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Manga Guide

Dragon Ball Manga Series


Series Information

Original Run:  20 November 1984 – 23 May 1995 (10 years, 6 months, 1 week)
Chapters: 519 chapters + 1 side-story
Page Count: 7,663 pages (166 full color / 555 limited color / 6,942 black and white)
Author: Akira Toriyama (Bird Studio)
Editor(s): Kazuhiko Torishima, Yū Kondō, and Fuyuto Takeda (Shueisha)
Publication: Weekly Shōnen Jump (Shueisha)

Dragon Ball was originally a gag manga (comic) series created and illustrated by famed manga artist Akira Toriyama, that evolved into a martial arts action manga, becoming the standard to which all future shōnen manga would be compared. It is comprised of a total of 520 individual chapters, including one side-story, and began its run on 20 November 1984 in Weekly Shōnen Jump, a popular manga anthology magazine in Japan. The series was serialized from 1984 to 1995, remaining a staple in Japan for nearly ten and a half years.

Each week a new chapter would be published in Weekly Shōnen Jump with approximately 14 pages per chapter. Since its serialization, these weekly manga chapters have been compiled into multiple collected releases. The manga series was adapted by Toei Animation into two animated television series: Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. The TV series were sequentially broadcast in Japan on Fuji TV from 1986 to 1996.

Series Story Arcs

Select a story arc to view a chapter-by-chapter break-down of that specific arc, with additional information pertaining to the original serialization. Detailed pages have also been included for each individual chapter, which contain title pages, chapter summaries, notes, author comments, and page breakdowns.

Son Goku arcChapters 001–023

In search of the seven Dragon Balls, Bulma crosses paths with a mysterious young boy by the name of Son Goku. Realizing Goku’s unnatural strength, she convinces him to join her in search of the remaining Dragon Balls. Along the way the two encounter many friends and foes, all in search of the same thing… the Dragon Balls.

Publication Dates: 20 November 1984 — 04 May 1985 (25 weeks)

Training has begun at the Turtle Hermit School, and two new students have joined… Son Goku and Kuririn. As their training concludes, they travel to the 21st Tenka’ichi Budōkai to compete with the greatest fighters in the world. Little do they know that their master, Muten Rōshi, has disguised himself as a competitor to defeat his own students.

Publication Dates: 14 May 1985 — 10 December 1985 (31 weeks)
Red Ribbon Army arcChapters 055–097

The ruthless Red Ribbon Army is on the hunt for the Dragon Balls, and they’re using any means necessary to get their hands on them. Goku must take on the entire Red Ribbon Army to get his grandfather’s Four-Star Ball back. Unfortunately for Commander Red and his army, they underestimate Goku, who is no ordinary boy.

Publication Dates: 20 December 1985 — 21 October 1986 (45 weeks)
Uranai Baba arcChapters 098–112

Goku has defeated the Red Ribbon Army, but he still cannot seem to find the last Dragon Ball. Kame-Sen’nin suggests they consult Uranai Baba, who can divinate the locations of lost items. However, her services aren’t cheap, so our heroes must instead defeat her five mysterious warriors before she will help them.

Publication Dates: 28 October 1986 — 17 February 1987 (17 weeks)

After some difficult training, Muten Rōshi’s students head off to compete in the next Tenka’ichi Budōkai, but a surprise awaits them. Muten Rōshi’s rival Tsuru-Sen’nin has brought his students to compete as well, and they’re out for blood. As the matches heat up, they must fight for their master’s honor, and their own lives.

Publication Dates: 24 February 1987 — 21 July 1987 (22 weeks)
Demon King Piccolo arcChapters 135–161

Kuririn is found dead after the Tenka’ichi Budōkai, and it soon becomes all to clear that Piccolo, the Demon King, has once again returned! He ravages the Earth in search of the Dragon Balls to regain his youth. With his newfound youth, Piccolo begins his reign over Earth and the only one standing in his way is Goku.

Publication Dates: 28 July 1987 — 09 February 1988 (29 weeks)

After training with God and Mister Popo, Goku’s time has come to confront Piccolo once again. The preliminary rounds of the Tenka’ichi Budōkai begin, and as predicted Piccolo arrives. Fighting his greatest battle yet, Goku must now defeat the demon Piccolo to save everything that is good and right; he must save the world once again.

Publication Dates: 16 February 1988 — 27 September 1988 (33 weeks)
Saiyan arcChapters 195–241

Goku and Piccolo face-off against Goku’s older brother Raditz, but they soon find they must face their fiercest opponents yet: the Saiyans! They are a warrior race with a prince hell bent on using the Dragon Balls to gain eternal life. With Goku dead, the Earth’s warriors must train harder than ever to prepare for the Saiyans’ arrival.

Publication Dates: 04 October 1988 — 12 September 1989 (50 weeks)
Namek arcChapters 242–290

Following the battle with the Saiyans on Earth, our heroes head to Piccolo’s home planet, Namek, in search of new Dragon Balls to revive their fallen comrades. Unfortunately, the most dreaded villain in the universe, Freeza, is also searching for the Dragon Balls. Our heroes must join forces with Vegeta, and take Freeza’s men head on.

Publication Dates: 19 September 1989 — 04 September 1990 (51 weeks)
Freeza arcChapters 291–329

Having defeated the Ginyu Special-Squad, our heroes must recompose themselves, but it’s too late… Freeza has arrived! The true battle on Namek unfolds, but our heroes are no match for the all-powerful Freeza. Goku’s anger swells as he watches his friends die right before his eyes, and he attains a Saiyan form not seen for a millennia.

Publication Dates: 11 September 1990 — 18 June 1991 (41 weeks)
Artificial Human arcChapters 330–356

Trunks returns from the future to warn the Earth’s warriors that the Red Ribbon Army has returned, in the form of artificial humans?! Dr. Gero has created the greatest killing machines known to man and their target is Son Goku!! Everyone trains in preparation for their arrival, but it proves to be in vain, for a much more terrifying enemy has appeared…

Publication Dates: 25 June 1991 — 14 January 1992 (30 weeks)
Cell arcChapters 357–420

The artificial human Cell has appeared, and he will stop at nothing to achieve his perfect form. After absorbing No. 17 & 18, Cell holds a martial arts tournament to celebrate his new perfection. While preparing for the Cell Games, our heroes attain new levels of Super Saiyan once again, but in the end Goku must say goodbye to his friends.

Publication Dates: 21 January 1992 — 27 April 1993 (67 weeks)
Great Saiyaman arcChapters 421–445

Several years after the battle with Cell, a now 16 year-old Gohan enrolls in high school. To protect Satan City from evil, he takes on the persona of the Great Saiyaman. But after Goku announces he will be participating in the next Budōkai, our hero strive to train for the tournament. But an evil plot awaits our heroes…

Publication Dates: 11 May 1993 — 02 November 1993 (27 weeks)
Majin Boo arcChapters 446–519

The demon known as Boo was created five million years ago by the dark mage Bibbidi. Now his son, Bobbidi, has appeared and released Majin Boo again in hopes of conquering the Universe in his father’s name. With a little heavenly help and the power of fusion, Goku, Vegeta, and some unlikely heroes must take on this evil Boo to save the Universe.

Publication Dates: 09 November 1993 — 23 May 1995 (81 weeks)