I have been searching the skies and the seas below for volume two of the ‘Dragon Ball Full Colour’ Manga, and after weeks of longing for a glimpse at it’s sweet, colourful pages, Madman Entertainment has thrown me a bone…Quite literally! A lot of this generation’s Anime fans grew up on ‘Dragon Ball Z’. We were watching it before we even knew what Anime was. We were watching ‘Dragon Ball Z’ even though we had no knowledge of ‘Dragon Ball’, the series that came before it. It didn’t matter to us that certain things didn’t make sense, we just watched it for what it was and it, in turn, made us love it. Many, many years later I’m presented with the re-release of the original Manga that spawned an Anime that practically raised me to be the Anime fan I am today. Obviously I dropped to my knees and openly wept but after I gathered myself and cried every last tear I opened the book and began to read. Memories rushed back to me. Yes, Goku couldn’t go Super Saiyan at one point in time! Yes, Vegeta was an enemy at one point in time! Oh yeah, Piccolo used to be a bit of a dick! Oh man, do I love it! My co-writer Kane Bugeja recently reviewed the first volume of the series which you can read by Clicking Here. Don’t worry though, reader, I’ve also read the first volume so I’m ready to tackle what’s to come in volume two.
Starting off just after where volume one ended, volume two covers the arrival of the Saiyans and the instant death of most of Goku’s friends which is perfectly fine seeing as dying in ‘Dragon Ball’ means absolutely nothing. By the time Vegeta and Nappa (the Saiyans) arrive, the Z Fighters (Goku’s posse) have trained for a year. Goku in the afterlife with King Kai (Kaio in the Manga), Gohan on Earth with Piccolo and everyone else with themselves. Toriyama-sensei didn’t bother going into detail regarding how the other characters trained…they’re about to be brutally murdered so I don’t think it matters. The Saiyans eventually arrive, unfortunately they do so before Goku which means the Earth is about to be slapped around for a bit until he decides to turn up. Elsewhere, Goku is making his way back to the world of the living by, once again, taking on ‘Snake Way’ which, if you’re unaware, is basically a unnecessarily long road and Goku’s only way of getting back to Earth. The Z Fighters confront the Saiyans and are…thoroughly beaten…as mentioned; most of them die. Wow. Not much attention is paid to the killings with Krillin’s mourning process being a quick “…he’s dead…”. Much like volume one, the pace of this Manga is a little off. It looks as if Akira Toriyama chose to not focus on certain things as a way of speeding up the story. This is probably why there was no realist reaction to instant deaths. Eventually Goku turns up to save the day but is then thrown into a deadly battle against Vegeta. The volume ends with the beginning of their fight and will lead into what I remember being one hell of a Saiyan battle. Look, I absolutely loved reading this because I absolutely love ‘Dragon Ball’. After all these years I still consider it to be one of my favorite series’ but I consider myself good at being a critic so I did pick up on a lot of what the Manga does wrong and it mostly lies in it’s story. It is evidently clear that there were a few story elements that weren’t quite thought out. Some fans will give you a reason for everything wrong in the story but don’t believe them, mistakes are normal. Akira Toriyama may be a legendary Mangaka but he isn’t perfect. Like the rest of us. Some peices of dialogue were silly and it may have been more of the translator’s fault rather than Mr. Toriyama for his writing. Things also didn’t seem too consistent like Nappa being able to eviscerate a city with the movement of two fingers but being easily knocked down by a half-assed punch…from Krillin. Enough said.
What absolutely blew me away was it’s visuals. Not only has this Manga been redone in full colour, it has also been scaled up nicely so it is bigger than your average Manga but still retains the crisp imagery. There’s not one blemish to be seen. Reading through, it sometimes feels as though you’re looking at a book made up of high quality screenshots from the Anime series. Colours are so lush and vibrant, it’s hard to turn the page most of the time because you’re too busy soaking in the beautiful aesthetics. Akira Toriyama has a detailed cartoon-like style that really suites the series during it’s light-hearted panels but is quick to look gritty and rough when the time comes for it. Seeing Goku joke around with King Kai on his planet and then seeing Goku mid-fight with Vegeta almost seem like two different art styles. To say that volume two’s visuals are anything but perfection would be lying. It’s front cover features enough to get someone excited but then you open it up and are hit with such brilliance. It honestly is hard to put down. The moment I finished reading the final page I just flicked back to the first and took the time to actually appreciate the illustrated scenes without reading the dialogue. I seem like one massive fanboy here but it’s quite the spectacle. Manga is fantastic even in it’s original black and white format but to see this with your own eyes…reader, it is magical.
I really cannot recommend this release enough. Reader, it is true that it lacks certain things when it comes to the story and, yes, at times it does seem a little tacky or like it has been done before but you have to think; this was one of the first of it’s kind. Even people who aren’t fans of “Dragon Ball’ can admit that without it we wouldn’t have half of the series’ we know and love today. It’s story isn’t as well-rounded as some of the newer series’ which is fine because it still offers a great deal and with a little blissful ignorance, this can be a perfect read for you. In my heart, ‘Dragon Ball Full Colour’ Volume Two is a perfect release…in reality; it is missing a few things. That’s fine though, not everything can be perfect. If you’re a fan of ‘Dragon Ball’ than I suggest you absolutely start collecting the series. If you’re someone interested in getting into ‘Dragon Ball’ than there’s no better way. There’s a difference between an old Manga and a classic Manga. Know it and appreciate the ones that deserve it.
Dragon Ball Full Colour (Manga) Volume 1 can be found in all its revamped glory at Madman.