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Official Site: Toei Animation
is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. It was originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1984 through 1995; later the 519 individual chapters were published into 42 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha. Dragon Ball was inspired by the Chinese folk novel Journey to the West. It follows the adventures of Son Goku from his childhood through adulthood as he trains in martial arts and explores the world in search of the seven mystical objects known as the Dragon Balls, which can summon a wish-granting dragon when gathered. Along his journey, Goku makes several friends and battles a wide variety of villains, many of whom also seek the Dragon Balls for their own desires.
The 42 tankōbon have been adapted into two anime series produced by Toei Animation: Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, which together were broadcast in Japan from 1986 through 1996. Additionally, Toei has developed seventeen animated feature films and three television specials, as well as a short-lived third anime spin-off titled Dragon Ball GT, which takes place after the events of the manga. In 2009, Toei began broadcasting a revised, faster-paced version of Dragon Ball Z under the name of Dragon Ball Kai, in which most of the material not featured in the manga is removed. Several companies have developed various types of merchandising such as a collectible trading card game, and a large number of video games.
The manga series was licensed for an English language release in North America by Viz Media, in the United Kingdom by Gollancz Manga, and in Australia and New Zealand by Chuang Yi. The anime series was licensed by Funimation Entertainment for an English language release worldwide, although the series has been dubbed several times by various studios. In China, a live-action film adaptation was produced in 1989. In 2002, 20th Century Fox acquired the rights to produce an American-made live-action film, which was released on April 10, 2009 to critical lambast.
Since its release, Dragon Ball has become one of the most popular manga series of its time in both Japan and North America. It enjoys a high readership, with over 150 million volumes of the series sold by 2007. Reviewers have praised the art, characterization, and humor of the story. Several manga artists have noted that the manga series was the inspiration for their own now popular works, including Naruto and One Piece. The anime is also highly popular and is arguably one of the most influential among both Eastern and Western audiences.
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