Ki (気; pronounced "Kee"), also known as chi/qi, Yōki (妖気) or simply energy (エネルギー, enerugī), is the life force energy used by Dragon Ball characters. This energy also bears some realistic tendencies being that it is "used" in the real life martial arts, such as Kung Fu and Tai Chi.
According to Akira Toriyama, ki is made up of multiple components, including: Genki (元気; lit. "Energy"), Yūki (勇気; lit. "Courage") and Shōki (正気; lit. "Mind"). Ki can also be "positive" or "negative" or the more rarer "godly", depending on the user.
Ki is also known as "latent energy" or "fighting power," which directly translates as "life force." This force is a tangible energy inside every living being, with its major focus being in the center of the body. By drawing it out, an individual is able to manipulate it and use it outside the body. Ki can be used for many different techniques. Because there are physical limits to the strength of the body itself, it is necessary to increase one's ki to overcome this barrier and become stronger. Usually, the more concentrated the masses are, the more time the user requires to draw it out by powering up. When fighters gather ki, they are able to gain enhanced strength, speed, endurance, and can increase the power of their attacks to inflict greater damage to opponents. Normally, the more the ki is increased, the harder it is to control, so ki control is also important. Energy can be lost when the user sustains injuries, as exclaimed by Gohan when he loses over half of his maximum energy supply when hit by Super Perfect Cell's Time to Die attack.
In the English version of the anime, the term ki is rarely used, usually referred to as "Spirit Energy" or "Energy" instead. However, it is referred to by name in video games, even in the English versions. It is called W in the NES game Dragon Ball 3: Gokuden. In the English version of the manga, it is referred to as "chi", which is modeled after the Chinese pinyin reading of the term, "qi" (which is pronounced as "chi" like so).
When using Super Saiyan Goku (Naruto Sage Mode Costume) in Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, he refers to it as Chakra instead of ki or energy.
Ki is described by Toriyama as invisible, but can be visible in high concentrations or other ways. When visible, it comes in a variety of colors. The most common color in the series is white; other colors include yellow, red, purple, orange, blue, green, pink, and black. These colors vary on the race, technique being used, species that the character is, and/or the purity of the user's heart. It can also resemble electrical sparks or even sparkles of light.
The term ki was first introduced by Master Mutaito in a Dragon Ball episode where Goku travels back in time and learns about ki. The first usage of it is seen when Master Roshi performs an energy blast called the Kamehameha in order to extinguish the fire on Fire Mountain: by drawing his ki energy into the palms of his hands, Roshi is able to expel an explosive mass of visible ki energy. This was the birth of the energy attacks in Dragon Ball.
Main article: Aura Charge Items9
Auras of ki radiate from the user when increasing the concentration of it inside their body. Warriors (excluding Androids) have a limit to the ki that their bodies can withstand, but the capacity for ki can be increased through mental and physical training. Some techniques (such as the Kaio-ken) rapidly increase the concentration of ki in the body, enabling the user to fight at a strength level that far exceeds their regular limits for a limited period of time. Auras can displace solid matter.
In the anime, auras are sometimes used for comical effect; for example, during the Garlic Jr. Saga, Goku's wife Chi-Chi angrily produces a red-colored (similar to the aura produced by the Kaio-ken) aura after being angered by Maron (Krillin's girlfriend); though it appeared similar to the Kaio-Ken, its red color was likely intended to comically represent Chi-Chi's anger.
In Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3, there are several Aura Charge Z-items that change the default color of a character's aura to a different one (for example, Aura Charge Red gives the character a red Kaio-ken-like aura) or grants an aura effect on characters (like Androids) who do not possess an aura. There is also the bio-electric aura produced by the Super Saiyan 2 and Super Saiyan 3 levels (and Cell as well). In the anime, lightning auras are sometimes placed randomly on various characters, regardless of their transformation or power level. Auras are even capable of being used defensively to repel attacks as demonstrated by Bojack's Power Guard and Gogeta's Vanisher Guard techniques, which their users defend themselves by generating and surrounding themselves with a powerful aura. Gohan uses a similar technique where he makes his Super Saiyan aura (while in base form) explode around him destroying objects. This is seen when Gohan is attacked by one of Bojack's henchmen who throws the hands of a huge clock.
