Dragon Ball (ドラゴンボール Doragon Bōru?) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. It was originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1984 through 1995; later the 519 individual chapters were published into 42 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha. Dragon Ball was inspired by the Chinese folk novel Journey to the West. It follows the adventures of Son Goku from his childhood through adulthood as he trains in martial arts and explores the world in search of the seven mystical objects known as the Dragon Balls, which can summon a wish-granting dragon when gathered. Along his journey, Goku makes several friends and battles a wide variety of villains, many of whom also seek the Dragon Balls for their own desires.
The 42 tankōbon have been adapted into two anime series produced by Toei Animation: Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, which together were broadcast in Japan from 1986 through 1996. Additionally, Toei has developed seventeen animated feature films and three television specials, as well as a short-lived third anime spin-off titled Dragon Ball GT, which takes place after the events of the manga. In 2009, Toei began broadcasting a revised, faster-paced version of Dragon Ball Z under the name of Dragon Ball Kai, in which most of the original version's material not featured in the manga is removed. Several companies have developed various types of merchandising such as a collectible trading card game, and a large number of video games.
The manga series was licensed for an English language release in North America by Viz Media, in the United Kingdom by Gollancz Manga, and in Australia and New Zealand by Chuang Yi. The anime series was licensed by Funimation Entertainment for an English language release worldwide, although the series has been dubbed several times by various studios. In China, a live-action film adaptation was produced in 1989. In 2002, 20th Century Fox acquired the rights to produce an American-made live-action film, which was released on April 10, 2009.
Since its release, Dragon Ball has become one of the most popular manga and anime series of its time in both Japan and North America. The manga's 42 volumes have sold over 152 million copies in Japan and over 200 million copies worldwide. Reviewers have praised the art, characterization, and humor of the story. Several manga artists have noted that the series was the inspiration for their own now popular works, including Naruto and One Piece.
- 1 Plot summary
- 2 Themes
- 3 Production
- 4 Media
- 5 Reception
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The series begins with a monkey-tailed boy named Goku befriending a teenage girl named Bulma, together they go on a quest to find the seven Dragon Balls. Along the way, they meet and befriend a plethora of martial artists. Goku also undergoes rigorous training regimes and educational programs in order to fight in the World Martial Arts Tournament, a competition involving the most powerful fighters in the world. Outside the tournaments, Goku faces diverse villains such as Emperor Pilaf, the Red Ribbon Army, the Namekian Piccolo Daimao and his offspring Piccolo Jr., who eventually becomes Goku's ally and close friend.
As a young man, Goku meets his older brother Raditz, who tells him that they come from a race of extraterrestrials called Saiyans. The Saiyans had sent Goku to Earth as an infant to conquer the planet for them, but he suffered a severe head injury soon after his arrival and lost all memory of his mission. Goku refuses to help Raditz continue the mission, after which he begins to encounter other enemies from space, most notably the Saiyan prince Vegeta, who becomes his rival due to Vegeta's ambitious desire to surpass Goku in strength, though in the process, he too eventually becomes Goku's ally. He also encounters Frieza, the galactic overlord responsible for the destruction of the Saiyan race, whose actions cause Goku to transform into a legendary Super Saiyan. After an epic battle on the planet Namek, Goku defeats Frieza, avenging the lives of billions across the universe.
Some years later, a group of androids from the former Red Ribbon Army appear, seeking revenge against Goku. During this time, an evil life form called Cell emerges and, after absorbing two of the androids to increase his power, holds his own martial arts tournament to decide the fate of the Earth, but is eventually defeated by Goku's first child Son Gohan. Seven years later, Goku is drawn into another battle for the universe against a magical monster named Majin Buu. Joined by Vegeta and Gohan, Goku succeeds in destroying the evil half of Buu and the good half of Buu settles down with them. Ten years later, at another World Martial Arts Tournament, Goku meets the evil Buu's human reincarnation, Uub. At the end of the series, Goku takes Uub away on a journey to train him as the Earth's next defender.
