“The Dragon Balls were intended to be a thing of extraordinary magic and power, something to be revered, not for the ease of their method, but for the dream of never having to use them.“
& (Positive Energy)
& (Negative Energy)
Dragon Balls (ドラゴンボール, Doragon Bōru) are the namesake artifact of the Dragon Ball series. They are large, crystalline spheres (of varying sizes and colors) that feature five-pointed stars (ranging from one to seven, and also varying in sizes and colors, along with being either rigid or flat in appearance) inside of themselves (akin to glass art); individually, they have no powers, but united they have the ability to call forth their associated Eternal Dragon who can grant (usually) one wish(s).
In the Dragon Ball: Bouken Special, the Dragon Ball manga author, Akira Toriyama, explains that there are seven Dragon Balls because there are eight balls in Hakken-Den, a famous Edo-era Japanese novel, and that he would have hated for them to be exactly the same number, so he had the amount of Dragon Balls be changed to seven in number.
Unlike other forms of fiction that involve wishes being granted, the Dragon Balls seem to grant a wish exactly as the wisher imagined it, rather than warping the wish so that it is technically granted, but ends up making the wisher’s life even more difficult. For example, when King Piccolo wished for youth, he was not reduced to an infant, but rather, appeared in his prime. Also, when a victim is revived from the dead, they are not undead, but rather, are truly alive. This is likely so that there is a legitimate reason to pursue the Dragon Balls by the protagonists, as they would not have a justification to rely on them if they knew they would never grant a proper wish. Also, unlike wishes in other literary works, the eternal dragons are actually sentient beings; thus, they may be capable of interpreting a wish however they see fit, but usually choose to interpret them how they know the wisher actually wants, as a courtesy rather than as a rule. Credence is lent to this theory in the movie Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn, where Shenron was asked to move all the dead people back to the Other World. He claimed that he was perfectly capable of granting the wish precisely as it was uttered, but knew what consequences the Z Fighters were expecting (that the onslaught of undead would be resolved and peace would be restored), and told them of the futility of the wish.
The only time a wish was not granted exactly as the wisher imagined it was during the Frieza Saga, when Piccolo was wished to Planet Namek, but not to the Z-Fighter’s specific location. However, this is still consistent with the theory that an eternal dragon can interpret wishes; Porunga is much more cynical than Shenron, and so it makes sense that he would twist a wisher’s words out of sheer spite. Another example is Emperor Pilaf and Future Pilaf who’s wish ended up reverting the Pilaf Gang to childhood in the main timeline and infancy in Trunks’ timeline, though it is suggested that this was fault of Pilaf and his future counterpart when they made their wishes, rather than Shenron (as Pilaf has a history of bungling his wishes as Pilaf accidentally causes Goku to revert to a child with a wish to Ultimate Shenron in Dragon Ball GT which offers further evidence that it was the fault of Pilaf in those cases) in contrast to Shu in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ and both Shu and Mai in Dragon Ball Super; in both cases, they had their wishes granted (money for Shu and ice cream for Mai) with little trouble (other than them arguing about the nature of each other’s wish and how the other could have made a better wish).
Additionally, the Dragon Balls may have been inspired by the Buddhist scriptures that Xuangzang set out to retrieve in Journey to the West, the primary source of inspiration for the Dragon Ball franchise.
The Four-Star Dragon Ball
The Dragon Balls come in sets of seven with each ball displaying the number of stars that signifies its respective number in the set. It was said by Colonel Silver that the Dragon Balls are unbreakable when he dropped a fake Dragon Ball.Vegeta likely did not know this when he ordered Krillin to destroy one before the Ginyu Force took them on Namek. In the Fusion Saga, while Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks is fighting Super Buu, Piccolo says “If you break even one of the balls they can never be used again”, which may mean that the Dragon Balls are not completely indestructible or that they are destructible when turned to stone (as they were turned to stone at the time).
While the Dragon Balls take a year to return to normal, there have been two cases where they were used more than once in a year. The first example of this was when Kami revived Shenron and told Goku it would normally take a year since King Piccolo made a wish to restore his youth just days earlier but he decided to make an exception for Goku and his friends this once. The second and currently final time this happened was when Piccolo, and subsequently Kami, died during the battle with Nappa, and was later revived, effectively restarting the Dragon Balls, allowing them to be used to revive all those killed by Frieza and his men on Namek, with the first wish being to revive Goku happened around a month earlier. The exception to this is when the summoner chooses to save their wishes, at which point the Dragon Balls become inert for four months.
Each set Dragon Balls are difficult to find because they are scattered all over their respective planet, all across their respective universe/galaxy (depending on the dub for Dragon Ball GT) in the case of the Black-Star Dragon Balls, across numerous universes in the case of the Super Dragon Balls or even throughout time and space in the case of the Dark Dragon Balls and are deactivated for a year after every wish (though this depends on their origins, as a Namekian year is nearly one-third [130 days] of a year on Earth [365 days], thus the Namekian Dragon Balls can be used more frequently than Earth’s), disguising themselves as stones. To create an opportunity to summon an Eternal Dragon, one must travel all over the globe to retrieve them. As technology eventually progressed, this became somewhat easier, and became relatively simple with Bulma‘s invention of the Dragon Radar. Though the Dragon Balls are “programmed” to scatter across a specific location(s) after having been used, it is shown at least one can be stopped from scattering alongside the others, as Goku jumped into the air and grabs the Four-Star ball before it can fly away at the end of the Fortuneteller Baba Saga.
Dragon Radar designed by Bulma
Restrictions on the Dragon’s powers are set by the relative capabilities of the Dragon Ball set’s creator. A big problem throughout the series is that with any set of Dragon Balls is that their creator must be alive for them to function, otherwise they will be stones for eternity, such as in Future Trunks‘ alternate timeline, due to Future Piccolo‘s death; this often results in the Dragon Team protecting their creator with their lives. The Dragon Balls can be rendered inactive if the model of the dragon breaks; likewise, if the dragon is destroyed, the model breaks.