The color and general appearance of a person's ki can vary (specially in the anime) depending on the race of the said being (as it happens with mortals whose ki's auras are plain, and most of them even transparent; contrary to gods, whose ki's auras are more complex and detailed as with Beerus and Champa having a spiral pattern aside from the standard transparent aura or the Super Saiyan God/Blue transformations whose auras are opaque with light particles flowing inside) or the kind of personality and soul the person has (as seen with Zamasu, his ki has a sort of black aura, however when he switched minds and soul with Goku, the black ki he possessed still remained, even though Goku never showed any signs of using black ki, indicating that the ki color and power of one's strength depends more on the kind of personality you have, instead of the body of a person itself).
Main article: Transformation
Depending on their genetic inheritance, some beings are able to transform. However, not all beings are able to transform at will; in some instances, there must be certain environmental conditions required for their transformation (i.e. moonlight for Great Ape transformation, or emotional upheaval for first time Super Saiyans). By transforming, a person can change the limits of their regular body. Effects of transformations usually include alterations in strength and ki capacity. Some other effects may include differences in speed and durability. The most common transformation is the Super Saiyan transformation, which is only accessible to certain Saiyans and Saiyan/Human hybrids. The negative aspect of most transformations is that the process itself consumes energy. The effect of energy loss when dealing with Super Saiyan transformations can be limited through training.
Transformation is not always intended for increasing abilities. Some beings are known to transform in order to limit their abilities rather than increasing them. An example of this is Frieza, who was first seen in a suppressed state, being that his fourth form was his original state, and the form that he is first seen in was actually a transformed one. Cell demonstrated a similar ability when he reverted to a larval state in order to fit in Future Trunks' Time Machine and save energy during the time that he had to wait for the Androids.
By gaining perfect control over their ki and thus stopping any of it from leaking out of their body, a fighter is shown to be able to become exponentially more powerful. When Vegeta attained perfect ki control by training with Whis he caught up to Goku's power - who had merged with the power of Super Saiyan God - and managed to move when inside a field of godly ki when he was unable to when not perfectly controlling his ki. Through training in the Forest of Terror, Krillin also managed to attain perfect ki control and "rose above himself", gaining greater strength.
The strongest Super Saiyan form Super Saiyan Blue, while mostly consisting of godly ki, relies heavily on ki control to achieve. Goku and Vegeta are able to freely lower or increase their power in their Blue forms as long as they are relaxed, and forms such as the Kaio-Ken are able to be combined with the form with no trouble.
Even the Golden Frieza form needed proper ki control to safely maintain it and perfectly manipulate his energy-based attacks with extreme efficiency, otherwise, its stamina will grossly and gradually drop, to the point that the unmastered version of the form loses its efficiency in combat, this can be achieved through either physical or mental training, as shown with Frieza, while trapped in his coccoon during his time in Hell, who realized the mistake of his unmastered golden form, by focusing his mind stimulation on exacting revenge on Goku, finally advanced and mastered his Golden Frieza form, after being resurrected temporarily, granted him perfect ki manipulation, as shown when he kills the Universe 9 assassins without much effort, and later, at full power, after a double fist clash with Super Saiyan Blue Goku (also at full power), when he was knocked out with him, he still remains in his Golden Frieza form, without reverting to his final form, signifying the form's negation of the stamina drawback.
There are some beings that have the capability of replicating their ki and distributing them in different areas. So far the only fighter that is capable of doing so is Hit, as seen when he tricks Goku with his identical ki in several different areas, distracting Goku with this abundance of different energy levels.
Ki, once mastered at a basic level, carries more than just offensive and tactical power. While the durability of ones flesh and bones carry an obvious limit (even for races such as Saiyans, Namekians and deities) the extent of a fighters ki does not carry these limits. As a result, fighters can increase their endurance by raising their guard to deflect ki attacks, although this obviously does drain energy. Lowering ones guard can result in much higher damage taken from attacks, even comparatively weak attacks such as scrapes, cuts and bullets.
Raising ones guard can be used to block attacks even more powerful than the user, although this can be extremely dangerous and often fatal. This is seen in both the Saiyan saga when Piccolo takes Nappa's Bomber DX attack and dies from exhaustion, and the Future Trunks saga in which Vegeta deflects Future Zamasu's Lightning of Absolution to the chest to save Trunks.
Powerful fighters can also take genuine damage from lowering their guard. Vegeta deliberately lowers his guard to take an attack to the stomach from Krillin during the Namek saga to obtain a Zenkai. During Goku's rematch with Frieza, Goku lets his guard down and lowers his defences, allowing Frieza's underling Sorbet to aim a ray gun at his heart, gravely injuring him and rendering him completely helpless. Despite previously possessing the strength to match blows with Golden Frieza, Goku is only able to move again after consuming a Senzu Bean, restoring his body and his ki.
