|Alternate names||Faster Than Light Technique|
Image Remaining Technique
|Debut||"The Grand Finals"|
|Inventor||Korin (claims to be the inventor)|
Martial Artist (2)
|Color||Varies with the user|
|Similar techniques||Afterimage Strike|
Afterimage Technique (残像拳) is an ability to move so swiftly that an image of the user is left behind. Most often, it is used to dodge an incoming attack and get behind the opponent to perform a counterattack. Its usage is not limited to just counterattacks though, as it can also be used to confuse enemies.
Theoretically, the Afterimage Technique is a move that could be performed (to some degree) in the real world, since it merely requires moving faster than the eye can see. This is a similar phenomenon to that of moving your hand back and forth very fast, and seeing a sort of afterimage of your hand. However, the speed at which the Z Fighters move their entire bodies is far too much for a normal human to perform.
The Afterimage Technique was first seen during 21st World Martial Arts Tournament, when Jackie Chun fought Goku. In an early English dub of Dragon Ball, he calls this technique "The Devil's Afterimage", but originally there was no 魔 (Ma; literally translated as demon) character that marked all "devil" techniques.
Jackie Chun is able to perform a Tajū Zanzōken (多重残像拳; literally translated as Multiple Afterimage Fist), where he spins around his opponent, leaving a lot of afterimages of himself. In this form, it is hard to tell which one is the real Jackie Chun. Goku adapted this technique in the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament and was able to produce more afterimages than Jackie Chun, in an attempt to fool him with his own attack.
While Goku is trying to grab the Sacred Water from Korin, he uses the afterimage technique, but Korin tricked Goku to reveal himself, and Korin made his own afterimage for Goku to hit and just fall to the ground. Under the name Phantom-Star, the technique is used by members of the Chin-Star School.
During the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, Jackie Chun used it against Tien Shinhan as well. In the anime but not in the manga, Krillin also used it once against Goku when they were pitted against each other.
In Dragon Ball Z, Dodoria uses an afterimage as part of his Dodoria's Blow technique. Goku also used it during his fight with Frieza, in case Frieza didn't fall for Goku's trick of pulling up at the last second and hitting himself with the Homing Destructo Disc. He later used it twice on Cell under similar circumstances during the Cell Games. Dabura used a demonic version of the Afterimage Technique (zanzou majutsu; lit "Afterimage Sorcery") against Gohan. After Gohan dodged his Evil Flame, Dabura used the Afterimage Technique to dodge Gohan's counterattack. On the other side of the battlefield, Dabura arrogantly says "Looking for me?!" as he fires the Evil Impulse to blast Gohan into the ocean.
Later on, almost every character learns Zanzoken, and its usage is not even marked by anything, so it meets the same destiny as flight. In Dragon Ball GT, Goku and Vegeta used this to distract Omega Shenron while attempting the Fusion Dance. The two Super Saiyan 4s move so rapidly that they seem to "blink" in and out of view, leaving multiple afterimages. They even manage to move so fast that they perform the fusion technique in multiple locations at once, greatly confusing Omega Shenron.
- 残 (Zan) = Remaining
- 像 (Zō) = Image
- 拳 (Ken) = Fist