Heart Purity (also known as purity of the heart) is the personality trait of some of the characters in the Dragon Ball franchise. It effectively means that the person is either pure good or pure evil, without any mixtures between the two, whatsoever. A character with this trait is said to be "pure of heart." This personality trait is a prerequisite to being able to use - and being resistant to - some techniques and abilities in the franchise.
There are two ways to be pure of heart: to be either pure good, or pure evil. It is significantly more difficult to be pure good than it is to be pure evil, as sinful pleasures (such as lust and greed) can surface in even relatively altruistic people.
It appears as if it is possible for sinful desires to be present and latent inside people, and those people will still be considered pure of heart, so long as they repress those sinful desires. This is suggested when Krillin could not ride the flying nimbus (which, as we will see below, is one way of testing for heart purity), but later in the manga, was able to throw a spirit bomb (another means of testing for heart purity). Babidi has seen to control Demons, Earthlings, and Saiyans if they are evil.
It should be noted that while Goku possesses a pure heart, he has killed people, though most were villains who gave Goku little choice but to kill them (such as Frieza and Kid Buu), with the exception of Grandpa Gohan whom Goku killed unintentionally while in his Great Ape form (Goku was shown to be remorseful after realizing he was responsible for his adoptive grandfather's death during his battle with Great Ape Vegeta during the Saiyan conflict) due to his inability to control himself in that form. This shows that one can commit potentially evil actions (such as killing) yet still be considered Pure Good as long as their intentions for doing so are good or lack any negative intent (such as in Goku's accidental killing of Grandpa Gohan).
Interestingly, Goku Black and Zamasu also possess Pure Heart as one of their passive skills in Dragon Ball Fusions, despite their evil actions. However should be noted that while their actions and methods are evil (from killing his master in cold blood, stealing Goku's body and murdering Goku's family, to genocide of both gods and mortals as part of the Zero Mortals Plan) their motives are the result of Zamasu's strongly held belief that mortals are evil and thus from Zamasu point of view his actions are completely justified. In addition, Gowasu noted that Zamasu was so well-balanced when he would brew tea, implying that Zamasu (and by extension Goku Black) is a pure hearted and just man, driven to extremes by his beliefs concerning mortals whom he views as the gods' greatest mistake.
Examples of negative feelings that can cause a person to not be pure good are:
- Lust. The desire for sex. This is the first negative thought seen in the franchise, as it is shown as the reason Master Roshi is unable to ride the Flying Nimbus. Bulma is also known to possesses this trait around attractive men such as General Blue, Zarbon, and Oolong when he shapeshifted into a handsome man.
- Greed. The desire for material wealth. Bulma is shown to have this trait. Yamcha is later shown to possess this trait. Many villains have wanted immortality such as Vegeta and Frieza, and others such as Cell greedily wanted more and more power, thus gorging himself on thousands of humans and the androids.
- Selfishness. The tendency of being self-centered and think of only one's self, sometimes to the determent of others. This is another trait that Bulma has which is presumably the result of her wealthy upbringing.
- Aggression. The tendency to be easily provoked into violence, often beyond what the situation calls for. Many reformed villains (especially Piccolo and Vegeta) are shown to have this trait. This trait is a notable among untrained Super Saiyans, as their aggression is known to be present and/or amplified while transformed.
- Sadism. Possibly the most evil trait of all, the one demonstrated by most of the villains of the franchise. This is the desire to inflict pain and suffering on innocents, simply for the sake of inflicting pain and suffering. Those in the franchise believed to be pure evil almost always demonstrate this trait, and it appears to be their most prevalent. They often prefer to drag their victim's deaths out as slowly and painfully as possible, and also seem to enjoy mental torture prior to their victims' demise (as seen when King Piccolo said he would only destroy one sector at a time so the world would live in fear, or Cell wanting to give the people of Earth ten days to live in fear while they await the Cell Games). It should be noted that this trait doesn't necessarily negate purity of heart, as evidenced by Zamasu and Goku Black having sadism yet still retaining enough purity of heart to be immune to the Devilmite Beam. Similarly, both Zen-Ohs are mentioned to be pure and innocent yet are explicitly shown taking joy in erasing Universe 9 and even saying "squish!" in a joking tone afterward.
Things that are affected by Heart Purity
The following things require either the user to be pure of heart to use the technique, or require the opponent to be pure of heart to resist it. These are listed in the order they are discovered in the manga.
Various Flying Nimbus clouds exist in the Dragon Ball universe, most of which are owned by Korin. These are quasi-sentient beings who come to their masters simply by their masters calling for them, and are used as personal aviation for their masters. However, they only allow masters who are pure of heart to ride them.
