Follow TV Tropes


Trivia / Dragon Ball Z

Go To

  • The Abridged Series:
  • Adored by the Network:
    • When the series' 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 series remained a favorite all the way to the end. They'd even use any excuse they could to run marathons of the series and movies, with notable examples being DBZ20XL (a week long event where four episodes were shown each day, concluding with a movie marathon on the final day), DBZ Presidents' Day Movie Marathon (a movie marathon on Presidents' 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). At one time, they would show the series 25 times a week (two episodes every weekday, two uncut episodes every Midnight Run, and five encores on Saturday). Even after the series ended, Toonami brought it back, this time airing the first 67 episodes re-dubbed by FUNimation and completely uncut.
      • For a variety of factors (9/11, scheduling issues regarding Kids' WB!'s and Cartoon Network's Toonami, it goes into detail here), in 2001, there was more than one week where Toonami's entire run was nothing but this show and Dragon Ball.
    • Advertisement:
    • On Cartoon Network Latin America, the series still had reruns years after it ended during the 7:00 PM to 12:00 AM schedule until it was controversially replaced by Dragon Ball Z Kai.
    • 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.
  • Ascended Fanon: For a long time, fans speculated on why Goten and Trunks seemingly had such an easier time achieving Super Saiyan than their fathers. The most common theory was that they somehow had inherited it from Goku and Vegeta, something that Akira Toriyama finally confirmed in an 2017 interview, whilst also elaborating on exactly how it works.
  • Banned Episode:
    • The Saban dub's tenth episode, "Escape from Piccolo", which was edited from episodes 15 and 16, was withheld from airing during the original Saban run due to the syndicate 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", was released in Pioneer's video releases and FUNimation's Rock the Dragon Set, and the uncut episodes are part of FUNimation's Season 1.
    • Advertisement:
    • The episode where Frieza's second form's horns impales Krillin was heavily edited when it aired on Toonami, but was released uncut on FUNimation's DVDs.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: For over thirty years and counting.
  • The Character Died with Him: An ironic and unintentional example. Kohei Miyauchi, Muten Roshi's Japanese voice actor, died shortly after the episode where Roshi is killed by Buu aired. Naturally, this didn't last long, and he was voiced by Hiroshi Masuoka after Roshi was brought back from the dead.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices:
    • Goku, Gohan, Goten, Bardock and Tullece are voiced by Masako Nozawa.
    • Krillin (Kuririn) and Yajirobe are voiced by Mayumi Tanaka.
    • Interestingly, while the English dubs cast numerous male actors as the above characters, they did the opposite for Frieza, who was voiced by Ryusei Nakao in Japanese, but dubbed by Pauline Newstone and later Linda Young in English. Young once mentioned in an interview that she interpreted the character as completely androgynous.
  • Advertisement:
  • 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).
  • Fan Edit: The author of Dragon Ball Recut, which is essentially a DBZ Kai-esque recut of Dragon Ball, announced that they were working on a similar edit of DBZ.
  • Fan Nickname
    • Because of how Krillin, Bulma, and Vegeta's names are pronounced in the Big Green dub, their versions in that dub often have their names spelled as "Clearin", "Blooma", and "Vegituh".
    • Before their roles in the Big Green dub were discovered, the voices of Ed Marcus and Paul Bandley were referred as that of the "Old Bastards" due to how old they sounded in their miscast roles. Similarly, Doug Rand was referred to as "That Guy Who Is Trying Too Hard to Sound Cool" because of the myriad of odd and rough voices he uses to voice multiple characters.
  • 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 Saban'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 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 series. The most common actor to invoke this 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 AB Groupe 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.
  • Follow the Leader:
    • The series inspired a lot of current shonen manga. The creators of One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach have all admitted to being inspired by Dragon Ball to certain levels of degree. Naruto goes so far as to having the titular character wear florescent orange/yellow and blue attire, similar to Goku. Also in part two of the series, Naruto switches to an orange and black suit similar in design to Goku's gi. They also share a massive appetite and both turn into giant monsters. Even more since Naruto got a Golden Super Mode like Goku before him.
