The Dragon Ball series has one of the deepest and most beloved casts out of any anime out there. It has a sprawling cast of numerous characters that people fall in love with and grows close to throughout the years. Luckily, many of these prominent characters have plot armor, and —thanks to the dragon balls— can be revived with a little bit of elbow grease. Bulma is one of these significant characters for a multitude of reasons. She was first introduced in Dragon Ball and has since been seen in the new Dragon Ball Super series. This means that she's been a part of Dragon Ball for almost as long as Goku has. Though Bulma has been seen so frequently that doesn't mean there aren't things about her the average man may not know. We all know that she has vibrant blue hair and for some odd reason loves Vegeta, but what are the things we don't know? For a series as long as Dragon Ball it's hard to keep track of every little facet of each character. Some of the facts I present may just be things you've forgotten along the way. Either way, you're bound to have a couple of Bulma facts that may come as a surprise. I'll be covering things spanning multiple series as well as multiple mediums. The list below may include some information that may be considered spoiler-ish in nature. You've been warned. Now, let's learn more about everyone's favorite blue-haired sailor mouth, Bulma.
We all assumed that in Future Bulma's timeline that things were bleak and miserable. I mean, it's the timeline where the Androids takeover and things are meaningless. What we didn't know until Dragon Ball Super was what Goku of that timeline had become. He, unfortunately, died of a heart attack, but unceremoniously was revived and possessed under the alter ego, Goku Black. It should come as no surprise that this evil embodiment of Goku was supremely powerful and led to the deaths of many beloved characters in this timeline. None of these deaths were more heartbreaking than when he ended Future Bulma. He put to rest his oldest friend and colleague. Not only was she destroyed, but it happened right in front of her son, Future Trunks. The scene itself invokes a lot of sadness for longtime fans.
A complaint many people have when it comes to Bulma is that her hair seems to constantly change colors. Throughout the series, her hair has varied between numerous blue, green, and purple tones. The series was created before digital animation, so her hair color resembled the color of the ink mixture for that day. They didn't have the ability to select and use the specific color for each episode. This is something that is often overlooked and explains the lack of consistency in terms of coloring. On top of having her hair vary in color, Bulma has also sported an impressive 18 different hairstyles throughout the entire series. Luckily Goku's hair was black so it wasn't really hard to replicate his hair over and over again.
If you're familiar with Dragon Ball then you'll remember the weird dynamic between Goku and Bulma early on. Goku actually had a tendency to make fun of Bulma for being quite lewd at times. In the original outline of the story, these two were actually meant to have a relationship that eventually blossomed into a real romantic endeavor. Akira Toriyama's editor believed it felt right for the two of them to ultimately end up together. At the beginning of Dragon Ball, Goku is 12, whereas Bulma is 16. This in and of itself is weird to imagine. Secondly, must we forget that Goku didn't know the difference between boys and girls for a very long time. Thankfully Bulma became more of a surrogate mother than she did a girlfriend, and it seems like that was a perfect choice.
Time travel is interesting and seems to often times have more questions than answers. Paradoxes are also a huge part of understanding time travel and how everything makes sense. In the future alternate timeline where the Androids are unstoppable and we see the rise of Goku Black, we also should realize that many other small details have changed drastically. One of these details is that Bulma never has a second child in the future timeline. Vegeta dies after the birth of Trunks, and in this timeline, it seems Bulma can't revive people with the dragon balls. This means that she never gets pregnant a second time from Vegeta and thus Bulla never comes into existence. Fans felt she could have potentially had Bulla with a different partner if the events involving Goku's possession never occurred.
When it comes to anime there always seems to be that one character that's the constant source of fan service. Japan and its anime have a storied history of including female characters that are scantily clad and often are involved in steamy follies mostly at their expense. Over the years Bulma has become less of the fanservice character in the series, but early on in the manga and in Dragon Ball it was awkward at times. Over the years the title of Dragon Ball fan service girl has slowly shifted, but Bulma will always be the first and most steamy of these women. It's great to see the show slowly reflect society and spring strong powerful women to the forefront of the show.
