When I was in grade school, you were either into Pokemon, Digimon or Dragon Ball Z. I was one of those kids that were into all three, but when it came time to choose sides, it was always Dragon Ball Z. My eldest brother, James, introduced it to me via VHS cassettes that we would watch together. Shortly after, I discovered Toonami, and I became hooked. There was something in Dragon Ball Z that just captivated me and thousands of other kids; some sort of magic that can’t really be explained and maybe shouldn’t. All we knew was that Dragon Ball Z was awesome and that it always would be. There was something odd, though, something that most kids my age didn’t know. Where on Earth did Dragon Ball Z come from?

The show was called Dragon Ball and it was the creation of manga writer/artist, Akira Toriyama. The States only had Dragon Ball for a short while, before it was taken off the air. So what was this mystery show and how was it connected to Dragon Ball Z? For many my age, DBZ started with the Arrival of Radditz and already seemed to have had a whole world set up. We didn’t question this; we figured that’s just the way it was. In truth we were only watching the beginning of the second act. Dragon Ball was the first act, and it set the stage for what would become an adventure, the likes of which we had never seen. And it all begins in a mystical land with a young boy named…Goku.

The first saga of Dragon Ball is very different from everything that comes after it. Since it was the beginning it had to introduce its principal cast rather quickly in order to catch up to the manga that was being printed at the time. On top of all that it becomes very episodic, with much of the plot being solved in each episode. There’s still an overarching storyline, finding the Dragon Balls before Pilaf does. Other than that it’s all set up, and what fun set up it is.

Each episode is usually made to spotlight a character, till around episode 9, where the story comes together. In the course of 8 episodes we are introduced to Goku, Bulma, Turtle, Roshi, Oolong, Puar, Yamcha, Chi-Chi, Ox King, Emperor Pilaf, Mai, and Shu. This isn’t even counting all the minor villains the gang fights. Although it’s quite dense, it manages to pull it off quite well. You know the motivation of each character and where they are going.

Story wise, it’s very simple. Goku and Bulma set out on a quest to find the Dragon Balls. Along the way they make new friends, each of which in some way is connected to a Dragon Ball. While on this adventure, the cruel Emperor Pilaf is out to stop the group, and claim the balls for himself. Eventually he gets his hands on them, only to be stopped by a talking pig with a panty obsession. It doesn’t end there; the full moon mysteriously transforms Goku into a giant ape! After cutting off his tail, he reverts back to the silly little boy who’s none the wiser. We end with them parting ways, saying they’ll meet again at the World Martial Arts Tournament. The journey is over but the lesson for Goku has begun.

So let’s get down to the good, the bad and the weird, of the Goku Saga.

The Good:
– Goku’s cat and mouse with a mountain lion.
– DynoCaps are amazing and can store anything, even a house.
– The first use of Kamehameha, by a super buff Master Roshi
– Oolongs wish for the most comfortable panties in the world
– Goku’s transformation.

The Bad:
– The Boss Rabbit episode is almost unneeded
– Shu, poor slow dog man thing.

The Weird:

– Goku loves seeing if people have balls…THE HUMAN KIND!
– A large gangster rabbit that turns people into carrots.
– Oolong’s wish
– Goku shows his wiener and butt a lot
– A large gangster rabbit that turns people INTO CARROTS!!!

That brings us to the end of the first Dragon Ball Revisited. Due to the nature of this not really being a saga, I had to improvise a little. Next week is I’ll be reviewing the first true Saga of the Dragon Ball franchise, ‘The Tournament Saga”. What’s next for Goku and his friends and what new challenges await? Find out on the next DRAGON BALL REVISITED!

-Aaron “Yajirobe” Alvarez