Manga / Dragon Ball

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"Our story begins, as many stories often do, with a young girl shooting a little boy in the face."
Perfect Cell, Dragon Ball Z Abridged

Dragon Ball began as a 1984-1995 manga series written by Akira Toriyama, chronicling the adventures of a cheerful monkey boy named Son Goku, in a story that was originally based on the Chinese tale Journey to the West (the character Son Goku was inspired by and directly named after Sun Wukong, in turn inspired by Hanuman). The manga was soon adapted into two popular anime series, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. It also received two anime-only sequels, Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super, the latter of which has an ongoing manga adaptation which is considered in continuity with the original manga, and which Toriyama directly consults on.

In the first half of the Dragon Ball manga (which served as the source material for the Dragon Ball anime), Goku and a huge cast of friends and enemies search for the magical Dragon Balls that they could use to make a wish come true. Of course, no sooner had someone gathered and used the Dragon Balls than they would have to be sought out again. On top of all this, Goku was training up to fight in the periodic "Tenkaichi Budokai" tournament.

The series is generally broken down into the following story arcs: Emperor Pilaf, the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament (or "Tenkaichi Budokai" in the Japanese version), the Red Ribbon Army, the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament , Demon King Piccolo, the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, the Saiyans, Freeza, Cell, and Boo. The anime adaptation added many small filler arcs between (and during) the main ones.

The manga and anime also spawned nineteen theatrical films. The first three, and the seventeenth (which was produced to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the anime) are essentially fast-paced retellings of the first four Story Arcs, never going past the appearance of King Piccolo. Most of the rest are non-canon side-stories based on the situation and events going on in the anime at the time, though the last two were intended to be in-canon continuations of the events of the series, however they were later retconned by Dragon Ball Super.

Chapters 1-194 were adapted into an anime simply titled Dragon Ball, while chapters 195-519 were adapted into the Dragon Ball Z anime.

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