things a parent has to go through, and an anime aimed at a younger audience is always going to struggle to convey such a touchy topic well.

Dragon Ball, fortunately, found a way around that by making death a temporary thing thanks to the ability to wish people back. While that’s the case, as an adult, tears are still shed when Gohan grieves for Piccolo or Goku.

2 Friendships & Loyalty

Friendship is actually such a vital part of the Dragon Ball story but often gets overlooked thanks to the shiny, entertaining battles. The lengths that these heroes go to in order to protect and better each other is admirable. Most notable is the lifelong connection between Krillin and Goku.

The older people get, the more they come to realize that friendship is about quality over quantity, and having a few loyal companions you trust with your life means you’ve been socially successful.

1 Family Bonds & Generational Legacy

Dragon Ball is one of those rare anime that took a risky leap with its protagonists having children mid-season rather than at the end. The series took an even further leap by having those children play big roles in the future. Family plays an even bigger role in the anime than friendship, with Goku sacrificing literally everything to try and protect his wife and children.

The trust Goku has for his sons is so vast that he’s willing to bet the universe on their success, like when he convinced Gohan to battle Cell. While he may not be the most present father or husband, his love for his family is boundless and something every adult takes note of.

NEXT: Dragon Ball: 10 Times Goku Acted Like An Adult



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