My Dragon Ball Journey

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laserkid
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My Dragon Ball Journey

Post by laserkid » Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:49 am

Since I’ve reconnected with the Kanzenshuu forums, something’s been gnawing at me inside to explore this, and I think I can get this down. This is likely going to be text heavy, so just be aware of that as you begin reading this.

My Dragon Ball journey began in 1995, back when I was in middle school. I was 14 years old, and I was cleaning my room, I decided I needed some good background TV to help motivate me, and turned on to UPN (at the time a brand new network that is now very dead). What I saw would change my life forever, though at the time I didn’t know that. Even back then I was absolutely obsessed with animation, my formative years spent watching a lot of He-Man and Thundercats just to name a few, and I was already nostalgic for 80s cartoons. What I saw, of course, was the first FUNimation dub of Dragon Ball in all its censored glory (though I still am rather fond of their sound track which I do have a CD for, and theme song) which I just assumed was an 80s cartoon on rerun due to its style. So, of course I stopped cleaning my room and watched it.

I kept watching it over and over, even taping some of it off TV when I could. I especially loved Yamcha for some reason, not really being charmed by Goku yet. I was of course aware of anime, but anime was that thing you rented from Blockbuster Video or bought from Suncoast Video, not something you watched on broadcast television. I was already watching things like Project A-KO and the Fatal Fury OVAs, yet unaware of Dragon Ball’s Japanese origins.

That of course would change the following year when the broadcast skipped the entire rest of Dragon Ball and began the Ocean Dub of Dragon Ball Z. This was more clearly advertised as an anime and I definitely caught onto this, though missing so much of the interim material, I was incredibly confused. Not having a good memory, for a good few months I was convinced Piccolo was Pilaf, since Pilaf was the only ‘old enemy’ of Goku’s that I knew of. The only problem with the DBZ airing is that, and I kid you not, it was at 4 in the morning. I taped the first four episodes off TV before forgetting to do so afterwards, and I lost the show for a little while.
This (thankfully) didn’t last long as I started finding the VHS tapes in stores the year afterwards (primarily in a long since dead Borders and Books), though they never had the tapes in chronological order, so I saw Goku fighting Vegeta well before I saw him fight Nappa for example. Around this time I started looking up information about Dragon Ball Z online and found myself first at Chris Psaros’s Dragon Ball Z Uncensored, and eventually to Vegetto EX’s Homepage (which of course, later became Daizenshuu EX, and now Kanzenshuu, but I digress) and I learned of the extensive censoring the dub had received. It was 1998, and I was an angry 17 year old and I raged hard at the injustices done to Dragon Ball Z. But this year also marked Dragon Ball Z’s first appearance on Toonami, a block I was already watching for Thundercats, so I began watching the same dub I decried – primarily because it was there.

Much to my surprise, this little show I had discovered entirely by accident was becoming a phenomenon, and being inspired by many dragon ball sites, I attempted to make my own with some friends in high school… it wasn’t very good. Still, I relished in the fandom and the hope of a better or continued release. My wishes were half answered in 1999 when the dub was resumed for a third season, but this time there were promises of an ‘uncut’ home video release. This excited me greatly, and I bought a bunch of these tapes as they came out as my best option to see the show at the time. I was disheartened to find out ‘uncut’ just meant they would no longer physically edit the picture, but guaranteed nothing of script accuracy.

Somewhere around this time, perhaps a little before, the first Daizenshuu EX forum I joined, Tenkai, came into being and I met many good friends, a few of which I still hold dear today. I don’t usually talk about Tenkai, because honestly a lot of things I’d rather not remember occurred there, including my own sheer stupidity. That said I do have some very fond memories of that time. When Shenmue came out, a good chunk of us basically played through it together and encouraged each other through it, and the amount of Phantasy Star Online playing was over 9000. Eventually the forum imploded for a plethora of reasons, and it would be a little while before this incarnation came into being (with one short lived in between where I met many of the people in the community I call friends today). Whereas the first forum was very much a mixed bag for me personally, this incarnation, and especially the IRC chatroom that came with it has been nothing but a positive experience for me.

