Japanese media franchise created by Akira Toriyama
This article is about the media franchise in general. For other uses, see Dragon Ball (disambiguation).
Dragon Ball (Japanese: ドラゴンボール, Hepburn: Doragon Bōru) is a Japanese media franchise created by Akira Toriyama in 1984. The initial manga, written and illustrated by Toriyama, was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1984 to 1995, with the 519 individual chapters collected into 42 tankōbon volumes by its publisher Shueisha. Dragon Ball was originally inspired by the classical 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West, combined with elements of Hong Kong martial arts films. The series follows the adventures of protagonist Son Goku from his childhood through adulthood as he trains in martial arts. He spends his childhood far from civilization until he meets a teen girl named Bulma, who encourages him to join her quest in exploring the world in search of the seven orbs known as the Dragon Balls, which summon a wish-granting dragon when gathered. Along his journey, Goku makes several other friends, becomes a family man, discovers his alien heritage, and battles a wide variety of villains, many of whom also seek the Dragon Balls.
Toriyama's manga was adapted and divided 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, the studio has developed 20 animated feature films and three television specials, as well as two anime sequel series titled Dragon Ball GT (1996–1997) and Dragon Ball Super (2015–2018). From 2009 to 2015, a revised version of Dragon Ball Z aired in Japan under the title Dragon Ball Kai, as a recut that follows the manga's story more faithfully by removing most of the material featured exclusively in the anime. 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 numerous video games. Dragon Ball has become one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.
Since its release, Dragon Ball has become one of the most successful manga and anime series of all time, with the manga sold in over 40 countries and the anime broadcast in more than 80 countries. The manga's 42 collected tankōbon volumes have sold over 160 million copies in Japan, and are estimated to have sold more than 250–300 million copies worldwide, making it two best-selling manga series in history. Reviewers have praised the art, characterization, and humour of the story. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential manga series ever made, with many manga artists citing Dragon Ball as a source of inspiration for their own now-popular works. The anime, particularly Dragon Ball Z, is also highly popular across the world and is considered one of the most influential in boosting the popularity of Japanese animation in Western culture. It has had a considerable impact on global popular culture, referenced by and inspiring numerous artists, athletes, celebrities, filmmakers, musicians and writers across the world.
See also: List of Dragon Ball characters
Earth, known as the Dragon World (ドラゴンワールド) and designated as "Planet 4032-877" by the celestial hierarchy, is the main setting for the entire Dragon Ball series, as well as related media such as Dr. Slump, Nekomajin, and Jaco the Galactic Patrolman. It is mainly inhabited by Earthlings (地球人, Chikyūjin), a term used inclusively to refer to all of the intelligent races native to the planet, including humans, anthropomorphic beings, and monsters. Starting from the Dragon Ball Z series, various extraterrestrial species such as the Saiyans (サイヤ人, Saiya-jin) and Namekians (ナメック星人, Namekku-seijin) have played a more prominent role in franchise media.
The narrative of Dragon Ball predominantly follows the adventures of Goku; upon meeting Bulma at the beginning of the series, the two then embark on an adventure to gather the seven Dragon Balls.[ch. 1] Goku later receives martial arts training from Master Roshi, meets his lifelong friend Krillin, and enters the World Martial Arts Tournament to fight the strongest warriors on the planet. When the evil King Piccolo, and later his offspring Piccolo, tries to conquer the planet, Goku receives training from Earth's deities to defeat them. Goku later sacrifices his life to save the planet from his estranged brother Raditz,[ch. 205] but later trains in the afterlife under the tutelage of King Kai, to save it from the other incoming Saiyans Nappa and Vegeta. He later becomes a Super Saiyan and defeats the powerful tyrant Frieza. This sets the tone of the rest of the series, with each enemy the characters face becoming stronger than the last, requiring them to attain further training.
Dragon Ball Super establishes that the franchise is set in a multiverse composed of twelve[N 1] numbered universes, each ruled by a number of benevolent and malevolent deities, respectively called Supreme Kais and Gods of Destruction who are appointed by a higher being called the Grand Zeno, who watches over the multiverse along with the Grand Priest, the father of all the Angels. Almost all of the Dragon Ball series, except for parts of Dragon Ball Super, takes place in Universe 7. Years in the timeline are called "Ages", with most of the story occurring between Age 749 and Age 790. Universe 7 contains several planets, including a fictionalized Earth, where humans reside, and Planet Vegeta, the home world of the Saiyans, a powerful and destructive race. Many other races also inhabit Universe 7, including Angels, Demons, Androids, Tuffles and Namekians. Humans are among the weakest races in the universe. The protagonist Goku is raised as a human on Earth but finds out that he is actually a Saiyan from Planet Vegeta.
See also: List of Dragon Ball characters and Dragon Ball (manga) § Production
Akira Toriyama was a fan of Hong Kong martial arts films, particularly Bruce Lee films such as Enter the Dragon (1973) and Jackie Chan films such as Drunken Master (1978), and wanted to create a manga inspired by martial arts films. This led to Toriyama creating the 1983 one-shot manga Dragon Boy, which he later redeveloped into Dragon Ball. Toriyama loosely modeled the plot and characters of Dragon Ball on the classic Chinese novelJourney to the West, with Goku being Sun Wukong ("Son Goku" in Japanese), Bulma as Tang Sanzang, Oolong as Zhu Bajie, and Yamcha being Sha Wujing. Toriyama wanted to create a story with the basic theme of Journey to the West, but with "a little kung fu" by combining the novel with elements from the kung fu films of Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. The title Dragon Ball was inspired by Enter the Dragon and later Bruceploitation knockoff kung fu films which frequently had the word "Dragon" in the title, and the fighting scenes were influenced by Jackie Chan movies. Since it was serialized in a shōnenmanga magazine, he added the idea of the Dragon Balls to give it a game-like activity of gathering something, without thinking of what the characters would wish for. His concept of the Dragon Balls was inspired by the epic Japanese novelNansō Satomi Hakkenden (1814–1842), which involves the heroes collecting eight Buddhistprayer beads, which Toriyama adapted into collecting seven Dragon Balls.
He originally thought it would last about a year or end once the Dragon Balls were collected. Toriyama stated that although the stories are purposefully easy to understand, he specifically aimed Dragon Ball at readers older than those of his previous serial Dr. Slump. He also wanted to break from the Western influences common in Dr. Slump, deliberately going for Chinese scenery, referencing Chinese buildings and photographs of China his wife had bought. Toriyama wanted to set Dragon Ball in a fictional world largely based on Asia, taking inspiration from several Asian cultures including Japanese, Chinese, South Asian, Central Asian, Arabic and Indonesian cultures. The island where the Tenkaichi Budōkai (天下一武道会, lit. "Strongest Under the Heavens Martial Arts Tournament") is held is modeled after Bali (in Indonesia), which he, his wife and assistant visited in mid-1985, and for the area around Bobbidi's spaceship he consulted photos of Africa. Toriyama was also inspired by the jinn (genies) from The Arabian Nights.
During the early chapters of the manga, Toriyama's editor, Kazuhiko Torishima, commented that Goku looked rather plain, so to combat this he added several characters like Kame-Sen'nin and Kuririn, and created the Tenkaichi Budōkai martial arts tournament to focus the storyline on fighting. It was when the first Tenkaichi Budōkai began that Dragon Ball truly became popular, having recalled the races and tournaments in Dr. Slump. Anticipating that readers would expect Goku to win the tournaments, Toriyama had him lose the first two while planning an eventual victory. This allowed for more character growth as the manga progressed. He said that Muscle Tower in the Red Ribbon Army storyline was inspired by the video game Spartan X (called Kung-Fu Master in the West), in which enemies appear very fast as the player ascends a tower (the game was in turn inspired by Jackie Chan's Wheels on Meals and Bruce Lee's Game of Death). He then created Piccolo Daimao as a truly evil villain, and as a result called that arc the most interesting to draw.
Once Goku and company had become the strongest on Earth, they turned to extraterrestrial opponents including the Saiyans (サイヤ人, Saiya-jin); and Goku himself was retconned from an Earthling to a Saiyan who was sent to Earth as a baby.Freeza, who forcibly took over planets to resell them, was created around the time of the Japanese economic bubble and was inspired by real estatespeculators, whom Toriyama called the "worst kind of people." Finding the escalating enemies difficult, he created the Ginyu Force to add more balance to the series. When Toriyama created the Super Saiyan (サイヤ人, Sūpā Saiya-jin) transformation during the Freeza arc, he was initially concerned that Goku's facial expressions as a Super Saiyan made him look like a villain, but decided it was acceptable since the transformation was brought about by anger. Goku's Super Saiyan form has blonde hair because it was easier to draw for Toriyama's assistant (who spent a lot of time blacking in Goku's hair), and has piercing eyes based on Bruce Lee's paralyzing glare.Dragon Ball Z anime character designer Tadayoshi Yamamuro also used Bruce Lee as a reference for Goku's Super Saiyan form, stating that, when he "first becomes a Super Saiyan, his slanting pose with that scowling look in his eyes is all Bruce Lee." Toriyama later added time travel during the Cell arc, but said he had a hard time with it, only thinking of what to do that week and having to discuss it with his second editor Yu Kondo. After Cell's death, Toriyama intended for Gohan to replace Goku as the series' protagonist, but later felt the character was not suited for the role and changed his mind.
Going against the normal convention that the strongest characters should be the largest in terms of physical size, he designed many of Dragon Ball's most powerful characters with small statures, including the protagonist, Goku. Toriyama later explained that he had Goku grow up as a means to make drawing fight scenes easier, even though his first editor Kazuhiko Torishima was initially against it because it was rare to have the main character of a manga series change drastically. When including fights in the manga, Toriyama had the characters go to uninhabited locations to avoid difficulties in drawing residents and destroyed buildings. Toriyama said that he did not plan the details of the story, resulting in strange occurrences and discrepancies later in the series, including changing the colors of the characters mid-story and few characters having screentone because he found it difficult to use. Since the completion of Dragon Ball, Toriyama has continued to add to its story, mostly background information on its universe, through guidebooks published by Shueisha.
During the second half of the series, Toriyama has said that he had become more interested in coming up with the story than actually drawing it, and that the battles became more intense with him simplifying the lines. In 2013, he stated that because Dragon Ball is an action manga the most important aspect is the sense of speed, so he did not draw very elaborate, going so far as to suggest one could say that he was not interested in the art. He also once said that his goal for the series was to tell an "unconventional and contradictory" story. In 2013, commenting on Dragon Ball's global success, Toriyama said, "Frankly, I don't quite understand why it happened. While the manga was being serialized, the only thing I wanted as I kept drawing was to make Japanese boys happy.", "The role of my manga is to be a work of entertainment through and through. I dare say I don't care even if [my works] have left nothing behind, as long as they have entertained their readers."
Main article: Dragon Ball (manga)
Written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball was serialized in the manga anthology Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 3, 1984 to June 5, 1995, when Toriyama grew exhausted and felt he needed a break from drawing. The 519 individual chapters were published into 42 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha from September 10, 1985 through August 4, 1995. Between December 4, 2002 and April 2, 2004, the chapters were re-released in a collection of 34 kanzenban volumes, which included a slightly rewritten ending, new covers, and color artwork from its Weekly Shōnen Jump run. The February 2013 issue of V Jump, which was released in December 2012, announced that parts of the manga will be fully colored and re-released in 2013. Twenty volumes, beginning from chapter 195 and grouped by story arcs, were released between February 4, 2013 and July 4, 2014. Twelve volumes covering the first 194 chapters were published between January 4 and March 4, 2016. A sōshūhen edition that aims to recreate the manga as it was originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump with color pages, promotional text, and next chapter previews, was published in eighteen volumes between May 13, 2016 and January 13, 2017.
Another manga penned by Ōishi, the three-chapter Dragon Ball: Episode of Bardock that revolves around Bardock, Goku's father, was published in the monthly magazine V Jump from August and October 2011.
The final chapter of Toriyama's 2013 manga series Jaco the Galactic Patrolman revealed that it is set before Dragon Ball, with several characters making appearances.Jaco's collected volumes contain a bonus Dragon Ball chapter depicting Goku's mother.
In December 2016, a spin-off manga titled Dragon Ball Side Story: The Case of Being Reincarnated as Yamcha began in Shueisha's Shōnen Jump+ digital magazine. Written and illustrated by Dragon Garow Lee, it is about a high school boy who after an accident wakes up in the body of Yamcha in the Dragon Ball manga.
Toriyama also created a short series, Neko Majin (1999–2005), that became a self-parody of Dragon Ball. In 2006, a crossover between Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo (or Kochikame) and Dragon Ball by Toriyama and Kochikame author Osamu Akimoto appeared in the Super Kochikame (超こち亀, Chō Kochikame) manga. That same year, Toriyama teamed up with Eiichiro Oda to create a crossover chapter of Dragon Ball and One Piece titled Cross Epoch.
|Market(s)||Publisher||Volume sales||As of||Ref|
|Overseas (15 countries)||119,603,554+[d]|
|South Korea||Seoul Cultural Publishers||20,000,000+[c]||2009|||
|China||China Children's Press & Publication Group||10,000,000+[b]||2013|||
|United States||Viz Media||2,185,000+||2016|||
|Poland||Japonica Polonica Fantastica||420,000+||2008|||
|United Kingdom||Gollancz / Viz Media||78,554||2010|||
|Vietnam||Kim Đồng Publishing House||60,000+[e]||2009|||
|Worldwide (16 countries)||279,603,554+[f]|
Further information: Dragon Ball (manga) § Reception
See also: Weekly Shōnen Jump § Circulation figures
Dragon Ball is one of the most popular manga series of all time, and it continues to enjoy high readership today. Dragon Ball is credited as one of the main reasons manga circulation was at its highest between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. During Dragon Ball's initial run in Weekly Shōnen Jump, the manga magazine reached an average circulation of 6.53 million weekly sales, the highest in its history. During Dragon Ball's serialisation between 1984 and 1995, Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine had a total circulation of over 2.9 billion copies,[g] with those issues generating an estimated ¥554 billion ($6.9 billion) in sales revenue.[g]
Dragon Ball also sold a record number of collected tankōbon volumes for its time. By 2000, more than 126 million tankōbon copies had been sold in Japan alone. It sold over 150 million copies in Japan by 2008, making it the best-selling manga ever at the time. By 2012, its sales in Japan had grown to pass 156 million, making it the second best-selling Weekly Shōnen Jump manga of all time, behind One Piece.Dragon Ball's tankobon volumes sold 159.5 million copies in Japan by February 2014, and have sold over 160 million copies in Japan as of 2016.
The manga is similarly popular overseas, having been translated and released in over 40 countries worldwide. Estimates for the total number of tankōbon volumes sold worldwide range from more than 250 million copies to more than 300 million copies, not including unofficial pirated copies; when including pirated copies, an estimated total of over 400 million official and unofficial copies have been sold worldwide.[f][b][c]
For the 10th anniversary of the Japan Media Arts Festival in 2006, Japanese fans voted Dragon Ball the third greatest manga of all time. In a survey conducted by Oricon in 2007 among 1,000 people, Son Goku, the main character of the franchise, ranked first place as the "Strongest Manga Character of All Time." Goku's journey and his ever-growing strength resulted in the character winning "the admiration of young boys everywhere". Manga artists, such as One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda and Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto, have stated that Goku inspired their series' main protagonists as well as series structure.