A couple years after that, Goku and Uub finish their training, and just as they are about to depart, they notice that something is going on, so when they check they see Pilaf summoning the Black Star Dragon with the 7 black star dragonballs that they had found in Kami's lookout. After complaining for a few moments, Pilaf accidently says that he wishes that Goku could be a kid again, and the dragon grants his wish and the dragonballs scatter all over the universe After that, they had learned that they only had 1 year to travel the galaxy and collect all of the black star dragonballs.
At its core, Dragon Ball maintains the central tenets of the Weekly Shōnen Jump core philosophy of "friendship, struggle, and victory". As the series shifts from a "heart warming" story into a more action-oriented piece, the protagonists go through an unending cycle of fighting, winning, losing, and improving. They continue this cycle by using miraculous devices to achieve life after death, all the while continuing their on-going battles with dead heroes, who continue to learn lessons as they defeat their challengers. The series also follows the idea that if someone is trying to be "the best", they can reach their goals by constantly challenging themselves.
Wanting to break from the Western influences common in his other series, when Akira Toriyama began work on Dragon Ball he decided to loosely model it on the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. He also redeveloped one of his earlier one shot manga series, Dragon Boy, which was initially serialized in Fresh Jump and released in a single tankōbon volume in 1983. This short work combined the comedic style of Toriyama's successful six-year series Dr. Slump with a more action-oriented plot and paid homage to famous martial art actor Jackie Chan. Toriyama notes that his goal for the series was to tell an "unconventional and contradictory" story.
In the early concept of the series, Goku and Piccolo were from Earth. With the introduction of Kami, the idea of having fights from other planets was established and Goku and Piccolo were changed to alien species. For the female characters, Toriyama felt it was not fun to draw "weak females" so he created women that he felt were not only "beautiful and sexy", but also "strong". Going against the normal convention that the strongest characters should be the largest in terms of physical size, he designed many of Dragon Ball's most powerful characters with small statures, including the protagonist, Goku.
The fighting techniques were initially unnamed, but the series editor felt it would be better to name them all. Toriyama proceeded to create names for all of the techniques, except for the Kamehameha (かめはめ波?, lit. "Turtle Destruction Wave") which his wife named when Toriyama was indecisive about what it should be called. When creating the fictional world of the series, Toriyama decided to create it from his own imagination to avoid referencing popular culture. However the island where the World Martial Arts Tournament is held is modeled after Bali. When having fights in the manga, Toriyama had the characters go to a place where nobody lived to avoid difficulties in drawing destroyed buildings. In order to advance the story quickly, he also gave most fighters the ability to fly so they could travel to other parts of the world without inconvenience. This was also the reasoning behind Goku learning to use instant transmission (thus allowing characters to move to any planet in a second).
After the first chapters were released, readers commented that Goku seemed rather plain, so his appearance was changed. New characters (such as Master Roshi and Krillin) were added and martial arts tournaments were included to give the manga a greater emphasis on fighting. Anticipating that readers would expect Goku to win the tournaments, Toriyama had him lose the first two while continuing his initial goal of having Goku be the champion and hero. After Cell's death, he intended for Gohan to replace Goku as the series protagonist, but then felt the character was not suited for the role and changed his mind.
Toriyama based the Red Ribbon Army from a video game he had played named Spartan X in which enemies tended to appear very fast. After the second tournament concluded, Toriyama wanted to have a villain who would be a true "bad guy." After creating Piccolo as the new villain, he noted that it was one of the most interesting parts of the stories and that he, and his son, became one of the favorite characters of the series. With Goku established as the strongest fighter on Earth, Toriyama decided to increase the number of villains that came from outer space. Finding the escalating enemies to be a pain to work with feeling it was too simple, he created the Ginyu Force to add more balance to the series. During this period of the series, Toriyama placed less emphasis on the series art work, simplifying the lines and sometimes making things "too square." He found himself having problems determining the colors for characters and sometimes ended up changing them unintentionally mid-story. In later accounts, Toriyama noted that he didn't plan out the details of the story, resulting in strange occurrences and discrepancies later in the series.
