Dragon Ball is a Japanese manga series of forty-two books written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. These manga were written as a fictional story, with inspiration from the Chinese novel Journey to the West and the tenets of martial arts. Volumes of Dragon Ball were published from 1984 to 1995. The original manga series has been adapted into two separate Anime television series, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z as well as numerous animated films. The original series was expanded into Dragon Ball GT by the television network, a faster paced adaption known as Dragon Ball Z Kai, and an anime series expansion by Akira Toriyama called Dragon Ball Z Super, with a manga adaptation for it also being in the works. The original story had some anti-totalitarian messages, such as the character Oolong, back when he was depicted as the villain, wearing a Chinese communist uniform, and the Red Ribbon Army was likewise depicted with various traits resembling various totalitarian dictatorships such as the Nazis and the Soviets (with one of the higher-ranking members in particular, General Blue, resembling a member of the Sturmabteilung in terms of uniform as well as being implied in the manga to be of German descent, and also being implied to be homosexual similar to the majority of its membership and the SA leader Ernst Rohm.), and it also to some degree had a negative depiction of homosexuality as General Blue, one of the main villains, was implied to be such and was depicted in a largely unsympathetic light. A notable element of the franchise was the Super Saiyan forms, which would share similarities with the Super Transformations from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.
Most of the characters are recurring characters, especially the main character Goku. His friends include his mentor Grandpa Gohan, super-genius Bulma, best-friend Krillin, and his martial-arts sensei Master Roshi; Goku's wife Chi-Chi, their two sons Gohan and Goten, their granddaughter Pan, and their descendant Goku, Jr; eventually friendly rivals such as Tien Shinhan, Piccolo and Vegeta. And enemies such as the Red Ribbon Army, Frieza, Cell and Majin Buu.