- 1 Creation and conception
- 2 Main characters
- 3 Secondary characters
- 4 Other characters
- 5 Merchandise
- 6 Reception
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Creation and conception
Akira Toriyama initially based most of the characters from the Chinese novel Journey to the West. He also redeveloped one of his earlier one-shot manga series, Dragon Boy. To be creative with the character, Toriyama stated that he designed Son Goku not as a monkey like the Journey to the West character, but as a human-looking boy with a monkey tail.
During this period of the series, Toriyama placed less emphasis on the series art work, simplifying the lines and sometimes making things "too square". He found himself having problems determining the colors for characters and sometimes ended up changing them unintentionally mid-story. For the female characters, Toriyama felt it was not fun to draw "weak females" so he created women that he felt were not only "beautiful and sexy", but also "strong". Going against the normal convention that the strongest characters should be the largest in terms of physical size, he designed many of Dragon Ball's most powerful characters with small statures, including the protagonist, Goku.
After the first chapters were released, readers commented that Goku seemed rather plain, so his appearance was changed. More characters (such as Master Roshi and Krillin) and martial arts tournaments were added to give the manga a greater emphasis on fighting. Knowing readers would expect Goku to win the tournaments, Toriyama had him lose the first two while continuing his initial goal of having Goku be the champion and hero. When having fights in the manga, Toriyama had the characters go to a place where nobody lived to avoid difficulties in drawing destroyed buildings. In order to advance the story quickly, he also gave most fighters the ability to fly so they could travel to other parts of the world without inconvenience. This was also the reasoning behind Goku learning to teletransport (thus allowing characters to move to any planet in a second).
Cell (セル Seru?) is the ultimate creation of Doctor Gero. He is an artificial life form created using the cells of several characters from the series, including Goku, Piccolo and Frieza. As a result, Cell is able to perform techniques such as the Kamehameha, a powerful energy blast which he gains from the cells of Goku. In creating the character of Cell, Toriyama tried many different designs before finally settling on the one used in the series. Cell evolves several times throughout his appearances. He originally evolves from a cocoon-like form into his first "Imperfect Form", which is insect-like in appearance. Both his first form and his second "Semi-Perfect Form" have a long tail that ends in a stinger-like appendage and allows it to absorb other organisms. The tail recedes under his wings in his final "Perfect Form", and he can use it to spawn Cell Jr. (セルジュニア Seru Junia?), a minuscule child-like version of himself.
Requiring the androids #17 and #18 to evolve, he finds out that they are already dead in his timeline, so he kills the Trunks of his timeline and uses Trunks' time machine to travel back in time. He eventually absorbs both after many battles and ascends to his perfect form. He decides to hold the "Cell Games", a tournament in which he fights against the Earth's fighters until there are none left, resulting in Earth's destruction. Cell manages to defeat Goku, but he is eventually killed by Super Saiyan 2 Gohan. Cell appears in Hell in Dragon Ball Z, and makes a few appearances in Dragon Ball GT. Cell is voiced by Norio Wakamoto in the Japanese anime, Dale Wilson in the Ocean dub, and Dameon Clarke in the Funimation dub. Cell will be voiced by Travis Willingham in Dragon Ball Z Kai, as announced by Funimation, who has also done voice work for the role in Dragon Ball: Raging Blast.
Majin Buu (魔人ブウ Majin Bū?, also translated as "Majin Boo") is a magical life form created by the wizard, Bibidi, eons before the events of Dragon Ball took place. He is eventually sealed by Bibidi after he becomes uncontrollable, and Bibidi's son, Babidi makes it his goal to revive Buu. After being released, Buu appears as an innocent looking pudgy pink genie-like creature. He is very naive and easily influenced, and he has a very volatile balance between his gentle and evil sides. After Buu kills Babidi, he becomes close friends with Hercule, which eventually causes him to expel his evil side. This evil manifests, and it manages to defeat and absorb the good side, resulting in a tall, slender form, who calls himself "Evil Buu." He is interested in a challenge, and later goes on to absorb Goten and Trunks as Gotenks, Piccolo, and Gohan. It is revealed by the surviving member of the Kaioshin that the fat form of Buu is actually the result of the original assimilation of their leader into his body. The original is a sleek, child-sized being who is obsessed with chaos and destruction. The original is restored after Goku and Vegeta remove the good side from Super Buu. The good side is later spit out by the original, and he goes on to live with Hercule on Earth, while the original is killed by Goku, who wishes for him to be reincarnated as a good person. King Yemma, hearing the wish, reincarnates him into a child named Uub, who becomes Goku's successor and goes on to participate in battles against foes such as Baby, Super #17 and Omega Shenron.
All forms of Buu have a rubbery body that is easily damaged. He can regenerate instantly from any wound, regrow any part of his body, and he can even restore himself from vapor. It is possible for him to become so worn down that his regeneration begins to fail. He can reconfigure body portions into weapons, including stretching his extremities. Buu also can heal damaged beings, shapeshift, and transfigure other objects and organisms. He can also absorb other organisms by enveloping them with his body, and can replicate fighting techniques, even after witnessing them once.
