Review: The Art Book of “Dragon Ball: A Visual History”

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I am already more than 30 years old, as I grow older, I put my focus on work and family and lead a busy life. I think most people, just like me, gradually put their hobbies aside, and the love they had in their youth gradually faded away.

Some days ago, I tidied up my old toys and books at home. A book of Dragon Ball manga was picked up from the corner, wiped off the dust on the cover, and the memory flooded. At that time, the Dragon Ball manga series I liked were very popular in bookstores, schools, etc. and it was difficult to have a continuous set for everyone. If once someone has Dragon Ball manga series, they will be soon borrowed by classmates to read it. Then I told myself in the heart that I must buy a complete set of Dragon Ball manga series as a collection when I grow up. But as a result, the more I grow up, the more I forget the happiness and expectations of my youth.

Hope everyone still is youth when you come back from the road of growth, the lack of childhood can now be made up generously!

Dragon Ball: A Visual History

This time I want to recommend a comprehensive hardcover art book to Dragon Ball fans, which is called “Dragon Ball: A Visual History“. Although the original Japanese version was published in 2013, the English version was not officially released until November 2019. When the Japanese version was first launched, there was a long queue and it was sold out in a short time.
Therefore, the Review I brought this time is also a belated surprise for the Dragon Ball fans who don’t know this artwork.

Do you know “Dragon Ball” ?

I think most of you guys know Dragon Ball, but it is not ruled out that the new generation of young people do not know this great manga. Therefore, it is necessary to give a brief introduction.
So Dragon Ball is an ultra-popular manga created by the famous Japanese manga artist Akira Toriyama. It has sold hundreds of millions of copies in the world, with data of 350 million, ranking third in the world in sales of anime series. The domestic sales volume in Japan also reached 160 million in 2016, ranking second, and was hailed as Japan’s “National Manga”.

What is the “Dragon Ball: A Visual History” ?

Dragon Ball: A Visual History is an exquisite collection of illustrations based on the Dragon Ball manga series created by Akira Toriyama. This art book contains more than 400 illustrations published from 1984 to 2013. This artbook uses high-resolution printing to reproduce Dragon Ball’s beautiful pictures. It also includes illustrations of the latest 2013 Japanese animated science fantasy martial arts film “Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods“. In addition, there are interviews with Akira Toriyama talking about his manga and special posters.

Enjoy the Review:

Dragon Ball art book
Dragon Ball art book-2
Dragon art book collection

The cover’s design of this book box is the same as the Japanese version, and it uses the iconic Goku appearance in a classic Kamehameha Pose. The text has been changed, from“超画集” ( which means Ultimate Art Book) to “A Visual History”, and the color of the cover is a bit relatively yellow. The font is bronzing which is basically the same.

Akira Toriyama

When you open the art book, the opening remark is a narrative by Akira Toriyama, which is quite interesting.

Dragon Ball art book

The color illustrations are quite satisfactory. The main reason is that in both the Japanese and English editions, the illustrations are all coated papers, so there will be no huge differences in printing. And the illustrations printed on this paper will be brighter and very comfortable to look at.

Dragon Ball art book 3

As you can see from the catalog, from 1984 to 2013, each year has very detailed content. It contains the cover and title page of the manga series, as well as various posters and surrounding illustrations.

The year of 1984 was the beginning of the Dragon Ball story, and also the beginning of Bouma’s journey to look for the Dragon Ball. You can also find that the content also introduces this year’s highlight of the Dragon Ball story, which brings you back to the excitement of seeing Dragon Ball 34 years ago.

Capsule No.9 Bike

This is a classic illustration showing Bulma riding her Capsule No.9 Bike with Goku.
What’s interesting is that Capsule No.9 Bike has been made into toys or statues by toy manufacturers like Bandai, Blitzway, etc.

There is a Review of BULMA’s HoiPoi Capsule No.9 Bike statue, you can check it out!

A Visual History
Son Goku

And the “year ” is displayed in the header position of each page.

As time goes on, from 1984 to 1988, the story of Goku continued, and at the same time, Little Goku and Bulma both grew up.

Dragon Ball art book 4

I have to mention that many Dragon Ball figures can be found prototypes in this art book of Dragon Ball: A Visual History. For example, the popular Master Stars Piece Manga Dimensions Goku figure is from this title page illustration.
This figure is the winning work of 2019 BWFC. BWFC, also called BANPRESTO FIGURE COLOSSEUM, is the annual sculpting figure competition by sculptors held by BANPRESTO, and the tournament in 2019 is also the 10th-anniversary celebration of BWFC. Therefore, BANPRESTO gathered the successive strongest sculptors to celebrate and commemorate.
Sculptors who have the title of “Master” will produce figures in the largest size, coloring and quality of the tournament history.
So this Goku figure is particularly meaningful.


A total of 34 volumes of the full versions’ covers are listed together, let us appreciate them together. It’s so full of memories. Each volume represents our youth. It’s great to have Dragon Ball to accompany you on the road to growth!

Akira Toriyama self-portrait

It even includes funny self-portraits of the author Akira Toriyama.

Akira Toriyama's interview

There is also super interviews with Akira Toriyama on the last few pages of the artbook, let us relive the interesting stories of Akira Toriyama’s creation at that time.

dragon ball artbook 5
dragon ball artbook 6

The total 240-pages art book of “Dragon Ball: A Visual History” is really wonderful. Seeing these illustrations that have touched me once again, the memories of Dragon Ball gradually become clear…
This is not only a selection of artworks, but also has brought good memories to millions of Dragon Ball fans.

Finally, there is also a video of this artbook for your reference from VIZ.

Where to buy: Solaris Japan Dragon Ball: A Visual History
Product Size
240 pages
Art by

Akira Toriyama
Dragon Ball

Art Book
Release date
November 12, 2019

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