Dragon Ball (franchise)

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Dragon Ball (ドラゴン ボール, Doragon Bōru) was created by Akira Toriyama in 1984 and is an internationally popular teen and young adult media franchise, though it is also popular among younger children. It consists primarily of two manga series, four anime series, eighteen animated feature films, three live action films, thousands of cards, dozens of video games, collectible products, action figures, and more. Dragon Ball has an extensive online fanbase and is consistently one of the most frequently searched-for terms on Google, Yahoo!, and Lycos.

The story of Dragon Ball took some of its inspiration and several characters from the Chinese folk novel Journey to the West, though it diverges from the novel very quickly. It follows the adventures of its lead character, Son Goku (based on the Monkey King of the folk legend, Sun Wukong), from his childhood through adulthood. The story includes both action and comedy elements, though the series became more action-oriented over time.

Pre-Dragon Ball

Main article: Dragon Boy

Just prior to ending a successful six-year run on his humor manga, Dr. Slump, in the Weekly Shonen Jump anthology magazine, Akira Toriyama started toying with the ideas that he would later apply into the Dragon Ball manga. In 1983, he wrote two issues of Dragon Boy manga for the Fresh Jump anthology magazine. This story, left unfinished, merged in the comic style of Dr. Slump with an action-oriented plot. It includes many elements which would be reused in the later series, including a very different kind of Dragon Ball. Also in 1983, he published (but also did not finish) The Adventure of Tongpoo, a science fiction manga also featuring a Goku-like character and plot elements (such as the Hoi Poi Capsules) which he would reuse later.

Dragon Ball manga

Main article: Dragon Ball (manga)

The Dragon Ball manga logo

In late 1984, the first issue of "Dragon Ball" appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump, the same anthology magazine where Dr. Slump had previously been published. The series was then published weekly and on a very tight schedule (14 pages per week, plus title page) for nearly eleven years, ending in May 1995. In total, 519 regular chapters and one bonus chapter were published. Unlike American-style comic books, Dragon Ball was largely produced in black and white. Some small number of pages in a subset of issues were colorized for emphasis. During the run of the manga in Japan, it was reprinted in (an eventual total of 42) tankôbon (Japanese graphic novels). Unlike the original print run of the manga, the previously colorized pages were reprinted only in grayscale.

A year and a half into the story of Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama included an extended (three issue) cameo by some of the characters and locations from his previous popular manga, Dr. Slump. This is perceived by many fans as tying the two fictional universes together, although the Dr. Slump characters never make any further appearances in the manga.

Dragon Ball anime

Main article: Dragon Ball (anime)

The Dragon Ball title card

Within a short time after the first publication of the manga, it had reached a level of popularity in Japan that convinced the people of Toei Animation to produce both an anime series and a feature film based on the characters. The anime series premiered in February 1986 on Fuji Television, running weekly and in prime time with new episodes every Wednesday night.

The anime series that was produced closely matched the manga that it was based on (as opposed to Sailor Moon, for example, which the manga and anime diverged significantly), but this had the major drawback that the anime would often catch up to the current point in the manga and the animators were left to create additional episodes and situations to allow them time for more source material to be written. Such material in the series (known by fans as filler) was often of a lower quality than the original manga and occasionally would directly contradict information that would be provided in the source material later. This is perhaps unsurprising due to the difficulty of producing 20 minutes of animation each week, with only 14 pages of manga to work from.

In December of 1986, the first theatrical film version of the anime was produced. Called simply "Dragon Ball" (in Japan, the movie's eventual English title is "Curse of the Blood Rubies"), it retold the events of the first several episodes of the anime series. That was followed by additional movies in July 1987 ("The Sleeping Princess in the Devil's Castle") and July 1988 ("Mystical Great Adventure"). (The first two films were directed by Daisuke Nishio, the third by Kazuhisa Takenouchi.)

Because of the popularity of the title in Japan, three video games (all for the Nintendo Family Computer) were produced. The first, released in 1986 as "The Mystery of Shenlong", was the only action game of the three. The other two (1988 and 1989) were card game / board game hybrids.

The anime series ended in April 1989 after 153 episodes (and Goku's marriage and transition to adulthood). Although the animated series ended, fans did not have to wait long for the continuation of the story. The sequel anime, "Dragon Ball Z" debuted two weeks later.

First U.S. release

In the first years after the Dragon Ball manga and anime became successful in Japan, an initial attempt was made to export the show to an American audience. These initial attempts to gain a foothold in the large American market were unsuccessful and short lived.

