Dragonball 3-in-1 Omnibus vol. 1 (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

June 20, 2013 by  

Enjoyable, addicting and absolutely awesome!  This is the animated series that introduced Goku, Bulma, Krillin, Yamcha and friends.  For fans of “Dragon Ball Z” or Akira Toriyama’s works, the original “Dragon Ball” manga series is highly recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 1984 by Bird Studio

MANGA TITLE: Dragonball 3-in-1 Omnibus vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Akira Toriyama (鳥山 明)



RATED: T for Teen

Available on June 4, 2013

Akira Toriyama’s groundbreaking, iconic, bestselling series now in an omnibus edition!

A seminal series from a legendary creator. Dragon Ball, a wry update on the Chinese “Monkey King” myth, introduces us to Son Goku, a young monkey-tailed boy whose quiet life is turned upside-down when he meets Bulma, a girl determined to collect the seven “Dragon Balls.” If she gathers them all, an incredibly powerful dragon will appear and grant her one wish. But the precious orbs are scattered all over the world, and to get them she needs the help of a certain super-strong boy…

Legend has it that if all seven of the precious orbs called “Dragon Balls” are gathered together, an incredibly powerful dragon god will appear to grant one wish. Unfortunately, the orbs are scattered across the world, making them extremely difficult to collect. Enter 16-year-old Bulma, a scientific genius who has constructed a radar to detect the exact locations of the Dragon Balls. She’s on a mission to find all seven orbs, but first she must convince young Son Goku to join her on her quest. With a monkey tail, superhuman strength and a magic staff for a weapon, Son Goku is ready to set out on the adventure of a lifetime…

It’s the series that started it all… “Dragon Ball”.  Originally, a manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama for “Shonen Jump”, the manga 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 in America but for the first time, in June 2013, the series will be released as an omnibus (featuring three volumes each).

For Akira Toriyama fans, while not a necessity, one may want to start out with the manga series “Dr. Slump” (as a few characters do show up in “Dragon Ball”), but for those familiar with “Dragon Ball Z”, it’s recommended to read or watch the original “Dragon Ball” series.

What is “Dragon Ball”?

“Dragon Ball” focuses on Son Goku, a boy who is not familiar with any humans but his Grandpa Gohan.  One day, a teenage girl named Bulma uses her Dragon Ball radar to track down a Dragon Ball belonging to Goku.  Goku explains to her that he never seen any female humans before but his grandfather taught him to be nice to them.  He also explains that the Dragon Ball he has was given to him as a gift by his grandfather.

Bulma who has accumulated a few Dragon Balls herself wants to find the remaining Dragon Balls in order to have a single wish granted by Shenlong the Dragon God.

Bulma tricks Goku to join her on her quest to help her find the Dragon Balls and the two end up saving a turtle and meeting Kame-Sen’Nin, the Turtle Hermit.  As the two go on their way to find the next Dragon Ball, each village they visit, they find other troublemakers.  In one area, they come across a pig named “Oolong the Terrible” who joins Bulma and Goku.  But watching them is a guy named Yamcha and his friend Pu’Ar.

In the second volume, as the three look for the next Dragon Ball, the find themselves inside the home of the Great Ox-King, a former student of Goku’s grandpa Gohan.  Ox-King needs their help to calm down the Fire Mountain.

And to do that, Goku must undergo training from Kame-Sen’Nin and learn how to unleash the “Kamehameha”!

The next adventure features Bulma, Goku and Oolong visiting another village and confronting a troublesome rabbit who turns Bulma into a carrot.  Goku must save Bulma by defeating the rabbit.  Meanwhile, unaware that Emperor Pilaf has sent Shu and Mai to steal the Dragon Balls that Bulma has acquired.  In order to get them back, they trio receive some help from Yamcha and Pu’Ar.  But they realize that something happens to Goku when he sees a full moon!

