Manga Review: “Dragon Ball” Omnibus Volume Three

Dragon Ball Omnibus Volume 3 collects the seventh, eighth, and ninth volumes of the series into one volume.

Dragon Ball Omnibus Volume 3
Written by: Akira Toriyama
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 3, 2009

This volume continues with Goku, Kuririn, and Bulma trying to outsmart General Blue in order to get the Dragon Ball and the pirate treasure. This portion of the story sees the group trying to overcome traps and being cornered by General Blue. There were definitely some very amusing moments during this portion of the story, which also included Bulma coming to the realization that General Blue is gay when she tries to seduce him. I found it interesting that the manga blatantly says that Blue is gay, because prior to reading this volume, I had watched the anime adaptation. In the anime, the word “gay” is never said outright, but viewers can tell that this is being hinted at with Blue’s reactions. I just found it funny that the anime tried so hard to tiptoe around blatantly using the term, yet the original manga source material had no problem with being blunt about it.

But after the three of them escape and return to Master Roshi’s place, they are pursued by General Blue. This leads to Goku chasing Blue, and the two of them end up in Penguin Village, which is the setting for Akira Toriyama’s Dr. Slump series. This becomes a crossover between Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump, and it was rather unnerving to see the similarity of designs some of the characters in Dr. Slump have to several of the characters in this series. Honestly, I really didn’t enjoy this crossover element at all. I have a feeling that fans of Dr. Slump think it’s great, but having Goku interact with these characters didn’t do anything for me. Personally, I found this crossover to be the low point of Dragon Ball Omnibus Volume 3.

Goku continues his quest for the Dragon Balls and discovers where the next one is. His search takes him to the Karin Sanctuary, where a boy named Upa lives with his father, the protector of the Dragon Ball. Goku comes across them as Colonel Yellow tries to take the Dragon Ball, and he saves the day. Commander Red hires an assassin named TaoPaiPai, who kills Upa’s father. TaoPaiPai also believes that he has killed Goku, but leaves without the Dragon Balls. Goku is still alive, and he promises Upa that he’ll collect all seven Dragon Balls and bring his father back to life. Goku then climbs up the Karin Tower to drink water that is rumored to make people stronger. Goku finds Karin at the top of the tower, and unknowingly trains to become stronger as he tries to get the water.

This section of the manga introduces four new characters, although one is killed rather early on. Even though the reader may not know Upa and his father very long before the father’s death, it’s still easy to feel sad when he’s taken down. I suspect that may be due, in part, to the fact that Upa is just so small and cute. And it’s kind of interesting to see that Karin is a cat who is also rather powerful when it comes to martial arts. We’d met anthropomorphic pigs and cats before, but having one as a powerful martial artist was something new.

When TaoPaiPai returns for the Dragon Balls, he’s surprised to find that Goku is still alive. Goku has become stronger at this point, so after a little bit of a fight, he overwhelms the assassin. From there, Goku goes to take on the entire Red Ribbon Army by himself, and wins. After retrieving the Dragon Balls they have, it’s discovered they’re one short and the Dragon Radar can’t find it. Goku and some of his friends go to see Baba, the All-Seeing Crone, who is able to divine the location of any lost object. But since they don’t have any money, they have to battle five of Baba’s champions before she will render her services. A lot of martial arts action takes place here, which is both exciting and amusing. Goku receives a major surprise after he battles the final opponent. I don’t want to give away the surprise, but I will say that there’s a rather sweet scene right near the end of the omnibus that’s involved with this surprise.

The story progresses very nicely, especially with this being an omnibus with three volumes in one release. There’s a good mixture of action, dialogue, and humor, which helps to make this volume a quicker read than one would think by simply seeing how thick it is. There is also some great action panels included in this omnibus as well.

When it comes to the art, my only real complaint comes in the portion that has the crossover with Dr. Slump. My complaint has to do with Toriyama having such distinct character designs that he seems to use with every series of his that I have had exposure to, so I kept finding myself comparing who the Dr. Slump characters resembled in Dragon Ball. The worst was how similar one of the Dr. Slump characters looks to Yamcha, because I had to constantly remind myself that I wasn’t seeing Yamcha during this portion of the story. But on the plus side, I did enjoy getting some color pages included in this omnibus.

The omnibus releases for Dragon Ball are definitely worth it for fans of the series that want to own it but don’t want to spend the time or money chasing down individual manga volumes.

The reviewer was given a copy of this item as a gift by her husband

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