Dear earthling, this is a series called the Dragon Ball ABC. Every week we take a letter of the alphabet and take a look at a character or a thing with the biggest influence on the Dragon Ball universe we all love. So if you're into Dragon Ball you better buckle up, because we're bringing you 26 weeks with peeks into the amazing world of Dragon Ball! Since we're diving into some of the nitty gritty of Dragon Ball, an obvious spoiler warning applies!
This week we're covering the first female character in our series and she is potentially the most powerful character in the entire Dragon Ball universe: Chi-Chi. Yes that's right, Chi-Chi is perhaps the most powerful character in the entire Dragon Ball universe. We'll get into that later.
Chi-Chi first made her debut in the Dragon Ball series in the manga in 1985 and a year later in the anime. She's either half a year or a year and a half younger than Goku (depending on if you go by the manga or anime) so just like Goku she's a young child when we first meet her. Despite the lack of female fighters in the Dragon Ball universe, Chi-Chi is introduced as very capable of defending herself as one of the very first things she does is decapitate a dinosaur and subsequently attack Yamcha. Using hindsight it's very easy to see how these first moments set the tone for Chi-Chi's further character development and her importance to the Dragon Ball franchise.
During her first interactions with Goku, Chi-Chi straight away revealed a key Saiyan detail that would turn out to be of great importance later on in the series. When she tried to get on the Nimbus she accidentally pulled Goku's tail, revealing it as a weak spot of the Saiyan race. Shortly after, the first love sparks are created as Goku patted Chi-Chi's genitals with his foot to figure out which gender she is (you probably didn't get to see that if you watched the dub). Somehow, Chi-Chi took this as a hint that Goku potentially liked her even though it would take a while before their first actual date.
Chi-Chi and Goku's interactions would continually display Goku's naivety about love and emotion. Not only did Goku famously propose Chi-Chi to fight during their first date, but he also promised Chi-Chi to marry her thinking marrying was a kind of food and then proceeded to forget that his promise. Chi-Chi, however, was persistent or just as naive as Goku depending on how you look at it. She entered the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament to get close to Goku, who at that point had forgotten about his promise and didn't even recognise Chi-Chi. Eventually, Chi-Chi's identity is revealed and Goku makes good on his promise even though he still doesn't seem to understand when Chi-Chi tells him she loves him. Over the years the couple figures it out as Chi-Chi gives birth to Gohan at the age of 20.
Gohan's birth would kick in Chi-Chi's mother instincts and a shift in her personality. Even though she married a fighter, she becomes extremely protective of her sons and tries to keep them from any and every fight. Of course, with Gohan and Goten having Saiyan blood in them fighting is in their nature, but Chi-Chi goes to great lengths to keep them away from the violence. And she could be considered very successful at it, Gohan prefers being a scholar and Goten is being kept away from battle by both Chi-Chi and Goku.
With all the fighting going on, Chi-Chi represents a more mature and peaceful side of the Dragon Ball series. If it were up to Goku, he'd be out training and fighting every day. But Chi-Chi is there to remind everyone that, as a husband and a father, you have obligations to fulfill to your family. Even though it seems like Chi-Chi is holding Goku back, it's clear that she has a major impact on his character development. After everything Gohan went through at a young age and all the hardship Chi-Chi had to endure because of if, Goten grows up much more protected by both Chi-Chi and Goku. That is a huge difference compared to how Goku treated Gohan, whom he sent out to fight and defeat Perfect Cell.
However, it should also be said that apart from the protective element, Chi-Chi is a fairly one-dimensional character. Her main relationships are with Goku, Gohan and Goten, which makes sense since they are family. But outside of that there seems to be little that ties Chi-Chi to any of the other characters other than being friends. Aside from the Ox King of course, who is her father.
Especially since the introduction of Future Trunks, it seems that Bulma has taken over the role of female lead influence in the Dragon Ball universe and in the Dragon Ball Super series, Chi-Chi seems to have been officially demoted to "Goku's angry wife". Which is very unfortunate, since Chi-Chi has a lot more to offer. While she does try to keep everyone in her family away from violence, she also understands that fighting is a Saiyan's nature and she does not necessarily try to keep the men in her family from every fight. She appears completely fine with Goten participating in the 25th World Martial Arts Tournament even though he is only 7 or 8 years old at that time.
Chi-Chi constantly has to balance between her own emotions and love for her husband and sons, obviously not wanting to see them get injured or worse, while also keeping in mind that Saiyans can never be fully kept from fighting. Besides that, being married to one of the strongest persons in the universe, Chi-Chi knows that sometimes it is Goku's responsibility to fight whoever threatens earth. As he is the most capable of protecting not only herself, but everyone on earth, it is Goku's duty to fight.
This fight within Chi-Chi between protecting the ones she loves and doing what's right seems to have been pushed to the background in the Dragon Ball Super series. It has been replaced with arguments about money and Goku getting a job, but the impact is not quite the same and Chi-Chi is portrayed mainly as angry. Which is something that is very unfortunate, since the Dragon Ball Super series could greatly benefit from a somewhat more serious undertone at times, considering what is at stake (I won't spoil for those for those of you who haven't caught up yet).
With Chi-Chi's character being fairly one-dimensional, this week's article is a bit shorter than the previous two. That being said, Chi-Chi's impact on the Dragon Ball universe should not be ignored. She represents a more mature side of the show and has brought us some very emotional moments that taught us that the fights in Dragon Ball have consequences for the characters involved. Even though characters might never really die due to the existence of the Dragon Balls, the emotional stress should not be underestimated and ignored. While the Dragon Ball series is mostly humorous and light-hearted, Chi-Chi brings a welcome connection to real life emotions and adds a bit of substance and depth to the series. Considering all that Chi-Chi has been through and how she is able to stand up to Goku, she truly is one of the strongest characters in the Dragon Ball universe, even if she doesn't have a lot of muscle.
To end, we'll leave you with a video of the first time Chi-Chi met Goku.
What do you think about Chi-Chi? Leave a comment. We'll see you next week!