Emperor Pilaf Saga, also known as The Saga of Goku, is the first saga in the anime and manga. It is in this saga that Goku and Bulma meet, and where they also meet allies Yamcha, Puar, Oolong, Master Roshi, Turtle, Chi-Chi, Ox-King and others. The main antagonist of the saga is Emperor Pilaf and his underlings, Shu and Mai, though technically most of the allies-to-be started out as antagonists.
Unlike later sagas, the first adventures are very episodic. Characters and situations are introduced and resolved in single issue/episode and they are connected only via the attempt to locate the Dragon Balls, which are the source of most of the battles and challenges which unfold during this saga and much of the series. The anime edition of this saga introduced Emperor Pilaf (and his underlings) much earlier and provided a more cohesive arc over the initial episodes.
Some of the characters and situations in this first part of the Dragon Ball plot are rehashed from Akira Toriyama's earlier pilot, Dragon Boy. In addition, the influence of the Chinese folk-novel Journey to the West is at its peak at this early stage. This saga has also been retold in the movies Curse of the Blood Rubies, The Path to Power, Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins and Dragonball Evolution but all feature different villains and some are merged with other sagas.
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Beginning the AdventureEdit
One day on Mount Paozu, a young monkey tailed boy named Goku was finished with his daily chores and saw that his grandpa's Dragon Ball was glowing, which is the 4-Star Dragon Ball. Later on when on his way back home with a Giant Fish he was going to eat for lunch he was rammed into by a car driven by a teenage girl named Bulma. At first Goku thought the dino cap car Bulma was driving was a monster but then revealed she was a human girl. Bulma came with Goku to his house to eat lunch with him but Bulma saw that he had the Dragon Ball she was looking for. Goku refused to give her it and she told him the legend of the dragon known as Shenron, and Goku decided to join Bulma on her quest to acquire the seven mystical balls. After encountering a hungry pterodactyl the two then set up camp later. Goku was then introduced to technology and was given a bath when Bulma set up the Capsule House.
The next morning Goku ends up meeting a Sea Turtle outside of the house while waiting for Bulma to get ready. Goku and Bulma end up postponing their quest to help the sea turtle. On their way Goku defeats a Bear Thief which then impressed Bulma having her more confident in Goku's ability. When they came to the ocean the turtle brought back his master, the Turtle Hermit later to be known as Master Roshi. Being thankful for Goku's help he was given the Flying Nimbus and Bulma was given another Dragon Ball in the exchange of showing the old master her underwear.
Taking on OolongEdit
Three days later, Goku and Bulma end up in Aru Village, where they end up being mistaken for Oolong, a shape shifter who has been kidnapping the daughters of the villagers. When Bulma found out that Grandma Paozu, an old lady in the village, had a Dragon Ball she forced Goku to disguise himself as Pochawompa (Oolong's next target) to find out where Oolong was kidnapping the girls. When the plan ended up failing he decided to take on Oolong in Combat and capture him. After Oolong revealed his real form which was a pig he showed the villagers where he kept the daughters and Bulma was given another one of the Dragon Balls by Grandma Paozu.
Dangers in the Diablo DesertEdit
After the village was saved Bulma forced Oolong to join them thinking his shape shifting ability would be useful. Oolong who was completely against the idea ended up being controlled by a vitamin Bulma gave him to make him go to the bathroom whenever she says piggy. Bulma ends up losing her Dynocaps and ends up not having any vehicles for the rest of the journey. After walking a couple of miles they end up in the Diablo Desert where Bulma goes crazy and passes out in the heat. While she passes out in the heat a Desert Bandit named Yamcha and his sidekick Puar (who was a former acquaintance of Oolong) ambush Goku and Oolong and try to rob them. Goku fights back with his power pole revealing to Yamcha that Goku is the grandson of a legendary martial artist named Gohan. Yamcha uses a powerful attack called Wolf Fang Fist, which is Yamcha's signature move, to knock Goku into rocks trapping him under rubble. Just before Oolong gives up his capsule, Goku comes back with a little bit of energy left and sends Yamcha in a rage which is stopped when Bulma wakes up and Yamcha is scared off due to his fear of women.
Later that night in Oolong House-Wagon Bulma is taking a shower when Yamcha and Puar come again to spy on them. Yamcha ends up seeing Bulma naked and then goes to the other window and hears Goku tell Oolong about the Dragon Balls. Yamcha hears the conversation and then dedicates his mission to getting the Dragon Balls instead of robbing them. When Bulma and Goku fall asleep from Oolong's special juice, Oolong is interrupted when trying to search the room Bulma is sleeping in. Puar who is disguised as Goku ends up luring Oolong who is disguised as Bulma out of the trailer for Yamcha to go and steal the balls. Yamcha ends up failing when he sees Bulma completely naked.
The next morning Bulma is disappointed that the only clothes she has that would fit her is a bunny costume. Yamcha who is outside shoots down the house wagon with a bazooka and knocks Bulma out. Goku ends up having a rematch with Yamcha and knocks his tooth out in battle. Yamcha then surrenders and comes up with a different idea and let them collect the Dragon Balls and give them a car with a tracker.
The Destruction of Fire MountainEdit
After Traveling awhile they end up at Fire Mountain which is the site for their sixth Dragon Ball. Oolong was scared to go because he knew legends of the Ox-King and knew he would kill them. Bulma forced Oolong to come with them to go find the ball. Goku went to the top with the flying nimbus but it was to hot for him to manage. When he got down to tell Bulma the Ox-King began to fight Goku in battle. At first the Ox-King seemed to be much for Goku but when Goku got on the Nimbus the Ox-King changed his mind and asked Goku to go with his daughter Chi-Chi to get the Bansho Fan to put out the fire from Master Roshi who was his and Goku's Martial Arts Teacher.
When Goku and Chi-Chi got to Master Roshi's house, Chi Chi was'nt convinced that the old man was really Master Roshi so she decided to test him by throwing the blade that was atop her helmet straight at Roshi while his back was turned. Roshi tried to defelect the attack with his can but ended up getting a blow to the head. After Roshi showed his id to the two, he went on to say that he had threw away the Bansho Fan along time ago but agreed to put the fire out himself if he was allowed to touch Bulma's breasts. When they got back to Fire Mountain Master Roshi revealed a powerful technique called the Kamehameha Wave and destroyed the mountain. Under the Rubble Bulma found the sixth Dragon Ball. Goku who was amazed by the wave and tried to perform it himself but ended up destroying the car Yamcha had gave them. The Ox-King was thankful for getting rid of the fire and gave them his car. Just before they left Chi-Chi asked Goku of they would ever see each other again and Goku agreed.
Conflict with the Rabbit MobEdit
On the way to their way to the final Dragon Ball Oolong see's that the car is low on gas and decides to stop at the closest town to fill up. While there everyone looked in fear of Bulma who was still in the Bunny Costume Oolong had given her. While in town, Bulma was able to get free stuff. When she got different clothes on everyone stop being afraid of her because she was mistaken as a member of a local gang called the Rabbit Mob. Once Bulma met back up with Oolong and Goku they see two members of the Rabbit Mob members bullying the villagers. When they noticed Bulma they started to hit on her but when she rejected them they got mad and Goku came and defeated the two in a matter of seconds. Afterwards the two called their boss over which then caused the whole town to run in panic. When the boss of the rabbit mob Monster Carrot showed up he turned Bulma into a Carrot with his handshake. Monster Carrot then threatened Goku to not move or he would eat Bulma allowing the two members to beat up Goku. Yamcha and Puar who were still hiding decided to temporarily switch sides and help Goku defeat Monster Carrot. Puar turned into a bird a stole the carrot while Goku and Yamcha tried to fight Monster Carrot. Puar dropped the carrot when crashing into a mushroom tree and Goku caught it. Monster Carrot then got scared off when Puar transformed into him and threatened to touch him. Monster Carrot then turned Bulma back to normal and was tied up with his two minions and taken to the moon where they were forced to make marshmallow treats for children.
Emperor Pilaf and the Eternal DragonEdit
Goku and Bulma weren't the only ones seeking the magical Dragon Balls. A small, blue-skinned man named Emperor Pilaf was also seeking the Balls, with his wish being to become supreme ruler of the entire world. Assisting Pilaf are his two close followers Shu, a small fox-like man, and Mai, a beautiful foot-soldier. Many of Pilaf's attempts to steal the Dragon Balls away from Goku are foiled by the young warrior, causing great embarrassment to the villains. However, he is able to finally steal all seven balls from our heroes by trapping them in a room and knocking them out with sleeping gas. Without delay, Pilaf rushes to his castle and summons the Eternal Dragon, Shenron, but before he can make his one wish come true, Oolong jumps in at the last minute to put a stop to it by wishing for his own pair of women's undergarments, the most comfortable in the world. After doing so the balls gather in the sky and are separated once more, never to be used for another year. An enraged Pilaf imprisons the heroes in his castle.
