Saturday, 30 August 2014

Dragon Ball, Volume 13: Piccolo Conquers the World Review (Akira Toriyama)

Guys: there is literally a King of the World in this series! Forget Presidents, Prime Ministers, etc. – there is an actual King of the entire World! And he’s a talking dog! Akira Toriyama can do anything now in Dragon Ball and I don’t think it would faze me.

I shouldn’t be that surprised – this is the series where Master Roshi destroyed the moon in a fight with Son Goku, with absolutely no consequences – but for some reason the King of the World stood out as a completely insane detail. But you know what? There’s a purity in the storytelling here you rarely see anywhere else. This is fiction, so why not go all the way? Simplify, amplify, push further, do whatever, it’s your world – and it works here brilliantly.

So, in this book: after losing decisively to Piccolo, a near-dead Goku is being taken back by Yajirobe to Master Karin (aka the Hermit Meowster, whose face was apparently based on Toriyama’s cat’s sleeping face!) to find a way to defeat the Demon King. Meanwhile, Master Roshi and the gang are on their way for a fateful showdown with Piccolo… but are they just bringing him the Dragon Balls he needs to restore his youth?

After the surprising death of a main character in the last volume, Toriyama keeps going, killing off not one, not two, but three more major characters in this volume! It’s hard to talk about this book without giving away spoilers but it’s essentially the characters throwing everything they have at Piccolo while Son Goku rests and powers up. 

I’m not giving this the full five stars though as it’s Goku-light and, because we know it’s ultimately down to him to stop Piccolo, the fighting between the Demon King and the others feels a bit like filler, not to mention predictably one-sided. 

That said, the action is very enjoyable with multiple great fight scenes, and, because Toriyama’s shown no compunction with killing off cast members, there’s tension as you don’t know who’s going to eat it next. But without giving away who lives and who dies, I’ll just say that it’s another great seat-of-your-pants episode in the ongoing Piccolo storyline.

I will suggest to not do what I did and read this without having Volume 14 to hand because it’s such a great cliffhanger, I’m dying to find out what happens next!

Dragon Ball, Volume 13: Piccolo Conquers the World

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