Manga Guide

Dragon Ball Volume 04




The Grand Finals

Volume Information

First Release: 09 October 1986 (print edition)
12 October 2012 (digital edition)
Retail: ¥360, not taxed (initial print edition)
¥400 + 5% tax (current print edition, since May 2009)
¥350 + 5% tax (digital edition)
Publisher: Shueisha
Size / Pages: New Book Format (11 × 17 cm) / 192 pages
Catalog No.: ISBN 4-08-851834-9

Volume Introduction by Akira Toriyama

These days, I’ve been slacking off on exercise, always doing lazy things like using the car or motorbike even on outings right in the neighborhood. As a result, my stomach has started to bulge out. Thinking, “I’ll be in trouble if it goes on like this!”, I decided I’d at least try and ride my bike to shape up. But my eyes always wander over to the women walking along the street, and I end up riding at a snail’s pace. To be frank, it doesn’t really amount to “exercise”.

Volume Contents (037 – 048)

All chapter title pages shown below are as available in this tankōbon volume, featuring the original chapter tag lines and “Bird Studio” logo. Unfortunately this volume omits five of the original chapter title pages, although all five were later included in the kanzenban release. The chapter premiere dates listed below are based on the sale date of their respective issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump, which is when that issue of the magazine officially went on sale.

Dai-Ni Shiai
The Second Match
13 August 1985
Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 #37
Dai-San Shiai
The Third Match
20 August 1985
Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 #38
Dai-Yon Shiai
The Fourth Match
27 August 1985
Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 #39
Gokū no Shippo
Goku’s Tail
03 September 1985
Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 #40
Kuririn Tai Jakkī Chun
Kuririn vs Jackie Chun
10 September 1985
Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 #41
A Great Give-and-Take Battle!
17 September 1985
Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 #42
Nazo no Jakkī Chun
The Mysterious Jackie Chun
24 September 1985
Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 #43
Son Gokū Tai Namu
Son Goku vs Namu
01 October 1985
Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 #44
A Great Mid-Air Battle!
08 October 1985
Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 #45
The Grand Finals
15 October 1985
Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 #46
The Kamehameha
22 October 1985
Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 #47
Saru Mane Son Gokū
Monkey-See, Monkey-Do Son Goku
29 October 1985
Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 #48

Toriyama-san’s “Dragon Ball” Ask Me Anything Corner

Each of the first 12 tankōbon volumes contains a short, two-page Q&A session with Akira Toriyama (essentially the continuation of a similar section in Dr. Slump), where he answers questions sent in by readers. Anyone was able to send in a postcard to the address listed in the book, and individuals whose submissions ran in a subsequent volume were promised a signed illustration (shikishi) from Toriyama himself. This solicitation remained in place in all printings through mid-1995 (the end of the series’ run in Weekly Shōnen Jump), after which it was removed.

In addition to the above call for questions, the first six volumes also included an invitation to join Toriyama’s official fan club, the “Akira Toriyama Preservation Society” (Toriyama Akira Hozon-Kai), whose members received a newsletter with “inside stories” and other bonus content that would “make the comics ten times more fun”. Readers were invited to send a ¥60 stamp in an envelope to the address given, after which they would receive a membership form. This invitation remained until May 1987 (concurrent with the publication of volume 7); it was then replaced with a notice that the club had reached its predetermined membership limit, and an apology to those who still wished to join. This notice remains in current printings, even though the club has long since disbanded, with the final newsletter (issue #25) published in September 1987.

“I’m fine with anything to do with Dragon Ball or me. Give me all the postcards you’ve got.”

Question #1

Masayuki Katsumata (Osaka Prefecture):
Since Son Goku and Kuririn both trained with Kame-Sen’nin, please have “Goku vs Kuririn” be the final match at the Tenka’ichi Budōkai!

Akira Toriyama:
That’s a very intriguing idea, but unfortunately it’s too late for this tournament. The final match has already been set as Son Goku vs Jackie Chun. But I think if there ever was a Goku vs Kuririn match, Goku would win overwhelmingly.

Question #2

Yoko Yoshida (Shizuoka Prefecture):
I always get a thrill reading Dragon Ball. I like Dragon Ball so much that my friends think I’m weird. I have almost all of the toys, I’ve bought all of the comics, and I record the TV show every week.

Akira Toriyama:
Wonderful! I hereby grant you a first dan black belt in Toriyama School Shorinji Kempo [Shaolin kung fu]. You are my greatest student! Please continue to support my work.

Question #3

Yasuhiro Kubo (Nara Prefecture):
Just so you know, I really like Oolong tea and Pu’er tea. By the way, on page 18 of volume 1, Son Goku says to Bulma, “I never saw another human before!” Wasn’t Goku’s grandpa (the guy who raised him) a human?

Akira Toriyama:
W-Well… if you put it that way… yes. Oops… I made a mistake. Sorry, I apologize. You’re also very smart to realize that I got the name “Pu’er” from the name of the Chinese tea.

Question #4

Naohiro Yonemoto (Tokushima Prefecture):
Hello Toriyama-sensei. I have a question. If you had one whole day of uninterrupted free time, what would you do?

Akira Toriyama:
Occasionally I do have a day of free time. I usually end up sleeping late and when I wake up I may go to the supermarket with my wife, or work on a plastic model, or watch TV, or… I pretty much just putter away the day.

Question #5

Takeshi Mayumi (Mie Prefecture):
Help! I’m running out of air! Please get some air and send it to me by Kamehameha. Bye.

Akira Toriyama:
Huh…? W-What are you talking about? I assume that you didn’t write this letter while you were drowning… U-Uh… please continue to support my work.

Question #6

Masae O’ouchi (Ibaraki Prefecture):
Okay, I’ve figured it out… Dragon Ball is based on the old Chinese legend Saiyuki (“Journey to the West”). Even the characters are the same: Bulma is Sanzo Hoshi, Oolong is Hakkai, Yamcha is Sagojo, and Shenlong is Sanzo Hoshi’s horse. Even the order they appear is the same. Am I wrong? I am a girl in my third year of middle school. I am afraid of the high school entrance exams!

Akira Toriyama:
It’s true, in the beginning I set out to create a modern day Saiyuki. But soon it became difficult to remain true to the original, so I started ignoring it. So even though they have the same name, please consider my Son Goku and the monkey king Son Goku to be two different characters. However, I did get the Gyūmaō story from Saiyuki. Good luck on your entrance exams!