It is unknown if a person who is pure evil could ride a flying nimbus, as no pure evil character is ever seen attempting to do so.
Korin has the ability to read minds. Although purity of heart is not necessary for this power to work, he exposits, the first time he is seen using it, that purity of heart certainly makes the task easier (comparing it to looking through transparent glass).
The Devilmite Beam (the signature technique of Spike the Devil Man) amplifies an opponent's negative thoughts until the victim's heart literally explodes. However, this requires a person to have at least a single negative thought, so only those who are pure good can resist it. As the power of the technique is based on the evil within the victim's heart, this technique is implied to be extremely lethal when used on those who are pure evil.
In Dragon Ball Fusions, this immunity is represented by a passive Skill called Pure Heart which nullifies the effects of both the Devilmite Beam and Psidevilmite Beam. It appears as one of Kid Goku's Skills, referencing his immunity to the Devilmite Beam in the main series.
As the Devilmite Beam causes evil thoughts to explode, it is possible that one must be aware that such thoughts are evil or negative (similar to how Innocent Buu was unaware that killing people was wrong before befriending Mr. Satan) for them to be effected, thus explaining Goku Black/Zamasu's immunity as Goku Black/Zamasu believes his extreme methods are completely justified.
Spirit Bombs can only be created by those who are pure of heart. Anyone who is tainted by any negative thoughts would instead have the gathered energy absorbed into their body (which can in fact be used to the warrior's advantage, as seen Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13!).
Furthermore, a spirit bomb created by one of the two types of pure-hearted warriors (either pure good or pure evil) will not hurt anyone else of similar alignment. This means that a spirit bomb created by a pure good warrior (such as Goku) will not harm a pure good warrior (such as Gohan).
In several video games, evil characters such as Cell & Mira are shown to be capable of using the Spirit Bomb, however this is due to the fact that both of these characters are pure evil. In fact Mira uses a Spirit Bomb created from the energy of his soldiers to destroy New Namek, an act which confirms that pure evil characters are capable of using the Spirit Bomb. However most games ignore character alignment (save for certain techniques like the Fusion Spirit Bomb where it plays an important role) allow the technique to damage opponents regardless of their alignment.
It is theorized by Tien Shinhan that one can only become a Super Saiyan if they are pure of heart. This, however, is refuted when various non-pure characters (including Vegeta) are shown being able to achieve the form. However it should be noted that Vegeta himself theorized that a Saiyan could be pure evil in order to attain the form (and even believed that he himself was pure evil when he obtained this form).
Gowasu considered tea brewed by a pure hearted person to be delicious and free of imperfections. Like telepathy, while being pure hearted is not necessary in order to brew tea, the tea produced by a pure hearted being is implied to be of a higher quality than that brewed by an impure entity. Gowasu considered Zamasu to be pure of heart due to his ability to brew tea free of imperfections. Tea can also be a tell tale sign if one is pure hearted or not, as when Zamasu starts expressing his darker thoughts, the tea starts to swirl around, causing ripples. This can be implied to be that tea made by a pure hearted being completely pure however when one is not pure hearted, it contains ripples in the tea, symbolizing imperfections in oneself.
- In the parody manga Dragon Ball SD, Otoko Suki was implied to be pure, as he was able to ride the Flying Nimbus during the sequence where Goku was trying to get a girl for Roshi to be trained by the latter. This is despite him lusting after young Trunks and Goten in the main series.
- Future Zamasu and Goku Black's case of being pure of heart is very confusing because both have been shown exhibiting extremely sinful emotions, somewhat shifting what it means to have a pure heart:
- Believing themselves to be the embodiment of justice for the entire universe, showing the trait of arrogance.
- Becoming increasingly aggressive by resorting to killing all the Supreme Kai's as his first option of ridding the world of mortals instead of attempting to find a more peaceful solution. When Future Zamasu fuses with Goku Black, he becomes increasingly violent, eventually becoming unhinged to the point of being only capable of laughing maliciously.
- In Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, the Earthling Future Warrior is shown to be pure of heart as they are capable of riding a Nimbus Cloud while using the Power Pole Pro Awoken Skill. It is unknown if the Future Warrior being pure of heart applies to all of their selectable races or just Earthlings.
- While the Future Warrior can use the Spirit Bomb and Super Spirit Bomb it should be noted that the video games like Xenoverse series tend to ignore heart purity when it comes to the Spirit Bomb as Perfect Cell can use the Spirit Bomb in Xenoverse and Super Spirit Bomb in Xenoverse 2 (unless Cell being Pure Evil allows him to use those techniques).