One of the most popular Japanese manga series of all time, Dragon Ball Z follows the adventures of Son Goku as he trains to be a martial artist and searches for the seven orbs known as the Dragon Balls which, when gathered, summon a wish-granting dragon. Along the way, he meets many friends and makes many enemies, who are often also searching for the Dragon Balls. Having generated well over $30 billion dollars, Dragon Ball is one of the highest grossing media franchises ever.
Here are a few things you might not know about this Japanese anime.
29. The Voice
Masako Nozawa is the original Japanese voice of Goku and she has been his voice for the entire run of the show.
28. Aging like Bread
Piccolo fought Goku as a nearly full-grown Namekian despite being only 3-years old. Apparently, Namekians age at a much faster rate than humans.
27. Dad of the Year
The character of Launch stopped appearing in Dragon Ball Z because creator Toriyama forgot she existed.
26. Egg Mouth
Female Namekians don’t exist. Namekians reproduce by vomiting eggs from their mouths which, we haven't yet decided, is either awesome or weird.
25. I Would Have Just Quit
In every single saga of Dragon Ball Z, the character Yamcha either died, was already dead, or gets seriously wounded. It appears creator Toriyama doesn’t like him very much.
24. Why Bother?
To that end, Yamcha has always lost in the quarter finals of every World Martial Arts tournament.
23. Expedited Evolution
Yuu Kondo, editor of the Dragon Ball manga, highly disliked the Imperfect and Semi-Perfect forms of the Cell character saying that the Semi-Perfect version looked like a “moron” and requested that Toriyama hurry up. This is the reason why Cell is allowed to reach his perfect form so easily. This also explains a significant number of promotions in corporate America.
22. Way More Than Ten Rounds
The fight between Goku and Frieza is the longest in anime history with a running time of over four hours. In the time that Goku and Frieza fought, you could have run a marathon, baked a pie from scratch, or stared at a wall for four hours.
Dragon Ball Z has had 187 fights. Add in Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball GT, Dragon Ball Kai, Dragon Ball Super, and the movies, and it makes one wonder why nobody could just get along.
20. What Did You Expect?
James Wong, the director of Dragon Ball Evolution, the much reviled 2009 film adaptation, revealed that he never watched a single episode of Dragon Ball nor read the manga before wading into production. Because unlike school, Hollywood is this magical dreamland where doing homework is unnecessary.
19. Hard to Argue
The Galactic Trade Organization conquers planets and then sells them at galactic auctions making its leader Frieza more akin to a real estate agent than an intergalactic autocrat. This is due to the fact that creator Akira Toriyama considers real estate agents to be “the worst kind of people.”
18. Blood Brothers
Along with sharing DNA, Cell and Piccolo are the only two characters in the entire saga to have killed Goku.
Cell kills Goku
17. Look Jack, I’m Flying!
Tien and Chiaotzu are the first Z fighters in the Dragon Ball Z franchise to fly without the aid of a cloud. They learned their aerial feats from Master Shen.
16. One Hit Wonder
Goku fought in the World Martial Arts Tournament six times but only won once.
15. The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled
Despite being weaker than Chi-Chi and having been spitting distance away from some of the series’ most dangerous villains, Mr. Satan has managed to not die once. Which isn’t that surprising, after all, it’s Satan.
14. Smoke If You Got ‘em
The character of Bulma is occasionally depicted with a cigarette, which makes sense, considering what Bulma has to deal with on a daily basis.
13. Those Darn Kids
Chi-Chi always expresses severe disapproval whenever Goku, Gohan, or Goten turn Super Saiyan. She often refers to them as “monsters” or “delinquents” because, in Japanese culture, teenagers who dye their hair blonde are considered rebellious and disrespectful of their parents.
12. Can’t Question His Commitment
When voicing Goku’s epic transition to Super Saiyan Level 4 in the English-language dub of Dragon Ball GT, actor Sean Shemmel passed out which is so NOT Super Saiyan.
11. Playing Favorites
Creator Toriyama has said that his favorite character is Piccolo. He acknowledges the cliché of the bad guy turned good, but said, “It just feels great drawing it!”
10. I Did Nazi That Coming
A Hitler-type character makes an appearance in Dragonball Z as a thinly veiled homage called The Dictator. After seeing Goten and Trunks go Super Saiyan, he remarks that he should be recruiting them, citing their blonde hair and blue eyes as his baseline for recruitment which is, like, such a Hitler thing to do.
9. Origin Story
Goku’s mother is a Saiyan named Gine. So yes. Goku came from a Gine. But really. Didn’t we all?
Goku's mother, Gine
8. Arabs Don’t Like Weregorillas
In Arab versions of the show, the Saiyans “summon” their Great Ape forms instead of transforming at the sight of the moon. This would have been helpful during the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament when Goku, in Great Ape form, is de-transformed when Jackie Chun destroys the moon with a Kamehameha. Interestingly, Goku recovers from this and regains consciousness before the ten count.
7. Because They’re Slimy, That’s Why
Vegeta, one of the strongest warriors in the universe, has an irrational fear of worms.
Vegeta Super Saiyan
6. Immature for his Age
Majin Buu is actually five million years old but he doesn’t look a day over four and a half million.
5. Win the Crowd
Goten was originally brought in to replace Goku as the main character but the fans revolted, thus saving Goku’s job.
4. Not Technically Bald
Chiaotzu only has one strand of hair which is one less than Homer Simpson but one more than Elmer Fudd.
3. I Liked the Book Better
In the manga version of Dragon Ball, nudity was very common, especially for Bulma. Rest assured though, if official versions didn’t exist, unofficial ones would have popped up. Because the Internet.
2. Monkey See, Monkey Do
The Dragon Ball Z saga is loosely based on the 16th century Chinese novel, “Journey to the West” which also inspired several other media adaptations including a 1986 TV series and several video games. The Chinese novel is notable for introducing the character of Sun Wukong, The Monkey King who has also made many appearances throughout popular culture. Wukong could have even been the inspiration for the Great Ape forms.
1. Nobody Lives Forever
By the time the Dragon Ball Z saga ends, Master Roshi is 354 years old, which is pretty old for a human. His not-being-dead is explained by an immortality elixir. He does actually die while performing an evil containment wave against King Piccolo but is later resurrected by the Dragon Balls, which is one heck of a pwning.