Manga Review: Dragon Ball Z VIZBig Volume Two

Dragon Ball Z VIZBig Volume Two collects the fourth, fifth, and sixth volumes of the manga that chronicle the story of the Dragon Ball Z portion of the franchise.

Dragon Ball Z VIZBig Volume Two
Written by: Akira Toriyama
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 19, 2008

This volume continues where the first volume left off, which was during the battle between Goku and Vegeta. In fact, the entirety of the fourth volume of the Dragon Ball Z portion of the story is focused on this battle, which makes up 177 pages of this release. We then see what happens in the aftermath of this battle, and the decision to go to Planet Namek to acquire the Namekian Dragon Balls.

The story then shifts to Bulma, Kuririn, and Gohan going to Planet Namek. Unfortunately, getting the Namekian Dragon Balls isn’t easy, because both Vegeta and new villain Freeza both want the Dragon Balls for themselves so they can wish for immortality. But Freeza isn’t alone… he has powerful henchmen by his side. Goku also decides to set out for Planet Namek after he recovers and using his time in the spaceship to train so he can become even stronger.

For readers who have watched the anime, they already know how long of an arc there is going into the Planet Namek portion of the story. Yes, the anime did add in some filler, but the portion of this arc that appears in this volume isn’t bogged down by filler in the anime. When an anime viewer reaches the end of this volume and realize how much there still is to go for this portion of the story, they know it’s going to have to cover at least one more of the VIZBig omnibus volumes.

Obviously, the Vegeta and Goku fight at the beginning of this volume is one of the highlights. Near the end of the volume, a battle between Vegeta and Zarbon (one of Freeza’s henchmen) gets underway but doesn’t quite finish. Outside of these two big battles, there are some action sequences, but they’re nowhere near as intense as the two battles that bookend the volume. Probably the closest to these two would be the attack that Freeza and his henchmen launch on a Namekian village in order to obtain its Dragon Ball.

I would recommend the manga to readers who are only familiar with the story from the Dragon Ball Z anime, because it allows them to see just how much the anime was stretched out by “filler” and slowing the pacing down. While watching Dragon Ball Z Kai can also help with this, I think it’s better to go to the original source material and see how the author intended the story to be told.

Manga Review: Dragon Ball Z VIZBig Volume One

Dragon Ball Z VIZBig Volume One collects the first three volumes of the manga that chronicle the story of the Dragon Ball Z portion of the franchise.

Dragon Ball Z VIZBIG Volume One
Written by: Akira Toriyama
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 3, 2008

This volume begins with the arrival of an alien named Raditz, and he’s looking for his brother, Kakarrot. He tracks down his brother, who turns out to be Goku, at Roshi’s place. Also introduced early on in this volume is Gohan, Goku’s young son. Yes, it turns out Goku had a tail in the first series because he wasn’t an Earthling… he’s from a race known as the Saiyans. When Goku refuses to go with Raditz, his older brother defeats him and kidnaps Gohan.

For those who are familiar with the Dragon Ball Z franchise know that this is the beginning of this portion of this franchise. The story continues in this volume with the death of Goku, Gohan displaying that he has latent powers that he’s unaware of, and Piccolo training Gohan. Goku may be dead, but he’s training in the afterworld with Kaio-sama. Goku, Gohan, and the other Z-Fighters are preparing for the arrival of two other Saiyans who will come in one year.

This three-in-one also gets to the arrival of Vegeta and Nappa, the two Saiyans, and the various fights they have with the Z-Fighters. We even see Goku return from the afterworld to start battling the Saiyans. This omnibus volume ends in the middle of Goku’s battle with Vegeta.

Since I saw the anime well before I ever began reading the manga, I was pleasantly surprised by how much quicker the story progresses in this omnibus edition. It really made it clear just how much filler was included, as well as how much some of the scenes were stretched out, in the anime adaptation of this first arc of Dragon Ball Z. As I recall from seeing the early episodes of Dragon Ball Z Kai, the remake anime follows the manga much more closely, so has a similar pacing to what you see when you read these first three volumes of the series.