In the third volume, Goku heads back to Kame-Sen’Nin to undergo training and he meets his rival/training partner Krillin for the very first time.  Meanwhile, they meet a woman named Lunch who has a secret.  To further their training, Kame-Sen’Nin decides to enroll the two in the Ultimate Martial Arts Tournament.  But are the two boys ready to take on the adults in the tournament?

Find out in the first omnibus volume of “Dragon Ball”!

 “Dragon Ball” focuses on the following characters:

Son Goku – Not much is known about Goku’s past.  He was found by a man he calls Grandpa Gohan and trained to be a boy who loves nature and people.  And has incredible strength and fighting ability.  He was warned by his grandfather to never look at the moon but one day he did and turned into a giant ape and accidentally killed his grandfather.  Although not too familiar with humans, he meets a female named Bulma for the first time who is trying to look for Dragon Balls.  Having own the #4 Dragon Ball which his grandfather gave him, he decides to join her on a quest to find the remaining Dragon Balls (seven total).

Bulma – A teenager who’s 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.  Her dream is to find the Dragon Balls and make a wish in order to get a perfect boyfriend.

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 Kamisama-sen for training and trains alongside Goku and becomes a rival but also good friends with him.

Kamisama-sen – 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.

Other Characters:

Puar – A shape shifting animal who can shape-shift for a long period of time and hangs around Yamcha.

The Ox-King – Many fear the Ox-King who rules Fire Mountain and is the father of Chi Chi.  Aside from his brute strength, this huge man is a goodhearted guy who just hated people for trying to steal from him.  He also cares deeply about his daughter and does everything to make her happy.

Chi Chi – A girl who is smitten with Goku and wants to marry him.  The daughter of the Ox-King.

Lunch – A woman that Master Roshi likes and when normal, she’s a regular, innocent girl.  But when she sneezes, she becomes a whole new different woman with a bad attitude.

The Villains:

Emperor Pilaf – The main antagonist of Bulma and Goku who is trying to collect all the Dragon Balls.  He calls himself the emperor and expects Shu and Mai to find the Dragon Balls.

Shu – A ninja fox who works for Emperor Pilaf.  Tends to be a bit misunderstood and clumsy.

Mai – The gun-toting henchman for Emperor Pilaf.

Enjoyable, addicting and absolutely awesome!

That’s how I felt after reading the first three volumes of “Dragon Ball”.

And for fans of any of the “Dragon Ball” series, especially for fans of “Dragon Ball Z”, the original manga series is recommended reading for those who want to know the origins of Goku or even Bulma, Yamcha, Krillin or Kame-Sen’Nin.

Also, to read this series once again, not only was it a nostalgic for me, it was just great to read and remember how much fun, humorous and action-packed these volumes were.  It was great seeing how awesome of a fighter Kame-Sen’Nin was back then and just seeing how the story evolved pre-Dragon Ball Z.   Seeing how Goku learned the Kamehameha and also, to see Bulma and Yamcha during their younger years and how the two were somewhat of an item during their earlier years is quite fascinating.

Although “Dragon Ball” is not as intense or tragic when compared to “Dragon Ball Z”, the series still manages to capture a lot of action and although this is Goku when he was much, much younger, even then, he was no slouch and had very good fighting ability.  And there was more emphasis on the storyline over action and for the most part, the adventures of Goku and friends is just a lot of fun to read.

The third volume pretty much sets the story up for Goku and Krillin as they take part in their first fighting tournament (which becomes an important part of the “Dragon Ball Z” series) for vol. 4 (which will be featured in “Dragon Ball 3-in-1 Omnibus vol. 2”).

Overall, “Dragonball 3-in-1 Omnibus vol. 1” is one of those must-read manga series for fans of Akira Toriyama and his work that is set around Goku and friends.  Also, without having to spend the money for three graphic novels, you get three of them in one omnibus release, thus saving consumers money!

Fans of any of the “Dragon Ball” anime series or those who have never read the manga series will definitely want to make sure “Dragonball 3-in-1 Omnibus vol. 1” is in their collection.

Highly recommended!

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