tek's rating: ½

Dragon Ball, Fuji TV
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Caution: spoilers

I've seen some of this, and I thought a lot of the time it was rather cute and amusing. But it got kind of old, and I lost interest. Later I started watching it again from the beginning on Toonami Jetstream, though eventually that site ceased to exist, so I still didn't get a chance to see all of the series. Anyway, it's about this strange, unnaturally strong kid named Goku (who happens to have a tail), who was raised by a man named Gohan, whom he called his grandpa, but who actually just found him. Anyway, Goku had never met anyone but his grandpa, until one day (some time after his grandpa died), he meets this girl named Bulma, who's looking for dragonballs. These are spheres with stars inside, each one has a different number of stars. And if you collect all seven of them, you can summon Shen Long (the Eternal Dragon), who will grant one wish. (Goku already had one dragonball, the four star ball, left to him by his grandpa, though before he met Bulma, he didn't know anything about it.) Bulma wanted to wish for a boyfriend. Of course, there's more strange stuff in the show than just Goku and magic dragons. There are all sorts of anthropomorphic animals who talk and stuff, plus... well, lots of weird creatures and monsters. Even science is different, like they have these things called dyno caps, capsules that can instantly turn into shelters or vehicles or whatever.

Goku and Bulma are joined by an anthropomorphic pig named Oolong, who can shapeshift, though he's not altogether trustworthy. He was an enemy when they first met. Later the three of them met a desert bandit named Yamcha, and his partner, a sort of cat-like critter named Puar, who could also shapeshift. Puar had gone to the same shapeshifting school as Oolong, and the two of them didn't get along. Yamcha has an immediate crush on Bulma, but he has a problem because he's too shy to talk to pretty girls; so much so that her mere presence constantly thwarts his attempts to fight or steal from them. He wants to steal the dragonballs so he can wish not to be so nervous around girls. Oh, I should say Bulma also has a crush on Yamcha.

Meanwhile, there's also a weird little evil emperor named Pilaf after the dragonballs, too, who wants to make a wish to rule the entire world. He sends out his agents, a woman named Mai, and a weird little dog sort of critter named Shu, to try to steal the dragonballs. In the course of their adventures, Goku and company also befriend a martial arts master named Roshi, aka the Turtle Hermit, who lives on a small island (there's barely any land surrounding his house). I need to mention that his signature technique is a powerful energy beam called the Kamehameha Wave, which Goku will eventually learn, too. Roshi had long ago taught Goku's grandpa, Gohan. Anyway, Goku and company will also befriend another former student of Roshi's, the Ox King, and the Ox King's young daughter, Chi-Chi. She has a major crush on Goku.

Oh, and Roshi gave Goku a little orange cloud called the Flying Nimbus, which he can fly on. Most other characters beside Goku can't fly on it, because if you have impure thoughts, you fall right through. Roshi couldn't use the Nimbus, because he's something of a pervert. Goku, luckily, is so innocent that he can barely tell the difference between men and women, and can't even tell attractive women from unattractive. Another thing you should know about Goku is that if he sees the full moon, he turns into an enormous, raging monster; though he doesn't know this about himself. Anyway, eventually Yamcha and Puar team up with Goku, Bulma, and Oolong, and later they all get captured by Pilaf's team, but still manage to prevent Pilaf from making a wish. (One of the good guys made an unimportant wish of his own, but I won't say who or what.) Then the seven dragonballs once again scattered around the world. After that, Goku turns into the monster, so his friends cut off his tail, which turns him back into himself. Yamcha and Bulma will finally start dating, I guess, and everyone goes their separate ways.

Goku heads off to train with Master Roshi, who also takes on a student named Krillin. But first, he insists they find a pretty young woman to go on a date with him. Goku is obviously no good at this task, but Krillin has a better idea of the kind of girl Roshi would like. They eventually bring back a girl named Launch (I think her name is supposed to be "Lunch," but in the dub I watched it was Launch.) But she's on the run from the law. She's kind of dumb and innocent and sweet, but when she sneezes, both her appearance and personality change. Her hair changes from blue to blonde, her facial features become more stern, and as far as attitude, well she's more intelligent, and angry, and a total bad-ass thief with machine guns. Who particularly hates male chauvinism and being objectified. Of course, sneezing again changes her back.

After Goku and Krillin spend some time training with Roshi (on a larger island), they enter the world martial arts tournament, in which Yamcha also competes. They all do pretty well, and Goku even makes it to the finals. However, his opponent, Jackie Chun, is actually Master Roshi in disguise. He wanted to be sure Goku and Krillin would lose, so they'd keep training to become stronger. During the tournament, Goku's tail grows back, and he turns into a monster again... so Roshi destroys the moon with his kamehameha wave, thus returning Goku to normal. Anyway, after that it's a pretty close match between the two of them, but ultimately "Jackie Chun" wins the tournament.

After the tournament, Goku goes off on his own with the flying nimbus to look for his grandpa's dragonball. Meanwhile, Pilaf, Mai, and Shu are once again trying to collect all the dragonballs, but there's also some other guy who wants to get his hands on the dragonballs, for the same reason as Pilaf, to become the ruler of the entire world. This other guy sent out the brutal Red Ribbon Army to search for the balls.... That's all I can say so far. There's more to the series, but as I said before, I didn't have a chance to finish watching it. I suppose I'd like to, eventually.

There is also a sequel series called Dragonball Z, which I also haven't seen all of. It's extremely popular I guess, but I don't even care for it as much as the first series. There is another series called Dragonball GT, of which I've also seen very little, and in which I have no particular interest. There's also a live action movie called Dragonball Evolution.


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