Sunday, September 27, 2015

"Dragon Ball Z, Vol. 9: The Wrath of Freeza" by Akira Toriyama


Previously on Dragon Ball Z

(I) Goku has arrived on planet Namek and kicked butt in the beginning but now his body got switched by Captain Ginyu.

(II) Freeza has all the dragon balls but needs the incantation to summon the dragon and heads to the Elder's house.

(III) The gang realized that Ginyu is Goku and now they need to help their father and gather the dragon balls.

That is what you missed on Dragon Ball Z!

In this volume, we immediately get sucked back into the fight with the gang vs. Goku (Ginyu). They realized that Goku is possessed by Ginyu and luckily since Ginyu cannot control Goku's body they are able to beat him up and Vegeta takes care on that end of the bargain. He figures this is his chance to kill Goku and Ginyu makes the connection that he can kill Vegeta by switching bodies. His plan almost worked except Goku was two steps ahead of him and got in the middle of the way making him switch back to his original body. 

To make sure that Ginyu could never switch again, Goku throws a frog in front of Ginyu as he attempts for the second time switching with Vegeta and because he is now a frog, he is no longer have the speech to speak his magical power. After that terrible beating thanks to Vegeta, Goku enters the chamber to get cured because the gang is going to need all the power they can gather in order to fight off Freeza. 

While Goku is resting, Kuririn and Gohan go on the mission to find the dragon balls and once they find them hidden in the ground, they try to summon the dragon but with no luck. Kuririn runs off to ask the elder and instead meets with Dende again who carries the message that the incantation has to be in namekian language. Once they get back to the dragon balls, Dende summons the dragon and it looks like a demon compare to Shenlong. 

Freeza detects that the Dragon is summoned and rushes off to make sure he gets his wish but he fails on that achievement. Gohan resurrects Piccolo because if he is alive then Kami-Sama/God is alive too and the dragon balls on Earth is resurrected too. Then Gohan's second wish is to transport Piccolo to the Planet Namek to help destroy Freeza and he was going to make the wish for Vegeta to be immortal but by the time they were going to make the wish, the Elder had passed away and destroyed the dragon balls. 

Now Freeza is pissed and wants revenge for them ruining his plans and starts a horrific battle that almost kills Kuririn and Gohan. Piccolo is trying to reach Gohan and encounters Nail who is feeble on the ground barely alive. He tells Piccolo that he is weak because is half of Kami-Sama making him use only half of his true strength. Piccolo has no time to fuse with Kami and he reluctant with Nail because he believes it will change his personality but in the end he needs all the strength and becomes one with Nail.

Piccolo arrives on time and now with the entire gang they try to delay Freeza in order for Goku to recover and kick Freeza's ass. Meanwhile all this lovely drama is happening we get a glimpse of the different layers of Freeza who originally looked like a wimpy alien boy. Then he becomes this 10 feet tall monstrosity and that is not even his true form and I am afraid to wonder what he looks like when he reaches full power, will the gang be able to delay Freeza or will he killed them one by one? Stay tuned until next time on Dragon Ball Z...

I hope by next volume Goku wakes up healed and is able to give a can of whoop ass to Freeza and end this storyline already. I enjoy writing these reviews but because it takes too many volumes for major events to occur it feels like a drag to write the same thing over and over and since Goku is practically like Superman it can be tedious. I believe part of the reason why I am reading countless volumes as if they are candy is because I am trying to wonder when does Goku become a Super Saiyan with his iconic yellow hair that we know and love? I do not remember exactly when it happens and if I am not mistaken I believe it is Vegeta who first gets that ability and then Goku. Hopefully that transformation can be performed soon.

"Dragon Ball Z, Vol. 8: Goku vs. Ginyu" by Akira Toriyama


Previously on Dragon Ball Z

(I) The Ginyu Force has arrived and they are a force not to be dealt with as they are fighting with Vegeta, Kuririn, and Gohan.

(II) Goku still hasn't arrived on Planet Namek but he is approaching it very soon and he has become a force that has never been seen in the Saiyan race.

(III) Captain Ginyu of the Ginyu force has retrieved the Dragon Balls and now is heading off to give them to Freeza. 

That is what you missed on Dragon Ball Z!

In this volume we finally get to see some badass scenes of ass kicking in the series so far. Akira Toriyama has started his creative juices flowing and now we get to enter one of the creative phases in Dragon Ball Z. While the gang is getting beat up by Reacoom, Captain Ginyu has now finally reached Freeza bringing him the dragon balls. Freeza is excited about finally getting his wish come true but quickly realizes that he is unable to get any of his wishes because he needs a special incantation to summon the dragon so now Freeza is heading off to see the Elder of the Namekians. 

When evil almost seems to defeat what is good, Goku finally arrives to Namek and immediately comes and save the day. The whole gang tell Goku that these bad guys are too tough for him but what they haven't realize is Goku is not the same warrior that they have seen months ago and are utterly shock when they see how he barely makes an effort to use full force and yet beat the crap out of these bad guys. Vegeta is furious and jealous that Goku has become this epic hero and is prejudice towards Goku because he cannot accept that Goku is a super saiyan especially for someone who doesn't want to kill anyone and is pure. 