In the original Japanese Buu and all his forms are currently voiced by Kōzō Shioya in all media. In the Ocean dub Scott McNeil would voice Fat Buu, Brian Dobson would voice the Evil and Super Buus, and Ward Perry would voice Kid Buu. McNeil would voice the renamed Mr. Buu in the Blue Water dub. In the Funimation dub Josh Martin voices Fat and Kid Buus, and Justin Cook voices Evil and Super Buu. Martin and Cook voice Buu in all video games with exception of Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout where Buu, in kid form, was voiced by Dougary Grant. Buu was rated by Wizard magazine as the 40th greatest villain of all time. David F. Smith of IGN states that although he is tough, Majin Buu's pink complexion prevents anybody from taking him as a serious threat.
Android #18 (人造人間18号 Jinzōningen Jū Hachi Gō?, Artificial Human #18) is a human forcefully turned into a cyborg along with her brother, #17. After being released by Dr. Gero, she travels with #16 and #17 in order to kill Goku, though they are interrupted by Cell and the Z Fighters several times. She and #17 are eventually absorbed by Cell, but later during the Cell Games, a hard blow from Gohan causes Cell to regurgitate her. Though Krillin is unable to wish for her to be turned into a human, he is able to have her self destruct device removed. Krillin later pursues #18 and, at some point, they marry and have a daughter named Marron. In Future Trunks' timeline, she is a mass murderer who is later killed by Trunks. She is voiced by Miki Itō in Japan, Enuka Okuma in the Ocean dub and Meredith McCoy in the Funimation dub. Stephanie Young will voice her in Dragon Ball Z Kai.
Baby (ベビー Bebī?) is a parasitic alien supervillain that first appears in the 22nd episode of Dragon Ball GT. Baby was created by combining the DNA of the king of the Tuffles with a cybernetic body. Baby desires to destroy all of the Saiyans to avenge his people. Baby is first reactivated from a sleep state by his creator, Doctor Myu. He attempts to fight Goku, Trunks, and Pan, but is easily defeated. To boost his power, Baby infects various people with his DNA and begins gathering energy from them. After a second defeat at the hands of the three Saiyans, Baby infects Trunks and then goes to Earth. On Earth he battles Son Goten and Son Gohan, infects them both, and is able to infect Vegeta and make him his primary host. Goku, Trunks, and Pan return to Earth to find the entire population is now under Baby's control. Baby is able to defeat Goku, then he begins using the Black Star Dragon Balls to restore the Planet Plant and transport the Earth population to it. During this time, Baby evolves into an even more powerful form and defeats Goku again. This causes Goku to transform into a Golden Great Ape and then into a Super Saiyan 4. In this new form, Goku is able to defeat Baby-Vegeta. He has Bulma, also under his control, fire a radiation beam at him from her Blutz Wave Generator which enables him to transform into a Golden Great Ape. After a lengthy battle, Baby separates from Vegeta and attempts to escape in a spaceship, vowing to return to destroy the Saiyans. Goku blasts the spaceship with a 10x Kamehameha attack, sending it into the sun. The ship is destroyed and Baby is obliterated.
Chiaotzu (餃子 Chaozu?) is a small human that resembles a doll with white skin, red cheeks, and one hair under his hat. Though he is not physically strong, he is skilled with psychokinesis and telepathy. He first studies under the Crane Hermit with his close friend, Tien Shinhan. After Tien realizes that the Crane Hermit's teachings are wrong, the two leave him and join with Goku and his companions. He continues to support Tien throughout the series, even going as far as self-destructing on Nappa in order to attempt to save him. After the Saiyan Saga, Chiaotzu is generally no longer involved in battle. He is voiced by Hiroko Emori in Japan, Cathy Weseluck in the Ocean dub, and Monika Antonelli in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z in the Funimation dub. Brina Palencia voices him in Dragon Ball Z Kai.
Chi Chi (チチ?), spelled Chi-Chi in the Viz manga and Chichi in Japanese versions, is the wife of Goku and the mother of Gohan and Goten. She is very protective over the well being of her family, and wishes to remove them from Goku's lifestyle of fighting and constant conflict. She attempts to have Gohan focus on studying during his childhood, but this is interrupted by the constant threats to Earth. She later relaxes with Goten, even training him herself. As the daughter of the Ox-King, she is very strong in her own right, having easily made it to the quarter-finals of the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai. She and Goku first meet as children, and Goku promises to marry her, thinking marriage is a kind of food. She later confronts him to have him fulfill the promise, despite the misunderstanding. She was voiced by Mayumi Shō in the Japanese version of the series until episode 88, from which point she was voiced by Naoko Watanabe. In the English Funimation dub, she is voiced by Laura Bailey and Cynthia Cranz. Chi Chi is played by Jamie Chung in the live-action film Dragonball Evolution; her voice was dubbed over by Ami Koshimizu in the Japanese version of the film.
Goten (孫 悟天 Son Goten?) is the second and final child of Goku, the series' protagonist. First introduced in the 230 chapter of the manga, Goten resembles his father in appearance, with the same hair-style and similar clothing. In chapter 324, Toriyama changes his appearance to avoid confusion with Goku to include a shirt bearing his name, and a longer, shaggier hairstyle. Goten is trained by his older brother Son Gohan in preparation for the 25th World Martial Arts Tournament, which their father would be attending. During the training, Gohan discovered Goten could become a Super Saiyan. He also possesses the Kamehameha, a technique that concentrates chi energy and is released into a powerful beam.
