Dragon Ball is an award-winning Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. It was originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1984 to 1995; later the 519 individual chapters were published into 42 volumes. Dragon Ball was inspired by the Chinese folk novel Journey to the West. It follows the adventures of Goku from his childhood through adulthood as he trains in martial arts and explores the world in search of the seven mystical orbs known as the Dragon Balls, which can summon a wish-granting dragon when gathered. Along his journey, Goku makes several friends and battles a wide variety of villains, many of whom also seek the Dragon Balls for their own desires.
The 42 volumes have been adapted into two anime series produced by Toei Animation: Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, which together were broadcast in Japan from 1986 to 1996. Additionally, Toei has developed seventeen animated feature films and three television specials, as well as an anime sequel titled Dragon Ball GT, which takes place after the events of the manga. From 2009 to 2011, Toei broadcast a revised, faster-paced version of Dragon Ball Z under the name of Dragon Ball Kai, in which most of the original version's footage not featured in the manga was removed. Several companies have developed various types of merchandising such as a collectible trading card game, and a large number of video games.
The manga series was licensed for an English-language release in North America by Viz Media, in the United Kingdom by Gollancz Manga, Australia and New Zealand by Chuang Yi and Malay-language release in Malaysia by Comics House. The entire anime series has been licensed by Funimation Entertainment for an English-language release in the United States, although the series has not always been dubbed by the same studio.
Since its release, Dragon Ball has become one of the most successful manga and anime series of all time. The manga's 42 volumes have sold over 152 million copies in Japan and over 200 million copies worldwide. Reviewers have praised the art, characterization, and humor of the story. The anime, particularly Dragon Ball Z, is also highly popular in various countries and was arguably one of the most influential in boosting the popularity of Japanese animation in Western culture.
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