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Xeno (ゼノ Zeno) is a suffix appended to multiple characters in the Dragon Ball Heroes and Super Dragon Ball Heroes arcade games, home ports, collectible data cards, and related media. It is used to distinguish versions of established characters whose histories are unique to the fiction of Dragon Ball Heroes, and who are in some way connected to the games' version of the Dark Demon Realm. Characters bearing this suffix are sometimes referred to by both staff and official media as "Xeno characters." In the English-language version of Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission, the phrase is used as a prefix instead.
The suffix "Xeno" is appended to a number of card titles, and subsequently character names, in the Dragon Ball Heroes and Super Dragon Ball Heroes data card games and related fiction, always appearing after a semi-colon and the character's usual name.
The Super Dragon Ball Heroes 8th Anniversary Super Guide notes that "Xeno" signifies, as with its real-world use as a prefix, "something different," or "something changed." Dragon Ball Heroes producer Wataru Higuchi intended for the phrase to distinguish characters connected to the Dark Demon Realm in Dragon Ball Heroes-related fiction, as well as provide a line-specific branding akin to "Z Warriors." Accordingly, all characters currently bearing the "Xeno" designation maintain some connection to the series' Demon Realm, either being seen fighting against it—primarily, but not exclusively, as members of the Dragon Ball Heroes incarnation of the Time Patrol—fighting for its revival, or somehow running afoul of its schemes.
In all cases, both the arcade games and related media present Xeno characters as being versions of pre-established characters whose histories are unique to the fiction of Dragon Ball Heroes. The origin of these different histories may be given no in-universe explanation—as is the case with most members of the Heroes incarnation of the Time Patrol—or be the result of in-fiction time-travel unique to Dragon Ball Heroes' story lines, as is the case with various "Xeno" versions of main-series villains who appear in Super Dragon Ball Heroes' Dark Empire story line and the Super Dragon Ball Heroes: Dark Demon Realm Mission! manga.
Use of the "Xeno" suffix currently applies only to characters with main-series counterparts, rather than all Demon Realm-related characters who are from timelines unique to Dragon Ball Heroes fiction. To that extent, Dabra: Xeno is given the suffix uniquely among the series' Demon Realm cast due to his prominent role in the main series, while all other Demon Realm characters, appearing exclusively in Dragon Ball Heroes and other ancillary media, lack the suffix.
Despite its existence as a meta-fictional term, "Xeno" is sometimes used by characters within Heroes-related fiction itself, without in-universe explanation.
The use of suffixes to distinguish different versions of characters within the Dragon Ball Heroes arcade games is not unique to the "Xeno" cast. In addition to separating different ages or transformations of select characters, the games and cards also employ suffixes such as "GT," to distinguish version of characters as they appeared in the Dragon Ball GT anime or new scenarios using its story as a foundation, "BR," to distinguish versions of characters specific to their appearances in Dragon Ball Super: Broly, and so on.
In some cases, a character meeting the criteria for the "Xeno" designation may be branded with an alternate title instead, such as Broli Dark, who is nevertheless accompanied by his father, Paragus: Xeno.
The term "Xeno" debuted in Dragon Ball Heroes on 11 September 2014 with the release of HJ6-63, Trunks: Xeno, in Set 6 of the Evil Dragon Mission update. This version of Trunks features a design based on the Trunks of the then-upcoming Dragon Ball XENOVERSE—whose own Trunks is based on the character's role in the defunct Korean MMORPG Dragon Ball Online. According to the Super Dragon Ball Heroes 8th Anniversary Super Guide, the card was intended to preview the direction of the upcoming God Mission update, while gradually introducing elements from Online into Heroes:
The Dark Empire Arc is a story that leaps through time! Figuring out how to present a new world was tough!! In preparing to bring the world of Online into Heroes, the difficult part according to producer Higuchi was what to present as an entry point into the story that would garner people's interests. If Mira and Towa appeared all of a sudden, children would only be confused. So the Masked Saiyan was selected and, without changing anything, the team set about finding ways to work him into the story. In addition, by doing things like using the design of the Trunks who had appeared earlier in XENOVERSE and releasing Trunks: Xeno as a preview during the Evil Dragon Mission, they were able to introduce new developments a little bit at a time.
