Ranking the original 10 arcs.

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Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby GreatSaiyaJeff » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:27 am

I just watched the recent Mistare Fusion's Dissection videos and made me think about ranking my favorite to least favorite arcs. These are mine.

1. Cell
2. Saiyan
3. 22nd Tournament
4. 21st Tournament
5. 23rd Tournament
6. Freeza
7. King Piccolo
8. Buu
9. Red Ribbon Army
10. Pilaf (Not sure the name of the first arc.)

How would you guys rank the arcs?
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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby TheGreatness25 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:52 am

I think that Funimation did a good thing when they separated the big four in Z because saying that 291 episodes is (more or less) four "seasons" is crazy. Especially since half of the Freeza and half of the Cell arcs don't really involve them. But if we're keeping them as the big four (like always originally thought back in the day), these would be mine:

10 - Pilaf / Hunt for the Dragon Balls arc
This was the start of it all. We were introduced to some key characters and it was just a very simple story. While this arc was great, playful, funny, and innocent enough, it really speaks to the rest of Dragon Ball that this is ranked the lowest. As for the Z arcs that are ranked above this, it's not to diminish how great Dragon Ball was, but rather, how epic Z had become.

9 - 21st Best in the World Martial Arts Tournament arc
Yes, "Best in the World Martial Arts Tournament" is my interpretation of the "Tenkaichi Budokai." This arc was great. I really like the tournaments. If this was the basis of the Dragon Ball story, it would be great. However, seeing what the story morphs into, I find it very difficult to rank this arc above some of the others that are yet to come. But this was very entertaining with some colorful characters and great fighting.

8 - 22nd Best in the World Martial Arts Tournament arc

I like this arc, but it still speaks to the simplicity of it. Here we are in another tournament. It's great with some new characters and new techniques. Definitely very entertaining.

7 - 23rd Best in the World Martial Arts Tournament / Piccolo Jr. arc
Don't get me wrong, this is a great arc. I like it. It's really good... but after the Great Demon King Piccolo arc, this is just underwhelming, to be honest. It feels a lot less emotionally-gripping and feels like the stakes are a lot lower than they were in the arc just prior to this. It was cool that Goku was reunited with Chichi... though it really was kind of "What the hell?" because Goku was pretty much put into a marriage that he didn't really care about being in. It was definitely the grandest Martial Arts Tournament story, but it just doesn't compare to the arc that came before it.

6 - Red Ribbon Army arc
This was a really good arc that started diving into Goku's heroic nature. Goku -- the incredibly-powered young kid -- versus an army. I mean... that's good stuff. The arc dragged a bit and it was a bit convoluted with all of the various Generals and whatnot, but overall, a solid piece of Dragon Ball history. This is definitely much more "epic" than the arcs that I ranked above this one.

5 - Cell arc
I generally like this arc. It starts off (I guess) with the Garlic Jr. bit if we're going by the anime and only counting the four arcs, but whatever. Garlic Jr. did no harm, no foul to the series. It was not long enough to really do anything. Then, the biggest mistake that I can recall in Dragon Ball history: the return of Freeza. So a mere handful of episodes after Goku has defeated the evil tyrant who had ravaged the universe... he returns. Just like nothing. And then, he gets defeated like some kind of loser. That really pained me. I'd rather that King Cold came with his men and King Cold took Freeza's place in being sliced and diced. It always bothered me that Freeza was brushed away like that. It's one thing to have him survive and come back in a later -- much later -- arc and being a real threat, but it's another to just have him pop up and get defeated so easily. I don't know, that always rubbed me the wrong way. The entire introduction to Trunks and the peaceful look at the Z Warriors was cool, but the fact that Freeza had to be the casualty of all of that, always rubbed me the wrong way. So right off the bat, this arc leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

Then we get a three year time skip and that's okay. Then we get the whole fight with #19 and #20/Dr. Gero. That was pretty cool. Then #16, #17, and #18 arrive on the scene, and that's cool. Then the whole Cell thing. And it's just kind of layer after layer after layer being added. It's becoming a bit much and the story is getting lost in the shuffle. The story was that the future was in peril at the hands of #17 and #18. But now the focus shifted onto Cell. The concept of Super Saiyan begins getting built upon, which is starting to become irritating. The "legendary" Super Saiyan is not enough anymore, now it needs to have stuff added to it not too far removed from when everyone creamed their pants for Super Saiyan.

