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Dragon Ball

The English Vol

Dragon BallドラゴンボールDoragon Bōru

Genre Shōnen, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Martial Arts, Science Fiction, Bangsian Fantasy

Manga Series: Dragon Ball

Authored by

Akira Toriyama

Serialized in
Original run

December 3, 1984 – May 23, 1995

No. of volumes


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Dragon Ball (ドラゴンボール Doragon Bōru) is a Japanese manga by Akira Toriyama serialized in Shueisha's weekly manga anthology magazine, Weekly Shōnen Jump, from 1984 to 1995 and originally collected into 42 individual books called Tankōbon (単行本) released from September 10, 1985, to August 4, 1995.



The story of Dragon Ball follows the life of Son Goku, a monkey-tailed boy loosely based on the traditional Chinese folk tale Journey to the West, from his life and adventures as a child all the way up to being a grandfather. During his life, he fights many battles and eventually becomes (arguably) the strongest martial artist in the universe. He is not without help, however: the comic boasts a large ensemble cast of martial artist heroes and villains which provide the conflict that drives the story.



Logo for the Dragon Ball manga

After the success of his previous manga Dr. Slump, Akira Toriyama wanted to break from the Western influences common in his other series. When he began work on Dragon Ball, he decided to model it loosely on the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West.

Dragon Ball was a redeveloped version of a one-shot manga series he made: Dragon Boy, which was initially serialized in Fresh Jump and released in a single tankōbon volume in 1983. This short work combined the comedic style of Dr. Slump with a more action-oriented plot and paid homage to famous martial art actor Jackie Chan. Toriyama notes that his goal for the series was to tell an "unconventional and contradictory" story.

Originally not all that popular when first released, after the Emperor Pilaf arc, Akira decided to write in a World Martial Arts Tournament, a trend in manga that was very popular at the time. Akira Toriyama had also been told by his editor, Kazuhiko Torishima, that Goku was considered "quite bland", and thus Master Roshi was brought back and Krillin was introduced in the series.[1]

Plot and Evolution[]


Kid Goku as seen in the manga

A unifying component of the plot accompanying Goku's progression as a martial artist is his search for the eponymous Dragon Balls. They are one component of the universe, but are not the focus of most of the plot lines of the title. The Dragon Balls themselves are seven magical orbs which are scattered across the world. When assembled, they can be used to summon Shenron, the dragon who will grant one wish within its limit. After the wish is granted, the Dragon Balls are scattered again across the world and become inert for one year. In times past, it would take generations to search the world and gather the Dragon Balls. At the beginning of the story, however, a 16-year-old genius girl named Bulma invents a Dragon Radar to detect the Dragon Balls and makes the process far easier than it was originally intended to be.

The story of Dragon Ball unfolds gradually over 11 years of publication. The tone and the style of the stories gradually changes to reflect the tastes of the readers and the editors of Shōnen Jump in Japan. The early volumes of the manga (chapters 1-134) are primarily humorous fantasy stories, but they contain some minor sci-fi elements, much like Dr. Slump. Notable fantasy elements include not only the monkey boy Goku and the Dragon Balls themselves, but also many talking animal characters, unlikely martial art techniques, and identifying characters as gods and demons. Despite the fantasy elements, the world does contain highly advanced technology including hoi-poi capsules, space-saving capsules which are pocket sized but can store almost any object (including cars, planes and even houses) and other "near future" objects. The overall mood of the earlier volumes is light with few deaths and an emphasis on adventure and humor.

A subtle but significant change in mood begins after Goku's best friend Krillin is killed (the first of many deaths in this arc). This begins the King Piccolo arc (chapters 135-194) in which the manga enters a darker tone compared to its earlier volumes. This arc would more or less define how later arcs would be structured.

Dragon Ball fully transforms into an action based shōnen manga at the onset of the Saiyan arc (chapters 195-241). Starting with introduction of Goku's first son (Gohan), things begin to take a much more serious and harder sci-fi approach. Many characters which were previously implied to have mystic origins, including Goku and Piccolo, are revealed to be aliens from other planets. Advanced space travel, alien threats, and powerful cyborgs and androids take center stage instead of more fantastic villains.