Written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball was initially serialized in the manga anthology Weekly Shōnen Jump starting in December 1984. The series ended in 1995 when Toriyama grew exhausted and felt he needed a break from drawing. The 519 individual chapters were published into 42 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha from November 10, 1985 through August 4, 1995. In 2004, the chapters were re-released in a collection of 34 kanzenban volumes, which included a slightly rewritten ending, new covers, and color artwork from its Weekly Shōnen Jump run. Toriyama also created a short series, Neko Majin, that became a self-parody of Dragon Ball. First appearing in Weekly Shōnen Jump in August 1999, the eight chapter series was released sporadically until it was completed in 2005. These chapters were compiled into a "kanzenban"-style package for release in Japan on April 4, 2005.
The Dragon Ball manga was licensed for release in English in North America by Viz Media which has released all 42 volumes in both censored and uncensored forms. Viz released volumes 17 through 42 under the title Dragon Ball Z to mimic the name of the anime series adaptated from those volumes, feeling it would reduce the potential for confusion by its readers. The first volumes of both series were released in March 2003, with Dragon Ball being completed on August 3, 2004 and Dragon Ball Z finishing on June 6, 2006. In June 2008, Viz began re-releasing the two series in a wideban format called "VIZBIG Edition," which collects three individual volumes into a single large volume.
In 2006, Toriyama and One Piece author Eiichiro Oda teamed up to create a single chapter crossover of their individual hit series. Entitled Cross Epoch, the chapter was published in the December 25, 2006 issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump.
A manga adaptation of Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! illustrated by Ooishi Naho, was published in the March 21, 2009 and April 21, 2009 issues of V Jump. Ooishi Naho will also write a spin-off series titled Dragon Ball SD, which is going to be published by Shueisha's Super Strong Jump magazine.
Due to the high popularity of the Dragon Ball manga, Toei Animation produced two anime television series based on the manga chapters, and a third based on the series characters. The first series, also titled Dragon Ball, premiered in Japan on Fuji Television on February 26, 1986 and ran until April 12, 1989.
Harmony Gold USA licensed the series for an English-language release in North America in the late 1980s. In their voice dub of the series, Harmony renamed almost all of the characters, with some names appearing very odd, such as Goku being renamed "Zero" and the character Korin's name changed to "Whiskers the Wonder Cat." This dub version was test-marketed in several cities, but was cancelled before it could be broadcast to the general public.
In 1995, Funimation Entertainment acquired the license for the distribution of Dragon Ball in North America, as well as its sequel series Dragon Ball Z. Funimation contracted BLT Productions to create an English voice track for the anime at their Canadian-based dubbing studio and the dubbed episodes were edited for content. Thirteen episodes aired in first-run syndication during the fall of 1995 before Funimation canceled the project due to low ratings, switching to working immediately on the more action-oriented Dragon Ball Z. Trimark Pictures later purchased the home video distribution rights for these dubbed episodes. In March 2001, Funimation announced the return of Dragon Ball to American television, featuring a new English audio track produced at their own Texas-based dubbing studio, as well as slightly less editing, though they notably left the original background music intact, unlike their dubs of the two sequel series. The redubbed episodes were broadcast on Cartoon Network from August 20, 2001 to December 1, 2003. Funimation also broadcast the series on Colours TV and their own Funimation Channel starting in 2006.
Funimation began releasing their in-house dub to Region 1 DVD box sets on March 18, 2003. Each box set, spanning an entire saga of the series, included the English dub track and the original Japanese audio track with optional English subtitles. However, they were unable to release the first thirteen episodes at the time, due to Lionsgate Entertainment holding the distribution rights to their original dub of the same episodes, having acquired them from Trimark after the company became defunct. After Lionsgate's license to the first thirteen episodes expired in 2009, Funimation remastered and re-released the complete Dragon Ball series to DVD in five individual season box sets, with the first set released on September 15, 2009 and the final set on July 27, 2010.