The entire Cell Games was great, though. I enjoyed everything about that. But out of the entire arc, it seems like this is such a small piece compared to the rest of it. It's like watching a 2.5 hour movie and having the last 20 minutes being good while the rest was "meh." So, that might have been too little, too late for me. I loved Gohan going Super Saiyan 2, though. That was great. Because as Super Saiyan was getting played out, there was something unique about Super Saiyan 2 and he was set apart from the pack.

The positives of this arc were Vegeta's character development, Gohan's growth, and the entire Trunks story. This was my favorite arc as a kid, probably because I was just so excited to get to the Trunks and Cell stuff, having known someone with the manga of the Cell Games. I felt like I wanted to see it... and I sure did. But now, I honestly don't like it as much as I thought. And in fact... I like an arc that is apparently dreadful, a lot more than this arc.

4 - Majin Boo arc
This was nice. I mean it was convoluted, but the focus never really strayed the way it did for the Cell arc. The focus was on Majin Boo for nearly the entire thing. Now, there were different incarnations of Majin Boo, but he was still the center of it all.

I think that the Other World Martial Arts Tournament was a great piece of filler and kind of went back to the heart of Dragon Ball -- even though now it was more super powered, which makes the whole idea of a tournament lose its charm. But still, it was great. And plus, I do love Paikuhan. I loved how Dragon World's afterlife was deeply expanded upon throughout this entire arc. Once again, though, it starts off with the thing that irritated me about the Cell arc: right after Cell is defeated, Goku goes down to hell and he and Paikuhan embarrass Cell and Freeza. That sucked. But at least it didn't get as much attention as when it happened with Freeza.

Gohan in high school. I don't know about everyone else, but this was great for me. The Great Saiyaman stuff was corny, but I really liked Gohan's character development. I love when characters grow (physically). Goku's growth in Dragon Ball was great to me, and now Gohan's growth in Dragon Ball Z was great to me as well. Seeing Gohan try to blend in with his "normal" peers was some great comedy. Then, the Martial Arts Tournament where Goku comes back... I mean, it was okay. But then the ride starts.

The whole Majin Vegeta thing was really cool. It was great to see Goku and Vegeta finally clash again. Then, Vegeta had some moments that you really appreciate when you look at his character from the Saiyan arc (him sacrificing himself). Super Saiyan 2, though, was pretty much diminished, as we now had three characters that could do it, so giving Goku a form that he could have on his own (Super Saiyan 3) was great... until Gotenks got it too.

I pretty much enjoyed all of Boo's incarnations. He was pretty cool in all forms. I had no problems with that. I did have a problem with fusion. Now I know that people love Gotenks and Vegetto... but I couldn't stand it. The biggest thing that gets me is that the fusions never defeated anyone. If you're not going to end the arc with a fusion character winning, then what's the point of the fusion? I'd rather we get to see Goten and Trunks in action instead of Gotenks. It kind of diminishes the two boys and turns the attention on a character whose power is basically founded on magic.

The biggest thing that bumps this arc down a bit, is the pacing. This thing lasted foreverrrrr. And it did a little bit too much twisting and turning. You never quite know who the hero is going to be until it's Goku. Too many false heroes in this. Though, I am so happy that Gohan got something in this. When I was a kid, my favorite was Vegeta and Goku was a second. For some reason, I never liked Gohan. As I got older, I got to appreciate every character on their own (when I grew out of the age where I think that if I like a character, I had to dislike someone else that was right there with them). Anyway, in the grand scheme of the story, I really liked that Gohan got his opportunity.

