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"For example, the one in control of the Saiyans and other villainous aliens is Frieza. Strictly speaking, Frieza is “freezer”, but I envisioned a refrigerator when I named him. So, I grouped the names according to foods that go inside it. The Saiyans are vegetables [yasai, “vegetables”], and the Ginyu Force are dairy products [gyūnyū, “cows’ milk”], like that."
Akira Toriyama - Super Exciting Guide: Character Volume interview

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 (Namekku-seijin) - 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' birth 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".
  • Cabba (Kyabe) - A pun on "cabbage".
  • Caulifla - Comes from the vegetable, cauliflower.
  • Fasha (Seripa) - In Japanese, formed by rearranging the letters in "parsley".
  • Gine - Derives from negi (葱), the Spring Onion in Japanese.
  • Kale (Kēru, ケール) - Named after a type of green of the same name.
  • Kakarot (Kakarotto) - Goku's birth name, an interesting mutation of "carrot".
    • Son Goku - Japanese on'yomi name reading for Sun Wukong from Journey to the West, whom Goku is based on via Chinese and Japanese character parallels; in the Korean dub, Goku is renamed "Son Ogong", the Korean name reading for Sun Wukong. "Wukong," "Goku," and "Ogong" all mean "Awakening to Emptiness" in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, respectively, and the Chinese dub also refers to Goku as "Wukong" by that proxy. "Goku" also refers to the amount of rice needed to feed a person for a year, tying in with his grandfather's name "Gohan" meaning "awakening to rice" as a pun.
  • 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/Future Gohan - Japanese for "rice" or dishes; foods in general.
  • Goten - A play on Goku's name, replacing the "ku" (空) character, meaning "sky", with "ten" (天) meaning heaven. The characters in Goku's name can be read as "understanding the sky", so Goten's name is read as "understanding the heavens", the point being that Goten's name is on a bigger scale than Goku's.[2].
  • Trunks/Future Trunks (Torankusu) - Boy's underwear, gym shorts, also known as boxers. This fits with the theme naming of Bulma's family, who are all named for types of underwear.
  • Bulla (Bura) - A shortening of "brassiere" or "wonderbra". Like Trunks, this fits with the theme naming of Bulma's family. It american version (due to censorship) her name seems to be a pun on "Bull"
    • Vegeta initially wanted to give Bulla the Saiyan name Eschalot (Eshalotto), which is derived from "shallot", a type of onion.
  • Pan - Pan means "bread" in Japanese, continuing the food theme of Gohan's family.[2]
    • Additionally, Pan is the Greek mythological god of nature; this may fit into the religion theme of Videl's family.
      • While being in Videl's belly, Chi-Chi wanted to name her Gomen, "men" being a pun on noodles

Humans

  • Grandpa Gohan - "Gohan" is Japanese for "rice".
  • Chi-Chi - Japanese for "milk" (which also refers to breasts by extension and are a slang term for breasts in Latino Spanish). Named like this because her father is the Ox-King.[3]
  • 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", a Chinese martial artist and comedian.
  • Yamcha (Yamucha) - A Cantonese term for going out to eat dim sum. (Yum cha, directly translates to "drink tea")
  • 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' (siu mai/shao mai), a traditional Chinese dumpling served in dim sum.
  • Marron - French word for "chestnut", tying in with the etymology of Krillin's Japanese name.
  • 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 "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 of the same name.
  • Yajirobe (Yajirobē) - Named after a Japanese balancing toy, yajirobē.
  • Suno - Named after the word "snow".
  • Nam - Named after the Buddhist phrase "namu-amida-butsu".[2]
  • Ranfan - The words ran and fan are respectively Japanese for "lingerie" and "foundation garments", referring to her technique of stripping down to her underwear to distract her opponents.
  • 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".
  • Upa - Apparently named after Takashi Matsuyama's dog of the same name.[2]
  • King Chappa - Named after the Indian dish chapati.[2]
  • Idasa - An anagram of dasai (ダサイ), meaning "lame" or "out of fashion".[2]
  • Ikose - An anagram of sekoi (セコイ), meaning "small-minded".[2]
  • Killa - Taken from the word "killer".[2]
  • Jewel - Taken from the world "jewel", in reference to his snobby nature.[2]
  • Miss Piiza - Named after pizza.
  • Caroni - Named after macaroni.
  • Pirozhki - Named after pirozhki, a type of Russian stuffed fried buns.
  • 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 a type of girls' gym shorts.
  • Dr. Brief - Pun on "briefs", a type of men's underwear.
  • Mrs. Brief - Pun on "briefs", a type of men's underwear. Not said in the anime but Akira Toriyama stated if he were to give her a name, she would be named "Panchy", a pun on panties.