But I’m jumping ahead a bit, I just didn’t want that section to be too negative, but also wanted to be honest. At the end of 2000 I got my very first DVD player for Christmas, and this was just in time for the first DBZ singles volume, Ginyu Assault to come out. It had the Japanese original show on it, and it was translated by Steven J Simmons, someone from within the community and I trusted his work. Seeing the show in Japanese for the first time was absolutely surreal, subverting just about everything I had seen up to that point. Yet, I still watched the dub on Toonami as it was well ahead of the home releases, and I wanted to see the Cell arc more than anything at this point.

I stopped watching the dub after the Cell arc finished, and to this day I’ve never seen the entire Buu arc dubbed, but I kept buying those DVDs. I mean, like all of them. I still have a complete set of single DVD releases, (well I gave away Ginyu Assault and Double Cross when I got the first orange brick for some reason, so besides those), and when I DID complete that collection I was on cloud nine for a good long time.

Before that, though I tried everything to see the show uncut – I didn’t have the international channel so I didn’t get to see it in Japanese there, but I DID have Telumundo and while I don’t understand a lick of Spanish, I taped no less than 5 VHS tapes worth of Spanish DBZ episodes from it JUST to see it uncut.

Somewhere in 2004 the IRC Daizenshuu EX chat channel began, and I attended it regularly back then, and met a lot of close friends. Kaboom, Xyex, Triplerach, B, and many others, I want you guys to know how much your friendship means to me, because I really needed it then. I was just going into College (I graduated high school in 2001, but spent a few years in community college before transferring to a university) and had a rough time of it, and you guys were all there for me when I needed it.

This time in general is probably amongst the darkest in my life, I failed out of college, my childhood dog died, and my father lost his job of 20 years, there was even at one point where I considered suicide (thankfully a friend outside this community talked me out of it), and while none of you knew it, the positive discussions were a boon to me at this time .

Sometime shortly thereafter the current(ish) form of the forums began, and man I loved it. The discussions were all super positive and enlightening. Even if I couldn’t Romanize Butoden 2 correctly as I found out recently seeing my first post on record, or for the fact that I’m directly responsible for part of the rules (I’m the idiot who came up with the ‘big ban attack’ gif), I always felt welcomed here.

Over time though, I went into lurker status, and I’m not sure how to explain why. Outside of the timelines discussions which would pop up from time to time I really didn’t feel like I had a ton left to say. I still loved Dragon Ball, and enjoyed seeing what others had to say, but as time went on I had less and less to say, and I didn’t want to just make token ‘I’m alive’ type posts. Slowly but surely I moved on to other things, though I did get a bunch of you awesome folks on my AIM and/or steam lists, so I tried to stay available.

I certainly was very happy for Battle of Gods and Resurrection F, but for whatever reason I didn’t post anything about them, I don’t really know why. I was certainly still into anime, particularly One Piece, which I have been buying with the same fervor I once bought DBZ single sets (no spoilers please, I’m only up to where the dub is XD), and I’ve had an active FUNimation NOW account since late 2012 (with only a few gaps here and there). My main Dragon Ball experience the last few years has been introducing a longtime friend to the show through Kai on Toonami (the same friend that talked me out of suicide a decade ago incidentally). Seeing Kai’s dub (that’s actually GOOD) has been really enjoyable, and having a friend that had been avoiding the franchise until now digging it has been great.

I was also happy to see it when Super came out, but I didn’t pursue it right away due to a lack of legal venues for me to see it in English (subbed or dubbed), so I didn’t really come back to the community until Super came out on Crunchy Roll and FUNimation NOW.

But, since it has hit those venues, and is due on Toonami next month I’ve been trying to reconnect and add thoughts to discussions where I can.

