Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball series has gone from a simple manga to what is perhaps the most popular anime in history. It tells the amazing adventures of Goku as he goes about his dream of becoming one of the strongest fighters there is. But of course, we also have to recognize Goku’s countless efforts in saving the world.
There are four Dragon Ball anime series already. The original Dragon Ball told the story of Goku when he was a child. Dragon Ball GT, detailed Goku’s adventure with his granddaughter Pan and what happens when the Dragon Balls rebel. The most recent series is, of course, Dragon Ball Super which launched last year.
By far, the biggest series is Dragon Ball Z. This part of the Dragon Ball anime has touched generations and generations of fans as we saw the grand adventure of Goku and the rest of the Z-Fighters. In Dragon Ball Z, we got introduced to the likes of Frieza, Cell, Majin Buu and many more. Behind all the action and adventure, there are tons of cool details fans can discover about the show.
15. Goku Directly Killed Only Two Major Villains
For the series’ lead and cover boy, many would expect Goku to have obliterated most of the major villains that decide to mess with Earth and the Z-Fighters. That’s not true though as through the entire duration of Dragon Ball Z, Goku has killed only 2 major villains.
The 2 villains that Goku killed with his own hands is Kid Buu who he obliterated with his Spirit Bomb. In the same story arc, Goku killed Yakon. While Goku did have a hand in killing the other major villains, he didn’t have a direct impact on their deaths. Frieza was killed by his own projectile that sliced him in half. Cell self-destructed himself to smithereens. Other villains were then finished off by the other Z-Fighters. This makes Goku have a very low kill count in Dragon Ball Z. However in the original franchise, he killed a few more including King Piccolo and Grandpa Gohan.
14. Writers Love Puns
Those who’ve been very devoted to learning the names of each of the characters in Dragon Ball might’ve figured out that some names are rather funny and are obvious puns. The puns become more and more obvious in Dragon Ball Z though.
The most obvious case of the name puns is with Vegeta. The Saiyan prince is clearly named after the word vegetables. Even funnier, in the first story arc, the villains Nappa and Raditz attacked earth. Both of which are vegetable names. And of course, we can’t leave out the Saiyan name of Goku which is Kakarot. As for the villains, it doesn’t take a genius to point out that Frieza’s family; including his brother Cooler and King Cold are based on cooling devices. Perhaps the funniest of all the name puns in the show is with the Briefs family, all of whom are named from underwear. Dr. Brief’s grandson is, of course, Trunks and his daughter Bulma has her name dubbed to Bra for some regions.
13. The Blond Hair In Saiyans Was Just To Save Time
For years, many have wondered why Saiyans look the way they do. Why they turn into a blond and spiky haired person after going all jacked up. The only person to answer that question is series creator Akira Toriyama. According to him, Saiyan’s look that way because it was a time saver when they were working on the manga.
Japanese manga appears in black and white. Once a Saiyan transforms, the black colored hair becomes blond. Since Japanese manga didn’t have any colors, Saiyan hair appeared white in the manga. This gave the animators time to save as they no longer had to shade out the hair.
12. Why Goku Was Scolded For His Blond Hair
A Saiyan finally being able to transform into his Super Saiyan form is a big deal. Throughout Dragon Ball Z, we saw the show’s main characters achieve this amazing feat. One of the youngest characters to go Super Saiyan was Gohan when he was a teen. However, not everyone was happy about it.
After training in the Time Chamber with Goku, Gohan was able to transform into his Super Saiyan form. Upon seeing her son with blond hair, Chi-Chi scolded Gohan and called him a delinquent in the original Japanese version. This line roots back to the culture of Japan as in their culture, youngsters turning their hair blond is a sign of delinquency. Gohan’s scolding from Chi-Chi became dialled down in the English version and Chi-Chi calls him a punk rocker instead.
11. The Android Arc Is Inspired By The Terminator
One of the best story arcs in Dragon Ball Z was the Cell Saga. In this story arc, we got to see an array of exciting new characters including Cell, the various Androids, Future Trunks and more. It was a pretty great story arc but fans can’t help but point out the similarity between this arc and The Terminator.
