The Dragon Ball manga and anime series features an extensive cast of characters created by Akira Toriyama. The series takes place in a fictional universe where vast numbers of fighters in the world compete in tournaments, using various superhuman and supernatural abilities. The series' storyline follows the adventures of a martial artist as he searches for the seven mystical objects known as the Dragon Balls, which are used to summon a wish-granting dragon.
The main character of the series is Son Goku, a martial artist who comes from an extraterrestrial race known as the Saiyans. Along the way, he undergoes training regiments and educational programs to fight in the World Martial Arts Tournament. During the course of the story, he encounters diverse villains such as Piccolo, the offspring of Piccolo Daimao; Vegeta, a Saiyan who eventually becomes Goku's ally; and Frieza, a galactic tyrant who was responsible for the extinction of the Saiyan race; and allies such as Trunks, Vegeta's son; Bulma, a scientist; and Krillin, Goku's rival who eventually becomes his ally.
During this period of the series, Toriyama placed less emphasis on the series art work, simplifying the lines and sometimes making things "too square". He found himself having problems determining the colors for characters and sometimes ended up changing them unintentionally mid-story. For the female characters, Toriyama felt it was not fun to draw "weak females" so he created women that he felt were not only "beautiful and sexy", but also "strong".
After the first chapters were released, readers commented that Goku seemed rather plain, so his appearance was changed. More characters (such as and Krillin) and martial arts tournaments were added to give the manga a greater emphasis on fighting. Knowing readers would expect Goku to win the tournaments, Toriyama had him lose the first two while continuing his initial goal of having Goku be the champion and hero. When having fights in the manga, Toriyama had the characters go to a place where nobody lived to avoid difficulties in drawing destroyed buildings. In order to advance the story quickly, he also gave most fighters the ability to fly so they could travel to other parts of the world without inconvenience. This was also the reasoning behind Goku learning to teletransport (thus allowing characters to move to any planet in a second).
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Official Site: Funimation
Links: Wiki entry Dragonballz.com Pojo.com