Dragon Ball Prototype Manga Is Debuting in English for the First Time

An upcoming collection of manga creator Akira Toriyama's early works will feature the first official English localization of Dragon Boy, the one-shot manga story that would later serve as the inspiration for Toriyama's most famous work, Dragon Ball.

As reported by Screen Rant, Akira Toriyama's Manga Theater, a collection of the legendary manga author's earlier works and one-shot standalone stories will finally be released in English by VIZ Media on Dec. 7.  Manga Theater was originally released in Japan throughout the '80s and '90s in multiple volumes, but it will be compiled into a single deluxe hard-cover release when it finally makes its way to North America.

The collection will include a series of one-shot manga stories that Toriyama published following the conclusion of his original hit, the comedy series Dr. Slump. Toriyama originally released several standalone stories to gauge audience reactions and see which of his ideas could be expanded into a full series; the most notable of these test stories is Dragon Boy, a two-chapter story that was originally published in 1983, a little more than a year before the first chapter of Dragon Ball would premiere in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump.

The story is often seen as a prototype for Dragon Ball, and its easy to see the similarities between it and the final series: Dragon Boy tells the story of Tangtong, a young boy with monstrous origins, who was abandoned in the woods and raised by a cloud-riding martial arts master. Tangtong is tasked by his master to escort a princess, the first girl he has ever seen in his entire life, back to her home in the Flower Country. Before they depart, Tangtong's master gifts him a jewel, which has the power to summon a dragon.

Dragon Boy was well received and Toriyama used it as the basis for his next manga series, Dragon Ball. Toriyama's martial arts epic is now the third best-selling manga series of all time, having only been outsold by Eiichiro Oda's One Piece and the longest-running manga in history, Tatsuo Saito's Golgo 13. In the more than 35 years since its original publication, Goku's journey has been adapted into multiple anime series, twenty animated movies, countless video games, and even received a very loose (and poorly received) live-action adaptation. The franchise continues into the current day with the on-going Dragon Ball Super manga, which is supervised by Toriyama and features art by the self-taught illustrator Toyotarou.

Source: Screen Rant

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