Dragon Ball Manga Volume #2 thru #4: Akira Toriyama developed this series, in the tradition of his well-known (in Japan, anyway,) Dr. Slump. The sex and toilet humor was toned down a bit in Dragon Ball, but it still has more than its share of silly, etchie jokes and characters talking directly to the reader. The first few volumes emphasized the old Monkey King legend references very heavily, which continues to a lesser extent later on. Most notably: Son Gokuu (name of both main characters,) Gokuu's expanding staff, the tail (and Gokuu's tendency to turn into a were-monkey when he sees the full moon,) the flying cloud, etc. There are currently 34 volumes, and the series will probably continue to in the weekly magazine, Shonen Jump. (In volume 2, Akira drew one bookshelf filled with Shonen Jump manga.) NOTE: I have not summarized volume 1, partially because other people have translated it in APAratus. If enough people ask me to, I will work on it (when I get another copy of the manga.) [fa:vxxx -- First Appears in Volume xxx.] Son Gokuu: The naive, super-powerful young boy. Carries an expanding staff he received from his grandfather, and rides a hyper-fast cloud (Kintoun) that Kamesennin gave him in book 1. Kamesennin got Kintoun from Kami-sama (god.) [fa:v1] Buruma: The spunky young girl that first shows up looking for the 7 Dragon Balls. She's very high-tech, and later shown to work for Capsule Corp. (the company that makes the Hoi Poi capsules. These capsules can be carried in a case or pocket, and expand to provide the user with cars, campsites, and weapons.) Wants the Dragon Balls to wish for a boyfriend. [fa:v1] Yamcha: The longhaired male teenager who wants the Dragon Balls to wish for a girlfriend. Strong and fast, with a wolf-style martial arts attack, but is very shy around women. Starts out as one of Gokuu's enemies. [fa:v1] Puuaru (Pool ?): Yamcha's floating, shape-changing cat friend. Not very bright, but loyal. [fa:v1] Oolong: Shape-changing sukebe pig. First appears as a giant, who has been terrorizing villagers. Quickly gets enlisted to assist Buruma in finding the Dragon Balls. [fa:v1] Kamesennin Mutenroushi: The dirty old man with the turtle shell on his back. Wise, powerful, and subject to severe nose bleeds. [fa:v1] Gyuu Maou: Magical Cow King. Massive man with extended goggles over his eyes. Well-known leader in this land, and highly respected. [fa:v1] Chi Chi: Gyuu Maou's young daughter. An attractive airhead with a throwing fin attached to her helmet. Appears frequently in later volumes. [fa:v1] Oyabun: Large gangster bunny with the ability to turn people into carrots. Controls the town Usagi-dan, but is just a one-shot bad guy. [fa:v2] Pilaf-sama: A blue-skinned dwarf with plans on ruling the world when he gets control of the other six Dragon Balls. Has two side-kicks: An anthropomorphic dog, and a tall attractive woman/bodyguard. These three appear in later stories. [fa:v1, but fully introduced in v2.] Kushami: The very violent, highly mercenary blond woman that is first seen running away from the police after having robbed a bank. [fa:v3] Ranchi (pronounced closer to "Lunch"): Kushami's "other half." A gentle, kind, nice brunette who moves in with Kamesennin "and the rest of the boys." When she sneezes, Ranchi turns into Kushami, or turns back. Somehow, Kushami always manages to produce automatic weapons during her change- over. [fa:v3] Kiririn: Short, bald, and with 6 spots on his forehead instead of a nose, Kiririn is introduced as a boastful little would-be fighter who wants Kamesennin to train him. Later becomes Gokuu's closest friend. His home town is Ouringi, which means "many tree temple.") [fa:v3] Jackie Chun: One of the world's greatest fighters (possibly a pun on Jackie Chan,) and a man with a peculiar secret. [fa:v3] Book one introduced most of the main characters, their personalities, and motivations. Volume two starts out with the Magical Cow King (Gyuu Maou) needing help in putting out the fires of Mt. Frypan. Gokuu rushes out to get Kamesennin, who will only do the job if Buruma will show him her breasts. Kamesennin then bulks up (putting Sylvester Stalone to shame,) and uses Kamehame-ha (a power blast) to not only put out the