Would you say that Dragon Ball in the west is more “mainstream” now than it ever was in the past?

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Would you say that Dragon Ball in the west is more “mainstream” now than it ever was in the past?

Post by WittyUsername » Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:43 pm

With the way that the box office for the recent movie has completely shattered even the most optimistic of predictions as far as places like North America are concerned, I’m left wondering where exactly the franchise currently stands when it comes to western countries. While I can’t speak for the west as a whole, I know that DBZ was a pretty big deal in North America back when it was still airing new episodes on Toonami (and whatever the Canadian equivalent of it was). DBZ was certainly pretty popular with a lot of the kids at the school I went to at the time, and it was unquestionably the show that put FUNimation on the map.

The question is, does the show’s current popularity in places like North America currently exceed what it was during the pre-Super days?

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Re: Would you say that Dragon Ball in the west is more “mainstream” now than it ever was in the past?

Post by PacificOceanDub » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:50 pm

It’s definitely more mainstream now than it was back in the early ‘00s. Back when it was first airing on Toonami, it had a huge following, no doubt, but you didn’t see everyone and their brother walking around in Goku T-shirts. Nowadays, Dragon Ball’s popularity is definitely stretched by the amount of posers who buy the shirts at Hot Topic and Wal-Mart, but probably couldb’t name more than 3 characters if you asked them.
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Re: Would you say that Dragon Ball in the west is more “mainstream” now than it ever was in the past?

Post by JohnnyCashKami » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:20 pm

Well, that depends on the country you're talking about. Some it was during the 90's where kids, teens and even adults would stop what they were doing just to watch Dragon Ball Z on TV. Plus, at that time it (toys, perfumes, chips, magazines, etc) was everywhere but now.. unless for the internet, they can't find it anywhere.

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Re: Would you say that Dragon Ball in the west is more “mainstream” now than it ever was in the past?

Post by Dragon Ball Ireland » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:54 pm

I wouldn't say it's as popular as it was back in the late 90s and early 2000s. In my experience it was very well known and liked back then and people of all ages would of at least been aware of Dragon Ball from either watching it on TV or their kids being fans, and because it was on Toonami after school it was easy to market to children.

Nowadays it's different as there has been a demographic shift and Dragon Ball has become more of a loud niche. We've seen that with Super not airing in the US on a children's block and receiving a home release before a TV deal of any sort being made in places like the UK and Ireland, and those fans being predominantly who went to see Broly in theatres. As a result there is more adult fans than ever before, or more hardcore and less casual fans since Dragon Ball for some people was just a phase when they were a kid that their elders would have noticed. Also take into consideration it's harder to market Dragon Ball to adults. In Dublin you won't find Dragon Ball merchandise in mainstream stores but you will find a decent amount of it in specialty stores like Forbidden Planet and Sub City Comics.

I know a lot of people who have never heard of Dragon Ball. Granted there are a few here and there that would have heard the brand name in passing or known someone who was a fan of it, but it really depends on how much exposure that person has had to nerd culture, and even those who haven't been exposed to it have at least heard of Pokémon but not Dragon Ball.

It's certainly popular for an anime and I think the fanbase is strong enough to support it being around for years to come, but anime as a whole isn't mainstream when you compare it to the popularity of American animation like Rick & Morty or even Adventure Time.
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Re: Would you say that Dragon Ball in the west is more “mainstream” now than it ever was in the past?

Post by ABED » Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:02 pm

I know Rick and Morty has a sizeable fanbase (the szechuan sauce thing was ridiculous) but did it have float in the Macy's Day Parade?
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Re: Would you say that Dragon Ball in the west is more “mainstream” now than it ever was in the past?

Post by TenshinFan » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:22 pm

I would definitely say it's more popular than ever, in large part due to the new Broly movie. I hear everyone talking about it at work, at the bars, it's great!

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Re: Would you say that Dragon Ball in the west is more “mainstream” now than it ever was in the past?

Post by Bruma rabu » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:43 pm

It would depend on the country, I think in North America its about the same when it was in its prime here for the moment. Essentially the kids that grew up watching DragonBall(Z in particular) out grew the series and this movie just brought them back and are being vocal about it. At lest that's what I think.
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Re: Would you say that Dragon Ball in the west is more “mainstream” now than it ever was in the past?

Post by SaiyanGod117 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:40 pm

Dragon Ball Ireland wrote:compare it to the popularity of American animation like Rick & Morty or even Adventure Time.
Lol, Dragon Ball is way more popular than both Rick and Morty and Adventure Time.

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Re: Would you say that Dragon Ball in the west is more “mainstream” now than it ever was in the past?

Post by laserkid » Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:17 am

Dragon Ball's been in the cultural zeitgeist for so long it's kind of hard to argue the mainstream level being different. We had burger king toys when Z was airing on Toonami, and even notably had an NFL announcer compare a tackle to a Super Saiyan back in the 2000s.

Certainly, Dragon Ball Super's insanely popular, and DBS: Broly did extremely well in theaters. Hell, I went three times myself. But it's less a matter of being more mainstream and more the fandom's getting older and can not only take themselves to see a movie, but also their family.
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Re: Would you say that Dragon Ball in the west is more “mainstream” now than it ever was in the past?

