Admit it, if you were a fan of Dragon Ball Z growing up, you tried to do a Kamehameha. Even if you didn’t, the signature move of the franchise became embedded in your brain as a staple of both the franchise and of your childhood. The Kamehameha wave is such an integral part of the series that even those who have never heard of Dragon Ball know what it is. Without Goku’s go-to attack, Dragon Ball wouldn’t be anywhere near as exciting as it usually is, and fans love the move almost as much as they love their favorite characters.
And yet, as important as the Kamehameha is to the franchise, fans might not know all that much about the blue energy beam. The history and trivia behind the Kamehameha isn’t explored very much in the Dragon Ball franchise, thus there are a few hidden facts and pieces of trivia that fans might not know. We thought it would be interesting to look back at all the things we’ve learned about the Kamehameha wave to compile a list of the lesser-known facts that Dragon Ball fans might have never known. Here are 15 facts that you never knew about the Kamehameha!
15. NAME ORIGINS
Some Dragon Ball fans might know that the Kamehameha shares a name with the founder and first rule of the Kingdom of Hawaii, King Kamehameha. However, what they might not know is the reason why they share a name. After trying out different poses himself to see which would work best, Akira Toriyama moved on to coming up with a name for the energy attack.
The Dragon Ball creator’s wife suggested he name it after the first king of Hawaii.
Toriyama needed a name that could incorporate “kame” (we’ll get to why later) into it. Enter his wife, Nachi Mikami, who actually came up with “Kamehameha.” She suggested that Toriyama name it after the first king of Hawaii, since it would be easier to remember. Toriyama went with the idea and it ended up being the most memorable attack in the series.
14. THE FIRST ENERGY ATTACK
Those who watched more of Z than they did the original Dragon Ball might not see the Kamehameha as all that special, as there are plenty of energy-based attacks in the sequel series. However, the Kamehameha was actually the first ki attack to be introduced into the franchise, and it changed everything.
What started out as a fantasy adventure series slowly began to focus more heavily on martial arts, and just as slowly, that martial arts began to become more and more supernatural. It all started with the Kamehameha, and from the first time Master Roshi used it, ki/energy became a huge part of the series’ fights and story. Without the Kamehameha, there wouldn’t be ki blasts, or power levels, or even scouters to detect the power levels. In other words, the Kamehameha literally changed the course of the Dragon Ball franchise.
13. SIGNATURE MOVE
Over the course of Dragon Ball, the Kamehameha came to be known as Goku’s signature move, he’s used it in countless battles and it’s hard to think of another character that has used it as much as he has. However, the funny part about this is the fact that Goku did not create this move on his own. In fact, most of Goku’s attacks were learned or copied from someone else.
The creator of the Kamehameha was none other than the turtle hermit, Masher Roshi.
Roshi created the franchise’s first ki attack, but he would rarely use it as time went on. Other users of the attack include Gohan and Goten, Krillin and even Yamcha. But, it is without a doubt Goku’s signature attack, it’s just kind of ironic that he’s not the originator.
12. TURTLE DESTRUCTION WAVE
Earlier, we mentioned that Akira Toriyama needed the move to incorporate “Kame” into it somehow. This is because “Kame” means “turtle” in Japanese, and since Master Roshi is the turtle hermit, Toriyama wanted to include the word into his special move. The name that Toriyama ended up with was “Kamehameha,” the name of the first king of Hawaii, by the suggestion of his wife.
As a result, “Kamehameha” has two meanings, one in the Hawaiian language, and one in Japanese. In the Hawaiian language, “Kamehameha” translates to “the very lonely one,” which ties in with the fact that Roshi was a hermit for most of his life (save for the company of his talking turtle friend). The Japanese translation of “Kamehameha” is literally “turtle destruction wave,” incorporating both the creator and the description of the attack itself. As some added trivia, when the attack is referred to as “the Kamehameha wave” in english dubs, “wave” is technically redundant.