Without a model of the dragon and a set of Dragon Balls (in its stone form), it would take about 100 days to create the Dragon Balls (as mentioned by Dende before he modified them). If the creator allows it, the Dragon Balls can be used even if a year has not passed; this happens only once in the series, when Kami allowed Goku and his friends to revive all people killed by King Piccolo, even though it had only been a few days since King Piccolo wished to restore his youth.
Since all seven Dragon Balls must be brought together (though it is unknown exactly what the maximum distance amongst the balls for them to be considered ‘together’ is), it is often a sound strategy employed by the villains of the series to find one Dragon Ball and hold on to it, while the Z Fighters go through the trouble of finding the other six, after which the villain will step in and steal them. Since this strategy technically works, but is considered cheap, the Z Fighters do not usually employ it, as they prefer to fight fair. However, the Z-Fighters did use this tactic during the Namek Saga, when Gohan took Vegeta’s Four Star Namekian Dragon Ball, because Krillin and Gohan knew they could not beat Vegeta or Frieza’s forces without Goku’s help, so they resorted to this tactic just that once.
Old Kai once warned the Z Fighters not to overuse the Dragon Balls. This is elaborated upon in the Shadow Dragon Saga of Dragon Ball GT, since the Dragon Balls are only supposed to be used once every 100 years.
The most well known Dragon Ball is the Four-Star Dragon Ball, being the one Grandpa Gohan had and which Goku kept after he passed away, also being the one which Goku put on his first son Gohan‘s hat. The Namekian Dragon Ball Vegeta stole, and that was later stolen from him by Gohan, was also the Four-Star Dragon Ball. In Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Second Coming, the Four-Star Dragon Ball is the last Dragon Ball to be collected before Trunks, Goten and Videl summon Shenron, and was also the last ball to be found by Bulma before summoning Shenron to wish back those who were killed by Majin Vegeta at the 25th World Martial Arts Tournament. In the Black Star Dragon Ball Saga of Dragon Ball GT, the first Black Star Dragon Ball collected is the Four-Star Dragon Ball. Later, in the Shadow Dragon Saga, the only good Shadow Dragon, Nuova Shenron, is the Four-Star Dragon.
Earth Dragon Balls
Main article: Earth Dragon Ball
Bulma explaining the Dragon Balls to Goku
The Earth Dragon Balls are about 7.5 cm (approximately 3 in) in diameter, and they summon a dragon named Shenron. They were created by Kami, and later re-created by Dende. Shenron can grant a wish within its powers as long as it does not create love, repeat a wish he previously granted, surpasses its creator’s power, and meets a few more restrictions. Legitimate wishes include eternal youth, immortality, bringing back a scorched forest or even an annihilated planet.
One of the most common wishes is bringing a dead person back to life, although there are several limitations on that as well. For starters, as stated above, the dragon will not grant the same wish more than once, which has the net result of ensuring that nobody can be wished back to life more than once. Also, they cannot revive a person who has died of natural causes. Although Earth’s dragon balls can revive multiple dead people at once, when multiple people are revived, only those who have been dead for one year or less can be revived. This is often misunderstood by fans to mean that only those who have been dead for less than a year can be revived, but that is never explicitly stated in the series; all Kami ever says is that only wishes to revive multiple people are limited to a one-year time frame. Indeed, this misconception is finally put to rest in the Golden Frieza Saga, when Frieza was restored to life with Earth’s dragon balls, despite Frieza being unquestionably dead for longer than a year. It is unknown if this restriction is still in place after Dende upgraded Shenron. In addition, when one is wished back to life, they awaken in the place where they were killed, such as the case with Bora, essentially reuniting the body with the soul. If one’s body had been completely vaporized, they would come back in the last state they were alive in as shown by Mecha Frieza who was revived in pieces as the last time he was alive was after Future Trunks’ had cut him into pieces (Frieza continued to live due to his ability to survive horrific injuries) before finishing him off. As shown by Frieza condition of the revived person depends on the person being revived as Frieza was revived in pieces due to him being able to live despite his entire body being cut up. If a person has been allowed to keep their body in Other World as with Goku, then the person will be revived in Other World (which causes their halo to disappear) forcing them to return to the living world on their own. However, this apparently only applies to noble souls like Goku, as evil souls like Mecha Frieza who kept his body in Earth’s Hell was revived on Earth in pieces, though it is possible that Dende’s alternations to the Dragon Balls how resurrection functions or Frieza being revived on Earth instead of Earth’s Hell was due to Shenron’s interpretation of Sorbet’s wish as Sorbet wanted to restore Frieza to life, so he could restore Frieza’s body using the Frieza Force’s more advanced medical technology.
Another restriction is that it cannot kill enemies that exceed the creator’s power. This is often understood by fans to be a ban on killing villains generally, but that is not explicitly stated. All Shenron states is that he cannot kill someone who exceeds the power of his creator (who, at the time, was Kami); as such, this dialogue opens the possibility for weaker villains such as Emperor Pilaf or Mercenary Tao to be killed off with a wish to the Dragon Balls; however, by the time someone had the idea to make such a wish, the villains were already more than 80 times stronger than Kami, who had a power level of only around 220, and villains would get even stronger after that. It should also be noted that such a wish would be unnecessary anyway as any villain Shenron could kill would also be within the power of his creator (Kami or Dende depending on the time frame) thus Kami or Dende could easily deal with the villain themselves (which would fit with their role as Guardian of Earth) or seek the aid the Earth’s fighters that are stronger than them like Goku, Gohan, and Piccolo who are all far stronger than either Kami or Dende. This would have especially been true in Kami’s time as Kami is experienced martial artist and the Dragon Balls could only grant one wish which would be far more useful in undoing the damage (deaths and/or destruction) caused by said villains who could be easily dealt by the heroes, Kami included. It should be noted that Dende takes on a more supportive role and tends to leave the fighting to the Z Fighters who would be unlikely to use the Dragon Balls to deal with villains that they could easily deal with themselves, especially given Goku and Vegeta’s innate Saiyan love for battle, while others like Piccolo and Gohan (who’s gentle nature would likely prevent him from making such a wish) would probably recognize the danger of over relying on the Dragon Balls to kill villains they could easily handle on their own. Additionally, said villains could simply acquire the Dragon Balls themselves to prevent them being used against them and/or use the Earth’s Dragon Balls to acquire immortality as Garlic Jr. did.
