Dragon Soul Book Announcement!

dragon soul book cover by derek padula

Today marks the 30th Anniversary of Dragon Ball, and to celebrate, I’m announcing a new book! It’s called Dragon Soul: 30 Years of Dragon Ball Fandom.

And it’s about you!

The Dragon Soul


Dragon Ball is the greatest anime and manga in the world because of its fans.

This book is a tribute to the Dragon Ball fandom, telling the stories of fans like you.

You’ll discover how Dragon Ball explodes in popularity across the world, from Japan to the United States, Mexico, Spain, France, Brazil, and over 40 countries.

You’ll hear from fans like yourself who have been inspired by the series to become artists, collectors, and cosplayers.

And you’ll realize why you love this series so much, 30 years after its premiere.

Your Role

dragon ball son family cosplay

Want to be in this book? Send me your Dragon Ball story!

What does Dragon Ball mean to you?

Why is it your favorite series?

How has Dragon Ball changed your life?

I want to share your story. I want to hear from fans across the world, including artists, translators, fan manga authors, fan fiction authors, cosplayers, gamers, musicians, film makers, collectors, athletes, philosophers, teachers, trivia buffs (I’m looking at you, Kanzhenshuu!), and anyone else who has been inspired by Dragon Ball.

No matter who you are, even if you’ve only been a fan for a little while or don’t think your story is special (trust me, it is!), send it in and become immortalized in print.

This is open to INTERNATIONAL FANS. You don’t have to submit your story in English. It can be in any language, and I’ll have it translated!

Please tell me your name and state / country in the submission!

Submit Your Story

dragon ball z dragon soul

There are two ways to submit your story.

Leave your story in a comment below, along with a link to any images or content that I’ll need, such as your photograph.

Or contact me and we’ll start talking.

If you’re not a writer or prefer to share your story out loud, then contact me and we’ll get on the phone or skype.

Your story can be as long as you like. I may shorten it during the editing process, but feel free to share what’s in your heart.

My Role

dragon ball z goku vegeta brothers

My role is to collect, edit, and organize stories from Dragon Ball fans across the world, and put them together in a book.

I’ll also include your fan artwork, cosplay photographs, tattoo’s, and pictures of your signed memorabilia, or your entire Dragon Ball collection. Whatever is special to you, include it!

It will be released as a free ebook on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and on this website.

It will then be released in print for a reasonable price. I’m thinking $9.99.


dragon ball z goku running snake way

The deadline for submission is March 1, 2015.

The sooner you can get them to me, the better. I need time to collaborate with you, edit the articles, images, and format the content.

Then I’ll try to finish the book to coincide with the release of the new Dragon Ball Z movie in Japan, on April 18, 2015.

A Tribute


This book will be a tribute to Dragon Ball’s 30 years of success. A tribute to you. And a tribute to fans across the world.

I hope that you’ll share your story with me so that I can share your story with Dragon Ball fans everywhere.

If you’ve ever wanted to wish for immortality, now is your chance!!

Submit your story below or email it to me by March 1, 2015!

Let your soul go Sparking! in Dragon Soul.

67 responses to “Dragon Soul Book Announcement!”

  1. Omega Rockman says:

    Dragon Ball has always been a special series to me, but some of my most important memories as a fan would probably have to be of the times that my aunt and I watched the show together. When Kai was airing on Nicktoons she would occasionally watch a few episodes with me and she would also watch with me as I bought the uncut Kai sets. I never thought that she was really into it, assuming that she only watched since it was what happened to be on at the time. However, a couple years ago a friend gave me the last three Dragon Boxes as a gift. I was going through a rough time due to some issues with other friends in addition to the fact that my aunt was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier that year, so the gift was greatly appreciated. To my surprise, my aunt actually asked me to pop in the set once I got it. Even though she watched Kai through the dub and didn’t usually like subtitled shows or movies, she didn’t mind watching the Boo arc that way at all. I was perplexed: she didn’t even like other cartoons that much, so for her to be this into DB was astounding. Either way, watching through the Boo arc (as well as watching The Nostalgia Critic’s movie reviews) with my aunt gave me some of the greatest memories I have of spending time with her. Unfortunately due to a combination of circumstances we were never able to finish the series before she passed away (we got to the point where Gohan landed on the battlefield after receiving Elder Kaioshin’s powerup), but I’m still grateful that DB brought us a little closer before then. I was thinking about her a lot on her birthday this past September and watching that week’s episode of the Boo arc of Kai brought back a lot of great memories. Maybe they’ve got good WiFi in Heaven and she was watching along with me. Probably not, but it’s a nice thought.

    • That’s a great story. Thank you for sharing it.

      The memories that we form while watching Dragon Ball with others are some of the strongest we’ll ever have. And it’s fascinating how that works, since on the surface we’re just sitting there watching TV with the other person. But there is much more going on under the surface.

      • Omega Rockman says:

        You’re absolutely right about that. Even to this day I’m creating more great memories and strengthening bonds as I introduce the series to more and more people. Right now I’m getting my youngest niece to watch the original series and plan on getting her through the Z portion through the Kai dub once we get to that point. She absolutely adores the show! Her older sister occasionally pops in now and then to tune in, but she’s at that age where she thinks that cartoons are for babies. I think she secretly likes the show, though, and just doesn’t want to admit it, haha. Either way, I’m glad that I’m able to use the series as a way to create awesome memories for the little ones. That’s one of the great things about DB – it’s a timeless series, one that almost any generation can enjoy. I bet you could introduce it to kids ten years from now and they’d still love it. Anyways, thank you for taking the time to read my story and I wish you luck on your next book as well as the ones after it!

  2. Future Son Gohan 飯 says:

    Hello, Mr. Padula. My name’s Juan Carlos Vega. Jack to my friends on Twitter. I’m
    22 years old, and I live in Mexico. I wouldn’t say Dragon Ball changed my life,
    I’d rather say Dragon Ball has influenced my whole life. To me friendship,
    courage, family are the most important things in my life. That’s something I’ve
    learned from the series. Three years ago a friend of mine told me about Dragon
    Ball Z RolePlay on Facebook. After RPing in Spanish on Facebook for a year, I
    shifted to DBZRP in English. Why Dragon Ball is my favorite show? Because
    thanks to it, I’ve met fantastic people, on FB, Twitter, and in real life. The
    best memories I’ve got are with people sharing the love to the master piece by
    Akira Toriyama. Also, these friends I’ve met, along with watching the show,
    helped me going back to college after a year of hardships in my life. Goku, and
    Future Gohan (the character I RP), had taught me to never give up, no matter
    how difficult an obstacle can be, if you’re possitive and keep strong, you can
    get over it.

    I’m very
    proud of being a Dragon Ball fan. It was
    very exiting meeting the Mexican voice actors for Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta, Future
    Gohan and sing along Cha-la Head Cha-la with the Mexican singer of the song. Also
    I’m very proud of what I’ve got being a Future Gohan RPer. Here’s a small solo
    I did about Future Gohan.


    The pic I’m attaching was edited by me, and it should be at the end of the solo.

    Please let me know if you need I provide you any other info.

    Wish you good luck on Light of Hope (I can’t wait to watch it), and thanks for all the
    support to the best series ever.

    • Thanks for your story, Juan. That’s great you roleplay as Future Son Gohan. He’s such a cool character. I think he’s inspiring because he never gives up, even though the odds are against him.

      I enjoyed reading your story, and I love that picture!

    • Thanks for your story, Juan. That’s great you roleplay as Future Son Gohan. He’s such a cool character. I think he’s inspiring because he never gives up, even though the odds are against him.

      I enjoyed reading your story, and I love that picture!

      • Future Son Gohan 飯 says:

        Thanks for reading it, glad to hear you enjoyed it. Yeah, that’s what I’ve learned roleplaying him. I think he’s one of the most bravest heroes of all time.

  3. Dom says:

    My name is Dom Valela. I’m twenty years old and Dragon Ball has been part of my life for the large majority of those years. It started during the first “Toonami” broadcast of the Freeza saga. I’m from Canada and we used to pirate the signal; officially, you couldn’t get Cartoon Network here in those days. I think all the other kids watched the other version on another channel, because they were singing a different theme song (“Dragon, Dragon, Dragon Ball….DRAGON BALL ZEE!”) from the one we knew (Funimation’s instrumental one).

    I was bullied quite badly as a kid. The psychological torment that I became accustomed to from a young age was really quite horrible. This combined with what was, compared to everyone that I knew, a tough upbringing, made the escapism of film and tv an obsession of mine as a boy. So, one of the best things that I remember from those days is when my little brother and I used to stay up passed our bedtime every Wednesday night for a “new” episode of Dragon Ball Z. Our monstrous old Mitsubishi TV, which turned on with a horrible sound and flash of light often needed more than a little percussive maintenance, but it served its purpose well enough. DBZ was followed by an episode of Dragon Ball afterward, which we sometimes skipped out on. We didn’t really understand what was going on at the time; my comprehensive, fanatical understanding of the series and its history was still years away. On reflection, I realize that the broadcast was weird. I think they skipped back and forth between the different “sagas”, because after Freeza I remember watching the Buu saga very clearly. I don’t think we saw Cell and the Androids back then. Either way, we were definitely a little older by the time it got to the Buu saga, because I clearly remember the two of us spending the entire week re-enacting the episode we’d seen countless times. I also remember crying for an entire week after the episode where Goku says goodbye to everyone and takes off. The scene with him and Goten was particularly poignant at the time. Then, of course, the series was over and that was that.

