|Debut||Manga: "Kame Kame Kame Kame Kame Chameleon"|
Anime: "The Kamehameha Wave"
Super Mega Cannon Sigma
Power Up (パワーアップ) is a technique used by a vast majority of the characters in the Dragon Ball series. This technique was not really fully introduced until Dragon Ball Z, but was hinted towards in Dragon Ball.
Powering up is used to gather ki and increase one's power level so that a greater advantage in battle can be obtained (although powering up too much can backfire, as is shown by the Ultra Super Saiyan). Powering up comes in several different shapes and sizes; some require a full-blown anatomical transformation (such as Zarbon, Frieza, and Saiyans transforming into Great Apes), others may power up with little to no change in their appearance (perhaps a little more muscle definition, such as the first two forms of Super Saiyan and the Kaio-ken, but nothing like Cell or other villains). Those who use anatomical transformations can usually only increase their power level in set increments, such as Zarbon going from a power level of 24,000 to a power level of 30,000, but skipping over the other six thousand. A few power ups appear to work by focusing the energy through the body so that it can swell in the muscles, doing so increases strength and speed. In most power ups, the size of the users aura usually increases and at times tends to change shape and form.
Other than increasing the power, users can also suppress their power. This allows for the user to hide the full extent of their power, or to simply keep a relaxed amount of energy. Some characters even create special forms to keep their full power suppressed and under control (Frieza is a prime example of this, creating forms to keep his true power low).
In regards to Super Saiyans, Goku informs Gohan that the transformation cannot be gained by simply powering up. However, Super Saiyans can still increase their power while in the form.
Powering up may also be triggered involuntarily due to anger as shown by Gohan powering up and even transforming at the sight of Videl being mercilessly beaten by Spopovich.
Another example of a power up is displayed by Cell and Majin Buu. This is the ability to absorb people into their own being, allowing them to gain their powers.
Powering up is perhaps most often seen just prior to a character taking flight.
Despite how easy the technique is to learn to an adept martial artist, and how commonly it appears in later sagas, it actually appears to be rare. This is evidenced by the fact that Frieza's army is routinely fooled by the Z Fighters concealing their powers. The only one to actually realize what was going on was Captain Ginyu, and the only reason he knew about it was because, according to him, he also possessed the ability. Indeed, Ginyu even called Goku a "rare fighter" when he was describing the Power Up ability to Jeice. The Planet Trade Organization had an empire that spanned countless planets, and had conquered countless races; it would stand to reason that, if the Power Up ability was at all common, the Planet trade organization would have learned of it by the time they faced the Z Fighters.