    • Even video games such as Sonic the Hedgehog were influenced by it as well, from giving Sonic a Super Saiyan-esque transformation as early as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to the existence of Silver the Hedgehog in Sonic 2006 being credited to Trunks. In fact, Sonic 2006 features a scene where Sonic, Shadow, and Silver all go Super Hedgehog, evoking strong resemblance to Goku, Vegeta, and Trunks.
  • God Never Said That: The age old "Toriyama was originally planning to end DBZ during the _____ Saga." The only confirmed potential ending was the original first arc of Dragon Ball.
  • Image Source:
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • Most of the TV specials have only aired a couple of times and have never seen a home release. They include a promo for Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13!, a clip show of the 1993 season, an interactive crossover with One Piece and Astro Boy, and another crossover with One Piece and Kochikame.
    • The original broadcast audio for Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z taken from VCR recordings of each episode's initial broadcast in the Kanto region of Japan. This audio is highly sought-out as it offers the closest quality to the series' master tapes, which Toei Animation wiped both for economic reasons and because executives at the time were still skeptical of home media.
    • FUNimation's early dubs of Dragon Ball (first 13 episodes and first movie) and DBZ (53 episodes, first 3 movies) with Ocean are this, but at least they were all released to DVD at some point, and not impossible to find. They even released a limited edition box set in 2013 with the DBZ episodes, for nostalgic completionists.
    • AB Groupe's Ocean dub of the second half of DBZ, and the Blue Water dub of Dragon Ball and DBGT. None of those dubs were released to home video of any kind. The only recordings that exist are ones taped off of Canadian and European television. DBZ and DBGT are fully accounted for, but it's starting to look like Dragon allB's overseas dub might be lost, save for a few episodes.
  • 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 DBZ's Saban dub of Seasons 1 and 2, mostly for violence, but sometimes smaller filler arcs were cut 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.
  • Money, Dear Boy: The reason why DBZ became a separate series from the original Dragon Ball anime was, according to Kazuhiko Torishima (Toriyama's first editor), because a new series would get more money and promotion than a pre-existing one.
  • Name's the Same: Son Goku is the Japanese pronunciation of Sun Wukong, The Monkey King.
  • Network to the Rescue: Believe it or not, the dub of DBZ was originally going to end with its second season note  because its 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.
  • 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 at random, which meant that this trope was repeatedly invoked.
    • In the Latin American Spanish dub, nearly every voice actor was replaced in Kai, but the original VA's were brought back for Kai: The Final Chapters, the Battle of Gods and Resurrection 'F' movies, and Super.
    • Goku during the series' initial English airing was one of the most frequent examples of this. 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 iteration in America 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.
    • Muten 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 DBZ's Japanese run due to a voice actor's death.
    • The Big Green dub recast many of its characters in-between movies:
      • When Vegeta/Vegetuh 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, "Kulirin"'s voice actress. This is because she voices Kid Vegeta in that dub, and for some reason, AB Groupe chose to have her play Adult Vegeta as well.
      • Piccolo/Big Green is normally voiced by Paul Bandley (the other "Old Bastard"), but for Dead Zone, he's voiced by David Gasman.
      • In Tree of Might, Tenshinhan 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. Even weirder is that Sharon Mann voices him on two occasions: when he gets punched by Turles in Tree of Might and when he gets killed in The History of Trunks.
      • Bardock was given not one but two voice actors: David Gasman provided his voice in Bardock: The Father of Goku, while Doug Rand voices Bardock in the intro scene in Cooler's Revenge.
    • The German dub replaced Santiago Ziesmer with Oliver Siebeck as Vegeta. The fans preferred Siebeck.
  • Overtook the Manga: The Garlic Jr. Saga and the Otherworld Budokai Saga were created as a stopgap before the Android and Buu Sagas began.
  • Playing Against Type: Before voicing Vegeta, Ryo Horikawa was known for voicing soft-spoken Nice Guys, with the most notable example being Andromeda Shun.
