Recently, I have received a few requests for a review of the very popular Japanese anime cartoon, Dragonball Z. I have been reluctant to get into the mode of negative articles over popular items, because it is a hole that is hard to get out of. I would rather be known for teaching FOR something (Eternal Life and Abundant Life – John 3:16, John 10:10) than AGAINST things of this world. However, I believe that God encourages the analyzing of even our entertainment choices,
I Thessalonians 5:21-22 “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
I need to point out that there are differences in the original Japanese cartoons and the edited versions for American audiences. Edited out are vulgar sexual references and actions, swearing, childhood nudity, blood, smoking, drinking and more. While these versions are available for sale in stores, they are not what are being show on the Cartoon Network. I applaud the editing choices made by those involved. If your child wants to watch a purchased video of Dragonball Z, you may wish to read the case to see if these items are edited out or not.
If you disagree with the notion that God cares about even your entertainment choices and that some things can look fun and enjoyable – yet still be bad… then you should stop reading this now. That is the only basis under which I can write this editorial. I will work hard at presenting what I know about the show, and what I know of God’s Word. It will be your job to make a decision about what I write. It is not my desire to judge or force anyone to do anything. But after being asked, I will at the very least try to present a fair and honest review, and to answer the question, “Is there anything wrong with Dragonball Z”.
But to begin with, let's reverse the question. Instead of asking, “Is there anything wrong with DBZ?”, let's ask the more positive question, “Is there anything good with DBZ?" Answer? I think so...
All of the stories are entertaining and very comical at times. And, besides the cute and lively artwork, Dragonball Z does teach some good lessons: friendship, loyalty, fighting for what is important to you, protecting others, working hard at being the best you can be, and more. Those are all wonderful themes! Is that enough? End of article?
Well, if it is fair to look at the good, it's fair to now look at what might be bad.
This is where many of you may get angry. For instance, I have a teenage friend that argued with me because I was writing this article. He LOVES Dragonball Z and he became angry and defensive just because I considered doing research and writing this article. First, he told me NOT to trust what I read on any DBZ fan web sites, but to just write about what I saw on the show. But when I told him that I saw Goku (the main character) transform into a “Super Sayajin” by forcing himself into a rage and becoming angry, he got mad and told me I didn’t see it right. “So, which is it?” I asked, “do I write about what I saw, or what I read, or what you tell me in defending it? Besides, the web sites I visited (again, these are fan pages) said the same thing, "Super Sayajin" power can only come by becoming very angry.”
For the record, the Bible has much to say about becoming angry – and how to treat those that seek us harm. For instance:
Can DBZ be a witnessing tool? Sure! I think of the Apostle Paul at Mars Hill when he pointed to the alter of their unknown god and told them about the God they didn't know! But let's keep in mind that Paul did not hang around and take part in regular pagan worship services there to that unknown god. Nor was he encouraging the people to stay there - that would be contrary to his message, wouldn't it? Let's not let Satan cloud our vision.
We are real people, with real wants and desires, we will always try to justify questionable things and sin in our lives - sometimes with some very spiritual language and excuses. But what we are truly doing is running from God's goal of making us holy. Don't lie to God as you try to lie to yourself. He called us to be separate from the world. Let's not disappoint Him.
The bottom line isn’t whether you or I like or dislike something, right? It is what God says that is important. No, not what I SAY God says, but what HE says... No, God doesn't specifically mention Dragonball Z. But contrary to some popular ideas these days, God DOES give us guidelines for what we put into our minds…
So, personal opinions aside, what is IN Dragonball Z? What are the themes and what happens in the show? Here are some things that I have observed after watching the show several times and after doing extensive research on the Internet. You read the list and see if these things are part of God's perfect will for your life - based on the Bible, not personal notions...
PROBLEM AREAS IN DRAGONBALL Z
Now you know what is in these shows, and I've given you several specific Bible verses that I think are fitting to the subject. Parents and children alike should feel confident in the choices that we make (Romans 14:24).
We are told to THINK and to DO
It does matter what we put in front of our eyes