Chi-Chi may not be one of the strongest characters in the Dragon Ball franchise, nor is she one of the most prominent. Indeed, Chi-Chi is one of Dragon Ball Z’s many peripheral characters and, to be completely honest, her contribution to the overall plot is more or less just the birth of her children.
But Goku’s wife – and Gohan and Goten’s mother – has been a part of Akira Toriyama’s legendary manga and anime series since the beginning and the long-suffering housewife has had many interesting and meaningful moments that many fans may have forgotten about, what with all the intense fighting and awesome transformations going on.
Being married to the world’s most friendly Saiyan is nothing if not eventful and there are plenty of interesting tales and trivia surrounding Chi-Chi’s story arc as well as her real-world history as a manga character that many Dragon Ball fans may not be aware of. Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Chi-Chi.
15. She’s A Princess
Fans unfamiliar with the original Dragon Ball series might not be aware that Chi-Chi is actually part of a royal family. Although it’s fairly well known that her father is called ‘the Ox King’, the jolly, portly fellow appears to be a man of modest means in Dragon Ball Z and certainly not of any kind of royal standing. Rewind back to Chi-Chi’s childhood, however, and she and her father were living a very different life.
Ox King was the ruler of Fry Pan Mountain and the surrounding kingdom and although he was originally an angry and feared King, Goku and Master Roshi helped change his ways and the Saiyan gained the friendship of the land’s Princess: Chi-Chi. From DBZ onwards, little is made of Chi-Chi’s royal status and in Dragon Ball Super it was even revealed that Ox King’s riches had perished, leaving him destitute.
14. She’s Fought Against Every Member Of Her Immediate Family
For someone that always seemed to actively dislike her family’s obsession with martial arts, Chi-Chi has certainly participated in her fair share of battles with those close to her. The first such instance occurred when Chi-Chi took on her husband-to-be at the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament – a one-sided bout if ever there was one.
Later in the Garlic Jr. filler saga, Chi-Chi also took on her son Gohan – albeit under the influence of the Black Water Mist. Add to that the confirmation that Chi-Chi has battled Goten as part of his training and you’ve got the full Son family clean sweep.
It just goes to show that although Chi-Chi may try her damnedest to maintain a normal, respectable family and keep the fist-throwing to a minimum, she can’t deny that combat is a key part of her life. This perhaps harks back to the martial arts training she received from her father – another family member she must have sparred with – and proves that although she may not have Saiyan blood like the rest of her household, Chi-Chi is secretly keen on the odd scrap.
13. Chi-Chi is officially pure of heart
Before Goku learns to fly, he relies on his trusty magic cloud, the Flying Nimbus, to get around. Seeing as only the pure of heart can actually ride the thing, Goku takes very few passengers on his Nimbus and Chi-Chi is one of a select characters afforded such a treat.
Naturally, this means that Goku’s future wife is every bit as good-intentioned and kind as he is – a far cry from Master Roshi who only gifted Goku the cloud because he was too impure to use it himself.
Other riders of the Nimbus include both of Goku and Chi-Chi’s children, Upa who lives near Korin Tower and Uub – the virtuous reincarnation of Buu – putting Chi-Chi alongside solid moral-abiding company. She and Goku had many adventures on the Flying Nimbus including a filler mini-arc at the end of the original Dragon Ball series which involved retrieving Chi-Chi’s wedding dress, as well as a slightly less wholesome incident…
12. Goku Touches Her Inappropriately During Their First Meeting
Ah, anime. Sitting firmly within the ‘you wouldn’t get away with that now’ category, one of Chi-Chi and Goku’s first exchanges was a little bit sketchy to say the least. It’s fairly well known that Goku’s sheltered upbringing caused him to develop a naive attitude and this particularly manifests itself in his inability to differentiate between men and women without getting a little handsy.
Bulma famously suffered similar treatment earlier in the series and the trope was repeated when Goku first met Chi-Chi, with Goku using his foot to check which set of genitals his new friend possessed. The girl initially responds angrily to Goku’s vastly inappropriate actions but also takes it as a sign that the Saiyan has romantic feelings for her, incidentally kick-starting a relationship that would eventually result in marriage and kids. Given the message this sends out, it’s little surprise that the scene was altered in some versions of the anime.
11. Chi-Chi’s dislike of Super Saiyans comes from Japanese culture
Chi-Chi’s disdain for Super Saiyans is relatively well documented. She associates the blond haired warriors as “delinquents” that constantly fight when they should be working or studying and is particularly upset when she learns that Gohan has transcended to the form. Later when Chi-Chi’s training allows Goten to turn Super Saiyan, her resulting anger even deters the youngster from revealing the transformation to anyone.