Freeza arrives to the Elder's home and finds out that if he kills the Elder then the dragon balls will be destroyed and the elder is not going to reveal the secret incantation so his guardian named Nail believes he can defeat Freeza and they head off to battle but he is no match for Freeza. Among these epic battles, Captain Ginyu is in charge of protecting the dragon balls and when one of his fighters, Jheese, shows up to tell him Goku killed everyone in the group, he hides the dragon balls in the ground and heads off to fight Goku. 

He realizes that he is no match for Goku but he has a sneaky move up his sleeves so when he realizes that Goku has a powerful body that can be used to his advantage, he does his powerful move which is having the ability to switch bodies. He is successful at achieving this accomplishment and now Goku is in Captain Ginyu injured body since he self-harmed himself before the transformation. Now the evil doers are heading back to the dragon balls not realizing that Kuririn, Vegeta, and Gohan have arrived to Freeza's spaceship to retrieve the dragon balls.

When the bad guys land at their destination, the gang cannot believe that Goku is evil and Gohan is the one of notices that Goku is a different person and not his loving father. On the mission to reach to his friends, Goku makes the connection that he barely has control of Ginyu's body and because of that it means that Ginyu has no control of Goku's body nor his super strength so the good guys have the advantage and now everyone is beating up Goku's body trying to make it possible for Goku to switch back with Ginyu. Will they be successful? Find out until next time on Dragon Ball Z...

I was extremely happy with this volume because it had so much fighting and more Goku action finally! I enjoyed it in the beginning that there were less attention on Goku for several volumes but I realized that Goku is what makes this series special and unique and after repetitive drama over trying to save the day from evil and all these nonsense fighting it became irritating that Goku was missing from the equation.

I realized through this volume is how I discovered Dragon Ball Z as a little kid when I was younger and I had no clue back then what I was watching but I was completely enchanted by the fighting and the super powers. I cannot wait more on this Freeza storyline and for him to become the freak of nature that we all love.

"Dragon Ball Z, Vol. 7: The Ginyu Force" by Akira Toriyama


Previously on Dragon Ball Z

(I) Kuririn and Dende went to go visit the Elder of the Namekian's to seek out the final dragon ball.

(II) Goku is on a spaceship heading to planet Namek to help out his friends and at the same time training inside the ship to become a better fighter.

(III) Vegeta fought with Zarbon but was no match for him and he almost died. Luckily Zarbon needs Vegeta for Freeza so he takes him to Freeza's spaceship to recover (Big mistake).

That is what you missed on Dragon Ball Z!

In this volume we get to witness plenty of chaos and action but I believe this volume is just an introduction to what we are going to witness in the upcoming volumes. Goku still hasn't arrived on planet Namek but thanks to the training equipment that he has onboard, he has become a stronger fighter that has never been seen before for the Saiyan race and mankind. 

Kuririn is able to retrieve the dragon ball from the elder and learns that he has hidden power locked inside of him which the elder is willingly able to release it and Kuririn gets the idea that he needs to bring Gohan to the elder to unlock his powers and become a powerful individual to fight out Vegeta, Freeza, and anything else evil while Goku is away.

Vegeta on the other hand wakes up from his recuperating chambers and discovers that he is on Freeza's ship and they haven't killed him. Since he is a saiyan, every time that he survives a battle, his strength increases and after going through hell with Zarbon he will now be able to open a can of whoop ass and destroy him. While avoiding confrontation, Vegeta was able to trick Freeza and Zarbon and escape the spaceship with 5 of the Dragon Balls. 

While all of this drama is going on, Gohan decides that he needs to retrieve the Dragon Balls that Freeza has stolen and discovers the missing dragon ball that Vegeta hid when he attacked a namekian village in the previous volumes. 

Gohan and Kuririn encounter Vegeta several times and at first they were reluctant to work with him because they believed that the Dragon Balls only grant one wish but because these dragon balls are enormous and extremely powerful it can grant three wishes. Vegeta originally stoled a dragon ball from Kuririn but now they need to retrieve the final one before the Ginyu Force arrives. 

Unfortunately they arrived on time but they are faster and end up at Vegeta's hideout of the Dragon Balls and steals all seven to take to Freeza. Now the gang has to fight the Ginyu force and they are not easy opponents. The leader of the group, Captain Ginyu, is the one who leaves the group to return the dragon balls to Freeza. 

So now we get to see this Ginyu Force (who look like an evil pathetic version of Power Rangers without the mask) in action and one of fighters named Gurd died thanks to Vegeta. But the next fighter named Reacoom is too powerful for the entire gang and starts beating the living daylights out of every one of them. Will they be able to defeat the gang before Goku arrives or die in vain? Stay tuned until next time on Dragon Ball Z...

I really enjoyed this volume and I love how we are starting to witness a change with Vegeta. I know what happens to his character later on but I really loved how while he is still selfish and evil, he has now been forced to work with the good guys because he cannot let a bigger evil force ruin his plans and defeat him since he believes he is the greatest saiyan warrior ever. I do not know if the Anime differs from the manga but I am not certain if Vegeta becomes a good guy like Goku or simply accepts that Goku is the supreme super saiyan.

