Dragon Ball is a manga by Akira Toriyama loosely based on the story Sun Wukong, a character from the Chinese novel Journey to the West. It was published from 1984 to 1995 and collected 42 volumes. The anime adaptation is divided into two distinct parts: Dragon Ball focuses on the youth of Son Goku, while Dragon Ball Z chronicles his adventures when he reaches adulthood. Dragon Ball is undoubtedly one of the major titles in the history of anime and manga, which is why we are going to talk about it in this article.
This article is actually going to be a list of the 20 best manga panels from the Dragon Ball manga series. We are going to include a variety of panels from all periods of Dragon Ball, providing you with a short explanation of the scene and the context. Some spoilers might be present, but we’re going to try to keep it short and sweet so that you can enjoy the art.
1. The Dragon Team
The Cell Games was organized by Cell. It is similar to the Budokai tournament, but here there is only one opponent and that is Cell himself. The winner is the one who defeats Cell. If you give up or die, you lose and it is the turn of the next participant. Of course, if you leave the ring, you keep fighting. Son Goku was the first to participate in the Cell games. He finally gave up because he had no more strength. Son Gohan was Cell’s next opponent and therefore the last one, because the Cell games ended before the end. Pictured here are Goku and the Dragon Team who participated in the Cell Game.
2. Piccolo saves Gohan
During the battle against Nappa and Vegeta, Piccolo kills, in a fraction of a second, a Saibaiman who had had the misfortune to attack Son Gohan. Despite his relative power, he is no match for Nappa, his punches are ineffective against him. He tries to hold his tail firmly, a weak point of the Saiyans, but the colossus had already trained. He is eventually killed protecting Son Gohan from a deadly attack.
3. Row, row, row your boat…
Krillin first appears in the manga in a rowboat. Wanting to impress Master Roshi, he prepares for a massive jump, completely screwing up the landing and getting stuck head-first in the sand. Master Roshi at first refuses to accept Krillin as his student. However, when he offers him porn magazines, Master Roshi agrees.
4. Vegeta and Goku arrive to save the day
Goku and Vegeta move in his direction as they notice Moro approaching them, but Merus surprises the adversary and uses a contraption to catch him. Moro appears to be winning the battle when Mr. Boo is hauled out of the spacecraft; Goku realizes that he appears to be stronger than previously. Unfortunately, Cranberry from Polunga helps Moro regain his magic, and after granting his request, Moro flees. Mr. Boo gives Goku and Vegeta their energy back and permits the Great Kai Shin to pass over him, promising to return once Moro has been vanquished.
5. Goku vs. Jiren
Jiren finally takes his opponent seriously and awakens his aura. The two adversaries approach and the blows are exchanged quickly. The fight is finally balanced but Goku is content to prevent his opponent from touching his vital points and enters deeper into Ultra Instinct. In response, the Pride Trooper increases his ki in order to hit him with more power. He rushes at Goku who lands him a violent punch in the abdomen. In the stands, the Gods notice that the Saiyan has mastered the instinctive movements now and are shocked.
While on his knees, Jiren gets up and attacks Goku with full power. The blows exchanged to make the whole arena tremble but Goku quickly overpowers Jiren and almost knocks him down. Climbing back onto the arena, the Pride Trooper gets angry and tells Goku that taking advantage of openings is not true strength and goes back to attack. It’s a battle of attrition that starts at a very high speed to the point that Krillin and Piccolo can no longer keep up with them.
6. Even Beerus is not an animal…
Beerus is very playful, like most cats. Also, he has a certain obsession with food. His catlike mannerisms and variety of facial expressions separate him from the more evil antagonists in the series. However, Beerus manages to get upset very easily over trivial things, as shown when it is said that he lost at hide and seek or when Majin Buu did not want to share some pudding with him.
7. Math 101
Chiaotzu unleashes his telekinetic technique to attack Krillin’s internal organs. Krillin begins to have violent stomach pains. Master Shen tells him to kill him slowly. Chiaotzu then proceeds to a kicking session. Krillin understands that Chiaotzu is forced to use his hands to use this power and tricks him into asking him a mathematical question. Chiaotzu falls into the trap twice and is disqualified.
8. Married… with children (soon to be)
The panel shows a pregnant Bulma in the background with Vegeta folding clothes, helping her. This was a truly funny scene that showed Vegeta, one of the series’ most brutal and powerful characters in a very mundane situation, doing very easy tasks that definitely do not suit the Vegeta we had seen before. But, it is a very funny and sweet moment that shows just how much he cared for Bulma and their child.
9. Grandpa Gohan was truly great!
One day (in the story, before the start of the manga), a space shuttle crashes not far from where Son Gohan lives. Going immediately on the spot, the old man discovers a baby on board the craft. He calls him Son Goku and decides to take care of him, raise him and teach him martial arts. Initially, Goku was very tough to handle due to being a Saiyan; Saiyans are known for their violent natures and Goku, who had also been sent to Earth to conquer it, was no exception. But, as a child, Goku fell into a ravine and hit his head, which caused a memory loss that changed Goku into a normal, happy child, thus making Grandpa Gohan’s job easier.
