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Origins of character names

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This is a list of origins of character names in the Dragon Ball franchise. Each character's name, particularly their original Japanese name, is a pun on regular words, often the names of various foods.

Races

  • Saiyan (Saiya-jin) - In Japanese, saiya is formed by rearranging the syllables of the Japanese word yasai which means "vegetable".
  • Tuffle (Tsufuru-jin) - In Japanese, tsufuru is formed by rearranging the syllables of the Japanese word furutsu which means "fruit".
  • Namekian (Nameksei-jin) - In Japanese, namek is a shortening of the Japanese word namekuji which means "slug".
  • Majin - Can be translated as "demon". Ma (魔) means evil or demon. Jin (人) means human or person. It is also sometimes translated as "genie" (i.e. Viz's translation of the manga uses "djinn")

Saiyans

All full-blooded Saiyans' names are puns on various vegetable names.

  • Vegeta (Bejīta) - The first six letters of "vegetable".
  • Tarble (Tāburu) - Believed to be taken in English as 'Table', making this name another a pun on "vegetable", particularly its last five letters. Curiously, this would mean both Tarble and his brother Vegeta's names pun "vegetable".
  • Bardock (Bādakku) - A pun on a Japanese root vegetable, a "Burdock".
  • Borgos (Totepo) - A pun on "potato".
  • Broly (Burorī) - A pun on "broccoli".
  • Fasha (Seripa) - In Japanese, formed by rearranging the letters in "parsley".
  • Gine - Derives from negi (葱), the Spring Onion in Japanese.
  • Kakarot (Kakarotto) - Goku's birth name, an interesting mutation of "carrot".
    • Goku (Gokū) - Kakarot's new name, given by Grandpa Gohan. It is a translation of the Chinese name Sun Wukong, the protagonist of Journey to the West. is also Japanese for "sky".
  • Nappa - A Japanese term for greens in general, especially grape leaves.[1] Also a form of cabbage, keeping with other Saiyans using English words as the source of their names.
  • Onio (From Neko Majin) - A pun on "onion".
  • Paragus (Paragas) - In Japanese, a loose translation of "asparagus" (in the English dub, the name uses the same spelling as the word, sans the 'as-').
  • Raditz (Radditsu) - Derives from "radish".
  • Scarface (Panbukin) - In Japanese, panbukin is a pun on "pumpkin".
  • Shorty (Brocco) - A pun on "broccoli".
  • Shugesh (Panbukin) - In Japanese, panbukin is a pun on "pumpkin".
  • Tora (Toma) - A shortening of "tomato".
  • Turles (Tāresu) - In Japanese, formed by rearranging the syllables in "lettuce".

Human-Saiyan Hybrids

  • Gohan - Japanese for "rice" or dishes; foods in general.
  • Goten - Ten is Japanese for "sky" "heaven" and "afterlife".
  • Trunks/Future Trunks (Torankusu) - Boy's underwear, gym shorts, also known as boxers.
  • Bulla (Bura) - A shortening of "brassiere" or "wonderbra".
  • Pan - A pun that may have been derived from several different sources.
    • Pan means "bread" in Japanese, which may continue the food theme of Gohan's family.
    • Pan is the Greek mythological god of nature; this may fit into the religion theme of Videl's family.
    • A pan flute is an instrument named after the Greek god Pan, which may refer to the instrument theme of Piccolo's family.
    • Pan is also a Japanese abbreviation for panties, a possible nod to the clothing theme of Bulma's family.

