Dragon Ball is an adaptation of the first portion of Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball manga. It is composed of 153 20-minute episodes and ran on Fuji TV from February 26, 1986 to April 12 1989. Dragon Ball was overshadowed by its successor Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball depicted Goku’s childhood, while Dragon Ball Z depicted his adulthood.
Dragon Ball started off as a manga series called Dragon Boy. The story depicted a young boy named Tanton and his quest to return a princess to her homeland. The series was a loose adaptation of the Chinese legend Journey to the West, depicting monkey king Sun Wukong. Due to the series’ unpopularity, Toriyama re-wrote Dragon Boy, adapting it as Dragon Ball. All the character’s personalities were changed except for Goku.
The series begins with a young monkey-tailed boy named Goku befriending a teenage girl named Bulma. Together they go on a quest to find the seven Dragon Balls, which summons the dragon Shenlong to grant the user one wish. The journey lead to a confrontation the shape-shifting pig Oolong, as well as a desert bandit named Yamucha and his companion Pu’ar; Chi-Chi, whom Goku unknowingly agrees to marry; and Pilaf, an impish man who seeks the Dragon Balls to fulfill his desire to rule the world.
Goku undergoes rigorous training regimes under the martial artist Kame-Sennin in order to fight in the Tenkaichi Budōkai. After the tournament, Goku sets out by himself to recover the Dragon Ball his grandfather left him and encounters the Red Ribbon Army. He almost single-handedly defeats the army, including their hired assassin Taopaipai.
They all reunite at the Tenkaichi Budōkai three years later and meet Kame-Sennin’s rival and Taopaipai’s brother, Tsuru-Sennin, and his students Tenshinhan and Chaozu, who vow to exact revenge. Kuririn is killed after the tournament and Goku tracks and is defeated by his killer, Piccolo Daimao. Goku begins his battle with Piccolo Daimao. Karin informs Goku that Kami might be able to restore Shenlong so that he can wish his friends back to life. He also stays and trains under Kami for the next three years. Piccolo Jr. also enters the tournament to avenge his father. After Goku narrowly wins, he leaves with Chi-Chi and keeps his promise to marry her.