Press Archive

Protoculture Addicts February/March 1997 (Issue 44)


Dragon Ball Z Characters

The Good Guys

■ Goku

A peaceful, good natured, honest and trusting soul, Goku is also the most powerful defender on Earth. He has honed his skills and strengthened his spirit to a new level never before achieved by any human — enabling him to fly, shoot energy beams from his hands, move at incredible speeds and even power-up to an energy level so high that it creates a visible aura around his body and makes him turn blond with green eyes. Goku’s mysterious past is at least revealed in DRAGON BALL Z. He was born a Saiyan, sent to Earth as an infant programmed to destroy the planet as he grew up. However, he was discovered in the wilds by a kind and peaceful old wise man who raised him and changed his life forever. A near-fatal head injury scrambled Goku’s programming — instead of growing up a destructive super-warrior, he became innocent and pure of heart, fighting always for the cause of good. Always there to protect his family and friends, Goku has perhaps one weakness — his trusting nature. Perhaps that is because he is always looking for the good in others and will often discover a spark of goodness in someone that is overlooked by everyone else.

■ Chi Chi

A beautiful princess who Goku saves when they are both young, Chi Chi grows up to become his wife and the mother of his son, Gohan. She is a loving wife and a patient, doting mother; however, she believes that young Gohan should develop his brain rather than his brawn, which is sometimes in direct conflict with Goku’s belief that each man should also be a brave warrior in the face of danger. Even though Chi Chi works had to raise her son in an atmosphere free of conflict, she herself is a formidable martial artists who can defend her loved ones against the forces of darkness. Her father, the great protector Ox-King, who trained under Goku’s grandfather along with Master Roshi, wanted to make certain that his daughter could take care of herself, therefore he trained her to be his equal during conflict. Although Goku is the strongest person on Earth, physically, there is a saying that Chi Chi actually is the strongest person on Earth, because she can get Goku to do anything she wants. Fortunately, her requests are always fair and just, as she is extremely pure of heart and has a peaceful soul.

■ Gohan

Named after his adoptive grandfather, Gohan is Goku and Chi Chi’s young son. Physically, he resembles his father at his age, right down to the tail and the propensity to become an uncontrollable raging monkey-like creature when he looks at a full moon. Spiritually, the boy is good and pure of heart, like his parent. Most likely due to the protection lavished upon him by his mother, Gohan begins of the saga of DRAGON BALL Z as a passive and easily frightened child, but when the Earth becomes threatened, his tremendous potential is revealed. To prepare for the imminent arrival of the evil Saiyans, Gohan is trained by Piccolo, creating a special bond between the two. Gohan must first experience tremendous failures before realizing his full potential, His philosophy is one of pacifism, but Earth’s chances lie within Gohan’s ability to control the strong powers with which he is gifted. After the first battle with the Saiyans, he will be sent to the planet Namek in search of the Namekian Dragon Balls.

■ Krillin

As a young boy, Krillin, who is an Earthling, studied martial arts under Master Roshi with Goku. Once a fierce rival to Goku, the two are now the best of friends. Realizing how strong Goku is, Krillin holds his friend in extremely high respect. Short and bald, Krillin is often comical in his attempts to keep up with Goku and some of the more powerful and imposing champions of good. But he is no helpless buffoon — he can hold his own against the best of them, and has saved Goku’s life many times. Krillin is aided by his ability to master a strong energy force capable of slicing through hilltops. Incredibly dedicated to the power of friendship, Krillin is extremely loyal to Goku and would do almost anything for him. Goku constantly offers Krillin support and encouragement, equally devoted to the special bond between them.

■ Piccolo

Goku’s former arch-enemy, Piccolo is the second strongest being on Earth, and nearly as determined as Goku in his ongoing struggle against the Saiyans. He is native of the planet Namek, from where the ancient art of making the Dragon Balls originated. He is looking for Earth’s Dragon Balls to serve his own evil wish, but upon the arrival of the Saiyans, he joins forces with Goku to defend the planet against a greater evil. It is an uneasy alliance at first, but the bond between them strengthens slowly. Piccolo wears an extremely heavy cape as constant training for his muscles. He is green like a lizard and possesses uncanny powers of regeneration. Young Gohan sees the good in Piccolo, and their ongoing relationship brings that good to light more and more. Piccolo even becomes willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the boy when Gohan is threatened by Nappa.

■ Yamcha

Usually accompanied by his devoted cat companion, Puar, Yamcha is a longtime friend and devoted ally of Goku’s with great spirit and determination. Knowing that the odds are against Goku’s small band of resistors, Yamcha is happy to join in the defense of the Earth against the saiyans. Handsome, brave and strong, Yamcha is hopelessly attracted to Bulma.

■ Tien

A serious, three-eyed man intent on training, Tien can crush rocks on his head and stop the flow of a waterfall with a powerful blast of energy. His powers are formidable, and include the ability to split into multiple entities, as well as a special defense technique by which he is able to move through the sky. Like Yamcha, he is excited to be trained by Kami and readily accepts the challenges which lie ahead for him as part of Goku’s small, but powerful, defense team. He especially enjoys the friendship of Chiaotzu, the little prince who is his constant companion.

■ Chaiotzu

This white-skinned, red-cheeked little prince is the devoted companion of Tien. Noble and completely unselfish, Chiaotzu never hesitates to put others before himself, and is willing to make great sacrifices for the good of th cause.