The manga telling of this story, especially when you look at this omnibus volume, has a good mixture of character building, dialogue, and action that keeps the reader wanting to read more in order to find out what happens next. Even though I was already familiar with the story from watching the anime, I still found myself engrossed while reading this first omnibus edition of Dragon Ball Z. And the deaths of certain characters hit me just as hard as they did when I first saw this story when watching the anime for the first time a little over a decade ago. Oh, and I can’t neglect to mention just how cute and little Gohan was in this early arc of the series.

This omnibus release is worth it for fans of Dragon Ball Z that want to own the manga but don’t want to spend the time or money to chase down the original individual volumes of the series.

Akira Toriyama and Naoki Urasawa Nominated for the Eisner Hall of Fame

Comic-Con International has announced that the Eisner Awards judges have nominated manga creators Akira Toriyama and Naoki Urasawa for the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame for 2019. They are part of a selection of 16 nominees, four of whom will be selected by vote to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Creative professionals working in the comics or related industries, publishers, editors, retailers (comics store owner or manager), graphic novels librarians, and comics historians/educators can vote online now for four nominees, and the vote will continue until March 15, 2019.

Other nominees for this year include Brian Bolland, Kevin Eastman, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Lynn Johnston, Jenette Kahn, Paul Levitz, Alex Niño, Lily Renée Wilhelm Peters Phillips, Wendy and Richard Pini, P. Craig Russell, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Don and Maggie Thompson. The judges also picked four creators to be automatically inducted: Jim Aparo, June Tarpé Mills, Dave Stevens, and Morrie Turner.

The previous Japanese inductees of the Eisner Hall of Fame were Osamu Tezuka (2002), Kazuo Koike (2004), Goseki Kojima (2004), Katsuhiro Otomo (2012), and Rumiko Takahashi (2018).

Source: ANN

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

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

Manga Review: “Jaco the Galactic Patrolman”

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman is a manga by Akira Toriyama, and it was published in North America by VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2015. This volume is rated “A,” which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Jaco the Galactic Patrolam
Written by: Akira Toriyama
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: January 6, 2015

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman was Akira Toriyama’s first serial in 13 years, and it has ties with his most popular work, the Dragon Ball franchise. This volume collects all eleven chapters that were serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump, as well as a bonus Dragon Ball story.

The main character of the series is Jaco, an alien Galactic Patrolman who has a strong sense of justice. He’s been sent to Earth with a mission to intercept a projectile that has an alien in it and defeat the alien. I have to admit that when I saw Jaco doing his posing as he introduces himself, it reminded me so much of the Great Saiyaman in Dragon Ball Z.

When Jaco crash lands on Earth, he comes across an island with only one inhabitant: a former scientist named Omori. Omori lost his wife in an accident on the island; while the experiment he was working on was terminated, he stays alone on the island in order to be by his wife’s grave. Omori also hates humans, which is another reason why he lives such an isolated life. When Omori first meets Jaco, he thinks that he’s some weird guy in a mask; but after he realizes Jaco is really an alien, Omori reluctantly decides to try to help Jaco repair his ship. I have to admit that when I saw Omori in this volume, I couldn’t help but think that his face looked very similar in design to King Piccolo from Dragon Ball.

Jaco and Omori end up becoming friends when Katayude from the government police arrives on the island and telld Omori that he has to leave so it can become a resort facility for politicians. Omori is given a week to move. So now not is Omori under pressure to try to fix Jaco’s spaceship, he also has to figure out how he can stay on the island.

When the two go to the capital, Jaco rescues a girl named Tights; in the process, he accidentally assaults a couple of police officers. Jaco becomes a wanted criminal, and he receives help from both Omori and Tights. It turns out that Tights is an aspiring science fiction writer, and that she is the older sister of Bulma Briefs from the Dragon Ball franchise.

My favorite part of this volume is when 5-year-old Bulma comes to visit Omori’s island with her parents, and how she manages to show up both Omori and her father when it comes to figuring out Jaco’s spaceship. And right at the end of the eleventh chapter, the ties between Jaco the Galactic Patrolman and the Dragon Ball franchise are cemented by insinuating that she makes a visit to Omori right before the point the audience first meets Bulma in Dragon Ball.