Many people aren't familiar with Bulma's exact birthday. She was born on August 18, Age 733. In Dragon Ball, they don't use years, but rather a measurement known as ages. If Bulma existed in our reality she'd have a few interesting facts tied to her specific birthdate. First, she would have an interesting birthstone. Her stone would be a peridot which is lime green and is known for supposedly instilling its wearer with additional power. Also, being born on August 18th that would make Bulma a Leo. This lines up considering Leos are known for being feisty and quick-tempered, but ultimately being the type of person who will love you unconditionally. Personally, I don't believe in horoscopes but it makes you wonder if that is why Toriyama picked that specific birthdate.
By now it seems that the Western world has become accustomed to receiving dubs of popular anime in a wide range of quality in terms of translation. Currently, it seems that you're far more likely to come across high-quality dubs due to the current climate of today's society. This wasn't always the case though. In a very infamous dub of Dragon Ball known as Harmony Gold fans realized many of the names had been changed. These weren't translation errors, they were simply creative liberties. In this specific dub, Bulma's name was changed to Lena, a far departure from her iconic name. Funny enough, Bulma's name was originally meant to by Pinchi according to a sketch of the Dragon Ball manga by Akira Toriyama himself.
We mentioned it earlier but it should be reiterated. Bulma has had 18 different hairstyles during her extraordinary run in the Dragon Ball series. This is actually quite impressive in the animation world. Many times viewers become accustomed to a specific look of a character and the designers tend to play it safe in hopes of keeping the audience on their good side. With Bulma, it seems that because she was so prominent, but she wasn't a main focal point, they were able to change up her look over the years. When you provide your character with so many different looks it allows the audience to become more immersed and relate to a character on a more personal level. Dragon Ball is a show filled with guys that have ridiculous hair, so it's good to see Bulma with the freedom to express herself.
One thing that came as a huge surprise during Dragon Ball Super was the revelation that Bulma has an older sister. This is weird considering the audience has never really heard a mention of her before the events of Dragon Ball Super. Her name is Tights, which is fitting considering the family's theme in its naming convention. She's 11 years older than Bulma and has striking blonde hair. Like Bulma, Tights is extremely intelligent and is prone to spouts of bratty behavior. Sci-Fi and writing seem to be her biggest areas of interest and talk up a large part of her free time. Tights is also very self-conscious because she graduated from university at the incredible age of 16. It seems that as much physically that Tights and Bulma seem distant, intellectually their cut from the same Einsteinian cloth.
One of the best parts about Dragon Ball is that the fierce Saiyan warriors often end up with women who are strong and powerful in their own right. Like many real-life tribal counterparts, the most powerful men want a woman at their side who matches or exceeds their own strengths. As we see throughout the series Bulma is the perfect antidote to Vegeta's anti-charismatic personality. She's loud, brash, and unafraid to speak her mind, often times to a fault. Bulma manages to do this in a frame that's 5"5' and 110 lbs. This isn't odd or unusual for an Asian woman, but it's funny when you put it into context during the show. Bulma is a smaller woman and yet isn't afraid to tell some of the most physically imposing and threatening individuals to stay in line.
Bulma is arguably one of the most distinct and interesting characters in the entire series. It seems that Akira Toriyama managed to build her from a collection of some of his previous work. Her hot-headed attitude is based on the princess from Toriyama's one-shot manga titled Dragon Boy. The relationship between the princess and the dragon boy very much resembles that of Goku and Bulma in Dragon Ball. Her appearance was apparently largely influenced by a girl from another one of Toriyama's manga one-shots know as The Adventures of Tongpoo. It seems that much of Toriyama's early work centers around a lost boy and a young girl coming together to accomplish the unthinkable. Both of them in search of who they really are in their own unique way.
Did you know Bulma was a smoker? The answer to that is probably not. When you start to think about the characteristics that make Bulma who she is, smoking is the first thing to come to mind. It isn't even the 20th thing for that matter. The biggest flak Dragon Ball Z has ever received is that it was too physical to be a children's show. Rarely did anyone ever mention the fact that a primary character smoked on the show. Bulma has done it so infrequently on the show however that many people even forget she has that nasty little habit. You would think a character as intelligent and concerned with age as Bulma is would know how bad smoking is for you. This leads me to believe that the creators thought it was cool and Bulma would be the only character cool enough to pull it off. She doesn't.
