|• General information•|
|No. of Chapters||519|
|No. of Volumes||42|
|Original Run||November 20, 1984 – May 23, 1995|
|Genre||Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Martial Arts, Super Power|
|Official Wiki||Dragon Ball Wiki|
Dragon Ball (ドラゴンボール Doragon Bōru ) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. It was originally serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1984 to 1995, with the 519 individual chapters published into 42 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha. Dragon Ball was inspired by the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West. The series follows the adventures of the protagonist, Son Goku, from his childhood through adulthood as he trains in martial arts and explores the world in search of the seven mystical orbs known as the Dragon Balls, which can summon a wish-granting dragon when gathered. Along his journey, Goku makes several friends and battles a wide variety of villains, many of whom also seek the Dragon Balls for their own desires.
The 42 tankōbon have been adapted into two anime series produced by Toei Animation: Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, which together were broadcast in Japan from 1986 to 1996. Additionally, Toei has developed seventeen animated feature films and three television specials, as well as an anime sequel titled Dragon Ball GT, which takes place after the events of the manga and anime. From 2009 to 2011, Toei broadcast a revised, faster-paced version of Dragon Ball Z under the title Dragon Ball Kai, in which most of the original version's footage not featured in the manga was removed. Several companies have developed various types of merchandising based on the series leading to a large media franchise that includes films, both animated and live-action, collectible trading card games, numerous action figures, along with several collections of soundtracks and a large number of video games.
The manga series was licensed for an English-language release in North America by Viz Media, in the United Kingdom by Gollancz Manga, Australia and New Zealand by Chuang Yi and Malay-language release in Malaysia by Comics House. The entire anime series was licensed by Funimation Entertainment for an English-language release in the United States, although the series has not always been dubbed by the same studio. There have been many films of the franchise including the first live-action film adaptation being produced in 1989 in Taiwan. In 2002, 20th Century Fox acquired the rights to produce an American-made live-action film titled Dragonball Evolution that received a negative reception from critics and fans; the movie was released on April 10, 2009 in the United States.
Since its release, Dragon Ball has become one of the most successful manga and anime series of all time. The manga's 42 volumes have sold over 156 million copies in Japan and more than 230 million copies worldwide, making it the second best-selling series in manga history. Reviewers have praised the art, characterization, and humor of the story. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest manga series ever made, with many manga artists such as Eiichiro Oda (One Piece), Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto), Tite Kubo (Bleach), Hiro Mashima (Rave Master, Fairy Tail), Makoto Raiku (Zatch Bell) and Yoshio Sawai (Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo) citing Dragon Ball as a source of inspiration for their own now popular works. The anime, particularly Dragon Ball Z, is also highly popular in various countries and was arguably one of the most influential in greatly boosting the popularity of Japanese animation in Western culture.
The series begins with a young monkey-tailed boy named Goku befriending a teenage girl named Bulma. Together they go on a quest to find the seven Dragon Balls, which grant the user any wish they desire before spreading back out across the world, leading to confrontations with the desert bandit Yamcha, who later becomes an ally, Chichi, whom Goku unknowingly agrees to marry, and Pilaf, who is also collecting them. Goku then undergoes rigorous training regimes under the martial artist Kame-Sen'nin in order to fight in a martial arts tournament that attracts the most powerful fighters in the world. A monk named Kuririn becomes his training partner and rival, but they soon become best friends. After the tournament, Goku sets out on his own to recover the Dragon Ball his Grandfather left him and encounters the Red Ribbon Army, whose leader wants to collect the Dragon Balls for himself. He almost single-handedly defeats the army, including their hired assassin Taopaipai, whom he originally lost to, but after training under Karin, now easily beats. Goku reunites with his friends to defeat Uranai Baba's fighters and have her locate the last Dragon Ball in order to revive a friend killed by Taopaipai.
They all reunite at the martial arts tournament three years later and meet Kame-Sen'nin's rival and Taopaipai's brother, Tsuru-Sen'nin, and his students Tenshinhan and Chaozu, who vow to exact revenge. Kuririn is killed after the tournament and Goku chases after the killer, leading him to Piccolo Daimao, who easily defeats him. The samurai Yajirobe takes Goku to Karin, where he receives healing and a power boost. Meanwhile, Piccolo fights Kame-Sen'nin and Chaozu, leading to both their deaths, and uses the Dragon Balls to regain his youth and then destroys the dragon. Goku then begins his battle with Piccolo Daimao, who just before dying, spawns his son/reincarnation Piccolo. Karin informs Goku that God, the original creator of the Dragon Balls, might be able to restore the dragon so that he can wish his friends back to life, which he does. He also stays and trains under God for the next three years, once again reuniting with his friends at the martial arts tournament. Piccolo Jr. also enters the tournament, leading to the final fight between him and Goku. Goku just narrowly wins and then quickly rides off with Chi-Chi, who surprised him by also competing and maintaining he keeps the promise he made to her as children.
Five years later, now a young adult and father to Son Gohan, Goku meets his older brother Raditz, who reveals to him that they are members of a nearly extinct extraterrestrial race known as the Saiyans. The Saiyans had sent Goku (originally named "Kakarrot") to Earth as an infant to conquer the planet for them, but he suffered a severe head injury soon after his arrival and lost all memory of his mission, as well as his blood-thirsty Saiyan nature. Goku refuses to help Raditz continue the mission and has to team up with Piccolo, and sacrifice his life, in order to defeat him. However, Goku is revived a year later by the Dragon Balls, after training in the afterlife with North Kaio, in order to save the Earth from the Saiyan prince Vegeta. However, in the battle Yamcha, Chaozu, Tenshinhan and Piccolo are killed. Due to Piccolo being one with God, the Dragon Balls no longer exist, resulting in a group traveling to their home planet, Namek, in order to use the balls there to revive their friends. However, the galactic tyrant Freeza is already there doing the same, leading to several battles with his minions and Vegeta, the latter of which teams up with the heroes to fight the Ginyu Special Squadron. After Goku arrives, the final long battle with Freeza himself comes to a close after Goku transforms into a legendary Super Saiyan and avenges the lives of billions across the galaxy.
A group of androids from the former Red Ribbon Army appear three years later, seeking revenge against Goku. During this time, an evil life form called Cell emerges and, after absorbing two of the androids to achieve his "perfect form," holds his own fighting tournament to decide the fate of the Earth. However, after Goku sacrifices his own life, Gohan avenges his father by defeating Cell. Seven years later, Goku, briefly revived for one day, and his allies are drawn into yet another fight for the universe against a magical being named Majin Boo. After numerous battles and many deaths, Goku destroys Boo having borrowed energy from everyone on Earth. Ten years later, at another martial arts tournament, Goku meets Boo's human reincarnation, Oob. Leaving the match between the two of them unfinished, Goku takes Oob away on a journey to train him.
- Official Toei Animation's Dragon Ball website
- Official Toei Animation's Dragon Ball Z website
- Official Toei Animation's Dragon Ball GT website
- Official Toei Animation's Dragon Ball Kai website
- Official FUNimation's Dragon Ball website
- Official FUNimation's Dragon Ball Z website
- Official FUNimation's Dragon Ball GT website
- Official FUNimation's Dragon Ball Z Kai website
- Official Madman's Dragon Ball Z website