I make it no secret that I’m a huge fan of Team Four Star and everything that it’s individual members have done outside of the team (Curtis “Takahata101” Arnott is probably one of the best-kept secrets in voice acting). Hell, I even reworked my facial hair with inspiration from their latest music video.
But, in terms of their main project, Dragon Ball Z: Abridged, one of my favorite aspects of the series is how they find obscure trivia and work it into clever jokes and character moments that reward fans for their dedication.
So, as we are quickly closing in on the dawn of their 50th episode (barring the movies), I thought I’d show some love by sharing some of the brilliance that comes from the little known facts that TFS loves and that you probably forgot to laugh at the first time.
The Origins of the Androids
This is one that series director, co-writer, editor and actor Scott “KaiserNeko” Frerichs brought up in his Episode Breakdown, but there’s still plenty to discuss.
In Episode 44, just before Krillin and Trunks destroy Present Cell, Trunks discovers the blueprints for Androids 16, 17, and 18. Upon finding them, he reveals that 17 and 18’s real names are Lapis and Lazuli and that 16 was designed to resemble Dr. Gero’s son.
Come to find out, they didn’t make that up. In an interview, Dragonball creator Akira Toriyama dropped these facts. Before they were orphaned and kidnapped by Gero for his experiments in cybernetics, 17 and 18 were two siblings named Lapis and Lazuli – most likely named for their unusually piercing blue eyes (in real life, lapis lazuli is a gemstone prized for it’s rich blue hue and was once more valuable than gold).
As for 16, Dr. Gero modeled him after his son; a soldier that died in service to the Red Ribbon Army that Gero himself served in. Clearly grief stricken, he wanted to build an android to fill the same role, but programed him to be pacifistic and tried to avoid activating him for fear that he might be destroyed.
Oh, and in case you were curious, Android 19 was modeled after a doll that Gero found in an enemy base. So, make of that what you will.
Frieza Is Too Lazy To Name His Planets
In the special, Bardock: Father of Goku, Bardock makes a snide comment about how Frieza should be able to give proper names for the planets he conquers instead of just numbering them. Once again, this wasn’t just some made up, throw-away gag.
Apparently, everyone in Frieza’s family – not just him – has forcibly claimed dominion over so many planets that it’s just easier give them numbers instead of names. Of course, the popular theory is that Kanassa was renamed to Frieza Planet 79 (the planet Vegeta recovers on after his defeat on Earth); not 419 as stated here. Still, points are to be awarded for calling B.S. on Frieza’s laziness.
Salza and Jeice Are Of The Same Alien Race
In a clever fake-out gag at the end of Revenge of Cooler, a battered and beaten Salza uses his last moments of life after being sniped by Piccolo to say his goodbyes to his ‘Cousin Jeice’ – Jeice being a member of Frieza’s Ginyu Force who served a similar role to Cooler’s Armored Squadron in this movie.
While there is no concrete evidence that they are actually related, this is a clever reference to the fact that both Salza and Jeice are Brench-seijin – humanoid aliens native to the planet Brench; AKA Cooler Planet 98 (I told you Frieza’s family did that a lot).
So why the interest in Brench-seijin warriors? Well, as it turns out, Brench’s gravity is at least ten times greater than that on Earth. This means that Brench-seijin have a physical predisposition to be stronger and tougher to handle the increase in gravity and making them natural fighters and athletes (before joining the Ginyu Force, Jeice was a Galactic Little League pitcher and modeled his trademark Crusher Ball attack on his signature pitch).
On the subject of people that work for Frieza…
Burter Had A REALLY Crappy Childhood
Near the end of episode 21, Jeice takes a time out from the fight with Goku to call Burter out on his obsession with speed. This causes him to have an emotional breakdown as he believes that his speed is all that he has.
Of course, that rant becomes much sadder if you know WHY speed is so important to him.
As a child, Burter grew up with a very authoritarian and abusive mother that would beat him if he didn’t finish his chores fast enough. As such, he developed his reputation as “the fastest in the universe” solely to avoid getting slapped around.
Wow, that’s… really depressing. How do I recover from that?
Oh! Goku got Burter’s name confused with butter, right? That’s a nice segue into…
The Dragonball Universe Loves Pun-ny Names
On multiple occasions, TFS has sneaked in some heavy handed reminders that the original crew loved any excuse to use names that were puns.
As Nappa points out in episode 7, Raditz sounds an awful lot like radish. In fact, all Saiyans are named after vegetables with Vegeta going so far as to actually be named after the word and Goku’s family favoring root vegetables in particular (Kakarot/Carrot, Bardock/Burdock, ETC.).
As mentioned earlier, Burter is a pun on butter. As such, the rest of The Ginyu Force are word plays on dairy foods as well, although they tend to use the Japanese words rather than English – Jeice and cheese, Recoome and cream, Guldo and yogurt, and Captain Ginyu and milk. Knowing this, it makes sense that the family they work for would all have names based on cold puns as they would all need to be refrigerated.
There are more puns to be had, but I’ll let you discover them for yourselves.
So, now that I’ve finished my longest article ever explaining the hidden secrets to these jokes, they’re funnier now, right?