It is one of the great weirdnesses of my television watching life that I have never seen even a minute of the Dragon Ball (or Dragon Ball Z) anime series. I mean, other than Pokémon, I struggle to think of an anime/manga that broke into the West as much as this did… and I manage to completely let it pass me by. Thanks to the change in anime list I am going to be rectifying this shortcoming – but not before I’ve given the original material a go.
For the purposes of checking this from the 1001 comics list, I read the first 16 takobon volumes of Dragon Ball – which means I’ve stopped before Dragon Ball becomes Z. I will eventually get around to reading the remaining 26 volumes, but I think I’m going to give it some time first.
Going into Dragon Ball I knew the names of a handful of characters (namely Goku, Krillin and Piccolo) and that there would be a lot of fighting – that’s about it. What I did not realise was actually how long it would take before it became primarily about fighting evil rather than the search for the seven titular dragon balls. I also hadn’t banked on the lead character of Goku being so adorable… and that he has a tail and can ride a magic cloud.
By the time I finished off the 16th volume, Goku was the adult that I’d come to expect from what little prior knowledge I had. In the interim I really got to know and enjoy a HUGE number of primary, secondary and tertiary characters – including a fairly substantial array of villains, which culminated in the battles between Goku and Piccolo.
Reading this, I can see how Dragon Ball could translate exceedingly well to an anime – just like with Attack on Titan. There are enough fight scenes to make for well choreographed television, whilst the humour makes for a good break in the non-fighting moments. Are there a few too many convenient plot twists? Maybe, but this isn’t too serious for that to be a concern. On the whole this has really made my commute to work fun and it does make me sad to be moving on already… oh sod it I’m just going to read to the end.