I am losing my patience that Goku hasn't arrived yet and I need to end asap. I remember the whole Freeza storyline vividly and reading it in manga form is utterly epic. I need them to fight already and for Goku to show a glimpse of this new ability that he has possessed thanks to his training.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4) by Rick Riordan


It has been over a year since I have last delve into the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and I believe that is too long to rediscovery this epic fantasy series. The reason why it took me so long is because I read the first three through the library and once I read an entire series it increases the odds that I will never buy it for my own possession and I need Percy Jackson in my life. After months of research and having the right resources I was able to own the whole collection and now I get to finish this saga. I definitely had to use major recaps to remember what happens in the previous books but this book in my opinion was standalone from the rest.

We get reintroduced to Percy Jackson who is now an incoming freshman attending freshmen orientation at Goode High School. He is always getting kicked out of every school that he attends thanks to monsters and other catastrophes and he needs to work harder this time around because Percy's moms boyfriend, Paul Blofis, teaches at the school and who defended him when the school was reluctant to accept him. While attending the orientation, he sees he a familiar face and immediately panics because he cannot believe why she is attending this school and we learn it is no other than Rachel Elizabeth Dare.

If you do not remember her do not worry because there is not much about her except that Percy met her at the Hoover Dam on a quest the previous year and she saved him from evil skeleton warriors. He never saw her again until now and we discover that she lives in New York and is attending the same school as him. Before he attends the orientation, Percy bumps into a pair of senior cheerleaders who are acting strange around him and appear to be something else and sure enough Rachel tells Percy to run when the cheerleaders show up on stage.

As Rachel and him run out of the auditorium and hide, we learn that the cheerleaders are empousa which are flaming hair monsters with fangs and their legs is one part donkey and the other is celestial bronze prosthetic leg. They are the inspiration for our vampires and immediately Percy has to fight them and kill them without making a mess of everything. Luckily he kills one but the other escapes leaving the school in flames and framing Percy as the trouble maker.

Percy escapes with Rachel and once he gets outside he bumps into Annabeth who came to hang out with him and go on their unofficial date. She immediately gets jealous when she meets Rachel and all the wonderful plans go down the drain as they need to visit Camp Half-Blood before all hell breaks loose. Once they arrive, Percy notices that while he was enjoying the normal life of being a teenager, he has forgotten that everyone else in the greek mythology world have been making plans and strategies over how to stop Kronos and defeat Luke and all the other bad guys that they have encountered.

As he gets adjusted to camp, he discovers that Dionysus is on a mission to make sure that the lesser gods are in an alliance with Olympus, no word on Nico di Angelo (previous book), and we have new members to the camp which is the new swordsman named Quintus and his hellhound companion named Mrs. O'Leary. We meet again Tyson who is Percy's step-brother and Grover who is granted only one week to find Pan before his searchers license gets revoked and his dreams of meeting his God is over. 

The following day Percy learns that Quintus has set up a game that will test the young half-bloods skills and strengths in combat and Percy gets to team up with Annabeth. At first the fighting seems easy with one big scorpion but then out of nowhere three appear and they have to retreat under a boulder. As they hid inside, Percy and Annabeth notices that this boulder has turned into a cavern and Annabeth makes the connection as the entrance to the Labyrinth (the one that is famous for the Minotaur and Theseus).

With the discovery of the entrance, Percy discovers that Annabeth and everyone believes that Luke is trying to enter the Labyrinth in order to infiltrate Camp Half-Blood and destroy it. Annabeth, Percy, Grover, and Tyson are now on this quest to enter the Labyrinth and find Daedalus (who is the creator of the labyrinth) and make sure Luke doesn't get a hold of Ariadne's string. If Luke gets it before them, he will attack with a taste of Kronos army and the gang might not be able to fight back. Will the gang be successful or will Luke and Kronos become bad asses and ruin the day?

I try to make this spoiler free and even though I have written a mouth full of information, this barely makes 100 pages and in the book there is plenty of epic battle scenes, secrets revealed, and so much more. What I loved about this book is that it left you at the edge of your seat as time is running out and Kronos army gets bigger each day. This book definitely beats the previous novels and I believe if you are currently reading this series and still haven't made up your mind to continue it I would say read this book and it will blow your mind in epic proportions.

Even though we are getting more action than the books I believe that this book has become the turning point for the future of this series. Percy is now in high school growing up and with that comes maturity. While I loved this series I felt like in the beginning it was very innocent and playful and now with this book we realize that evil is real thing and the end of the world might appear sooner than later. This book reminded me a lot of Harry Potter especially from Book #4-6 because this book was darker than the previous book and we encounter death as never before.