In the Philippines, a now-defunct anime series dubbed in English audio, shown on GMA-7 from 1987 to 1990 and returned to the said channel from 1998 to 1999, when it diverted to Filipino audio since channel 7 began on its foreign satellite broadcasts between 1974 and 1986, to bring anime from Japan. It began last November 29, this was aired on Q by replacing Monster Buster Club. Later diverted on RPN-9 during primetime from 1996 to 1997.
Dragon Ball Z
With the ending of Dragon Ball, Toei Animation quickly released a second anime television series, Dragon Ball Z (ドラゴンボールZ(ゼット) Doragon Bōru Zetto?, commonly abbreviated as DBZ). Picking up where the first left off, Dragon Ball Z is adapted from the final twenty-six volumes of the manga series. It premiered in Japan on Fuji Television on April 26, 1989, taking over its predecessor's time slot, and ran for 291 episodes until its conclusion on January 31, 1996.
Following the short-lived dub of Dragon Ball in 1995, Funimation Entertainment began production on an English-language release of Dragon Ball Z in North America. They contracted Saban Entertainment to help finance and distribute the series to television, and sub-licensed home video distribution to Geneon Universal Entertainment. Saban hired Ocean Productions to dub the anime into English and contracted Shuki Levy to compose an alternate musical score. This dub of Dragon Ball Z was heavily edited for content, as well as length, reducing the first 67 episodes into 53. The series premiered in the United States on September 13, 1996 in first-run syndication, but also struggled to find a substantial audience during its run, and was eventually cancelled after two seasons. Funimation dissolved its partnership with Saban and Geneon soon after. On August 31, 1998, however, the same 53 dubbed episodes began airing on Cartoon Network as part of the channel's action-oriented programming block, Toonami, where the series received much more popularity. With new success, Funimation continued production on the series by themselves, with less editing due to fewer restrictions on cable programing. However, they could no longer afford the services of either the Ocean voice cast or Shuki Levy's music without Saban's financial assistance, resulting in the creation of their own in-house voice cast and a new musical score composed by Bruce Faulconer. Dragon Ball Z was now in full production in the United States and the new dub of the series aired on Toonami from September 13, 1999 to April 7, 2003.
The Funimation dubbed episodes also aired in Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. Beginning with episode 108, however, an alternate dub, produced by Westwood Media (in association with Ocean Productions), was broadcast in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Ireland (as well as Canada beginning with episode 168), while Funimation's in-house dub continued to air in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. In 2004, Geneon lost its distribution rights to the first 53 dubbed episodes of Dragon Ball Z, allowing Funimation to re-dub them with their in-house voice cast and restore them to the original 67 count. These re-dubbed episodes aired on Cartoon Network during the summer of 2005. In 2006, Funimation remastered the episodes in 16:9 widescreen format, and began re-releasing the series to DVD in nine individual season box sets. The first set was released on February 6, 2007; the final set on May 19, 2009. These sets were notable for including the option of hearing Funimation's in-house dub alongside the original Japanese music, an option that had previously not been available. Other options included hearing the in-house dub with the American soundtrack composed by Bruce Faulconer, and a third option included watching the original Japanese version, with the original Japanese soundtrack and English subtitles.
In July 2009, Funimation announced that they would be re-releasing Dragon Ball Z in a new seven-volume DVD set called the "Dragon Boxes," which were previously released in Japan as a five-volume set containing the entire anime franchise. Based on the original series masters with frame-by-frame restoration, the first set was released on November 10, 2009. Unlike the season box sets, Funimation's "Dragon Box" release is presented in fullscreen 4:3 format.
Dragon Ball GT
Produced by Toei Animation, Dragon Ball GT (ドラゴンボールGT(ジーティー) Doragon Bōru Jī Tī?, G(rand) T(our)) premiered on Fuji TV on February 2, 1996, and ran until November 19, 1997. Unlike the first two series, it was not based on the original Dragon Ball manga. The series lasted 64 episodes. In Dragon Ball GT, Goku is turned back into a child by the Black Star Dragon Balls and is forced to travel across the galaxy to retrieve them.
