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Manga Review: Dragon Ball Omnibus Volume Two by Akira Toriyama

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Dragon Ball Omnibus Volume Two collects the fourth, fifth and sixth volumes of Akira Toriyama’s manga series into one volume. Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint has the North American distribution rights for the series, and they released this omnibus edition in September 2008. Dragon Ball is rated “T” for teen, and I would have to agree with this rating.

This volume continues the Tenkaichi Tournament (or as it’s referred to in this English translation, “The Strongest-Under-the-Heavens Martial Arts Tournament”), which is a big martial arts tournament that is only held every few years. This volume begins right after Kuririn has defeated Bacterian in the first round. All of volume four focuses on the tournament; there are five matches that lead up to the final bout. The fourth volume ends in the middle of the final fight.

The final match of the tournament continues for the first five chapters of volume five. After the tournament, Goku and his friends part ways; Goku heads on a quest to find the Four-Star Dragon Ball that had been given to him by his grandfather. During his search, Goku encounters the Rid Ribbon Army, a crime organization that is trying to find all seven of the Dragon Balls in order to make a wish to Shen Long, the dragon that is summoned by the Dragon Balls. The rest of this volume sees Goku trying to rescue the mayor of a village from a Red Ribbon Army base as a way to thank one of the villagers for rescuing him.

The first seven chapters of volume six wrap up the storyline of Goku rescuing the mayor. The rest of this volume sees Goku trying to find Bulma in order to get the Dragon Radar repaired, and then Bulma joining Goku on his quest to find the Four-Star Dragon Ball. The pair has a couple more run-ins with the Red Ribbon Army.

I watched the Dragon Ball anime before reading the manga, so I basically knew what to expect. Overall, the anime was rather faithful to the manga source material; in this omnibus volume, I only found a couple of very minor differences between the manga and the anime versions of the story.

One thing I have noticed from reading the first two Dragon Ball omnibus volumes is the fact that Toriyama is generally willing to use more panels per page than the average manga that I have read. Because of having more panels to look at per page, it has definitely taken me longer to read the Dragon Ball omnibuses than other manga omnibus volumes.

Toriyama has a very distinct art style, especially in regards to his character designs. As I read the Red Ribbon Army arc, I found myself thinking that General Silver’s face was an early template for Vegeta, one of the characters from Dragon Ball Z, especially in regards to General Silver’s facial expressions in close-up panels.

Another thing to note is that several pages for volumes four, five and six are published in color in this volume, in addition to some a couple of color pages at the back of the volume. The color pages in the volume really surprised me, since you usually don’t see color pages appearing very often in manga published in North America.

Dragon Ball has become one of the “classic” shonen manga series, and it’s easy to see why as you read it. Personally, I think this would be a good series to use to introduce readers to shonen manga.

The omnibus releases of the Dragon Ball manga are worth it for fans of the series who want to own the manga but don’t want to chase down the individual manga volumes.

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About Lesley Aeschliman

Lesley Aeschliman is a freelance writer who began writing on a full-time basis in 2007. She has served as the Anime editor at BellaOnline.com, and she also writes and maintains two blogs: Lesley's Musings... on Anime and Manga and AeschTunes.