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
If you're relatively new to Dragon Ball, Launch might be an unfamiliar character to you. But regardless if you know her or not, Launch and her context are very illustrative of Akira Toriyama and the Dragon Ball universe.
Let's start with Launch herself. She made her debut very early on in the original Dragon Ball series, during the 15th episode. We very quickly find out that Launch has a rather interesting ability. She turns out to have two very distinctly different personalities and it goes even further than that. Whenever she sneezes, she does not just change personality, but appearance as well. During her first appearance, we see her as a blue haired, shy girl. But once she sneezes, she turns into a blond haired, infamous bandit and we see her other, darker side. The confusion is furthered by the two Launches seemingly not knowing or remembering anything from each other. Throughout the series, Launch learns to control her evil side just like Goku learns how to control and use his strength. Launch has a fairly prominent role throughout the Dragon Ball series, but that all changes during the Dragon Ball Z series. That's where the real fun begins. Because Launch didn't just disappear because she was not necessary or interesting anymore. She disappeared because Akira Toriyama forgot about her.
That's not the only thing Toriyama forgot. At the start of Dragon Ball, the series contained animal people. By the end of the series, however, most of them had disappeared. Not much of a reason is given other than "It could be the seriousness, but it’s probably that I’d forgotten by the end to include them. In the beginning I was still working under the after-effects of Dr. Slump." (link).
If you think that is where it ends, think again. It gets a lot more interesting, which is not strange when you consider that the Dragon Ball franchise is almost 30 years old. But then again, you would assume that the writer of a series keeps track of who his characters are, what they do and what they look like. Alas, not when you are Akira Toriyama. He stated, for example, that "I am not at all particular about things like hair styles and colors. Especially with women, changing their hairstyle or color is a bit too commonplace, don’t you think? With people like Bulma, I actually don’t even know myself what their natural hair color is." (link). This can be seen plenty of times, with Videl, Gohan and Bulma changing their hair. More interesting, it would not be surprising if the difference in hair colour between Trunks and Future Trunks derives from Toriyama's carefree attitude towards these sort of details. Last but not least, during the production of the Battle of the Gods movie, Toriyama drew Android 18 with purple hair as he seemed to have forgotten that her hair colour was blonde instead.
Speaking of hair, most of us know that when Goku is in Super Saiyan form and his hair grows considerably longer, he is entering Super Saiyan 3 form. Well, Toriyama does not. In fact, he thought that Goku's long haired Super Saiyan form was Super Saiyan 2, thus forgetting what most of us viewers know as Super Saiyan 2. So even the main protagonist of the series is not safe from Toriyama's ability to forget or mix things up. That fact however, is somehow very befitting to the clumsy kind of person Goku is. When Toriyama says "Man, I’ve really forgotten stuff…" on the Super Saiyan 3 situation, it is not hard to imagine Goku saying exactly the same thing. So while it may seem confusing and to some maybe even frustrating, Toriyama forgetting things somehow sums up the essence of Dragon Ball: it is over the top, crazy, confusing and light hearted at the same time.
Besides what we just talked about, there are also some more peculiar issues that never really were addressed and probably never will be. I am not sure if they are just forgotten about or ignored on purpose and really, it does not matter. They are not really of any real importance to the overall plot, but they are interesting nonetheless.
First of all, Dragon Ball Super has introduced a whole host of new Kai's and deities in the Dragon Ball universe. Interestingly, the Grand Kai still seems to be missing. He is introduced during the Great Saiyaman saga and we are told that he oversees the other four Kais. By then, we already know about the Supreme Kai as well. When the Kais return in Dragon Ball Super, we meet the Supreme Kai together with Old Kai and later King Kai, but we never see the Grand Kai. Given the prominence of his role it would make sense to have him involved. However, we do not get to see him and he is not even mentioned. One the one hand, it does not really matter, on the other it is sad we do not get to see him again. If you want to know why, I advise you to have a look at his profile. Grand Kai fits right in with the more ridiculous characters in Dragon Ball.
Next on the list is the moon. Yes, the moon actually has a story in Dragon Ball. It starts off as just 'the moon', but it turns out that moonlight turns Saiyans into great apes called Oozarus, just like werewolves basically. That, on it's own, becomes weird when you know there is quite a bit of space travel going on and moonlight really isn't anything other than light from the sun lighting up a rock in space. So basically any rock or planet that is being lit up by a star should turn Saiyans into Oozarus. But I digress. Because of the Oozaru transformation, Master Roshi decides that the best thing to do is to blow up the moon. Later, the moon is restored with a wish from the Dragon Balls, only to eventually be destroyed again by Piccolo. However, we never learn if the moon has been restored again after this event. The moon simply just shows up again, so it could be restored, but there is really no telling. The case of the moon becomes even more curious when you consider that Monster Carrot and his men were transported to the moon by Goku. Does this mean they were all killed during the destruction of the moon? We will probably never know.
That's it for this week! We hope you have a great weekend and we will see you next week!
What do you think about Toriyama forgetting things in the Dragon Ball universe? Does it bother you or not? Leave a comment or check out the other parts of PlanetGoku's Dragon Ball ABC.
We'll leave you with Monster Carrot's arrival to the show, may he rest in peace.