The article written by Andrew Kincaid analyzes the role of Dragon Ball Z (DBZ) in the development of anime culture. Kincaid believes that the series has established an attractive anime format that has since been adopted by other anime makers. The author supports his thesis by examining the example of the Shonen series and pointing out numerous common traits between the two cartoons.
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The opening paragraph elucidates the plot of DBZ to provide a general idea of the key characters and events. By doing so, readers learn that DBZ is a story about a young man named Son Goku and his adventures on the Earth of Raditz. Goku and his friends strive to prevent the theft of the so-called Dragon Balls, though the power of their enemies makes it a challenging task to accomplish. The heroes do a lot of training to develop their skills to resist the evil powers. Their struggle is hard and long-lasting – many of them die, but the main hero manages to survive and conquer the enemies.
After a brief introduction to the main storyline, the author evaluates the role of DBZ in anime culture. From the very first lines, readers might feel that Kincaid’s attitude is highly positive and favorable toward DBZ. The author believes that the series is the first anime show that provides an adequate response to the audience’s needs. The author further notes that all of the show’s predecessors tended to have a narrow focus in terms of consumer targeting. While some anime shows were evidently supposed to entertain young viewers, others would exhibit excessive violence and aggression so that they could only be watched by adults. DBZ, on the other hand, managed to fill “the gaps between the two extremes” by finding a proper balance between the audience’s interests.1
To prove the powerful impact that DBZ has had on the establishment of modern anime culture, Kincaid refers to the example of another popular show, Shonen. The author’s key thesis is that this show was initially built on the DBZ format. To support this opinion, Kincaid points out a series of common traits between the two shows. First and foremost, the author mentions such features as the duration of fights, the plots’ levels of complexity, the large cast sizes, and the inevitable deaths of heroes. Second, he focuses on such plot twists as the transformation of former enemies into friends. Finally, Kincaid puts a particular emphasis on the main characters’ similarities – both heroes possess unique powers that they continue to develop throughout the series.
In a similar way, the article puts a special emphasis on the unfavorable effect that, according to Kincaid, DBZ has produced on later anime shows. From this perspective, the author points out such negative features as the abundance of arcs and padding – a tendency that was further adopted by such series as One Piece. Kincaid believes that this problem hurts the overall image of anime as a genre, preventing it from gaining a larger audience.
Finally, Kincaid tries to explain his vision of the reasons behind DBZ’s success. According to the author, it is the powerful emotional appeal of the show that makes it popular. Additionally, Kincaid points out that the powerful message translates well to the public. Indeed, DBZ’s main character illustrates a positive role model – Goku is depicted as a brave and hardworking man. Likewise, he demonstrates a perfect model of friendship, being fully devoted to his friends.
In evaluating this article, it is essential to point out several critical points. First and foremost, the article appears to be highly emotional – it is evident that the author does not try to remain unprejudiced. Indeed, from the very first lines, readers can feel Kincaid’s general approval of DBZ, so it is easy to predict the argumentative flow. On the one hand, the emotional implications make the author’s statements particularly convincing.
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However, the arguments that are fully based on the author’s individual perspective lack additional support, such as references to expert opinion or relevant statistics. Another peculiarity that needs to be mentioned is the author’s profound knowledge of anime culture. Upon reading this article, it is evident that Kincaid is truly interested in the subject and that he has watched a large scope of anime shows, as evidenced by his numerous references to various series.
From this perspective, his awareness of the topic helps him communicate the message in an effective way. At the same time, though, this familiarity with anime culture prevents the author from providing additional explanations and clarifications, making the content of the article almost incomprehensible to those who have not seen anime shows before. On the whole, Kincaid offers his vision of the positive and negative impacts of DBZ on anime culture, which is supported by a consistently argumentative style of writing.
In my opinion, Kincaid’s strongest arguments are those that assess the impact that DBZ has had on the establishment of the anime culture. In fact, it is difficult to think of another show that addresses as wide of an audience as DBZ does. From this perspective, the show has found a new niche, balancing between children’s and adults’ interests and encouraging both groups to follow Goku’s adventures. In this case, Kincaid’s knowledge of anime culture has helped him analyze all the preceding samples of anime shows and point out their main disadvantages.
Likewise, his thesis about the negative features that other anime cartoons have adopted from DBZ seems to be rational since none of the show’s predecessors exhibited such a large number of arcs and padding. Therefore, the abundance of these specific features in the series released after DBZ can only be explained by the negative model that this show has set. It is also important that Kincaid explains why this trend is regarded as a negative feature – he aligns it with the adverse impact it has on the audience’s perceptions of anime, resulting in poor ratings from a long-term perspective.
Lastly, it is also essential to note that some arguments that Kincaid offers to seem to be rather ambiguous. For instance, his attempt to prove the fact that Shonen adopted DBZ’s format is not properly grounded. Many of the common features that the author points out – such as the unique abilities of the main heroes, the plots’ complexity, and the large casts – are typical of all other anime shows as well; in fact, they are often considered the defining characteristics of this culture.2
From this perspective, it is unclear why the author has decided to choose this specific cartoon as a follower of DBZ’s traditions rather than analyzing all modern examples of anime culture in general. Additionally, the defined features do not provide any insights into the phenomenon of anime culture as a whole, as opposed to such characteristics as the abundance of arcs and padding or the inability to target a large-scale audience.
Blair, Gavin. “Is Japanese Anime Finally Making Money Abroad?” The Hollywood Reporter, 2015. Web.
Kincaid, Andrew. “Dragon Ball Z–The Father of Modern Shonen.” Japan Powered, 2015. Web.
- Andrew Kincaid, “Dragon Ball Z–The Father of Modern Shonen,” Japan Powered, 2015. Web.
- Gavin Blair, “Is Japanese Anime Finally Making Money Abroad?” The Hollywood Reporter, 2015. Web.