At the beginning of the Cell Saga, we see Future Trunks along with what’s left of humanity, fending off against the Androids. This, of course, is a clear similarity to the plot of The Terminator. That’s not all though as Trunks went back to the past to warn the Z-Fighters of the impending doom. A similar thing that T-800 did. When Trunks warns the Z-Fighters of when to expect the attack of the Androids which is on May 12. The same date that T-800 was brought back to kill Sarah Connor.
10. The OVAs Are Not Canon
The Dragon Ball Z series is one of the longest parts of Dragon Ball. In between the several episodes are a ton of OVAs that introduce new characters and storylines to the franchise. However, the story in the OVAs aren’t canon at all and they aren’t part of the Dragon Ball Z timeline.
The creator of the franchise revealed long ago that the OVAs are not part of the timeline of Dragon Ball. This means characters like Garlick Jr., Bojack the pirate, Hirudegarn, Android 13 and yes, even Broly, aren’t part of the storyline of Dragon Ball. In fact, the only Dragon Ball OVA that’s canon to the lore is Dragon Ball Z Battle of Gods. In the Dragon Ball Z series, the Z-Fighters never even fought the aforementioned enemies in their timeline.
9. Subliminal White Supremacy Message
Although the Saiyan race has been spoken of long before Dragon Ball Z. The term was present even during the original Dragon Ball when Goku was still young. When we finally got to see what a Super Saiyan is, a few fans have speculated that there’s an underlying message to it. It’s not something that fans could’ve noticed very quickly as well.
When Saiyans let go of their human form and finally succeed in becoming a Super Saiyan, the color of their eyes change to green and their hair changes to blond. Many speculate that this is the animators’ way of teasing white supremacy to the audience as the overall appearance of the Super Saiyan can be likened to that of an average Caucasian man. This could just be a coincidence however but it’s a pretty interesting coincidence at that.
8. Animators Change
There are a ton of episodes in Dragon Ball Z and this, of course, accounts for countless hours of shows and a ton of frames that animators have to draw. It gets tiring at times and animators need to rest too. Many may have noticed a change in the animation styles of some episodes but that’s because the animators themselves take turns.
Same with Dragon Ball Super’s animation change, the one in Dragon Ball Z also changes from time to time. Some of the animators include Masayuki Uchiyama, Yukio Ebisawa, and Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru. Masayuki Uchiyama’s take on the anime is the most preferred by fans though. This is a common thing in anime and it’s no surprise that Dragon Ball Z creators take rest from time to time and we shouldn’t ridicule the show if the animation takes a dip in quality.
7. Frieza Is A Lazy Villain
One of the longest and probably best story arcs in Dragon Ball Z is the Frieza saga. The storyline revolving around the alien with a huge grudge against Saiyans and was one of the most popular arcs. Without a doubt, Frieza could be the most powerful villain that Goku has ever faced.
Despite not having been able to train his entire life, Frieza managed to destroy the entire Saiyan planet using only a finger. He was also strong enough to force Goku into getting his first Super Saiyan form. Fans have always wondered how strong Frieza would’ve been if he trained like Goku. In the OVA Dragon Ball Resurrection F, Frieza trained for 4 months and was able to become a formidable foe against the Super Saiyan God form of Goku and Vegeta.
6. Saiyan Hair
One of the most iconic figures in the entire Dragon Ball series; and anime in general, is the countless and otherwise impossible hairstyles. With Dragon Ball Z introducing Super Saiyans to the mix, we got to see a slew of spiky haired metahumans. Most animes don’t address the question why most of the characters’ hair doesn’t grow but Dragon Ball Z tackles the question head on.
After training in the Time Chamber, Trunks comes out with longer hair than when he entered. That’s because time is slower inside the chamber. That explains that but what about Vegeta? Vegeta went in the Time Chamber with Trunks to train but only Trunks’ hair grew. Vegeta says that full-blooded Saiyans’ hair stays the same. Trunks, however, was only a half-blood Saiyan. It’s rather weird though that Gohan’s hair didn’t grow when he was with Goku when he was a half-Saiyan as well.
