Although he may have never achieved the same level of popularity as other Dragon Ball Z villains such as Frieza and Cell, Majin Buu is a surprisingly complex character with plenty of hidden lore and interesting backstory, and – like Vegeta and Piccolo before him - he would eventually go on to join the Z-Fighters group. Whether he’s turning people into chocolate, destroying planets like paper cups or living in Mr. Satan’s house rent-free, Majin Buu and his many, many alternate forms have given rise to some of Dragon Ball Z’s strangest stories. We're here to share some of the finer points of both Buu’s character history, and the process of his creation by Dragon Ball author Akira Toriyama, covering everything from the manga's canon to video games and card games.
Here are 16 Things You Never Knew About Majin Buu.
If the main villain’s name is Buu and the creature who resurrected him was called Babidi, someone with a decent level of classic Disney knowledge might be able to guess that Babidi’s father, the original manipulator of Buu, was named Bibidi. All three characters take their names from Disney's 1950 version of Cinderella, in which the phrase “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo” was used as the spell the Fairy Godmother uses transform Cinderella into her Princess final form.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Akira Toriyama has given a theme to a group of names. For example, the majority of Saiyans are named after Vegetables (for instance, Raditz: Radish, Kakkarot: Carrot). The Cinderella connection perhaps also hints at the more magic-orientated direction the Majin Buu saga would head in, with Babidi describing himself as a wizard and using magic, rather than ki-based attacks.
Although not all fans are on board with the most recent Dragon Ball series, Dragon Ball Super, it’s had its fair share of interesting and fun Buu moments. Perhaps the most notable of these was during the Universe Six arc, in a martial arts tournament between Beerus’ Universe Seven and Champa’s Universe Six. Along with Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo and the mysterious Monaka, Buu was selected as a Universe Seven team member but this decision went awry when Vegeta suggested a preliminary written test. After clearly struggling to answer any of the questions, Buu promptly fell asleep and was subsequently removed from the tournament entirely.
Buu’s nonplussed attitude to taking part in the tournament says a lot about how dulled his instinct to fight has become, and marks the second time in Dragon Ball Super that the character has failed to show his ability as a warrior after being trounced by Beerus earlier in the series.
While the ‘Kid’ Buu that Goku eventually manages to defeat is the villain’s pure, original form, the first glimpse viewers get of the character is vastly different, not only looking older but also sporting considerably more weight around the middle. This change of physique derives from Buu’s method of powering up: absorbing his opponents. Long before the events of Dragon Ball, Buu went on a rampage against the Kais, murdering some, but absorbing others such as the Grand Supreme Kai. In addition to being the highest ranking Kai in town, the Grand Supreme was also a reasonably portly fellow. Buu not only absorbed the Kai's power, but his girth, as well.
Interestingly, Buu’s rotund form was inspired by one of Akira Toriyama’s editors. Charming! Luckily for Goku and friends, it wasn’t just weight that Buu received from the Grand Supreme Kai; the villain - who was then little more than pink bundle of pure evil - took on the Kai’s vast kindness too.
The current canon status of Uub has been somewhat up-in-the-air since the arrival of Dragon Ball Super, however the series recently dropped its first mention of the character in a short conversation between Goku and Vegeta. Uub is the result of Goku’s wish for Buu to be reincarnated as a good guy and he appears at the end of Dragon Ball Z, becoming Goku’s student shortly before the duo head off to train together. Uub later had a sizeable role in the black sheep of the franchise, Dragon Ball GT, but has yet to appear in Dragon Ball Super. Fans were beginning to wonder whether Uub had been written out of the series’ canon altogether, however while Goku and Vegeta were discussing potential team members for the Universe Six tournament, Goku confirmed the existence of a reincarnated, good version of Buu. Vegeta replies saying: “a newborn wouldn’t be able to compete anyway.” The scene, while brief, confirms Uub’s canon status and sets the reincarnation up for a possible appearance in Dragon Ball Super further down the line.
The Spirit Bomb is one of the most powerful attacks in the Dragon Ball canon, as well as one of protagonist Goku’s signature moves. It comes as a surprise, then, that Buu is the only character the Spirit Bomb has ever actually killed. The technique is used on Vegeta and Frieza at different points in the series and, while effective, it doesn't destroy either threat. Indeed, the only instance in which Goku’s Spirit Bomb went off without a hitch and fulfilled its purpose – namely, disintegrating its target – was when the Saiyan fired one at the evil Kid Buu during their climactic battle. Buu had previously proven troublesome due to his habit of regenerating from even the smallest surviving part of himself, so the fact that the Spirit Bomb managed to prevent this is testament to the technique’s sheer destructive power when performed right, even if Goku did take an age and almost got Vegeta killed in order to charge it.
