Doragon Bōru Ubawareru!!
The Dragon Balls Are Stolen!!
|Premiered:||02 April 1985 (Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 #18)|
|Corresponding:||Dragon Ball Episode 010, “The Dragon Balls Are Stolen!!”|
Bulma, Oolong, and Goku continue driving along through a desert filled with giant mushrooms. Oolong asks Bulma what she wants to wish for. She says a dreamy boyfriend, which irks Oolong that they’re risking their lives for such a thing. Meanwhile, a tall woman with long black hair is standing on top of one of the mushrooms. She radioes to “Pilaf-sama” that she’s at point Ho-15. There’s one car coming, and Pilaf, her apparent boss, says “they” must be in that car. The woman is told to execute the plan. She asks “Soba” if he can see the car, and a voice over the radio replies that he can. She tells him that they’re the ones holding the Dragon Balls.
Oolong and Bulma continue to argue over the worth of her intended wish, when suddenly their car is struck and sent careening into a giant mushroom, where it explodes. The three are thrown off to the side, and a mech hops over to the car’s remains. Piloting the mech is Soba, a dog in a ninja suit, who begins looking for the Dragon Balls in the wreckage. He soon finds the suitcase with them in it and blasts off, payload in tow. Bulma yells at Goku to catch him, and so he calls for Kinto-Un and flies off in pursuit.
Goku stumbles upon the now empty mech and yells at it. There’s no response, so he taps it with Nyoi-Bō and it falls over. Goku assumes it must be dead, and very weak. Bulma thinks the thief must’ve known about the Dragon Balls, and Oolong thinks they should just give up. He tells Bulma he would be her boyfriend, and she yells at him. Goku returns, saying he defeated him, but the Dragon Balls weren’t there. Bulma cries about those people collecting all seven, and this being the end, until Goku points out that he still has the Four-Star Ball. Bulma then arrogantly laughs about them forgetting one, and declares that they’ll use the Dragon Radar to find the thieves’ location. Oolong points out that the car is destroyed, and Bulma remembers that the capsules were in the briefcase with the Dragon Balls. Pu’er and Yamcha notice that they’ve lost their Dragon Balls, and decide they’ve no choice but to help again. They pull over in their car, and Bulma is very excited to see Yamcha-sama.
Soba and the woman are driving along to take the Dragon Balls back to “Pilaf-sama“, so he can rule the world. Meanwhile, Oolong is glad that Yamcha came along, and Yamcha says it was completely by chance. However, when Bulma starts cuddling up against him, he nearly crashes the car.
Meanwhile, inside a big castle, Soba and the woman are apologizing to Pilaf, a tiny man with pointy ears, for only getting six. Fortunately for them, he’s not that angry, as the seventh ball is on its way to them already. The woman then notices that “they” have arrived on the security monitor, and Pilaf thinks “they” must also have a radar of some sort to have arrived so soon.
Everyone is standing outside of the castle, and Goku’s impressed at the size, while Pu’er is worried about Yamcha-sama after his reaction to Bulma. They head inside, and creep quietly along the brick walls, until Goku spots some arrows on the floor pointing the way. They decided to follow along, until they come to a dead end. A wall drops behind them, so they’re now trapped in a tiny room. Pilaf can’t believe they fell for such a dumb trap.
- The original title page for this chapter, as published in Weekly Shōnen Jump, features a grid of nine squares featuring each of the eight characters in the chapter, plus the chapter title and Akira Toriyama’s author credit in the center square. The tagline, which runs vertically along the left side of the page before turning rightward along the bottom, reads: “When all seven balls are brought together, the Dragon appears! At that time, whose wish will the Dragon grant…??”
- The original title page for this chapter, as it appeared in Weekly Shōnen Jump, was retitled and moved in the tankōbon and kanzenban releases to accompany Chapter 19, whose title page was used for the cover of Tankōbon Volume 2 (as noted in Daizenshuu 1). The change most likely occurred to avoid an awkwardly-placed blank page in that spot.