Manga critic Jason Thompson stated in 2011 that "Dragon Ball is by far the most influential shonen manga of the last 30 years, and today, almost every Shonen Jump artist lists it as one of their favorites and lifts from it in various ways." He says the series "turns from a gag/adventure manga to an nearly-pure fighting manga", and its basic formula of "lots of martial arts, lots of training sequences, a few jokes" became the model for other shōnen series, such as Naruto. Thompson also called Toriyama's art influential and cited it as a reason for the series' popularity. James S. Yadao, author of The Rough Guide to Manga, claims that the first several chapters of Dragon Ball "play out much like Saiyuki with Dr. Slump-like humour built in" and that Dr. Slump, Toriyama's previous manga, has a clear early influence on the series. He feels the series "established its unique identity" after the first occasion when Goku's group disbands and he trains under Kame-sen'nin, when the story develops "a far more action-packed, sinister tone" with "wilder" battles with aerial and spiritual elements and an increased death count, while humor still makes an occasional appearance. Yadao claims that an art shift occurs when the characters "lose the rounded, innocent look that he established in Dr. Slump and gain sharper angles that leap off the page with their energy and intensity."
Animerica felt the series had "worldwide appeal", using dramatic pacing and over-the-top martial arts action to "maintain tension levels and keep a crippler crossface hold on the audience's attention spans". In Little Boy: The Art of Japan's Exploding Subculture, Takashi Murakami commented that Dragon Ball's "never-ending cyclical narrative moves forward plausibly, seamlessly, and with great finesse." Ridwan Khan from Animefringe.com commented that the manga had a "chubby" art style, but as the series continued the characters got more refined, leaner, and more muscular. Khan prefers the manga over the slow pacing of the anime counterparts. Allen Divers of Anime News Network praised the story and humor of the manga as being very good at conveying all of the characters' personalities. Divers also called Viz's translation one of the best of all the English editions of the series due to its faithfulness to the original Japanese. D. Aviva Rothschild of Rationalmagic.com remarked the first manga volume as "a superior humor title". They praised Goku's innocence and Bulma's insistence as one of the funniest parts of the series.
The content of the manga has been controversial in the United States. In November 1999, Toys "R" Us removed Viz's Dragon Ball from their stores nationwide when a Dallas parent complained the series had "borderline soft porn" after he bought them for his four-year-old son. Commenting on the issue, Susan J. Napier explained it as a difference in culture. After the ban, Viz reluctantly began to censor the series to keep wide distribution. However, in 2001, after releasing three volumes censored, Viz announced Dragon Ball would be uncensored and reprinted due to fan reactions. In October 2009, Wicomico County Public Schools in Maryland banned the Dragon Ball manga from their school district because it "depicts nudity, sexual contact between children and sexual innuendo among adults and children."
Main article: List of Dragon Ball anime
Main article: Dragon Ball (TV series)
Further information: List of Dragon Ball episodes
Toei Animation produced an anime television series based on the first 194 manga chapters, also titled Dragon Ball. The series premiered in Japan on Fuji Television on February 26, 1986 and ran until April 19, 1989, lasting 153 episodes. It is broadcast in 81 countries worldwide.
Dragon Ball Z
Main article: Dragon Ball Z
Further information: List of Dragon Ball Z episodes
Instead of continuing the anime as Dragon Ball, Toei Animation decided to carry on with their adaptation under a new name and asked Akira Toriyama to come up with the title. Dragon Ball Z (ドラゴンボールZ(ゼット), Doragon Bōru Zetto, commonly abbreviated as DBZ) picks up five years after the first series left off and adapts the final 325 chapters of the manga. It premiered in Japan on Fuji Television on April 26, 1989, taking over its predecessor's time slot, and ran for 291 episodes until its conclusion on January 31, 1996. Two television specials based on the Z series were aired on Fuji TV in Japan. The first, The One True Final Battle ~The Z Warrior Who Challenged Frieza – Son Goku's Father~, renamed Bardock – The Father of Goku by Funimation, was shown on October 17, 1990. The second special, Defiance in the Face of Despair!! The Remaining Super-Warriors: Gohan and Trunks, renamed The History of Trunks by Funimation, is based on a special chapter of the original manga and aired on February 24, 1993.
Dragon Ball GT
Main article: Dragon Ball GT
Further information: List of Dragon Ball GT episodes
Dragon Ball GT (ドラゴンボールGT(ジーティー), Doragon Bōru Jī Tī, G(rand) T(ouring)) premiered on Fuji TV on February 7, 1996 and ran until November 19, 1997 for 64 episodes. Unlike the first two anime series, it is not based on Akira Toriyama's original Dragon Ball manga, being created by Toei Animation as a sequel to the series or as Toriyama called it, a "grand side story of the original Dragon Ball." Toriyama designed the main cast, the spaceship used in the show, the design of three planets, and came up with the title and logo. In addition to this, Toriyama also oversaw production of the series, just as he had for the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z anime. The television special episode, Goku's Side Story! The Proof of his Courage is the Four-Star Ball, or A Hero's Legacy as Funimation titled it for their dub, aired on March 26, 1997, between episodes 41 and 42, serving as a kind of precursor to the epilogue to the series shown at the end of episode 64.
Dragon Ball Z Kai
Main article: List of Dragon Ball Z Kai episodes
In February 2009, Dragon Ball Z celebrated its 20th anniversary, with Toei Animation announcing that it would broadcast a re-edited and remastered version of the Dragon Ball Z anime under the name Dragon Ball Kai (ドラゴンボール改, Doragon Bōru Kai, lit. "Dragon Ball Revised"). The footage would be re-edited to follow the manga more closely, eliminating scenes and episodes which were not featured in the original manga, resulting in a more faithful adaptation, as well as in a faster-moving, and more focused story. The episodes were remastered for HDTV, with rerecording of the vocal tracks by most of the original cast, and featuring updated opening and ending sequences. On April 5, 2009, the series premiered in Japan airing in Fuji TV.Dragon Ball Z Kai reduced the episode count to 159 episodes (167 episodes internationally), from the original footage of 291 episodes. Damaged frames were removed, resulting in some minor shots being remade from scratch in order to fix cropping, and others to address continuity issues. The majority of the international versions, including Funimation Entertainment's English dub, are titled Dragon Ball Z Kai.
Dragon Ball Super
Main article: Dragon Ball Super
Further information: List of Dragon Ball Super episodes
On April 28, 2015, Toei Animation announced Dragon Ball Super (ドラゴンボール超, Doragon Bōru Sūpā), the first all-new Dragon Ball television series to be released in 18 years. It debuted on July 5 and ran as a weekly series at 9:00 am on Fuji TV on Sundays until its series finale on March 25, 2018 after 131 episodes.Masako Nozawa reprises her roles as Goku, Gohan, and Goten. Most of the original cast reprise their roles as well.Koichi Yamadera and Masakazu Morita also reprise their roles, as Beerus and Whis, respectively.
The story of the anime is set several years after the defeat of Majin Buu, when the Earth has become peaceful once again. Akira Toriyama is credited as the original creator, as well for "original story & character design concepts." It is also being adapted into a parallel manga.
Super Dragon Ball Heroes
Main article: Super Dragon Ball Heroes (anime)
Further information: List of Super Dragon Ball Heroes episodes and Dragon Ball Heroes
In 2018, an anime to promote the Super Dragon Ball Heroes card and video game series was announced with a July 1 premiere. The series' announcement included a brief synopsis:
Trunks returns from the future to train with Goku and Vegeta. However, he abruptly vanishes. The mysterious man "Fu" suddenly appears, telling them that Trunks has been locked up on the "Prison Planet", a mysterious facility in an unknown location between universes. The group searches for the Dragon Balls to free Trunks, but an unending super battle awaits them! Will Goku and the others manage to rescue Trunks and escape the Prison Planet?
The short film Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! was created for the Jump Super Anime Tour, which celebrated Weekly Shōnen Jump's 40th anniversary, and debuted on September 21, 2008. A short animated adaptation of Naho Ōishi's Bardock spinoff manga, Dragon Ball: Episode of Bardock, was shown on December 17–18, 2011 at the Jump Festa 2012 event.
A two-episode original video animation (OVA) titled Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans was created in 1993 as strategy guides for the Famicom video game of the same name. A remake titled Dragon Ball: Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans was created as a bonus feature for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2, which was released on November 11, 2010.
A two-part hour-long crossover special between Dragon Ball Z, One Piece and Toriko, referred to as Dream 9 Toriko & One Piece & Dragon Ball Z Super Collaboration Special!! aired on April 7, 2013.
The anime adaptations have also been very well-received and are better known in the Western world than the manga, with Anime News Network saying, "Few anime series have mainstreamed it the way Dragon Ball Z has. To a certain generation of television consumers its characters are as well known as any in the animated realm, and for many it was the first step into the wilderness of anime fandom." In 2000, satellite TV channel Animax together with Brutus, a men's lifestyle magazine, and Tsutaya, Japan's largest video rental chain, conducted a poll among 200,000 fans on the top anime series, with Dragon Ball coming in fourth.TV Asahi conducted two polls in 2005 on the Top 100 Anime, Dragon Ball came in second in the nationwide survey conducted with multiple age-groups and in third in the online poll.
Dragon Ball is one of the most successful franchises in animation history. The anime series is broadcast in more than 80 countries worldwide. In Japan, the first sixteen anime films up until Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon (1995) sold 50 million tickets and grossed over ¥40 billion ($501 million) at the box office, in addition to selling over 500,000 home video units, by 1996. Later DVD releases of the Dragon Ball anime series have topped Japan's sales charts on several occasions. In the United States, the anime series sold over 25 million DVD units by January 2012, and has sold more than 30 million DVD and Blu-ray units as of 2017. In Latin America, public screenings of the Dragon Ball Super finale in 2018 filled public spaces and stadiums in cities across the region, including stadiums holding tens of thousands of spectators.
Carl Kimlinger of Anime News Network summed up Dragon Ball as "an action-packed tale told with rare humor and something even rarer—a genuine sense of adventure." Both Kimlinger and colleague Theron Martin noted Funimation's reputation for drastic alterations of the script, but praised the dub. However, some critics and most fans of the Japanese version have been more critical with Funimation's English dub and script of Dragon Ball Z over the years. Jeffrey Harris of IGN criticized the voices, including how Freeza's appearance combined with the feminine English voice left fans confused about Freeza's gender. Carlos Ross of T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews considered the series' characters to be different from stereotypical stock characters and noted that they undergo much more development. Despite praising Dragon Ball Z for its cast of characters, they criticized it for having long and repetitive fights.
Dragon Ball Z is well-known, and often criticized, for its long, repetitive, dragged-out fights that span several episodes, with Martin commenting "DBZ practically turned drawing out fights into an art form." However, Jason Thompson of io9 explained that this comes from the fact that the anime was being created alongside the manga.Dragon Ball Z was listed as the 78th best animated show in IGN's Top 100 Animated Series, and was also listed as the 50th greatest cartoon in Wizard magazine's Top 100 Greatest Cartoons list.
Harris commented that Dragon Ball GT "is downright repellent", mentioning that the material and characters had lost their novelty and fun. He also criticized the GT character designs of Trunks and Vegeta as being goofy. Zac Bertschy of Anime News Network also gave negative comments about GT, mentioning that the fights from the series were "a very simple childish exercise" and that many other anime were superior. The plot of Dragon Ball GT has also been criticized for giving a formula that was already used in its predecessors.
The first episode of Dragon Ball Z Kai earned a viewer ratings percentage of 11.3, ahead of One Piece and behind Crayon Shin-chan. Although following episodes had lower ratings, Kai was among the top 10 anime in viewer ratings every week in Japan for most of its run.
See also: List of Dragon Ball films
Twenty animated theatrical films based on the Dragon Ball series have been released in Japan. The three most recent films, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (2013), Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' (2015) and Dragon Ball Super: Broly (2018), were produced as full-length feature films and were given stand-alone theatrical releases in Japan (as well as limited theatrical releases in the U.S.). They're also the first movies to have original creator Akira Toriyama deeply involved in their production; Battle of Gods and Resurrection 'F' were remade into the first and second arcs of the Dragon Ball Super anime, which told the same stories as the two films in expanded detail. The 1996 feature film, Dragon Ball: The Path to Power, was also a full-length theatrical release with a running time of 80 minutes, and was produced to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the anime as a re-imagining of the first few arcs of the series.
All previous films were mostly below feature length (around 45–60 minutes each), making them only slightly longer than one or two episodes of the TV series; this is due to them being originally shown as back-to-back presentations alongside other Toei film productions. These films are also mostly alternate re-tellings of certain story arcs (like The Path to Power), or extra side-stories that do not correlate with the continuity of the series. The first three films, along with The Path to Power, are based on the original Dragon Ball anime series. The remaining thirteen older films are based on Dragon Ball Z. The first five films were shown at the Toei Manga Festival (東映まんがまつり, Tōei Manga Matsuri), while the sixth through seventeenth films were shown at the Toei Anime Fair (東映アニメフェア, Toei Anime Fea).
An American live-action film titled Dragonball Evolution was produced by 20th Century Fox after it acquired the feature film rights to the Dragon Ball franchise in March 2002. Previous to the film, two unofficial live-action films had been produced decades prior. The first was a Taiwanese film titled Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins, which was also dubbed in English, while the second was a Korean film titled Dragon Ball: Fight, Son Goku! Win, Son Goku!. The film was directed by James Wong and produced by Stephen Chow, it was released in the United States on April 10, 2009. The film was meant to lead into sequels, which were cancelled, after the film flopped at the box office and became universally heralded as one of the worst adaptations of all time, being considered by the fans as being unfaithful to the source material. Franchise creator Akira Toriyama also criticized the film adding he was completely left out of the creative process, despite having himself offered to help, going as far as saying: "the result was a movie, I couldn't even call Dragon Ball". Years after its release, the writer of the film, Ben Ramsey, released a public apology in which he admitted to have written the film "chasing for a payday" instead of "as a fan of the franchise".
With the news of 20th Century Fox selling itself, its assets; which include the film rights to the Dragon Ball franchise, will now be owned by its purchaser, The Walt Disney Company.Jackie Chan had openly expressed interest in adapting the series into a live action movie.
Theme park attractions
"Dragon Ball Z: The Real 4D" debuted at Universal Studios Japan in the summer of 2016. It features a battle between Goku and Freeza. Unlike most Dragon Ball animation, the attraction is animated with CGI. A second attraction titled "Dragon Ball Z: The Real 4-D at Super Tenkaichi Budokai" debuted at Universal Studios Japan in the summer of 2017, which featured a battle between the heroes and Broly.
See also: List of Dragon Ball video games
The Dragon Ball franchise has spawned multiple video games across various genres and platforms. Earlier games of the series included a system of card battling and were released for the Famicom following the storyline of the series. Starting with the Super Famicom and Mega Drive, most of the games were from the fighting genre or RPG (Role Playing Game), such as the Super Butoden series. The first Dragon Ball game to be released in the United States was Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout for the PlayStation in 1997. For the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable games the characters were redone in 3D cel-shaded graphics. These games included the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series and the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi series.Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit was the first game of the franchise developed for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.Dragon Ball Xenoverse was the first game of the franchise developed for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A massively multiplayer online role-playing game called Dragon Ball Online was available in Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan until the servers were shut down in 2013. A few years later fans started recreating the game. Today, "Dragon Ball Online Global" is a new, European version of Dragon Ball Online and it is being developed, while open beta server is running.
