Dragon Ball (Japanese: ドラゴンボール Hepburn: Doragon Bōru) is an adaptation of the first portion of Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball manga. It is composed of 153 episodes and ran on Fuji TV from 1986-1989. It was followed by 3 continuations Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super.
Dragon Ball follows the adventures of Son Goku, from childhood to adulthood, as he trains in martial arts and explores the world in search of the Dragon Balls, seven magical orbs which summon a wish-granting dragon when gathered. Along his journey, Goku makes several friends and battles nefarious villains, many of whom also seek the Dragon Balls to use for their own evil deeds.
Why It Rocks
- Great storylines, on simple worldbuilding and storytelling. Based on the Journey to the West premise, it follows Goku, and a group of friends as they embark on an epic journey across the planet to search for the mystical objects called the Dragon Balls, facing a myriad of perils along the way.
- The anime manages to not only be faithful to Akira Toriyama's manga but expands upon the universe he established. Speaking of which, Toriyama also provides ideas for the anime staff to use, making him involved with its progress.
- Likable heroes and allies. Goku, a boy with a monkey tail living alone in the mountains, has his life changed forever upon meeting a teenage scientific girl named Bulma, and together in their journey, they encounter many adversaries, and most have been made allies by their side, such as Krillin, Yamcha, Tien, and many more. Goku later on becomes the mightiest warrior as he challenges more and more foes, and eventually paving the way for his iconic status in anime history as he grows up and soars ever higher.
- Awesome and intimidating villains. King Piccolo, for one, is a demon (a Namekian in reality), who rules the world with an iron fist, who becomes young using a wish from Shenron, the eternal dragon. The Red Ribbon Army, a terrorist organization that later created the Androids, is led by the fearsome Commander Red.
- Like many anime series, the voice acting is phenomenal. Many of the voice actors chosen for the characters were handpicked by the author, Akira Toriyama himself, and the result is a spot-on, fitting cast for their personalities.
- The English Funimation dub is also decent.
- Though not as iconic as the later series, it has a memorable theme song, "Makafushigi Adventure".
- The action scenes, while not as explosive and intense as the sequel's, are executed well and makes good use of battle tactics and tension. This also set the ground for how fights in the Dragon Ball franchise are engaged.
- It has 10 sagas and all of them make up for an epic and stretching journey as Goku grows in character and might, fighting much more dangerous foes as he progresses, with the final anime-original one acting as a prelude to Dragon Ball Z:
- Emperor Pilaf Saga (Episodes 1–13)
- Tournament Saga (Episodes 14–28)
- Red Ribbon Army Saga (Episodes 29–45)
- General Blue Saga (Episodes 46–57)
- Commander Red Saga (Episodes 58–67)
- Fortuneteller Baba Saga (Episodes 68–83)
- Tien Shinhan Saga (Episodes 84–101)
- King Piccolo Saga (Episodes 102–122)
- Piccolo Jr. Saga (Episodes 123–148)
- Wedding Dress in Flames Saga (Episodes 149-153; anime-original)
- During the series, Toei released 3 films that are based on the series: Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies, Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle and Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure. The fourth and final film, Dragon Ball: The Path to Power, was released in 1996 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the original Dragon Ball series and all of the four films were good.
- Characters from Dr. Slump, another series by Akira Toriyama, appear during the General Blue Saga.
- Great animation for its time. Many of the animators later worked for Dragon Ball Z and they flex their skills adapting the action-packed manga series.
- While there are some filler episodes, they still manage to be enjoyable.
- If it weren't for this series, Dragon Ball Z or the rest of the franchise wouldn't be as popular and greatly acclaimed as it is today. Many elements seen later in the franchise all started here, such as ki energy, superhuman abilities like flying, magic powers and transformations.
- The voice acting in the Blue Water dub isn't too good.
- For some reason the Harmony Gold dub changed the character's name. For example, Goku is called Zero and Bulma is called Lena (though her original name is still written on her shirt)
- Also the Harmony Gold dub's Theme song is awful
- Though the Harmony Gold dub was less censored, more faithful to the original (apart from the character name changes) and had better voice acting that the other dubs.
- There are some incredibly inappropriate moments (often involving Bulma and Master Roshi), such as Bulma attempting to seduce Goku by showing her panties to him and allowing Goku to touch her if he gave her one of the Dragon Balls, Goku removing Bulma's panties while she's sleeping, Bulma lifting her skirt up and showing her privates to Master Roshi in order to get the Three-Star Dragon Ball and Yamcha touching Bulma's breast thinking it was a dragon ball.
- General Blue is implied to be a pedophile in the episode 56 of the original Japanese version.
- Goku's penis is shown completely uncensored multiple times throughout the original Japanese version. Thankfully, it was censored in the English dub.
- The infamous French dub which became notorious amongst the Dragon Ball community and often declared as the worst dub of all the Dragon Ball dubs as It completely censors the fights, it changes most of the characters names and most of the names are stupid such as Piccolo being named Petit Cœur (which means Small Heart), has a childish script and its opening sucks. All these problems happened due to Club Dorothée advertising the show to little kids.
- To make matters worse, most of the European dubs of both Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z are based of the French dub.
- Apart from the second Funimation and Blue Water dubs, all of Dragon Ball’s English dubs are either failed or lost.
- Similar to Jynx from Pokémon, Mr. Popo's design and humanoid appearance and original design was criticized as an offensive racist stereotype by commentors, such as the author Carole Weatherford. He originally had a black skin and fat pink lips. As a result of the controversy, his design was recoloured blue from his original skin color and lips were downsized in the English dub of the show.