Chi-Chi has played a major role throughout Dragon Ball, even if she is supposed to be a background character. She's been a character for a very long time, and is definitely the most recognizable female character in the show, aside from Bulma. She has her strengths and flaws, and most fans of the show have a strong opinion about her one way or the other. Her influence has set off a domino effect, especially relating to Gohan and Goten.
A lot of Dragon Ball fanatics are jaded by Chi-Chi ever since she forced education onto Gohan, presumably stunting his power growth. That's beside the point, though, and there are a lot of stones left unturned with the resented heroine (yes, she's turned out to be quite the lifesaver in a few instances). It may appear as if Chi-Chi is all nagging and no personality, but this is far from the case. The retired fighter and former World Tournament competitor has an interesting history, and many layers to her intricate life and personality. As much as it may pain you to believe, Chi-Chi offers a lot to the table. Don't allow your Gohan biases to fool you, this chick is the full package.
Today we're here to look at shocking facts about Chi-Chi that most people, not even the biggest fans of the series, will know. These are the facts that make her who she is, and hopefully will convince you that she's a better character than you ever thought she could be.
20 Toriyama Isn't Even A Fan
It’s understood that Toriyama has a peculiar way of determining plots throughout Dragon Ball. Goku and Chi-Chi’s marriage is no exception to this. As it turns out Toriyama dislikes Chi-Chi; he only really married them as a form of "punishment" for himself, as revealed in an interview. Which explains a lot. It’s not well understood if Toriyama disliked Chi-Chi from conception or if disdain for the character grew after several appearances, but he married the fighters off because he knew she would never recur in the series if he didn’t make it legally-binding. It sounds like a messed up betrothal, but it goes to show that Chi-Chi’s aggressive personality may have to do with her incompatibility with Goku. But that’s a whole other debate…
19 Chi-Chi Vs. Bulma
It’s believed that Bulma and Chi-Chi are best friends, but maybe it’s more of a love-hate relationship between the two. There have been a few instances when they’ve gotten into verbal fights over whose husband and/or children are better. Plus, there’s the memorable argument that erupted after Krillin’s daughter, Marron, called them "middle-aged women." The two have had a bit of a rivalry in womanly respects, but it also seems evident in the fact that after Goku dies, Chi-Chi lives in a remote area and doesn’t really have any monetary help from her billionaire “bestie.” If they were truly friends, Bulma would probably have coughed up at least a little chunk of cash. There are also plenty of instances where they're cordial with one another, but husbands aside, the two have a lot of differences which likely causes friction in their supposed friendship. What's important is that we all know Chi-Chi would beat Bulma in a real fight...
18 She Married The Wrong Man
For years, many fans have been entertaining the theory of what would happen if Bulma and Goku got married instead. There have been tons of discussions on this, most of which are positive in regards to the relationship, but little is considered on Chi-Chi’s end of the deal. What happens with her in this mess? A Dragon Ball fanatic and YouTuber actually came up with a theory describing just that. It’s believed that Chi-Chi would actually be happier with Yamcha. For one thing, this is because of the fact that he’s a baseball player and promises a much more stable life, financially speaking. Not to mention, he’d likely be home more often because he isn’t obsessed with fighting like Goku. In this alternate universe, Chi-Chi wouldn’t be such a nag because her husband wouldn’t have to resort to farming in order to keep food on the table and he’d actually be more romantic with her. Sounds like she's got the wrong man.
17 She's As Strong As An Ox
It may come as a shock, but Chi-Chi is actually very strong. Maybe it’s because of fans’ distaste for Chi-Chi but many seem to forget her serious strength. Of course, she’s no match for a Saiyan, but she is stronger than Mr. Satan. Some have even speculated that she may be even stronger than her own father, the Ox King. It’s very impressive that as a human she’s able to hold her own as seen throughout Dragon Ball, even when she’s training her son to become a Saiyan. The only other human woman that can compete is Videl. Which makes a pretty awesome family of fighters.
