Dragon BallDragon Ball (ドラゴンボール, Doragon Bōru) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. It was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1984 through 1995, and its 519 individual chapters were published into 42 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha. Inspired by the Chinese folk novel Journey to the West, it follows the adventures of its lead character, Son Goku from his childhood into old age. The manga series is licensed for an English language release in North America by Viz Media, in the United Kingdom by Gollancz Manga, and in Australia and New Zealand by Chuang Yi.
Dragon Ball has since been adapted into three different anime series, seventeen animated feature films, three television specials, a collectible trading card game, and a large number of video games. A live-action film has been in development since 2002, and is now slated for release on April 10, 2009.
PlotA monkey-tailed boy named Son Goku is found by an old martial arts expert and raised as his grandson. One day, during a full moon, Goku transforms into a giant ape and accidentally kills his adopted grandfather, but later has no recollection of it. Several years later, Bulma, on a quest to retrieve the seven Dragon Balls and have her wish granted by the dragon that will appear, meets Goku, now living alone with the four-star Dragon Ball that he treats as his dead grandfather. Goku decides to accompany Bulma on her quest, and along the way, meets and befriends many martial artists, undergoes rigorous martial arts training regimes and educational programs, and faces various challengers and villains, often at the Tenka-ichi Budōkai.
As the series continues, Goku goes from childhood into adulthood, and his first child, Son Gohan goes through similar experiences. As Goku evolves, so do many his rivals, including Piccolo and Vegeta, with some changing from evil to good. Goku himself dies and comes back to life several times, and becomes the top martial arts superhero in the universe.