It started with one man and his imagination. His ideas would later create an epic story that would spawn billions of fans across the globe. That man is Akira Toriyama and he created Dragon Ball. Whether you watched this anime as a kid on Toonami, read the manga or played the games, Dragon Ball is a pivotal anime that most anime fans has witnessed and know about its presence. Dragon Ball has become so mainstream that you can its name at stores and seen parodies on Western animated series and people can recognize its popularity. From the foundation of the classic Dragon Ball, to the turning point of Z, to the black sheep of GT and to tending Super, Dragon Ball has made its mark in the anime community. As a Dragon Ball fan, I have some research on these four different Dragon Ball series. In the manga, Akira Toriyama created Dragon Ball and it took 42 volumes of the tankōbon to complete it. In America, the manga was split into two due to the anime and we have Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball GT, however, was created by Toriyama and it a sequel to the anime of Z with an original story. In 2015, the original Dragon Ball got a sequel called Dragon Ball Super and it was worked by the series creator himself. There is also a manga version of Super, but it the art was done by Toyotarou while Toriyama helm the plot. Excluding the classic Dragon Ball, I find DBZ, DBGT and DBS really interesting since some of them share similar themes and characters despite looking different. Whether they are canon or noncanon, they both share a similarity. In this article, I want to talk about these similar differences. These three anime may have appeared on TV in different years and each one has their own plot, but they also hold some key concepts that make them feel not so different whether it is about characters or concepts. I won’t cover everything, but I will talk about topics like characters with similar names and concept idea, but also how are they used in different medias.
Warning: This will contain spoilers for Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super. I will only be covering the anime version of Dragon Ball Super. The manga version differs than the anime and it is currently still running.
Z vs Super: Broly – same name but different bread of Saiyan
This fan favorite antagonist is so popular it keeps reappearing. Which two do you like?
This one is obvious. Broly is well-known in the Dragon Ball whether you know in the movies or video games. Even if you know the name and character, do you know the difference between these two versions?
Dragon Ball Z: While one is noncanon, the other is canon is part of the original story. To anyone who has been a fan of Dragon Ball for a long time, we all heard of Broly and his monstrous strength. Despite him being voiced by the same guy who does a certain alchemist, every fan sees Broly has the rampaging monster that gave Goku a rough time. However, like I mentioned before, one of these versions of Broly is canon. Broly made his first appearance in the movie Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan in 1993. Broly was designed by Toriyama, but back then when we had movies like Cooler, Slug and Android 13, these movies were stand alone and wasn’t mentioned in the original story. Dragon Ball Z Broly was the movie’s main antagonist and it showed the terrifying power of a Saiyan. This Broly was born at the same time as Goku and was haunted by his cries. When Broly finally confronts Goku, he unleashes his full rage and become the legendary Super Saiyan. Being raised in agonizing pain and led by his vengeful father, Broly grew up to be a monster that seeks destruction. This character is well-known in the Dragon Ball community that he has appeared more than once in sequel movies and even in video games.
Dragon Ball Super: In 2019, after the completion of the Dragon Ball Super anime, it was later revealed that Broly would come back and to make things much more interesting, Akira Toriyama would be involved with creating and designing Broly’s new appearance and would be canon. This new Broly is actually pretty different in a essence. Broly was born at the same time as Vegeta and he is actually older than Goku. Unlike the Z version, Broly wasn’t traumatized from baby cries and he grew up as a regular violent Saiyan. Broly grew up with animal friends in Planet Vampa and he was close to his father Paragus. Even without his tail, Broly was able to use the power of great ape and manifest its strength with animal-like instincts. This and along with being born with a high power level, Broly was able to go to with Goku and Vegeta in their god forms. Broly learns how to transform to Super Saiyan after seeing his father killed and this causes him to transform and go berserk which issued a major problem for Goku and Vegeta. In relationships with other characters, Broly has a mind set of a child. He sticks with his father and despite him ordering him around, he still respects him. He finds comfort in the Planet Vampa and the creatures living there. In the end of the movie, when he meets Goku, he doesn’t show anger or resentment, but rather he finds happiness and accepts Goku as a friend.
