|Dragon Ball character|
Bulma by Akira Toriyama
|First appearance||Dragon Ball Chapter 1: Bulma and Son Goku (1984)|
|Created by||Akira Toriyama|
See Voice actors
|Aliases||Lena (Harmony Gold dub)|
|Relatives||Dr. Briefs (father)
Bulma (ブルマ Buruma?) is a fictional character in the Dragon Ball manga series created by Akira Toriyama. She makes her debut appearance in the first chapter Bulma and Son Goku (ブルマと孫悟空 Buruma to Son Gokū?), which was published in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine on December 3, 1984. She becomes Goku's first friend and companion, making her the longest-running Dragon Ball character apart from Goku, having appeared until the end of the series.
Bulma is the daughter of Dr. Briefs; the founder of Capsule Corp., a fictional corporation that creates special capsules that are often used to store objects of various sizes. Being the daughter of a brilliant scientist, Bulma is also a scientific genius, as well as an inventor and engineer. She is most credited for inventing the Dragon Radar, a fictional device that is specifically designed to detect the energy signal emitted by a Dragon Ball. Bulma's role as an inventor becomes important at several points in the series. Several of her creations were major contributions to various plotlines, including a Micro Band (マイクロバンド Maikuro Bando?) that could make her shrink, or the time machine that brought her son Trunks to the past.
Design and name
Bulma is loosely based on the character Xuanzang from the Chinese classic novel Journey to the West. Bulma and Goku were the first pair of characters which were introduced in the manga and Toriyama stated that he subsequently introduced other characters in pairs because "that way, I’m able to explain the characters and their relationship to each other through their interactions. In my case, I feel that it isn’t good to insert too much narration. I suppose Goku and Bulma are representative of that." He further added that "as a child, Goku doesn’t know anything [of the world], so without Bulma, he’d be a character who didn’t say anything."
Her name "Buruma" is the Japanese pronunciation of "bloomer", a type of gym shorts which are worn by Japanese girls at school. When asked about the first time Bulma's hair style changed, Toriyama said it was to show that three years had passed and because he personally liked girls with short hair.
As with most characters in the Dragon Ball series, Bulma's name is consistent with those of the rest of her family. All of Bulma's family members are named after underclothing of some sort. Her father's name is Dr. Briefs, while her son and daughter are named Trunks and Bra (ブラ?, "Bulla" in the English anime dub, which is the Japanese pronunciation of "bra") respectively. Her mother is never named in the series, being referred to only as "Bulma's Mother" (ブルマの母?). However, when asked in 1996 what name he would choose if he were to name her mother, Toriyama suggested Panchi (パンチー Panchī?), a pun on panties. Toriyama stated in an interview that Bulma's family has a "laissez-faire attitude, but Bulma has complete control over things."
Appearance and personality
Bulma's appearance in the anime differs slightly than her appearance in the manga. In the manga, her hair is usually depicted in a shade of fuchsia, while in the anime and the first chapter of the manga, her hair is a shade of turquoise. Bulma's appearance in the series is not as consistent as the other characters as she quite often changes her hair style and clothing being fashion-conscious. She sometimes wears clothing with either her name on it or the Capsule Corporation logo.
Bulma at first is identical to the image of a pampered city girl for most of the series; arrogant and adventurous, but afraid of being alone. Her arrogance can be seen to stem from her intellect; Bulma is most recognized for her fierce determination to get what she wants, and can be viewed as reckless in those quests. Bulma is well known for her intellectual approach to situations and her beauty. Kame-Sen'nin frequently harasses her and Oolong often tried to get a peek at her panties. She is also very proud of her abilities and can be very cantankerous when slighted, which may indicate a similar approach with other men. Throughout the series, Bulma goes through many life-threatening situations and is often a damsel-in-distress, needing the protection of Goku and the others. When she first met Goku, she was easily annoyed with him and his naive nature. She was also easily angered when he thought Bulma's bust was really her butt.