■ Yajirobe

Yajirobe is the one good guy who is more willing to sit on the sidelines than to join the gray with the others. He is in no hurry to mix it up with the Saiyans and, as such, avoids training in the Pendulum Room with the rest of the team which has committed itself to the defense of the Earth. However, like the others, Yajirobe is devoted to the cause and had his moments to shine.

■ Bulma

A misguided teenager with blue hair, a hot-pink outfit and a personality which won’t allow her to be silent for a moment, Bulma was immature, emotional, self-centered, impatient, argumentative, boy-crazy and given to fits of hysterics. However, she eventually blossomed into an oft-confused woman with a new hairstyle, a new outfit… and the same personality! Fortunately, Bulma is also incredibly determined and an extremely talented technician. She will do whatever it takes to achieve her goals, and will let nothing stand in her way — not mountains, not alien invaders, not even pride. And since she is a mechanical genius who can operate and repair practically anything, she is invaluable to the team. Sometimes she flies in the face of teamwork due to her strong sense of independence, but she has saved the day more than once for the rest of our heroes.

■ Master Roshi

A wise and ancient master of martial arts, Master Roshi has accumulated great power and knowledge throughout his lie. He is extremely bald and has a flowing white beard. Because he has lived in isolation for countless years on a deserted island with only a turtle for companionship, he is often called the “Hermit Turtle.” He is also called quirky, a kook and a smelly old codger, but that’s besides the point. His odd and frail appearance belies the champion inside. He is the one who trained both Goku and Krillin, and taught them the Kamehameha, a power which is channeled through the hands, creating a wave of tremendous energy capable of destroying mountains.

The Bad Guys

■ Raditz

A strong and powerful Saiyan warrior, Raditz initially comes to Earth in search of his brother, Goku. Angry and intolerant by nature, he cannot understand why it has taken Goku so long to subjugate the people of this planet. Upon finding out the truth about GOku and his now peaceful intentions, it is Raditz who begins the conflict between him and his brother. He wears a powerful technologically advanced eyepiece called a scouter, which enables him to communicate and to transmit information about the Dragon Balls to the other Saiyans, and also gives him the ability to sense the location and power readings of particularly strong beings, such as Goku.

■ Nappa

Fellow Saiyan warrior to Vegeta, Nappa initially comes to Earth with Vegeta in order to destroy it. Heavily muscled, he does most of VEgeta’s fighting for him, employing a dreaded and powerful blast of energy show from his mouth. While he is extremely strong and powerful, Nappa’s weakness is his carelessness. He is not as smart as VEgeta and is prone to critical errors. Nappa is definitively inferior to, and afraid of, Vegeta. He is ultimately eliminated by Vegeta for his weakness.

■ Saibaimen1

Beings grown from seeds for the express purpose of battle, the Saibaimen take their orders from Nappa and Vegeta, and are formidable opponents but, alas, no match for our heroes.

■ Vegeta

The most powerful and feared of all the Saiyans, he bears the same name as the planet from which he comes; however, the planet was named after him rather than the other way around. Cunning, ruthless and cruel, he likes to toy with the helpless creatures who dare oppose him. A member of the highest class of Saiyans, he is a “Super Elitst,” and believes that, allied with Nappa, he can conquer the Earth in three days. Evil and intolerant to his very core, Vegeta gives the orders which Nappa follows, and usually sends Nappa to do his dirty work on Earth. However, when he becomes convinced that Nappa is unable to defeat Goku, Vegeta takes matters into his own hands. As do all Saiyans who still possess their tails, Vegeta metamorphoses into a Giant Monkey when he sees the full moon, which increases his strength tenfold and allows him to reach his full power potential. Arrogant to a fault, Vegeta cannot bear the thought that he might be weaker than any other creature, and constantly trains and searches for the extra “edge” that will keep him on top. Vegeta has made Gohan his primary target on Earth, for Vegeta has discovered that the combination of Saiyan and human is more powerful than either Saiyan or human alone. His quest for the Dragon Balls is founded upon his greatest desire — immortality.

The Races

■ Namekians

The Namekians, those people from the peaceful planet Namek, are an interesting and introspective race. Their hierarchy is based on the villages in which they live, each governed by wise and revered Elders. Physically, the Namekians are best described as a combination of reptile and insect — green, and able to regenerate limbs. Each is born to perform one function in life. For example, one is a soldier while another is a healer. They were born to do this, and will will do this until they die. The people of Namek are dedicated to peaceful living.

■ Saiyans

Quite opposite from the Namekians are the Saiyans, who are evil to the core. They are the strongest and most powerful force of darkness ever to enter the universe. Born long ago to a primeval force on a faraway planet, the Saiyans grew into a warrior race so devastating and relentless that their own planet, Vegeta, could not survive the centuries of destruction. Ultimately, they united into one unbeatable and overwhelming force.

Now a supreme warrior race, holding conquest above all else, the Saiyans are obsessed with continued training to become even more treacherous and deadly. Targeting other planets, the Saiyans leave chaos and destruction in their wake. They have subjugated the peaceful people of the universe, and have destroyed those who dare to stand up to them. Now, they have set their sights on Earth as their next, and greatest, conquest.


The following historical notes are included for the benefit of the reader as supplemental information and were not originally published in the book.

1 The Saibaimen are here correctly written with “saibai” (from 栽培 saibai, or “cultivation”) in their name, which would actually appear as “Saibamen” (missing the second “i”) in FUNimation’s English dub; considering that “Saibamen” is provided in the same issue’s episode synopses, this was likely just an educated mistake by the article’s author. Within the year, Viz would adapt the creatures’ name as “Cultivars” for their English translation of the manga.
Transcription & Notes: VegettoEX