Dragon Ball (anime)
Dragon Ball logo
|Genre||Adventure, Comedy, Martial arts, Science fantasy|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Minoru Okazaki
|Music by||Shunsuke Kikuchi|
|Original run||February 26, 1986 – April 12, 1989|
|Anime film series|
|Released||December 20, 1986 – March 4, 1996|
|Dragon Ball franchise|
Dragon Ball (ドラゴンボール Doragon Bōru?) is a Japanese anime television series produced by Toei Animation. It is an adaptation of the first 194 chapters of the manga of the same name created by Akira Toriyama, which were published in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1984 to 1988. The anime is composed of 153 episodes that were broadcast on Fuji TV from February 26, 1986 to April 12, 1989.
Dragon Ball follows the adventures of the protagonist Goku, a super strong naïve boy who, upon meeting Bulma, sets out to gather the seven wish-granting Dragon Balls. After becoming a student of martial arts master Kame-Sennin, he and his fellow pupil Kuririn enter a tournament that attracts the most powerful fighters in the world. He then sets out on his own and winds up facing and destroying the Red Ribbon Army single-handedly. When Kuririn is later murdered after another tournament, Goku exacts revenge on his killer Piccolo Daimao. Three years later, Goku, now a young adult, must fight Piccolo Daimao's offspring Piccolo. The remaining 325 chapters of the manga were adapted into the Dragon Ball Z anime.
The series begins with a young monkey-tailed boy named Goku befriending a teenage girl named Bulma. Together they go on a quest to find the seven Dragon Balls (ドラゴンボール?), which summons the dragon Shenron to grant the user one wish. The journey lead to a confrontation with the desert bandit Yamcha, who later becomes an ally; Chi-Chi, whom Goku unknowingly agrees to marry; and Pilaf, an impish man who seeks the Dragon Balls to fulfill his desire to rule the world. Goku then undergoes rigorous training regimes under the martial artist Kame-Sennin in order to fight in the Tenkaichi Budōkai (天下一武道会?, "Strongest Under the Heavens Martial Arts Tournament") that attracts the most powerful fighters in the world. A monk named Kuririn becomes his training partner and rival, but they soon become best friends. After the tournament, Goku sets out on his own to recover the Dragon Ball his Grandfather left him and encounters the Red Ribbon Army, whose leader wants to collect the Dragon Balls for himself. He almost single-handedly defeats the army, including their hired assassin Taopaipai, whom he originally lost to, but after training under the hermit Karin, now easily beats. Goku reunites with his friends to defeat the fortuneteller Baba Uranai's fighters and have her locate the last Dragon Ball in order to revive a friend killed by Taopaipai.
They all reunite at the Tenkaichi Budōkai three years later and meet Kame-Sennin's rival and Taopaipai's brother, Tsuru-Sennin, and his students Tenshinhan and Chaozu, who vow to exact revenge. Kuririn is killed after the tournament and Goku tracks and is defeated by his killer, Piccolo Daimao. The samurai Yajirobe takes Goku to Korin, where he receives healing and a power boost. Meanwhile Piccolo fights Kame-Sennin and Chaozu, leading to both their deaths, and uses the Dragon Balls to regain his youth before destroying Shenlong. Goku then begins his battle with Piccolo Daimao, who, just before dying, spawns his son/reincarnation Piccolo. Karin informs Goku that Kami (God), the original creator of the Dragon Balls, might be able to restore Shenlong so that he can wish his friends back to life, which he does. He also stays and trains under Kami for the next three years, once again reuniting with his friends at the Tenkaichi Budōkai. Piccolo Jr. also enters the tournament to avenge his father, leading to the final fight between him and Goku. After Goku narrowly wins, he leaves with Chi-Chi and keeps his promise to marry her.
Toriyama had role in the production of the anime, including listening to the voice actors' audition tapes before choosing Masako Nozawa to play Goku. He would go on to state that he would hear Nozawa's voice in his head when writing the manga. Toriyama would specify Kuririn's voice actress to be Mayumi Tanaka after her work as the main character Giovanni in Night on the Galactic Railroad. Tōru Furuya remarked that there were not many auditions for the characters because the cast was made up of veteran voice actors. Performing the roles was not without its difficulties, Toshio Furukawa, the voice of Piccolo, said it was difficult to constantly perform with a low voice because his normal lighter voice would break through if he broke concentration.