Western fans may not realize, however, that Chi-Chi’s attitude towards the Super Saiyan transformation actually has its roots in Japanese culture. In Japan, a youngster dying their hair – blond especially – is considered a sign of rebellion and delinquency and so when Chi-Chi first sees her sons sporting a new light-colored hairdo, her negative reaction is partly due to the fact she believes them to have become unruly.
Fear of teenage delinquency isn’t the only reason Chi-Chi dislikes the transformation however, it’s also clear that she knows her children going into Super Saiyan mode means they’ll soon be facing a dangerous enemy.
10. Her mother died when Chi-Chi was a baby
Despite Ox King being a permanent fixture in the franchise, very little is known about Chi-Chi’s mother and she is rarely referred to, particularly in Dragon Ball Z. As such, fans may not know that the character tragically died when Chi-Chi was just a baby. This makes the wedding dress mini-arc all the more significant, as the garment originally belonged to Chi-Chi’s mother who wore it during her nuptials to the Ox King.
Although never appearing on-screen in any meaningful way, the brief glimpse viewers do get of Chi-Chi’s mother – via a partially obscured family portrait – shows her to be very similar in appearance to her daughter as an adult. The duo share a similar sense of fashion and both appear to sport the same long, straight, black hairstyle. Perhaps the most striking thing about the design of Chi-Chi’s mother, however, is that she is shown to be small enough to sit in the Ox King’s palm, immediately raising a whole host of relationship questions.
9. She is (Probably) The Strongest Human Woman on Earth
The Dragon Ball series frequently makes gags about Chi-Chi’s supposed abominable strength, with Roshi even referring to her as the only being scarier than a Super Saiyan. This type of schitck is a running joke in the anime world, where supposedly domineering women are seen to beat up the strongest male characters in the series (see Nami in One Piece, for example). However, in the case of Dragon Ball, the gag obscures the fact that Chi-Chi is actually a respectable fighter.
As previously mentioned, the character was trained by her father who himself was a student of the Turtle School. Although most of her fights take place in non-canon material, Chi-Chi has demonstrated her strength both in the World Martial Arts Tournament and in her training of Goten and because of this, she could be considered the strongest human woman on Earth – or at least in the franchise. Although Videl may be another contender for the title, the two never fight, making it unclear as to who is stronger.
8. Chi-Chi’s First Date With Goku Was A Fight
Super Saiyan or not, first dates can be tough. And although most couples usually settle for something safe such as a drink in the local bar or a trip to the cinema, Goku and Chi-Chi predictably opted for something a little different. A flashback in Dragon Ball Z reveals that Goku and Chi-Chi’s first official date consisted of a friendly martial arts bout between the two youngsters.
The idea was – naturally – Goku’s, who suggested the activity after Chi-Chi told him to pick the thing he enjoyed doing most. After a bit of convincing, the duo set to it and had a relatively even battle, although this did take place before Goku had even begun his training with Roshi.
Despite being an unconventional first date, Chi-Chi makes it clear that she looks back on the occasion with fond memories. The material isn’t considered canon but that appears to be a common theme with Goku and Chi-Chi episodes…
7. Most Of Her Time With Goku Was Filler Material
Filler episodes are an annoyance for many an anime fan but those not familiar with Akira Toriyama’s original manga series may be surprised at the amount of Chi-Chi material that isn’t actually canon. After her introduction in the Dragon Ball manga series, Chi-Chi doesn’t appear again until the World Martial Arts Tournament as a young adult where she and Goku get engaged. This renders the character’s appearances during the Red Ribbon Saga as filler, as well as the first date and wedding dress episodes mentioned previously.
Unfortunately for Chi-Chi, this situation doesn’t improve as the series progresses. The majority of Chi-Chi’s fight scenes take place in non-canon segments – such as in the Garlic Jr Saga and when she dispatches some of Lord Slug’s henchmen in Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug – and Goku’s wife rarely appears in Dragon Ball Super other than to chastise her husband for not earning enough money.
6. She Thought Yamcha Loved Her
Yamcha may not have been much of a fighter in the Dragon Ball franchise but he was certainly a hit with the ladies. The professional baseball player’s on and off romance with Bulma before the arrival of Vegeta is widely known but in the series’ early days, he also had a semi-romantic exchange with Chi-Chi, even though nothing ever came of it.
When Chi-Chi’s wariness of strangers causes her to assault Yamcha, the future Z-Warrior – somewhat harshly – knocks her unconscious. Upon realizing he just beat up the daughter of the Ox King, Yamcha immediately regrets his decision and attempts to smooth things over by declaring his undying love to Chi-Chi before running away at the first opportunity.
Although she seems flattered at his claims, nothing ever develops between Chi-Chi and Yamcha and amusingly, she apologizes to him after getting engaged to Goku, presumably still under the impression he loved her.
