Kyōfu no Messeiji
A Message of Terror
|Premiered:||30 July 1991 (Weekly Shōnen Jump 1991 #34)|
Dragon Ball Z (Original Broadcast)
Dragon Ball Kai (“Refreshed” Broadcast)
Goku asks if he’s really Vegeta’s son, and thinks he does resemble Vegeta come to think of it. Trunks says he’ll be born in about two and a half years, but that’s not what he came to tell him. He has something important to say: “Three years from now, at about 10 AM on May 12th, a fearsome duo will appear on an island nine kilometers southwest of South City. Monsters with no regard for life, and have tremendous power.” Goku asks who they are, aliens? “No, they’re artificial humans, or cyborgs, invented right here on Earth. The one who created them is Doctor Gero, a mad scientist originally of the Red Ribbon Army.” Goku is shocked to hear that. “That’s right, the army you defeated a long time ago. But it seems Doctor Gero survived and continued his research.” Goku asks why, world domination?
“I don’t really know, but at least I think that was Doctor Gero’s aim. However, he created ultimate murderous machines. Those artificial humans, No. 19 and 20, killed their parent Doctor Gero after they were born.” Goku thinks they must really be something if he, a Super Saiyan who defeated Freeza, says they’re monsters. “Yes, I’ve stood up to them, but it was no good… Anyhow, since there are two opponents, and I can’t fight them one-on-one, so I have to run away.” Goku says wait, where’s his friends? “There are none. In twenty years, I’m the only warrior remaining. The battle in three years, my father, Kuririn, Yamcha, Tenshinhan, Chiaotzu, Piccolo… Everyone is killed… Son Gohan just barely managed to survive… He taught me to fight, but then four years ago… As you know, when Piccolo dies, the Dragon Balls are also gone, so nobody could be returned to life. For years, they’ve been playing around and taking lives. Because of the Artificial Humans, my world in the future is like a living Hell. They’re strong…!! They’re too strong…!!”
Goku says wait, what happened to him? “You didn’t fight. You’ll be infected with a disease not long from now, and you’ll die. It’s a virus-natured heart disease. Not even a Super Saiyan can win against disease.” Goku figures not even senzu works, and gets angry at the thought that he dies instead of fighting. “You regret that you can’t fight? Aren’t you scared?” Goku says it’s scary, but he wants to fight strong dudes. “You really are a true Saiyan warrior. You’re just like Mom and Gohan said. You’re trustworthy, I’m glad I came.” Then Trunks pulls something out of his jacket. “When your symptoms show up, please take this. It’s medicine for you. It’s incurable in this time, but in twenty years there’s special medicine. You won’t die with this medicine.” Goku gets really excited and says thank you. “Really, I shouldn’t be doing this. Changing history. But, for that kind of history… I believe that you can surely do something. Mom also wished this, and she managed to complete the time machine.” Goku is surprised his mom knows him, and Trunks says she knows him very well, she’s right over there. “B-BULMA…!!!!!”
Vegeta is annoyed that they’re still talking, and Bulma thinks Goku looks surprised. Goku says he was really surprised by that, and thought she’d end up with Yamcha. Trunks says Yamcha was kind of fickle and dumb, so they broke up, and she noticed Vegeta seemed lonely, so… But they never got married, what with their personalities. Goku understands that. Trunks says his father died when he was too young, so this is his first time meeting him. Yamcha wonders why they’re looking over here, and Pu’er says they’re smiling a bit. Trunks asks Goku to especially keep that part a secret, because if the two of them found out, he might not be born. Then Trunks says he needs to get back to his mom, and that he has faith in Goku’s strength. Goku asks if they’ll meet again, and Trunks doesn’t know, he needs a lot of time for the time machine to get the energy for a round trip. If he’s still alive, he’ll come back in three years. Goku tells him to live, and he’ll spend the next three years training.
