"Dragon Ball Z" is a Japanese anime television show. The series is the sequel to the original "Dragon Ball" series. Both shows are based on the Dragon Ball manga series created by Akira Toriyama, and both are produced by Toei Animation. The series was originally shown in Japan in the early to mid-1990s, and then adapted for other audiences including the United States, Australia, Europe, India, and Latin America. The series included 291 episodes.
Toriyama selected the title of "Dragon Ball Z" because "z" is the last letter of the alphabet and he believed he was creating the final chapter of protagonist Goku's story. The episodes consisted primarily of the content in the 325 final chapters of the manga series, although producers extended scenes and added characters at times.
In the United States, "Dragon Ball Z" was first launched in September 1996. The series was cancelled in 1998 due to lack of interest. However, re-runs of the first two seasons were shown on Cartoon Network starting in August 1998 and the show grew in popularity. Owner Funimation Studios began producing English versions of the shows again, and episodes were aired on Cartoon Network from 1999 to 2003 with enormous success. As of 2015, re-runs are still aired.
The popularity of the series created additional opportunities for the creators and owners of the franchise, who have extended the story lines into 14 movies and around 150 video games.