Main article: Saiyan
Saiyans and their hybrid counterparts are naturally adept at using ki. They generally have no difficulty manipulating their energy, and have even evolved to have the ability to increase it numerous times in battle without much effort. This is much unlike Humans who usually spend themselves after the first increase. However, unlike Namekians, Saiyans don't seem to have a natural ability to detect ki by sensing ki signatures. That ability must be acquired through learning. Based on Raditz also not knowing how to increase an attack's power by focusing ki into singular points, it also seems likely that Saiyans generally do not know how to create amplified blasts, and need additional training in order to learn how to do so (as the Kamehameha is a technique can be amplified into a single point and make it stronger or varying, so Goku, being a Saiyan, had to learn how to do that during his youth training with Master Roshi and Kami, making him more experienced in using ki than his brother, despite Raditz being stronger than Goku at the time).
Main article: Namekian
Although Namekians are generally not considered as strong as Saiyans, their ability to use ki is seen in some ways to be better than that of Saiyans. Namekians are seen to be able to freely suppress and amplify their ki more efficiently than Saiyans, although this does not count as perfectly controlling their ki, they need additional training to do so. Namekians also use ki in more mystical ways than Saiyans do, but use it in the same manner when fighting. Namekians also are able to naturally detect ki energy by sensing the concentration of it. Namekians also are able to sense the "evil" in a being's ki, only Namekians with a more higher/special rank/status than a Grand Elder (such as Dende and Kami, being Guardians of Earth, thus they are considered low-level deities) can sense the ki of deities.
Main article: Human It is very uncommon to see an Earthling who uses ki energy, though several humans have been shown to acquire full mastery of the art. Master Mutaito is one of the first humans who seem to have develop an understanding of the use and nature of ki, knowledge which he passed onto his students, Master Roshi and Master Shen, which they in turn passed on to their students such Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, Krillin, and Chiaotzu. Another, lesser adept human is Videl, who was taught basic flight from Gohan (she can fly, but she is no match for Z Fighters). Other users include Spopovich, Yamu, and Olibu (although Spopovich and Yamu were Majins and do not really count, and Olibu may have learned the art in the Other World). Master Shen's brother, Mercenary Tao, also acquire mastery of the art, becoming the Earth's top assassin. General Blue of the Red Ribbon Army also displayed the ability to charge up his power and had an aura, but he did seemingly not know how to use traditional Ki blasts.
Due to their unnatural occurrences and mainly stemming from Mr. Satan's claims, around Age 767-Age 774, Earthlings would come to believe that all ki-based techniques are just tricks, however around the time during and after Goku's battle against the evil Kid Buu, people are starting to realize the actual existance of ki through Mr. Satan convincing the Earthlings to "give" him energy to destroy Buu and save the planet, but, however, believing that they are giving their energy to Satan while actually, they were giving it to Goku, sometime, after Goku's battle against the God of Destruction Beerus, people started to fanatically believe in supernatural powers mainly only in Mr. Satan, as Mr. Satan claimed that he alone had possessed supernatural powers, and became a "god" and "battled" "Beebus" (Mr. Satan's misinterpretation of Beerus). In the events leading up to the computer game Dragon Ball Online, in Age 804, Gohan wrote a book called "Groundbreaking Science" which reveals his studies on advanced martial arts and ki control. As of Age 1000, many Humans fight using ki attacks, including powering up and raising their ki, producing energy waves and spheres, discs, and self-destruction techniques. The Kikoukenjutsu Sword School, founded by Trunks and Goten to educate Earth's newer generation of warriors, focuses on the principle of channeling ki energy through swords. Tien's newly re-established New Crane School focuses on high spiritual damages; in some instances, techniques where the user must sacrifice health to produce the powerful attacks. All playable races, including Humans, can use the Kaio-ken technique, which constantly drains the user's HP (health) and EP (ki).
Main article: Android Androids generally have an unnatural source of ki, so sometimes their ki capacity is unlimited. Most of the time, because it is unnatural, it is unable to be detected by sensing. Conversely, most Androids are not able to detect other sources of ki by sensing. Instead, they must have special devices to do that. Some Androids can absorb other forms of ki, as well as energy from other life forms.
Every fighter contains an amount of latent strength, some hold more than others. This useless dormant energy found naturally within powerful fighters can become a great power up if brought out through some special technique not known to many. This energy is often depicted as clear silver, and the methods used to unlock it are usually found within much older and wiser beings, such as Elder Kai and the Namekian Grand Elder Guru.
