There’s no denying Japan’s influence on global culture. From fashion to technology to more niche things like coffee and denim, Japanese consumerism has played a seminal part in what makes up pop culture. It’s always interesting to see how certain Japanese products translate over to a Western fanbase, with one particular avenue being anime. Even the most casual media consumer is at least aware of what anime is, and for the die hard fans, anime is a huge deal.
Anime basically means any type of animation coming out of Japan. This is an umbrella term for a huge and pretty extensive category, but some anime series have had a worldwide impact outside of their native country. One particular series that has had a lasting influence, perhaps one of the most popular at least outside of Japan is the seminal series Dragon Ball Z. This series, based on the Dragon Ball manga (Japanese comic) ran from 1989 to 1995 and first came to the U.S. in 1996. Since then, it’s been a hit in both countries.
To say that Dragon Ball Z is iconic is understatement. Goku (Son Goku), the protagonist of the series, is culturally relevant at a national level. This is to the point that he, not the artist who draws him or the series creator, is an actual ambassador for Tokyo in the 2020 Olympics. That would be similar to Mickey Mouse being an ambassador for Los Angeles if they got the 2024 Olympics (who do we talk to about that?).
When pop culture crosses into sneaker and streetwear culture, the results are pretty cool. This is especially true when you’re dealing with something iconic like Dragon Ball. You don’t necessarily have to be an anime fan to get down with Dragon Ball Z, but it's undeniable that getting a co-sign by the likes of BAPE and X-Large establish the anime's significance.
We’ve been seeing Son Goku and his compatriots on different custom sneakers, which is great. We want to see more of those Dragon Ball Z customs, so tag us at #angelusdirect!