fires, but to accidently destroy the mountain at the same time. Buruma coerces Oolong into changing into her double to fulfill her part of the bargain in her place. Gyuu Maou offers his daughter to Gokuu, and Yamcha hurriedly rushes back to administer to the girl that he'd beaten up in the first volume. Chi Chi doesn't understand why two men (boys, really,) appear, knowing her name within an hour of each other, but is flattered at finding out that she has a boyfriend (she just doesn't know who the boyfriend is.) Kamesennin states that it took him 50 years to master Kamehame-ha, but Gokuu picks it up right away, then understands everything when Gyuu Maou calls Gokuu by name. [Note: Kamesennin travels to Mt. Frypan via Baby Gamera, and gets so dizzy that he throws up.] The rubble of the mountain contains a Dragon Ball, bringing Buruma's total up to 6. Buruma, Gokuu, and Oolong continue on to find the last ball (Buruma uses her Dragon Radar to locate it,) with Yumcha and Pool following closely behind. They arrive in Usagi-dan (Usagi == Rabbit) for a silly side-story. Oyabun needs to touch someone to turn them into a carrot, and has his goons beat up Gokuu. Yamcha is forced to help Gokuu, so that Buruma can be restored and can find the last Dragon Ball for him. At the end, Gokuu uses his staff to take Oyabun and goons to the moon (the joke is the Japanese equivalent of the western "man in the moon": "The rabbit pounding mochi on the moon.") As the gang continues on, not knowing that Pilaf has the last Ball, they are ambushed. Pilaf's sidekick takes the Balls that Buruma had found, and all her capsules, but misses the Ball that Gokuu claims contains the soul of his grandfather. Pilaf allows the group to enter his castle, so that he can entrap them. His plan to use an "etchie attack" against Buruma backfires: the attack is simply to blow kisses at her, and Buruma is expecting a whole lot worse. Pilaf uses sleeping gas on his prisoners (and himself.) But, his sidekicks do manage to find the Ball Gokuu is carrying, and they go outside to summon the Great Dragon God to let Pilaf make his wish for world domination. Gokuu uses kamehame-ha to make a small hole in the prison wall, which allows Pool and Oolong to change into bats and escape. Oolong, the coward that he is, wants to run away, when he realizes that the first person to make a demand of the Dragon God wins. So, as Pilaf is stuttering away, Oolong yells out that he wants a pair of panties. He gets his wish, the Dragon disappears, and the Balls fly off in separate directions. Everyone is disappointed to find out that the wish can only be made once a year. Pilaf imprisons the group in a cell with metal walls and a skylight. By noon the next day, the heat will be so great that the group will die. This is when Gokuu tells his friends about were-monkeys. As a joke, he looks at the full moon. Everyone else is relieved when nothing happens. Right away. Gokuu turns into a monster monkey, trashes Pilaf's castle, and nearly kills people on both sides. Yamcha remembers that grabbing Gokuu's tail had caused the boy to go limp, so he tries this on the monster, and Pool cuts the tail off. Gokuu immediately reverts and falls asleep. When he comes to, he takes the loss of his tail calmly, but has also lost his sense of balance. Afterwards, he runs to the rubble of Pilaf's castle to recover his staff. During which, Buruma and Yamcha bemoan the foiling of their plans to find lovers -- before realizing that each was made for the other. Buruma and Yumcha plan on getting to know each other better, but drag Pool and Oolong along for the ride. Gokuu wants to get the Dragon Balls back, so that he can bring his grandfather back to life. Gokuu flies off to Kamesennin's island, because the old man apparently knows something about Gokuu's past. But, the old pervert is busy watching an aerobics show. Gokuu learns about Giri giri girls (they're very "healthy") and he runs off to get a very "healthy" girl for the old man. End of volume. Highly recommended to people with "discriminating tastes"... Volume 3 continues the "Gokuu doesn't know what a giri giri girl is" storyline. As Kamesennin is trying to teach Gokuu (Gokuu does eventually learn to