Trivia / Dragon Ball Z

  • Adored by the Network: Done three times over in the United States alone:
    • For Toonami, When the show's infamous Saban dub switched over from broadcast syndication to Toonami's lineup, it brought in ratings the likes of which the block hadn't seen. When the Saban dub reached its end, FUNimation switched over to producing the dub in-house, and the show remained a favorite all the way to the end. They'd even use any excuse they could to run marathons of the show and movies, with notable examples being DBZ20XL (a week long event where 4 episodes were shown each day, concluding with a movie marathon on the final day), DBZ President's Day Movie Marathon (a movie marathon on President's Day), and Dragon Ball Chronicles (a three-week event meant to celebrate Toonami's move to airing on Saturday nights, where Dragon Ball Z, as well as its prequel and sequel series, took over the block). Even after the show ended, Toonami brought the show back, this time airing the first 67 episodes re-dubbed by FUNimation and completely uncut.
    • Dragon Ball Z Kai had become this for Nicktoons Network, with anywhere from three to six hours worth being shown on any given day in total. This has gotten to such a point that Nicktoons began airing the original Dragon Ball Z movies in an almost completely uncut format, with the only real edit so far being a Hitler scene in Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn getting excised. All blood, violence, and profanity is kept, at a TV-Y7-FV rating no less.
    • For the Toonami revival, Dragon Ball Z Kai has now escalated to this point. The show has a rerunnote  on the regular Adult Swim network at 8:00 PM on Saturdays, becoming the first show of the new Toonami block to accomplish such a feat. On top of that, it leads off the regular block at Midnight on the same day, getting better promotion than even Kill la Kill, and when asked about it, the Toonami crew seemed to imply that it will keep that slot for quite a long time.
    • Italian television channel Italia 1 is very, very fond of Dragon Ball. They aired the three series (Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT) continuously since 1998: after GT's ending, they start over again with the first episode of Dragon Ball, then Z, then GT... As of July 2012, we're reaching the end of the sixth rerun of Z (if this number doesn't impress you, be wary that Italia 1 is a general-purpose channel, not an anime-only, and they air one episode per day... This means that for almost twelve years there wasn't a day without Dragon Ball!).
  • Abridged Series:
  • Banned Episode: The Saban dub episode, "Escape from Piccolo" was withheld from airing during the original Saban run due to the network taking issue with the theme of kids rebelling against state authority figures. This is why the episode that precedes it, "Princess Snake's Hospitality" ends with a preview of "Showdown in the Past" instead of the actual next episode. It did eventually air on Toonami as a "lost episode."
  • Cash Cow Franchise: For over thirty years and counting.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Turles is voiced by Masako Nozawa.
  • God Never Said That: The age old "Toriyama was original planning to end Dragonball Z at the _____ Arc." The only confirmed potential ending was the original first arc of Dragon Ball.
  • Name's the Same: Son Gokuu is the Japanese pronunciation of Sun Wukong, The Monkey King.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • The Android Saga is a strange example of this since it was Toriyama's former editor Torashima who drove the changes, and as such he wasn't ordering the changes, merely making suggestions. Originally, Toriyama intended Androids #19 and #20 to be the fearsome killers Future Trunks warned everyone about. However, Torashima contacted him and essentially said "These are the villains? An old man and a China doll?" This prompted the creation of Androids #17 and #18, but Torashima thought they were just punks and not at all imposing, which is where Cell comes from.
    • It continued with Cell, too. Toriyama never intended him to change forms, but his then-current editor Kondou complained that Cell's original insectoid appearance was too ugly; when Toriyama had him become Semi-Perfect, Kondou dismissed that form as well, saying he "looked like a moron", which lead to the creation of Perfect Cell (and Cell achieving that status earlier than Toriyama intended).
  • Flashback with the Other Darrin:
    • Occurred in FUNimation's initial dubbing of the series due to the switch from the Ocean Group cast to the in-house FUNimation cast midway through the Frieza saga. Any flashbacks to scenes that took place in the Saban dub were dubbed/redubbed with the FUNimation cast. It's also a case of flashing back with the other network's broadcast standards, as these flashbacks showed scenes that were either cut or censored in the Saban dub completely unedited. This also occurred with flashbacks to episodes that took place before the events covered by the Saban dub.
