Dragon Ball Z, created by Akira Toriyama, is one of the most popular animated franchises to originate from Japan. The series, which was a continuation of ‘Dragon Ball,’ has spawned multiple films, video games, plenty of merchandise, and now a second continuation series, which premiered in July 2015: Dragon Ball Z Super. The series is considered a ‘redo’ of a previous Dragon Ball series, Dragon Ball GT, which was almost universally panned by fans of the franchise. Dragon Ball Z Super is being written by the show’s original creator, who had no part in Dragon Ball GT, and is considered by fans to be the real sequel to Dragon Ball Z. There is a lot to know about Dragon Ball Z—from character names and histories to battle techniques and beyond. But there is also a lot going on behind the scenes of the series, special trivia and unknown facts that even most diehard Dragon Ball Z fans don’t know. Let’s take a look at 8 of those surprising facts about Dragon Ball Z.
Akira Toriyama doesn’t like a fan-favorite character.
Akira Toriyama has admitted in the past that his least favorite character is actually one of the top fan favorites from the entire series: Vegeta. Toriyama has stated in interviews that he considers the character very unlikeable, but that he does find it easy to write storylines using Vegeta, because his brash personality often gets the action moving along more than other characters. Toriyama’s favorite character is Piccolo, who was once a villain character but is now considered one of the ‘good guys’.
A key character from the first series never showed up again.
Launch is a character who played a key role in the comic book a/nd animated adaptation of the first series, Dragon Ball. Despite the character’s importance and relation to other main characters, she was never featured in Dragon Ball Z, nor was she ever mentioned in any other ‘Dragon Ball’ series again. The reason for this is, according to the franchise’s creator, because he simply “forgot” about her.
Some dubs of the series alter key aspects of the show.
International language dubs may frequently alter content of a show, particularly for violence, nudity or anything deemed objectionable. One peculiar alteration in an international dub occurs in the Arabic dub of the series: in the original series, the alien Saiyan characters transform into giant apes when they see a full moon; but in the Arabic dub, they ‘summon’ the giant ape forms instead.
Another key aspect of the show was censored out in the first English dub of the series. In the original series, characters make frequent references to sending other characters to hell before killing them—and in several cases, hell is actually shown. In the first English dub of the series, which was heavily censored for content, all references to hell are removed. Instead, characters are threatened with being sent “to the next dimension,” and when hell is depicted it is labeled as “hfil,” or “home for infinite losers” instead. The re-dubs of the English version have removed this particular censorship.
The fight between Goku and Frieza broke a record in Japan.
The show has often been criticized—and parodied—for spending a long time on its fights. The fight between Goku and Frieza is an especially notable case, since it took up multiple episodes. In all, the fight took three and a half hours—or about 10 episodes—and it holds the record for longest fight in any animated series in Japan or outside of Japan.
The dots on Krillin’s forehead have a history.
One of the most peculiar character designs for a human character in the series is that of Krillin, who is shown with 6 strange dots on his forehead at all times. The history behind the marks was revealed in a TV special for the series; they are actually burns from incense sticks, which he was marked with while training to be a monk.
The show’s most diabolical villain was based on real estate speculators.
Frieza, the show’s most infamous and cruel villain, was actually based on real life Japanese real estate speculators. In the show, Frieza runs an organization that conquers planets by killing off all lifeforms and selling them for a profit later on; he frequently kills people without mercy and has only his own self-interests in mind. Akira Toriyama has explained the reasoning behind this seemingly strange inspiration for a villain multiple times, noting that he considers real estate speculators to be “the worst kind of people” due to their tendency to take advantage of people in difficult situations.
The “over 9,000” meme was caused by a translation error.
“It’s over 9,000” may just be one of the most popular memes on the internet. The phrase comes from the first English dub of the series, where Vegeta angrily yells out the revealed power level of Goku, who has come to save his friends. However, the number is actually a translation error: the number from the original series, and the number shown on the device used to measure power levels, is actually 8,000. The mistake was (to some fan’s criticism) fixed in the second English dub of the series, which attempted to be more faithful to the original Japanese translations.
The concept of Son Goku is (loosely) based on a Chinese legend.
Son Goku, and some of his adventures, are very loosely based on an ancient Chinese legend ‘Journey to the West.’ In Journey to the West, a character called Son Wukong travels with a group of skilled friends in search of mystical artifacts; like Goku, Wukong has a monkey tail, extraordinary strength, notable fighting skills and various magical abilities. Some other characters in the series, such as Krillin, Yamcha and Bulma, are also very loosely based on characters from the original Chinese legend. Most fans consider the first Dragon Ball series to be more directly inspired by Journey to the West than Dragon Ball Z or other “Dragon Ball’ series due to the first series’ emphasis on adventure and whimsy. You can find lots of great entertainment when you go with the right cable provider. Check out the AT&T U-verse Packages and prices right here.