Pokémon vs. Dragon Ball: Which franchise is better?

Although I later became a fan of Dragon Ball, I started with Pokémon. Today, both franchises are bigwigs in the gaming industry, but the major question is how big? Although I’ve interacted with both franchises extensively, I have to confess I was always more inclined toward Pokémon (🤫) because I started with it from a young age.

But recently I got dragged into a heated debate with some fellow gamers on which franchise was bigger. That was when I realized that I have never stopped to compare the two objectively🤔. After all, both Pokémon and Dragon Ball have a lot to offer. So, I decided to employ my extensive knowledge as an avid gamer to finally answer the question, “Which franchise is better?”

In this article, I will offer a detailed analysis comparing different aspects of both franchises. So, if you’ve been wondering which of the two was better, then keep reading. In the end, I will state my final verdict and why ☺️.

Pokémon vs. Dragon Ball – How They Compare.

First, below is a table that quickly summarizes the differences we will be discussing in detail later in the article:



Dragon Ball


  • Set in a fictional world with Pokémon and humans
  • The focus is on capturing Pokémon
  • Emphasis is on adventure and fantasy
  • Set between Earth and other planets, including alternate dimensions and cosmic realms
  • The focus is on finding the dragon balls
  • Contains elements of martial arts, sci-fi, and adventure.


  • Fairly popular today
  • Simpler plot
  • Fairly repetitive and static
  • Character never grow
  • Very popular currently
  • More complex plot
  • Better storyline progression
  • Characters do grow into adults

Target Audience

  • Mainly children and teens but also appeals to nostalgic adults
  • Mainly appeals to teens and adults

What are the differences between Pokémon and Dragon Ball?

As I mentioned earlier, both Pokémon and Dragon Ball, have grown over time to become big names in the industry. While there is a lot that sets them apart, there are also some similarities between them. For example, how Pokémon had Pokeballs and Dragon Ball had…well dragon balls, plus they both had the same goal, “to catch them all”😂.

Pokémon vs. Dragon Ball

Via Know Your Meme

But jokes aside, to objectively figure out which of the two is a better franchise, the following are the aspects we must consider:


On the one hand, the whole idea of Pokémon is based on capturing Pokémon training them, and using them in battle. The setting is in a fictional world where Pokémon and humans co-exist. On the other hand, Dragon Ball is based on seeking the seven dragon balls and using them to summon the great dragon Shenron. The dragon has the power to grant the greatest desire of the one who manages to summon it. The setting is split between Earth, other planets, cosmic realms, and alternate dimensions which was pretty cool😎 compared to Pokémon’s fiction world.

Interacting with both franchises, I found that Dragon Ball’s concept was action-based, combining elements of martial arts, sci-fi, and fantasy. On the other hand, the Pokémon concept was mostly adventure and fantasy. While both concepts were creative, I’ve always felt Dragon Ball had a cooler and more engaging concept involving magic🪄 and lore. While Pokémon also had its own lore as well, it was nothing compared to Dragon Ball.

Therefore, in terms of concepts, I would say Dragon Ball was slightly more creative with a lot more to offer. However, it’s really a matter of preference, if you prefer fun-filled adventures over martial art action, then Pokémon’s concept would be preferable 🙂.


Dragon Ball
Dragon Ball. Image source: Pokemon

Another place the two differentiate is in the anime. Both shows have been running for a long time, Dragon being in the run for over a decade more. Dragon Ball and Pokémon anime are, however, both quite popular, but one of them shines more in this category.

In Dragon Ball, although the show has been airing for over two decades now, the story is still well-written and, in my opinion, perfectly paced. But what I love most about this anime is that I watched the characters grow up from kids to adults who even had their own kids. This gave the anime a better sense of progression, and helped me connect with the characters since it felt like we were growing together💓.

As for Pokémon, although I still watch it for the sake of nostalgia, I feel like the show became overly repetitive after the earlier seasons 🙁. It also has a lot of episodes that make the series seem never-ending, especially because characters like Ash never changed. There was no sense of growth, even in terms of personal development since Ash never seemed to be any closer to attaining his goal until the recent seasons.

I do, however, have to commend Pokémon for one thing it did that Dragon couldn’t do, that is finally retiring their main protagonist 😌. After being the face of Pokémon anime for decades, Ash and Pikachu are finally set to leave their main roles after Ash won the championship. I am a bit curious to see how the series will go on without the beloved combo we are so familiar with, but I also believe it’s a refreshing change the series desperately needed.

