Friday, August 28, 2015

"Dragon Ball, Vol. 1: The Monkey King" by Akira Toriyama


I remember Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z vividly as a child. When I was a little boy, my parents did not have cable television but instead we had an antenna that would get some of the local channels. I remember one early morning I woke up around 5 AM while my parents were asleep and I simply got out of bed and walked to the television and turned it on. Whatever channel my parents had left it on previously had appear and with it came Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon. I did not know the plot, the characters, or the storyline and yet I was entranced by the animation and the whole aspect of this iconic series. Even though my parents got extremely upset I was oblivious of it all and became an early fan of animation.

While I worship and praise Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z, growing up as a kid I remember being addicted to Dragon Ball Z because they would play marathons of it on Cartoon Network and I always wanted the ability to become a Super Saiyan and looking back now I realized that whenever I was watching a major arc in this series, I would always missed the final two episodes and never get to see how it got resolved or the introduction to a new villain. I didn't care at the time but now it is driving me nuts and partly why I am reading the manga now.

I borrowed Dragon Ball Z from the Library and never read it because at the time I didn't know that there was a difference between Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. I didn't understand Dragon Ball Z and felt discouraged until now when I was looking up some famous Mangas, I came across this again and discovered the difference and I am extremely glad that I am reading this from the very beginning because already in this first volume we are introduced to many characters that will become important later on.

Dragon Ball was written first and it deals primarily about Goku as a kid and how he is introduced to the Dragon Balls. Dragon Ball Z deals with Goku as an adult with kids and dealing with so many villains and deadly battles. 

Dragon Ball, Vol. 1: The Monkey King, introduces us into this world similar to Earth but instead we got all paranormal, supernatural, aliens, and other weird creatures that inhabits the land with Humans. We are then immediately introduced to a boy name Goku whose an orphan since his parents disappear and his grandfather passed away. He lives in the wild and has never been raised on modern technology so naturally he hunts for his food, catches leaves to make his bed and other wildlife activities. While he is a young boy in fact he is not ordinarily for you see he has a tail attached to his butt and he has super strength with kung fu training. One day while hunting for food, he witness a car almost running him over and thinking that it is a demon he attacks and destroys the car. Then a girl pops out of the car and causes a fuss but finds it weird how this boy destroyed the car, has a tail, and has never seen a human being before let alone a girl and tells Goku that her name is Bulma.

His grandfather taught Goku that if he is ever in the presence of a female that he must be nice to them. So as a warming introduction he brings her to his house and she goes crazy when she sees a dragon ball which Goku calls it grandpa. After a stressful encounter over the dragon ball, Bulma shows Goku two extra dragon balls that she has in her possession and tells him the whole Chinese folk tale of the Dragon Ball. Apparently there are these 7 Dragon Balls that are very shining and has stars on each one of them (1-7) and if you capture all 7 dragon balls then a Dragon will appear and will grant one wish to your hearts desire. Goku loves the idea of the story and really wants to witness a dragon so he tags alone with Bulma as she tracks and captures the other dragon balls (but he refuses to give away his grandfather's dragon ball). 

One thing that Bulma left out is it has been over hundreds of years since the dragon balls have been found and once you grant the wish, all the dragon balls get scrambled all over the world and then it becomes an impossible mission to retrieve them all over again. So now that they are working together, they are off on an adventure quest to retrieve all the 7 Dragon Balls. Through the course of the book we get to meet characters who do not seem important at the moment but will later appear in the series and in fact become a vital part into the Dragon Ball Z series.

The illustrations are phenomenal and the storyline is amazing. I was surprised how quick they have captured so many dragon balls in the course of the first volume but now I am curious how these series will pan out before we are dived into Dragon Ball Z. I remember the show being funny between the sarcasm and the jokes among the characters and in the manga it was absolutely hilarious because Goku is oblivious and innocent when it comes to girls and technology and you can see how frustrating it is for Bulma to deal with him and I love their chemistry even though Bulma can be annoying at times. I am definitely onboard towards continuing this manga series and maybe I will rewatch the anime show at the same time.

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