The Eternal Dragon will grant the first wish uttered after it was called, by whomever is present. However, during the episode Eternal Dragon Resurrected, a notable exception to this rule was displayed: The Dragon has discretion to change a wish at the last minute, provided the original wisher consents to the change. First, Bulma asked the Dragon to revive “all of [their] friends who were killed by Piccolo.” Oolong then clarified that the friends they wanted revived were “Krillin, Master Roshi, and Chiaotzu.” Shenron was about to grant this wish, but at the last minute, Yamcha interjected and requested that all of Piccolo’s victims, not just their friends, be revived as well. Shenron read the faces of Bulma and Oolong, realized that they liked this change, and agreed to make the change.
Pilaf summons Shenron
The Dragon Balls were rendered inert three times: the first time was after King Piccolo murdered Shenron shortly after the latter granted him his wish, and was subsequently revived by Kami after Goku proved to him that there were still some good people in the world (originally, Kami had no intention of reviving them due to the purpose for creating them being corrupted by man’s greed). The second time was after Kami ended up indirectly killed by Nappa when Piccolo took Nappa’s attack meant for Gohan, although they were restored upon Kami’s revival. They were then rendered inert for a final time when Piccolo and Kami decided to reunite due to Cell‘s grave threat to the world. Goku and the other Z Fighters initially did not consider restoring the Dragon Balls, but after Cell wiped out the entirety of the Royal Armed Forces when they attempted to attack Cell during the ten day wait before the Cell Games, Goku decided to find a means to restore the Dragon Balls, even if Kami could not defuse from Piccolo.
When Dende became the Earth’s guardian, he modified the burnt out Dragon Balls created by Kami, giving Shenron the power to grant three wishes (two wishes if one wish is used to revive a large amount of people). He chose simply modifying Kami’s Dragon Balls over creating a new set because the time it would take to create a new set from scratch was far too long, especially given the imminent threat of Cell. In addition to this, Dende’s dragon can grant one wish and then have the other wishes saved for a later time. This was shown in the Buu Saga, when one wish was made to revive all those killed by Majin Vegeta, and then Goku asked Shenron to save the following wishes. Therefore, only four or so months after Kid Buu’s defeat, another wish was made to erase the Earthlings’ memories of Buu. One obstacle that Dende could not overcome for the new set of balls is that, a person cannot be revived more than once. However in Dragon Ball GT Shenron is able to revive Krillin (and presumably Android 17 who had been revived after the Cell Games) who had previously been revived by Shenron, indicating that this limitation has been removed or it was due to the special nature of the wish itself which was granted by Shenron as a final wish after the defeat of the Shadow Dragons. Like the Namekian Dragon Balls, the summoner must utter a set of words. In Dragon Ball Z, these words are “Eternal Dragon, by your name, I summon you forth: Shenron!” In Dragon Ball GT, right before the Shadow Dragon Saga, the words have changed to “Arise, Shenron!”
The Two-Star ball full of negative energy
It is unclear whether Dragon Balls can revive artificial life or not. While Android 17 was revived during the Cell Games Saga, he started out as a human and was made into an android by Dr. Gero. Android 16, who was killed by Cell, was not seen again in the series even after the wish was made to revive all of Cell’s victims. However in Dragon Ball FighterZ it is implied that Shenron was apparently unable to revive Android 16 who was revived by Android 21 by uploading the original 16’s memories into a new body. As his memory apparently survived the destruction of his original body, Shenron may have been unable to revive Android 16 as his mind had survived the destruction of his original body thus he was technically still alive due to his nature as a mechanical type android which presumably allows him to survive the destruction of his body as long as his original memories remain intact to allow them to be uploaded into a new body. Presumably this would have also prevented his revival by Shenron in the main series as well.
The Legend of the Dragon Balls
In the Dragon Ball episode “The Legend of a Dragon“, Master Roshi told a popular legend about the origin of the Dragon Balls. This legend is only present in the anime and contradicts the explanation given later in the series about Kami being their creator. Since Roshi’s tale is only a rumor he had heard, it was likely a myth presumably created by the Earthlings. However, it is worth noting that the rumor closely resembles the story of how the Dragon Balls were made from parts of the Super Dragon Balls in Dragon Ball Super. Another possibility is that Kami may have created the myth himself to obscure the Dragon Balls origins from the people of Earth. Additionally, the story of the hero may have been created by Kami to inspire the people of Earth to use the Dragon Balls for good.
The “Original Dragon Ball” as shown in Roshi’s story
“The Legend, as I was told, goes something like this. In the beginning there was only one Dragon Ball. It was huge. I mean REALLY huge, it had to be. It held all of the mystical energies of the universe. An ancient tribe discovered it, and was inspired by its magnificent power. They built a shrine around it, and protected the orb by placing it in the mouth of a giant Dragon statue, said to be its eternal guardian. You should have seen the detail on this thing, it was INCREDIBLE, scales made of Ruby, teeth of pearl—speaking of pearl, they say there was this one native girl (“GET ON WITH IT!”)—yes, well, the tribe enjoyed years of prosperity until one day, evil paid a visit to the village in the form of a band of thieves. These agents of Darkness stormed the temple in an attempt to steal the Dragon Ball for their own selfish gain. They were shocked to discover the true power of the Ball. To ensure such an attack never happened again, the Dragon Ball was divided into seven smaller orbs, and scattered across the globe. Separately, the Dragon Balls were useless, but when all seven were united, then a single voice could summon the Eternal Dragon for one wish, and one wish only. Some wishes were pure, but others were tainted by blind ambition. This led to pain and suffering as an unjust few wished for power and dominion over mankind. But as the story goes there will one day come a hero who will use the Dragon Balls for goodness, and bring peace and unity to the world once more.”