Following the success of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z in the U.S., Funimation Entertainment licensed Dragon Ball GT for an English language Region 1 DVD release and broadcast in North America. Funimation's dub of the series aired on Cartoon Network from November 14, 2003 to January 29, 2005. The television broadcast skipped the first 16 episodes of the series. Instead, Funimation created a composition episode entitled "A Grand Problem," which used scenes from the skipped episodes to summarize the story. The skipped episodes, advertised as "The Lost Episodes," were later aired after the remaining episodes of the series had been broadcast.
Funimation released their dub to bilingual Region 1 DVD in two season box sets, with the first set released on December 9, 2008 and the final set on February 10, 2009, which also featured the Dragon Ball GT TV special, A Hero's Legacy. In a similar fashion to their DVD releases for Dragon Ball Z, the DVD box sets have the option of hearing the English dub alongside the original Japanese music, and the rap song used for the TV airing of the show (nicknamed by fans "Step Into the Grand Tour") has been replaced by English-dubbed versions of the original Japanese opening and ending songs. Funimation later released a "Complete Series" box set of Dragon Ball GT (using the same discs as the two season sets, but with different packaging) on September 21, 2010.
Dragon Ball Z Kai
In February 2009, Toei Animation announced that it would begin broadcasting a revised version of Dragon Ball Z as part of the series' 20th anniversary celebrations. The series premiered on April 5, 2009, under the name Dragon Ball Kai (ドラゴンボール改(カイ) Doragon Bōru Kai?, lit. "Dragon Ball Revised"), with the episodes remastered for HDTV, featuring updated opening and ending sequences, and a rerecording of the vocal tracks by most of the original cast. The footage was also re-edited to more closely follow the manga, resulting in a faster moving story, and damaged frames removed. As such, it is a new version created from the original Dragon Ball Z footage.
Like all other Dragon Ball-based anime, Funimation Entertainment licensed Dragon Ball Kai for an English-language release in North America, featuring most of the voice cast from their in-house dub of the original version, as well as several changes. The series made its U.S. premiere on Nicktoons on May 24, 2010, under the title Dragon Ball Z Kai. In addition to Nicktoons, the series also began airing on The CW's Saturday-morning programming block, Toonzai, on August 14, 2010. Both the Nicktoons and Toonzai airings are edited for content, though the Toonzai version is edited even more so than Nicktoons', most notably recoloring the character Mr. Popo (attacked for being similar to a blackface stereotype) blue and replacing dead characters' halos with glowing orbs. However, in addition to the TV airings, Funimation is also releasing bilingual, uncut DVD and Blu-Ray box sets of the show. These box sets contain the original Japanese audio track with English subtitles, as well as the unedited version of the English dub of the DVD, which re-inserts the objectionable scenes and dialogue deemed inappropriate for the TV airings, and does not contain any of the digital edits made for the TV airings.
As of 2010, Kirby Morrow announced that Ocean Productions had started producing an alternate dub for Dragon Ball Z Kai. Although he didn't reveal too much, he stated that the company who is responsible for the project had told him after his audition that his voice sounded "too cool" for Goku, strongly implying that they will not re-cast him as Goku for the Ocean dub of Kai. Production work hasn't started since it's still unknown.
Seventeen anime films based on the Dragon Ball series have been released in Japan. The first three films were based on the original Dragon Ball anime series. The remaining films included thirteen Dragon Ball Z films and one tenth anniversary special (also based on the first anime series). Funimation Entertainment has licensed and released all of the films to home video in North America.
Three television specials based on the series were released in Japan. The first, Bardock – The Father of Goku, was released on October 17, 1990. It is a prequel to the series, set years before the start of the manga and details how Goku's father, Bardock, discovers that Frieza is planning to kill all the other Saiyans, and his efforts to stop him. The second special, The History of Trunks was released on March 24, 1993. Based on an extra chapter of the original manga, it is set in a parallel universe where most of the series characters are killed by the evil androids. A Hero's Legacy, released on March 26, 1997, is set 100 years after the end of Dragon Ball GT. It features one of Goku's descendants who begins looking for the Dragon Balls in order to help his sick grandmother, Pan.
