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Dragon Ball character
A teenaged Bulma as depicted in the character's first appearance
First appearanceDragon Ball Chapter 1 - Bulma and Son Goku: Weekly Shōnen Jump No. 51, 1984
Created byAkira Toriyama
Portrayed byEmmy Rossum (Dragonball Evolution)
Voiced byJapanese
Hiromi Tsuru (1986–2017)
Aya Hisakawa (2018–present)[1]
In-universe information
OccupationInventor, Engineer and CEO of Capsule Corporation
FamilyDr. Brief (father)
Panchy (mother)
Tights (older sister)
King Vegeta (father-in-law, deceased)
Tarble (brother-in-law)
Dragon Ball GT:
Vegeta Jr (descendant)
Vegeta Jr's mother (descendant)

Bulma (Japanese: ブルマ, Hepburn: Buruma) is a character featured in the Dragon Ball franchise, first appearing in the manga series created by Akira Toriyama. She debuted in the first chapter Bulma and Son Goku (ブルマと孫悟空, Buruma to Son Gokū), published in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine on June 19, 1984 issue 51,[2] meeting Goku and recruiting him as her bodyguard to travel and find the wish-granting Dragon Balls. Bulma is the daughter of Dr. Brief, the founder of the Capsule Corporation, a company that creates special small capsules that shrink and hold objects of various sizes for easy storage. Being the daughter of a brilliant scientist, Bulma is also a scientific genius, as well as an inventor and engineer. Along with creating the Dragon Radar, a device that detects the energy signal emitted by a Dragon Ball, Bulma's role as an inventor becomes important at several points in the series; including the time machine that brings her future son Trunks to the past.

Creation and design[edit]

Bulma is loosely based on the character Tang Sanzang from the Chinese classic novel Journey to the West.[3] 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."[4] The author also claimed that when the series started, his editor at the time, Kazuhiko Torishima, wanted Bulma and Goku to form a romantic relationship.[5]

Capsule Corporation logo.

Bulma's appearance in the series is not as consistent as the other characters as she quite often changes her hairstyle and clothing being fashion-conscious. Her hair is usually depicted in a shade of fuchsia, although in the first chapter and the anime her hair is turquoise. When asked about the first time Bulma's hairstyle changed, Toriyama said it was to show that three years had passed and because he personally liked girls with short hair.[6] She sometimes wears clothing with either her name on it or the Capsule Corporation logo.[7]

Her name "Buruma" is the Japanese pronunciation of "bloomer", a type of gym shorts worn by Japanese girls at school.[6][8][9][10] 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.[10] Her father's name is Dr. Briefs, while her son and daughter are named Trunks and Bra (ブラ, Bura, "Bulla" in the English anime dub) respectively. Her mother is never named in the original series, being referred to only as "Bulma's Mother" (ブルマのママ, Buruma no Mama). However, when asked in 2004 what name he would choose if he were to name her mother, Toriyama suggested Panchy (パンチー, Panchī), a pun on panties.[11] Toriyama stated in an interview that Bulma's family has a "laissez-faire attitude, but Bulma has complete control over things."[12] This name was later used in other media, including the English-language release of Dragon Ball Super.[13]

Voice actors[edit]

Bulma was voiced by Hiromi Tsuru in all Japanese media until her death in November 2017.[14] As a new voice actress at the time, she had to audition for the part. She also said that all her previous roles were well-behaved characters, but Bulma was easy to play because she is down-to-earth.[15] In February 2018, Aya Hisakawa was announced as the new voice actress for Bulma.[1]

In Funimation's in house English dub, Bulma is voiced by Tiffany Vollmer in the original Dragon Ball series.[16] After Vollmer retired from voice acting, she was replaced by Monica Rial starting from Dragon Ball Z Kai.[17]


Dragon Ball[edit]

Bulma is the third character (first being Grandpa Gohan and second being Goku AKA Kakarot) 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.[7] She was hoping to use the Dragon Balls to wish for the perfect boyfriend. While searching for a nearby Dragon Ball, she runs into Goku and finds out that he inherited the four-star Dragon Ball from his adoptive father Grandpa Gohan. Because of Goku's love for the ball and his belief that his Grandpa's spirit lives in the ball, Goku isn't willing to give it up. Bulma then asks him to loan it for her in exchange for taking him in her travels. At that point, they team up to find the remainder of the balls and the adventure begins.[18] As the search progresses, Bulma and Goku meet Kame-Sen'nin after finding his pet turtle; Oolong, a shapeshifting pig who is terrorizing a village; and Yamcha, and his shapeshifting cat companion Pu'ar, a desert bandit who Bulma soon finds herself attracted to, and who she eventually starts a romantic 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.[19]

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. She repairs the ship with the help of her father and flies off to Namek with Krillin and Gohan.[20] After Goku defeats the tyrant Frieza, Yamcha and the others who were killed are revived by Porunga, the dragon of the Namekian Dragon Balls. Vegeta returns to Earth, staying with Bulma and her family.

Several years before the arrival of the Androids, Bulma ends her relationship with Yamcha and begins a relationship with Vegeta that leads to the birth of their son, Trunks.[21] She used Dr. Gero's stolen blueprints to build a detonator to destroy the Androids, but Kuririn broke it after realizing his feelings for Android 18. With her father's help, Bulma later repairs Android 16 before the Tournament of Martial Arts.

In the alternate future timeline, Bulma survives the Androids' onslaught and lives at the former site of Capsule Corp. She spends most of her life devoted to building a time machine, attempting to prevent the devastation brought by the Androids. She is very protective of Trunks and hates the idea of him fighting, but nevertheless allows him to travel to the past to deliver Goku an antidote for a heart virus that claimed his life in the alternate timeline. 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.[22]

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.[23] 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 Buu turns her into chocolate and eats her. Bulma is revived by the Porunga, along with the rest of the Earth, and gives her energy to Goku to eliminate Majin Buu once and for all.[24] Many years later, she gives birth to her and Vegeta's daughter, Bulla.

In Toriyama's films[edit]

Bulma appears in eight Dragon Ball Z films; in the first movie, Bulma makes a brief appearance when using the Dragon Radar to find Gohan after his abduction by Garlic Jr.'s henchman;[25] in the second, she is used as leverage by Kochin to get Kame-Sennin to come back to the lair of Dr. Wheelo, where she is forced to accompany him as well;[26] in the third, she is seen camping with Oolong and Krillin before the Tree of Might is planted and later appears at Goku's home;[27] in the fourth, Bulma's mind is probed by Lord Slug to aid in his quest to secure the Dragon Balls, her losing consciousness thereafter;[28] in the eighth, she makes a small appearance at the beginning, attending a picnic with the other characters;[29] in the ninth, Bulma watches a fighting tournament with Chi-Chi and Trunks while baring her midriff in a yellow tank crop top with short-shorts, a yellow headband, and a pearl necklace; arguing with Chi-Chi during the shared viewing;[30] in the twelfth, Bulma gathers the Dragon Balls to send the souls of the deceased back to Other World;[31] in the thirteenth, Bulma creates a room for Tapion who she confronts over the friendship he has established with her son;[32] in the fourteenth, Bulma hosts a party with the prize being the Dragon Balls and slaps Beerus for ruining the event, being slapped back and triggering Vegeta to temporarily become stronger than the God;[33] and lastly, in the fifteenth, Bulma meets Jaco (ティリメンテンピボッシ • ジャコ), who warns her of Frieza's return and she narrowly escapes being killed by Frieza after he destroys Earth thanks to Whis removing her from the event.[34] She accompanies Goku and Vegeta in f: Broly.