    A few years later, my stepmother bought me one volume of the manga on my twelfth birthday. I was overjoyed, and decided to collect all the books. At the time, I mowed the lawn for a lady who lived just within walking distance of my house. I’d get up early on Saturday mornings, walk over there, mow the lawn and come home in time for lunch, with a ten dollar bill in my hand; a small fortune. The books cost 15.99 plus tax. So I was buying one, sometimes two volumes per month, but nothing in the world was worth the hours of hard work and sweat than those books. I bought lots of them around Christmas time, and started mowing the lawn and collecting them again in the Spring. Just when it seemed like I’d never finish my collection, there was a miracle. I happened to be going door-to-door for some fundraising event at my school. The last house that I went to one night was my next-door neighbor. Somehow, the conversation at the front door turned into something about her grown-up son moving out of the house, and how there was a stack of “comics” that he was trying desperately to get rid of. It was revealed that he had the second half of the Dragon Ball manga. It had been sitting only a house away from me all this time! He agreed to sell them to me for thirty dollars, and I was the happiest kid in the world. It had taken about a year to collect them all, and over the next few years, I read the entire series over, and over, and over again.

    The very early teenage years were as tough on me as they were on everyone. I stopped being bullied when I made the transition into High School just before turning 13, but things at home were as shaky as ever and I was hanging out with really dumb kids that brought nothing to my life,; I had no real friends at a time when I needed them most. Suddenly, Funimation announced the Season sets, and I was back to saving up my pennies, this time on a slightly larger scale, of course. It was going to cost close to fifty bucks for the first season and I didn’t know if I could actually put together that kind of money. I remember a fairly lengthy MSN conversation talking to a girl I knew about just how much money that was and what it could buy. Of course, the money came together in the end and I bought it. At that age, I didn’t care about how terrible it looked and sounded; my brother and I found ourselves running to that old Mitsubishi TV after school and taking up our old spots again, to storm through our favorite show, just like we did when we were little. I collected them religiously until 2009, and we cherished those last few episodes just as we had “back in the day.” My life turned around in 2009 when I made new friends. I went from being a total “loser” to a “cool nerd.” My new friends and I were actually quite popular.

    Of course, I’m still to this day trying to get rid of the last few Orange Bricks that I’m stuck with, and I’m still hunting down the last Dragon Box that I’m missing (I wish I’d watched it this way from the beginning). I’ve followed everything that’s happened since (Kai, Battle of Gods, etc) on-and-off as well. I’m super excited for “Revival of Freeza.” But no part of Dragon Ball history as it has progressed in my life has gone unnoticed by me, nor will it ever. How could I let it? Over the course of my entire life, this powerful, amazing story has been a guide through the murk. It gave an unbreakable thread to the famously fragile bond between my brother and I, collecting the books and the show as a boy taught me the value of a dollar, and it showed me the possibility of camaraderie, justice and individual greatness in all of the many times when I felt none of those things as a child and young teen. My mid-to-late teens were amazing years, and I continue happily into my twenties now, and I owe a lot of that happiness to Dragon Ball. Because I cannot tell the story of my life up to now without mentioning it, The Epic of Sangoku is to me, a sacred saga that I will cherish until my last day.

    • That’s a great story, Dom. Thank you for sharing it.

      I appreciate the details and how it shows your change over time. Like many Dragon Ball fans, you had a rough childhood, but Dragon Ball was there to help. Now you’re a dedicated fan who prefers to watch the Dragon Box’s, and the series has forever become a part of your life.

      Thank you.

  4. Clarens says:

    Hello! I’ll try to contact or write to you, Derek.
    I’m from Spain and Dragon Ball Perhaps it has been the most influential work in my life, even it conditioned my professional destiny, and now as an adult I can recap and see very clear. My story is quite long, I’ll try to translate it for you to read, and I have behind my back several editorial works on manga and anime.
    And by the way, I congratulate you on your “It’s over 9000!” I bought the paper version in spanish by Amazon and put together with my DB books. Great work, and happy to salute you from here.

    • Thanks, Clarens. I’m looking forward to hearing about your background on manga and anime, and how Dragon Ball influenced your life.

      Thank you for supporting my writing! I’m glad you enjoyed “It’s Over 9,000!”

  5. Jed Abuy says:

    my name is Jed Abuy. I’m thirty years old, I’m a Filipino and I would share my first time I ever watched Dragon Ball, I think it was a very special memory for me to remember. Forgive my writing I’m not much of a writer but I will do the best as I can.

    The first time I ever watch Dragon ball was when I was eight years old, my father who was in the U.S. Navy was stationed to Japan, so our family moved there. Once we settled in a lodge I turn on the TV and start flipping through the channel to see any cartoon I can
    watch. Of course its anime and I didn’t understand any Japanese at all but to
    me that don’t matter so I still continued. I’ve seen some but didn’t seem to interest
    me until I stumbled on Dragon Ball, it was the episode where Goku first
    encountered King Piccolo. I didn’t understand what I saw, monkey tail kid against
    a Martian? When the fight started between those two it just blew me away with
    the animation, I was so amazed how fast it was to me back then, the strength
    between these two as they fight was so awesome I just couldn’t believe how Goku
    could be this strong as a kid as well as shocking to see how King Piccolo could
    just bash Goku to the ground head on so hard for me to realized that this isn’t
    a very friendly kids show. But what truly made me to love this show so much was
    when Goku using the Kamehameha. I learned that day that this series was old and
    was just showing a replay because when I moved here in Japan, it was already
    Dragon Ball Z during the Cell Saga.

    Ever since that day I became a fan of Dragon Ball. Years of watching every episodes of Dragon Ball, Z, and GT. Reading the manga and playing the video games, seen all the movies, ova, specials even Evolution which I know was going to be bad but I still watched it when it premiered in the Theaters because I was a fan.

    Why I love it so much it’s because I’m the kind of guy who’s into martial arts, watching those kung fu movie and wrestling. I also like animation, but back when I live in the States I never
    saw any cartoon that had a good fight, but the way Dragon Ball was animated made me in awe to see how detailed it was to see every punch and kick drawn in every angle, their movement so fast that Goku and Vegeta made at least 10 punch and kick at each other in a second which I wouldn’t dare to blink. What amazed me is how it changed it styles of fighting, in the beginning the whole fight was just normal and on the ground that over the years it slowly began to changed that suddenly now they are flying, fighting in mid-air, blasting their ki at each other, that generating enough energy would destroy an entire planet. Plus the story and comedy is great in every episode.

    This show inspired me to be strong, not in fighting but to be strong to myself, Dragon Ball is, in my opinion, an interpretation of going through your daily lives as well to never give up and
    keep on training to get strong, even if you achieve your goal through your hard
    work you’ll keep on training even harder because there will always be a stronger
    obstacle in your course in your life that you’ll be facing and that if you do
    meet it, get excited because the challenged will be a the greatest fight you’ll
    ever face because that is how Son Goku would do it.

    • Thanks, Jed. I appreciate your story. I like how you watched the show even though you didn’t speak Japanese, and that it inspired you to train harder and face life’s challenges head on.

      • jed.abuy says:

        Thank you for reading, yeah watching in Japanese was a bother at first but the way the series tells the story of each episode make it a bit simple to understand the plot. Of course I watched the English dub afterward but I prefer the Japanese because it’s sorta better that way for me. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the voice actors from Funimation Entertainment, I love Sean Schemmel and Christopher Sabat voice acting. Anyway thank you again for taking your time to read my story, been a pleasure.

  6. ChahikoDBZ says:

    My name is Clayton. I’m currently 20 years old. I’ve been a Dragon Ball fan for around 15 years of my life. I’ve read the manga, watched the entire series DB through DBGT, collected the merchandise, and participated in various Dragon Ball forums under the display name ChahikoDBZ.
    Dragon Ball has been a huge inspiration in my life and helped me through plenty of tough times. It got me interested in art and sometimes writing. It taught me the values of friendship and to have courage in things even when they’re going wrong. Everytime I’m re-watching Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z I always get a good feeling and it helps when I’m feeling down. Watching Goku and his friends go on crazy journeys and clash in awesome battles against evil always got me pumped and addicted to the series. My favorite characters are Mirai Trunks and Mirai Gohan. That being said you can already guess my favorite special was The History of Trunks.
    Fan projects I very much enjoy and continue to await more of are Malik’s Dragon Ball New Age, Light of Hope, and Dragon Ball Multiverse.

    Dragon Ball has changed my life in so many ways to where I don’t think I could imagine life without it ever existing. I’m very thankful to Akira Toriyama for this wonderful franchise I can call my obsession. I will forever be a die-hard Dragon Ball fan.

    I’ve attached my art of my Dragon Ball OC, Son Chahiko in her Super Saiyan form. It can be aligned or placed anywhere you see fit with my story entry. Derek please let me know if I should provide anything else to you. Thanks for making this book where all fans can be involved!

  7. Posting Guest says:

    Mr. Padula; first of all I want to say you are doing an excellent job on
    your perhaps “sui generis” project. But there are some things
    going around my mind which have troubled me so far. I hope I am not
    rude to you, your person and project about this.

