Created by Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball is one of the most popular anime and manga series in history. It has spawned many spinoffs, video games, and movies, and has garnered a substantial following all over the world.
The adventures of Goku, Krillin, Bulma, Master Roshi, and so, so many more have been beloved and enjoyed by just about anyone who was a kid during the show and manga’s heyday. The most recent series—Dragon Ball Super—just goes to show how enduring and massive this franchise continues to be over thirty years after its debut.
At the same time, due to its Japanese origins, the series has also had its fair share of misconceptions and misunderstood information, whether it’s because of faulty translations or a lack of information saying otherwise. This list covers a variety of entries that span the beginning of the series and even more recent developments, which include the anime and manga. While some of the entries feature info that has by-now been debunked, some of others remain hotly debated or have only recently been explained.
If you’ve got what it takes, and if you’re willing, then brace for the 18 False Facts That Fooled Us All About Dragon Ball.
For anyone that follows the series thoroughly, a source of great ire among the fanbase is the claim that the entire show is made up of nothing but characters powering up for multiple episodes. And as that same fanbase would tell you, this is untrue.
The idea that this is mostly what the show consists of likely comes from the battles and fights featured, which involve the characters powering up. So while it is true characters charge before a fight, they don’t charge for an entire episode - or three. While there are some fights that do involve long amounts of charging up, no fight has ever spanned multiple episodes solely because of a character powering up their ki or transforming.
By this point, it’s a long-running but beaten-to-death joke that was probably never funny to begin with.
During the Cell arc, Gohan appeared to do be doing well in terms of characterization and popularity. After a time skip following this arc, he became the main protagonist with the introduction of the Buu arc, replacing Goku. However, near the end of the this arc, the deceased Goku resurfaces, ultimately defeating the titular antagonist and saving the day, while Gohan has trouble defeating Buu and gets absorbed into him.
Many fans believed Toriyama brought back Goku due to fan displeasure with Gohan, but Toriyama himself had admitted that the choice to bring back Goku was simply for storytelling purposes. According to him, Gohan just wasn’t working out as the central protagonist. Toriyama said he was “not suited for the part,” which resulted in him bringing back Goku as series’ main protagonist.
Related to the previous entry is the subject of whether Gohan’s presence in the series was dwindled - and why. After Goku came back as main protagonist during the Buu arc, much speculation came about with regards to Gohan and his popularity. Many believed that moving the status of series protagonist from Gohan back to Goku was because of fan backlash, but as previously mentioned, Toriyama denies this.
A Shonen Jump poll during the Buu arc presented the idea that, due to Gohan’s perceived lack of popularity, he was abandoned to be replaced by his father, except that Gohan had been a very popular character with the fans up to this point. This also includes Western audiences, who seem to love Gohan just as much (if not more) than they love Goku.
Gohan’s growth and change in character is what seem to make many fans feel that Toriyama purposely sidelined him when Goku returned, though he’s continued to stay relevant.
Majin Buu is definitely one of Dragon Ball’s most famous and popular characters, regardless of which form he takes. From his pink appearance to his ability to turn his enemies into cookies, he’s been a formidable foe for Goku and friends. His last main appearance in his own arc was as Kid Buu, who, as the name implies, is Buu in child-form.
Due to this being his final form, many believe this was also his strongest. After all, our heroes don’t just easily beat him (in any form), and this being his last stand of sorts, he’d have to be at his strongest.
As it stands, Kid Buu is weaker than other forms, but what he lacks in strength he makes up for in insanity. Kid Buu is Buu at his most destructive, chaotic, and apathetic, arguably making him more dangerous than ever. So while he may not be as powerful, his lack of humanity makes him a more formidable foe.
Also known as the father of Goku, Badrock was a low-class Saiyan soldier who worked under the forces of Frieza - until he learned that Frieza was planning to eliminate the Saiyan race. Badrock sent his son Kakarot (aka Goku) to the planet Earth before his home planet of Vegeta is destroyed.
Before ever being properly named, Vegeta claims to have fought alongside Goku’s father, and that his father was a “brilliant scientist” (though an “average fighter”). Aside from Vegeta only having been a child at the time of Badrock’s death, he was also never, at any time, a scientist. This is due to an inconsistent dubbing mistake on the part of Funimation, where the line of “brilliant scientist” is uttered, thus making it a careless error when translating the dialogue for an English audience.
During the Future Trunks arc, Goku Black and Future Zamasu are fused to become Fused Zamasu, who grows arrogant and powerful enough to consider himself a god— and wants to make sure everyone knows it. He then becomes a major powerful enemy for Goku, Vegito, and Future Trunks.
