28 May 2015

Dragon Ball Z: Frieza Saga by Akira Toriyama

Dragon Ball Z: Frieza Saga by Akira Toriyama

This review covers chapters 97-135 (Volumes 9, 10, and 11) of the Dragon Ball Z manga; alternatively it covers volumes 25, 26, and 27 of the Dragon Ball manga.

Goodreads Synopsis

Nearly all of the Frieza Saga takes place on the planet Namek. The main plot is the long-awaited battle between Goku and Frieza, with Krillin, Gohan, Piccolo and Vegeta also taking part.

The Dragon Balls are collected, Shenlong the Dragon God is summoned, and this time THREE wishes are available but with Frieza on the way and mad as hell, what can the gang do - and will they be able to defeat him?

At the end of the Ginyu Force Saga, Goku is taken out of the main story once again, but it is a good thing, in my opinion. I like that the other characters get a chance to be in the spotlight rather than just using Goku and his abilities to defeat everyone without even breaking a sweat. But you are still aware that he’s the secret weapon who’ll turn the tide in the fight against Freeza so Toriyama’s keeping us from getting bored with Goku. 

Once the Dragon Balls are activated by Dende, the tension REALLY ramps up. This time Kuririn and Gohan are given three wishes but with Vegeta and Freeza separately rushing to get their wish for immortality in, they’ve got to urgently decide what to do. They make a wish to bring Piccolo back to life, which ensure the dragon balls on Earth will be back and brings Piccolo back to the main stage. But Freeza is unlike any villain seen in the series so far and even Piccolo who is now  heavily powered-up struggles to keep him at bay. 

The fluidity of the storytelling thanks to Toriyama’s streamlined writing and art makes it seem like you’re not reading at all but rather watching a movie unfold. Especially when the Super Saiyan appears.

Looking back at the scale of the fights in the first Dragon Ball series, like the Strongest Under the Heavens Tournaments, look insignificant compared to the massive canvas Akira Toriyama’s working with here. These two characters are basically gods whose punches literally put holes into a planet!

Just like that, I understood why Toriyama had introduced Goku a couple books ago only to take him away again, damaged, to recoverThe more you beat the Saiyans, and they survive, the more powerful they become once they return back to health. Goku’s gone through so many beatings  and done so much training, that’s he’s punched through multiple levels of power to a whole new one only he occupies: the level of Super Saiyan.

The pacing of the story becomes uneven once Toriyama tries juggling the other storyline. He can handle the Goku/Freeza fight perfectly, but he also tries to balance out this overly-complex plan involving the Dragon Balls and things get ... a little difficult to comprehend.

So: now there are Dragon Balls on Earth, they can wish to bring back everyone Freeza killed on Namek, which includes the Great Elder, meaning the dragon balls will return on Namek with the one wish left. But there are limits: Shenlong can only bring back Freeza’s victims going back a year rather than the millions he’s killed during his lifetime.

It’s difficult to explain what happens here because it is all occurring while Goku and Frieza are fighting; however, the story becomes really slow here because of this added explanation. The flow is broken and it becomes two storylines trying to mesh under one guise and it does not work (for me at least). 

The wrap up for this saga is all very ... predictable. Of course everyone is going to come back to life and of course everything seems to be okay ... or is it?!

Overall: 3/5 stars for this one. It was AWESOME to see Super Saiyan power in action, but the overall action lagged to me.

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