    Carrying on, I do realize you belong to the buddhist stream of Falun Dafa (aka
    Falun Gong); some say this is a cult, others that they are persecuted
    as their beliefs show many truths on how our world and universe works
    like; which didn’t like those who discovered such things. Of which I
    will speak here.

    Buddhism rather than a religion; it is a philosophy. It has existed for many
    years with various Buddhas but perhaps the best know is prince
    Shakayumi. From it, many streams have been ramified and some with
    rather controversial fame. Like the Aum Shinrikyo (now Aleph), Sokka
    Gakai and Happy Science have come from Buddhism but with their share
    of controversy. Even though their respective visions and intentions
    came from benevolent philosophies; they also came forward with
    stigmas which do not fit in today’s modern world, but claim this will
    be worth it for the future life after passing away from this material

    Falun Gong does indeed have wonderful teachings. And indeed would bring peace
    and prosper if everyone in the world, or at least most of the people
    would. However it does bring some practices which would not fit in
    the world some inconsistencies and if we really need to follow their
    teachings; it is most likely most of the world will be lost.

    Oddly, you use the fantasy series Dragon Ball to promote your synthesis view on
    Falun Dafa; a series which takes on martial arts with an over-the-top
    fantasy level. This series shows how a group of powerful warriors
    devote themselves day and night to martial arts training in order to
    gain and sustain otherworldly abilities.

    Also part of their every day existence, is to stand up and fight against forces
    of evil and fight injustice wherever it may sprout from. However, in
    accordance to the beliefs found inside your ideology; this is a big
    no no. As this is a way to gather karma or as you call it ye.

    Yes, you also say this is a story of fiction, in a fantasy where things are
    dealt in a different manner. However, despite being a product to
    entertain; it does try to send a message.

    Your philosophy does mention that when people fight each other, they
    interchange ye or karma. Like this is something not beneficial for
    any of them yet you also believe it is something required for them to
    be enlighted or that it is part of their destiny.

    In Dragon Ball, we see beings using physical violence to fight what they
    believe is right; yet doing this in real life would bring civil
    unrest and law issues. (Which yet you will say it is something
    required to interchange karma; yet it is something negative).

    We look at works of fiction for heroes, to be inspired and face life. However,
    real life is different; there is no true right nor wrong. But Grey
    areas. One could fight for what one believes is right, but could
    actually be something rather evil and harm others in the way. These
    heroes of fiction usually fight their battles and after many
    hardships; they win. For us, we believe doing the right thing which
    brings plenty of unwanted and unplanned hardships; and we usually do
    not win but end up being martyrs. And these hardships and martyrdom
    experiences are required to gain knowledge of higher dimensions, with
    death. Unless we are stuck with karma and have to do things over
    again in another life, or go to a lower dimension.

    Is it me or it seems to indicate we basically have to suffer and die as
    martyrs to gain heaven or a higher dimension? We want heroes to help
    us do the right thing and fight for good. Not martyrs to be
    sacrificial lambs.

    This karma system; it is just terrible! It only generates more suffering and
    sacrifice. And if God is real and he wants for this, then he is not
    to different from the evil he tries to be against.

    I am sorry, but why do you even use Dragon Ball to promote your belief and
    likewise if it goes against everything itself established? Unless
    this is one of those things that we can’t understand as we are
    lower level beings or something. 3 years ago you did interview an MMA
    like saying you agreed with his way, when what he does goes against
    Falun Dafa. Fighting for money or fame, when one should train for
    health and fitness. Same as you told one that there can be wisdom on
    demonic sides.

    Worse of all, according to the use of promotion of Goku on Falun Dafa; you are
    trying to say Martial Arts are everything, and if you are not a
    martial artist; you are not worth anything when I had the idea any
    way was OK as long as it was that of good. So it is not enough to
    just study hard at school or be honest.

    In one of your latest comments you mention that Goku is a great character as he never
    gives up even when the odds are against him, but this is suicidal. As
    you also believe that it is better to run away from something we
    cannot handle, but this would also bring a contradiction to your
    idealism. A long time ago, someone told me the following on Falun
    Dafa (her thoughts, not mine): “there’s nothing you can do about
    your past life or your past in this life but to let it all go. I can
    only recommend you to a site called MeditationExpert.com which
    discusses the true path of all spiritual cultivation–no cults. And
    for God’s sake for get about Falun Gong you will never get anywhere
    in life following such false and misleading teachings. I think when
    you can be a bit happier and clearer you will see that karma is
    taking responsibility for yourself here and now, not repeating the
    same mistakes, whether you want to look at them as a past-life thing
    or a present-life thing of just repeating what you should have
    already learned and moved on from.”

    Ever since then, it just confused me further more as both ideologies mention not
    to believe one or another or mix things. I was under the idea you
    people were after making this a better world. Now I see that despite
    from what it seemed liked to help people, you want more suffering to
    further the payment of ye. I am sorry but I am skeptic on this as I
    finally see how the real world works and I don’t like it as
    corruption and such are necessary on our Earthly system which God
    doesn’t even want to change as it is part of our “development.”

    I wish you luck on your project. But if this is the true way things are meant to
    be. I’d rather be neutral and not be a part of this at all. Thank
    you for your attention.

    • I’ll try to address your concerns, but please keep in mind that the following is only my limited understanding, and everyone can understand the principles differently.

      It’s not that I am “using Dragon Ball to promote my synthesis view on Falun Dafa.” Rather, I use Dragon Ball as the vehicle to transmit a message and show you the deeper content that is in the series we all love.

      I realized while I was at Western Michigan University that few people read books about East Asian philosophy, history, or spirituality. I could write a great book, but almost nobody would read it, so what’s the point? Then while watching Dragon Ball I discovered that the content of my professor’s lectures was in the show, as was the content of my martial arts and spiritual practices. When I went looking for answers, I couldn’t find any, so I decided to write the answers myself and then share them with others. That’s the simple origin of The Dao of Dragon Ball books and site.

      Falun Dafa contains a lot of those answers and gave me a perspective to understand Dragon Ball, so there is a natural overlap. However, you’re right that Dragon Ball is a martial arts series and is violent. Falun Dafa’s second principle is compassion, so there is a contradiction. That’s why I don’t equate the two.

      What I try to do instead is focus on the more benevolent aspects of the series. I want to inspire people to change their behavior so they can tap into their potential and living a more fulfilling life. Having true principles, avoiding drugs, meditating, being kind to others, having patience, determination, and so forth.

      The martial arts are the vehicle through which Dragon Ball transmits its own message. This is the result of a long evolution over time, from religious and static to non-theistic and dynamic, where the martial arts become the focus and the spiritual content is hidden underneath. Journey to the West is the bridge that crosses the gap between the Chinese monk Xuánzàng’s trip to India for Buddhist sūtra, and Toriyama’s Dragon Ball, where Gokū beats people up during his quest for greater power.

      I can’t change that, and I can’t modify Dragon Ball’s content. I can only use it to the best of my abilities for a greater purpose. The truth is that all of these concepts I discuss are already in the series. It’s just that some people don’t see them. I don’t make any of this stuff up.

      Most of my readers are people who recognize these aspects of the show and want to learn more about them. That’s why they come to my site. Not every Dragon Ball fan is looking for that, and that’s okay. Some fans just want the punching and screaming. But to me the show is much more about heart, character development, and what that means to you as a person.

      I agree that fighting outside battles is not the answer. I try to borrow the idea of Gokū’s ‘taking hardship as joy’ mentality and apply it inward, in order to inspire people to improve themselves, rather than force others to change.

      If you analyze Gokū’s life you’ll see that it’s filled with non-stop fighting. He keeps fighting and fighting, and while he does rise up in level, he never finds peace. It’s sad, yet for Gokū, that suffering is joy. He lives for the moment where he is tested and can further improve his mind. That’s why he’s always looking for stronger opponents. It’s kind of sad, in retrospect, but also a source of bliss.

      Regarding the idea of suffering in life being unfair. That’s a huge topic unto itself, and something mankind has discussed for thousands of years. I can’t address it in a sentence or two, except to say that life is suffering, whether you like it or not. So it comes down to the question of ‘What are you going to do about it?’ Some people try to get past it, while others don’t. In the eyes of men, suffering is bad. It’s wicked, rotten, and something to be avoided. We prefer comfort and pleasure. But in the eyes of Buddha’s, suffering is good, because it allows us to pay back our karmic debt and transcend the condition of being human. In other words, we are human because we have karma. So to perceive your suffering in life as unfair is like saying that paying back your financial debts is unfair, even though you are the one that accrued the debt. Yes, it sucks having to pay back the debt. You’d rather not do it, but alas the debt is yours. That’s what Buddhism is about, after all: A path through which you eliminate your karma and attain nirvana (“extinguished”).

      So I’m not ‘pro-suffering.’ It’s just the nature of our existence. Through that we find long-lasting joy. Like the Buddhist saying goes, “First bitter, than sweet.”

      Regarding the martial arts aspects. I’m not pro-violence, but I’m also not into judging people and condemning others for how they live their life. If an MMA athlete gets inspired by Dragon Ball to practice the martial arts, then I think that’s great. To me, the martial arts are not about fighting in an external cage, they’re about fighting the internal battles of self-improvement. They’re a practice derived from Buddho-Daoist spiritual concepts to begin with, so at their heart, they’re about self-cultivation.

