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20 years later and “Dragon Ball” still triumph over “One Piece” in ratings


“It’s over 9000!!!”

If any of those lines remind you anything from your childhood, you probably picture a man with somewhat spiky hairstyle and spend the next 30 minutes shouting at the top of his lungs. Yes, it is none other than the legendary “Dragon Ball”

The very first volume of Dragon Ball English cover. Credit to Shonen Jump Magazine

Dragon Ball, a loose anime and comic adaptation of the Chinese classic “Journey to the West”, created by Akira Toriyama. “Dragon Ball” follows a young boy named Son Goku and his journey to become stronger and collect dragon balls. It is a very simple story when Dragon Ball first started, more intriguing characters were eventually added into the story, spawned two sequel anime series and a non-canon anime sequel to the original, “Dragon Ball Z” from 1989 to 1996, the non-canonical “Dragon Ball GT” from 1996 to 1997 and finally the canonical “Dragon Ball Super” from 2015 to 2018.

Dragon Ball has been known for the exhilarating fights that might end the universe, excessive shouting and odd-ball humour. However, those are simply the face value of Dragon Ball. Deep down, the characters are the most interesting component of the series. Characters that turned from evil to family man, characters that stays charismatic and evil at the same time and main character stays the same throughout the series, we literally grow along with the characters. I always remember when I was watching “Dragon Ball” as a child, now I am in my adulthood, Son Goku has also grown into a grandfather in the story. Goku stays the same kind hearted character ever since the first episode, still thinks like a child despite being an adult, consistently curious of new things and people, strong fighters especially.

Crowds gathered at Public Square to witness the final battle of Dragon Ball Super, in multiple Latin America cities.
Credit to YouTuber DBS Live, Animal King S2, Leandro Roberto and MR. Beast

Spanning across 30 years, affected people of two generations and still counting. In March of 2018, on the pinnacle of the final saga in “Dragon Ball Super”, which is named “Tournament of Power”, many cities throughout Latin America had requested for the rights to broadcast the final three episodes in their city square. Surprisingly, Toei Animation agreed to the request and officially broadcasted the final two episodes in the public square, episode 130 and 131 respectively. Countries such as Mexico, Argentina, El Salvador, Ecuador and Nicaragua attracted thousands of people to witness the final match of the tournament, Mexico alone attracted more than 30 000 people to watch together in the square. When Goku’s team won the tournament, fans cheered as if their country has won the Soccer World Cup.

Not only that, Dragon Ball proves that it is still the king of action anime, especially in Japan. According to a Japanese website, Video Research LTD, ever since the broadcasting of “Dragon Ball Super”, it has been competing in the top 10 TV rating with another famous anime, “One Piece”. Despite that both shows has rating very close to one another, “Dragon Ball Super” episode 94 finally surpassed “One piece” and subsequent few more episodes. For a anime series that ended in the late 1990s to compete with its successor, “Dragon Ball Super” has shown that it still has a lot of attraction to the newer and younger audiences. The massive public showing of the final three episodes in Latin America has also shown that “Dragon Ball” is not just a local Japanese pop culture, it is a global phenomenon that shows no sign of stopping.

On third week of June, Dragon Ball Super had surpassed One Piece. Credit to Video Research LTD.

Just a little shy of one month ago, the latest Dragon Ball Super film got released in the United States of America and many other countries in both English dubbing and Japanese dubbing. The fan favourite non-canonical character, Broly, finally made canon by Akira Toriyama himself. Fans are loving the film for everything it has done to the story telling, animation and characters, I personally watched the film three times in the cinema. According to IMDB, the estimated budget of “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” was about eight and a half million dollars. As of the end of January 2019, the film has garnered more than 88 million dollars, making it the highest grossing Dragon Ball film ever.

Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Credit to Toei Animation

To me personally, Goku is the perfect role model. He constantly seeks for new excitement, constantly oddball to better himself, staying positive despite kind-hearted the world is heading straight for hell, sometimes even sacrificing his own life to save his family and friends. I am sure that many who has watched or read “Dragon Ball” would think the series has changed their life for the better. I still have the last remain Dragon Ball Z final volume in possession, too bad I have lost most of them throughout the years, I also have several Dragon Ball figurines sitting in my room and office table, reminding me to better myself every single day, challenging myself and maintain curiosity.


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