The arc was a good build for the Dragon World. It was a very nice chapter in terms of new characters, development and growth of characters, and the story seemed to be as epic even though it seemed like everything's been done already. The negatives were just the pacing and the back-and-forth on who the hero would end up being. Overall, I can't say that it was a terrible arc. Just way too long.

3 - Great Demon King Piccolo arc
This was a... freaking fantastic arc. This was the moment that Dragon Ball went from being "awesome" to "epic" for me. Everything about this arc was beautifully done and would really give some insight in how the future of the Dragon Ball franchise would be handled. The stakes were high, the emotion was there. Kurilin's death was really gripping and then for the first time ever, we saw a hate and revenge-driven Goku. Then, we had the death of Muten Roushi and Chiaotzu, which were pretty hard. Tenshinhan was a great character in this. Plus, there was some development on Muten Roushi with the history with his master Mutaito. And the fight between Goku and Piccolo was great. The ending with Goku going off to train with God was so good and you know that things will never be the same.

Anything that I rank after this arc is not to diminish this arc (because I think it's fantastic), but really speaks to how great those arcs are.

2 - Saiyan arc
It's easy to lose sight of how great the Saiyan arc was because by the end of Dragon Ball, we've been everywhere. But going back to the Saiyan arc, it really does stand up. The psychology is there and the fights were very intense. It all starts with Goku having a kid who is nothing like him and the revelation that after 153 episodes, Goku is not as he appears (cue the "dun dun dunnn"). Goku's world is expanded upon and the mystery of Goku starts unraveling. Goku become a bit more relate-able, in my opinion. The kid who is strong for unknown reasons and can turn into a giant monke for unknown reasons always kept a wall up between Goku and everyone else. Now that we knew why, it all made sense.

The fight with Raditz was okay. It was not bad, though a bit short. I felt that for a character like the main protagonist's brother, it should have been a bit more grand, but it was what it needed to be. We find out that despite his scared and non-violent nature, Gohan was more powerful than Goku and Piccolo. That was great. Oh yeah, Goku teaming with Piccolo was great.

Then, Goku's death and really giving us a glimpse into the afterlife of Dragon World, was great. Piccolo training Gohan was great. Also, the rest of the Z Warriors got to get that training with God that Goku received. Things were looking good.

Nappa and Vegeta were great. Nappa defeating everyone was so gut-wrenching and it was really emotional. Goku coming in and making the save was really cool. And then we get it: the battle between Goku and Vegeta. This fight was tremendous. We got to see new powers, etc. I really liked this arc. It was paced well (especially compared to the later arcs). Also, it was very personal to Goku, which was nice.

What I detested about this arc... was the introduction of fighting power detection. Not so much the detection... but assigning freaking numbers to them. This would ruin the rest of the series, in my opinion, because naturally, fans wanted to assign numbers to everything going forward. I think that the Scouters have destroyed the franchise, to be honest. It's okay if they were used to detect people's power, just not define it so concretely. I know that the message toward the end was that the fighting power detection was never correct against the Z Warriors (they could increase and decrease their fighting power at will), but I don't think the fans ever got that. Hated, hated, hated the introduction of fighting power numbers.

1 - Freeza arc
This arc was great. It was a little slow in the beginning with Kurilin, Bulma, and Gohan going to Namek, but it was truly a great arc. What sets this one apart is the tension that it created. The hot potato with the Dragon Balls and the strategy involved was well-thought-out. This arc wasn't just about smashing through with power; it was a thinking game. This arc had Freeza, who was the ultimate villain. Freeza was a space tyrant who took no prisoners. The gravity of the situation with Vegeta -- where the Z Warriors needed to team up with a guy who vowed to kill them all -- was truly tense. The wait for Goku to arrive was also tense. The fights between Vegeta and Zarbon were really rough. Recoom against Vegeta and then Kurilin, were so down and dirty. Then of course, the entire fight with Freeza -- from Vegeta, Gohan, and Kurilin starting off, to Goku's final blow to Freeza -- was so good. To add some spice onto it, there was a nice deeply-woven story between Freeza, Vegeta, and Goku. And of course, that was the birth of the Super Saiyan. Special shoutout for Piccolo getting a bit of a rub where there was a brief period of time where he seemed to be the most powerful good guy (and Vegeta) on the battlefield.

