I love Dragon Ball, it is in my opinion, unquestionably one of the absolute best anime shows ever made, and the sequel series Dragon Ball Z is just as great, or possibly even better than this one. I'm currently watching Dragon Ball GT for the first time, and it's pretty good actually...so far at least, some annoyances, but I'll talk about that when I review that series. Dragon Ball was unbelievably popular when it aired, and still Dragon Ball Z Kai manages to pull in consistent high ratings in Japan and the US. People love the show, while others hate it, one individual I talked to, a die hard Naruto and Bleach fan thinks this is the absolute worst anime ever made, he despises it, however I made him admit that he has a bit of respect for it in the sense that Naruto probably wouldn't exst if it weren't for Dragon Ball, but to each their own. The show has spawned sequel shows, countless video games, toys and other merchandise, so there's no doubt it still has numerous fans all over the world.
Dragon Ball, this first series, is terrific, the adventure/comedy is great, thanks to the fantastic characters. Goku is such a naive, innocent character, I have a problem with other anime shows where the main hero is an obnoxious, full of himself, jerk, Goku is awesome, while still not being smug or annoying. I could go through all the other characters, but there are so many, Bulma is cool as well, Lunch or Launch is one of my favorite characters, too bad she's hardly in Dragon Ball Z at all, Master Roshi and Oolong deliver the perverted comedy that's so common in anime, however, where I had a problem with similar stuff in shows like Keroro Gunso, where the girls are 12-13, here the girls are at least of legal age, at least after my country's rules, so when they have to endure the more humiliating moments, it's not toe-curlingy uncomfortable. They do show a bit of nudity in the show, even uncovered breasts with nipples on full display, but so what? I don't mind kids seeing Dragon Ball, a bit of non-sexual nudity is perfectly fine in my book. Some of the violence however can be very intense, particularly some of the stuff in the last battle between Goku and Piccolo Jr.
The first three seasons expertly balances comedy and adventure, with some action, now I don't think the action is all that great in the majority of the first three seasons, I blame that on the animation, I guess they had a limited budget, it looks dated, of course that has it's own charm, but the action scenes suffer and are stiff and slow. However, the fourth and fifth seasons have some amazing fight scenes that are really awesome. The show is surprisingly consistent in quality and manages to keep things fresh with new surprises and characters. Of course there are some mediocre eisodes and the last five episodes flat out stinks, they're lousy and boring beyond belief, I'm glad Dragon Ball Z is a direct continuation, it would be embarrassing if these five episodes were the last we would've seen from Dragon Ball. Another thing I hate is how big moments and surprises are way too obvious, and then they spend up to multiple episodes having the characters going "who's that?", "what's happening?" and such, they drag it out and they do this a couple of times. Also, the amount of shots of people gawking at something incredible can be a bit annoying sometimes.
Part of the success of Dragon Ball can be credited it's charm, it has a genuine heart and isn't just about the kamehameha's and intense battles. I love it, I mean, I'm not a raving fanboy who thinks it's absolutely flawless in every single way, there are a few faults, but ultimately it's a great series that's well worth checking out.