    • The Westwood dub redubbed flashbacks to scenes originally dubbed by the FUNimation cast with the Ocean cast. Sometimes, there would even be times where Ocean would invoke this trope on themselves. For example, during the episode, "Gohan's Plea," Gohan has a flashback to Goku's battle with Raditz, which featured Jillian Michaels filling in for Saffron Henderson as Gohan, Kirby Morrow filling in for Ian James Corlett as Goku, and Alistair Abell filling in for Jason Gray-Stanford as Raditz. This most frequently occurred with Goku due to him switching actors a whopping four times during the UK run of the show. The most common actor to invoke this trope while in the role was Kirby Morrow, who had to dub flashbacks to scenes originally done by Ian James Corlett, Peter Kelamis, and Sean Schemmel respectively.
    • The Big Green dub had at least two instances of this. The first was in Cooler's Revenge, where Bardock, who was voiced by David Gasman in Bardock: The Father of Goku, was voiced by Doug Rand in the flashback at the beginning of the movie. The second one occurred in The Return of Cooler, where Cooler, who was voiced by Doug Rand in Cooler's Revenge, was voiced by Ed Marcus in the flashback featured towards the beginning of the film.
  • Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros.": Hatchiyack's first appearance outside Japan was in Raging Blast 2, where it is both a playable character as well as featuring in the remastered version of Plan To Eradicate The Super Saiyans included in the game.
  • Missing Episode:
    • Material was cut in the original version of Z's Saban dub of seasons 1 and 2, mostly for violence, but sometimes smaller arcs were too.
    • In Hungary, where Moral Guardians have forced the series off the air in 1999, episodes 137+ were first released officially only in late 2013, although they've been available on video hosting sites since 2009. Episodes 227-231 were still missing until finally being shown in January 2014.
  • Network to the Rescue: Believe it or not, the dub of Dragon Ball Z was originally going to end with its second season note  because it's syndicated run in America wasn't drawing enough interest. It wasn't until Toonami picked up the rights in the late-90s that the show got a second lease on life and became a smash hit in America.
  • Recycled Script: The Dragon Ball movies are all very loose adaptations of story arcs from the original manga and TV series. While the DBZ movies are more unique, they can be matched up to certain fights from the TV series as well.
    • The Dead Zone mirrors the battle with Raditz. Common elements are the introduction of Gohan, Piccolo and Goku teaming up to rescue the kidnapped Gohan. Garlic Jr. even has Raditz' voice in the Japanese version. Garlic Jr. also parallels elements of both King Piccolo and Piccolo Jr. Like Piccolo Jr., Garlic Jr. is a demon (later retconed into an alien too) and the son of the demon he's named after, has a connection to Kami through his father, and seeks to avenge his father's death. And like King Piccolo, he seeks the Dragon Balls to make himeslf more powerful.
    • The World's Strongest is fairly original in that it doesn't recycle many story elements from the series proper, but it does have a few. Elements of Goku's fight with Dr. Wheelo are lifted from Goku and Vegeta's fight in the Saiyan arc: Goku turns the tide of the fight by using Kaioken x3 and gets into a beam struggle with Wheelo that requires him to use Kaioken x4 to overpower Wheelo's beam, blasting Wheelo into the stratosphere but failing to kill him, leaving Goku weak and needing to use the Spirit Bomb to finish him off.
    • The Tree of Might matches up to the battle with Nappa and Vegeta. The lesser characters fight the minions and lose, while Goku stops them easy, a parallel to the Nappa fight. Turles is an evil Saiyan who has come to Earth to take advantage of a precious resource (mirroring Vegeta's quest for the Dragon Balls). Goku has the upperhand over Turles, until he eats the fruit of might and becomes incredibly strong (Vegeta transformed in the main timeline) and is defeated only by a group effort (Spirit Bomb in the movie, and over the course of the fight with Vegeta everyone takes a bite out of him). Also, Gohan turns into a Great Ape.
