Dragon BoyドラゴンボーイDoragon Bōi
|Genre||Shōnen, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Martial Arts|
Manga Series: Dragon Boy
August 1983 – October 1983
Dragon Boy (ドラゴンボーイ) is a two chapter manga by Akira Toriyama that ran from August to October 1983 in Fresh Jump. It was later released in Akira Toriyama's Manga Theater Vol. 2, first published in March 1988. Dragon Boy is best known for being a prototype for the much more popular Dragon Ball manga, which begun the following year.
Dragon Boy features the adventures of a boy named Tanton and an unlikely ragtag group to go on a journey to the Flower Country. This short work is 45-page long (15 for the first chapter and 21 for the second), and it combines the comedic style of Toriyama's successful Dr. Slump series with a more action-oriented plot and pays homage to famous martial art actor Jackie Chan. Toriyama noted that his goal for the series was to tell an "unconventional and contradictory" story. Like Dragon Ball, this manga is mainly based on the Chinese story Journey to the West. Several elements from the story were later reused in Dragon Ball, largely in the first 13 chapters, notably the martial arts theme and the general atmosphere. Dragon Boy even has its own version of the Dragon Ball artifacts. However, in this incarnation, the Dragon Balls produce small dragons when hit with an energy blast, which actually was quite useless when Tanton summoned it in the story.
In a far off land called Sen, Tanton lives and trains with his master. His master has decided to send him on a quest to return the princess of the Flower Country (Ka in the Japanese version) to her homeland. She ran away during the war, which has now been resolved. Tanton has many curiosities about the girl, and he quickly annoys her. Tanton is given a Dragon Ball to aid them. Along the way, the princess complains and yells at Tanton, giving him a bad impression of what girls are like. After they stop so that the princess can bathe, she once again complains, now that she is thirsty. They find a well, but it is inhabited by a water demon. The demon is too strong for Tanton, so he uses the Dragon Ball. The ball only provides a weak, shrimpy dragon, so Tanton resorts to tearing off his shirt and flying with his wings. He is then able to defeat the monster. Rather than thanking Tanton for saving her, the princess scolds him for not flying her on the journey earlier.
In the second chapter, the princess is hungry and grudgingly accepts a rice ball. While they are stopped, they encounter Binyao, a traveler looking for food. The princess gives up her share, and then realizes that the man is a transforming demon. Tanton teaches the demon manners by demonstrating how strong he is on a rock. The demon apologizes and flees. Tanton and the princess approach a bridge, and the princess orders her escort to carry her when he refuses to fly. Binyao returns though and warns them of a monster that guards the bridge. But he is too late, and they come face-to-face with a robot soldier. As Tanton fights the monster, the princess wets her pants and cries over her accident. After trying to negotiate with the soldier by telling him the war is over and subsequently fighting more, Binyao transforms into a commander and relieves the soldier of his duty. The robot lets them pass, but the princess's only concern is her peed-in pants. She has Binyao become a change of clothes for her, but he reverts after three minutes, leaving her to walk completely naked.
Main article: Tanton
The titular "dragon boy" and protagonist. He appears to be an average young boy trained in kung-fu, but under his shirt he sports dragon wings. Like Goku, he spent his childhood socially isolated, and also exhibits curiosities about the opposite sex.
Princess of the Flower Country
The princess that is being escorted by Tanton back home. Her nation had been at war for years, so she has the misfortune of being the first girl Tanton meets. She is extremely selfish and temperamental. Tanton is her only protection, as she has very few skills of her own.
A demon that tricks the princess into giving up her food. It is unknown if Binyao is his true name, because he was using the form of a handsome traveler when he introduced himself under this name. He is a cat-like creature similar to Puar and shares a time limit on his transformations that Oolong has. He claims to be 250 years old. After witnessing Tanton's strength, he apologizes and soon joins them.
Tanton's trainer in martial arts and caretaker. He taught Tanton little else and sends him on his quest. He also gives him the Dragon Ball that turns out to be of little assistance.
Similarities with Dragon Ball
- The scenery for both mangas is influenced by the landscapes of ancient China.
- Tanton, the eponymous "dragon boy", is Goku's prototype. He is a young, socially isolated, martial artist who has never encountered females and is therefore curious about them. He is mostly humanoid in appearance and behavior, but is easily distinguished from actual humans by an unusual body part which, in his case, are a pair of dragon wings. Goku has a similar backstory, except that his unusual body part is instead a monkey tail.
- Tanton's master rides a flying cloud similar to the Flying Nimbus. Like its successor, the flying cloud is borrowed from Journey to the West.
- The princess doubles as Chi-Chi's prototype and Bulma's prototype. She physically resembles the former, but her background and her personality mirror that of the latter. Like Bulma, the princess comes from a wealthy, powerful family (Bulma's father owns Capsule Corporation), and is characterized as selfish, impatient, and temperamental. She also loses bladder control when faced with danger. The filler character Tanmen is visually modeled after the princess.
- Dragon Boy features a Dragon Ball artifact. Instead of granting wishes, though, it produces an actual dragon, and turns out to be useless.
- Binyao is a shapeshifting flying cat with a time limit on his transformations, who ends up befriending Tanton and the princess. Thus, he doubles as Puar's prototype and Oolong's prototype.
- The Soldier Robot's design was reused for the Pirate Robot that appears in the General Blue Saga of Dragon Ball.