English localization and Broadcasting
Harmony Gold USA licensed the series for an English-language release in North America in the late 1980s. In the voice dubbing of the series, Harmony Gold renamed almost all of the characters, including the protagonist Goku, who was renamed "Zero." This dub consisting of 5 episodes and one movie (an 80 minute feature featuring footage of movies 1 and 3 edited together) was cancelled shortly after being test marketed in several US cities and was never broadcast to the general public, thus earning the fan-coined term "The Lost Dub."
In 1995, Funimation acquired the license for the distribution of Dragon Ball in the United States. They contracted Josanne B. Lovick Productions and voice actors from Ocean Productions to create an English version for the anime and first movie in Vancouver, Canada. The dubbed episodes were edited for content, and contained different music. Thirteen episodes aired in first-run syndication during the fall of 1995 before Funimation canceled the project due to low ratings.
In March 2001, Funimation announced the return of Dragon Ball to American television, featuring a new English version produced in-house with slightly less editing for broadcast (though the episodes remained uncut for home video releases), and they notably left the original background music intact, which was met with delight from fans. The re-dubbed episodes aired on Cartoon Network from August 20, 2001 to December 1, 2003. Funimation also broadcast the series on Colours TV and their own Funimation Channel starting in 2006. This English dub was also broadcast in Australia and New Zealand. In Canada and Europe, an alternative dubbed version was produced by AB Groupe (in association with Blue Water Studios) and was aired in those territories instead of the Funimation version.
The US version of Dragon Ball was aired on Cartoon Network with numerous digital cosmetic changes, which were done to remove nudity and blood, and dialogue edits, such as when Puar says why Oolong was expelled from shapeshifting school, instead of saying that he stole the teacher's panties, it was changed to him stealing the teacher's papers. Some scenes were deleted altogether, either to save time or remove strong violence. Nudity was also covered up; for Goku's bathing scene, Funimation drew a chair to cover his genitals where it was uncensored previously. References to alcohol and drugs were removed, for example, when Jackie Chun (Kame-Sennin) uses Drunken Fist Kung Fu in the 21st Tenkaichi Budokai, Funimation called it the "Mad Cow Attack." Also, the famous "No Balls!" scene was deleted from episode 2, and when Bulma places panties on the fishing hook to get Oolong (in fish form), they digitally painted away the panties and replaced it with some money.
Censoring also lead to confusing context and the content of the scenes; as when Bulma helps Goku take a bath. In the Japanese version, the two characters do not cover their privates because Goku is innocent of the differences in gender and Bulma believes Goku to be a little boy. While bathing Bulma asks Goku his age and only when Goku reveals himself to be fourteen does Bulma throw things at Goku before kicking him out of the bath. In the Funimation version the dialogue was changed; with Goku remarking that Bulma did not have a tail and it must be inconvenient for her when bathing. The context changes, from the Japanese version which shows Goku's ignorance and innocence to Funimation's focus on sexuality. These changes were well known to fans who had watched Dragon Ball through the internet and Okuhara writes that American children are smart enough to understand the program and do not need to be the subject of overprotection.
Shunsuke Kikuchi composed the score for Dragon Ball. The opening theme for all of the episodes is "Makafushigi Adventure!" (魔訶不思議アドベンチャー！ Makafushigi Adobenchā!?, "Mystical Adventure!") performed by Hiroki Takahashi. The ending theme is "Romantic Ageru yo" (ロマンティックあげるよ Romantikku Ageru yo?, "I'll Give You a Romantic Night") performed by Ushio Hashimoto.
In Japan, Dragon Ball did not receive a home video release until July 7, 2004, fifteen years after its broadcast. This was a remastering of the series in a single 26-disc DVD box set, that was made-to-order only, referred to as a "Dragon Box". The content of this set began being released on mass-produced individual 6-episode DVDs on April 4, 2007 and finished with the 26th volume on December 5, 2007.
Dragon Ball's initial VHS release for North America was never completed. Funimation released their initial dub, the censored first thirteen episodes, on six tapes from September 24, 1996 to July 28, 1998 together with Trimark Pictures. These episodes and the first movie were later released in a VHS or DVD box set on October 24, 2000. Funimation began releasing their in-house dub beginning with episode 14 by themselves on June 5, 2001 in both edited and uncut formats, before seizing VHS releases the following year. Including the initial 1996-1998 releases with Trimark, 86 episodes of Dragon Ball across 28 volumes were produced on VHS for North America.