In 1986, right as the Dragon Ball anime was kicking off in Japan, a Dragon Ball video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System was produced by Bandai and exported to the U.S. Titled "Dragon Power" (or "Mystery of Shenlong" in Japan), it was a martial arts action game which loosely followed the plot of the first thirteen issues of the manga. Sales figures for the game are not available, but no further Dragon Ball video games were released in the U.S. for another seven years.

In 1989, a first attempt was made to release the Dragon Ball anime in the U.S. in the form of a limited number of episodes (and an edited form of the first and third movies) produced and dubbed by Harmony Gold USA. This dub was notable for renaming many characters, such as Goku be renamed "Zero." After being test marketed in several cities (with some resulting controversy over the subject matter of the early episodes-- something that would strike again in later attempts), it was withdrawn from the marketplace without a full season produced. Because it was never broadcast to the general public, it is referred to as "The Lost Dub" by fans.

Dragon Ball Z

Main article: Dragon Ball Z (anime)

The Dragon Ball Z title card

Picking up exactly where the previous series left off, Dragon Ball Z began airing in Japan a week after the Dragon Ball anime ended, and in the same timeslot. A new series name was chosen by the producers to differentiate the current series, with its reduced emphasis on comedy and its new science fiction themes, from the previous one – even though both were still based on the same Dragon Ball manga. The new show also featured improved production values and animation quality. This transition point was attractive because not only did it follow a several year gap in the plot (one of several such gaps in the series), but it also featured revised origin stories for several lead characters and the introduction of several new characters. This made it a good jumping on point for new fans of the series.

Three months after the premier of the Dragon Ball Z anime in July 1989, the first Dragon Ball Z movie (entitled "Return my Gohan" in Japanese) premiered in theaters. This was followed by two additional theatrical movies released per year (one in March and one in July) until 1995. In total, thirteen Dragon Ball Z movies were produced. In addition to the feature films, two movie-length television specials were also produced for the series. (These initially aired in 1990 and 1993.)

Like the original "Dragon Ball" anime, "Dragon Ball Z" suffered from the same manga-to-anime pacing problems which resulted in the excess of filler material in the previous anime. In some ways, the problem was more pronounced during the production of the "Dragon Ball Z" series as the increased focus on action resulted in many issues of the manga devoted entirely to action sequences. These combat-oriented issues were more difficult to "stretch" into episodes than more diverse action and this resulted in pacing problems throughout some sections of the series.

In May 1995, the long running "Dragon Ball" manga finally ended its run in Shonen Jump. Without additional issues of the manga to translate onto the small screen, the "Dragon Ball Z" series ended in January 1996 after 291 episodes. Once again, however, Japanese fans would not have to wait more than a week for the continuation of the story, in "Dragon Ball GT".

During the production of Dragon Ball Z in Japan, popularity for the franchise was at its peak. Production of video games – first for the Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom), then later for Super Famicom, PlayStation, Game Boy, and Sega Saturn – reached its peak during this period. Ironically, despite tremendous success in Japan and tons of marketable goods, the series had yet to take off in the U.S.

Second U.S. release

Main article: Ocean Group dub

Shortly after the release of Dragon Ball Z in Japan, momentum was building in the U.S. for a second attempt at releasing "Dragon Ball" to an American audience. In the fall of 1995, the first episodes of "Dragon Ball" were redubbed by BLT Productions for syndicated release on American television by FUNimation Productions through SeaGull Entertainment. Ultimately, the show only lasted for less than one season before being canceled in favor of jumping ahead to Dragon Ball Z. (The latter series was believed to have greater merchandise potential.) In total, only thirteen episodes (of the production order of 26) and the first Dragon Ball feature film were produced. In 1996, Vidmark Entertainment purchased the home video rights for these dubbed episodes and movie.

Vidmark was later acquired by Lionsgate Entertainment in 2000, making them the holder of the distribution rights of the first thirteen episodes and first movie of Dragon Ball until 2009. This prevented FUNimation from releasing said episodes and movie unedited (with their in-house dubbing) to home video in the United States during this time, though it was released in other countries.

After the two failed launches of the Dragon Ball anime in the U.S., FUNimation switched distribution companies to Saban Entertainment (at that time riding on the popularity of the Power Rangers franchise, another Japanese import) and began broadcasting Dragon Ball Z to the U.S. in first-run syndication during the fall of 1996, using voice actors of the Ocean Group. The intended audience of the series (young children) did not work well with the more violent and adult nature of the Dragon Ball Z anime. This resulted in extensive editing of the series (cutting out the equivalent of 14 of the first 67 episodes – almost 21%), including the complete removal of references to character death ("sent to another dimension"), blood, etc. To many fans of the series, these edits actually made the series worse as violence was always shown without consequence. Also, they made many changes to the original dialogue and also created many name changes to characters and techniques, though not nearly as different as Harmony Gold's dub.

