In 1985, Akira Toryama published a story about a small monkey-tailed boy named Son-Goku and girl named Bulma in the Manga Magazine Shoenen Jump (Jones, 2002). He hoped it would be a successful stand-alone Manga book. Little did Toryama know it would become one of the most popular anime series in television history.
Toryama's Dragonball mange series was turned into an anime television series late in 1985 and lasted ten seasons in three forms: Dragonball, Dragonball Z and Dragonball GT. While GT was not created by Toryama himself, it did use his characters and he did help with new character development (planetnamek.com-a, 2001).
All of the series are broken up into "sagas." The Dragonball Z series contains eight sagas. The beginning and ending of each saga is determined by and named after the particular villain of that section of the series.
The last episode of Dragonball GT aired in 1989 after a combined 508 episodes for the series, not including two television specials and 13 movies. However its popularity increased even after the series ended. In 1996, Funimation acquired the American rights to the series and began translating the episodes for broadcast in the United States. Originally, Funimation attempted to syndicate the series. This is when the problems began (Psaros-a, 2002).
Dragonball had already been translated and aired in several other countries, including: Spain, France and Germany. In those versions, the translation went rather well with most of the series being translated directly (Psaros-a, 2002).
The English version, however, has many flaws, including demographic. To better understand this, one must look at the original version and see how cultural differences forced change in the Dragonball series.
The Dragonball series focuses primarily three things: Son-Goku, his son Gohan and the Dragonballs. Son-Goku and Gohan, who was not born until the Dragonball Z series, were great martial artists who learned a form of martial arts called the "Turtle-Hermit" technique. This involves a rigorous training and culminates with the ability to focus "chi" or life-force energy into force blasts and gives the characters the ability to fly.
The Dragonballs are seven mystical spheres. Each sphere contains a number of stars. The one-star Dragonball has one star in it; the two-star has two, and so on. When the seven Dragonballs are gathered in one place, the person who gathered them can summon the eternal dragon. The dragon, in turn, would grant the summoner one to three wishes, pending which set of Dragonballs are used (Toryama-a, 1984).