Dragon Ball (VIZBIG Edition), Vol. 1: The Quest for the Seven Dragon Balls (1)
The Dragon Ball franchise - known by anyone and everyone across the globe for its action-packed fighting sequences, memorable voices and lest we forget wasting entire episodes to charge up world-destroying techniques. But of course, every franchise starts off small, and as with most other franchises, Dragon Ball began as a manga running in the Japanese magazine Shonen Jump in 1984.
The story revolves around Son Goku, a rather dim-witted, monkey-tailed boy living in the eastern region of Mount Paozu in the home of his late adoptive grandfather. But his life is changed indefinitely when he encounters a young woman from the cities of the West named Bulma who is searching for the seven magical eponymous Dragon Balls, which upon being gathered are said to grant any one wish. Holding onto the Four-Star Dragon Ball, a memento of his Grandpa Gohan, Goku joins Bulma on her quest across the globe in search of the Dragon Balls in the hopes of becoming a powerful fighter, making friends and foes alike along the way, including Yamcha, a desert bandit who's petrified of girls, Oolong, a shape-shifting pig, and Muten Roshi, a perverted old hermit said to be one of the strongest martial artists in the world.
The ViZBIG editions of the Dragon Ball manga pack together three volumes into a single book, and the first volume covers the beginning of Goku's journey up until his participation in the Tenka-ichi Budokai tournament. With a rather astounding five-hundred pages of globe-trotting comedic story, it is most certainly worth the purchase for newcomers to the series who wish to easily access the manga without collecting the individual 42 volumes. Panels are consistent, clear and easy to read with the book's size. Long-time fans of the franchise, however, may debate as to the quality of these releases. While the ViZBIG editions are much larger in both page size and volume compared to their original releases, the localization and censorship in the volumes can make reading rather bothersome for those who enjoy experiencing the content as it was intended to be experienced. For newcomers, however, censorship is easily negligible. Dialogue, on the other hand, can either be irritant or negligible depending on how the reader prefers writing styles, as most characters, Goku especially, are made to sound like illiterate 'bumpkins' with shortened phrases such as "Wuzzat?" and "Can'tcha," while other characters, such as Yamcha, are made to sound too formal at times where it doesn't suit, responding to other characters with phrases such as "Indeed!".
Censorship and dialogue aside, however, the manga overall is a wonderful experience for first-time readers of the franchise's content, and is splendid at providing the initial push into the universe of Son Goku and his friends.