10 Fun Facts About Dragon Ball Z You Need To Know
Since its debut in 1984, Dragon Ball Z has taken the world by storm with the loveable Son Goku and a cast of other assorted characters, capturing the imagination of fans everywhere.
Written and illustrated by the legendary Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball first appeared in the Weekly Shonen Jump manga magazine before being adapted into the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z anime, which most western fans are familiar with.
If you want to know more about it, here are some 10 must know facts about the Dragon Ball Z franchise.
Journey to The West
While this can be considered to be an open secret among fans of the series, most Western fans tend to forget that Dragon Ball drew most of its influences from the classic Chinese story, Journey to the West.
Journey to The West chronicles the pilgrimage of the Tang Dynasty Buddhist Monk, Xuanzang, who travelled through the Western regions (i.e. Central Asia and India) on a quest to obtain legendary Buddhist texts.
While it may appear that Dragon Ball has little to no connection to the ancient Chinese novel, quite a few Dragon Ball Z personas have been inspired by the characters in Journey to The West.
For example, it can be clearly seen that Goku was heavily influenced by the Monkey King in Journey to The West, as can be seen by his playful characteristics, monkey tail and trademark Power Pole that can change its shape and size to meet Goku’s needs.
Also, as we all know, Goku is joined by a cast of eclectic companions like Krillin and Oolong as he goes on his journey to collect the seven dragon balls. This draws comparisons to the monk being accompanied by the Monkey King and an anthropomorphic pig as he goes on his pilgrimage to the West.
While the series was heavily influenced by Journey to The West early on, Dragon Ball Z eventually found its own identity, as the plot and characters were developed in their own way.
Goku Only Killed Two People Throughout the Series
This may be a strange one, but for all his formidable powers and skills, Goku has only killed two people throughout the course of the entire series. As a main character, Goku gets into some pretty intense fights on his journey and faces down evil characters on a regular basis.
Thus, we were quite surprised by this fact. The first opponent to be killed by Goku was Yakon during the opening stages of the Buu Saga. Yakon was one of Babidi’s minions who were trying to free Majin Buu.
He is a green-colored monster with a large claw and a Majin symbol on his chest. During the initial stages of the fight, Yakon had the upper hand against Goku, surprising him with his large claw and his ability to absorb energy.
Yakon was also able to hold his own against Goku in Saiyan form, by absorbing Goku’s light. However, Yakon was defeated when Goku turned the henchman’s ability against himself. By overloading Yakon with light energy, Goku managed to kill Yakon by making him explode.
The next opponent that Goku killed in a fight was Kid Buu. The main antagonist of the Kid Buu saga, Kid Buu is Majin Buu’s true and original form. His unpredictability and evil nature made Kid Buu one of the most dangerous opponents that Goku has had to face down.
Even with the help of Vegeta, Good Buu and Mr. Satan, Goku was hard-pressed to defeat the demon. Only after a long, hard fought battle was Goku able to kill Kid Buu with his Spirit Bomb attack.
Unlike the ruthless Vegeta who took delight in torturing and killing his opponents, Goku is too merciful to terminate his opponents, despite being given the opportunity. This highlights Goku’s easy-going, friendly nature.
Goku Has Only Died Twice
Given his reputation and the fact that dying characters is something of a joke in the Dragon Ball universe, it sure comes as a surprise that Goku has actually only died twice. When compared to the number of times that Yamcha and Krillin have been killed off, it looks like Goku has a pretty solid track record.
Goku first died during the battle in which he and Piccolo teamed up to fight against Raditz. Despite the two combining forces, Raditz proved to be too much of a challenge for the both of them to face.
In order to take down the Saiyan, Goku and Piccolo hatched a daring plan which involved Goku acting as bait. The ensuing fight saw Goku distracting Raditz by grabbing him from behind, while Piccolo used his beam cannon to blast a hole in Raditz, which killed Goku in the process.
The next time Goku died was during the Cell Saga, where Goku sacrificed himself when Cell attempted to kill all of them by self-destructing. In order to protect his friends, Goku uses Instant Transmission to teleport himself to King Kai’s planet where he was caught in the blast.
