Dragon Ball Z #9
FINAL ISSUE (continued as Dragon Ball Z part 2 because Viz did that for some reason; see also my reviews of Bio-Booster Armor Guyver)
Viz Comics (1998), originally published by Shueisha, Inc. (1983)
“The Hardest Time Of His Death”
produced by Bird Studio
WRITER/ARTIST: Akira Toriyama
ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Gerard Jones
TRANSLATION: Lillian Olsen
TOUCH-UP ART/LETTERING: Wayne Truman
EDITOR: Trish Ledoux
The Saiyans are coming sooner than our heroes expected. On the plus side most of our heroes have completed their training and leave Kami to hone their skills. Goku, however, just reached the Lord Of Worlds last issue and must train on a small planet with gravity ten times that of Earth, which is normal gravity on the destroyed planet Vegeta, home of the Saiyan race. The training is grueling and a bit weird, but soon Son Goku is ready to fight the aliens. However, due to the time it will take for him to go back along Snake Way his friends will have to hold them off until he can arrive. Will his new techniques, and those of his friends, be enough to save the Earth?
What they got right: We get to see at least some of Goku’s training, and somebody got impatient (my money’s on Toriyama) because now things are coming to a head. We don’t get to see any of the new techniques in action (the “spirit ball” is a teaser, and the Kaio Ken is only mentioned), which means they’ll be surprises later on. It’s also explained why they don’t just use the Dragon Balls to wish the Saiyans away.
What they got wrong: Granted it shows how week the concept of a “god” is in Japanese fiction if we have an enemy more powerful than the creator of the Dragon Balls, thus making stopping them beyond Shenlong’s powers. On the plus side it does force our characters to actually battle the Saiyans themselves. Anime adaptations who strictly follow the book still have to pad out to not overcome the source material. I think the anime still took more time to really show us the training, which I kind of liked. At least we see some of Goku’s training, even if it is just “chase Bubbles the chimp around a planet of increased gravity”.
Other notes: I was planning to pick up further issues in Viz’s collected digest form but they took a long time to come out and I moved on to other things. So while the adaptation continued on this is where my collection ends.
Recommendation: There is a reason the manga and anime are so well received by Western audiences. This is definitely a series to be checked out for fans of Japanese media if only to get an idea as to what this series is about.