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Rumor Guide

General Rumors


“General” rumors are typically those wacky “Internet rumors” of a vague classification that, once spread, never seem to be fully solved or killed off. You have probably read them all on message boards, and even though you think they are… well… lacking any real substance, you can not help but think in the back of your head that there may be something to them.

Dragon Ball AF

STATUS: Absolutely and patently False.

Images of a “Super Saiyan 5” Goku began surfacing online back in the late 1990s. For the longest time, no source could ever be tracked down, but it is likely that the image originated as fan art by “Daniel Montiel Franco” within the Spanish video game magazine Hobby Consolas. Beyond this, the entire concept of this new transformation and its supposed origin in the spin-off series Dragon Ball AF was always attributed to dōjinshi (or fan manga). No-one had ever been able to actually provide evidence of a real “DBAF” dōjinshi, though — if no pen-and-paper product could be showcased, what reason was there to believe it actually existed, even if only in dōjinshi form?

This rumor became so widespread (and was so persistent) that FUNimation (the company responsible for the series’ distribution in North America) was forced to address the question of “AF” during panels at conventions, and even resorted to posting an answer in their official FAQ on dragonballz.com.

You may even have come across “episode guides” for the series listing full episode titles and descriptions, which also drop hints at new characters. For example, one of the most-cited “new characters” in these episode titles goes by the name of “Xicor“. The name may be a reference to “Xizor” from the Star Wars expanded universe, though the pronunciations may be quite different (“zai – kor” vs “shee – zor”). Absolutely no mention of the name “Xicor” appears throughout the history of alt.fan.dragonball (a popular Dragon Ball discussion newsgroup), which leads us to believe that the name possibly came after approximately 2002-2003 (when the newsgroup began to decline in activity). Indeed, searching through the internet and its various fan websites and forums will reveal that the name “Xicor” in conjunction with Dragon Ball AF took off in popularity sometime around 2004.

One of the “giveaways” of these episode lists is their style — they go with naming conventions and listings that make more sense for a FUNimation English release, rather than an original Japanese release. While the typical Japanese Dragon Ball series episode title will typically follow the format of “(insert exclamation or question here)?! (insert statement here)“, these supposed “AF” episode titles tend to be very short statements of only two to four words (such as “Xicor Attacks!”), and even feature FUNimation-only name spellings (such as “Tien” instead of “Tenshinhan”). Needless to say, the Japanese would not follow these conventions.

What about those really pretty, official-looking pictures? You have probably come across the Super Saiyan 4 Gohan image, or a Vegeta image with the character all decked out looking more like a king. Fans have consistently cited these two images as hard proof that “AF” existed, and even had character designs.

Why, then, have you never heard of “Studio Tomita“, whose logo is clearly visible on these images? That is because Studio Tomita is really nothing more than a Japanese fan art group (or perhaps individual), with absolutely no connection to Dragon Ball other than drawing some random pictures. If you look at their website, you will find a wide variety of fan art… but (to confuse things even further) you will not find any Dragon Ball fanart. If they did the aforementioned images, why are they not on the studio’s site? Despite the site being in Japanese, there has been a (poorly written) English message at the bottom of the page that reads:

If you accessed this homepage in order to obtain an image of “DRAGON BALL”, you will be discouraged. I do not put an image of “DRAGON BALL” in this homepage currently. And I reply to a request of somebody and do not intend to send an image. I’m sorry.

Though the language barrier leaves it somewhat opaque, the basic message is this: they are a fan art studio that used to do images based on Dragon Ball, but for whatever reason, they took them down from their site and will not put them back up (possibly because of the uproar they caused). The bottom line, here, is that “Studio Tomita” is no more “official” than the next fan artist; it is simply that they put more work into their images than the average fan.

