TVfan721 wrote: ↑
Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:58 pm
I never said shows airing once a week can't be successful. They are plenty throughout history in North America that were huge successes with the once-a-week format. I'm mentioning DBZ because of how much it dragged on due to the huge amount of filler. When you take a show like that and break it down to a once a week format, it becomes very hard to watch and stick through. Obviously, it wasn't an issue in Japan and the manga occurring at the same time as the anime played a role in that for sure.
It goes a bit deeper than that though. In Japan, in the 80s and early 90s (when Dragon Ball was still a new, ongoing property in its original run), Dragon Ball - and really, most Shonen titles of its ilk - was culturally known as a manga FIRST and an anime SECOND and ancillary to the manga.
Western fans tend to over-emphasize and internalize solely our own perspective on the series (and even then, our perspective mainly from the late 90s onward) which is as an anime first and foremost, and a manga MAYBE secondary, if at all even.
The Dragon Ball manga in Japan was the dog wagging the anime's tail insofar as Japanese pop culture and most of its Japanese audience was concerned. The anime didn't "drag" to most Japanese DB fans at the time because most of the Japanese viewership for the anime back then were ALSO reading and following the manga as well. The anime was a supplement to the manga (which was the primary focal point), not the other way around.
This was again, not even unique to Dragon Ball, but was the standard practice (both business-wise and pop-culturally) for the VAST overwhelming majority of mainstream children's anime & manga properties, such as those featured in Shonen Jump. It was also fairly commonplace even within Seinen, as even a fair amount of adult-aimed anime based on adult-aimed manga was often seen and handled in a somewhat similar light, with the manga as being more of the main focus for most people and its anime treated as more of a supplemental way of helping promote the manga, almost as more of a "bonus" for fans of the manga (though in the case of Seinen, I don't think that paradigm is to quite
as widespread of a degree as it tends to be with Shonen, but that gets to be a bit hair-splitty after a certain point).
In some ways (in some
ways, mind you), its honestly not entirely
dissimilar from how American comic book properties like those of Marvel and DC were ostensibly handled for a long time way back in the day: where television cartoon adaptations of comic book characters like the X-Men, Spider-Man, and Batman and so on were (at least in the comic publishers' eyes) seen and treated more as ancillary promotional vehicles for the main, primary medium for these properties, which for a long time was comics.
Obviously that's shifted a TON in later years, and nowadays what were once the ancillary "tie-in" media for American comics (TV, film, etc) are now MUCH more treated as closer to the primary media (at least from a marketing standpoint), while comics have been rendered ever-increasingly more niche in the U.S. as time's gone on.
But over in Japan, and certainly in the case of most Shonen like Dragon Ball back in the 80s and early 90s, that paradigm was very much firmly the case. Most Japanese DB fans back then likely didn't get "frustrated" or "impatient" with the anime's pacing because they were typically already ahead of where the anime was via the manga: the anime was more of an extra bonus.
TVfan721 wrote: ↑
Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:58 pm
Going back to 1999 in North America though, no, I don't think it would've worked well. People would've lost interest and tuned out. If something like Dragon Ball Kai came along in 99 though, with no filler, and tight, fast-paced story telling with no filler, THAT would've worked in a once-a-week format just like it did on Toonzai in 2011. The original DBZ, as great as the high points are, drags on like a motherfucker, and when you split it up in a weekly format, it's unbearable.
You're assuming that everyone and anyone who might've gotten the Dragon Ball license back then would've primed it for TV airing straight away, and that's honestly not entirely true. Before Toonami, there was a fairly stark divide between U.S. licensors who aired anime on regular kids' TV (generally in a badly edited and Westernized format) and licensors who simply released anime straight to video (most often uncut and bilingual) for what was back then a TOTALLY different market & audience (i.e. one that was much older and much more "in the know" about what anime was at the time).
Dragon Ball happened to end up in the hands of one of the former (FUNimation and Saban), but it VERY easily could've also just as well wound up in the hands of one of the latter (Pioneer, Viz, U.S. Renditions, or what have you). Had a company like Pioneer or U.S. Renditions gotten hold of it instead, its far more likely than most people here think that Dragon Ball would've simply ended up released straight to video, uncut and bilingual, right from the jump (circa 1996) and maybe never seen the light of day on kids' TV here at all.
The way the anime licensing industry worked back then (80s and most of the 90s) was VERY different compared to the 2000s and onward, and nowhere near ALL of it back then was so singularly and stringently devoted to children's TV airings as younger fanbases like this one tend to just blanketly and automatically assume that they were.