      Like you said yourself, everything is grey. There are no absolutes. So I can’t dismiss the so-called bad things that come along with the so-called good things. The baby and the bathwater go together. Maybe that sends a mixed message, but such is life. I leave it up to you to figure out, and take what you want from it.

      I’ve never said “martial arts are everything.” It’s a path like any other. And to be frank, I think it’s a lower level path that requires a lot more suffering than is necessary. Changing the mind is a far more powerful and direct method of development. It’s best to target your heart.

      I’m all for studying hard at school and being honest. Those are good things.

      Regarding facing your demons or “running away” from them. Each person has different levels of endurance and ability to sacrifice, concentrate, and overcome hardships. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. You have to make those decisions on your own, and when you face the crossroads in life, decide which path you’re going to take. I don’t tell people how to live their lives or try and force them to do something they don’t want to do.

      I understand your frustration with society and our civilization at large. It’s backward, isn’t it? That’s why Daoist’s usually leave society altogether and go into the mountains or woods. But in Falun Dafa we stay in society on purpose, because it’s the best place to face hardships, recognize our attachments, and let them go. It’s a blessing in the long-term, but it takes a lot of endurance.

      Hopefully that cleared up a bit of the confusion. You mentioned some deep, philosophical, and rather complicated questions on our existential reality and purpose for being alive. I tried to answer them to the best of my ability with the time I have available. If you’d like to continue the discussion, please do so.

      Thanks for appreciating the unique nature of what I do. And thanks for the good luck!

      • Sūn Wùkōng says:

        lol, iam pretty sure i know who this ‘guest’ is. dbz haters gonna hate. keep doin’ yo thang, derek! hope db culture & dbz: light of hope come out before 2015! if not, it’s worth the wait. ’til then, i’ll be training insaiyan, blossoming enlightening insights, spirituallǐ cultivating my heart/shén :+)

        • Dragon Ball Culture Volume 1 will be out in a day or so in ebook, but Robot Underdog is still working on Light of Hope. My job is done. It’s up to them to finish it. In the meantime I’m formatting and editing Volume 2, so I can publish it soon after Volume 1.

          Good luck with your training and enlightening!

  8. Luis Cuevas says:

    Yo! Mr. Padula! I’ve talked to you a few times on twitter, and I gotta say that I love your work. You’re an inspiration to all of Dragon Ball fans out there. Alright, let me begin with my story.
    I’m sixteen years old in the time of writing this,I was born in 1998. Ever since I can remember I’ve loved Dragon Ball. I’m from Ecuador, and it”s very popular there. Everyday they show Dragon Ball on a national channel channel, and if it’s not on there, it’s provably on another channel. Anyways, my mom has told me that my father and her would wit me down and watch Dragon Ball with me. As I grew up I liked it more and more. I had toys, games etc. I knew all the theme songs by heart, and ChaLa-Head-ChaLa became the theme song of my life.My earliest memory is watching Son Goku defeat Reccome in one hit. I remember going over to my grandmother’s house and staying up late, way after my bedtime, to watch Goku VS Freeza. One of the best moments of my life. Around five I started to lose interest a bit, but I would still catch it when it was on, the show was in the middle of the Baby saga at the time. My father died when I was 7 years old with cancer, and I felt lost. However, I remembered watching Dragon Ball with him. I rewatched the show, and I felt as if I could relate to Gohan when his father died. My love reached an all time high when I got my PS2, and along with it, Budokai 3. Ever since then I’ve bought every single Dragon Ball game. When I was ten I moved to the USA. I didn’t feel as if I belonged, but there was one thing I could connect with people with. Dragon Ball. My friends and I would talk about who was stronger, who was cuter, who was smarter between the Z warrior. It was amazing. I also started to RP on Twitter, and I still do, as Son Goku @ShareYourEnergy. Now I look around my room as I write this and smile as my Dragon Ball figures and posters. I read the manga, play the games, listen to the music, and watch the anime. Dragon Ball has helped me make friends and develop new ideas. Goku gives me hope, and I strive to become a great person because of him. I even have the full soundtrack which took me over a year to find in full. Without Dragon Ball I wouldn’t want to be a voice actor, and wouldn’t be interested in the entertainment industry. I have a YouTube channel just for Dragon Ball games, SmugStick, and it’s fun. Dragon Ball is basically the core of my life, and I couldn’t be happier. The picture is of me at the Battle of Gods premier as Teen Goku, conveniently there was anew movie coming out where something that looked like a spirit bomb was featured. Thank you for taking your time to read this, keep up your great work!

    • Thanks, Luis! That’s a great story and perfect picture.

      It’s incredible how big of a role Dragon Ball has played in your life, and how it has helped you bond with other people.

      Thanks again, and I’ll follow up if I need anything else.

  9. Michael Tenorio says:

    My cousin is the person responsible
    for my infatuation with the world of Dragon Ball. I had seen it once or twice
    on TV when I was younger, and despite watching a few episodes late at night, I
    never really developed much interest in it. Around the time I was 10 though,
    all that changed when my cousin would sit my younger sister and I down at my
    late grandmother’s house after school each day to catch Toonami’s airing of
    both Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. Slowly but surely the story began to
    captivate me, and getting to see Goku’s adventures growing up alongside the
    universe shattering battles of his adult life finally won me over.

    Despite this, I remained a closet
    fan for many years. Anime wasn’t (and still isn’t) widely appreciated in the
    rural area that I reside in, so I kept my fandom hidden aside from the
    occasional doodle on a notebook or the odd (albeit rare) discussion with other
    kids at school. It wasn’t until after I graduated high school that I really
    began to appreciate the Dragon World for what it is. I made many friends, some
    of which are the closest I’ve ever had thanks to the shared interest in the
    vast world of Dragon Ball, and it’s something I’m eternally grateful for. In the years prior, I had fallen into some
    really dark times, and the opportunity to see Goku and his friends persevere
    through even the most difficult of situations filled me with hope and inspired
    me to keep pushing forward, always looking to better myself. Goku was a huge role model, and his worldviews
    stay with me to this very day, as do some of Vegeta’s.

    Being somewhat limited on money
    growing up, I never really collected much in terms of merchandise outside of
    the odd figure or two, and the old Beckett fan magazines that used to circulate
    during the peak of DBZ Mania. Now that I’m older and actually have means to
    aquire anything, my personal memorabilia collection continues to grow and I’m
    always looking to add something new or interesting to showcase my love for the
    world Akira Toriyama created.

  10. Desirae says:

    Hello, Derek! Ever since I caught wind of you wanting to hear stories from DB fans far and wide, I’ve been trying to find the time to sit down and collect my thoughts over the matter. Trying to express how I feel about the series and all that I have learned seemed impossible but I somehow managed to do it and I’m honored to be able to share it. (:

    It was well over 10 years ago since I first got introduced into the world of Dragon Ball. I recall being about 7 or 8 and I was helping my grandmother move some things from one room to another. Glancing up at the TV, I stood transfixed by the images I saw on the screen: It was a promo for DBZ on Toonami (the Deadzone, I think) and I was immediately taken with it. I HAD to know more about this show with a man that could shoot fire from
    his hands. It wasn’t long before I saw more of it and from then on, I watched it religiously.

    Unfortunately, I do not remember the first episode I started watching but I do remember having seen all or most of the Saiyan saga, as they would always do the recaps before a premier. Once that was done, I remember being super excited for new episodes of
    Dragon Ball Z in the form of the Namek saga. Every day I would set up the VCR to record the new episodes as they premiered and got really bummed if I happened to miss one.

    My family, my mother in particular, never saw the appeal and I would often receive flak for it but I didn’t care. It was something I enjoyed and it was something I carried a passion for,
    though when I was younger I was rather shy about it. It wasn’t until I became a teenager that I shrugged off most of this self-consciousness and started buying little things
    like cards from the CCG or Beckett magazine.

    Years later, after the premier of the Buu saga and the debut of Vegito in particular, I resolved to use any money I got for Christmas towards DVDs containing Vegito’s episodes and a PS2 controller with the glowing SSJ Goku design. I knew of few other ways to express my love for a show that had taken a deep hold on my life other than playing video games, watching the show or buying whatever merchandise caught my eye as I had few friends who were as passionate about it as I was.

    By high school, caring about who knew of my passion and who felt the same way or not was practically non-existent but before long, I met friends who were big anime fans like I was and embraced my passion with open arms, for once I felt like I could express my love for DBZ without holding back.

    Though many years have passed since I first embarked on my journey, I’m still as passionate about the series that has impacted my life as I was when I started out. But it wasn’t until much more recently that I realized just how much the series had taught me in all my years of watching it and I’m glad for it. I’ve laughed and cried with these characters. Grew up with them and learned from them and with them as if they were friends who were always around. Goku being the role model I think everyone should strive to be like. Vegeta being a little brash but determined to accomplish his goals no matter the cost. Gohan, who started out a timid little boy and growing into a strong fighter but still retaining a path he had chosen for himself rather than falling in behind his father. Each character offers some knowledge we can take away depending on how you look at them.

    A popular thing to say when I was younger was that TV would never teach you anything, least of all cartoons but I learned more about life and myself from Dragon Ball than I could have learned anywhere else. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • Well said, Desirae. I especially admire your concluding paragraphs.

      Can you elaborate on how Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, or Vegito inspire you and serve as role models? A concrete example of how they influenced your life will give your story more weight.

      • Desirae says:

        Of course!

        I could go on and on about Goku and the things I’ve learned from him but I’ll try to be succint, haha.