In addition to the anime series, Saban also edited the third Dragon Ball Z movie ("The Tree of Might" in the U.S.) and released it as a three-part episode in the production run of the series. Two more movies (#1 and #2) were subsequently released by Pioneer Entertainment direct to video. The third movie was later re-released by Pioneer to home video, only this version, like the first two films, featured dialogue more close to the original script and was unedited.

In part due to an early timeslot in most markets (6:30 AM), Dragon Ball Z also failed to find its target audience and was cancelled in May 1998 after a two season run of 53 episodes, or the equivalent of 67 Japanese episodes. However, this was still the most successful import of the property to the U.S. at the time.

Dragon Ball GT

Main article: Dragon Ball GT

The Dragon Ball GT title card

Back in Japan, the third and final Dragon Ball series quickly followed the completion of "Dragon Ball Z" in February 1996. This new series, called Dragon Ball GT (for "Grand Tour"), was a complete departure from the previous two anime series. Unlike those series, Dragon Ball GT was not based on the "Dragon Ball" manga by Akira Toriyama. Instead, it was completely new material.

From the beginning however, there were problems with the series. Dragon Ball fandom in Japan was waning. To help renew interest in the series and bring it back to its roots, a decision was made to return the series to the style of the original comedy "Dragon Ball" anime, rather than the more action-oriented "Dragon Ball Z". This decision led to the reintroduction of several villains not present since the original series, a return to the "Dragon Ball quest"-style plot of that series, and even the mystical de-aging of Goku, back to roughly the age when the first series began. Unfortunately, this creative change did not improve ratings and the series focus was changed again after the completion of only sixteen episodes. The remaining episodes of the series returned to the more action-oriented style of the latter series. As a result of declining interest, the series had ended in November 1997 after only 64 episodes. There was no sequel the following week.

Dragon Ball GT was also less successful in its tie-ins than the previous series had been. Unlike the previous series, Dragon Ball GT did not spawn any theatrical films on its own. In March 1996, just one month after the introduction of the series, the Dragon Ball 10th Anniversary Special (called "The Path to Power" in the U.S.) was released. Although produced in the artistic style of Dragon Ball GT, the plot was a modified retelling of the very beginning of the original Dragon Ball anime. This was the last Dragon Ball animated movie to be released to date. Other than that film, the final series was limited to a single television special, released in March 1997. In other product areas, such as video games and merchandise, Dragon Ball GT was also less successful than its predecessors.

Third U.S. release

Main article: FUNimation dub

In August 1998, after its failure in syndication, FUNimation/Saban's Ocean Group dub of Dragon Ball Z began airing on Cartoon Network's weekday-afternoon programming block Toonami. The block gave the series new life and, combined with DiC Entertainment's dub of Sailor Moon, exposed the series to a much wider audience. With new success, FUNimation went forward in continuing the dub on their own instead of alongside the backing of a company such as Saban. The third season appeared on home video in 1999 and then on Cartoon Network shortly after, now featuring less editing restrictions than the previous dub, FUNimations own in-house voice cast, and new music. Dragon Ball Z was now in full production in the U.S. and continued to the end of series in 2003. Still, it kept the name changes of characters and techniques that the previous dub had created. While still disliked from fans of the original Japanese version, FUNimation's in-house dub was a huge success and received the most popularity of all releases in the U.S.

The success of Dragon Ball Z on Cartoon Network allowed FUNimation to go back and do a new dub of Dragon Ball as well, starting from the beginning and airing on the Toonami block as well. However, there were marked changes in the dubbing between this and its sequel series, most pronounced in the usage of the original Japanese music as opposed to new compositions for the dub. FUNimation also released Dragon Ball to DVD, but with a slight snag: since Lionsgate remained the distributor of the earlier Dragon Ball dub, they could not release the first 13 episodes of the new dub until their license expired in 2009. The two remaining Dragon Ball movies were also dubbed at this time, along with the ten remaining DBZ movies, the two DBZ TV specials, and the tenth anniversary movie.

By 2003, with the completion of Dragon Ball Z, FUNimation began dubbing Dragon Ball GT, which would be released on both Cartoon Network and DVD. However, they were afraid they would experience the same drop off as Japan by starting with the lighter episodes at the beginning. In a controversial decision, FUNimation decided to start from the first action-intensive arc, connected with the first major villain of the series. Furthermore, a special episode was created for the beginning of this series that would fill in the material prior to the start of this arc (such as how Goku became a child again and went into space). Similarly, Dragon Ball GT would feature a new musical composer, pushing music with a harder sound and even creating a hip-hop-style opening. Eventually after the completion of the series, the earlier episodes prior to the starting point were released and aired as "The Lost Episodes."

