Bulma is almost as much a staple of the action and adventure anime meta-series Dragon Ball Z as Goku, the seemingly innocent, albeit fierce Saiyan warrior. This female Earthling has been there by Goku’s side since the beginning, debuting in the very first Dragon Ball chapter and episode. It’s no accident that Bulma is characterized as being Goku’s first friend.
From Bulma’s first appearance in Dragon Ball, all the way through Dragon Ball Z, GT and Super, her character has evolved significantly, and she has developed signature traits (and idiosyncrasies) that have made her into a crucial presence in the story. Bulma is now known for being a brilliant scientist and inventor, most especially through her affiliation with and successes in the family business, Capsule Corporation. Her distinguished personality is yet another famous characteristic, one that’s gotten her pegged for exhibiting behavior that ranges from highly erratic, short-fused, to loving.
While Bulma is known for these things and more, there’s much about this versatile Earthling that people aren’t aware of. Sure, she may be the most significant female character in the series and the single longest-running one (besides Goku), but she, like many other non-warriors, can easily fade into the background, falling into the shadows of Goku and Vegeta’s blazing auras. Here are 15 facts about Bulma that we bet you don’t know about.
15 Bulma Was A Playboy Bunny?!
Okay, we kind of exaggerated a bit with our title. There’s no such thing as the Playboy Mansion in Dragon Ball (that we are aware of, anyway). But as you can clearly see in the photo, Bulma has worn a bunny costume. Here’s why.
Bulma’s unfortunate run-in with the bunny outfit can be traced to when she and Goku first met Oolong, the shapeshifting pig. At the time, Oolong was more than just a cowardly pig; he was a force to be reckoned with, then the ruler of Aru Village. That said, Oolong was still a little pervert, having kidnapped all of the village’s young daughters.
Bulma, however, had been able to convince Oolong to end his evil ways and join them on their journey for the Dragon Balls (seeing as he was a shapeshifter, a skill she believed would undoubtedly be handy down the road.) However, trouble soon struck when Bulma dropped her capsules (some of which contained all of her clothes) in a river. The group, which was then traveling in Oolong’s House-Wagon, only had access to a Bunny costume, which Oolong had lying around. Seeing as the outfit was the only clean clothes available, Bulma had no choice but to put it on.
14 Bulma Has A Seduction Attack
No, this particular “attack” isn’t like Kamehameha, the ki wave popularized by Goku that usually takes forever to conjure. Neither is it like Krillin’s Solar Flare, the non-lethal technique that generates a blinding white light.
Bulma’s special ability is the Amourous Glance, a seduction technique that, we should note, has never been successful. She has called upon this glance that is ostensibly amorous in Dragon Ball to seduce General Blue. She did so again when up against Future Zamasu in Dragon Ball Super.
To conjure the technique, all Bulma has to do is shake her butt, which in turn summons a collection of hearts to surround her. The background usually changes as well, materializing into some sort of red-pinkish-colored canvas. Other names for the Amourous Glance include the Sexy Turn, Sexy Appeal Strategy and Sexy Smile.
13 She Is Very Fashionable
Women usually have more fashion sense than men, to the point that their male counterparts seem challenged in that particular department. Regardless of who has more of a proclivity for fashion, those who are more fashionably-inclined normally change their style at a seemingly exponential rate.
With that knowledge, Bulma is not only proficient in fashion, but blows away every other character’s attempt in the Dragon Ball universe. Don’t believe us? Bulma has gone through a total of 18 different hairstyles from her inception to today. (Do you remember when Bulma had shoulder-length hair as a teenager?)
While Bulma has worn a plethora of clothes, she can oftentimes be found wearing an outfit that bears the Capsule Corporation logo.
12 Bulma Has Shown Master Roshi The Goods
Master Roshi’s lust for Bulma (and all women in general) is well-known. Heck, it’s his lecherous nature for which Roshi is famous, a perverted way of life that Bulma has unfortunately experienced the full brunt of on numerous occasions throughout the various incarnations of Dragon Ball. However, it should be noted that Bulma has not always been the victim. In fact, it can be argued that she is to blame for Roshi’s inexorable obsession over her.
It all began when Bulma first made her acquaintance with the perverted master warrior. She and Goku had come to return Roshi’s turtle whom they’d just rescued, a task Roshi rewarded Goku for by giving him the Flying Nimbus. However, when Bulma saw that Roshi had the Three-Star Dragon Ball, she decided that she would do anything to get it. And by anything, we mean anything.
The two struck a deal. Bulma would get the Dragon Ball if she showed Roshi her panties, to which Bulma complied by flashing him. Turns out, she gave Roshi something extra, without realizing. The night before, Goku had taken them off.
11 Her Hair Keeps Changing Color
This particular entry has nothing to do with whether Bulma has dyed her hair different colors over the years, the hues of which have varied from green and blue to purple. These changes are not examples of fashion, but inconsistencies on the part of the creators. Bulma’s character is the victim of a flawed technology and the constant rotation of the show runners.
