Can’t tell one pointy-haired warrior from another? Don’t worry – here’s your first look at the expansive cast of Dragon Ball Z!
Son Goku. Goku was originally cast as a naive but powerful young boy who was spurred onto the path of adventure following the death of his grandfather. By the time Dragon Ball Z rolls around, Goku’s a full-grown adult, the victor of several martial arts tournaments and a married man. He’s only slightly less naive though, and his strict wife Chichi frequently has to rein in his less socially acceptable habits and wilder impulses. The first arc of the series marks Goku learning of his alien origins for the first time – before meeting other Saiyans, he thought he was just another average monkey-tailed boy!
Son Gohan. Goku and Chichi’s son, only four years old at the start of the series. The unique combination of his Saiyan and Human DNA unlocks the potential for him to be even more powerful than his father – if only his mother would let him train! Instead he’s a shy and retiring lad, more at home in the library than the dojo. The imminent arrival of the Saiyans changes that, and Gohan is forced into a brutal sink-or-swim training regime. Like Goku in his youth, Gohan has a tail and changes into a monstrous, powerful giant ape when he sees the full moon. Such a transformation might be useful against the Saiyans, if only he could control it.
Krillin. Goku’s oldest friend, and the toughest pure-bred human ever! His martial arts training is second only to Goku’s. If he spent a little less time perving over girls with the teacher, Master Roshi, he might be even stronger. Though he’ll fight to the end if need be, Krillin also has a cowardly streak and tends to underestimate his own abilities. He also has something of a complex over his lack of hair.
Piccolo. Once Goku’s greatest enemy, now a grudging ally – even if he is the reincarnation of an alien demon king! In short, Piccolo’s past is a bit complicated. Having lost his final battle against the spiky-haired hero at the end of the original Dragon Ball, he goes off to live in solitude. When his power level is detected by the approaching Raditz, Piccolo almost loses his life to the ferocious alien, forcing him to team up with his old enemy. Taking Gohan into the wilderness and teaching him to fight, he slowly comes to care for the young boy – can the former ‘Great Demon King’ possibly have a softer side?
Bulma. The unfortunately named Bulma Briefs is a feisty super-genius – something that runs in the family. Her father founded the scientific organisation Capsule Corp, the crazy inventions of which are peppered throughout the series. Bulma herself created the Dragon Radar, allowing the heroes to track down the seven magical orbs in order to have their wishes granted, though she originally just wanted to wish for the perfect boyfriend. She can also quickly adapt new or unfamiliar technology to give the good guys an edge, Bulma also plays an important role in securing the Earth’s future as the series progresses.
Vegeta. Prince and namesake of the Saiyan homeworld, and the most dangerous opponent Goku has ever faced. A prideful and conceited man, Vegeta doesn’t look like much but his short and small frame belies his immense fighting skills, durability and raw power. Having travelled to Earth with his partner Nappa, his goal is to destroy the entire planet. After blowing up at least one other world en route here, he’s already got a track record of global genocide – will our world be next on Vegeta’s hit list?
Dragon Ball Z, season one, is out now on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.