Manga Review: “Dragon Ball Full Color” Volume Four

Dragon Ball Full Color Volume 4 includes the first volume of the Freeza Arc. Unlike the other releases of this manga, this one presents the story with full color in every panel.

Dragon Ball Full Color Volume 4
Written by: Akira Toriyama
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 3, 2016

The fourth volume of Dragon Ball Full Color begins with Bulma, Kuririn, and Gohan heading for Planet Namek to try to find the Namekian Dragon Balls in order to bring their companions back to life. But after an injured Vegeta is healed, he begins his journey to Namek to find the Dragon Balls for himself.

This volume also introduces Freeza, the new villain for this story arc. He and Vegeta both have a goal of finding the Dragon Balls and wishing to live for eternity, and they also share a connection in their past. Over the course of this volume, it’s made very clear that Freeza is extremely evil and will do whatever it takes in order to obtain the Dragon Balls. We also get to meet some of the Namekians, and learn that as a race, they’re not evil like King Piccolo had been.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dragon Ball volume if there weren’t fights of some kind happening. There’s nothing terribly epic here, since Goku isn’t at Namek yet. However, Vegeta manages to get some decent fights, and it was great to see him surprising all of his opponents.

Toriyama told the story in such a way that it keeps the reader interested and makes them want to keep going. I appreciated getting to read the manga version of this story, since it allows me to see how the story was intended to be told. In the anime adaptation, fights tended to be drawn out to ridiculous levels in order for the manga to get far enough ahead for the story to make significant progress. While I understand the necessity for the anime needing to stretch itself out, it can make for frustrating viewing at times. So getting to see the original manga proves that there’s a well-written and tight story that kind of gets lost in the anime adaptation.

When it comes to the art, the colors are vibrant and make the reader take notice. As I read the volume, I noticed that the colors looked rather similar to the shades that were used for the anime adaptation. Sometimes, I found myself thinking that I was looking at stills from the anime that had speech bubbles added to them. Obviously, that’s not the case, but that’s how this full color version felt at times. Not that that’s a bad thing, but as someone who’s seen the anime, I can’t help but think that way.

I would recommend Dragon Ball Full Color Volume 4 to fans of the Dragon Ball franchise, especially to those who want to own every version of the various manga volumes. If you’ve already got the original black and white manga versions of these chapters, you might only be interested in this if you’d rather replace them with color versions. If you don’t care whether or not your Dragon Ball manga has color, it may be harder to justify double dipping just to get the same material in color.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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