I know this is true for the United States but my question is mainly if this was a phenomenon in other places as well. Personally, having grown up in Austria \ Germany, I saw Dragonball on TV as a kid long before they finally aired Dragonball Z.

Recently, I've been coming across lots of comments on various web platforms suggesting that "most of the western world" saw Dragonball Z before Dragonball (if they saw the latter at all). Are these people making poor generalizations from the US to the entire western world or was Dragonball skipped in other countries as well?

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    I'm pretty sure in Poland DB was way earlier than DBZ. This thread is a bit surprise - i would have never guess that in some countries DBZ was aired first :o
    – Buzka91
    Feb 1, 2017 at 9:57
  • in france we had dragonball from 1988 to 1994 and dragon ball z from 1990 to 1996
    – jedigoku
    Mar 30, 2017 at 23:20

1 Answer 1


A simple google search takes us to a result compiled by Derek Padula about the history of Dragon Ball Z in various countries. Countries in North America and others where the Funimation dub was aired first usually had Dragon Ball Z aired first.


The list of countries is not exhaustive. However, I'd like to point out "Why most of the countries (western world, and to Japan that is nearly the rest of the world) Dragon ball Z aired first.

Anime was an experimental thing in most nations outside of Japan. Dragonball was an exceptional manga and its first Anime adaptation did well in Japan. Dragon Ball creator was not happy with the first adaptation though and had a reboot in form of Z when Goku grew up. This was even more popular.

Kazuhiko Torishima, Akira Toriyama's editor for Dr. Slump and the first half of Dragon Ball, felt that the Dragon Ball anime's ratings were gradually declining because it had the same producer that worked on Dr. Slump. Torishima said this producer had this "cute and funny" image connected to Toriyama's work and was missing the more serious tone in the newer series, and therefore asked the studio to change the producer. Impressed with their work on Saint Seiya, he asked its director Kōzō Morishita and writer Takao Koyama to help "reboot" Dragon Ball, which coincided with Son Goku growing up. The new producer explained that ending the first anime and creating a new one would result in more promotional money, and the result was the start of Dragon Ball Z.
Source - Dragon Ball Z (Wikipedia)

Western media channels decided to pick up Dragonball Z as an experimental thing. It started airing in 1996, but halted after some episodes. However, when it began airing on Cartoon Network's Toonami block, it got huge boost in the popularity. Due to the success of the reruns, FUNimation began its in house dub of DBZ.

It is reasonable to assume that, due to the success of DBZ, the media houses decided to cash in on all the positive reviews and started airing Dragon Ball as well. After the success of DBZ in North America other markets also started airing DBZ and then followed by Dragon Ball.

  • You are assuming that most countries did this. The whole point of my Q is that I do not believe this is true. I know Germany, Austria and Italy and acc. to a commentator also Poland all aired regular Dragonball before Z. In fact the only country I know which aired Z earlier is the US. So you skipped my entire Question and assumed an answer that is the whole crux of the question. And your last paragraph desperately needs a source and as said can't even be true because I know at least half of Europe aired Dragonball before Z.
    – MM8
    Feb 1, 2017 at 11:34
  • @TimonG. I say in my first line that a list of countries may not be exhaustive, I just wanted to add my perspective on WHY some countries may have aired the chronologically different seasons first. I think I was pretty clear that this was just an opinion but I mark my assumption clearer now. Partial answers are sometimes posted when the information has some context but is too large to be put in a comment. If you feel this is irrelevant on your thread, I'll delete it. Cheers.
    – Arcane
    Feb 1, 2017 at 11:44
  • Oh, I definitely agree with your view on the "Why" portion but I kind of knew that already is what I'm saying. I understand the reasons for the US choosing to go with Z first and I understand the reasons behind their dub changes as well, even though I disagree with their choices. My contention was the claim that "most of the western world" did this, which so far I haven't seen any evidence for. The link you edited into your answer is very useful, thanks a lot! I'll go through that forum post and see if it can answer my Q.
    – MM8
    Feb 1, 2017 at 14:39
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    Hmm... I agree it was not an answer at best. If anyone wants to pick up the list of the countries, I think we can manage it (Since DBZ is already aired it should be maintainable). I would also like to add in India atleast DBZ aired first (We had reruns till the Frieza saga atleast 3-4 times), I didn't know about the fact that many european countries did air it before, but I think NA aired Z first.
    – Arcane
    Feb 2, 2017 at 4:04
  • @Arcane And only till the episode when Goku actually shows up. After which the programming would just switch to something else the next week. I remember that's how I found out about Beast Machine Transformers.
    – Suman Roy
    Mar 31, 2017 at 12:53

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