A-01 WHAT IS "DRAGON BALL"?
"Dragon Ball" was a manga (Japanese for "comics") series that started in 1984 by artist Akira Toriyama (who also did the art designs of video games such as "Dragon Warrior" and "Chrono Trigger"), published in the popular weekly manga phonebook "Shonen Jump." It was shortly afterwards slated to be turned into anime (Japanese for "cartoon"), and began airing on Japanese television on Feb 26, 1986. A US dubbed version began airing on syndicated television Fall, 1995. The story tells of a young boy, who was raised by a great martial artist, and strangely, has a tail. The young boy was named "Son Goku" by his adoptive grandfather (Son Gohan). Goku and his friends search for a set of pearls known as Dragon Balls, which can summon a wish-granting dragon (ShenLon) when gathered, Goku's original reason for helping Bulma was to see what ShenLon looked like. After ShenLon was summoned and a wish was made, the Dragon Balls scattered, so Goku had to go on a second quest to recover the Dragon Ball his grandfather left him.
The manga has ended already, and there is a total of 42 volumes of tankoban, with a total of 518 episodes, and one Trunks special (Trunks: The Story).
Dragon Ball was very loosely based on the Chinese novel "The Monkey King."