Manga Review: Dragon Ball Omnibus Volume One

The first volume of the Dragon Ball 3-in-1 releases combines the first three volumes of the Dragon Ball manga into one edition. In addition to putting three volumes into one book, the physical size of the book has also increased. It’s also interesting to note that roughly the first forty pages of the first volume and about fifteen pages of the second volume are printed in color. In both instances, the early color pages have a lot of color, but by the end of the color section, the amount of color being used is diminished. At the back of the volume, there is a title page gallery that includes the title pages for the individual chapters as they appeared in their original serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. There are also selected questions and comments from Japanese readers in the first three volumes of the original Dragon Ball manga, and the author notes from the first three volumes.

Dragon Ball Omnibus Volume 1
Written by: Akira Toriyama
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 3, 2008

The Dragon Ball series was written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. Viz Media has the rights to distribute this manga series in the United States. The English adaptation was done by Gerard Jones, and the translation was done by Mari Morimoto. This 3-in-1 edition of Dragon Ball was published in 2008. Dragon Ball is rated “T,” which means the series is being aimed at teenagers.

The story begins with a boy named Son Goku meeting a girl named Bulma, and she’s searching for the seven legendary 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 he had never been told it was a Dragon Ball. Goku also learns from Bulma that if all seven Dragon Balls are brought together, that a person can summon the dragon Shen Long and make one wish. Goku decides to join Bulma on her quest for the remaining balls.

On their journey, the rescue a lost sea turtle and return him to his home. As a reward, he brings an old man known as the Turtle Hermit; the man gives Goku a flying cloud called Kinto’un. They also discover the Turtle Hermit also has a Dragon Ball, but that he doesn’t know what it is. Through a little persuasion, Bulma is able to get the ball from him. Next, they encounter Oolong, a shapeshifting pig that’s been terrorizing a village; unfortunately, Oolong can only hold his different shapes for five minute intervals before needing to recharge for one minute. After Goku and Bulma expose Oolong and they receive another Dragon Ball, Oolong joins the duo on their quest.

Next, they encounter the desert bandit Yamcha and his sidekick, Pu’ar; it turns out Oolong and Pu’ar are former classmates from shapeshifting school. Goku amd Yamcha fight, but are interrupted by Bulma. Yamcha flees when she arrives, because he has a fear of girls. Bulma, meanwhile, falls for him at first sight. Yamcha learns about the Dragon Balls, and he and Pu’ar follow the group as they continue their quest.

The group’s next stop is Fry-Pan Mountain, where Bulma’s Dragon Radar says the next ball is located at. The mountain itself is on fire, and there’s no way to get to the top of the mountain, where the Ox King’s castle is. They encounter the Ox King, and he recognizes Kinto’un; it turns out the Ox King and Goku’s grandfather were both former students of the Turtle Hermit. Goku, along with the Ox King’s daughter, Chi Chi, go to the Turtle Hermit to ask for the Basho-Sen Fanb to put out the fire. When they get to the Turtle Hermit’s, they discover he no longer has the fan, but he will go and put out the fire himself.

Goku and the group continue on their way, with Yamcha and Pu’ar in hot pursuit. The entire group is captured by Reich Pilaf, and he takes their Dragon Balls. Oolong and Pu’ar are able to escape just in time to thwart Pilaf’s plan when he summons Shen Long. However, they are captured and returned to captivity. An important secret is revealed about Goku, which allows the group to escape. At the end of the adventure, the group goes their separate ways.

Goku goes back to the Turtle Hermit to train under him. Goku is given a task he must do before the hermit will teach him, and Goku fails on two different attempts. Another potential student, Kuririn, arrives; the two are given the task that Goku had failed. During their quest for the task, they come across a young woman named Lunch; when she sneezes, she changes personalities. The two boys bring her back to the Turtle Hermit, and he begins his training. After eight months, they go to enter the Tenkaichi Tournament. Goku and Kuririn encounter Yamcha, and all three qualify for the tournament. Goku is also reunited with Bulma, Oolong, and Pu’ar. The volume ends with Kuririn’s fight with Bacterian.

For the most part, the story from the anime series follows the first three volumes of the manga rather closely; the big exception is Pilaf and his cronies, because they appear much earlier in the anime than they do in the manga. Also, the English adaptation of the manga uses a combination of the original Japanese names for the characters with some of the renaming from the English dub of the anime. In some respects, I wish there had been more consistency when it came to which version of the names would be used in the English version of the manga.

Something I noticed while reading this volume is that for Dragon Ball, Toriyama tended to utilize more panels per page than the average manga that I have read. Because of this, I found that it took me a little longer to read this omnibus edition of Dragon Ball than it has for me to read the omnibus editions of the Inuyasha manga series. When it comes to the art, you can definitely see Toriyama’s touch; if you have familiarity with Toriyama’s work, then you can see all of the “hallmark Toriyama look” in this manga volume. Also, as I read through this volume, I saw that Toriyama really seemed to like utilizing “sound effects” in his panels when it’s appropriate. For a shonen series, I’m actually pleasantly surprised to see that Toriyama doesn’t rely too much on the “busy panel” tricks to convey the battle sequences.

My husband and I purchased the copy of the Dragon Ball 3-in-1 manga that I read to write this review.

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