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Manga Guide


Dragon Ball was originally a gag manga (comic) created by famed manga artist Akira Toriyama, that evolved into an martial arts action manga, becoming the standard to which all future shōnen manga would be compared. It began its run on 20 November 1984 in Weekly Shōnen Jump, a popular manga anthology magazine in Japan. Each week a new chapter would be published with approximately 14 pages per chapter. When it was all said and done, the series had come to a total of 520 chapters, including one side-story, which was an amazing feat at the time.

These days, fans have numerous options for owning the original manga; the tankōbon, which were released as Dragon Ball was being published in Weekly Shōnen Jump, the kanzenban, which started to be released in late 2002, the colorized versions available in both print and digital editions, and the most recent “Digest Editions” that attempt to reproduce the manga’s original serialization. For more information on these release formats, you can visit their respective pages in this guide. We also highly suggest you take a look at our “Manga Comparison” feature, which provides a detailed comparison of the original weekly serialization, the economic tankōbon, and the more expensive kanzenban. In addition, two relevant “mini-guides” have been provided to help answer specific questions.

Over the years, other manga formats have been released to capitalize on Dragon Ball’s success. These releases include the various animation comics, which contain screen shots of the animation adaptations of the manga presented in a comic form, a fully re-colored version of the original tankōbon, and even digital releases in both monochrome and full color formats. More information on these releases can be found by visiting their respective pages in this guide.

Dragon Ball Manga Releases

To date the Dragon Ball manga has been collected and released in five separate compilation formats, outside of its serialization in Weekly Shōnen Jump, all with varying sizes, print quality, and color palettes.

Weekly Shōnen Jump Serialization週刊少年ジャンプ
Dragon Ball began as a weekly serialization in the popular boys magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump, and eventually became a household name across Japan. The series ran for just over a decade and helped spawn what came to be known as the “Golden Age of Jump”.

Release Information

Released:20 November 1984 – 23 May 1995
Retail:¥170 – ¥210
Book Size:JIS B5 (18.2 × 25.7 cm)
Publisher:Shueisha
Volumes:516 issues

Beginning in September 1985, these weekly manga chapters began to be compiled into separate volumes called tankōbon (単行本; “separate volume”). In most English speaking countries the tankōbon are referred to as “graphic novels”, while most people in Japan simply refer to them as “comics”.

Release Information

Released:10 September 1985 – 04 August 1995
Retail:¥400
Book Size:New Book Format (11 × 17 cm)
Publisher:Shueisha
Volumes:42 volumes

In 2002, Japan experienced a revival of the once forgotten Dragon Ball series. Due to this resurgence of interest in the series, Shueisha began to re-release the original tankōbon in December 2002 in a complete kanzenban (完全版; “Perfect Edition”) format.

Release Information

Released:04 December 2002 – 02 April 2004
Retail:¥933
Book Size:JIS A5 (14.5 × 21 cm)
Publisher:Shueisha
Volumes:34 volumes

In early 2013, Shueisha began releasing a fully-colored version of the original tankōbon. This release condenses the original tankōbon into larger 17-chapter volumes, which are organized based on their respective story arcs. Unlike all other releases of the manga, the full color release began with the chapters from the “Z”-era storyline.

Release Information

Released:04 February 2013 – 04 July 2014
Retail:¥630
Book Size:New Book Format (11 × 17 cm)
Publisher:Shueisha
Volumes:20 volumes

The sōshūhen (総集編; “Digest Edition”) recreate the chapters of Dragon Ball as they were originally serialized in Weekly Jump, including original colors and promotion text. This release condenses the series into larger volumes organized by story arcs. Unlike other compilation releases of the manga, the digest editions are not smaller, but the same size as issues of Weekly Jump.

Release Information

Released:13 May 2016 – 13 January 2017
Retail:¥500 – ¥650
Book Size:JIS B5 (18.2 × 25.7 cm)
Publisher:Shueisha
Volumes:18 volumes

With the series already well-established in the world of print, Shueisha began releasing digital volumes of the manga in early 2013. These full color digital volumes have been divided into seven appropriate story arcs, with the early “Z”-era storyline receiving a concurrent “Dragon Ball Full Color” release in a printed format.

Release Information

Released:04 February 2013 – 04 October 2013
Retail:¥473
Book Size:Digital Format
Publisher:Shueisha
Volumes:42 volumes

Animation Comic Release

These releases contain stills, or screen shots, from animated material and arranged as comic-book panels, with added sound-effects and dialogue bubbles.

Dragon Ball Film Animation Comicsアニメコミックス
While the anime TV series was still airing in Japan, Toei Animation began producing theatrical films based on the series. With their success, Shueisha began releasing film animation comics of these theatrical films. The comics contained screen shots of the film presented in a comic format.

Release Information

Released:25 March 1992 – 04 October 2013
Retail:¥690 – ¥733
Book Size:New Book Format (11 × 17 cm)
Publisher:Shueisha
Volumes:22 volumes

Dragon Ball TV Animation ComicsTV版アニメコミックス
In late 2005, Shueisha began releasing TV animation comics of the Dragon Ball Z TV series. Similar to those of the film animation comics, they contain screen shots of the anime in a comic form, although the series is broken up into individual story arcs.

Release Information

Released:04 November 2005 – 02 July 2010
Retail:¥710
Book Size:New Book Format (11 × 17 cm)
Publisher:Shueisha
Volumes:39 volumes

Shueisha Jump Remix集英社リミックス
Shueisha Remix is an inexpensive, convenience-store-exclusive line of books published by Shueisha, the company that originally published Dragon Ball. The Shueisha Remix magazines are split up into four different lines, one of which is Shueisha Jump Remix (SJR), a line that publishes previous Jump series.

Release Information

Released:12 July 2004 – 12 April 2010
Retail:¥650 (Film) / ¥550 (TV)
Book Size:JIS B6 (12.8 × 18.2 cm)
Publisher:Shueisha
Volumes:21 volumes

Other Releases

In addition to the releases categorized above, other various official releases have been published, including spin-off material from the anime staff, new authors Naho Ooishi and Toyotarō, and even Akira Toriyama.

Dragon Ball Z Anime Kids Comicsアニメキッズコミックス
While the Dragon Ball Z TV series was still in syndication, Shueisha began releasing “Anime Kids Comics” covering the Great Saiyaman and Majin Boo arcs of series, and movies 11 and 12 as well. The comics featured screen shots of the anime in a comic form and were written entirely in basic kana (no kanji).

Release Information

Released:25 August 1994 – December 1995
Retail:¥450 (TV) / ¥480 (Film)
Book Size: (10.5 × 14.5 cm)
Publisher:Shueisha
Volumes:17 volumes

From the “Original Illustrated Stories” up through Episode of Bardock, Dragon Ball SD, Victory Mission, and beyond to things like movie adaptations, the extra spin-offs and side-stories told through additional manga is never ending!

Release Information

Released:1989 – present
Retail:Various
Book Size:Various
Publisher:Shueisha
Volumes:Multiple series, many on-going