DBC317 01

Super Saiyan Goku as seen in the manga (Full Color)

After the defeat of Vegeta, and the conclusion of the Saiyan arc, the survivors of the vicious Saiyan attack head off to the planet Namek to resurrect their friends. This begins the Frieza arc (chapters 242-329). The Frieza arc is noteworthy for introducing the first Super Saiyan (Goku), now a staple of the series. It also sets the tone for more awesomely powerful characters. For example, the antagonist Frieza is first said to have a "power level" (the series' futuristic measure of a fighter's speed and strength, i.e., one average human is listed as 5) of 530,000. He then transforms into a more powerful form, at which point his power level is over 1,000,000. After two subsequent transformations, he reveals that he is still only using a fraction of his full power.

The Android arc (chapters 330-420) introduces Future Trunks, a mysterious Half-Saiyan Half-Human from a destroyed future world where all of the Z Fighters are killed by evil, seemingly unstoppable war machines called Androids, and the enigmatic and villainous Cell who is made from the cells from most of the heroes as well as some of the villains. This arc is notable for being the only arc in which Goku does not defeat the main villain; instead, it is his son Gohan who defeats Cell. In this arc, Gohan surpasses the level of Super Saiyan and reaches the stage of Super Saiyan 2 in order to defeat Cell.

After Goku's death he is allowed to keep his body and train in the Other World. Seven years pass and Goku gets stronger while Gohan's power decreases. Fortuneteller Baba allows Goku to return to Earth for a single day which marks the start of the Majin Buu arc (chapters 421-519) which is the final arc of the manga. The beginning of this final arc concentrates on a teenaged Gohan. All the male Saiyans manage to reach the level of Super Saiyan at least (including fusions). Gohan can still use Super Saiyan 2, while Goku and Vegeta obtain this transformation as well. And the final level of the Super Saiyans, Super Saiyan 3, is reached by Goku, and later Gotenks. A considerable number of fusions also take place to add to the series, allowing Goten and Trunks to fuse resulting in Gotenks, Goku and Vegeta fuse to create the single most powerful character in Dragon Ball: the invincible Vegito. During this series, Majin Buu destroys earth and even manages to increase his own power by absorbing Gotenks, Piccolo and Gohan. Majin Buu also succeeds where the villains Vegeta, Frieza and Cell had previously failed and destroys Earth. Earth and everyone that was on it when it was destroyed are restored using the Namekian Dragon Balls, and Kid Buu is destroyed by Goku's Spirit Bomb only after taking on Goku, Vegeta, Mr. Satan and Good Buu.

Kid Buu was reincarnated into a human being of pure good called Uub and Goku, Vegeta, Mr. Satan and the Good Buu return to Earth and returned to Earth to reunite with their friends and families. Ten years later, Goku asks Good Buu to cheat so Goku and Uub can have a match, after the match Goku decides to go to Uub's village and train Uub to his potential so that one day they can have a match to decide who is the strongest fighter in the universe (currently Goku). Uub's village later receives money from Mr. Satan. To say goodbye the heroes that appear in the manga (excluding minor characters), everyone waves to the readers and a large "THE END" sign is seen floating.

After completing this series, Toriyama had a break before making gag manga called Nekomajin. This story features many elements and a few characters from Dragon Ball, including characters such as Majin Buu, Vegeta, and Goku.

A Korean MMORPG that serves as a follow-up to the manga, Dragon Ball Online, was developed with Bandai Namco Games and NTL. The game acts as a sequel to the manga with Akira Toriyama having supervised all aspects of the game, from storyline and setting to character and location designs. In a press conference in South Korea on February 14, 2008, Kazuhiko Torishima, the director of Shueisha at the time (and Toriyama's first editor), stated that Toriyama had immersed himself in creating character designs and providing editorial supervision for the game for the past five years. Two of the main villains of the game, Mira and Towa, were created by Akira Toriyama himself.

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ have been said to be an expansion to the manga, as well as the new arcs of Dragon Ball Super, due to Toriyama's involvement in the production writing their respective scripts.

