Dragon Ball Full Color 1: Saiyan Arc by Akira Toriyama (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

December 13, 2013 by  


“Dragon Ball Full Color” is a trade paperback format featuring “Dragon Ball” manga vol. 17 and part of vol. 18 in full color and also the start of what anime fans know as “Dragon Ball Z”.   If you are interested or have been wanting to read “Dragon Ball” in full color,  then “Dragon Ball Full Color 1: Saiyan Arc” is recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 1984 by Bird Studio

MANGA TITLE: Dragon Ball Full Color 1: Saiyan Arc

STORY AND ART BY: Akira Toriyama (鳥山 明)



RATED: T for Teen

Available on February 4, 2013

Son Goku is the greatest hero on Earth. Five years after defeating the demon king Piccolo, he’s grown up and had a family – he’s married, and he has a child, Son Gohan. But what is the real reason for Goku’s incredible strength?

A visitor from outer space arrives bearing terrible news: Goku is an alien, and the visitor, Raditz, is Goku’s brother! When Raditz turns out to be a ruthless killer, Goku must fight his incredibly strong brother to save his family and the entire human race. A surprising alliance may be Earth’s last hope: Goku will team up with his old enemy Piccolo – archenemies united to save the world!

Originally released in Japan as “Dragon Ball Full Color Comics,” this new, trade-paperback sized edition presents Dragon Ball fully in color for the first time!

“Dragon Ball”, the manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama for “Shonen Jump”.

The series lasted from 1984 through 1995 (a total of 42 volumes) and since the manga series has produced several anime series which include “Dragon Ball”, “Dragon Ball Z”, “Dragon Ball GT” and currently in Japan, a new HD broadcasting of “Dragon Ball Kai” and in 2009, an American live action film titled “Dragonball Evolution” was released worldwide.

Considered as a classic series, Akira Toriyama’s “Dragon Ball” series has been released as a manga and anime series in the United States.

But with the release of the 14th “Dragon Ball” film titled “Dragon Ball: Battle of Gods” in March 2013, a full color version of the manga titled “Dragon Ball Full Color” was released but instead of releasing the colorized manga starting from the very beginning, the series would feature three volumes covering the Saiyan Arc and five volumes covering the Namec Arc.  And in Japan, the first 16 volumes were featured via color in digital format and also samples featured on Dentsu’s MANGAPOLO YouTube channel.

In the United States, the color chapters were featured on “Weekly Shonen Jump” in Feb. 2013 and now a year later, “Dragon Ball Full Color” will be released in the U.S. in trade paperback format (about 6 x 10 inches).

It’s important to note that “Dragon Ball Full Color” begins at Vol. 17 (Chapter 195) and for those familiar with the anime series, will know this as the beginning of “Dragon Ball Z” (anime).  Full Color also extends to volume 18 up to chapter 211.

What is “Dragon Ball – Saiyan Arc”?

The Saiyan Arc begins five years after Goku defeated King Piccolo.  The arc begins with Goku introducing his friends to his young son Gohan for the very first time.

While things seem peaceful, unfortunately things are going to go from peaceful to downright terrible when Goku’s brother from the planet Saiyan, Raditz, goes to check and see if Goku has accomplished his mission and has destroyed the planet Earth.   But Goku who crash landed on Earth as a baby, was raised by the peaceful and compassionate Gohan.  And so, while Goku retained his amazing fight ability, his perspective of life was what he was taught by his grandfather Gohan and that is to be compassionate towards the living life on Earth and he swore to protect it.

Needless, to say Raditz is disappointed and decides to kidnap Gohan in order to fight a battle against Goku.  Both Goku and Piccolo join forces in order to beat Raditz and try to rescue Gohan.

Will they succeed?

“Dragon Ball” focuses on the following characters:

Goku – Now an adult, married to Chichi and has a son named Gohan.  Constantly training in order to become stronger.  Still naive and hungry as he was when he was younger.

Gohan – Goku’s young son.  Goku realizes that Gohan has strong potential but during an unfortunate incident, asks for Piccolo to train his son in fighting to protect people and the planet.