In August 2004, Geneon Universal Entertainment (formerly Pioneer) lost its licensing rights to the old Ocean Group dubbed episodes and movies of Dragon Ball Z, allowing FUNimation to re-dub the first 53/67 episodes with their in-house voice cast and also restore the removed content. These re-dubbed episodes were broadcast on Cartoon Network during the summer of 2005, but were notably shown in prime time (10:30 PM) and in their completely unedited form. The first three Dragon Ball Z movies were also re-dubbed by FUNimation's in-house voice cast and re-released together in a DVD box set titled "Dragon Ball Z: The First Strike."

Neko Majin

Main article: Neko Majin

Originally a one-shot bearing little relation to Akira Toriyama's other series, the first chapter of Neko Majin appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump in April 1999 (WJ #22-23). Though there were some similarities, it did not become a self-parody of the Dragon Ball manga until Neko Majin Z, which had cameos of characters from the author's magnum opus. As of 2005, the series was completed with eight total chapters (five of which are Dragon Ball parodies). These chapters were compiled into a "kanzenban"-style package for release in Japan on 4 April 2005.

Kochikame 30th anniversary

On the 30th anniversary of Kochikame's serialization in September, 2006, Ryo-san made a cameo in every serialized manga currently in Weekly Jump; most notably, he had a full appearance as a marine in One Piece (Chapter 428) and drinking alongside Don Patch in Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. At the same time, a special manga was published featuring the Kochikame characters in special chapters of series such as Golgo 13, Lupin III, Kinnikuman, and Dragon Ball, as well as congratulatory pics from over 80 mangaka, many from Weekly Jump authors past and present, but also from other Shueisha mangaka and even from manga artists not associated with Shueisha such as Hiromu Arakawa (Fullmetal Alchemist) and Jyoji "George" Morikawa (Hajime no Ippo).

Cross Epoch

Main article: Cross Epoch

Cross Epoch is a Japanese manga by Akira Toriyama and Eiichiro Oda. It is a crossover between "Dragon Ball" and "One Piece".

Released on December 25, 2006 in Weekly Shōnen Jump.

There are currently no plans for "Cross Epoch" to be released as a Tankōbon or for it to be released in English.

Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!

Main article: Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!

Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! is a 35-minute animated short film that premiered in Japan at the Jump Super Anime Tour on September 21, 2008. It was the first animated Dragon Ball feature in twelve years, following the tenth anniversary film "The Path to Power." It also featured the first Dragon Ball animations in nearly a decade, following a short story arc in the remade Dr. Slump anime series crossing over Goku and the Red Ribbon Army in 1999.

Dragon Ball Kai

Main article: Dragon Ball Z Kai

The Dragon Ball Kai title card
The Dragon Ball Z Kai title card

Dragon Ball Kai is an HD Remastered anime produced by Toei Animation as part of the 20th anniversary of Dragon Ball Z in Japan. It premiered on Fuji TV in April 2009 and ended in March 2011, lasting 97 episodes. The series was extensively "refreshed" for Japanese TV. It is not a new series per se, but rather a revised, faster-paced version of Dragon Ball Z that cuts out most of the infamous filler material, as well as the final story arc of the original Dragon Ball Z series. Part of this was reformatting and extending the picture to 16:9 Widescreen. Through digital processing, the image was made more vibrant. All the grime, damage, and noise remaining on the "Dragon Ball Z" film was removed, making the image much clearer in HD. Dragon Ball Kai also included a complete re-recording of the dialogue by most of the original Japanese voice cast, as well as a new sound design with updated sound effects. The opening and ending themes were completely new and featured updated animation. The "Kai" in the series' title means "revised", "updated", "modified", or "altered."

FUNimation Entertainment licensed the series for an English-language release under the title "Dragon Ball Z Kai." The series aired in the U.S. on the Nicktoons network from May 2010 to January 2012. The majority of FUNimation's in-house voice cast returned for Dragon Ball Z Kai, though several characters' voices were also re-casted. The series is edited on Nicktoons to fit the expected audience, and occasionally contains different verbiage than the home video release, which is entirely unedited. Some special techniques regained their correct and untranslated-proper-noun announcements in the unedited dub, while most of the character names that have always been engraved in the English dub have remained the same. The dialogue is also more accurate to the original Japanese script and the episode titles are more faithful translations of their original Japanese versions. In addition to Nicktoons, Dragon Ball Z Kai also began airing on The CW's Saturday-morning programming block Toonzai in August 2010 and continued to air on Toonzai's successor Vortexx, beginning in August 2012. Due to The CW's broadcast restrictions, the Toonzai/Vortexx version of Kai is censored more than the Nicktoons version, and even more than the Ocean Group dub of the original Dragon Ball Z, indicating that broadcast restrictions for children's programming in the U.S. have become even more strict since the 1990s.