The mobile gameDragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle (2015) has received over 300 million downloads worldwide, as of 2019[update]. A notable recent release is Dragon Ball FighterZ (2018), a fighting game developed by Arc System Works. The game received massive fan and critical acclaim for its fast paced frantic 3v3 battles and great visuals, also winning Best Fighting Game of 2018 at The Game Awards and many other awards and other nominations. It also has a large eSports scene, where it is one of the most popular fighting games. It also did very well commercially, selling 4 million units across all platforms.
|1989 to 2011||$5 billion||Dragon Ball Z merchandise|||
|January 2012 to March 2012||¥2.7 billion ($34 million)||Bandai Namco toys only|||
|April 2012 to March 2013||¥4.8 billion ($60 million)||Bandai Namco toys only|||
|April 2013 to March 2014||¥6.4 billion ($66 million)|
|April 2014 to March 2015||¥5.8 billion ($55 million)||Bandai Namco toys only|||
|April 2015 to March 2017||¥21.9 billion ($201 million)||Bandai Namco toys only|||
|April 2017 to December 2018||¥29.7 billion ($269 million)||Bandai Namco toys only|||
|2019||$1.95 billion+||Licensed merchandise|||
|January 2020 to December 2020||¥15 billion ($146 million)||Bandai Namco toys only|||
|Total known sales||$7.781 billion+|
In 1994, the licensee Bandai earned $140 million annually from sales of licensed Dragon Ball toys, video games and other character goods in Japan. In 1996, Dragon Ball Z grossed $2.95 billion in merchandise sales worldwide. Bandai sold over 2 billion Dragon BallCarddass cards in Japan by 1998, and over 1 million Dragon Stars figurines in the Americas and Europe as of 2018. In 2000, Burger King sponsored a toy promotion to distribute 20 millionDragon Ball Z figurines across North America. By 2011, the franchise had generated $5 billion in merchandise sales. In 2012, the franchise grossed ¥7.67 billion ($96.13 million) from licensed merchandise sales in Japan.
See also: List of Dragon Ball soundtracks
Myriad soundtracks were released in the anime, movies and the games. The music for the first two anime Dragon Ball and Z and its films was composed by Shunsuke Kikuchi, while the music from GT was composed by Akihito Tokunaga and the music from Kai was composed by Kenji Yamamoto and Norihito Sumitomo. For the first anime, the soundtracks released were Dragon Ball: Music Collection in 1985 and Dragon Ball: Complete Song Collection in 1991, although they were reissued in 2007 and 2003, respectively. For the second anime, the soundtrack series released were Dragon Ball Z Hit Song Collection Series. It was produced and released by Columbia Records of Japan from July 21, 1989 to March 20, 1996 the show's entire lifespan. On September 20, 2006 Columbia re-released the Hit Song Collection on their Animex 1300 series. Other CDs released are compilations, video games and films soundtracks as well as music from the English versions.
There have been numerous companion books to the Dragon Ball franchise. Chief among these are the Daizenshuu (大全集) series, comprising seven hardback main volumes and three supplemental softcover volumes, covering the manga and the first two anime series and their theatrical films. The first of these, Dragon Ball: The Complete Illustrations (Daizenshuu volume 1), first published in Japan in 1995, is the only one that was released in English, being printed in 2008 by Viz Media. It contains all 264 colored illustrations Akira Toriyama drew for the Weekly Shōnen Jump magazines' covers, bonus giveaways and specials, and all the covers for the 42 tankōbon. It also includes an interview with Toriyama on his work process. The remainder have never been released in English, and all are now out of print in Japan. From February 4 to May 9, 2013, condensed versions of the Daizenshuu with some updated information were released as the four-volume Chōzenshū (超全集) series. For Dragon Ball GT, the Dragon Ball GT Perfect Files were released in May and December 1997 by Shueisha's Jump Comics Selection imprint. They include series information, illustration galleries, behind-the-scenes information, and more. They were out of print for many years, but were re-released in April 2006 (accompanying the Japanese DVD release of Dragon Ball GT) and this edition is still in print.
Coinciding with the 34-volume kanzenban re-release of the manga, and the release of the entire series on DVD for the first time in Japan, four new guidebooks were released in 2003 and 2004. Dragon Ball Landmark and Dragon Ball Forever cover the manga, using volume numbers for story points that reference the kanzenban release, while Dragon Ball: Tenkaichi Densetsu (ドラゴンボール 天下一伝説) and Dragon Ball Z: Son Goku Densetsu (ドラゴンボールZ 孫悟空伝説) cover the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z anime, respectively. Much of the material in these books is reused from the earlier Daizenshuu volumes, but they include new textual material including substantial interviews with the creator, cast and production staff of the series. Son Goku Densetsu in particular showcases previously-unpublished design sketches of Goku's father Bardock, drawn by character designer Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru prior to creator Akira Toriyama's revisions that resulted in the final version.
Following the release of Dragon Ball Kai in Japan, four new guidebooks were released: the two-volume Dragon Ball: Super Exciting Guide (ドラゴンボール 超エキサイティングガイド) in 2009, covering the manga, and two-volume Dragon Ball: Extreme Battle Collection (ドラゴンボール 極限バトルコレクション) in 2010, covering the anime series. Despite the TV series airing during this time being Kai, the Extreme Battle Collection books reference the earlier Z series in content and episode numbers. These books also include new question-and-answer sessions with Akira Toriyama, revealing a few new details about the world and characters of the series. 2010 also saw the release of a new artbook, Dragon Ball: Anime Illustrations Guide – The Golden Warrior (ドラゴンボール アニメイラスト集 「黄金の戦士」); a sort of anime-counterpart to the manga-oriented Complete Illustrations, it showcases anime-original illustrations and includes interviews with the three principal character designers for the anime. Each of the Japanese "Dragon Box" DVD releases of the series and movies, which were released from 2003 to 2006, as well as the Blu-ray boxed sets of Dragon Ball Kai, released 2009 to 2011, come with a Dragon Book guide that contains details about the content therein. Each also contains a new interview with a member of the cast or staff of the series. These books have been reproduced textually for Funimation's release of the Dragon Ball Z Dragon Box sets from 2009 to 2011.
See also: Dragon Ball Collectible Card Game
Collectible cards based on the Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT series have been released by Bandai. These cards feature various scenes from the manga and anime stills, plus exclusive artwork from all three series. Bandai released the first set in the United States in July 2008.
Tabletop role-playing game
Since its debut, Dragon Ball has had a considerable impact on global popular culture. Estimates for the franchise's lifetime revenue range from $23 billion to $30 billion. In 2015, the Japan Anniversary Association officially declared May 9 as "Goku Day" (悟空の日, Gokū no Hi); in Japanese, the numbers five and nine can be pronounced as "Go" and "Ku". It is similarly influential in international popular culture across other parts of the world.Dragon Ball is widely referenced in American popular culture, from television and music to celebrities and athletes, and the show has been celebrated with Goku making an appearance at the 2018 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and with Dragon Ballmurals appearing in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Kansas City and Denver.
Dragon Ball is also immensely popular in other regions of the world, such as Latin America, where public screenings of the Dragon Ball Super finale in 2018 filled public spaces and stadiums in cities across the region, including stadiums holding tens of thousands of spectators.Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama was decorated a Chevalier or "Knight" of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in May 2019 for his contributions to the arts, particularly for Dragon Ball which has been credited with popularizing manga in France.
Vegeta's quote "It's Over 9000!" from the Saiyan Saga in the English dub of Dragon Ball Z is a popular internet meme. Goku has been identified as a superhero, as well as Gohan with his Great Saiyaman persona.Motorola's Freescale DragonBall and DragonBall EZ/VZ microcontroller processors, released in 1995, are named after Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, respectively.
Comics and animation
Dragon Ball has been cited as inspiration across various different media. Dragon Ball is credited with setting trends for popular shōnen manga and anime since the 1980s, with manga critic Jason Thompson in 2011 calling it "by far the most influential shōnen manga of the last 30 years." Successful shōnen manga authors such as Eiichiro Oda (One Piece), Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto), Tite Kubo (Bleach), Hiro Mashima (Fairy Tail) and Kentaro Yabuki (Black Cat) have cited Dragon Ball as an influence on their own now popular works. According to Thompson, "almost every Shonen Jump artist lists it as one of their favorites and lifts from it in various ways."
Ian Jones-Quartey, a producer of the American animated series Steven Universe, is a fan of Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump, and uses Toriyama's vehicle designs as a reference for his own. He also stated that "We're all big Toriyama fans on [Steven Universe], which kind of shows a bit."Comic book artist André Lima Araújo cited Dragon Ball, along with several other manga and anime, as a major influence on his work, which includes Marvel comics such as Age of Ultron, Avengers A.I., Spider-Verse and The Inhumans. Filipino comic artist Dexter Soy, who has worked on Marvel and DC comics such as Captain America, cited Dragon Ball as a major inspiration.Tony Stark: Iron Man #11 (2019) makes references to Dragon Ball Z, including Miles Morales as Spider-Man referencing the Super Saiyan transformation.
An unofficial live-action Mandarin Chinese film adaptation of the series, Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins, was released in Taiwan in 1989. In December 1990, the unofficial live-action Korean film Dragon Ball: Ssawora Son Goku, Igyeora Son Goku was released. Action film star Jackie Chan is a fan of the franchise, and said Goku is his favorite Dragon Ball character. In 1995, Chan had expressed some interest in adapting Dragon Ball into a film, but said it would require "a lot of amazing special effects and an enormous budget." Later in 2013, Toriyama said his ideal live-action Goku would have been a young Jackie Chan, stating that "nobody could play Goku but him."
The Matrix franchise echoes Dragon Ball Z in several action scenes, including the climactic fights of the 2003 films Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions. Filino-American film storyboard artist Jay Oliva has cited Dragon Ball as a major inspiration on his work, particularly the action scenes of 2013 Superman filmMan of Steel, which launched the DC Extended Universe. Several films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have also been visually influenced by Dragon Ball Z. Erik Killmonger's battle armour in Black Panther (2018) bears a resemblance to Vegeta's battle armour, which actor Michael B. Jordan (himself a Dragon Ball fan) said may have inspired Killmonger's battle armor. The fiery look of Carol Danvers' Binary powers in Captain Marvel (2019) also drew some influence from Dragon Ball Z. In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), Katy refers to one of Shang-Chi's techniques as a "Kamehameha fireball"; the film's director Destin Daniel Cretton cited Dragon Ball Z as an inspiration behind the film's climactic fight scene.
Music and sports
Dragon Ball has been channeled and referenced by numerous musicians. It is popular in the hip hop community, and has been referenced in numerous hip hop songs by rappers and artists such as Chris Brown, Chance the Rapper, Big Sean, Lil Uzi Vert, G-Mo Skee, The Weeknd, Childish Gambino,Thundercat, B.o.B, Soulja Boy,Drake,Frank Ocean, and Sese. Mark Sammut of TheGamer notes that Gohan occasionally performs the dab move (as The Great Saiyaman), decades before it became a popular hip-hop dance move in American popular culture.
Numerous athletes have also channeled and referenced Dragon Ball, including NBAbasketball players such as Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox, Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen, Golden State Warriors player Jordan Bell, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball, American footballNFL stars such as Cleveland Browns players Darren Fells and David Njoku, mixed martial artistRonda Rousey, and WWE wrestlers such as The New Day. Additionally, Canadian mixed martial artist Carlos Newton dubbed his fighting style "Dragon Ball Jiu-Jitsu" in tribute to the series. Other mixed martial artists inspired by Dragon Ball include Yushin Okami, Yoshihiro Akiyama and Yuya Wakamatsu. The French group Yamakasi cited Dragon Ball as an influence on their development of parkour, inspired by how the heroes attain extraordinary abilities through hard work.
The producer of the Tekken video game series, Katsuhiro Harada, said that Dragon Ball was one of the first works to visually depict chi and thereby influenced numerous Japanese video games, especially fighting games such as Tekken and Street Fighter. Masaaki Ishikawa, art director of the video game Arms, said that its art style was largely influenced by Dragon Ball and Akira. French video game designer Éric Chahi also cited Dragon Ball as an influence on his 1991 cinematic platformerAnother World. Other video game industry veterans who were inspired by Dragon Ball include Suda51, SWERY, Insomniac Games, Nina Freeman, Heart Machine, Iron Galaxy, and Mega64.
- ^Tankōbon volume sales of original Dragon Ball manga, not including Dragon Ball Super.
- ^ abcdAdditionally, more than 100 million unofficial pirated copies are estimated to have been sold in China, as of 2005.
- ^ abcdAdditionally, more than 30 million unofficial pirated copies are estimated to have been sold in South Korea, as of 2014.
- ^Tally does not include unofficial pirated copies. When including the over 130 million unofficial pirated copies sold in China and South Korea,[b][c] an estimated total of approximately 250 million official and unofficial copies have been sold overseas.
- ^60,000 copies sold annually in Vietnam, as of 2009.
- ^ abTally does not include unofficial pirated copies. When including the over 130 million unofficial pirated copies sold in China and South Korea,[b][c] an estimated total of over 400 million official and unofficial copies have been sold worldwide.
- ^ abSee Weekly Shōnen Jump § Circulation figures
- ^Originally there were eighteen universes, but six of them were since erased by Zeno, a supreme deity.
- ^SOS from the Future: A Dark New Enemy Appears!, Funimation dub
- ^ ab"Akira Toriyama × Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru". TV Anime Guide: Dragon Ball Z Son Goku Densetsu. Shueisha. 2003. ISBN . Archived from the original on September 3, 2020. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
- ^The Dragon Ball Z Legend: The Quest Continues. DH Publishing Inc. 2004. p. 7. ISBN .
- ^"Interview — Dragon Power / Ask Akira Toriyama!". Shonen Jump (1). January 2003. Archived from the original on September 3, 2020. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
- ^ abcdefClements, Jonathan; Helen McCarthy (September 1, 2001). The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917 (1st ed.). Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press. pp. 101–102. ISBN . OCLC 47255331.
- ^ abWiedemann, Julius (September 25, 2004). "Akira Toriyama". In Amano Masanao (ed.). Manga Design. Taschen. p. 372. ISBN .
- ^ abcdefg (in Japanese). Shueisha. 1995. pp. 261–265. ISBN .
- ^ abc (in Japanese). Shueisha. 2004. pp. 80–91. ISBN .
- ^"The Truth About the "Dragon Ball" Manga: "Toriyama Thought of It Like This" Special". Dragon Ball Super Exciting Guide: Story-Hen [Dragon Ball Super Exciting Guide: Story Volume]. Tōkyō: Shūeisha. March 4, 2009. pp. 87–93. ISBN .
- ^ abc (in Japanese). Shueisha. 1995. pp. 206–207. ISBN .
- ^Padula, Derek (2015). Dragon Ball Culture Volume 2: Adventure. Derek Padula. p. 53. ISBN . Archived from the original on September 3, 2020. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
- ^"Akira Toriyama Q&A". ドラゴンボール 冒険SPECIAL [Dragon Ball: Adventure Special] (in Japanese). Shueisha. November 18, 1987. Lay summary.
- ^ ab"Shenlong Times 2". DRAGON BALL 大全集 2: Story Guide (in Japanese). Shueisha. 1995.