    • An evil Namekian wants to use the dragon balls to regain his youth, (and with it, much of his lost power) before taking over the world with his strange and sometimes demonic looking minions. Quick, are we talking about the Lord Slug movie, or the King Piccolo arc from the original Dragonball? This was lampshaded and mocked mercilessly in the abridged treatment of the movie, where Slug's own minions keep mistakenly calling him King Piccolo, (despite the fact that this is Slug's Berserk Button and he kills several for it) Shenron the dragon thinks this really reminds him of something, and even Goku makes the connection.
    • Cooler's Revenge is a very obvious duplicate of the Frieza arc, both ending with Goku turning Super Saiyan. Cooler is even Freeza's older brother.
    • The Return of Cooler plays off of Frieza's transformation into a cyborg by having Cooler return as a rebuilt robot.
    • Super Android 13 is based off the Android Saga. Featuring the three main Super Saiyans battling three androids who attack a city. Also plays with a bit of Cell, as Android 13 absorbs his allies, 14 and 15.
    • Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan is based off the battle with Cell's second form and Goku's fight at the Cell games. Broly is somewhat weak (kind-of, his actual power was hinted to be much stronger than initially led to believe, but a large bulk of it was forcibly suppressed by his father via a Slave Crown) until he transforms into his ultimate form, leaving the characters powerless against him. In the anime, Cell was easily defeated by a powered up Vegeta, but when he got an upgrade he was unstoppable. He fought Goku in the Cell games and it ended with Goku quitting. The movie ends with Goku getting thrashed, but at the last second wins. One of the more original movies.
    • Bojack Unbound is a very obvious spin on Gohan's fight with Cell. Goku is already dead and Gohan becomes Super Saiyan and fights Bojack, loses, then comes back as Super Saiyan 2 and wins with the help of his father. Mr Satan ends up taking the credit. Also, Bojack's minions represent the Cell Jr's, who fight the other characters.
    • Then in the very next movie, Broly: Second Coming, Gohan and Goku's father/son Kamehameha is used, except this time, it's Gohan and Goten who are assisted by their fathers spirit. Also, Broly, is frozen in ice for an extended period of time, just like how Buu was sealed in a magical ball for millenia.
    • The main characters of Bio-Broly are Goten, Trunks, Android 18, and Mr. Satan...the very same characters who fought in the final round of the Budokai tournament toward the start of the Buu saga. Also, there is a Quirky Miniboss Squad fighting for a very weak Big Bad, and the main villain is discovered in a chamber a la Cell, or even Buu if you accept the fact he is technically sealed and about to be released.
    • Fusion Reborn is based off the Buu Saga. A large, fat and jovial enemy is beaten on by Super Saiyan 3 Goku, only to transform into a smaller and sleeker form, who is ruthless. It takes a Fusion to beat him. Parallels the Buu Saga, where the main villain is a fat clown who takes a slimmer and more diabolical form and it takes a fusion of Goku and Vegeta to stop him (Vegito in the manga, Gogeta in the movie).
    • Wrath of the Dragon also parallels elements of the Buu Saga. Like Buu, Hirudegarn is an ancient monster created by a small wizard (like Bibidi), a group of them in this case, that wreaked havoc centuries ago and was sealed away. One of the small wizards, like Babidi, has come to Earth seeking to release the monster and succeeds, but is later killed by the monster. Tapion, like the Supreme Kai, has witnessed the monster's destructive power firsthand and tries in vain to prevent his revival (Tapion even looks like Supreme Kai). Like Buu, Hirudegarn can defeat even Ultimate Gohan, and when he looks to be defeated, transforms into an even deadlier form. It takes Goku and his ultimate attack to destroy the monster. Very obvious.
  • Talking to Himself:
    • In Japanese Dub:
      • Veteran voice actress Masako Nozawa voices Goku, as well as both his sons and his deceased father Bardock. Not to mention Turles.
      • In the Japanese version, both Pan and Videl are played by Yuko Minaguchi
      • Cooler is voiced by Ryuusei Nakao, same as Freeza. The voice itself is also essentially the same, differing in the delivery rather than timbre.
    • In English Dub:
      • Sean Schemmel played Adult!Goku, and later played King Kai.
