Monday, April 25, 2011

Manga Monday: Meet the Red Ribbon Army

Last time, in Dragon Ball VizBig 1

We've met Goku, our pint-sized, monkey-tailed adventurer, and now he's entered the “Strongest Man in the World” competition. He's been training with his new pal Krillin under the tutelage of the hermit Muten Roshi. And who's this Jackie Chun guy anyways? He looks kinda familiar...

The great thing about Dragon Ball, as well as anything else written by Akira Toriyama, is that you know what you're getting when you pick up his books. This is shonen at its best. Strong little boy fights bad guys and monsters, and occasionally saves the world in the process.

That's not to say that this book is by any means generic. This is the book series that helped to form the genre. The characters are well thought out, each with their own backstory. Even the characters that are destined to only be around for a short while have their own motivations. Even one of the tournament participants is there for the prize money to bring water back to their village dying of drought. And the Red Ribbon Army is hilarious to watch, with layer upon layer of assassins and other baddies working for them, as well as conflict on the highest levels. This is what happens when a group of chaotic neutral and chaotic evil people try to work together.

But still, at its heart, this is still a book about a boy and his cloud, adventuring through the world, defeating bad guys and saving the day. Even when it looks like all is lost and one of the good guys goes down, there's always a way to make it right, if everyone works together.

Highs: The final round of the Budokai Tenkaichi tournament

Lows: In traditional shonen fashion, quite a few pages of fighting, which can just be skimmed through to get back to the story

Verdict: It's exactly what you expect, with the addition of a lot of heart

Further Reading: Dragon Ball VizBig Volume 3, One Piece

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