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Quite possibly Akira Toriyama's most popular work is nothing short of a classic.
Aug 29, 2010 reviewed by Covah
Dragonball Z is with out a doubt one of the most popular anime series of all time. It's appeal is so far outside of just fans of anime and manga and is the granddaddy of present day shonen series such as Bleach and Naruto. But what some people don't realize is there is actually a manga behind the series, and a good one at that.
One major critisism about the DBZ anime was the length. The jokes are usually How many DBZ characters does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One, but it will take three episodes. That's not the case in the manga thankfully. Surprisingly, the entire series goes in a pretty brisk pace. The Saiyan saga took 38 episodes to complete. That is about 19 hours of your time. Meanwhile the Saiyan saga takes only 4 volumes out of the 26 total. 10 episodes for Goku to get to Kaio-sama/King Kai's? One volume in the manga. Basically there is NO filler in the manga. While you miss out on some of the charming little stories that the anime had, you'll go from action straight to action through out each chapter.
Another great thing going for the manga is the character. For all the main characters, its very easy to care about them and get involved with them while reading through the pages. Some of the bigger characters from Dragon Ball eventually get phased out but all the remaining characters are all very different and varied. It is fun to read through the manga and see the growth in characters like Gohan and Vegeta.
The art is one of the best parts about the manga. While it isn't the most artistically dazzling manga, Akira Toriyama's art and character design shines through as it does in all of is work. His character design is by far the best part, it's just so iconic and spans far past Dragon Ball to video games, tv shows, and other mangas. There is not a dull page to be had anywhere.
Another thing that some might want to hear about is the translation and adaptation. While Viz put out a second All Ages edition (which is all you can find now) the only thing edited out really is some language and possibly nudity (that may just be in Dragon Ball.) All the violence is still there, all the limbs that are blown off and still gone and all the energy beams piercing through people's bodies remain. During the Androids saga I was actually surprised to see a civilian's neck be crushed in #20's hand, after looking at that I instantly looked on the back cover to make sure it is still A rated. One thing I will say though, about the first volume... everyone except Bulma and Raditz talk like hicks. It's very confusing. At first I thought it was a bad translation but it stopped after the fighting started. An example is this is But Chi Chi has a fit if I try t' train him. How hard would it be to spell out to? I don't know, it's just weird.
If you liked the anime, the manga is definitely worth a read. It laid the basework for many popular series today and should not be ignored. While you're at it, don't miss out on Dragon Ball, being that they're essentially the same series (thus numbers 17-42 showing up on the covers of each volume of DBZ.) It is definitely good to get back to the basics.
Covah also recommended: Dragon Ball, Dr. Slump, Bleach, Naruto,
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