In order to save the world from the villain Majin Buu, Goku and Piccolo teach Goten and Trunks the "Fusion" technique, which allows them to transform into a single powerful warrior, Gotenks. Gotenks battles Buu multiple times but even when he transforms into a Super Saiyan 3 he is unable to defeat Buu. Buu temporarily absorbs Gotenks, increasing his own power, but Vegeta and Goku are able to retrieve them from Buu. When Buu destroys the Earth in the 312 chapter, Goten and Trunks are killed. The Dragon Balls later bring Goten back to life along with the rest of the Earth in order to give energy to Goku's Super Genki Dama attack, which defeats Buu. Goten then returns to a normal life on Earth.
Hercule, known as Mister Herculese Satan in Funimation's VHS dubbed release of the "Great Saiyaman" episodes, and as Mister Satan (ミスター・サタン Misutā Satan?) in Japanese versions and Funimation's uncut releases, is a flamboyant martial artist that becomes a world renowned hero after the Cell Games. After Goku and his companions stop attending the World Tournaments, Hercule starts winning them and becomes the reigning champion for many years. During the Cell Games, he attempts to fight Cell, but even after being swatted away, he is given credit for Cell's death by the media. He is soon called a world hero, gaining great wealth and a city named after him. Though Goku and his companions find his inflated ego and arrogance very annoying, he becomes their trusted friend after befriending the good Majin Buu, helping defeat Kid Buu by using his appeal to get energy from all of the individuals on Earth for the Genki Dama, and his daughter, Videl, marries Gohan. He was voiced by Daisuke Gōri in Japan until his death, Don Brown in the Ocean dub, and Chris Rager in the Funimation dub. In Filipino dubs of the series (aired on the GMA-7 network) he is known as Master Pogi ("Master Handsome").
Master Roshi, known in the English manga and the Japanese versions as Kame Sen'nin (亀仙人 Kame Sennin?) and Muten Rōshi (武天老師?), is an ancient and wise martial arts master and the first Earthling to wield the Kamehameha. Though he seems frail, he is a mighty warrior, having trained Grandpa Gohan, Ox King, Son Goku, and others. He is a stock character, as he is both the archetypal wise old man and dirty old man, the latter being typical of shōnen manga. Still, he is depicted to be a very wise and gentle person, who loves life and its simple pleasures, but is willing to die if necessary, such as when performing the Mafuba technique (Evil Containment Wave in the English dub) against Piccolo Daimao. He sometimes gets cranky, which further provides comic relief. He is bald, with a thick van dyke beard and wears sunglasses. Roshi wears beach clothes or martial arts suits and, during the earlier stages of the series, a turtle shell on his back. He usually wields a walking stick. When wishing to act anonymously in the World Martial Arts Tournament, Roshi uses the name Jackie Chun.
Roshi's character design was inspired by the character of Kami-sama from Toriyama's previous manga Dr. Slump (who is unrelated to the Kami-sama from Dragon Ball). Roshi was originally voiced by Kōhei Miyauchi, who also voiced Kami-sama in the original anime version of Dr. Slump. Miyauchi's final acting session before he died was for episode 260 of Dragon Ball Z, which he recorded only 3 months before his death. The episode aired on March 15, 1995. In his final line, he yells out "Kuririn!", and is turned into a bar of chocolate by Majin Buu shortly afterwards. Since episode 288 of Dragon Ball Z, Roshi is voiced by Hiroshi Masuoka, who voices him throughout Dragon Ball GT and in the recent video games, such as Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi. He is voiced by Kinya Aikawa in the 10th anniversary special and by Masaharu Satō in movie 13 and Dragon Ball Kai. In the Funimation dub, he is voiced by Mike McFarland. He is portrayed by Chow Yun-fat in the live-action film Dragonball Evolution; his voice was dubbed over by Tsutomu Isobe in the Japanese dub of the film.
Pan (パン?) is the granddaughter of Goku. Pan's ancestry comes from both humans, and the extraterrestrials called the Saiyans, which becomes the primary race throughout the Dragon Ball galaxies. Pan is the daughter of the first Saiyan Human hybrid to appear in the series, Gohan, and his human wife Videl. In the Japanese anime, she was voiced by Yūko Minaguchi. In the English versions of DBZ, she is voiced by Kate Bristol in the Funimation dub and Brenna O'Brien in the Ocean dub. In the English versions of Dragon Ball GT, she is voiced by Elise Baughman in the Funimation dub and by Caitlynne Medrek in the Blue Water dub.
Piccolo Daimao (ピッコロ大魔王 Pikkoro Daimaō?), known as King Piccolo in the English dubs and Demon King Piccolo in the Viz manga, is the evil half of the Namekian that removed his evil in order to become the guardian of the Earth; this negative energy took on a physical form, becoming a cast-off being. He and the good half, Kami, are linked, so if one dies, the other also will die. After being formed, he designates himself as the Great Demon King and begins to terrorize the world. He is eventually imprisoned by Mutaito, the master of Roshi, in a rice cooker for centuries by the suicidal Evil Containment Wave. After being released by Emperor Pilaf, he attempts to kill anyone that could possibly seal him again, uses the Dragon Balls to restore his youth, and takes over the Earth before being confronted by Goku, who, after a long battle, punches a large hole through his abdomen. Before dying, he regurgitates the egg containing his reincarnation, Piccolo Jr., in order to pursue his revenge. He is voiced by Takeshi Aono in Japan, Christopher Sabat in the Funimation dub, and Scott McNeil in the Ocean dub. He was played by James Marsters in the live-action film Dragonball Evolution; his voice was dubbed over by Hōchū Ōtsuka in the Japanese dub of the film.