Main article: Deities Deities use a rare form of ki, known as God Ki (神の気, Kami no Ki), which is referenced as early as the Majin Buu Saga, but fully introduced in the movie Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. It has been shown to be far above the normal usage of ki. Despite this type of energy dwelling specifically within gods and other high-level deities, god ki can be obtained by mortals via various means, including special rituals passed down through legends, and highly intense training under the supervision of an angel.
Godly ki is a more powerful version of ki. As seen during the God of Destruction Beerus Saga, Goku is unable to be on par with Beerus until he absorbs the power of Super Saiyan God. Goku is able to briefly fight on the same level after having lost his Super Saiyan God form when his mind was adjusted to Beerus's level of power and speed. However, it is implied to have been a temporary instance. After Goku and Vegeta train with Whis, they are able to use the god power in their base and Super Saiyan forms, making the transformations more powerful at will.
The God of Destruction Beerus, his mentor Whis, their siblings, and Saiyans who obtain the power of a god are able to use this form of ki, all of them vastly surpassing almost everyone else. The Supreme Kais also possess both normal ki and godly ki as they are "Gods of Creation", the opposite of Gods of Destruction, and both Kibito Kai and Old Kai are able to sense Beerus as well. It is implied that, since they possess both normal and godly ki, they lack the strength of those with purely godly ki. Kibito also appears to have godly ki, as Dabura states that neither his or the Eastern Supreme Kai's energy can be used to release Majin Buu from the Sealed Ball.
Several beings who do not possess godly ki are capable of sensing it: Dende possesses the ability to sense godly ki due to the fact he is Guardian of Earth (which would imply that Kami and the other Guardians of Earth also possess the ability to sense it as well when they held the position) and is able to sense Beerus's ki. After greatly powering up to the level of the gods, both Goku and Vegeta also possess the ability to sense godly ki. Objects like scouters are unable to scan the power level of a user of godly ki. In Dragon Ball Super, Frieza gains the ability to sense godly ki after his four months of training as he can sense Super Saiyan Blue Goku's ki and feels that it is less powerful than the normal ki of his Golden Frieza form, certain beings with power or strength that surpassed Super Saiyan God (such as Future Trunks' power increase after his transformation into Super Saiyan Rage, and Frieza's clan members' power increase after achieving their Golden forms) can sense Godly ki.
Due to Goku's body being taken over by the Supreme Kai apprentice of Universe 10, Zamasu, and then engraving Goku's fighting power into his own, Goku Black possess godly ki. Every time Black transforms into his Super Saiyan Rosé form he covers himself with Godly ki.
Demon God Demigra also possesses godly ki. Those who possess godly ki are also immune to the effects of Demigra's Dark Magic. Users of the God Class-up in Dragon Ball Heroes also obtain godly ki.
Main article: Kai A Kai's energy is mostly invisible. Two Kais have been seen using invisible blasts; the first one was King Kai, who used his invisible ki to assist his pupils in his training. The second was the Supreme Kai, who thrust his hand forward and caused what appeared to be a gust of wind to blow at Majin Buu, having no effect whatsoever. Being deities, regular Kai's possess the ability to sense godly ki, and Supreme Kais possess godly ki.
Extraterrestrials, monstrous creatures, and demons are also able to use ki.
Members of Frieza's Race are able to use ki though they are unable to sense it naturally and thus rely on the use of Scouters, though they can learn how to sense it. Some members like Frieza transform into weaker forms to camouflage or suppress their ki, while others like Cooler are shown to be able to learn how to control and suppress their ki without the need of transforming into weaker forms.
Members of the Majin race are able to use ki and some members are capable of sensing it. It is also mentioned that Majin Buu has an odd ki signature that makes it hard to tell how strong he actually is. It is unclear if other Majins possess the same odd ki signature or not.
- ↑ Yajirobe refers to ki this way
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Chōzenshū 1, 2013
- ↑ Dragon Ball episode 129, "The Time Room"
- ↑ Dragon Ball chapter 14, "Kame Kame Kame Kame Kame Chameleon"
- ↑ Dragon Ball episode 8, "The Kamehameha Wave"
- ↑ http://dragonball.wikia.com/wiki/Let%27s_Do_It,_Zen-Oh!_The_Universe%27s_Greatest_Martial_Arts_Tournament!!
- ↑ http://dragonball.wikia.com/wiki/Risking_it_all_for_a_friend
- ↑ Dragon Ball chapter 447, "The Evil Masters"
- ↑ episode six of Dragon Ball Super
- ↑ Goku vs. Demigra special opening quote found in Xenoverse's data
- ↑ Dragon Ball Xenoverse