As the reader we get an insight glimpse into what is a war and how innocent casualties get killed in the line of battle. I believe at that moment is when we open our eyes and grow up as human beings. I loved every second of this book and I have no clue what the final book is going to be about and how it will lead us into the spinoff series. All I know is I am definitely going to read the last book in the series and finally end Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

In each book as we discover new characters and further insight into the Greek Gods, I try to picture myself who could be my greek parents? If it could be both Greek Gods then I would say Poseidon and Athena but since this deals with Demi-Gods then I can only pick one. I find the son of Hades powers to be cool in this book but I believe at the end of the day it would be Poseidon. I always try to change it in every book but I always find myself relating to Percy and Poseidon more and more. Hopefully the final book can prove me wrong.

This was the first time in a book that I forced myself not to use google to look up these characters and their abilities which I am grateful for because I would have been completely spoiled early on in the book and ruin the entire series. I believe if we do not about this particular god or who is the greek parents on a particular child there is a reason why and we will learn later on in the story. I lose my patience in this book because I want to read the book faster than I possibly can and the moments where I am unable to read my book I get sad and coming up ways to read the book without being bothered.

I cannot get enough of this series and Rick Riordan is a genius as to how to attract people into his stories and how easily we are able to lose track of time in these classic greek mythology adventures. Thank you Rick Riordan for coming into my life and thank you for creating Percy.

The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #3) by Rick Riordan


This book surpasses the previous book, Sea of Monsters, by a long shot and made me excited to continue on in the Percy Jackson series. This book had so much action, humor, romance, and anxiety wrapped into one book and I haven't felt like this when it comes to a series since Harry Potter.

In "The Titan's Curse", it starts out a few months after the sea of monsters and instantly we are introduced to the gang as they are in a major mission to recruit some half-blood's before the monsters attacks and kills them. The only thing I did not like about the book is this which is they left a major gap between summer to December and they never tell you what happens between Percy, Thalia, Annabeth after the events of having Thalia brought back to life thanks to the Golden Fleece. 

I don't know if he did that intentional but it's like Rick Riordan left this major climax at the end of the 2nd book and I would think that would be a major conversation in this book but it became anticlimactic in reality. It's like everything is perfectly fine that Thalia who was supposedly dead is alive now and acts like she's been friends with Percy all this time since he became aware of his Demi-God. They never talk about it in this book and I hope somehow they will because that just frustrates me! 

Okay back to the story. As they are on this rescue mission, Annabeth gets caught in the middle and is taken prisoner by Kronos Army. Artemis makes a deal with Percy that she will find this monster and help Annabeth but sadly she gets captured by this monster and if she isn't rescue, Annabeth and her will die, and the Gods of Olympus will not vote to fight back against the ancient monsters and titans which will bring destruction to the world. So Percy and the gang have like a week to rescue everyone.

I feel like since we already know the characters and the Greek mythology, it moved very fast which I truly appreciate because it kept me at the edge of my seat wanting to read more about what is going to happen with the gang. This was better than the 2nd book because the plot of the 2nd book wasn't that entertaining and I get this feeling that the 2nd was more character introductions so that way the rest of the series has more action pack adventure and in each book, the characters are maturing.

Even though this book is meant for middle schoolers, I see the character growth especially in Percy throughout this book. In the first book, Percy was 13 years old and being extremely stubborn and not fully grasping what is happening to his life and how everything is changing thanks to Poseidon. Now in this book, Percy is almost 15 and maturing quickly because there's been more than one occasion that Percy had been close to the brink of death.

Also I love Percy and Annabeth and I hope they fall in love because that would be a great storyline and I believe this book made it obviously that even though Annabeth is Percy's friends, there's a lot of emotions attached to both of them. I cannot wait to see it further developed in the rest of the series!

I hope Battle in the Labyrinth can exceed this book!!! :)

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2) by Rick Riordan

Rating: ★ 1/2

Overall I found this book to be exciting and refreshing compared to the first book but I did not necessarily like the whole idea of this book and prefer the first book just a smudge more compare to the sequel. I've realize that sequels are a difficult task for the authors because every one gets absorbed into the first book and then cannot figure out what to do with the sequel or it becomes a background story leading into major conflicts in the third book which is the case with The Sea of Monsters.

This book moved quicker now that we know who is Percy Jackson (Thanks the Gods) and it captures us right back where the book left us off in Lightning Thief. It is the last day of school for Percy and everything seems to be going fine until a bunch of monsters attack Percy during a game of Dodgeball. When he is saved by his friend Tyson, and Annabeth (who arrived to New York unannounced) during that battle, he is immediately rushed back to Camp Half-Blood because the camp is close to be destroyed thanks to Luke & Kronos. When he arrives, he finds out that the tree that is the barrier for the camp has been poisoned, Chiron was fired, and Grover is in danger stuck in an island in the Sea of Monsters.

 At the camp, he believes his friend Tyson is a normal human but realizes that he is a Cyclops who is hated among the community as deceitful monsters. Not only that but he is a son of Poseidon a.k.a Percy's half-brother. Now that everything is an uproar, Percy and his friends must leave the camp in order to save it, save Grover by traveling to the Sea of Monsters and capturing the Golden Fleece.

