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FUNimation's Dragon Ball Logo

Dragon Ball (ドラゴンボール; Doragon Boru) is an adaptation of the first portion of Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball manga. It is composed of 153 20 minute episodes and ran in Japan from February 26, 1986 - April 12 1989.

Dragon Ball is known as being overshadowed by its successor Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball depicted Goku's childhood, while Dragon Ball Z depicted his adulthood. Both are adapted from the same manga.

Production history

Original Series


Dragon Ball opening title card from the original Japanese Dub

Dragon Ball started off as a manga series called Dragon Boy, a series that Akira Toriyama started while he was in college. The story depicted a young boy named Goku and his quest to find the seven magical Dragon Pearls. The series was a loose adaptation of the Chinese legend, The Journey to the West, depicting monkey king Sun Wukong.

Due to the series' unpopularity, Toriyama was forced to stop writing it. After the extreme success of his new series, Dr. Slump, Toriyama went back and re-wrote Dragon Boy, adapting it as Dragon Ball. All the character's personalities were changed except for Goku. The re-adaptation named Dragon Ball became a hit.


Two previous attempts at releasing Dragon Ball to United States audiences failed. The first attempt was in the late 1980s. It featured strange name changes for nearly all the characters, such as changing Goku to Zero and Korin to Whiskers the Wonder Cat. It became unknown, therefore it is referred to as "The Lost Dub" by fans.

The second and more well known attempt was in 1995 with only the first 13 episodes translated and aired. This release was put out by KidMark and utilized Ocean Group for the dubbing. These original 13 episodes are still available on DVD as The Saga of Goku.

After Dragon Ball Z became immensely popular on Cartoon Network, the entire series was translated by FUNimation and released in the same scheduling block as its successor on the network. The complete series ran in the US between August 20 2001 and late 2003, due largely to 20th Television's renewed contract with Toriyama. Unlike the theme songs for Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT, FUNimation made English versions of the original Japanese opening (OP) and ending (ED) themes for these episodes and left in the original background music. Some insert (IN) songs were taken out or have talking over them.


The US version of Dragon Ball that was aired on Cartoon Network (before that, it was aired in syndication) had a lot of edits done to it. Most of the edits were digital cosmetic changes, which were done to remove nudity and blood, and dialogue edits. Sometimes, some scenes were deleted altogether, either to save time or cut out strong violence.

For example, when Goku dives into the water naked to kick a fish he catches for dinner, a digital water splash was added on his groin; on other occasions when he is naked, he has some digital underwear added. Also, references to alcohol and drugs were removed, for example, when Jackie Chun (Master Roshi) uses Drunken Fist Kung Fu in the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, FUNimation called it the "Mad Cow Attack" (Coincidentally, there was an epidemic called Mad Cow later on). Also, the famous "No Balls!" scene was deleted from episode 2, and when Bulma puts panties on the fishing hook to get Oolong (in fish form), they digitally painted away the panties and replaced it with some money. Also, a number of creative changes were made to the dialog. For example, when Puar says why Oolong was expelled from school, instead of saying that he stole the teacher's panties, they say that he stole the teacher's "papers."

A lot of fans hated these changes, because they felt it was butchering the original show's humor and dumbing it down. These edits, however, were necessary in order to have the show aired on TV. The DVDs do not contain these edits.

It's an interesting note on inconsistency in censorship that a scene in Dragon Ball where young Goku charges completely through King Piccolo, putting a hole in the villain's chest, was edited so that the hole wasn't shown for the American broadcast, but the same scene was shown on American TV later, in a flashback in a Dragon Ball Z episode, with the hole in King Piccolo's chest clearly visible.


Toei Animation's Sagas
  1. Son Gokū (Episodes 1~28) (2/26/1986~9/3/1986)
  2. Red Ribbon Army (Episodes 29~68) (9/10/1986~7/1/1987)
  3. 22nd Tenkaichi Budōkai (Episodes 69~101) (7/8/1987~2/17/1988)
  4. Piccolo-Daimaō (Episodes 102~132) (2/24/1988~11/2/1988)
  5. 23rd Tenkaichi Budōkai (Episodes 133~153) (11/9/1988~4/19/1989)
FUNimation's Sagas
  1. Emperor Pilaf Saga (Episodes 1~13)
  2. Tournament Saga (Episodes 14~28)
  3. Red Ribbon Army Saga (Episodes 29~45)
  4. General Blue Saga (Episodes 46~57)
  5. Commander Red Saga (Episodes 58~67)
  6. Fortuneteller Baba Saga (Episodes 68~83)
  7. Tien Shinhan Saga (Episodes 84~101)
  8. King Piccolo Saga (Episodes 102~122)
  9. Piccolo Jr. Saga (Episodes 123~153)

Movies and other

FUNimation's Titles

  1. Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies
  2. Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle
  3. Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure
  4. Dragon Ball: The Path to Power (10th Anniversary Special)

Public Service Videos

  • Gokū's Traffic Safety
  • Gokū's Fire Brigade

The special videos "Gokū's Traffic Safety" and "Gokū's Fire Brigade" are both very rare productions designed to be educational films. They were both completed in June 1988.