16 Thanks, Toriyama
Being naïve as ever and not knowing the first thing about girls really makes you want to chalk it up to Goku’s lack of open affection that spoils his romance throughout the series. However, it’s not actually his fault that he’s that way, nor is the absence of romantic scenes his choice either. Toriyama actually admits in an interview that he has a difficult time writing romance, so he just avoids it altogether throughout the majority of Dragon Ball. It doesn’t seem like the best way to resolve the issue, but on the one hand, this may just be why fans love Dragon Ball so much. Romance is kept to the imagination and the fighting and storyline are more in focus than relationships. Although, it makes you wonder why Toriyama cannot (and doesn’t) write romance, especially in the earlier episodes of Dragon Ball, when he clearly has no issue writing innuendos and awkward jokes throughout…
15 Culture Made Her Do It
One of the primary reasons that fans hate Chi-Chi is because she made Gohan become a nerd and love education. Some believe that this is a major flaw in Dragon Ball and that Gohan would have been better off training for all of those years that Goku was dead. Little do they know, this is actually an aspect of Japanese culture that is common in mothers of the 80’s which is when Dragon Ball started. Back then, there was a pretty significant recession and it influenced many mothers to push education on their children to make them more competitive, capable adults. Not to mention, the Japanese just have a very high regard of education anyway, so this was a straight-up cultural injection into Dragon Ball that made it more real. Chi-Chi’s traditional dress and hairstyle pretty much signifies her attitude and perception on family life to begin with, it's cool knowing that this has a cultural background.
14 I Ain't Saiyan She A Gold-Digger
To entertain the thoughts from the dark side–AKA, Chi-Chi haters–consider what her implications behind marrying Goku may have been. She knew that he was a great fighter and witnessed him win the World Tournament. It seemed like a smart idea to marry a fighter who could win the Tournament each year and live off of the prize money. It's also been pointed out how excited she gets when he brings home money in general. It doesn't help that her father, the Ox King, lost all of his treasure in a fire. This implies that Chi-Chi feels like she must stay with Goku out of obligation because she's got no other resources. Fan theorists further back this idea with the assumption that Chi-Chi doesn’t truly love Goku as seen by her excessive nagging and apparent unhappiness. Though, in the defense of Chi-Chi, Toriyama wanted her character to be humorously worrisome. Fans–at least in America–beg to differ.
13 A Deadly Petition
We’ve all been victims of hatred at some point or other. However, you hardly expect that people are out there petitioning to get you killed! Poor Chi-Chi has become hated by so many fans that more than one petition has been created in numerous countries, demanding that Toriyama kills her off. First of all, what the heck?? Personally, watching the events unfold per the creative mind of the writer is a lot more satisfying than having random people determine the events of a show. Rogue Dragon Ball fans seem to think that eliminating Chi-Chi would only the enhance the series. The problem is, she’s already existed for hundreds of episodes and, no matter what, her presence will play a role in the rest of the series. Unless, of course, Toriyama starts fresh with all new characters entirely. Which it's pretty safe to assume that's not the aim of the petitioners’. So, soften your perception and get used to her because Chi-Chi’s probably not going anywhere.
12 Like Father, Like Son
It shouldn’t be that big of a shock, given that Gohan comes off as a bit of a Mama’s boy, but his wife actually turns out to be a lot like his mom. Videl ends up marrying Gohan after becoming close with her during their one-on-one training. Like Chi-Chi, Videl is also a fighter and a daddy’s girl at that. They’ve both come from wealth, although Chi-Chi’s father’s money didn’t last and Videl’s did. Chi-Chi and Videl are also stubborn, strong-willed women that care deeply about their family regardless of its flaws. This one could have a lot to do with the fact that Saiyan women were strong, tough, and independent, meaning their Saiyan husbands are naturally inclined to be attracted to these types of women.
