It's More Than "Wham-bam violence"
This is a show I grew up with, and is a very popular anime in Japan, America, and many other countries. It is an exciting show for people of many ages and shows a strong sense of overcoming evil and protecting loved ones.
I have to say that this sight seems to be very quick to judge many of these shows and movies. You completely put this violence down as non-important and just tell people to "[Look] past the wham-bam violence." It does a lot more than that. You say that violence is how most conflict is dealt with.
First, you must notice that much "fighting" is actually done for fun or competition, such as in training in martial arts and the World Martial Arts Tournament.
Second, any fighting in an actual conflict is against a villain who usually has the power to destroy the Earth (Freeza, for example, mercilessly destroys the home planet of the main character, Goku, and all of its inhabitants). They are usually shown to be the definition of evil with no conscience. Violence is usually used because of the fact that they can't be negotiated with and it shows that when it is not possible to negotiate, it is just and necessary to fight back to defend and protect yourself and your loved ones.
For example, there is scene where Android 16 tells Gohan, Goku's son, this: "Gohan, let it go. It is not a sin to fight for the right cause. There are those who words alone will not reach. Cell (a villain) is such a being. You are gentle. You do not like to hurt. I know because I too have learned these feelings. But it is because you cherish life that you must protect it."
This is a strong message that is important for kids to learn. The characters fight throughout the whole show, but it is only because it is necessary to protect and defend. It has a similar message to "Spider Man," in which "With great strength comes great responsibility" as the main characters are Saiyans, a race of human-like aliens that have extraordinary strength and power. They constantly defend the planet from invaders and save the rest of humanity, never looking for reward or recognition. In fact, it is not until the very end of the series' sequel series, Dragon Ball GT, *spoiler* that Goku is finally recognized as being the true hero who saved the world.
I think it would be completely rash to label this show as a "mindless fighting show." (Not to say that you do). But for positive role models, you make absolutely no mention about what kind of people these characters are. Goku is good father and a good friend, yes, but as the main character, there are very many admirable qualities in him.
First, both he and his son have great respect for others. Although Goku grew up in the woods and didn't have a formal education, his wife made sure their son Gohan did. Goku is not very educated, but he was taught to be polite and respectful to others by his grandfather. There are many episodes in which they help various people from danger. In fact, Gohan later on puts on an (albeit odd) costume just so people wouldn't recognize him so that he could go out and stop crime. He even uses this to save a pterodactyl baby that was stolen by poachers to be caged in a circus. Goku in one episode spends a lot of time trying to save the eggs of a pterodactyl from falling and tries to protect the family from very bad hurricane winds.
Second, Goku (as well as Gohan) is forgiving and reluctant to kill. There are at least two of his enemies that have tried to kill him that he has beaten and then allowed them to live, only for them to become good guys for the rest of the series. For example, when he defeats Vegeta, Krillin (Goku's friend) has the opportunity to finish him off, but Goku tells him to let him go. Vegeta is one such character who joins Goku's side to defend the Earth.
Anyway, there are many great qualities that about Goku and other characters that kids can look up to and adults can admire in a person, but I won't go into much more detail.
As for violence, the TV version that I grew up with was not too bad. (Just don't let little kids watch the uncut version). I don't believe there was any blood in that version, or at least some. (I don't remember exactly) But it does deal with throwing punches, kicks, headbutts, and various other things common to martial arts. Another thing to know is that many characters can use "Ki" attacks. Ki is like spiritual energy in Japanese, and these characters can shoot beams of energy and such, which really aren't too violent or scary to watch compared to things like guns. Something to note, though, is that some things can be a bit scary to kids. One notable instance is that a villain named Cell gains energy in his first form by stabbing people with his tail and literally draining them right out of their clothes. There is really only one instance where this is actually show graphically. (And I did find it a bit frightening as a child). But other than that, it is not too bad in the scariness factor.
As for modesty issues, it's true some of this can be a little more prominent since it is a Japanese anime, but the U.S. TV version doesn't really have much problems. There are indeed some mildly flirty characters, and a character, Master Roshi, is known to be perverted, but again, the U.S. TV version heavily tones these things down that it's not really an issue.
For language, there is no profanity, and if you have a problem with the "die" or "kill" that's about it.
To sum it up, this is a great show for kids and adults alike. It's action-paced, suspenseful, and has good universal messages about the nature of fighting and defense.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much consumerism