Finally, let us examine the big picture. If “DBAF” were to exist, the rumors having begun so many years ago… why has nothing surfaced? These days, one would definitely expect to see all of the following:

  • screen shots / movie clips from episodes
  • articles / reviews from Japan
  • advertising (such as in Weekly Shōnen Jump)
  • merchandise (books, soundtracks, etc.)
  • downloadable fansubs (“digisubs”)

…and yet, none of these things exist for the supposed “new series.” It would be difficult to hide something of this scale from fans. In fact, we at Kanzenshuu took advantage of this on April Fool’s Day 2004 with a massive prank “announcing” the new series; we even had a “commercial” and a “print ad” for the fake series! Compare this situation with the details about the Jump Super Anime Tour special; note how these kinds of things get almost immediate and universal attention on fan websites and mainstream sites alike, rather than the “underground” and secretive conversations around the supposed Dragon Ball AF.

Normally we would just stop there, but as-of late 2006 it would be incongruous for us to ignore and not describe a web-comic/dōjinshi by a Japanese fan named “Toyble“. Amusingly named Dragon Ball AF, this story takes elements of the “rumors” from over the years (such as the name “Xicor”) and weaves a new storyline after the events of Dragon Ball GT. The story was initially put up in 20-page batches on Toyble’s blog, and was later moved to a somewhat normal schedule of a few pages every month. There are even additional images and stories (such as an embellished background on Tapion) that tie into Toyble’s Dragon Ball AF storyline.

Whether it is After Future, Alternative Future, or even just good ol’ April Fools, AF’s popularity and notoriety continues to evolve… despite not being real.

Akira Toriyama Had No Part In Filler

STATUS: False (and there are some interesting things, here!)

A common fan tactic in arguments is to dismiss things one does not like, does not agree with, or one feels does not belong (in general) by saying “Well, the author had nothing to do with that!” In the past, we have been able to confirm Toriyama’s initial involvement in Dragon Ball GT via his early character and landscape designs in the daizenshuu and Perfect File books. Daizenshuu 6 (“MOVIES & TV SPECIALS”), in particular, showcases Toriyama’s character designs for the likes of Coola (and his henchmen), movie 7’s Artificial Humans, Broli, Bojack, etc.

What about the general filler material in the TV show? It can be contradictory, and typically has (debatably) less-than-stellar attempts at storytelling. Toriyama had nothing to do with any of that, right…? Not quite.

It is certainly not the case that Toriyama wrote and “drew” every single episode in the TV series, but the anime guide Son Gokū Densetsu gives us a little glimpse into the clearly-overworked man’s involvement in the TV series.

There were many character designs Toriyama came up with for filler material, including Paikuhan, Dai-Kaiō, and the beginnings of King Vegeta. We also learn that for many story points, Toriyama would typically come up with a vague idea and leave a memo for the TV series staff to, essentially, go wild with and develop a full story from said idea. Some of these items included the back-history of the Saiyans and the Tsufruians for Dragon Ball Z episode 20, the Z-Warriors’ training with the “Illusion” Saiyans via God’s Palace, and Lunch’s persistent chasing of Tenshinhan. Even Yamcha’s job as a baseball player was Toriyama’s idea!

Also remember cases such as Bardock, who was essentially a joint-collaboration between Akira Toriyama and Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru. In fact, Toriyama liked the idea so much, he ended up integrating it into his own storyline in the manga.

So again, while it is not the case that Toriyama went and did the entire TV series by himself, it is also not the case that he had no involvement with it. If anything, this quite clearly shows why the man has taken such an extensive break since the end of the Dragon Ball series, only putting out short one-shots when he feels like it.

Akira Toriyama Died of a Heart Attack

STATUS: Very, very False (the man’s not dead!).

This is another rumor that began surfacing in the late 1990s (especially during the time of Tobal No.1‘s release on the original PlayStation). Frankly, it seems odd to us that so many people who have heard it just accept it without trying to come up with any sort of “proof” to back it up. Of course, if they did, there would not be any need for this guide, so maybe it is not as odd (or at least uncommon) as it seems. Toriyama is still doing character designs for Dragon Quest games and writing a few one-shot manga here and there, not to mention that he drew all of the manga’s kanzenban cover images. In 2003 alone, he granted at least three interviews to the American Shonen Jump and German Banzai! magazines, and even made a personal appearance in the US to promote the domestic edition of Jump. In 2008, Toriyama participated in creating the first new Dragon Ball animation (the 2008 Jump Super Anime Tour special) in nearly a decade, and much more recently contributed to the films Battle of Gods and Revival of “F”!

