Dragon Ball (Japanese: ドラゴンボール, Hepburn: Doragon Bōru) is a Japanese media franchise created by Akira Toriyama in 1984. The initial manga, written and illustrated by Toriyama, was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1984 to 1995, with the 519 individual chapters collected into 42 tankōbon volumes by its publisher Shueisha. Dragon Ball was initially inspired by the classical 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West, as well as Hong Kong martial arts films. The series follows the adventures of the protagonist, Son Goku, from his childhood through adulthood as he trains in martial arts. He spends his childhood far from civilization until he meets a teen girl named Bulma, who encourages him to join her quest in exploring the world in search of the seven orbs known as the Dragon Balls, which summon a wish-granting dragon when gathered. Along his journey, Goku makes several other friends, becomes a family man, discovers his alien heritage, and battles a wide variety of villains, many of whom also seek the Dragon Balls.
Toriyama's manga was adapted and divided into two anime series produced by Toei Animation: Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, which together were broadcast in Japan from 1986 to 1996. Additionally, the studio has developed 20 animated feature films and three television specials, as well as two anime sequel series titled Dragon Ball GT (1996–1997) and Dragon Ball Super (2015–2018). From 2009 to 2015, a revised version of Dragon Ball Z aired in Japan under the title Dragon Ball Kai, as a recut that follows the manga's story more faithfully by removing most of the material featured exclusively in the anime. Several companies have developed various types of merchandising based on the series leading to a large media franchise that includes films, both animated and live-action, collectible trading card games, numerous action figures, along with several collections of soundtracks and numerous video games. Dragon Ball is one of the top twenty highest-grossing media franchises of all time, having generated an estimated $30 billion in total franchise revenue.
Since its release, Dragon Ball has become one of the most successful manga and anime series of all time, with the manga sold in over 40 countries and the anime broadcast in more than 80 countries. The manga's 42 collected tankōbon volumes have sold over 160 million copies in Japan, and are estimated to have sold more than 250–300 million copies worldwide, making it the second best-selling manga series in history, behind only One Piece. Reviewers have praised the art, characterization, and humour of the story. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential manga series ever made, with many manga artists citing Dragon Ball as a source of inspiration for their own now popular works. The anime, particularly Dragon Ball Z, is also highly popular across the world and is considered one of the most influential in boosting the popularity of Japanese animation in Western culture. It has had a considerable impact on global popular culture, referenced by and inspiring numerous artists, athletes, celebrities, filmmakers, musicians and writers across the world.
The Dragon Ball story takes place on Earth where Goku goes on adventures to find the Dragon Balls, as well as aspiring to become a great fighter, and compete in multiple martial arts tournaments. Goku later stops the evil Red Ribbon Army, then 3 years later, thwarts the Grand Demon King Piccolo's plans for world conquest, afterwards he and his friends protect the Earth from the Saiyan invasion. The setting also goes to Planet Namek later on in the series for Bulma, Gohan, and Krillin to revive Goku's fallen friends from the Saiyan's attack, where they encounter Vegeta's higher ups, as well as the cosmic emperor, Freeza.
- Goku: is a young boy who was sent to earth in a spaceship from a dying planet he was found by an old man living in the mountains who raised him as his son. The character Goku and his abilities to fly, super speed strength, super durability, super agility, even his items the power pole nimbus are inspired my Sun Wukong the Monkey King from Journey to the West. Goku had to leave his dying home to survive while the Monkey King left his home to go on a journey on his journey the Monkey King was trained by a sage named Subhuti. On Goku's journey with Bulma the boy is trained by Master Roshi just like how Subhuti trained Sun Wukong.
- Puar: is a unusually cat with the ability to flying and shapeshift he knew Oolong when they went to school together. Oolong bullied Puar and picked on him eventually Puar become friends with Yamcha the two of them worked together as bandits to rob people. Although Puar us not based off of a character from Journey to the West the story has plenty of animals that can talk and have the ability to shapeshift. So while Puar is an original character from Dragon Ball his abilities and a few other things about the character come from abilities and animals from Journey to the West.
- Master Roshi: is an elderly human who found a way to not die from old age and was able to pass beyond the skills and limits of normal humans. He is the greatest marital artists teacher on earth and has trained many students such as Goku's grandfather the Ox King, Goku, Killin, Yamcha, Tien, Chiaotzu and Goku's son Gohan. He is based on Subhuti who trained Sun Wukong just like how Rishi trained Goku they are both great martial arts teachers and they both found a secret ways to have longer lifespans.
- Turtle: is a sea turtle who has the ability to talk he is Master Roshi's closest friend and always keeps on eye on Roshi to make sure that Roshi is on his best behavior. Turtle is a completely original character created only for the show although he is an original character in the Dragon Balls series his ability to talk comes from the idea of the many talking animals in Journey to the West.
- Ox King: he is super strong and powerful giant man with horn on his helmet. The Ox King is based off the character Bull King from Journey to the West both of them were villains the heroes had to face on their journey. But that is where their similarities end. When the Bull King was defeated he was taken to heaven to await his fate and punishment. But the Ox King redeems himself when he finds out the main characters know his old teacher Master Roshi. Although he is strong Ox King wasn't Master Roshi's best student and disappointed his master when he learned the Ox King was doing bad things. While Bull King was taken to heaven to face punishment for his crimes and his fate is unknown Ox King faces punishment from Master Roshi for his crimes and redeems himself. Another difference between Ox King and Bull King is that Ox King has a daughter while Bull King has a son.
- Chi Chi: is the daughter of the Ox King and a girl that Goku promises to marry when they are both older. The idea of her being the Ox King's daughter is based off of the Bull King from Journey to the West having a son called Red Boy. Although Chi Chi is mostly based on the Bull King's wife Princess Iron Fan while the Ox King's wife is dead. Princess Iron Fan and Chi Chi both have weapons the Princess uses a iron fan while Chi Chi uses a blade from a helmet she wears on her head. Aside from being inspired by Princess Iron Fan and Red Son combined together those are the only similarities.
- Shenron: is a powerful dragon who has the power to grant wishes to anyone who gathers all seven Dragon Balls. He is based off the dragon god Shenlong from Chinese legends Shenron also shares a few similarities with dragon characters from Journey to the West.
- Oolong: is a pig with the ability to talk and shapeshift although he can only hold his shapeshifting for only five minutes this is because he never fished shapeshifting school. Oolong is based on the character Zhu Bajie from Journey to the West. His personality and behavior are very similar to Zhu Bajie. Other similarities between Oolong and Zhu Bajie are how Oolong got in trouble in school and was kicked out while Zhu Bajie got in trouble in heaven and was kicked out. Both Oolong and Zhu Bajie have to help the heroes on their journey so they can redeem themselves.
- Tien Shinhan: was a former student of Master Shen who was friends with Master Roshi in the past and are now rivals. Tien along with with Chiaotzu both realized that Master Shen was not a good person so they left his school and joined Goku, Krillin and Yamcha at Master Roshi's school. Tien Shinhan is based off of Erlang Shen from Journey to the West who is the nephew of the Jade Emperor. Erlang Shen was sent to fight Sun Wukong and bring him before the Jade Emperor Erlang won the battle. Just like Erlang and the Monkey King Tien and Goku have fought each when Tien was a student at Crane School but there is a difference between the two fights instead of Tien winning the the it was Goku while Erlang won instead of Sun Wukong. Tien has three eyes just like Erlang. Tien's abilities to fly, super strength, super speed, super agility, durability and most of his power are similar to each other.
- Chiaotzu: is a young character who never ages or grows he has psychic who is based on to ideas combined together Nezha the child god and Jiangshi creatures with psychic powers. The Jiangshi are vampires that drain life force from other beings but they also share similarities to zombies and ghosts. While Nezha is a god from the story Journey to the West. Chiaotzu like his friend Tien were trained by Master Crane Master Roshi's formes friend.who became his rival the two eventual redeem themselves and become friends with Goku. Chiaotzu becoming friends with Goku is similar to how Nezha and Sun Wukong become friends the only difference is that the Monkey King redeems himself.
- Fortuneteller Baba: is a powerful witch that has the ability to take herself and others into the afterlife with out actually dying. She is the sister of Master Roshi and like her brother Baba has found a way to make her lifespan even longer and keep herself from dying of old age. Her name Baba comes from Baba Yaga a witch from Slavic folklore who also happens to be one of the boogeymen from around the world. While Fortuneteller Baba's name comes from Baba Yaga the idea of her being a witch also comes from a few witch characters in story Journey to the West.
- King Yemma:
- King Kai:
- Fairy (formerly misdubed as Angel)
- Sūn Wùkōng
- Xi You Ji/Journey to the West
- Zhu Bajie
- Erlang Shen
- Princess Iron Fan
- Red Boy
- Baba Yaga