I was shocked that I enjoyed this book because when I read the description of the plot, I found it to be rather boring and imagining that I was going to suffer through 300 pages of pure boredom and I am glad that I was entertained and that it is the shortest book in the series. I love that it did not take long for the action to begin and I was mesmerized by the storyline and the ending caught me by surprise! The only thing I did not like was how the beginning even though it was short, took so long for it be interesting and almost became this repetitive cycle in comparison to the first book.

I LOVE TYSON'S RELATIONSHIP WITH PERCY!!! I believe Rick Riordan is an absolute genius with addressing serious topics such as ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism and other syndromes in a form of a children's book and showing that even though they may seem a disability for some people, people like Percy and others used it to their advantaged and didn't let it affect them. Like Tyson, even though he is a Cyclops, he reminded me of autistic child and I found that so inspiring to show how Percy loved him as a brother because of his bravery and kindness. I applaud Rick Riordan for incorporating that into this series and showing how love and friendship can help succeed us in life.

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan


I am so shocked as to why I haven't read this series when it was first published. This book brought out different emotions for me and makes me want to devour every book that Rick Riordan has written when it comes to Greek Mythology. I could have finished this in 3 days and I need to read the complete series of Percy Jackson!

In many ways, I felt as though I can relate extremely to Percy Jackson and this story reminded me a lot with Harry Potter. The writing style, the quick pace of action, and even the font of the book reminded me of everything about Harry Potter which makes me love this series even more!!!

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, is about a 12 year old boy name Percy Jackson who seems like an outcast because he's been to a different school every year, suffers Dyslexia and ADHD, and has father abandonment issues. Then several months, weird events have happened without much explanation for Percy and he believes it's all in his imagination until one night, a Minotaur is sent to kill him and his mother and miraculous is brought safely to this camp called Half-Blood and it's where Percy discovers that everything of Greek Mythology is real and above all else he is the son of Poseidon, one of the three most powerful Gods you could possibly have as parent. But what's controversial is Poseidon, Zeus, and Hades weren't suppose to have children post WW2 and now Percy is on a quest to find Zeus's stolen Lightning Bolt which he blames Poseidon as the thief and if they do not find it when the summer solstice arrives, the world as we know it will crumble thanks to the Olympian Gods.

It took me 42 pages until finally I became an addict and I love the writing, and the characters which is a pure miracle for me! I thought I was gonna dislike Annabeth and Grover but at the end of the day I adore Annabeth and somehow I want her and Percy to be together even though technically they are cousins. I saw the movie before reading the book and thank God I did because the movie does not live up to the high expectations I have now thanks to this novel. 

Another thing that I need to mention and honestly I feel as though it is part of the reason it is a success is Percy's Mother. I loved how he included an adult figure in Percy's life and I can feel the love and heart-felt embrace she has for Percy and how much she sacrificed so Percy could have a normal life as much as possible. I believe with the addition of the mother, it brings such a huge gratitude towards mothers (especially my mother) everywhere and made this series for everyone regardless it is meant for middle schoolers.

Even though this a work of fiction, I could easily get absorbed into the storytelling and could imagine myself as Percy throughout this book which I believe is the main purpose of great book. If the writer can capture our attention and help us imagine ourselves as the character or riding alongside the main character than you have already won half the battle. Plus what made me believe that I could fill his shoes is when he has a conversation with his father and his father mentions,

 "Obedience does not come naturally to you, does it? No... sir. I must take some blame for that, I suppose. The sea does not like to be restrained."

When he made that ocean reference my mouth literally drops. I try my best to respect and obey my elders but I have that habit of if my mother cuts me off in the middle of what I am saying, my blood boils and I snapped back. I don't like to be restrained and not be acknowledge for my ideas or beliefs. And someone I know has mentioned that exact quote to me and they have never read or heard of Percy Jackson. At that moment I realize that given the choice to be a son of Olympian God, I would pick Poseidon. I cannot wait to read the rest of this series!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

"Dragon Ball Z, Vol. 6: Battlefield Namek" by Akira Toriyama


Previously on Dragon Ball Z

(I) Bulma, Kuririn, and Gohan have traveled to space to reach the planet Namek to find the original dragon balls and resurrect their friends and the dragon balls on Earth.

(II) While this may seem like a simple task, we discover that Vegeta is also trying to capture the dragon balls and to defeat the leader named Freeza and his henchmen who Vegeta used to work with before he had gone rogue.

(III) Goku gets cured up by the senzu bean and hops on a spaceship to rescue his friends and family asap before anything horrifying happens to them.

That is what you missed on Dragon Ball Z!

In this volume we encounter our friends Bulma, Kuririn, and Gohan witnessing Freeza and his henchmen up close and personal in small Namekian village. Gohan and gang have the dragon ball radar and when they discovered the village, they noticed that Freeza has 4 dragon balls already and is seeking to claim the 5th one. A few Namekian fighters have arrived to defeat Freeza but were no match for these evildoers, and in return to save the village the head elder gave Freeza the 5th dragon ball but refused to help them find the 6th one.

