Dragon Ball: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Trunks

Future Trunks meets Goku in Dragon Ball Z

We’ve already talked about Goku and Vegeta around here, and with good reason. The two are basically the main characters of the Dragon Ball franchise at this point. But of course just because someone is a main character doesn’t mean they are the favorite character of all the fans out there. Even Akira Toriyama, the creator of the franchise, has said it’s actually Piccolo who he likes the best (though you wouldn’t know it from how often he kills the Namekian).

Another big fan favorite of the franchise has become Trunks, the lavender-haired Saiyan son of Vegeta and Bulma. It’s usually Future Trunks that fans are thinking of, but the Trunks of the main timeline has done some remarkable things himself, so we’ll be looking at his achievements across both timelines. As you know if you’ve been keeping up with Dragon Ball Super, Trunks once again has a prominent role in the franchise, thanks to his struggle against Black Goku. So what better time to talk about Dragon Ball: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Trunks.

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Yu-Gi-Oh's Tyler the Great Warrior card, and Future Trunks in Dragon Ball Z
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Yu-Gi-Oh's Tyler the Great Warrior card, and Future Trunks in Dragon Ball Z

Fans who enjoy both Dragon Ball and Yu-Gi-Oh have likely noticed on their own that the card “Tyler the Great Warrior” bears an uncanny resemblance to Future Trunks. Both appear to be muscular warriors with a fondness for martial arts and swords. Plus Tyler has the signature spiky blond hair that is so highly associated with Super Saiyans. They look way too similar for it to be a coincidence, so fans were curious about the story behind the card and have taken to sharing it between the fandoms.

The story goes that there was a fourteen-year-old anime fan by the name of Tyler who wound up developing a form of liver cancer. He had to undergo risky surgery in an attempt to save his life and wound up needing to have a large amount of his liver and portions of his other organs removed, but did survive. To celebrate his triumph, Make-A-Wish worked with him to indulge in his passion for anime by getting him an opportunity to design a Yu-Gi-Oh card. And apparently Tyler was also a fan of the Dragon Ball franchise, because the character he drew was someone very much like Trunks, and the card was named in honor of Tyler.


Dragonball Z Terminator

Every show usually has lots of little homages to other characters and stories, but the number of long-term influences can often be narrowed down to a few core ones. And looking back at what was popular around the time that Akira Toriyama was working on the Dragon Ball manga, ‘80s sci-fi movies were redefining the genre at the time. So it’s probably not that surprising that Toriyama would be inspired by one of the most popular of them all, The Terminator movies.

There are enough similarities that it looks too unlikely to be a coincidence. Both franchises feature a time traveler going back to the past and warning of a future where the world is being destroyed by robots. And like John Connor, Trunks is the primary form of resistance in that future, alongside his mom. We even see an antagonist, Cell, who is able to regenerate his body like the T-1000 liquid metal Terminator. And seeing as how this bit of inspiration introduced one of the most popular characters in Dragon Ball Z, it looks like Toriyama made a good decision.


Trunks deflecting blast in Dragon Ball Z

When the power scouters that Frieza’s minions use are first introduced into the series, they are already kind of obsolete. As Raditz learns when he arrives on Earth, the Z Fighters know how to conceal their true power levels, so the scouters are highly unreliable for getting an accurate reading. And apparently Vegeta was the only one smart enough to learn from the experience and teach himself the ability to sense power levels on his own. Because even after everything Frieza experienced on Namek, he arrived on Earth with minions relying on power scouters once again.

Frieza had plenty of time to learn to stop relying on the scouters, so he really had no one but himself to blame for what happened next. One of his soldiers read the power level of Trunks as being in the single digits, and they foolishly trusted the reading. We all know how it went next. Frieza, King Cold, and all their soldiers were wiped out. And yet, when Frieza returns in Dragon Ball Super, his men are still wearing scouters. But when they attempt to use them, they break from being unable to process such high power levels. So that makes Trunks the last one to actually have his power scouted, albeit hugely inaccurately.


