The Saiyans have arrived. The Z Fighters are either dead or on the verge of being so. Goku, the only hope left for Earth, has finally returned from the afterlife. He’s faster, stronger and more determined than ever but he’s up against the man who calls himself the ‘Prince of Saiyans’…this wont be an easy one for him, but they never really are. Madman Entertainment has, once again, given me the chance to review another volume of the new ‘Dragon Ball Full Colour’ Manga series, one that this site has been following from the very beginning. The new releases, bigger than your standard Manga volume and chock full of vibrant colours, allows readers to relive their ‘Dragon Ball’ experience while at the same time inviting others not yet a part of the fandom to partake in something they’ll never forget.
One of the quintessential Manga Shonen Manga series’, ‘Dragon Ball’ tells the story of a young man who must save the world from all the forces that oppose it. In the last volume, of which you can read my review on by Clicking Here, we bore witness to the brutal demise of the Z Fighters, one of which self destructed in the hopes that he may stop the obliteration of the Earth…that did not go the way he planned. Volume Three sees the beginning of Goku and Vegeta’s very first battle, one that spans about eighty percent of the book with the final twenty percent focusing on the setup to the very next story arc.
This volume is extremely action heavy with the guarantee that you will see at least one dynamic battle panel per page…though there’s plenty more than that. Akira Toriyama, the creator of ‘Dragon Ball’, has an illustrative style that is both simple but vigorous and allows him to perfectly depict high-octane battle scenes through a medium that relies almost entirely on still images. This raw talent allows for battles like the one present in Volume Three to encapsulate readers in a way that, honestly, not many Manga series’ can do.
Every image is clear and crisp, there’s never any confusion as to what exactly is happening on page and it’s incredibly easy to follow. The images within the volume almost look like still frames taken from the ‘Dragon Ball’ anime. That has beautifully it is laid out and how professionally it is coloured. I usually begin my reviews by talking about the story of the particular item, this time though I’ve flipped my process and have decided to talk about the visuals first. That is a testament to just how good this volume is aesthetically. That is not to say the story told within the book is bad, while I’d say it lacks a certain ‘realism’ (mind you, we’re talking about a work of fiction here), the story is just as enjoyable now as it was when I first experienced it as a kid. Goku and Vegeta go head-to-head for most of the volume, as I’ve mentioned.
‘Dragon Ball Full Colour’ Volume Three’s intensity escalates greatly as the book goes on which is normal for a Shonen release but the heights Volume Three soar too are just incredible! Eventually, due to certain events, Vegeta decides that it is time to transform into a ‘Great Ape’, a a powerful form that every Saiyan baring a tail can reach so long as the light from a full moon reaches their eyes. It surprised me to see an actual sicinct explanation of how exactly the moon’s rays effect the physical state of a Saiyan’s body, usually for a series like ‘Dragon Ball’ almost everything is taken at face value but on this occasion Mr. Toriyama decided to explain it. Goku eventually, with the help of Gohan and Krillin, defeats Vegeta but allows him to escape using one of the pods him and his bald friend arrived in. THIS was quite a silly move by Goku and it came off as unnecessary but, as a persona that knows what is to come of the rest of the series, I’m glad he didn’t kill Vegeta otherwise we’d be missing one heck of an awesome main cast member. What made me actually laugh out loud was Krillin’s reaction to Goku allowing Vegeta to live. I wouldn’t say it was a ‘realistic’ reaction but it was definitely something the people reading the Manga would have said to themselves. Now with Piccolo dead and Kami dead, the Earth Dragon Balls no longer work. This means the surviving members of the main cast will have to think of another way to resurrect their dead friends. This is when Krillin gets the idea to head to Namek, Piccolo and Kami’s home planet, where they can collect the Namekian Dragon Balls use THEM to make the wish.
The volume ends with Gohan, Bulma and Krillin using an ancient Namekian ship to make their way to Namek. These final chapters were where the story truly kicked in. What I really enjoyed about reading through the last pages was that it was doing a brilliant job at setting up the events to come which had me excited for the next volume and the beginning of the Namek/Freiza Saga which will most likely kick off in Volume Four. ‘Dragon Ball’ is still a brilliant Manga but I believe it gets a great deal of it’s value because of nostalgia. That’s not to say it cannot stand alone on it’s own merits, it’s that it is easier to overlook certain inconsistencies or character traits that would annoy a reader if it was present in any other series. It’s true that death means literally nothing in ‘Dragon Ball’, the characters themselves barely mourn for the death of their close friends, instead they rely on the power of the Dragon Balls to bring them back to life so there’s no actual need for any negative shows of emotion.Bulma, at one point, does have a little bit of a cry but it doesn’t last very long.Barely a few pages actually.
I find this series very hard to review because I’m torn between thinking it is brilliant and thinking that it is downright crappy. Older fans of the series will choose to ignore silly things and just enjoy it for what it is but I feel as though first time readers will have no sense of nostalgia to push them past the cons of the series, instead harping on what is bad rather than appreciating what is good. I absolutely enjoy reading the series but even I, a huge fan, can admit that more contemporary series’ do certain things better. As far as Volume Three goes, it is full of beautifully-illustrated action, vibrant colours and quirky characters that you wont soon forget but, well…that’s the whole series and it is hard not to love.
Dragon Ball Full Colour (Manga) Volume 3 can be found in all its revamped glory at Madman Entertainment’s official site which you can get to by Clicking Here.