Since Freeza is evil, he killed practically everyone minus a child who Gohan came to the rescue. By risking this it showcased Freeza that they are not Namekians, and that they are not the only one who wants the Dragon Balls. The time is ticking now and the gang needs to find shelter until Goku arrives. Meanwhile that drama is going on, Vegeta is successfully killing Freeza's henchmen one by one and they are all shocked to see how powerful he has become.

Vegeta gives us some insight into the Saiyan race which is supposedly after every fight if that Saiyan survives he becomes as strong as his last opponent. When looking back it does make sense because Goku fought with Master Roshi who was the ultimate fighter at the time. He obviously survived but now his power is equal to Master Roshi and then he fights Tenshinhan, Mr. Popo, God, and Piccolo and survived. By having hard training and fighting astounding fighters no wonder Goku is like Superman.

If Vegeta is the strongest fighter that Goku has fought so far, there is no telling how invincible he will become the next time he fights and that will practically happen soon. We barely get any Goku action which I kind of like for now because we get insight into Gohan's upbringing and the rest of the gang who didn't have enough time to make an impact into this series.

What was astounding is on the voyage to Namek, Goku gets into contact with Kaio-Sama and he discovers that everyone from Yamcha to Piccolo have arrived to Kaio-Sama's place to train with him and be able to kick Goku's ass. It was refreshing to see them in a positive outlook especially how awful it was to see them get killed. I have no clue if they will ever be resurrected but it would be nice to see our old friends again alive.

By the end of this volume, Goku still hasn't arrived Namek yet but Gohan and Kuririn become friends with the Namekian that they saved who is called Dende and they discover that the last person to have the dragon ball in the head elder who has the sole survivor of the destruction of the planet Namek. This elder is the one who is able to reproduce all these namekians and Dende takes Kuririn to his house to meet him and to ensure he captures the last dragon ball. Will Goku save the day and destroy Freeza and company or will we meet a new evil that has never been seen before? Tune in until next time on Dragon Ball Z...

"Dragon Ball, Vol. 5: Dragon Ball in Space" by Akira Toriyama


Previously on Dragon Ball Z

(I) Goku and Vegeta went into an epic battle and by the end of the fight there was no winner as both were badly wounded.

(II) Goku friends like Yamcha, Tenshinhan, Piccolo, and Chaozu have all perished at the hand of Vegeta and his brother Nappa.

(III) Since Goku left Vegeta badly wounded, he is now trying to retreat and escape Earth to recuperate and kill Goku again.

That is what you missed on Dragon Ball Z!

In this volume we immediately see Vegeta trying to make an escape in his pod and was almost killed by Kuririn but Goku forced him to stop and let Vegeta escape. You may think Goku is absolutely insane to let this happen but I believe Goku knows something whether consciously or not about Vegeta and how he will definitely be needed in the future. Gohan, Kuririn, and Goku are barely able to walk let alone fly to call help but as luck would have it the entire gang from Master Roshi, Bulma to Chichi get on a huge helicopter and rescue them.

As they are recuperating in the hospital not much can be done without the Senzu beans which will time to grow for Master Karin so Goku gets to experience what its like for a normal human being to suffer in a hospital with a cast and no movement. During this time, Kuririn brings a theory on how to salvage his friends with the Dragon Balls. They were destroyed after Piccolo/Kami-Sama were killed but we discovered in the previous volumes that those two are aliens called Namekians from the planet Namek and Vegeta has met them before so that means that they still exist. If they do then they possess the power to create the dragon balls and by having Goku resurrecting his friends then the Dragon Balls on Earth will come back to life again.

The plan sounds a bit legit but the problems that arises are (I) Goku cannot travel anywhere until he eats Senzu beans which will take at least a month to gather, (II) With the latest technology in mankind it would take thousands of years to arrive to the planet Namek. In the end they find a ship which was Kami-Sama's ship when he arrived on earth and with the latest updates thanks to Bulma it will only take a month to get to the planet so Kuririn and Gohan tag along with her to retrieve the dragon balls.

Meanwhile all of this sounds fine and dandy, we get a glimpse to what happens to Vegeta. We learn that he survived and returns to the planet Freeza where he gets desperate medical treatment. Unfortunately they couldn't regenerate his tail and I believe it will never grow back. As readers we get a glimpse of Vegeta's life and we learn that he is part of a team, the leader being this person named Freeza who collects planets, destroys its inhabitants, and then sells them to potential buyers. 

For Freeza, he intercepted Raditz communications with his brothers and learns about the Dragon Balls and the planet Namek. While Freeza is old and frail he is still powerful and if he gets the dragon balls he will be indestructible and Vegeta would become a slave. So Vegeta immediately hops on his space orb and travels to Namek to kill Freeza's henchmen and capture the dragon balls himself.

Around this whole Freeza discovery, it runs around the same time as Bulma and company who all arrive on the planet Namek. Immediately Gohan and Kuririn sense they are not alone and evil lurks nearby, they also feel Vegeta's chi and try to hide their own. Freeza and his henchmen detect other people arriving this planet and send some to check out their locations. What once seem like an easy mission becomes a nightmare as Kuririn and Gohan have to fight two other fighters and trying to find the dragon balls undetected.