In both instances, we can see that Goku was willing to lay down his life so that his friends may survive. Although he was resurrected later by the Dragon Balls, this does not detract from the fact that Goku placed the lives of his companions above his own.
So Many Puns
We don’t know if this originated as a fun insider’s joke, or maybe creator Akira Toriyama really loves puns. However, many of the characters in Dragon Ball Z have rather hilarious inspirations behind their names.
For example, all of the pure-blooded Saiyan characters are named after vegetables of some kind. Vegeta being an offshoot of vegetable, Raditz has been named after a radish and Kakarot very obviously sounds like carrot.
Frieza, which clearly sounds like freeze, has family members with equally “cool” names. Take his brother Cooler and their father King Cold. Also, even more hilarious, is Bulma’s family who all have underwear-related names.
In fact, in some versions, Bulma and Vegeta’s daughter is named Bra.
Vegeta Was Meant to Be a One-Off Character
It’s hard to imagine Dragon Ball Z without Vegeta who is regarded as one of the most powerful characters in the Dragon Ball canon. However, believe it or not, Vegeta was originally intended to be a disposable villain who would be killed off fairly quickly after being defeated.
However, Vegeta proved popular with fans who demanded that the saiyan prince be kept on. The producers listened to the fans and brought a softer side to Vegeta, with the introduction of Bulma and Trunks.
Sonic the Hedgehog Was Heavily Inspired by Dragon Ball Z
You might wonder:
What would a super saiyan and a supersonic hedgehog have in common?
Plenty it would seem, as many have pointed out similarities between Dragon Ball Z and Sonic the Hedgehog. Asides from the spiky blonde hair and the changing of colors, many fans have noted that the plot of Sonic the Hedgehog strongly resembles that of Dragon Ball.
For example, Sonic and his crew are regularly on the hunt for seven chaos emeralds that grant special powers but scatter everytime they are used. Substitute Sonic for Goku and chaos emeralds for dragon balls and you won’t be able to tell the difference.
The Android Saga and The Terminator
Fighting robots and cyborgs have always been a part of anime culture in general. This means that while the android saga of Dragon Ball Z had the Z fighters going against a few androids, the comparison to The Terminator franchise would have been unfounded.
However, the saga kicks off with a time traveler from an apocalyptic future warning that machines are going to kill off humanity unless that future is averted. Add in an unstoppable antagonist with a heavy, Austrian accent and you’ve got the plot to the first Terminator movie.
As we delve deeper into the storyline, you notice that a future Gohan ala John Connor is leading a suspiciously familiar resistance movement against a race of unstoppable, killer robots that are wiping out humanity.
Further evidence that The Android Saga is a deliberate nod to the Terminator can be seen when Future Gohan is sent back into the past on the 12th of May to warn the Z fighters of an android invasion. In fact, that’s the exact same date that the T-800 was sent back into the past to kill Sarah Connor.
Voice Actors Have Fainted from Exertion
All fans of the Dragon Ball Z franchise know and love the long, drawn out roars of power that can last for more or less 5 minutes during any intense battle scenes.
However, asides from doing unspeakable damage to their throats and vocal cords, voice actors have actually passed out from exertion. Sean Schemmel, the voice behind Goku, has noted that he actually shouted himself into unconsciousness on several occasions.
Goku and Frieza’s First Fight Was the Longest in Anime History
Older episodes of Dragon Ball Z were previously criticized for being overly-long and loaded with filler content. The first battle between Goku and Frieza had close to a whopping four hours of screen time in one clear example of this, what with the 5-minute warning given by Frieza.
Fortunately, later iterations of Dragon Ball featured fast, intense, hard-hitting fights that left audiences breathless.
No Female Super Saiyans
Female fans out there will most likely be disappointed to note the glaring absence of any female super saiyans. This is not sexism on the part of Akira Toriyama, but more in part due to his inability to understand how a female super saiyan would look like.
Akira Toriyama admitted that Dragon Ball Z does not feature any female super saiyans because he feared that the women would appear too identical to the men.
So, there you have it, ten fun facts about Dragon Ball Z that you need to know about, especially if you are fans of the franchise.
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