What would you say is your favorite thing to come from Japan? Since it is probably difficult to pick just one thing, perhaps we should narrow the category: What is the most popular Japanese anime to come to the United States? I would say it has to be Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball Z. I would give the Cell Saga a five-star rating.
Now wait a minute! Before we get into a heated discussion here, let me continue. Yes, I loved Astro Boy when I was in kindergarten and Kimba the White Lion when I was in elementary school, and I have enjoyed many animated series since that time. But somehow, Dragon Ball Z grabbed hold of my daughters and me as soon as we began watching that day in McDonald's, when I first saw a very young Gohan in the clutches of Goku's brother Raditz. As I viewed their troubled interaction, the thought grew in my mind: I really want to know what this is!
Every afternoon we sat, enthralled, in front of the TV. My younger daughter and her friends, all boys, reenacted DBZ scenes on the playground, and everyone competed to be Vegeta. We all quoted lines from the show. One of my favorites came from King Kai when he admonished Goku for bringing Cell to his planet. (Goku felt it was a safe location to blow up the evil villain.) Before the explosion King Kai said rather huffily, "You could have at least called!"
I cannot tell you how nervous we were as we watched the evil Cell fly above the land. Who would he get and when? It was a bit like seeing the Korean horror flick, The Host. To relieve the tension I would pen silly poems and send DBZ e-cards to my daughters: "I'm Mr. Popo, I'm a very nice guy/ But I miss my boss, and that's no lie/Had to merge with Piccolo, that's what he did/Had to find Cell who flew and hid." There was also a large humor contingency with the appearance of three androids, Android 16, Android 17, and Android 18. Androids 17 and 18 took obnoxiousness to a fine art, while Android 16, well, he was GREAT! Why, oh why did it have to come to THIS?