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."
  • Miguel - means "Archangel".
  • Videl (Bīderu) - Formed by rearranging the letters in the word "devil".

Namekians

King Piccolo and his creations are all named after musical instruments, while native Namekians are all named after multiple different Japanese words for "snail".

  • 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 Jr. (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".[4]

Demons

  • Mira - A pun on the word "mirai" which means "future".
  • Towa - Named after the word "towa" which means "eternity".[5]
  • Fu - Comes from the first two letters of the word "future".
  • Demigra - Comes from "demi-glace", a type of sauce.
  • Putine - Comes from "poutine", a Canadian fast food dish.
  • Gravy - Comes from "gravy", a type of sauce.
  • Mechikabura - Comes from the song "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo", specifically the line "mechikaboola".
  • Lucifer - Named after the fallen angel, Lucifer, from the Bible.
  • Ghastel - Named after "gas table", another word for "stove".

Babidi and henchmen

Babidi and characters related to him are all named after magical incantations.

  • Bibidi - Is a part of the phrase "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!" from the 1950 animated film Cinderella.
  • Babidi - Is a part of the phrase "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!" from the 1950 animated film Cinderella.
  • Majin Buu - Is a part of the phrase "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!" from the 1950 animated film Cinderella.
  • Dabura (Dābura) - Derived from the famous incantation, "Abracadabra".
  • Yakon - Derived from the incantation, "Tekumaku Mayakon" in the anime series Himitsu no Akko-chan.
  • 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

Members of Frieza's family are named after words that have something to do with cold temperatures.

  • Chilled (Chirudo) - A pun on "chill".
  • King Cold (Korudo Daiō) - Also refers to low temperatures.
  • Cooler, Coola (Kūra) - Comes from the phrase “meshi demo kūra” (which is roughly the equivalent of "let's chow down" in English). His name breaks the tradition of Frieza's family being named after cold related things. However his name is often mistaken to be a pun on "cooler".
  • Frost - Comes from the word "frost", usually used to refer to a deposit of small ice crystals.
  • Frieza, Freeza (Furīza) - A pun on "freezer".
  • Kuriza - 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

The majority of Frieza's henchmen and soldiers are named after fruit.

  • 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".
  • Napple - A pun on the fruit "pineapple"
  • 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".
  • Sorbet (Sorube) - A pun on a frozen dessert of the same name.
  • Tagoma - A pun on the word tamago which means "egg"
  • Shisami - A pun on the word that is rearranged, "sashimi" which is a Japanese delicacy consisting of very fresh raw meat or fish sliced into thin pieces.

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" specially "cow's 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 Armored Squadatron

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".

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!!)

The Spice Boys

  • Mustard - Named after the condiment.
  • Salt - Named after the spice.
  • Spice (Gasshu) - Named after the spice. His Japanese name is an anagram of the word "sugar".
  • Vinegar - Named after the condiment.

Turles' Crusher Corp.

  • 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 Galaxy Soldiers

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

  • Arqua - Named after aqua, "water".
  • Caterpy - Comes from the insect "caterpillar".
  • Froug - Named after the word "frog".
  • Maraikoh - Named after the Malay cake (馬來糕, Ma Lai Gao).
  • Mijorin (Migoren) - Comes from mie goreng, an Indonesian dish.
  • Olibu - Comes from "olive".
  • Pikkon (Paikuhan) - Literally means "pork-rib rice".
  • Papoi - Possibly a pun on the fruit "papaya".
  • Sarta (Sāte) - Comes from the Indonesian dish satay.
  • Tapkar - Named after tapioca.
  • Torbie - Comes from the word "beetle".

Imeckians

  • Don Kee (Don Kia) - An anagram of the Japanese word for "merchant", akindo (商人).
  • Ledgic (Rejikku) - Comes from the Japanese pronunciation of the word "credit" (クレジット, kurejitto).

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.
  • General Rilldo - An anagram of the Japanese pronunciation of the word "drill".
  • 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.
  • Cardinal Mutchy Mutchy (Mutchī Motchī) - Comes from the Japanese words for "whip" (鞭, muchi) and "carry" (持つ, motchi), referencing the fact that he is always seen carrying a whip around.
  • Leon - A reference to lion, the animal it looks like.

Animals

  • Bubbles - A reference to the late American entertainer Michael Jackson's own pet chimpanzee of the same name;.[2]
  • 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.[6] 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. Keep in mind that Toriyama originally named his "Soba" after the half baked pasta
  • Monster Carrot (Toninjinka) - His Japanese name literally translates to "rabbit that turns people into carrots".
  • Zoonama - Comes from the word namazu (ナマズ), meaning "catfish".

Gods of Destruction and their attendants

Gods of Destruction and their attendants are all named after alcoholic beverages.