Piccolo – Still a rival to Goku but during these dire circumstances, the two form an alliance.  Due to circumstances, Piccolo accepts Goku’s request to train Gohan.

Chichi – Goku’s wife, Gohan’s mother who is very strict.  She does not want Gohan to be like his father and makes him study.

Bulma – A young woman/scientist who was the first to come across with Goku when he was younger.  Her father is a scientist and owner of the Capsule Corporation.  A technology that people can store vehicles, homes and storage into a tiny capsule.  When thrown, the capsule turns into the actual object that was stored.  She’s rather impulsive and outspoken.

Oolong – A pig who has a fascination with women’s panties.  A perverted pig who once terrorized a village.  Has the ability to transform to anything for five minutes.  Attended a class with Puar in transforming but failed and never learned to stay in a object for more than five minutes.  He joins Bulma and Goku in their mission to find the Dragon Balls.

Yamcha – A banded who is accompanied by his shape-shifting animal Puar.  With his Wolf’s Fang Fist fighting ability, it was not strong enough to beat Goku and thus he ends up assisting both Goku and Bulma along the way in order to get the Dragon Balls.

Krillin – A former monk who has been bullied by his other monks.  He goes to Kamesama-sen’nin for training and trains alongside Goku and the two eventually become best friends.

Kamesama-sen’nin – An old lecherous man who trained Grandpa Gohan and the Ox King to fight.  Despite looking like an old man, he has a tremendous fighting ability and is known for his devastating attack known as the Kamehameha.  He then takes Goku and Krillin as his students.

Yajirobe – A clumsy, lazy overweight samurai.

Tenshinhan and Chiaotzu – Former rivals of Goku for the 23rd Martial Arts Tournament and now his good friends.

Kaiosama – One of the Kings who trains Goku on how to fight with gravity ten times greater than Earth at Kaio’s world.

The main enemies:

Raditz – Goku’s older brother who is so upset that Goku has not destroyed the planet Earth and now set on killing him.

For any fan of “Dragon Ball”, The Saiyan Arc was the beginning of major changes within the series.

Many familiar with the anime first, well call the arc the beginning of “Dragon Ball Z”, while manga purists will see “Dragon Ball Full Color 1” as volume 17 and half of 18 but a storyline that takes place five years later of how Goku and Piccolo became allies, the introduction of his son Gohan and also the introduction of Raditz and Vegeta.

While for some people who are new to the series may be introduced to the “Dragon Ball” world with the release of “Dragon Ball Full Color 1”, I rather not spoil the storyline but it pretty much features Goku and Piccolo taking on Raditz and suffice to say, things go badly.

And the second half of the full color trade paperback deals with what happens after the fight and new responsibility for Piccolo to train young Gohan and as for Goku, I’ll leave that as a surprise for those who are new to the series.

The big question that will be asked by many “Dragon Ball” fans is if it’s worth purchasing, if one already owns all the manga.  It’s important to note that in Japan, they only released two arcs in color (in print format), the Saiyan Arc and the Namec Arc.  Second, “Dragon Ball Full Color” is not the same size of a manga graphic novel, it’s more of the size of an American trade paperback, so it’s quite big.

Also, the numbering of the chapters are not the same as the manga series. What is seen as chapter 1 in the colorized version is actually chapter 195 in the manga series.  But with that being said, this chapter is the beginning of “Dragon Ball Z”.  Characters are older, Goku is married and has a five-year-old son and new rivals and danger awaits Goku and friends.

As a “Dragon Ball” fan, for me it’s worth it for the colorized version of the manga series but while hardcore “Dragon Ball” fans will most likely purchase it for their collections, those who own the complete manga series may not need to splurge unless they want to read the Saiyan Arc in full color.

This will no doubt appeal to American comic book fans who are used to purchasing trade paperbacks and typically don’t buy manga because they love comic book stories featured in full color.

Overall, “Dragon Ball Full Color” is a trade paperback format featuring “Dragon Ball” manga vol. 17 and part of vol. 18 in full color and also the start of what anime fans know as “Dragon Ball Z”.   If you are interested or have been wanting to read “Dragon Ball” in full color,  then “Dragon Ball Full Color 1: Saiyan Arc” is recommended!

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