Namekian Dragon Balls
Main article: Namekian Dragon Ball
The Namekian Dragon Balls
Unlike the Dragon Balls of Earth, the approximately basketball-sized Dragon Balls of planet Namek summon a different dragon, Porunga, and can grant three wishes, due to their creation by Grand Elder Guru. They can be used once per Namekian year, approximately 130 Earth days. However, Porunga is initially only capable of one individual’s revival per wish, whereas the Eternal Dragon of Earth can wish many back to life, even the entire population of a planet, with a single wish. Additionally, the Namekian Dragon Balls require the summoner to say a password before the dragon can be summoned, and the wish must be spoken in the Namekian language; the Z Fighters usually use Dende to translate their wishes to Porunga. One notable advantage that the Namekian Dragon Balls have over those of Earth is that they can revive a person as many times as wished, something even Dende’s upgraded Shenron could not do until Dragon Ball GT.
Furthermore, the Namekian dragon balls do not scatter across the planet after a wish is made. This allows the dragon balls to be used immediately after they are revived from stone, without having to gather them up.
When Guru is about to die, he is able to name Moori as the new Elder right before he passes at the end of the Frieza Saga, after which the Dragon Balls’ existence rests on the new Elder’s fate. It is unknown if the Earth’s Dragon Balls can be passed on in such a manner. Sometime after settling on New Namek, the Namekians decided to modify their existing Dragon Balls, giving Porunga the ability to grant the wish of resurrecting many living beings at once rather than just one at a time. This was done as a reaction to their experiences dealing with Frieza. Also, in the Kid Buu Saga, Porunga is able to grant a wish that is not spoken in Namekian language, as Dende wishes for all those killed by Buu to be brought back in the common language.
Black Star Dragon Balls
Main article: Black Star Dragon Ball
The Three-Star Black Star Dragon Ball
In Dragon Ball GT, the concept of “Black Star Dragon Balls” was introduced. This set of Dragon Balls was created by the Nameless Namekian, before he had split into Kami and King Piccolo. Presumably because this Namek was not pure good and was much more powerful (since he had not dispelled his evil half) the Black Star Dragon Balls can summon the much more powerful Ultimate Shenron, a mighty dragon that is not restricted as much as the normal Shenron (e.g. he can grant a wish to kill a person). To counter this powerful improvement, the Black Star Dragon Balls have two big downsides. First, when Ultimate Shenron grants a wish, the Black Star Dragon Balls scatter across the galaxy, rather than on Earth. Secondly, the planet upon which Ultimate Shenron grants a wish will be destroyed in one year unless the Black Star Dragon Balls are returned to the aforementioned planet. Apart from this, unlike the Earth or Namekian Dragon Balls, the Black Star Dragon Balls never transform into stones and can be used as soon as they are retrieved after being scattered.
In Dragon Ball GT, Emperor Pilaf uses them and unintentionally turns Goku back into a kid. Pan, Goku and Trunks are eventually able to recover them. However, they are used again by Baby to have Planet Tuffle revived. At the end of the Baby Saga, Piccolo decides that the Black Star Dragon Balls are far too dangerous to allow to exist, so he stays on Earth as it explodes, killing himself to ensure that they would never hurt anyone again.
In Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi, they are known as the Ultimate Dragon Balls and Piccolo apparently modifies them so their downsides are removed, causing them to function more like the Dragon Balls of Earth. However Omega Shenron uses them to turn the Earth into a living hell and corrupts Ultimate Shenron with his negative energy. The Ultimate Tenkaichi Hero manages to defeat Omega Shenron and collects all seven but is confronted by Ultimate Shenron who attacks them when he is summoned due to Omega Shenron’s negative energy. The hero manages to defeat Ultimate Shenron, removing the negative energy from him restoring the Dragon to normal. However Ultimate Shenron reveals that Omega Shenron’s negative energy has grown too powerful for even his power to undo the effects of Omega Shenron’s wish, so the hero wishes that all those killed as a result of Omega Shenron’s wish be revived and decides to find another way to restore the Earth to normal without the Dragon Balls.
Negative energy and the Shadow Dragons
Main article: Shadow Dragons
The cracked Dragon Balls
First mentioned by Old Kai in Dragon Ball Z, whenever a wish is made using the Dragon Balls, an equal amount of negative energy is created alongside the beneficial wish-granting energy. To prevent this energy from causing problems, the Dragon Balls absorb this dark energy. The dark energy stored in the Dragon Balls disperses only after 100 years, and the Dragon Balls can only store a limited amount of it. After used to make a wish, the Dragon Balls scatter across the planet, giving them time to dispel the dark energy harmlessly (since it is expected that it would take years for someone to find all the Dragon Balls and summon Shenron again, especially since most people do not know about their power). Unfortunately, this countermeasure was proved near useless when Bulma invented the Dragon Radar, allowing the Z Fighters to easily find the Dragon Balls and summon Shenron many times. Eventually, during Dragon Ball GT, all seven Dragon Balls were filled to full capacity, causing them to crack. When these damaged Dragon Balls were used to summon Shenron to restore the Earth after Goku’s battle with Super 17, the Dragon Balls released years worth of dark energy instead, which manifested into an evil Black Smoke Shenron, who in turn swallowed the Dragon Balls and split into seven Shadow Dragons.