Healthy debate ensues between fans as to which of Buu’s many forms was most powerful. The natural assumption is that since he’s the final foe, Kid Buu would be the strongest. In actual fact, the previous form, Super Buu, is most proficient in battle. It is stated by Kibito Kai that Kid Buu is the most dangerous of the villain’s forms due to his appetite for destruction and unbridled rage, however in terms of combat ability he is surpassed by Super Buu for several reasons. Firstly, the sheer amount of Z-Fighters Super Buu absorbs, with Piccolo, Gohan, Gotenks, and Fat Buu all contributing their abilities, gives him immense power. Secondly, his power to tear through dimensions – something that no character had previously pulled off – which Super Buu does during his fight with Gotenks. Confirmation of the power difference between Buu’s Super and Kid forms is inferred within the dialogue: Goku claims he’d be able to defeat Kid Buu in Super Saiyan 3 if he could hold the form long enough, however he also tells Vegeta that neither of them had the power to beat Super Buu without resorting to fusion.
It’s reasonably well known that franchise creator Akira Toriyama had little to no involvement in DBZ’s sequel series, Dragon Ball GT, and restricts himself to a background, executive role on Dragon Ball Super. Less well known is the fact that Toriyama never intended for Dragon Ball Z to run as long as it did. A variety of reports suggest the mangaka (manga artist) originally planned to end the Dragon Ball series after the Frieza saga, with Goku avenging the destruction of his race and emerging as the Super Saiyan of legend. In other interviews, Toriyama has suggested that his intended conclusion for Dragon Ball Z was actually the Cell saga, ending the series with Gohan fulfilling his long-hinted potential and Goku passing the role of Earth’s protector to his son.
Whichever is closer to the truth, it seems likely that the author had no plans for a new villain after the defeat of Cell and it’s likely that the Buu saga was conceived as a means of extending a series that was enjoying incredible success and popularity at the time. It'd explain why The Great Saiyaman material was so bad anyway.
In the wake of the Buu saga and the end of Dragon Ball Z, the reformed Buu ended up reuniting with his old pal Mr. Satan and living with him in a strange lodging situation. Although still a force to be reckoned with, the version of Buu currently cavorting with the Z-Fighters is far weaker than the version that first terrorized Earth alongside Babidi, despite having the exact same appearance. Buu is currently devoid of both his Evil incarnation and his original Kid form that Goku’s Spirit Bomb decimated and as such, Buu isn’t the fighter he once was. Obviously, he’s still far superior to the likes of Krillin, Yamcha, and Tien, hence the reason for his inclusion in Universe Seven’s five-man tournament team, but these days, Buu is little more than the ‘greedy comic relief’ character. With another multi-universe tournament in Dragon Ball Super on the horizon, however, Buu’s fighting prowess may see a renaissance yet.
Perhaps part of the reason that Majin Buu didn’t resonate as strongly with fans as Frieza and Cell was that the villain never settled in one form for very long. When most Z viewers think of Frieza, they picture his smooth and sleek final form. When they picture Cell, most would imagine his Perfect Cell appearance. With Buu, however, there isn’t a single, defining version of the character and as such, maybe it stands to reason that the Majin has more individual appearance and personality changes than those previous two antagonists combined. While many will debate what constitutes an actual ‘form’, Frieza has, including his recent Gold upgrade, six transformations and Cell, four. Buu manages to outdo both with upwards of ten different alterations, largely thanks to his absorbing technique. Of course, you’ve got Fat Buu, Super Buu and Kid Buu. Then there’s the gray Evil Buu and the Good Buu that fought him. You’ve got Uub and his fusion Majuub. And then the transformations triggered by absorbing each of Gohan, Gotenks, Piccolo, and the South Supreme Kai...
At his purest essence, Buu is a being from the earliest reaches of time comprised of hatred and a need for destruction. As such, it’s no surprise that in the manga, Kid Buu only utters a single phrase. His speech is increased somewhat for the purposes of the anime but remains brief and simplistic. The Buu that Babidi resurrects clearly has a far better grasp of linguistics – despite his childish tone and phrasing – and this can be attributed to another trait picked up from absorbing the Grand Supreme Kai. It appears that the process not only granted Buu flab and compassion but also increased the being’s intelligence and communication skills, as up until this point, the character had been far more primal and animalistic, acting solely on his destructive urges. Whilst most of Buu’s forms largely speak in broken, grammatically incorrect, English, his absorbing of Piccolo – the Z-Fighter’s resident tactician – seems to further boost his wits and ability to construct proper sentences.
