There was a time.. a long time ago.. when I discovered the Dragon Ball anime. It was broadcast after 2 P.M. in the afternoon – and every single day I was hurrying back home from school to catch the day’s episode of Goku’s adventures.
I remember I was mystified, I was captivated by the richness of the story, the complexity of it, and I was living the emotions of each of the episodes.
Then.. I started writing down detailed reviews of the episodes, creating a memoir of Dragon Ball facts.
I can’t say what happened to those notebooks.. since this was ages ago..
And here I am.. lots of years after watching the first episode of Dragon Ball, not only re-watching the entire series.. to catch up with the new releases of episodes, but also reading the manga and setting up a series of articles in which is discussed the story of the Dragon Ball universe.
Dragon Ball (1986-1989) was the first anime released as an adaptation of the manga. The series covers the manga chapters 1-194. Dragon Ball Z is set in the chapters numbered 195-519. I watched Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z entirely some years ago..and I wanted to refresh the memory of the story beginning to re-watch the series.
The first 13 episodes consist of the Emperor Pilaf Saga.
Episode 1 coincides perfectly with the first chapter of the manga, I can pronounce myself upon that since I just finished reading this chapter, but I doubt that each episode was constructed using the manga chapter with the same number. The average time of reading a chapter is less than the airing time of an episode… so the story must be completed with other elements somehow.
Episode 01 – “Bulma and Son Goku” / “The Secret of the Dragon Balls” / “Buruma to Son Gokū” (ブルマと孫悟空).
The story begins somewhere in the wilderness. A young boy named Son Goku, lives all by himself in the heart of nature. It seems like a normal day, excellent for fishing and chopping wood, when – out of nowhere – another human being appears. Goku encounters Bulma – who has embarked on a journey to find the seven magical Dragon Balls. Goku learns about these mystical items and their power – since he too – has one of them – as a memento from his late grandfather. Because he doesn’t want to give up on his Dragon Ball – Bulma convinces him to accompany her on her quest. Goku accepts the challenge and the two of them set sail into the unknown. Soon after this – Goku will save Bulma’s life for the first time – by battling a winged dragon.
Episode 02 – “What the…?! No Balls!” / “The Emperor’s Quest” / “Arararaa! Tama ga Nai!” (あらららー!タマがない!).
Searching for the Dragon Balls are not just Bulma and Goku, but also the wicked Emperor Pilaf and his minions. And these two have been seeing strange lights coming from a dark forgotten valley nearby. It might be a Dragon Ball. Bulma and Goku camped also nearby – and Goku – not satisfied with the tasteless food Bulma offered him – set off to hunt something for dinner. Here he encounters the two subordinates of Emperor Pilaf. Neither of them will leave the valley with a Dragon Ball – but Goku will have a wolf for dinner after a battle with the horde that was living down in the valley. The next day – Goku makes a new friend – a lost turtle which was searching for the ocean over the past year, without having luck of finding it. Goku will volunteer to help the turtle return home.
Episode 03 – “The Turtle Hermit’s Kinto Un” / “The Nimbus Cloud of Roshi” / “Kame-Sennin no Kinto-Un” (亀仙人のキント雲).
After reaching the ocean, the turtle tells our two heroes to wait at the beach for his return.. with a gift. It is now when the Turtle Hermit enters the story. He shows his gratitude by offering Goku the Kinto-Un, a flying cloud, very useful and open for usage for those pure of heart. Of course, only Goku can ride it, nobody else can. Bulma will receive another Dragon Ball, which the Turtle Hermit was using as an accessory. Meanwhile, Pilaf and his minions find out that another Dragon Ball is in possession of the Turtle Hermit, the one which the character just offered to Bulma. But their retrieving trip will not go so well as planned. Still, Pilaf will go after our two protagonists.. or at least float towards them.
Episode 04 – “Oolong, the Kidnapping Monster” / “Oolong the Terrible” / “Hitosarai Yōkai Ūron” (人さらい妖怪ウーロン).
While searching for the fifth Dragon Ball, Goku and Bulma end up in a troubled village. Here, the people mistake them for a dangerous creature, who steals the young girls from the village – Oolong. Bulma will come up with the idea that dressing Goku as a girl and entering Oolong domain should solve the problem. Also they will be getting rid of the creature for a price: the Dragon Ball which one of the elders has in her possession. Oolong appears and everybody finds out he isn’t that really strong and fierce. With the help of our heroes peace will be re-established and the villagers will find their lost children.