Black Smoke Shenron
Despite the fact that the seven Shadow Dragons were all created by individual wishes, not every wish made spawned a Shadow Dragon. For example, none of the wishes made after the Cell Games to revive Cell’s victims and remove the bombs from the Androids spawned a Shadow Dragon. It is unknown what became of the negative energy of those wishes.
Presumably the Namekian Dragon Balls and Super Dragon Balls are capable of storing larger amounts of negative energy generated by wishes, due to them being larger than the Earth’s Dragon Balls.
Super Dragon Balls
Main article: Super Dragon Ball
The Original Dragon Balls, the Super Dragon Balls
The Super Dragon Balls are the original set of Dragon Balls formed by the Dragon God, Zalama. The Namekians found the Super Dragon Balls and they shaved pieces off to make their own. These Dragon Balls have no limits and can grant any wish the user desires. The size of these balls are the size of planets, and at one point, Champa even calls them “wish planets”.
The Dragon of the Gods Super Shenron
Champa had collected six of the Super Dragon Balls and Bulma was on the search for the remaining one, which is revealed to be the Nameless Planet. To summon the Dragon of the Gods, the summoner needs to say in the Divine Language “Come forth Dragon of the Gods and grant my wish pretty peas!” (the last part is changed to “peas and carrots” in the Funimation dub). After a wish is made they scatter across Universes 6 and 7.
Dark Dragon Balls
Main article: Dark Dragon Ball
The Dark Dragon Balls
Dark Shenron, the Demonic Eternal Dragon of the Dark Dragon Balls
Gathering all seven enables one to summon Dark Shenron to have a wish granted, but the Dark Dragon Balls are even trickier to gather, as they scatter throughout time and space.
Frieza possessed by/merged with the 1-star Dark Dragon Ball
Also, they possess the unique ability to merge with evil beings in order to increase their power. To remove a Dark Dragon Ball from its host, they must be defeated within a specific amount of time; if not removed in time, the Dark Dragon Balls will cause the host to undergo a Dark Evolution, further empowering them.
Special Dragon Balls
Main article: Special Dragon Ball
The One-Star Dragon Ball
Emperor Pilaf Saga
Fortuneteller Baba Saga
King Piccolo Saga
Piccolo Jr. Saga
- Reviving everyone killed by King Piccolo and his children. (Granted by Shenron; Spawned Eis Shenron in the anime)
Dragon Ball Z
- Dende, Gohan and Krillin wish for Piccolo‘s life to be restored. Then they wish for Piccolo to be transported to planet Namek. (Granted by Porunga, two wishes)
- Mr. Popo wishes for all those killed by Frieza and his henchmen in Namek brought back to life, but the tribe killed by Vegeta were not brought back as Vegeta did not count as one of Frieza’s henchmen at that time. This is the only wish that Shenron was unsure of his ability to grant. (Granted by Shenron; Spawned Syn Shenron)
- Dende wishes everyone on Namek to be transported to Earth except for Goku and Frieza. (Granted by Porunga)
- Wish for Krillin’s soul to be moved to Earth, and then to be brought back to life. (Granted by Porunga, two wishes)
- Wish for the Z Fighters Yamcha, Chiaotzu and Tien Shinhan‘s lives to be restored. (Granted by Porunga, three wishes)
- Wish for all Namekians on Earth, except Piccolo and Kami, to be transported to New Namek. (Granted by Porunga)
Cell Games Saga
- A wish to revive all people killed by Cell and the other androids and second wish for the self-destruct bombs in Android 17 and Android 18 to be removed. (Granted by Shenron)
Majin Buu Saga
The seven Dragon Balls
- Bulma wished that everyone who died since the morning of the World Martial Arts Tournament be brought back to life. (Granted by Shenron; Spawned Naturon Shenron)
- The remaining wish was saved up, giving them four months until they were able to make their second wish.
- A wish to restore the recently destroyed planet Earth, another wish to revive all those killed since the morning of the 25th World Martial Arts Tournament back to life except for those that are evil, and the last wish to restore Goku’s strength so he could completely fire the Spirit Bomb. (Granted by Porunga)
- A wish for all memories of Majin Buu’s havoc on Earth to be erased, except from the Z Fighters, and the other supporting characters. (Granted by Shenron, made using the remaining wish saved up from the last summoning; spawned Eis Shenron acorrding to Dragon Ball GT Perfect Files).
Dragon Ball Super
- Pilaf wishes for youth for himself and for his gang. (Granted by Shenron, set during the Android conflict)
- King Kai asks for Moori’s permission to use the Namekian Dragon Balls to revive his planet. King Kai thinks of having a bigger planet with a race track, a beautiful house, and less gravity. Goku shows up and uses the wish to keep it the same as was previously because having ten times gravity is great for training. (Granted by Porunga)
God of Destruction Beerus Saga
- Goku wishes for the knowledge of the Super Saiyan God. (Granted by Shenron)
- Kibito Kai wishes to be split into Shin and Kibito. (Granted by Porunga)
Golden Frieza Saga
- Sorbet wishes Frieza back from Hell. (Granted by Shenron)
- Shu wishes for a million Zeni. (Granted by Shenron)
- Mai wishes for the best ice cream in the world. (Granted by Shenron)
- Piccolo is brought back to life. (Granted by Porunga)
Universe 6 Saga
- Beerus wishes for Shenron to go away. (Granted by Shenron)
- Whis wishes for Universe 6‘s Earth and its Humans to be revived. (Granted by Super Shenron)
“Future” Trunks Saga
- Zamasu wishes to swap bodies with Goku and becomes Goku Black. (Granted by Super Shenron, Goku Black’s timeline)
- Goku Black and Future Zamasu use the Super Dragon Balls to make Future Zamasu immortal. (Granted by Super Shenron, Trunks’ timeline)
- Goku Black and Future Zamasu wish for the Super Dragon Balls to be destroyed. (Granted by Super Shenron, Trunks’ timeline)
- Gohan wishes for Pan’s fever to be cured. (Granted by Shenron)
Universe Survival Saga
- Android 17 wishes for all the erased universes to be restored. (Granted by Super Shenron)
Galactic Patrol Prisoner Saga
- Cranberry wishes for his wounds to be healed. (Granted by Porunga)
- Cranberry wishes for Moro‘s magic powers to be restored. (Granted by Porunga)
- Moro wishes that all Galactic Patrol prisoners be set free. (Granted by Porunga)
Dragon Ball GT
Black Star Dragon Ball Saga
- Emperor Pilaf accidentally wishes for Goku to be turned into a child. (Granted by Ultimate Shenron)
- Baby Vegeta’s wish for a new Planet Plant to be created and located near Earth, complete with buildings and plants. (Granted by the Ultimate Shenron)
- A wish to restore the Earth after being destroyed by the side effects of using the Black Star Dragon Balls. (Granted by Porunga)
Shadow Dragon Saga
Earth Dragon Balls on Omega Shenron’s chest
- A wish to revive all the people who were killed during the Super 17 and Shadow Dragon Sagas. (Granted by Shenron)
- Shenron was able to revive people who had been wished back to life using the Earth Dragon Balls before because the wish was a special wish granted to Goku and the Z Fighters by Shenron without being summoned by the Dragon Balls, before he parted from the Earth.