The two fighters destroy Bulma's ship and after Gohan and Kuririn win the fight, she immediately messages back to Earth telling them about the horrors of Namek and how we need Goku's help. Master Karin already reap the senzu beans and gives them to Goku who instantly is cured and he rushes off on his own spaceship to help save the gang. It will only take 6 days but will he make it on time? We won't find out until next time on Dragon Ball Z...

P.S. I would say a few volumes ago the makers of this manga apparently heard my rant and magically solve my agitation by quitting to make footnotes. I believe they got irritated by helping those who didn't bother to read Dragon Ball so they either the footnote became like "Go read DB Vol. (insert number)" or they didn't bother writing a note. Hopefully that will be the end of these cheat sheets.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

"Dragon Ball Z, Vol. 4: Goku vs. Vegeta" by Akira Toriyama


Previously on Dragon Ball Z

(I) Vegeta and Nappa (2 Saiyans) have arrived to Earth to annihilate everyone and find the Dragon Balls. Goku is Earth's last salvation and luckily he makes to the battle before they kill his son.

(II) Yamcha is dead, and Nappa killed Tenshinhan and Chaozu. As fate would have it Vegeta killed Nappa because he couldn't fight Goku anymore.

(III) Vegeta and Goku are going to head into one of the dangerous battles of this series and we have no idea what the outcome will be. Will it be Goku or Vegeta? 

That is what you missed on Dragon Ball Z!

Automatically this manga gets full stars because Akira Toriyama doesn't hold back and spoils us rotten with this epic battle between two characters who would become legends in this series. I remember watching the anime version of this battle and having my mouth agape of wonder and amazement. If the anime could make dreams come true in terms of animation, the manga lives up to the high expectations and makes you get sucked into this chaotic world.

Vegeta is a fighter that Goku has never encountered and throughout the manga you get to see that Goku is thrilled to fight Vegeta and at the same time worrying the fate of the world depends on his shoulders. We get to see Goku push the limits of his powers and rock Vegeta's core beliefs. In his homeland they gave him that name because the planet was called Vegeta but also to be given that name you have to be one of the strongest fighters of all time which is he but he is not a proficient fighter as Goku who has gone through hell and back to become a better fighter with better stamina.

By discovering Goku who is a Saiyan and beating the living hell out of Vegeta, it puts him into a new level of anger as his pride is hurt as Goku makes him bleed and making him use the limits of his power which has never been heard of in Vegeta's past battles. Goku loses all his powers and becomes weak and unfortunately Vegeta becomes a Saiyan Monkey by creating his own decoy Moon (the real one destroyed by Master Roshi and then Piccolo again) and crushes Goku. 

Gohan and Kuririn were leaving to Kame's house for protection until they see a ball of light and Gohan senses that Goku is in danger and need their help. When they arrive and help out, they are able to cut Vegeta's tail thanks to Yajirobe and we get a glimpse of Ape Gohan for a few moments. In the end thanks to team work they were able to make Vegeta weak to the point that he needs to retreat back to his pod. This is the first time for both the good guys and bad weren't able to kill each other in the end and clearly this is not the end for Goku and Vegeta. 

Even though it takes me less than an hour to read this manga, I felt like I just went through a two hour intensive action film that left me speechless and needing more Dragon Ball Z action. I have no clue what will happen next but I cannot wait to read the next volume. So stay tuned for the next new review of Dragon Ball Z...

"Dragon Ball Z, Vol. 3: Earth vs. the Saiyans" by Akira Toriyama


Previously on Dragon Ball Z

(I) Nappa and Vegeta (Two Saiyans) have arrived on Earth to destroy it and capture the Dragon Balls.

(II) Goku is earth's only savior and he is nowhere to found since he has to cross the serpent road back in order to come back to Earth.

(III) To give Goku more time, the whole gang teams up to fight Nappa and Vegeta at the cost of their life. Yamcha is the first one to die among the ground and more are fated to die.

That is what you missed on Dragon Ball Z!

In this volume we leave off right in the middle of a battle with Nappa. He is finally showing his true colors and he now is picking his next victim to kill. Immediately Tenshinhan comes in to save the day but he is no matched for him and even gets his hand cut off by Nappa. Chaozu believing that he could save Tenshinhan, he swoops in and glues himself onto Nappa hoping by exploding himself, he will kill Nappa but epically fails. 

The scene was so heart braking because Chaozu can never be resurrect again because the rule of the Dragon Balls is if you made the wish to resurrect someone it can never be used twice on that person. Tenshinhan realized what was happening and right before your eyes he makes a vow to avenge Chaozu and we get to see the pain in his eyes. Akira Toriyama is a master when it comes to storytelling and you really connect with his characters both good or bad. 

I know the anime and manga sometimes differ but I have to bring up the subject that Chaozu and Tenshinhan are lovers. Supposedly Tenshinhan is straight in the anime but I oppose that theory in the manga because Tenshinhan during this volume vows that when he kills Nappa that he will die and rejoin with Chaozu and promises to never leave his side. Some may say that oh they were like brothers to each other and that may be true at first but a brother wouldn't sacrifice himself to be with his brother. In reality you would try to live your life to make your brother proud and honor him but to flat out want to die to be with him tells a different story. It didn't have to be sexual love but romantically I believe they were soul mates and it makes Chaozu's death that more tragic.