If that qualifies as “dead,” we have no clue what it takes to be alive! The truth of the matter: Akira Toriyama may normally be a somewhat reclusive man, but he is alive and well.

Saffron Henderson Returning to Voice Gohan in “Season Three”

STATUS: False (this one’s COMPLETELY our fault!).

We take credit for this one. Back before FUNimation’s broadcast “season three” began in 1999, we decided a fantastic prank to pull would be with friend-of-the-website Matt, who at the time was capable of doing fantastic Saffron Henderson impressions. We recorded some low-quality files using dialog similar to the original Japanese script for episodes during the Super Saiyan Goku era, claimed they were from pre-production tapes, and a legend was born.

Chris Psaros (of DBZ: Uncensored) was actually the first person to figure out the fallacy (in a post on alt.fan.dragonball), noticing some discrepancies between what was being said in the dialogue and where we claimed them to be in the show.

Of course, after the season premiered, it was pretty obvious that it was not Saffron Henderson playing Gohan; instead, it was FUNimation’s own Stephanie Nadolny (whom dub fans would be familiar with as both young Gohan and Goku). For its time, this rumor was huge. Whether this joke was funny or not is your own decision.

Sonny Strait / Terry Klassen Prank Call

STATUS: False

Back in 2000, FUNimation was still partly allowing its voice actors to conduct their own personal interviews with the fan base, and more specifically, fan websites (before stopping that practice entirely for a long period of time). After an interview with Sean Schemmel (FUNimation; “Goku”), Jon Allen (a former staff member of Daizenshuu EX) conducted another interview with Sonny Strait (FUNimation; “Krillin”).

The interview, as a text document, in its written entirety as it appeared on Daizenshuu EX in November of 2000
(no changes have been made to the text, including any possible typos)

In addition to the transcript of the interview, Jon Allen also posted some MP3 audio files from the phone interview to go along with it, partly as an attempt to put a real “face” with these voice actors, but also just to have fun! As you will notice, this so-called “prank call” can be found at the very end of the interview, and is in no way any type of real prank call. It is all just good fun being had during an interview. Besides… didn’t you ever wonder why the other guy on the phone was laughing? If it was indeed Terry Klassen, wouldn’t he be insulted and… err… NOT laughing?

Combine Jon Allen’s frustrating practice of never ID3ing his MP3 files with the very nature of DBZ fans on the internet, and you have yourself a new urban myth!

Linkin Park Performed “Rock the Dragon”

STATUS: False.

Similar to what you may have just read above, once files start hitting peer-to-peer networks, all bets are off when it comes to accurate information. When FUNimation began their dub of Dragon Ball Z back in 1996, they took the same approach as they did with Dragon Ball a year prior: they had a completely new background music score composed for the series, as well as a completely new opening (and ending) theme.

Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahehi were brought in to compose the score for the DBZ dub (known for work on Power Rangers around this time, as well as many other American cartoons and adaptations). Some of the early music for this dub production was released on an official soundtrack, simply called Dragon Ball Z: Original USA Television Soundtrack. This DBZ theme song had no official title other than “Main Title” according to its track listing, but has been titled “Rock the Dragon” by fans (most likely due to these words being the few vocal utterances during the song).

Starting shortly after Napster hit the scene in the late 1990s, and early into the first decade of this century, music from all ends of the Earth made their way across the intertubes, losing meta-information during the journey. Music from Dragon Ball was no exception. Tagless versions of “Rock the Dragon” were soon everywhere, and with Linkin Park at its zenith of popularity (and fan-made Dragon Ball music videos using the band’s songs so common that they were derisively labeled “LinkinBall Z”), perhaps it was only inevitable.

Looking back so many years on, it may seem odd that people even entertained the notion Linkin Park had a hand in the production of any domestic Dragon Ball music. After all, the formation and line-up changes leading up to what became “Linkin Park” simply make the timing impossible; while the band existed in 1996, when the song made its debut, they were not yet well-enough known to be called upon for “star power”, nor were they session musicians who could simply be hired for such commercial work. As time went on, FUNimation also replaced this piece with a new original composition by Bruce Faulconer. Later still, the uncut re-dub of the first 67 episodes (scored by Nathan Johnson) completely superseded the old “Rock the Dragon” version, making even the song itself irrelevant to newer generations of English-speaking fans. Alas, this misinformation has continued to spread regardless, and FUNimation’s 2013 nostalgia-trip with the “Rock the Dragon” DVD box-set seems sure to rekindle the old rumors.

