Monday, October 31, 2011

The Dao of Dragon Ball (manga, TV)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle




BLOG DESCRIPTION: The true history and connections between Dragon Ball and ancient cultures, divine beliefs and the martial arts of the spiritual warrior have never been unveiled. Until now.

Finally, a blog that reveals the secrets of Dragon Ball.

MY REVIEW: If you like Dragon Ball, you'll love this blog. For those of you who have never heard of Dragon Ball:
Dragon Ball is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. It was originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1984 to 1995; later the 519 individual chapters were published into 42 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha. Dragon Ball was inspired by the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West. It follows the adventures of Son Goku from his childhood through adulthood as he trains in martial arts and explores the world in search of the seven mystical orbs known as the Dragon Balls, which can summon a wish-granting dragon when gathered. Along his journey, Goku makes several friends and battles a wide variety of villains, many of whom also seek the Dragon Balls for their own desires.

Since its release, Dragon Ball has become one of the most successful manga and anime series of all time. The manga's 42 volumes have sold over 152 million copies in Japan and more than 200 million copies worldwide. Reviewers have praised the art, characterization, and humor of the story. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest manga series ever made, with many manga artists citing Dragon Ball as a source of inspiration for their own now popular works. The anime, particularly Dragon Ball Z, is also highly popular in various countries and was arguably one of the most influential in greatly boosting the popularity of Japanese animation in Western culture.

The author of this blog is something of an experton the subject, and indeed is working on a book on the subject, also called The Dao of Dragon Ball.

Here's a bit more of the author's bio:
Padula is a website developer, private Shaolin Gong Fu martial arts instructor, video game designer and owner of Young Forest Games, where he creates "Games with Meaning" for PC and consoles, and is also a journalist for the Epoch Times Newspaper.

Derek has been a fan of Dragon Ball since the first two seasons of Dragon Ball Z aired on television in America over a decade ago (1997), and has been watching the anime and reading the manga ever since. He majored in East Asian Studies and saw a lot of correlations between Buddhism, Daoism, and Japanese culture within Dragon Ball and his daily life. This led him to write The Dao of Dragon Ball.

Derek is also a Falun Dafa practitioner and believes strongly in it's Fa (Law).

He holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies with a minor in Chinese from Western Michigan University.

He has contributed to the following video games:
-"Tony Hawk Under Ground (T.H.U.G.)"
-"Pitfall: The Lost Expedition"
-"James Bond: 007: From Russia With Love"
-"The SIMS 2: Holiday Pack"
-"Puzzles of Life"
-"The Sopranos"
He is a board member of the Westwood College Student Advisory Board Game Design Curriculum of Los Angeles and is on standby at ITT Technical Institute Torrance campus as an Adjunct Professor of Multimedia.

Check out this blog!

Sample post:

Goku’s Simple Life
Goku lives a simple life.

Like a wandering pilgrim, Goku’s only possessions are a martial arts uniform and occasionally the nyoi bo staff.

Goku is almost single mindedly focused on his martial arts cultivation.

Chi-Chi handles all of the domestic affairs, including the caring of their house, the monetary concerns, and the raising of children.

This reminded me of my own life and how it is a bit too complicated.

By an average person’s standard my life may seem rather simple: An average guy with an apartment and some stuff. There are also career, family, social relationships, time, personal projects, and trying to achieve many things simultaneously. Perhaps too many.

In regard to physical stuff in particular, at times all of the external content can feel a little heavy, because each one of those items is connected to my emotions. Each material item, when picked up, transports my memory back 5, 10, in some cases even 15 years. They all carry emotional weight. An outsider cannot see or feel this.

I recently read a book called The Power of Less, by Leo Babauta, and it emphasized the importance of simplifying our lives.

I also read a blog post on Man vs. Debt that presented the idea of taking inventory of all the items in your possession, one by one, and the benefit of the process.

So that’s what I did.

Taking Stock and Letting Go
I counted every single item in my home and car: Every spoon, every pencil, every piece of clothing, and every game, miniature and cable.

They were recorded by hand and then entered into a spreadsheet (here). It was an exhausting process.

The end result was 1,706 items.

The number was surprising. How could I own so much?

When I looked at the spreadsheet of all the items from a zoomed out perspective, it seemed to almost amount to the culmination of my external worth. As if this was the entirety of my life.

But I knew this wasn’t true.

What would I be without all of these things? Would I still be me?

Yes. And perhaps even more so.

During the taking of inventory I threw some items away and designated others for donation. I donated three bags of clothes, electronics, and other items to Goodwill.

As time goes on, unwanted books and other items will be sold or donated. Why keep what has already been utilized?

There’s a story from Buddhism that states that once you’ve ridden your hand crafted boat to the other shore of nirvana, it is important to remember not to be attached to the boat. It was a beautiful boat and served you well. It was the vehicle that made your journey across the ocean possible. But now that you’ve made it this far, it’s time to let that vehicle go. Otherwise you cannot move forward.

Some items were easy to let go, while others were difficult. For example, my DBZ t-shirts, which I had worn since high school.

It was hard to look at each item practically, and ask if I really needed it or would use it in the future. Often I discovered that the item had been with me all these years for purely sentimental reasons.

Ultimately it is the attachment to the items that matter. Not the physical items themselves. Without attachments, anything can be let go if it’s no longer needed. Likewise, without attachments, the amount or value of material items isn’t important. Ideally, everything we own can be made of gold, yet we are not attached.

The entire process was liberating, as it allowed me to take stock of life, internally as well as externally. It was empowering to realize what I have available, and to control things, rather than have things control me.

To gain, one must lose. Because there is more empty space, I feel freed up and lighter in spirit.

Imagine how it must feel to be like Goku, as described in the final episode of Dragon Ball GT:

Full of joy and care free.

Gentle, with a good heart.

I recommend that you try this activity for yourself. Begin with a single section of a room and expand from there.

Tackle life with as much energy as Goku, and you’ll be sure to succeed.

--Gen Fukunaga Hints at More DBZ
--Dragon Ball Cosplay at Anime Expo 2011
--Dragonball Book Review – The Dragonball Z Legend: The Quest Continues
--Dragonball Book Review – Pojo’s Unofficial Dragonball Z Cards Simplified: A Player’s Guide
--Dragonball Book Review – Dragonball Z: An Unauthorized Guide
--Dragonball Book Review – Dragonball Z Extreme
--Dragonball Book Review – Pojo’s Unofficial Total Dragonball Z

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out my kindle BOOKS!:
Whose Body, by Dorothy Sayers (the Annotated Edition)The Coldest Equations (science fiction)
The Lady and the Tiger...Moth

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