|Genre||Shōnen, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Martial Arts|
Manga Series: Kajika
July 1998 – September 1998
|No. of volumes||
Kajika (カジカ) is a 12-chapter action/adventure manga by Akira Toriyama. The series originally ran in Weekly Shōnen Jump from the 32nd to the 44th 1998 issue, and was later released into a 200-page volume on January 8, 1999. The book has been translated and published several European territories.
Kajika is set in a fairly civilized world with vast rocky deserts and isolated cities, and it follows the adventures of the title protagonist, Kajika, who is on a quest to return to being a normal boy. As a member of the Kawa tribe, Kajika is extremely strong and has special powers. The story begins with Kajika making a daring and dynamic effort to rescue a lizard. Kajika is quite pleased with himself after rescuing the little animal, and he reminds his ghostly companion Gigi that finally, after five long years, he has only ten more lives to save to become human again.
As they make their way to a nearby town, Kajika hears something that sounds like trouble. When they investigate, they spy a young woman being surrounded by a gang of thugs. "Why don't you just give it back? Surely you don't want to die so young?" suggests the head gangster. Though she has only a sword against their guns, the woman takes out two of the baddies. The others open fire, and their leader scolds them for putting the egg at risk. Unsheathing his sword, he challenges her, and she takes him on. When her sword breaks, Kajika decides to enter the scene. After a dramatic leap, he lands on his face, dusts himself off and takes care of the rest of the bad guys. He removes the villainy from the thugs, after which the leader gathers his men and politely leaves. It is only then that Kajika discovers the young woman is a professional thief named Haya, and that the guys were after her because of the Dragon Egg she possesses.
Haya reveals that her necklace contains a dragon's egg. The dragons of Ronron Island were thought to be extinct when a great storm killed the last two adults, but later, this one egg was found. The boss of the gangsters, a billionaire named Gibachi (ギバチ), took the egg from the island's research institute. Determined to put it back where it belongs, Haya then went to Sumakia and stole the egg from Gibachi. Since, Gibachi tries to kill Haya and recover the egg. Haya thanks Kajika for saving her and asks him to help her return the egg to its island home. Kajika is dead set against assisting a thief, but Gigi thinks it might be a good idea. With that settled, Haya asks what Kajika meant when he told the gangsters he was not a dogboy but cursed to be a fox-man. Gigi explains that Kajika was a horrible brat as a child. His greatest known evil was killing a fox (Gigi), whose spirit then cursed Kajika to an inhuman existence. In an attempt to teach Kajika the value of life, Gigi gave him one chance to return to human form: he must save 1,000 lives and take none. As Kajika was a child at the time, the spirit of the dead fox decided to accompany Kajika on his journey. Upon saving 1,000 life forms, Kajika will go back to being a boy and Gigi will once again get its body back. Meanwhile, the gang reports what happened to Gibachi, and Gibachi decides to hire the world-famous assassin Isaza to retrieve the egg and kill Kajika. Isaza asks Gibachi 100,000,000 Dons for this job, but Gibachi secretly decides that he will kill Isaza once he gets tremendous power from drinking dragon blood.
As the three go to Ronron island, it is revealed that the reason why Gibachi wants the egg so badly is because there is an old saying that says if one drinks the blood of a young dragon, they will gain incredible powers. No one is sure if this is true, but baby dragons have dragomin in their blood, which allows them to mature extremely fast. Once the situation of our hero is explained, the story turns its focus to the plot revolving around the dragon's egg. As the three set off, though, Haya makes up an excuse as to why she can not continue, but it is really because she fears Gibachi. Before she leaves and because she simulated a fake illness, Kajika gives her a pill he kept from his Kawa village and which has immense rejuvenation properties. So now it is up to Kajika and Gigi to return the egg, but it will not be so easy now that they are being hunted down by Isaza, who is also a member of the powerful Kawa tribe. Kajika sees Isaza while in the desertic area and destroys his airplane with a Kiai after hearing he wanted the Dragon Egg. In the nearby village, Kajika meets Donko, who tells him about Isaza in the village. The boy uses his superior speed to run and help both Kajika and Isaza in order to earn money. Kajika is an extremely strong boy, but it is also revealed that being turned into a fox-man is holding down his true powers. After their first confrontation, Isaza knocks Kajika out and gets the egg. Donko, who was hiding during the battle, tells Gigi he will retrieve the egg for them, in exchange for 1,000,000 Dons. Donko finds Isaza and repairs his plane. He then steals the egg and brings it back to Kajika, who was continuing to save animal lives in order to break the curse upon him and defeat Isaza with his recovered full power. When the egg finally hatches, Gibachi's men manage to wound the young dragon and Gibachi drinks its blood, which turns him into a powerful dragon-man.
Kajika and Isaza face the transformed Gibachi. Kajika saves one final life form when he heals the wounded dragon thanks to the pill Haya returned to him during the battle, which allows him to go back to being a regular boy and defeat Gibachi. He then removes the evil from Gibachi's heart, making him a regular male dragon and letting him live with the young female dragon. After this, Haya brings the two dragons to Ronron Island. Isaza gives his airplane to Donko in exchange for Donko to drive him to the hospital. While leaving together, Gigi tricks Kajika to kill him again because he is tired of walking, turning him into a ghost and Kajika into a fox-man once again.
Animerica Extra columnist Patricia Duffield stated that Kajika was regularly stocked in Japanese bookstores within the United States. She described Kajika as a highly entertaining adventure story due to Toriyama's easy-to-follow writing and comic style, and for possessing "the art of a master of action."
- The protagonists in this manga are all named after fish.
- The basic idea of the manga is based on Japanese legends hovering around animals such as foxes and dragons.
- After drinking dragon blood, the main antagonist Gibachi bears a resemblance to Syn Shenron.
- Kajika, Isaza, Donko, and Haya make a cameo in the fourth chapter of the spin-off manga Dragon Ball Heroes: Victory Mission.