Ryan Wilson

It Came from Japan – Dragon Ball (3-in-1 Edition), Volume 1

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Does manga legend Akira Toriyama’s most famous work still hold up today?

dragonball-vol1Dragon Ball (3-in-1 Edition), Volume 1

Story/Art: Akira Toriyama
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Originally Published: November 1985 – June 1986
Price: $14.99

Reviewer was provided a review copy by Viz Media.

Like many children growing up in the United States, my first experience in the Dragon Ball franchise was the immensely popular Dragon Ball Z anime, which was on regular rotation on Cartoon Network. Unlike most, however, I really didn’t care for the show. I found the pace far too slow to hold my young attention for more than a few episodes, and I quickly abandoned it. I had heard of the Dragon Ball anime adaptation, but Z left such a bad taste in my mouth that I let it slip right past me.

Thanks to volume 1 of the new 3-in-1 release of Dragon Ball, I have a new found respect for the series. Unlike Dragon Ball Z (which I now know is more of an alias for the later volumes of the Dragon Ball manga), Dragon Ball takes itself much less serious, bordering on parody rather than high octane action. The pacing problems I found with the television show have disappeared as each plot conflict is usually resolved within one or two chapters instead of a dozen episodes. Perhaps this will change as the story approaches Dragon Ball Z territory, but for now this is a refreshing change.

While the quality of the content is top notch, I cannot say the same about the pages. The paper used is very thin and prone to tears, but the worst offense is the tendency for the artwork on the other side to bleed through the other side. Then again, at $14.99 for over 500 pages of content, one can only expect so much.

While I didn’t realize this while reading, many are reporting that this 3-in-1 release isn’t quite as “uncensored” as the cover leads it to be. Granted, I thought the release was plenty rude and crude, three pages still exist in their censored form. Viz has since acknowledged this mistake in printing, and has promised to fix this on reprint. All subsequent volumes will be in their original uncensored form.

If you have yet to add Dragon Ball to your manga collection, this edition, despite its printing flaws, is a perfect inexpensive addition.


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