Tapion in Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon

Considering how suddenly Future Trunks appeared in the franchise, it’s only natural fans would be curious about his origins. So in addition to the flashbacks devoted to explaining his devastated future, he also got his own movie showing his struggle against Androids 17 and 18 before he decided to travel into the past. But Trunks also got another movie that featured him heavily, and possibly revealed the origins of his trademark sword.

In Wrath of the Dragon, the character Tapion is introduced as a warrior who uses musical instruments and a sword to fight like a Dragon Ball version of Link from The Legend of Zelda. Kid Trunks befriends Tapion, and as the movie ends, Tapion gives Trunks his sword before leaving. Many fans interpret this to mean that this is how Future Trunks wound up obtaining the sword he uses to cut through Frieza. Whether this is a fact or not is unknown, but it does seem like the best guess for what the writers were going for.


Bulma Kid Trunks Dragon Ball Z

Any fan of the original Dragon Ball knows how prominently Goku’s tail featured into his fighting. At the very least, it was an extra appendage he could use as basically a third hand. And at best, he could turn into his Great Ape form when he stared into a full moon, a transformation that has continually proven to be one of the best ways to turn the tide in a battle. Other Saiyans like Raditz, Nappa, and Vegeta all knew the advantage of having a tail, so it seems like something they’d be happy to pass onto their kids.

Oddly enough though, even when we see Trunks as a baby, he never has a tail. Admittedly, multiple characters removed the tails of Goku and Gohan for their own safety, so that could be one explanation for it. But that doesn’t seem like something Vegeta would support, what with his whole "Saiyan pride" thing. Plus, Saiyan tails grow back, but even after exiting the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Trunks still doesn’t have one. The simple explanation for this that many fans believe is that Akira Toriyama eventually just forgot that Saiyans even had tails so he never included it again after Gohan lost his.


Dragon Ball Z's Bulla, Trunks, and Bulma were named after underwear

A recurring theme among the characters is that Akira Toriyama has a fondness for naming similar or related characters by using a theme. Like all the pure blood Saiyans are given names that reference vegetables, such as Broly sounding like broccoli and Raditz sounding like radishes. There's really no significance to the story behind this naming scheme other than fun little patterns to notice.

Toriyama continued this pattern with Bulma's family, where, odly enough, every character has a name pertaining to underwear. The name Bulma is a play on the Japanese pronuncation of "bloomers", her older sister is named Tights, and her father's name is Dr. Brief. That's right, their family name is Brief. It sounds silly to say that Trunks is just a synonym for boxers, but it still beats the name given to his sister. The daughter of Vegeta and Bulma is named Bulla, which translates to bra.


Future Trunks slices Mecha Frieza in half in Dragon Ball Z

One of the reasons Trunks immediately grabbed the attention of fans was obviously that he was the one who finally killed off Frieza within one episode of fighting him. It was a memorable introduction without a doubt, and really set Trunks apart from the other powerful Saiyans who repeatedly let villains live for too long. Goku constantly tries to spare his opponents so they can redeem themselves, Vegeta deliberately allows his opponents to get more powerful so he can test his strength, and Gohan drags out fights to punish characters who have been evil.

But Trunks's efficiency at dealing with enemies wasn’t some one time occurrence. As fans will remember, when Trunks traveled back to the future after the death of Perfect Cell, he encountered the Cell of his timeline looking to steal his time machine and hunt down the androids in another timeline. Like with Frieza, Trunks wasted no time in getting rid of his timeline’s Imperfect Cell for good. And he showed his direct approach once again in Dragon Ball Super, single-handedly killing Dabura and Babidi before they could unleash Majin Buu. That means Trunks has actually thwarted all three of Dragon Ball Z’s major villains on his own. And he did it in one episode each time.