Recurring Themes[]

For all its martial arts bravado, the story of Dragon Ball centers primarily around a theme of redemption, generally through exposure to the "pure" ideals of Goku and Gohan. Nearly every major character in the manga entered the series as a villain but was, through one method or another, converted to the side of good (often, this would entail a temporary team up to defeat a greater foe, but somehow the former enemies rarely found the motivation to begin fighting again). This theme was evident from the beginning (with the conversion of Yamcha, Oolong, and Puar) and continued even to the last saga (with the acceptance of Majin Buu). This style of redemption is not unique to Dragon Ball (it is often seen even in American comic books), but it is significant that it persisted even through other major shifts in style and tone.

One of the biggest themes in Dragon Ball is its subversion and criticism of popular tropes that were present in the fighting genre at the time of the manga's inception. For instance, the protagonist Goku is initially shown as a young, idiotic, and cheery boy whose actions are selfishly motivated rather than altruistically, contrasting with the idea of a brooding muscular hero who acts almost exclusively to protect the innocent and uphold justice. The story is kept lighthearted for its first few sagas through the use of the slapstick and vulgar/sexual humor that defined Akira Toriyama's previous work, a large step away from the sensationalized graphic violence that works such as Fist of the North Star, Devilman, and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure were infamous for; said graphic violence would ironically become increasingly common as Dragon Ball progressed, though slapstick does manage to return to the scene during the Majin Buu arc. Dragon Ball's setting is also a whimsical combination of fantasy and science-fiction that helps set it apart from the dark atmospheres of other fighting manga, and uses heavily stylized visuals with a more cartoonish look than its gritty and realistically detailed counterparts. Even in the later portions of the story, the manga continuously deconstructs popular elements of the fighting genre, such as constant unreliability of power levels being a less-than-subtle jab at the concept of grading characters based on their strength, and the occasional failure of forms presented as unrealistically powerful is a clear criticism of conventional portrayals of them. Furthermore, the idea of ki techniques, even immensely powerful ones such as the Kamehameha, being accessible to quite literally anyone with sufficient training (as shown with Krillin, Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, and Videl) seems to purposely counter how other manga portray them as a sort of entitlement that only select individuals are capable of utilizing. Overall, despite being commonly considered the definitive archetype for the modern fighting manga, Dragon Ball serves to be a clear deconstructive parody of the genre as it existed at the time of its publication.

Story arcs[]

  1. Dragon Balls Quest Saga (ドラゴンボール探さがし編 Doragon Bōru Sagashi Hen, lit. "Hunt for the Dragon Balls Arc") (chapter 1-chapter 23)
  2. Turtle School Training Saga (亀仙人修行編 Kamesen'nin Shugyō Hen, lit. Turtle Hermit Training Arc) (chapter 24-chapter 31)
  3. 21st World Martial Arts Tournament Saga (第21回天下一武道会編 Dai-Nijūichi Tenka-Ichi Budōkai Hen, lit. The 21st Number One Under Heaven Martial Arts Gathering Arc) (chapter 32-chapter 54)
  4. Red Ribbon Army Saga (レッドリボン軍編 Reddo Ribon Gun Hen, lit. Red Ribbon Army Arc) (chapter 55-chapter 96)
  5. Fortuneteller Baba Saga (占いババ編 Uranai Baba Hen, lit. Fortune-Teller Baba Arc) (chapter 97-chapter 112)
  6. 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament Saga (第22回天下一武道会編 Dai-Nijūni Tenka-Ichi Budōkai Hen, lit. The 22nd Number One Under Heaven Martial Arts Gathering Arc) (chapter 113-chapter 134)
  7. King Piccolo Saga (ピッコロ大魔王編 Pikkoro Daimaō Hen, lit. The Great Demon King Piccolo Arc) (chapter 135-chapter 165)
  8. 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament Saga (第23回天下一武道会編 Dai-Nijūsan Tenka-Ichi Budōkai Hen, lit. The 23rd Number One Under Heaven Martial Arts Gathering Arc) (chapter 166-chapter 194)
  9. Saiyan Saga (サイヤ人編 Saiya-jin Hen, lit. Saiyan Arc) (chapter 195-chapter 242)
  10. Frieza Saga (フリーザ編 Furīza Hen, lit. Freeza Arc) (chapter 243-chapter 337)
  11. Androids Saga (人造人間編 Jinzōningen Hen, lit. Artificial Humans Arc) (chapter 338-chapter 356)
  12. Cell Saga (セル編 Seru Hen, lit. Cell Arc) (chapter 357-chapter 420)
  13. High School Saga (ハイスクール編 Hai Sukūru Hen, lit. High School Arc) (chapter 421-chapter 429)
  14. 25th World Martial Arts Tournament Saga (第25回天下一武道会編 Dai-Nijūgo Tenka-Ichi Budōkai Hen, lit. The 25th Number One Under Heaven Martial Arts Gathering Arc) (chapter 430-chapter 445)
  15. Majin Buu Saga (魔人ブウ編 Majin Bū Hen, lit. Majin Boo Arc) (chapter 446-chapter 519)