Two other specials were also released in Japan. A two-episode original video animation (OVA) series titled Dragon Ball Z Gaiden: Saiyan Zetsumetsu Keikaku, based on the Famicom video game of the same name, was released in 1993 and was set during Dragon Ball Z. Another special, Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!, premiered at the Jump Super Anime Tour on November 24, 2008. The special is set two years after the defeat of the evil Buu and has Goku and his friends facing against new enemies, Abo and Kado, and meeting Vegeta's younger brother, Tarble and his wife, Gure.
The Dragon Ball franchise has spawned multiple video games across various genres and platforms. Earlier games of the series included a system of card battling and were released for the Nintendo Entertainment System following the storyline of the series. Starting Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the Sega Saturn and the PlayStation most of the games were from the fighting genre including the series Super Butoden. The first Dragon Ball game to be released in the United States was Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout for the PlayStation on July 31, 1997. For the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable games the characters were redone in 3D cel-shaded graphics. These games included the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series and the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi series. Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit was the first game of the series developed for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A massively multiplayer online role-playing game called Dragon Ball Online is currently in development for release in 2010. It has been stated that Akira Toriyama has been working on character designs for this project for the last five years.
Myriad soundtracks were released to the anime, movies and the games. The music for the first two anime Dragon Ball and Z and its films was directed by Shunsuke Kikuchi, while the music from GT was directed by Akihito Tokunaga and the music from Kai was directed by Kenji Yamamoto. For the first anime, the soundtracks released were Dragon Ball: Music Collection in 1985 and Dragon Ball: Complete Song Collection in 1991 although they were reissued in 2007 and 2003, respectively. For the second anime, the soundtrack series released were Dragon Ball Z Hit Song Collection Series. It was produced and released by Columbia Records of Japan from July 21, 1989 to March 20, 1996 the show's entire lifespan. On September 20, 2006 Columbia re-released the Hit Song Collection on their Animex 1300 series. Other CDs released are compilations, video games and films soundtracks as well as music from the English versions.
Live action films
A live-action Mandarin Chinese film adaptation of the series, Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins, was released in Taiwan Province in Republic of China in 1989. Considered a "tacky" version of the story by critics, the plot revolves around a rag-tag group of heroes, led by "Monkey Boy" (Goku) trying to stop King Horn from using the wish-granting "Dragon Pearls" (Dragon Balls) to rule the world.
In March 2002, 20th Century Fox acquired feature film rights to the Dragon Ball franchise and began production on an American live action film entitled Dragonball Evolution. Ben Ramsey was tapped to create a screenplay based on Dragon Ball Z. Directed by James Wong and produced by Stephen Chow, the film was released in the United States on April 10, 2009. The film was largely considered a failure by both critics and Dragon Ball fans, and it only grossed $57 million at the box office.
There are two companion books to the series, one called Dragon Ball GT Perfect Files, released in May 1997 and December 1997 by Shueisha's Jump Comics Selection imprint. It include series information, illustration galleries, behind-the-scenes information, and more. They were out of print for many years, but were re-released in April 2006 and this edition is still in print.
The other was Dragon Ball - The Complete Illustrations, first published in Japan in 1995, which was then translated and printed in 2008 by VIZ Media for the English-speaking fans. It contains all the 264 coloured illustrations Akira Toriyama done for the Weekly Jump magazines' covers, bonus giveaways and specials, and all the covers for the 42 tankōbon. It also includes an interview with Akira Toriyama on his work process.
There has been collectible cards, based on the Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT series, released under Bandai. They feature various scenes from the manga and anime stills, plus exclusive artwork from all 3 series. They were previously released in other countries, like Taiwan and Singapore, before making its debut in the United States in July 2008.
