Why ‘Dragon Ball Z’ was called that and how Akira Toriyama found the perfect name to say goodbye to Goku

The manga “Dragon Ball” debuted in 1984, with Akira Toriyama tirelessly crafting the adventures of Goku until its conclusion in 1995. However, in 2016, the manga made a triumphant return with “Dragon Ball Super,” with Toyotaro taking over as the artist while Toriyama focused solely on the story.

Prior to the resurgence of “Dragon Ball Super,” the manga had never changed its name. However, the anime adaptation had a different trajectory.

Origins of “Dragon Ball Z”:

Originally, Toriyama had intended for the story to conclude with the gathering of the Dragon Balls and the summoning of Shenron. However, due to the immense success of “Dragon Ball,” the story continued, eventually transitioning into a phase where Goku and the characters matured into adulthood.

Toei Animation’s Decision:

Toei Animation, responsible for the anime adaptation, wanted to delineate between different stages of the story. “Dragon Ball” encompassed the narrative up to the Piccolo Junior Saga, concluding with Goku’s victory over Piccolo and his promise to marry Chi-Chi. The subsequent time jump of five years marked a significant shift, prompting Toei to rebrand the series.

Introduction of “Dragon Ball Z”:

“Dragon Ball Z” marked a dramatic departure from its predecessor, introducing elements such as Goku’s Saiyan heritage, alien threats, androids, time travel, and Goku’s expanded family. Toriyama suggested adding a “Z” to signify that this stage represented the final chapter of Goku’s journey.

Success and Legacy:

While Toriyama initially felt he was running out of ideas, “Dragon Ball Z” became even more successful than its predecessor. Its conclusion, set a few years into the future, was dubbed “The End of Z,” signaling the definitive end of Toriyama’s story.

Future of “Dragon Ball Super”:

With Toriyama’s passing and ongoing projects for the franchise, the future of “Dragon Ball Super” remains uncertain. However, “Dragon Ball Z” stands as a symbol of the series’ evolution and its enduring legacy, leaving fans eagerly awaiting the next chapter in Goku’s saga.

In summary, “Dragon Ball Z” encapsulates a pivotal stage in Goku’s journey, representing both a departure from its predecessor and the culmination of Toriyama’s original vision.

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