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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby sintzu » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:10 pm

DB got better with each arc and here's a few things I like from each one :

1- Buu : Vegeta was his best here, getting his rematch with Goku, being the only Z fighter present during the final battle and finally admiting Goku is the best. Goku is also great here, especially when he first uses Ssj3. The fusuins were a great addition to the show. Gohan's mystic form was his best showing yet & Buu one upping everyone when it seems like they got him was also intense and kept me guessing the whole way through as to how they'll defeat him.

2- Cell : Seeing the secondary characters take over the story in Goku's absent was a nice change and showed how well developed they were to be able to do so. Trunks was introduced who's one of the best characters in the franchise. Gohan stepping into his father's place to save the world was a great pay off for all the build up he got.

3- Freeza : The hunt for the dragon balls between 3 parties was intense, Freeza is to this day the hardest enemy they've faced & The legendary Ssj was introduced here.

4- The Saiyans : This arc set the stage for what DB has become today and was what got many into it, including myself. Seeing Goku and Piccolo who before were the strongest of what earth had to offer struggle against Raditz was jaw dropping, The Z fighters dying left and right really showed how far Toriyama would go to make an intense villain & the Battle with Vegeta is arguable the best fight in the franchise.

5- The 23rd Tenkaichi arc : Goku finally grew up here and we can see why, the fight with Piccolo wouldn't have happened the way it did had he been a kid and it really kicked the door open for all kind of future stories (which we got).

6- King Piccolo arc : A major turning point for the story with the first main character's death and the introduction of the first "real" villain. We also got a lot of back story for Roshi and saw how far he's willing to go to save his loved ones by giving his life for them.

7- The 22nd Tenkaichi : Ties breaking Yamcha's leg is still one of the most intense moments, we got to finally see Goku and Krillin fight and like before, Roshi was great here and his speach to Tien showed how wise he was.

8- the RRA arc : not a fan favorite but I like it. It had a lot of locations, we got a detailed hunt for the dragon balls with each one having a challenge to get, Tao was the first person who "beat" Goku and we finally got to see Goku's grandfather. The mini tournament at the end was a nice surprise with each character being very unique.

9- The 21st Tenkaichi : The very first tournament and an epic one at that. Roshi was a monster here and showed that he's not just fun and games, Krillin's fight with Bacterian is still one of the funniest fights around & the final fight really showed what Toriyama was capable of as a martial arts writer.

10- The Pilaf arc : Where it all started. The world was interesting, the characters were funny & Shenron's summoning is still an epic moment that holds up even today.
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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby Baggie_Saiyan » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:14 am

To be honest, arc 1 from DB "Hunt for the DBs/Boyhood Goku/Pilaf" arc is best for me and each subsequent arc after being in order for me 2nd, 3rd 4th etc, except with the Buu arc I'd swap that with the Android/Cell arc as that is easily my least favourite arc. OGDB>Z portion, the Z portion just didn't have the fun until the Buu arc but then the Buu arc was so sloppily written it is as bad as the Android/Cell arc writing wise but at least it being "fun" redeems itself a bit.

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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby LowRyder2005 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:50 am

I think I made mine with every arc (GT and Super included) some time ago. Pretty sure it was like this.