Dragon Ball Z composer Bruce Faulconer

While the hard rock themes of Bruce Faulconer aren't for everyone, for others, his music is synonymous with Dragon Ball Z itself. And whether you prefer something a little more subdued overall or not, there's no denying Faulconer is very talented and has made some really great themes for the franchise. Just try listening to songs like Vegeta's Super Saiyan theme without getting amped up. Faulconer has a lot of history with the franchise, and his music did as much to tell a story as the words the characters spoke.

It's always interesting hearing who the favorites are of people who work on the franchise, and in this case, Faulconer has called Trunks the character he likes best. He's far from alone in that regard as Trunks is one of the most popular characters in the franchise, and is the favorite of many fans. Even Christopher Sabat, the English voice actor of Vegeta, has said Trunks is his favorite... other than Vegeta of course.


Future Trunks fights Broly in Dragon Ball Z: Broly- The Legendary Super Saiyan

With Broly being the only antagonist to appear in more than one movie, it’d be pretty hard for him not to face off against the same characters, especially since he fights the majority of the Z Fighters in his first movie. And yet, when Broly returns in Second Coming, only Goku, Gohan, Krillin, and Trunks encounter him once again. In ­Bio-Broly, Goten encounters him a second time, but Trunks does so for the third time, making him the only one to encounter him in every movie.

Trunks does have an advantage, though, since between Kid Trunks and Future Trunks, he can literally be in two places at once. A lot of people consider the two versions of Trunks to basically be different people, so you could say no one person has encountered Broly all three times. But still, for Trunks fans, it gives the lavender-haired Saiyan one more accomplishment that even the likes of Goku and Vegeta can’t boast about.


Androids 17 and 18 preparing to fight in Dragon Ball Z

Of course, we all know Future Trunks had major conflict with Androids 17 and 18. They were pretty much his entire reason for showing up in the series to begin with. The androids had devastated his present, and he engaged in numerous brutal battles with them both in his own timeline and the timeline where the other Z Fighters were still alive. And though it took him a while, Future Trunks did eventually resolve the android problem, so you'd think that wouldn't be something his younger self would ever have to worry about.

During the Buu Saga, all the Z Fighters decide to fight in the World Martial Arts Tournament, including the reformed Android 18. Kid Trunks and Goten also compete, but dislike the newly formed junior's division that takes them out of fighting anyone who could actually challenge them. They adopt the guise of Mighty Mask to fight in the adults division, which eventually pits them against 18. And to the credit of the kids, they actually fare pretty well against her before their costume shreds and they're disqualified when everyone realizes they’re underage.

Then, years later, the Trunks of the main timeline gets a chance to go against Android 17 as well. In Dragon Ball GT, Super Android 17 is formed, and makes quick work of many of the Saiyans, including Trunks. So really, Trunks' future self didn't really save his past self from much, since he actually wound up facing a far more powerful version of 17.


Frieza kills Vegeta, and Perfect Cell kills Future Trunks in Dragon Ball Z

Clearly Trunks gets more of his personality from Bulma than he does Vegeta, causing Vegeta to have a hard time realizing that the kind-hearted Future Trunks even is his son. It takes Trunks and his father some time to find common ground in their personalities, and it's really only after they share a common death that their relationship solidifies.

When Vegeta finally dies for the first time, it's when facing Frieza. After beating him down, Frieza finishes Vegeta with a single beam through the chest. Then, years later, when the Z Fighters are facing Cell, the villain emerges from seeming defeat by firing a single beam that pierces the chest of Trunks, killing him in the same way as his dad. But on a happier note, the two Saiyans also share a method of defeating their opponents. Vegeta destroys Android 19 in Dragon Ball Z with an energy blast that leaves nothing behind but his head, and Trunks later replicates that victory over 19 in Dragon Ball GT.


Imperfect Cell kills Future Trunks in Dragon Ball Z

The Android Saga introduced a lot of interesting things to the franchise, particularly that there are alternate timelines on the show that don't effect each other. So if someone dies in one timeline, that in no way guarantees the death of that same character in any other timeline. And it's lucky for Trunks that that is the case or he would have died before ever even going back to the past. Remember, the whole Cell Saga came about because, in one timeline, Cell killed a version of Trunks and stole his time machine to go to a point where the androids still existed for him to absorb. So the version of Cell in the main timeline actually killed Trunks twice: once in an alternate future, to get the time machine, and once in the main timeline, after he became Perfect Cell.