Ooishi Naho's spinoffs

Ooshi Naho has worked on several spinoff manga recently. This included the manga adaptation of the Jump Fest special in 2008, Dragon Ball SD in 2010, and Dragon Ball: Episode of Bardock, a three part "what if" manga that was serialised in V Jump.


The manga

In the universe of Dragon Ball, the highest level of canon is the Dragon Ball manga. Published in Weekly Shōnen Jump in Japan, the comic was both written and drawn by Akira Toriyama. As such, it represents the ultimate and correct vision of his world as it was presented to his readers. Fortunately, the manga itself is relatively free from direct contradictions, though there are certainly some topics open for debate.

Kanzenban re-release

In the 2002-04 re-release of the Dragon Ball manga (called the "Kanzenban", or "complete edition"), Akira Toriyama rewrote the final four pages of the series. This change, however, has no impact on the storyline. (Goku gives the Kinto Un to Oob at the conclusion of the series rather than carrying him on his back.)

The only change significant to the story in the re-release is that the date of the Cell Games is changed to the 26th of May from the 17th of "M". This was done to remove a noticeable contradiction in the series, specifically that if the Artificial Humans arrived on May 12th and at least 10 days elapsed between then and the start of the Cell Games, a date of May 17th for the latter event would be impossible. (Alternative theories, such as the month after May in the Dragon Ball universe starting with the letter "M", now appear to hold no weight.)

Dr. Slump

Prior to writing Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama wrote a separate weekly humor manga for Weekly Shōnen Jump entitled Dr. Slump. It featured the adventures of an inept inventor and his android daughter Arale in Penguin Village. During the Red Ribbon Army Saga, Goku and General Blue wind up in Penguin Village and are assisted by characters from the previous series. Dr. Slump itself is not meant to be taken seriously, as it contains references to the real world, as well as generally "implausible" events such as the Earth being cut in half (in a comedic fashion). While the characters in Dr. Slump made cameos in the Dragon Ball universe, it is debatable at best whether the Dragon Ball universe is truly compatible with the world portrayed in Dr. Slump.

Neko Majin

Long after finishing up with Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama has written a short series of one-shot comics that parody Dragon Ball. Called "Neko Majin" (because it stars a cat race named the "Neko Majins"), it features several characters from or inspired by Dragon Ball. (For example, the Saiyan Onio and his wife, Freeza's son, Kuriza, Neko Majin Z's rival, Neko Majin Usagi, and even appearances by Vegeta, Majin Boo, and Goku.) Kuriza has been in some Dragon Ball Z video games.

Kochikame 30th anniversary manga

For the 30th anniversary of Kochikame, the longest running manga to date, a special manga was made. The manga was a crossover between various different mangas and Kochikame characters. Ryo-san, having been reassigned to Planet Namek, runs across Freeza and tries to arrest him for parking his UFO illegally. Vegeta and Goku make appearances as well. It was co-written by Akira Toriyama and had appearances by Goku, Vegeta, and Freeza on Planet Namek.

Cross Epoch

Cross Epoch is a Japanese manga by Akira Toriyama and Eiichiro Oda. It is a crossover between "Dragon Ball" and "One Piece". It was released on December 25th, 2006 in Weekly Shōnen Jump. It features alternate versions of Dragon Ball characters and is a crossover manga.

The anime

The second highest level of canon in Dragon Ball includes the two anime series based upon the manga: Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. These anime series significantly "fill out" the plot of the Dragon Ball manga with many extended sequences. This is due largely to the manga and the anime being produced in parallel. It was often necessary for the anime to add filler material to keep from getting ahead of the manga. These extended sequences often fill out the back story, but frequently are contradicted by events later in the manga.

TV Specials

There are two Dragon Ball Z television specials which aired as special double-length episodes during the normal course of the series. The Dragon Ball Z television specials are noteworthy in that their content (for the most part) does not contradict the manga. The Bardock TV Special contradicts the manga only in that Goku appears happy (rather than violent and bloodthirsty) at the end and Bardock himself later appears in a two-panel stint in the manga. The Trunks TV Special is actually based on a special chapter of the manga, though it presents an alternate version of certain events in that chapter (namely, it alters when Trunks was able to achieve Super Saiyan for dramatic effect).

