Why DragonBall Z is so Amazing

I’m quite sure there is discussion elsewhere of more depth than what I am about to go into, largely thanks to James Steele and his find of Anime and Philosophy (which I have not yet read). Never the less, I have my own ideas about why the anime series Dragonball Z is so incredible, so amazing, and so inspiring to many of us.

My ideas can be reduced to two fundamental points about the series.

1. The series in it’s entirety is a relentless display, depiction, and expression of the hero in man’s soul. Time and again, virtually every character of significance in the series goes through the greatest of trials, pushes past his pre-conceived limits, and reaches ever greater depths of his own potential.

The characters consistently face odds that at face value, appear insane to even consider fighting against. Yet, throughout the entire series, the fighters choose, when no other options are presented to them, life in the face of death.

They choose to fight to the death, if necessary, for their values — for their lives, the lives of their loved ones, and for their happiness.

And while they often experience heavy losses in temporary defeat, the death of their friends, and so on — a hero of heroes always arises and succeeds where the rest have tried, and failed.

That hero of heroes succeeds in the face of every odd and challenge conceivable — he finds a way where none was thought possible.

While saving entire planets from the brink of physical, instantaneous destruction is typically not on the “to do list” of our daily lives, and neither is fighting off a single entity more powerful than the chains of reality suggested possible, the challenges the fighters face are not disproportionate to the challenges we face in our own lives in correspondingly high pressure circumstances and environments (high intensity training is especially relevant here).

The characters and the events they take part in are actually quite relevant to our own lives, if only a depiction of such obstacles in a certain and specific style — a style that strips down and reveals the best in every man.

The ideal in and possible to man — every man.

And in a world, society, and bankrupt culture that tell us “No, it is not possible”, Dragonball Z tells us “Yes, it is possible“, with a literal, glowing radiance attributed to it.

This is so exceedingly rare in today’s art — and our world in it’s sum entirety — that when we see it, its value is so overwhelmingly obvious it exceeds the ability of most to describe — if and only if a man holds his life as his highest value and the achievement of his own happiness as his highest purpose.

Men who do not — who deny life as an achievement and instead seek to avoid death — see little or no value in the series and the subsequent characters.

They feel nothing for the characters, often mock the series, and at best, enjoy “the story” — ignoring the characters that the story is designed to embrace, challenge, and actualize the best in.

The story being a vehicle and means for the end — the characters.


2. The second primary, fundamental point I hold for the series attraction and achievement is the successful, vivid depiction of the ideal man, by the creators best judgments.

The lead character is Goku. While there are some points lacking, and some other points patently wrong about the depiction, Goku is still pretty damn good, and I think by leaps and bounds, the best my generation has yet to produce and witness in art.

Which is his particular draw as a character, and subsequently, for Dragonball Z itself. Draw because this is so exceedingly rare in today’s culture that it is almost non-existent — and we hunger for it.

We hunger for a man to be portrayed as he could, should, and ought to be — his best and highest self, and continually striving higher and higher, beyond what he and others thought was possible in reality.

What’s more, while there is humor about and for Goku, mockery for and of him is virtually non-existent in the series. Compare that to today’s super heroes and you have quite the contrast. In fact you have the building up and tearing down of the ideal man in today’s art.

Blade Trinity and (I strongly suspect) Mission Impossible 4 are examples of such (as compared to the previous installments in the movie series).

See the trailers below, reflect on the movies previous to those, and think about how the two series have progressed (and probably ended in the case if Blade).




DragonBall Z is a series to be celebrated, as is its main character, Son Goku. You should take no shame in enjoying the series, and even finding concrete inspiration in it, fictional as it may be.

Those who attack it, specifically for its heroism, are the greatest of cowards, who hold man in concept as a mindless, soulless slug, and not a heroic being — which is to say, and is a confession of how they face existence, and view themselves, first and foremost.

