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Among the multitude of recurring characters in the Dragonball saga, three important ones are dragons. These are Shenron, Porunga, and Icarus.

Shenron is the magical dragon of Earth. When brave heroes gather all seven dragonballs, this is who they summon. Shenron is a classic Asian dragon — long and serpentine, with stag horns, flowing whiskers, and so on. His scales are bright green above, buff/gold beneath, and his eyes are scarlet. Like all Asian dragons, Shenron has a benevolent personality. However, he does have his pride and sometimes expresses scorn for humans who make selfish decisions. His home is in the fiery core of the Earth.

In granting wishes, Shenron shows kindness by fulfilling the intent of the wish without trying to twist or undermine it. He seems able to grant almost anything, such as eternal youth or the restoration of destroyed lands. In quite a few cases, the victims of various evildoers are restored to life by a wish. They return as they were, not as any form of undead.

Some of the adventures in Dragonball take place on the alien world of Namek, where Porunga is the wishing dragon. He shares Shenron’s green-and-gold coloring but is more naga-like, with a distinctly human torso giving way to a serpent’s tail. His head and shoulders bristle with spikes, while his features are more crocodilian than Shenron’s.

Despite his more fearsome appearance, Porunga is even more amiable than his Earth counterpart. Though sometimes impatient, he has a sense of humor and has been known to cast minor magic for friends even without a wish being spoken. Like Shenron, Porunga is generous in granting the full intent of wishes rather than their literal meanings.

Back on Earth, a third dragon appears later in the sagas of Dragonball. Icarus lives in the wilderness near Goku’s home. He first appears as a baby dragon and becomes friends with Goku’s young son, Gohan. The two grow up together and have many adventures.

Unlike the other dragons, Icarus is a Western-style dragon with wings. His scales are lavender above and buff underneath. He has very humanlike, blue eyes. In general, his appearance is chunky and cartoonish compared to the others. For instance, his wings are tiny, though still capable of sustaining flight. Ultimately it seems the creator ran out of things for this character to do. He quietly drops out of the series, and fans speculate he returned to his forest home at some point.

Are these all the dragons in Dragonball? Not quite! Check back on Saturday for the darker side of the saga.

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