- ^"Toriyama/Takahashi interview". Furinkan.com. 1986. Archived from the original on August 2, 2017. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
- ^ abc. Shueisha. 1995. pp. 164–169. ISBN .
- ^"Jason Thompson's House of 1000 Manga". Anime News Network. March 10, 2011. Archived from the original on January 17, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
- ^"Dragon Ball Collector — Interview with the Majin". Shonen Jump. No. 58. October 2007. Archived from the original on September 3, 2020. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
- ^Toriyama, Akira (2004). (in Japanese). Shueisha. pp. 80–91. ISBN .
- ^Toriyama, Akira (1995). . Shueisha. pp. 206–210. ISBN .
- ^"Comic Legends: Why Did Goku's Hair Turn Blonde?". Comic Book Resources. January 1, 2018. Archived from the original on July 19, 2018. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
- ^"Dragon Ball Back Then Vol. 2: Interview with "Dragon Ball Z" character designer Tadayoshi Yamamuro". Dragon Ball Anime Illustration: Kin'iro no Senshi [Dragon Ball Anime Illustration Collection: The Golden Warrior] (in Japanese). Tōkyō: Hōmusha. April 21, 2010. pp. 50–1. ISBN .
- ^ ab"Interview with the Majin! Revisited". Shonen Jump. Viz Media. 5 (11): 388. November 2007. ISSN 1545-7818.
- ^ ab (in Japanese). Shueisha. 2013. pp. 224–225. ISBN .
- ^. Shueisha. 1995. pp. 206–210. ISBN .
- ^Iwamoto, Tetsuo (March 27, 2013). "Dragon Ball artist: 'I just wanted to make boys happy'". Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on April 1, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
- ^. Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Archived from the original on October 9, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
- ^. Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Archived from the original on March 22, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
- ^"Comipress News article on "The Rise and Fall of Weekly Shōnen Jump"". comipress.com. May 6, 2007. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2008.
- ^ (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on March 13, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2008.
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- ^ (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on October 6, 2016. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
- ^ ab"Dragon Ball Manga Reprinted in Full Color in Japan". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on September 3, 2020. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
- ^ (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 27, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
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Dragon BallドラゴンボールDoragon Bōru
|Genre||Shōnen, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Martial Arts, Science Fiction, Bangsian Fantasy|
Manga Series: Dragon Ball
Weekly Shōnen Jump
November 20, 1984 (Weekly Shonen Jump, 1984
|No. of volumes|
Dragon Ball (ドラゴンボール,Doragon Bōru) is a Japanese manga by Akira Toriyama serialized in Shueisha's weekly manga anthology magazine, Weekly Shōnen Jump, from 1984 to 1995 and originally collected into 42 individual books called Tankōbon (単行本) released from September 10, 1985 to August 4, 1995.
The story of Dragon Ball follows the life of Son Goku, a monkey-tailed boy loosely based on the traditional Chinese folk tale Journey to the West, from his life and adventures as a child all the way up to being a grandfather. During his life, he fights many battles and eventually becomes (arguably) the strongest martial artist in the universe. He is not without help, however: the comic boasts a large ensemble cast of martial artist heroes and villains which provide the conflict that drives the story.
Main articles: Dragon Boy and The Adventures of Tongpoo
After the success of his previous manga Dr. Slump, Akira Toriyama wanted to break from the Western influences common in his other series. When he began work on Dragon Ball, he decided to model it loosely on the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West.
Dragon Ball was a redeveloped version of a one shot manga series he made: Dragon Boy, which was initially serialized in Fresh Jump and released in a single tankōbon volume in 1983. This short work combined the comedic style of Dr. Slump with a more action-oriented plot and paid homage to famous martial art actor Jackie Chan. Toriyama notes that his goal for the series was to tell an "unconventional and contradictory" story.
Originally not all that popular when first released, after the Emperor Pilaf arc, Akira decided to write in a World Martial Arts Tournament, a trend in manga that was very popular at the time. Akira Toriyama had also been told by his editor, Kazuhiko Torishima, that Goku was considered "quite bland", and thus Master Roshi was brought back and Krillin was introduced in the series.
Plot and Evolution
Main article: List of Dragon Ball manga chapters
A unifying component of the plot accompanying Goku's progression as a martial artist is his search for the eponymous Dragon Balls. They are one component of the universe, but are not the focus of most of the plot lines of the title. The Dragon Balls themselves are seven magical orbs which are scattered across the world. When assembled, they can be used to summon Shenron, the dragon who will grant one wish within its limit. After the wish is granted, the Dragon Balls are scattered again across the world and become inert for one year. In times past, it would take generations to search the world and gather the Dragon Balls. At the beginning of the story, however, a 16-year-old genius girl named Bulma invents a Dragon Radar to detect the Dragon Balls and makes the process far easier than it was originally intended to be.
The story of Dragon Ball unfolds gradually over 11 years of publication. The tone and the style of the stories gradually changes to reflect the tastes of the readers and the editors of Shōnen Jump in Japan. The early volumes of the manga (chapters 1-134) are primarily humorous fantasy stories, but they contain some minor sci-fi elements, much like Dr. Slump. Notable fantasy elements include not only the monkey boy Goku and the Dragon Balls themselves, but also many talking animal characters, unlikely martial art techniques, and identifying characters as gods and demons. Despite the fantasy elements, the world does contain highly advanced technology including hoi-poi capsules, space-saving capsules which are pocket sized but can store almost any object (including cars, planes and even houses) and other "near future" objects. The overall mood of the earlier volumes is light with few deaths and an emphasis on adventure and humor.
A subtle but significant change in mood begins after Goku's best friend Krillin is killed (the first of many deaths in this arc). This begins the King Piccolo arc (chapters 135-194) in which the manga enters a darker tone compared to its earlier volumes. This arc would more or less define how later arcs would be structured.
Dragon Ball fully transforms into an action based shōnen manga at the onset of the Saiyan arc (chapters 195-241). Starting with introduction of Goku's first son (Gohan), things begin to take a much more serious and harder sci-fi approach. Many characters which were previously implied to have mystic origins, including Goku and Piccolo, are revealed to be aliens from other planets. Advanced space travel, alien threats, and powerful cyborgs and androids take center stage instead of more fantastic villains.
After the defeat of Vegeta, and the conclusion of the Saiyan arc, the survivors of the vicious Saiyan attack head off to the planet Namek to resurrect their friends. This begins the Frieza arc (chapters 242-329). The Frieza arc is noteworthy for introducing the first Super Saiyan (Goku), now a staple of the series. It also sets the tone for more awesomely powerful characters. For example, the antagonist Frieza is first said to have a "power level" (the series' futuristic measure of a fighter's speed and strength, i.e., one average human is listed as 5) of 530,000. He then transforms into a more powerful form, at which point his power level is over 1,000,000. After two subsequent transformations, he reveals that he is still only using a fraction of his full power.
The Android arc (chapters 330-420) introduces Future Trunks, a mysterious Half-Saiyan Half-Human from a destroyed future world where all of the Z Fighters are killed by evil, seemingly unstoppable war machines called Androids, and the enigmatic and villainous Cell who is made from the cells from most of the heroes as well as some of the villains. This arc is notable for being the only arc in which Goku does not defeat the main villain; instead it is his son Gohan who defeats Cell. In this arc, Gohan surpasses the level of Super Saiyan and reaches the stage of Super Saiyan 2 in order to defeat Cell.
After Goku's death he is allowed to keep his body and train in the Other World. Seven years pass and Goku gets stronger while Gohan's power decreases. Fortuneteller Baba allows Goku to return to Earth for a single day which marks the start of the Majin Buu arc (chapters 421-519) which is the final arc of the manga. The beginning of this final arc concentrates on a teenaged Gohan. All the male Saiyans manage to reach the level of Super Saiyan at least (including fusions). Gohan can still use Super Saiyan 2, while Goku and Vegeta obtain this transformation as well. And the final level of the Super Saiyans, Super Saiyan 3, is reached by Goku, and later Gotenks. A considerable number of fusions also take place to add to the series, allowing Goten and Trunks to fuse resulting in Gotenks, Goku and Vegeta fuse to create the single most powerful character in Dragon Ball: the invincible Vegito. During this series, Majin Buu destroys earth and even manages to increase his own power by absorbing Gotenks, Piccolo and Gohan. Majin Buu also succeeds where the villains Vegeta, Frieza and Cell had previously failed and destroys Earth. Earth and everyone that was on it when it was destroyed are restored using the Namekian Dragon Balls, and Kid Buu is destroyed by Goku's Spirit Bomb only after taking on Goku, Vegeta, Mr. Satan and Good Buu.
Kid Buu was reincarnated into a human being of pure good called Uub and Goku, Vegeta, Mr. Satan and the Good Buu return to Earth and returned to Earth to reunite with their friends and families. Ten years later, Goku asks Good Buu to cheat so Goku and Uub can have a match, after the match Goku decides to go to Uub's village and train Uub to his potential so that one day they can have a match to decide who is the strongest fighter in the universe (currently Goku). Uub's village later receives money from Mr. Satan. To say goodbye the heroes that appear in the manga (excluding minor characters), everyone waves to the readers and a large "THE END" sign is seen floating.
After completing this series, Toriyama had a break before making gag manga called Nekomajin. This story features many elements and a few characters from Dragon Ball, including characters such as Majin Buu, Vegeta, and Goku.
A Korean MMORPG that serves as a follow-up to the manga, Dragon Ball Online, was developed with Bandai Namco Games and NTL. The game acts as a sequel to the manga with Akira Toriyama having supervised all aspects of the game, from storyline and setting to character and location designs. In a press conference in South Korea on February 14, 2008, Kazuhiko Torishima, the director of Shueisha at the time (and Toriyama's first editor), stated that Toriyama had immersed himself in creating character designs and providing editorial supervision for the game for the past five years. Two of the main villains of the game, Mira and Towa, were created by Akira Toriyama himself.
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ have been said to be an expansion to the manga, as well as the new arcs of Dragon Ball Super, due to Toriyama's involvement in the production writing their respective scripts.
For all its martial arts bravado, the story of Dragon Ball centers primarily around a theme of redemption, generally through exposure to the "pure" ideals of Goku and Gohan. Nearly every major character in the manga entered the series as a villain but was, through one method or another, converted to the side of good (often, this would entail a temporary team up to defeat a greater foe, but somehow the former enemies rarely found the motivation to begin fighting again). This theme was evident from the beginning (with the conversion of Yamcha, Oolong, and Puar) and continued even to the last saga (with the acceptance of Majin Buu). This style of redemption is not unique to Dragon Ball (it is often seen even in American comic books), but it is significant that it persisted even through other major shifts in style and tone.
One of the biggest themes in Dragon Ball is its subversion and criticism of popular tropes that were present in the fighting genre at the time of the manga's inception. For instance, the protagonist Goku is initially shown as a young, idiotic, and cheery boy whose actions are selfishly motivated rather than altruistically, contrasting with the idea of a brooding muscular hero who acts almost exclusively to protect the innocent and uphold justice. The story is kept lighthearted for its first few sagas through the use of the slapstick and vulgar/sexual humor that defined Akira Toriyama's previous work, a large step away from the sensationalized graphic violence that works such as Fist of the North Star, Devilman, and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure were infamous for; said graphic violence would ironically become increasingly common as Dragon Ball progressed, though slapstick does manage to return to the scene during the Majin Buu arc. Dragon Ball's setting is also a whimsical combination of fantasy and science-fiction that helps set it apart from the dark atmospheres of other fighting manga, and uses heavily stylized visuals with a more cartoonish look than its gritty and realistically-detailed counterparts. Even in the later portions of the story, the manga continuously deconstructs popular elements of the fighting genre, such as constant unreliability of power levels being a less-than-subtle jab at the concept of grading characters based on their strength, and the occasional failure of forms presented as unrealistically powerful is a clear criticism of conventional portrayals of them. Furthermore, the idea of ki techniques, even immensely powerful ones such as the Kamehameha, being accessible to quite literally anyone with sufficient training (as shown with Krillin, Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, and Videl) seems to purposely counter how other manga portray them as a sort of entitlement that only select individuals are capable of utilizing. Overall, despite being commonly considered the definitive archetype for the modern fighting manga, Dragon Ball serves to be a clear deconstructive parody of the genre as it existed at the time of its publication.
- Dragon Balls Quest Saga (ドラゴンボール探さがし編,Doragon Bōru Sagashi Hen, lit. "Hunt for the Dragon Balls Arc") (chapter 1-chapter 23)
- Turtle School Training Saga (亀仙人修行編,Kamesen'nin Shugyō Hen, lit. Turtle Hermit Training Arc) (chapter 24-chapter 31)
- 21st World Martial Arts Tournament Saga (第21回天下一武道会編,Dai-Nijūichi Tenka-Ichi Budōkai Hen, lit. The 21st Number One Under Heaven Martial Arts Gathering Arc) (chapter 32-chapter 54)
- Red Ribbon Army Saga (レッドリボン軍編,Reddo Ribon Gun Hen, lit. Red Ribbon Army Arc) (chapter 55-chapter 96)
- Fortuneteller Baba Saga (占いババ編,Uranai Baba Hen, lit. Fortune-Teller Baba Arc) (chapter 97-chapter 112)
- 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament Saga (第22回天下一武道会編,Dai-Nijūni Tenka-Ichi Budōkai Hen, lit. The 22nd Number One Under Heaven Martial Arts Gathering Arc) (chapter 113-chapter 134)
- King Piccolo Saga (ピッコロ大魔王編,Pikkoro Daimaō Hen, lit. The Great Demon King Piccolo Arc) (chapter 135-chapter 165)
- 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament Saga (第23回天下一武道会編,Dai-Nijūsan Tenka-Ichi Budōkai Hen, lit. The 23rd Number One Under Heaven Martial Arts Gathering Arc) (chapter 166-chapter 194)
- Saiyan Saga (サイヤ人編,Saiya-jin Hen, lit. Saiyan Arc) (chapter 195-chapter 242)
- Frieza Saga (フリーザ編,Furīza Hen, lit. Freeza Arc) (chapter 243-chapter 337)
- Androids Saga (人造人間編,Jinzōningen Hen, lit. Artificial Humans Arc) (chapter 338-chapter 356)
- Cell Saga (セル編,Seru Hen, lit. Cell Arc) (chapter 357-chapter 420)
- High School Saga (ハイスクール編,Hai Sukūru Hen, lit. High School Arc) (chapter 421-chapter 429)
- 25th World Martial Arts Tournament Saga (第23回天下一武道会編,Dai-Nijūgo Tenka-Ichi Budōkai Hen, lit. The 25th Number One Under Heaven Martial Arts Gathering Arc) (chapter 430-chapter 445)
- Majin Buu Saga (魔人ブウ編,Majin Bū Hen, lit. Majin Boo Arc) (chapter 446-chapter 519)
In the US, the manga was first released as two American-style comic books: Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z starting in 2000. (The split corresponds to the two different anime series, though the original Japanese manga does not distinguish between them. See below.) This style of release was unsuccessful owing to its large size and expensive cost ($2.95 for an issue of 2, later 3, chapters), and both series were canceled in 2002. The Dragon Ball Z comic was transitioned into a launch title for the new US edition of the Shonen Jump anthology, starting in January 2003. In parallel to these releases, Viz Media released the 42 volumes (nearly matching the first Japanese Tankōbon (単行本) set) in English. Viz titled the second part of the manga Dragon Ball Z to reduce confusion for American audiences.