English distribution[]

Dragon Ball Issue 1 English

The first issue of the Dragon Ball comic in North America

In the US, the manga was first released as two American-style comic books: Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z starting in 2000. (The split corresponds to the two different anime series, though the original Japanese manga does not distinguish between them. See below.) This style of release was unsuccessful owing to its large size and expensive cost ($2.95 for an issue of 2, later 3, chapters), and both series were canceled in 2002. The Dragon Ball Z comic was transitioned into a launch title for the new US edition of the Shonen Jump anthology, starting in January 2003. In parallel to these releases, Viz Media released the 42 volumes (nearly matching the first Japanese Tankōbon (単行本) set) in English. Viz titled the second part of the manga Dragon Ball Z to reduce confusion for American audiences.


As previously mentioned, the Dragon Ball manga is published as both "Dragon Ball" and "Dragon Ball Z" in American editions. Originally, both of these releases were censored for nudity and some graphic content. By the end of 2004, all "Dragon Ball" manga had been released almost uncensored (Mr. Popo's lips were removed), including re-releases of the previously censored volumes 1 through 3. The "Dragon Ball Z" manga remains censored, although many volumes (prior to volume 17) are technically uncensored since they did not contain any objectionable material.

  • Mr. Popo's lips and other dark-skinned characters were edited because of complaints made by Carole Boston Weatherford.
  • Middle fingers were edited into fists.

In 2006, Viz began releasing a second, A-rated (All Ages) edition of the series sans some nudity and profanity.

  • The name Mr. Satan was edited into "Hercule" (the same as Funimation's edited anime dub).
  • Firearms were edited into "laser blasters", though a pistol-armed robber was able to shoot a character without being censored.
  • Alcohol, drugs and sexual innuendo were edited.

VIZBIG editions[]


The first volume of the Vizbig Edition

In 2008, Viz began releasing the VIZBIG editions of both Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. These releases were larger in size and had 3 volumes put together in each book that featured color in some of the chapters that Akira Toriyama originally put color in. These releases are also edited for content to make the series more family oriented.




The 34 kanzenban volumes

The manga was re-released in Japan from December 4, 2002, to April 2, 2004, in a 34-volume collection named Kanzenban (完全版), which all have new original covers, original color artwork from the series' Weekly Shōnen Jump run, and a slightly rewritten ending for the last chapter. The Kanzenban volumes can also be seen in the credits of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods.

Digest Edition[]

The Dragon Ball Digest Edition was established in 2008 to celebrate the series' 30th anniversary by re-releasing the Dragon Ball manga the same way as it was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump.

Digital Color Edition[]

With the series already well-established in the world of print, thanks to the original tankōbon releases (including their 2009 refreshed versions), the kanzenban releases, and the various animation comic releases, Shueisha decided to move on to the next untapped Dragon Ball market: digital releases. Shueisha began testing the idea of releasing a digitally colored version of the Dragon Ball manga on their Manga Online website in June 2009 but stopped abruptly in November 2009. In total, they released the first 23 chapters in full color for free, all of which appear to have been reused in these subsequent digital Color Edition releases. However, on October 12, 2012, just prior to returning to a full color release, Shueisha released all 42 tankōbon volumes of the series digitally under the Jump Comics Digital line. These Monochrome Edition releases are near-identical reprints of the original gray scaled tankōbon volumes published between 1985 and 1995, although with a reduced purchase price (¥368, or ¥350 plus tax).

