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It's Over 9000!

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Example of the "It's Over 9000!" meme, which depicts an image macro of Vegeta crushing his scouter

"It's Over 9000!", also known as simply "Over 9000!", is an Internet meme that became popular in 2005, involving a change made for English localizations of an episode of the Dragon Ball Z anime television series titled "The Return of Goku", which originally aired on April 19, 1997. The phrase is typically used as an innumerable quantifier to describe a large quantity of something. Variations of the phrase are also employed as a form of trolling.

The phrase refers to an alteration of the original line spoken in Japanese by the Saiyan character Vegeta, voiced in English by actor Brian Drummond, in the 21st episode of the Ocean Productions English dub. In the original Japanese and English-translated manga as well as the original Japanese anime series, the power level of series protagonist Son Goku is actually read as "over 8000!" (8000以上だ…!, Hassen ijō da…!)."

Origins and analysis[edit]

In the Dragon Ball franchise, all beings possess ki, a vital force present in all life; beings with high levels of ki can use it to perform supernatural feats, including combat. Some beings are capable of sensing the Power Level or Battle Power (戦闘力, Sentō-ryoku) of others, denoting their strength as a combatant. Aliens serving Frieza possess "scouters," devices that duplicate this ability technologically and can quantify different combatants' power levels objectively, though warriors can employ ki-manipulation techniques to mask the full extent of their strength. In the episode "The Return of Goku," Goku returns to the Earth after intense training in the Other World to confront Vegeta and his comrade Nappa. As Goku powers up in rage after learning they had killed his allies Yamcha, Tenshinhan, Chaozu, and Piccolo right before his arrival, Vegeta senses an explosive increase in his power level through his scouter device. In response to Nappa's query about Goku's power level, Vegeta yells: "It's over nine thousand!", crushing his scouter in his fist.

In most versions of the scene dubbed in languages other than English, Vegeta actually says "It's over 8000!".[1] This has occurred several other times where power levels are given more as estimates than accurate figures. 8000 is an indefinite hyperbolic numeral in Japan. Craig Elvy from Screenrant claimed that this phrase is actually a mistranslation from the original Japanese anime.[1] He noted that the Daizenshuu 7 book quoted the dubbing team as saying that speaking "9000" in English was a better fit for Vegeta's animated mouth movements; on the other hand, Elvy made the assertion that Dragon Ball Z's Ocean dub "was notorious for making translation errors (such as Goku believing Vegeta killed Grandpa Gohan) which can't be explained away so easily".[1] When Dragon Ball Z was re-dubbed by Funimation with Christopher Sabat as the voice of Vegeta, the "It's Over 9000" line was retained, and has featured in most English re-dubs and video games ever since.[1]


An edited video clip of the scene from the episode was originally uploaded by YouTuber Weston "Kajetokun" Durant on October 17, 2006, as an inside joke for his friends, making fun of how Drummond phrased the English line to fit Vegeta's on-screen mouth movements, which were animated to fit the original Japanese line. He was surprised when he discovered that the video had attracted 20,000 views the following day. The video was later linked to by the front page of the VG Cats website, where it attracted a further 200,000 views.[2] The popularity of the meme quickly spread, inspiring a series of remix videos on YouTube, various image macros and demotivational posters on 4chan, as well as parody sites dedicated to the phrase.[3] The meme's notoriety reached its initial peak in 2007, when 4chan moderators implemented a word filter that would turn any mentions of the number 7 into "over 9000".[3] The most viewed video clip uploaded on YouTube which references the phrase has received over 15 million views to date; various parodies and spoofs of the clip receive a large number of views on YouTube and Vine as well.[4]

According to Elvy, "It's over 9000!" phrase has attained recognition to the point that it has become one of internet culture's favorite phrases.[1] The absence of the "It's Over 9000" phrase in the 2020 game Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot was considered conspicuous by Paul Tamburro of GameRevolution, who argued that the meme is iconic and immensely popular to warrant its inclusion or reference, even if the phrase itself may have originated as a mistranslation.[5]

Cultural depictions[edit]

Ronda Rousey (right, with Dwayne Johnson), wearing her tank top which referenced Vegeta and the phrase

In addition to being referenced in discussions of English-language Dragon Ball media,[6][7][8] the "It's Over 9000!" meme has also influenced various topic discussions and fictional works unrelated to the Dragon Ball series. Examples of intertextual references include coverage of the PlayStation 3 demo for Final Fantasy XIII by Gamezone,[9] a reference in season 2 episode 17 of DuckTales, and an easter egg in the 2020 game Doom Eternal.[10] American professional wrestler Xavier Woods disclosed in a 2013 interview that he always has the phrase printed on his wrestling attire.[11] For her appearance at WrestleMania 31, American professional athlete Ronda Rousey wore a tank top which referenced Vegeta and the phrase.[12]

In September 2008, an anonymous troll left a message on the official message board of American journalist and businesswoman Oprah Winfrey's talk show, in which he claimed to represent an organized network of over 9,000 paedophiles. Winfrey took the bait and read the post before her audience in an episode of the show.[3] A video clip of Winfrey's message to her audience was promptly uploaded to YouTube, but was quickly removed due to a copyright claim by Harpo, Inc. In spite of that, numerous remix videos featuring Winfrey's mention of "9000 penises" continued to surface on YouTube.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e Craig Elvy (June 27, 2019). "It's Over 9000: Dragon Ball Z's Most Famous Line Is A Mistranslation". ScreenRant. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  2. ^ "Japanator interview: Kajetokun, the Over 9000 guy". Japanator. April 30, 2008. Archived from the original on October 3, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Phillips, Whitney (May 9, 2016). "The House That Fox Built: Anonymous, Spectacle, and Cycles of Amplification". CiteSeerX
  4. ^ Gita Jackson (July 5, 2018). "Why Black Men Love Dragon Ball Z". Kotaku. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  5. ^ Paul Tamburro (January 20, 2020). "Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is missing the infamous 'It's Over 9000' meme". GameRevolution. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  6. ^ Padula, Derek (2012). Dragon Ball Z 'It's Over 9,000!' When Worldviews Collide' (PDF). foreword by Ryo Horikawa. Derek Padula. ISBN 978-0-9831205-2-0. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 12, 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  7. ^ "How Dragon Ball XenoVerse Made Me Go Over 9000". Game Revolution. February 2, 2015. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  8. ^ Greg Burke (June 29, 2018). "Razer Panthera Arcade Fighting Stick Review: It's Over 9000!". Shacknews. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  9. ^ "Final Fantasy XIII Demo: It's Over 9000, er, 90 Minutes". Gamezone. May 4, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  10. ^ Joel Franey (March 19, 2020). "Doom Eternal: All the Best Easter Eggs and References". US Gamer. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  11. ^ Byron Saxton (September 26, 2013). "Xavier Woods: NXT's most captivating man". WWE. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  12. ^ Mark Serrels (March 29, 2015). "Ronda Rousey Just Killed Wrestlemania Wearing A Dragon Ball Z Shirt". Kotaku. Retrieved September 19, 2020.