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Just before the final pages of volume 2, DB's definitive first arc has been completed. Bulma and Goku went on a quest to find the dragon balls and were eventually joined by Yamcha and Oolong. They were one ball away when they were captured, but they escaped and defeated their captor by making a stupid wish, after which the balls flew away, and because of Goku's convenient turning into a giant gorilla. Yamcha suddenly got over his fear of women for no reason and began a relationship with Bulma, Oolong went with Bulma and Yamcha into the city because...um...and Goku, done with helping Bulma, goes off to the Turtle Hermit to train.
Time will tell if it was wise to not end the story here, but if I did, I would be satisfied.
Akira once again handles his characters with finesse, though there are some bumps to be had here. Aside from Yamcha's flash paper character development and Oolong's decision in the name of nothing, Bulma has her playboy bunny outfit from volume 1 on for a bit too long, though it is removed, and a little girl named Chi-Chi arrives on the scene to help move along the plot by having a somewhat contrived relation to a previously introduced one.
The dialogue is well done, and the characters are likable. The humor remains, and Akira's experimentation with the fourth wall has been done to excellent effect. The combat/violence looks cool and is funny in its own way but still has some tension to it.
However, the bad writing persists. Akira is showing a nasty habit of pulling characters, plot elements, events, and just about anything else straight out of nowhere. Big Lipped Alligator Moment and Giant Space Flea from Nowhere abound. A rabbit that turns people into carrots? T-Rex decapitated by a little girl? Lasers that somehow put out a fire? All of this happens with little foreshadowing, if at all. Maybe Japanese stories differ (I'm an American nerd), but it seems to me as though he's making it up as he goes with no thought to World Building at all.
But Akira is an awesome artist, and even if I should come to hate his franchise, I appreciate the drawing put into it.
40 volumes to go...
You shouldn't overload the reviews section. This should be a liveblog.
Akira Toriyama is the master of pulling things out of nowhere. You haven't seen anything yet.
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