Humans

  • Chi-Chi - Japanese for "milk" (which also refers to breasts by extension). Named like this because her father is the Ox-King.[2]
  • Master Roshi/Turtle Hermit (Muten Rōshi/Kame-Sen'nin) - In Japanese, kame means "turtle", and sennin are ascetic Taoist hermits of legend who are said to have magical powers, animal familiars, and extraordinarily long life. Thus, Kame-Sen'nin literally means "Turtle Hermit". Rōshi is Japanese for the Chinese word laoshi which means "teacher". Also, Ro means "old" or "elderly", a reference to his age, and Shi means "purple", a reference to Roshi's purple Turtle Shell.
  • Jackie Chun - Master Roshi's alias, a pun on "Jackie Chan".
  • Yamcha (Yamucha) - A pun on dim sum in Chinese, a kind of appetizer, dumpling.
  • Krillin (Kuririn) - Kuri is Japanese for "chestnut". This is Akira Toriyama's joke about Krillin's lack of hair. Rin (-lin) derives from the word "shaolin".
  • Mai - Part of 'shumai', a traditional Chinese dumpling served in dim sum.
  • Marron - French word for "chestnut".
  • Maron - Likely meaning "chestnut", as with Marron.
  • Tien Shinhan (Tenshinhan) - Derives from the Chinese term tien chun fan, meaning "fried rice" or some kind of rice meal.
  • Chiaotzu (Chaozu) - Japanese translation of gyoza or jiaozi in Chinese, it means "sticker" or "dumpling".
  • Sharpener (Sharpner) - His name derives from a (pencil) "sharpener" accessory.
  • Erasa - Her name derives from an "eraser" accessory.
  • Launch (Ranchi) - In Japanese, named after the word "lunch".
  • Lime - Named after the fruit "lime".
  • Yajirobe (Yajirobē) - Named after a Japanese balancing toy, yajirobē.
  • Suno - Named after the word "snow".
  • Ranfan - The words ran and fuan are respectively Japanese for "lingerie" and "foundation garments".
  • Mercenary Tao - Called Tao Pai Pai (桃白白) in Japanese. Tao is the Chinese pronunciation for the character 桃 (peach). The other character 白 (Pai) means "white".
  • Kinoko Sarada - Her original Japanese name Kinoko Sarada literally translates into "Mushroom Salad".
  • Gala and Pagos - Both of their names together are a pun on the Galapagos islands.

Brief Family

Members of Bulma's family have names that are puns on underclothing

  • Bulma (Buruma) - Means "bloomers". Also Japanese for short gym shorts worn by girls.
  • Dr. Brief - Pun on "briefs", a type of men's underwear.
  • Mrs. Brief - Pun on "briefs", a type of men's underwear.

Satan Family

Members of Mr. Satan's family hold names that are puns on religious figures

  • Mr. Satan (Hercule) - Mr. Satan, the character's name in the Japanese and English dub films and uncut English dub, refers to the Devil, Satan. His first name, Mark (マーク, Maaku) is a romanization of a rearrangement of akuma, Japanese for "devil."
  • Videl (Bīderu) - Formed by rearranging the letters in the word "devil".

Namekians

  • King Piccolo (Pikkoro Daimao) - Named after a musical instrument, a piccolo, which is a small flute. Ironically, King Piccolo can't stand high-pitched or whistling sounds, like all other Namekians. In the Namekian language, piccolo means "another world".
  • Piccolo (Pikkoro Jr.) - Same as King Piccolo.
  • Piano - Named after the musical instrument.
  • Tambourine (Tanbarin) - Named after the musical instrument.
  • Cymbal (Shinbaru) - Named after the musical instrument.
  • Drum (Doramu) - Named after the musical instrument.
  • Katas - derives from kattatsumuuri, a Japanese word for "snail".
  • Moori - derives from kattatsumuuri, a Japanese word for "snail".
  • Kami - Kami means "god" in Japanese.
  • Lord Slug - Named after "slug".
  • Dende - Derives from denden-mushi, which is another Japanese word for "snail".
  • Cargo - A pun on the French word escargot, which means "snail".
  • Nail - A pun on "snail".[3]

Majins

  • Bibidi - Is a part of a Disney (Cinderella) reference, "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!".
  • Babidi - Is a part of a Disney (Cinderella) reference, "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!".
  • Majin Buu - Is a part of a Disney (Cinderella) reference, "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!".
  • Dabura (Dābura) - Derived from the famous incantation, "Abracadabra".
  • Pui Pui - Derived from the famous Japanese incantation, "Chichin-Puipui". In the English version of the manga translated by Viz, he is called Pocus, which is derived from the famous incantation, "Hocus Pocus".