- Namek (but I'm not so sure, it's more like a toss-up between it and the Buu arc; the first four are fairly close)
- Buu
- Saiyan
(another toss-up)
- Cell -- including the Android Arc
- 23rd Tenkaichi
- 21st Tenkaichi
(literally the quintessence of the original Dragon Ball, and the staple of the series' leitmotiv in general terms; possibly my favorite arc with the Buu arc)
- Piccolo Daimao
- Baby -- including the Black Star Dragon Ball arc
- Battle of Gods
- 22nd Tenkaichi
- Search for the Dragon Balls
- Red Ribbon Army -- including the Uranai Baba Arc

- Future Trunks
- Shadow Dragons
- Revival "F"
- Universe Survival (so far)

- Universe 6 vs. Universe 7
- Super #17

I'm chiefly considering the movie version of BOG and ROFs as the "arcs", they would end up fairly lower otherwise.

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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby MajinMan » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:27 am

I've made so many of these goddamn lists, and they're almost always different every time. Let's see what I come up with this time...

1. Majin Buu arc
2. 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai arc
3. Saiyan arc
4. 21st Tenkaichi Budokai arc
5. 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai arc
6. Freeza arc
7. Red Ribbon Army arc
8. Piccolo Daimao arc
9. Hunt for the Dragon Balls arc
10. Cell arc

I feel comfortable with this list at the moment, but give it a month or so and I might bump an arc up a spot or lower it a spot.

This next list includes GT and Super:

1. Majin Buu arc
2. 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai arc
3. Saiyan arc
4. 21st Tenkaichi Budokai arc
5. 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai arc
6. Freeza arc
7. Future Trunks arc
8. Red Ribbon Army arc
9. Baby arc
10. Piccolo Daimao arc
11. Champa arc
12. Battle of Gods arc
13. Hunt for the Dragon Balls arc
14. Cell arc
15. Evil Dragons arc
16. Dark Dragon Balls arc
17. Resurrection F arc
18. Super 17 arc
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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby TheBigBoy » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:31 am

It's hard for me to rank them all...so I'll just do Z

Saiyan is #1 for me. Not ruling out nostalgia here (it was my first arc), but I love the way the arc looks and how it's paced. The arc starts off with an awesome fight and the main character dying. Now THAT was a hook. The training filler helps flesh out the characters and is actually pretty entertaining. The fight with Nappa is very tense and demoralizing as the heroes get picked off one after the other. Goku and company vs. Vegeta is just tremendous with a lot of twists and turns. It really feels like the heroes earned their victory by the end of it. Vegeta comes off being a really tough bastard, much tougher than he is anywhere else in the series. I also love Yajirobe of all people being the ace in the hole.

The Android arc has some great moments, including Gohan's SSJ2 transformation which is probably my favorite moment in the series. However, as many people have pointed it out, the characters in the arc have become so ridiculously strong and resourceful that the story pretty much requires them making dumb decisions for the sake of their own egos. Super Saiyan really becomes a bit overused at this point as well. Overall, I enjoy it quite a bit.

The Namek arc feels like the climax of the series. Goku unlocking the secret of his people and avenging them, Vegeta finally being truly humbled, Piccolo reconnecting with his home world, and Freeza being the best villain ever...but the arc in the anime is just really poorly paced, with some of the worst filler across the series. Plus the animation quality takes a nosedive during the Freeza fight. This is definitely an arc I enjoyed much more in Kai.

The Buu saga starts off like an honest attempt to pass the torch, but gives it back to Goku at the very end. I also find Buu less interesting than a lot of the villains. All the main Z villains up to this point have had some sort of connection to Goku. Buu is just some magically conjured creature that was conveniently sealed up on Earth. Still, I love the Gotenks stuff, the fact that the stakes feel even higher and the production is on point. Still probably my least favorite arc, though it's not bad by ANY means.

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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby Neo-Makaiōshin » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:25 pm

right now my ranking is:

10. Android & Cell
9. Hunt of the Dragon Balls
8. 22nd Tenkai Budokai
7. Majin Bu
6. Piccolo Daimao
5. 21st Tenkaichi Budokai
4. Freeza
3. 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai
2. Red Ribbon Army
1. Saiyan
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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby Doctor. » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:37 pm

Ranking the manga here, since the anime has filler and padding that changes your perspective on each arc a lot.