Bulma mellows out as the series continues in the present timeline, ultimately befriending Vegeta and helping him adapt to Earth. Initially depicted to support Goku, whom she affectionately calls "Son-kun," her relationship with Vegeta and his rivalry with Goku sparks a friendly rivalry with Chi-Chi, but she manages to remain one of Goku's strongest supporters due to their long friendship.
Bulma is the second character to be introduced in the Dragon Ball series. In the early part of the story, she is a teenager and the inventor of the Dragon Radar (ドラゴンレーダー Doragon Rēdā?), a device used to detect the Dragon Balls that she is searching for. Bulma was hoping to use the Dragon Balls to wish for the perfect boyfriend. While searching for a nearby Dragon Ball, she runs into Goku. She finds out Goku inherited the four-star Dragon Ball from his adoptive father Grandpa Son Gohan. Because of Goku's love for the ball and his belief that his Grandpa's spirit lives in the ball, Goku is not willing to give it up. Bulma then asks him to loan it for her in exchange of taking him in her travels. At that point, they team up to find the remainder of the balls and the adventure begins. As the search progresses, Bulma and Goku meet Kame-Sen'nin after finding his pet turtle; Oolong, a shape-shifting pig who is terrorizing a village; and Yamcha, and his shape shifting cat companion Pu'ar, a desert bandit who Bulma soon finds herself attracted to, and who she eventually starts a relationship with.
After five years of peace, an evil menace comes to the Earth. It is Goku's elder brother, an extraterrestrial Saiyan, named Raditz. After Goku and Piccolo kill him, Bulma takes the Scouter (スカウター?) from Raditz, and fixes it to find the power levels of people in human numbers. During the subsequent battle against Vegeta and Nappa, Yamcha, Tenshinhan, Chaozu and Piccolo are killed and because Piccolo dies, the Dragon Balls are rendered useless. After Goku defeats the Saiyans, Bulma volunteers to travel to Piccolo's home planet Namek and use the Namekian Dragon Balls to restore Yamcha and the others back to life. In need of a spaceship, Mr. Popo reveals one to Bulma, which had been the ship Kami had used to travel to Earth when he was a boy. Bulma repairs the ship with the help of her father, and flies off to Namek with Kuririn and Son Gohan.
After Goku defeats the tyrant Freeza, Yamcha and the others who were killed are revived by the Namekian Dragon Balls. However, Bulma's romantic relationship with him ultimately ends, though they remain friends afterwards. Vegeta eventually returns to Earth, staying with Bulma's family. Bulma chooses to befriend him, developing a strong bond that by the time of the Androids' invasion, leads to a romantic relationship that leads to the birth of her first child, Trunks. Many years later she would give birth to Bra, Trunks' sister.
In the alternate future time-line, Bulma survives the Androids' onslaught. Bulma lives at the former site of Capsule Corp, attempting to build a time machine. She's very protective of Trunks and hates the idea of him fighting, but nevertheless allows him to take the time machine to the past to stop the Androids and also deliver Goku an antidote for a heart virus that claimed his life in the alternate timeline. She spends most of her life devoted to building a time machine so that Trunks could go back in time and prevent the devastation brought by the Androids, by saving the life of Goku, whom Bulma firmly believes is the only one who would save both timelines. Once the Androids (or more importantly, Cell) are taken care of in the main timeline, Trunks returns to his original time and defeats the much weaker Androids and Cell with ease, thus restoring peace to the future timeline world.
Seven years after the battle against the Androids, Bulma helps Gohan by making a watch which automatically changes his clothes into a super-hero costume so he could fight crime, without his real identity being known. Later, she and the other heroes, with the exception of Goku, Vegeta, Tenshinhan, Chaozu, and Gohan, hide at Kami's from the monstrous Majin Boo, however she is killed when Boo turns her into chocolate and eats her. Bulma is revived by the Namekian Dragon Balls, along with her family and friends, and gives her energy to Goku to eliminate Majin Boo once and for all.
Bulma is voiced by Hiromi Tsuru in all of the Japanese media. In Harmony Gold's English dub of Dragon Ball and its first and third movies, Wendee Lee voiced Bulma, whose named was changed to "Lena". In Funimation's English anime dub, she is voiced by Maggie Blue O'Hara in the first Dragon Ball film; Lalainia Lindbjerg in the first 13 episodes of Dragon Ball and the first 64 episodes and first three movies of Dragon Ball Z; Leslie Alexander in the film Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle; Tiffany Vollmer in all other Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT dubs including re-dubs of previously dubbed works; and Monica Rial in Dragon Ball Z Kai. In Westwood Media's English dub, Leda Davies was cast for Dragon Ball; Maggie Blue O'Hara returned to voice Bulma in Dragon Ball Z; and Kristin Nowosad voiced her in Dragon Ball GT. In the Japanese dub of the live-action Dragonball Evolution, she is voiced by Aya Hirano. She was voiced by Claudia Thompson in Animax Asia.
Appearances in other media
In Dragon Ball GT she becomes possessed by Baby, who takes her as his apparent queen (or second in command), as possessing Vegeta gave him all of his memories and emotions. During this time, she organizes the migration to Planet Vegeta (renamed Planet Tuffle), and creates the Super Bruits Wave Generator (超ブルーツ波発生装置 Chō Burūtsuha Hassei Sōchi?) that helps Baby become the Saiyan's Golden Great Ape transformation. However, the Holy Water hidden in Dende's Lookout is used to free her and the rest of Earth from Baby's enslavement. Later, she helps Vegeta reach Super Saiyan 4 by exposing him to a new Super Bruits Wave Generator, and witnesses Omega Shenron's defeat at the hands of Goku.
Bulma usually appears as a non-playable character in cut scenes for most Dragon Ball video games, such as Advanced Adventure, Budokai and Budokai 3. However, she is a playable character in Dragon Ball: Origins and its sequel. In Dragon Power, the North American version of Dragon Ball: Shenlong no Nazo that removes all references to Dragon Ball, her character was named "Nora". In Budokai 2, Bulma sells capsules in the Skill Shop. In Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi, Bulma appears in the Options Mode explaining how the various game settings work. In Budokai Tenkaichi 2, she appears in the data center, explaining about custom characters and in practice mode. Bulma is a Help Koma in Jump Ultimate Stars; giving more SP for collected coins to the Battle Koma she is attached to.
Bulma has been portrayed by Jeannie Tse in the unofficial live-action Dragon Ball movie The Magic Begins. She was also featured in the 1990 unofficial Korean adaptation where she was played by Lee Ju Hee. Bulma appeared in the live-action film Dragonball Evolution, portrayed by Emmy Rossum. Rossum describes her portrayal of Bulma as "She’s pretty bad-ass, but still quirky and fun, and kind of ridiculous in the way she is in the anime."
Bulma has a cameo in the 2006 Dragon Ball and One Piece crossover, Cross Epoch. She is partnered up with the character Nami and the two act as a pair of space pirates. In the final chapter of Toriyama's 2013 manga series Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, it is revealed that the series is set before Dragon Ball, and Bulma makes an appearance as a child, as do her father and mother. The character Tights (タイツ Taitsu?), is actually revealed to be Bulma's older sister.
Japanese fans voted Bulma the seventeenth most popular character of the series in a 2004 poll. Brian Camp and Julie Davis, the authors of Anime Classics Zettai!: One Hundred Must-see Japanese Animation Masterpieces, noted that Bulma's character went through the greatest number of changes in the series, and praised the evolution of her character from a "brass, boy-crazy teen girl" in the earliest episodes of Dragon Ball to winding up as one of the matriarchs of the group. They further added that while Goku is the heart and soul of the group, Bulma is its body, the one who gives it structure and cohesion.
Commenting on the later part of the series, Anime News Network's Martin Theron said "Bulma loses something just sitting around acting like a worried mother/wife." In a top ten list for IGN, David Smith ranked Bulma forming a relationship with Vegeta as the top plot twist of Dragon Ball Z. Reviewing the live-action Dragonball Evolution for IGN, Christopher Monfette said that Emmy Rossum's performance of Bulma is "something of a departure from the anime's vision" of the character, but "brings a lot of kick-ass chick charisma to the role."
