The main character. The name is derived from the Chinese mythological figure of the same name. However, unlike the monkey king of the Chinese scriptures, the Songoku of this manga appears to be human in every way, with the exception of his simian tail. As long as his tail is attached, the sight of a full moon turns him into a giant ape-beast. His astounding strength is matched in magnitude only by his (sweetly dumb) innocence.
The first (vital) character who draws Songoku into the search for the Dragon Balls, hence, introducing him to a whole new world of adventure. A techno-whiz like her father (the founder behind the world famous Capsule Corporation) who can irritate those around her with her selfish attitude. Always on the lookout for sexy men.
There are two Songohans. One is Songoku’s (deceased) adoptive grandfather and mentor. The other is Songoku’s son, who possesses the human blood of his mother and the alien traits of his father — a mixed heritage which makes him innately stronger than his own father. This child also shares his father’s heart of gold.
■ Kame-sennin (or Mutenroshi)
The Turtle Master. Sometimes uses the pseudonym “Jackie Chun”. An old master of martial arts with a funky taste in clothes and a sex-crazed mind. He takes Songoku and Kuririn under his wing and teaches them everything he knows. Usually resides on a tiny island with his faithful giant sea turtle (Umi-game).
Songoku’s closest friend who trained with him under Mutenroshi’s guidance. Fiercely competitive, however, the gap that stretches between his and Songoku’s fighting abilities and luck with women becomes much cause for depression in the latter volumes of the series.
■ Sennin (or Sen-byo-sama)
The Cat Master. Literally, a chubby, eight hundred year old cat with a cane. A master among masters. Wiser and stronger than even the Mutenroshi. Lives atop the Karin-Tou (Karin Tower), just beneath God’s palace.
Initially making a living as a thief, he starts out as Songoku’s enemy, but as he begins to fall in love with Buruma, a friendship develops. Since he is a mere human being, he turns out to be (possibly) the weakest member of the gang.
Yamucha’s loyal sidekick. A floating cat with the ability to change shapes.
A pig who, like Pouaru, is a shape-changer. Used to be a lawless prankster until Buruma reformed him.
A young woman with a split personality. Half of her is as sweet as a buttercup while the other half is a gun-toting, psychotic criminal. She takes refuge in the company of Kame-sennin when Songoku rescues her from the police (who are not aware of her doubled persona). She develops a crush on Tenshinhan and departs in search of him. She never reappears.
When Piccoro’s terror reigns over the earth, he encounters and aids the weakened Songoku. Despite his inhuman strength, he is a bit of a coward and often chooses not to get involved with anything risky. Still, he had his moments of heroism. Has a massive appetite and cannot fly.
The three eyed fighter who used to be the disciple of Kame-sennin’s rival (“Tsuru-sennin” or “Crane Master”). The only person with a mastery over the deadly “Ki-Ko-Ho” maneuver. Since his original intent was to kill Songoku, he is a man with little or no sense of humor. Once he befriended the impressible Songoku, his seriousness has become the butt of many jokes.
Tenshinhan’s best friend and training companion. A short, quirky character with telekinetic powers and only one strand of hair on his head. Many times heroic, but not bright.
The reborn Devil himself. However, by having the opportunity to raise Songohan for a while, he reluctantly demonstrates that he is not entirely evil after all. Further on in the story, he even experiences a paternal pride and affection for Songoku’s son. Prefers a spartan lifestyle. Has absolutely no sense of human whatsoever (for obvious reasons).
Piccoro’s spiritual opposite — God. He and Piccoro used to be one before the latter was ejected in an attempt to cleanse the soul of all evil. It turns out that Kami and Piccoro are members of an alien race whose entire culture is based on magic.1
■ Mr. Popo
God’s reliable adjutant. Origins unknown. Powerful in his own right.
The prince of the Saiya people, and sole survivor of their home planet, other than Songoku. A man of enormous pride, he cannot stand the fact that Songoku always manages to be hone step ahead of him in (combat) training. Born to fight. Sacrifices his sense of humor to act like a “tough guy”.
Bejita and Buruma’s son. Similar to Songohan in terms of their mixed parentage. Uses his mother’s time machine to travel to the past. Grew up in awe of the father he never knew, but grows to hate Bejita once they meet. Not goofy like his father nor as icy as his father — somewhere in between. In one timeline, Songohan is his training master.
■ Chi Chi
Songoku’s wife. The Ox King’s only child. She does not forget the childhood promise that Songoku made to marry her when they were older, and confronts him at one of the martial arts tournaments. Angry that he does not recognize her, she enters the tournament herself and gets the chance to fight him before letting him have the satisfaction of knowing her name. He wins the match and by the end of the day, they are husband and wife. Considered by many as being the strongest person in the universe since she can overpower Songoku at times.