        Goku to me represents the vitality of the human spirit in a way; no matter what befalls him, he always manages to bounce back somehow. Not even the grip of death is enough to keep him down. I like to think I do the same. Few things bother me for very long. It’s not that I idon’t care, it’s just that I’ve learned that lingering on anything for too long can often lead to more problems than what I started with. I have a tendency to overthink too so trying to let go when necessary is helpful.

        Goku’s kindness towards everyone, even those who have wronged him, is something I think a lot of people can learn from. I try to be kind to all I meet. Even if they’re rude, I try to be as kind to them as possible because I realize it may not be me they have a problem with.

        Finally, throughout Goku’s entire life, he has maintained this happy-go-lucky attitude. I think it says a lot to go through one’s life without letting the darkness of the world take its toll on how you view it. It’s an admirable thing I try to do myself. Through the negative, I try to see the positive. Whatever may befall me, I try not to let it change how I view the world. It’s difficult but it has been shown numerous times in numerous ways throughout the series that reacting to negativity full of negative thoughts does no good.

        Now Vegeta has a strong sense of identity. He has taught me that you should never let anyone tell you who you are, what you are or what you’re worth. He is very determined when it comes to his goals; he may be a bit wreckless but his unwillingness to back down or be swayed from what he has his mind set on is very admirable. Just like him, I try to set goals for myself and work hard to accomplish them.

        I can relate to Gohan’s worry in failing to meet the expectations of others (in his case, his parents and Piccolo) most. There are times I feel I haven’t done my family proud by doing what they thought I’d do. But just like Gohan, I have realized that following my own path and what makes me happy is often more important than trying to impress others.

        I hope this helps clarify things a little better, Derek!

  11. Scott Gohan says:

    HI there! My name is Scott. I started into the dragonball series about 12 years ago. I watched it on the Saturday toonami. At that time dragonball z was on the namek saga. I was extremely interested. So I started digging where I learned about dragonball. I started watching from then on. I originally loved the action of the series. After I started growing up I saw the actual characters and what they stood for. I mean Goku is a character that is always defending the underdogs. He is a great example of who we should strive to be.

    Goku is both powerful but kind. Willing to go to any length to protect his friends, but at the same time so forgiving to the ones who harm his friends.

    I currently run a Facebook page about dragonball z also. Named future gohan haha! It has given me a lot more respect for the characters overall. Mainly because you spend a little more time thinking about them than the average dragonball fan! Facebook.com/futurepeaceful

    I think it’s cool that you are collecting stories of fans of the dragonball series. It just goes to show that even the smallest notice can leave a giant impact!

    Anyway my story of dragonball doesn’t end there. I have seen my own life seeing the fruits of dragonball from the person I am. A little bit of Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Piccolo, and even Krillin has entered into my person. I’m truly able to see how even if a fictional creation, it leaves non fictional foot prints in my life. I know that I personally am a better person for looking at dragonball, for entering into its existence and even for talking with others it has changed.

    I know I won’t be able to do Dragonball justice from what I have said but overall I know it is a good thing in the world! It makes positive changes in the corrupt world we live in.

  12. Andrew Affleck says:

    Dragon Ball has been in my life for as long as I remember and that is all because of
    my brother. I’m 16 and my brother is 23 now but we still just sit for hours
    talking about Dragon Ball and about the new movies and stuff. I have a really bad memory and I don’t remember a lot of the first chunk of my life, but the stuff I do remember is mostly my brother and I sitting on the couch in our living room watching the Ocean Dub of
    Dragon Ball Z on YTV at 9pm. I remember the first time we saw the promo for
    Dragon Ball GT when Blue Water Studio started dubbing it. When we would spend
    the night at my grandparent’s house we would draw pictures of Gohan in his
    great ape form (his were always better than mine). When I was 8 we drove to Ontario to visit my uncle and on the way we stop in a gas station I Quebec and I saw this 24 inch
    Goku plushy and my brother bought it for me. When I was 11 I got my Mom to make
    me a Goku costume.

    Even today we still love Dragon Ball and I have spent $1,159.72
    on Dragon Ball merchandise and that number will only be getting higher and
    higher because I love this show and I want to support it any way I can. At
    local pawn shops and comic book stores in my town I am known as the guy how
    buys Dragon Ball Z stuff. This show has influenced me so much that on my 18th
    birthday I plan on going out and getting a tattoo of the Saiyan royal symbol
    and Goku’s symbol that he wears on his chest (the one he wears in Battle of

    Dragon Ball will always have a place in my heart.

    ~Andrew Affleck.

    Prince Edward Island, Canada
    P.S. the pictures are of my collection, My friend and I’s Logo for a podcast we are making(it’s still in development) and our avatars.

    • That’s a great story and an impressive collection, Andrew. I’m also a fan of the Ocean dub. The voices are spot-on. Can you give me an example of how Dragon Ball has influenced your life? How does it speak to you? And why do you like it so much?

      • Andrew Affleck says:

        Well it kind of influenced me in a lot of ways, It got me into drawing, writing and it kind of inspired me to do voice acting and to write a Dragon Ball GT abridged series which it currently in development, along with my podcast. It got me hobbies such as collecting and voicing acting. It also got me into some other animes/mangas, for example; Death Note and Hellsing. It made me love the Japanese culture and even got me into American and Canadian cartoons. I kind of taught me right and wrong and that anybody can become a good person(i.e. Piccolo, Vegeta and 18). It help me keep my longest friendship with my podcast partner Darien Vail.

        This is just a fun image I like posting around.

  13. Cob Khuraibet says:

    Derek! I have a story to tell, but I haven’t formulated the words for it yet. What is the deadline?

  14. Deepak Sharma says:

    hey Derek its me…my story begins like this…when I was 8 or 9 years old I loved to watch cartoons because they were humorous and I used to watch some martial arts serials and movies also.and I am remembering and incident when my teachers used to give me drawing homework as assignments or charts but I never liked drawing because I wasn’t good in it.but one day I was watching cartoon network and dbz started.I was amazingly shocked even by its theme song(it was in Hindi as I am an Indian ).it was so good I never heard anything like that before then I watched it action scenes and I became its biggest fan.then I tried to draw goku I and I was happy because it was my first drawing.its like a motivation to me.it gave me confidence to fight for my ones with even a person strong or bigger than me.it gave me a new identity .my friends and teacher knew that I am a dbz fan.I always used to talk about goku and dbz in my class which made other people curious and lover of dbz. my hobbies is now dbz.because I draw,talk,write and think about dbz all the time.I even want to make my career in dbz.I would polish my drawing skills and would help akira toriyama or game developers to make dbz more popular and alive.I want to make dbz games and movies like never before……that’s all I think about dbz and it changed my life a lot…….

  15. ValiantGoku says:

    Hello there! My name is Chad and I’ve been a Dragon Ball fan since it came over to the US in the mid 90’s. I own over 180 DBZ figures(which are pictured below, plus all the series and movies on dvd. I am now 36 years old and I’m still just as addicted as I was when I was 18. Goku especially has inspired me to be who I am and never give up for all these years. #DBZForLife

  16. ValiantGoku says:

    Hello there Derek! My real name is Chad and I’ve been a huge Dragon Ball fan since it came to the US in the mid 90’s. I now own over 180 DBZ figures (pictured below plus all the series and movies on dvd.) I also run many roleplay accounts on Twitter where I am mainly Goku and Gogeta. Me being 36 now has not slowed down my DBZ addiction at all. I’ve been a huge fan for 18 year’s now and Goku’s “never give up” attitude has inspired me to be who I am today. I would be lost without my DBZ. Thanks for taking the time to read.

    • Andrew Affleck says:

      Are those KAI figures bootlegs? I’ve seen them online and they look like they are.

    • Thanks, Chad. That’s an impressive collection.

      Can you give me an example of how Goku’s “never give up” attitude plays a role in your life? And why do you enjoy roleplaying on Twitter, or what motivates you to do so?

      • ValiantGoku says:

        Thank you very much. I’m really proud of what I’ve collected over the years. Basically whenever I’ve been in a slump or just want to throw my hands up and give up, I ask myself “what would Goku do in this situation” and honestly that’s been a great motivation for me to stay positive and to not let negativity in everyday life bring you down.
        Roleplaying Goku gives me a sense of freedom where I can put myself in DBZ’s fantasy world, plus interact with other great friend’s and other characters. It’s a stress reliever as well lol when we have RP fights.

  17. Lucrezia says:

    Hello Mr Padula! My name is Lucrezia
    and I am an Italian fan of Dragon Ball, which I discovered completely
    by chance. I was 8 year old when I casually opened the TV on two
    oddly-dressed men, one of them planting seeds in the ground. When
    green, nasty-looking monsters grew out of that same seeds under my
    eyes, I knew I was in love!

    I own Dragon Ball many things. During
    elementary school, watching on TV Goku and his friends living
    incredible adventures prompted me to write my own stories, where they
    featured as protagonists; unbeknownst to me, I had entered the world
    of fanfiction. I still guard the old notebook where I wrote my very
    first stories.

    Now, not only have I better
    technologies at my disposal, but I have fun writing and reading
    fanfictions in English. The reason being, I realised that there were
    more stories written in English than in Italian and I soon found
    myself reading them and sharing my creations; in doing so, I
    unwittingly took the first step towards my current profession. Since
    some of those stories were so good, I needed to share them with my
    friends, who often didn’t have the time or patience to read them in
    the original language. My MO was reading the fanfictions and
    retelling them to whomever would care to listen. Needless to say, I’m
    now a translator.