Perhaps this rumor’s staying power is a testament to the connection many fans see between the messages and stories within the music and the same facets of the series? This was, after all, the reason for the innumerable “LinkinBall Z” videos of old. And so, despite the existence of an actual soundtrack CD with its own full credits and attribution, in the end, it doesn’t even matter… fans will continue to make up false information and spread it, no matter what facts stare them back in the face. Perhaps they have just forgotten? Our job is to bring them one step closer to being well-informed, and spreading that knowledge by myself is my cure for the itch. When I try, I find all they are doing is pushing me away, though, so I guess I have to runaway to find a place for my head. …OK, I’ll stop now.

Akira Toriyama is Drawing New Dragon Ball Manga

STATUS: False (but there is some new stuff… ).

The first source of this rumor came from early advertisements for the kanzenban manga re-release. These ads were extremely vague, noting that there would be something new and Dragon Ball-related from Akira Toriyama. If you take a look at the image, you can see how easily it could have been mistaken for a new series. In particular, there is a line at the bottom left which reads, “At the end of 2002, the masterpiece will be revived / reborn!!” The ambiguity of the word (fukkatsu, which can mean either “rebirth” or “revival”) sparked tons of speculation between September and November of 2002 that Toriyama would be writing new Dragon Ball stories. What actually came to be released, however, were condensed versions of the original manga with new cover art drawn by him and nothing more (ads from November 2002 and later were much more specific and clear that there would be no new chapters).

One side-issue relating to “new material” from the kanzenban re-release is that Toriyama actually slightly tweaked the ending to the series with a series of re-written / re-drawn panels. While it leads in exactly the same way, the new ending makes more of a point to focus on the “passing down of the torch”, so to speak, with Goku and Oob.

There is also the Neko Majin manga that Akira Toriyama released over the span of a few years, five chapters of which (Neko Majin ZNMZ 5) are Dragon Ball parodies. Do not get us wrong: one chapter in particular revealed that Kuriza is Freeza’s “son” (he even appears as a playable bonus character in the Japanese version of Budokai 2), and Vegeta makes a (halfhearted) guest appearance as well. However, the presence a cat who does the “Nekohameha,” as well as the lack of a real plot (aside from getting in some self-referential jokes), should give it away as nothing more than a gag, and not (as some fans would have it) a continuation of the Dragon Ball-proper story.

In addition to contributing the raw story idea for the 2008 Jump Super Anime Tour Special (but leaving its actual production to the typical Shueisha and Toei Animation teams), in 2013 it was also revealed that Akira Toriyama — inadvertently! — had a great deal of input on the first theatrical film for the franchise in 17 years, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. While the original concepts of “Super Saiyan God” and a “God of Destruction” remained, Toriyama personally rewrote a great deal of Yūsuke Watanabe’s script work as well as redesigned Beerus, the God of Destruction himself, along with Son Goku’s “Super Saiyan God” form and various other characters’ appearances.

Finally, and perhaps most deviously, was Akira Toriyama’s 11-chapter short manga series Jaco the Galactic Patrolman in 2013. Originally teased as simply a new short series from Toriyama, Shueisha quickly ruined the surprise by revealing it as the “shocking revival of Dragon Ball“. Indeed, while the story has its own main set of characters and its own self-contained story, by the end of the series it becomes quite apparent that Toriyama had just written a legitimate prequel to Dragon Ball.

So yes, while new bits of manga and even movie stories have indeed come from Akira Toriyama since the original series’ completion, with the exception of Jaco and his involvement with Battle of Gods, there have been no true continuations or full-length expansions.

There Are “Lost Episodes”

STATUS: False (but there is reason to be confused, on several levels…)

Trust us: if there were any actual “missing” episodes, fans would have tracked them down ages ago (remember, even Dragon Ball GT ended in 1997; you would think we would have found all of the episodes in all this time!). However, on the other hand, there are plenty of reasons fans may think there are some “lost episodes.”