As previously mentioned, the Dragon Ball manga is published as both "Dragon Ball" and "Dragon Ball Z" in American editions. Originally, both of these releases were censored for nudity and some graphic content. By the end of 2004, all "Dragon Ball" manga had been released almost uncensored (Mr. Popo's lips were removed), including re-releases of the previously censored volumes 1 through 3. The "Dragon Ball Z" manga remains censored, although many volumes (prior to volume 17) are technically uncensored since they did not contain any objectionable material.
- Mr. Popo's lips and other dark-skinned characters were edited because of complaints made by Carole Boston Weatherford.
- Middle fingers were edited into fists.
In 2006, Viz began releasing a second, A-rated (All Ages) edition of the series sans some nudity and profanity.
- The name Mr. Satan was edited into "Hercule" (the same as Funimation's edited anime dub).
- Firearms were edited into "laser blasters", though a pistol-armed robber was able to shoot a character without being censored.
- Alcohol, drugs and sexual innuendo were edited.
In 2008, Viz began releasing the VIZBIG editions of both Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. These releases were larger in size and had 3 volumes put together in each book that featured color in some of the chapters that Akira Toriyama originally put color in. These releases are also edited for content to make the series more family-oriented.
The manga was re-released in Japan from December 4, 2002, to April 2, 2004, in a 34 volume collection named Kanzenban (完全版), which all have new original covers, original color artwork from the series' Weekly Shōnen Jump run, and a slightly rewritten ending for the last chapter. The Kanzenban volumes can also be seen in the credits of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods.
Digital Color Edition
With the series already well-established in the world of print, thanks to the original tankōbon releases (including their 2009 refreshed versions), the kanzenban releases, and the various animation comic releases, Shueisha decided to move on to the next untapped Dragon Ball market: digital releases. Shueisha began testing the idea of releasing a digitally colored version of the Dragon Ball manga on their Manga Online website in June 2009, but stopped abruptly in November 2009. In total, they released the first 23 chapters in full color for free, all of which appear to have been reused in these subsequent digital Color Edition releases. However, on October 12 2012, just prior to returning to a full color release, Shueisha released all 42 tankōbon volumes of the series digitally under the Jump Comics Digital line. These Monochrome Edition releases are near-identical reprints of the original gray scaled tankōbon volumes published between 1985 and 1995, although with a reduced purchase price (¥368, or ¥350 plus tax).
Full Color comics
It was re-released in Japan again, in a full color edition called Dragon Ball Full Color this time, starting with three volumes covering the Saiyan Saga on February 4, 2013, and five volumes covering the Namek Saga/Frieza Saga on April 4, 2013. It was later followed by six volumes covering the Androids Saga/Cell Saga and six volumes covering the Majin Buu Saga, with the first three volumes of the Androids/Cell arc released on April 4, 2014 (two days before Dragon Ball Kai returned with the Majin Buu Saga on Japanese TV), volumes 4–6 released on May 2, 2014, and Majin Buu Arc volumes 1–3 and 4–6 on June 4, 2014 and July 4, 2014 respectively. Each volume contains 17 chapters on 248 pages, with the first three comics covering chapters 195 to 245 (chapters 195-211 for vol.1, 212-228 for vol.2, and 229-245 for vol.3). The cover images are colored montages of various title pages (chapters 202 and 219 for the first one, 217 and 227 for the second one, and 231 for the third). All three Saiyan Arc volumes include a two-page colored section called "Enter the Dragon Ball" which recaps the story and characters of the beginning of the manga series (i.e. Goku's childhood arcs). Another recurring feature in each volume is the "Dragon Ball Q&A" section, with a few questions answered by Shueisha and the others answered by Akira Toriyama. The colored chapters were also published in the North American edition of Weekly Shonen Jump, debuting in the February 4, 2013 issue and ending with chapter 245 in the February 17, 2014 issue. Viz Media later released the three Dragon Ball Full Color volumes covering the Saiyan Arc in the U.S. on February 4, April 1, and June 3, 2014 respectively; these volumes have a larger size than regular manga, and are about the same size as an American graphic novel or comic book.
The color edition chapters of the first 16 volumes are available in digital format and in Japanese since February 4, 2013, as well as on Dentsu's YouTube channel MANGAPOLO since February 5, 2013, with the applicable languages being Japanese and English. Those colorized versions of earlier chapters are divided up in three arcs: Goku Training Arc (volumes 1–4), Red Ribbon Army Arc (volumes 5–9), and King Piccolo Arc (volumes 10–16). The digital version of the Cell Arc was digitally released on September 4, 2013, in eight volumes that cover chapters 330 to 420.
The Boyhood Arc of Dragon Ball Full Color was published in Japan between January 4 (Volumes 1-4) and February 3, 2016 (Volumes 4-8), and the entire King Piccolo Arc was published in four volumes on March 4, 2016. Viz Media released the five volumes covering the Frieza Arc of Dragon Ball Full Color in the U.S. between May 6, 2016 and January 3, 2017.
Dragon Ball (3-in-1 Edition)
On June 4, 2013, Viz Media released "Dragon Ball (3-in-1 Edition)" which collects the first 3 original Dragon Ball volumes in a smaller size than the "VIZBIG" edition. Thirteen more 3-in-1 volumes were released by Viz between September 3, 2013 and September 6, 2016. This release features the same cover artwork as the Kanzenban volumes (though not all of them, since this release consists of 14 volumes as opposed to 34). Unlike the Kanzenban and "VIZBIG" releases, however, the 3-in-1 Edition does not feature any color chapters. This release was also notably Viz's first to have the entire manga published under the "Dragon Ball" moniker instead of using the "Dragon Ball Z" moniker for the later half of the story. Although the back cover advertises this release as being "uncut and uncensored" some minor censorship is still present such as editing profanity and some middle finger gestures. (possibly due to the company reusing the censored Kanzenban and VIZBIG volumes' English translated pages to print the pages to the VIZBIG release and forgetting that those pages were censored.)
Relation to the anime
Both the Dragon Ball (DB) and Dragon Ball Z (DBZ) anime are based on the same original Dragon Ball manga. Dragon Ball follows Goku's adventures as a child up to his marriage, which are the sagas that arguably have the most fantasy and humor elements. Dragon Ball Z continues the story 5 years after Dragon Ball leaves off, with the introduction of Goku's young son named Gohan and the arrival of a new, more powerful foe such as the Saiyans and other new villains such as Frieza, Cell, and Majin Buu and follows Goku's adventures as an adult. Dragon Ball GT was a project started by Toei Animation to continue the story where Dragon Ball Z left off with Goku being turned back into a child by Emperor Pilaf using the Black Star Dragon Balls and is not part of the original manga, due to Akira Toriyama ending the original manga in 1995.
There are additional differences between the Viz Media's English translation of the manga and Funimation's English dub of the anime, but those are primarily due to differences in translation. For example, the character of "Kuririn" in the manga is retranslated as "Krillin" in the Funimation dub. Similarly, the names of "Goku" and "Gohan" lack the family name "Son" in Funimation's dub. In general, Viz's translation of the manga is considered to be closer to the translation of the anime as factors such as mouth movement are not taken into consideration.
The "Z" in Dragon Ball Z is rumored to have many meanings. The official meaning, as stated by the author, is that the letter was chosen because it was at the end of the alphabet, echoing Toriyama's desire that the series would end soon. Other, fan-given "Z" theories include the naming of the ensemble group of main characters as the "Z Fighters" (or "Z Warriors") in episode titles and promotional materials (they are never referred to that way in the anime itself) or based on the "Detekoi Tobikiri Zenkai Power!" theme song in the ending credits. It is notable that the "Z" of Dragon Ball Z is pronounced "Zetto" in the first Japanese opening, Cha-La-Head-Cha-La. This is because the romanized letter "Z" is pronounced "zetto" (ゼット). It has been spelled as "Zed" by some, however, in Japanese, kana that represents a consonant plus vowel, especially when pronouncing a foreign word, is often pronounced in a clipped manner (sounds somewhat similar to French, where "e" indicates the full pronunciation of the preceding letters, which are otherwise silent). This is why it sounds like Hironobu Kageyama is saying "Zed"; he simply isn't pronouncing the "o" at the end of "Zetto" (this is also common in Japanese pop songs, which typically match each note with one "kana" pronunciation; pronunciation as sung is sometimes clipped to make the lyrics fit the music properly). Conversely, in Japanese, the series is pronounced "Doragon Bōru Zetto".
Throughout most of the writing of the manga, the anime (which started airing just two years after the manga started and ended only a year after the former) was being written and produced just behind the point where the manga was being concurrently published. While this led to getting the episodes released rapidly, the pacing resulted in a large amount of "filler" material needing to be added to the anime to flesh out the episodes to keep them from catching up. There are many instances in the anime where backstory added in the anime was accepted in the manga; most notably, the character of Bardock (Goku's father) was originally an anime-creation who was made canon in the manga after Toriyama became impressed with him and his backstory. Even with filler, the anime would sometimes get ahead of the manga, revealing characters a week before Shonen Weekly published the manga version; Android 16 was revealed in the anime a week before he was shown in the manga, TOEI having gone after sketchings of the new manga issue Akira provided them before the issue was inked and published. These brief inconsistencies were corrected as swiftly as possible, usually through entire episodes of filler, extending a fight for another solid episode so the manga could get ahead of the anime again, and only crop up very briefly before being corrected. Original air dates from the list of Dragon Ball Z episodes can be compared with the list of Dragon Ball manga chapters' original Japanese publishing dates for more insight on these curious discrepancies during the original run of the anime and the publications of the manga in Shonen Weekly.
Relation to Journey to the West
Journey to the West is a novel in Chinese literature from which Dragon Ball is inspired. There are many parallels between the two works.
Based upon Sun Wukong. Son Goku (そんごくう） is the Japanese reading of Sun Wukong's name. Goku's Nyoibo (or Power Pole) comes from Sun Wukong's magic staff the Ruyi Jingu Bang that can change to any size anytime he sees fit. His Kinto'un (Flying Nimbus) is another item that Sun Wukong has. Goku finds himself in a place reminiscent of the pillars of Buddha's palm, the location where Sun Wukong's rampage was finally put to an end.
- In the original story, the priest, Xuanzang and his company search for the legendary Buddhist scriptures in the West. In Dragonball, Bulma and her company search for the legendary Dragon Balls.
- The equivalent to Xuanzang of the original texts is Bulma in Dragon Ball (though later, it can be argued to be the role of Krillin).
- The equivalent to Zhu Wuneng of the original texts is Oolong in Dragon Ball.
- The equivalent to Sha Wujing of the original texts is Yamcha in Dragon Ball.
- The Ox King is based on the identically-named character in Journey to the West; in the original story, the Ox King was one of many demons who attempted to eat Xuanzang's flesh as a means of achieving immortality. Likewise, both Ox Kings were encountered in a castle on a flaming mountaintop. The Basho Fan that appeared in Dragon Ball was also how Sun Wukong put out the flames surrounding the castle.
Influence on other series
Main article: List of Influences on Popular Culture
- In the anime, Excel Saga, Nabeshinlll teaches Pedro and Sandora to reach a certain powerful afro level, similar to the level of Super Saiyan in Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT. They also must use a technique called the Nabehameha, a direct parody of Goku's signature Kamehameha blast.
- In the manga Eyeshield 21, Yukimitsu performs the Taiyô-ken while dressed as Tien Shinhan.
- In the OVA Puni Puni Poemy, Poemi is shown with a collection of Dragon Balls.
- In the manga Yu-Gi-Oh!, the main character, Yugi Mutou, relates the Millenium Puzzle's power with wishes granted by the Dragon Balls. Also, in the anime version, there is a Dragon Ball shown on a poster.
- In the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Sonic must collect the 7 Chaos Emeralds, similar to the Dragon Balls. Once collected, Sonic turns into Super Sonic, a transformation similar to that of a Super Saiyan.
- In the manga Bastard!!, there is a part of the series where Angels evolving/powering up was a tribute to the wacky Fusion Dance of Gotenks.
- In an episode of Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Sasshi fights in a martial arts match while dressed as Bruce Lee, and near the end, transforms to a Super Saiyan and performs a yellow version of the Kamehameha.
- In Masakazu Katsura's manga DNA², the main character can turn into a Super Saiyan-like state, gaining golden hair and the ability to use special abilities.
- In the Gambere Goemon games Goemon can transform into the "Sudden Impact" state, in which his hair grows bigger and its color becomes yellow.
- The manga series Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo had many references to Dragon Ball and a one-off chapter making a parody of it. It had Tokoro Tennosuke and Don Patch recreating the first battle between Goku and Vegeta respectively, but the order and development is messed up.
- Masashi Kishimoto states in his manga Naruto that he was influenced by Toriyama, as he has always admired Toriyama's works. Kishimoto included a picture of Arale he drew in elementary school. Small references to Dragon Ball are also occasionally made in Naruto; such as manga episode 150 "Start of the training", on page 7, Chiaotzu's "mask" can be found between other masks for sale in a store. Also, in Naruto, the name of the 4th tailed beast is "Son Gokū", which is also the name of the main character of Dragon Ball. To further the connection, its last host was named Roshi, which could be a nod to Master Roshi.
- Eiichiro Oda, the author of One Piece, stated in an interview that he was a big fan of Dragon Ball. He stated that it was Toriyama that influenced him and that he holds Dragon Ball in high-esteem. Toriyama is a self-professed fan of One Piece, which he was introduced to by his children. Both artists ended up creating the collaboration manga Cross Epoch featuring both Dragon Ball and One Piece characters.
- The manga Struwwelpeter: Die Rückkehr has a lot of references to Dragon Ball, beginning with the cover and the title claim resembling that of Dragon Ball Z. There are also a lot of easter eggs like a Dragon Ball lying in the garbage.
- In the manga Black Cat, the character Sven has a cell phone charm of Frieza's head.
- In the anime School Rumble, there is a scene in which Harima Kenji transforms into a Super Saiyan-like form and fights with Karasuma Ooji.
- In the anime Sgt. Frog, the character Momoka is split into a good and evil version of herself and reunites the two halves in a synchronized swimming team, spoofing the fusion dance, and the narrator even states "I do love it when they reference DBZ". Another episode of Sgt. Frog, insects invade, and the character Tamama fights them off in a battle very Dragon Ball Z-esque and similar to that of the one between Goku and Vegeta during the Saiyan Saga.
- The anime MM! has a parody of the Spirit Bomb wherein the protagonist Sado Taro gathers a large ball of energy created from the power of all the perverts on the planet. He is also in a state parodying the Super Saiyan.
- Kurisu Makise from Steins;Gate uses the online alias of "KuriGohan and Kamehameha".
- In The Fairly Oddparents TV movie "Channel Chasers", an animated show called Maho Mushi, one of Timmy's favorite shows, is presented as "extremely violent" (referencing a common criticism of the anime from moral guardians during its American airing). When it is first mentioned, a character with black hair, a scouter and armor appears on the TV screen (referencing Vegeta). When Timmy and Vicky arrive at Channel 298, Maho Mushi begins broadcasting, both characters engaging in a final fight that references the final match of the 23rd World Tournament. Vicky's outfit is similar to Piccolo Jr's, while Timmy's is similar to Goku's. Vicky has fangs which further link her to Piccolo. Timmy, on the other hand, has facial features that resemble Krillin's, perhaps owing to his short height. Also, Oolong can be seen in the audience. There is also two brief scenes where Cosmo accidentally fires a ki blast, first piercing a wall and then knocking away a vendor, after pointing out how anyone in the show can use ki attacks (a joke about the prevalence of ki in the later chapters of Dragon Ball).
