Dragon Ball 42Posted: August 23, 2008
Well, there you go. That’s the end of Dragon Ball. I’ve got individual issues, I’ve got issues of Shounen Jump, I’ve got big graphic novels, I’ve got the whole thing in small graphic novels. I may as well just buy the VizBig editions and continue to pitch my money away. God knows it was worth every penny I spent on it.
The ending was about what you would expect from Dragon Ball. Of course we got to see Vegerot (and not Gogeta, like I thought), of course Goku and Vegeta wanted to fight separately, of course Boo was still too much so a last-ditch effort had to go in for saving the earth, of course the dragon was summoned again… and of course it all came down to Hercule, who I wound up liking in the end. He’s got charisma, I guess, and name recognition that not even Goku has. We saw characters that haven’t appeared since the early volumes of Dragon Ball, we got a ten years later sequence, and… we got the famous no-end. But really, how could you end this in a satisfactory way? Blow up the Earth and kill everyone on it except Goku, Hercule, and Dende? Done. There’s nothing that can top that.
Mostly this was milked for nostalgia, which I don’t mind. It took me four or five years to get through the entire thing after starting with the smaller shounen jump graphic novels, but I’ve been reading it in bits and pieces for ten years, a little after the floppy comics started coming out, I think. I’m glad it went out with so much humor, because I like that about it more than anything.
Even among all the nostalgia, there’s still quite a lot of funny bits. At one point during the fight with Boo, Vegerot is turned into a candy that still has the power to kick Boo’s ass. Boo turns him back into a person so it’s not as humiliating. Also, there’s a great exchange between Goku and Vegeta when Goku has to tempt the old Kaio-shin with the promise of peeking at a woman in order to let them use the dragon balls. Vegeta overhears Goku’s conversation, and guesses that Bulma is the one that Goku has in mind. Vegeta objects on the grounds that Bulma is his wife, and suggests in a friendly, Vegeta-like manner that perhaps Goku should let him peek at Chi-chi. Goku strenuously disagrees, stating that Chi-chi would kill him, and also she’s just not as hot as Bulma. I almost died laughing, and it only took 3 panels.
I liked that the last chapter’s title page (originally in color) was exactly the same as the cover to the first volume, except Shenlong was more serious-looking and Goku was an adult. Goku even had the Nyoi-bo, which I haven’t seen in ages. I thought that was a cool touch.
Yes, this series really does deserve all the hype it gets. I still like the earlier parts best, and I think that the Boo story is the best in the series, but I don’t think I’d trade out the parts with Cell or Freeza or the Androids, either. Suffering builds character, and those parts make it Dragon Ball more than any other, I think.