One of the main attractions of American superhero comics books is the inter-connected nature of their universe. When you read a Marvel comic book, there is a chance that Spider-Man’s actions will somehow affect the X-Men or the Avengers. The same is true of the superhero comics produced by companies like DC and Image.
When it comes to the manga industry, there are far fewer crossovers between different series. Even though most series share space with other comics in a single magazine (like in Weekly Shonen Jump), we rarely see any interactions between them. One of the few exceptions to this is Dragon Ball Z, as it is one of the most popular and influential mangas of all time. Since Dragon Ball Z‘s creator, Akira Toriyama, has retired from the industry, he has become more open to allowing Goku & his pals to play in the yards of other manga creators.
We are here today to learn about Goku’s many journies into the worlds of his contemporaries. From the orange-clad ninja who stole Goku’s style, to the wannabe King of the Pirates.
Here are 15 Times Dragon Ball Z Crossed Over With Other Series!
Dragon Ball is the 3rd best selling manga series of all time (after Golgo 13 and One Piece). The 4th best selling series is Naruto. Debuting in 1997, Naruto followed the titular young boy, who was raised in a village full of ninjas. His goal in life is to become the Hokage (the leader of the village), despite the fact that most people in the town seem to despise him, for reasons that he will soon discover. Naruto finally ended its run in 2014, after becoming one of the most popular manga series in the world.
Goku has battled Naruto in numerous different video games over the years. In 2013, there was a more indirect crossover between the two series. If you bought a first run copy of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, then it would come with a code that unlocked Goku’s outfit for Naruto in the game. If you managed to get hold of a first run copy of Dragonball Z: Battle of Z, then you would get a code that would unlock Naruto’s sage outfit for Goku.
14. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure was originally a manga series that ran in Weekly Shonen Jump. It started publication in 1987, when it followed a man named Jonathan Joestar, as he battled vampires in Victorian England. As the series progressed, it would switch focus to Jonathan’s descendants, as they faced different supernatural threats across the world. In 2004, the series switched to a monthly format and started running in Ultra Jump magazine.
The most popular story arc in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is called Stardust Crusaders. This storyline followed Jotaro Kujo: a Japanese high school student, who is forced to deal with one of his grandfather’s old foes. This is the character who would go on to team up with Goku.
In 1991, Bandai released a game called Famicom Jump II: Saikyō no Shichinin for the Famicom. This was an action RPG that starred some of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s biggest characters of the day. Goku and Jotaro would team up with other Jump heroes, and go on a Dragon Quest style adventure together, in a fantasy world filled with monsters.
13. Jaco The Galactic Policeman
The life of a manga artist is a hard one. Every week, they have to write, compose and draw 18 pages worth of a comic book. They generally have little time to themselves and are prone to health issues due to overworking. As such, when a creator has a series that becomes successful, then they will generally retire after it is finished. The demands of the job are that harsh.
Akira Toriyama worked on the Dragon Ball manga series for a decade. Once it was finished, he entered his retirement. Despite this, he has occasionally worked on a few short series that have run in Weekly Shonen Jump. His most recent manga was Jaco the Galactic Policeman. It followed the titular alien, as he crash-lands on Earth. Jaco is one of the protectors of the universe and was dispatched to deal with an alien craft that was heading towards it (which is eventually revealed to be the ship that was carrying Goku).
12. Puzzle & Dragons
Puzzle & Dragons is one of the most successful mobile game franchises in the world. It mixes the match-three gameplay of Bejeweled with the monster catching element of Pokémon. Puzzle & Dragons was the first mobile game franchise to a make a million dollars in profit, as it is financed by the purchase of in-game currency.
Due to Puzzle & Dragons massive audience in Japan, it has crossed over with numerous anime and video game franchises. Puzzle & Dragons has featured characters from Final Fantasy, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Angry Birds, Monster Hunter, Suicide Squad, Justice League, Mario, Attack on Titan, and Phoenix Wright. Puzzle & Dragons might hold the record for having the most official crossovers with other franchises.
It was only natural that the cast of Dragon Ball Z would show up as foes in Puzzle & Dragons. Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Gohan, Gotenks, and Perfect Cell are just a few of the characters who can be battled in the game.
11. Fist Of The North Star
Dragon Ball Z is one of the most influential manga series of all time. When current manga creators are asked about the thing that inspired them to become artists, the first name that comes up is usually Akira Toriyama. Dragon Ball Z has also left a major impact on Western culture and has been referenced many times in American video games, movies and comic books.
When it comes to manga series that involve martial arts, there is another series that may be even more influential than Dragon Ball Z. In 1983, Fist of the North Star began its publication in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. The series followed a deadly martial artist, named Kenshiro. He travels across a post-nuclear war world, in order to seek revenge against his former best friend, who stole the love of his life.
