Viz Media has announced that it will continuing its efforts to republish all of Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball manga in lavish, oversized, full-color editions with the first volume of the legendary Freeza Arc, available in print and digital on May 3.

The classic storyline, which initially ran from 1990-1991, sees Gohan, Krillin and Bulma head to the planet Namek to find Dragon Balls to revive their friends. They learn that the all-powerful alien warlord Freeza is after them --- as is the terrifying Vegeta --- and the hunt is on.

Now the average Westerner reading this might be thinking, "Wait a second! Isn't Freeza from Dragon Ball Z ? Isn't Dragon Ball the part all about Goku as a little kid? Why the name change?" Well, you're half right.

The entire story of Goku, Bulma, Vegeta and the rest ran in Japan as Dragon Ball from 1984-1995. When the anime split the stories of kid and adult Goku in half, Toei Animation decided to air the second part under the name Dragon Ball Z, a name coined by Toriyama. It was Z that became famous in the US in the late '90s and early 2000s and, accordingly, Viz followed that pattern when bringing the original manga out in English. The first part was sold as Dragon Ball while the second --- from volume 17 onwards --- was renumbered and sold as Dragon Ball Z.

So really, by marking this full-color release line as Dragon Ball all the way through, Viz is bringing things full circle. Given how much vibrancy and energy the new coloring has added to the series, let's hope that we'll see the whole story reprinted this way in due course.


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