Full Color comics[]


Colored Dragon Ball manga announced in the February 2013 issue of V-Jump

It was re-released in Japan again, in a full color edition called Dragon Ball Full Color this time, starting with three volumes covering the Saiyan Saga on February 4, 2013, and five volumes covering the Namek Saga/Frieza Saga on April 4, 2013.[2] It was later followed by six volumes covering the Androids Saga/Cell Saga and six volumes covering the Majin Buu Saga, with the first three volumes of the Androids/Cell arc released on April 4, 2014 (two days before Dragon Ball Kai returned with the Majin Buu Saga on Japanese TV), volumes 4–6 released on May 2, 2014, and Majin Buu Arc volumes 1–3 and 4–6 on June 4, 2014 and July 4, 2014 respectively. Each volume contains 17 chapters on 248 pages, with the first three comics covering chapters 195 to 245 (chapters 195-211 for vol.1, 212-228 for vol.2, and 229-245 for vol.3). The cover images are colored montages of various title pages (chapters 202 and 219 for the first one, 217 and 227 for the second one, and 231 for the third). All three Saiyan Arc volumes include a two-page colored section called "Enter the Dragon Ball" which recaps the story and characters of the beginning of the manga series (i.e., Goku's childhood arcs). Another recurring feature in each volume is the "Dragon Ball Q&A" section, with a few questions answered by Shueisha and the others answered by Akira Toriyama. The colored chapters were also published in the North American edition of Weekly Shōnen Jump, debuting in the February 4, 2013, issue and ending with chapter 245 in the February 17, 2014, issue. Viz Media later released the three Dragon Ball Full Color volumes covering the Saiyan Arc in the U.S. on February 4, April 1, and June 3, 2014, respectively; these volumes have a larger size than regular manga and are about the same size as an American graphic novel or comic book.[3]


"Enter the Dragon Ball" section

The color edition chapters of the first 16 volumes are available in digital format and in Japanese since February 4, 2013, as well as on Dentsu's YouTube channel MANGAPOLO since February 5, 2013, with the applicable languages being Japanese and English.[4] Those colorized versions of earlier chapters are divided up in three arcs: Goku Training Arc (volumes 14), Red Ribbon Army Arc (volumes 59), and King Piccolo Arc (volumes 1016). The digital version of the Cell Arc was digitally released on September 4, 2013, in eight volumes that cover chapters 330 to 420.

The Boyhood Arc of Dragon Ball Full Color was published in Japan between January 4 (Volumes 1-4) and February 3, 2016 (Volumes 4-8), and the entire King Piccolo Arc was published in four volumes on March 4, 2016. Viz Media released the five volumes covering the Frieza Arc of Dragon Ball Full Color in the U.S. between May 6, 2016, and January 3, 2017.

Dragon Ball (3-in-1 Edition)[]

On June 4, 2013, Viz Media released "Dragon Ball (3-in-1 Edition)" which collects the first 3 original Dragon Ball volumes in a smaller size than the "VIZBIG" edition. Thirteen more 3-in-1 volumes were released by Viz between September 3, 2013, and September 6, 2016. This release features the same cover artwork as the Kanzenban volumes (though not all of them, since this release consists of 14 volumes as opposed to 34). Unlike the Kanzenban and "VIZBIG" releases, however, the 3-in-1 Edition does not feature any color chapters. This release was also notably Viz's first to have the entire manga published under the "Dragon Ball" moniker instead of using the "Dragon Ball Z" moniker for the latter half of the story. Although the back cover advertises this release as being "uncut and uncensored" some minor censorship is still present such as editing profanity and some middle finger gestures. (Possibly due to the company reusing the censored Kanzenban and VIZBIG volumes' English translated pages to print the pages to the VIZBIG release and forgetting that those pages were censored.)

Relation to the anime[]

Both the Dragon Ball (DB) and Dragon Ball Z (DBZ) anime are based on the same original Dragon Ball manga. Dragon Ball follows Goku's adventures as a child up to his marriage, which are the sagas that arguably have the most fantasy and humor elements. Dragon Ball Z continues the story 5 years after Dragon Ball leaves off, with the introduction of Goku's young son named Gohan and the arrival of a new, more powerful foe such as the Saiyans and other new villains such as Frieza, Cell, and Majin Buu and follows Goku's adventures as an adult. Dragon Ball GT was a project started by Toei Animation to continue the story where Dragon Ball Z left off with Goku being turned back into a child by Emperor Pilaf using the Black Star Dragon Balls and is not part of the original manga, due to Akira Toriyama ending the original manga in 1995.

