After all, does Dragon Ball Z need a Netflix adaptation?

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The journey of live-action anime adaptations is marked by countless challenges. Low budget, questionable casting choices and uninspired costumes are recurring problems that have accompanied this type of project for a long time. Fans of “Dragon Ball” have witnessed, for example, the slow and often frustrating evolution of these adaptations.

Netflix, seemingly against all expectations, has been a source of renewal for live-action anime adaptations. Recent examples, such as “Yu Yu Hakusho” and “One Piece”, brought new life and renewed hope that it is possible to make quality adaptations. This positive trend raises an intriguing question: will “Dragon Ball Z”, one of the giants of the anime world, finally receive the live-action adaptation it deserves?

Unique “Dragon Ball Z” Challenges

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The complexity of adapting “Dragon Ball Z” to live-action is notorious. Akira Toriyama, the series’ creator, has expressed his frustration with previous attempts, especially on the series’ 30th anniversary. The challenge lies mainly in translating the exaggerated designs and powers of the characters into a more realistic format. Animation allows for an aesthetic freedom that live-action struggles to replicate. “Dragon Ball” is known for its unique characters, whimsical stories and epic fights, elements that are difficult to faithfully reproduce outside of animation.

“Dragon Ball Evolution”, a previous attempt at adaptation, is a clear example of the challenges and potential failures in this process. The film is remembered by fans more for its mistakes than its successes, despite the technical limitations of the time of its production.

Netflix: Solving Adaptation Challenges

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The recent adaptations of “One Piece” and “Yu Yu Hakusho” by Netflix demonstrate that the platform has learned from past mistakes. These series faced similar challenges, such as the need to translate whimsical character designs into a more realistic context. “One Piece,” in particular, with its highly cartoonish character designs, showed that it is possible to balance fidelity to the source material with the need for live-action adaptation.

On the other hand, adapting the supernatural fights of shonen anime like “Dragon Ball” is another complex issue. Although “Yu Yu Hakusho” demonstrated that it is viable to adapt these combat sequences, the series is still more “down to earth” compared to “Dragon Ball Z”. Fights in “DBZ” take place on a much larger scale, often in the air and at incredible speeds, setting a standard of action that few other series can match.

The Potential of a “Dragon Ball Z” Live-Action Series

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“Dragon Ball Z” (DBZ), with its immense fan base and rich history, represents one of the most recognized and beloved IPs in the anime universe. A live-action adaptation of this franchise by Netflix could, without a doubt, become one of the biggest and most ambitious projects of its kind on the streaming platform. Comparing with “One Piece”, which is also a highly successful and popular series, “Dragon Ball” still stands out in terms of sales and cultural influence.

The continued strength of “Dragon Ball” is evidenced not only by its legacy, but also by the constant production of new content. With a new anime series, “Dragon Ball Daima”, scheduled for 2024, and the continuation of the manga “Dragon Ball Super”, the franchise remains vibrant and relevant. A well-executed live-action series could broaden its reach even further, attracting those who may not be anime fans but are curious about this cultural phenomenon.

Original “Dragon Ball”: An Ideal Choice for Live-Action

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While “DBZ” is extremely popular, the live-action adaptation brings its own challenges. In this context, the original “Dragon Ball” series may offer a more accessible opportunity for adaptation. With plots less focused on large-scale battles and more on dialogue and character development, the original “Dragon Ball” is a strategic choice for a live-action adaptation. Its content, with lower risks and a more contained scale of battles, makes it a more viable and less intimidating option to adapt for live-action.

The Importance of Respecting Chronology

Adapting “Dragon Ball Z” without first exploring the original series would be a disservice to new and potential fans, as it would deny them the full experience of Goku’s journey. The narrative of “Dragon Ball” serves as a fundamental foundation for fully understanding and appreciating the events of “DBZ”. Therefore, a live-action adaptation of “Dragon Ball” could not only revitalize the story for a new audience, but also establish a richer and more engaging context for future “DBZ” adaptations.

Conclusion

A live-action adaptation of “Dragon Ball Z” by Netflix could be a milestone in the world of anime adaptations, but the strategic choice may be to start with the original “Dragon Ball” series. This approach respects the franchise’s chronology and offers a smoother and more accessible transition into the “Dragon Ball” universe, setting the stage for an eventual “DBZ” adaptation. Additionally, the original series has the potential to attract a new audience while also offering existing fans a new perspective on an already beloved story.

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