Dragon Ball Super[edit]

After Frieza's defeat, she creates the Super Dragon Radar in order to find the Super Dragon Balls in Universe 7 first to prevent Beerus from using them to wish for the total annihilation of the entire universe.[35] The alternate timeline version of Bulma is killed by Goku Black. After Bulma reunites with futureTrunks,[36] Bulma works on a time machine to send him back to his timeline to defeat Goku Black. After an successful attempt, Bulma travels with them to the timeline, showing Trunks a recording of Piccolo performing the ''Evil Containment Wave'' and fighting with and being injured by Zamasu.[37] Bulma tries creating a time machine, only for Beerus to destroy it[38] and she later summons Beerus to quell a perceived threat from Arale and then satisfies his taste by using Senbei's Reality Machine and viewers of the award ceremony she was attending to imagine the most tasteful food they could think of.[39]

In the Universe Survival Saga, she agreed to pay 10 million Zeni to every member of Team Universe 7 who participated in the Tournament of Power if their team wins.

In other media[edit]

In filler episodes of Dragon Ball Z, during the Namek arc, Bulma travels to a fake Namek and while on Namek, she meets Captain Ginyu, after his loss to Goku and his becoming a frog, and bonds with him, leading her to create a machine for him to speak to her through. Ginyu uses the machine to utter the name of his technique Body Change, allowing him to switch bodies with Bulma and leave her trapped in the frog's body. Bulma manages to stay around him as he looks for Frieza and the two encounter Gohan, Krillin and Piccolo while they're watching Goku and Frieza fight, Gohan realizing the change just as Ginyu attempts to switch bodies with Piccolo and Bulma receives her body back when Gohan throws her in the way of the technique. Bulma is then blown away from the battlefield and later uses Ginyu to try finding out how the battle is progressing. During the Garlic Jr. arc, Bulma falls under the control of the Black Water Mist, leading her to attack her unaffected friends, being freed of the condition later on.

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.[40]

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. Though she does not appear in Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, she is mentioned during the story mode fight against Beerus as having slapped him, as the fight is based on the film Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods.[41] Bulma is an assist character in Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butōden, firing a gun.[42]

Bulma has been portrayed by Jeannie Hsieh in the unofficial live-action Dragon Ball movie Dragon Ball: 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.[43] Rossum described her portrayal of Bulma in Dragonball Evolution as "pretty bad-ass, but still quirky and fun, and kind of ridiculous in the way she is in the anime."[43]

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.[44] To promote the 2015 Resurrection 'F' movie, a blog run by Bulma was launched on the website Ameblo.[45]


Cosplay of an older Bulma as the mother of Trunks, taken by Gage Skidmore.

Brian Camp and Julie Davis, the authors of Anime Classics Zettai!: 100 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.[46] Reviewing the arc of Majin Buu, Anime News Network's Martin Theron said "Bulma loses something just sitting around acting like a worried mother/wife."[47] though she soon recovers her major supporting role in the next series and movies.

Japanese fans voted Bulma the seventeenth most popular character of the series in a 2004 poll.[48] Bulma's voice actress Hiromi Tsuru said she liked Bulma, describing the character as "energetic" and "cheeky." She also joked that it was difficult for her to love Vegeta, having thought Bulma would end up with Yamcha.[15] 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.[49] On the other hand, Josh Begley of The Fandom Post felt Bulma "browbeats everyone around her."[50]

