Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Dragon Ball Z, Volume 21: The Plan Begins Moving Review (Akira Toriyama)

In the latest Strongest Under the Heavens tournament, Trunks and Son Goten demolish their opposition in the youth bracket without even trying, and fight one another in the final – but who will get to go up against Hercule? And will he be revealed as the charlatan he is? In the adult tournament, the usual suspects get into the finals as well as some new characters like the mysterious Shin and Kibito. But this tournament becomes truncated as finally Buu (here written as Boo) appears!

It says a lot about his skills as a storyteller and artist that Akira Toriyama can take minor characters like Kuririn and Videl, make them the focus of the book, and still make it as gripping to read as if it were Goku vs Vegeta. Those are the only two who have matches in the tournament – the others qualified but having them fly off to meet a separate, bigger threat shows how much they’ve outgrown this setting. It’s also a notable volume for being the first time a female character – Videl – has had a starring match in the series. She gets the crap beaten out of her but still. 

Goten and Trunks are adorable as they try to sneak into the adults’ tournament standing on each other’s shoulders hidden under a costume as Mighty Mask – and yet nobody’s the wiser! The people in the DBZ world are the most gullible, brain-dead people ever. They see characters flying, firing fireballs, and changing their hair colour instantly, right in front of them, but they still insist everything’s “a trick”. It’d be like if the people in the DC or Marvel universes didn’t acknowledge that Superman or Spider-Man were real! At a certain point, you’ve gotta make the surrounding world acknowledge the superheroes in it. 

This volume’s (thankfully) a good read after quite a few duds. It’s a classic Dragon Ball-type book with great martial arts action in a tournament setting and I really liked it. That and the Buu storyline kicking off sees the series returning to form. Here’s hoping it keeps getting better and the series ends on a high!

Dragon Ball Z, Volume 21: The Plan Begins Moving

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