distinguish between ugly and beautiful faces, but not beautiful women and beautiful mermaids,) a new guy shows up. Kiririn arrives at the island to ask Kamesennin to teach him fighting techniques; however, his entrance marks him more as a buffoon than a serious combat master. He bribes Kamesennin with a dirty magazine, and then goes with Gokuu to find a true giri giri girl. But, Kintoun only supports people that are pure of heart, and Kiririn has to hold onto Gokuu for the entire trip (along the way, he discovers that Gokuu can't tell men and women apart unless he can see their private parts. Kiririn hastily assures Gokuu that he is indeed male.) Below them, a feisty woman on a mono-scooter is evading the police until her hair tickles her nose and she sneezes. The frightened girl that takes her place then calls for help. Gokuu and Kiririn decide that Ranchi would make a great giri giri girl, and rescue her (notice that Ranchi has no trouble riding Kintoun.) At the island, Kamesennin is delighted to see that Ranchi isn't hitting him when he stares at her, and has her change into "the kamesennin uniform." To support the gag, he and the two runts are also wearing the lingerie when Ranchi steps back out. Then, disaster strikes and the group learns about Ranchi's "dark-side." Because he's going to train the two kids, the dirty old man moves the house to a larger island, and has Ranchi explain what the sneezing is all about (not much explanation, though -- it just happens that way.) The first part of the first day's training is to see who's the fastest: Kiririn's dash is about 10 seconds; Gokuu's is 11 seconds, but with a replacement for his torn shoes, he comes in around 8 seconds. Kamesennin blows them both away at 5+ seconds. The second part is a little contest, where the one who finds the rock with "turtle" written on it, within 30 minutes, gets to eat supper. Kiririn resorts to cheating several times, and wins. The next day, Kamesennin has the boys pick up a milk delivery, and while hopping, skipping, and zigzagging, makes the two drop the milk bottles off at people's houses. The last house on the route is at the top of a big hill, and Kamesennin gracefully allows the boys to walk up the stairs, instead of running. The owner of the house, a priest, tells us that the combat that the boys are training for, which takes place in 8 months, is the Tenkaichi-budoukai. From this point on, we get to see Kiririn and Gokuu training both their bodies, and minds (Gokuu hates having to do language lessons.) To work on physical strength, Kamesennin tells them to push against a large rock. Gokuu manages to unexpectedly move it, so Kamesennin points out a monster rock for them to work on. When the training becomes too easy, he has his students wear 40 pound turtle shells on their backs. Finally, with a month to go, Gokuu rushes into the house, excitedly. He takes the old man to the monster rock, and pushes it a few yards. Kiririn does this too, and Kamesennin thinks to himself "I just told them to do that as a JOKE..." Since they've gotten so strong, he gives them 90 pound turtle shells to wear. When the time comes, Gokuu and Kiririn get to remove the shells, and are told to jump up. They're VERY surprised to find out how strong they've become. Dressed up, and ready to go, the three fighters fly off to combat. At the fight ring, both Gokuu and Kiririn expect to be easily defeated by one of the many other contestants (note: the uniforms Kamesennin gives them have the kanji for turtle on the front, pronounced "kame".) Kiririn's first match is against one of the two bullies from his hometown (he kept on getting beaten up at home, which is why he left to train under Kamesennin.) His victory is very gratifying. In the middle of the competition, there is a commercial break, advertising the fact that book 4 is now on sale. Gokuu and Kiririn easily win their elimination rounds, and eventually there are only 8 people left in the competition -- which includes Yamcha, and a strangely familiar man named Jackie Chun. Gokuu doesn't recognize Yamcha right away, because Buruma had made him cut his long, flowing hair. Also in the audience are Buruma, Pool, and Oolong; these three cheer for Yamcha, Gokuu, and