In the show, the evil, often comically fat monster Majin Bû was created by a sorcerer named Bibidi and brought out of hibernation by the actions of Bibidi's son, the sorcerer Babidi. This is an homage to Cinderella (1950) in which Cinderella's fairy godmother turns a pumpkin into a coach with the magical spell "Bibbity Bobbity Boo!" (Bibidi-Babidi-Bû)
To keep pace with the release of the original manga, Toei Animation had to create several "filler" sagas that didn't exist in the original manga. These include the fake planet Namek, the Garlic Jr. Saga, and the afterlife tournament.
Freeza and his minions are sent to Hell, where several demons wear t-shirts that have the word "HELL" written on them. In the English USA version, the demons wear "HFIL" t-shirts, and the underworld is referred to as the "Home For Infinite Losers."
The Namekusei-jin are divided into two classes - Fighters (Piccolo, Kami, Nail) and Healers (Dende). Healers have the ability to fully heal anyone's physical injuries, but cannot fight. Fighters have excellent combat skills and can control their Ki, but don't have healing abilities. Certain exceptional fighters can however, regenerate their own limbs. In either event, both classes are capable of flying.
Many different classes of characters in the series have similar name origins/puns. -All of Freeza's henchmen (not including the Ginyu force) are named for fruits (Oran for Orange, Appure for Apple, etc.) -The Ginyu Force are named for dairy products (Ginyu is derived from gyunyu, the Japanese word for milk; Rikuum is from kuriimu the Japanese name for cream, etc.) -Mr. Satan family is named for figures of hell (Satan needs no explanation, Videl is a rearranged spelling of Devil, etc.) -The Freeza family's names all refer to cold (Freeza for Freezer, Cooler and King Cold are self-explanatory.) -All Saiya-jin characters are named for vegetables (Yasai means vegetable in Japanese). -The Tsufuru-Jins (Tuffles in the dub) are named for the Japanese word for fruit (furutsu). Thus, with the two races on planet Vegeta, it's "the fruits versus the vegetables."
In U.S. version, the character Mr. Satan was named "Hercule", and each visual reference to his original name was erased from the show. The name "Hercule" actually came from the French dubbed version of the show.
Contrary to popular belief, Akira Toriyama did have a part in the anime-only filler material. For instance, Pikkon never appeared in the original manga but was created by Toriyama. Likewise, the idea of Yamcha having a job as a baseball player was also Toriyama's idea.
There is a widespread urban legend that claims the series has been banned in Hungary because an 8 year-old got himself killed by jumping out a window, thinking that a Kinton cloud would catch him. Other versions say that a kid tried to stop a car with a Kamehameha attack. However, there are no known reports to confirm these. In reality, the show was not banned but canceled because the strict former Hungarian media authorities forced the TV station it had aired on to give it an 18+ rating and push it to a post-midnight time-slot. The TV station decided to cancel the series instead because the rescheduling lead to a drop in viewership. It only lasted for 120 episodes and wasn't shown in the country again until 2012. The show's cancellation caused a great uproar, and one 14 year-old boy infamously threatened the channel with suicide if they didn't put it back onto screens. This might have been where the rumor originated from. There was also an incident in Turkey involving kids jumping off a balcony, which resulted in the temporary ban of the Pokémon (1997) animated show. This might also have contributed to the Hungarian rumor if people confused the two countries and series.
The character of Dr. Gero is said to have been the Red Ribbon Army's chief creator of cyborgs and technology, that character never appeared or was mentioned a single time in the original Dragon Ball. In Dragon Ball anime it is stated that an entirely separate scientist, Dr. Frappe, created this technology, but this scientist does not appear in the original manga, it's a filler character.
Some characters have different names in the manga than they did in the anime. For instance, in the anime Babidi has a henchman named Pui Pui, but he's called Pocus in the manga. Likewise, the Potara fusion of Vegeta and Goku is called Vegito in the anime, but Vegerot in the manga.
Gozu and Mezu, the ogres in hell, are based on two characters from the original Dragon Ball. Gozu, the large blue muscular ogre, is based on Man-Wolf's human form. Mezu, the glasses-wearing speedy ogre, is based on Shen (the human being whose body Kami borrowed at the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament.)
Toei Animation didn't have color photos of Nappa and Vegeta to go by when doing the early episodes, so the twosome appears the wrong colors until their arrival on earth. This is particularly noticeable when the two depart for Earth, and in the Arlia episode.
The character of Dai Kaiôshin is mentioned in the original manga, but never seen. He appears in the anime only. Thus, the existence of this character in the anime is canon to Toriyama's original manga, but the portrayal is not necessarily canon.
Following Freeza's defeat at the hands of Goku, King Cold rebuilds him and keeps him alive using cybernetic parts and attachments. This is the exact same thing that happens to Darth Vader in the Star Wars series, following his massive injures.
In a handful of European dubs, like the German, French or Hungarian, Vegeta was originally given a high-pitched, squeaky voice, possibly to further differentiate him from his deep-voiced, brutish partner Nappa and make him come off as "the smaller one" of the two. When Vegeta was revealed to be a serious character and became part of the main cast later on, some of the dubs changed his voice to be deeper and less comical.
Vegeta would technically be the "King" of all Saiya-jin instead of the "Prince" because his father was killed by Freeza, thus making him the rightful heir to the throne. However, he most likely does not call himself King out of respect for his fallen father.
The Latinamerican Spanish version, dubbed in Mexico, was made straight from the Japanese original, keeping most of the original characters' names and attack's names. Due to the popularity of the series, words like "Saiyajin" are known widely in all Latinamerica.