There are additional differences between the Viz Media's English translation of the manga and Funimation's English dub of the anime. For example, the character of "Kuririn" in the manga is retranslated as "Krillin" in the Funimation dub. Similarly, the male members of the Son family (i.e., Son Goku, Son Gohan) lack their surname, "Son". In general, Viz's translation of the manga is considered to be a closer translation of its source material, as factors such as mouth movement are not taken into consideration.

The "Z" in Dragon Ball Z is rumored to have many meanings. The official meaning, as stated by the author, is that the letter was chosen because it was at the end of the alphabet, echoing Toriyama's desire that the series would end soon. Other, fan-given "Z" theories include the naming of the ensemble group of main characters as the "Z Fighters" (or "Z Warriors") in episode titles and promotional materials (they are never referred to that way in the anime itself) or based on the "Detekoi Tobikiri ZENKAI Power!" theme song in the ending credits. It is notable that the "Z" of Dragon Ball Z is pronounced "Zetto" in the first Japanese opening, Cha-La-Head-Cha-La. This is because the romanized letter "Z" is pronounced "zetto" (ゼット). It has been spelled as "Zed" by some, however, in Japanese, kana that represents a consonant plus vowel, especially when pronouncing a foreign word, is often pronounced in a clipped manner (sounds somewhat similar to French, where "e" indicates the full pronunciation of the preceding letters, which are otherwise silent). This is why it sounds like Hironobu Kageyama is saying "Zed"; he simply isn't pronouncing the "o" at the end of "Zetto" (this is also common in Japanese pop songs, which typically match each note with one "kana" pronunciation; pronunciation as sung is sometimes clipped to make the lyrics fit the music properly). Conversely, in Japanese, the series is pronounced "Doragon Bōru Zetto".

Throughout most of the writing of the manga, the anime (which started airing just two years after the manga started and ended only a year after the former) was being written and produced just behind the point where the manga was being concurrently published. While this led to getting the episodes released rapidly, the pacing resulted in a large amount of "filler" material needing to be added to the anime to flesh out the episodes to keep them from catching up. There are many instances in the anime where backstory added in the anime was accepted in the manga; most notably, the character of Bardock (Goku's father) was originally an anime-creation who was made canon in the manga after Toriyama became impressed with him and his backstory. Even with filler, the anime would sometimes get ahead of the manga, revealing characters a week before Weekly Shonen Jump published the manga version; Android 16 was revealed in the anime a week before he was shown in the manga, TOEI having gone after sketchings of the new manga issue Akira provided them before the issue was inked and published. These brief inconsistencies were corrected as swiftly as possible, usually through entire episodes of filler, extending a fight for another solid episode so the manga could get ahead of the anime again, and only crop up very briefly before being corrected. Original air dates from the list of Dragon Ball Z episodes can be compared with the list of Dragon Ball manga chapters' original Japanese publishing dates for more insight on these curious discrepancies during the original run of the anime and the publications of the manga in WSJ.

Relation to Journey to the West[]


Dragon Ball characters depicted as Journey to the West characters (Toriyama - The World & Daizenshuu 1)

Journey to the West is a novel in Chinese literature from which Dragon Ball is inspired. There are many parallels between the two works.

Son Goku[]

Based upon Sun Wukong. Son Goku (そんごくう) is the Japanese reading of Sun Wukong's name. Goku's Nyoibo (or Power Pole) comes from Sun Wukong's magic staff the Ruyi Jingu Bang that can change to any size anytime he sees fit. His Kinto'un (Flying Nimbus) is another item that Sun Wukong has. Goku finds himself in a place reminiscent of the pillars of Buddha's palm, the location where Sun Wukong's rampage was finally put to an end.