Akira Toriyama’s other franchise, Dr. Slump is centered on an eccentric scientist and a female android of his creation called Arale. The two series have crossed over on several occasions, most notably during an episode of the original Dragon Ball when Arale met Goku as a child and more recently during a filler-ish episode of Dragon Ball Super in which Dr. Slump took part in an invention competition attended by Bulma. It hasn’t always been Dr. Slump characters appearing in Dragon Ball media however, the opposite has also been true. Most notably, the 1997 Dr. Slump anime depicted Arale innocently putting a Dragon Ball manga into Slump’s Reality Machine – a device that can bring to life inanimate objects - resulting in a black and white version of Buu coming to life from the pages of the comic and continuing his battle with Goku much to Arale’s delight. The scene even features a black-and-white Kamehameha.
Frieza was one of the most feared, brutal beings in the whole of the galaxy and during his saga in Dragon Ball Z, it’s hard to imagine the character being scared of anything other than the mythical Super Saiyan of legend. Recent developments have confirmed otherwise, however, thanks to a line present in both the Resurrection F movie and Dragon Ball Super. Upon being resurrected by his remaining cronies, Frieza learns that his nemesis Goku managed to get the better of Majin Buu and promptly remarks that his father, King Cold, told him that there were only two people in the universe his son should fear: Beerus and Majin Buu. The moment provided a nice touch of continuity in a franchise where the sagas have a tendency to feel very separate from each other and solidified both Goku’s progress since his battle with Frieza, and the intimidating reputation of Lord Beerus.
An intriguing point of debate among Dragon Ball Z fans has always been what would have happened with Majin Buu in Future Trunks’ timeline. After all, the events of the Android and Cell sagas that caused the changes in Trunks’ world would’ve likely had no impact on Babidi and his attempt at resurrecting Buu. This hypothetical scenario was explored in the Black Goku arc of Dragon Ball Super when Trunks once again time travels into the main timeline seeking the help of Goku and the Z-Fighters. Future Trunks informs everyone that he succeeded where Goku, Vegeta and the rest had failed by managing to stop Buu being resurrected in the first place. Instead, Trunks teams up with the Supreme Kai, overcomes Dabura, destroys Babidi, and the threat of Majin Buu is never released into the world. The Dragon Ball Super manga explores this plot further and shows Trunks training with the Z sword, as Gohan does in the main timeline. Then, as he is about to test the sword out on a block of Kachin (the same stuff that broke the Z sword in Dragon Ball Z) Babidi appears and Trunks returns to Earth for battle.
This entry is almost certainly the strangest on the list but is worthy of inclusion simply because of how bizarre the story is. Dragon Ball Online is a MMORPG in the Warcraft and Runescape vein and at the outset, players can choose to play as a Human, Namekian, or Majin character. Of course, in the Dragon Ball universe, Majin Buu is the only one of his kind and the game’s developers needed a way of accounting for the swathes of Majin that would soon be occupying the Earth. The story goes that Majin Buu, whilst living with Mr. Satan, read one of his room-mate’s dirty magazines and as a result, desired some female company. Finding Earth girls to be insufficient, Buu separated himself into male and female beings and proceeded to reproduce, eventually causing an influx of Majin into the human population. Is it canon? Certainly not, but it’s a hilarious concept nonetheless.
Much like Kirby, Buu is known for being pink and stealing other people’s abilities. However, when the manifestation of his evil separated itself, the resulting form was a cloudy, dark gray color. The new design did a fantastic job of separating the new Buu from his myriad of other transformations and also strengthened the feeling that this transformation was less comedic and bumbling and more outright nasty. It was perhaps a strange move then, when the Dragon Ball Collectible Card Game changed Evil Buu's skin from gray to the standard pink. A clear reason for the change has never been given, perhaps it was to make the cards more kid-friendly or perhaps the artist was simply told “Buu is pink” and they stuck rigidly to that missive. Whatever the reason, taking away one of Buu’s most unique and villainous features is not going to endear you to the Dragon Ball faithful.
An anime-exclusive entry and another instance of Buu’s color scheme changing without explanation. After Evil Buu overpowers and absorbs the innocent natured Fat Buu and changes into his more muscular form, the resulting Super Buu is pictured with white colored eyes. This lasts until his bout with Gotenks in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber in episode 258 when, after a stiff hit in the face from the fused youngster, Buu’s pupils turn red, presumably to convey his rage. The thing is, they never actually turn back, instead remaining that color for the duration of the character’s time on screen. The change easily goes unnoticed and, if anything, the red eyes actually make Buu seem more evil and menacing than before. The generally accepted explanation for the change is that after the anime had already depicted Super Buu with white eyes, Toriyama released a color manga chapter which showed Buu with red eyes. In order to keep the anime faithful to its source material, the change was incorporated at the earliest opportunity.
Dragon Ball Super continues January 14th on Adult Swim.