Dragon Ball movies
Dragon Ball Movie 1: Curse of the Blood Rubies
- Penny’s wish for the end of the rubies.
Dragon Ball Movie 3: Mystical Adventure
- Goku wishes for Bora to be revived.
Dragon Ball Tenth Anniversary Special:
- Goku wishes for Shenron to rebuild Android 8 and remove the bomb inside him.
Dragon Ball Z Movie 1: Dead Zone
- Garlic Jr.‘s wish for immortality.
Dragon Ball Z Movie 2: The World’s Strongest
- Dr. Kochin wishes for Dr. Wheelo to be released from his icy prison.
Dragon Ball Z Movie 3: The Tree of Might
- Bulma, Gohan and Krillin wish to restore the forest.
Dragon Ball Z Movie 4: Lord Slug
- Lord Slug wishes for his youth to be restored.
The Four-Star Dragon Ball, found by Goten
Dragon Ball Z Movie 10: Broly – Second Coming
- Goten wishes that his father were there, and an image of Goku appears; though this creates an interesting plot hole. First, Shenron does not appear when Goten tries to summon him; second the sky is not even dark when the wish is made. Also at this point, Dende had powered up Shenron to grant three wishes, though when the Dragon Balls read Goten thoughts about wishing Goku was there to help them, the Dragon Balls still scatter at the end of the movie.
Dragon Ball Z Movie 12: Fusion Reborn
- Shenron appears, but no wish is made, leading to a somewhat comedic ending, with Shenron saying “Is somebody going to make a wish or what?”
Dragon Ball Z Movie 13: Wrath of the Dragon
- Hoi wishes to unlock a box he found. (Tapion was in it).
- As they say their goodbyes to Tapion, Goku and friends mention that they will summon the dragon again to wish all the people back to life who died during the battle against Hirudegarn (this part of the conversation is mentioned in the Japanese version).
Dragon Ball Z Movie 14: Battle of Gods
- The Pilaf Gang wished for their youth prior to the events of the movie.
- Beerus demands Shenron to tell the Saiyans how to make a Super Saiyan God, allowing the Saiyans to learn how the form is attained, ultimately leading to Goku achieving the form.
Dragon Ball Z Movie 15: Resurrection ‘F’
- Frieza Force‘s Sorbet and his body guard, Tagoma, wish to revive the galactic tyrant Frieza so he can restore the Frieza Force‘s evil empire, the single most evil wish ever made with the Earth’s Dragon Balls. Frieza is revived as he was just before his death via the finishing blast of Future Trunks‘ Shining Sword Attack, as Mecha Frieza and in pieces. Sorbet and Tagoma collect all of the pieces of Frieza and put the organic parts in a healing chamber; Frieza’s body is regenerated and he reverts himself back into his first form, thus setting in motion the events of the film.
- Shu wishes for one million zeni.
- Bulma says she’ll gather the Dragon Balls to revive North City since Frieza destroyed it.
Dragon Ball Super Movie 1: Broly
Dragon Ball Xenoverse series
Dragon Ball Xenoverse
- In Age 850, Xeno Trunks uses the Dragon Balls of Toki Toki City to summon a warrior who could defend history (the customizable main protagonist of Xenoverse). This warrior later defeats the Demon God Demigra and becomes the Hero of Toki Toki City.
- In Age 778, Demigra uses the Earth’s Dragon Balls to revive Frieza, Cell, and Kid Buu in order to use his Dark Magic to possess and control them creating The Bosses.
- Chronoa uses Toki Toki City‘s set of Dragon Balls (as Dende had created multiple sets by Age 850) to summon Shenron and wishes that Goku be informed of the threat posed by Demigra and revived Bosses in Age 778.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
- In the altered timeline of Age 779, Cooler is revived after his brother Frieza using the Dragon Balls second wish. This allows him to partake in Frieza’s revenge after having been rebuilt as Metal Cooler.
- In an altered timeline of Age 850, Towa kills Shenron to stop Xeno Trunks from making his wish but she is thwarted by the 2nd Future Warrior, allowing Xeno Trunks to make the wish, restoring the Toki Toki Hero’s existence.
- After the defeat of Final form Mira and the return of Tokitoki’s Egg, at the insistence of Tokitoki and Beerus, Chronoa uses Conton City’s set of Dragon Balls (the same ones she used in Xenoverse) to summon Shenron and wishes for a feast that will leave everyone satisfied. After the feast, Chronoa explains that the food came from Earth as the Dragon Balls were created by Dende and she reveals that he created several sets of Dragon Balls.