Besides Piccolo Jr., Piccolo Daimao creates several offspring in order to help him with his plans. His first offspring, Piano, helps Piccolo formulate his plan until his death. He also creates Tambourine to hunt down the contenders of the World Martial Arts Tournament to keep the sealing technique from resurfacing. Tambourine kills Krillin and beats a weakened Goku, but eventually Goku's Kamehameha vaporizes him. The third, Cymbal, is created to find Dragon Balls, but he is killed and eaten by Yajirobe. The fourth, Drum, is created to battle Tien, who he easily defeats until Goku appears and kills him in one blow. Tambourine is voiced by Ryūsei Nakao in Japan and Dameon Clarke in the English dub; Piano is voiced by Brian Beacock in the English dub; and Drum is voiced by Paul LeBlanc in the English dub.
Tien Shinhan (天津飯 Tenshinhan?, nicknamed Ten), known as Shinto in the Harmony Gold dub, is first introduced in chapter 113 of the manga series. Initially an enemy of Goku who was trained by Roshi's rival the Crane Hermit, Tien soon makes peace with Goku and becomes a Z Fighter. Accompanied by his friend Chiaotzu, Tien enters the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament and faces Goku, who proves to be a more than worthy opponent. Eventually, after Goku survives every attack thrown at him, Tien destroys the arena with his Kikohou, but Goku jumps into the air and uses his Kamehameha to slam himself into Tien. Both fighters fall down to the ground, but Goku is hit by a passing car, causing him to land on the ground first, which makes Tien the winner. Afterwards, Tien and Chiaotzu become allies of Goku. He participated in the battle against the Saiyans in Dragon Ball Z, in which he is killed by Nappa, along with Chiaotzu, Yamcha and Piccolo. The four of them are trained by King Kai and later revived by Porunga. Tien also participated in the battles against Cell and Majin Buu.
Tien is bald and has three eyes, the third placed on his forehead. The third eye is from becoming enlightened. When Toriyama began creating the Dragon Ball series, he used Wu Cheng'en's Journey to the West as a prototype for his own work. Tien's three eyed physical characteristic resembles the story character Erlang Shen, and both are warriors who were originally adversaries of the main character. His outfits change consistently as the series goes on, and he usually doesn't wear a shirt when fighting. In the Japanese version of the series, he was voiced by Hirotaka Suzuoki until his death in 2006; Kōichi Yamadera acted as a substitute for Suzuoki for episodes 82 and 84 of the series. He is voiced by Mitsuaki Madono in Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit and by Hikaru Midorikawa in Dragon Ball Kai. In the Ocean dub, he was voiced by Matt Smith. In the Funimation dub of the series, he was voiced by Chris Cason in the third season and by John Burgmeier from the fourth season onwards and in the redub of the third season.
Videl (ビーデル Bīderu?) is the daughter of Hercule. Like her father, she trains in martial arts, even surpassing him in strength. She uses her abilities to fight crime in the city, and after Gohan appears as the Great Saiyaman, she quickly figures out his identity. She uses that to blackmail him into showing her how to fly. After Buu is fully defeated, the two form a relationship, eventually become married, and have a child named Pan. When the two fight crime together afterwards, she takes on the role of the "Great Saiyaman 2 or Great Saiyawoman". She is voiced by Yuko Minaguchi in Japan, Moneca Stori in the Ocean dub, and Kara Edwards in the Funimation dub. Her name is an anagram of Devil, a play on words with her father's Japanese name (Mister Satan).
Yamcha (ヤムチャ Yamucha?), known as Zedaki in the Harmony Gold dub, is introduced as an outlaw and starts out as an antagonist of Son Goku's in order to steal his Dragon Ball and wish not to feel nervous when being near to women. He eventually reforms, becoming an ally and Z Fighter. After participating in Baba's tournament, Yamcha requests to become the pupil of Master Roshi, to which Master Roshi obliges. As result from such training, Yamcha becomes able to develop various energy techniques such as the Kamehameha and the Soukidan, an energy sphere which he can control after throwing it. He soon becomes able to fly and is able to train with various gods from the Dragon Ball universe. After the attack from the Red Ribbon's androids, he quits fighting, noting that he is very weak in comparison to his friends. His constant companion is Puar. During the series, he holds a romantic relationship with Bulma, but they break up some time after Future Trunks' first appearance. He is voiced by Tōru Furuya in the Japanese version of the series. In the Ocean dub, he is voiced by Ted Cole, and in the Funimation dub, he is voiced by Christopher Sabat. In the 2009 Dragon Ball live-action film, he was portrayed by Joon Park, whose voice was dubbed over by Hisao Egawa in the Japanese dub of the film.