The first “lost episodes” fans tend to point out would be the animation from the OVA / Playdia video games, Gaiden: Saiya-jin Zetsumetsu Keikaku (“Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans”). The animation was actually released on two VHS volumes in Japan as an “Official Visual Guide” to the original Nintendo Famicom (and later Bandai Playdia remakes), which certainly does not help the argument (note that it was also later released, albeit not remastered, on the second “Dragon Box” DBZ DVD box set in Japan). Fansubs can be tracked down (downloads are usually split into two or three parts, despite it all being one story). Since we know what it is, and it actually had a legit release in Japan (twice!), it is not entirely “lost” (irrelevant of the fact that a legit release of the original version, as opposed to the 2010 remake named Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans, in North America will almost certainly never see the light of day).

Another set of items that actually saw the light of day via the original Dragon Ball‘s “Dragon Box” set in Japan were the two public safety videos, Goku’s Traffic Safety and Goku’s Fire Fighting Regiment. Taking place during the early part of the series, these two short features showcase the cast instructing children on, for example, the proper way to handle fireworks. They are (obviously) well outside the normal series continuity, and are just fun little features to help children develop the necessary skills they will need in order to not burn down their home.

There was also another TV special that aired in Japan, though it was nothing like the Bardock or Trunks TV specials. This special was more of a compilation of footage introduced by Goku and Gohan (dressed up all nicely) to celebrate the show and ring in the new year. “We’ll Show You Everything: Forget the Year’s Cares with Dragon Ball Z” aired 31 December 1993 and has not been included on any home releases in Japan thus far (including extras on Dragon Box sets and individual DVD releases).

This bring us to FUNimation’s release of the various shows in North America. The first two seasons of Dragon Ball Z were originally cut from 67 episodes all the way down to 53 back in 1996-1998; technically, there are some “missing” episodes (or rather, parts of episodes; no single episode was removed in its entirety) in this release of the series. However, with the first two seasons being completely re-dubbed and re-released on DVD with both English and Japanese languages (and having aired in their uncut-dub-entirety on Cartoon Network), they did not remain “lost” for all that long. These days, every bit of content from every DBZ TV episode can legally be purchased on DVD in North America.

Taking the cake, however, was FUNimation’s decision to give a surname to the first 16 episodes of Dragon Ball GT: “The Lost Episodes.” FUNimation originally began releasing DBGT in 2003 starting with episode 17 of the series (plus a recap episode of their own creation) so they could get straight into the action (with, of course, some clever marketing that created vast demand for those early episodes, as well…). Once they had finished recording through to the end of DBGT, they went back to dub and release the first 16 episodes on DVD (the first of these discs, Reaction, was released 13 July 2004).

Of course, since FUNimation intended all along to release this part of the series (having now generated the level of interest they wanted), they were never really “lost”… they were just conveniently “set aside,” while FUNimation sat back and let irate fanboys do the rest.

There is a “Dragon Ball Z 2”

STATUS: True (but it is only the Japanese title of a video game!)

The name Dragon Ball Z 2 had been floating around on message boards and Japanese sites for a few months back in 2003, thoroughly confusing fans. One could even find it on such fine sites as amazon.co.jp! If such reputable sites were mentioning / offering such an item, there must be a new series, right?

Dragon Ball Z 2 is simply the Japanese title of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 (the PlayStation 2 / Gamecube fighting game, the second in its series; the original Budokai was simply called Dragon Ball Z in Japan, and thus the sequel was appropriately named Dragon Ball Z 2).

So yes, while there is technically an actual Dragon Ball Z 2 (and later a Dragon Ball Z 3), it is only a video game. There is some extra material in the game (such as the addition of Kuriza, Freeza’s son, who is a gag character that can be found in Toriyama’s Neko Majin Z series), but it is essentially the same game under a very misleading title.

Interestingly enough, when Dimps and Bandai (the Japanese developer and distributor) would move on to the PSP continuation of the series, they adopted the American Budokai naming convention with the Shin Budokai series.