The Great ApeEdit
Later that night, Goku tells the story of his grandfather, Gohan, and tells of his untimely demise. A great and terrible beast came upon Gohan's shack one night and crushed the old man to death. This was also the night of a full moon. Upon finishing the story, Goku witnesses the full moon peeking in through the roof of their cell. This causes Goku to lose all sense of himself and transform into a giant, deadly ape-like monster. The monster immediately proceeds to lay waste to the castle. Pilaf and his minions escape the castle in time, but Yamcha and the rest of the gang must now find a way to help their enraged friend. Puar changes into a pair of scissors and cuts off Goku's tail, changing the frightening beast back into the small, peaceful child. Morning comes and Goku awakes with no memory of the night's events. The experience now confirms to the rest of the gang that it was indeed Goku himself who was responsible for Gohan's tragic death, though all of them agree to never tell Goku as the knowledge would undoubtedly crush the boy's soul.
The heroes then speculate as to what they should do during the one year it takes for the Dragon Balls to be used again. It is here that Yamcha suggest he, and Goku should enter the upcoming World Martial Arts Tournament. The gang splits up for the first time to go their separate ways, with Goku traveling to Master Roshi to seek his training, and Yamcha seeking training of his own with Bulma, Puar, and Oolong following.
- Sabertooth Cat
- Bear Thief
- Grandma Paozu
- Little Flower
- Sarah's Mother
- Alexi's Father
- Little Flower's Father
- Rabbit Mob Members
Some of the battles in the Emperor Pilaf Saga are not completely full fledged battles, some of them are just minor physical conflicts.
- Goku vs. Bulma (in car)
- Goku vs. a pterodactyl
- Goku vs. the Bear Thief
- Goku vs. Oolong
- Goku vs. Yamcha
- Goku vs. Yamcha (2nd Time)
- Goku vs. Ox-King
- Yamcha vs. Chi-Chi
- Chi-Chi vs. Master Roshi
- Goku, Yamcha & Puar vs. Monster Carrot
- Great Ape Goku vs. Emperor Pilaf, Shu & Mai (in plane)
1. Secret of the Dragon Balls Bulma's search for six more Dragon Balls leads her to a remote valley and to Goku, who is in possession of one of the balls. Their relationship gets off to a rocky start, but after Goku saves Bulma's life, the two join forces in search of the remaining five Dragon Balls. They had better take care, for an evil force - Emperor Pilaf - also seeks the Dragon Balls.
2. The Emperor's Quest Without realizing where they are, Bulma and Goku camp near Skull Valley, a foreboding land where one of the Dragon Balls lies hidden. Emperor Pilaf dispatches his henchmen to recover the ball, but they and Goku run into each other and a pack of ravenous wolves. Who will emerge the winner?
3. The Nimbus Cloud of Roshi As a token of appreciation, Master Roshi presents Goku the Flying Nimbus Cloud, a magical flying cloud that can be ridden only by someone pure of heart. He gives Bulma an orange bauble that he wears around his neck, a seemingly worthless stone that had washed up on the beach. It turns out that this "bauble" is in fact a Dragon Ball. Unfortunately for our friends, Emperor Pilaf and his aids, Mai and Shu, are also after this same Dragon Ball...and now they know that Bulma has it.
4. Oolong the Terrible Bulma and Goku's search for the Dragon Balls takes them to the remote valley where they encounter Oolong, a shape-changing monster who is terrorizing Aru Village. They are promised a Dragon Ball by the local townspeople if they can defeat the fierce monster. Can our heroes possibly defeat this wily creature?
5. Yamcha the Desert Bandit Bulma and Goku continue their quest for the Dragon Balls with Oolong. But the next Dragon Ball lies beyond the Diablo Desert. Oolong is terrifies, for he knows that the Diablo Desert is home to Yamcha, a fearsome bandit who possesses the awesome power of the Wolf Fang Fist. Can our friends make it through the desert to their destination?
6. Keep an Eye on the Dragon Balls While Bulma, Goku and Oolong recover from the ordeal of acquiring five Dragon Balls, Yamcha and Puar try to steal them out from under their noses so that Yamcha can obtain his own grandiose goal. But they're not the only ones after the Dragon Balls! Oolong wouldn't mind having the Dragon Balls, and Emperor Pilaf's henchmen are closing in as well.
7. The Ox King on Fire Mountain The search for the sixth Dragon Ball leads the Dragon Ball Team to Fire Mountain, home of the dreaded Ox-King. They arrive at the base of the mountain, but the scorching Eternal Flames prevent them from reaching the castle at the summit and the Dragon Ball within. To make matters worse, Ox-King appears to ward off intruders. Will our heroes be able to capture the sixth Dragon Ball?
