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Matt Kamen continues the round-up of the usual suspects

Ever wonder just how Goku and friends became the greatest heroes on Earth? Wonder no more, as the original Dragon Ball reveals the origins of Akira Toriyama’s beloved creations! The faces may look familiar, but everything else is different in this classic series!

Ox King. This giant of a man is the king of Fire Mountain, home of demons. Despite his imposing frame and terrifying reputation, the Ox King is actually a total pussycat. The one thing guaranteed to get raise his ire is anyone threatening or upsetting his darling daughter – a precocious young girl known as Chichi! Although he initially comes to blows with Goku during the hunt for a Dragon Ball, the Ox King goes on to become both a valued ally and father-in-law to the Saiyan hero. Luckily, the mighty monarch is more than willing to use everything at his disposal to protect his beloved family.

Emperor Pilaf. Pilaf is the very definition of the stereotypical Napoleon Complex. A short blue elf creature, Pilaf is obsessed with one thing – power. A spoilt and immature wretch, he’ll kick and scream until he gets his way. Although immature, Pilaf back up his ambition for world domination with his seemingly limited resources, making up for his lack of powers through an arsenal of tech. He seeks the Dragon Balls to wish for dominion over the Earth, but a young monkey-tailed hero keeps getting in his way…. Those who’ve seen Dragon Ball GT will know Pilaf’s quest for domination and personal relevance has a sad end, but in these early days of the larger Dragon Ball opus, he’s one of Goku’s greatest antagonists.

Mai. A beautiful but ice-cold military woman, Mai is somewhat inexplicably a loyal follower of Emperor Pilaf, even though she’s considerably more intelligent. Like most of her compatriots, she lacks any super powers to do battle with. Instead, Mai proves highly proficient with a wide range of weaponry, from guns and rocket launchers to a custom-built mecha! Mai’s blind spot seems to be matters of the heart, reluctant to even hold hands with anyone, and thinking that even pretending to date is unacceptable – a frosty demeanour hiding a softer side, perhaps?

Shu. Where Mai is all business and a super-serious warrior, her main partner Shu is anything but. Highly-strung and excitable, this strange dog-man has the worst personality and temperament for his role as a supposedly stealthy ninja. Although similarly devoted to Pilaf’s cause, Shu is by far the least intelligent of the trio, filling the role of comic relief. While Shu has some basic ninja powers and a personal array of shuriken and swords to fight with, he also possesses his own ‘Pilaf Machine’ mecha like Mai. Both have an unfortunate habit of blowing them up when they fight Goku though – good thing Pilaf’s got a bottomless wallet to buy replacements!

General Blue. Known as one of the most powerful member of the Red Ribbon Army and commander of the Blue Corps, this narcissistic military man is one of the toughest foes Goku and his allies face in their early battles. With blond hair, blue eyes, stern nature, and habit for yelling random phrases in German, Blue is loosely inspired by Nazi soldiers – just in case you didn’t get the hint he was a bad guy! Fiercely loyal to the Red Ribbon cause, he’s willing to use oth his physical prowess and his strange psychic abilities in the service of his superior officers.

Dragon Ball the original series, part two, is out 7th July on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.

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