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Dragon Ball

Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman

Dragon Ball is an anime series based on Akira Toriyama's manga of the same name. The story of both the manga and the anime are based on a Chinese folk tale called Jouney to the West.

The main character of the series is a young boy named Son Goku, who, along with his friends, goes on a journey to find the seven mystical Dragon Balls. When all seven balls are brought together, the dragon Shen Long is summoned, and the dragon will grant one wish.

The story begins when Goku meets Bulma, a girl who is out searching for the Dragon Balls. It turns out that Goku unknowingly has one of the Dragon Balls; the four star ball had been a memento left for Goku after the death of his grandfather, but Goku had never been told that it was a Dragon Ball. Goku joins Bulma on her journey.

Along the way, they rescue a lost sea turtle and return him to his home; as a reward, he brings the pair to Master Roshi, an old man who is also known as the Turtle Hermit. Roshi gives Goku a flying cloud called Kinto'un, and Goku also learns an impressive attack called the Kamehameha.

Over the course of the first series, Goku meets many allies as well as adversaries. They include such characters as Oolong, Yamcha, Pu'ar, Kuririn, Tenshinhan, Chaozu, Chi-Chi, Lunch, Yajirobe, Emperor Pilaf, Mai, Shu, Baba Uranai, Kami, Karin, Mr. Popo, and Piccolo Daimo, among others.

In addition to searching for the Dragon Balls, Goku also trains under Master Roshi and competes in some Tenkaichi Tournamets (which are big martial arts tournaments that are only held every few years). These tournaments allow Goku and some of the other characters to display their martial arts abilities.

Of the three Dragon Ball series that were produced (Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT), I feel that the original Dragon Ball series was the best one and has the strongest story. Most of the story arcs are told in such a way that they don't feel like they drag on for a long time, unlike several of the story arcs in Dragon Ball Z. I also appreciate the more simplistic story that's presented in the first Dragon Ball series.

After watching the first Dragon Ball anime series, I can see why the manga and anime are considered to be classics in Japan.

Title
Episodes
Release Year(s)
Director
Studio
N.A. Licensor
Dragon Ball1531986-1989Daisuke Nishio/Minoru OkazakiToei AnimationFUNimation Entertainment
Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood RubiesN/A1986Daisuke NishioToei AnimationFUNimation Entertainment
Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil’s CastleN/A1987Daisuke Nishio/Minoru OkazakiToei AnimationFUNimation Entertainment
Dragon Ball: Mystical AdventureN/A1988Kazuhisa Takeuchi/Minoru OkazakiToei AnimationFUNimation Entertainment
Dragon Ball: The Path to PowerN/A1996Shigeyasu YamauchiToei AnimationFUNimation Entertainment
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Content copyright © 2014 by Lesley Aeschliman. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lesley Aeschliman. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Brenda Chen for details.

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