Other characters[]

  • In the original story, the priest, Xuanzang and his company search for the legendary Buddhist scriptures in the West. In Dragonball, Bulma and her company search for the legendary Dragon Balls.
  • The equivalent to Xuanzang of the original texts is Bulma in Dragon Ball (though later, it can be argued to be the role of Krillin).
  • The equivalent to Zhu Wuneng of the original texts is Oolong in Dragon Ball.
  • The equivalent to Sha Wujing of the original texts is Yamcha in Dragon Ball.
  • The Ox King is based on the identically named character in Journey to the West; in the original story, the Ox King was one of many demons who attempted to eat Xuanzang's flesh as a means of achieving immortality. Likewise, both Ox Kings were encountered in a castle on a flaming mountaintop. The Bansho Fan that appeared in Dragon Ball was also how Sun Wukong put out the flames surrounding the castle.
  • Elements of Broly's character, both his original incarnation, and his revised characterization, had some elements to Sun Wukong. In particular, Broly was initially put into bondage via certain mechanisms by his father, which was similar to how Sun Wukong had a crown placed on his head that put him in agony whenever Tripaka recites the mantra of obedience. Ironically, regarding Broly's original incarnation, his sworn nemesis Goku shared the exact same basis of Sun Wukong.
    • In addition, Broly's attire in his original incarnation was based in part on how Sun Wukong appeared as "the Handsome Monkey King", and Broly's more bloodthirsty disposition resembled how Sun Wukong was originally characterized as resorting to wanton violence and murder.

Influence on other series[]

