Dragon Ball Volume 5

This review contains spoilers.

“About the time we think we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends.” – Herbert Hoover.

In the last collection of Dragon Ball we witnessed Son Goku managing to defeat the evil Demon King Piccolo, but not before he vomited up an egg which would later go on to hatch a younger, fitter version of him: Ma-Junior. After Goku has his wounds healed by Karin he decides that the only way he can train himself up to battle against Ma-Junior is to be trained by Kami-sama (the creator of the Dragon Balls and Shen Long) who looks a lot like Piccolo – not surprising as originally they were one being. But Kami-sama expelled Piccolo from his body. One cannot be killed without killing the other.

Goku agrees to train under him and his assistant Mr. Popo, but must stay with him during the training. Meanwhile, Kami sees to it that Shen Long is healed and the Dragon Balls will become powerful again. After rigorous training Goku returns to Earth both older and taller. He has returned to take part in the Tenkaichi Tournament, along with Kuririn, Tenshinhan, Yamucha and Chaozu. Also taking part are the evil Ma-Junior and a woman who is annoyed that Goku does not remember her. All this leads to one final fight for the future of the Earth itself.

This final collection of the original series has the biggest and best battles, as well as some comic moments too. You can be as sophisticated as you like, but you can’t help but laugh at the sight of a man’s trousers falling down.

However, this collection does have problems. One of them is the character of Mr. Popo, whose depiction it has to be said looks racist to us in the west (see image below). Remember that this was a series that came out at a time in Japan when such depictions were allowed, despite being wrong. On the plus side, you could say that the people releasing the series now have not retrospectively tried to censor it. While Manga Entertainment would of course never support such depictions, it would also be wrong to turn a blind eye to the past and instead we should learn from it. There are other problems too, such as with the subtitles. At times the grammar is poor, and sometimes the subtitles are delayed or even missing.

There is also quite a bit of filler too. Some of these filler episodes occur during Goku’s training, although Goku is not always the main character in these episode. There is also some filler at the very end, which occur after the end of the original manga storyline. These episodes revolve around Goku and his love interest Chichi.

As before, this Dragon Ball collection has similar extras to the others: character profiles and trailers.

If this collection has one big selling point however it’s this: because this is the final collection of the original Dragon Ball, that means that those of us who are insisting on watching the series in chronological order can now move onto the much more famous Dragon Ball Z. We all know that this is not the end of Son Goku by a long way.

6 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and was also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. His debut book, CLAMPdown, about the manga collective CLAMP, is available now. Outside of anime, he is data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, has written questions for both The Wall and Richard Osman's House of Games, and has been a contestant on Mastermind.

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