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VOICE OVER: Ricky Tucci WRITTEN BY: Jonathan Alexander
It's the cultural phenomenon that will never go away! Join Ashley as we look over the aspects of Dragon Ball that made it such a hit, including it's "The Transformations", "The Movies", "The Fight Scenes", and more!
Script written by Jonathan Alexander

Top 10 Things That Made Dragon Ball So Awesome

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the main reasons “Dragon Ball” became the global sensation it is today.

#10: Fusion

When choosing between two characters, “Dragon Ball” asked, why not both? You’ve got Goku, you’ve got Vegeta, and when you put them together, you get something that’s way more than the sum of its parts. As a literal union of rivals, fusion is a neat bit of thematic storytelling. But, in fights, it’s also sick as hell. Especially when Vegito and Gogeta start throwing out their signature attacks. They aren’t the only one’s fusing, either. Nowadays, it’s weird when Goten and Trunks don’t rush into battle as Gotenks. There's a good reason fusions are at the center of the franchise’s most memorable fights. It’s two for the price of one; what’s not to love?

#9: All the Movies & Specials

Some things just deserve to be seen on the big screen. For example, “Dragon Ball.” Whether a weekly anime was airing or not, the franchise has always delivered top-notch side stories in the form of various movies and specials. Some of which, like “History of Trunks,” feel like mandatory viewing. The features expanded on the series’ lore, all the while introducing their own slew of legendary characters, fights, and transformations. Let’s put it this way; without the films, we wouldn’t have Gogeta, Broly, Beast Gohan, or “Dragon Ball Super” at all. The specials didn’t just explore the series, they kept it alive, and did a damn good job of it, too.

#8: So Much Merch

No matter where you live, if you walk into a store, odds are you’ll find something “Dragon Ball” related. Do you like art? Look no further. Shirts and blankets? “Dragon Ball’s” got you covered. Action figures? Come on, do you really need to ask? And this is just at everyday stores. If you go to a convention or anime shop, you’ll find more “Dragon Ball” memorabilia than you’ll ever need. The series is a total merchandising juggernaut, and with new forms and characters constantly being introduced, there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon. But, collector’s be warned - those figurines don’t come cheap.

#7: The Fans

Remember all that stuff we said about “Dragon Ball” merchandise? Well, that’s only possible because of the absolutely rabid fan base. People don’t just like “Dragon Ball,” they love it, and once you’re a fan, you’re a fan for life. The series has lasted so long, the audience includes just about every age, demographic, and nationality you can think of. And, for the most part, they’re all eager to talk more about “Dragon Ball.” There’s conventions, an abridged series, dedicated wikis, online forums, game tournaments - we could go on. The fan base continues to grow and shatter expectations. After all, what other fandom can say they unleashed the world’s biggest Kamehameha?

#6: Shunsuke Kikuchi's Score

If you’ve ever gotten a “Dragon Ball” tune stuck in your head, you probably have Shunsuke Kikuchi to thank for it. The legendary composer worked on the original series, the films, and all through “Z,” leaving behind a portfolio that quite frankly speaks for itself. Kikuchi’s work ranges from pulse-pounding suspense to heart-wrenching melodies, and everything in between. By the time “Z’s” final episode rolls, it’s clear that Kikuchi’s efforts are as integral to “Dragon Ball’s” identity as the story itself. “GT” and “Super” just didn’t feel the same without him. Then again, it’s hard to say if anyone can ever live up to Kikuchi’s esteemed legacy.

#5: The Dub

“Dragon Ball’s” English release helped popularize anime outside of Japan, and listening to it, we understand why. A lot of actors took a crack at the franchise in the 90s, but at the end of the day, Funimation’s heartfelt dub took the crown. In fact, most of the outstanding original actors are still voicing the characters today. It’s a wonder Sean Schemmel hasn’t blown out his lungs yet. Later on, “Dragon Ball Z: Kai” gave the team a chance to redub the series with modern technology and a more faithful translation. Whether you like the nostalgic original or the updated rerelease, there’s no denying what “Dragon Ball’s” English dub accomplished.

#4: The Characters Grow & Change

It sounds simple on paper, but a lot of anime get stuck in a cycle of repeating the same character beats over and over again. Not “Dragon Ball,” though. Goku doesn’t just grow up, he has a whole family, one of whom gets an entire saga as the main character. Goku’s youngest steps up to the plate, too, and eventually, so does his grand-daughter. “Dragon Ball’s” characters practically grow up alongside you, and that speaks to the series’ unique cross-generational appeal. The cast isn’t static. They evolve, they power-up, they lose, and they retire, too. To put it bluntly, “Dragon Ball” changes, and that’s for the better.

#3: Akira Toryiyama's Art

For all the circumstances surrounding the series’s success, there’d really be no “Dragon Ball” without the man behind the manga. Akira Toriyama is an artist that needs no introduction. The way he conveyed kinetic action through still images is nothing short of masterful. Especially considering he did it on a weekly basis for over ten years straight. Still, the most impressive part of all is that Toriyama’s success wasn’t planned. Even though he famously improvised large chunks of “Dragon Ball’s” story, his artwork, plotlines, and character work remained impeccable until the very end. There’s only one explanation for how he did it; Toriyama was simply a master.

#2: The Transformations

Nothing is quite as cool as watching a character you love struggle, train, and finally push beyond their limits. Luckily, that’s what “Dragon Ball” transformations are all about. Starting with Goku’s blue-eyed debut on Namek, the series has remained the gold standard on what a good anime power-up should be. They’re big turning points, rooted in character growth, and usually accompanied by a jaw-dropping fight for survival. At this point, it’s safe to say “Dragon Ball” has some of the most iconic transformations in all of animation. Even though Goku’s tried on quite a few hairdos over the years, his power-up roar will never stop giving us chills.

#1: The Fights

To many, action is what makes “Dragon Ball,” “Dragon Ball,” and it’s hard to blame them. Everything from the engaging choreography to the bombastic techniques to the high-stakes back-and-forth is at the very top of what anime can do. Throw in some remarkable villains and a fantastic cast of characters, and it’s no wonder fights are “Dragon Ball’s” calling card. In a way, action’s the reason the show broke down so many boundaries. No matter if it’s the beam struggle with Vegeta, fighting Frieza on Namek, or finally eliminating Jiren from the Tournament of Power, a Kamehameha is the same in every language. Roughly translated, it means you’re in for a good time.

What do think you makes “Dragon Ball” so special? Let us know in the comments below!