Video Game Appearances
The Dragon Balls appear in nearly all the franchise’s video games.
The seven Dragon Balls in Dragon Ball Heroes
In Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans, Mr. Popo creates his own set of Dragon Balls after Goku’s resurrection and Kami’s death. This version of Shenron isn’t as powerful and cannot be used to wish back deceased characters, but has the advantage of being able to be reused constantly after being regathered and they are also capable of summoning someone as powerful as Legendary Super Saiyan Broly to Earth (or at the very least create a convincing copy of him, as he can be defeated by the Z Fighters despite the fact that the game occurs before the Namek Saga and it would be very unlikely that the Z Fighters would be capable of defeating the real Legendary Super Saiyan at that point).
In Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai – Another Road, which takes place in Future Trunks‘ Alternate Timeline, Future Janemba takes the Dragon Balls and after he is defeated, Future Babidi steals them. While Vegito fights against Future Super Buu, Future Babidi invokes Shenron. While he was doing his wish, he is cut off by Future Mr. Satan who wishes to become the most popular person in the universe.
In Dragon Ball Online, it is revealed that in Age 787 Dende deactivated the Dragon Balls of Earth due to Elder Kai’s warnings and the Earth being at peace (thus preventing the Dragon Ball from being overused and thus the appearance of the Shadow Dragons in Age 790 never occurs as it did in the GT Timeline). Eventually in Age 999 Dende reactivates the Earth’s Dragon Balls after Time Patrol Trunks warns him about the threat posed by Mira, in the hopes that a savior would appear. However this time Dende creates multiple sets of Dragon Balls, weaker than the originals, hoping that the young warriors will benefit from competing over them. The presence of multiple sets allows for warriors of diverse skill levels to have a realistic hope of gathering all seven. Afraid of them being exploited, Dende limits their power, restricting the wishes that can be made. One of these sets is apparently provided to Chronoa and the Time Patrol.
In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Future Trunks asks Shenron for a strong ally with enough power to defeat time itself. By this wish, Shenron summons the Future Warrior. In center of Toki Toki City‘s Plaza of Time there is a Dragon Ball Altar where the Dragon Balls collected by Time Patrollers are kept and where Shenron is summoned when all seven are collected. A female Time Patroller named Amura stands next to the Altar and makes various comments about making wishes Shenron such as wondering if Shenron would get mad if she wished for 100 wishes or wishing for Shenron to be her friend. Dragon Balls can be obtained during Parallel quests, if obtained the player will receive a message saying “Key Item obtained” and must complete the quest to collect the Dragon Ball. There is also an obtainable color customizable outfit for Earthlings and Saiyans called the 4-Star Dragon Ball Costume which is a luxurious Gi with a design based on the 4-Star Dragon Ball and features a fake 4-Star Dragon Ball incorporated into the upper body portion of the outfit.
In Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Turles attempts to use the Namekian Dragon Balls to wish for Immortality, but is stopped by his cohort Lord Slug who also desires immortality so he can rule the universe. Before they can fight over who will get to make a wish, the Future Warrior appears and they form a temporary truce to deal with the Patroller but are ultimately defeated by the Warrior and Future Trunks. Interestingly in Parallel Quest 44: “Dragon Balls of the Future“, the Dragon Balls mysteriously reactivate in a parallel version Future Trunks’ timeline despite Future Kami’s death, forcing Future Trunks to keep them from Future 17, Future 18, and reactivated Future 16. Exactly how they were able to reactivate in Trunks’ timeline without Kami is never explained, though presumably it may have something to do with the time fragment that particular parallel timeline is found in. In The Emperor’s Return Saga, it is revealed that Towa altered the history of Age 779 so that Dragon Balls second wish (which had been taken by the Pilaf Gang in the original history) was used to revive Cooler who was than transformed into Metal Cooler, thus Metal Cooler participates in his brother’s training and takes part in Frieza’s revenge against Goku and the Z Fighters in Age 779.
Oh, didn’t I tell you? Those Dragon Balls were made by Dende, the Kami of Earth. Although there are multiple sets, their power is weaker than the others. They were made as some sort of training reward, but it’s ended up just creating a way for endless wishes…
— Chronoa explaining the Dragon Balls presence in Conton City in
In Xenoverse 2, Dragon Balls are collected in much the same way as they were in Xenoverse by defeating Time Patroller NPCs in battle, though this is made slightly more easier as Time Patrollers often appear in teams of three when encountered in Parallel Quests. The Future Warrior may also occasionally receive a Dragon Ball as login in bonus, though if they have already obtained all seven when they receive the bonus they will receive a Hercule Badge instead. The Warrior can also obtain Dragon Balls from defeating Time Patroller NPCs encountered in Conton City, though unlike those encountered in Parallel Quests, they are guaranteed to drop a Dragon Ball provided the Future Warrior hasn’t collected all seven. However these NPCs can only be fought once per character file, though it is possible to create a save file and defeat one then delete said save file to get another Dragon Ball from the same NPC which can be used as an easy way to obtain Dragon Balls as the inventory is shared across character files. Also in Conton City one can see a giant Shenron-like dragon that floats in the sky north of Conton City. It is later revealed that this dragon was the dragon statue found on the Dragon Ball Pedestal in Xenoverse which Chronoa had animated after hearing rumors doubting the power of gods like herself and Elder Kai, however it grew so large it turn Toki Toki City into ruins, forcing them to build Conton City over the ruins and the seemingly alive dragon statue was relocated north of the city. The Dragon Ball Pedestal was eventually restored with a new dragon statue. During their investigation of the Guru’s House time rift anomaly where they aid Nail in protecting the Namekian Dragon Balls from the Frieza Force. If Future Warrior meets Grand Elder Guru after having their potential unlocked (Attribute Level Cap unlocked), who will