  • In the anime Excel Saga, Nabeshinlll teaches Pedro and Sandora to reach a certain powerful afro level, similar to the level of Super Saiyan in Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT. They also must use a technique called the Nabehameha, a direct parody of Goku's signature Kamehameha blast.
  • In the manga Eyeshield 21, Yukimitsu performs the Taiyô-ken while dressed as Tien Shinhan.
  • In the OVA Puni Puni Poemy, Poemi is shown with a collection of Dragon Balls.
  • In the manga Yu-Gi-Oh!, the main character, Yugi Mutou, relates the Millenium Puzzle's power with wishes granted by the Dragon Balls. Also, in the anime version, there is a Dragon Ball shown on a poster.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Sonic must collect the seven Chaos Emeralds, similar to the Dragon Balls. Once collected, Sonic turns into Super Sonic, a transformation similar to that of a Super Saiyan.
  • In the manga Bastard!!, there is a part of the series where Angels evolving/powering up was a tribute to the wacky Fusion Dance of Gotenks.
  • In an episode of Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Sasshi fights in a martial arts match while dressed as Bruce Lee, and near the end, transforms to a Super Saiyan and performs a yellow version of the Kamehameha.
  • In Masakazu Katsura's manga DNA², the main character can turn into a Super Saiyan-like state, gaining golden hair and the ability to use special abilities.
  • In the Gambere Goemon games Goemon can transform into the "Sudden Impact" state, in which his hair grows bigger, and its color becomes yellow.
  • The manga series Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo had many references to Dragon Ball and a one-off chapter making a parody of it. It had Tokoro Tennosuke and Don Patch recreating the first battle between Goku and Vegeta respectively, but the order and development is messed up.
  • Masashi Kishimoto states in his manga Naruto that he was influenced by Toriyama, as he has always admired Toriyama's works. Kishimoto included a picture of Arale he drew in elementary school. Small references to Dragon Ball are also occasionally made in Naruto; such as manga episode 150 "Start of the training", on page 7, Chiaotzu's "mask" can be found between other masks for sale in a store. Also, in Naruto, the name of the 4th tailed beast is "Son Gokū", which is also the name of the main character of Dragon Ball. To further the connection, its last host was named Roshi, which could be a nod to Master Roshi.
  • Eiichiro Oda, the author of One Piece, stated in an interview that he was a big fan of Dragon Ball. He stated that it was Toriyama that influenced him and that he holds Dragon Ball in high esteem. Toriyama is a self-professed fan of One Piece, which he was introduced to by his children. Both artists ended up creating the collaboration manga Cross Epoch featuring both Dragon Ball and One Piece characters.
  • The manga Struwwelpeter: Die Rückkehr has a lot of references to Dragon Ball, beginning with the cover and the title claim resembling that of Dragon Ball Z. There are also a lot of easter eggs like a Dragon Ball lying in the garbage.
  • In the manga Black Cat, the character Sven has a cell phone charm of Frieza's head.
  • In the anime School Rumble, there is a scene in which Harima Kenji transforms into a Super Saiyan-like form and fights with Karasuma Ooji.
  • In the anime Sgt. Frog, the character Momoka is split into a good and evil version of herself and reunites the two halves in a synchronized swimming team, spoofing the fusion dance, and the narrator even states "I do love it when they reference DBZ". Another episode of Sgt. Frog, insects invade, and the character Tamama fights them off in a battle very Dragon Ball Z-esque and similar to that of the one between Goku and Vegeta during the Saiyan Saga.
  • The anime MM! has a parody of the Spirit Bomb wherein the protagonist Sado Taro gathers a large ball of energy created from the power of all the perverts on the planet. He is also in a state parodying the Super Saiyan.
  • Kurisu Makise from Steins;Gate uses the online alias of "KuriGohan and Kamehameha".
  • In The Fairly Oddparents TV movie "Channel Chasers", an animated show called Maho Mushi, one of Timmy's favorite shows, is presented as "extremely violent" (referencing a common criticism of the anime from moral guardians during its American airing). When it is first mentioned, a character with black hair, a scouter and armor appears on the TV screen (referencing Vegeta). When Timmy and Vicky arrive at Channel 298, Maho Mushi begins broadcasting, both characters engaging in a final fight that references the final match of the 23rd World Tournament. Vicky's outfit is similar to Piccolo Jr's, while Timmy's is similar to Goku's. Vicky has fangs which further link her to Piccolo. Timmy, on the other hand, has facial features that resemble Krillin's, perhaps owing to his short height. Also, Oolong can be seen in the audience. There is also two brief scenes where Cosmo accidentally fires a ki blast, first piercing a wall and then knocking away a vendor, after pointing out how anyone in the show can use ki attacks (a joke about the prevalence of ki in the later chapters of Dragon Ball).
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy episode "Chicken Ball Z", Mandy is shown to eat a Chicken-Ball which makes her transform into a Super-Saiyan.
  • In the Kids Next Door episode "Operation: R.E.P.O.R.T.", Number 4 relates his fight with the Delightful Children From Down The Lane to Goku's fight with Frieza in a flashback.
  • In the Chowder episode "Shnitzel Quits", Shnitzel briefly turns into a Super Saiyan-like state, and he gets stronger.
  • In the Teen Titans Go! episode "Starfire The Terrible" Robin's hair is that of Goku in his normal form
  • In two episodes of The Amazing World of Gumball, Super Saiayns are referenced. The first, titled "The Others," Gumball says this: "All I have to do is harness the power within, and I'll turn into a Super Saiyan," and proceeds to scream loudly, similar to how the Saiyans do when powering up into Super Saiyan form. Then, his tail grows longer, and he exclaims that that wasn't exacly the transformation he was hoping for. The second episode referencing Super Saiyans was titled "The Pest," where Gumball briefly turns into a Super Saiyan-like state, donning the yellow hair and aura. His face also becomes more "buff" looking.


Dragon Ball[]

Staff[Notes 1]
Author(s) Akira Toriyama
Trish Ledoux (1—5) (original editor)
Jason Thompson (graphic novel editor (1—3); editor (4); original editor (5); senior editor (6—16)
Albert Totten (15) (associate managing editor)
Illustrator(s) Akira Toriyama
Wayne Truman (touch-up art and lettering)
Izumi Evers and Dan Ziegler (2—11) (initial cover art (1); cover design (2—3; 5—11))
Sean Lee (final cover and graphic design (1); graphics and design (2—3, 5—11); design (4); cover and graphic design (12—16))
Translator(s) Mari Morimoto (1—2, 5—13, 15—16)
Lillian Olsen (3—4, 14)
Gerard Jones (English adaptation)

See also[]



  1. "Interview with Kazuhiko Torishima", Daizenshuu 2, 1995
  2. V-Jump #2, 2013
  3. Viz Media at Anime Expo, California, July 2013
  4. Dentsu's YouTube channel MANGAPOLO

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