Dragon Ball is a manga by Akira Toriyama loosely based on the story Sun Wukong, a character from the Chinese novel Journey to the West. It was published from 1984 to 1995 and collected 42 volumes. The anime adaptation is divided into two distinct parts: Dragon Ball focuses on the youth of Son Goku, while Dragon Ball Z chronicles his adventures when he reaches adulthood. Dragon Ball is undoubtedly one of the major titles in the history of anime, but is it appropriate for children? In this article, we have decided to tell you whether the series is appropriate for kids or not.
Dragon Ball is categorized as TV-PG in the United States; in Japan, the show is listed as being 15. Dragon Ball is, for the most part, a family and kid-friendly show and is, more or less, a typical representative of the shonen genre, but Dragon Ball does contain mild sexual content and mild graphic violence, which is why it might not be fully appropriate for all ages. Teenagers should be able to watch it without a problem.
In the paragraphs that follow, we are going to elaborate on this answer and give you some additional information on the show’s content. You’re going to find out whether Dragon Ball is appropriate for children, how scary and gory it is, whether there is sex, nudity, and profanities, as well as what age it is appropriate for. This is going to be your ultimate parents guide for Dragon Ball.
What age is Dragon Ball appropriate for?
As per the official ratings, Dragon Ball is rated as “PG”, which means “parental guidance”. That standard is defined as follows: Most parents will find this program suitable for all ages. Japan lists the series as a 15 one, whereas most other countries have it listed in similar age categories (12-16, depending on the country). No countries have applied a stricter standard for Dragon Ball, which says enough about the maturity of its content.
This means that Dragon Ball is a show that is appropriate for teenagers and older fans. Children under the age of 14 should not be able to watch the series, as there is content that might be inappropriate for them as per the standard. This is the official rating for the show and we are now going to observe how things stand in several different categories.
Dragon Ball: Sex & Nudity
Although there is absolutely no explicit content in Dragon Ball, the fact is that there is a moderate level of nudity and sexual references in the series, which is more than your usual shonen anime, although not by much. The series is by no means suggestive, nor does it contain any inappropriate content (yours truly can confirm that, as he’s seen Dragon Ball when he was 8). Such scenes include:
- In Dragon Ball, Goku is often seen naked with his penis shown, although it’s completely non-sexual and is absolutely comical every time.
- A lot of characters are open perverts who prefer handsome women and often bleed from their noses when meeting one of them.
- There are nude bathing scenes, but nothing is revealed.
- There are mild sexual innuendos, but the series never crosses any boundaries.
As you can see, this is a bit more than your usual shonen anime, but these scenes are not overly suggestive and are very limited.
Dragon Ball: Violence & Gore
The violence of the fights in Dragon Ball has also been described as moderate in general, although there are certain scenes that are both milder and more violent than others, which is why certain moments would definitely earn a PG rating, the number of such scenes is very small and limited overall; the uncut version has more of them, but as stated, it’s nothing over the top. The fight scenes are epic, and violence is depicted in the show as per the plot, but it’s nothing over the top and it’s not particularly graphic or gory.
Most of the violence portrayed in Dragon Ball is fighting and the series never hides that, but it rarely goes overboard and is, at times, even cartoony. This means that you won’t have any trouble with it, and neither will your children. There are scenes that suggest some deeper violence, but they are mostly comical. As the series progressed, the violence and the fights become more intense, there is more blood and even some dangerous enemies, but it’s still not over the top and it’s part of the series’ inherent realism.
Dragon Ball: Profanity
As far as profanities are concerned, they are not heavily featured in Dragon Ball, although they are present. Examples of words that can be heard are “ass” and “damn”, but they are very rare and this is a category where Dragon Ball really doesn’t go overboard at all. Now, even this small quantity might bother some viewers and it is something that children shouldn’t really repeat, but it adds to the realism of the show, doesn’t it?
First of all, we have to state that the characters of Dragon Ball are martial artists who fight and face various threats in their daily adventures to save their friends and families, as well as the world, and people don’t really tend to watch their language while they’re fighting a homicidal alien, don’t they? It would be silly if these characters didn’t curse from time to time, wouldn’t it? This is only realistic and the series adds to it by adapting the language to be appropriate for a specific situation.
So, profanities are certainly present in the show but we don’t think it’s something bad. It simply adds to the show’s realism and it helps the viewers to better understand the characters, the world, and the complete setting. Anything else would be completely out-of-character, which is why we can only praise the authenticity of the show. And, on top of that, they are really not heavily featured and are not severe.
Should you allow your kids to watch Dragon Ball?
Dragon Ball is one of the more child-friendly anime series you can find today and is a remnant of the old anime generation, actually the first major anime generation in history. The show focuses on fighting and is a typical example of the shonen genre. This is why there is nothing overly exaggerated in Dragon Ball, but the fights and the nudity might be moderately present, whereas profanities are quite rare. The series focuses on adventures and the fights of its protagonists.
Settings such as Dragon Ball‘s are nothing strange when Japanese art is concerned, especially since it’s based on Oriental traditions, and there are many other manga and anime that portray such worlds and that is why the shonen genre is so popular around the world. Dragon Ball is quite faithful to the original material, although there is some filler content, that’s just how things were done back in the day. So, should you allow your children to watch Dragon Ball?
Well, the official ratings do suggest that children under the age of 14 should not watch Dragon Ball but it all comes down to your parental approach. We at Fiction Horizon honestly don’t think that there is anything bad in watching such animated shows (as has been said, yours truly has personally grown up watching Dragon Ball when he was 8 and he was exposed to a fully naked kid Goku, blood, characters piercing other characters’ bodies, and whatnot).
In retrospect, Dragon Ball doesn’t really cross any borders which would make it overly inappropriate for children (for example, there is no cannibalism involved, no severe mutilations, no torture, no sexual violence, etc.).
Children under the age of 13 might be a tad confused if they cannot follow the plot, but we don’t think that those older than 13 or 14 will have any problems with the show. If your younger children can follow the plot, they can also watch Dragon Ball because they could also learn a lot about friendship and heroism.
So, in our opinion, Dragon Ball is appropriate for all ages and for children of all shapes and sizes, so if your child wants to watch it – we absolutely support it. Dragon Ball is so important that we actually encourage you, as parents, to introduce your kids to Dragon Ball because they’ll definitely love it.