- In The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy episode "Chicken Ball Z", Mandy is shown to eat a Chicken-Ball which makes her transform into a Super-Saiyan.
- In the Kids Next Door episode "Operation: R.E.P.O.R.T.", Number 4 relates his fight with the Delightful Children From Down The Lane to Goku's fight with Frieza in a flashback.
- In the Chowder episode "Shnitzel Quits", Shnitzel briefly turns into a Super Saiyan-like state and he gets stronger.
- In the Teen Titans Go! episode "Starfire The Terrible" Robin's hair is that of Goku in his normal form
- In two episodes of The Amazing World of Gumball,
Six months after the defeat of Majin Buu, The mighty Saiyan Son Goku continues his quest on becoming stronger.
With Majin Buu defeated half-a-year prior, peace returns to Earth, where Son Goku (now a radish farmer) and his friends now live peaceful lives. However, a new threat appears in the form of Beerus, the God of Destruction. Considered the most terrifying being in the entire universe, Beerus is eager to fight the legendary warrior seen in a prophecy foretold decades ago known as the Super Saiyan God. The series retells the events from the two Dragon Ball Z films, Battle of Gods and Resurrection 'F' before proceeding to an original story about the exploration of alternate universes.
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Dragon Ball is a multimedia franchise that spawned from a Japanese manga series created by Akira Toriyama. Weekly Shonen Jump serialized the manga written and illustrated by Toriyama from 1984 to 1995.
The original story follows the adventure of the monkey-tailed lead protagonist Son Goku as he and his friends search for the seven orbs known as the Dragon Balls. Collecting the seven Dragon Balls summons a dragon, that grants one wish. The series starts with a 12-year old Goku who looks younger than his actual age. He eventually grows up to have great physical strength and powers.
It is eventually revealed that he is actually a Saiyan sent to Earth when he was a baby with a mission to destroy or conquer it. However, he was found by Gohan, a human, who raised him as his loving adoptive grandson. An accident caused him to forget about his mission and he becomes the protector of Earth instead.
There have been many adaptations of the Dragon Ball manga including two anime series produced by Toei Animation titled Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z which aired from 1986 to 1996. It was followed by two more sequels titled Dragon Ball GT which aired from 1996-1997 and Dragon Ball Super which started to air in 2015 to the present. Toei Animation has also produced 19 animated feature films and three television specials.
Dragon Ball has a massive worldwide following and is one of the most successful manga and anime series of all time. The animation series have been dubbed in English for release in the US and other countries.
The franchise has also spawned into various video games and collectible trading card games. Other merchandise include clothing, school supplies, accessories and action figures. Spinoffs of Goku’s story include his father’s back story and his life as a husband and father.
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Plot dragon ball
|Dragon Ball Z|
Dragon Ball ZドラゴンボールDoragon Bōru Zetto
|Genre||Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Martial Arts|
|Anime series: Dragon Ball Z|
Daisuke Nishio (#1-199)
April 26, 1989 — January 31, 1996
|No. of episodes|
|Manga chapters adapted|
Dragon Ball Z (ドラゴンボール,Doragon Bōru Zetto, commonly abbreviated as DBZ) is the long-running sequel to the anime Dragon Ball. The series is a close adaptation of the second (and far longer) portion of the Dragon Ball manga written and drawn by Akira Toriyama. In the United States, the manga's second portion is also titled Dragon Ball Z to prevent confusion for younger readers.
Dragon Ball Z follows the adventures of the adult Goku who, along with his companions, defends the earth against an assortment of villains ranging from intergalactic space fighters and conquerors, unnaturally powerful androids and near indestructible magical creatures. While the original Dragon Ball anime followed Goku through childhood into adulthood, Dragon Ball Z is a continuation of his adulthood life, but at the same time parallels the maturation of his son, Gohan, as well as other characters from Dragon Ball and more. The separation between the series is also significant as the latter series takes on a more dramatic and serious tone. The anime also features characters, situations and back-stories not present in the original manga.
The other names the production was considering for this second series before they settled on Dragon Ball Z were Dragon Ball: Gohan's Big Adventure, New Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball 2, Dragon Ball Wonder Boy, and Dragon Ball 90. The anime first premiered in Japan on April 26, 1989 (on Fuji TV) at 7:30 p.m. and ended on January 31, 1996. The series average rating was 20.5%, with its maximum being 27.5% (Episode 218) and its minimum being 12.1% (Episode 273). Like Dragon Ball, the music for Dragon Ball Z was composed by Shunsuke Kikuchi. The character designs for Dragon Ball Z were created by Minoru Maeda from the Raditz Saga to the Cell Games Saga and Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru from the Great Saiyaman Saga to the Peaceful World Saga.
Toriyama's humor/parody manga Nekomajin, released after Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, features several concepts introduced in the series, and several Dragon Ball Z characters make various appearances in this manga. After Dragon Ball Z, the story of Goku and friends continues in the anime-only series Dragon Ball GT, which is not based on a manga by Akira Toriyama but is a project by Toei Animation using the same characters and storyline that serves as a sequel to Dragon Ball Z. 19 years after the end of Dragon Ball Z in Japan, a new sequel series titled Dragon Ball Super premiered with original concepts by Akira Toriyama, taking place after the death of Kid Buu but before Dragon Ball Z's ending.
In the U.S., the series initially aired in first-run syndication from September 13, 1996, to May 23, 1998, and then aired on Cartoon Network's Toonami block from August 31, 1998, to April 7, 2003, though not always with the same continuity of dubbing (for details on the dubbing problems, see Ocean Group dubs and Funimation dub). It was also shown in Canada on YTV around the same time. It aired in the UK, with the same dubbing problem, on Cartoon Network, premiering on March 6, 2000 and running on that channel until 2002. The Majin Buu Saga, Fusion Saga and Kid Buu Saga were later broadcast on CNX, which later changed its name to Toonami, with the show ending on February 28, 2003. After the finished run, it was repeated daily, until Toonami merged with Cartoon Network. In Australia it was shown on both Cartoon Network and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation with Cartoon Network airing it in around 1997-1999 and ABC from 1999-2004. In New Zealand, it was shown on TV3.
In April 2009, a new 'refresh' of Dragon Ball Z began airing on Japanese television. This re-cut is titled Dragon Ball Z Kai.
Dragon Ball Z was marketed to appeal to a wide range of viewers from all ages, and contains crude humor and occasional excesses of violence which are commonly seen as inappropriate for younger audiences by American standards. When it was first marketed in the US, the distribution company Funimation alongside Saban decided to initially focus exclusively on the young children's market, because the anime market was still small compared to the much larger children's cartoon market. This censorship often had unintentionally humorous results, such as changing all references to death so the dead characters were merely going to "another dimension", and digitally altering two ogres' shirts to read "HFIL" instead of "HELL".
Starting with the Captain Ginyu Saga on Cartoon Network, censorship was reduced due to fewer restrictions on cable programming. Funimation did the dubbing on their own this time around with their voice actors. In 2004, Funimation began to redub the first two sagas of Dragon Ball Z, to remove the problems that were caused by their previous partnership with Saban. They also redubbed the first three movies.
However, the show still retained some level of censorship, not out of FCC laws, but out of choice by Funimation, to cater to the possible sensitivity of western audiences. For example, Mr. Satan was renamed "Hercule" to avoid any religious slurs; his daughter, Videl, was a play on the word "Devil", but Funimation felt that the connection was obscure enough to not worry about.
Filler and differences from the manga
Main article: Filler Filler is used to pad out the series for many reasons; in the case of Dragon Ball Z, more often than not, it was because the anime was running alongside the manga, and there was no way for the anime to run ahead of the manga (since Toriyama was still writing it, at the same time).
The company behind the anime, Toei Animation, would occasionally make up their own side stories to either further explain things, or simply to extend the series. Filler does not come only in the form of side stories, though; sometimes it is as simple as adding some extra attacks into a fight. One of the more infamous examples of filler is the Frieza Saga. After Frieza had set the planet Namek to blow up in five minutes, the final fight between Goku and Frieza still lasted well over five episodes, much less five minutes, although this can be attributed to the fact that Namek simply took longer to explode than Frieza expected. Also, many numerous filler scenes took place while the battle with Frieza was in motion, which accounts for much of the footage during the planet's explosion.
As the anime series was forced to expand 12 pages of manga text into 25 minutes of animation footage, these changes were introduced to kill time or to allow the (anime) writers to explore some other aspect of the series' universe. The Garlic Jr. Saga (Garlic Jr.'s return from the Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone movie) between the Frieza Saga and Trunks Saga and the Other World Tournament between the Cell Games Saga and the Majin Buu Saga are both good examples of this.
Besides having filler scenes and episodes, there are many other changes from the original manga. Among them are the following:
- When Tien Shinhan loses his arm while fighting Nappa, his arm becomes a stump with only a small amount of blood seen. In the manga, the scene is much gorier.
- In the manga, Frieza kills Cargo, but in the anime Dodoria kills him.
- In the manga, Zarbon informs Vegeta about Frieza's ability to transform during their first fight. This was removed from the anime, but Vegeta still later tells Frieza that it was Zarbon who told him about Frieza's transformation ability.
- In the manga, Appule finds all the Namekians in the village attacked by Vegeta dead and tells Frieza, who just tells him to call the Ginyu Force. In the anime, the soldier is changed to another soldier referred to as "Orlen" in the closed captioning for the Ocean Dub VHS tapes. This soldier is killed by Frieza when he tells that he killed the last survivor of the village without asking him where Vegeta had hidden the Four Star Namekian Dragon Ball.
- In the manga, after Frieza survives Goku's Spirit Bomb, he immediately strikes down Piccolo with his Death Beam technique. In the anime, however, Frieza fires his beam at Goku, only for Piccolo to jump in the way and get struck down by the beam anyway.
- In the manga, Frieza's full power was still never a match for Goku's Super Saiyan form, but in the anime, Frieza appears to have the upper hand for a short time before he begins to tire.
- In the anime, when Vegeta is brought back to life on Planet Namek, he manages to witness some of the battle between Goku and Frieza, as well as Goku's Super Saiyan form, before being teleported to Earth by the Namekian Dragon Balls. In the manga, he is teleported to Earth almost immediately after being revived and does not get a chance to see Goku as a Super Saiyan for the first time until Goku returns to Earth himself later on.
- When Dr. Gero first appears in the series (as Android 20), he grabs a man by the neck and tears him through the roof of a car. In the original manga, he crushes the man's neck afterward, tearing his head off.
- In the manga, when Goku fully recovers from the Heart Virus, Chi-Chi finds him simply looking out the window of the bedroom he was resting in at Kame House. In the anime, however, Chi-Chi finds him outside the house, firing several Kamehameha blasts across the ocean.
- During Gohan and Cell's Energy Clash in the anime, Piccolo, Krillin, Tien, and Yamcha unsuccessfully try to distract Cell before Vegeta succeeds in doing so, whereas in the manga, they all simply observe the struggle and Vegeta is the only one to attack Cell from behind.
- When Vegeta shoots a Galick Blazer at Cell, he is seen in his Super Saiyan form in the anime. In the manga, he is seen in his base form. Similarly, Goku's spirit is seen in his Super Saiyan form in the anime as he and Gohan perform the Father-Son Kamehameha against Cell, while he is seen in his base form in the manga.
- Though the flashback of Future Trunks and Future Gohan fighting Androids 17 and 18 are present in both the anime and the manga, there are notable discrepancies between the flashback and the scene depicted in the TV special Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks. In the special, Gohan had not lost his arm yet at the beginning of the story, Trunks had not yet achieved his Super Saiyan form too, and there was rain in the scene in question.
- When Vegito fights Super Buu (with Gohan absorbed) in the manga, Vegito immediately transforms into his Super Saiyan form. In the anime, Vegito fought in his base form for a while before becoming a Super Saiyan. Similarly, in the anime Goku and Vegeta battle Super Buu together (unsuccessfully) before fusing into Vegito, while in the manga Goku is able to convince Vegeta to fuse with him before Buu gets a chance to attack them.
- When Goku begins his battle against Kid Buu in the manga, he transforms immediately into his Super Saiyan 3 form. In the anime, however, Goku starts the battle as a Super Saiyan 2 and manages to hold his own against Kid Buu for a while before ascending to Super Saiyan 3.
- In the manga, many characters have a different number of fingers on their hands; such as Piccolo (3 fingers and a thumb), Dodoria (3 thumb-like fingers), and Imperfect form Cell (two long fingers and a long thumb). In the anime, everybody has human-like hands with 4 fingers and a thumb.
Reception and Impact
The impact of Dragon Ball Z is enormous. For more than 20 years, the series has stood the test of time and has reached out to many children and adults alike across the globe. This is mainly due to the series' very clear representations of good overpowering evil, love overpowering hate, the importance of family and friends, and an unyielding passion toward achieving goals. The series also featured heavy sci-fi overtones, and a greater emphasis on fighting - making it extremely popular among adolescent boys who had grown up alongside the original series.
Dragon Ball Z - along with Sailor Moon and Pokémon - has also played a large part in contributing to the popularity of anime in western culture. Though the first two seasons of the series were played on various networks in the U.S. in 1996, it would not take off for two more years until August 31, 1998, when Cartoon Network featured the show in its action-oriented Toonami lineup. Toonami heralded the show as "The Greatest Action Cartoon Ever Made," and it greatly boosted the popularity of Toonami, but unknowingly did so much more. Dragon Ball Z's newfound popularity helped to bring about a greater interest in Japanese cartoons in the eyes of western youth, which in turn fueled the western anime industry to new heights. Because of its success on Toonami, Dragon Ball Z was the first anime that made its way to the Wall Street Journal, who declared it "A Huge Cartoon Hit."
Many items such as apparel, backpacks, lunch boxes, writing utensils, candies, drinks, foods and more feature Dragon Ball Z, in both Japan and North America. Action figures, collectible figurines, plush toys, bobbleheads, and character model kits were also made. The fast-food chain Burger King featured Dragon Ball Z toys twice in the early 2000s. Despite the TV series officially ending in Japan in 1996, and in 2003 in North America, Dragon Ball Z video games are created nearly every year for almost every console on the market, helping to introduce the Dragon Ball Z series to younger generations that never got a chance to see it air on television. These games usually do very well in the market. Popular sites such as YouTube have attracted large Dragon Ball Z fan communities throughout the last few years, and Dragon Ball related videos receive many views. All of these examples showcase the incredible popularity of Dragon Ball Z in many countries of the world.
The original author of the manga, Akira Toriyama, held a great deal of respect for both the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z anime and those that developed them. Toriyama also admired the fact that the anime managed to possess original stories created by the animation team and stated that he considered the Dragon Ball anime to be equal in importance to the Dragon Ball manga.