We currently live in a world where we are rightfully starting to celebrate everything women can accomplish. Girls are growing up in a climate where they truly can believe they can be anything they want to be. Bulma falls in line with these types of role models girls can look up to. Unfortunately, it's taken awhile for her to get the respect she deserves, but Bulma is simply brilliant. She's a genius scientist that often gets overlooked for the loudmouth brawn that surrounds her everyday life. It should come as no surprise that her favorite hobby is inventing. You have to be out of this world intelligent in order for your hobby to be creating things the world has never seen. We'll end up talking about some of those inventions she created a bit later in the list, but believe me, she's astonishing.
One of the biggest tropes in the Dragon Ball series is that a number of characters have a specific personality gag that the audience attaches to. Everyone's familiar with Yamcha constantly dying, Krillin getting demolished, and Goku being often aloof. One of these gags that is often overlooked is Bulma being mind-controlled over and over again. This is especially hilarious when you take into account she has a tough as nails personality that doesn't like to be messed with. Bulma's been mind controlled by the likes of both Captain Ginyu and Garlic Jr. She also fell victim to the same thing in the movie Lord Slug. The last time this happened was when Baby parasitically took over Earth and made Bulma the Tuffle Queen. She shouldn't feel bad considering she is a normal human in a universe of powerful entities.
It's a long-running joke that many of the characters have names that mean some of the oddest things. Bulma's family happens to be named after undergarments, yes, the entire family. Her father is known as Dr. Briefs, her mother is Panchy, and her older sister is named Tights. Bulma's children also follow this trend seeing as her son is named Trunks and her daughter is named Bulla. Now, Bulma, Bulla, and Panchy's names aren't as obvious as the other so I'll explain those. Bulma's name means bloomers, Panchy is a play on panties, and Bulla means bra. I love that Toriyama and the team weren't so full of themselves and had fun with these themes for family naming. The underwear is at the very least funny, whereas the Saiyans' being named after vegetables is rather odd.
Vegeta and Bulma have one of the most interesting relationships in the entire series. Its foundation is built on Vegeta believing he needs a loving family to obtain the power levels Goku has been able to reach. He slowly starts to fall head over heels for Bulma and protects her with all of his might. This real, unconditional love is what drives Vegeta to reach his peak at multiple points during the series. Often when Bulma is in the crosshairs or is even hurt is when Vegeta reaches new heights and has even eclipsed Goku's power. For someone as selfish and arrogant as Vegeta, it's only with the love for and from Bulma that he is able to achieve what he so desperately longs for. This is what makes their relationship so important and why Bulma is critical to Vegeta's success.
Your favorite food is probably a question you answer most often in your life. It becomes far more sporadic as you get older, but it happens to be a mainstay in casual conversation. You may be able to rattle off your favorite fruit or dish, but have you yearned for it so badly that you wanted to spend a wish on a lifetime supply of it? Well, Bulma's favorite food is strawberries and she almost did exactly that. Her original plan was to use the wish with the dragon balls on a lifetime supply of strawberries. I can't really argue with her logic here. Strawberries are a great snack and added to many different desserts and yogurts, but man do they expire so quickly. I would have loved to see a deleted scene where she goes through with this wish and is laying in a vault of strawberries.
You know you're having a bad day when you just don't feel like yourself. Imagine taking that to the next level and getting turned into food. Bulma has had the unfortunate circumstance of having that happen to her not once, but twice. More famously she was turned into chocolate, like many others, during the Buu Saga of Dragon Ball Z. This wasn't the only time Bulma was turned edible, however. In Dragon Ball, she came across a man known simply as Master Carrot. He had the ability to turn anyone he touched into a carrot. Lucky for Bulma, Goku and friends came to the rescue and she wasn't turned into rabbit pellets. Imagine being like Midas, except instead of turning people or objects into gold, you turn them into carrots. What a lame superpower.
