Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dragon Ball Vol. 4: Strongest Under the Heavens by Toriyama Akira

This is the volume that takes us all the way from fight no. 2 of the Tenka'ichi Budokai primaries until the championship bout. And yes, the final match involves Goku. It'd be silly if it didn't. 

After having easily disposed of Yamcha, the mysterious Jackie Chun (remember that this manga is from 1986 and Jackie Chan was huge back then) waits until his next match. Of course, he isn't really all that mysterious. Yamcha guesses right away that Jackie Chun is actually Muten Roshi, the Turtle Hermit that taught Kururin and Son Goku, but Jackie Chun isn't so dumb as to be outsmarted by some lowly desert bandit. 

Jackie Chun is wearing a rather snazzy wig. The wig is superglued to his head and pulling it off is almost impossible as Yamcha and Jackie soon learn. It's mere presence manages to fool both Kururin and Son Goku completely without them having to resort to trying to pull it off. Not that I expected much from Goku in the intelligence department, but I thought Kururin wasn't quite that dense. 

And no, this volume isn't about Jackie Chun's wig, handsome though it may be. It probably would be worthy of its own manga volume, too. 

Yamcha isn't the only one to lose to the dangerous and deadly Mr. Chun. Kururin also has the unfortunate luck to face Mr. Chun and fall. Unlike the tough Bacterian and Kururin managed to clobber, Jackie Chun doesn't stink. 

Hehe, I just made a pun. 

Son Goku's path to the championship bout isn't much easier. Not only must he first deal with an ill-tempered dinosaur, but he also must take on a guy named Namu that is fighting on behalf of his entire starving village in the semi final. 

Then with all of the other fights out of the way it is time for the final match to begin: Jackie Chun Vs. Son Goku!

This is a pretty big moment since I consider it to be Goku's first real epic fight. Of course, it would later be overshadowed by a bunch of other fights, but as of this volume there's a true sense of epicness about it. To see two fighters unleash kamehameha waves at each other for the first time ever in the manga is just too cool. One of the things that I guess only nerds will appreciate. 

The volume ends after Goku and Jackie Chun manage to exchange a few blows and a kamehameha wave. It's clear to Jackie that Goku won't be so easy to take down and that he really will have to have a strategy in order to win. However, the reappearance of Goku's tail during the quarter finals might make for an even more interesting fight. Or will it? Maybe. Stand by for the next issue of.... Ah, you know what I'm going to say by now. 

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