There is one Dragon Ball GT television special and it is grouped with the other TV Specials in terms of canon level.

Garlic Jr. Saga

The Garlic Jr. Saga is an interesting exception to most of the filler used in the anime and its level of canon is disputed. Like much of the other filler, it does not include situations described in the original manga. However, it is a direct sequel to events from the first Dragon Ball Z movie, "Return My Gohan!" (dub: "Dead Zone"). It details a second attempt by Garlic Jr. to take over the world and also features other elements which are more difficult to rationalize in the anime such as the appearance of Gohan's pet dragon from Movie 3.

Because it does not have the level of contradictions found in other movies, some fans consider both the Garlic Jr. Saga and Movie 1 to have "happened" within the anime canon. This remains, however, a controversial topic. Movie 1 is considered to take place shortly before the start of Dragon Ball Z, but two problems arise when fitting it into the flow of the series: given that the Dragon Balls are used in the film, Goku is alive, and Gohan is still very young, it must happen at least a full year before Goku is revived (and thus before the start of the series); on the other hand, Gohan is known to the characters in the movie, where he was unknown to them in the series itself. Thus, claims of canonicity are contentious at best.

Dragon Ball GT

Dragon Ball GT was an original sequel series to Dragon Ball Z, itself based on the manga by Akira Toriyama. Toriyama did contribute some material early on, such as character designs for the leads, their spaceship, and some of the aliens, but for the most part it was the work of Toei Animation. The author himself has had no problems with the series, and has publicly stated on a number of occasions that he liked it and considers it something of a "sidestory". This view is shared (though usually with far less goodwill toward the series) among many fans.

Regardless of the creator's influence, a number of plot holes make the series difficult to classify as canon.

Dragon Ball: Daizenshū

Main article: Dragon Ball: Daizenshū

These books are reference guides to the series and often contain character and attack names and other clarifications which are not present in the manga or anime themselves. There are no current plans to release these books in the U.S. and they are out of print even in Japan.

Many fans, however, question how canon the actual books are. The books were not actually written by Akira Toriyama. The battle powers given in the books are often disregarded by some fans who find inconsistencies in them. One notable example is that Nappa's power level is stated to be 4,000 in the books, though this is never given in the manga along with assortment of other readings given. Both the manga and the Dragon Ball: Daizenshū state Goku's battle power in the fight to be 8,000, meaning he was twice Nappa's power level. This suggests that he should have had an easy time defeating him without using the Kaio-ken. This is not true because after Nappa powered up, he managed to trade blows with Goku, and after deflecting Nappa's strongest attack, Goku comments that the fight could take forever. This contradicts the stated information in the Daizenshū. The Daizenshū list of the main characters' ages throughout the series is also somewhat debatable. For example, Goku is stated in the Daizenshū as being 13 years old when he participats in the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament, yet in both the manga and anime Goku himself states that he is 12 (after revealing that Lunch has taught him how to count properly).

The films

Main article: List of films

Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z each had a number of movies made, generally two each year (one each for the spring and summer recesses from school). While it is possible to relate the movies to a relative time period within the series itself, they often contradict, make impossible, or completely replace the normal flow of the series. Several movies have relatively few such conflicts, but none are completely free of them except #9. The movies are generally considered to be "sidestories" or "what-if?" situations based on (or in a parallel universe to) the series, but not part of the series itself.

The OVAs

The OVA "Plot To Destroy the Saiya-jin!" is generally considered lower than the movies on the canon scale, though it is noteworthy in that the villain, Dr. Lychee, is more or less rehashed into Mu for Dragon Ball GT. It should be noted that two "digital comic" video games (composed of various parts of the OVA turned into interactive cutscenes) were released for the Playdia. A remade version of "Plot To Destroy the Saiya-jin!" comes bundled with Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2.

The video games

Main article: List of video games

Lower than the films and OVAs in terms of canoncity are the video games, and after that the collectible card games. These games often contain inaccuracies.

Notes on translations

A large number of inconsistencies exist between the various English translation of the series with respect to character names and translations. Many fans do not agree which of the translations have the "correct" spelling and Romanization of names. Other solutions, such as using a standard Hepburn Romanization, tend to make name puns and some of the fun of the series more obscure. As long as there are Dragon Ball fans, there will be arguments over the correct English names.

Although not universally agreed upon, the Viz Communications translations of the manga are a generally accepted source of "correct" names. Their translation is more direct than the anime translation and they have the advantage of working directly in a textual medium so that spelling is never in question. Of course, even that translation is imperfect and cannot be accepted as completely authoritative ("Mr. Satan", for example, is the original name of a character that was changed to "Hercule" by Viz Communications).