1. Freeza arc
2. Saiyan arc
3. 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai arc
4. Red Ribbon Army arc
5. 21st Tenkaichi Budokai arc
6. Boo arc
7. Hunt for the Dragon Balls arc
8. Cell arc
9. Piccolo Daimao arc
10. 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai arc

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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby MarCas92 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:44 pm

1. Saiyan
2. 21st Budokai
3. Search for the 4 Star Ball
4. Freeza
5. 23rd Budokai
6. Android
7. 22nd Budokai
8. Piccolo Daimao
9. Hunt for the Dragon Balls
10. Boo

I don't think I've ever done this. It was REALLY hard ranking the bottom 5. Android Arc has so much cool stuff, some of my favorite moments in the franchise but it has a poor pace and bad structure. 22nd Budokai is great but it doesn't leave any impact on me apart from the stuff with the Muten Roshi theres nothing really great here. Piccolo Daimao has SOME cool elements, but I can't think of anything in the arc that is all that memorable or interesting to me except the lore and world building. The Hunt for the Dragon Balls is a fun story, but thats it. The action isn't to engaging and it doesn't feel like theres any stakes at all. Boo is just like the Android Arc, some really cool moments with bad story structure. But the moments are even fewer and far between and the structure is EVEN WORSE!
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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby 8000 Saiyan » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:50 pm

1. Freeza
2. Saiyan
3. Piccolo Daimao
4. Boo
5. 21st Tournament
6. Pilaf
7. Red Ribbon Army
8. 22nd Tournament
9. 23rd Tournament
10. Cell
All of these arcs have both their pros and cons.
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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby Soppa Saia People » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:50 am

1. Saiyan
2. 21st Tournament
3. Boo
4. Goku Arc
5. 22nd Tournament
6. 23rd Tournament
7. Freeza
8. Red Ribbon
9. Piccolo
10. Cell

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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby Lord Beerus » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:05 am

1. Saiyan
2. Freeza/Namek
3. King Piccolo
4. Majin Boo
5. 23rd WMAT
6. Red Ribbon Army
7. 21st WMAT
8. 22nd WMAT
9. Hunt For The Dragon Balls/Emperor Pilaf
10. Android/Cell

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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby ABED » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:21 am

1. Saiyan
2. King Piccolo
3. 23rd Budokai
4. Freeza
5. 21st Budokai
6. 22nd Budokai
7. Cell
8. Pilaf
9. Red Ribbon Army/Fortuneteller Baba
10. Buu
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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby Saikyo no Senshi » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:53 am


1. Majin Boo
2. 23rd Budoukai
3. 22nd Budoukai
4. Saiyan
5. 21st Budoukai
6. Freeza
7. Cell
8. Hunt for the Dragon Balls
9. Piccolo Daimaou
10. Red Ribbon Army


1. 23rd Budoukai
2. Red Ribbon Army
3. 22nd Budoukai
4. Saiyan
5. 21st Budoukai
6. Freeza
7. Hunt for the Dragon Balls
8. Piccolo Daimaou
9. Cell
10. Majin Boo

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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby Boo Machine » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:57 am

1.Majin Buu
3. 21st budokai
4. Red Ribbon army
5. Freeza
6. Piccolo Daimao
7. 22nd Budokai
8. 23rd Budokai
9. Hunt for the Dragonballs
10. Cell
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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby OhHiRenan » Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:37 pm

As evidenced by my sig:

1. Saiyan
2. Namek
3. 23rd Budokai
4. 22nd Budokai
5. Majin Boo
6. Androids
7. Piccolo Daimao
8. 21st Budokai
9. Hunt for the Dragon Balls
10. Red Ribbon Army

GT and Super don't even come close imo.
Original Series Arc Rankings
Saiyan > Namek > 23rd Budokai > 22nd Budokai > Majin Boo > Androids > Piccolo Daimao > 21st Budokai > Hunt for the Dragon Balls > Red Ribbon Army