Man, I had intended for this to be more of a ‘thank you Dragon Ball for all the things I’ve been through with you’ topic but it turned into a more ‘thank you Dragon Ball community for always being there for me’ topic. Oh well, I suppose I needed to say it. This certainly isn’t a perfect list of my time in the community, missing a few notes, but most of it’s there. I am hoping to keep moving forward with you all, if you’ll have me for the ride!

So, yeah, that’s my Dragon Ball journey, feel free to tell me yours, if for nothing else, I’m curious what other people’s stories are. :mrgreen:
-Laserkid

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Bansho64
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Re: My Dragon Ball Journey

Post by Bansho64 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:08 am

I just gotta say, this was a beautiful read man. Your journey is really awesome bro. I think it's amazing and heartwarming how you found such positivity here and in the franchise and how it affected you.

I know how that feels and I know how it feels to be pushed into a hole with no way out. Going off of what you told us, that sounds like how you felt at a certain point and I'm glad you got outta there. Your story's awesome and I hope to see more posts from you on this site! :P It's pretty cool to see a veteran member here.

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Re: My Dragon Ball Journey

Post by huzaifa_ahmed » Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:35 am

Your story is amazing.

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Re: My Dragon Ball Journey

Post by kinisking » Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:25 pm

Wow man. I just read a whole essay on someone else's dragonball experience and I don't regret it at all.I love how coincidentally you found out about Dragonball. And the fact that you reconnected with it afterwards almost makes it seem like it was your fate. I also think it's really cool that you got to see Dragonball become a phenomenon. I always wondered what it was like for people who were lucky enough to experience it. The ways the dragonball community affected you is also endearing although it was pretty sad to read the usernames and think that none of them are active anymore as far as I know. I'll make sure to post my dragonball story later, but it's not half as interesting as yours.
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Disclaimer: I might get into a disagreement with you. Sometimes I might even get feisty about it. I'll never harbor negative feelings because of it though. I hope you feel the same way!
I made a bet with Alee9977 that Vegeta won't be beaten quickly by an opponent. If I lose, I switch my avatar to Vegeta getting beat by hit. If I win, he switches it to Vegeta holding Black by his hair. This will last a month.

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laserkid
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Re: My Dragon Ball Journey

Post by laserkid » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:23 am

Thanks guys, I'm really glad this meant something to others and wasn't only just me rambling on. I appreciate that you all took the time to not only read it, but respond. So, thanks :)
-Laserkid

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Ki Breaker
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Re: My Dragon Ball Journey

Post by Ki Breaker » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:28 am

I just want to say reading your post has helped me in more than one way, I can't possibly describe how In words..
Thank you, I needed this

My Dragonball journey has actually started not too long ago, I cannot make it seem as interesting as your's though XD

First episode I saw was back in late 90s, it was just another show with Tom and Jerry and richi rich, it was very entertaining though, the first episode I saw was somewhere before gohan going great ape, I still remember me going around the house saying Gohan transformed into a big gorilla who can crush the earth easily!

Then freeza vs super Saiyan goku started, many episodes in between were skipped, I didn't know who freeza was neither did I understand why was goku looking yellow, but I did know this much, I had to see it..
Then, well the same episode aired daily, daily for 1 month or so..
It wasn't really the same episode but the hellish long fight with freeza looked the same to me that time.. though mind this, the same episode was also rerun a lot along with few new ones, for some reason
I lost interest and dropped it, when they decided to restart the show once again ( the 4th time now ) from the beginning..

The last episode I saw was fat buu vs goku, it was that one time decided to check if the show had progressed at all..
It had changed a lot, and that time was allotted for other shows so I was convinced I won't watch it anymore..

Fast forward 16 years, no Dragonball z, went to college, was bored, decided to see how Goku's story actually played out, and holy moly was so happy to complete it, without any waiting, no repetitions, just pure unadulterated badassness..

Decided to check out Dragonball too after many months, was not disappointed either.. the story connected and it felt great!

