Like the Energizer Bunny, the Dragon Ball property just keeps marching forward. Last week's debut of the third and final animated series made from Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball saga sent ratings for the Cartoon Network's Toonami block soaring. Dragon Ball GT garnered a whopping 9.7 rating for males 9-14 and an 8.6 for males 6-11. Compare GT's numbers with the ratings for the Kids WB, the top-rated Saturday morning cartoon block, which just debuted its new lineup and scored a 6.1 for males 9-14 and a 5.5 for boys 6-11.
Dragon Ball GT's strong TV ratings mirror its performance on video, where the series cracked the Top 20 on Video Scan's First Alert Charts (see 'Dragon Ball GT Videos Make the Top 20'). With Dragon Ball manga available from Viz, the Dragon Ball CCG from Score, and a full line of toys from Jakk's Pacific (see 'Jakks Fields Full Dragon Ball Line'), there is obviously plenty of related merchandise available. While it is true that the Dragon Ball property has been around for a long time, it also appears that it is not going away anytime soon. The strong ratings also vindicate Funimation's strategy of reordering the Dragon Ball GT episodes to grab ratings and viewers right away. In today's increasingly competitive animation marketplace, outlets like the Cartoon Network are less apt to display patience and allow a series to gradually gain a foothold. To be successful a series has to start off with a bang -- which is just what Dragon Ball GT did.