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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby GreatSaiyaJeff » Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:38 pm

I really like how Diverse these rankings are. It's great that even with all our differences we can still have great conversations about this series.
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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby Gaffer Tape » Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:38 pm

Well, since it was my videos that sparked this topic, I guess I have to post mine too! But since in my video, I score them on a scale of 1-10, not rank them, that makes 10 the highest score and the best and 1 the lowest score and worst. And, geez, this sounds stupidly pretentious, but since I only just finished The Freeza Arc in Dragon Ball Dissection and, therefore, the scores haven't been revealed yet, I will be leaving Cell and Boo out of the list but will still provide some thoughts on them at the bottom.

On a scoring scale of 10-1, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest:

10 - The Red Ribbon Army Arc: While Muscle Tower drags, and it's a bit disappointing that a lot of the series regulars take an extended break during large portions of the arc, this one is just fantastic. The Dragon World is at its most interesting here, showcasing its fantastic mix of futuristic technology and old-style fantasy. There are just so many different, exciting locations. There are so many different, exciting adventures. Goku comes into his own as an independent character, no longer being shepherded around by other people. A simple Dragon Ball hunt turns into a quest to save an innocent man, back when that still meant something. General Blue is a fantastic villain. The Uranai Baba tournament is a fun diversion and, while still putting too much on Goku's shoulders, still gives almost every character a chance to shine, even Pu'erh of all people! Truly the best Dragon Ball has ever been.

9 - The Saiyan Arc: This is the best fighting the series has, bar none. It is so wonderfully integrated into the story, and the carnage only helps to intensify the emotions. Goku's role as late-to-the-battle savior sadly begins here, but it's handled better than anywhere else in the series. Gohan is a wonderful addition to the cast with his own personality and hurdles that are distinct from his father's. Through some surprisingly subtle writing, Piccolo is also at his best here, showing unexpected depth for Dragon Ball. Sadly, the other characters are used as cannon fodder, at least in the manga, and the middle of the arc feels rushed, again, in the manga.

8 - The 22nd Tenkaichi Budoukai Arc: I find this the best tournament arc, although sometimes it feels so close to the 21st that I find myself tempted to flip flop on occasion. But this arc demonstrates for the first time the sense of scope of Dragon Ball, of characters who truly change and roles that actually evolve. There's the nostalgia of meeting up with old friends, seeing how everyone's changed. The Muten Roshi is in fine form this arc, leading in deftly to his sacrifice in the next arc. Tenshinhan isn't the greatest villain the franchise has to offer, but the school rivalry is a good framework to carry a tournament without completely suffocating any spontaneity out of it like the 23rd feels like.

7 - The Hunt for the Dragon Balls Arc: Wonderful, madcap adventure. It shows what Dragon Ball could have been capable of in a quest format before it gave way to be all about fighting. It's so nice to have problems that aren't just solved by punching things and that there are major characters who have skills outside of fighting. Toriyama's humor almost always hits its mark. The cast of characters are almost all extraordinarily engaging. There's just enough fighting but plenty of other types of goals. It's the most delightful of all Dragon Ball arcs.

6 - The 21st Tenkaichi Budoukai Arc: A very complete tournament arc. The training is a unique element we don't get to see enough of in Dragon Ball but really makes everything feel more satisfying. Kuririn is a great foil for Goku. The training itself is fun and wacky but still grounded just enough to not be totally implausible. The tournament itself is much more free-form than any other tournament in the series. All roads lead to Goku versus Jackie, but there is still room for so many other crazy characters, and that makes it feel more realistic, if a bit unstructured.