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman may not be an action-packed story like Dragon Ball, but it’s an enjoyable enough read with its humor and its story of friendship. In some respects, the humor reminds me very much of the type of humor that was seen in early part of the Dragon Ball franchise that takes place when Goku is a little boy. I believe that fans of Toriyama’s work, especially the early part of the story in the Dragon Ball franchise, will enjoy reading Jaco the Patrolman. However, I should add that you don’t have to be knowledgeable about Dragon Ball to get enjoyment out of this story; while elements and references are made to Dragon Ball, they’re included in a way where knowledge of that franchise isn’t necessary to understand what’s going on. But their inclusion in the story will definitely appeal to Dragon Ball fans.

I originally read the bonus Dragon Ball story when it was included in the April 7, 2014 issue of Weekly Shonen Jump. My thoughts on this story haven’t really changed in the intervening time, so I’ll just include what I originally wrote after I read this in Weekly Shonen Jump.

Goku’s father, Burdock, is out fighting a battle, only to be told that Freeza has ordered all the Saiyans to return to Planet Vegeta. When Burdock returns, he learns through various conversations that one of Freeza’s men was asking around about a Super Saiyan. Then, we see Freeza declare that since the Saiyans are a bit too proud to truly be loyal to him, it’s time to wipe them and their planet out; he decides to carry his plan out in a month’s time. We get to see a young Vegeta and a young Raditz, as well as Burdock’s wife, Gine. We learn that Kakarrot (aka Goku) has been in an incubator for three years. After seeing Kakarrot, Burdock decides he’s going to steal a space pod at night and launch him to a different planet for Kakarrot’s safety, because Burdock senses that Freeza’s up to something. Burdock programs the pod to head to a place called Earth. Then we see that Jaco the Patrolman has been sent to find the projectile from Planet Vegeta after it lands on Earth.

Now, wait a minute here… doesn’t this conflict with what was presented in Dragon Ball Z? From what was stated in the main series, Kakarrot was sent to Earth on a mission to take it over… but this one-shot is now saying that it was his parents who sent him to Earth. While it was neat to finally see Goku’s mom, I wish the story didn’t present such a contradiction! While it’s a good story, I have a hard time buying it since it contradicts already established facts. The only way I can truly enjoy this is to think of it as some kind of alternate timeline story.

When it comes to the art, some of the characters have similar looks to characters from the Dragon Ball franchise, such as Omori’s face looking similar to King Piccolo’s. But I’ve come to expect this, though, since Toriyama has developed a particular art style; as soon as you see it, you know it’s something that was drawn by Toriyama.

But in the end, I overall enjoyed reading Jaco the Galactic Patrolman. For me personally, the main weakness of the volume was the bonus Dragon Ball story, simply due to the fact that I’m used to the origin story that was presented in the Dragon Ball Z anime series. Readers who aren’t familiar with the anime shouldn’t have the problems reading the bonus Dragon Ball story that I did. I’d recommend this volume to readers who are interested in becoming familiar with Toriyama’s work but don’t want to commit to a long-running series like the Dragon Ball franchise.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Jaco the Galactic Patrolman that was provided to me by VIZ Media.

VIZ Media Opens 2015 With the Release of Akira Toriyama’s Manga Comedy Jaco the Galactic Patrolman

VIZ Media prepares to thrill manga readers and fans of legendary creator Akira Toriyama with the launch of Jaco the Galactic Patrolman in print and digital on January 6th, 2015.

The complete-in-one-volume interstellar comedy will be published under the company’s Shonen Jump imprint. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman is rated ‘A’ for All Ages and will carry a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

A digital version of Jaco the Galactic Patrolman also debuts on January 6, 2015 for $6.99 (USD/CAN) from VIZManga.com and through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones. The digital volume of Jaco the Galactic Patrolman can also be purchased through the NOOK, Kobo, ComiXology, Kindle, iBooks and Google Play stores.

“JACO THE GALACTIC PATROLMAN is Akira Toriyama’s first new release in over a decade and notably features some must-read DRAGON BALL Z content related to the parents of Goku, the hero of his other bestselling manga series,” says Alexis Kirsch, Editor. “Jaco is an alien who is very proud, but also extremely clumsy. Together with the reclusive scientist, Omori, and Tights, a mysterious girl that dreams of becoming a sci-fi novelist, the stage is set for fun and zany adventures. Readers of all ages won’t want to miss this fun new series by one of the greatest names in manga!”

JACO THE GALACTIC PATROLMAN © 2013 by BIRD STUDIO/SHUEISHA Inc.