A period of universal joy tends to descend upon the Internet collective when celebrities are discovered to be into the same nerdy things we are. Drake streaming that one time he played Fortnite. Michael B. Jordan defending his love of anime. And more recently (though it’s been ongoing), Britney Spears’ unwavering pride showing off her kids’ artistic abilities, revealing that they are the biggest Dragon Ball fans.
Proud mommy moment! pic.twitter.com/KeRYfwAnWv
— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) January 15, 2018
The birth of the Dragon Ball media franchise started in 1984, when Akira Toriyama’s first volume of the original manga was published. Since then, Dragon Ball has sustained on a never-ending storm that permeates pop culture globally. From spawning video games, toys and figures, and most famously, an anime adaptation and related movies. It’s not hard to recognize who Goku is or define what “Super Saiyan” means even if one has little to no familiarity with any of the franchise’s products. Dragon Ball has throned itself a place in the world as something to be considered timeless.
A mainstream acknowledgement of anime is always a huge deal. There was certainly a positive stir when Britney Spears has posted drawings her kids have made on Instagram, which not only included a rendering Goku, but a drawing of Rem from the series, Re:Zero. That year’s Halloween, her son even dressed up as recurring antagonist, Frieza. The Spears’ family’s strong association with has made waves to point the of receiving acknowledgement from the series’ English cast. A music icon and iconic franchise collided.
My son is Lord Frieza ???????????????? pic.twitter.com/J0aaUmUEej
— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) October 12, 2016
To reiterate, Dragon Ball debuted in the late 80s. The United States did not receive localized versions of the original manga series and anime adaptation until a near decade later. Despite this time gap, it is clear that Spears’ children are not from the initial generation that could have grown up with the title in its first run. However, Britney herself is, both a product and symbol of the 90’s generation. Ultimately, its influence on the Spears children demonstrates how much the franchise has had an impact by spanning across generations.
The franchise certainly has no signs of stopping or slowing down. In November 2017, the Japanese voice actress of Bulma—a prominent character in the franchise—Hiromi Tsuru, sadly passed away. Casting directors were quick to cast Aya Hisakawa to perform Bulma’s new voice onwards. Toei Animation, the animation studio primarily behind the franchise’s anime series, has also recently created a separate department specifically devoted to the production of solely Dragon Ball related media. While it can’t be really determined in the foreseeable future whether or not this is good or bad, it is clear that Dragon Ball wants to secure its own immortality.
The Spears family does not seem shy about showcasing their interests even beyond Dragon Ball. The previous year, Britney’s sons even had a Pokémon-themed birthday party. Regardless of celebrity status, it is always heartwarming to see parents publicly supportive of their kids’ interests.
That said, it is undeniable that Dragon Ball is a powerful force. Not only has it proved itself to have had a global impact, it has maintained enough momentum to thrive across different generations, different continents, and beyond.