Post by Dragon Ball Ireland » Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:26 am

I should say that in my experience Dragon Ball has always been more popular in the US and Canada than the UK and Ireland. The Macy's Day Parade Goku was a big thing and I always saw the home releases in Walmarts, but over here its definitely more what I would describe as a loud niche. I never see the Manga UK releases in brick and mortar stores anymore, the main big bookstores would still stock the manga, any other merchandise, as I said is mostly found in specialty stores, which have their dedicated customer bases.

When I talk to people in work or socially I seem to be the only one who brings up Dragon Ball other than two close friends that know I'm a huge fan anyway. I make the Rick & Morty and Adventure Time comparison because I always hear them being referenced or discussed. I've also seen a greater mix of both genders who like both series. Dragon Ball has its share of fans but it seems to mostly be 20 something guys nowadays, so its fanbase is a bit more limited.

There are a good few people in my workplace who love Rick & Morty including my old supervisor, one also has a Rick & Morty poster beside her work desk. I've also seen lots of people out and about wearing Rick & Morty shirts and there's been a few pub quizes in Dublin. By comparison there's one other guy in my job I know who likes Dragon Ball, has seen Broly in theatres and wore a Goku shirt one time. The only other time I've seen people wear Dragon Ball shirts was at the Broly screenings and one guy walked down O'Connell street with a Goku hoodie on Goku day. I don't see any pub quiz nights for Dragon Ball either, although that would be awesome.

With Adventure Time I know quite a few adult girls who like it as well as guys. Part of that was them watching it with kids they babysat and actually enjoying it, but I didn't see that happen when Kai was on Kix. I do hope another broadcaster will pick it up soon (maybe even Ocean Kai) as there may be a better chance of women discovering it that way with the series being a bit more popular than it was pre-Super.

I know the fanbase is out there over here. Fans were queuing up outside the theatre to see Broly on opening night and Battle of Gods and Resurrection F have done well for Sky Cinema but I haven't seen it elevated above loud niche yet, not to say that it couldn't happen soon, but in my experience its not quite there yet.

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Re: Would you say that Dragon Ball in the west is more “mainstream” now than it ever was in the past?

Post by Kokonoe » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:56 am

Hard to say. It's doing great right now but Z use to air like 5 days a week during the weekdays and Super is like once a week late at nights on Toonami.

Sure there's crunchyroll and most people watch the sub, but you can't really overlook the silent masses that would watch in the afternoon 5 days a week back then.

I don't have a real conclusion to this but thought that was worth chiming in on.

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Re: Would you say that Dragon Ball in the west is more “mainstream” now than it ever was in the past?

Post by Gligarman » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:19 pm

I'd say it is and frankly by today's standards I'd say it's a good thing. Despite my disappointment that they didn't release Broly in theaters subbed, I was happy to see it get such a wide release. Even though it took over a year I was glad to see Super get a simulcast. Dragon Ball deserves it!

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Re: Would you say that Dragon Ball in the west is more “mainstream” now than it ever was in the past?

Post by saiyanhajime » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:37 pm

I agree with others saying it's difficult to say for sure... And that the UK definitely seems to have a weird relationship with the series due to inaccessibility.

Back in the early 2000s, I didn't really run into too many people "in the wild" who were into it. There wasn't much merch available of anything even vaguely niche back then like you find now - so I don't think that paints a particularly good insight, but I remember finding this Irwin Toys Vegeta in a comic store and loosing my shit. I still have him. I knew a couple of people from school who were into DB, one of them the year below me and we got to know each other over grainy the DB .jpgs I would print out and cover my books and stuff in. This is like, circa 2000-2002? Ish? I dunno, long time ago now.

But, today, if I wear a DB graphic tee... Someone will comment on it. From the guys at the TSA going through security at airports, to people working in shops, to randoms passing on the street. Someone will say something that day. A lady at Alton Towers checking my restraint on a roller coaster was once like "omg my big brother used to watch that when I was a kid" a couple years ago when I was wearing a DB tee. It's like, it's mainstream enough that everyone is aware of it, but not so mainstream it's normal. So it's worth the comment, I guess? It's also widley known from memes, so even people who don't really have a clue what it's about know the memes.

I was working in toys r us in like, god... 20......11? 12? Hm. Anyway, I'll never forget this lady coming up to me and asking me if we had Dragon Ball toys and her son wouldn't shut up about Dragon Ball. I was like, no, but I know where you can... And spent way too much company time writting down where I knew would have stuff. I hope that kid had epic DB toys for Christmas.

Where I work now I can have pins on my lanyard and I have a Goku, Vegeta and a Dragon Ball... And kids point them out. Really young kids. No where NEAR often as they point out my Sonic the Hedgehog or Team Instinct badge, but often enough. Sometimes they don't know the characters by name, sometimes they do. But we're talking like 7 year olds, here. Occasionally adults tell me they like my badges, too. Or I just see them looking.

So, yeah, no idea. It's definitely more known, but I'm not sure the fanbase is any wider or there's a greater number of casual fans? Because, that's what separated something massive like... I dunno, Star Wars or Pokemon from something niche. These things are so massive in the west that millions casually interact with them and would casually say they like it, even if they're not a fan.

TLDR: dunno mate.

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