Android #16 (人造人間16号 Jinzōningen Jū Roku Gō?, Artificial Human #16) is a large fully mechanical android developed by Dr. Gero. He is deemed a failure, and is deactivated until Android #18 reactivates and releases him. Despite the other Androids disobeying and killing Dr. Gero, #16 still follows his orders to search for and destroy Goku. Unlike the other two, #16 processes a sophisticated mechanism to sense and track power levels in real time. While trying to protect #17 and #18 from Cell, he is greatly damaged, though Bulma and her father Dr. Briefs repair him. After he is repaired, he ignores his old orders to kill Goku, and focuses on the fight against Cell. Like the other androids he had the ability to self destruct, but the device was removed during his repairs. This is made known only when #16 tried to self destruct and destroy Cell, which Cell retaliates by destroying most of #16. His head and consciousness survived, but later is destroyed by Cell, which pushes Gohan over the edge to Super Saiyan 2. In the anime he is voiced Hikaru Midorikawa in Japan, Jeremy Inman in the Funimation dub and Scott McNeil in the Ocean dub.
Android #17 (人造人間17号 Jinzōningen Jū Nana Gō?, Artificial Human #17) is a human forcefully turned into a cyborg by Dr. Gero along with his sister, #18. The two are released by Doctor Gero as a last resort, but they turn on their creator and quickly kill him instead. They begin to travel in order to find and kill Goku, coming into contact with the Z Fighters several times. In Future Trunks' timeline, he is a mass murderer who is later killed by Trunks. #17 returns one last time in Dragon Ball GT, when he fuses with a new #17 created by Doctor Gero and Doctor Myu in order to become the Super Android #17, who is finally defeated by Goku and #18. He is voiced by Shigeru Nakahara in Japan, Ted Cole in the Ocean dub and Chuck Huber in the Funimation dub.
Babidi (バビディ Babidi?) is the son of Bibidi, the creator of Majin Buu. After Buu is sealed and his father is killed, he sets out to resurrect Buu to help him conquer the universe. Babidi manages to take over the minds of many strong warriors in order to help him achieve his goal, including Demon King Dabura, alien warrior Pui Pui, light-devouring monster named Yakon, and two muscle-bound humans, Yamu and Spopovitch. Babidi uses them to collect energy for Buu's revival, and later enlists Vegeta to help him, though Vegeta is able to ignore his orders. After Buu is revived, Babidi manages to control him with the threat of resealing him, though after being manipulated by Goku, Buu turns on him and shatters his head with a single punch. He later appears in Hell, cheering Goku and Vegeta on during their fight with Kid Buu, and then in Dragon Ball GT, when various villains escape from Hell. He is voiced by Jōji Yanami in Japan, Duncan Brannan in the Funimation dub and Terry Klassen in the Ocean dub.
Dende (デンデ Dende?) is a Namekian child saved from Dodoria by Gohan and Krillin. He later gains the power to heal after having his power unlocked, which he uses to aid the warriors fighting Frieza until he is killed by the tyrant. After being revived, he lives on New Namek until he is asked by Goku to replace Kami as Earth's guardian and revive the Dragon Balls. He accepts and continues to serve as the guardian throughout the rest of the series. He is very close to Piccolo, who fused with his brother Nail on Namek. He is voiced by Tomiko Suzuki in the original Japanese series and by Aya Hirano in Dragon Ball Kai. In the English versions of the series, he is voiced by Ceyli Delgadillo, Laura Bailey and Justin Cook in the Funimation dub.
Doctor Gero (ドクター・ゲロ Dokutā Gero?) is the former chief scientist of the Red Ribbon Army. After the destruction of the organization, he begins using his development of androids to aid in destroying Goku for revenge. While creating a series of androids, he eventually implants his own brain into an exact replica of his body, becoming Android #20. Both he and Android #19, a round, pale android and the most loyal of Gero's creations, are able to absorb the energy of others using small devices on their hands. The two eventually attack Goku and his friends. #19, successfully draining Goku of his energy while Goku is affected by his heart virus, is killed by Vegeta afterwards. Doctor Gero flees, attempting to release #17 and #18 as a last resort, though #17 quickly kills him. Doctor Gero appears once more in Dragon Ball GT, planning to return to Earth along with Doctor Myu by creating another Android #17. They succeed, though Doctor Myu betrays Doctor Gero and has the newly formed Super #17 kill him once again. He is voiced by Kōji Yada in Japan, Kent Williams in the Funimation dub and Brian Dobson in the Ocean dub.
Emperor Pilaf (ピラフ Pirafu?) is a small, impish man who dreams of ruling the world. Though he proclaims himself an emperor, he actually only has a crown and a castle. Along with his two minions, Mai (マイ?), a woman that wears a trench coat, and Shu (シュウ Shū?), a humanoid dog in a ninja outfit, he seeks out the Dragon Balls to wish for world domination. After obtaining the Dragon Balls once, he is foiled by Goku and his companions after another wish is granted just before he can speak his fully. He continues to antagonize Goku throughout the rest of Dragon Ball, and while attempting to obtain the Dragon Balls, releases Piccolo Daimao from his confinement. They appear again in Dragon Ball GT, where they obtain the Black Star Dragon Balls and accidentally wish Goku to be a child again. Pilaf is voiced by Shigeru Chiba in Japan and Chuck Huber in English dub. Shu is voiced by Tesshō Genda in Japan and Chris Cason in the English dub. Mai is voiced by Eiko Yamada in Japan and Julie Franklin in the Funimation dub. She was played by Eriko Tamura in the live-action film Dragonball Evolution.