    Dragon Ball isn’t only fights and an
    intriguing plot. As you’ve pointed out in “Dragon Ball Culture”
    (I’m reading it at the moment and I must compliment you, it’s a very
    thorough and engaging work), many philosophies and cultural beliefs
    are hidden in the series’ folds, so I suspect it’s only normal many
    fans mulled over them, especially if linked to a particular
    character, and sometimes embraced them. It’s what happened to me with
    a character I’ve had trouble understanding. Goku.

    I’m not going to lie, I used to
    consider his behaviour completely irrational, in particular when it
    came to facing villains. I’ve always preferred Vegeta, partly because
    of his strong disposition and partly because his way of seeing the
    world as a battlefield is somehow in line with my own mindset. That
    being said, what kind of person lets someone like Freeza walk away?
    After everything he did? No, to me it made no sense. Then, I was
    suddenly hit by a realisation; I was not as happy to see the villains
    being defeated as one would expect. Actually, I was almost sorry to
    see them go. It seemed that at some point, somehow, I had become
    attached to them. How? Why?

    It took me a while, but I eventually
    got it; Freeza, Cell, Majin Buu are not simple flat characters. They
    /do/ spend most of their time being cruel and ruthless, but… Freeza
    blushes in obvious embarrassment when confronted with the Ginyu
    Force’s odd poses; Cell looks understandably disturbed by Satan;
    Majin Buu begs Vegeta not to take away his “good part”, terrified
    at the prospect of not being himself anymore. It may not look like
    much, but all these displays (along with others) contribute to
    “humanising” them. They are no longer mere monsters only moved by
    hate and greed, they can also feel giddiness, embarrassment,
    uncertainty, fear…

    It’s easy to dismiss enemies as beasts
    deserving to be slain; I suspect dehumanising them makes fighting
    them easier. However, Goku never seems to forget they are people too
    and treats them accordingly. So I started to wonder, is that why he’s
    always so reluctant when it comes to fighting, always so willing to
    try and reason with the villain of the moment? Is it because, even in
    the most dramatic moments, when emotions are running wild and most
    would act on impulse, he still manages to remember that he is dealing
    with people, that life is precious and should never be senselessly
    wasted? If so… Well, what a guy.

    That’s what Goku taught me. “Monsters”
    are people too.

    • Well said, Lucrezia. Tolerance and patience are opposite traits from a Saiyan warrior, and Goku has these, empowered by endurance and fortitude in the face of pain. He sacrifices for the sake of others, and that’s what makes him such an interesting Saiyan, unlike any other. Through his battles with great opponents having different characteristics, we see the different traits of our own humanity.

  18. Tiffany Looper says:

    Hello Mr. Padula I heard about this collection of stories from a fellow DB fan and very good friend of mine. I still am not quite sure how to put my story into words so I’ll do my best. I was a young child when I was first introduced to DBZ and it immediately caught my attention. As a youngster, all I noticed about it at the time were the cool fight scenes and cool looking characters. Still though, I was a loyal fan and watched it every single time it came on. Now usually, shows that transfix us as children usually don’t matter to us as we grow older. This one, however, stuck with me. Though a time came when I could no longer find the show on television, I managed to find the manga in the school library. In my teenage years, I came to realize that this was more than a mere cartoon. It was full of life lessons and critical values that I had never stopped and though about before. By watching it, I have learned several lessons.

    Through Piccolo, I learned that sometimes it’s best to have patience. Through Goku, I have learned to show mercy. Through Vegeta, I have learned that strength and pride, while good traits to have, can lead you to trouble in too large amounts. I have learned that for all the darkness there is in the world, there is always some light of good and hope somewhere. I have learned that you should follow your own path, not a path that someone else has chosen for you, and I have learned that even the hardest heart can be softened through patience and kindness. These lessons have stuck with me for my entire life. So much so that I got my youngest sister, my two small cousins, several children that I babysit, and also my own daughter, to watch the show so that they may also pick up these same values.

    I myself find it simply amazing that children, teenagers, and young adults, myself included, could learn such critical lessons and values as these from what some people view as ” a silly cartoon”. It makes me a bit happier to think that, by Vegeta getting back up for one more round even though it could kill him because he’s defending something important to him, and by Goku standing up and fighting against odds that seem impossible because it’s the right thing to do, that my daughter might just be learning at her young age to never give up, no matter what the obstacles in your path are. So for that, I say bravo to that “silly cartoon”. May it continue to inspire others for generations to come, as it has inspired me.

  19. James Smith says:

    Hello, I’m James Smith, this is my first comment on this sight, and I would like to submit this story for this book if I can. I am an aspiring artist (with little so far to show).
    This story isn’t really about how the series influenced my life in a
    philosophical sense or how it made me want to make a big career grab,
    but how it was apart of my life (and maybe a recently added source
    material or inspiration for whatever project I come up with).

    I only seen most of the DBZ series in three-day-a-week intervals for a few
    months when they first came to the US on Cartoon Network. It was when I
    was about 13 or 14 and I was spending time with my grandparents (I
    wasn’t really sure why I was asked to help my grandfather with his
    little vending machine job) and I would go into his room after dinner to
    see what was on cable as my family didn’t have it anymore when it got
    too expensive, and I have heard of Dragon Ball but have never seen it
    until now. The most if felt like for me was something rare (as I
    couldn’t see it at any other time) so it became sort of this great
    mystery for me to try and discover when I could.

    I didn’t obsess over it, but it felt special to me to happen upon an airing of at least
    one of the movies or a brief glance of an episode (and not understand
    anything of what was going on at the time), as the franchise has become
    iconic (parodied badly in my opinion) and has been a source of
    inspiration for most of the shows and comics I have come to like. I
    eventually read and bought the entire series of the manga (VizBig),
    about 15 years later, so now I am completely in the know on at least
    that much (as I’ve said, I’m not THAT obsessed to buy the anime). It was
    mostly the Dragon Ball Z Abridged series by Team Four Star that got me
    interested in the franchise enough to actually seek out the original

    But if there is any inspiration that had any affect on my out look on life, it would be the not-so-subtle message of persiverance and growth through struggle that, more subconsiously then
    directly, has gotten me through the hard training of reaching 1st Kyu
    brown-belt in Aikido, coming up with ideas for an art project and
    improving my art style where I feel I need it, helping my family and the
    family stage lighting business after my father past away, and my
    general outlook on life and the world and a better understanding of it

    • Thanks, James. I’m glad to hear that DBZ could inspire your martial arts training, and to help you persevere to brown belt! I’ll let you know if I have any followup questions.

  20. Jewell Tovar says:

    Hi, I’m Jewell and this is my story. Currently I am 13 years
    old in the 8th grade. I live in Utah and I have fallen in love with anime and I
    can thank Dragon Ball Z for that.

    When I was younger and my brother was around my age, he and
    my cousin would always play some video game that was in some language that I
    couldn’t understand. There were explosions, fighting, the usual gaming stuff. I
    have very vague memories of all of this, it’s almost just like it was some
    dream I’ve had before. I also remember they were playing as little kids with
    strange hair, one had purple and the other’s was spiky. During that time I
    didn’t have cable so I lived off of DVDs and VHSs (probably not a word). There
    were always these one video tapes that I would skip over because they had weird
    looking people on them fighting.

    In the fourth grade I finally understood what all these
    memories were. One day I was goofing around on a weekend and my family was
    outside, but I decided to go inside and watch TV because it was too hot out. I
    turn on the TV and some show called Dragon Ball Z Kai is on, so I decided to
    watch it because my cousin, Jesse, suggested it to me. I’m glad I decided to go
    inside that day. I totally fell in love with the show. He came inside and
    started to explain everything to me.

    “Okay, so who is that character again?”

    “Oh, that’s Goku, he’s the good guy.”

    “And who is that?”

    “That’s Frieza, he’s the bad guy.”

    “Is it a girl?”

    “No, it’s a boy.”

    “But it sounds like a girl.”

    After that I would always tune in and watch it. I even
    memorized the theme and I would make Jesse watch it with me. To this day I know
    more about Dragon Ball Z than him believe it or not. I found out that the video
    game they were playing from when I was younger was a Dragon Ball Z game. The
    kid with the purple hair was Trunks Briefs, my favorite character. I remember
    seeing him for the first time in the show and having deja vu because I
    recognized the name Trunks. I also watched those videos because it turns out
    they were Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone and The Tree of Might. The summer after 6th
    grade, I did some research and decided to watch Dragon Ball and it really has
    inspired me never to give up and try my hardest in everything I do. That summer
    was spent watching 10+ episodes a day of Dragon Ball with my niece who was
    diagnosed with cancer and I think it brightened up both of our lives.

    During my 7th grade summer I saw Dragon Ball Z: Battle of
    Gods in theaters and it was amazing. The place was packed, from 5 year olds all
    the way to people over 30. I can’t wait for the next movie. Anime has become an
    escape for me but it was kind of sad that I had no one to share it with but
    this year I found some friends that are into anime also and I went to my first
    convention with them, Anime Banzai 2014. And in January we went to Fanx 2015.
    There are many more conventions to come and many more memories. Thank
    you Dragon Ball Z for putting a new meaning in my life.