5. Death Is Meaningless
In the world of Dragon Ball, death is very common. With super-powered aliens destroying planets and all, death comes around regularly. Throughout the show, we see Goku and his friends die numerous times and we get to see what the afterlife is like in their world. Simply put, dying isn’t necessarily bad in Dragon Ball.
Many deaths occur in Dragon Ball Z. When anyone dies, they get sent to an afterlife depending on how good or bad they are. Heaven or hell, the basic setup. People live out the rest of their lives just in a new location. If a person dies and goes to heaven, then things get a whole lot better. The afterlife is basically a second life for the people in Dragon Ball Z. It sort of feels like death is meaningless. In fact, sometimes it’s just better to die rather than to live in a planet constantly attacked by aliens.
4. Goku’s Dubber
Dubbing Anime is an art form. It’s fun hearing how voice actors and actresses bring characters to life despite having no time for themselves to be on-screen. Anime purists would prefer watching Dragon Ball Z in the original Japanese dub but for those who’ve watched the English dubbed version, they didn’t get to hear Goku’s odd voice.
Despite being an overpowered meta-human, Goku’s voice remains laughably high pitched. Goku’s voiced by a legendary Japanese voice actress named Masako Nozawa. That explains why Goku sounds less masculine than he should be. Masako Nozawa is notorious in Japan when it comes to dubbing and that’s probably because of her 30-year stint as Goku. For those who watched the English dubbed anime, Goku sounds more manly as he’s voiced by Sean Schemmel. The voice is still a little high pitched but it sounds more fitting.
3. Goku Has Died Several Times
The common thing between main characters is that they always win and they don’t die. Even if they do die, it spells the end of the show. That’s one of the things that makes Dragon Ball different though as Goku has died three times already, two of which were during Dragon Ball Z.
The first time Goku died was when he and the Z-Fighters were fighting against Raditz and Nappa. In order to kill Raditz, Goku held him so that Piccolo can kill him with a Beam Canon. The beam went past Radditz and killed Goku as well. The second time was during the Cell Saga. In a last ditch effort, Cell decided to self-destruct, killing himself and the Earth in the process. Goku got a hold of Cell and teleported the both of them to Kai’s Palace where they both died.
2. Episode Count
The Dragon Ball anime series has been going on for a long time. From the original Dragon Ball to Dragon Ball Z to Dragon Ball GT and to the most recent, Dragon Ball Super. The episode count for the anime series is just too hard to keep track of. There’s no arguing that the biggest arc of the franchise is Dragon Ball Z, but just how many episodes were there?
There is a total of 291 episodes in Dragon Ball Z that is told through 9 seasons. The Saiyan Saga had 39 episodes. The Namek and Captain Ginyu Sagas had 35 episodes. The Frieza Saga had 33. The Trunks and Android Sagas lasted for 32 episodes. The Imperfect and Perfect Cell Sagas had 26. The Cell Games had 29. The Great Saiyaman and the World Tournament had 25. The Babidi and Majin Buu Sagas had 34. And lastly, the Fusion and Kid Buu Sagas lasted for 38 episodes.
1. Frieza Can’t Tell Time
It’s a given than in anime, time moves slower. For example, a minute of game time in Slam Dunk could last an entire episode. We do get that writers do this to stretch out the story though. Perhaps the most famous case of anime characters stretching time was Frieza.
During his battle with Goku, Frieza says that the planet will self-destruct in five minutes. That took longer than five minutes though. Cell gave the same threat when he was set to destroy Earth. Five minutes and the world goes boom. He does go beyond the time but it was only for an extra five minutes or so. Frieza however, his five minutes lasted several episodes long!
Many speculated that Frieza was just bluffing but Namek did blow up eventually. Another theory was that Frieza overestimated his capacity to destroy planets. This is less likely though as Frieza destroyed Planet Vegeta in less than a minute.
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