- Toei sagas
- Attack of the Saiyans (Episodes 1–35) (4/26/1989–2/7/1990)
- Battle on Planet Namek (Episodes 36–74) (2/14/1990–1/16/1991)
- Terrible Emperor Freeza (Episodes 75–107) (1/23/1991–9/11/1991)
- Fight with Garlic Jr. (Episodes 108–125) (9/18/1991–1/29/1992)
- Android No. 16~20 (Episodes 126–147) (2/5/1992–7/8/1992)
- Over the Super Saiyan (Episodes 148–165) (7/15/1992–11/18/1992)
- Beginning of the Cell Games (Episodes 166–194) (11/25/1992–7/21/1993)
- Ano-yo'ichi Budōkai (Episodes 195–219) (7/28/1993–3/2/1994)
- Majin Boo Returns (Episodes 220–237) (3/9/1994–8/24/1994)
- Appearance of the Super Saiyan III (Episodes 237–254) (8/31/1994–2/1/1995)
- The Final Fighter, Vegetto (Episodes 255–268) (2/8/1995–6/28/1995)
- The Final Battle (Episodes 269–291) (7/5/1995–1/31/1996)
- Funimation sagas
- Raditz Saga (Episodes 1–6 [1–4 edited]; formerly part of the "Saiyan Saga")
- Vegeta Saga (Episodes 7–35 [5–26 edited]; formerly part of the "Saiyan Saga")
- Namek Saga (Episodes 36–67 [27–53 edited])
- Captain Ginyu Saga (Episodes 68–74 [54–60 edited])
- Frieza Saga (Episodes 75–107 [61–92 edited])
- Garlic Jr. Saga (Episodes 108–117 [93–102 edited])
- Trunks Saga (Episodes 118–125 [103–110 edited])
- Androids Saga (Episodes 126–139 [111–124 edited])
- Imperfect Cell Saga (Episodes 140–152 [125–137 edited])
- Perfect Cell Saga (Episodes 153–165 [138–150 edited])
- Cell Games Saga (Episodes 166–194 [151–179 edited])
- Other World Saga (Episodes 195-199 [180-184 edited])
- Great Saiyaman Saga (Episodes 200–209 [185–194 edited])
- World Tournament Saga (Episodes 210–219 [195–204 edited])
- Babidi Saga (Episodes 220–231 [205–216 edited])
- Majin Buu Saga (Episodes 232–253 [217–238 edited])
- Fusion Saga (Episodes 254–275 [239–260 edited])
- Kid Buu Saga (Episodes 276–287 [261–272 edited])
- Peaceful World Saga (Episodes 288–291 [273–276 edited])
Movies, TV specials, OVA
- Toei titles
- Return my Gohan!! (1989)
- The World's Strongest Guy (1990)
- Super Deciding Battle for the Entire Planet Earth (1990)
- Super Saiyan Son Goku (1991)
- The Incredible Mightiest vs. Mightiest (1991)
- Clash!! 10,000,000,000 Powerful Warriors (1992)
- Extreme Battle!! The Three Great Super Saiyans (1992)
- Burn Up!! A Close, Intense, Super-Fierce Battle (1993)
- The Galaxy at the Brink!! The Super Incredible Guy (1993)
- The Dangerous Duo! Super-Warriors Can't Rest (1994)
- Super-Warrior Defeat!! I'm the One who'll Win (1994)
- Fusion Reborn!! Goku and Vegeta (1995)
- Dragon Fist Explosion! If Goku Can't Do It, Who Will?(1995)
- God and God (2013)
- Revival of "F" (2015)
- Funimation titles
- Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone (1997) (Remastered/Re-released on May 27, 2008)
- Dragon Ball Z: The World's Strongest (1998) (Remastered/Re-released on May 27, 2008)
- Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might (1998) (Remastered/Re-released on September 16, 2008)
- Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug (2001) (Remastered/Re-released on September 16, 2008)
- Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge (2002) (Remastered/Re-released on November 11, 2008)
- Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler (2002) (Remastered/Re-released on November 11, 2008)
- Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13! (2003) (Remastered/Re-released on February 18, 2009)
- Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan (2003) (Remastered/Re-released on March 31, 2009)
- Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound (2004) (Remastered/Re-released on February 18, 2009)
- Dragon Ball Z: Broly - Second Coming (2005) (Remastered/Re-released on March 31, 2009)
- Dragon Ball Z: Bio-Broly (2005) (Remastered/Re-released on March 31, 2009)
- Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn (2006) (Remastered/Re-released on May 19, 2009)
- Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon (2006) (Remastered/Re-released on May 19, 2009)
- Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (2014)
- Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ (2015)
- Toei titles
- A Lonesome, Final Battle: The Father of Z-Warrior Kakarrot, who Challenged Freeza (1990)
- Summer Vacation Special (1992)
- Resistance to Despair!! The Remaining Super-Warriors, Gohan and Trunks (1993)
- Looking Back at it All: The Dragon Ball Z Year-End Show! (1993)
- Funimation titles
- Dragon Ball Z: Bardock - The Father of Goku (2000) (Remastered/Re-released in February 19, 2008)
- Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks (2000) (Remastered/Re-released in February 19, 2008)
Originally, only the Dragon Ball Z movies and the Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans OVA were available for home viewing in Japan. The movies were released on both VHS and Laserdisc format. The Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans OVA was released both on VHS and the PlayDia, as an interactive FMV.
Dragon Ball Z Volume 1
Dragon Ball Z Volume 2
Dragon Ball Z Volume 3
Dragon Ball Z Volume 4
Dragon Ball Z Volume 5
Dragon Ball Z Volume 6
Dragon Ball Z Volume 7
Dragon Ball Z Volume 8
Dragon Ball Z Volume 9
Dragon Ball Z Volume 10
Dragon Ball Z Volume 11
Dragon Ball Z Volume 12
Dragon Ball Z Volume 13
Dragon Ball Z Volume 14
Dragon Ball Z Volume 15
Dragon Ball Z Volume 16
Dragon Ball Z Volume 17
Dragon Ball Z Volume 18
Dragon Ball Z Volume 19
Dragon Ball Z Volume 20
Dragon Ball (TV series)
Dragon Ball (Japanese: ドラゴンボール, Hepburn: Doragon Bōru) is a Japanese anime television series produced by Toei Animation. It is an adaptation of the first 194 chapters of the manga of the same name created by Akira Toriyama, which were published in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1984 to 1995. The anime is composed of 153 episodes that were broadcast on Fuji TV from February 1986 to April 1989. It was broadcast in 81 countries worldwide. It is part of the Dragon Ball media franchise.
See also: List of Dragon Ball episodes
Hunt for the Dragon Balls Saga
The series begins with a young monkey-tailed boy named Goku befriending a teenage girl named Bulma. Together, they go on an adventure to find the seven mystical Dragon Balls (ドラゴンボール), which have the ability to summon the powerful dragon Shenron, who can grant whoever summoned him their greatest desire. The journey leads to a confrontation with the shape-shifting pig Oolong, as well as a desert bandit named Yamcha and his companion Pu'ar, who all later become allies; Chi-Chi, whom Goku unknowingly agrees to marry; and Emperor Pilaf, a blue imp who seeks the Dragon Balls to fulfill his desire of becoming ruler of the world. Oolong stops Pilaf from using the Dragon Balls by wishing for a pair of panties.
Tenkaichi Budokai Saga
Goku undergoes rigorous training regimes under the martial artist Master Roshi in order to fight in the World Martial Arts Tournament (天下一武道会, "Tenkaichi Budōkai") that attracts the most powerful fighters in the world. A monk named Krillin becomes his training partner and rival, but they soon become best friends.
Red Ribbon Army Saga
After the tournament, Goku sets out on his own to recover the Dragon Ball his deceased grandfather left him and encounters a terrorist organization known as the Red Ribbon Army, whose diminutive leader, Commander Red, wants to collect the Dragon Balls so that he can use them to become taller. He almost single-handedly defeats the army, including their hired assassin Mercenary Tao, whom he originally loses to, but after training under the hermit Korin, easily beats. Goku reunites with his friends to defeat Fortuneteller Baba's fighters and have her locate the last Dragon Ball in order to revive a friend killed by Tao.
King Piccolo Saga
They all reunite at the World Martial Arts Tournament three years later and meet Master Roshi's rival and Tao's brother, Master Shen, and his students Tien Shinhan and Chiaotzu, who vow to exact revenge for Tao's apparent death at the hands of Goku. Krillin is murdered after the tournament and Goku tracks down and is defeated by his killer, Demon King Piccolo. The overweight samurai Yajirobe takes Goku to Korin, where he receives healing and a power boost. Meanwhile, Piccolo kills both Master Roshi and Chiaotzu, and uses the Dragon Balls to give himself eternal youth before destroying Shenron, which results in the Dragon Balls' destruction. As King Piccolo prepares to destroy West City as a show of force, Tien Shinhan arrives to confront him, but is defeated and nearly killed. Goku arrives in time to save Tien and then kills King Piccolo by blasting a hole through his chest.
Piccolo Junior Saga
However, just before he dies, Piccolo spawns his final son, Piccolo Junior. Korin informs Goku that Kami, the original creator of the Dragon Balls, might be able to restore Shenron so that Goku can wish his fallen friends back to life, which he does. He also stays and trains under Kami for the next three years, once again reuniting with his friends at the Martial Arts Tournament, as well as a now-teenaged Chi-Chi and the revived Mercenary Tao. Piccolo Junior also enters the tournament to avenge his father's death, leading to the final battle between him and Goku. After Goku narrowly wins and defeats Piccolo Junior, he leaves with Chi-Chi and they get married, leading to the events of Dragon Ball Z.
Sample of "Makafushigi Adventure!" performed by Hiroki Takahashi, the opening theme song for the show.
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Kazuhiko Torishima, Toriyama's editor for Dr. Slump and the first half of Dragon Ball, said that because the Dr. Slump anime was not successful in his opinion, he and Shueisha were a lot more hands on for the Dragon Ball anime. Before production even began, they created a huge "bible" for the series detailing even merchandise. He himself studied the best way to present anime and its business side, discussing it with the Shogakukan team for Doraemon.
Toriyama had some involvement in the production of the anime. When it began he did mention to the staff that they seemed to be making it too colorful by forcing the color palette of Dr. Slump on it. He also listened to the voice actors' audition tapes before choosing Masako Nozawa to play Goku. He would go on to state that he would hear Nozawa's voice in his head when writing the manga. Toriyama specified Kuririn's voice actress be Mayumi Tanaka after hearing her work as the main character Giovanni in Night on the Galactic Railroad.Tōru Furuya remarked that there were not many auditions for the characters because the cast was made up of veteran voice actors. Performing the roles was not without its difficulties, Toshio Furukawa, the voice of Piccolo, said it was difficult to constantly perform with a low voice because his normal lighter voice would break through if he broke concentration.
Shunsuke Kikuchi composed the score for Dragon Ball. The opening theme song for all of the episodes is "Makafushigi Adventure!" (魔訶不思議アドベンチャー！, Makafushigi Adobenchā!, "Mystical Adventure!") performed by Hiroki Takahashi. The ending theme is "Romantic Ageru yo" (ロマンティックあげるよ, Romantikku Ageru yo, "I'll Give You Romance") performed by Ushio Hashimoto.
Feeling that the Dragon Ball anime's ratings were gradually declining because it had the same producer that worked on Dr. Slump, who had a "cute and funny" image connected to Toriyama's work and was missing the more serious tone, Torishima asked the studio to change the producer. Impressed with their work on Saint Seiya, he asked its director Kōzō Morishita and writer Takao Koyama to help "reboot" Dragon Ball; which coincided with the beginning of Dragon Ball Z.
English localization and Broadcasting
In 1989 and 1990, Harmony Gold USA licensed the series for an English-language release in North America. In the voice dubbing of the series, Harmony Gold renamed almost all of the characters, including the protagonist Goku, who was renamed "Zero." This dub consisting of 5 episodes and one movie (an 80-minute feature featuring footage of movies 1 and 3 edited together) was cancelled shortly after being test marketed in several US cities and was never broadcast to the general public, thus earning the fan-coined term "The Lost Dub."
A subtitled Japanese version of the series was first broadcast in the United States by the Hawaii based Nippon Golden Network. The series aired in a 6AM slot on Tuesdays from 1992 to 1994, before the network moved on to Dragon Ball Z.
In 1995, Funimation (founded a year earlier in California) acquired the license for the distribution of Dragon Ball in the United States as one of its first imports. They contracted Josanne B. Lovick Productions and voice actors from Ocean Productions to create an English version for the anime and first movie in Vancouver, British Columbia. The dubbed episodes were edited for content, and contained different music. Thirteen episodes aired in first-run syndication during the fall of 1995 before Funimation canceled the project due to low ratings.
In March 2001, as the sequel series Dragon Ball Z became its signature license, Funimation announced the return of the original Dragon Ball series to American television, featuring a new English version produced in-house with slightly less editing for broadcast (though the episodes remained uncut for home video releases), and they notably left the original background music intact. The re-dubbed episodes aired on Cartoon Network from August 20, 2001, to December 1, 2003. Funimation also broadcast the series on Colours TV and their own Funimation Channel starting in 2006. This English dub was also broadcast in Australia and New Zealand. In Canada and Europe, an alternative dubbed version was produced by AB Groupe (in association with Blue Water Studios) and was aired in those territories instead of the Funimation version.
The US version of Dragon Ball was aired on Cartoon Network with numerous digital cosmetic changes, which were done to remove nudity and blood, and dialogue edits, such as when Puar says why Oolong was expelled from shapeshifting school, instead of saying that he stole the teacher's panties, it was changed to him stealing the teacher's papers. Some scenes were deleted altogether, either to save time or remove strong violence. Nudity was also covered up; for Goku's bathing scene, Funimation drew a chair to cover his genitals where it was uncensored previously. References to alcohol and drugs were removed, for example, when Jackie Chun (Master Roshi) uses Drunken FistKung Fu in the 21st Tenkaichi Budokai, Funimation called it the "Mad Cow Attack." Also, the famous "No Balls!" scene was deleted from episode 2, and when Bulma places panties on the fishing hook to get Oolong (in fish form), they digitally painted away the panties and replaced it with some money.
Changes also lead to confusing context and the content of the scenes; as when Bulma helps Goku take a bath. In the Japanese version, the two characters do not cover their privates because Goku is innocent of the differences in gender and Bulma believes Goku to be a little boy. While bathing Bulma asks Goku his age and only when Goku reveals himself to be fourteen does Bulma throw things at Goku before kicking him out of the bath. In the Funimation version the dialogue was changed; with Goku remarking that Bulma did not have a tail and it must be inconvenient for her when bathing.
In Japan, Dragon Ball did not receive a proper home video release until July 7, 2004, fifteen years after its broadcast. Pony Canyon announced a remastering of the series in a single 26-disc DVD box set, that was made-to-order only, referred to as a "Dragon Box". Since then, Pony Canyon content of this set began being released on mass-produced individual 6-episode DVDs on April 4, 2007, and finished with the 26th volume on December 5, 2007.
Dragon Ball's initial VHS release for North America was never completed. Funimation released their initial dub, the edited and censored first thirteen episodes, on six tapes from September 24, 1996, to February 28, 1998 together with Trimark Pictures. These episodes and the first movie were later released in a VHS or DVD box set on October 24, 2000. Funimation began releasing their in-house dub beginning with episode 14 by themselves on December 5, 2001, in both edited and uncut formats, only to seize VHS releases two years later on June 1, 2003 in favor for the DVD box sets. Including the initial 1996-1998 releases with Trimark, 86 episodes of Dragon Ball across 28 volumes were produced on VHS for North America.