10. Goku’s birth
He was placed in an incubator when he was born and left there until he was three years old. It is then time for the young Saiyan to leave his incubator in the year 739. At the same time, Bardock leaves his house to join Goku and Gine and reports that Frieza has ordered all Saiyans to return to their planet. Bardock believes this is a bad omen and decides to send his son to the planet “Earth,” where the people are physically frail but have highly developed technology. Bardock will eventually persuade Gine that it’s best for their son despite her concerns.
11. Roshi vs. Jiren
The old master makes an appearance during his remarkable match as he teaches Goku his final lesson. Indeed brute force should not be the only answer to give in a fight of this magnitude, the important thing is to tame your mind, The movements that Master Roshi performs in front of Jiren are unpredictable, and the movements are close to ultra instincts according to Whis. Despite this bravery, Jiren puts Master Roshi out of the field, but his elimination then leads to new perspectives for Son Goku who has just understood his master’s last teaching.
12. Yamcha kicks ass
Yamcha is requisitioned by both Chiaotzu and the galactic patrol after being initially absent from the plot in a similar fashion to how the other earthlings were. Jaco believes Chiaotzu and Yamcha to be freshmen, but Yamcha counters that they are seasoned soldiers. To help the Galactic Patrol, Yamcha separates from Son Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin, Master Roshi, Tien Shinhan, and Chiaotzu. He easily defeats Moro’s minions with the help of his combat skills. The space patrol that is pursuing Yamcha is impressed.
13. Bye, bye Planet Vegeta
Having learned that an ancient prophecy announces the appearance among the Sayajins of a legendary warrior whom nothing could resist, and fearing that they will revolt one day, Frieza destroys the planet Vegeta, despite the efforts of Bardock (Son Goku’s father) to stop him. We learn in Chapter 2 of Dragon Ball Super (or in the movie Battle of Gods) that Beerus had asked him to destroy this planet.
14. A young Super Saiyan Trunks
At a very young age, Trunks managed to transform into a Super Saiyan. In this form, Trunks’ hair stands on end and stands on end, it also takes on a golden hue. His eyes turn green. In Super Saiyan, Trunks’ power is multiplied. This was actually normal and expected of him, knowing his lineage and who his father was.
15. Enter Shenron
Shenron is summoned for the first time in the series by Pilaf and his gang. Pilaf steals the Dragon Balls from Goku and his friends to ask the dragon to make him ruler of the world, and rule as a tyrant. However, Oolong interrupts Pilaf before he makes his wish, and asks the dragon to give him panties. Oolong’s wish granted, Shenron retreats, and the Dragon Balls scatter across the planet.
16. The deadly attack
Tien Shinhan and Goku continued to fight and Tien created two additional arms to fight against Goku, but Goku resorted to King Chappa’s technique: The Hasshuken. Tien then decided to end the encounter and use his ultimate attack, the Tri-Beam. He warns Goku to get ready to dodge, in order to push him out of the ring. Due to his warning, Goku dodged by jumping high in the air. Tien was convinced that he was going to win since he can fly, unlike Goku. The latter used the Kamehameha one last time to propel himself on Tien like a rocket.
17. Goku? But black?!
He has dark outlines around his eyes in the manga (presumably to be more easily differentiated from Son Goku by the reader). He wears a black long-sleeved turtleneck top, a dark gray sleeveless Uwagi, a red Obi around her waist, and black leggings and white boots. In his left ear, he has a Potala that is green and gold. In contrast to Black in Toriyama’s novels and the manga, Black Goku wears a Time Ring on his right index finger in the anime series. Black possesses a demonic figure that is enclosed in a dense cloud of fire.
18. Like father, like son…
Turles once again took Gohan back to transform into Oozaru using an artificial moon as Vegeta had already done during his fight against Goku. When Goku arrives to save his son, the latter turns against him because his Oozaru form makes him lose control. However, Haiya Dragon’s surprise intervention will eventually calm the mighty Oozaru. This not being to Turles’s taste, he threw a Kikoha in the direction of Haiya Dragon to enrage Gohan Oozaru again but his rage turned against Turles who then decided to annihilate him. Gohan was only saved by Goku’s quick intervention.
19. Because… why not, Buu?
This is a scene that shows all the quirkiness of Good Buu, including the fact that he simply sprouted four additional arms. Why? Why not!? Good Buu is one of the series’ most memorable characters in so many ways that we opted for such a flamboyant display of his quirkiness as a panel that represents him and his legacy in the series.
20. Toriyama’s original Goku
And while this is definitely not a manga panel per se, we simply wanted you to experience a piece of history in this article as well. Namely, this is Akira Toriyama’s original design of Son Goku, the protagonist of the series. As you can see, the face and the tail remained, but the Sun Wukong-inspired monkey character became the Saiyan boy we all know and love. This is our way to close off this list and thank you for reading!