Dragon Ball is one of the most popular manga series of its time, and it continues to enjoy high readership today. By 2000, more than 126 million copies of its tankōbon volumes had been sold in Japan alone. By 2007, this number had grown to pass 150 million in Japan and 300 million worldwide. It is the "quintessential mainstream manga" driven by an unending story. Its immense popularity resulted in the series being continuously extended, first through the use of acrobatic devices that regularly kept the series from falling into the routine characters and story lines, then by having the central characters surpass death itself using miraculous devices. In Little Boy: The Art of Japan's Exploding Subculture Takashi Murakami notes that Dragon Ball's "never-ending cyclical narrative moves forward plausibly, seamlessly, and with great finesse." Goku's journey and his ever growing strength resulted in the character winning "the admiration of young boys everywhere". On several occasions the Dragon Ball anime series has topped Japan's DVD sales.
In a survey conducted by Oricon in 2007 between 1,000 people, Goku, the main character of the franchise, ranked first place as the "Strongest Manga character of all time." Manga artists, such as Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto and One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda, have stated that Goku inspired their series' main protagonists as well series structure. When TV Asahi conducted an online poll for the top one hundred anime, the Dragon Ball series came in place twelve. The first episode of Dragon Ball Kai earned a viewer ratings percentage of 11.3, ahead of One Piece and behind Crayon Shin-Chan. Although following episodes have had lower ratings, Dragon Ball Kai remains to be among the top 10 anime in viewer ratings every week in Japan currently.
Animerica felt the series had "worldwide appeal" that uses dramatic pacing and over the top martial arts action to "maintain tension levels and keep a crippler crossface hold on the audience's attention spans". Ridwan Khan from Animefringe.com commented on the manga to have a "chubby" art style but as the series continued it gets more refined with the characters leaner and more muscular. He also noted he preferred the manga versions of the series to their animated counterparts that makes the story slower and pointless. Anime News Network praised the story and humor of the manga to be very good due conveying of all the characters's personalities. They also remarked Viz's translation to be one of the best ones of all the English editions of the series praising the lack of censor. Rationalmagic.com remarked the first manga volume as "a superior humor title". They praised Goku's innocence and Bulma's insistence as one of the funniest parts of the series. Writer Jason Thompson commented that the series popularity comes from a formula that Toriyama used in various story arcs from which he describes as "lots of martial arts, lots of training sequences, a few jokes." Yet, he noted that such formula became the model for other manga from the same genre such as Naruto.
The anime adaptations have also had different positive reviews. Dragon Ball Z was listed as the 78th best animated show in IGN's Top 100 Animated Series. T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews considered the series characters are different from stereotypes characters and noted that they have much more development and in its sequels. However, they criticized Dragon Ball Z for having long and repetitive fights, though they remarked the show has good characterization. The storylines of Dragon Ball Z have been compared to Greek mythology. Anime News Network considered Trunks's storyline to have an actual storyline with characters having more motivation than the common plot of the series. IGN commented that Dragon Ball GT "is downright repellent" mentioning that the material and characters have lost their novelty and fun. They also criticized the character designs of Trunks and Vegeta as goofy. Anime News Network has had negative comments of Dragon Ball GT. They mentioned the fights from the series are a very simple childish exercise and that many other anime were so much better. The plot of the series has also been criticized for giving a formula that was already used on its predecessors.
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- Dragon Ball Harmony Gold dub
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- Dragon Ball Z Ocean dub, episodes 1-53 (1-67)
- Dragon Ball Z Funimation dub, episodes 54-276 (68-291)
- "FUNimation 2005 Plans". Anime News Network. December 31, 2004. Retrieved September 14, 2008.
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- "「ドラゴンボールZ」放送開始20周年記念! HDリマスター坂で テレビアニメが堂々復活!! 孫悟空伝説再び!! その名も... DRAGON BALL KAI". V Jump (in Japanese) (Japan: Shueisha): 10. February 9, 2009.