Bulma was initially the product of the 1980s and ’90s, a time before digital coloring. Those who rendered Bulma’s hair color during these decades used inks that had to be mixed every day, and, depending on the way in which this was done, affected the color of her hair. Many people that are required to make Bulma’s character (and the show) a reality. The creation of her character is watched over by many animation supervisors, many of whom have gone in and out of rotation over the years. Probably the craziest and most shocking discrepancy, occurred in a Weekly Jump power level list, where Bulma’s character is shown with blonde hair.
10 She Either Has No Last Name Or Her Last Name Is Also Bulma
Many fans erroneously believe that Bulma has a last name. These same people also believe (correctly) that the names of Bulma and her family are all a play on some type of undergarments: “Bulma” alludes to modern bloomers, her mother Panchy’s name alludes to panties, her sister Tight’s name alludes obviously to tights and her son Trunk’s name alludes to trunks. Many have claimed that Bulma’s last name (and everyone else in her family) is Brief. But that’s impossible, seeing as Brief is her father’s name in the manga.
Okay. So Brief isn’t Bulma’s last name. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have one at all. Well, that’s not true. We now know this as a fact because of Dragon Ball Super, the franchise’s latest reiteration. During Super, Bulma is referred to as Dr. Bulma. As everyone knows, titles such as “Doctor” replace the person's first name. That either means Bulma either has no last name or her name is Bulma Bulma.
9 She Was Inspired By The Princess And Plamo
If you like how temperamental and extremely selfish Bulma can sometimes be, then you should probably read Dragon Boy, another one of Akira Toryama’s one-shot creations. Why? Because of the Princess of the Flower Country. Not only are Bulma and the Princess similar, but Bulma’s personality is based off of her.
In the 45-page story, the princess is escorted by Tanton—the titular “Dragon Boy” and protagonist. And if you like what Bulma looks like, then we also suggest you read another one of Toriyama’s one-shots called The Adventures of Tongpoo.
In that story, you’ll find a character named Plamo, a space explorer from Earth who is the spitting image of Bulma. Plamo also possesses some other traits that Bulma also shares, such as Plamo’s strategy of winning battles or getting what she wants from men by trying to attract them. Plamo’s character also shares a technique very similar to Bulma’s, named the Amorous Glance. Ironically, the one time Plamo “glances” in this way, it doesn’t work because the alien on which she used it against was of a different species. Instead, it made him want to devour her.
8 She Invented A Watch That Can Shrink People
The Micro Band is one of Bulma’s inventions that few remember (probably because it was mostly used in Dragon Ball) even though what it can do is pretty cool. The device was, on the surface, just a normal watch. But this watch could shrink whoever was wearing it at the time. The Micro Band has been used a few times, but not by Bulma. She only did once during the General Blue Saga so that she could ride with Goku in his shirt while he flew on the Flying Nimbus, seeing as she was not pure of heart, a prerequisite for being able to do so.
The Micro Band’s longest user was Master Roshi, who received it from Bulma in exchange for a submarine. The device’s sole purpose for the lecherous old man was to help him fulfill his perverted fantasies. He once used it so he could spy on Bulma while she was in the bathroom and then on Launch while she was taking a bath, an activity which Roshi tried to convince Launch to do many times, but failed.
7 She Invented A Laser Gun When She Was Just A Child
As all Dragon Ball fans know, Bulma is a prolific inventor. One of her most impressive inventions is a laser gun. Now, if you’re familiar with Bulma at all, you’re probably wondering why we chose a lousy laser gun when she’s built things like freakin’ time machines. What Bulma’s laser gun has over her other inventions is that she constructed the weapon when she was a mere child. Its blasting capabilities were so great in fact that they actually impressed Jaco, who is a member of the Galactic Patrol, which consists of the “super elite.” Jaco was so impressed in fact that he even asked Bulma if she would be willing to join the Galactic Patrol.
While the ray gun doesn’t make many appearances in the show, Bulma can be found wielding one in 1989 Weekly Shonen Jump #47 and firing it (after spawning it from a capsule she throws) in the game Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden.
6 Bulma Is Completely Obsessed With Strawberries
Bulma loves strawberries. That’s an understatement. She loves them so much so, in fact, that they are actually her favorite food. This shouldn’t be taken lightly. In Dragon Ball, her affinity for the fruit was so great that she had initially planned to make them the subject of her wish if she ever gathered all seven Dragon Balls. To be specific, she wanted to have a lifetime supply of them. (Even though Bulma later changed her wish to be for the perfect boyfriend, it’s still interesting that she wanted anything to do with strawberries at any time in her life, let alone wishing for them.)