But Future Trunks has also returned the favor and killed Cell twice as well. He helped kill the main timeline's Cell who was still an embryo in Dr. Gero's lab. But then after Perfect Cell was finally defeated by Gohan, Future Trunks went back to his own time with the knowledge that the Cell of his time was still alive, and would be looking to kill him and steal his time machine. That knowledge saved Trunks' life, allowed him to kill off Cell a second time, and prevent the cycle from repeating itself.


Coke cans alongside Trunks Cola and other anime cans

Anime is obviously a lot bigger in Japan than it is in Western countries, so we don’t really see much marketing for Japanese characters over here. Merchandise tie-ins in these regions usually focus more on fast food places sporting items relating to the latest superhero movies. But in Japan, it’s apparently not uncommon to see anime taking those spots, with the Dragon Ball franchise being endorsed by the likes of McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

One of the odder tie-ins to the Dragon Ball franchise is that Trunks apparently has his own brand of soda in Japan. Not like a can of Coke or Pepsi with some promotion featuring Trunks, but rather his very own brand called Trunks Cola. We can’t really say how it tastes or even if it’s still available for purchase, but maybe one of you readers who has been to Japan can let us all in on how Trunks Cola compares to the big soda brands we all know.


Dragon Ball Z Shenron appears to grant a wish

Any time travel story is hard to establish rules for, since the writer has to account for so many variables. But initially, Akira Toriyama seemed to be doing well at managing it by making it known that the different timelines didn't effect each other, so Future Trunks would never return to some drastically different future regardless of what he did in the past. But one odd thing Toriyama might have done better to avoid is that one timeline's Dragon Balls can affect characters from other timelines. We see this because Perfect Cell kills Future Trunks, but he's wished back to life using that time's Shenron. So it raises the question: when the Z Fighters ran out of wishes for Shenron and were even contemplating whether to let Yamcha just wish for money, why didn't Future Trunks wish the Z Fighters of his time back to life?

In the time of Future Trunks, Goku died of his heart virus, and Vegeta, Gohan, and so many others were killed by Androids 17 and 18. You'd think Future Bulma would have sent Future Trunks back in time for a chance at using the Dragon Balls to bring back their friends. But Future Trunks seemingly never even thinks of this despite being wished back himself. It's pretty odd that it's never even mentioned, once you think about it.


Future Trunks returns in Dragon Ball Super

While it’s pretty cool that Trunks was introduced into the series by killing off the biggest threat to the characters we had seen so far, his whole time travel plan in Dragon Ball Z wasn’t very successful. It honestly couldn’t have gone much worse, when you think about it. Starting off, killing Frieza and King Cold was neat, but remember, Goku later revealed he was on the verge of using Instant Transmission to get there and stop them himself. Trunks intervening in that situation was really totally unnecessary.

But it gets worse. His first trip back was to give Goku the heart medicine (which was the one good thing he accomplished), but why didn’t he just help the Z Fighters find Gero’s lab before the androids were released? Bulma even mentions doing this, but Vegeta and the others are so cocky that they want the chance to fight someone powerful and turn down Bulma’s plan.

It gets even worse when Androids 19 and 20 show up, and Trunks realizes their timelines aren’t connected, so what he does in the past won’t save his future. Finally, not only does Trunks fail to stop Androids 17 and 18 from getting out, but his time travel allows Future Cell to steal a time machine in a third timeline and introduce an even bigger threat for the Z Fighters. So Trunks traveling in time not only didn’t help, but actually made things worse. And judging by the Black Goku arc in Dragon Ball Super, Trunks didn’t even learn his lesson from it.


Can you think of anything else about Trunks that a lot of fans overlook? Share your Saiyan knowledge in the comments and let us know!

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