Fans of Dragon Ball are familiar with creator, Akira Toriyama’s sense of humor. All Dragon Ball characters are iconic and well-known for their strength and power, so it is easy to forget that the series also intended to have a copious amount of humor to go with it. One of the most enduring aspects of Toriyama’s characteristic sense of humor comes from the most unexpected places: the character’s names.

Dragon Ball: Goku
Dragon Ball: Goku | Crunchyroll

Each and every character of Dragon Ball is thoughtfully named as a humorous pun, which is a running gag in the series; even Goku isn’t safe from it. While most of Dragon Ball‘s best pun names are better in the original Japanese, some of them translated into English are just as perfect and silly as intended by the creator.

Akira Toriyama Came Up With a Unique Method Of Naming His Characters

Dragon Ball
Dragon Ball | Prime Video

On X (formerly Twitter), DRAGON BALL OFFICIAL shared an image featuring eighteen iconic Saiyans alongside the origins of their names. Each Saiyan’s name in Japanese is based on various vegetables. Goku’s alternate name, Kakarot, has been derived from carrot, while Vegeta simply originates from “vegetables”. It is quite humorous to consider that even though they are so strong, the names of the Saiyans are derived from various foods instead of legends or myths.

In an interview with Kazenshuu, a dream union featuring Akira Toriyama, Takao Koyama, and Masako Nozawa was brought to life. The interview revealed some backstage secrets and surprising new truths, as well as, Toriyama’s quirky naming of characters. The interviewer stated that the method of naming the Dragon Ball characters was unique, and Nozawa exclaimed that he loved it. He said:

Ah, I love that! I’m always saying it — “This character’s naming is amazing!” No matter what they look like, if their name is a vegetable there’s a vegetable theme, and not Chinese food, or musical instruments, right?

It is rather interesting to see a mangaka use the name of vegetables for his characters. Whether it’s a genius of Toriyama or just a whim of his is clarified pretty soon, as Toriyama says:

I decided on them without thinking, so it’s embarrassing. But at the very least, if I didn’t create a theme, there’s lots of characters so it would be a big problem. It’s easier to just decide on a theme of vegetable names.

Nozawa further asked Toriyama if he struggled with naming any character, and the Dragon Ball creator replied he did not have any problems. He said that when he decided that he would go with “a lousy name” he did not struggle all that much.

Akira Toriyama Added A Layer Of Humor With His Naming Methodology

Dragon Ball: Vegeta
Dragon Ball: Vegeta | Crunchyroll

Toriyama adds another layer of humor with his naming methodology by naming Vegeta from the planet he is from. Being derived from “vegetable” directly, Vegeta is the Prince of Planet Vegetable with a vegetable army. However, this bunch has been the series’ best fighters, proving that a name isn’t everything. And certainly, where the Dragon Ball characters are concerned, they have surpassed some of the strongest characters in other series.

Particularly in the cases of Goku and Vegeta, having a silly name doesn’t prevent either of them from being strong opponents. No wonder Kakarot tends to become so hungry, especially considering the fact that he is surrounded by characters who are named after foods.

You can stream and watch the anime Dragon Ball on Crunchyroll.

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