Which Anime Was More Popular In America During The 2002-2003 School Year: Dragon Ball Z OR Yu-Gi-Oh!?

Which Anime Was More Popular During The 2002-2003 School Year: Dragon Ball Z OR Yu-Gi-Oh!?

  • Yu-Gi-Oh

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Jun 8, 2020
Tallahassee, Florida
And the reason I ask this because back in the 2002-2003 school year, I was only in 2nd Grade and wasn't into Yu-Gi-Oh! and I don't even remember even knowing what Yu-Gi-Oh! was back then, but I DEFINITELY was into Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball in general and DEFINITELY knew a lot of kids my age that were still into it.

But, I do know that 2002 was Yu-Gi-Oh!'s breakout year and the year that the Yu-Gi-Oh! cards started being released in America and the year they exploded into popularity and it was in 2002 that Yu-Gi-Oh surpassed Pokémon as the most popular anime for kids. It was also during the fall of 2002, that Yu-Gi-Oh! debuted on Cartoon Network for the first time, thus making it even more popular than really was.
Last edited:


Is this the future?!?
Staff member
Mar 22, 2002
Springfield, MO
.....in 2002/2003 school year, I'd be inclined to say Yu-Gi-Oh was more popular than Dragon Ball Z.

But that's because Yu-Gi-Oh was the fad (or trend) that year, much like Pokemon was the fad just 2 years prior. If you divide this up by years (not school years), I'd say Yu-Gi-Oh more popular in 2002, DBZ more popular in 2003.

I dunno, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon I could step away for a few episodes and come back and feel like I didn't miss much, but I caught every single episode of Dragon Ball Z as it aired (actually, I bought the VHS tapes from `1997 to 2000, and started watching DBZ "religiously" on Cartoon Network in late 2000 when I got cable for the first time in years).

Dragon Ball Z's popularity revolved around it's long term endurance - it had a fanbase in 1997 when it first started airing on American TV, it had a fanbase in 2008 when the original Toonami ended. The "high points" in Dragon Ball Z popularity were from 2000 to 2003 (give or take a year - it could be agued the high point started in 1999 and ended in 2005, but I'll focus it down to 2000 to 2003).

But did that popularity ever exceed the "fad" anime shows? Sailor Moon was "king" in 1997, Pokemon was king in 2000, Yu-Gi-Oh was king in 2002, Naruto was king in 2006....I think Dragon Ball Z maybe reached the zenith of it's popularity when the series ended (when the final 20 episodes were broadcast) in 2003. People that had stuck around and watched the entire series (myself included) really felt like we had reached a milestone, and that Dragon Ball Z was now cemented in pop culture "legendary" status. Or something like that.


Not 4 Everyone & That's OK
May 28, 2014
People played the card game in school cafeterias; didn't matter if you were a nerd or not. Though from my personal experience that happened in middle school. I think the kids were older if they were into DBZ because I don't at all recall any elementary school kid talking about that show. If you had a game console, for sure there would always be some Dragon Ball cartridge/disc.

Red Arrow

ça va nog wel
Oct 22, 2012
In the Netherlands and Belgium, we had something called Yu-Gi-Oh chaps in 2004. They were like a thick plastic version of milk caps ("pogs") sold in bags of Lay's. Yu-Gi-Oh cards were also popular in 2003 and onwards here.

DragonBall Z was definitely more popular here in 2002, since Yu-Gi-Oh premiered here in 2003.

Like with Pokémon cards, no one at my school actually played with Yu-Gi-Oh cards or chaps. You just had to collect them in order to get popular.
Last edited:


Dec 2, 2007
Coming from outside the school age, in forums, or magazine trades of the time, I'd still say it was maybe DragonBall Z. But I could tell that Yu-Gi-Oh was the king at a certain demographic. I think you nailed the 2002 timeline of its rise.
How to Make Money as a Kid 2


Staff online

Who's on Discord?

Latest profile posts

eeeh. I guess i'll skip this season for anime as far as new ones go.
Vuxovich wrote on 5YearsOnEastCoast's profile.
Just compare Xiaolin Chronicles' voice acting to the voice acting of this show. I can't believe someone in the 2010s was inspired by a 1990s obscurity. Apparently not a good sign. How about that?
If there was ever a character like this, I think she'd be a fan favorite.

The mystery of catnip solved!

That article fascinated me and I don't even own a cat!

Featured Posts