Dragon Ball Z, Vol. 23: Yami no Matsuei (英語) ペーパーバック – 2005/12/6
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After years of training and adventure, Goku has become Earth's ultimate warrior. And his son, Gohan, shows even greater promise. But the strikes are increasing as even deadlier enemies threaten the planet.
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.
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Boo has arrived: a blobby, sleeping-cat-faced monster who behaves like a child and whose head turns into a whistling kettle if you call him fat! He’s also mega-powerful. Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, EVERYONE falls to this dude – so it’s down to Son Goten and Trunks to somehow defeat him.
There’s a lot of death in this book though it doesn’t have the same meaning as it would in other titles because of the Dragon Balls. Here, Shenlong makes an appearance and brings back some of the “dead” characters; other characters die afterwards but they’ve died before and come back… It’s hard to feel anything of import happens when someone “dies” in this series because readers have been conditioned to think of death as an inconvenience rather than a definitive end.
There is one character though who I think we’ve seen the last of, purely because Akira Toriyama makes a point of saying that the character has gone somewhere unreachable. Their death though felt rushed and unimaginative – I was hoping for something more interesting and intense and what we got instead was… BOOM! They sploded. Ah, well. I had grown to like the character by the end, despite their earlier behaviour.
Boo and the warlock Bobbidi begin a mass murder spree while most of the Dragon Ball cast gathers in heaven to strategize. So how do you handle atomic bomb-type city-wide devastation for an all-ages comic? You turn everyone into chocolate for Boo to munch! I know Boo’s the bad guy but he’s so silly and cute in this book, it’s hard to hate him. And the whole kettle-head thing when he gets annoyed is so adorable!
Gohan goes into special training, Goku, in his remaining hours on Earth, begins his plan, and things feel like they’re gearing up for some righteous action. DBZ Volume 23 is a great introduction to Boo and a lot of fun to read. I was hoping the series would go out with a bang and it looks like Toriyama’s preparing to do just that.