Dragon Ball Z: What Does The "Z" Stand For?

Dragon Ball is one of the most successful anime franchises in history with many seasons and a large, dedicated fanbase. But, with its success also come questions, like that the hell the "Z" in Dragon Ball Z even means.

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Dragon Ball Z: What does the Z even mean? | © Shueisha

Dragon Ball is undeniably one of the most iconic and globally recognized shows. The franchise boasts an extensive array of merchandise, movies, and multiple series. However, when people think of Dragon Ball, the first thing that comes to mind is typically Dragon Ball Z.

But where does the "Z" in Dragon Ball Z originate? Today, we're here to unravel that mystery, and the answer might just surprise you.

Why The Switch To Dragon Ball Z?

Dragon Ball transitioned to Dragon Ball Z to mark a significant shift in the series' tone and focus. Originally centered around whimsical adventures and martial arts, the series evolved into more intense, dramatic battles with higher stakes, focusing on the now-adult Goku and his encounters with powerful extraterrestrial enemies.

Dragon Ball Z: Two Possible Reasons For The "Z"

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Dragon Ball Z without the Z would just feel weird. | © Shueisha

There are a few reasons why Dragon Ball had the letter Z added at the end of the title. One of them was explained by manga artist Akira Toriyama, who revealed the answer in an interview.

At the time of creating this part of the story, he thought it would be the final installment of the Dragon Ball series. Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super were not even a thought back then. So, to signify the end of the series, he simply chose the final letter of the alphabet and added it to the title.

But there is another theory that has also been stated before as to why the series continued as Dragon Ball Z. There had been multiple names in the running for the second part of the manga, like Dragon Ball 2 or Dragon Ball 90.

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There are so many Dragon Ball shows now. | © Shueisha

Someone working on the Dragon Ball anime explained that it was initially supposed to be called Dragon Ball 2, but Toriyama couldn't read the 2 and accidentally mixed it up with the letter Z.

This would be pretty embarrassing for Toriyama though and would mean that to hide this fact he made up a new story for the internet behind the origin of the Z in the name.

Either way, the name is iconic now and will forever be DBZ. Imagine a DB2... would just look weird, eh?

Sabrina Ahn
Sabrina Ahn