    (Pic 1) The person in the middle is me when I cosplayed as Videl for Anime Banzai.

    (Pic 4) This is now one of my favorite quotes: https://thedaoofdragonball.com/storage/2012/01/goku_god_glory_dragon_ball.jpg

    (Pic 5) https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/42/e2/cd/42e2cdbb4906794dbac7485520bf4091.jpg

    (Pic 6) http://thumbs1.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mQqTL3oxe3v45o2UeFrCsUQ.jpg

  21. Jewell Tovar says:

    Hi, I’m Jewell and this is my story. Currently I am 13 years
    old in the 8th grade. I live in Utah and I have fallen in love with anime and I
    can thank Dragon Ball Z for that.

    When I was younger and my brother was around my age, he and
    my cousin would always play some video game that was in some language that I
    couldn’t understand. There were explosions, fighting, the usual gaming stuff. I
    have very vague memories of all of this, it’s almost just like it was some
    dream I’ve had before. I also remember they were playing as little kids with
    strange hair, one had purple and the other’s was spiky. During that time I
    didn’t have cable so I lived off of DVDs and VHSs (probably not a word). There
    were always these one video tapes that I would skip over because they had weird
    looking people on them fighting.

    In the fourth grade I finally understood what all these
    memories were. One day I was goofing around on a weekend and my family was
    outside, but I decided to go inside and watch TV because it was too hot out. I
    turn on the TV and some show called Dragon Ball Z Kai is on, so I decided to
    watch it because my cousin, Jesse, suggested it to me. I’m glad I decided to go
    inside that day. I totally fell in love with the show. He came inside and
    started to explain everything to me.

    “Okay, so who is that character again?”

    “Oh, that’s Goku, he’s the good guy.”

    “And who is that?”

    “That’s Frieza, he’s the bad guy.”

    “Is it a girl?”

    “No, it’s a boy.”

    “But it sounds like a girl.”

    After that I would always tune in and watch it. I even
    memorized the theme and I would make Jesse watch it with me. To this day I know
    more about Dragon Ball Z than him believe it or not. I found out that the video
    game they were playing from when I was younger was a Dragon Ball Z game. The
    kid with the purple hair was Trunks Briefs, my favorite character. I remember
    seeing him for the first time in the show and having deja vu because I
    recognized the name Trunks. I also watched those videos because it turns out
    they were Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone and The Tree of Might. The summer after 6th
    grade, I did some research and decided to watch Dragon Ball and it really has
    inspired me never to give up and try my hardest in everything I do. That summer
    was spent watching 10+ episodes a day of Dragon Ball with my niece who was
    diagnosed with cancer and I think it brightened up both of our lives.

    During my 7th grade summer I saw Dragon Ball Z: Battle of
    Gods in theaters and it was amazing. The place was packed, from 5 year olds all
    the way to people over 30. I can’t wait for the next movie. Anime has become an
    escape for me but it was kind of sad that I had no one to share it with but
    this year I found some friends that are into anime also and I went to my first
    convention with them, Anime Banzai 2014. And in January we went to Fanx 2015.
    There are many more conventions to come and many more memories. Thank you
    Dragon Ball Z for putting a new meaning in my life.

    This is now one of my favorite quotes: https://thedaoofdragonball.com/storage/2012/01/goku_god_glory_dragon_ball.jpg



  22. Steven says:

    Hi there mr. Padula so I have been thinking a lot about what I would want to say when it came to Dragon Ball and how its impacted my life and honestly I couldn’t really say so what I am gonna type will be straight from my inner self. it has been about 15 years since I learned about DB and when I was younger I wasn’t a very strong child along with knowing full well how nerdy I was. As a kid I was always picked on and never really knew how to stand up for myself and being as weak as I was I didn’t think I ever could. I would always imagine myself as a super hero to beat up all the bad guys but I was very scared and never tried. But back then I could never really connect with any hero since they were all so different but straight forward I didn’t really like that. I would wish I could find that one hero who I can relate to in hopes that maybe I can see myself as someone strong. After getting jumped by a bunch of punks and having a huge black eye, all I wanted to do was skim through the tv and hope something cool was on. That was when I discovered on Toonami a weird cartoon I never seen before, its main character was a goof who was amazingly kind hearted and really strong, you know who it was our favorite hero Son Goku! I didn’t realize it then but that show and Goku would soon change who I was. After a few days watching my new favorite show Dragon Ball I noticed my attitude has changed and I was acting a little more brave not to sure why but seeing Goku fight all those super powerful enemies and not ever back down made me believe I could to. One episode specifically I would always recall was when he went full force with Vegeta for the first time it was obvious Vegeta was stronger and he hurt all of Goku’s friends which reminded me of this bully I had as a kid. When I knew I changed was because of that fight this bully would always beat me up and one day he just went way to far. I got beat up so bad my eye was bleeding which sucked but there was this friend I used to have who would stand up for me and yes she was a girl so it was embarassing but not so bad the bully would back off but not that day. He smacked her down and I was furious seeing her fall and cry clinched it Goku would never let that happen and I wasn’t going to either I got up, yelled, and summoned all I had a punched him one good one. I felt terrible about hitting the guy but that day I knew I can be brave and strong like Goku and that’s how Dragon Ball impacted my life it helped me find my true strengths and taught me to stay true with a kind heart. I know it doesn’t seem like much but to me Dragon Ball shows everyone their inner hero and tells them how to be strong I love this series and its very dear to me and I am honored for being a fan for as long as I have.

  23. Brandon Smith says:

    Hi, my name is Brandon Smith, and I’m from Reno, Nevada.
    I’d like to preface this by saying that I’ve been a Dragon Ball fan for as long as I can remember. More than any other heroes that I have ever admired, Goku has been a character that’s helped me forge my own personality and philosophies. I’ve found a significant amount of inspiration in his unwavering desire to do what he knows is best for the world, and his simplistic tastes and passion for martial arts have helped to guide my own sensibilities and artistic philosophies, as well. Hell, I probably wouldn’t have ever started making art if it weren’t for being so enthralled by Akira Toriyama’s unique artwork and love-able characters!
    There isn’t just one Dragon Ball story I could tell you. Some of my earliest memories were of playing with Dragon Ball action figures in my bedroom. I remember being in elementary school and playing outside in my front yard in a small tree that sat outside our living room window, where I’d re-enact scenes from The Tree of Might with my toys, using a second Goku as Turles. One year for Halloween, my mom made me a Goku outfit out of some peach-ish fabric, and I wore it everywhere after that. I didn’t even care if the colour was off.
    My favourite experience with Goku and friends thus far was seeing Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods in theaters with my own little posse, myself dressed as Goku and a friend as Android 17. I can’t tell you how over-joyed I felt to be seeing all of my favourite characters fighting on the big screen for the first time. It was almost like being at a con, only we were the only cosplayers, there. It was magical.
    Thanks for the opportunity to allow me to share how Dragon Ball has influenced me, Mr. Padula!

  24. Yasir Diedericks says:

    I don’t really have some grand story to tell but as someone who loves this franchise I do want to say my bit. My feelings about Dragon Ball has changed a lot over the years with every different phase of my life that I went through but I’ve ultimately come to the conclusion that as I grow older I’m grateful for the fact that Dragon Ball will always be around for me to enjoy in the face of an ever changing world. I’m not really that old yet but somehow just knowing that comforts me in a strange way. I have a analytical mind so I tend to dig underneath the surface of any type of media I consume. With Dragon Ball I find myself digging and digging with seemingly no end in sight and I’m perfectly fine with that. I plan to keep digging underneath the surface of this timeless classic for as long as I can.

