Dragon Ball, Vol. 1 (Collector's Edition) (英語) ハードカバー – 2008/11/4
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• Dragon Ball is the best-selling manga series in Japan.
• The Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z series combined have sold through more than one million graphic novels in the U.S. to date (BookScan).
• Over 11.7 million Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z videos & DVDs have sold through in the U.S. to date (VideoScan).
• Every volume of the Dragon Ball series is still selling to this day. There are 42 volumes total and they debuted in the U.S. in 2000!
• Toriyama has a strong fan base in the U.S.
• Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z have also spawned numerous video games, which consistently rank in the top ten in national sales.
• A live action Dragon Ball Z movie is currently in production to be released theatrically in Summer 2008.
Dragon Ball , Vol. 1 (Collector's Edition)
A seminal series from a legendary creator. Dragon Ball, a wry update on the Chinese "Monkey King" myth, introduces us to Son Goku, a young monkey-tailed boy whose quiet life is turned upside-down when he meets Bulma, a girl determined to collect the seven "Dragon Balls." If she gathers them all, an incredibly powerful dragon will appear and grant her one wish. But the precious orbs are scattered all over the world, and to get them she needs the help of a certain super-strong boy...
Akira Toriyama's first weekly series, Dr. Slump, has entertained generations of readers in Japan since it was introduced in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1980. A few years later, he created his wildly popular Dragon Ball series, which brought him international success. Toriyama is also known for his character designs for video games, including Dragon Warrior, Chrono Trigger and Tobal No. 1. He lives with his family in Japan.
The only gripes I have is that the Japanese versions of these volumes had new Q&A's with Akira Toriyama that have not been translated for the English release. Also, there are some strange/unnecessary translation choices that were made in previous editions that have carried over to this - the script hasn't really been revised. Piccolo talks in a very bizarre way for this part of the story, then not much at all anymore from the time Nappa starts fighting, moving forward. There's also a note on the first page mentioning this as a sequel to the original Dragon Ball. The problem is, now the title to these volumes doesn't even have "Z" present, so this note doesn't match the context it is set against.
Besides those grips, I still consider this release worth supporting and feel fans of the manga should seek it out to improve their collection and provide incentive for Viz to continue releasing these. With any luck, the good folks there will reconsider some of their censorship practices from later story arcs that showed up in previous editions, particularly the use of "Hercule" (real name: Mr. Satan).
First of all, the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z manga tend to be a little less "filled" than the anime. The story keeps moving forward in a nice, timely fashion, and though the fights themselves are still fantastic, there's no period of stare-downs and pointless dialogue in between the explosive action. A great example of this is in DBZ when Goku dies the first time during the Saiyan Saga. In the anime I believe it takes almost 15 to 20 episodes before Goku finally reaches King Kai and trains for his upcoming battle with Vegeta and Nappa. In the comic, it's only about 20 pages. So if you're the type of person that likes a story told to the point, the manga is definitely for you. I still prefer the DBZ show to the comics overall, but I'm of the opinion that the story of little Goku and his friends is best told through the humorous panels that Akira Toriyama worked on so diligently nearly 25 years ago.
Second, the humor in Dragon Ball is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Master Roshi is a bit of a pervert (as always), the bickering between Bulma, Yamcha, Oolong, and Puar is still tongue-in-cheek goodness, and Goku's naive nature and willingless to become the strongest fighter ever blends together into a neat little tale of innocence lost (but any fan of DB knows that Goku never really loses that quality). I don't consider myself as a fan of comedy in general (I prefer bloody Samurai films and Tarantino/Chanwook noire), but Dragon Ball had me laughing so hard at some points that I had to stop reading momentarily.
All in all, I highly recommend this purchase for anyone who loves comics and/or Dragon Ball. If you're new to the series, this may be a great starting point, but don't expect any of the hardcore fight scenes that later appear in the stories of DBZ. Instead, expect some interesting characters, like a thief who lives in the desert with his best pal (a cat), a martial arts master who tends to come off too strong on the ladies, and a little boy with a monkey's tail who could probably eat the whole selection of a Las Vegas buffet and still demand seconds. Enjoy!