Throwback Thursday: Dragonball

It’s that time of the month, ladies and gentledudes. This month, we step into the wayback machine to bring you the granddaddy of classics. That’s right, you read the title and saw the large picture above and guessed correctly. We’re talkin’ Dragon Ball in this edition of Throwback Thursday.

Created by Akira Toriyama, the manga inspired by “Journey to the West,” as well as an earlier work entitled “Dragon Boy,” ran from 1984 to 1995. The anime would run from 1986 to 1989, and from there would spawn arguably the most successful of franchises in the world. A franchise that continues to inspire and entertain across the world, even today.

I can’t imagine there are many anime fans who don’t know about Dragon Ball. Still, for the sake of the article, allow me to break it down for you.

Dragon Ball tells the story of the super strong boy with a tail named Son Goku. Goku travels with a young girl named Bulma searching for seven magic orbs called Dragon Balls that can grant the user any wish when brought together. Along the way, they meet several people who will become life-long friends such as Yamcha, Krillin, and Tien. They also encounter such foes as the Red Ribbon Army, Emperor Pilaf, and Demon King Piccolo, who all test Goku and force him to grow stronger as they also wish to capture the Dragon Balls for their own evil schemes.

The precursor for Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball for the majority of it’s series takes a far less serious tone and focuses more on the characters and their martial-arts abilities rather than direct power. In some respects it manages to outdo Dragon Ball Z. One notable example is the fact that most of Goku’s allies play a role in most events of the series, (even Yamcha  had some moments of cool,) as opposed to being rather useless unless you were an alien.

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Another plus is, while it’s pretty straightforward in the beginning, the stories grow a little more complex with time. The pacing isn’t done all that well, but by the time Goku is training with Master Roshi, the arcs tend to be pretty good. One thing that you’ll notice is that some of the jokes can be somewhat crude, but it’s all in good fun. There’s even a scene where Goku strips Bulma of her panties in her sleep.

Don’t ask me why. Just watch and find out for yourself.

Goku’s naivety makes for a really good aspect of the story, and continues into DBZ. Some would criticize Goku’s character for a lack of development. Still, at the end of the day, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

176940-untitled_1_largeInterestingly enough, Dragon Ball plays out in a heavily condensed version of the story in Dragon Ball: The Path to Power.

With all that out of the way, for those that aren’t fans of Dragon Ball Z’s style, but may still like aspects of it, Dragon Ball is a great substitute and considering how I ranked Path of Power, it holds up pretty well. It may not offer a deep, engaging story that a lot of anime fans of today are attracted to, but it does offer a fun take on the otherwise repetitive shonen genre. In that way, it’s a good break from a lot of the more intense anime of today, and if you’re looking to get someone into anime without throwing them a lot of big concepts early on, this is the perfect starter!