Kiririn. The other fighters are: Bactarian: A "dirty" fighter in both senses of the word. Namu: A mystic from a place that looks like India. Ranfawn: Beautiful, seductive, and a mean street fighter. Jackie Chun: Master martial artist. Gilan: A rubber-suit monster. Kiririn nearly loses to Bactarian, but eventually rallies, and defeats the louse with a fart of his own. Volume four: Jackie had wanted to face Ranfawn, but was paired against Yamcha, and wins his match. Ranfawn uses her feminine wiles, but Namu is desperately hoping to win the cash prize so that he can buy water for his dying village -- Namu overcomes his moral sense, and knocks her out. Yamcha thinks that Jackie's "dirty-old-man" reaction to the girl is somehow familiar, and he accuses Chun of being Kamesennin. Gokuu fights Gilan, who uses a rubber phlegm to entrap our hero. As Gilan swoops in for the kill, Gokuu gets his tail free, and finally his entire body. Realizing that he's about to be pounded into a pulp, Gilan forfeits the round. There is now an interview with "the two kids," Gokuu and Kiririn. When asked how old he is, Gokuu gets it wrong. After, Jackie complains about not being interviewed himself, takes the mike, and breaks into a "dirty old man" rap (in the TV series, this is really funny.) Gokuu joins in. In round two, Kiririn faces Jackie Chun. He's getting beaten badly, but some of the action is going by so fast that the announcer asks the two to recreate one of the attacks in slow-motion. Then, Kiririn tries using "the panty attack." Chun's reaction convinces Yamcha that Jackie and Kamesennin are the same person. Jackie is knocked out of the ring, and has to use Kamehame-ha to propell himself back. This sends the announcer into a fit, since Kamesennin is the only person in the world capable of using it -- Jackie now makes it two (although, Yamcha knows better.) One of Jackie's other tricks is the "fake image": when you move away so fast that it looks like you're still standing in place. Finally, Kiririn charges Jackie, and is simply knocked out. Yamcha confronts Jackie, first accusing the old pervert of having fake hair, and then having a fake head. When Gokuu tries checking Chun's scent, they discover that Chun uses perfume. In his round, Gokuu faces Namu, and uses the "fake image" technique himself. Yamcha is impressed at Gokuu's ability to pick up a skill like that, but Jackie is more impressed that Namu is not deceived by it. Gokuu tries a "whirlwind" attack that nearly succeeds except that Gokuu gets so dizzy that he makes himself sick. Eventually, he does win through sheer speed and power. Namu gracefully accepts the fact that he's let his village down, but feels that a miracle has occurred when Jackie gives him a "rain-maker" capsule and tells him that Jackie really is Kamesennin. Chun explains that to win the competition requires that you do more than just fight. Gokuu and Kiririn are strong, but inexperienced, so Chun is there to teach them how to win. To return Jackie's favor, and to further confuse the issue, Namu impersonates Kamesennin in the crowd, completely fooling Yamcha. The last round starts with Gokuu opposite Jackie Chun. Jackie attacks full-out, and gets in a good kick. He's sure that he's won, but Gokuu uses his tail to fly back into the ring. Gokuu suggests having a Kamehame-ha contest, and Jackie doesn't believe that the shrimp knows how to use that attack. But, Gokuu wins by a slight margin, and Chun uses his "fake image" attack ("wan pataan" = "one pattern") but upgrades it to be two patterns. Gokuu does him one better with a "three pattern" attack. The blow to his head is so strong, that Jackie nearly gives away his secret identity. Which is when he decides to try his "drunken fighting" style. This works quite well, but Gokuu recognizes it as something his dead grandfather had mastered, and wants to know how Jackie had learned it. Jackie remains silent, continuing his attack, when Gokuu decides to implement his "crazy fighting" style. However, he gets one of the kanji wrong and it becomes "mad dog" style (which makes Jackie even angrier.) The book ends at this point. -- Curtis H. Hoffmann May 16, 1993
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