Live Action

Dragon Ball (1990 Korean Film)

Main article: Dragon Ball: Ssawora Son Goku, Igyeora Son Goku A live-action version of the popular Japanese animated series. An evil king has been stealing the mystical "Dragon Pearls" in an attempt to possess them all. When all but one of the pearls has been stolen, the former guardians of the magic jewels decide to band together and take action. Led by a pig-headed wizard and a half-turtle martial arts master, the team takes on the king's army in a desperate bid to stop him from gaining control of the pearls.

Made in Taiwan and released in 1989, this feature has actually been released in the US as Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins (originally titled Xin Qi long zhu Shen long de chuan shuo, or New Dragon Ball: The Legend of Shenlong). While this movie does not follow Toriyama's conception exactly, it is a lot closer to it than it is to any traditional Chinese legends.

Dragonball Evolution

Main article: Dragonball Evolution A live-action version of the series, made in the United States. The movie retains the basic notion of Dragon Ball, but there are several major changes in the story and characters. The movie depicts Goku's trainings and his confrontation with Lord Piccolo.

Theme songs

  • OP
    1. "Makafushigi Adobenchā!"; 摩訶不思議アドベンチャー! (Mystical Adventure!)
      • Lyrics: Yuriko Mori, Music: Takeshi Ike, Arrangement: Kōhei Tanaka, Performance: Hiroki Takahashi)
        • Version 1: episodes 1~101
        • Version 2: episodes 102~153 (not on FUNimation's DVDs)
  • ED
    1. "Romatikku Ageru Yo"; ロマンティックあげるよ (I'll Give You Romance)
      • Lyrics: Takemi Yoshida, Music: Takeshi Ike, Arrangement: Kōhei Tanaka, Performance: Ushio Hashimoto)
        • Version 1: episodes 1~21 (not on FUNimation's DVDs)
        • Version 2: episodes 22~101
        • Version 3: episodes 102~132 (not on FUNimation's DVDs)
        • Version 4: episodes 133~153) (not on FUNimation's DVDs)

FUNimation Remastered Season and Movie Sets

In 2009, after the release of the Remastered Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT Season Boxsets, FUNimation announced that they would begin releasing Dragon Ball in Remastered Format beginning September later that year. The Dragon Ball Season Sets are that the same of the Dragon Ball GT Sets with a slight difference. They are presented in their Original Aspect Ratio 4:3 and are presented in a 5 Disc Boxset. Unlike the Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT Sets the Dragon Ball Sets only include a 5.1 English Voice Track with Original Japanese Background Audio and Original Japanese Mono as Dragonball had never had an American Soundtrack.

On December 28, 2010, FUNimation released Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies uncut and re-dubbed with the newly Dragonball Z Kai cast to Region 1 DVD. A complete set containing all four Dragon Ball Movies is set to be released for February 2011.[1] All movies will keep their original FUNimation dub with the exception of Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies.

Season Sets Release Date


Release Date


Dragon Ball: Season 1

September 15th 2009 (Episodes 1 - 31)

Emperor Pilaf, Tournament and early Red Ribbon Army Sagas

Dragon Ball: Season 2

November 10th 2009 (Episodes 32 - 61)

Red Ribbon Army, General Blue and early Commander Red Sagas

Dragon Ball: Season 3

February 2nd 2010 (Episodes 62 - 92)

Commander Red, Fortuneteller Baba and early Tien Shinhan Sagas

Dragon Ball: Season 4

May 4th 2010 (Episodes 93 - 122)

Tien Shinhan and King Piccolo Sagas

Dragon Ball: Season 5 July 27th 2010 (Episodes 123 - 153) Piccolo Jr. Saga

Movie Sets Release Date


Release Date

Dragon Ball Movie 1: Curse of the Blood Rubies

December 28th 2010

Dragon Ball Movie 4 Pack:

Curse of the Blood Rubies

Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle

Mystical Adventure

The Path To Power

February 8th 2011

External links