Eric Gustafson's Reviews > Dragon Ball, Vol. 1: The Monkey King

Dragon Ball, Vol. 1 by Akira Toriyama
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Sep 12, 09

bookshelves: local-library
Read in September, 2009

The original Dragon Ball is silly fun, with an almost stream-of-consciousness plot. The simple quest for seven mystical dragon balls serves as a loose framework for disparate adventures in a world whose characters and locales are a mish-mash of futuristic, mythological, prehistoric, and cinematic.

The hero is a small monkey boy named Son Goku with a strong appetite for fighting. He is discovered in the jungle wilderness by a girl using advanced technology to find the dragon balls, and they continue the quest together. Along the way, they battle conversant monsters, mischievous shape-shifters, and a painfully shy desert bandit.

Much of the humor is earthy, and plays off Goku's inherent innocence. When the girl, Bulma, tries to win him over by flashing him, Goku grimaces over the sight of her "dirty butt".

A typical stock character of manga is here, the deviant old man lusting after young girls' panties. A small pig transforms himself into a monster in order to extort young girls from terrified villagers. But in the end, Goku's virtue is rewarded with the gift of a magic cloud that can be ridden only by the pure -- so of course, no one but him can resist falling straight through.

Volume 1 ends in a cliffhanger, as Bulma in a bunny suit is threatened by the monstrous Ox King at the foot of a flaming castle that holds the sixth dragon ball.
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