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Cultural References

AnimeEdit

  • The Dr. Slump remake from 1997 has several references to Dragon Ball. In one episode Arale Norimaki and Akane Kimidori are seen playing a Dragon Ball Z video game with Akane playing as Goku and Arale playing as Vegeta. Akane ends up winning the game. Another time Arale puts the last volume of Dragon Ball into the Reality Machine and a black and white Goku comes out and fights a black and white Kid Buu. There is also a 4 episode story arc where the young Goku ends up in Penguin Village with appearances from Ninja Murasaki, General Blue and even Shenron.
  • Goku has been cited as an inspiration for such protagonists like Usagi, Monkey D. Luffy, Naruto Uzumaki, and Zatch Bell from the Sailor Moon, One Piece, Naruto, and Zatch Bell series respectively.
    • In episode 6 of Naruto SD, "Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals", the card Ten Ten draws out of the box says "A thrilling conclusion where seeing your best friend killed causes you to snap and awakens your latent powers?!" Shizune states that it is straight out of Dragon Ball, referencing the Frieza Saga when Krillin gets killed and Goku turns into a Super Saiyan for the first time.
  • In the anime My Bride is a Mermaid, while the cast is visiting Kyoto on a school trip, Goku is seen standing in a group of people, facing away from the screen so that his face is hidden.
  • In the manga series To Love-Ru, the main female Lala makes a reference to Dragon Ball when she shows the protagonist Rito that she has a tail, which freaks him out. She tells him that he does not have to worry and says that she does not transform when she looks at the full moon. Another time, she is shown trying several odd outfits to look for a normal one, two of the odd outfits she was seen in were Goku's uniform and the Bunny costume Bulma wore. Additionally, it is revealed that when her tail is pulled, she is weakened, much like Goku.
  • In an episode of Yakitate!! Ja-pan, in the Yakitate 9 Arc, when the opponent baker gave his bread called "Super Toro Aburi" up for the judge, Kuroyanagi, he transforms into "Super Kuroyanagi" (a parody of a Super Saiyan) after tasting it. Kyosuke Kawachi, who commented on his reaction to be cheap, was put in a freezer costume (a parody of Frieza) and fights him off while explaining how amazing the bread was, and then finishes him off by throwing a giant beehive pastry in the same manner as Goku releases a Kamehameha.
  • Many references to Dragon Ball Z are made in the anime version of Gin Tama; the first is a scene that starts with Kagura teleporting onto Shinpachi's head, resembling how Goku did the same in his fight against Nappa. Additionally, Kagura comments "Too slow, Nappa". Gintoki is then seen as Yamcha, mimicking Vegeta's line "He's fast", except substituting the female pronoun for the male one. The second scene would be Gintoki comedically practicing a Kamehameha, to no avail as his friends look at him with a loss of respect for him. Finally, the third scene would be the main cast participating in an amalgamated show of Dragon Ball, One Piece and Bleach, called DragonBleaPiece. Gin Tama also parodies the opening of Dragon Ball Z Kai, "Dragon Soul", replacing the cast with their own main characters.
  • The 2000s Pokémon series, like Black & White, include attacks resembling techniques from the Dragon Ball franchise. For instance, in Black & White, Pansage's Solar Beam resembles a Kamehameha.
  • In the gag manga and anime Good Luck Girl! (Binbougami Ga!) references are constantly made to several other Shonen Jump series, particularly the Dragon Ball franchise:
    • Super Saiyan Goku appears in a montage of people described to have good fortune with his eyes censored out and an alternate color uniform. A similar picture of Vegeta is likewise seen in a montage of those said to have negative energy.
    • The poverty god Momiji and her familiar are seen dressed as Goku and King Kai with a backdrop of the latter's home planet behind them.
  • In the opening theme for The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan, the Kamehameha is mentioned.
  • In the anime and manga series Bakuman, there are several references like:
    • The character Akito Takagi's favorite manga being Dragon Ball.
    • Eiji Niizuma drawing a Super Saiyan Goku's eye along several other Shonen Jump heroes.
    • The sillouette of one of the 5 heroes who appear in the background when Ashirogi Muto (Takagi and Mashiro's pen name) are thinking about creating their battle manga Reversi, includes Super Saiyan Goku.
  • In the episode 49 of the anime Beelzebub (which is a parody of Journey to the West), Takayuki Furuichi wears the Son Goku's band and he pictures himself with a wig of Super Saiyan Goku.
  • In the episode 5 of the anime Denki-gai no Honya-san, Sensei uses a red gi similar to Goku's, and Umio uses clothes similar to Master Roshi's.
  • In episode 3 of the second season of Haiyore! Nyarko-san, contains an extended reference where the heroes fight a Great Ape-like creature dubbed "Alaozaru" (whose name combines the names "Alaozar", a city from H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, with "Oozaru", the Japanese name for Great Apes). When it first appears, it takes the same roaring that Goku took upon his first transformation in the original Dragon Ball manga. After the heroes attack it for a bit, the Alaozaru enters a "rage mode" where becomes a Golden Great Ape.
  • In the first episode of Blood Lad, Staz can be seen with a Goku chain hanging from his cellphone. He can also be seen later in the episode reading a manga titled Dra-gun Boll. Additionally in episode 6 Staz can be seen preparing use the Kamehameha, only to be stopped from charging it up fully.
  • In the 11th episode of Assassination Classroom, after Itona declares that he is Korosensei's brother, multiple pictures appear including one showing the two in a scene similar to the fight between Raditz and Goku
  • In the second episode of Highschool DxD season 1, the main protagonist Issei Hyoudou meets a person who he goes to make a pact with, but a series of things were said and occurred that's referenced dragon ball:
    1. Issei meets and talks about Drago M-Ball and shows the entire manga set that looks very similar to the dragon ball mangas.
    2. Issei yells out "dragon wave!!!" to show his powers to the human, and he later says in that scene how the main character uses the dragon wave to beat his opponents (a reference to either the kamehameha or the dragon fist). In the Dub, Issei yells out "Kamehameho!!!!" instead of dragon wave.
    3. The two talk about how he and his friends traveled across the earth to gather energy for the ultimate spirit ball (a reference to the spirit bomb).
    4. Issei mention the main character of Drago-M ball, Gon-Soku (a reference to Son Goku) to be the world's strongest.

Western animationEdit

  • Goku and Goten are clay-mated in the "A Very Dragon Ball Z Christmas" skit featured in the Robot Chicken episode "Easter Basket". In the sketch, Goku and Gohan help Santa Claus fight the evil forces which want to take over Christmas. After defeating Mrs. Claus, Goku and Goten state that the World Martial Arts Tournament is complete while Santa, who is puzzled as to what they're talking about, and also angered by the death of his wife, decides never to deliver presents to Japan again.
  • In an episode of Codename: Kids Next Door named "Operation R.E.P.O.R.T.", when Number Four tells a story, it is a parody of Dragon Ball Z, including the Delightful Children from Down the Lane resembling Frieza, Number 4 going Super Saiyan, and a parody of the Kamehameha using a gumball.
  • In the Fairly OddParents TV movie Channel Chasers, a show called "Maho Mushi" is featured that is a parody of Dragon Ball Z. It features characters similar to Goku/Piccolo, Vegeta, and the World Tournament Announcer (and even characters that parody the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).
  • In the show Teen Titans GO!, after Starfire destroys Robin's hair gel, Robin tries to fix his messed-up hairdo but it results with it turning into other hairs, including Goku's.
  • In the Cartoon Network series MAD, in the skit "Grey's in Anime", the nurse tells the doctor "His heart rate is over 9000!" with the doctor replying "What? Over 9000?! That's impossible! I'm gonna have to power up to Super Surgeon! Upon saying this, the doctor's hair becomes that of a Super Saiyan, and his shirt disappears. This episode also makes reference to other manga series, like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon.
    • In another episode of MAD, called "Money Ball Z", Goku and other Z Fighters become baseball players.
  • In the Johnny Bravo episode "20,000 Leagues Over My Head", Johnny's new obsession is a television show called "Clam League 9000", a parody of Pokémon where the trainer bears a resemblance to Goku while wearing a similar outfit like Ash Ketchum and his rival looks like a green skinned Vegeta wearing an outfit similar to the Team Rocket uniform.
  • In Adventure Time, in the episode "Jake The Dog", the royal gems spreading out in Ooo after Jake's wish was granted might be a reference to the Dragon Balls. In another episode, "Frost & Fire", the attack Flame Princess uses in the last fight looks similar to a Kamehameha, Ice Kings' attack looks similar to a Big Bang Attack, Ice King and Flame Princess look like Super Saiyans, and they have a beam struggle which might be a reference to the Kamehameha vs. Galick Gun beam struggle in the Vegeta Saga.
  • In Steven Universe, the device Hopper uses to measure power levels skipped the number "9,000" during its rise even in increments of thousands, possibly to avoid reference to the "Over 9,000" meme.
  • In Ben 10: Omniverse episode "End of An Era", Ben 10,000 as Atomic-X fires a blast in a similar fashion of the Kamehameha.

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