- This chapter is the first time in the entire series that Bulma & co. encounter an antagonist seeking out the Dragon Balls completely independently of their own search. Thus far, other antagonists have either had nothing to do with the Dragon Balls themselves, or in the case of Yamcha, only set about trying to steal them after learning about them from Bulma. Thus, the Pilaf trio are the first true villains in competition for the Dragon Balls, rather than mere obstacles encountered on the journey. This is probably why their role is greatly expanded in the TV series (see “Anime Connections”, below).
- This chapter is the first appearance of Pilaf, Shuu, and Mai, although as mentioned above, the latter two will not receive these names until the debut of the TV show the following year, and will not be referred to as such in the manga until Chapters 110 (Shuu) and 111 (Mai).
- On Page 2 of the chapter, Mai (or rather, “Pilaf’s unnamed female underling” at this point) mentions that she is located at “Point Ho-15″; ho is the fifth item in the iroha ordering system used in Japan, making this the equivalent of “E-15” using the English alphabet.
- The characters on Pilaf’s clothes are Simplified Chinese characters reading 炒饭 (chǎo fàn), meaning “fried rice“. The same word exists in Japanese, but is written 炒飯 and is pronounced chāhan or (more rarely) irimeshi. The text is rather apropos, considering that Pilaf’s name also references a rice dish (see below).
- The character “Soba” was later named “Shuu” in the series’ anime adaptation, as Toriyama had forgotten he had already named the character in the manga. Toriyama notes in his “Ask Me Anything Corner” section of Tankōbon Volume 07 that he realized his mistake too late, as the episode had already aired. When the character later appeared in Chapter 110, Toriyama decided to be consistent with the anime and used the name “Shuu”. However, the kanzenban release would later rename the character to “Soba” to remain consistent within the manga continuity. Similarly, the character “Mai” remained unnamed in the manga until Chapter 109.
- pilaf (ピラフ, pirafu) is a dish of meat and rice popular throughout the Middle East and central Asia, but commonly thought of as Turkish cuisine. It is used as-is for the name of the character.
- Soba (蕎麦 or そば) are noodles made from buckwheat. It is written in katakana (as ソバ) for the character, but is otherwise identical to the name of the food.
- The car that Pilaf’s underlings ride in on their way back to the castle is an Autobianchi A112 Abarth, as noted in Daizenshuu 4: World Guide. Akira Toriyama actually owned one of this model, specially detailed with the text “UCCELLO STUDIO” (“studio bird” in Italian, a reference to Toriyama’s Bird Studio). This same model appears several times in Toriyama’s previous series, Dr. Slump, as at least one iteration of Penguin Village’s (frequently-destroyed) police car in Chapter 111: “The Thrill of Married Life”, as the vehicle driven by Arale on the cover of Volume 9, and on the title page for Chapter 146: “A Duel of Deadly Greetings”.
Inside Jokes / Easter-Eggs
- On Page 12 of the chapter, as Pilaf gloats about the world soon being his, he is standing in front of a bookcase filled with tomes labeled “Jump” in Japanese. This is, of course, a reference to Weekly Shōnen Jump, the magazine in which the series was originally published.
- In the version of the chapter originally run in Weekly Shōnen Jump, the ending narration says that the Dragon will finally appear in the “next issue” (次号, jigō). In the tankōbon and subsequent collected releases, this was changed to “next time” (次回, jikai).
- Although this chapter marked the debut of Pilaf, Shuu, and Mai in the manga, the trio were made to appear from the very first episode in the Dragon Ball TV series, making them more traditional antagonists of an entire story arc, rather than just the few chapters in which they originally appeared.
- Each issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump featured short comments from the various series’ authors, giving fans a brief insight into their current thoughts, ranging from series-related announcements to trivial happenings in their personal lives. Akira Toriyama’s comments from this issue were:
It’s spring! I should be zooming around town on my motorbike… Yeah, this sucks… <Akira>
The majority of the Dragon Ball series was drawn in black and white, but chapters were occasionally published with color pages. This breakdown notes how many full-color, limited-color, and black-and-white pages appeared in this chapter. As the tankōbon volumes were not released with these colors intact, any color pages shown are taken from the kanzenban release.