Yeah so I just reread the whole of Dragon Ball and DBZ, and while it reaffirmed some of my problems with the series, a lot of stuff I didn't get before just clicked with me and I really enjoyed it.
I will just post some general thoughts and you guys should too.
-The Buu saga is a clusterfuck. At this point it was obvious Toriyama couldn't figure out ways to make dudes stronger so now people fuse together, unfuse(???), absorb people and all kinds of shit. Also the idea that Goku kills Buu completely runs opposite the idea of the old being replaced by the new that the Cell saga established.
-Despite fusion seeming like an idea for another comic that wasn't DBZ, Gotenks is great. As a character he reminds me of somebody you would have seen in the original Dragon Ball. He has all these ridiculous attacks and is really funny.
-The Cell saga was boring. The androids are way more interesting than Cell, and the logic behind the Cell Games is really flimsy at best.
-Goku's feelings on killing people are a crazy shift from Dragon Ball. It starts literally as Z starts where he is hesitant to kill Raditz. Young Goku (seemingly) killed Tao Pai Pai without even thinking about it, and later during the 22nd budokai casually talked about how he 'sent him to hell'. Also refuse to believe nobody died during the raid on the Red Ribbon Army headquarters.
-I know everyone gets upset about how only Saiyans are able to compete as the show goes further (or really at its start) but the original Dragon Ball was like that too. Goku was evenly matched with everyone he met but began outclassing them almost instantly. The real problem is that the side characters don't just drop off once they become useless. They just hang around as a reminder of how useless they are.
-Vegeta might be the only character in the history of the show to have any meaningful character development. The Namek saga is made all the better by how unpredictable he is, the Cell Saga really only works because of how obnoxiously proud he is, and him coming to terms with the fact that he can never be as strong as Goku in the Buu saga embodies the entire point that Dragon Ball tried so hard to hammer in - there is always somebody stronger. Edit: Actually Tien had some development as well.
-The world of the original Dragon Ball had real history, and was much more interesting. The stories about King Piccolo being trapped in a rice cooker by Mutaito give the world a really cool wuxia vibe. In comparison, the history of Buu is much more contrived and doesn't really click for me. If Earth is just one of the lower worlds and the gods didn't even live there, why is it so important to the narrative in the first place? Like, obviously the wizards weren't earthlings. They didn't even look human.
-And obviously the biggest problem with DBZ was how 'strength' was portrayed. Despite the Freiza saga having characters drone on about how scouters and power levels weren't important... they are literally the only thing that matters in DBZ. Wherein DB the fights had really cool and funny twists and dude whipped out crazy martial arts techniques, in DBZ attacks are virtually indistinguishable. A giant beam is just a giant beam no matter what you call it. In the manga they don't even name the moves since, you know, pew pew. The only truly interesting technique is the Genki Dama, and even then its just another energy attack - only the way you create it is interesting.
So yeah what do you think about dragon ball