After reading this, I feel like this is a definitive thing that Akira Toriyama fans need to have. Especially with people who are interested with the concepts of all of his work or just really enjoy his comedy and parody works. Those either being Dragon ball or Dr. Slump, there is a lot of ideas in these short works which became finalized in both of those series. I say that as a life long dragon ball fan who has written a lot about it in this posts about Dragon Ball on here and only one Doctor Slump post. his comedy when its not as its least mature is really funny and quite clever. Akira Toriyama’s Manga Theater is pretty good.
Manga Theater is a three volume collection of all his works from where he began his career as a mangaka to the end of his work on Dragon Ball Z. So from 1978 to 1993. The first volume has five different short stories from 1978 to 1983, so his earlier works. Lots of creativity and interesting ideas from a person landing on the top of an island when his plane crashed and him slowly going down to other people to one short story being called Chobit and you can probably guess what it is to even earlier editions of what will later be Dragon Ball with a boy being taught by a Master Roshi to go on an adventure with a girl. Some classic stuff there which amounts to a lot.
The second volume feels like the true route of how Dragon Ball became what it did. It covers more side stories from 1979 to 1988 there with most of them still being earlier ones. Some particular stories like the one called Dragon Boy which you can probably guess what its about to The Adventures of Tongpoo who lands on a planet to find a girl that looks like bulma and has houses and other things in capsules. Alongside those and similar to Volume 1 are short stories that make fun of cops in some fun ways and guys meeting girls who are aggressive and yet the guys have no clear interest in them. Plus some lewd like stories too. Some are skippable and others are not.
Volume 3 feels like the most innovative because they clearly are not ideas that are formed or completed when put into the world of dragon ball in a final form of some kind. So obviously these are the later works that come from 1988 to 1993 to where Dragon Ball’s manga ended in 1995. These are a lot longer and intricate stories that have their own sorts of lore and stories to them even if they are built on simple concepts. A lot of evil intended or focused people who try to be evil and end up doing good. Mamejiro and Go! Go! Ackman have younger people who wish to do evil against people who usually do good and end up being bad guys as well. The parody stories of Cashman – Saving Soldier and Dub & Peter 1 are also hilarious for their own reasons.
It is really hard to write or point out one particular art style and say what is bad when, but he started good and just improved with character designs and panel flow as he went on. Plus there is clearly some art styles that very much like Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z but put in a completely different way there. His style, for the most part, matured and allowed his characters to not exposition the world and have all the worlds felt out by having characters live in them or explore them more. His world building just greatly improved over all and I can like. He found his own style and we saw how he did that on this end. Seeing some of his stories on how he became a mangaka was great as well.
If there are downsides, it’s clear that there is still some childish and slightly (but not as bad as other people’s) sexual humor that does and doesn’t work. It is funny sometimes like a pure boy who doesn’t know anything about attractive women somehow being a chick magnet without trying. I feel like that is funny. But there is some stories that should be skipped or at least sped through to the next panel. Akira Toriyama is a person who created his child’s dream and ideas in manga and that could be for good or for bad. But in general, it’s all for the positive. It all works out very well and I think there is a lot of good in this collection because of how unique his art style and here is compared to everyone else. Please check this one out if you can.
You can tell how slow I am in reading this longer manga because not only has the manga itself came out but you can read this on SJ+ if you want to pay for it. Please do that if you want a cheaper option for it. Its worth it regardless.