Funimation released their in-house dub to ten two-disc DVD box sets between January 28, 2003 and August 19, 2003. Each box set, spanning an entire "saga" of the series, included the English and Japanese audio tracks with optional English subtitles, and uncut video and audio. However, they were unable to release the first thirteen episodes at the time, due to Lions Gate Entertainment holding the home video rights to their previous dub of the same episodes, having acquired them from Trimark after the company became defunct. After Lions Gate's license to the first thirteen episodes expired in 2009, Funimation remastered and re-released the complete Dragon Ball series to DVD in five individual uncut season box sets, with the first set released on September 15, 2009 and the final on July 27, 2010.
Funimation's English dub of Dragon Ball has been distributed in other countries by third parties. Madman Entertainment released the first thirteen episodes of Dragon Ball and the first movie uncut in Australasia in a DVD set on March 10, 2004. They produced two box sets containing the entire series in 2006 and 2007. Manga Entertainment began releasing Funimation's five remastered sets in the United Kingdom in 2014.
During the anime's broadcast, three theatrical animated Dragon Ball films were produced. The first was The Legend of Shenlong in 1986, followed by Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle in 1987, and finally Great Mystical Adventure in 1988. In 1996, The Path to Power was produced in order to commemorate the anime's tenth anniversary.
Dragon Ball has been host to several soundtrack releases, the first being Dragon Ball: Music Collection in 1986. Dragon Ball: Saikyō e no Michi Original Soundtrack is composed entirely of music from the tenth anniversary film. In 1995, Dragon Ball: Original USA TV Soundtrack Recording was released featuring the music from the Funimation/Ocean American broadcast.
Otaku USA's Joseph Luster called Dragon Ball "one of the most memorable animated action/comedy series of all time." He cited the comedy as a key component to the show, noting that this might surprise those only familiar with Z. Todd Douglass of DVD Talk referred to it as "a classic among classics [that] stands as a genre defining kind of show." and wrote that "It's iconic in so many ways and should be standard watching for otaku in order to appreciate the genius of Akira Toriyama." He had strong praise for the "deep, insightful, and well-developed" characters, writing "Few shows can claim to have a cast quite like Dragon Ball's, and that's a testament to the creative genius of Toriyama."
T.H.E.M Anime Reviews' Tim Jones gave the show four out of five stars, referring to it as a forerunner to modern fighting anime and still one of the best. He also stated that it has much more character development than its successors Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT. Carl Kimlinger of Anime News Network summed up Dragon Ball as "an action-packed tale told with rare humor and something even rarer—a genuine sense of adventure." Kimlinger and Theron Martin, also of Anime News Network, noted Funimation's reputation for drastic alterations of the script, but praised the dub.
The positive impact of Dragon Ball's characters has manifested itself in the personal messages Masako Nozawa sent to children as taped messages in the voice of Goku, Gohan and Goten. Nozawa takes pride in her role and sends words of encouragement that have resulted in children in comas responding to the voice of the characters.
- DRAGON BALL 大全集 3 TV ANIMATION PART 1. Shueisha. 1995. pp. 202–207. ISBN 4-08-782753-4.
- DRAGON BALL 大全集 補巻 TV ANIMATION PART 3. Shueisha. 1996. pp. 107–113. ISBN 4-08-102019-1.
- Dragon Ball Harmony Gold dub
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- "Dragon Ball: Season 5". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
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- "Dragon Ball Complete Collection Part 2 (Sagas 7-11) (Fatpack)". Madman Entertainment. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
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- Douglass Jr., Todd. "Dragon Ball: Season Three". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2015-03-10.
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- Jones, Tim. "Dragon Ball". THEM Anime Reviews. Retrieved 2013-09-12.
- "Dragon Ball DVD Season 2 Uncut Set". Anime News Network. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "Dragon Ball DVD Season 3". Anime News Network. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Dragon Ball|
- Toei Dragon Ball website
- Funimation Dragon Ball website
- Madman's Dragon Ball website
- Dragon Ball (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia