REVIEW: Dragon Ball Culture Vol. 2
Derek Padula of thedaoofdragonball.com has released the 2nd volume of Dragon Ball Culture, Adventure. For the uninitiated, the book is an in-depth look at Akira Toriyama’s mega-popular shonen franchise, as well as the various stories and cultures that Toriyama drew upon.
There’s no need to be intimidated by the fact that it’s already on its 2nd volume, the book is accessible even if you haven’t read the first volume yet. The book starts you off with a summary of important things discussed in the first book, and Padula has structured the contents in a way that can be construed as episodic – each chapter corresponds to an episode of the original run, and each sub chapter deals with specific topics or elements found in the episode. You can read all 300+ pages of the book in a linear fashion, but you can also open the book in random and read the first chapter you came across.
As for what the book delves into, it goes beyond what official sources would do – going so far as to provide insights into Toriyama’s creative process, his motivations, as well as his plotting techniques. It’s easy to think of it as just Padula’s interpretations, but the book backs up its assertions with links to interviews or official source material (the ebook version contains clickable links to the actual sources), so you can take the information with a little less grain of salt. Not saying everything you’ll read is true, but the things you need to verify them are there.
Dragon Ball Culture: Adventure is also helpful for both non-fans who want to see why the franchise is as popular as it is, and long time fans who want to revisit the franchise. For the former, there are tips on how to approach the series and where to start, and for the latter it offers a ton of trivia and insights that could help give new perspective to the series. In this way, the book serves as an excellent companion to the series – something that you can read after watching an episode, which should help shine a light on all the layers and depth present in a series that is sometimes unfairly criticized as shallow and formulaic, by fans and non-fans alike.
Lastly, neither Padula nor the book is affiliated in any way with TOEI, Toriyama, or any company that owns a Dragon Ball-related license, but the author has done so much research and back every relevant information contained within the book with citations, which means Dragon Ball Culture is currently one of the most accurate and complete sources of information about anything Dragon Ball-related, barring official source materials.
You can get the book through Amazon: