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<I>Dragon Ball Z</I> Keeps Up the Momentum

1 Nov, 2003 By: Edwin De La Cruz

With more than 16 million DVD and VHS combined units sold in the United States, the superhot anime franchise “Dragon Ball” shows no signs of stopping. Even before hitting U.S. airwaves, the program dominated Asian and Latin American TV ratings, where it generated more than $3 billion in merchandise.

It has been no different in the States. “Dragon Ball” has been the backbone of Toonami, Cartoon Network's anime programming block, for the past few years. On the home video front, “Dragon Ball Z” videos constantly top Nielsen VideoScan charts.

The anime title is comprised of three series: “Dragon Ball,” “Dragon Ball Z” and “Dragon Ball GT.” The three together tell the life story of Son Goku, a member of an alien race known as “Saiyans,” who is sent to Earth to fulfill his destiny -- one plagued with many enemies and long battles.

The DVD release of “GT,” the latest series, has exceeded its sales expectations without a prior TV airing. The series video supplier, Funimation, thinks these sales figures will skyrocket once the show begins its initial TV airing this month on Cartoon Network.

The simplicity of its plot, combined with relentless martial arts, may be one of the reasons why the franchise is so successful. Tony Vandeveerdonk, Funimation's director of sales, said the “DB” craze and Funimation are far from over.

“We're all about building a brand. You will see that in the future with this and our other upcoming programs,” said Vandeveerdonk.

Funimation's lineup of distributed product includes “YuYu Hakusho” and the anime/kidvid juggernaut “Yu-Gi-Oh!,” which is already one of the most successful anime franchises to hit the United States.

To keep the momentum going, Funimation is offering fans the opportunity to purchase DVD boxed sets comprised of “DBZ” story arcs at reduced prices. Additionally, “DBZ” fans will be pleased to learn that the rights of the series' first two seasons will soon revert back to Funimation -- bringing them all under one roof -- after having been initially licensed to Pioneer Entertainment for home video distribution.

Funimation will redub and repackage these episodes in their never-before-seen uncut versions.

“This is an incredible opportunity for fans of the show to begin anew with the cast they've grown to love,” said Vandeveerdonk.

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