Dragon Ball Full Color Volume 1 Review: Everything’s Better With Color

I have done various news postings related to manga and novelizations of movies, but when I heard about the Dragon Ball manga getting a colored edition, I thought I’d check it out and review it. So let’s take a look at Dragon Ball Full Color Volume 1, and see if it’s worth picking up.

As far as story goes, the first volume covers the first volume and a half of the original Dragon Ball Z manga. For those who may not be entirely familiar of the storyline of Dragon Ball Z, this is where the dictionary definition of power creep in anime begins. Goku’s older brother shows up and kidnaps Gohan, only to be killed by Piccolo. Goku dies as well and trains with King Kai in preperation for the arrival of Vegeta and Nappa, two Saiyan Warriors who make Raditz look weak (and let’s face it, Raditz is basically the RPG equivalent of a slime in this series.) So in short, there are no changes to the story or new content for veteran fans of the series.

As far as the color goes, this volume looks spectacular. It adds its own style to the manga without making it look like a bunch of screen shots from Dragon Ball Z Kai. The colors are crisp and clean while staying true to the original art by Akira Toriyama. Unfortunately the coloring isn’t entirely perfect, as there are some changes that will raise the eyebrows of long time fans. Among the most bizarre of changes is the fact that Bulma’s hair and eyes are now light purple rather than the signature blue that she has had for years. Piccolo’s arms no longer have those light red spots and they are now light yellow. The other oddity was Gohan’s outfit at the beginning had a different colored hat as well. Vegeta and Nappa now have green scouters, whereas they were originally red and blue respectively. Vegeta doesn’t have that god awful color on his armor that he did in the beginning of the original anime, and I’m thankful for that.

As far as text goes, all the sound effects are left in Japanese and a translation for them is provided at the very end of the volume. All the text is exactly the same as it was in the original manga, although Piccolo has some strange lines at the beginning of the volume and I am not sure why they are like that. For example, Piccolo says to Raditz: “What say you?! Know you not the one to whom you show such insolence?!” Lines like that are incorrect and jarring for a reader, and I don’t know why they weren’t corrected.

Overall there aren’t many issues with this first volume, save for the ones that I pointed out. I wonder if this is an attempt to bring in new audiences into the experience that is Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, or if this is meant to appeal to older fans. If you have somehow never heard of Dragon Ball Z and want to check out the manga, then I’d recommend this colored volume. Of course the full series is out there in non color, but this is a good place to start for new fans. I can even recommend this to veteran fans, as it would make a great addition to any Dragon Ball fan’s collection.

The first volume will be released on February 4th, 2014 for $19.99. The second volume will come out in a couple of months. To my knowledge the third volume has yet to be announced by Viz Media but I believe it has already been released in Japan.

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