Real world timeline


  • February: "Dr. Slump" manga begins in Shonen Jump.


  • "Dragon Boy" and "Adventures of Tongpoo" appear in Fresh Jump.


  • September: Dr. Slump manga ends in Shonen Jump.
  • December: Dragon Ball manga begins in Shonen Jump.


  • November: Dragon Ball manga tankubon publication begins in Japan.


  • February: Dragon Ball anime begins airing on Fuji TV.
  • November: Dragon Ball: Mystery of Shenlong is released for the Famicom in Japan (first Dragon Ball video game).
  • December: DB Movie 1 premieres in Japan.




  • April: Dragon Ball anime ends its run on Fuji TV; Dragon Ball Z begins airing on Fuji TV.
  • July: DBZ Movie 1 premieres in Japan.
  • Dragon Ball anime's first English dub by Harmony Gold arrives in the U.S., but is cancelled soon after.







  • FUNimation acquires the rights for an English-language release of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z in the U.S.
  • March: DBZ Movie 12 premieres in Japan
  • May: Dragon Ball manga ends in Shonen Jump.
  • July: DBZ Movie 13 premieres in Japan; Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22 is released for the PlayStation in Japan.
  • August: Dragon Ball manga tankoubon releases final volume in Japan.
  • September: FUNimation's first dub of Dragon Ball begins airing in U.S. syndication, but is cancelled after thirteen episodes.



  • March: DBGT TV Special airs on Fuji TV.
  • August: Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout is released for the PlayStation in Japan.
  • October: Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout is released for the PlayStation in the U.S. (first Dragon Ball video game to be released in the U.S.).
  • November: Dragon Ball GT ends its run on Fuji TV.
  • December: DBZ Movie 1 is released to VHS/DVD in the U.S.


  • March: DBZ Movie 3 is released to VHS/DVD in the U.S.
  • May: FUNimation/Saban's Ocean Group dub of Dragon Ball Z is cancelled after two seasons in U.S. syndication; DBZ Movie 2 is released to VHS/DVD in the U.S.
  • August: Dragon Ball Z arrives on Cartoon Network's Toonami block.


  • April: Dragon Ball Movie 2 is released to VHS/DVD in the U.S.
  • September: FUNimation's in-house dub of Dragon Ball Z begins airing on Cartoon Network.


  • December: DBZ TV Special 2 is released to VHS/DVD in the U.S.


  • January: DBZ TV Special 1 is released to VHS/DVD in the U.S.
  • February: Dragon Ball Movie 3 is released to VHS/DVD in the U.S.
  • August: DBZ Movie 4 is released to VHS/DVD in the U.S.; FUNimation's in-house dub of Dragon Ball begins airing on Cartoon Network.


  • January: DBZ Movie 5 is released in the U.S.
  • May: Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku, is released for the Game Boy Advance in the US (first Dragan Ball Z video game to be produced in the U.S.).
  • August: DBZ Movie 6 is released to VHS/DVD in the U.S.
  • December: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai is released for the PlayStation 2 in the U.S.


  • February: DBZ Movie 7 is released to VHS/DVD in the U.S.
  • March: Viz Media begins releasing the Dragon Ball manga into English in the U.S.; First DBZ Dragon Box DVD set is released in Japan.
  • April: FUNimation's in-house dub of Dragon Ball Z ends its run on Cartoon Network; Dragon Ball: The Path to Power is released to VHS/DVD in the U.S.
  • June: Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II is released for the Game Boy Advance in the U.S.
  • August: DBZ Movie 8 is released to VHS/DVD in the U.S.
  • September: Final DBZ Dragon Box DVD set is released in Japan.
  • November: Dragon Ball GT begins its first US broadcast on Cartoon Network; Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 is released for the PlayStation 2 in the U.S.
  • December: FUNimation's in-house dub of Dragon Ball ends its run on Cartoon Network.


  • July: Dragon Ball Dragon Box is released to DVD in Japan.
  • August: DBZ Movie 9 is released to VHS/DVD in the U.S.
  • September: Dragon Ball Z: Buu's Fury is released for the Game Boy Advance in the U.S.
  • November: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 is released for the PlayStation 2 in the U.S.


  • February: DBGT Dragon Box is released to DVD in Japan.
  • March: Dragon Ball Z: Sagas is released for the PlayStation 2, XBOX, and GameCube in the U.S.
  • April: Dragon Ball GT ends its run on Cartoon Network; DBZ Movie 10 is released to DVD in the U.S.
  • May: DBZ Movie 1 is re-released to DVD in the U.S.
  • June – September: FUNimation's in-house dub of the first two seasons of Dragon Ball Z airs on Cartoon Network.
  • September: DBZ Movie 11 is released to DVD in the U.S.
  • November: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi is released for the PlayStation 2 in the U.S.