  • 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 of the Garlic Jr. filler arc. Garlic Jr. also parallels elements of both Piccolo Daimao and Piccolo Jr. Like Piccolo Jr., Garlic Jr. is a demon (later retconned 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 himslf 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. Uiro are lifted from Goku and Vegeta's fight in the Saiyan Saga: Goku turns the tide of the fight by using Kaioken x3 and gets into a beam struggle with Uiro that requires him to use Kaioken x4 to overpower Uiro's beam, blasting Uiro into the stratosphere but failing to kill him, leaving Goku weak and needing to use the Genkidama to finish him off.
    • The Tree of Might matches up to the battle with Nappa and Vegeta. The secondary characters fight the minions and lose, while Goku stops them easy, a parallel to the Nappa fight. Tullece 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 Tullece, until he eats the fruit of might and becomes incredibly strong (Vegeta transformed into a Great Ape in the series proper) and is defeated only by a group effort (Genkidama in the movie; Krillin, Gohan, and Yajirobe taking a bite out of Vegeta in the series proper). 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 Piccolo Daimao 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 Freeza arc, both ending with Goku turning Super Saiyan. Coola is even Freeza's older brother.
    • The Return of Cooler plays off of Freeza's transformation into a cyborg by having Coola 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. Broli 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, is overwhelmed, 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, Broli, 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, and it takes a fusion of Goku and Vegeta to beat him (Vegetto in the manga and the anime, 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 Bibbidi), a group of them in this case, that wreaked havoc centuries ago and was sealed away. One of the small wizards (again, like Bobbidi) has come to Earth seeking to release the monster and succeeds, but is later killed by the monster. Tapion, like Kaioshin, has witnessed the monster's destructive power firsthand and tries in vain to prevent his revival (Tapion even looks like Kaioshin). Like Buu, Hirudegarn can defeat even Ultimate Gohan, and when he looks to be defeated, transforms into an even deadlier form. In the end it takes Goku and his ultimate attack to destroy the monster. The Latin American Spanish dub went one step further and gave the Bobbidi and Supreme Kai analogues the same voice actors as Babidi and Supreme Kai.
    • The actual English dub script went through this when Funimation redubbed the first 67 episodes in 2005 that were originally dubbed by Saban with Ocean Studios in 1996. Most of the ADR script was recycled, with some revisions, until around episode 27. While some questionable localization choices were addressed (such as Goku's father being a "brilliant scientist"), others were kept (such as planet Vegeta being destroyed "three years ago" instead of over twenty). After episode 27, the Saban dub script was completely scrapped in favor of a new one that was slightly more faithful, and also peppered with gratuitous profanity. Averted for the Dead Zone and World's Strongest movies, where Funimation ignored the faithful Pioneer dub scripts in favor of newer, more localized scripts. For Tree of Might, they mostly recycled the script for the edited Saban TV dub instead of the uncut Pioneer video dub.
    • Likewise, the Westwood dub for episodes 123-291, done with Ocean Studios, mostly recycled the Funimation dub script for those episodes, with Never Say "Die" added and other small changes. It should be noted that Funimation was still using writers from Ocean at that point, which may have been a reason for this.
  • Sleeper Hit: Absolutely not the case in Japan, where the original Dragon Ball had managed to get an anime deal before Toriyama had even came up with it thanks to the success of Dr. Slump. However, it was very much so in the West. The Saban dub was originally cancelled after airing in syndication and failing to find an audience. Eventually, it started airing on Toonami and became a runaway success there, nine months after the entire series had concluded in Japan. In response to this success, FUNimation started producing an in-house dub with a completely different cast.
  • Throw It In!: In the Latin American dub of DBZ, after Goku forfeits his fight against Cell, the latter describes the rest of the Z Fighters being outclassed by calling them "insects", Vegeta's Catch Phrase in the dub. After that line, René García, Vegeta's voice actor, makes a comment about the Borrowed Catch Phrase that was found funny enough that they added it to the episode as Vegeta thinking it:note 
    Vegeta: Argh! Not only he took my cells, but also my lines!
  • Trolling Creator: Toriyama was an infamous troll even back in the Dragon Ball days. He has stated in interviews that when he got requests like fans asking him not to kill off a particular character, he killed them and he purposely made his work with more angles after fans asked him to go back to his more round design style. He even said that he would kill characters if they're really popular. He would continue this trend years later in Super.
  • 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: See Dragon Ball.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Dragon Ball Wiki.
  • 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.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: