The Red Ribbon Army (レッドリボン軍 Reddo Ribon Gun), briefly renamed the Black Ribbon Army when Staff Officer Black took over in the Dragon Ball anime, is a paramilitary criminal organization in the Dragon Ball manga and anime. They are mentioned in Dragon Ball Z during the Android Saga, and make their final anime appearance in Dragon Ball GT.
The Red Ribbon Army is known across the world, with Bulma stating that the Red Ribbon Army was so powerful and had such a massive influence that even Earth's Military couldn't stand a chance against it. Officially led by a diminutive Commander Red, the goal of the Red Ribbon Army is to use any means necessary to obtain the Dragon Balls and wish for world domination; however, Commander Red secretly plans his wish for him to be a much taller person. According to Red, he specifically made sure that the army was staffed of the best minds of every conceivable industry as part of their search for the Dragon Balls. Since he is very short in size, he despises being around those who are taller than him, telling Black constantly not to stand near him.
When he finds out about Red's plan, the shocked Staff Officer Black asks how Red can sacrifice his own men to achieve this puny goal, to which Red simply grunted that if the soldiers had been more careful they would be alive. This causes Black to snap, and he kills the commander and takes control of the Red Ribbon Army, renaming it the Black Ribbon Army (only in the anime). The entire army was defeated when a young boy named Goku sought to stop the army's evil ways by infiltrating the Red Ribbon Army Headquarters, killing Black in the midst. After Black's defeat, the rest of the Red Ribbon Army flees the headquarters and presumably disbands.
Dragon Ball Z
In the Androids Saga, Master Roshi mentions that, after its defeat, the Red Ribbon had been forgotten except for a few people. Also noted, during the Androids Saga and the Cell Saga, the people on Earth do not know that the Androids and Cell were created by Dr. Gero from the Red Ribbon Army except for Goku and his friends.
Dragon Ball GT
In Dragon Ball GT, Dr. Gero meets Dr. Myuu in Hell. There they worked on a plan to create the ultimate android which could destroy Goku. They came up with a plan to combine both of their technologies and get a perfect android by fusing two Android 17s. They then created a dimensional hole to get both androids in the same place, Earth. By creating a dimensional hole, enemies from the past escaped from Hell; some of them were members of the Red Ribbon Army: Android 19, Staff Officer Black, General Blue, Major Metallitron, Lieutenant Dark, and Captain Yellow. All of them were defeated by Pan, except for Android 19 who was destroyed by Goten and Trunks.
Main article: Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure While the Red Ribbon Army in itself does not appear, General Blue and Major Metallitron appear as members of the Mifan Army. Also, most notably Tao's defeat and Bora's murder, were based on very similar incidents in the Red Ribbon Army Saga.
The Path to Power
Main article: Dragon Ball: The Path to Power
The Red Ribbon Army are the main villains, which is a "remake" of the first Dragon Ball saga that places some of the established characters in new roles. In this movie, the Red Ribbon Army is on a quest to get the Dragon Balls so that they can ask the Eternal Dragon Shenron for world domination. Goku fights his way through the forces of the Red Ribbon Army, eventually defeating it.
Other Dragon Ball Stories
Dr. Slump remake
The Red Ribbon Army appears in the remake of Dr. Slump in episodes 56-59. Ninja Murasaki is the first member shown, he was spying on Goku as he transformed back into his normal form after being a Great Ape. Murasaki ends up recruiting King Nikochan and his servant as members of the Red Ribbon Army to help him steal the Dragon Balls from Goku. They ended up disguising themselves as Doctors and have the kids strip down to their underwear and stand in the hall to wait for check ups. While Murasaki was giving the fake check ups, the Nikos went into the classroom and stole the Dragon Balls. After they stole the Dragon Balls Murasaki got out of his disguise and ran away with the Nikos. Goku and Arale Norimaki ran after them and ended up fighting all the Murasaki Brothers and won. King Nikochan and his servant then resign from their positions in the Red Ribbon Army while Murasaki waits for General Blue to come.
Attack of the Saiyans
In a series of events which takes place during the Vegeta Saga of Dragon Ball Z, a few of the Red Ribbon Army soldiers who have survived Goku's attack are on the Muscle Tower, led by General White who has himself survived Eighter's punching him out of the tower. This new Red Ribbon Army comes into conflict with the Z Fighters when they are trying to retrieve the Dragon Balls so they can wish for Goku's revival in the Vegeta Saga. During this time, the Red Ribbon Army presumably excavated the collapsed Pirate Cave to get the Four-Star Dragon Ball, and hired Octopapa to guard the Dragon Ball from intruders. General White returns to the abandoned ruins of Muscle Tower and has Android 8 abducted and brainwashes him to serve the army. Goku who was brought back to life by Fortuneteller Baba to assist the Z Fighters in collecting the Dragon Balls learns of Eighter's abduction from Suno which leads the Z Fighters to assault Muscle Tower. Goku and his friends confront General White and the brainwashed Android 8. Though General White has grown stronger, he is no match for Goku and the Z Fighters who had been training to face the Saiyans. Android 8 is freed from White's control and gives Goku the Dragon Ball he found before returning to Jingle Village with Suno. In Yunzabit Heights, the Z Fighters were attacked by Red Ribbon Army unit searching for Dragon Balls but they are defeated.
Dragon Ball Online
Main article: Red Pants Army In the Age 1000, the Red Pants Army takes the place of the Red Ribbon Army and are employed by the tyrannical Mira. The Red Pants Army's logo is identical to that of the Red Ribbon Army's, and like the latter, they are shown to recruit human and anthropomorphic lackeys. Android 9 was rebuilt using Commander Red as his template albeit it much taller than Commander Red ironically fulfilling his template's wish. Android 9 is their presumed leader alongside a clone of Android 20. In addition to Android 9, it is implied that they and/or 20's clone have created Android 8000, Android 19000, as well as produced three copies of Android 16.
At the same time that the Red Pants Army is present, Mercenary Tao, who has become Tao Pai Pai X, has begun rebuilding the original Red Ribbon Army and has recruited several members, including a new General White.
Main article: Dragon Ball FighterZ
It is revealed that the human mother of Android 16's template was used as the basis for Android 21 a newer model Bio-Android created by Dr. Gero's Supercomputer which survived in another one of Dr. Gero's secret labs. Using cells from some of the most powerful fighters and brilliant scientists the computer created an Android even more powerful than Cell and the most powerful female Android created as a result of Dr. Gero's research. It is implied that Android 21 may have been created to lead a resurgent Red Ribbon Army using Dr. Gero's technology and labs though Android 21 possessed a good natured personality which caused her to reconstruct Android 16 by uploading his memory into a new body, due to him resembling her human self's deceased son and develops a mother-like affection for him despite having little memory of her human life. At first she has no intention of taking revenge on Goku as that part Android 16's programming was left out when she reconstructed him and 21 was content with living with 16 and imagining what her human life was like. Unfortunately, Majin Buu's cells which had been incorporated went out of control and caused her to develop an insatiable hunger to tend powerful fighters into food and consume them to absorb their power. This destructive impulse caused her to develop a evil split personality that started using Dr. Gero's technology sinister purposes. The good persona of Android 21 joined forces with Android 16 to find away to suppress her darker nature. Unfortunately the evil side and her hunger are very strong, causing her evil side to take full control in the first two arcs, which leads to her destroying Android 16, due to viewing him as a turncoat as her evil side cares nothing for 16 and believes Androids have no use for concepts like family or loved ones. The evil 21 creates countless clones of the Z Fighters and villains before unleashing them on the Earth to wreck havoc. While it is suspected that she hopes to use them to conquer the universe, which she herself considers is not out of the realm of possibility, her main goal is to use them as a food source to satisfy her hunger by having them act as appetizers while saving to original fighters they were cloned from as her main course. However she finds the clones to be lacking in taste, causing her to become more focused on consuming the originals, who are busy working to defeat her.
While the first two arcs lead to her destruction without the protagonists learning her true nature and who 16 was protecting, the Android 21 Arc reveals her history and true nature. Joining forces with 16, 17, and 18, 21 attempts to use the soul linking system developed by Dr. Gero to suppress her hunger and evil side. She manages to link a human soul with 18 after she is abducted by 16. 16 and 21 convince 17 and 18 to assist them in eliminating the clones. Eventually they force 16 to explain what is going on with 21, and her reveals the truth about her out of control hunger, causing them and the soul to agree to help 21 sympathizing with her plight. Unfortunately they are confronted by the revived Cell who managed to control the artificial soul that he had been linked with, causing him to target 16, 17, 18, and 21. Wanting to protect her fellow Androids, 21 transforms into her true form and defeats Cell. Unfortunately this causes her to lose control and she destroys 16 when he tries to stop her from consuming the defeated Cell. Android 16 entrusts 17 and 18 with protecting 21's heart (good persona) before dying, and they manage to restore 21 to her senses. Horrified by the loss of 16, 21 uses Fission causing her to split into her good and evil halves. The evil half consumes Cell, transforming into a stronger version of her true form. The good 21 though weakened due to her evil half inheriting most of her power, resolves to stop her evil half and joins forces with 17, 18, and the Z Fighters to stop her. However fearing she will one day lose control of her hunger as well, 21 decides to sacrifice herself by holding down her evil half allowing both to be destroyed by Goku's Spirit Bomb. Goku decides to ask King Yemma to have 21 reincarnated instead of using the Dragon Balls to revive the good 21, as a way to honor her sacrifice.
The Red Ribbon Army has an extremely small tolerance for failure, with the penalty for failure usually amounting to execution. The range of executable failures usually ranges between failing a mission objective (such as retrieving a Dragon Ball) or for minor blunders/virtually impossible tasks to succeed in such as failing to dodge Commander Red's cat when he sics it on personnel to test their reflexes, to when soldiers sleep on the job or pick noses. A ranked member of the army can be allowed a chance to redeem himself if he fails, should he have an exceptional track record in the organization, such as General Blue's chance at redemption when he failed to retrieve the Dragon Balls from Goku despite his retrieving the Dragon Radar. But those chances are usually extremely rare, as evidenced by Commander Red's sentencing Colonel Silver to execution after the latter failed to retrieve the Dragon Ball from Goku, despite his earlier praising of Colonel Silver for his dodging his cat.
According to General Blue (who is homosexual and a misogynist), women are not needed in the Red Ribbon Army. However, there are actually female members in the army such as Colonel Violet and the hired female mercenary Hasky.
The Red Ribbon Army had various ranks within the hierarchy. The ranks included General, Captain, Colonel, Sergeant-Major, and Sergeant, as well as Staff Officer and Commander.
High ranking members
It is noted that every single officer in the Red Ribbon Army are intentionally named after a certain color (with the exception of Dr. Gero, who was actually named after a number/mechanical part, and possibly Captain Dark, as his official name is apparently "Dock"). The standard attire that nearly every member wears is a red bandanna of sorts, obviously tied to the army's namesake, which is either tied around their arm or neck (similar to Android 17 in Dragon Ball Z), the only known exception being General Blue, who instead wore a red tie in at least the anime.
- Commander Red
- General Blue
- General Copper
- General White
- Dr. Flappe (went defunct)
- Dr. Gero
- Android 16's template
The Red Ribbon Army, at the time of their downfall, was split up into various divisions including the unseen Brown Squadron, the White Corps. (arctic warfare division helmed by General White), the Silver Corps. (aerial division led by Colonel Silver), and the Blue Corps. (naval/marine division led by General Blue).
Hasky is a master thief and explosions expert. She is hired by the Red Ribbon Army to assassinate Goku and steal the two Dragon Balls he currently had in his possession. She then poses as a fortune teller at Dream Land and asks to see his Dragon Balls, although her request backfires when her wording of her request results in Goku interpreting the word "balls" incorrectly and dropping his pants in response. She then reveals her true colors and sets up explosives to destroy Dream Land so she can escape with the Dragon Balls. However, Goku manages to stop her and gets the Dragon Balls back due to her ticklishness.
Mercenary Tao is a deadly, ruthless assassin, who lives for money. His name roughly translates into 'Peach White White'. Tao is the younger brother of the Crane Hermit, with whom he shares the signature Dodon Ray attack. He is hired by Commander Red to eliminate Goku. The first time they fight, Goku is defeated. But after Korin's training, Goku defeats Tao. Realizing he is defeated, Tao surrenders and when he sees Goku let down his guard he tosses a grenade at Goku. Goku then quickly kicks the grenade back at him and it blows up Tao instead. He returns at the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament as a cyborg, but is beaten again by Tien Shinhan.
He returns in the Cell Games Saga as a bodyguard to Mr. Borbonne, a rich coward who intent on forcing people to build a Protective Dome against Cell, and later as a bodyguard to Vodka. Goku, in the midst of searching for one of the Dragon Balls, arrives at Vodka's fortress and after spending a day trying to figure out a puzzle concocted by Tao, retrieves the Dragon Ball and departs. Overwhelmed with fear after finally recognizing the then-Super Saiyan Goku, Tao flees. Mercenary Tao can not fly, but he does have a unique method of travel (or escape if he senses defeat like with Goku). Tao tears down a giant tree, throws it a far distance into the sky, and rides it off into the horizon. Although we never get to see the tree land, this is the last time we see of him after the series.
It should be noted that Mercenary Tao is not a member of the Red Ribbon Army, although he was a hired assassin for them. When Tao realizes his defeat at the hands of Son Goku, he deceives him by apologizing for his evil ways and saying he will surrender. Goku relaxes his guard, and this gives Tao enough time to toss a grenade at him and jump away into the sky. Goku notices the treachery and kicks the grenade back at Tao just in time for it to explode. Despite Tao's skills, when faced with someone stronger, it is seen how quickly one turns to lowly cheap tactics. While this adds to humor of the show and manga, it proves that he is also a serious villain who will use guile and trickery to save his life. The words "KILL YOU!" are seen on the back of his robe, which he cherishes greatly.
Main article: Red Ribbon Androids
Androids #8, #13, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #20, Cell, Super 13, and Super 17 are all androids and cyborgs created by Dr. Gero, who later on becomes one himself (Android 20). Though only Android 8 is truly a member of the original Red Ribbon Army, all androids share the same objective: the destruction of Goku. Ironically, the exception is Android 8, whose programming was flawed and did not like to fight, and becomes friends with Goku. Bearing an "RR" (Red Ribbon) logo, Androids 16, 17, and 18 also reform in Dragon Ball Z.
Androids 1-7 and 9-12 were never seen in the manga or anime, but mentioned briefly on one of the manga's title pages. Most likely, they were failed experiments, as implied in the Androids Saga when Dr. Gero, asked by 18 and 17 about his other sixteen androids, replies "They were all failures, a mistake I regret". 17 also remarks that he thought Dr. Gero destroyed all the Androids before him, astonished to see that he kept Android 16 (who Dr. Gero kept as he was modeled after Dr. Gero's son, a Red Ribbon army soldier who was killed in line of duty by an enemy bullet). Android 9 appears as an Android modelled after Commander Red in Dragon Ball Online, who ironically was constructed to be taller than his template. Also in Dragon Ball Online, it is shown that for some reason, even after Dr. Gero's death, an Android 8000 and an Android 19000 were built, however it is likely they were constructed by the Red Pants Army. A clone of Dr. Gero (identical to Dr. Gero's depiction in the manga) was created by the Red Pants Army to act as its chief inventor and one of its primary leaders. However the clone lacks Dr. Gero's affection for his son or Android 16 as he built three copies of Android 16 which he was more than willing to deploy against the Time Patrol, though he himself is ultimately defeated and destroyed by the Time Patrol in Age 1000.
In Dragon Ball Fusions, Android 33, Android 44, Android 55, and Android 76 are introduced and were created from Dr. Gero's villain database, though despite being created to be evil, they all possess good natured personalities like Android 8 and Android 16.
Bases of operation
- Colonel Silver's Camp
- Muscle Tower
- General Blue's Camp
- Captain Yellow's Camp
- Red Ribbon Army Headquarters
- Trucks (at least two)
- Chicken walkers (The Path to Power)
- Rocket Jet
- Big Submarine
- Small Submarines
- River Boats
- Battle Jackets
- Before the appearance of the Red Ribbon Army in Dragon Ball, characters exclusively named after colors were used in Akira Toriyama's 1982 manga Pink, such as Pink, Cobalt Blue, Silver, Black and White.
- The logo design for the Red Ribbon Army is possibly based on a Railroad Crossing Symbol/Sign.
