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- Dragon Ball, created by Akira Toriyama in 1984, is an internationally famous media franchise. It consists primarily of one manga series, three different anime, seventeen animated feature films, an unofficial live-action movie, a collectible trading card game, a large number of electronic games, as well as other collectibles like action figures. An official live-action film has been currently in production as of 2002
- The narrative of the Dragon Ball manga received some of its inspiration and various characters from the Chinese folk novel Journey to the West, though it diverges from the novel very quickly. It follows the adventures of its lead character, Son Goku (based on the Monkey King of the folk legend, Sun Wukong) from his childhood into old age. Dragon Ball originally included action and comedy elements, as well a significant amount of science fiction, though the story became more sci-fi oriented over time
Before Dragon Ball
- Prior to ending a successful six-year run on his humor manga, Dr. Slump, in the Weekly Shonen Jump anthology magazine, Akira Toriyama started toying with the ideas that he would later apply into the Dragon Ball manga. In 1983, he wrote two chapters of Dragon Boy for the Fresh Jump anthology magazine. This story, left unfinished, merged in the comic style of Dr. Slump with an action-oriented plot. It included many elements which would be reused in the later series, including a very different kind of Dragon Ball. In 1983, Toriyama published The Adventures of Tongpoo, a sci-fi comic also featuring a Goku-like character and plot elements (such as "Hoi Poi Capsules") which he would reuse later.
Dragon Ball manga
- In late December 1984, the first issue of Dragon Ball appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump, the same anthology magazine where Dr. Slump had previously been published. The series was then published weekly and on a very tight schedule (14 pages per week, plus title page) for nearly eleven years, ending in May 1995. In total, 519 regular chapters and one bonus chapter were published. Unlike American-style comic books, Dragon Ball was largely produced in black-and-white, although a small number of pages in a subset of chapters were colorized for emphasis. During the run of the manga in Japan, it was reprinted in as a tank%u014Dbon (Japanese graphic novels). Unlike the original print run of the manga, the previously colorized pages were reprinted only in grayscale.
- A year and a half into the story of Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama included an extended cameo by some of the characters and locations from his previous creation, Dr. Slump. The Dr. Slump characters never make any further appearances in Dragon Ball.
- " The setting of Dragon Ball has a sort of Chinese feel to it, but it's not necessarily China. Exactly where it takes place is uncertain. The overall story is very simple, but I'd like to keep making up more details and illustrations as I go along. This way, I can draw anything I want to and enjoy the tension and excitement of figuring out what I'll draw next. - Akira Toriyama, 1985"
- In 2004, the manga was re-released in a 34 volume collection called kanzenban, which included a slightly rewritten ending, new covers, and color artwork from its Weekly Sh%u014Dnen Jump run. As of 2006, the distributing company Viz Media has released all 42 volumes (nearly matching the first Japanese set) into English-language in the United States. Viz titles the second portion of the manga Dragon Ball Z to lessen confusion for North American readers.The series is published in the United Kingdom by Gollancz Manga.
- A monkey-tailed boy named Son Goku goes on a life-long adventure beginning with a quest for the seven titular Dragon Balls, befriends many different martial artists and faces various villains, goes through many rigorous martial arts training regimens and educational programs, defeats a series of increasingly powerful martial artists, dies and comes back to life several times, and becomes the top martial arts superhero in the universe
- A unifying component of the plot accompanying Goku's progression as a martial artist is his search for the eponymous Dragon Balls. The Dragon Balls themselves are seven magical orbs which are scattered across the world. When assembled, they can be used to summon Shen Long, 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 Sh%u014Dnen 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 Kuririn is killed (the first of many deaths in this arc). This begins the Piccolo Daimaou arc (chapters 135-194) in which the manga enters a darker tone compared to its earlier volumes.
- Dragon Ball fully transforms into an action based sh%u014Dnen manga at the onset of the Saiyan arc (chapters 195-241). Starting with introduction of Goku's first child, things begin to take a much more serious and harder sci-fi approach. Many characters which previously had fantasy origins (including Goku and Piccolo) are recast as aliens from other planets. 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 Freeza arc (chapters 242-329). The Freeza arc is noteworthy for introducing the first Super Saiyan, now a staple of the series. It also sets the tone for more awesomely powerful characters. For example, the antagonist Freeza 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 jinz%u014Dningen, 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, but instead Son Gohan 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 these arcs and Goku's death and decision to remain in heaven is the Majin Boo arc (chapters 421-519) which is the very last arc of the manga. The beginning of this final arc concentrates on a teenaged Gohan. Goku makes his return after being dead for seven years. All the male Saiyans manage to reach the level of Super Saiyan at least (including fusions). Super Saiyan 2 is reached by Gohan, Goku and Vegeta. And the ultimate level of the Saiyans, Super Saiyan 3, is reached by Goku and Gotenks. A considerable number of fusions also take place to add to the series, allowing Son Goten and Kid Trunks to merge to form Gotenks, and Goku and Vegeta fuse to create the incredibly powerful, invincible Vegetto. During this series, Majin Boo manages to kill everyone on Earth including central characters like Vegeta and increases his own power by absorbing Gotenks, Piccolo and Gohan. Majin Boo also succeeds where the villains Vegeta, Freeza and Cell had previously failed and destroys Earth. Earth and everyone that was on it when it was destroyed are restored using the Dragon Balls, and Majin Boo's evil side is destroyed by Goku's Genki Dama.
- Kid Boo is reincarnated into a being of pure good called Oob. Goku and Oob fight at the 28th Tenkaichi Budokai, Oob enters to get money (zeni) for his village. Goku decides to train Oob to become even stronger than himself, the strongest fighter in the entire universe. Oob's village will get money from Mr. Satan. To say goodbye every hero character to ever appear in the entire manga (except minors), all wave to the readers and a huge "THE END" sign floats above them.
- After completing this series, Toriyama had a rest and then made a gag manga called Neko Majin. This story features many elements and characters from Dragon Ball, including Majin Boo, Vegeta, and Goku.
- Recently, Toriyama and his studio have begun developing Dragon Ball Online, an MMORPG follow-up to the manga, with Bandai Namco Games and NTL for release in South Korea and Japan. The game will act as a direct sequel to the manga, and Toriyama will be supervising 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 (and Toriyama's original editor), stated that Toriyama had immersed himself in creating character designs and providing editorial supervision for the game for the past five years.
- 1 x Dragon Ball Anime Apple Shaped Acrylic Desk Alarm Clock
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