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Dragon Ball Z
An Unauthorized Guide
By Lois H. Gresh, Danny N. Gresh
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2000 Lois H. Gresh and Danny N. Gresh
All rights reserved.
So What's It All About?
"This may be better than Pokémon. There's more action."
— Danny Gresh, 10 years old and coauthor of this book
"This is very funny and very exciting, too."
— Matt, 11 years old
"Forget fighting, give me a math test!"
— Definitely not Gohan
Apart, they're just seven magic balls. But if you find them and bring them together, they summon The Eternal Dragon ...
... who rises from his lair in a fury of ageless wonder and grants a secret wish to the person who woke him up.
Cool, huh? That's what Dragon Ball Z is all about, and it stars Goku, a boy with a tail who comes to Earth from a distant planet called Vegeta. He's raised by a master of martial arts, and his training coupled with his awesome Super Saiyan powers make him the strongest man on Earth.
But the Saiyans are super strong, too. They come back to conquer Earth and to blow away everyone on the planet. They want to find the seven dragon balls so they can summon The Eternal Dragon and ask for immortality — to live forever. There's Vegeta, the Prince of all Saiyans, and his really nasty sidekick, Nappa.
"Nappa's worse than all the bad guys on World Wrestling put together."
— Eric, 10 years old
But Vegeta and Nappa and Goku are just the beginning of the cartoon adventure called Dragon Ball Z. It's on TV every day (check the Cartoon Network in your town or city). In addition, there have been numerous movies featuring lots of favorite Dragon Ball Z characters.
We've seen every available episode and movie.
Have you? If so, then you're as hooked on Dragon Ball Z as we are, which means that you're a fan on the level of Super Saiyan Fan, if such a thing could exist. It also means we'll have a good time in this book. We'll find out what you like best — the characters, the episodes, the sagas. And you'll find out what we like best, and why.
We'll tell you how the show was created — who the genius was behind all this great stuff, and how he created all those super mean guys and all those great Dragon Ball Z jokes.
If you're not all that familiar with the television show, we'll tell you what's so exciting, and so hysterically funny, about the adventures and characters in the various episodes.
Here's what Danny says about the action and comedy of Dragon Ball Z:
"It's really amazing how they get all that action and all that funny stuff on one TV show. Like when some nasty guy calls Krillin a 'near-sighted cueball head' and how they have aircars and dinosaurs together. One of the funniest parts is when Goku trains with King Kai, who doubles as a martial arts master and comedian. King Kai makes Goku laugh at all his jokes, and he also makes Goku chase his monkey, Bubbles, all over the planet in heavy gravity."
This happens during the thirteenth episode of Dragon Ball Z, which is called "A Fight Against Gravity ... Catch Bubbles!"
Now I like catching bubbles, but only if they're in my ginger ale or bathtub. I wouldn't like chasing a monkey round and round a planet that's the size of a giant grapefruit or something. Especially a monkey who spins like a top, goes backward, and is so heavy that he can crush a car by jumping on it.
I guess now is a good time to tell you who "I" am and who "Danny" is. I am writing this book. My name is Lois. Danny is my kid. The two of us have been playing together forever. When he was little, we made giant construction sites in the mud behind our house. We drove giant trucks all over our construction sites. We found hundreds of ladybugs in our flowers. Now we play lots of baseball, watch cartoons, play with action figures and board games, and he may not want to admit it to you, but we like to play chess, too. I guess you could say we like doing the same things.
We have pretty much all the Donald Duck comic books. And lots of adventure stories, like cowboy novels, old science fiction thrillers, Tom Swift, and the Hardy Boys. We like to read adventure books, so it's natural that we'd write something like Dragon Ball Z. Speaking of which, this Dragon Ball Z book is probably one of the best books you'll ever read, but there are lots of other good books out there, too. So if you're reading this book, go read another one when you're done!
Well, as I mentioned, Danny and I like cartoons. Not like the Flintstones (which I watched when I was a little girl and it's okay), but more like Dragon Ball Z, where the action keeps going from episode to episode, and you have to keep watching to find out what's going to happen next. We both like to laugh a lot, too, and Dragon Ball Z is pretty funny.
Being a mother, I like Gohan. I keep worrying that he's going to be killed or hurt badly. I get so scared! Being a kid, Danny doesn't know why I worry about Gohan and why I sometimes get scared during fight scenes. "It's just a cartoon, Mom!" That's what Danny says to me all the time. (His friend, Eric, says, "Danny, your Mom is so weird.")
Danny and Eric like Vegeta, plus any character who's eating like a pig right at that moment.
I like Oolong, who's a pig, but that's only because I sleep with two stuffed pigs, Cal and Oinky, who are now famous because they're in this book.
Danny often catches me playing with Cal and Oinky, and also with my action figures. I have zombie action figures and all sorts of monsters — they're my favorites. But I also like to play with Goku, Piccolo, Gohan, and Vegeta. It may seem silly that a grown woman plays with this stuff, but I know another grown woman who does just the same thing, so I'm not the only one. And she has a kid Danny's age, too.