In DBZ, Broly is a savage Saiyan who seeks destruction and pain towards his Saiyan people, but for the DBS version, Broly relies on his primal instincts to survive and fight. Like an animal, Broly fights when threatened or angered and doesn’t harbor any angry emotions.In combat and power, these two are different. In DBZ, the first Broly movie showed that Broly was so powerful, he took on four Super Saiyans and a Super Namakian with ease. It took the combine powers of everyone for Goku to defeat him in one punch. In the sequel, kid Trunks and Goten barely survived against the awakened Broly and even a matured teen Gohan had trouble with Broly. It took the power of the entire Son Family (Goku, Gohan and Goten) and Trunks to blow Broly away. In DBS, this is the first time Broly has fought Goku and Vegeta. Even after going through rigorous training with Whis and surviving the Tournament of Power, Goku and Vegeta had trouble fighting Broly. Broly relied on using the power of the Great Ape to give himself raw, violent power to match against two Super Saiyan Blue warriors. Once Broly obtained Super Saiyan, he was too much for Goku and Vegeta. Both Brolys are too powerful to face alone, but each one has a different power scaling in different universes.
Z vs Super: Paragus – manipulator vs vengeful father
Similar to the topic of Broly, Paragus is another key character in the Broly movies and is important to the character.
Dragon Ball Z: After trying to protect his son from King Vegeta, Paragus was left for dead along with Broly in the trash heap. Ironically, after Frieza killed all the Saiyans, Paragus and the baby Broly was able to escape from the explosion. Despite surviving the Saiyan genocide, Paragus had some rough years with dealing with Broly and his immense power. Broly was so hard to control that Paragus worked with scientists and develop a device to control’s Broly’s mind. Knowing that Vegeta was alive, Paragus swore vengeance on Vegeta and blames his father for trying to kill him. Paragus tok the time to plot Vegeta’s death by pretending he was devoted to him and wanted to establish Vegeta’s kingdom on a planet destination for doom. Paragus was determined to kill Vegeta and his friends that he didn’t mind if Broly was caught in the destruction, which unfortunately for him, he instead got killed by his own son.
Dragon Ball Super: Paragus is somewhat different than the Z version. In his backstory, after finding out that King Vegeta sent Broly to a far away planet filled with dangerous animals, Paragus gets enraged and sets out to find his son even it means betraying his king. Once he finds his son, he and his son live on the planet Vampa and hoping someone can save them. After meeting Frieza’s soldiers Cheelai and Lemo, Paragus and Broly are saved and then formed an allegiance with Frieza after finding out that Vegeta is alive. In a way similar to DBZ, Paragus does have a device to stop Broly from going berserk which is a shock collar. However, unlike Z, Paragus understands Broly power and hos destructive he is, but he never seen Broly transform into a Super Saiyan. In addition, Paragus becomes the key to triggering Broly’s Super Saiyan form in which Frieza kills Paragus and this causes Broly to get enraged seeing his father killed.
Both Paragus wants revenge on Vegeta, but each one has their own way vengeful acts. In DBZ, Paragus tries to use his own son as a weapon and tries to take advantage of Vegeta’s royal blood and trap him in his demise. In DBS, Paragus wants revenge on Vegeta, but he gets help the same person who eradicated his race. He relies on his son to do the messy work, but he is surprised to his son get stronger in may ways he never saw a Saiyan can obtain.
SS4 vs SSG/SSGSS – Primal Transformation vs Godly Transformation
Whether you like a new hair color or black hair with a tail, these two forms have caused some great popularity. Despite DBZ ending, fans wanted more and we got two powerful forms in which made fans divided in which debates are made online.
Dragon Ball GT: Started in 1996, Toei Animation created an original anime series called Dragon Ball GT, taking place after Dragon Ball Z. One of the reason why this show still has fans is because it led to the creation of Super Saiyan 4, a form exclusive for this show. According to the DB Fandom Wiki, this form was designed by character designer Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru, the same designer who was involved in the TV series of DBZ, DBGT and the DMZ films. Even though it made its appearance in the games and even Dragon Ball Heroes, SS4 is why people goes back to the DBGT. What made this form different is the transformation process and the appearance. In order to transform, a Saiyan needs to be able to absorb a huge amount of Blutz Waves, the same energy from the moon that allows a Saiyan to transform into a Great Ape. With a high power level, a Saiyan has to become a Golden Great Ape and then regain control itself. Once in control, the the Saiyan reverts in humanoid appearance, but it attains the combined powers of the Great Ape and Super Saiyan cells; this explains why this form does appear yellow like the previous forms and this is why Goku and Vegeta have black hair, fur and even their tails. Goku has this form during the epic fight against Baby and he would later use this form in big threats like Super Android 13 and the show’s final enemy Omega Shenron.
