One of the most popular franchises in anime history, Dragon Ball began in 1984 as a manga by Akira Toriyama in Shonen Jump . Dragon Ball Z (1989), the second TV adaptation, is the most beloved: it ran for 291 episodes--more than Dragon Ball (1986) and Dragon Ball GT (1996) combined. Over the years, the program has introduced countless boys to the world of Japanese animation. The first season re-introduces the main characters and sets up a new threat. Goku learns he's not an Earthling, but a Saiyan from the planet Vegeta. Only three other Saiyans survive, all of them extremely powerful and destructive. Goku destroys Raditz with the help of Piccolo, but dies in the process. He spends much of the season training in the Other World with King Kai. Piccolo takes over training Goku's son Gohan, anticipating he will have to face the remaining Saiyans, Nappa and Vegeta. These episodes set the pattern for the combination of martial arts training, fantasy-battles and slapstick comedy that make the series so popular. The storyline rambles, with lots of digressions, repeats, and false endings--none of which bother the fans. Although Dragon Ball Z has been released previously in the US, Funimation pulled out all the stops for this edition. The entire series has been remastered from the original prints, and the Japanese language track is included for the first time. (Goku and Krillin have higher-pitched, younger voices than they do in the American dub.) For Dragon Ball Z fans, this version clearly supercedes all previous ones. (Rated TV PG. suitable for ages 8 and older: violence; minor incidents of risqué and toilet humor, ethnic stereotyping and alcohol use) --Charles Solomon
The ouroboros was a well-known Egyptian symbol of a serpent swallowing its own tail.  The precursor to the ouroboros was the "Many-Faced",  a serpent with five heads, who, according to the Amduat , the oldest surviving Book of the Afterlife , was said to coil around the corpse of the sun god Ra protectively.  The earliest surviving depiction of a "true" ouroboros comes from the gilded shrines in the tomb of Tutankhamun .  In the early centuries AD, the ouroboros was adopted as a symbol by Gnostic Christians  and chapter 136 of the Pistis Sophia , an early Gnostic text, describes "a great dragon whose tail is in its mouth".  In medieval alchemy, the ouroboros became a typical western dragon with wings, legs, and a tail.  A famous image of the dragon gnawing on its tail from the eleventh-century Codex Marcianus was copied in numerous works on alchemy.