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Dragon Ball

The original Japanese Dragon Ball logo, which debuted in 1986

Dragon BallドラゴンボールDoragon Bōru

Genre Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Martial Arts, Science Fiction, Bangsian Fantasy
Anime series: Dragon Ball
Directed by

Toei Animation

Written by
Original run

February 26, 1986 — April 19, 1989

No. of episodes


Manga chapters adapted


Streaming Sites
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Dragon Ball (ドラゴンボール Doragon Bōru) is an adaptation of the first portion of Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball manga. It is composed of 153 episodes around 20-minutes long and ran on Fuji TV from February 26, 1986, to April 19, 1989. The series average rating was 21.2%, with its maximum being 29.5% (Episode 47) and its minimum being 13.7% (Episode 110). Despite its success, Dragon Ball was overshadowed by its more action-oriented sequel series, Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball depicted Goku's childhood, while Dragon Ball Z depicted his adulthood. Both are adapted from the same manga.

Production history

Original series


Title card in the original Japanese version

Dragon Ball started off as a manga series called Dragon Boy. The story depicted a young boy named Tanton and his quest to return a princess to her homeland. The series was a loose adaptation of the Chinese legend Journey to the West, depicting monkey king Sun Wukong. Due to the series' unpopularity, Toriyama re-wrote Dragon Boy, adapting it as Dragon Ball. All the character's personalities were changed except for Goku. The re-adaptation named Dragon Ball became a hit and was later made into an anime.


Two initial attempts at releasing Dragon Ball to American audiences failed. The first attempt was in 1989 from Harmony Gold USA (the company that previously dubbed Robotech). It featured strange name changes for nearly all the characters, such as changing Goku to "Zero" and Korin to "Whiskers the Wonder Cat". It was test-marketed in several cities but was never broadcast to the general public and has since been referred to as "The Lost Dub" by fans.

The second and more well-known attempt was in 1995 with only the first 13 episodes dubbed and aired in first-run syndication. This release was a joint production between Funimation, Seagull Entertainment, and BLT Productions, with a dubbing voice cast similar to Funimation's initial dub of Dragon Ball Z. These original 13 dubbed episodes were later released to home video by KidMark as "Dragon Ball: The Saga of Goku."

Dragon Ball Television Series North America 1995 Logo

The earlier 1995 dub's logo, which lasted 13 episodes and also appears on some older home video releases

After Dragon Ball Z became immensely popular on Cartoon Network's Toonami block, Dragon Ball was re-dubbed in English by Funimation's in-house ADR studio for redistribution in the U.S. The complete original series aired on Cartoon Network's Toonami from August 20, 2001, to December 1, 2003. Unlike the theme songs for Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT, Funimation made English versions of the original Japanese opening (OP) and ending (ED) themes for these episodes and left in the original background music (which they would later also do with their dubs of Dragon Ball Z Kai and Dragon Ball Super). Some insert (IN) songs were taken out or have talking over them.


The U.S. version of Dragon Ball that was aired on Cartoon Network (before that, it was aired in syndication and on NBC in select cities) had many edits done to it. Most of the edits were digital cosmetic changes, which were done to remove nudity and blood, and dialogue edits. Sometimes, some scenes were deleted altogether, either to save time or cut out strong violence.

For example, when Goku dives into the water naked to kick a fish he catches for dinner, a digital water splash was added on his groin; on other occasions when he is naked, he has some digital underwear added. Also, references to alcohol and drugs were removed, for example, when Jackie Chun uses Drunken Fist in the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament, Funimation called it the "Mad Cow Attack" (coincidentally, there was a real-life Mad Cow epidemic shortly after the episode aired). Also, the famous "No Balls!" scene was deleted from episode 2, and when Bulma puts panties on the fishing hook to get Oolong (in fish form), they digitally painted away the panties and replaced it with some money. Also, a number of creative changes were made to the dialogue. For example, when Puar says why Oolong was expelled from school, instead of saying that he stole the teacher's panties, they say that he stole the teacher's "papers."

A lot of older fans hated these changes, because they felt it was butchering the original show's humor and dumbing it down. These edits, however, were necessary in order to have the show aired on TV. The DVDs do not contain these edits.

Aside from censorship-related reasons, FUNimation also sometimes alters dialogue in an attempt to make a scene more humorous in nature. A notable example of this was with General Blue during his fight with Krillin where his banter with the latter was altered to have him make references to Girl Scouts, the Mona Lisa, and also insulting Krillin with "diaper man".