11 She's An Amazing Mom
Queue the nuclear explosion! Chi-Chi is an amazing mother. She may come off as just an annoying nag and apparently a gold-digger, but she keeps things going in the Son family. Chi-Chi’s kids are very well-mannered, especially when compared with Trunks. Gohan and Goten are fair and just, and they speak and behave very politely toward others. This is really exemplified by Gohan and his relationship with Videl. Some speculate that his marriage is better than his parents’ relationship. This could be because he’s close with his mom and has acquired a deep respect for women. Gohan was highly educated because of his dad’s absence during adolescence, which has caused him to be able to support his own family in adulthood, unlike Goku, who pursues his passions of fighting even if this means he won't get money out of it. Chi-Chi has really prepared her oldest son, especially, for adulthood and to be a successful individual.
10 Chi-Chi's Not Meant For The Limelight
Of course, we now know that Toriyama wasn’t exactly a fan of Chi-Chi, so marrying her off to Goku changed her role in the series. She’s become a stereotype of the traditional Japanese mother who stresses education and is a bit hyper-aggressive toward her kids. This is meant in a poking-fun sort of way. Toriyama’s playing up the “hysterical woman” card with Chi-Chi to give the show some catharsis and break up the heaviness of the life-threatening scenarios and brutal fighting. It’s ironic, considering the fact that Chi-Chi has become one of the most hated characters in Dragon Ball. Since her purpose shifted–after marrying Goku–to becoming a character purely for comedic entertainment, there have been countless discussions about Chi-Chi’s annoyingness within Dragon Ball. Many fans actually admit to fast-forwarding past her scenes. Toriyama was on point with a lot of things in this renowned TV show, but comedic relief hasn’t always been a strong suit, quite obviously.
9 Her Husband Doesn't Want Anything To Do With Her
It’s strange to think of someone as ace when he or she has had children and is married, but this is actually possible in real-life. Goku is just the cartoon representation of this, as claimed by many fans. What has really evoked the birth of this concept is a recent episode of Dragon Ball Super, when Goku says that he has never kissed his wife before. A lot of fans were outraged by this, although it’s probably another sign of Toriyama’s quirky humor. If you really analyze Goku throughout all of Dragon Ball, it’s not exactly far-fetched. I mean, Bulma had to practically beat up Goku to get him to stop slapping strangers’ private parts in order to tell what gender they were back when she first met him. The innocence of Goku far exceeds that of any other character, which could mean he's just naive but some would say ace.
8 She's Majorly Underrated
Chi-Chi deals with a lot of hate, and for what reason? Yeah, she’s a total nag, and also pretty negative on her kids and Goku's desire to be Super Saiyans. That being said, she plays a pretty significant role in Dragon Ball. This is seen when she's preparing Goten to become a Saiyan by teaching him how to fight, for instance. She also pushed Gohan to study so that he wouldn’t be in the financial dilemma her and her husband experienced. She’s always stayed by Goku’s side–even if she did resent him just a tad–though he was constantly gone and even died a couple of times. Not to mention Chi-Chi played a pretty important role in the creation of Gohan and Goten, obviously. And let's face it, their kids are pretty awesome fighters, which could have a lot to do with both of their parents' bloodlines.
7 Not Shallow, But A Total Baddie
It goes against every claim to say that Chi-Chi isn’t a shallow, money-grubbing elitist. But, if Chi-Chi was shallow, she probably wouldn’t have married Goku and moved to the woods with him in the first place. Not to mention, she would probably be schmoozing it up with her friend, Bulma, to get her hands on some real cash. You also have to consider her upbringing; she may have been a princess, but she trained for years to become a skilled fighter and is one of the strongest human women in the world. She doesn’t flaunt this, even though she could if she wanted. It also surprises foes when Chi-Chi is able to hold her own in a physical fight. Additionally, she doesn’t seem to care a whole lot about image because she reminisces about the World Tournament that she competed in, but only cares that Goku proposed; calling the day “romantic.” Hardly any other woman would accept this proposal, which only makes her more compatible with Goku.
6 Chi-Chi's Absentee Mother
It’s interesting to note that Chi-Chi’s mother actually died when she was an infant, after becoming very ill. It’s actually a forgotten and often overlooked story because it was revealed in an early episode of Dragon Ball and hasn’t really been brought up in the show since. Chi-Chi’s mother actually looked very much like her daughter, and actually fit into the Ox King’s hand. However, an alternate theory has come out that the deity, Annin, who guards the Furnace of Eight Divisions and endangered the Ox King’s village, is actually Chi-Chi’s mother. This would explain a lot of relationship issues the Ox King and her mother would’ve encountered had she really been able to fit in his palm.
