Goku has gone through many teachers and mentors throughout the course of the Dragon Ball franchise. But none of them have been as memorable or as long-lasting as Master Roshi. The Turtle Hermit and dirty old man was Goku's first true teacher and even after his student surpassed him, Roshi has remained an important member of Dragon Ball's supporting cast. He even got to come back into the limelight a little as a fighter during Dragon Ball Super's Tournament of Power arc. Without Master Roshi, we wouldn't have the Kamehameha or be introduced to important characters like Tien Shinhan or Piccolo.
But with all that said, Master Roshi has some strange things going on with his body. Even putting aside his weakness for pretty girls, the old man's body can undergo some wacky transformations and is capable of some crazy things. His advanced age is part of the reason why. Roshi is one of the greatest martial artists in the world, studying numerous different styles and techniques to hone himself into an amazing warrior. After all that time and training, he's practically become a superhuman. His abilities may have paled compared to some of the things seen in Dragon Ball Z and beyond, but back in the early days Master Roshi set the gold standard for power.
Even Beerus, God of Destruction, shows Master Roshi respect. The entries on this list are just a few of the reasons why. Others are just kind of bizarre, but worth knowing about for their weirdness.
These are 25 Weird Things About Master Roshi's Anatomy.
Don't let his frail old form and beach bum clothes fool you. Even in his base form, Master Roshi is much stronger than the average person. Remember, that turtle shell he usually wears on his back weighs 40 kilos or 88 pounds. And Roshi has that as a regular part of his wardrobe like it's nothing. But he can get stronger yet if he gets serious about a fight. Using ki, Master Roshi can buff up his muscles and increase his power. Doing this raises his power level from 135 to 180. That's only a 50% increase too, it's not even his final form.
This is a pretty big one, and kind of embarrassing for Roshi. While everyone in the series has learned how to manipulate ki to fly, Roshi hasn't. He's one of the only fighters in Dragon Ball who can't fly. And it's by choice as well.
Master Roshi refused to learn the flight technique because it was developed by his old rival, Tsuru-Sen'nin. The two's mutual hatred runs that deep. The old master makes up for this in his own odd way. In some of the video games, he flies by twirling his staff over his head like a helicopter.
Master Roshi is clearly a pretty old dude, but he's probably even older than you imagine. When Goku and co. first meet him back in Dragon Ball, dude's already over 300 years old. Yeah, that's pretty darn old. He'll keep getting older too because Roshi is immortal. Well, sort of immortal. He can still lose his life, but now from old age.
How Roshi became immortal is unclear though. Either he gained from a pet phoenix (which he ironically poisoned) or from eating the Paradise Herb which prolongs life. We do know the Paradise Herb is how he maintains his immortality.
His school might be named after a turtle, but Master Roshi is anything but slow. Despite his appearance he's capable of some incredible speed. Among his more impressive displays is when he managed to catch bullets out of the air bare-handed. Roshi didn't just catch a single shot either: this was machine gun fire at point-blank range.
The dude shooting him was standing right in front of him. And yet Roshi caught every single bullet without even flinching. He casually plucked them out of the air before they could hit him. That was so impressive, even the shooter was stunned.
The reason Master Roshi was chosen for the Tournament of Power is simple. What he might have lacked in raw power, he made up for with experience. Roshi has been in so many fights that his instincts have been honed to a razor's edge. He can read more powerful opponents' moves and dodge them just as easily. Heck, in the Dragon Ball Super manga, Roshi's instincts are so good that he holds his own against Jiren. Beerus even wondered if the old man was using Ultra-Instinct. Whis says no, but that Roshi is the closest person to understanding Ultra-Instinct.
Roshi has mastered many esoteric fighting techniques, but one is almost as dangerous to him as to his enemy. If performed wrong it could end his life. The Mafuba, or Evil Containment Wave. This special technique is basically a one-shot win if it's pulled it off, sealing the opponent away in a special container.
Without high stamina and endurance, the Mafuba will suck a person's life force dry. Roshi's master Mutaito fell using it to seal away King Piccolo and the same happened to Roshi years later. Even successful, it can be fatal.
