There are certain Dragon Ball moments that are permanently seared in its fans’ brains, whether it’s Goku’s inaugural Kamehameha, his first Super Saiyan ascension, or Vegeta’s touching sacrifice against Majin Buu. There are also many Dragon Ball battles that have become touchstones for the industry.
However, Dragon Ball is more than just prolonged fights and flashy transformations. There are subtle details and clever Easter Eggs hidden throughout the franchise that are easy to overlook, especially on a first watch. Anyone who is eager to do another binge through Dragon Ball should keep their eyes open for some of these details, most of which are missed.
The Dragon Ball franchise, from Z to Super, is one of the most popular anime for many reasons, possessing many qualities that other series do not.
10 Teen Gohan’s Friends Are Named After School Supplies
Dragon Ball Z, Episode 200, “Gohan Goes To High School”
The right name for characters isn’t always easy and Akira Toriyama routinely turns to different patterns when it comes to naming certain groups of characters. The most prominent of these conventions is that all of Dragon Ball’s Saiyans who weren’t born on Earth are named after different vegetables. It’s an exciting change of pace when Gohan matures into a teenager and Goku temporarily leaves the picture following his death against Cell.
Dragon Ball Z depicts Gohan’s time at Orange Star High School, where he makes new friends, Erasa and Sharpner. These characters are so incidental and frequently not mentioned by name, which makes it easy to miss that they’re named after school supplies. It’s a fun way for Dragon Ball Z to embrace Gohan’s changes. Dragon Ball Super has also continued and expanded upon this joke with Goten and Trunks’ teen friends from Blue Hal High School, who include Rulah, Kompas, Chok, Scale, and Fayra.
9 Goku Sings Dragon Ball Z’s Theme Song
Dragon Ball Super, Episode 76, “Conquer The Terrifying Foes! Krillin’s Fighting Spirit Rebounds!”
It’s always tricky territory when a dub makes script changes or attempts to add something extra to the series. Dragon Ball’s dub has a mixed reputation when it comes to script changes, but it’s gotten better over time. Dragon Ball Super’s English dub makes a bold joke where Goku can be heard singing the words to “Cha-La Head-Cha-La,” Dragon Ball Z’s iconic, original opening theme song by Hironobu Kageyama.
Dragon Ball Super could have just as easily had Goku singing the lyrics to one of the anime’s English theme song, which makes this joke even better. This gag may completely go over the heads of those who have only watched the dubbed version of Dragon Ball and aren’t that familiar with the Japanese theme song. It’s a playful, unobtrusive touch that helps Dragon Ball Super’s dub pay tribute to its source material.
Dragon Ball is one of the definitive shonen anime of all time, but even the show that set standards breaks others in unique and creative ways.
8 King Kai’s Monkey, Bubbles, References Michael Jackson’s Pet
Dragon Ball Z, Episode 18, “The End Of Snake Way”
Goku has had many important martial arts mentors throughout Dragon Ball, whether it’s Master Roshi or Whis and Beerus. That being said, King Kai equips Goku with essential skills that include his Spirit Bomb and Kaio-Ken Attack, which arguably make his initial death worthwhile. King Kai is an unconventional figure who lives with Bubble and Gregory, a monkey and cricket, who are also important tools in his training.
King Kai’s sidekicks are so odd, but there’s actually some method to this madness. King Kai’s pet monkey, Bubbles, is supposed to be a reference to Michael Jackson’s own pet monkey, Bubbles, which was making headlines during Dragon Ball’s production. Many newer Dragon Ball fans completely overlook this because it’s no longer the ‘90s.
7 Hercule’s Cell Games Reenactment Movie Shouts Out Toei Animation
Dragon Ball Z, Episode 210, “The World Tournament”
Toei Animation is responsible for many groundbreaking anime, but Dragon Ball is easily one of their biggest properties. Toei is responsible for all of Dragon Ball’s different series and feature films, so the anime’s decision to poke fun at their studio is all in good fun. Dragon Ball Z engages in one of its funnier sequences when Hercule Satan reveals his feature film reenactment of the Cell Games, which certainly takes some selfish liberties with what really happened.
Hercule’s movie begins with Toei’s logo, complete with Toei’s visual of waves lapping against some rocks. Dragon Ball Z’s dub goes one step further and inserts a sing-song-y jingle, “Waves and Rocks!” It’s understandable to initially miss what’s going on here and the very niche joke that’s being made.
6 Universe 3’s Fused Robot, Koiceareta, References Pilaf’s Merged Machine
Dragon Ball Super, Episode 120, “A Perfect Survival Strategy! The 3rd Universe’s Menacing Assassin!”
Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power unleashes an entire multiverse of opponents in a high stakes scenario where dozens of fighters engage in a brutal battle royale. Dragon Ball Super introduces dozens of new characters in the Tournament of Power, some of whom feel like alternate reality versions of other characters, like Kale’s Legendary Super Saiyan form and its resemblance to Broly. Universe 3 is a robot-heavy realm that decides to turn to fusion as their final gambit to gain the upper hand.
Borareta, Koitsukai, and Pancéa merge together into Koiceareta, a three-segmented machine that may not immediately stand out to casual Dragon Ball fans. There’s a clear resemblance between Koiceareta’s design and the Pilaf Machine from the original Dragon Ball. The Pilaf Machine merges together Pilaf, Mai, and Shu’s robot into one superior piece of technology. Koiceareta is a shout-out to this forgotten machine from the original Dragon Ball that’s a rewarding pay-off for those who have watched since the series’ start.