5. Chi-Chi Has More Than One Live-Action Interpretation
As much as everyone may want to forget all about it, most Dragon Ball fans are familiar with the live-action interpretations of their favorite characters showcased in Dragonball: Evolution. And although Jamie Chung’s Chi-Chi is far from the worst part of that movie, it’s also very far from an authentic adaptation of the character.
Fans may not know, however, that there are also two other live-action versions of Chi-Chi to be found in the annals of foreign cinema. An unofficial Korean movie adaptation released in 1990 had characterizations far closer to that of the source material and featured Chi-Chi with her traditional combat helmet. One year later, a Chinese adaptation called Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins featured a character called Jade who represented a mixture of Chi-Chi and another non-canon female character.
The critical and commercial disappointment of Dragonball: Evolution will likely deter movie studios from taking another stab at an adaptation for years to come and so the list of live-action Chi-Chis is unlikely to grow any time soon.
4. Chi-Chi’s Armor Is Based On An Early Toriyama Character
Before she settled down into the life of a rural housewife, Chi-Chi’s costume design was far more distinctive, almost resembling Saiyan battle armor in appearance. This get-up was seemingly inspired by the character Pola from the older Toriyama manga, Pola & Roid. Published in 1981 – three years before Dragon Ball – the intergalactic series sees a warrior named Pola hire the services of a frustrated interplanetary cab driver called Roid and the duo set off on a mission to defeat evil.
Pola’s character design sees her wearing a skimpy piece of blue armor with peaked shoulders and a flowing cape, very similar to what Chi-Chi is seen in during the original Dragon Ball. Although Toriyama hasn’t officially confirmed that Pola inspired Chi-Chi’s look, the similarities are undeniable and you could also argue that some parallels exist between Pola and Roid’s relationship and Goku and Bulma’s at the start of the Dragon Ball story.
3. She Is Killed By A Villain In Goku’s Body
For Dragon Ball characters, dying is an occupational hazard and Chi-Chi had already met her demise – along with everyone else – at the hands of the evil Buu. She was, of course, resurrected by the Dragon Balls but Chi-Chi also meets a much more personal and unique death in one of the franchise’s several alternate timelines.
Those who haven’t been keeping up with new series Dragon Ball Super perhaps won’t be aware that a villain by the name of Zamasu brutally murders both Chi-Chi and Goten while possessing Goku’s body.
Zamasu is a rogue Kai hell-bent on wiping out mortal beings and he identifies Goku’s body as the perfect vessel to achieve this goal. Thanks to a warning from Future Trunks and a swift execution from Beerus, these events are avoided in the primary timeline but that doesn’t make the scene itself any less harrowing for viewers.
2. Her Name Was Changed To ‘Kika’ In Some Territories Because Chi-Chi Means ‘Pee’ In Portuguese
Chi-Chi is hardly the first character to be forced to change their name for an international audience due to an unfortunate translation. For example, in France, Han Solo is called ‘Yan Solo’ due to ‘Han’ sounding too much like ‘Anne’ – a moniker that befits neither a scoundrel nor a scruffy-looking nerf herder.
Viewers in Brazil and Portugal will find Goku’s wife in Dragon Ball referred to as Kika, rather than Chi-Chi. This is because in Portuguese, ‘Chi-Chi’ translates to urine, somewhat undermining the character’s motherly and kind-hearted characteristics.
More harmlessly, Chi-Chi in Japanese actually means milk or udder, which gives Roshi the perfect excuse for some breast-related gags. Interestingly however, ‘chichi’ can also be used as a term for ‘father’ in Japan. Considering these two translations, Toriyama could be inferring that the character is responsible for being both the ‘mother’ (milk) and the ‘father’ to her children due to Goku’s absence and general lack of responsibility. Or Toriyama might have just thought it sounded cool, either one.
1. Chi-Chi And Goku Have Never Kissed
Goku might be clueless when it comes to the ladies but he does have two kids so you’d assume he figured out the birds and bees at some point, right? Not necessarily. An amusing exchange in Dragon Ball Super sees Future Trunks chew up a Senzu Bean and feed it to Mai with his mouth. Goku childishly remarks “Woah Trunks, you actually put your mouth up against hers” to which Vegeta exclaims “you’ve never done that?” with Goku replying “of course not.”
Naturally, this raises some questions as to the manner in which Gohan and Goten were conceived and also what being married to Chi-Chi actually means to Goku. Clearly, Chi-Chi must have a great deal of tolerance for her husband’s quirks as not only does he show a lack of affection by abandoning his family to train at every opportunity, he seemingly also struggles to show his love for his wife with physical gestures. Suddenly, all that nagging makes sense.
Dragon Ball Super continues March 25th on Adult Swim.