  25. Avineesh Kom says:

    Hello, Mr. Padula,
    First of all, I’d like to apologize for the extremely late response. Ever since I first saw your announcement, I’ve been meaning to contact you about my Dragon Ball “story”. Unfortunately, due to school, I forgot about it until now. In any case, if it is still possible, I’d like to share with you exactly how Dragon Ball influenced my life.
    I was actually first introduced to Dragon Ball through GT. I remember back when I was a kid, Cartoon Network would show it on their Toonami block. While I did enjoy it, I would often get confused as to what was happening on the screen. “Why does Pan call Goku, who’s in a child’s body, ‘Grandpa’? Why do Goku and Trunks turn blonde? Where are they even supposed to be?” These were just a few questions that ran through my mind as I watched the show. Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly “hooked” onto Dragon Ball at the time.
    Then I saw Dragon Ball Z. What a power trip THAT was when I started watching it. Even though my journey into DBZ began mid-way during the “Uncut” Saiyan Saga, I could immediately tell how the show differed from GT. GT was a chapter that attempted to mix the high-speed, blood-rushing action of DBZ with the more comedic aspects of the original Dragon Ball, as I later learned. As I (and many others) saw, that didn’t work out too well. But Dragon Ball Z was truly something else. I can still remember my reaction to all of the fights in the show…I could hardly believe what I was seeing. They were just so much damn fun to watch! And the mood of the show made me think that it was actually taking its audience seriously-something very new to me at the time. The characters were just awesome. I was immediately fond of Goku, who, despite all odds, could rise up to the challenge and take down any enemy; Vegeta, a badass prince who would take down anything in his way; Krillin, the short yet likable fighter who could effectively support Goku and the others when it seemed like it was all over…The show was truly a rush.
    And the villains…Even today, I think that they all truly have some of the most amazing designs in history. I remember my reaction when I first saw Frieza…besides the “wait, that’s a guy?!” response that many have when they see him for the first time. After I got over that, I realized how much of an all-powerful, vile creature Frieza was. Hell, he even LOOKS like a devil in his first form. He was ruthless, merciless, strong, clever…In other words, he was unlike the “bad guys” I saw on other shows at the time. Indeed, I got the impression that Frieza was truly evil, and not just pretending to be. As for his different form, each one made my jaw drop. It seemed that each successive transformation was more badass than the next. Later in my life, I would have the same reaction when I saw all of Cell’s transformations. And Buu. And even the Super Saiyans.
    With all of this initial awe, I still find it hard to believe that at one point, I became SCARED of Dragon Ball. I’ve been trying to remember exactly why that happened…But I think the most likely explanation was that as a kid, I was a total wuss. But, I digress. Fortunately for me, I got into the series again when I played Budokai for the PS2 when I was in 4th grade. While it was not the best DBZ game, it still holds a lot of value for me, for it was like a door back into the Dragon World. And that was when I became a hardcore fan of the series. In my free time, I would look through the TV channels to see if anything Dragon Ball-related would come on. I’d often search through the internet to find out as much as I could about the series. Dragon Ball became more than just a show to me. It became a new chapter in my life.
    For the first time, I truly felt a connection to the characters-especially Goku. This is a connection that continues to this very day. There are other characters like Superman, the Hulk, etc., that are very powerful, sure. But Goku is the first one to teach me how you don’t have to be born with all of that talent-training to your very limit, striving to be the best…That can let you attain that power. He also teaches that despite all odds, you can push yourself and achieve victory, no matter how bad things may seem. This was what sets him and Dragon Ball as a whole apart from other series…As well as what inspired other animes.
    Today, I’d like to think that I have a vast knowledge of the Dragon Ball franchise, as well as a deeper understanding of it (which I could get into right now, but I think that this letter is long enough). And that’s something I’m truly grateful for. I actually feel proud of my devotion to this magnificent series, a series that spawned from a humble manga artist from Japan (by the way, Akira Toriyama, I owe you one). In closing, to me, Dragon Ball means something more than just a “silly show”-it means something I can look towards when I need inspiration, encouragement, and, as extreme as it may sound, a reminder of why I love life.

  26. Kakarot says:

    Where do I start with Dragon Ball? There’s just so much to talk about. The lovable characters, the universally recognizable artwork, the life lessons, and some of my best memories of growing up. I’ve spent years playing Dragon Ball Z games and collecting some of the figures. I can’t count how many times I’ve gone through the manga and anime. I love the series so much.

    I started watching Dragon Ball around the age of three, this was more or less around 1997, so you could say I’m a part of the first wave of North American fans. Back then, I was amazed by the feats these characters could pull off, just like most fans during those years of their lives. But as I got older, I noticed little things about the show that spoke to me quite a lot, except I didn’t really notice just what they were told me the first time around. I think a lot of people who were once into Dragon Ball never really stopped to appreciate the things that made the series be much more than an anime about fighting, and that sometimes saddens me a bit.

    My love for the series has remained strong since I became a fan of Son Goku and his friends; I even made a Facebook page back in 2011 dedicated to my love for the series (which I named “Kakarot”). Kakarot was kind of like a blog from one Dragon Ball fan to other fans of the series. I remember my original page had an overnight growth in likes. It seriously gained over 35,000 likes under one night around Valentine’s of 2012. Once I saw the crowd I had, I decided it was time to talk about the life lessons I learned from the show. For years I’ve posted about how Goku and Krillin taught me the meaning of an unconditional friendship, and how Gohan’s relationship with Piccolo gives me faith in giving others second chances. I really like talking about the themes of redemption we see in the series, but I also love bringing up how Goku taught me that I should never throw in the towel if something is of importance to me. The fans of Kakarot love those posts; and every day I receive messages from fans telling me one of the posts cheered them up, talked them out of doing something stupid, or just straight up made them want to rewatch the anime! Although I must confess I do throw in a lot of crude Dragon Ball humor as well as the occasional pun for a good laugh (King Kai would be proud).

    So yeah, Dragon Ball has had quite an effect on my life; and consequently it has also affected a lot of people I’ve managed to interact with over my three year run as the admin of the “Kakarot” page on Facebook. At age 21, I still look up to Son Goku just like I did when I was a little boy.

  27. Chance McMurdy says:

    Hi, my name is Chance. Dragon Ball to me, is where I feel most comfortable.. in a way nothing else makes me feel. When I immerse myself within the world of Dragon Ball, my limits know no bounds and my spirit reaches new heights. My imagination within this fictional realm is endless, it is truly another universe worth investing my time in. Dragon Ball is my favorite series because of how creative it is. I am amazed at how Mr. Toriyama made his own extremely creative world on the spot, and it turned out to be so interesting. What if this happened, what if that happened… this and that, it never truly ends within Mr. Toriyama’s world. This world he created, expands within the new content, or content non canon to the original, it’s basically how the fan wishes to perceive his desired dragon world. Thats why I love Dragon Ball, because it inspired me to be creative and make my own stories. Animate my own sagas, and depict my own story in a manga. Ive been doing this kind of art forever, and Dragon Ball really helped motivate me to keep it up. the original story is the basis for wonderful add-ons that can easily create many stories, the whole world itself is just like another universe with endless lore. Its incredible.

    Dragon Ball… specifically Goku and Vegeta, have changed my life for the better. I look up to them, their decisions, and their character. I look at myself as somebody with pride for who he is. Goku has pride too, contrary to popular belief, he has the pride of earning his strength all by himself, not depending on others. Thats just how I am, I want to earn my rightful place in this world without depending on others, I want to solely achieve greatness by my own doing, ascend beyond my limitations and find comfort knowing I did so. Similar to going Super Saiyan 3, it is my destiny to reach my peak, and live to tell my descendants how I did it. My success and reputation solely depends on what I do alone. The strength of Saiyan Pride and the privilege of having Saiyan Blood, these two mix to form the ultimate individual with endless motivation and perseverance.

    As a Super Saiyan 3, I’d actually look good with no-eyebrows… they don’t look ugly or bad at all, same with the long golden spikey hair… the no eyebrows effect is actually the Supraorbital foramen enlarged, I assume thats what happens to the eyebrow ridge during the Super Saiyan 3 transformation. As you can tell I take Dragon Ball to heart, it really changed me. I want to help give to others what it gave to me, a valiant soul that tests his limits to see whats in his potential. Dragon Ball is my Dragon Soul, and its simply my back-up against everything real life throws at me. Knowing I tried my hardest is the best thing I can ever know.

  28. Angel Michelle Romero says:

    Hey Derek! My buddy, Michael Tenorio down there shared this on his personal fb page and it caught my eye immediately!

    Thing is, DBZ has probabaly changed my life in more ways than I can imagine.

    So Here’s the scoop,
    I grew up in Mexico and Colorado, and as a kid, I didn’t quite realize that my childhood was very different from what anyone would coin a “traditional” childhood.

    But to make a long story short, my brother and I were taken away from our entire family for seven years. For this entire time we were told all of our loved ones were dead and that we had no one. The only family member we had was our mother, who was tied up in all sorts of illegal drugs, trafficking, and needless to say, pretended we weren’t her children. She would disappear for days on end, and leave us alone with our three younger siblings to fend for ourselves.

    Here’s where DBZ came in.

    See, my brother was convinced he was Vegeta,
    And I was convinced that I was Goku.

    Every day we would play DBZ Budokai, watch the show, play with our action figures, and play fight as if we were the real deal. We actually learned how to defend ourselves on the streets by raising our arms over our faces just as Goku does in almost every hand-hand fight in the series.

    for my brother, Vegeta’s ability to be compassionate and kind, but remain powerful and collected has shaped who he is to this day. Vegeta, on the surface, is a very hostile and belligerent character that feels very entitled. He is the prince, he has to be the best; the greatest, the strongest. This is my brother today. This character has literally paved the way for my brother who is now a successful body builder in training and who also reflects the very essence of Vegeta.

    Today, I am a firefighter and an animal rescuer, and I study plasma physics. On every level of my achievements, I reflect Goku; innocent acts of kindness that only wish to make the world a better place for everyone. Goku’s character was the protagonist is its very essence; Goku worked to help the greater good even if it meant destroying himself. And I have felt this echo to my very core. I have grown up in the shadow of everyone; with no family, no parents, no adults.

    We were feral children that learned life lessons from characters in an anime, but at this point it seems so much more than that. Not only did DBZ change the course of our lives, but also of history. We were isolated from society at a very young age, and yet we can still contribute to society thanks to this anime. This legacy.
    This life altering story of mastery.

  29. Chad Scott says:

    Hey man I messaged you on facebook and emailed whenever you get some free time hit me up.

  30. Steve "TempestMask" C. says:

    Awww man, I misread the dang deadline. I thought it was get it by April 18. Well there’s a stupid mistake on a great offer that I’m now gonna regret…

    • Send it in. There’s a couple submissions that are a bit weak, and if yours is good, I may use yours instead. Key points to emphasize are emotion and being genuine. I don’t want to hear about your stuff. I want to hear how Dragon Ball has changed your life, with concrete examples and stories. I’ll need your full name, city / state, and a picture of you or something dragon ball related that you want to share with others. Thanks.

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