Translations Archive

Supplemental Daizenshuu (“#10”): TV Animation Part 3 (10 July 1996)

Animation’s Gleanings

Behind the Scenes of the Dragon Ball Anime

The Dragon Ball Myths that No One Knows will be Revealed Here!!

The word “planning” entails the drafting of a plan of action. Here, we will introduce several particularly interesting episodes in connection with planning the Dragon Ball anime.

■ From Arale-chan to Goku… Dragon Ball Begins Airing!!
26 February 1986, at 7:00 p.m…. The animated version of Dragon Ball started broadcasting!! It was the same timeslot that Dr. Slump — Arale-chan, the big hit anime based on a work by Akira Toriyama-sensei, had aired in. The ratings for the first episode were, amazingly enough, about 27 percent. With that number, you can probably get a sense of just how much people were eagerly awaiting the animated version. Incidentally, the original manga was right in the middle of the fierce battle at Muscle Tower at this time.

Freeza: Tidbits about the anime? Seems interesting. (chuckle)

[caption] ↑ This color scene with Goku and Shenlong is different from the one that was actually broadcast.

[caption] ↑ The basis for this illustration was the chapter cover included with Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 No. 7. The original group’s all here!!

[caption] ↓ The title changed to Dragon Ball Z and some illustrations were drawn anew.

Valuable! A collection of Dragon Ball anime illustrations!
Promotional posters for the series.
[caption] ↑ The basis for this illustration was the chapter cover published with Weekly Shōnen Jump 1985 No. 9. The artwork, reminiscent of Chinese illustrations, is exquisite!!
[caption] ↓ Goku’s just full of liveliness here!! The coloring of the Air Bike, all decked out in reds, blues and whites, is very characteristic of anime.

Promotional illustrations for the series.
[caption] ↑ This illustration was sent to the TV station, the animation studio, and other related companies before the airing of the series.
[caption] ↑ In the back, there was a primer about the story and characters and information about the networks that would air the series.

■ What are the thoughts of Toriyama-sensei hidden in the Z?
Dragon Ball ended on 19 April 1989, and Dragon Ball Z began the very next week in the same timeslot. The truth is that “Z” is a name Toriyama-sensei got by tweaking the name of a certain energy drink, and it contains the meaning of double the power!! …and if you’ve read this far and nodded along saying, “of course!” then you’re still far too gullible. In all honesty, it seems the truth is that Sensei simply added it because it had a nice ring to it. The meaning of “ultimate” and so forth, was actually something he thought up afterward.1

[caption] ↑ Apart from Z, there were a number of other proposed titles, such as Dragon Ball: Gohan’s Great Adventure, New Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball 2, Dragon Ball: The Wunderkind [Wandā Bōi], and Dragon Ball ’90.2

■ Ground-breaking!! Dragon Ball-style scenario techniques
Did you know that, when the original manga was running in Weekly Jump, the anime scenario for the same chapter was already completed? Sensei‘s editor would take the roughs that he had faxed to Weekly Jump and send them over to Toei Animation, and they’d write the scenario based on that… it can be said that it’s precisely because of that system that this was possible.3 This is a good example of how the anime was made through a system of complete cooperation between Sensei, the editorial department, and Toei Animation!!

■ Anime-original material is made like this!!
Even though it’s “original”, episodes and character ideas often come from Toriyama-sensei (see inset article, below). Also, Toei Animation has also made stories with an understanding of the Dragon Ball world, based on the concept that, while they weren’t depicted in the manga, “something like this probably happened.” It’s thanks to these invisible efforts that you can watch original material without it feeling out of place.

[caption] ↑ Maron, the original character who made a huge impact as “Kuririn’s girlfriend.”

[caption] ↑ The setting of Vegeta and Kewi being at each other’s throats is a good example of how the anime delved deeper into the characters.4

[caption] ← Toriyama-sensei designed Dai-Kaiō from the anime-original Afterlife Tournament.5

[caption] ↓ Akira Toriyama-sensei also drew this design of a grown-up Upa for the anime crew.

[caption] ↑ Seems like this was drawn as reference for the animators.

[caption] ↓ The legendary Fire-Eating Bird. He was designed even down to the smallest details.

[caption] ↑ The Fire-Eating Bird to the right was designed in conjunction with a story from the anime related to Goku’s wedding. There are many other things that became official events in the Dragon Ball world, like the designs of the Saiyans and the Tsufruians and the existence of Goku’s father, Bardock.6

Continuing on from the previous page, here we will introduce some facts from the production of the TV specials and theatrical films. Tidbits and unexpected facts from the planning stages will be revealed one after another!!

■ The Secrets Behind the Choosing of the Movie Sub-Titles!!
Apparently, the production staff always struggled immensely with the varied and elaborate sub-titles of the theatrical movies, which were always undecided until the very end. These sub-titles were also intimately connected with things such as popular trends of the time. For instance, A Super Decisive Battle for Earth is an altered version of the title of a popular TV show.7 Meanwhile, Burn Up!! A Red-Hot, Raging, Super-Fierce Fight8 gave a mental image of F-1 racing, which was popular at the time!! Now that we’ve told you, it all makes sense, doesn’t it?!!

■ Bardock was Goku’s enemy?!
The TV special, A Final, Solitary Battle, is quite popular for having given greater depth to the world of Dragon Ball. This concept grew out of the ideas, “What were Goku’s roots?” and “Goku must have had a father,” and developed into the form that ultimately aired on television. Incidentally, in the initial plan, we hear that there was also the suggestion that perhaps they could make Goku and his father enemies. Hmm… we want to see Goku and his father face off?!

[caption] ↑ The second TV special, where popular character Trunks was the protagonist.

[caption] → The first TV special, whose tough themes influenced even the original work.

■ How many can you guess? The secrets of theatrical film’s characters

Here, we’ll show the origins of the names of all the enemy characters that debuted in the theatrical films, all at once!! We’ll be taking off our hats to the enthusiasm of the creative staff that created enemy characters whose names hint at various things like vegetables, fruits, words and candy.9

[caption] ↑ There are deep, hidden meanings behind each and every one of the characters’ names!!
Character Name(s) Name Analysis
These are names associated with food. Gourmeth comes from “gourmet,” which means someone who appreciates good food. Vongo comes from “vongole”10 and Pasta means “spaghetti noodles”11 [sic].
Lucifer comes from the Devil depicted in the Bible. The origin of “Gastale” is “Gas Table.”
Garlic Jr.
Garlic comes from the name of the plant, and the names of his henchmen all have their origins in the names of spices. Ginger comes from the name of the root, Sansho comes from the Japanese word for “Sichuan Pepper” (山椒 sanshō), which is frequently used in unajū12, and Nikki comes from the Japanese word for “cinnamon” (肉桂 Nikkei).
Dr. Uiro
Dr. Kochin
These were named after famous products from Nagoya, which is Toriyama-sensei‘s birthplace. Uiro comes from a candy called “uirō”13 (ういろう), and Kochin comes from the Nagoyan Kochin chicken. The others come from Kishimen14, Ebifurai15 (which is the Nagoyans’ favorite dish), and Misokatsu. The Biomen are named after the fact that they were created using bio-engineering.
Saiyan names are all associated with vegetables. So in keeping with that rule, Tullece’s name comes from the vegetable “lettuce.” His henchmen’s names all come from a series of beans [sic]. Almonds, the Japanese name for “soybean” (大豆 daizu), cacao, raisins and the Japanese name for peanut (落花生 rakkasei) all became the basis for their names.
Slug comes from the name of the gastropod. And why is that his name? Because all Namekians’ names are related to slugs. And since his henchmen are all enemies that have come from space, we based their names on the words “Andromeda” and the Japanese term for “nebula” (星雲 seiun). The scientist Kakuja’s name was based on the Japanese word for “scholar” (学者 gakusha).
Coola is based both on the Shizuokan expression for “let’s eat” (食うら kūra) and “cooler,” the household appliance.16 The rest were based on “Thousand Island,” “mayonnaise,” and “dressing” [sic].
Metal Coola Since his body is made from metal, he was named simply “Metal Coola.”
Artificial Human No. 13
Artificial Human No. 14
Artificial Human No. 15
Since 13 is an unlucky number and there is no android with that number in the original work, we named him No. 13. Nos. 14 and 15 were based on the same concept.
Since they’re both Saiyans, they were named based on the vegetables “broccoli” and “asparagus.”
These were the only ones based on a series of unusual kanji. The names were chosen based on the words bōjakubujin (傍若無人), which means “egotistical,” gokuaku (極悪, “heinous”), hidō (非道, “unjust” or “inhumane”), and zangyaku (残虐, “cruel” or “savage”). It is certainly a way to pick names that sound really bad, isn’t it?!
Bio-Broli Since he was made with bio-engineering, he was named Bio-Broli.
Janenba It’s a shortened version of já’aku na nenpa (邪悪な念波, “evil thought waves”). One could say it’s a fitting name for a monster from Hell.
Hildegarn We named him after the fact that Toei Animation Assistant Producer Mr. Hiruta goes “Ga~n!”17 when he’s surprised.

To animate means “to breathe life into.” What happens when a character is drawn onto a blank sheet of paper and given life? Here, we’ll give ya’ a ton of inside info on the animation side of things!

■ Something’s different!? Super Saiyan
Why is there a red-eyed version of Super Saiyan? Well, it seems that this occurred because Toriyama-sensei took an illustration with the idea of “maybe red would be OK, too?” that he had drawn on a whim and handed it over to Toei Animation as a color reference. Even so, it’s cool!!18

[caption] ↓ Look closely

[caption] → Cel art for the poster of The Incredible Strongest vs. Strongest. Toriyama-sensei‘s illustration that this was based on can be found on page 182 of Dragon Ball Daizenshuu vol. 6.

■ The evolving anime-Goku!!
The illustrations in Toriyama works have so much charm that there are even people who say that “every panel in Toriyama-sensei‘s manga is a work of art.” In order to emulate that charm, the animated version has also employed new character designers and changed the color settings to go along with the changes in Sensei‘s drawings. We hear that there was even a character designer who learned Shaolin-style kenpō, and the kata that he learned have apparently also come in handy when doing the animation!!19

[caption] ←→ The earlier Goku design, to the right, has softer lines and his dōgi has a reddish hue. Compared to that, the later Goku design to the left was changed to have a sharper feel to it.

[caption] ← This is the reverse of an animation cel! It gets like this because it’s painted starting with smaller parts such as the eyes, along the character’s outlines.

■ What the heck is this?! Drippy Goku
You know about the cels used in animation, don’t you?! In that case, have you ever seen the back side of a character drawn on a cel? The drippy Goku displayed above is actually the back of a cel. Also, depending on the needs of the director, the face and hair could be animated separately, and as a result, there were apparently even cels with a “bald Goku.” Even if it’s unavoidable, it’s still pretty funny!

Cell: You’d better learn the secrets behind the animation, you lowly humans!!

“Sound,” of course, refers to sounds.20 From the secrets of each character’s voice, to the way sound effects are made, which isn’t widely known, you’ll be able to read a variety of different secrets regarding sound!!

■ Did you notice? Double-casting
When it comes to recording for anime, the number of voice actors that can be in the studio is limited. Because of that, there are certain times when the voice actors playing the main characters will change their voice and performance and play a different, supporting role. Here, we have assembled a partial list of Dragon Ball‘s double casting. Unexpected voice actors will play some shockingly unexpected roles, so definitely check it out!!

[caption] ↑ Mayumi Tanaka-san was in charge of these roles. Notably, she was named for the role of Kuririn by Toriyama-sensei himself.

[caption] ↓ Hirotaka Suzuki-san, who played the role of Tenshinhan, was also in charge of the announcer in his later appearances.

[caption] ↑ A talent so big you wouldn’t believe these four were all played by the same person!! In charge of these roles was veteran voice actor Jōji Yanami-san.

[caption] ↓ Who played the role of Bulma’s son, baby Trunks? The truth is that the voice actress for his mother, Hiromi Tsuru-san, played both roles.

[caption] ↑ The actor who played the Ox Demon King and Mr. Satan, who are related to one another, was Daisuke Gōri-san.

[caption] ↑ Since Mayumi Shō-san, who played Chi-chi, retired, Naoko Watanabe-san took over the role from her.

[caption] ↑ The actor in charge of these roles, Naoki Tatsuta-san, also played the Hire Dragon in the theatrical films.21

[caption] ↑ Kenji Utsumi-san played the role of Shenlong. He was also in charge of playing the tournament announcer in his earlier appearances.22

Huh? The voice is different!?
Garlic Jr., the movie character who was played by the veteran voice-actor Akira Kamiya-san, later appeared in the TV show. However, at that time, due to Kamiya-san‘s schedule, his role was handed over to Shigeru Chiba-san. Incidentally, Chiba-san is also the voice-actor who handled the voice of Raditz.

■ Unexpected noises! Sound Effects
Sound effects are also a vital element of animation. Dragon Ball‘s sound-effects are made by, for instance… using a synthesizer, or combining various different sounds. For example, the sound made when the super warriors flew up with a “boom” during battles was actually made by processing the sound of a fighter plane’s jet engines. Also, the sound of a Kamehameha’s blast was also adjusted to emphasize its sense of scale in keeping with Goku’s growth. It’s also fun to check out the differences for yourself in videos of the movies!!23

[caption] → The sound of Kinto-Un flying was also worked to have comical nuances in it in order to bring out elements of it being like a living thing, rather than simply a vehicle.

[caption] ↑ With a powerful Kamehameha, the sound was adjusted to be deeper by emphasizing the lower frequencies.

■ From parent to child… voices are also passed down?
They say that the staff fretted greatly about who to go with for Gohan’s voice actress. Ultimately, they decided on Nozawa-san, because “we can’t imagine anyone but Goku’s Masako Nozawa-san.”24 After that, she played Bardock as well, on the concept that if Goku’s child has the same performer, then his father should, as well.

[caption] ← Yūko Minaguchi-san, who played Videl, also plays her daughter Pan. One could probably say that this is because a tradition was born after Nozawa-san‘s success as Goku and Gohan.

[caption] → Takeshi Kusao-san played both the grown-up Trunks and the little Trunks.

Boo: There are a lot of things you didn’t know about here!!

■ Top-secret anime item collection!!
Here, we will introduce topics related to the production of the anime in a simple manner. To the right, we have scenarios for Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, and above are their contents.25 The storyboards, and later the recording scripts, are made based on them. Each of them is a precious resource that almost never reaches the outside.

[caption] ↑ This is a storyboard from The Path to Ultimate Strength.26 Goku’s actions and timing, special effects such as beams of light, and the character’s lines are all noted down.

[caption] ← Ordinarily, no more than about 90 copies of the scenario are made for a single episode.

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

1 Akira Toriyama and character designer/animator Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru discuss this a bit more in their joint interview from the 2003 guide book Son Goku Densetsu
2 “Gohan’s Big Adventure” was seriously in consideration: an early, in-progress piece of promotional artwork by Masaki Satō featured this title.
3 In other words, writing the script this early.
4 As opposed to other items, this caption does not actually specify if this item in particular was a Toriyama creation/idea.
5 The “Grand Lord of Worlds”, in charge of the four other Kaiō (“Lords of Worlds”) at the afterlife tournament, an anime-only filler arc in the Dragon Ball Z television series spanning episodes 195-199.
6 Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru originally designed Bardock and his teammates for the respective television special, which aired 17 October 1990; Akira Toriyama slightly revised Bardock’s design during the production process. In chapter 307 of the manga, first printed 05 January 1991 in the 1991 No. 5 issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump, Toriyama included a cameo of Bardock. You can read the whooooole history right here on our website.
7 The third theatrical Dragon Ball Z movie featuring a Saiyan villain named Tullece. The altered title likely comes from Sekai Marugoto HOW Much, which ended in 1990, or its successor, Sekai Marugoto Ni-sen-ichi-nen, which began the same year; both were quiz/talk shows that were popular in their day. The latter seems the most likely candidate because it also rhymes.
8 The eighth theatrical Dragon Ball Z movie, and the third of three total featuring a Saiyan villain named Broli.
9 Some parts of this entire section are translated a bit creatively… otherwise we would have a lot of things like, “Ginger comes from the English word for ginger.” See also: footnote #20.
10 As in spaghetti alle vongole, spaghetti with clams.
11 In Italian, “pasta” is just a generic name for any dough made from wheat and water, sometimes mixed with egg.
12 Unaju (うな重 unajū) is a dish consisting of broiled eel served over rice in a lacquered box.
13 Uirō ​is a traditional Japanese steamed cake made of rice flour and sugar. It is chewy, similar to mochi, and subtly sweet. Flavors, among others, include azuki bean paste, green tea, yuzu, strawberry and chestnut. Nagoya is particularly famous for its uirō, but there are other regional versions as well as it can also be purchased in traditional Japanese confectionery shops throughout Japan.
14 Noodles made in flat strips.
15 Fried Shrimp.
16 This is discussed in more depth between Takao Koyama, Kōzō Morishita, and Akira Toriyama in their joint “Super Anime-jin” interview from 1991’s Jump Gold Selection: Dragon Ball Z Anime Special II
17Ga-n” is one of many Japanese onomatopoeia. This one is used when someone is so completely and utterly surprised at something that their jaw just falls to the floor.
18 What this does not explain is that the fifth Dragon Ball Z movie, The Incredible Strongest vs. Strongest, started production before Super Saiyan Goku appeared in color in Jump (indeed, perhaps even before Super Saiyan appeared at all), so Toei would have needed a color guide for the character, and the color scheme may not yet have been entirely set in Toriyama’s mind.
19 Likely referring to Tadayoshi Yamamuro.
20 This sounds a lot less stupid in Japanese, where they define the English word back over to Japanese: 「SOUND」とは、もちろん音のことだ。
21 Notably, Naoki Tatsuta later also took over the roles of Kaiō and the Narrator beginning with Dragon Ball Super episode 12 due to Jōji Yanami taking a medical leave from the series for an indefinite amount of time. As of 2021, Jōji Yanami has not taken any other acting role since that announcement, in Dragon Ball or otherwise.
22 Kenji Utsumi also notably played the role of Senbe Norimaki from Dr. Slump, therefore also making an appearance in Dragon Ball episodes 55-57. Due to his passing in 2013, the role was taken over by Yūsaku Yara for Dragon Ball Super episode 69.
23 A home release for the television series was still some seven years off when this book was published, so apart from potential rebroadcasts, the movies were the only way fans would have been able to re-watch anything from the series at that time.
24 By Nozawa’s recollection, she had no idea she was going to be the one voicing Gohan until they got in the studio to record episode 1 of Dragon Ball Z…!
25 Specifically, it’s part of the scenario for the very first episode of Dragon Ball, as Bulma gets out of her car to check her Dragon Radar, then transitioning to Goku back at his house as the Dragon Ball reacts to the others nearby.
26 A film made to celebrate the anime’s 10th anniversary, released in 1996, retelling the very beginning of the series combined with the Red Ribbon Army story arc.

English Translation: SaiyaJedi & Zénpai
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