- Weekly Shōnen Jump #51 December 3, 1984
- Toriyama, Akira; Olsen]; [English adaptation by Gerard Jones ; translation, Lillian (2006). Dragon Ball Z, Volume 11 (Shonen Jump graphic novel ed. ed.). Viz Media. p. 5. ISBN 9781569318072.
- Toriyama, Akira (1995-08-09). "Akira Toriyama Super Interview: 2nd Round". DRAGON BALL 大事典: STORY GUIDE (in Japanese). Shueisha. pp. 261–264. ISBN 4-08-782752-6.
- "Akira Toriyama Special Interivew". V Jump (Shueisha). 2013-05-21.
- Patten, Trish Ledoux, Doug Ranney ; edited by Fred (1997). The Complete Anime Guide : Japanese Animation Film Directory & Resource Guide (2nd ed. ed.). Tiger Mountain Press. p. 37. ISBN 9780964954250.
- Levi, Antonia (1996). Samurai From Outer Space : Understanding Japanese Animation (1. print. ed.). Open Court. p. 60. ISBN 9780812693324.
- "ドラゴンボール 冒険SPECIAL". Weekly Shōnen Jump (in Japanese) (Shueisha): 138–140. 1987-12-01.
- Smith, David (2008-02-08). "Knock 'Em Dead, Goku". IGN.
- Toriyama, Akira (1996). DRAGON BALL 大事典 7 (in Japanese). Shueisha. pp. 051–120. ISBN 4-08-782757-7.
- Toriyama, Akira (2013). DRAGON BALL 超全集 1: STORY & WORLD GUIDE (in Japanese). Shueisha. pp. 28–31. ISBN 978-4-08-782496-4.
- Hollinger, Elizabeth M. (2002). Dragonball Z : The legacy of Goku : Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Roseville, CA: Prima Games. p. 8. ISBN 9780761539940.
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- Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 12
- Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 19
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- Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 26
- Dragon Ball GT anime, episode 64
- Marshall, Rick (2008-09-19). "Emmy Rossum On The 8-Foot Monster, Toys, Catsuit And Scrutiny Of Live-Action 'Dragonball'". Viacom. Retrieved 2013-05-27. "With shooting completed for the live-action adaptation of popular anime/manga series "Dragonball," actress Emmy Rossum told MTV News that she's finally washed the blue coloring out of her hair and returned to a life sans catsuit and cartoon weaponry -- but with a few new skills in her repertoire."
- "The Galactic Patrolman's Completed Mission". Weekly Shōnen Jump (Shueisha) (44). 2013-09-30.
- Toriyama, Akira (2004). Dragon Ball Forever (in Japanese). Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-873702-4.
- Camp, Brian; Davis, Julie (2007). Anime Classics Zettai!: 100 Must-See Japanese Animation Masterpieces. Stone Bridge Press. p. 111. ISBN 9781933330228.
- Theron, Martin (2009-03-04). "Dragon Ball Z Season 6 DVD Set". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-07-19.
- Smith, David (2007-12-05). "Dragon Ball Z: Top 10 Plot Twists". IGN. Retrieved 2013-07-19.
- Monfette, Christopher (2009-04-09). "Dragonball: Evolution Review". IGN. Retrieved 2013-07-19.
- Mark I. West (2008-10-23). The Japanification of Children's Popular Culture: From Godzilla to Miyazaki. Scarecrow Press. p. 206. ISBN 978-0-8108-5121-4. Retrieved 2013-05-27. "...Productions made major changes in the Dragon Ball...mostly concerning nudity...In the Japenese version, Master Roshi asks Bulma..while in the American version..."
- Brian Camp; Julie Davis (2007). Anime Classics Zettai!: One Hundred Must-see Japanese Animation Masterpieces. STONE BRIDGE Press. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-933330-22-8. Retrieved 2013-05-27. "When Bulma, a teenage girl who's a scientific genius, wants [Goku] to give up his grandfather's Dragon Ball, which she has tracked down with her dragon radar..."