The Evil Dragons, known as the Shadow Dragons in the English versions, are a group of evil beings born from the evil energy caused by overuse of the Dragon Balls. When attempting to repair the damage caused by Super #17, the cigar-smoking Evil Shenron is summoned from the Dragon Balls instead of the regular Shenron. He splits into seven dragons, each containing a Dragon Ball. They are known as the One-Star through Seven-Star Dragons in Japan, and Syn Shenron, Haze Shenron, Eis Shenron, Nuova Shenron, Rage Shenron, Oceanus Shenron, and Naturon Shenron in the English versions.
Goku and Pan kill all of the dragons besides the One-Star, Four-Star, and Three-Star Dragons, and collect their Dragon Balls. Goku soon fights the Four-Star Dragon, voiced by Ken Yamaguchi in Japan and John Burgmeier in the English dub, who is fire-based and much more honorable than his siblings. The fight is soon interrupted by the Three-Star Dragon, who blinds Goku in an attempt to kill him. Goku eventually manages to kill the dragon, and when the Four-Star Dragon attempts to help Goku with his eyes, he is killed by One-Star Dragon, voiced by Hidekatsu Shibata in Japan and Bob Carter and Christopher R. Sabat in the English dub. The dragon absorbs the Dragon Balls, transforming into Omega Shenron. After a long battle, he is killed by Goku's Super Genki Dama, and the Dragon Balls are purified.
Garlic Jr. (ガーリック・ジュニア Gārikku Junia?) is the main antagonist in Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone and is one of the few original characters from the movies to appear in the TV series. His father was imprisoned by Kami in the realm of darkness, leaving Garlic Jr. with a deep feeling of resentment and desire for revenge. In the film, he manages to obtain the seven Dragon Balls, wish for immortality, and begin his quest for revenge. He is defeated when faced with an angry Gohan, who pushes Garlic Jr. into the Dead Zone, an alternate dimension he can freely open.
In the TV series, he breaks free using his power source, the Makyo Star, leading to the events of the Garlic Jr. arc. After attempting to brainwash the world with the Black Water Mist, he is once again trapped in the Dead Zone after the destruction of the Makyo Star. In the original Japanese version, Garlic Jr. is voiced by Akira Kamiya in Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone and Shigeru Chiba in the anime. He is voiced by Don Brown in the Ocean dub of the film and Dave Ward in the Ocean dub of the anime. Chuck Huber voices Garlic Jr. in the Funimation dub of the film and anime.
The Ginyu Force (ギニュー特戦隊 Ginyū Tokusentai?) is a team of five mercenaries who are hired by Frieza. Though physically some of the strongest individuals in the universe, the Ginyu Force's members delight in coming up with strange poses, betting candy on fights, and playing Janken. They are led by Captain Ginyu (ギニュー隊長 Ginyū Taichō?), who has a unique technique that allows him to switch bodies with his opponents. Jeice (ジース Jīsu?), a flamboyant and showy mutant, and Burter (バータ Bāta?), the self proclaimed fastest being in the universe, are two beings nicknamed the "Red Magma" and "Blue Hurricane" that utilise various combination attacks in battle. Recoome (リクーム Rikūmu?) is a large humanoid that likes to toy with his opponents. Guldo (グルド Gurudo?), although physically the weakest, has various psychic abilities, including being able to freeze time when he holds his breath.
Frieza calls upon them to assist in the defeat of Vegeta and help obtain the Dragon Balls on Planet Namek. Vegeta kills Guldo and Jeice, along with Burter and Recoome, after Goku defeats them first. Ginyu manages to steal Goku's body, but he is unable to utilise its full power. He decides to steal Vegeta's body after Goku's can no longer be used, but he inadvertently switches bodies with a frog instead. He is allowed to flee, and ends up on Earth after Namek explodes (though not before switching bodies with Bulma and trying to take over Piccolo's body in the process, before being returned to the frog's body).
In the anime, they (sans the surviving Ginyu) appear at King Kai's planet in the afterlife and battle Tien, Yamcha and Chiaotzu, who defeat and banish them to Hell. Tien defeats Jeice and Burter, Yamcha defeats Recoome, and Chiaotzu defeats Guldo. King Kai reveals that he actually invited the Ginyu Force there in order for Tien, Yamcha and Chiaotzu to test their new strength.
Grandpa Gohan (孫悟飯じいさん Son Gohan jiisan?) is the adoptive grandfather of Goku, whom he found in a crashed spaceship. He teaches Goku martial arts, having originally studied under Roshi, and he even knows Roshi's Kamehameha. He is killed by Goku as a rampaging Oozaru on a night with a full moon, though Goku does not realize it for many years. He is allowed to return to life for one day by Baba in order to fight Goku and anticipate his growth, and he later appears as an assistant to Annin, the ruler of the "magical furnace". He is only shown in flashbacks afterwards. He is voiced by Osamu Saka in the Japanese version of the original series, by Jinpei Azusa in Bardock: The Father of Goku and by Shigeru Chiba in Dragon Ball Kai. In the English version of the series, he is voiced by Christopher Sabat. He is portrayed by Randall Duk Kim in the live-action film Dragonball Evolution; his voice was dubbed over by Hiroya Ishimaru in the Japanese dub of the film.
