As a franchise, Dragon Ball is one of those cult phenomena that has taken on a life of its own. For many, it’s the show that introduced them to the anime genre. Not only is the anime beloved by many, there’s a wide range of merchandise for fans to collect. With so many series, films, and dubs, it’s easy to get lost in the humongous amount of content.
Whether it’s nostalgia or a need to catch up on everything you’ve missed that brought you here, we’re happy to fill you in on everything you need to know about Dragon Ball Z.
Ever wondered who would prevail in a Superman vs. Goku showdown? We’ve weighed the odds and come up with an answer.
Character Names And Puns
The writers and creators behind Dragon Ball Z are big fans of using puns and wordplays when naming characters.
For example, every pure-blooded Saiyan character has a name that sounds or looks like a vegetable. Vegeta is the obvious example here, as his name is literally the first three syllables of the word ‘vegetable’. Radtiz is remarkable close to radish, while Kakarot was chosen as it sounds so much like carrot.
Clearly, there’s a longstanding inside joke going on here – it’s not just vegetables you need to look out for. There’s a definite chill surrounding the character of Frieza, who not only sounds like he’s there to keep your ice cream frosty but also has a brother named Cooler and a father called King Cold.
Evidently, the more subtle vegetable nods grew dull after a while, and they decided to get a little more blatant – Bulma’s family all have names associated with underwear, to the point that in some of the dubs, her daughter is actually called Bra.
This trend came full circle in The Legendary Super Saiyan movie when Roshi accidentally called Broly Brocolli in an almost fourth-wall break that’s hilarious to anyone in on the joke.
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Saiyan Vegetable Names In Dragon Ball Z
For those of you interested in the peculiar enigma of Saiyan vegetable names, the word ‘saiya’ in Japanese was created by rearranging the letters in ‘yasai’, a Japanese word meaning ‘vegetable’.
That’s where it all began.
The result of this fun play on words is that all the full-blooded Saiyan birth names were purposefully created to be puns relating to various vegetables and their names.
Here’s a full rundown of all the amusing ways the show creators have used vegetable puns to name Dragon Ball Z characters:
- Vegeta (Bejīta) and King Vegeta (Bejīta-Ō) – As noted, the start of the word ‘vegetable’.
- Tarble (Tāburu) – Sound suspiciously like the second part of the word ‘vegetable’ in English, which is not included in Vegeta’s name. Taken together with his brother’s name you get the full world ‘Vegeta’ ‘Tarble’ – vegetable.
- Bardock (Bādakku) – A plan on the Japanese word, ‘Burdock’, a root vegetable.
- Borgos (Totepo) – A play on the word ‘potato’.
- Beets (Bīttsu) – A straightforward naming after beets, which is also shared by Beat (Bito), a Saiyan hero.
- Broly (Burorī) – A play on the word ‘broccoli’.
- Cabba (Kyabe) – A play on the word ‘cabbage’. The Japanese version of Dragon Ball shows Kale calling him ‘Cabbage’ when she first transforms into her Super Saiyan form (much like Roshi calls Broly ‘Broccoli’ in movie 8.
- Caulifla (Kaurifura) – Taken from the vegetable cauliflower.
- Fasha (Seripa) – A slightly more convoluted one, this was created by rearranging ‘parsley’ into the word ‘’seylipa’, and then abbreviating the ‘sey’ to ‘se’. Her beta name was Korn, taken from ‘corn’.
- Gine – A play on ‘negi’ which is Japanese for Spring Onion.
- Kale (Kēru) – Just straight up stealing the name of the leafy green veg.
- Leek (Rīku) – Another blatant use of the name of leeks.
- Kakarot (Kakarotto) – A quirky take of the word ‘carrot’, this is Goku’s birth name.
- Nappa – This is the general Japanese term for leafy green vegetables, as well as a type of cabbage.
- Onio (From Neko Majin) – A play on the word ‘onion’.
- Paragus (Paragasu) – An abbreviation of the word ‘asparagus’. This is particularly evident in the English dub, which uses the exact spelling sans the ‘as-‘
Vegeta Wasn’t Supposed To Be A Hero
Imagining a Dragon Ball Z without Vegeta is pretty tough. Yet he was never intended to become such a central character in the franchise, let alone a hero. In fact, the character was originally designed as a one-off villain.
Given how frequently Vegta gets defeated, it’s tough to say when they were going to write him out. However, the character proved so popular that the show kept bringing him back repeatedly. Eventually, the fan-favorite Saiyan prince was allowed to grow and develop, showing a softer side once he met Bulma and ascending to the level of Super Saiyan.
And we’re so glad he did, or we’d have missed out on so many spectacular moments that are now quintessential Dragon Ball. Not least of that is his rivalry with Goku, which culminated in his transformation into Majin Vegeta.
It just goes to show how influential fan opinion can be for an originally disposable character to become one of the central figures and longtime favorites.
Gohan Should Have Become The Main Character Following The Cell Saga
From the first introduction of Gohan and that initial fight with Raditz, the character of Gohan was certainly set up to be important. It was evident he had phenomenal power that was currently dormant but would soon be unleashed.
The more the series progressed, the more evident it became, and by the time we reach the Cell Saga, Gohan had been clearly positioned as a prominent, leading force in the show.
So fans were left vexed and perplexed when the Great Saiyaman saga arrived, and Goku’s heroic son was sidelined and became little more than comic relief. While there’s been a lot of speculation as to why this happened, show creator Akira Toriyama himself has clarified the reason: once it came time to bring Gohan into the spotlight, he realized the character was a scholar more than he was a fighter. He lacked Goku’s drive to fight and improve and continually grow stronger, which was the entire premise of Dragon Ball.
Goku And Frieza’s First Fight Was The Longest In An Anime
Given that it took almost twenty episodes to resolve the first fight between Goku and Frieza, this may not be a huge surprise. While Frieza infamously gave a five-minute warning, he proved to be out by several hours. All told, the confrontation between the pair ate up almost four solid hours of screen time, from the point on Namek with Goku and Frieza first square off against each other to the moment Goku leaves him for dead.
Sadly, despite all that effort on Goku’s part, he never actually got credit for the kill, as a brief encounter with Future Trunks proved to be the ultimate cause of Frieza’s demise.
While the fight may be a record breaker, it’s also emblematic of some of the issues Dragon Ball Z faced in its early years, particularly in terms of pacing. Many believe there was too much filler in early episodes, with encounters being dragged out and overdrawn.
This fight is the point that immediately springs to mind whenever that comes up in conversation. Resurrection ‘F’ gives the pair a second chance to duke it out; in many ways, it’s a far more enjoyable watch. While they have new transformations that certainly make it more visually pleasing, it’s finally getting a chance to see a fast-paced and satisfying dust-up between the two longstanding rivals. This was what fans had been graving since the seemingly endless battle between the pair in the 90s.
Akira Toriyama Couldn’t Figure Out How To Draw Female Super Saiyans
If you’ve ever watched Dragon Ball Z and wondered about the absence of female super Saiyans, the reason for their absence is actually remarkably simple.
The answer is that Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball’s creator, just couldn’t figure out what female super Saiyans would look like. While many may find this a bit of a cop-out and wonder if there wasn’t more to it, we may well get to see females transform in the future, especially given the video game transformations have now paved the way for what transformed women might look like.
Looking for more 90s-era anime? Check out our top picks from the decade.