The creator of the Dragon Ball franchise, Akira Toriyama, has always been a huge fan of Godzilla, and eagle-eyes fans of the series may have noticed that Toriyama quietly found ways to express his love for the Japanese pop culture icon by including Godzilla Easter eggs in some of his shows, including the first Dragon Ball anime.
Toriyama has been paying homage to Godzilla as far back as the 1978 manga, Wonder Island. Toriyama made direct references to Godzilla throughout the 1980s anime series, Dr. Slump. Godzilla was also seen in the manga The Adventures of Tongpoo. With this in mind, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Toriyama would insert the King of the Monsters into his most popular work, the Dragon Ball series.
Toriyama's original Dragon Ball series, which consisted of 153 episodes, first aired in Japan in 1986 and lasted until 1989. Taking place years before the events of Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super, Dragon Ball centered on the story of a young Goku. But unbeknownst to Goku and the gang, some of their adventures were witnessed by classic Toho monsters, like Godzilla. Here's every Godzilla cameo and reference in Dragon Ball.
In an episode of Dragon Ball, the body of villain Tambourine is found. He was killed by Goku, but since Goku was believed to be dead at the time, Mai briefly imagined that Godzilla was actually responsible or Tambourine's death. Later in Dragon Ball Z, the dragon Porunga was summoned after gathering the Dragon Balls. A nearby police officer wondered if the monster was Godzilla.
Baragon is a four-legged, horned kaiju who has appeared in a few Toho films, including Destroy All Monsters and as one of the three guardian monsters in Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. Baragon makes a cameo at Capsule Corporation when he sticks his head out of a bush and scares away a police officer. This version has black skin instead of red.
Rodan, one of Godzilla's closest allies in Toho movies and one of the four main Titans featured in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, is briefly seen flying through the sky in an episode of Dragon Ball. Since the world of Dragon Ball is populated with dinosaurs, monsters like Rodan fit seamlessly into the show.
In the semifinals of the World Martial Arts Tournament, Goku faces off against Krillin. In the crowd of human spectators is King Ghidorah (via ComicBook), who just stands by and calmly watches the fight. Ghidorah is only visible in that brief shot. Of all the Godzilla cameos in Dragon Ball, Ghidorah sticks out in a sort of humorous way, considering that the character is surrounded by humans who don't seem to be too concerned about the presence of a three-headed dragon.