Wished for more Dragonball, there was gt! I eagerly started watching it with high expectations in me..
I am not let down by something to that extent till today..
Gt was appalling, I hoped for pan to be crushed somehow, anyway was okay..
It was a chore to watch and I dropped it halfway, just to pick it up after I had conditioned my mind to ignore Pan's existence, it was hard but I managed to go through it..
Dragonball's image was kinda scratched now, if this is how it ended it's bad.. then I saw one day it was not an original story! Thank the canon Lords, the image was restored to some extent..

I started using YouTube around that time, and saw Dragonball YouTubers too, they were half knowledged people selling their theories as fact's, naturally I came across a certain YouTuber, I won't name him, who is the epitome of know it all syndrome, that guy knows less than anyone here on kanzenshuu and acted like a complete dick if anyone said something.. this is important as the fandoms image was ruined for me..
I stayed away form internet fandom..

Super started airing, I had to check super unreliable sources for info..
One day I found kanzenshuu accidentally.. the discussions here were ripe and awesome, I could see people were knowledgeable, some far more than me.. combined with super starting, I had to join..
And here i am now, discission something I came to love over the years with people equally passionate about it!
The Lord moves in mysterious ways but you don't have to. Please use your blinker

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laserkid
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Re: My Dragon Ball Journey

Post by laserkid » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:39 am

Dude, that's awesome! You went from not being able to follow Dragon Ball, to following and loving it, having your view tarnished by GT (I didn't go into GT for a reason, but yeah I don't care much for it either), to not letting it bother you, to a toxic community, and eventually to an awesome one. Your story is just as legit as mine, thank you for sharing it! :)
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Re: My Dragon Ball Journey

Post by MajinTrunks » Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:45 am

I can really appreciate your story, LaserKid. It's honestly amazing and yet completely ridiculous how this cartoon has managed to weave itself into the fabric of so many of our lives.

I know for me I can attribute some of my best friends, some of my most cherished relationships, all the way down to something as seemingly unrelated as my career; all to a single chance incident in 1995 of waking up hours early one morning and seeing this scene on my television:

[spoiler]Image[/spoiler]

Something completely silly that just made me laugh at 9 years old is somehow one of the cornerstones of my entire life. It became a safety net from 5th grade through 9th grade as I constantly changed schools, as I could always use it as a bridge to make new friends. My best friend of the last 15 years, who's daughter I'm a godfather to, our friendship was forged over watching the Saiyan Saga on VHS at the local YMCA.

I really am just blown away sometimes at the impact this franchise and the community around it has had on the real lives of so many people.

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Re: My Dragon Ball Journey

Post by majinwarman » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:55 am

My journey is different than most people. I join the dragon ball community in 2006 when I came to America. My cousin talked about anime in my native language and I was told about two shows. One was dragon ball and the other was naruto. But, since this is my dragon ball story so I won't talk about naruto. I went on the internet and found Dragon ball episodes in subtitles and I thought well this could be cool. I watched dragon ball, z, and gt. I then went and watched all the movies at the time and I said I need more. So, I found out about battle of gods movie through different websites. I was happy and I watched the movie and I was waiting for the next movie. After the rof movie, I heard form my friend to check out Kannzenshuu. When I did, I found out about Dragon ball super and the dragon ball youtubers. Now, I am part of the geek army and the kannzenshuu family. So, my journey was something that I am proud to have and I hope you have a great day.
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Re: My Dragon Ball Journey

Post by Cipher » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:59 pm

I was actually going to create a thread similar to this earlier in the week, but wound up not getting around to it. Glad this got bumped in its stead.

I've been pretty high on Dragon Ball since Tuesday night, when I found out I'd be going to Japan for at least a year starting this summer via the JET Program. It's something I've wanted to do for years, and, going in this time (I'd previously applied and had to turn down an acceptance in 2012), I'm even more committed to improving my language abilities, having recently resumed self-study.