Frieza's clan

  • Chilled (Chirudo) - A pun on "chill".
  • King Cold (Korudo Daiō) - Also refers to low temperatures.
  • Cooler, Coola (Kūra) - A pun on "cooler".
  • Frieza, Freeza (Furīza) - A pun on "freezer".
  • Kuriza (From Neko Majin) - Frieza's son. Like Krillin, the pun on his name is derived from kuri, or chestnut. This breaks the tradition of Frieza's family members' names being taken from terms for "cold", although an element of the play on the word "Freezer" is still in the name, as "Furiza" is another way Frieza's name is spelled.

Frieza's henchmen

  • Zarbon (Zābon) - Japanese for the fruit "pomelo".
  • Dodoria - A pun on the fruit "durian".

Frieza's soldiers

  • Cui (Kiwi) - A pun on the fruit "kiwi".
  • Appule (Apūru) - Named after the fruit "apple".
  • Orlen - A pun on the fruit "orange".
  • Blueberry - Named after the fruit.
  • Namole - Possibly a pun on "guacamole", an avocado-based food dip.
  • Raspberry - Named after the fruit.
  • Abo - A pun on "avocado".
  • Kado - A pun on "avocado".
  • Aka (Abo Kado) - The fusion of Abo and Kado, called by this name by Gotenks, his name is also a pun on "avocado".

Ginyu Force (Ginyū Tokusentai)

All members of the Ginyu Force are named after dairy products in the Japanese dub.

  • Captain Ginyu (Ginyū Taichō) - A pun on the Japanese word gyunyu which means "milk".
  • Burter, Baata (Bāta) - A pun on "butter".
  • Guldo, Gurd (Gurudo) - A pun on the Japanese word yogurudo which means "yogurt".
  • Jeice, Jheese (Jīsu) - A pun on the word "cheese". In English dubs, his localized name may be a pun on "juice".
  • Recoome, Reacoom (Rikūmu) - Formed by rearranging the letters in the Japanese word kurīmu, meaning "cream".

Cooler's henchmen

Cooler's henchmen are named after condiments and salad dressings.

  • Salza, Sauzer (Sauza Taichō) - The English verbal translation is a pun on the Spanish sauce "salsa". Also "Thousar" in pronunciation, a pun on "Thousand Island" salad dressing.
  • Dore, Dore (Dōre) - Derives from the "saradore" salad dressing.
  • Neiz, Naize (Neizu) - A pun on "mayonnaisse".

Time Breakers (DBO)

  • Miira - A pun on the word "mirai" which means "future".
  • Towa - Named after the word "towa" which means "eternity".[4]

Garlic Jr.'s henchmen

Garlic Jr.'s henchmen are named after condiments and spices.

  • Garlic (Gaarikku) - A pun on the spice "garlic".
  • Garlic Jr. (Gaarikku Jyunia) - A pun on the spice "garlic".

Dead Zone (Ora no Gohan o Kaese!!)

  • Ginger - Named after the spice.
  • Sansho - Japanese word for "Sichuan pepper".
  • Nicky (Nikki) - Japanese word for "Cinnamon".

Garlic Jr. Saga

  • Mustard - Named after the condiment.
  • Salt - Named after the spice.
  • Spice - Named after the spice.
  • Vinegar - Named after the condiment.

Turles' henchmen

  • Amond - A pun of "almonds".
  • Cacao - A pun of "cocoa" and a Latin word for chocolate.
  • Daiz - Japanese for "soya bean".
  • Rasin - A pun of "raisins".
  • Lakasei - A pun of rakasei (落花生), "peanut".

Bojack's henchmen

Bojack's henchmen are named after evil traits.

  • Bojack - Derived from the Japanese word bōjakubujin, which means "arrogance" or "audacity" or "outrageous behavior".
  • Bujin - Based off the second part of boujakubujin, the same word used for Bojack's name.
  • Kogu (Gokua) - Based off the Japanese word gokuaku or from gokuakubidou, meaning "heinous" or "extreme evil" or "inhuman".
  • Bido - Based off the Japanese word hidō or gokuakubidou, the same word used for Kogu's name, meaning "inhuman" or "unjust".
  • Zangya - Based off the Japanese word zangyaku, which means "cruelty" or "brutality".