The earliest Northamerican English dubbed DBZ episodes had their music done by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy. The twosome also did the music for the Power Rangers, and as such the scores are very similar. When Pioneer/Saban lost the rights to DBZ and FUNimation gained sole control, the musical scores were changed and Bruce Falconer became the chief composer. This happened only in the USA/English version, though. The Latinamerican version, dubbed in Mexico, kept all the original Japanese musical scores and op/ed themes.
In Germany, Vegeta was at first voiced by the same actor who also played SpongeBob and other characters with high-pitched voices. This lead to complaints among fans, so Vegeta was recast after the initial Saiyajin Saga.
In the Japanese version when Goku power-ups against Vegeta and Nappa, Nappa asks Vegeta about the power level of Goku, it was original meant to be "over 8000" but was said "over 9000" in USA English Funimation dub, eventually becoming a popular internet meme.
Although the series' German dubbing was created based off the pre-edited and heavily censored French cut, the dialogue was not a re-translation of the infamously badly written French script like in several other countries such as Poland, Portugal or Hungary. Instead, it was based on the dialogue from the German release of the Dragon Ball manga series. Thus, while having some mis-translations of its own, it is several times more faithful to the original Japanese script than the French version (and as an extension all other European scripts that have been based on it). Notably, the German dialogue refers to the Saiyans as Saiya-jin (their original Japanese name) instead of "space warriors" or "star warriors", which were terms used in the other French-based European dubs.
In France, the show debuted as part of a children's television block called Club Dorothée. One of the hosts, Ariane Carletti, recorded a very "cutesy" song for the series and a music video was produced by taking various clips from the show and inserting the singer into them. Despite the incredibly playful tone of the song clashing heavily with the clips of bruised and bleeding fighters, the song's first verse, which focuses entirely on Son Gohan, was then re-edited into the official French intro, thereby falsely giving the impression that Gohan was the main character and that his father Goku has passed away. This version was subsequently distributed over most of Europe instead of the series' original Japanese intro sequence and song, although in several countries, the song was rerecorded with a male singer for fear that the French version couldn't be taken seriously.
Captain Ginyu has a Body Change technique and uses it several times to possess the bodies of Goku, and, in anime filler, Bulma. However Goku and Gohan, in anime filler, have caught onto Ginyu's technique and have both thrown a Namekian Frog in the path of his technique resulting Ginyu possessing the body of a Frog.
In the Latinamerican Spanish Dub, the name of Goku's wife, Chichi, was changed to Milk, because in Mexico, where the Latin American dub was done, the word "chichi" is a rude slang for female breasts. The name "Milk" was chosen because "Chichi" in Japanese can also mean milk.
On a interview in 2010, voice actress Laura Torres, young Gohan and young Goten for Latin America, stated that she got into the Gohan character so seriously that when she recorded the scene when Piccoro saves Gohan from Nappa and dies, felt into a deep depression for a few weeks.
Manga's creator AKIRA TORIYAMA disapproved the show, stating that TOEI Animation spoiled the manga's spirit by adding too much "fill" episodes which made the series passing too slow and less dynamic, also he criticed Goku's personality, he wrote him as a relaxed but dumb person that only wishes to fight against the mostrar powerfull warriors over the universe, Toei on the other side, rewrote Goku as a warrior that fights enemies for the good of the galaxy and having a more serious and dumbless personality. Toriyama would later APPROVE the remastered and edited version of the series DRAGON BALL Z KAI.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
At the end of the series, Mr. Satan and Kaiohshin are the only character to have never died. Each other character who lives on the Earth has been killed one or more times: Son Goku: 2 Times (Killed by Piccolo, Killed by Cell) Kuririn: 3 Times (In Dragon Ball, Killed by Tambourine, in DBZ, Killed by Freeza and Majin Bû) Yamcha: 2 Times (Killed by a Nappa's Saibaiman Warrior and Majin Bû) TenShinHan: 2 Times (During the fight with Nappa and when the Earth explodes) Chaozu: 3 Times: (1st by Piccolo Daimaô in Dragon Ball, 2nd sacrificing himself to destroy Nappa (in vain) and lastly with Ten Shin Han during Majin Bû's explosion of Earth. Kame Sen'nin: 2 Times (Killed by Piccolo Daimaô in DB, Killed by Majin Bû in DBZ) Son Gohan, Son Goten, Trunks: Once (When the Earth explodes) Videl, Android # 18, Bulma, Gyûmaô, Oolong, Puar, etc: Eaten by Majin Bû The others earthlings: (Eaten or Killed by Majin Bû)
THE MANY DEATHS OF KRILLIN. -One: Killed by Tambourine in the original Dragon Ball. -Two: Killed by Frieza on Namek. -Three: Turned into chocolate and eaten by Majin Buu. -Four: Killed by Super 17 in Dragon Ball GT. -Alternate Timeline: Killed by Androids 17 and 18.
If you count Dragon Ball GT, Goku is the only character that has reached every Super Saiyan phases. SSJ,SSJ2, SSJ3 in Dragon Ball Z, SSJ4 in Dragon Ball GT and SSJ God and SSJ Blue in Dragon Ball Super.
Originally in the Buu (or Bû) Saga, Goku and Vegeta were going to fuse using the iconic Metamoran Fusion Dance technique, previously taught to Goten and Trunks by Goku to make Gotenks, to transform into Gogeta against Super Buu. However, due to Dragon Ball Z Movie 12: Fusion Reborn prominently featuring Gogeta already, Toriyama decided it would be better to debut a new character rather than use the one featured in a feature-length movie already. And thus, they instead used the now familiarized Potara to fuse into Vegito (or Vegeto), the Mighty Super Potara Warrior!