Bulma’s quest for these wish-fulfilling magical balls began when she was only 16 years old after she found the two-star Dragon Ball in the basement of her house. This discovery led to her creating the Dragon Radar, a device that could track these mystical balls. Bulma’s lust for strawberries was so great that she found the Five-Star Dragon Ball only a couple of days later.
5 Bulma Was Once A Frog… And Had Powers?!
Yes, Bulma was transformed into a frog during the Frieza saga in Dragon Ball Z. Don’t worry. Bulma’s transformation was only temporary. However, this doesn’t mean the event wasn’t a big deal. The fiend who performed this dastardly deed was Captain Ginyu, the leader of Frieza’s Ginyu Force of elite warriors.
While a powerful fighter, one of Captain Ginyu’s most terrifying techniques was his ability to switch bodies. Unfortunately for him, most of the time Ginyu's executed body-snatching worked against him. Ginyu’s misfortunes began when he accidentally snatched the body of a Namekian Frog that Goku had thrown in front of Vegeta, who was Ginyu’s target. While unfortunate for the warrior, Ginyu, as a frog, had temporarily been able to then snatch Bulma’s body, which, in turn, trapped Bulma’s soul inside the frog.
Bulma, however, was quickly returned to her body when Gohan threw her between Ginyu and Piccolo, whom Ginyu had initiated the body change technique against. Interestingly enough, when Ginyu was in Bulma’s body, she could sense the power of other fighters.
4 She Was Also Transformed Into Food Twice
Strangely enough, Bulma was transformed into a type of food twice. The first incident occurred in Dragon Ball when our heroes fought against the Rabbit Mob while searching for the final Dragon Ball. After Goku defeated the first two members of the mob, the rabbit warriors called upon their boss, Monster Carrot. But the “monster” didn’t just fight Goku. He transformed Bulma into a carrot. Spoiler alert: she was turned back into a human.
Years later, Bulma became another piece of food in Dragon Ball Z. This time, instead of going up against a so-called monster that led a mob of rabbits, Bulma fell victim to a Majin subspecies created by the magic of Bibidi. This particular subspecies, known as Majin Buu, had gone through many forms during DBZ. But the form that Buu inhabited when he attacked Bulma was Super Buu, after he escaped from the Hyperbolic Time Chamber where he’d previously been fighting Gotenks. After his escape, Buu transformed Bulma (as well as everyone else) into chocolate, which he then proceeded to consume.
3 She Hates That People Can Be Resurrected By The Dragon Balls
One of the major (and perfectly sound) critiques of the entire Dragon Ball franchise is that dying doesn’t really matter. If you’re killed, you can just be brought back to life again by the Dragon Balls.
Well, Bulma also shares this opinion (to the point of vexation), except her reasoning has nothing to do with it watering down the story’s drama and negating the powerful literary effect of death. After Dragon Ball, the Earthling has shown on numerous occasions that it irritates her when her fellow Z-Fighters relying on the titular balls to revive people who’ve died. Her frustration reached its apex during the Buu Saga when Piccolo, Goten and Trunks were sealed away inside the Hyperbolic Time Chamber.
Bulma became infuriated when Krillin suggested that Piccolo, Goten and Trunks, who were trapped inside the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, commit suic*de because there was no other way out. Krillin's logic was that even though they would die, they could just be revived and, upon their revival, appear outside of the chamber. Problem solved! Bulma’s fury was embellished in the Japanese dub when she called them cowards.
2 She Was A Chain Smoker
You may think that Bulma has always led a healthy lifestyle, as evident by her hot bod. While true to some extent, it has not always been the case. Bulma has not only indulged in the consumption of nicotine at one point in her life, but she has been a chain smoker. Of course, not everyone knows this because this unhealthy habit was originally edited out in some versions of Dragon Ball. It was, however, kept in all versions of the manga.
That being said, you can’t blame your ignorance on censorship. Cigarette butts have been rendered in her mouth at various times in Dragon Ball Z, including an episode during the Great Saiyaman Saga. (Of course, many of us have skipped this ridiculously embarrassing filler, but you might as well check it out now.) Anyway, there’s an episode where Gohan asks Bulma to make him a suit. And, yes, Bulma is smoking when he asks.
1 There Were Many Bulmas Before Bulma
Bulma didn’t always look like, well, Bulma. During his first draft, Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama made her significantly different. For starters, she had the appearance of a western girl. That design obviously didn’t sit well with him because Toriyama soon changed her again in his second draft, wherein some of that particular drafted rendition’s characteristics would be used in the final “draft” of Dragon Ball (such as Bulma’s pigtails). However, this version of Bulma was much older and wore a completely different kind of dress.
Turns out, the third draft reveals something else about Bulma many people don’t know. Not only did Bulma not always look like Bulma, but that wasn’t always her name. In this particular draft, Toriyama called her “Pinchi.” Pinchi looked almost exactly like Bulma except she wore tight black pants and her shoulders were exposed.