Dragon Ball Super: Making a great return in 2013, series creator Akira Toriyama returns to Dragon Ball and creates a movie in which starts the beginning of Dragon Ball Super. In 2013, we have the movie Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and got new characters such as the introduction of Beerus, the god of Destruction and Whis, an angel and master of Beerus. Besides these characters, Toriyama also introduced a new transformation to replace Super Saiyan 4. This new form was called Super Saiyan God and almost like SS4, obtaining this form is a difficult process. In order to transform into this form, five Saiyans who have pure hearts must give their energy to sixth Saiyan and they shall have the God form. In the movie, Goku obtains this form and he is able to fight Beerus and match up to his power; unfortunately, this form is only temporary. As the story progresses in the sequel movie and anime adaptation, the Goku along with Vegeta both train under Whis and learned to evolve the Super Saiyan God. Goku and Vegeta later learns Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan or also called Super Saiyan Blue. In this form, they were able to go beyond the base form of SSG but tapping into their Super Saiyan powers.
Even though these forms are different, the transformation process are both complicated than transforming into their Super Saiyan forms. For SS4, it requires relying on the latent primal Saiyan powers of the great ape and learning to maintain control. Super Saiyan 4 is basically giving the warrior the humanoid appearance of the Great Ape along being the next level of the Super Saiyan form. For Super Saiyan God, it requires the warrior to exceed a power beyond mortal strength. Unfortunately, unlike SS4, SSG in first appearance is only temporary and the only way it can be permanent is going through training with the Angels. Besides that, SSG is a powerful form nonetheless and it does come in handy if you need help and you need the power assist of a god. Overall, with these two forms, they both have a procedure to reach high level of power. Goku and Vegeta are the known warriors who have this power. They also have their own appearances in fusion like Vegito and Gogeta.
Z/GT/Super Gogeta – Hero in the Movies vs Challenger in the Series
Same fused name, different usage in the series and movies. This warrior is another powerful being compared to Vegito and Gotenks.
Dragon Ball Z: First appearing in 1995, Gogeta makes its first appearance in the movie Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn. In the final climax against Janemba, Goku and Vegeta performs the fusion dance to defeat a monster filled with every evil spirit. This Gogeta shows up and instantly annihilates Janemba with fast reflexes and a new technique created by both Goku and Vegeta. While this character is powerful, it doesn’t get a lot of screen time and we can only assume it is much more powerful than Goku’s Super Saiyan 3 and Vegeta’s Super Saiyan 2 form.
Dragon Ball Super: Likewise to Fusion Reborn, this canon version of Gogeta makes his appearance in the movie Dragon Ball Super: Broly. After learning that not even their SSB forms can stop the rampaging Broly, Goku and Vegeta resorts to fusion. With great success, they become Gogeta and they quickly transform into Super Saiyan and then Super Saiyan Blue. In this version, Gogeta overpowers Broly and almost kills him.
Dragon Ball GT: Gogeta makes a different appearance in this show in the form of Super Saiyan 4. In the show’s final battle of the series, Goku and Vegeta take on Omega Shenron with their powerful Super Saiyan 4 form. Unfortunately even with these forms, Goku and Vegeta are unable to bring down this evil dragon. To combat, Shenron’s limitless power, they use the fusion dance and become one warrior. Just like the movies, Gogeta is insanely powerful and he is equipped with fast reflexes that can’t be seen with the naked eye. With his power, Gogeta could instantly kill Shenron, but unfortunately, with SS4 taking up a lot of energy, the fusion doesn’t last long and it causes them warrior to split.
We come a long way from the classic Dragon Ball manga. Whether you read all the books, watched the anime or played the games, Dragon Ball is a big world to explore, but with some similar qualities. When looking at the anime of Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super, you will notice that even though these series are different, they each share something in regards to characters and techniques. When observing characters from movies and TV series, you will notice that even though we have different two different Broly characters or Gogeta, they have something common. Broly plays both antagonist in both movies and serves a threat to the heroes, but in Super, he fights like an animal serving his the master and fighting to survive. Besides characters, we also have powerful transformations in GT and Super. In GT, we have Super Saiyan 4 and the appearance resembles the Saiyan’s Great Ape and in Super, we have warriors obtaining godlike strength. These are just a few examples on Dragon Ball and their own qualities and there is a lot of aspects that can compared from these anime. To end this article, what other characteristics do these Dragon Ball share? Have you noticed any characters, attacks or plot that look different, but are actually similar? Comment down below.