Not Jackie Chan, Goku’s Super Saiyan In Dragon Ball Is Modeled After A Chinese Martial Arts Legend: “His slanting pose with that scowling look in his eyes”

Not Jackie Chan, Goku's Super Saiyan In Dragon Ball Is Modeled After A Chinese Martial Arts Legend: "His slanting pose with that scowling look in his eyes"
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Goku’s Dragon Ball is easily one of the most hyped topics in the industry – both manga and anime. With an extraordinarily unique storyline, it had fans wanting more ever since its first release. But the Akira Toriyama-created manga isn’t a standalone manga birthed entirely from the author’s imagination but is a compilation of several different ideas and storylines merged into one perfect piece of art.

Dragon Ball
Dragon Ball

The same is true with most of the characters and their transformations as well. In fact, Goku’s Super Saiyan, one of his most legendary transformations, was actually modeled after a Chinese martial arts legend. And it’s not Jackie Chan.

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Goku’s Super Saiyan Was Inspired By This Chinese Martial Arts Legend

Goku's Super Saiyan transformation in Dragon Ball
Goku’s Super Saiyan transformation in Dragon Ball

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Being a huge fan of martial arts works, especially films from the late legend Bruce Lee and current one Jackie Chan, Akira Toriyama created Goku’s story after being inspired by these. Initially a one-shot manga named Dragon Boy, the series developed along with its characters to finally be renowned as Dragon Ball.

Loosely based on the plot and characters of Journey to the West, a Chinese novel, it derived a lot of its action scenes from Lee and Chan’s kung fu movies. But the action scenes weren’t the only thing that was inspired in the action manga by Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee. A major part of the character’s transformation was influenced by him as well.


Developing his characters to focus the storyline mainly on hardcore fighting, writer Akira Toriyama created one of the most hyped character transformations of Goku, Super Saiyan, whose piercing eyes were inspired by the late martial arts master. As per the Dragon Ball Back Then Vol. 2: Interview with “Dragon Ball Z” character designer Tadayoshi Yamamuro:

“[When Goku] first becomes a Super Saiyan, his slanting pose with that scowling look in his eyes is all Bruce Lee.”

Turns out the renowned Bruce Lee left a remarkable legacy behind which wasn’t restricted to real-life big-screen movies only, but found its way into the manga and anime world as well.

Also Read: Akira Toriyama Finally Explains the Importance of Goten and Trunks in the New Dragon Ball Super Chapter


Akira Toriyama Couldn’t Understand The Reason Behind Dragon Ball‘s Global Success

The creator of Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama
The creator of Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama

While Dragon Ball was an immense success with a worldwide fan following in millions, creator Akira Toriyama never intended for that to happen, claiming his goal was only to tell an “unconventional and contradictory” story.

During one of his rare media interviews, Toriyama wrote to The Asahi Shimbun about the incredible success of the action manga series worldwide:

“Frankly, I don’t quite understand why it happened,” Toriyama said. “While the manga was being serialized, the only thing I wanted as I kept drawing was to make Japanese boys happy.”

Continuing, he shared how the only reason why he decided to create the series initially was just to entertain the readers.


“The role of my manga is to be a work of entertainment through and through,” he said. “I dare say I don’t care even if (my works) have left nothing behind, as long as they have entertained their readers.”

Regardless of what Toriyama might say, Dragon Ball has still won the hearts of many with over 230 million copies of the manga having been published from 1984 through 1995. Considered one of the greatest ‘landmark works of Japan’s pop culture’, it will continue to create history until the end of time.

Source: The Asahi Shimbun


Written by Mahin Sultan

Articles Published: 1312

Mahin Sultan is a News Content Writer at FandomWire. With more than a year's worth of experience in her field, she has explored and attained a deep understanding of numerous topics in various niches, mostly entertainment.

An all-things-good enthusiast, Mahin is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Commerce, and her love for entertainment has given her a solid foundation of reporting in the same field. Besides being a foodie, she loves to write and spends her free time either with her nose buried in a good book or binging on COD or K-dramas, anime, new movies, and TV serials (the awesome ones, obviously).

So far, Mahin's professional portfolio has 1,000+ articles written on various niches, including Entertainment, Health and wellbeing, and Fashion and trends, among others.