teach the Warrior how to increase the power of the Dragon Balls in Conton City, unlocking extra wish options the next time they use the Dragon Balls and each subsequent after that. Chronoa also explains to the 2nd Future Warrior that the Dragon Balls in Conton City are one of multiple sets created by Dende, though the ones used in Toki Toki City and Conton City are weaker than the others. She explains they were originally meant to be a training reward but ended up creating a way for endless wishes due to the nature of Conton City as a place where multiple timelines intersect (allowing Dragon Balls to be used multiple times by the Time Patrol without a waiting period of them being inactive). Though they are weaker, they still possess enough power to grant Xeno Trunks’ wish to summon a warrior strong enough to defend history as shown by the Future Warrior in Xenoverse. Due to how they are obtained in the Xenoverse series, it is unclear how or where they scatter though since they are obtained mainly from Time Patrollers they presumably scatter around Toki Toki City/Conton City as it is unlikely that Chronoa would allow them to scatter through time due to the danger. Chronoa referring to them as a source of unlimited wishes implies that there is no danger of them cracking from a buildup of negative energy (indicating they can contain it more effectively or do not produce enough negative energy to crack them due to being weaker than the Earth’s Dragon Balls), as Chronoa and the Time Patrol are fully aware that overusing the Dragon Balls resulted in the birth of the Shadow Dragons in the GT Timeline and would likely curb their usage if there was a danger of them producing Shadow Dragons. Alternatively Chronoa’s power over time may allow her to effect the Dragon Balls in such a way that the negative energy dissipates far more quickly than the Earth’s Dragon Balls. As these Dragon Balls do not seem to go into a period of dormancy where they turn to stone, it is possible that they do not produce negative energy as part of the reason the Dragon Balls become inert after being used is to give time for the negative energy to dissipate.
The 4-Star Dragon Ball Costume from Xenoverse returns as an obtainable outfit. Additionally Gohan’s Four-Star Dragon Ball Hat also appears as an obtainable accessory as well.
Dragon Pearl from Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins
- In Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins they are referred to as Dragon Pearls and show an image of a different color Shenron moving around in one instead of the glow they do in the original story. Jade uses them to wish for her land to be back to normal.
The Four-Star Ball in Dragonball Evolution
- In Dragonball Evolution, Goku wishes for Shenron to bring Master Roshi back to life. The Dragon Balls themselves are dark orange whilst the stars are glowing yellow, rather than red; also, the stars in each Dragon Ball actually move around the inside (possibly as an adaptation of the stars looking the same from every angle). In addition to summoning Shenron to have a wish granted, the Dragon Balls are capable of showing images to someone (an ability never seen nor mentioned in any other form of media), as in the movie, when Goku takes out the Four-Star Ball during his last moments with his grandfather, it briefly shows him images of events to come, and in the video game adaptation, Lord Piccolo uses the ones in his possession to show Goku an image of the moment Gohan found him (as part of his revealing Goku’s Saiyan heritage to him).
- In the manga Dragon Boy, Dragon Balls are small balls that appear very similar to the balls in the Dragon Ball series. However, instead of granting wishes, they can be opened using ki energy to release a small baby dragon that does not grant wishes.
- In the video game series Worms, there is an attack called “Dragon Ball“, being very similar to the Kamehameha. However, said attack is likely based on the Hadouken/Fireball from the Street Fighter series, as there is another attack called ‘Fire punch’ which resembles the Shoryuken/Dragon Punch from the same series. Worms will occasionally shout ‘Shoryuken’ when performing the fire punch, as well as donning a red head band in the style of the main character Ryu when doing both attacks. Additionally, the attacks are called Fireball and Dragon Punch in the Street Fighter series, and Fire Punch and Dragon Ball in Worms.
- In the anime, Puni Puni Poemi, the main character makes an appearance with a collection of three Dragon Balls.
- The Dragon Balls are mentioned in the first chapter of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga.
- In the non-anime show Duck Dodgers, Space Cadet told The Masked Xorro (a parody of Zorro) that the villagers returned to see reruns of Dragon Ball.
Kohina and friends use the “seven balls of wish-granting”
- In the episode 12 of the anime Gugure! Kokkuri-san, Shenron and the Dragon Balls are referenced when Kohina’s house is destroyed. They used the “Ichimatsu family’s seven balls of wish-granting” to repair it.
- In the first volume of the Dragon Ball manga, several characters who are unaware of the Dragon Balls often mistake them for gonads of the Eternal Dragon itself, when first enlightened of them. For example, when Bulma reveals the legend for the first time in the series, Goku follows her remark that “They’re called Dragon Balls” with “Y’mean… Some poor dragon…?” Later, Goku tells Oolong about the tale, to which Oolong comically replies “I didn’t even know dragons had” before being stopped when Goku shows him one of the artifacts. Giving the nature of the original Dragon Ball, it was likely meant to be a joke.
The Nine-Star Dragon Ball
- In the cover of the initial chapter of Dragon Ball Super a Dragon Ball was mistakenly drawn with nine stars, this was removed from later releases.
- In the original censored English version of Dragon Ball Z, there are a few contradictions with Earth’s and Namek’s Dragon Balls in “The Return of Goku“. Piccolo asks Gohan to wish him back after his death, despite the fact that he could not be revived if the Dragon Balls were scattered (and he should not know about Namek’s Dragon Balls, yet). Later in the episode, Gohan states that they “have to wish Piccolo back with the Dragon Balls”. Finally, when Bulma knows that the Dragon Balls are gone, she states that they are going to need the Dragon Balls “from somewhere else” to wish their friends back (in the uncut version, she realizes that they are not going to be able to bring them back to life) which also contradicts the fact that they did not know anything about other Dragon Balls.
- A new set of Dragon Balls has been introduced in each series of Dragon Ball.