Most anime fans have never known a world without Dragon Ball, but Goku’s journey must come to an end at some point, right?
When most people think about anime, they envision a black-haired man dressed in an orange gi. Dragon Ball, created by Akira Toriyama, is one of the oldest anime series and a cultural phenomenon all over the world.
In a literal sense, the series, like all things, must come to an end at some point. However, Dragon Ball’s tale has continually shrugged off prospects for a conclusive ending, and in the imaginations of many fans, it has become synonymous with longevity and an apparent incapacity to ever finish. So, what type of conclusion might the series achieve one day?
The Series Long History
Dragon Ball has been running since 1984 and continues to release new chapters to this day. Originally, the plot was about a little child with secret origins practicing martial arts with his best friend while fending against far fewer threats than most fans are used to. Goku had to deal with armed forces and competing martial artists before saiyans and gods of devastation.
With the arrival of Dragon Ball Z, the series’ huge status quo shifted, irreversibly changing its destiny. Goku was no longer just a curiously powerful youngster; he was a saiyan, and the surviving saiyans were on his tail. Following this, iconic villains such as Vegeta, Frieza, Cell, and Buu would appear, repeatedly putting Goku and his allies to the test.
Dragon Ball is currently in its third major phase, Dragon Ball Super. While Z was a significant departure from the original series, Super primarily follows the tendencies set by Z, as well as some of the topics explored in the anime-only series Dragon Ball GT.
Since Z, Dragon Ball’s strength has increased apparently endlessly. DB is infamous for increasing power and stakes. One Piece hasn’t dabbled in cosmic feats of power even after thousands of chapters, while DB has shown planet annihilation as a constant danger since Vegeta and Goku’s first fight.
Frieza destroyed the saoiyan home planet when Goku was a kid, as a spoilt prince who had never trained. Frieza is 5 forms stronger after training. New shapes and threats feel less potent with time.
DB lacks a variable power system like Jujutsu Kaisen’s cursed energy or Jojo’s stances. For many, DB bouts are a whirlwind of lasers and punches, with no limit in sight to how strong these characters can get. Once the apex of a saiyan’s ability, the super saiyan transformation pales in comparison to Goku and Vegeta’s god-level talents. How far can you push the next arc when you’re endangering numerous universes?
Dragon Ball, as a popular anime, has undoubtedly been a huge commercial success. Dragon Ball Super Hero, the franchise’s most recent theatrical film, grossed millions of dollars, and later adaptations of the series into video games and other media rarely fail to do so as well.
When there’s so much money to be made, there’s plenty of incentive to keep the series continuing for as long as possible. Big series that have finished their anime and manga runs, such as Soul Eater and Fullmetal Alchemist, still bring in a lot of money, but they can’t be monetised in the same way that something continuing can.
Akira Toriyama, the series’ creator, has already delegated drawing duties to Toyotarou, hence, similar to Berserk, Dragon Ball may easily continue even after its creator’s death, even if in the shape of a sequel series like Boruto.
What Would an Ending Look Like?
After all this time, it’s difficult to envision what an ending would look like. DB lacks a clear ultimate goal for the series. The end of Attack on Titan, for example, was always evident. The story would end when the titans were defeated, which is exactly what happened. Freiza, as the one who annihilated the Saiyans, would be the most emotionally fulfilling last battle, but he’s already been defeated countless times.
Even death has lost its finality in the series, thus a dead Goku and Vegeta would have little impact. Unfortunately, it appears that the series’ ending will have to be a byproduct of production, rather than the thematic and narratively natural finish that most series aspire for.
Take a look at our Dragon Ball collection.>>