Kami (神様 Kami Sama?) is the guardian residing over the Earth for much of the series. He is the good half of an unnamed Namekian (which is called child of Katatz by Namekian Elder (Guru)) that had to split himself in order to become guardian. The evil half, Piccolo Daimao, was later sealed away by humans. After Piccolo Daimao is unleashed and killed by Goku, he spawns a much stronger reincarnation, Piccolo. Seeing a threat, Kami decides to attempt to seal away the new Piccolo in the World Martial Arts Tournament, possessing a human named Shen (dubbed Hero in the English anime) as a guise, but the plan backfires on him. After Goku defeats Piccolo, he eventually reforms, and much later during the Cell saga, Kami agrees to merge and rejoin Piccolo to stand a chance against Cell and the Androids. He is voiced by Takeshi Aono in Japan, Michael Dobson and Dale Wilson in the Ocean dub, and Christopher Sabat in the Funimation dub.
The Kai (界王 Kaiō?) are upper-level gods of the Dragon Ball universe. There are five at a time that rule over the main galaxy of the universe, with one presiding over each of the four quadrants in a galaxy, and the last overseeing them all. The Kai are responsible for the lower-level gods, who rule over individual planets. The Kai reside in the heavens, with each having their own small planet. There is a sense of competition among the Kai over whose quadrant has the best fighters. King Kai, the Northern Kai, trains Goku after his self-sacrifice to defeat Raditz.
King Kai, also known as Lord of the Worlds (界王様 Kaiō-sama?) and North Kai (北の界王 Kita no Kaiō?), is the Kai of the northern quadrant of the galaxy. His companion is a pet monkey named Bubbles and in the anime he also has a flying cricket companion named Gregory. King Kai trains fighters allowed to keep their bodies if they manage to reach his small planet at the end of Snake Way. Before training any students, he forces them to appeal to his strange sense of humor, catch Bubbles, and hit Gregory with a mallet. He provides Goku with martial arts training and two of his own techniques, the Genki Dama and the Kaio-ken, which King Kai was never able to master. He continues to help Goku and his friends throughout the series, lending his planet locating and telecommunicating abilities for their use. When Goku brings a self-destructing Cell to his planet, the explosion kills King Kai and destroys his planet. As he is already in the Other World, he only gains a halo and in the anime he appears to settle down on Grand Kai's planet. He is voiced by Jōji Yanami in Japan, Don Brown in the Ocean dub and Sean Schemmel in the Funimation dub.
Oolong (ウーロン Ūron?) is a shapeshifting, anthropomorphic pig that uses his abilities for his own greedy desires. He was expelled from shapeshifting training for stealing the teacher's underwear, so he lacks the ability to change his form for more than five minutes at a time without a break. He joins Goku in the search for the Dragon Balls to eventually steal them, but abandons this plan. In Dragon Ball Z, he is often in the company of Roshi. He is voiced by Naoki Tatsuta in Japan, Doug Parker and Alec Willows in the Ocean dub, Bradford Jackson in the Funimation dub, and Bryan Massey in Dragon Ball Z Kai.
Puar (プーアル Pūaru?), known as Pu'ar in the Viz manga and Pu-erh in Japanese versions, is a soft-spoken blue creature and the constant companion of Yamcha. Puar's abilities consist of transvection and shapeshifting. Puar travels with Yamcha and Goku during Dragon Ball and continues to live with Yamcha afterwards. The character's name is revealed to be a pun on pu-erh and was designed to slightly resemble a cat. When questioned about gender, Toriyama disclosed that he looked at the character as male during illustrations. Puar is voiced by Naoko Watanabe in the Japanese version of the series, by Kathy Morse and Cathy Weseluck in the Ocean dub and by Monika Antonelli in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z in the Funimation dub. Brina Palencia voices the character in Dragon Ball Z Kai.
Red Ribbon Army
The Red Ribbon Army (レッドリボン軍 Reddo Ribon Gun?) is a paramilitary organization bent on total world domination. Originally a technological cooperation, they lost out to the Capsule Corporation, and focused their technology on military weapons. They plan on obtaining the Dragon Balls to help with their goal, using any means necessary including raiding towns, hiring the mercenary Tao to attack Goku, among others. Despite this, Goku is able to wipe out the entire army. The quest for world domination turns out to be a ruse by their leader Commander Red. He is a short man, who really plans on using them to become taller, even if the whole army has to be sacrificed. The second in command is Adjutant Black (ブラック参謀?), who loyally obeys Red until hearing of his plan, at which point, he kills Red and attempts to take over, only to be killed by Goku.
General Blue is a high-ranking official of the army. He comes into contact with Goku and his companions multiple times, often using a special psionic ability that allows him to paralyze other individuals. He manages to steal the Dragon Radar during their final encounter, but after returning, he is set to be executed for not obtaining any of the Dragon Balls after multiple failures. He is allowed to fight Tao to redeem himself, though Tao easily kills Blue only using his tongue. Blue is voiced by Toshio Furukawa in Japan and Sonny Strait in the Funimation dub.
