Akira Toriyama’s

Dragon Ball

has grown into one of the most prolific anime series of all time, and even those who don't know much about anime at least have some cursory knowledge over the spectacle of

Dragon Ball.

For over 30 years,

Dragon Ball

has been at the forefront of the shonen genre, and the thrilling adventures of Goku and friends have only become more impressive.

RELATED: Dragon Ball: 10 Plot Holes From The Original Series That Still Need Fixing

The core of

Dragon Ball

remains the same, but major strides have been taken to help the

series evolve with the times

and remain an evergreen property.

Dragon Ball Z

often receives the most attention, but its predecessor,

Dragon Ball,

establishes an important framework. There are some vital faces from

Dragon Ball

who have

disappeared over time

, but the original series also deserves credit for the wide variety of lovable characters who make their debut there.


Bulma Is The Perfect Foil For The Start Of Goku’s Magical Adventure

Goku makes many lifelong friends throughout

Dragon Ball,

but the very first person he meets and the one who exposes him to the outside world is Bulma Briefs.

Bulma finds a relaxed role

in the franchise by the time that

Dragon Ball Z

concludes, but she’s a crucial ingredient in the original series. Bulma’s teenage nature produces comedic gold in juxtaposition to Goku’s curious impulses. Bulma can frequently be swayed by the matters of her heart, but she’s very much the emotional center to the start of

Dragon Ball.


Upa Is Pure Innocence & Contains The Spirit Of A Champion

Right around the time when Goku first ascends Korin’s Tower, he meets the Karinga Tribe who function as its security of sorts. Goku quickly connects with Upa, a five-year-old from the tribe who admires Goku’s strength. Upa has an infectious personality, and he’s so pure of heart that he can ride Goku’s Flying Nimbus. Upa also exhibits true bravery when he challenges Mercenary Tao to a duel after he thinks that he’s killed Goku. Upa also loses his father, Bora, but his Dragon Ball revival makes for one of the sweetest scenes from the original series.


Android 8 Is A Caring Creation Rather Than A Tool Of Destruction

Androids eventually become a deadly threat during the height of

Dragon Ball Z’s

Cell Saga, but precedent gets set with these mechanical monsters back during the original series. The Red Ribbon Army has tremendous manpower and resources, which results in the assembly of some Androids.

RELATED: Dragon Ball: 10 Filler Episodes From The Original Anime Every Fan Should Watch

Goku must square off with Android 8, who bears a resemblance to Frankenstein’s Monster, but the two recognize the good in each other. Android 8 is an important example of how

Androids can escape their evil roots

, which is an idea that’s later returned to with Android 16.


Mr. Popo & Korin Are Unlikely Guardians & Protectors Of The Planet

Dragon Ball

has gradually introduced greater tiers of celestial power when it comes to the deities and guardians who are responsible for the planet’s safety. The series has gone on to incorporate powerful Kais, Gods of Destruction, and even the all-knowing Omni King, but all of this kicks off at Korin’s Tower. Korin is a legendary feline, and his support, Mr. Popo, is an even more unusual and enigmatic individual. Both of these individuals are essential to Goku’s progress and the Earth’s safety, but they’re just so off-kilter and different from typical leaders.


Arale Norimaki Is Chaotic Energy In Its Finest Form

Dragon Ball

is Akira Toriyama’s biggest claim to fame, but it’s not the only series that he’s responsible for, and he’s even had his various worlds crossover at certain points in time. Arale Norimaki is the robotic ball of energy and protagonist at the center of

Doctor Slump


Toriyama allows Arale to lend Goku a hand in the original

Dragon Ball,

and it’s too good of a pairing to ignore. Arale and Goku are adorable together, and there’s not a weak moment in their teamwork. Arale’s return in

Dragon Ball Super

is even more absurd and ridiculous.


Oolong & Puar Are Entertaining Shapeshifting Mayhem

Dragon Ball

exists in an exaggerated universe that’s full of odd elements, such as anthropomorphic animals who are just par for the course. Oolong and Puar are two odd individuals who resemble a pig and a tanuki, but they possess powerful shapeshifting abilities.

RELATED: 10 Times The Original Dragon Ball Was Better Than DBZ

These transformation powers serve a greater utility in the original

Dragon Ball,

and it turns the two into enjoyable wild cards.

Oolong is admittedly more mischievous

, but neither of them impedes the heroes, and their antics make for lovely entertainment. They stay out of battle and just complement the original series’ more comedic impulses.


Chi-Chi Is A Precocious Warrior Who Brings Out Goku’s Best

Chi-Chi and Goku go on to get married and start a family together, which results in Chi-Chi settling into the domestic role of mother and guardian over her family.

Chi-Chi’s role in

Dragon Ball Z

gets reduced to a buzzkill

and someone who Goku often tries to avoid, but she’s a lot more fun during her original

Dragon Ball

appearances. Chi-Chi is a respectable warrior during her youth, which impresses Goku and makes them a very affable pair. There’s such chemistry and excitement around Chi-Chi’s introduction that it’s a real shame that she becomes a background presence.


Fortuneteller Baba Houses Fascinating Secrets & A Hidden World

Fortuneteller Baba, the sister to Master Roshi, is a powerful seer in the

Dragon Ball

universe. Baba subjects Goku, Krillin, and company to an

exciting and supernaturally charged tournament

that also allows Goku to briefly reunite with his passed Grandpa Gohan. Fortuneteller Baba typically has others do her dirty work for her, but her confidence and quirky sense of humor make her very easy to enjoy. It’s a shame that she and Roshi don’t spend more time together, but she’s still a delight in

Dragon Ball.


Penny Is A Heartbreaking Victim Of Circumstance Who Deserves Peace


Dragon Ball Z


receives the most feature film expansions

of the

Dragon Ball

franchise, but the original series also has a few movies that push the story in interesting directions.

Curse of the Blood Rubies

presents a simple story where the efforts of Goku and Master Roshi are recruited to save a village from the evil King Gurumes, who is obsessed with the Blood Rubies. Penny (or Pansy) is a sweet girl from the village who just wants her community to have a peaceful future. She’s the perfect ally who is in need of support.


Kid Goku Is The Perfect Protagonist To Follow Around For Decades

The original

Dragon Ball

introduces many characters who become permanent fixtures of the franchise, but the series’ hero, Goku, is chief among them. Admittedly, Goku becomes a bit of a caricature of himself in his older years and his obsession over training and battle often causes more trouble than it’s worth. However,

Goku during his youth

is much more infallible. The mix of Goku’s innocence and strength is consistently entertaining. He constantly operates from the position of wanting to spread kindness and help others. It’s easy to see why audiences have stuck by Goku’s side for decades.

NEXT: Dragon Ball: 10 Things Toriyama Forgot That Drives Fans Crazy





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About The Author

Daniel Kurland

(833 Articles Published)

Daniel Kurland is a freelance writer, comedian, and critic, who lives in the cultural mosaic that is Brooklyn, New York. Daniel’s work can be read on ScreenRant, Splitsider, Bloody Disgusting, Den of Geek, and across the Internet. Daniel recently completed work on a noir anthology graphic novel titled, "Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Noir: A Rag of Bizarre Noir and Hard Boiled Tales" and he’s currently toiling away on his first novel. Daniel's extra musings can be found @DanielKurlansky on Twitter.

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