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."[51]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Dragon Ball Recasts Bulma with Aya Hisakawa After Hiromi Tsuru's Passing".
  2. ^ "週刊少年ジャンプ 1984/06/19 表示号数51". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Archived from the original on 9 October 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  3. ^ Toriyama, Akira (9 August 1995). "Akira Toriyama Super Interview: 2nd Round". DRAGON BALL 大事典: STORY GUIDE (in Japanese). Shueisha. pp. 261–264. ISBN 4-08-782752-6.
  4. ^ "Akira Toriyama Special Interview". V Jump. Shueisha. 21 May 2013.
  5. ^ Toriyama, Akira (2008) [1984]. Dr. Slump. 16. Viz Media. pp. 130. ISBN 978-1-4215-1060-6.
  6. ^ a b "ドラゴンボール 冒険SPECIAL". Weekly Shōnen Jump (in Japanese). Shueisha: 138–140. 1 December 1987.
  7. ^ a b Hollinger, Elizabeth M. (2002). Dragonball Z: The legacy of Goku: Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Roseville, CA: Prima Games. p. 8. ISBN 9780761539940.
  8. ^ Patten, Trish Ledoux, Doug Ranney ; edited by Fred (1997). The Complete Anime Guide : Japanese Animation Film Directory & Resource Guide (2nd ed.). Tiger Mountain Press. p. 37. ISBN 9780964954250.
  9. ^ Levi, Antonia (1996). Samurai From Outer Space : Understanding Japanese Animation (1. print. ed.). Open Court. p. 60. ISBN 9780812693324.
  10. ^ a b Smith, David (8 February 2008). "Knock 'Em Dead, Goku". IGN.
  11. ^ Toriyama, Akira (2004). Dragon Ball Forever (in Japanese). Shueisha. pp. 158–159. ISBN 4-08-873702-4.
  12. ^ Toriyama, Akira (2013). DRAGON BALL 超全集 1: STORY & WORLD GUIDE (in Japanese). Shueisha. pp. 28–31. ISBN 978-4-08-782496-4.
  13. ^ "Feelings That Transcend Time: Trunks and Mai". Dragon Ball Super. Episode 51. 17 February 2018.
  14. ^ htmk73. "【訃報】ブルマやドキンちゃん役の声優・鶴ひろみさんが死去 : はちま起稿". esuteru.com.
  15. ^ a b DRAGON BALL 大全集 補巻 TV ANIMATION PART 3. Shueisha. 1996. pp. 107–113. ISBN 4-08-102019-1.
  16. ^ "Dragon Ball Z Kai Part 1 Blu-Ray". Anime News Network. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  17. ^ "Dragon Ball Z Kai's Buu Saga to Air on Toonami". Anime News Network. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  18. ^ Dragon Ball manga, volume 1
  19. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 3
  20. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 5
  21. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 12
  22. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 19
  23. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 20
  24. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 26
  25. ^ Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone
  26. ^ Dragon Ball Z: The World's Strongest
  27. ^ Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might
  28. ^ Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug
  29. ^ Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan
  30. ^ Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound
  31. ^ Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn
  32. ^ Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon
  33. ^ Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods
  34. ^ Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F
  35. ^ Dragon Ball Super anime, episode 29
  36. ^ Dragon Ball Super anime, episode 47
  37. ^ "Praise and Adore Him! The Explosive Birth of Merged Zamasu!!". Dragon Ball Super. Episode 64. 30 October 2016.
  38. ^ "Come Forth, Shenlong! Whose Wish Shall Be Granted?!". Dragon Ball Super. Episode 68. 27 November 2016.
  39. ^ "Goku vs Arale! Earth Ends in a Wacky Battle?!". Dragon Ball Super. Episode 69. 4 December 2016.
  40. ^ Dragon Ball GT anime, episode 64
  41. ^ Dragon Ball: Xenoverse
  42. ^ "Bulma And Chi-Chi Are Ready For A Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden Battle". Siliconera. 27 March 2015.
  43. ^ a b Marshall, Rick (19 September 2008). "Emmy Rossum On The 8-Foot Monster, Toys, Catsuit And Scrutiny Of Live-Action 'Dragonball'". Viacom. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  44. ^ Toriyama, Akira (6 January 2015). Jaco the Galactic Patrolman. Viz Media. pp. 201–231. ISBN 978-1-4215-6630-6.
  45. ^ "Bulma Promotes the New Dragon Ball Z Movie with Her New Blog". Anime News Network. 21 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  46. ^ Camp, Brian; Davis, Julie (2007). Anime Classics Zettai!: 100 Must-See Japanese Animation Masterpieces. Stone Bridge Press. p. 111. ISBN 9781933330228.
  47. ^ Theron, Martin (4 March 2009). "Dragon Ball Z Season 6 DVD Set". Anime News Network. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  48. ^ Toriyama, Akira (2004). Dragon Ball Forever (in Japanese). Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-873702-4.
  49. ^ Smith, David (5 December 2007). "Dragon Ball Z: Top 10 Plot Twists". IGN. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  50. ^ Begley, John (13 March 2014). "Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 Blu-ray Anime Review".
  51. ^ Monfette, Christopher (9 April 2009). "Dragonball: Evolution Review". IGN. Retrieved 19 July 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]