  • March: Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai is released for the PlayStation Portable in the U.S.; DBZ Movie 12 is released to DVD in the U.S.
  • April: Dragon Ball Movie Dragon Box is released to DVD in Japan.
  • June: Final Dragon Ball manga volume is released in the U.S.
  • July: Super Dragon Ball Z is released for the PlayStation 2 in the U.S.
  • September: DBZ Movie 13 is released to DVD in the U.S.
  • October: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is released for the PlayStation 2 in the U.S.
  • November: DBZ movies 2 and 3 are re-released to DVD in the U.S.



  • February: DBZ Season 4 and remastered DBZ TV specials 1 and 2 are released to DVD in the U.S.
  • May: DBZ Season 5 and remastered DBZ movies 1 and 2 are released to DVD in the U.S.
  • June: Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit is released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the U.S.
  • September: DBZ Season 6 and remastered DBZ movies 3 and 4 are released to DVD in the U.S.; Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! premieres in Japan.
  • November: DBZ Season 7, and remastered DBZ movies 5 and 6 are released to DVD in the U.S.; Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World is released for the PlayStation 2 in the U.S.
  • December: Remastered Dragon Ball GT Season 1 Box Set is released to DVD in the U.S.


  • February: DBZ Season 8, DBGT Season 2, and remastered DBZ movies 7 and 9 are released to DVD in the U.S.
  • March: Remastered DBZ movies 8, 10, and 11 are released to DVD in the U.S.
  • April: Dragon Ball Kai begins airing on Fuji TV; Dragonball: Evolution premieres in the U.S. (live-action film).
  • May: DBZ Season 9 and remastered DBZ movies 12 and 13 are released to DVD in U.S.
  • September: Remastered Dragon Ball Season 1 Box Set is released to DVD in the U.S.
  • October: Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo is released for the Wii in the U.S.
  • November: FUNimation's DBZ Dragon Box 1 and Dragon Ball Season 2 are released to DVD in the U.S.; Dragon Ball: Raging Blast is released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the U.S.


  • February: FUNimation gains the rights to dub Dragon Ball Kai, under the name Dragon Ball Z Kai; DBZ Dragon Box 2 and Dragon Ball Season 3 are released to DVD in the U.S.
  • May: DBZ Dragon Box 3 and Dragon Ball Season 4 are released to DVD in the U.S.; Dragon Ball Z Kai begins airing on Nicktoons and its first DVD/Blu-ray set is released in the U.S.
  • July: Dragon Ball Season 5 is released to DVD in the U.S.
  • August: Dragon Ball Z Kai arrives on The CW's Toonzai block.
  • September: DBZ Kai Part 2 is released to DVD/Blu-ray in the U.S.; DBZ Dragon Box 4 and "Dragon Ball GT: The Complete Series" are released to DVD in the U.S.
  • October: Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team is released for the PlayStation Portable in the U.S.
  • November: Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 is released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the U.S.
  • December: DBZ Kai Part 3 and remastered Dragon Ball Movie 1 are released to DVD/Blu-ray in the U.S.; Dragon Ball SD manga appears in Saikyo Jump.


  • January: FUNimation and Toei Animation announce they will stream the entire Dragon Ball series.
  • February: Dragon Ball Kai: Ultimate Butoden is released for the Nintendo DS in Japan; Dragon Ball: Zenkai Battle Royale is released for arcades in Japan.
  • March: DBZ Kai Part 4 is released to DVD/Blu-ray in the U.S.; Dragon Ball Kai ends its run on Fuji TV.
  • May: DBZ Dragon Box 5 is released to DVD in the U.S.
  • June: DBZ Kai Part 5 is released to DVD/Blu-ray in the U.S.
  • July: DBZ Dragon Box 6 is released to DVD in the U.S.
  • September: DBZ Kai Part 6 is released to DVD/Blu-ray in the U.S.
  • October: DBZ Dragon Box 7 is released to DVD in the U.S.; Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi is released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the U.S.


  • January: Dragon Ball Z Kai ends its run on Nicktoons; Dragon Ball GT arrives on Nicktoons.
  • March: DBZ Kai Part 7 is released to DVD/Blu-ray in the U.S.
  • June: DBZ Kai Part 8 is released to DVD/Blu-ray in the U.S.
  • August: Dragon Ball Z Kai moves to The CW's Vortexx block.
  • October: Dragon Ball Z for Kinect is released for the Xbox 360 in the U.S.
  • November: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai HD Collection is released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the U.S.

External links