The Dragon Ball franchise continues with the latest manga release of Dragon Ball Super Volume 1. Peace continues in the aftermath of Boo’s destruction. I know what you’re thinking, “it’s spelled Buu, not Boo!” You’d normally be correct, except the manga spells characters names differently so don’t freak out… This happens a lot in the manga. Trust me, I had to adjust to the changes too. Anyway, back to the actual content. Goku now lives as a farmer, tilling the land in order to support his family. Little does he know that his understanding of power is about to be shattered.
Beerus, a God of Destruction, recalls a dream about a Super Saiyan God who would rival his own ferocious power. He informs his companion, Whis, about this dream and they begin their journey to locate the mythical saiyan. Beerus and Whis locate Goku on the Planet of the Lord of the Northern World’s… I’m glad they just call it King Kai’s Planet in the animated series. Goku is ecstatic to face off against Beerus, but is quickly defeated with a single finger flick. Unsatisfied with Goku’s power, Beerus makes his way to Earth in hopes of locating the Super Saiyan God. Beerus interrupts Bulma’s birthday party and decides to destroy Earth after not having the opportunity to enjoy a cup of pudding. Vegeta tries his best to calm the Destruction God, but loses control when Bulma is struck by Beerus. The Saiyan Prince shows incredible power, but is ultimately defeated.
Goku arrives back on Earth and proposes a plan to summon Shenlong in order to discover how to become a Super Saiyan God. Goku is able to achieve this new form with the help of 5 other purely righteous saiyans. The battle begins as Beerus faces off against his dream foe. The fight is ultimately called a draw by Whis, even though Goku is clearly outmatched, and the Earth is spared. Goku then discovers that Whis is actually Beerus’ teacher and that there are 12 universes in existence.
Vegeta and Goku begin their training with Whis on Beerus’ home planet. They have since grown greatly in power and have achieved the new form of Super Saiyan God Blue. The battle with Golden Frieza is glossed over in order to push the storyline along. Champa, the God of Destruction for universe 6 and Beerus’ twin, arrives and challenges Beerus to their usual food battle. Champa is overwhelmed by the food choice from Beerus’ universe and proposes a tournament where 5 of the best fighters from their respective universes will face off. If a fighter from universe 6 wins, the brothers must switch universes so that Champa can enjoy food from Earth. If a fighter from universe 7, Beerus’ universe, then he will receive all 7 super dragon balls and be awarded whatever wish he desires without limitations, unlike normal dragon balls.
The Universe 7 team consists of Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Boo and Monaka. Monaka is said to be the only fighter stronger than Goku that Beerus has ever faced. We learn that all universes that add up to 13 are nearly identical and as such, the universe 6 team has some familiar faces. Frost looks identical to Frieza and there is even a Saiyan named Cabbe. All fighters must take a written test before the tournament can commence and Boo fails and is disqualified from the tournament. The Tournament begins with Goku defeating the giant Botamo. Goku’s next opponent is the surprisingly friendly Frost. Goku is well aware of Frost ability to change forms and tells him to start at his final form so that they don’t waste any time. Volume 1 ends just before the exciting battle between Frost and Goku Begins.
Volume 1 Review
Dragon Ball Super Volume 1 was an absolute blast to read. The art style is incredibly well done. There is so much motion conveyed within these panels that I forgot I was reading from a still page. The pacing is far better than the animated series. The first few episodes of Dragon Ball Super dragged and lacked excitement. Something as simple as Goku training while he’s supposed to be farming is better executed in the Manga than the animated series. We see Goku imagining his battles with former villains like Frieza, Cell and Buu. That minor detail makes that scene far more meaningful than him just kicking and punching thin air. The humor flows naturally and matches the beloved tone of the previous installments. The dialogue is fast paced and meaningful. Even though so much happens within just a few pages, the story never feels rushed.
Now for a few things that I didn’t quite enjoy. There are two times in this volume that use the Dragon Ball Z feature films as a way to gloss over information. For a long time, I was under the impression that the films were not cannon, but just a fun side universe that fans could enjoy while waiting for the main material to be released. Volume 1 suggests watching Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods in order to enjoy Bulma’s birthday party in full. This threw me off because the movie has details that are different than the manga and anime. One example being that in the manga and anime, Bulma’s party takes place on a boat, while in Battle of the God’s, it’s on dry land. Minor detail, I know. BUT if the manga is going to reference the films, the material should not be contradictory.
The manga also glosses over the battle with Golden Frieza which I was excited to see on page. The decision to use the films as a way to skip key moments just comes off as a bit lazy. I understand they didn’t feel the need to redraw all these encounters, but if someone hasn’t seen those films before reading volume 1, they are going to be missing out on some key information. The only other issue is that it is difficult at times to differentiate between super saiyan and super saiyan god unless the characters describe the transformation. These are extremely minor grievances! Overall, I was thrilled with volume 1 and excited to read the next!
If you’re interested in reading Dragon Ball Super Volume 1, which I strongly suggest even if you’ve already watched the anime, click right here to be directed to Viz Media.
We received free access to Dragon Ball Super Volume 1 from Viz Media in return for an honest review