The first ever Shonen Jump crossover video game was Famicom Jump: Hero Retsuden. It was an action RPG that was released for the Famicom in 1989. You had the option of choosing between 16 different Jump heroes, as you visited each of their worlds. Goku and Kenshiro could form the ultimate martial arts tag team in this game. Together, they get to take on the Red Ribbon Army and King Piccolo.
10. Dr. Slump
Akira Toriyama is best known for creating Dragon Ball. While he will most likely forever be associated with the adventures of Goku, he also had a long career as a manga artist before Dragon Ball‘s debut. Along with numerous one-shots and short series, Toriyama created a successful manga called Dr. Slump, that ran for four years in Weekly Shonen Jump.
Dr. Slump is about a young robot named Arale. She is created by an inventor, who is trying to develop the perfect robot. Dr. Slump was primarily a comedy series about Arale’s misadventures in her hometown of Penguin Village.
Akira Toriyama is clearly very fond of the characters from Dr. Slump, as they would go on to play an important part in Dragon Ball. Goku would visit Penguin Village and the cast of Dr. Slump during the Red Ribbon Army saga. He would team up with Arale to defeat General Blue.
Toriko was a popular manga series that ran in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine from 2008 to 2016. Unlike some of the other big series that ran in Shonen Jump (like Naruto or One Piece), Toriko never received much attention outside of Japan. This is despite the fact that the series was hugely popular in its homeland. The reason Toriko is not so widely regarded in the West is most likely the criminal history of its creator, Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro.
In 2013, a TV special was made that was intended to commemorate the three year anniversary of the Toriko anime series. It was called Dream 9 Toriko & One Piece & Dragon Ball Z Super Collaboration Special, and it featured a crossover between the three different series mentioned in its title. Toriko intends to enter an eating competition, where he must also face Monkey D. Luffy and Goku. The three must ultimately team up, in order to defeat Akami, the Deep Sea Glutton monster.
8. Donkey Kong
Anyone who used to watch Dragon Ball Z on Toonami (or Cartoon Network) will instantly be able to recognise the theme song. This isn’t a difficult task, as it only has a couple of different words in its lyrics, and most of those are “Dragon”. While not quite as memorable as the original Pokémon theme song, the “Rock the Dragon” song is still loved by fans of the original Dragon Ball Z dub.
Dragon Ball Z had a different theme song in Japan, which is just as well remembered there as “Rock the Dragon” is in the West. “Cha-La Head Cha-La” has since found fans in the West, due to its appearance in many Dragon Ball Z video games, as well as in the Abridged Series.
Nintendo used to make games in the Donkey Konga series, that appeared on the GameCube. These were rhythm games that used a set of bongo drums as a controller. There was a third game in the series that never left Japan. Donkey Konga 3 featured “Cha-La Head Cha-La” as a song. So you could play as Donkey Kong as he rocked out to the Dragon Ball Z theme song.
7. Neko Majin
When a series becomes as iconic as Dragon Ball Z, it is only natural that it becomes a target for parody. Lots of anime & manga series have included scenes that parody the transformation into a Super Saiyan, the Kamehameha and fighters screaming whilst charging up. This has spread to the Internet, with Dragon Ball Z being the inspiration for numerous memes and jokes.
It seems that Akira Toriyama doesn’t mind all of the Dragon Ball Z parodies, as he did it himself.
After the Dragon Ball manga ended, Akira Toriyama did a few chapters of a series called Neko Majin. The series starred the titular creature, who was a magical cat that looked like Majin Buu. It didn’t take long for the series to become Neko Majin Z, with Neko Majin getting into fights with Super Saiyans who visit Earth. As time went on, characters like Goku, Vegeta and Frieza would appear in the series. Neko Majin would also cameo in several Dragon Ball Z video games.
Godzilla has faced many different monsters over the years. He actually has an opponent in real life, who is a greater rival to him than either Mothra or King Ghidorah. Gamera: The Giant Monster was a movie that was intended to leech off the success of the first Godzilla film. Gamera would go on to star in his own series of monster movies, that would gain notoriety in America after they were featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000.
In Dragon Ball Z, Master Roshi lacks the strength to be able to fly on his own. When he has to go somewhere, he needs to catch a ride from one of the other characters. Roshi’s heart is also filled with lust and perversion, so he cannot ride on the Flying Nimbus.
When Goku needs to put out the flames on Fire Mountain, in order to find a Dragon Ball, he is sent to find Master Roshi. In order to travel to the Mountain, Master Roshi summons a baby version of Gamera to act as his mount. Gamera doesn’t mind ferrying people around, as most people are left queasy by the journey.