5 Her Name Was Changed
For anyone who was otherwise unaware, Chi-Chi’s name actually means “milk” in Japanese to symbolize motherhood. It’s also been pointed out that "Chi-Chi" sounds similar to the Japanese word for “father” which could have also been an intention of Toriyama’s to express how she was both the mother and the father most of the time. In plenty of instances, the anime names get changed in spelling, pronunciation, and sometimes entirely. Chi-Chi’s has been changed with good reason… In Portugal, Chi-Chi actually means "pee." Given that this conflicts with Toriyama’s food naming scheme (as seen with the vegetable-themed Saiyan names) as well as the overall misrepresentation of Chi-Chi’s character, this had to be edited. In the Spanish dubs for Latin America, her name was changed to milk as Chi-Chi means “a woman's chest” in slang and obviously wouldn’t suit a child audience (not that that would concern Toriyama).
4 She's Created The Best Fighter
Anyone who talks Dragon Ball has debated Chi-Chi being the ruin of Gohan. Gohan is undoubtedly one of the best fighters in Dragon Ball in spite of the fact that his mom made him spend most of his time studying, especially after Goku’s death. This is what most fans have a problem with... however, this may have benefited him in battle in the long run. Gohan definitely lost power since he wasn't training for so many years, but there's a silver lining to this. Gohan thinks strategically, and it can even be argued that he has a better understanding of himself and his body’s capabilities because of his studies. This is much like Bruce Lee, who studied anatomy and physiology to perfect his skills. Gohan seems to have the ability to reached untapped power. Of course, he always had power ever since he was a kid, but what makes him arguably greater is the mind behind the muscles... now, if only he'd actually use that more often!
3 She Has A Heart Of Gold
This is actually a much bigger theme than it may appear, but it really helps to clear Chi-Chi’s name of being a wretched, terrible character. Hardly anyone in Dragon Ball was able to ride Nimbus, but Chi-Chi could, just like Goku. Which is a good point to refute the previously mentioned fan theory that Chi-Chi was solely after Goku’s money (although it isn't totally unbelievable). Obviously her personality changed over time, especially once she became a mother, but this is often the case in real life. Chi-Chi acts out of love for her husband and her family, and being the matriarch of a Saiyan family can put a lot of stress on a lady. Although she may have a forceful way of going about things, Chi-Chi is pure of heart.
2 The Saiyan Hate Is Innate
It is actually confirmed that Chi-Chi really doesn’t care for Saiyans all that much. It should probably be evident in the way she acts toward Goku and the disgust she expresses when he constantly chooses training over family, but there’s more to the story than you’d think. Chi-Chi’s perception of Saiyans as idiotic juveniles is actually another implication of Japanese culture. In real life, it’s actually a sign of rebellion for a Japanese adolescent to dye his or her hair blonde (or any color, for that matter). Along with the fact that it would be less work for Toriyama to simply change the characters' hair color when they went Super Saiyan, he was also inspired by the fact that they are hard-headed rebels. Toriyama has revealed in an interview that being the traditional woman that Chi-Chi is, her distaste for the Saiyan behavior is meant as a joke about the real-life phenomenon.
1 A Proposal Of Ancient Origins
As many have witnessed in early Dragon Ball, Chi-Chi had to fight Goku in the World Tournament just to get him to propose to her. It turned out to only be a simple misunderstanding (who doesn’t mistake “bride” for food?), but the day was saved as Goku truly did have feelings for Chi-Chi and asked her to marry him anyway. This is actually based upon an ancient Japanese play, Dojoji, where a similar scenario unfolds, except the presumed groom doesn’t mistake “bride” for food and his supposed bride turns into a dragon, killing him. Luckily, Toriyama likes Goku and decided not to follow tradition too tightly on this one. Instead, he made light of one of the most popular and ancient–and also tragic–stories in Japanese history.