- Individual VHS Tapes
|Name||Tape #||Release Date||Episodes||Saga||Home Video Distributor|
|Secret of the Dragon Balls||1||September 24, 1996||1-2||The Saga of Goku||Kidmark / Lionsgate|
|The Nimbus Cloud of Roshi||2||December 17, 1996||3-4|
|Yamcha the Desert Bandit||3||May 23, 1997||5-6|
|The Ox-King on the Fire Mountain||4||August 19, 1997||7-8|
|Boss Rabbit's Magic Touch||5||January 19, 1998||9-10|
|The Legend of Goku||6||February 28, 1998||11-13|
|Roshi's Request||7||December 5, 2001||14-16||Tournament Saga||Funimation|
|Turtle Hermit Training||8||January 9, 2002||17-19|
|Fighters, Begin!||9||January 30, 2002||20-22|
|Semi Finals||10||February 11, 2002||23-25|
|The Final Test||11||February 27, 2002||26-28|
|The Hunt is On||12||March 30, 2002||29-31||Red Ribbon Army Saga|
|Silver||13||April 16, 2002||32-34|
|Assault on Muscle Tower||14||April 30, 2002||35-38|
|White's Final Stand||15||May 9, 2002||39-42|
|West City Chase||16||May 21, 2002||43-45|
|Underwater Hunt||17||June 2, 2002||46-48||General Blue Saga|
|The Pirate Cave||18||October 21, 2002||49-51|
|Hidden Treasure||19||October 28, 2002||52-54|
|Lost in Penguin Village||20||October 28, 2002||55-57|
|Danger for Hire||21||November 5, 2002||58-60||Commander Red Saga|
|Korin Tower||22||November 15, 2002||61-64|
|The Battle is Won||23||November 30, 2002||65-67|
|Five Warriors||24||December 14, 2002||68-70||Fortuneteller Baba Saga|
|Yamcha's Fall||25||December 21, 2002||71-73|
|Surprise Reunion||26||January 8, 2003||74-76|
|The Seventh Dragon Ball||27||January 20, 2003||77-79|
|Goku's Journey||28||February 10, 2003||80-83|
|Tournament Day||29||June 1, 2003||84-86||Tien Shinhan Saga|
Funimation released their own in-house dub to ten two-disc DVD box sets between January 28, 2003, and August 19, 2003. Each box set, spanning an entire "saga" of the series, included the English and Japanese audio tracks with optional English subtitles, and uncut video and audio. However, they were unable to release the first thirteen episodes at the time, due to Lions Gate Entertainment holding the home video rights to their previous dub of the same episodes, having acquired them from Trimark after the company became defunct. After Lions Gate Family Entertainment's license and home video distribution rights to the first thirteen episodes expired in 2009, Funimation has released and remastered the complete Dragon Ball series to DVD in five individual uncut season box sets, with the first set released on September 15, 2009, and the final on July 27, 2010.
Funimation's English dub of Dragon Ball has been distributed in other countries by third parties. Madman Entertainment released the first thirteen episodes of Dragon Ball and the first movie uncut in Australasia in a DVD set on March 10, 2004. They produced two box sets containing the entire series in 2006 and 2007. Manga Entertainment began releasing Funimation's five remastered sets in the United Kingdom in 2014.
Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! (ドラゴンボール オッス！帰ってきた孫悟空と仲間たち！！ Doragon Bōru: Ossu! Kaette Kita Son Gokū to Nakama-tachi!!) is the second Dragon Ball Z OVA and features the first Dragon Ball animation in nearly a decade, following a short story arc in the remade Dr. Slump anime series featuring Goku and the Red Ribbon Army in 1999. The film premiered in Japan on September 21, 2008, at the Jump Super Anime Tour in honor of Weekly Shōnen Jump's fortieth anniversary. Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! is also in the extra DVD included in the Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods limited edition, which was released on September 13, 2013.
- Region 1 (North America)
- Season Box Sets
|Season One||September 15, 2009||5||1-31||Emperor Pilaf/Tournament Saga|
|Season Two||November 10, 2009||5||32-61||Red Ribbon Army/General Blue Saga|
|Season Three||February 2, 2010||5||62-92||Commander Red/Fortuneteller Baba Saga|
|Season Four||May 4, 2010||5||93-122||Tien Shinhan/King Piccolo Saga|
|Season Five||July 27, 2010||5||123-153||Piccolo Jr. Saga|
- Region 2 (Japan)
- Dragon Box Set
|Dragon Box: Dragon Ball DVD-BOX||July 7, 2004||26||1-153|
Main articles: Dragon Ball (manga) and List of Dragon Ball chapters (series)
Further information: List of Dragon Ball films and List of Dragon Ball anime
During the anime's broadcast, three theatrical animated Dragon Ball films were produced. The first was Curse of the Blood Rubies in 1986, followed by Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle in 1987, and Mystical Adventure in 1988. In 1996 The Path to Power was produced in order to commemorate the anime's tenth anniversary.
Further information: List of Dragon Ball video games
Several video games based on Dragon Ball have been created, beginning with Dragon Daihikyō in 1986. Shenlong no Nazo, produced that same year, was the first to be released outside Japan. 1988's North American version was titled Dragon Power and was heavily Americanized with all references to Dragon Ball removed; characters' names and appearances were changed. Additional games based on the series include Advanced Adventure, Dragon Ball: Origins, its sequel, and Revenge of King Piccolo.
Main article: List of Dragon Ball soundtracks
Dragon Ball has been host to several soundtrack releases, the first being Dragon Ball: Music Collection in 1986. Dragon Ball: Saikyō e no Michi Original Soundtrack is composed entirely of music from the tenth anniversary film. In 1995 Dragon Ball: Original USA TV Soundtrack Recording was released featuring the music from the Funimation/Ocean American broadcast.
The show's initial U.S. broadcast run in 1995 met with mediocre ratings.
In 2000 satellite TV channel Animax together with Brutus, a men's lifestyle magazine, and Tsutaya, Japan's largest video rental chain, conducted a poll among 200,000 fans on the top anime series, with Dragon Ball coming in fourth.TV Asahi conducted two polls in 2005 on the Top 100 Anime, Dragon Ball came in second in the nationwide survey conducted among multiple age-groups and third in the online poll. On several occasions the Dragon Ball anime has topped Japan's DVD sales.
Otaku USA's Joseph Luster called Dragon Ball "one of the most memorable animated action/comedy series of all time." He cited the comedy as a key component to the show, noting that this might surprise those only familiar with Z. Todd Douglass of DVD Talk referred to it as "a classic among classics [that] stands as a genre defining kind of show." and wrote that "It's iconic in so many ways and should be standard watching for otaku in order to appreciate the genius of Akira Toriyama." He had strong praise for the "deep, insightful, and well-developed" characters, writing "Few shows can claim to have a cast quite like Dragon Ball's, and that's a testament to the creative genius of Toriyama."
T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews' Tim Jones gave the show four out of five stars, referring to it as a forerunner to modern fighting anime and still one of the best. He also stated that it has much more character development than its successors Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT. Carl Kimlinger of Anime News Network summed up Dragon Ball as "an action-packed tale told with rare humor and something even rarer—a genuine sense of adventure." Kimlinger and Theron Martin, also of Anime News Network, noted Funimation's reputation for drastic alterations of the script, but praised the dub.
The positive impact of Dragon Ball's characters has manifested itself in the personal messages Masako Nozawa sent to children as taped messages in the voice of Goku, Gohan and Goten. Nozawa takes pride in her role and sends words of encouragement that have resulted in children in comas responding to the voice of the characters.
- ^ ab"Dragon Ball". Funimation. Archived from the original on August 13, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- ^"Dragon Ball, Vol. 1". Viz Media. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
- ^"深夜アニメの製作資金は約3億円…儲ける仕組みや製作委員会の構造とは 今こそ知っておきたいアニメビジネスの特徴を取材". Social Game Info (in Japanese). 2016-06-17. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
- ^Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 283–285. ISBN .
- ^ ab"Kazuhiko Torishima On Shaping The Success Of 'Dragon Ball' And The Origins Of 'Dragon Quest'". Forbes. 2016-10-15. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
- ^DRAGON BALL Z 孫悟空伝説 [Son Goku Densetsu] (in Japanese). Shueisha. 2003. pp. 90–102. ISBN .
- ^ abDRAGON BALL 大全集 3 TV ANIMATION PART 1. Shueisha. 1995. pp. 202–207. ISBN .
- ^ abcdDRAGON BALL 大全集 補巻 TV ANIMATION PART 3. Shueisha. 1996. pp. 107–113. ISBN .
- ^Dragon BallHarmony Gold dub
- ^"The Lost 80s Dragonball Dub". Temple O'Trunks. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
- ^ ab"Rough Air Date for Dragon Ball". Anime News Network. March 9, 2001. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- ^"Dragon Ball on CN debut date confirmed". Anime News Network. May 2, 2001. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- ^"DragonBall Re-dub". Anime News Network. August 21, 2001. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- ^"Dragon Ball Returns to US TV". Anime News Network. November 12, 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- ^ abcdWest, Mark (2008). The Japanification of Children's Popular Culture: From Godzilla to Miyazaki. Scarecrow Press. pp. 203–208.
- ^"Virtually Overlooked: Dragon Power". Engadget. 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2015-12-18.
- ^"Behind the Screens". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 98. Ziff Davis. September 1997. p. 118.
- ^"Gundam Tops Anime Poll". Anime News Network. September 12, 2000. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
- ^"Part 2 - TV Asahi Top 100 Anime". Anime News Network. September 23, 2005. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
- ^"TV Asahi Top 100 Anime". Anime News Network. September 23, 2005. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
- ^"Japanese Animation DVD Ranking, September 10–16". Anime News Network. September 20, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
- ^"Japanese Animation DVD Ranking, August 6–12". Anime News Network. August 14, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
- ^Luster, Joseph. "Dragon Ball Season One". Otaku USA. Retrieved 2015-03-09.
- ^Douglass Jr., Todd. "Dragon Ball: Season 5". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2015-03-10.
- ^Douglass Jr., Todd. "Dragon Ball: Season Three". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2015-03-10.
- ^Douglass Jr., Todd. "Dragon Ball: Season One". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2015-03-10.
- ^Jones, Tim. "Dragon Ball". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Retrieved 2013-09-12.
- ^ ab"Dragon Ball DVD Season 2 Uncut Set". Anime News Network. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- ^"Dragon Ball DVD Season 3". Anime News Network. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
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Dragon Ball Z: The Imperfect Cell Saga's Most Stunning Plot Twists
Following the Android Saga, with Dragon Ball Z veering more into science fiction than ever, Goku and the Z Fighters had to contend with the arrival of Cell. A synthetic warrior designed by Doctor Gero as his final revenge from beyond the grave, Cell came to the prime Dragon Ball timeline imperfect, requiring the cores of Androids 17 and 18 to reach his perfect form, leading to an epic, worldwide hunt packed with plenty of twists and turns. Running from DBZ episodes 140-152 and leading right into the Perfect Cell Saga, here are all the biggest plot twists from the Imperfect Cell Saga, one of the most pivotal in the series' history.
Piccolo Fuses With Kami
When Piccolo was first introduced toward the end of the original Dragon Ball, he was a committed antagonist, intent on avenging his father Demon King Piccolo by killing Goku and forcibly fusing with the Guardian of Earth Kami as the two shared the same Namekian life force. While Piccolo's plot was thwarted by the end of Dragon Ball and he began the path toward heroic redemption at the start of DBZ, this development would be revisited during the Android and Imperfect Cell Sagas.
Realizing he was no match for the Androids alone, Piccolo proposed fusing with Kami, even if it meant the neutralization of Earth's Dragon Balls as a direct consequence. While Kami mulled over this offer, the rise of Cell and the villain's role absorbing thousands of humans to increase his power ultimately convinced Kami to accept, resulting in the two Namekians becoming one in Piccolo's body. This effectively made Piccolo one of the strongest Z Fighters at that time.
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When Piccolo later tracks down Cell at Ginger Town, where the villain has horrifically absorbed the entire population to add to his power, he stands as the clear physical superior of the two thanks to his significant power boost from fusing with Kami. However, while Piccolo appears to hold the advantage initially, he's shocked when Cell attacks him with a Kamehameha Wave, distracting him long enough for Cell to cripple one of his arms.
Cell reveals that, unlike the Androids, he is an organic being that possesses the genetic material from all the Z Fighters, Frieza, King Cold and the Saiyans that visited Earth at the start of Dragon Ball Z to become the ultimate warrior. This means Cell is capable of performing other signature attacks, including the Spirit Bomb and Piccolo's own Special Beam Cannon.
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With Cell continuing to stay one step ahead of the Z Fighters while absorbing thousands of victims to increase his power, Piccolo decides to proactively prevent Cell from reaching his perfect form by destroying one of the Androids first. Challenging Android 17 to a one-on-one duel, Piccolo quickly surprises his opponent by being much stronger than their last skirmish, though he begins to tire against the synthetic warrior.
However, this plan proves to backfire for the Androids and Z Fighters, with the high power level Piccolo emits during the showdown attracting Cell, who shocks everyone by suddenly appearing in the middle of the fight. While the Androids are confused by Cell, unaware of who he is or what his programming entails, it quickly becomes clear the new villain has already become stronger than he was during his first fight against Piccolo, as he easily overpowers both Piccolo and Android 17.
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Android 16 Steps In to Fight Cell
Ever since he was activated in Doctor Gero's lab by Androids 17 and 18, Android 16 remained a silent, stoic figure that refused to participate in his companions' rampage. Instead of taking on the Z Fighters shortly after the Androids' arrival, 16 was more interested in admiring the beauty of nature around him, a trait that informed most of his actions while he accompanied his similarly synthetic counterparts.
When it became clear that neither 17 nor Piccolo could stop the villainous Cell, Android 16 stepped up in a big way. And in an epic battle, 16 quickly proved himself much stronger than the others, holding a clear advantage over Cell -- until his opponent shiftily outmaneuvered him and absorbed 17 before 16 could react in time.
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Tien's Last Stand
With Piccolo down and Android 16 the first victim of the upgraded Cell after the villain absorbed 17, Android 18 was saved from absorption for the time being from an unexpected source: Tenshinhan, one of Dragon Ball's classic characters. Despite being physically far weaker than Cell in his new form, Tien nonetheless makes a valiant last stand to buy 18 enough time to escape from the hulking villain.
Fueled by his own life force, Tien fired a series of Tri Beam Blasts that sent Cell spiraling back down to Earth while 18 fled the scene. Even Cell was astounded that it was Tien, a fighter he'd quickly dismissed as comparatively weak, that cost him his final victory. Fortunately, Goku was able to save both Tien and Piccolo from Cell's wrath in time, though Android 18's escape would be somewhat short-lived.
KEEP READING: Dragon Ball Super Reveals Granolah's Shocking Connection to Goku's Father
Vegeta's Costume in the Dragon Ball Super Hero Trailer May Quietly Reveal Plot DetailsAbout The Author
Sam Stone is a 10th level pop culture guru living just outside of Washington, DC who knows an unreasonable amount about The Beatles. You can follow him on Twitter @samstoneshow and ask him about Nintendo, pop punk, and Star Trek.