(After reading what I just wrote try watching this clip and try to prove me wrong)

Tenshinhan gives it his all to avenge Chaozu but he is no match to Nappa and dies right after which makes this series get gloomier by the minute and if they keep this up there isn't going to be anyone left in the series. Vegeta keeps overhearing the mention of Goku constantly and makes the connection that Kakarrot is Goku and decides to wait three hours to kill the rest of time and sadly Goku doesn't make it on time. 

Meanwhile all that is going on, Goku finally arrives back at the entrance of the Serpent Road and hops on Kintoun trying to reach everyone before it is too late. Piccolo is the last ultimate fighter and between him, Gohan, and Kuririn they made a plan to ambush Nappa and for Gohan to kill him. He chickens out at the last minute and the whole plan goes to shit. With Piccolo knocked out and Kuririn weakened, Nappa takes the advantage to kill Gohan and he would have been successful except Piccolo blocked the attack to save Gohan and dies. 

I wanted to cry so badly for Piccolo because we get to learn that because of Goku and Gohan, they helped him become a better person and makes us realized that during this whole year of training, Gohan was practically a son for Piccolo and he enjoyed his time with him. This moment I believe redeems Piccolo and finally makes him lovable exactly like how we all hate the Grinch in the beginning but we love him at the end (How the hell did Dr. Seuss get into a manga? Go back to Whoville!).

After that incident, Nappa tries to kill Gohan again and once again he fails because Superman saves him! Oh wait I mean Goku!! When Goku connects the pieces and realizes that all his friends are killed, all hell breaks loose and we meet a force that shouldn't be dealt with. Goku beats the living daylights out of him but it is Vegeta who kills him in the end for being weak and giving up the fight.

Now that the only fighter left is Vegeta that means we will soon witness one of the most destructive legendary fights of all time in Dragon Ball Z. Will Goku succeed or will we all parish thanks to Vegeta? To find out more tune in next time on Dragon Ball Z...

Friday, September 18, 2015

"Dragon Ball Z, Vol. 2: The Lord of the Worlds" by Akira Toriyama


Previously on Dragon Ball Z

(I) Goku got married to Chichi and has a son named Gohan.

(II) Goku has an evil brother named Raditz who came seeking his help to murder innocents on another planet for profit and steals Gohan as blackmail.

(III) Goku teams up with Piccolo to kill Raditz and in the process Goku gets killed in order for Raditz to die. Now Raditz brothers are coming to earth in about a year from now and when they do all hell will break loose.

This is what you missed last time on Dragon Ball Z!

In this volume you learn that Goku is with God in the underworld hoping to see if Goku can meet Kaio-sama who can train him in preparations for the arrival of Nappa and Vegeta. Goku gets the official okay to visit him and he needs to cross the serpents path which only one person has successful made it to the end since it takes years to reach the destination. Goku doesn't have time to waste so he immediately starts running and flying hoping to reach Kaio-sama in time.

Back on Earth, the whole gang is trying to figure out what to do next and immediately Piccolo picks up Gohan and tells them that he will train Gohan and if you try to get in his way he will kill them. Even though Piccolo acts tough, something in him has changed and I hope in the series we get a closer insight as to why and my bet is Goku. Goku could have killed him when he had the chance and instead he tried Piccolo as a friend and as an equal. I think that idea of selflessness impressed Goku and kind of a reminder that he owes Goku his life. Plus the idea that he may die in a year or so may stir feelings that he has ignored for a long time.

When looking back I have to admit that Gohan and Piccolo is a perfect match because out of all of them, Piccolo is the strongest and the most dedicated when it comes to training and fighting making him the perfect master to teach. Gohan is one of the last options to save our planet and Piccolo needs all the help he can get while they try to resurrect Goku. The rest of the gang also gets to train with God hoping it can make them stronger fighters while they can be a distraction as they wait for Goku's return.

After about 200 days or so, Goku finally arrives at Kaio-Sama's small planet and immediately begins training which isn't easy since the planet gravity is 10x stronger than Earth making it harder for Goku to run and up. But over the course of 150 days he becomes a new warrior and Gohan also becomes more like his father being able to adapt himself to the wilderness while he trains with Piccolo.

The Saiyans arrive earlier than expected and all the powerful fighters gather together to put an end to Vegeta and Nappa. Along with them they bring these vulgar alien creatures to cause some damage and each fighter takes turns killing through. Through these actions we get to witness how powerful the good guys have become but also how Vegeta is able to destroy a creature with a swift move of his hand. By the end Kuririn is able to kill all the monsters and Nappa realizes a dose of his powers. 

While all this is going on, Goku needs to running all the way back to the beginning of the Serpent Road in order to come home and help save the earth. Will Goku arrive on time before its too late? Stay tuned until next time on Dragon Ball Z!