Dragon Ball vol 2 (of 16)

UK Distributor:  Gollancz Manga

Author:  Akira Toriyama

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  £4.99

Number of Pages:  208

ISBN:  0-5750-7736-0

Reviewed:  25th August 2006

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)


Everyone’s favourite fighting series started off with more comedic roots than you may have expected, as amply demonstrated in vol 1!

Following directly on from the last volume our intrepid heroes Goku, Bulma and Oolong have come to Fry Pan Mountain in their search for the sixth of the seven legendary Dragon Balls.  Unfortunately for them the ball is stuck in a castle atop the mountain, and it’s not called Fry Pan for nothing.  A huge inferno covers the mountain, an inferno so fierce that even the mighty Ox King Gyu-Mao is unable to conquer it.  There’s only one thing that can quench the fire, the Basho-Sen, a legendary fan with the power to raise a mighty storm.  The Kame Sen’in, the old man who gave Goku his flying cloud, is supposed to have it, so Goku takes Gyu-Mao’s daughter Chi-Chi with him as he travels to get it.  Meanwhile Yamcha and Puar lie in wait, planning to steal all seven balls once Bulma has gathered them, but someone else is also scheming to get them.  The seventh ball is in the possession of Pilaf, diminutive leader of his own tin-pot empire (which consists of one castle and two subordinates) who plans to wish for world domination.  If Bulma gets the sixth ball her search for the seventh will take her right into his clutches…

Dragon Ball carries on where it left on with another hugely entertaining volume of slapstick, action, toilet humour and downright silliness!  The running gags from last time – Goku’s cheerful naivety, Yamcha’s fear of women and the Kame Sen’in’s utter perviness – continue unabated, but there are plenty of new comedy elements too.  My personal favourite is Pilaf and his followers, a trio of dumb and extremely ineffective villains with delusions of grandeur who nonetheless manage to make life extremely difficult for our Goku, Bulma and co.  Pilaf is hilarious, a squat little goblin who talks about world domination whilst clutching a toothbrush and getting ready for bed.  He’s hilariously innocent (he thinks blowing a kiss at Bulma will humiliate her…), very dumb (forgets to put on his gas mask after using sleeping gas) and spends his evenings playing cards!  He’s the least threatening villain you’ve ever seen and the story is particularly hilarious after he shows up.

The story pretty much treads similar ground to volume 1, with Bulma continuing her Dragon Ball search and Goku coming up against some new challenges.  The return of the Kame Sen’in provides plenty more pervy humour and proves he is more than just a dirty old man – he once trained Goku’s grandfather Son Gohan and he demonstrate his mystical powers in extremely impressive fashion.  His appearance also nicely sets up a future story arc, as he agrees to take Goku on as a pupil once Bulma’s Dragon Ball quest is over, much to Yamcha’s surprise.  This volume is great fun as always, but it’s also interesting as it marks the point when Dragon Ball changes from an adventure series to a fighting series.  The search for the Dragon Balls ends in this volume and the focus of the story shifts completely on to Goku, with an ominous note that it’ll ‘keep going…and going…and going!’.  From here on out it will focus on Goku’s training and fighting against increasingly stronger enemies, so it’ll be interesting to see if it can retain the charm and bawdy humour that has made these first two volumes so good.

Dragon Ball vol 2 is hugely enjoyable and great fun to read with plenty of laughs to be had.  The humour is sometimes of the end-of-the-pier variety but it’s still really funny, with plenty of rude gags to guiltily giggle along to.  The current story arc comes to a very funny conclusion and we see another side to Goku, whilst Bulma’s usual narcissism and self-serving attitude is entertaining as always.  Once again Dragon Ball delivers a volume of great comedy with a decent smattering of action, it’s not deep, tense or thought provoking but for sheer entertainment there’s little better.  Packed with good characters (although the less said about the Carrot Master the better) and great moments Dragon Ball is well worth picking up considering its £4.99 retail price.


 Character profiles, a short biography and comment from the author, plus the usual survey and advert.  Not much.


Feature:   Extras:

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