We've talked about how much of a fan service character Bulma was early on in the anime, but boy howdy was it crazier in the manga. The manga had scenes of her in her in all kinds of compromising positions. This isn't a rare occurrence seeing as this has been a staple in manga over the years. A lot of times it's simply a cultural thing that doesn't translate as easily as the language does. Bulma is such a smart and loving character so it's hard sometimes to go back and look at how she was originally portrayed. Then again, she was younger back then so I don't know if it was meant to represent her immaturity and lack of social skills. Either way, it seems that the past is in the past and the lewdness is behind her.
When a series runs as long as Dragon Ball has you're bound to have a ton of turnover. Being able to keep performers attached and willing to portray the same character becomes more and more convoluted the longer a show goes on. Luckily, Bulma has been voiced by the same Japanese actress since her introduction way back when. Hiromi Tsuru has voiced Bulma since 1986 in every single piece of Dragon Ball media. She'll obviously be reprising her role in the upcoming fighting game titled Dragon Ball FighterZ coming out in late January. The English counterparts for Bulma have seen numerous actresses so it's great to see her truest form experience such consistency. Here's hoping Hiromi Tsuru voices Bulma until the end of time, or at least the end of the series.
Due to recent events, it's believed that Bulma is somewhere in her mid-30s. After doing a bit of simple research you soon come to find out that Bulma is in fact 46 years of age. This is astonishing considering she doesn't look a day over 25 in Dragon Ball Super. Bulma is consumed by her age and thus it should come as no surprise that she actively lies about how old she is during the Battle of the Gods movie. The movie centers around everyone celebrating her birthday while the introduction of Beerus begins. Being able to look drastically younger than you actually are shouldn't be a hard leap in logic for a character who's a brilliant scientist that's also consumed by the inevitability of growing older. When you start to think about it her relationship with Vegeta seems to be a fitting bond of self-doubt.
Akira Toriyama was a created who drew a ton of inspiration from other forms of media and stories he probably grew to adore. We've already talked about how Bulma was heavily influenced by characters from Akira Toriyama's previous manga work, but that wasn't her only source of inspiration. Bulma was also meant to be a parody of sorts from the iconic Journey to the West novel. The character in question is none other than Xuanzang, the monk and main protagonist of the novel. Bulma leads a group of five individuals, each based off of a separate Journey to the West character, in search of the dragon balls. Xuanzang is a male, but Bulma taking on the role follows a Chinese opera tradition of a female portraying the lead character
Many people tend to compare the events of the Android Saga, otherwise known as the Future Trunks Saga, to the events of the seminal Terminator films. Akira Toriyama has admitted that a lot of Future Bulma is based on Sara Connor and Bulma's relationship with Trunks mirrors that of Sara and John Connor. Bulma believes Trunks is the last hope for humanity against staggering odds. In Dragon Ball Super we come to find out that the similarities go to an even farther extent as Trunks, like John Connor, has to face a relentless world after his mother passes way unceremoniously. It shouldn't surprise anyone that Toriyama turned to the Terminator franchise for inspiration. If you're creating a story based on time travel and machinery taking over the world, there's no better reference.
When people think about Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z the first characters that pop into peoples minds are undoubtedly Goku and/or Vegeta. Funny enough, Bulma is never really thought of even though she is the longest running and most reoccurring female character in the entire series. She's been around almost as long as Goku has in terms of the anime series. In such a heavily male-dominated story with a demographic for young males, it's great to see a female character stick around as long as she has. Bulma's been a primary focal point for many of the arcs throughout the show. She's super intelligent and is arguably as important to the livelihood of the Earth as any of the tremendous warriors fighting at Goku's side.
We've already covered numerous times how brilliant of a scientist Bulma is. When your favorite hobby is inventing it should come as no surprise that you end up inventing some amazing things. Bulma is responsible for two of the most important machines in the entire Dragon Ball saga. She created the time machine Future Trunks uses to warn the alternate timeline about the androids. This helps Goku and friends succeed and allow them to change the inevitable. Bulma is also responsible for creating a radar that tracks the dragon balls. You know, the items that can make any wish come true. The items that have been used to revive key characters numerous times. The same ones that she almost selfishly used to create a lifetime of strawberries. Thank you for everything, Bulma!