Title: Dragon Ball vol 2 (of 16)
UK Distributor: Gollancz Manga
Author: Akira Toriyama
Suggested Retail Price (SRP): £4.99
Number of Pages: 208
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
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.