Gym Memberships Set to Increase 200% as DBZ Returns

Fitness centers are projected to see a spike in profits this summer with the triumphant return of the 291-episode series Dragon Ball Z, called Dragon Ball Super. After a nearly 20-year hiatus, the anime will return to television bringing a wave of returning gym-goers who have not lifted weights since the show ended in 1996 and echoes faded in the early 2000s. Known for its high-powered fighters, the show is known to motivate high levels of tenacity and passion in athletes of all kind, particularly recognized by clutched fists and mouths screaming to the sky inspiring basketball players who call And-1.

DBZ’s influence is felt in metaphysical areas of athletics as well, as sports psychologists reportedly used Piccolo GIFs to help regrow the spider webs that hold together Derrick Rose’s knees. Earlier in 2015, the New York Knicks discussed featuring anime music videos of DBZ at Madison Square Garden during starting lineup announcements to help rouse fans instead of introducing their actual players. The television series even evolved the way fans support their favorite teams:

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Most DBZ fans have fallen woefully out of shape since the show’s end, likely being injured physically and emotionally during Dragon Ball GT, which was written by a different creative team. Other characters filled the gap admirably – notably Naruto, Rock Lee, and the scrappy underdogs from the Leaf Village – but it is no coincidence that scientific studies show a remarkable decrease in bench-press maximums since Goku and Vegeta went off air. Each year that passes has brought professional athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and weekend warriors further from the day they saw a Saiyan training in a hyperbolic time chamber.

The announcement of the new DBZ series is expected to bring a new legion of fans too, with teens born in the 2000s understanding their power levels and how limits only exist to be broken. High school scouts will now include “television programs watched” as an analysis criterion to determine student-athlete potential. Adrian Peterson’s single game rushing record is expected to be broken by 2016, and Michael Phelps is predicted to reach level 3.


Injuries are projected to rise as well, and doctors are warning of the effects the re-launch may have on the casual athlete. “We really want to mitigate the dangers of people getting in the gym, adding 3, 4, 5 plates more than they’re used to because they think they’re defeating Frieza,” says Dr. Nathan Lee, kinesiology specialist at the University of Toronto. “There’s some real concern there.

Physicians are urging fans to ease back into their viewing routine, watching 2-3 older episodes per week leading up to the new show so they can take the physical stress. “No AMVs, and no binge-watching,” suggests Dr. Lee. “There are no Senzu Beans in real life. Well, there are… inspired by the show actually… but they’re not patented yet so y’all have to wait.”

Vegeta-GymGoku GymRoshi Gym

Some suggest the show’s return is due to the success of the powerful gym lobbyists in Washington, fighting against The Flash’s impact and rising interests in Track & Field. Michelle Obama is rumored to be making plans to include the TV series in her campaign against childhood obesity, but those claims are yet to be substantiated. We reached out to First Lady Obama who could not comment on specifics, but winked, turned, and fist-bumped her Secret Service agent as they walked away. Toei Animation themselves offered a quote, commenting on the return of the series and its original creators:

“Reuniting the franchise’s iconic characters, Dragon Ball Super will follow the aftermath of Goku’s fierce battle with Majin Buu, as he attempts to maintain earth’s fragile peace. Overseen by Dragon Ball’s original creator, Akira Toriyama and produced with Fuji Television, Dragon Ball Super will draw on its historic past to create a bold, new universe welcoming to fans and endearing to new viewers.”

Toei Animation translated:
“We made Dragon Ball GT. What do you want us to say, we fucked up. We know it, you know it, and we not even denying it. We gon’ put Dragon Ball GT in a box, along with Eric Bana’s Hulk, Jurrasic Park 3, and Rocky V, and just pretend them shits didn’t happen. Can you do that with us? You afforded us the suspension of disbelieve that a man with a widow’s peak can scrap, so we just asking a little more. In return we promise to give you that good shit.”

Gyms are preparing for the influx of returning weight lifters by offering enrollment specials and installing sound-proof training rooms where you can level up without distracting other guests. They are closely monitoring related trends, as researchers also expect spikes in AMV viewership, Dragon Ball cosplay, and increased hair length in shower drains. Power levels are back on track to reach 9,000 by September.

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  • Jordan Calhoun is a writer in New York City. His forthcoming debut book "Piccolo Is Black" is a celebration of the common adaptations we made while non-diverse pop culture helped us form identities. He holds a B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice, B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Japanese, and an M.P.A. in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy. He might solve a mystery, or rewrite history. Find him on Instagram and Twitter @JordanMCalhoun

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