Original author of the manga, Akira Toriyama, held a great deal of respect for the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z animes and those that developed them. Toriyama also admired the fact that the anime had original stories created by the animation team and stated that he considered the Dragon Ball anime to be equal in importance to the Dragon Ball manga.[1]


Toei sagas
  1. Son Gokū (Episodes 1–28) (February 26, 1986—September 3, 1986)
  2. Red Ribbon Army (Episodes 29–68) (September 10, 1986—July 1, 1987)
  3. 22nd Tenka'ichi Budōkai (Episodes 69–101) (July 8, 1987—February 17, 1988)
  4. Piccolo Daimaō (Episodes 102–132) (February 24, 1988—November 2, 1988)
  5. 23rd Tenka'ichi Budōkai (Episodes 133–153) (November 9, 1988—April 19, 1989)
Funimation sagas
  1. Emperor Pilaf Saga (Episodes 1–13; originally The Saga of Goku)
  2. Tournament Saga (Episodes 14–28)
  3. Red Ribbon Army Saga (Episodes 29–45)
  4. General Blue Saga (Episodes 46–57)
  5. Commander Red Saga (Episodes 58–67)
  6. Fortuneteller Baba Saga (Episodes 68–83)
  7. Tien Shinhan Saga (Episodes 84–101)
  8. King Piccolo Saga (Episodes 102–122)
  9. Piccolo Jr. Saga (Episodes 123–153)

Movies and other

  1. Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies
  2. Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle
  3. Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure
  4. Dragon Ball: The Path to Power (10th Anniversary Special)

Public service videos

  1. "Goku's Traffic Safety"
  2. "Goku's Fire Brigade"

Live action

Dragon Ball (1990 Korean film)

Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins

A live-action version of the popular Japanese animated series. An evil king has been stealing the mystical "Dragon Pearls" in an attempt to possess them all. When all but one of the pearls has been stolen, the former guardians of the magic jewels decide to band together and take action. Led by a pig-headed wizard and a half-turtle martial arts master, the team takes on the king's army in a desperate bid to stop him from gaining control of the pearls.

Made in Taiwan and released in 1991, this feature has actually been released in the US as Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins (originally titled Xin Qi long zhu Shen long de chuan shuo, or New Dragon Ball: The Legend of Shenlong). While this movie does not follow Toriyama's concept exactly, it is a lot closer to it than it is to any traditional Chinese legends.

Dragonball Evolution

A live-action version of the series, made in the United States. The movie retains the basic notion of Dragon Ball, but there are several major changes in the story and characters. The movie depicts Goku's training and his confrontation with Lord Piccolo.

Funimation Remastered Season and Movie Sets

In 2009, after the release of the Remastered Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT Season DVD Boxsets, Funimation announced that they would begin releasing Dragon Ball in Remastered Format beginning September later that year. They are presented in their Original Aspect Ratio 4:3 and are presented in a 5 Disc Boxset. Unlike the Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT Sets, the Dragon Ball Sets only include a 5.1 English Voice Track with Original Japanese Background Audio and Original Japanese Mono as Dragon Ball had never had an American Soundtrack.

On December 28, 2010, Funimation released Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies to DVD and Blu-ray uncut and re-dubbed with their Dragon Ball Z Kai voice cast to Region 1 DVD. A complete box set containing all four Dragon Ball Movies was released in February 2011.[2] All movies retain their original Funimation dub with the exception of Curse of the Blood Rubies.

Season Set release dates


Release Date


Dragon Ball: Season 1

Sep 15, 2009 (Episodes 1 - 31)

Emperor Pilaf, Tournament and early Red Ribbon Army Sagas

Dragon Ball: Season 2

Nov 10, 2009 (Episodes 32 - 61)

Red Ribbon Army, General Blue and early Commander Red Sagas

Dragon Ball: Season 3

Feb 2, 2010 (Episodes 62 - 92)

Commander Red, Fortuneteller Baba and early Tien Shinhan Sagas

Dragon Ball: Season 4

May 4, 2010 (Episodes 93 - 122)

Tien Shinhan and King Piccolo Sagas

Dragon Ball: Season 5 Jul 27, 2010 (Episodes 123 - 153) Piccolo Jr. Saga

Movie Set release dates


Release Date

Dragon Ball Movie 1: Curse of the Blood Rubies

December 28, 2010

Dragon Ball Movie 4 Pack:

Curse of the Blood Rubies

Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle

Mystical Adventure

The Path to Power

February 8, 2011

Main cast list

Character Name Voice Actor (Japanese) V.A. (English - Harmony Gold) V.A. (English - BLT/Funimation) V.A. (English - Funimation) V.A. (English - Blue Water)
Goku Masako Nozawa Barbara Goodson Saffron Henderson Stephanie Nadolny (child)
Sean Schemmel (teen)
Zoe Slusar (child)
Jeffrey Watson (teen)
Bulma Hiromi Tsuru Wendee Lee Lalainia Lindbjerg Tiffany Vollmer Leda Davies
Oolong Naoki Tatsuta Dave Mallow Alec Willows Brad Jackson Corby Proctor
Master Roshi Kouhei Miyauchi Clifton Wells Michael Donovan (episode 3)
Ian James Corlett (episodes 7-8)
Mike McFarland Dean Galloway
Turtle Daisuke Gōri Daniel Woren Don Brown Christopher Sabat Dave Pettitt
Yamcha Tōru Furuya Kerrigan Mahan Ted Cole Christopher Sabat Victor Atelevich
Puar Naoko Watanabe Cheryl Chase Kathy Morse Monika Antonelli Chris Simms
Ox-King Daisuke Gōri N/A Dave "Squatch" Ward Kyle Hebert Dave Pettitt
Chi-Chi Mayumi Shō N/A Andrea Libman Laura Bailey (child)
Cynthia Cranz (teen)
Katie Rowan (child)
Carol-Anne Day (teen)
Krillin Mayumi Tanaka N/A N/A Laurie Steele (child)
Sonny Strait (teen)
Mike Thiessen
Launch Mami Koyama N/A N/A Meredith McCoy Kris Rundle
Nam Kaneto Shiozawa N/A N/A Jerry Jewell Adam Hunter
Suno Naoko Watanabe N/A N/A Carol Hope
Android 8 Shōzō Iizuka N/A N/A Mike McFarland Jeremiah Yurk
Dr. Brief Jōji Yanami N/A N/A Chris Forbis Corby Proctor
Bikini Mariko Mukai N/A N/A Cynthia Cranz Jennifer Bain
Upa Mitsuko Horie N/A N/A Susan Huber Brett Bauer
Bora Banjō Ginga N/A N/A Dameon Clarke Lucas Gilbertson
Korin Ichirō Nagai N/A N/A Christopher Sabat Roger Rhodes
Baba Junpei Takiguchi N/A N/A Linda Young Corby Proctor
Grandpa Gohan Osamu Saka N/A N/A Christopher Sabat Jonathan Love
Tien Shinhan Hirotaka Suzuoki N/A N/A John Burgmeier Brendan Hunter
Chiaotzu Hiroko Emori N/A N/A Monika Antonelli Sean Broadhurst
Yajirobe Mayumi Tanaka N/A N/A Mike McFarland Lucas Gilbertson
Kami Takeshi Aono N/A N/A Christopher Sabat Mike Shepherd
Mr. Popo Toku Nishio N/A N/A Christopher Sabat Dave Pettitt
Emperor Pilaf Shigeru Chiba Dave Mallow Don Brown Chuck Huber Dean Galloway
Mai Eiko Yamada Melodee Spevack Teryl Rothery Julie Franklin Debbie Munro
Shu Tesshō Genda Dave Mallow Doug Parker Chris Cason Jonathan Love
Commander Red Kenji Utsumi N/A N/A Josh Martin Noah Umholtz
Staff Officer Black Masaharu Satō N/A N/A Christopher Sabat Jonathan Love
General Blue Toshio Furukawa N/A N/A Sonny Strait Roger Rhodes
Mercenary Tao Chikao Ōtsuka N/A N/A Kent Williams Doug McKeag
Master Shen Ichirō Nagai N/A N/A Chuck Huber Clark Robertson
World Tournament Announcer Kenji Utsumi N/A N/A Eric Vale Tommy James
King Piccolo Takeshi Aono N/A N/A Christopher Sabat Mike Shepherd
Piano Masato Hirano N/A N/A Sonny Strait Corby Proctor
Tambourine Ryūsei Nakao N/A N/A Dameon Clarke
Piccolo Jr. Hiromi Tsuru (child)
Toshio Furukawa (teen)
N/A N/A Christopher Sabat Elinor Holt (child)
Ethan Cole (teen)
Shenron Kenji Utsumi N/A Doug Parker Christopher Sabat Dave Pettitt
Narrator Jōji Yanami Michael McConnohie Jim Conrad Brice Armstrong Steve Olson



Theme songs

Insert songs

English soundtracks

See also: Dragon Ball: Original USA TV Soundtrack Recording The 1995 BLT dub featured an original theme song and replacement compositions written by Peter Berring.

The Canadian and UK broadcasts featured different theme songs.


See also

External links


  1. "The Anime and Me", Dragonball Z Anime Special, 1989
  2. Complete set of all four Dragon Ball films. Rightstuf.

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