Appearing in the first six episodes of the Dragon Ball Z animated series in 1989, Raditz was given his own brief storyline, where he kidnaps his nephew Gohan in order to coax Goku into joining the family business. Of course, Raditz was soon killed by a joint effort between sworn enemies, Piccolo and Goku, which also lead to the death of Goku. Needless to say, Raditz is a character everyone recognizes, but not many people know much about. It’s time to change that.
That very short arc didn’t have much character development for Raditz, but he did receive decent attention in the realm of Dragon Ball-related video games, which has seen the good side and the romantic side of the character. Thanks to these games, Raditz lives on in the mind of fans who didn’t forget about him. If you love Dragon Ball games, be sure to play a couple of them featured in this list.
How much do you know about Goku’s older brother? Obviously, there’s a lot more to this seminal character that even die-hard fans of Dragon Ball don’t know — after all, he kicked off the Saiyan Saga in Dragon Ball Z. Here are 20 interesting facts about Bardock and Gine’s first son, the Saiyan with the bushiest of hair named Raditz.
20. Romancing A Snake
Though he wasn’t given much of a backstory in Dragon Ball Z, Raditz was given a main-squeeze in the video game, Dragon Ball Z: Harukanaru Densetsu, which was a card-based role-playing game released for the Nintendo DS in 2007. As a minor character in Dragon Ball Z, Princess Snake appears during the Vegeta Saga on the Serpent Road. She subsequently turns into a gigantic snake who tries to eat Goku, but fails to do so after she is tricked into tying herself into a knot. She reappears in Harukanaru Densetsu, and it is implied that she has a romantic relationship with Raditz, as she refers to him as “Dear” and her attendants call him “Master”.
19. Father And Son
In the numerous side stories of the Dragon Ball franchise, Raditz only has onscreen interactions with his father Bardock in the video games. Even then, they only talk to each other onscreen only when they fight each other, and mostly as part of their victory quotes. This happens in Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3, Budokai Tenkaichi 2, Budokai Tenkaichi 3, and Raging Blast. Please note that in Budokai Tenkaichi 2, there is a What-if story where he talks to his father in the dream world after losing his memory in a fight against Piccolo. It’s a cool thing to see, and we’d love to hear more about the relation (as well as how we coped with losing his little brother).
18. GT Return
After his death in the Dragon Ball Z series, Raditz finally reappears in the sequel series called Dragon Ball GT, which is noted for being a series that lacked the involvement of Akira Toriyama. Set many years after DBZ, Raditz makes a cameo appearance in the Super 17 Saga of Dragon Ball GT, where he is seen during a television broadcast featuring numerous dead villains who managed to escape from Hell onto Earth, including Android 19 and Frieza’s brother Cooler. It is likely that after the villains were defeated by the Z Fighters, Raditz was banished back to hell where he belonged.
17. Half A Dozen
Despite having left a pretty sizable imprint in Dragon Ball-related fiction, Raditz only appeared very briefly in the Dragon Ball Z manga and animated series. Appearing in the first six episodes of the anime, that short arc is affectionately named the Raditz Saga in tribute to the character, which is located right between the Piccolo Jr Saga and the Vegeta Saga. The first edited version had the arc lasted only four episodes. In the manga, the Raditz Saga spans twelve individual chapters. Later in the re-edited Kai series, this arc lasts only three episodes. Still, the spirit of Raditz lives on many years after his quick appearance and death.
16. Brotherly Fusion?
In one of the spinoff Dragon Ball games, fans get a glimpse of what a sibling fusion might look like between Goku and Raditz. Featured in the Dragon Ball: Fusions video game, Raditz fuses with the film-only villain Turles to form the character named Turtz. Since Turles is a mirror copy, appearance-wise, to Goku, this is essentially how a Raditz and Goku fused form will probably look like. The character is an EX-Fusion that utilizes the Metamo Ring to fuse entities, much like the canonical Potara Earrings used to fuse Goku and Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z. Given the direction Dragon Ball has taken in recent years, it’s not hard to image us getting another chance to see him in a world of fusions.