I have no idea what that year, or two years, abroad will entail. I'm at a transitional period in my life. I recently finished a creative writing program. In anticipation of possibly going overseas, I've been trying to keep my professional and personal commitments light (so I'm relieved to finally know I'll be going). I don't know what long-reaching repercussions—socially, creatively, linguistically, professionally—living abroad at this point will have. I can hardly imagine they'll be small—as I know from previous time abroad how impactful even a summer, when fully immersed, can be. At the very least, it will be another experience with endlessly fascinating aspects of humanity I'm always eager to encounter. On the one hand, I desperately want at this point to feel rooted. On the other, I'm particularly excited to be able to throw myself into an experience like this without long-term plans, to allow myself to be surprised not only by what I encounter, but the shape of my own choices.

My point is, I'm about to make a big, at this juncture, decision, and I'd be lying if I said, somewhere at the very beginning of this whole interest and process, there wasn't a connection to Akira Toriyama's free-wheeling little martial-arts series' ability to pique my curiosity as a child. Moreover, I think I owe a great deal to that series not only capturing my curiosity as a child, but continuing to give me reasons—always new, always different, always a little bit deeper than before—to keep returning to it as an adult. This is all going to be a little scattershot. Once I was simply into its serialized plot, a member of its target audience. Fifteen years on, I'm coming back to it for its creator's control over the medium, for its sense of idiosyncratic joy and whimsy, and in some ways for the larger culture of media (manga; not anime) it fits into.

But as for it sparking an initial interest in Japanese and Japanese culture—as a child, even through the FUNimation dub, I think I simply wanted to know more about the culture that could create such an exciting and creative piece of fiction—I was in awe of the fact that this bit of serialized weirdness, which, while not being high art, was blowing away most other children's offerings, could be part of any country's iconography. By the time I was taking Japanese classes in high school—they weren't offered to lower grades in my district—Dragon Ball, and anime in general, was no longer a foregrounded interest for me, but remained as an initial spark of curiosity. I threw myself into those classes until I completed my minor in college. I loved learning the language. In 2007, I was lucky enough to participate in a summer homestay in Yokohama. At some point between high school and college, Dragon Ball reemerged as an interest for me, this time viewed fully in Japanese, through a lens of whimsy that made it palatable as a young adult and fun and exciting all over again. Other media and cultural studies continued to propel an interest in Japan, all its good sides and bad sides and globally unique history included.

I'm now more a Toriyama fan, I think, than a Dragon Ball fan in particular. Increasingly what I identify as my favorite elements of the series come down to his talents as an artist and author, rather than anything inherent to the genres the series often gets put into (wuxia, in accordance with its outside influences; battle shonen, in accordance with its imitators). I always find something new to appreciate about the original run of the series. I have plenty wrapped up in it personally at this point—from that spark of interest in Japanese culture to its connection to a three-year, equally life-defining relationship in which a girlfriend (now one of my closest friends) and I watched the anime it in its entirety. As a writing nerd, most bits of fiction I'd say I truly love—that I find more rewarding the more I spend time with them—are worlds apart from Dragon Ball: subversive and challenging short-story authors and novelists, bizarre and disarming bits of film. There isn't another children's property that would make the list for me. But there Dragon Ball is, right among them. I can think of less embarrassing, less superlatively executed titles to occupy that kind of space in my life. Here I am, still talking about it.

So I don't know that the path of the rest of my life will truly depend on Japanese studies, or going abroad, or anything I could tie back to this bit of delightfully fun, weird manga storytelling. In a way, I kind of hope it doesn't—I don't want to define myself by my attempts to break into another culture. But I can say that the curiosity that stemmed from this series has been endless, and rewarding, that the series itself remains rewarding to revisit, and that, all outcomes left up to the unpredictable nature of the future, I'm about to go abroad for at least a year, and hopefully drastically improve my abilities in a second language, because of it. That's a pretty powerful thing. It's a thing I'm not one bit embarrassed to have been prompted by an author like Toriyama. I think that's exactly the level of curiosity and appreciation for the world he'd hope to instill in his readers—when he isn't simply writing for his own amusement, that is.

I've always been really curious to hear what Dragon Ball means to people like Julian or Herms. And hell, it's been a dominating factor in Mike and Meri's lives too.

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