      • In the FUNimation dub, Chris Sabat plays Vegeta, Piccolo, and Yamcha. While the latter doesn't have too much screen time, it doesn't change the fact that Sabat is talking to himself a majority of the time, especially through most of the Saiyan arrival scenes.
      • Notable that Sabat once said that he wanted to get Scott McNeil to be Piccolo in the dub of Kai, which would've largely averted this trope the second time around. Flying someone all the way over from Canada to Texas for a voice acting job is unfortunately not always feasible...
      • Goten and Videl in the English dub, are both are voiced by Kara Edwards.
    • In Mexican Dub:
      • Laura Torres plays both child!Goku, child!Gohan and child!Goten.
      • Mario Castañeda, who voices teenage and adult!Goku, voices Bardock, Turles, Coronel Silver, Young!Master Roshi and Pamput.
      • Carlos Segundo is know by voice of Piccolo Daimaku and Piccolo Jr, but also Mr. Popo, Kami-sama, Master Tsuru, Mummy, Antoine the Great, Gora and Shaolong.
      • Patricia Acevedo plays Chichi and Chiaotzu.
      • Humberto Solorzano is main voice of Raditz. Also King Cold, Tamborine, King Champa and Akuman.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • As explained, doing all those fight scenes really strains the throat. Goku's Super Saiyan 3 transformation had non-stop screaming for the better part of an episode. And a few seiyuu did die by the time Kai aired, most notably Daisuke Gori.
    • More than a few of the English voice actors did not return for Kai, most notably kid Gohan, Bulma, and Frieza's have different actors. Also, none of the Ginyu Force's voice actors, except Recoome, returned. Some did return for Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods like Android 18, Oolong, and pre-recorded lines for kid Goku and Gohan's actress from Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z were used.
    • Happened with the entire voice cast when FUNimation started making episodes for Toonami in 1999. Due to Cartoon Network giving FUNimation less money to produce the dub than Saban did, they couldn't afford to rehire the original Ocean cast, so they had to assemble their own in-house cast. This cast would dub the remainder of the series, and many of its actors, such as Sean Schemmel, Chris Sabat, and Sonny Strait, continue to dub the series to this day. It happened again with the countries that received the Westwood dub. It was essentially meant that the Ocean cast replaced the FUNimation cast in these areas, but due to a hectic airing schedule, some regions would seemingly switch between the FUNi dub and the Westwood dub almost at random, which meant that this trope was repeatedly invoked.
    • In the Latin American dub, nearly every voice actor was replaced in Kai, but the original VA's were brought back for Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and Kai: The Final Chapters.
    • Goku during the show's initial English airing was one of the most frequent examples of this trope. Goku was initially voiced by Ian James Corlett during the original Saban dub. After he quit Ocean due to a pay dispute, he was replaced with Peter Kelamis for the remainder of the Saban dub and the three Pioneer movies. FUNimation then used their own in-house cast for the Toonami episodes, which featured Sean Schemmel in the role. Schemmel continued to voice Goku for the remainder of the series and every subsequent DBZ iteration in the States since. Over in the regions that got the Westwood dub, however, Schemmel was replaced by a returning Peter Kelamis starting with the Trunks saga. Finally, about midway through the Cell saga, Kelamis left the cast to focus on his stand-up career, and Kirby Morrow played Goku for the rest of the Westwood dub. The only other character to top Goku in number of actor changes during the original airing was Master Roshi, who went through four actors during the American run (Ian Corlett for the Saiyan and early Namek episodes of the Saban dub, Peter Kelamis for the remaining Saban episodes, Don Brown for the Pioneer dub of World's Strongest, and Mike McFarland for the in-house FUNi episodes) and five during the Westwood run (all of the actors listed previously, plus Terry Klassen for the Westwood episodes.)
    • Master Roshi's Japanese voice had to be recast partway through the show after Kōhei Miyauchi, who had voiced the character since 1986, died just three months after recording episode 260, his final acting session. Since episode 288, Roshi has been voiced by Hiroshi Masuoka. This marks the only time a character was recast during Z's Japanese run due to a seiyuu's death.
    • The Big Green dub recast many of its characters in-between movies:
      • When Vegeta/Vejituh first appears in the Return of Cooler dub, he's voiced by Doug Rand (the actor that would most famously voice Broly in the dub.) In every other movie after that, he's voiced by Ed Marcus (the actor most commonly referred to by the fandom as "Old Bastard.")