Trunks gives Goku a thumbs up, then flies off. Goku walks back to the others, wondering how he’ll tell them all this. Kuririn asks what that dude wanted, and Goku says nothing big. Piccolo says to tell it, it’s very important to all of them. Goku can’t believe he heard, and Piccolo says his sense of hearing is different. Piccolo then says if it’s hard for him to say, he’ll say it. Goku protests, but Piccolo says he won’t do anything to endanger the kid’s existence and say anything unnecessary, but they’ll all be killed without training. And so, Piccolo tells them everything, except about Trunks himself. Yamcha thinks that’s all crazy, coming from the future. Piccolo says they can believe what they want, but he doesn’t want to, die and will train. Then they look up and notice the time machine way up in the air, with Trunks inside. “Dad… As Mom said, you’re strong, proud, stern, and you seem to be a lonely person. Somehow or other, don’t die… Young Mom, good luck to you as well.” Trunks waves down to everyone, and then the time machine vanishes. Tenshinhan says he’ll also train, and Kuririn will too. Indignant, Vegeta thinks he’ll definitely survive in three years.
There is a distinct similarity between Trunks’s time-travel plot and the plotline of the Terminator film franchise. As with that series, Trunks travels back from a bad future in which artificial life-forms have pushed humanity to the brink of extinction, in the hope of changing events for the better. Viewed in this light, Trunks is something of a composite of Kyle Reese (the time-traveler of the first film), John Connor (the leader of the future resistance), and the “good Terminator” from the second film (an individual armed with future knowledge and the strength to fight back against the villains).
While Toriyama has never mentioned the Terminator films directly as an influence, he was clearly aware of at least the first film, having drawn Sergeant Metallic from Chapter 59 to (at least slightly) resemble Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is also certainly worth noting that Terminator 2: Judgment Day had made its global premiere less than a month prior to the publication of this chapter in Weekly Shōnen Jump, and was no doubt already being promoted heavily in Japan at the time. From this, the conclusion that Trunks’s backstory is a Terminator reference seems obvious, if not concretely verifiable.
On the second panel of page 3, Trunks calls the Artificial Humans who will appear in three years “Nos. 19 and 20”. However, when the character reappears in Chapter 346, he does not recognize No. 19, and in Chapter 348, explains that the Artificial Humans he knows are Nos. 17 and 18, who are then introduced in the chapter after that. His non-recognition of No. 19 is easy to explain as a result of having learned about the Artificial Humans secondhand from his mother, but his subsequent explanation about Nos. 17 and 18, making no distinction between them and the Artificial Humans he warned Goku about three years previously, makes it clear that this is actually a plot hole.
While it is tempting to discount this as an error, and that Trunks meant to say “Nos. 17 and 18”, there is no plausible reason why he would make such a specific mistake in referring to Nos. 19 and 20, when the only two artificial humans he knows of are 17 and 18. In reality, Akira Toriyama actually intended for Nos. 19 and 20 to be the main antagonists of this story arc, and it was only after his former editor, Kazuhiko Torishima, complained about his choice of villains (“What? You mean it’s just a fatso and a geezer?!”) that Toriyama created 17 and 18 as the “true” villains of the arc. But that situation didn’t last long, either….
In the same panel as the above, Trunks mentions Doctor Gero, a scientist who had been a part of the Red Ribbon Army, as the creator of the Artificial Humans. While the author’s intent is clearly to tie him back to Artificial Human No. 8, of whom Gero is indeed acknowledged as the creator on the title page of Chapter 367, he did not in fact exist as a character or a story concept at the time of the Red Ribbon arc’s writing.
The existence of Doctor Gero also creates a plot hole in the TV series (but not the comic), in that Dragon Ball Episode 42 had previously introduced the kindly “Dr. Frappe” as No. 8’s creator, as the staff at Toei Animation had no way of knowing that Toriyama would revisit this particular plot point some four-and-a-half years later. The kludge used to explain away this inconsistency is generally that Frappe was either Gero’s colleague, or coerced into assisting him, but even though he does not exist in the manga, Frappe in fact predates Gero by nearly half a decade.
- Continuing on from where we left off in the previous chapter, the pad on Goku’s left shoulder once again goes missing in the second panel of the second page. It reappears in the next panel, then finally manages to stay put until Goku changes out of this outfit.
Each issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump features short comments from the various series’ authors, giving fans a brief insight into their current thoughts, ranging from series-related announcements to trivial happenings in their personal lives. Akira Toriyama’s comments from this issue were:
I’m planning to go with my family to the Fuji safari park. Right now, I’m packing in my schedule for the sake of that. <Akira>
The majority of the Dragon Ball series was drawn in black and white, but chapters were occasionally published with color pages. This breakdown notes how many full-color, limited-color, and black-and-white pages appeared in this chapter. As the tankōbon volumes were not released with these colors intact, any color pages shown are taken from the kanzenban release.