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- Nickelodeon Announces Fall Plans - Ohio.com Retrieved March 11, 2010
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- "Voiceprint with Trevor Devall and Guests (Episode 26, Special Guest Kirby Morrow)". Voiceprint Podcast With Trevor Devall. September 10, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2010.
- "List of OVA produced by Toei in the 1990s". Archived from the original on 2008-04-20. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
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- [http://www.ntl-kk.com/dboreport.html DRAGONBALL ONLINE .Bid for Power PC is a Total Conversion for the Quake 3 Engine that borrowers heavily from the Japanese Anime, Dragon Ball Z.. In fact, during it�s development the game�s original intent was meant to BE Dragon Ball Z. However, due to an impending Cease and Desist order, they had to throw out the Dragon Ball characters, change up the attacks some, and the end result is the current incarnation. -ドラゴンボールオンライン]
- "Dragonball Music Collection". CDJapan.com. Retrieved September 26, 2008.
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- "DRAGONBALL Z Hit Kyoku Shu 18½". CDJapan.com. Retrieved September 26, 2008.
- "Dragon Ball Z Best Song Collection "Legend of Dragonworld"". CDJapan.com. Retrieved September 26,............. 2008. Check date values in:
- "Fox draws deal for DragonBall live-action pics". The Hollywood Reporter 372 (28). March 12, 2002.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- Tatiana Siegel (November 13, 2007). "Dragonball comes to bigscreen". Variety. Retrieved November 14, 2007.
- Claude Brodesser, Claude (June 24, 2004). "Ramsey rolls Dragonball Z". Variety. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
- "DragonBall Movie". Fox Japan. Retrieved June 18, 2008.
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- , "Dragon Ball Movie to Film This Year for 2008 Release"
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- "1000人が選んだ！漫画史上“最強”キャラクターランキング！" (in Japanese). Retrieved October 28, 2007.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. pp. 138–139. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9.
- One Piece Color Walk - Vol.1 - Interview with Eiichiro Oda and Akira Toriyama ((JP) ISBN 978-4-08-859217-6)
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- "Japanese Anime TV Ranking, April 13–19". Anime News Network. April 22, 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2009.
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- Divers, Allen (November 18, 2001). "Dragon Ball (manga) Graphic Novel vol 5". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
- "Dragon Ball Volume 1 review". Rationalmagic.com. Retrieved October 3, 2008.
- Thompson, Jason (April 8, 2009). "What is Dragon Ball?". Io9. Retrieved December 9, 2009.
- "78. Dragon Ball Z". IGN. January 23, 2009. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
- Jones, Tim. "Dragon Ball anime review". themanime.org. Retrieved October 3, 2008.
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- "Literacy Identity Work: Playing to Learn with Popular Media" (PDF).[dead link]
- Shepard, Chris. "The History of Trunks review". Anime News Network. Retrieved October 3, 2008.
- Harris, Jeffrey (November 12, 2007). "Dragon Ball GT — The Lost Episodes DVD Box Set Review". IGN. Retrieved October 3, 2008.
- Bertschy, Zac (June 6, 2004). "Dragon Ball GT DVD 8: Salvation". Anime News Network. Retrieved October 4, 2008.
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|40x40px||Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Dragon Ball|
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- Official Toei Animation's Dragon Ball website (Japanese)
- Official Toei Animation's Dragon Ball Z website (Japanese)
- Official Toei Animation's Dragon Ball GT website (Japanese)
- Official Toei Animation's Dragon Ball Kai website (Japanese)
- Official FUNimation's Dragon Ball website
- Official FUNimation's Dragon Ball Z website
- Official FUNimation's Dragon Ball GT website
- Official FUNimation's Dragon Ball Z Kai website
- Official Madman's Dragon Ball Z website
- Dragon Ball Z Games Online Dragon Ball Z Games website
- Dragon Ball Z Games Dragon Ball Z Games website
- Dragon Ball (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Dragon Ball (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Dragon Ball Z (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Dragon Ball GT (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Toei's sales, 2011 fiscal year
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