While watching the Dragon Ball anime provides fans with plenty of information and the audio to go with it, anime-only fans are missing valuable facts.
5 Bulma’s Casual Wear During Her Trip To Namek Pays Homage To Alien’s Ripley
Dragon Ball Z, Episode 39, “Friends Or Foes?”
Dragon Ball’s Bulma has been around for as long as Goku, and she’s gone through some of the most character and outfit changes in the franchise. It’s incredibly exciting when Dragon Ball Z leaves the comfort of Earth’s atmosphere for the first time when Bulma, Krillin, and Gohan head to Namek to find the planet’s Dragon Balls. Bulma has a unique outfit during this trio’s time in space on their Capsule Corp vessel.
Bulma sports a grey tank top and bottoms that doesn’t initially seem like something that’s noteworthy. It’s quite easy to dismiss this outfit change, but it’s actually Dragon Ball Z’s clever way to pay tribute to Ridley Scott’s Alien. Bulma’s wardrobe is identical to Ellen Ripley’s in Alien, which is only appropriate since Dragon Ball Z heads to space and is about to introduce some aliens of its own.
4 Mount Frappe Is In Dragon Ball’s First Episode
Dragon Ball, Episode 1, “The Secret Of The Dragon Balls”
Dragon Ball is made up of so many iconic locations and Akira Toriyama has built a detailed and lived-in world, whether it’s Earth’s geography or the broader boundaries of outer space and planets like Namek. Mount Frappe becomes an important location for both Goku and Chi-Chi during the end of the original Dragon Ball. The flames that Goku extinguishes there for Ox-King become one of the earliest symbols of Goku and Chi-Chi’s romance.
Dragon Ball’s very first episode actually provides a tease of Mount Frappe before the pretty mountain landscape means anything to the audience. That being said, it’s a wonderful piece of foreshadowing that hints at where this series and Goku’s journey will conclude. It’s a detail that goes unnoticed until most fans’ second watch of the series and, even then, it’s easy to miss.
3 Monster Carrot & His Henchmen Are Still On The Moon
Dragon Ball Super, Volume 10, “Moro’s Wish”
Monster Carrot is a huge anthropomorphic rabbit who can turn people into carrots with his touch. He’s only in a single episode of the original Dragon Ball, “Boss Rabbit’s Magic Touch,” but he’s still left a mark as one of the series’ stranger characters. Monster Carrot’s altercation with Goku, oddly enough, ends up with him and his Rabbit Mob stranded on the moon, resigned to make cookies for children, like the story from Japanese folklore.
Dragon Ball Super‘s 10th manga volume, “Moro’s Wish,” features an extra page where Merus flies through space and passes the moon, which reveals that Monster Carrot is still stuck there. This doesn’t exactly make sense considering the Earth’s moon has been destroyed on more than one occasion in Dragon Ball, but it’s still an enjoyable callback that’s easy to miss since it’s confined to a single manga panel. The same story arc also features a glimpse of Pui Pui’s homeworld, Zoon, before it’s invaded by Moro’s army.
Dragon Ball Z has plenty of oversights and other opportunities that might have been more beneficial to Goku’s story.
2 OVA Characters, Abo & Kado, Return In Frieza’s Army
Dragon Ball Super: Broly
“Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!” is an entertaining OVA special that was produced in celebration of Shonen Jump’s 40th anniversary. “Son Goku and His Friends Return!!’s” biggest claim to fame is that it randomly introduces Vegeta’s brother, Tarble, who he’s apparently always had. However, there’s also a low-level villain who attacks, Abo and Kado, who go on to fuse into Aka. These ancillary enemies take on Gotenks and audiences assumed that they’d never be seen again.
It’s hard to be positive, but it looks like Abo and Kado are actually in the background of a scene in Dragon Ball Super: Broly, within Frieza’s revived army. It absolutely makes sense that these two would align themselves with Frieza and find a sense of purpose in the Frieza Force. This means that it’s still likely for an Aka and Gotenks rematch, which means even more now that Goten and Trunks are teenagers.
Dragon Ball, Episode 36, “Major Metallitron”
Dragon Ball’s biggest plot twist is the reveal in Dragon Ball Z’s first episode that Goku is actually an alien. Goku learns that he’s a member of the Saiyan warrior race, which forever changes the character’s trajectory and the series’ scope. There’s speculation over whether Toriyama always knew that this was the plan for Goku or if it was a later development. Curiously, there’s a moment early on in Dragon Ball where Red Ribbon’s Android, Major Metallitron, scans Goku’s vitals and receives a data reading.
Major Metallitron’s scan of Goku actually reveals that he’s an alien, more than 100 episodes before this officially comes to light in Dragon Ball Z. This reading goes by so quickly, and it’s easy to assume that it’s full of generic information and vitals rather than something that’s important to Dragon Ball’s story. It’s such a satisfying hidden Easter Egg and reveal.
Dragon Ball tells the tale of a young warrior by the name of Son Goku, a young peculiar boy with a tail who embarks on a quest to become stronger and learns of the Dragon Balls, when, once all 7 are gathered, grant any wish of choice.
- Created by
- Akira Toriyama
- First Film
- Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies
- Latest Film
- Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero
- First TV Show
- Dragon Ball
- First Episode Air Date
- April 26, 1989
- Sean Schemmel , Laura Bailey , Brian Drummond , Christopher Sabat , Scott McNeil
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