      • The same thing happened to Cooler. In Cooler's Revenge, he's voiced by Doug Rand, but in The Return of Cooler, he's voiced by Ed Marcus.
      • In the Bardock special, a flashforward to Goku and Vegeta's battle on Earth infamously has Vegeta being voiced by Sharon Mann ("Clearin"'s voice actress.) This is because she voices Kid Vegeta in the dub, and for some reason, AB Groupe chose to have her play Adult Vegeta as well.
      • In Tree of Might, Tien is infamously given a very alien like voice by Doug Rand. When Tien reappears in Bojack Unbound, he's given a more normal-sounding, albeit very Shakespearian voice by David Gasman.
      • Bardock was given not one but two voice actors: David Gasman provided his voice in The Father of Goku, while Doug Rand voices Bardock in one scene in Cooler's Revenge.
      • Their usual voice for Piccolo, Paul Bandey, was absent from Dead Zone. Piccolo was instead voiced by Goku's actor David Gasman, leading to a case of Talking to Himself
    • The German dub replaced Santiago Ziesmer with Oliver Siebeck as Vegeta. The fans preferred Siebeck.
  • Truth in Television: At the beginning of the series, a plot point of the fight against Raditz is that when Goku and Piccolo's energy techniques raise their maximum power by concentrating that power into a single point. In real life, techniques in martial arts really do work this way, having the concentration of an attack aimed at a very small area to maximize the attack power of the striking area; with follow-through and the striking motion being concentrated in order to create no wasted motion. This concentration of energy and power onto a single point is how martial artists are able to strike through concrete and wood.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • In the scriptwriter's original treatment, Beerus was supposed to be The Virus (hence his name) and responsible for turning the Saiyan race evil in the first place, giving the Super Saiyan God subplot an immediacy and relevance to the God of Destruction besides him just wanting to fight someone strong. He would have even turned Goku's friends against him, forcing him to reflect on "what makes a hero" and so on. This idea was too dark for the series' creator, however, and Akira Toriyama reworked the plot into something much more lighthearted, with the goofy, fun-loving, purple cat-god we now know.
    • Toriyama didn't plan on Goku being an alien. His Great Ape transformation was supposed to be something like that of a werewolf and nod to Journey to the West. He also didn't plan Piccolo as being an alien either. Yet, he made it work.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants:
    • The iconic Super Saiyan transformation came as a result of Toriyama not wanting to ink black hair anymore as it's tedious and easy to mess up.
    • Toriyama experienced this during the Android and Cell Saga due to Executive Meddling. Originally, Dr. Gero and Android 19 were intended to be the Androids from Trunks' future and the Big Bad of the arc, but his former editor did not like their designs. This led to the creations of Android 16, 17, and 18, but he was still not satisfied. This led to the creation of Cell. Then Toriyama's actual editor at the time liked the character but hated the design, so this led to the Semi-Perfect and eventually Perfect forms.
    • Toriyama in general is known for this. He rarely if ever planned ahead and tended not to do his work until the last minute, some time the day before his issue was due. This is partly why Dragon Ball has a few plot holes and retcons.

Miscellaneous Trivia:

  • According to a one-off line in the FUNimation dub, Vegeta wears a size 9 boot.
    • According to the Westwood version of the same scene, Vegeta wears a 34" uniform.
  • Along with Fairy Tail, Toriko, and Attack on Titan, Dragon Ball Z is currently one of the most requested shows for Toonami on [adult swim], mostly due to it being one of the block's more famous shows when it was still on Cartoon Network. Unfortunately, the chances of it airing are slim to none due to Nicktoons holding the cable broadcast rights to the show note .
    • Ironically enough, Dragon Ball Z (as well as Dragon Ball Z Kai) technically did make it on the new Toonami… over in Asia.
    • Cooler's Revenge is set to air on May 24th, in celebration of the 2nd anniversary of Toonami's revival on [adult swim]. Still no word on the show itself, however.
    • Announced May 2014, Dragon Ball Z Kai will be returning home.
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