Dragon Ball and One Piece are two of the most legendary manga series in the medium's history. Both have broken sales records and amassed legions of dedicated fans. Many of these fans clamor for a One Piece and Dragon Ball crossover, turning to forums and fan fiction to get their fix of Luffy and Goku interactions. However, what many forget is that these two franchises did have an official crossover. In fact, this crossover was one of the weirdest manga in history.
In 2006, Akira Toriyama and Eiichiro Oda teamed up to create Dragon Ball x One Piece: Cross Epoch. This manga was first published in Weekly Shōnen Jump, and would later get reprinted in English in 2011 when it was published in the pages of the English version of Shonen Jump.
Despite the sheer depth and complexity of both universes, the story is straightforward. Mr. Satan summons the magical dragon Shenron and finally gets his wish; to become king. This is something that Shenron happily grants, turning the universe on its head in the process. However, with this done, Shenron decides to have a tea party, inviting all his friends to an island covered in giant desserts. The One Piece crew and the cast of Dragon Ball accept the invitation and quickly start to make their way to the party, with predictably chaotic results.
For most of this one-shot, the characters are split into pairs, with the tea-party plot acting as a framing device for a series of short sketch-style jokes. For instance, Goku is fittingly paired with Monkey D. Luffy, and the pair quickly form a friendship when Goku uses Kintoun to save Luffy when he absentmindedly runs off a cliff. However, they soon end up fighting the Pilappaggy Villain Union made up of Pilaf and Buggy.
Other characters are slightly different in this crossover universe. This includes space thieves Bulma and Nami, who finish a job before heading to the party. Robin, Usopp and Trunks are a group of sky pirates led by a cape-wearing Vegeta. They turn down a planned battle with Dr. Gero's sky pirates to attend the party.
Krillin and Chopper are a cute pair of train conductors who run the Kri-Chopa Marine Train Coaster, a hilarious fusion of a train and rollercoaster. This train, while fast, offers a bumpy ride for anyone who climbs aboard. Piccolo and Zoro are traveling swordsmen in this universe. However, Zoro's terrible navigation skills get them into a few scrapes as they try to reach the island. The most unexpected pair is Master Roshi and Sanji, who are lawmen driving across the desert, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas style. Of course, in true Roshi fashion, the pair are far too focused on girls to actually do their job, and quickly end up in an odd situation.
While the plot is thin, it's great fun to see these new takes on the classic characters that fans all know and love. This new universe allows for some excellent visuals and comedy alike as the characters interact in interesting and surprising ways. Akira Toriyama and Eiichiro Oda do a great job at making the crossover feel like more than a cheap marketing ploy, as Cross Epoch is an entertaining read in its own right.
Cross Epoch is a must-read for both One Piece and Dragon Ball fans, as it offers a unique chance to see a crossover written by the franchises' original creators. Hopefully, Akira Toriyama and Eiichiro Oda collaborate more in the future, either on a crossover or a whole new project. Their styles and humor work extremely well together, leading to a comedy manga that's a lot of fun to read even for those who may not be familiar with either show.