As can be expected, Fused Zamasu is a formidable foe, being a hard target to hurt at first, but he becomes even more dangerous as any form of attack just angers Zamasu more.
After a series of hits and injuries by Goku and Vegito Blue, Future Trunks is able to harness the ki of everyone around him— including his allies and the inhabitants of Earth— into his sword and defeat an already weakened Fused Zamasu.
The result is a battle won ultimately via team work and not simply because Future Trunks was able to overpower Fused Zamasu solely by his own will. Even so, it doesn’t make the defeat any less of an awesome victory for Trunks.
As the series primary protagonist, Goku has battled and defeated many enemies, and managed to save lives in the process. He’s also one of the most popular fictional characters out there, integrating himself into popular culture just as easily as his anime and manga predecessors Astro Boy and Speed Racer. But just because he’s a main protagonist doesn’t necessarily make him a traditional hero.
Toriyama himself stated that, originally (and at least in the manga), Goku wasn’t supposed to be a full-blown “good guy.” He’s selfish and puts others in danger carelessly, because his number one goal in life is to fight. This is why he’d let certain enemies live, simply because he’d enjoy fighting them some other time.
Even so, Goku has also shown himself to be self-aware of his own nature and make sacrifices at times. So yeah, he’s not a bad person, but more often than not, he’s not what you’d call heroic.
During the Buu arc, Gohan is able to become “Mystic,” which grants him Super Saiyan-esque levels of power while still being able to retain his regular base form. Due to Mystic Gohan being above a regular Super Saiyan form, there’s debate as to how powerful this form is and how it functions.
Going “Mystic” allows Gohan to use less energy, whereas going Super Saiyan requires substantial energy in comparison. Just as importantly, where going Super Saiyan is in itself a transformation, going “Mystic” isn’t, as it allows Gohan to remain in his base state
. As a result, “Mystic Gohan” is one of the strongest forms Gohan is able to take, especially since it doesn’t require any strenuous amounts of energy - though it does still require him to power up a bit.
A topic of seemingly endless debate, the exact arc where Toriyama wanted to finish Dragon Ball has many theories surrounding it - even after Toriyama himself has given explanations. A big belief is that the series was to end after the Freeza arc, which would have included much in the way of character deaths. And if it wasn’t Freeza, than it’d be the Cell arc, which has also been debunked, but the series did end after the Majin Buu arc.
The reasons behind the series’ continuation have also been hotly debated, with many saying Toriyama was forced to continue either due to fan or editorial pressure. As far as Toriyama tells it, the series continued because he wanted it to continue, as it was still popular by the time it ended. He has said, however, that the series went on longer than he was expecting.
The butt of many, many jokes, Krillin is definitely one of Dragon Ball’s most popular characters. Whether it’s his personality, appearance, or baldness, he’s endured for nearly as long as Dragon Ball as a series itself has endured.
Krillin met Goku at a young age and the two went on adventures together. He even got married with Android 18 and had a daughter, so for all intents and purposes, Krillin has had a mostly good life.
Yet his reputation as someone who constantly dies has also endured and is an on-going joke fans and non-fans love to bring up (like how the Dragon Balls are ever only collected to revive Krillin).
That said, Krillin has only died within the main series three times: Tambourine (Piccolo’s son) killed him with a kick to the head, he’s been blown up by Frieza, and gets eaten by Majin Buu. There’s also one death each in Dragon Ball GT and the Future Trunks timeline.
As far as Saiyans go, Broly lives up to his title as the Legendary Super Saiyan, being responsible for destruction of (most of) the South Galaxy. While his father Paragus tried to restrain him, the reemergence of Goku (whom he only knew as an infant) causes him to let loose and nearly defeat the Z Fighters, though he is eventually defeated.
Broly eventually does return in various arcs and movies, just as formidable as ever. However, there’s a misconception that he’s the most powerful character in the series. Part of this has to do with the English dub stating that his powers were ever increasing, when in reality, he actually says that he had so much power that he was overflowing, hence, he has his limits.
His destruction to the South Galaxy is also misinterpreted as having been done instantaneously, and not over a period of time. So while Broly is indeed one of Dragon Ball’s most powerful and dangerous, he isn’t the undefeatable god some make him out to be.
Both of the characters for this entry have relations with the Red Ribbon Army. Starting with Tao, this ruthless mercenary was hired to kill child Goku; as can be expected, Goku defeated Tao, though it was a tough fight all the same. With regards to him being referred to as a “General,” it’s an old English dubbing inconsistency, and possibly an intentional one, since the name “General Tao” is a pun on the Chinese-American dish “General Sao’s Chicken.”
Then there’s Dr. Gero, the man (later android) responsible for the Red Ribbon Army’s Android troops. He was one of the founding members of the Red Ribbon Army, but he only ever became a “leader” when he was one of the only remaining members left; otherwise Commander Red was the leader.