As the creator of the Kamehameha, Master Roshi has been able to utilize it a number of different ways over the years. He can increase its power after going into Max Power Mode or combine his blast together with his students. In some of the games, he can briefly go Max Power and put that strength into the beam. Roshi can even perform his signature move with one hand. That's an interesting case because Goku was the first person to do this, so Roshi learned it from watching his former pupil. The master becomes the student.
If he wants to stun an opponent, Master Roshi has many options at his disposal. He can bind their hands and feet, hit pressure points to disable them, or trap them in an electrical field. Or he could do something gross like this. While hunting for Dragon Balls during the Majin Buu arc, Roshi fought a dinosaur who had swallowed one. So the old man farted in the dinosaur's face, stunning it enough to spit up the Dragon Ball. Afterwards, he claimed this was one of the oldest techniques he'd learned. Ewww. At least say "excuse me," you dirty old man.
He may not be a ninja, but Master Roshi is well-versed in the art of deception while fighting. Using his great speed, Roshi can move fast enough to leave an after image of himself behind. He moves faster than the eye can see.
So it looks like he's still right in front of his opponent when he blindsides them. Roshi can actually take this technique a step further too. He can create multiple after images of himself circling his opponent, confusing them as to which one is really him. Again, he might be a turtle, but he's not slow.
Like everyone else in Dragon Ball, Master Roshi of course has multiple forms. His final form is what's called Max Power Mode. It's when Master Roshi unleashes his full strength and his body hulks out into a huge, muscular form. Doing this increases his power dramatically. All of his techniques, including the Kamehameha, can be performed at their full power to devastating results. It's while in Max Power Mode that Roshi's Kamehameha could destroy the moon. This form does have a down side. His movement speed is slowed and he'll burn through energy way faster. So it's a last resort.
As Goku's teacher, Master Roshi is one of the good guys. For some reason though, he keeps getting possessed or turned evil. It's true, and he keeps attacking Goku when it happens. The first time was during the Garlic Jr. arc of Dragon Ball Z. The titular Garlic Jr. used Black Water Mist to turn Roshi and others into demonic vampires loyal only to him. Thankfully, he was cured before the 24 hour deadline. But then he was possessed before the Tournament of Power, being turned into a Jiangshi puppet and attacking Goku at full power. Roshi, stop letting this happen!
Believe or not, Master Roshi did used to have hair. A pretty full head of it too. But the problem for Roshi is that he's been bald so long, no one recognizes him with hair anymore. Upon finding a photo of the younger Roshi, Bulma couldn't believe it was him, much to the old man's chagrin. Roshi has taken advantage of this though. During the Tenkaichi Budokai, he disguised himself as "Jackie Chun" with a wig to battle against his students. Even though the wig and lack of sunglasses were the only difference in appearance, nobody recognized him.
Unlike many other anime series, psychic powers have never been a big part of Dragon Ball. It's a much more physical kind of series. That just makes it all the more odd that Master Roshi seems to have some psychic powers. Seriously. While disguised as "Jackie Chun," he makes use of both telepathy and hypnosis to deal with opponents. How he can use these is unclear. The hypnosis can be explained. Roshi's sister Fortuneteller Baba uses it, so we can assume he learned it from her. But that doesn't explain the telepathy. Is he just that good at martial arts?
As far as we know, Master Roshi is fully human. An exceptionally well-trained and strong human, but still human. But then he goes and shoots lightning out of his hands. Roshi does this when uses the Thunder Shock Surprise technique. After planting his feet, he shoots out electricity and traps the opponent in an electrical field.
According to Yamcha, it's over 20,000 volts of electricity. Master Roshi doesn't like using this move though, for a few reasons. It's inescapable and potentially lethal, which goes against his moral code. Plus he has to stay in one spot while using it, hindering movement.
It's easy to forget, but before Z introduced aliens and beam struggles, Dragon Ball was more about down to earth martial arts. Given that, it's much more plausible for Master Roshi to have been the world's strongest man. He was the Tenkaichi Budokai champion several times over and even managed to defeat Goku more than once in the Saiyan's youth. Additionally, Roshi was known as Earth's best fighter 50 years before the series. The evil cyborg Dr. Uiro from the movie The World's Strongest was going to steal his body for this reason. Even now, he's still among the series' strongest base humans.