Episode 05 – “Yamcha, The Strong Yet Cruel Desert Bandit” / “Yamcha the Desert Bandit” / “Tsuyokute Warui Sabaku no Yamucha” (つよくて悪い砂漠のヤムチャ).
Oolong will join the party in search of the Dragon Balls. After traversing a river, Bulma will unhappily discover that her bag of Hoi-Poi Capsules are gone. The three of them will have to continue their journey on foot, across dangerous lands, in order to reach the next point where one of the Dragon Balls is situated. After marching through the hot air in the desert, they will be attacked by a desert-thief names Yamucha. Goku will engage in battle with the new foe, until Bulma – who was sleeping at the time will wake up and make Yamucha run away. Apparently he was a weakness for girls…
Episode 06 – “Midnight Callers” / “Keep an Eye on the Dragon Balls” / “Mayonaka no Hōmonsha-tachi” (真夜中の訪問者たち).
It is time to rest for our heroes. But while they recharge their batteries villains attack. Pilaf’s minions plan to plant a bomb so they can steal the dragon balls. Also, in this episode Yamcha finds out about the power of these balls. After a match between Yamcha and Goku, in which Yamcha loses more than the battle – he decides to let them collect the balls before stealing all the package.
Episode 07 – “Mt. Frypan’s Gyumao” / “The Ox King on Fire Mountain” / “Furaipan Yama no Gyūmaō” (フライパン山の牛魔王).
Arriving at the Mountain Frypan where the next dragon ball is located, our heroes discover that the quest they must complete will not an easy task. Yamcha is still behind them, and from the shadows – a giant figure appears – Gyumao – the Ox King of the Fire Mountain. Apparently Gyumao and Goku have lots in common and the evil king will ask for Goku’s help to put out the flames surrounding the mountain. Goku meets Chichi for the first time in this episode, and together they travel to the Turtle Hermit to ask for help in stopping the flames.
Episode 08 – “The Turtle Hermit’s Kamehameha” / “The Kamehameha Wave” / “Kame-Sennin no Kamehameha” (亀仙人のカメハメ波).
Goku and Chichi will end up at the Turtle Hermit’s island asking for his help to stop the fire on Mountain Frypan. The old master will accompany them to the Gyumao’s castle and he will try to stop the fire. But along with the fierce flames, the mountain and the castle will also vanish. His technique – the special wave attack – Kamehameha will be a point of interest for Son Goku – who will quickly learn it. Bulma and Oolong will use the dragon radar to find the ball among the ruins – and they will engage on the journey towards the last ball. Yamcha will still follow them up.
Episode 09 – “The Rabbit Boss’ Special Technique” / “Boss Rabbit’s Magic Touch” / “Usagi Oyabun no Tokui Waza” (うさぎオヤブンの得意技).
Our heroes will encounter another villain along the way. In a distant town – far from civilization – a group of thugs threaten the peace of the locals. The Rabbit Gang – led by a character with powers of transforming anyone into a carrot arrives into the town. Our heroes will have to deal with them in order to restore the peace for everyone else. Yamcha will aid the group in battling the gang.
Episode 10 – “The Dragon Balls are Stolen!!!” / “The Dragon Balls are Stolen!” / “Doragon Bōru Ubawareru!!” (D.B.うばわれる!!).
Continuing their journey, our heroes will encounter Pilaf’s minions, who succeed in stealing their dragon balls, all except Goku’s. Yamcha gets into action and together they travel to Pilaf’s castle.. Inside, terror and traps await…
Episode 11 – “At Last the Dragon Appears!” / “The Penalty is Pinball” / “Tsui ni Doragon Arawaru!” (ついに龍あらわる!).
Pilaf’s minions will retrieve Goku’s ball in this episode – therefore they are ready for summoning the dragon, in order for their master to state his wish. Little by little, tension increases – and soon Pilaf will see his desire materialized.
Episode 12 – “The Wish to Shen Long” / “A Wish to the Eternal Dragon” / “Shenron e no Negai” (神龍への願い).
In this episode the protagonists will assist the appearance of the Eternal Dragon – Shenron. Pilaf who is set to dominate the world and wants to make that wish, will have a big surprise when Oolong will intervene and ask for something “else”. The other members of the crew will get out of imprisonment but soon they will have to hide once again.
Episode 13 – “Goku’s Great Transformation” / “The Legend of Goku” / “Gokū no Dai-Henshin” (悟空の大変身).
When looking at the full moon – Goku – being a different species of humanoid – will transform to a giant ape that is driven by madness and destruction. The first series will happen to mention this a few times over the course of its episodes. After regaining it’s original form – our heroes will continue their adventures towards accomplishing various personal goals.