English dubbing is to blame for any confusion regarding Gero and his position, such as Future Trunks and Master Roshi implying (or outright stating) Gero as the Army’s prime leader or commander.
Turles (aka Tullece) looks a lot like Goku, but contrary to certain dubs out there, they aren’t brothers. That said, they do have something in common and that’s their Saiyan heritage.
While Goku was just a newborn, Turles had already become quite the warrior and left the Planet Vegeta before it was destroyed. From there, he would acquire a team of allies and go from planet to planet planting The Tree of Might, whose fruit would give him more strength each time he ate it.
When he made his way to Earth, he encountered Gohan, who noticed a striking resemblance in Turles to his father, Goku. However, while it could be easy to say they’re related, or to think that they are, they aren’t.
Turles himself told Goku that they look similar because low-class Saiyans like themselves don’t have much in the way of distinct physical characteristics.
Here’s something that wasn’t disproven until only recently— 2014 to be exact, where the story Dragon Ball Minus: The Departure of the Fated Child reveals the identity of Goku’s mother. For the longest time, there seemed to be no real answer, as his father Badrock seems to be the only explicit parent Goku had.
However, there was one woman on Badrock’s team—Fasha—who showed interest and compassion for his son. Add that she was the only woman on the team, and many assumed Badrock and Fasha had gotten together and made Goku.
However, as previously stated, Goku’s mother was finally revealed to be Gine, a kind-hearted but not-fit-for-fighting Saiyan who developed a true connection with Badrock and worked as a meat butcher. She and Badrock stayed behind on the Planet Vegeta as they sent Goku off the planet before its destruction.
King Vegeta (whose name Planet Vegeta is named after) is the father of Prince Vegeta, and was indeed King of the Saiyans, up until Frieza came along and started to overpower him as ruler of the planet.
While King Vegeta abided for a time, he eventually decided to go against Frieza and his army, but as can be expected, he died trying. After Badrock came to fight, Frieza blew up the entire planet in a Supernova. Prince Vegeta, like Goku and Raditz, was off-planet during this time.
Due to his father’s death, it’s easy to assume that Vegeta is then “King” himself, but this isn’t true. On top of Vegeta only ever referring to himself as a Prince, were Vegeta to name himself King, he’d be inheriting nothing. Since Planet Vegeta was obliterated and nearly every single Saiyan was killed, Vegeta has nothing to be King of. As a result, when Vegeta ever calls himself anything, he continues to call himself Prince.
Also known as Hercule, Mr. Satan is a man of many talents: winning tournaments, making money, sleeping with women, and making sure his loved ones are well taken care of. He’s a showboat, for sure, but more of a good person at the end of the day. He even helped Gohan take care of Cell during the Cell Saga, though of course, he takes all the public credit for it.
As for his name, its reference to the Biblical Devil is obvious, and his family also has names featuring the same pun style. However, the question of what Mr. Satan’s real name is has not come up as much as one would think.
While it was once believed to be Hercule (like it is in some English and European dubs), it was later revealed by Toriyama himself that Satan’s real name is Mark. It may seem boringly regular by comparison, but in Japanese (Maku), it’s a rearrangement for Akuma, which is Japanese for devil.
Just as popular as the series and spin-offs are the Dragon Ball movies, of which there is no shortage. While a few exist as TV specials, up to nineteen have been made and released theatrically, most of them coming out within a 10 year period (1986-1996).
While most of these films are below the usual runtime of theatrical films, the most recent two (from 2013 and 2015 respectively) are full-length and received US theatrical distribution.
The question of where these films sit in the greater Dragon Ball continuity is something of much heated debate, but there appears to be no official word as to what, if any, timeline the films are set in. Additionally, none of the films have ever been stated to be canonical to the main or any spin-off series.
While a couple of the films are able to sit nicely within the main continuity, it remains that each of the films are their own thing and exist outside of any and all canon.
If there’s ever any confusion or misunderstandings to be had, look no further than an English-translated dub. Funimation in particular seems to be a big culprit, and this one has to do with the nature of Gods in the series. Dragon Ball features many Gods, from King Kai to Dende, but for the most part in these translations, Beerus and Whis are the first ones referred to explicitly as Gods.
This becomes a bit of an inconsistency, since it might imply that only Beerus and Whis, and those like them, are Gods, when really, the audience and characters have been encountering Gods since before those two, such as Gods of Earth and the Lord of Worlds.As a result, confusion among fans and non-fans isn’t out of the ordinary, especially with a universe as vast and translated as Dragon Ball’s.
Are there any other false facts being spread about Dragon Ball? Clear them up in the comments!