So that's who Danny and I are, and now you know why we're writing this book: we're nuts about Dragon Ball Z. We invite you to come and meet us at http://www.sff.net/people/lgresh/Dragon BallZ.html, where we hang out with other kids and talk about Dragon Ball Z stuff. Danny's there all the time ...
Except when he's in school or doing homework ... or practicing his trumpet, or playing hockey or baseball ... or ...
Listen, trust me, he's there an awful lot! I'm his mother, I should know!
Anyway, if you are on the Internet, go to that address and say hello to us. We have Dragon Ball Z pictures and information there. For example, you can see photos of Danny writing about action figures while playing with them on his desk.
Speaking of which, want to know how a kid just like you writes a book chapter? This was Danny's step-by-step process:
1. Played with Piccolo, Vegeta, and Captain Ginyu
2. Turned to the computer, typed some paragraphs about how he made Ginyu attack the other two and which guy lost which body parts
3. Played with Thin and Fat Majin Buu
4. Wrote some Buu suggestions and comments
5. Played some more
6. Played some more ...
And, well, I think he just kept playing with the action figures and stopped writing the chapter.
Also on the Website, you can see photos of Danny working on the role-playing game chapter, and Danny studying Dragon Ball Z comics to give you important research tips. For example, here's an important research tip straight from the comics: if you're Piccolo in a role-playing game, you should say "Feh!" a lot. This is Piccolo's favorite word.
The only way to learn this important fact about being Piccolo in a role-playing game is to study the comic books until midnight. Well, that's what Danny tells me every night ...
Danny posts many fascinating Dragon Ball Z facts on the Website. For example, by studying the comic books, he realized that there are many names for the famous Piccolo attack. I call it the screwdriver attack. That's what the Piccolo action figure has as his power weapon: a big screwdriver. But I know that's not the real name of the attack. In the comics, they call it "The Light Beam of Death," which is kind of melodramatic, don't you think? In the cartoon, they call it "Special Beam Cannon." And it's called something like Makkankaposo in the Ani-Mayhem card game, which you can't find anymore (a real bummer and near-crime that should be remedied right away). Danny calls it the corkscrew attack. He's probably right.
See how my mind is? I start talking about one aspect of Dragon Ball Z, such as our Website, and then my brain flies out like a fishing line into some ocean, and I drag out some totally different tidbit about Dragon Ball Z. Then I start talking about this new tidbit, such as Danny reading the comics, and bam, I float right back into the ocean and reel in a tidbit about Piccolo action figures and all the names of Piccolo's special energy attack.
Once you get hooked on this stuff, it's hard to stop and take a deep breath — one of those great big breaths we're all supposed to take when we get really excited about something and other people want us to slow down. It's hard to say to ourselves, "Okay, that's enough about Dragon Ball Z."
We're just too hooked.
Anyway, please come to the Website and tell us what you like about Dragon Ball Z. Also, we're dying to know what you think about this book, so come to http://www.sff.net/people/lgresh/DragonballZ.html and tell us.
We end each chapter of this book with a Fast Fact Quiz. All the quizzes are secret standardized tests by the National Teachers Union to determine your IQ. If you flunk the quizzes in this book, the National Teachers Union will instantly demote you to nursery school, where you'll be forced to play Foxy Woxy in Chicken Little plays for the rest of your life. So be really careful and use a number two pencil. Mark your answers clearly, and then double-check your answers.
Okay, I bet you're scared half out of your wits by the thought of these hard quizzes. Calm down, be cool. I swear: these quizzes are a piece of cake! Here's an example:
Fast Fact Quiz!
Which character uses the Don Demo Mizuu ni Kaeteshimau non Royoko attack?
Answer 1: Piccolo
Answer 2: Aqua
Answer 3: Kami Sami Piccolo Whammy
Answer 4: George the Fish
Easy, huh? Oh, whoops, wait a minute. That's not one of the quiz questions. It could be, and the real answer is #2, but such a quiz question would flunk you straight back to nursery school for sure. We wouldn't do that to you. But we might ask you this one:
Fast Fact Quiz!
Which character uses the Bad Breath attack?
Answer 1: Evil Majin Buu, who can destroy an entire city with his breath
Answer 2: Salami, the talking dolphin, who can destroy an entire ocean with his gills
Answer 3: the Bulbous Dodo, an extinct bird species derived from carnivorous dinosaurs and which once devoured the plains of Kansas before being destroyed by wolves
Answer 4: George the Fish
The correct answer is #1. See? You just learned something true about Evil Majin Buu by taking a very tricky test. We'll report your amazing accomplishment to the National Teachers Union. You can't lose with this book! That's what happens when you read books written by 10-year-old kids.
If you don't know the answers, we even give you a cheat sheet — see Appendix B.
Of course, you can't trust us about the answers. For example, we told you that Evil Majin Buu has a Bad Breath attack, and that's not entirely true. I believe in the deepest recesses of my heart — as opposed to the most shallow recesses of my liver — that Buu's breath stinks. I will now explain, and you can decide for yourself.