(Though Trunks: Xeno predates the release of XENOVERSE by some months, it is likely that the reference above refers to the character's prior appearances in advertisements and press material.)
Despite Heroes adapting story lines and characters from XENOVERSE, staff discussion published in the Super Dragon Ball Heroes 8th Anniversary Super Guide indicates that the broad use of the term "Xeno" is not intended to draw a connection to the game, instead trading on its real-world usage of signifying differences to provide a unique branding for Heroes-specific characters:
Three years after the introduction of "Xeno," it's becoming a mainstay with fans! Characters who debuted in the Dark Empire arc, etc. are called "Xeno," but this simply means "something different," or "something changed." To producer Higuchi, the term distinguishes characters who are connected to the Dark Demon Realm, and was also aimed at providing a branding along the lines of "Z Warriors." Since it doesn't stem from XENOVERSE, but is a unique rule of Heroes, at this point it hasn't appeared in any other works. It's continuing to gain traction with users and is even starting to be recognized by people who don't play Heroes, through toys and other merchandise.
In the Super Dragon Ball Heroes 8th Anniversary Super Guide, both Higuchi and XENOVERSE producer Masayuki Hirano offer comments on the popularity of Xeno characters as they enter their third year:
We get a lot of requests for Xeno characters to appear in XENOVERSE too.
— Masayuki Hirano
Merchandise of Xeno warriors is coming out at an absolutely incredible rate. I'm always surprised when I see the real thing. (laughs)
— Wataru Higuchi
In Video Games
In the Dragon Ball Heroes arcade game, Xeno characters made their first appearance with the release Evil Dragon Mission Set 6, albeit without story significance, via the inclusion of the first Trunks: Xeno card, which could be used to summon the character into the game.
Beginning with the game's third and final major update under the original Dragon Ball Heroes branding, God Mission, Trunks: Xeno and the Kaiōshin of Time became recurring guides through the game's various missions, providing player instruction and narrative context. Story lines including the Dark Demon Realm arc, the Dark Demon Realm Invasion arc—which formally introduces Bardock: Xeno, broken free of Towa and Mira's control as the Masked Saiyan—the Attack on the Hell Gate arc, and the Dark Demon Realm Origins arc all feature the Kaiōshin of Time and Trunks: Xeno directly confronting Towa and other members of the Demon Realm as Demon Realm warriors attempt to gather energy from various points in history. Set 9's Demon God Demigra arc introduces Vegeta: Xeno as an additional guide character for the player, working alongside Trunks: Xeno as a member of the Kaiōshin of Time's Time Patrol, before being temporarily brainwashed to serve the Demon Realm as the Black Masked Saiyan.
Throughout God Mission card sets, new Xeno characters were steadily introduced into the game. Rarely, however, were they given prominence within the actual story campaigns. More regularly, significant new Heroes characters would be highlighted in "special movies" uploaded to the official Dragon Ball Heroes YouTube channel in advance of each new set. These videos were intended to promote upcoming story lines and cards, as well as provide greater story structure to the developing Heroes narrative. During the God Mission era, especially in regards to the introduction of Xeno characters, special movies could take large liberties with their corresponding game campaigns. The special movie for Set 6 shows Son Goten: Xeno being summoned by the Kaiōshin of Time, and fusing into Gotenks: Xeno to do battle with Hacchi Hyack Baby, while the corresponding Hacchi Hyack Baby arc in the arcade game proceeds with no direct involvement from the Time Patrol outside of Trunks: Xeno's usual guidance.