— Anthony Dream Johnson

About Anthony Dream Johnson

CEO, founder, and architect of The 21 Convention, Anthony Dream Johnson is the leading force behind the world's first and only "panorama event for life on earth". He has been featured on WGN Chicago, and in the NY Times #1 best seller The Four Hour Work Week.    His stated purpose for the work he does is "the actualization of the ideal man", a purpose that has led him to found and host The 21 Convention across 3 continents and for 6 years in a row. Anthony blogs vigorously at TheDreamLounge.net and Declarationism.com.

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13 Responses to Why DragonBall Z is so Amazing

  1. QuintusFabius August 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    DBZ Rocks!

  2. Leonidas August 23, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    This is why I love your blog, Dream – posts like this which quantify things that have been lurking in my subconscious but I’ve never quite managed to consciously understand. Much thanks, and rock on dude.

  3. ben sima August 23, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    I watched DBZ as a kid and started watching it again with friends in college. Love it. Most interesting to me is that Goku, the “ideal man”, is a Chinese creation, and (according to Wikipedia) is based on an older Chinese character. So it’s safe to say he’s the culmination of the ideal man of Chinese culture.

    As a parallel to this, much of western philosophy (Rand, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, many more) can be synthesized in the phrase “Becoming more of yourself”. For the Eastern thinkers, it was always about the self, about self growth, awareness. I mean the Buddha said this like 6000 years ago.

    I can’t figure out why western philosophy took so long to catch up, but it seems to me that a character like Goku is the overman of Nietzsche, the ideal man of Rand, and the enlightened man of Buddhism at the same time.

  4. James Steele II August 24, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    You beat me to it. I’ve had a philosophical dbz post planned for a while now. To be honest though and unsurprisingly it wouldn’t have been much different.

    I shouldn’t get too excited about reading anime and philosophy. There isn’t much in there that’s interesting except introducing me mote thoroughly to trans humanism which is a popular theme in most anime and was an interesting area to consider in light of objectivist ethics. Other than that its contributing authors were mystics for the most part and discussed a lot of theological concepts which were quick frankly bullshit.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson August 24, 2011 at 10:05 am #

      Damn, oh well. Remind me in 10 years and we’ll co-author something actually worth a damn. Sound good? 😉

  5. MC August 26, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    I never took the time to ask why I liked DBZ, I just watched it and knew something about it gave me some drive. I’m rewatching it now via Dragonball Kai, which is DBZ, but without the filler, like the episodes with Goku and Piccolo learning to drive a car. Not in english though I think.

    On another note, Dream; Just recently whenever I go to dreamlounge, a pop-up comes up about dreamlounge being “a reported attack site.” I know your site isn’t, but just thought I’d let you know. Not sure if it’s the computer I’m using, or if it’s for others as well.

    If it’s a “reported” attack site, my estimate is somebody would have had to report it.

  6. James August 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    yeah it gets reported on my computer too as a malicious site. Wierd…

  7. HavocVulture September 3, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    Hey man,

    I enjoyed this article, I am pretty sure that you will love Bleach and its characters if you enjoyed DBZ.
    In my opinion it is even stronger at conveying the messages you identified in DBZ.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Anthony Dream Johnson September 4, 2011 at 10:45 am #

      I’ll check it out. Any specific place you suggest starting?

      • HavocVulture September 9, 2011 at 5:01 am #

        It is pretty long, but I do suggest starting at episode one because it just gives you a better understanding of where the characters are coming from.


  8. Superman September 5, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    It’s good to know I’m not the only DBZ fanatic here!

    You’ll enjoy this.


  9. Doug October 11, 2011 at 3:07 am #

    Why do you think that the leech, the parasite, and the freeloader have become revered in today’s culture? Why is it that the heroic, the strength, the power that drives us forward must be disgraced to the incompetence of the masses? When I look at what is going on today it makes me sick. When I see what people do to themselves in the name of obiedance, squandering their own talents and ambition. And others, who are capable of much more, but only give heed to what cuts their own self worth, the lure of social excitement and the perversion of the meaning of words and the ideas behind them, I suppose. They seek it from the very thing that eats it away! Perhaps culture is always like this? If others have written about it….but I see the changes, and the happy faces welcoming such devastation, I ask myself of them, “will be happy when there is nothing else?”

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