From an official perspective, Majin Buu's attack is called Breath rather than Bad Breath. Now let's look at the facts. Buu turns people into candy and cookies, and then he eats them. If Danny ate that much candy and that many cookies, he'd get 245 cavities; all of the teeth in his head would drop onto the floor. And his breath would stink.
So why should Majin Buu be any different? Clearly, a guy who eats nothing but human-sized candy is going to have at least 245 cavities, if he has any teeth left at all. And he's going to have really bad breath. If you don't trust me on this, ask your dentist and he'll tell you!
That's enough about bad breath. It's time to put on your purple horns and strike a pose. It's time to hold onto your seat and tickle your toes (but keep one hand free to turn the pages). It's going to be a wild ride, as we blast off into the mega-fun world of Dragon Ball Z!
Fast Fact Quiz!
(the real one at the end of this chapter)
A yoikominiminkminiminken is a:
Answer 1: ridiculous make-believe name of an attack
Answer 2: power-up maneuver
Answer 3: flash of power from millions of tiny cannons
Answer 4: word for many egg yolks in JapaneseCHAPTER 2
A Short History of Dragon Ball Z
"Why do these Dragon Ball Z videos claim to have brief nudity in them? Does that mean the uncut episodes show Gohan fall naked from the sky after he transforms back from the Giant Monkey?"
— Danny Gresh, 10 years old and coauthor of this book]
"I think so. What else can it mean? It's a Dragon Ball Z cartoon. Maybe the brief nudity is when Goku's shirt gets ripped in a fight."
— Lois Gresh [Me]
"Maybe it means that Vegeta's pants fall down."
"I don't think so. That's highly unlikely. I mean, this is a Dragon Ball Z cartoon. What kind of stuff could be in it that requires parental warnings?"
"I think it means they spit out blood and that the blood is briefly nude."
"Uh-huh. Well, I will watch this uncut Dragon Ball Z cartoon alone before you get to watch it. Just to make sure there's nothing horrible in it. Oh brother. On second thought, we can watch it together. There just can't be any nudity in a Dragon Ball Z cartoon. This is ridiculous ... But if I yell, 'DAN HIDE YOUR EYES,' immediately put this pillow on your face."
"Okay, Mom, but I'll use Cal instead. He's big. I'll stick Cal on my face if something nude happens."
[later after my stuffed pig, Cal, gets an hour-long workout ...]
"Uncut with brief nudity means they spit out some blood and that the blood is briefly nude. Oh, and that Gohan falls from the sky in the faraway distance after he transforms back from the Giant Monkey. THERE'S NO NEED TO HIDE YOUR EYES BEHIND A STUFFED PIG WHILE WATCHING DRAGON BALL Z EPISODES."
Okay, I got a little carried away with the introductory quotes. But I thought that information was important and that you needed to know it right away. After all, in Japan, brief nudity means that a cartoon might show a naked Giant Monkey, which of course, is naked except for its fur. And then when the Monkey transforms back into a little boy, the boy probably doesn't have much fur covering his flesh. And we do see him from behind, which means literally that we see his behind.
You have now learned another important fact that the National Teachers Union will care about a lot.
Everyone we know says that the creator of Dragon Ball Z, the cartoon genius named Akira Toriyama, has a terrific sense of humor. When he started with the original Dragon Ball series, which I'll tell you about in a minute, he stuffed in lots of toilet jokes and silliness. Danny once thought that maybe Akira Toriyama wrote the original Dragon Ball cartoons when he was potty training his kid.
Highly unlikely, but then I was wrong about the meaning of uncut episodes and Danny was right. Danny is sometimes much smarter about these things than I am.
Now — only because I feel that I have to regain my big smartie status as the older coauthor here — I will tell you a little bit about the creator of Dragon Ball Z, why he created the series, and when he first started working on it.
Answers to these questions have become Dragon Ball Z lore. That creates a question: what's lore?
Some of you already know the answer. I will ask Dan.
"Dan, do you know what the word 'lore' means?"
"Uh, I think I've heard of it in some video games." (He names a specific video game here, but I will omit it because it doesn't happen to be a Dragon Ball Z video game.)
Me: "But what does it mean? Lore." (I'm feeling like a really big smartie right now.)
Dan: "Is it sort of like lure?"
Me: "No, guess again."
Dan: "I don't know. Is it a dung beetle?"
Now I have to point out that Danny gets lots of A's on his report card in school and knows the meanings of enormous and very bizarre vocabulary words. Here's an example that he told me about just tonight while we were driving to Super Shack Haircuts to get his dog-fur-mutt-hairdo trimmed: "Arachabutyrophobia. It means fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth."
Here's another one: "Triskaidekaphobia. It means fear of the number thirteen."
So if you don't know the meaning of the word "lore" don't feel bad. (And now I'm feeling like a bad mother because Danny doesn't know the meaning of the word, but then again, I'm just like that ... hopefully, I'm not as bad as Gohan's mother, ChiChi.)
Excerpted from Dragon Ball Z by Lois H. Gresh, Danny N. Gresh. Copyright © 2000 Lois H. Gresh and Danny N. Gresh. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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