8. The Kamehameha Wave Master Roshi, who appears to be a wise but feeble old man, reveals that he is a master of the "Kamehameha", an ancient and formidable force. The power, which he channels through his hands, creates a wave of tremendous destruction that can topple mountains.
9. Boss Rabbit's Magic Touch Bulma and Goku's search for the Dragon Balls takes them to a remote village that is being terrorized by a villainous gang, the Rabbits. Before long, Goku and Dragon Ball Team come face to face with two of the Rabbits, and Goku must fight to protect his friends. Can he protect them from the surprise Monster Carrot has in store for them?
10. The Dragon Balls are Stolen! The Dragon Ball Team races toward the seventh Dragon Ball. Little do they know that their enemies await them. Can Emperor Pilaf be stopped from gathering the last of the Dragon Balls and making his evil wish?
11. The Penalty is Pinball The Dragon Ball Team escapes their prison to search for Pilaf and the Dragon Balls. Their freedom is short-lived, however, for the Dragon Ball Team stumbles into another one of Pilaf's treacherous traps: a giant pinball machine! The team runs a desperate race through the maze of corridors. What hope can be left for the Dragon Ball Team as they try to stop Pilaf from gaining his evil wish to rule the Earth?
12. A Wish to the Eternal Dragon Just as Emperor Pilaf is about to make his wish, Goku leads the others in a successful escape attempt. Are they in time to prevent the Emperor from seizing control of the world? And just what does happen when Goku sees the full moon?
13. The Legend of Goku Goku is exposed to a full moon. Transforming into a huge, alien gorilla, Goku goes on a rampage, attacking friends and foes alike. Can Bulma, Yamcha, and Puar return Goku to his normal self without hurting him and while also avoiding Emperor Pilaf's army?
FUNimation first dubbed the Emperor Pilaf Saga in association with DLT Entertainment and The Ocean Group. The dub was edited for content and the entire musical score was replaced with one written by Peter Berring. The dub entered syndication in 1995 and was cancelled after dubbing thirteen episodes and the first movie. The Ocean dubbed Pilaf episodes were also released to VHS from Trimark in 1996. This video line contained six volumes, each containing only two episodes except for one volume that contained three episodes. There was also an additional volume that contained the first movie. Trimark later released the thirteen Ocean dubbed pilaf episodes and the first movie in a two disc dvd boxed set in 1999. In 2001, after FUNimation had dubbed Dragon Ball movies two to three, and had been working on Dragon Ball Z for two and a half years, they restarted production on the Dragon Ball series using their own in house cast. The newly dubbed Pilaf episodes featured the original Japanese musical score, a revised script, and was only lightly edited for content. These dubbed episodes aired on Toonami from 2001 to 2003. However, Trimark still owned the North American home video distribution rights to the Pilaf Saga and the first movie until 2004, so Funimation released the series to VHS and DVD beginning with the Tournament Saga, but Madman released the Pilaf Saga uncut in Australia and New Zealand. However, Lionsgate bought Trimark in 2002, and renewed the rights to the Pilaf Saga and the first movie, making Funimation unable to release those properties. In 2009, Funimation purchased the home video rights to the Pilaf Saga, and they were included in the uncut remastered boxed set with the Tournament Saga. The set was released on September 15, 2009.
Since the anime was created due to the success of the manga, that means that the entire saga had already been completed in the manga. As a result, in an attempt to "catch up" with the manga, minimal filler exists, most of which involves Pilaf. In the manga, he wasn't introduced until after the Boss Rabbit fight, when our heroes entered his turf. In the anime version he appeared in the very first episode, and minor filler scenes in subsequent episodes. This footage was most likely created for the sole purpose of introducing the main villain in the saga. As it stands, the Emperor Pilaf Saga has the record for the least filler of any Dragon Ball anime.
This saga was adapted in the video games Dragon Ball: Shenron no Nazo, Dragon Ball 3: Gokuden, Dragon Ball Z: Super Gokuden: Totsugeki-Hen, Dragon Ball: Advanced Adventure, and Dragon Ball: Origins. It was also adapted in the handheld game Dragon Ball: Pilaf no Gyakushū.
- Even though this is the first saga, it is the only one, whether in Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, or Dragon Ball GT, to culminate in the seemingly cliche method of a villain coming within a hair's breath of successfully using the Dragon Balls, only to be thwarted within the final moments. In all others, either the main villain had been defeated before the dragon was summoned, they were nowhere near the scene when the dragon was summoned, or they had successfully used the Dragon Balls themselves with minimal interference (see King Piccolo Saga).
- This saga is the first one through Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT that presents a Transformation, which is Goku turning to Great Ape.