Master Roshi has lived a very long life, and like many others in Dragon Ball, his life has ended a few times. The most impactful of his demises came when he battled King Piccolo. The evil Namekian was an old enemy of Roshi's, costing the life of the old man's master to be sealed away. That's why Roshi faced King Piccolo alone. He tried using the Mafuba to seal the Demon King away again, but Roshi failed and the move drained away his life force. They were later able to use the Dragon Balls to revive the old geezer.
Once the Saiyans were introduced during Dragon Ball Z, Master Roshi kind of took a back seat to events. He was rather outclassed by these new enemies' strength and so stuck to the sidelines. This might have been a bad move though, because it's affected his performance since. When Frieza attacked Earth in Resurrection F and Dragon Ball Super, Roshi was among the defenders. Though still a strong fighter, his age and being out of practice weakened him. He didn't have the stamina he once did. Thankfully, he realized this and performed some secret training to get back in shape.
Many of the things we consider staples of Dragon Ball were first introduced by Master Roshi. The biggest of these is ki manipulation. Kamehamehas, sensing other people's energy, flying. All of that stuff comes from manipulating ki energy and Master Roshi was the person audiences met who could do those things in the series.
This is even more noteworthy because most Earthlings have trouble manipulating their ki like other species can. It takes years of training from special teachers and Roshi was one of the first to learn how to in-universe too.
One reason Master Roshi didn't mind stepping aside during Dragon Ball Z was that he thought he was done. He'd reached his own physical peak and passed his knowledge onto new students who surpassed him. Retirement felt natural to him. But as the old man would learn, there was still further he could go. Before the Tournament of Power, he decided his taste for girls was holding him back and trained rigorously to overcome it. Then during the tournament, after using up what he thought was all his energy, he pushed through to find more within, defeating his superior opponent.
Part of Master Roshi's signature look are his sunglasses. He wears them so often that people don't even recognize him without them. For real, along with a wig, a lack of shades make up his "Jackie Chun" disguise. So for such an important item to the guy, there must be a special reason for them, right? Nope!
Again, in his "Jackie Chun" disguise, we see that Roshi's eye-sight is unaffected by not having his sunglasses. So he probably wears them to complete his beach bum look, along with his Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops.
Okay, so this might be non-canon, but it still has some interesting implications. In the video game Dragon Ball Z: Atsumare! Goku Warudo, Master Roshi is shown using the Makankosappo technique (Special Beam Cannon in the Funimation dub.) This is a big deal because that move is Piccolo's signature attack. It's a Namekian ki technique, but we've seen others like Gohan and Cell able to use it. This is a big deal for Roshi because Piccolo's father, King Piccolo, was one of Roshi's greatest enemies. If Roshi learned this technique from Piccolo, it might mean he's moved past what happened with the slugman's dad.
You ever wonder why people are always screaming in Dragon Ball? Turns out it's because they can turn screams into attacks. It's called the Kiai technique. By screaming really, really loud, the fighter can manipulate their ki in the air around them. This will turn their ki into a shock-wave they can throw at opponents. Obviously it's more effective the closer opponent is. Goku learned this move from Kami, not from Master Roshi, but the old turtle hermit has been shown using this technique. In the game Dragon Ball: Origins, he uses it in the optional boss fight against Goku.
Looking at Master Roshi and his sister Fortuneteller Baba, you might think they're around the same age. They're both clearly very old. Heck, you might think Baba is younger because her hair isn't white like Roshi's. But in both cases, you'd be wrong. Master Roshi, despite appearances, is the younger sibling.
By a good margin, at that. While both are immortal, Baba is 500 years old compared to Roshi's 300. The difference in appearance can probably be explained by their lifestyles. While Roshi spent his youth training as a martial artist, Baba was content to stay in her palace and charge people for their fortunes.
Ever since Vegeta declared that Goku's power level was over 9,000, Dragon Ball fans have been wanting everyone else's power levels. Ancillary materials have been happy to provide this. Though some characters don't measure up as well as others. Master Roshi only has a power level of 135.
In fairness to the old man though, this was at the start of Dragon Ball Z. His level has gone up a little since then. When he gets serious about a fight, it jumps to 180 and his Max Power mode increases that too. By the time of Super, Roshi even matches base mode Goku.