Dragon Ball Z: Vegeta Saga by Akira Toriyama
This review covers chapters 1-47 (Volumes 1-4) of the Dragon Ball Z manga; alternatively it covers volumes 17-20 of the Dragon Ball manga.
The Vegeta Saga's main plot concerns the arrival of three humanoid aliens, known as "Saiyans", to Earth, looking for Goku first, and the Dragon Balls later. The most powerful of these Saiyans is Vegeta. The saga covers the arrival of the first of these Saiyans, Raditz, and his fight against his brother Goku and Piccolo. It then covers the subsequent training and preparation for the arrival of the other two Saiyans, Nappa and Vegeta. Finally, it covers the fight between the Z Fighters and the two powerful Saiyans, culminating in the climactic battle between Goku and Vegeta.
I would first like to thank God and baby Jesus for shining down upon Akira Toriyama to create this series (and then this saga) because it introduced my favourite character, Vegeta, Prince of all Saiyans. Then I would like to thank Akira Toriyama for creating Vegeta and for everything that happens in this saga.
This saga starts with the introduction of Raditz, who says he is a Saiyan warrior, meaning he is a super strong alien warrior. Five years have passed since the events of Dragon Ball Volume 16 and not an awful lot has happened. The big news is that Goku is now a dad with an adorable boy called Gohan (named after Goku’s grandpa) who also has a hat with the four star Dragon Ball in it.
Raditz has big news for Goku -- he is his long lost brother and Goku was sent to Earth to destroy it (and has subsequently saved it from multiple attacks). Goku and Piccolo have to team up to be able to defeat Raditz, but he informs them that two other Saiyans (the last of their kind) are headed to Earth right now to help Goku destroy the inhabitants of the Earth and colonize the planet!
There is a lot of training in this saga to build up the characters power and abilities; however, it does add character depth to Piccolo and shows us that he will be an ally in the rest of the series. It also allowed the other characters to be present in the story without having to do much, but the main battle between the Z fighters and the Saiyans is when the story picks up again.
One of Toriyama's strengths is being able to convey a sense of urgency in his art -- with the battle between Nappa, Gohan, and Piccolo looming and Goku speeding toward them, I was literally on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. The storytelling is incredible and has gotten better with every saga.
The final battle between Vegeta and Goku was one for the ages. The action is very fast paced, and neither Vegeta or Goku (and company) let up in their attacks. It is blow after blow in this fight for desperate survival. It was interesting to see that both Vegeta and Goku had to think on their feet about their attacks rather than just dole out attack after attack without giving it much thought.
Overall: 4.5/5 stars; would have been 5 but the training in the middle made me want to die and be resurrected by the dragon balls.