Overall, however, I would have to say Dragon Ball has a better anime. Even in terms of popularity, it is currently getting more ratings than Pokémon. Plus, I’ve always thought the battles in Dragon Ball were more exciting and epic compared to Pokémon.


Given that we are trying to decide which franchise is better, popularity is a very important factor to consider. It is, however, a bit tricky to determine which of the two is more popular since they do have a large following. In addition, both Pokémon and Dragon Ball have come a long way from when they were first introduced to the industry.

Dragon Ball started as a manga that was developed into an anime. After some time, the franchise grew including movies, video games, card games, and merchandise. Similarly, Pokémon started as a video game and later expanded into anime, movies, trading card games, and a plethora of merchandise.

As such it is not surprising that Dragon Ball had such a significant impact in the manga and anime sector, inspiring many others like it to be created. In the same way, Pokémon also great impact on video games and trading card games, which inspired other games like it 😊.

But even though Dragon Ball’s anime is all the craze right now, there is no denying that Pokémon simply has a greater recognition, especially on a global level. I mean chances of finding a Pokémon product at your random local store are higher than finding Dragon Ball’s. Additionally, I can guarantee that at least 3 out of every five people you ask about Pikachu either know it or have heard about it. I can’t say the same for Goku😑.

Therefore, without a doubt, when it comes to popularity, while they each have their following, Pokémon’s is seemingly greater. So, Pokémon wins this category 🏆.

Target Audience

Pokémon vs. Dragon Ball
Pokémon™ Legends. Image source: Pokemon

Last but not least, the target audience is another important aspect to consider. With Pokémon, the franchise as a whole follows a more family-friends and light-hearted tone. Having played the games and watched the anime, I can say, they both primarily seem to be designed for a younger audience. Although it is accessible to people of all ages and ethnicity. Because of that, you can find nostalgic adults, like myself, who grew up with Pokémon, still investing in the franchise.

On the other hand, Dragon Ball’s game and anime follow a more complex plot that can easily appeal to both children and adults alike. I would, however, say that the primary target seems to be teens and pre-teens given how it is action-packed and focuses on martial arts and sci-fi.

But even though Dragon Ball covers a wider age range through its content, Pokémon has a wider global reach compared to it. Therefore, I would say, Pokémon wins this category because of that 🤷.

Final Verdict: So, Which is better? – Pokémon or Dragon Ball?

To sum up, on the one hand, Dragon Ball has a better concept, and a more complex plot. That is probably why its anime is more popular even after all this time compared to Pokémon. On the other hand, Pokémon has a greater global recognition and reaches a wider target audience from different ethnicities even though it was primarily designed for a younger audience.

So, if the question is which franchise is bigger, then the answer is definitely Pokémon. Because of its strategic marketing and wider outreach, it has more recognition. But if the question is which one is a better franchise, then Dragon Ball wins by a small margin. Starting from its anime, it’s managed to maintain its popularity even after decades and has a more complex storyline to share that appeals to a bigger age range.

FAQ Section

Which is more popular Pokémon or Dragon Ball?

In terms of anime and manga, Dragon Ball is the most recognized and has a more dedicated following. But overall, if you include video games, Pokémon happens to be more popular on a global level.

Which is more successful Pokémon or Dragon Ball?

Based on sales, Pokémon is most successful as a franchise. According to Title Max, as of 2018, Pokémon was ranked as the top media franchise with a gross income of 92.12 billion, whereas Dragon Ball was ranked 15, with a gross income of 24.03 billion.

Who came first between Dragon Ball and Pokémon?

Dragon Ball came first. It started as a Manga in Japan in 1984 before being developed as an anime and video game between 1986 and 1989. Pokémon started as a video game, with the first release happening in 1996 and later developing into an anime in 1997.

Which one is easier to play Pokémon or Dragon Ball?

Given that Pokémon was primarily developed for kids, it has a simpler concept when it comes to its games. Dragon Ball games on the other hand have a more complex plot and combat system, therefore could present more challenges. However, the difficulty of either game depends on your skill as a player.

Which one should you play first between Pokémon and Dragon Ball?

It doesn’t matter. The two are different games offering different gameplay experiences, therefore you can play them in any order.

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