Dragon Ball is one of the most popular manga series of its time, and it continues to enjoy high readership today. By 2000, more than 126 million copies of its tankōbon volumes had been sold in Japan alone. By 2007, this number had grown to pass 150 million. It is the "quintessential mainstream manga" driven by an unending story. Its immense popularity resulted in the series being continuously extended, first through the use of acrobatic devices that regularly kept the series from falling into the routine characters and story lines, then by having the central characters surpass death itself using miraculous devises. In Little Boy: The Art of Japan's Exploding Subculture Takashi Murakami notes that Dragon Ball's "never-ending cyclical narrative moves forward plausibly, seamlessly, and with great finesse." Goku's journey and his ever growing strength resulted in the character winning "the admiration of young boys everywhere". The anime's DVDs have ranked several time as one of the most sold ones of Japan.
In a survey conducted by Oricon in 2007 between 1,000 people, Goku, the main character of the franchise, ranked first place as the "Strongest Manga character of all time." Manga artists, such as Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto and One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda, have stated that Goku inspired their series' main protagonists as well series structure. When TV Asahi conducted an online poll for the top one hundred anime, the Dragon Ball series came in place twelve.