Dragon Ball: Episodes 1-13

January 28, 2007 on 7:57 pm | In Dragon Ball | 2 Comments

Meta: Yes, this is one of my first posts in ever. I haven’t felt like watching anime for the last few months, and then the desire to watch this struck me. I haven’t kept up with the anime blogging world in that time; anything good happen?

“The Saga of Goku”

Back before Son Goku was Superman, sent from a dying planet mere moments before it exploded, he was a dim-witted but good natured boy with a tail. In the space of a mere 25 minutes, Son Goku and his charismatic companions were able to tell a coherent segment of a story that consisted of more than screaming and powering up. Even more amazing, the spirit of Son Goku was irrepressible: Dragon Ball is consistently funny!

Son Goku lives by himself in the mountains. When a vain, boyfriend-hungry girl named Bulma demands the Dragon Ball that is the last remaining memento of Goku’s grandfather, the two of them embark on a journey to obtain the seven Dragon Balls and make a wish!
Unfortunately, the evil (“evil” here meaning “incompetent yet sadistic”) Emperor Pilaf wants to use the Dragon Balls to achieve his lofty goal of … world domination!

I don’t want to start this off by making it an endless string of comparisons to Dragon Ball Z, its less competent offspring, but it has to be said that Dragon Ball is almost immeasurably better. For one, there is actual colour used in the animation, and it doesn’t seem to drag. All of the characters who were thrown to the wayside to make way for the less interesting new people of Dragon Ball Z are here in force, and they serve purposes to the story beyond the oppressive forces of nostalgia, that demonic beast that has lain waste to countless people raised in the eighties (and, now, early nineties).

Goku’s ignorance of the outside world is a good source of humour, but one should not underestimate the comedic pairing of Bulma and Oolong, the shape shifting pig who dresses like a communist. The antagonism between the two ranges from Oolong telling Bulma “You’re not going to die in a pleasant way, you know” to Bulma informing Oolong “There are lots of girls in the city, but considering that you’re such a hateful pervert I don’t know how well you’ll go.”
Oolong is a traditional “hard hearted self serving pervert bastard with a secret heart of gold”, along the lines that one can never grow tired of … unless they were to make Goku into a refugee of the planet Krypton and subsequently ignore him for the rest of eternity.
The rest of the major cast so far, beyond the glorious Mai and Shuu, servants of Pilaf and comedy henchmen the likes of which you don’t see any more, consists of Yamucha and Puu-erh, desert bandit and shapeshifting … thing … of indeterminate gender. These characters serve as more than window dressing and contribute to the overwhelming silliness that is Dragon Ball.
You know how sometimes you just want to watch anime and have fun? Dragon Ball is precisely that. It has those whacked but still logical storylines that one can expect from premium comedies: for example, a rabbit boss who can turn people into carrots serves his penance by pounding mochi on the moon. This is because, more than a fighting show, Dragon Ball is a comedy adventure. I say this knowing full well that the next set of discs is called “The Tournament Saga”, but I can appreciate a well structured tournament. I can not appreciate a single fight that lasts 33 episodes in which nothing happens – where the sky is green, the grass is blue and I’m struck by an overwhelming urge to stab something – but I don’t believe we’re in danger of that. After all, Dragon Ball Z wasn’t all bad, and if fun levels can be maintained then Dragon Ball will be just dandy.

These DVDs are packed in an interesting fashion. They cost me less than $1 an episode, and I had assumed that each set would come to thirteen episodes. I was pleasantly surprised to see that each two disc volume covers a story arc. The first is 13 episodes (imagine that: a 13 episode arc with a nice story progression!), the second 15, and the third 17 and so forth. While I understand arbitrary episode counts on some DVDs, it’s definitely a nice touch on a 153 episode series.
I’m not certain that I can watch 153 episodes of Dragon Ball and nothing else. I suppose that I can move onto something else if I get burned out, and then return to it. It seems that this show ran every week for three years rather than taking seasonal breaks. Damn you, shounen anime! Damn you and your belaboured schedules!

Well, we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, Dragon Ball is fun and light – not to mention ridiculously and hilariously perverted. At this price (in Australia, at least), it’s a steal. The audio sucks, but it’s a worthy expenditure of funds.
Find the Dragon Balls! Gotta catch ’em all! A brand new adventure is about to begin!


  1. I suppose the request for updates was rhetorical. Various licenses (Mushishi gone to Funimation), Strike Witches, and other things happened. Anyway, welcome back.

    Original Dragon Ball also appealed to me more than DBZ, although I only saw fragments of it: parts of the tournament, parts of Red Ribbon Army.

    Comment by Pete Zaitcev — January 29, 2007 #

  2. I used to watch DB (and DBZ later on) with my sister and dad when I was younger. And we enjoyed it immensely. I think I lost interest when the series jumped the shark with the uber-powers. It just became boring after a while.

    P.S. NIce to hear from you again.

    Comment by Ten — February 2, 2007 #

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