5. Dragon Quest
While Akira Toriyama is primarily known as a manga creator, he has also done a lot of character design work for video games. He designed all of the protagonists and monsters in Chrono Trigger and the Blue Dragon series. Whilst Toriyama was still working on the original Dragon Ball manga, he was also making designs for the Dragon Quest series of games. He still continues to work on Dragon Quest games to this day.
Many of the monsters from the Dragon Quest series have had brief cameos in Dragon Ball. This was most apparent during the initial bouts of the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, after the debut of Tien and Chiaotzu. The Killer Tiger, Orc, Shaman, Cyclops and Archdemon monsters all appear in crowd shots during this arc.
4. Death Note
The vast majority of the Weekly Shonen Jump magazine video game crossovers tended to happen in the 8-bit era of gaming. These became more difficult to create as time went on, as more series became popular, and the rights for various games were spread among different companies. This changed in 2005 when a Super Smash Bros. style fighting game appeared on the Nintendo DS. Jump Super Stars united many of the main characters from various Shonen Jump series into one game. Dragon Ball Z was the most well-represented series in the game, as many of its characters could be played or used as support.
One of the series that was represented in Jump Super Stars was Death Note. This is a series about a Japanese teenager, named Light Yagami, who finds a book that can kill anyone whose name is written it. With this “Death Note” in hand, Light decides to try and purge the world of evil, by killing criminals and warlords across the globe. Once the killings begin, the world’s greatest detective, named L, is put on the case. In Jump Super Stars, you can summon Light and his Death Note in battle.
The one thing we do know is that Goku could be killed by the Death Note. We know that the Goku from Future Trunks’ timeline was killed by a heart attack, which is something that a Death Note can inflict.
While the characters from Death Note might seem like a stretch to add into a fighting game that includes the likes of Goku and Vegeta, they at least had a Death Note, which could kill any Dragon Ball Z character in moments. For some reason, the makers of Jump Super Stars (and its sequel) also decided to include a character who has even less fighting ability than Light Yagami. He is Yugi Muto, the protagonist of Yu-Gi-Oh!
Yugi Muto is the champion of the Duel Monsters card game, and the self-titled “King of Games”. Throughout the series, Yugi and his friends mainly played a card game that they took way too seriously. In Jump Super Stars, Yugi fights by actually summoning his monster cards into reality, and using them to attack. If you ever wanted to know if Goku could stand up to the Dark Magician or the Egyptian God cards, then this game has the answer.
When the Dragon Ball manga series ended, Weekly Shonen Jump lost its most popular series. It wouldn’t take long for other titles to comfortably fill its void. After Dragon Ball ended, the era of the “Big Three” began. The Big Three were One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach. These were three of the most popular manga series in the world for a very long time.
Bleach was a series about a teenager, named Ichigo Kurosaki, who is brought to the world of the Shinigami. These are spirits that act as grim reapers, in order to deal with the restless ghosts of the dead that might harm the living. Ichigo is forced to temporarily take on the duties of a Shinigami and is dragged into the politics of the afterlife.
Ichigo has battled Goku & his friends in numerous different games over the years, the most recent of which was in J-Stars Victory Vs, which was released on the PlayStation 3/4/Vita. Bleach was accused of being Dragon Ball Z with swords on many occasions, so a conflict between the two series was inevitable.
1. One Piece
One Piece is the biggest selling manga series in the world. In Japan, it’s a cultural phenomenon, with One Piece being adapted into almost every form of media available. While it has yet to find the same level of success in the West, the One Piece video games and anime will usually see a release outside of Japan.
If you read the One Piece manga, you will probably notice that the series’ aesthetic is clearly inspired by Dragon Ball. One Piece’s creator, Eiichiro Oda, has freely admitted that the works of Akira Toriyama have been his biggest influence. Oda has sung the praises of Dragon Ball in numerous interviews, to the point where he and Toriyama have become close friends in real life.
The worlds of One Piece and Dragon Ball Z finally merged in 2006, when a one-shot manga, named Cross Epoch, ran in Weekly Shonen Jump. In Cross Epoch, Mr. Satan asked Shenron to make him a king and give him a castle. King Satan decides to hold a massive tea party and invites all of the characters from One Piece and Dragon Ball to attend. We get to see all of the protagonists hanging out together, which concludes with Goku and Luffy arriving at the tea party. As Luffy cannot fly, Goku allows him to use his Flying Nimbus as a vehicle. This is seen by some fans to be a passing of the torch, as One Piece managed to fill the void in the manga industry that was left by Dragon Ball‘s departure.