- The Red Ribbon Army have their own theme song sung by which is used as an insert song on the Japanese version of Episode 48 of Dragon Ball.
- Many members of the Red Ribbon Army have their designs and accents based on a certain race or country:
- Examples include Commander Red (Scottish), Staff Officer Black (African, or in the case of The Path to Power, Native American), General Blue (German), General White (Russian, or in the case of The Path to Power, Italian), Captain Yellow (Australian), Ninja Murasaki (Japanese), Colonel Silver (presumed American) and Major Metallitron (Austrian, or in the case of The Path to Power, African). Also, Dr. Flappe has a French accent, Hasky and General Blue have British accents and also, Mercenary Tao has a Chinese-based design. Some of these only apply to the Funimation dub.
- Similarly, the various groups led by the top officers also have uniforms that resemble a real life military group/groups: General White's unit wear uniforms that closely resemble Soviet Russian commandos. The Blue Corps wear uniforms that resemble Nazi Germany's Sturmabteilung (S.A.) Division (also known as Brownshirts or Stormtroopers), which were themselves derived from uniforms originally intended for use by the Schutztruppe stationed in the African colonies belonging to what was originally Imperial Germany before the results of World War I had them being sold cheaply, and Colonel Silver's unit wear uniforms resembling the uniforms of Nazi Germany's Afrika Korps, the Soviet Russian commandos during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and United States Armed Forces. Captain Yellow's unit is one exception, though, as the soldiers here do not wear any military uniforms, but are more dressed like Western miners and outlaws; however, Yellow's overall design and traits are a reference to the , an American mercenary group that defended the Nationalist Chinese from the Japanese in World War II.
- The goals of the Red Ribbon Army to obtain the Dragon Balls mirrors the Nazis' real life attempt to seek occult relics for world domination, sending organizations such as the Thule Society and the Ahnenerbe to conduct these expeditions and experiments. These attempts in the occult made by the Nazis were notably referenced the Indiana Jones films Raiders of the Lost Ark and Last Crusade (although contrary to what the films claimed, Hitler himself never actually had any personal interest in gaining occult items.).
- On a related note, General Blue prior to ambushing the Dragon Gang at Master Roshi's house implied that his psychic powers were the result of being "enhanced", which alluded to how the East and the West during the Cold War often researched psychic abilities for use in warfare.
- Despite General Blue's unit sharing some traits with the Nazis, it does not appear to discriminate based on race, species, or sexual orientation. However it should be noted that General Blue's homosexuality resembles Ernst Röhm, an early member of the Nazi Party and close friend and early ally of Adolf Hitler and a co-founder of the Sturmabteilung (SA, "Storm Battalion"), the Nazi Party's militia, and later was its commander. Though Röhm's homosexuality was contrary to Nazi ideology, Hitler was aware of it and their close association led to rumors that Hitler himself was homosexual. However by 1934, the German Army fearing the SA's influence and Hitler had come to see Röhm as a potential rival, so he was executed during the Night of the Long Knives.
- Most of the weapons and armored vehicles the Red Ribbon use seem to be based on real life equipment used during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
- Many Red Ribbon Army characters, such as Colonel Silver, Ninja Murasaki, and General White, had ambiguous defeats, leaving their survival open to interpretation.
- Many characters in Dragon Ball Z have their design based on members of the Red Ribbon Army:
- In "A New Friend": the Taitans' coach Freddy Hein looks like Captain Dark, the baseball player Pepper Johnson looks like Staff Officer Black, and the baseball pitcher Rocky Rivers looks like General White.
- In "I'll Fight Too!": Commander Red and Staff Officer Black make cameo appearances as the Director and Assistant on the Great Saiyaman film respectively. It is only in looks because their voices are different than in Dragon Ball.
- In a "recruitment film" teaser trailer for Resurrection ‘F’, it was mentioned that the Red Ribbon Army was aligned with the Frieza Force.
- ↑ When Goku tells a Penguin Village Police Officer to look out for a person named General Blue of the Red Ribbon Army, the Police Officer in question immediately runs away in fear upon hearing of the Red Ribbon Army.
- ↑ "Dragon Ball Q&A 7" section, Dragon Ball Full Color Androids Saga volume 1, 2014
- ↑ Dragon Ball Fusions, 2016