Beginning with the game's Super Dragon Ball Heroes hardware and branding update, Xeno characters began to take a more active role in its stories. In the update's inaugural overarching story, the Dark Empire arc, a team of of Time Patrol members including Trunks: Xeno, Son Goten: Xeno, Son Gohan: Xeno, Vegeta: Xeno, and Son Goku: Xeno are tasked by the Kaiōshin of Time with stopping further Demon Realm assaults. Towa uses the energy collected throughout the game's previous story lines to resurrect the former Demon Realm leader, Mechickaboola, and employs a brainwashed Dende to create a set of Dark Dragon Balls in order to restore Mechickaboola's youth. The Dark Dragon Balls rocket beyond space and time upon creation, parasitically attaching themselves to villains throughout history, increasing their power while stripping them of their reason. A race breaks out between the Time Patrol and Demon Realm to retrieve these Dark Dragon Balls from the newly created "Xeno" villains, to which they have become attached.
Mechickaboola keeps the company of a mysterious masked warrior known as the Dark Masked King, eventually revealed to be King Vegeta: Xeno, who willingly gave himself over to the Demon Realm in exchange for increased power. Paragus: Xeno and Broli Dark are pulled into the Demon Realm's schemes when Mechickaboola seeks to use the brainwashed, Dark Dragon Ball-enhanced Broli in an experiment. Mechickaboola is ultimately successful in having his wish granted, but a Time Patrol raid on the Demon Realm leads to the Kaiōshin of Time sealing herself, Mechickaboola, and the Demon Realm, all beyond the flow of time.
The initial story line of the game's Universe Mission update, the Prison Planet arc, sees Goku: Xeno and Vegeta: Xeno investigating the enormous Prison Planet laboratory created by Towa and Mira's time-traveling son, Fu. A story line which ran concurrently to the Prison Planet arc, throughout Universe Mission Set 3 and Set 4, the Demon God Demigra Assault arc, chronicles all five Xeno members of the Time Patrol protecting the bird Tokitoki from Demigra in the Kaiōshin of Time's absence. In order to protect Tokitoki, they do battle with Demigra's magically controlled "Xeno" versions of the Evil Dragons.
Following the events of both the Prison Planet and Demigra's attack, the Xeno warriors are pulled into conflict with Mechickaboola and his minions once again, forced to temporarily join forces with Demigra in the Dark King Mechickaboola arc.
In both the arcade campaigns and special movies, the player character avatar is consistently presented as aiding Xeno characters as an additional member of the Time Patrol. No mention of the player character's origins is made.
In the story mode of Dragon Ball Heroes: Ultimate Mission X, the player character is sucked into the world of Dragon Ball through a Dragon Ball Heroes arcade machine in his or her own world, and subsequently recruited by Trunks: Xeno to work other members of the Time Patrol to cut off the source of multiple time-space anomalies. The anomalies are ultimately revealed to be the work of Towa and, later, Demigra. Trunks: Xeno, Son Goten: Xeno, Son Gohan: Xeno, Vegeta: Xeno and Son Goku: Xeno appear as player allies during the course of the story, while Dabra: Xeno plays a prominent role as a villain, attempting to take vengeance upon the heroes after they defeat his sister, Towa.
Various Xeno characters appear in starring roles in the Super Dragon Ball Heroes: Dark Demon Realm Mission! manga by Yoshitaka Nagayama, based loosely on the Dark Demon Realm, Dark Demon Realm Invasion, and Dark Empire arcs of the arcade game, in addition to incorporating elements from Ultimate Mission X. Unlike the arcade game and home ports, the Super Dragon Ball Heroes manga does not feature a role for the player avatar character, focusing instead on the exploits of the Time Patrol and related characters on their own.
The Kaiōshin of Time summons Trunks: Xeno to her Time Nest so she can chastise him for manipulating time and space with his time machine. Before she can finish reprimanding him, however, a newly discovered anomaly in space-time leads the two to cooperate in a battle against Towa, Mira and the Masked Saiyan. Forming the Time Patrol with Trunks: Xeno and Goku: Xeno, whom the Kaiōshin of Time summons after reading Trunks' memories, the heroes soon recruit Vegeta: Xeno, Gohan: Xeno, and Goten: Xeno in their continued battles against members of the Demon Realm.
