Dragon Ball is one of the most popular and well-known manga series in the world. Since its initial publication in 1984, fans have been captivated by the epic story of Goku and his friends as they journey through the world of martial arts and battle against powerful villains. One question that often comes up among fans is which version of the English manga is the best. With several different translations and editions available, each with their own unique features and quirks, it can be difficult to determine which one is the definitive version. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the various options available and explore the pros and cons of each. So whether you’re a die-hard Dragon Ball fan or simply curious about the different translations, read on to discover more.
Which Is The Best Version Of Dragon Ball Manga English?
Dragon Ball, being one of the most renowned manga series, has been released in various editions throughout the years. In the English version, there are four different physical versions available, each of which differs considerably from the others.
For those who are not die-hard fans, it can be overwhelming to choose which version of the original manga to read. Therefore, it is important to understand the pros and cons of each release and determine which is the ultimate and most exceptional edition of Dragon Ball thus far.
The Dragon Ball Tankobon Are Simple but Trustworthy
To begin exploring the manga, many fans suggest starting with the initial release, commonly known as “tankobons” in fan communities due to their Japanese title. Viz Media’s English release separates Dragon Ball into two separate series: the first 16 volumes are referred to as Dragon Ball, while the last 26 volumes are known as Dragon Ball Z. In contrast, the entire 42-volume series is simply called Dragon Ball in Japan.
An advantage of purchasing tankobons is their cost-effectiveness, particularly when bought in box sets. For instance, Dragon Ball’s 16 volumes were combined into a single collectible box set and Dragon Ball Z’s 26 volumes were compiled in another. Although the box sets come at a price of over $100 each, it is still more economical compared to buying individual volumes.
Tankobons are often hindered by the fact that they lack any color, being completely black and white. Although some pages of Dragon Ball were originally published in color in Shonen Jump, the tankobon version is printed entirely in grayscale, causing the colored pages to appear blurry and with less intricate details.
VizBigs’ Dragon Ball Volumes Are Premium but Censored
VizBigs were introduced by Viz in the year 2010 to cater to the collectors of Dragon Ball. This collection comprises 14 books, each containing three volumes per book. VizBigs are highly priced compared to other Dragon Ball releases as they use high-quality paper and retain the original color pages from Shonen Jump. While this premium format may appeal to die-hard fans who want to own the series in the best possible format, it may not be as appealing to those who are not too particular about the quality of their collection.
The VizBigs are unfortunately limited by the excessive censorship applied, resulting in a reduction of profanity and substitution of guns with more cartoonish depictions. Fortunately, the level of violence remains unaltered, allowing the fight scenes to remain intact. However, it’s a perplexing choice, especially when all other aspects of the release are tailored for ardent followers.
The Three-in-Ones are Inexpensive yet of Poor Quality
Similar to the VizBigs, the Three-in-Ones consist of 14 books that each comprise three volumes. However, the target audience for this release is more casual readers than the VizBigs. The print and paper quality of these books is not as high as other releases, so fans who desire to own Dragon Ball in the best available format and appreciate Akira Toriyama’s manga art may not find these books appealing.
However, these editions have a lower level of censorship compared to the VizBigs. Additionally, they are the most affordable option available except for the tankobon box sets. Furthermore, the series is not separated into Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, which makes this the first English version to follow the original Japanese naming convention.
The Full Color Releases Are Impressive but Missing Important Information
The Full Color edition is another version of Dragon Ball, where the manga’s linework is digitally colored to create a complete color comic. Despite some fans’ reservations about changing Toriyama’s original artwork, this edition revitalizes the manga and is viewed as a suitable complement to the original release, rather than a complete substitute.
The main disadvantage is that Viz has only made available two story arcs in Full Color format up to now – the “Saiyan” and “Frieza” arcs. In Japan, each arc has undergone the Full Color process, hence it’s regretful that only two have been made accessible so far. The previous Full Color version by Viz was published in January 2017, which indicates that the possibility of the whole Dragon Ball series being released completely in English in Full Color is increasingly unlikely.
Which Dragon Ball manga release is the best overall?
In conclusion, Dragon Ball has been released in various formats in English over the years, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The tankobons are cost-effective and trustworthy but lack color. The VizBigs are premium and retain color, but are heavily censored. The Three-in-Ones are inexpensive but of poor quality. The Full Color releases are impressive but incomplete. Ultimately, choosing the best version depends on the reader’s priorities. While the VizBigs are considered the most superior in terms of quality, the Full Color version could potentially challenge it if it were complete. It is hopeful that one day, an English version of Dragon Ball will do justice to its prestigious legacy.