Shenron (神龍 Shén Lóng?, lit. "God Dragon"), also known as the Eternal Dragon in the Ocean Group and Funimation dubs, Shenlong in the Viz manga, Shen Long in Japanese versions, and the Dragon God in the Harmony Gold dub, is the wish granting dragon summoned when all of Earth's Dragon Balls are gathered. Shenron can bestow any wish as long as it does not exceed the power of his creator (who must be still alive) and has not been previously granted. This is why Shenron can only bring the same person back to life once. Shenron can originally only grant one wish, but after being revived by Dende, he is able to grant two at a time. Shenron often tries to hasten summoners to make their wishes. He will usually threaten to leave or kill the summoner if they do not quickly make their wish, but never follows through with it. He is voiced by Kenji Utsumi in the Japanese version of the series with the exclusion of episodes 192 and 193 in the series and the films, in which he is voiced by Masaharu Satō; he is voiced by Daisuke Gōri in Dragon Ball GT and by Kōji Yada in the Dr. Slump remake. In the English versions of the series, he is voiced by Don Brown in the Ocean dub and by Christopher Sabat in the Funimation dub.
His Namek counterpart is Porunga (ポルンガ?). Unlike Shenron, Porunga has a large, muscular upper body and various Namekian traits; he initially can only bring a single person back to life at a time, but can bring that person back multiple times. He can grant three wishes, so long as they don't exceed his creator's power, his creator is still alive, and each request is delivered in the Namekian dialect. Dragon Ball GT introduces the Black Star Shenron, a much larger red Shenron made by Kami when he and Piccolo Daimao were still one entity. He is summoned when the Black Star Dragon Balls are gathered, and can grant any single wish, regardless of any restrictions placed on the other dragons. He is voiced by Junpei Takiguchi in the Japanese version of the series with the exclusion of episode 283, in which he is voiced by Daisuke Gōri; he is voiced by Masaharu Satō in the video games. In Dragon Ball Kai Daisuke Gōri originally performed the role, after his death Ryūzaburō Ōtomo took over. He is voiced by Christopher Sabat in the Funimation dub of the series.
Uub (ウーブ Ūbu?), known as Oob in the Viz manga and in Japanese versions, is the reincarnation of the evil Majin Buu. After Kid Buu is destroyed, Goku asks him to be reincarnated as a good person, so they may battle again. King Yemma overhears the request and complies with it. Goku eventually senses Uub's hidden power, and seeks him out when Uub attends the tournament to gain money for his village. Goku ends up deciding to train him to be Earth's new guardian and as an opponent that he can battle. In Dragon Ball GT, Mr. Buu enters Uub's body, making him into "Majuub" to face threats such as Baby, Super #17, and Omega Shenron. He is voiced by Megumi Urawa in Japan and Kara Edwards (Kid Uub) and Sean Teague (Uub) in the FUNimation dub.
Yajirobe (ヤジロベー Yajirobē?) is an overweight samurai that Goku meets in Dragon Ball. He is often considered to be rude, unmannered, timid, lazy, and cowardly. He helps Goku prepare for the battle against Piccolo Daimao, and continues to support Goku and his companions, though often from the sidelines. He trains under Kami with the others in order to prepare for the Saiyans, and helps in their victory by cutting off Vegeta's tail. During Dragon Ball, he is a wanderer that lives off the land, but after meeting Korin and discovering the Senzu Beans, which provide the nutrients of ten days worth of meals, restore energy and heal wounds, he decides to live with Korin. He begins growing the beans with him, and often delivers them to Goku and his companions. He is voiced by Mayumi Tanaka in the Japanese version of the series, by Brian Drummond in the Ocean dub and by Mike McFarland in the Funimation dub.
Zarbon (ザーボン Zābon?) is one of Frieza's top henchmen. He has the ability to transform into a powerful reptilian beast. Zarbon travels to Namek alongside Frieza and Dodoria to help collect the Dragon Balls. He eventually comes into contact with Vegeta, whom Zarbon manages to easily defeat and capture after transforming. After Zarbon retrieves Vegeta's battered body and brings him to Frieza's ship in order to heal him for interrogation, Vegeta manages to escape. Zarbon sets out to find him once again, but Vegeta, having become stronger after healing, kills Zarbon. Zarbon also appears in Bardock - The Father of Goku, where he advises Frieza to destroy the Saiyan planet and briefly appears in Dragon Ball GT when he escapes from Hell with other villains. He is voiced by Shō Hayami in the original Japanese series and by Hiroaki Miura in Dragon Ball Kai. In the English versions of the series, he is voiced by Paul Dobson in the Ocean dub and by Christopher Sabat in the Funimation dub.
Several pieces of merchandise were released based on the characters from the series. These include key chains, action-figures and plush. Other merchandise featuring characters include t-shirts, tumblers and trading card games. Characters are also featured in video games from the series. While initial games were role-playing games (RPG), the following became fighting games.
Anime News Network (ANN) praised the story and humor of the manga to be very good, and noted the well-portrayed personalities of the characters. They also remarked Viz's translation to be one of the best ones of all the English editions of the series, praising the lack of censorship. Theron Martin from ANN praised the way the characters could turn the battles into "art", praising the ways they react while fighting, although they sometimes can become very long with little plot development. He also praised the themes from the warriors saying "it speaks to basic yet powerful themes like faith, confidence, heroism, sacrifice, love, and understanding what is truly worth fighting for", as well as the way Vegeta overcomes his pride to help the other characters. T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews considered the series characters are different from stereotypes characters and noted that they have much more development than those from the series' sequels.
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Let's be honest with ourselves – Majin Buu was pretty tough, but he was just a little too pink to take seriously as a threat most of the time.
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