Kai understudies

Machine Mutants

  • Dr. Myuu - The first Syllable of Mutation, a reference to his creations, the Machine Mutants. It is also the Greek letter mu (uppercase Μ, lowercase μ); the lowercase letter is employed in many academic fields as a special symbol.
  • Dolltaki - Pun on his occupation, Doll Taker, as well as a reference to Otaki, another word for Otaku in Japanese.
  • Luud (ルード, Rūdo) - Based on the word "Doll" (ドール, dōru) reversed.
  • Leon - A reference to lion, the animal it looks like.

Animals

  • Bubbles - Possibly a reference to the late American entertainer Michael Jackson's own pet monkey of the same name.
  • Korin (Karin) - His tower, the "Korin Tower" (Karin-tō), is a pun on "karinto" (karintō), a Japanese traditional snack food. He was named Karin because he is the owner of the Karin Tower.[5] Due to the English dubs, his name is also considered to be a pun on "corn".
  • Oolong (Ūron) - Derives from the Chinese word wulong, which is "amber tea".
  • Puar (Pūaru) - A pun on the Chinese word pu erh, a type of tea.
  • Shu - Part of 'shumai', a traditional Chinese dumpling served in dim sum. It becomes "shumai" when combined with his partner Mai.

Miscellaneous

  • Flying Nimbus (Kinto'un) - "Kinto"(筋斗) means "flip", "somersault" or "tumble" in Japanese.[6] "Un"(雲) means "cloud". The idea and the name of the cloud comes from the cloud with the same name which Sun Wukong (Son Goku in Japanese) uses in Journey to the West, which Dragon Ball is loosely based on.[7]
  • Emperor Pilaf (Pirafu) - His name is a type of rice dish - precisely, fried rice.[8]
  • Mr. Popo (Misutā Popo) - "I named him just because it sounds comfortable" (by Akira Toriyama).[3]
  • Cell (Seru) - A pun on the name for the most basic units of life "a cell".
  • Tapion - A pun on "tapioca".
  • Minotia - Formed by rearranging the syllables in "yashi no mi" (palm tree fruit) or "ashi no mi" (legs portion; the part of Hildegarn sealed inside him).
  • Hirudegarn - Made-up word of Seiichi Hiruta (Co-Producer of the movie) and "gaan" (ガーン) (the sound effect for a jaw dropping, his reaction upon seeing the character new design).[9]
  • Gure (Gure) - In Japanese Gureepu (グレープ), which means "Grape".
  • Beerus (Birusu) - A pun on "virus" (ビールス; German pronunciation).[10]
  • Whis (Uisu) - Whis' name in Japanese, Uisu (ウイス), seems to be a pun on "virus" (ウイルス; Latin pronunciation) like that of Beerus but in fact, while Beerus was named by the scripwriter Yūsuke Watanabe, Whis was named by the series' original author Akira Toriyama[10] who mistakenly thought Beerus' name came from "beer" and gave his attendant the name Whis which he took from "whiskey" (ウイスキー).[11]
  • Baby (Bebi) - A pun on "baby".

References

  1. Japanese-English Dictionary
  2. 牛魔王の娘なので、牛に関係したもので女の子っぽい名前、というわけで「乳」から。(Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball Forever, Tokyo, Shueisha, 2004, p.157)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball Forever, Tokyo, Shueisha, 2004, p.157
  4. Dragon Ball Online, 5th Time Machine Quest
  5. カリン塔(お菓子のカリントウ)からとったのですが、その主なので、カリンです。(Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball Forever, Tokyo, Shueisha, 2004, p.157)
  6. Japanese Dictionary
  7. Sun Wokon on the Kinto'un in the Jorney to the West
  8. Pilaf rice dishes at Wikipedia
  9. Daizenshuu 6, 1995
  10. 10.0 10.1 Tadayoshi Yamamuro interview, okstars.okwave.jp
  11. [https://archive.is/20130425011219/www.asahi.com/culture/update/0329/TKY201303290330.html Asahi, March 30 2013

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