  • Iwne - An anagram of "Wine".
  • Awamo - A pun of the alcoholic drink: Awamori.
  • Helles - Taken from the Spanish for sherry (jerez) or directly taken from the German light beer of the same name.
  • Sour - A pun of the alcoholic drink: Sour (drink mixer).
  • Mosco - A pun of "Moscow Mule".
  • Campari - Named after the Italian liqueur.
  • Quitela - An anagram of "Tequila".
  • Cognac - Named after the alcoholic drink.
  • Arack - A pun on Arack/Araq, an alcoholic beverage typically made from fermented grapes.
  • Cukatail - A pun of the alcoholic drink: Cocktail
  • Champa - A pun on "Champagne," a sparkling white wine manufactured in the Champagne province of France.
  • Vados - A pun on "Calvados," an apple brandy manufactured in the Normandy province of France.
  • Beerus (Birusu) - A pun on "virus" (ビールス; German pronunciation).[7] (PS: It later became a pun of "beer").
  • 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[7] 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), an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash.[8] (Due to Beerus being mistaken as a pun of beer, Whis is "whisky", and the rest follows ie. champagne and calvados/vodka).
  • Liquiir - A pun of "Liqueur".
  • Korn - A pun of the alcoholic drink: Korn/Kornbrand
  • Sidra - Taken from "Cider" in Spanish.
  • Mojito - Named after the Cuban highball cocktail.
  • Rumsshi - A pun of the alcoholic drink: Rum
  • Cus - A pun of the Peruvian beer: Cusqueña
  • Belmod - A pun of the alcoholic drink: Vermouth
  • Marcarita - A pun of the alcoholic drink: Margarita
  • Geene - A pun of the alcoholic drink: Gin
  • Martinu - A pun of the alcoholic drink: Martini

Pride Troopers

  • Toppo - Comes from the word pot.
  • Jiren - Comes from the word renji, Japanese for stove.
  • Dyspo - A pun on disposal, as in garbage disposal.
  • Kahseral - A pun on casserole, a large, deep pan used to cook food.
  • Cocotte - Named after the French variant of the Dutch oven.
  • Zoiray - A pun of reizouko, Japanese for refrigerator.
  • Kettol - Named after the kitchen appliance used to heat water.
  • Tupper - A pun of Tupperware, a type of plastic that is used for containers and drinking cups.
  • Vuon - Comes from obun, the Japanese pronunciation of the word "oven".

King Gurumes' henchmen

  • King Gurumes - Comes from the word "gourmet".
  • Bongo - Taken from the pasta dish, spaghetti alle vongole, or "spaghetti with clams".
  • Pasta - Taken directly from the food, "pasta".

Miscellaneous

  • Flying Nimbus (Kinto'un) - "Kinto"(筋斗) means "flip", "somersault" or "tumble" in Japanese.[9] "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.[10]
  • Emperor Pilaf (Pirafu) - His name is a type of rice dish - precisely, fried rice.[11]
  • Mr. Popo (Misutā Popo) - "I named him just because it sounds comfortable" (by Akira Toriyama).[4]
  • Cell (Seru) -The most basic units of life.
  • Tapion - A pun on "tapioca". In the english dub it can also be a pun on "Tape" since he plays a lot
  • 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 - Comes from an incident in which Wrath of the Dragon co-producer Seiichi Hiruta asked for Hirudegarn's appearance to be redone after being unimpressed with the design; his jaw reportedly dropped upon seeing the redesign that would later be incorporated into the film, "gaan" (ガーン) being the sound effect for a jaw dropping.[12]
  • Dr. Lychee - Taken from the fruit, lychee.
  • Angol - Taken from the phrase "Angolmois", a term coined by the famed seer Nostradamus.
  • Moah - Also taken from "Angolmois". It also can be a pun on the Moa giant birds (since he is executed by Paragus)
  • Gure (Gure) - In Japanese Gureepu (グレープ), which means "Grape".
  • Baby (Bebi) - Taken from the word "baby", a common English term for an infant.
  • Anat - Named after the semitic goddess.

References

  1. Japanese-English Dictionary
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Dragon Ball Kanzenban Official Guide: Dragon Ball Forever
  3. 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)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball Forever, Tokyo, Shueisha, 2004, p.157
  5. Dragon Ball Online, 5th Time Machine Quest
  6. 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)
  7. 7.0 7.1 [1]Tadayoshi Yamamuro interview, okstars.okwave.jp
  8. Asahi, March 30 2013
  9. Japanese Dictionary
  10. Sun Wokon on the Kinto'un in the Jorney to the West
  11. Pilaf rice dishes at Wikipedia
  12. Daizenshuu 6, 1995