15. Super Saiyan 3!
Raditz and Nappa are the two Saiyan characters from the main storyline of Dragon Ball Z without any canonical transformations, either of the Great Ape or Super Saiyan variety. This was the case until the release of Super Dragon Ball Heroes, where it shows these two villains finally reach Super Saiyan 3. They are also the only two to skip over Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan 2 levels in order to achieve third transformation. Since Super Dragon Ball Heroes is not canonical, it means that all these achievements should be listed with asterisks. Still, his bushy hair in his base form already looks quite Super Saiyan 3-like to everyone.
14. Never A Transformation
In the main Dragon Ball Z series, Raditz never has a transformation into either a Great Ape nor a Super Saiyan. Because he still had his tail intact, it was probably possible that Raditz would be able to transform into his Great Ape form, which would have expanded his power level tenfold. In the scope of both the manga and the animated series, he would never gain any additional forms. However, Raditz finally was given the proper treatment in Super Dragon Ball Heroes, where he was given a Super Saiyan power-up. How exactly does a Super Saiyan Raditz look like? Still tuned, as it is revealed later in this article.
13. In Bad Company
As he is the first villain in the Dragon Ball series, it is probably unfathomable to imagine that Raditz has a good-side to him, especially as he is shown as very cowardly in his brief stint in the anime and manga. Since his parents died at a very young age, Raditz was raised under the bad influence of Vegeta and Nappa, with Vegeta probably having some of the worst tendencies out of all of the known Saiyans before his eventual redemption later in the series. He is immensely loyal to his Saiyan lineage, even trying to recruit Goku to join him in his quest. This good-nature attribute of Raditz’s personality are further elaborated upon. More on that later!
12. Cameo In Jaco
In the manga Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, Raditz is partnered with Vegeta on an unnamed terrestrial planet where the Saiyan prince disregards an order from Frieza to return to Planet Vegeta. Instead of returning home, Vegeta stays on the planet to consume food while telling Raditz to ignore the order. It is unknown if this particular moment is where the death of Planet Vegeta happens, but if that was the case, Vegeta’s insubordination might have spared the lives of the two young Saiyans from being killed by Frieza. The consensus is that the planet was destroyed soon after Goku was born and sent to Earth.
11. A Super Appearance
While Raditz does not get revived after his death in Dragon Ball Z, Raditz appears in Dragon Ball Super as an illusion in the Future Trunks Saga. In a mission to retrieve the Paradise Plant from a mysterious forest called the Forest of Terror (which seemed oddly similar to that scene in Star Wars where Luke Skywalker fights a fake version of Darth Vader), Goku and Krillin run into strange, oversized versions of villains they have faced in their past, including Super Buu, King Piccolo, Perfect Cell, Frieza, Nappa, and Raditz. It is revealed that these were merely illusions created by Fortuneteller Baba that played upon the fears of Goku and Krillin. Krillin is able to overcome his fears as they escape the forest.
10. Repurposed Scouter
Do you remember how our heroes got their hands own their own scouter? Well, they didn’t buy the sucker from a department store or from San Diego Comic-Con like I did. After the death of Raditz, his scouter was taken off his corpse by Krillin and Bulma. Bulma was able to repurpose it for use for the Z Fighters by translating the readings into readable numbers rather than in an alien language used by the Galactic Frieza Army. The scouter was eventually destroyed when Goku fights Vegeta, with the former gaining a massive spike after coming back from the dead and receiving the benefits of Zenkai.
9. Days In A Week
One of the most interesting naming dynamics of Akira Toriyama is that all of the characters, as well as their techniques, follow some sort of logical categorization. As a Saiyan, Raditz is named after a type of vegetable. Thanks to video games, it also expands upon the naming of his attacks. His special techniques are named after days of the week such as Dynamite Monday, Black Monday, Saturday Crush, Double Sunday, and Shining Friday. Of course, these moves are never spoken in the actual Dragon Ball Z series itself, rather just the video games themselves. Oh, the Japanese sure love naming their martial arts moves.
8. Say Hello To The Good Guy
In Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2, an extremely interesting What-if story features the tale of a good and heroic Raditz. As the protagonist of the story, Raditz lost his memory due to a Saibaman injuring him during a fight with Piccolo and wanders to Kame House. Since Piccolo is still considered a villain, Goku and friends help Raditz defeat him. Raditz ends up forming a bond with Gohan rather than kidnapping him. Gradually, he regains his memories and goes on a rampage only to be stopped by the heroes. After seeing his father Bardock in a dream and having an epiphany, Raditz uses his attack pod to destroy the one carrying Vegeta and Nappa, sparing Earth from the evil Saiyans.
7. He Sure Doesn’t Sound The Same
Out of the numerous male members of Bardock’s family, Raditz holds the distinction as being the only member not to be voiced by Masako Nozawa, the voice actress of Goku and all of his subsequent descendants, Gohan and Goten. She also voices Goku’s real father, Bardock, in his various appearances. In Raditz’s short run in the animated series, he is voiced by Shigeru Chiba, who also voiced Pilaf in the original series and Garlic Jr, who was the main antagonist in one of the filler arcs of Dragon Ball Z. He does reprise his roles of Emperor Pilaf in subsequent series, Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super.
6. Power Of Consensus
During the first major part of Dragon Ball Z, the idea of power levels was extremely important. Yes, it is indeed over 9,000. However, even in the earliest stages, power levels of certain characters are largely inaccurate. In the series, it eventually was phased out entirely after the Frieza Saga, and mostly existed in the written biographies in various Dragon Ball-related video games and guidebooks. Raditz was finally given an actual power level in an issue of Weekly Shonen Jump in 1989, where it stated that his exact power level is 1,500. It is noted that Piccolo’s second usage of his Special Beam Cannon against Raditz was rated at 1,440, which would have severely injured or killed the weakened Saiyan.
5. The Weakest Of All
As one of the first villains of Dragon Ball Z, Raditz is essentially the weakest opponent in the entire series as well as being the weakest Saiyan character in the main storyline, having the power level of around 1,500. Since he dies so quickly in DBZ, Raditz never does receive any benefits from the Saiyan attribute of Zenkai, which dramatically increases their power levels after recovering from a near-death experience. Zenkai is the same idea that Vegeta utilizes several times on Namek. In his fight against Frieza, he asks Krillin to injure him only to have Dende heal him with his special ability in order to receive a power boost.
4. A Nappa And Raditz Salad
In the game called Dragon Ball: Fusions, Raditz is given several fusions, which lead to some interesting resulting transformations. If Raditz performs a Fusion Dance successfully with Nappa, they create the character named Natz. This formidable warrior was able to fight Gotenks, Kid Goku, and Tekka. Another fusion was given to Raditz and Nappa if the EX-Fusion is utilized. This fused form looks as if Nappa’s face was superimposed on Raditz’s body, making for an extremely humorous appearance. A final multi-character fusion also exists in the game, which resembles a typical Saiyan character.
3. The First Of Many
Set several years after the events of the original Dragon Ball series, Raditz is the first villain of the Dragon Ball Z series that started in 1989, despite barely being as powerful as Nappa’s henchmen characters called the Saibamen. It is noted that besides Vegeta and Captain Ginyu, no other character among the Galactic Frieza Army, aside from Frieza himself, were given their own story arc, including Dodoria and Zarbon. But somehow, Goku’s very evil older brother was given his own story arc, as well as being put in the history books as the first villain of one of the most popular anime series of all time.
2. Voice Of A Saiyan
In Japan, Raditz is voiced by Shigeru Chiba in all of his appearances, which was truly special in more ways than one. Born Masaharu Maeda, Chiba was employed by the talent agency 81 Produce. He has also voiced other characters in Dragon Ball-lore, including Emperor Pilaf, Garlic Jr, and Grandpa Gohan. Working since the age of 18 and starting his career as a stuntman, Chiba has been doing voice-acting work for over 40 years, voicing characters in prominent series like Urusei Yatsura, Armored Trooper Votoms, Fist of the North Star, Yu Yu Hakusho, Yu-gi-oh, and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. In addition to those accolades, he was also a sound effects and music director.
1. The Older Brother
It is never explained in any of the source material exactly how much older Raditz is than his little brother Goku. However, Raditz does make an appearance as a child in Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, essentially a prequel to the entire Dragon Ball series. Being that Raditz was Vegeta’s partner in Jaco and appeared to be the same age as the prince, Vegeta was actually born 4-5 years before Goku in Age 732 (Goku was born in 737 in the anime and 736 in the manga). Thus, it is fair to assume that Raditz was about 4-5 years older than his younger sibling. It’s a funny thing that many fans don’t consider, but you do have to take into account how old someone is to gauge their power (and how long it will last).
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