The original run of the manga and anime, Dragon Ball, the most popular work by mangaka Akira Toriyama, has long since finished (although a new series of films and episodes is just being released in Japan). And yet, it is arguably the most popular Shonen series even to this day. What is it about the series that is so compelling? Are the characters and their arcs sympathetic, or is it the simplicity of the story-telling and morals?
As a life long fan of Dragon Ball myself, I'd say its a combination of both. Dragon Ball started out about the adventure and growth of Goku's character as he trains to be the strongest fighter along with his childlike innocence and kindness that makes him compelling to follow on his adventures. Where as Dragon Ball Z stepped up the game with bigger threats that pushed Goku's limits even further with life threatening villains and introduced plot concepts that could have been never conceived in the original story. But aside that, it was also the shonen series that introduced character and manga/anime tropes that would later be used in other manga and anime, such as iconic special attacks that is recognizable with a specific character. And was also the major inspiration for other manga series, mostly known with Naruto and One Piece. – Ryan Walsh6 years ago