5 - The Freeza Arc: A fantastic first half stitched together to an uneven-at-best second half. The plotting to get to another planet, the mystery of the hidden spaceship, Gohan standing up to his mom, the cat-and-mouse games hiding from multiple sets of enemies, and everything with Vegeta is fantastic. But once the arc becomes all about fighting, it goes downhill fast and introduces all the worst cliches of Dragon Ball. Freeza, while a great villain, comes off as so arrogant as to be incompetent with a series of transformations he can unlock at any time that make everything before the final form pointless. Piccolo gets shafted the most, being brought to Namek against all reason only to accomplish jack and shit. Goku shows up at the last second to steal the spotlight from the characters the story is actually about, and the ending careens into complete nonsense and illogic by the end. Still, the exploding planet makes a great battleground, and this is Super Saiyan in its purest, most exciting outing before it becomes completely overplayed.

4 - The 23rd Tenkaichi Budoukai: Still a solid tournament but becoming a bit old by this point. It's wonderful to get to see Goku all grown up. The ending is fantastic and could have served as a perfect ending to the series. But a tournament seems an uneven choice for a battle to save the world. On the one hand, it's extremely fun seeing Goku take the tournament so seriously even when the fate of the world is on the line. But on the other, it makes no sense that Ma Junior would care and never even accidentally step out of the ring, even when he's larger than the ring! All the fights feel very locked into place without a single new character filling out the roster, even after having to dump existing characters by the wayside. Still a classic but glad the tradition ended here.

3 - Can't say yet.

2 - The Piccolo Daimao Arc: A serviceable save-the-world-plot with high stakes. That's about the best I can say about this one. It has good moments. It opens on a huge shocker of a death, for one. The introduction of the cosmic hierarchy of the Dragon World is very cool. The Muten Roshi's sacrifice is fantastic. But the fights aren't terribly interesting, and most of the plot is recycled almost beat for beat from parts of the Red Ribbon Arc. The infancy of bad Dragon Ball cliches can be found here, in unearned power-ups and power-ups that ultimately serve as red herrings.

1 - Can't say yet.

The Cell Arc has in its favor possibly the best opening of any arc. Trunks slicing up Freeza is such a powerful moment and serves as a fantastic demonstration of just how bad the new enemies are going to be. The deluge of new Super Saiyan forms is a bit tiring but the push to use them more strategically is quite satisfying. However, Cell is a terribly boring villain. Well, he's a villain who starts out fantastic until he monologues every wonderfully mysterious thing about him. And by the time he becomes perfect, he's just bland as hell. The plot is largely driven by character-induced stupidity and helped along by flat-out character assassination. Almost no one comes out of this one with dignity intact.

Finally, the Boo Arc has great moments with Great Saiyaman and Gotenks, but it's really Mr. Satan who steals the show, redeeming himself from one of the most annoying and one-note characters in the Cell Arc. Through him a great message is delivered that a person's character is just as important as his power, and that anyone can make a difference, which is in stark contrast to most of Dragon Ball's themes but is a refreshing breath of air, to be sure. Unfortunately, this arc is just lost in terms of focus. It introduces more useless powers than ever before. It's never sure who its main character is, which absolutely kills the theme of passing the torch to the next generation. While the characters aren't cumulatively as stupid as they are in the Cell Arc, there is still plenty of poor decision making and illogical conclusions to go around.

So, yeah, those are mine.
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Re: Ranking the original 10 arcs.

Postby LowRyder2005 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:49 pm

Welp, I think I've found my personal nemesis... those above are basically my ratings gone bizarro! Stay away from me, ye fiend! At least we both like the Saiyan Arc. :)

I'm pretty intrigued by the fact you liked the the Red Ribbon Arc so much to put it at the top of your rankings; my memories of the anime version are mostly dated to many years ago, but I remember being unimpressed the whole one man vs. fodder army act, the enemies looking rather unimpressive compared to the later arcs (despite Tao Pai Pai being the first "serious" villain), the filler, the supporting cast never clicking for me compared to Roshi/Bulma/Krillin/Yamcha, etc. Not like I disliked anything Dragon Ball had to offer back then, but it was just the least "wow" part for me.

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