Towa uses a brainwashed version of Dende to create a new set of Dragon Balls, which scatter across time and space, and the parasitic properties of these Dark Dragon Balls cause them to latch onto various villains of the past, increasing their powers and stripping them of their reason. Various members of the Demon Realm, attempting to collect and use the balls to restore the youth of their resurrected ruler, Mechickaboola, encounter the heroes in different historical eras as they mutually grapple with these Dragon Ball-enhanced Xeno villains.
Notably, Majin Boo: Xeno absorbs both Dabra: Xeno and Janemba: Xeno. Mechickaboola keeps the company of a mysterious masked warrior known as the Dark Masked King, eventually revealed to be King Vegeta: Xeno, who willingly gave himself over to the Demon Realm in exchange for power which would allow him to defeat Freeza and Beerus. Paragus: Xeno and Broli Dark are pulled into the Demon Realm's schemes when Mechickaboola seeks to use the brainwashed, Dragon Ball-enhanced Broli in an experiment.
Various fused Xeno characters also appear during the course of the story line, including Vegetto: Xeno, Gogeta: Xeno, Gotenks: Xeno, and Gohanks: Xeno. As she gives Trunks: Xeno a set of Potara to fuse with his father should the need arise, the Kaiōshin of Time also utters one of the few instances of the "Xeno" suffix within fiction itself, as she proclaims she would name the resulting fusion "Vegeks: Xeno."
In the following Super Dragon Ball Heroes: Universe Mission manga, Xeno characters have a drastically reduced role, but Goku: Xeno and Vegeta: Xeno still appear as members of the Time Patrol, following the space-time fugitive Fu to his gigantic laboratory, the Prison Planet, with the two also fusing into Vegetto: Xeno.
Xeno characters, although unnamed as such in dialogue, make their debut in animation in the opening story line of the Super Dragon Ball Heroes promotional anime, based on the arcade game's Prison Planet arc. Though reduced in length and scope from both the arcade and manga versions of the story line, as in other versions, Goku: Xeno and Vegeta: Xeno enter Fu's Prison Planet to apprehend the villain, encountering versions of themselves which more closely resemble their Dragon Ball Super counterparts, and becoming locked in a series of desperate battles against the evil Saiyan Cumber.
List of Xeno Characters
- Bardock: Xeno
- Broli Dark
- Cell: Xeno
- Dabra: Xeno
- Freeza: Xeno
- Gogeta: Xeno
- Gohanks: Xeno
- Gotenks: Xeno
- Janemba: Xeno
- King Vegeta: Xeno
- Liang Xing Long: Xeno
- Liu Xing Long: Xeno
- Majin Boo: Xeno
- San Xing Long: Xeno
- Si Xing Long: Xeno
- Slug: Xeno
- Son Gohan: Xeno
- Son Goku: Xeno
- Son Goten: Xeno
- Trunks: Xeno
- Tullece: Xeno
- Paragus: Xeno
- Qi Xing Long: Xeno
- Vegeta: Xeno
- Vegeks: Xeno
- Vegetto: Xeno
- Wu Xing Long: Xeno
- Yi Xing Long: Xeno
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 “Approaching a New Dragon Ball World!!” Super Dragon Ball Heroes 8th Anniversary Super Guide, Shueisha, 2018, p. 21.
- ↑ https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/ドラゴンボールヒーローズ. Accessed 19 January 2019.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 “Approaching a New Dragon Ball World!!” Super Dragon Ball Heroes 8th Anniversary Super Guide, Shueisha, 2018, p. 19.
- ↑ 【DBH公式】GDM6弾_スペシャルムービー【ドラゴンボールヒーローズ】. ドラゴンボールヒーローズ公式チャンネル . YouTube, 13 Jan. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHagITGj0pU.