Riding the Dragon: Part 1

Written By Johnny When I was a kid I watched cartoon network after school. Toonami had my two main shotoonamiws, Pokémon and Digimon starting at 4 PM. After those shows, there was a full hour of Dragon Ball Z. I didn’t give it a chance at first, but after many weeks of being glued to the couch and not changing the channel I began to absorb the awesomeness of Z.   One of my school friends, Jason was very into DBZ back then, one day I was absent from school so I went to his house to get mygohan-krillin assignments. On TV was the Freeza saga, when Krillin and Gohan are spying on Freeza, Dodoria, and Zarbon in the Namek village. Jason explained to me why he liked the show. I don’t remember what he said, mainly because I was probably 9 years old and I’m 24 now, but he was responsible for me committing to watching it more often and giving it a chance. Soon after I became obsessed, I watched all the reruns. Toonami’s airing schedule played two episodes a day, 5 days a week, in order, from beginning of the Saiyan Arc straight to the current season airing in America. While desperately waiting for new episodes I discovered some movies, I convinced my father to buy me “Tree of Might” because Turles on the cover made me think it was Goku’s evil twin or something. I also watched a few (2 or 3) episodes of Dragon Ball. My memory of those were vastly different from what I watched earlier this year.gohan ki I remember being grounded and hating my parents, but since I had nothing to do I would create stories of a superhero, creatively named Super John, who could go Super Saiyan and fights bad guys. I remember creating this guy while sitting in my living room watching Gohan teach Videl how to use Ki. And desperately trying to focus my hands to project the light energy that they were producing. I’ve watched most of the episodes of DBZ up until the Buu Arc, I began to lose interest, which is a leitmotif in my life, occasionally dropping things and coming back to them years later with a passion. I fell off the DBZ bandwagon for a while. My younger cousin, Kevin, tried to tell me about Broly, and Dragon Ball GT (GT sounded horrible from the start in my opinion, still never finished it, I literally fall asleep watching it.) Kevin watched a bunch of popular anime in the early 2000’s; One Piece, Full Metal Alchemist, Trigun, etc. Inuyasha_with_his_Tessaiga I had some friends in High School who introduced me to Inuyasha and Detective Conan. I became a casual consumer of some animem but for the most part I didn’t get back into it. Early college I found High School of the Dead in my zombie phase, which predates the Walking Dead and I’m still waiting for season fucking 2. My good friend Chris C. introduced me to the DBZ Orange boxes, finally, the passion I had for DBZ started to spark again. But that fire was only dwindling for a long time. In my 3rd year of college, betwekanji_aikidoen classes and delivering pizza, I started training in the Traditional Japanese Martial Art of Aikido. I fell in love with it. It is a very formal style of martial arts focusing on grappling and using your opponents strength against them. I made many friends on the mat and often during warm ups and stretches we would pretend to Kamehameha each other. While Training at school I heard rumors of the return of DBZ in the form of the movie Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. This was announced in 2012 and released early 2013, but it took me over a year to get into it. Dragon Ball Z was on its return to my life, I didn’t see it coming but when it did it changed my life. It came in the form of social media. Specifically Snapchat, Instagram, and a dream. Stay tuned later this week for Part Two of this true story.

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