11. FIRE EXTINGUISHER
Since the Kamehameha was the first energy attack to be used in the series, it had a pretty exciting introduction. When the Ox King asked for Goku’s help in putting out a fire that had engulfed his castle, he told him to fetch Master Roshi, who was thought to be in possession of the Bansho Fan, a magical fan that could put out the flames. However, Roshi threw the fan away some time ago, but he still promised to help.
Roshi decided to use the Kamehameha to put out the fire.
After bulking up to his Max-power form, Roshi attempted to use the energy blast to extinguish the fire, though it didn’t exactly work. Sure, the flames were put out, but the Ox King’s castle was destroyed as a result. Seriously, why did he think that attack would work as a fire extinguisher? Its name literally has “destruction” in it!
10. 50 YEARS OF TRAINING?
After Master Roshi first used the Kamehameha, Goku was amazed by the attack, it was like nothing he’d ever seen before. When Goku asked Roshi how he did it, the turtle hermit revealed he trained for 50 years to create the move. However, whether or not this was an exaggeration or a straight up lie, it was not true in the least.
For one thing, Goku attempted the move after seeing it once and was successfully able to recreate it. Granted, this is most likely a result of Goku’s innate Saiyan ability to easily learn and copy techniques, but he’s not the only person to have learned the move. Yamcha, Krillin, and Goku’s sons have all learned and used the move in far less than 50 years. Then again, maybe he just meant it took 50 years to develop the attack, not learn it, but who knows.
9. FEET WAVE
Goku was not only quick to learn the attack, he was also quick to develop his own versions of it. There are a ton of variations on the move that Goku has created, but perhaps the silliest of them all is the Feet Kamehameha, in which Goku uses the attack with, you guessed it, his feet.
As silly as it looked, it was definitely effective.
This attack was used before Goku learned to fly (or at least before it was revealed he could fly) as a means of propelling himself into the air to attack Piccolo. By saying the name of the attack while gathering his energy in his feet, Goku was able to save himself from falling to the ground, using the propulsion to double-punch Piccolo with extreme force. As silly as it looked, it was definitely effective.
This is another one that people might be aware of, but it’s still a pretty interesting fact. Very rarely is the Kamehameha used one-handed, as the move usually requires two hands to gather the necessary ki. There have, however, been a few instances in which one hand was used, and two of those instances involved Gohan. The first was in The History of Trunks, in which Future Gohan lost one of his arms and was still able to use the attack.
However, the more famous one-handed use of the Kamehameha came at the end of the Cell Saga. When Gohan’s left arm was injured during the battle, he was still determined to defeat Cell, and since the villain could regenerate from a single cell (hence the name), Gohan had to completely vaporize him. Gohan did just that, blasting Cell away with a single-handed Kamehameha.
7. LOTS OF VARIETIES
Speaking of the One-Handed Kamehameha, it, like the Feet Kamehameha, is one of many variations on the attack that have been seen throughout the series. The Kamehameha has lots of different versions, a good chunk of which have been created by Goku, though other Z-fighters have also put some personal touches into the attack.
Each user that has learned the Kamehameha has put some spin on the attack.
Some of the crazy variations include the Instant Kamehameha, which incorporates instant transmission for a surprise point-blank attack; the God Kamehameha, which incorporates godly ki from the Super Saiyan Blue form; the Double Kamehameha, where the user shoots Kamehamehas from both hands; and various team Kamehamehas, in which multiple users of the technique fire the attack together. Each user that has learned the Kamehameha has put some spin on the attack, resulting in a large number of variations.
6. THE GALICK GUN WAVE
While we’re on the subject of variations of the Kamehameha, we might as well include Vegeta’s signature attack, Galick Gun, in that category. Why, you ask? Well, the moves are essentially the same, just with some slight differences. In fact, the two ki attacks are so comparable that they were pit against each other, and nearly evenly matched, in Vegeta and Goku’s first fight.
Both the Kamehameha and the Galick Gun require charging energy with both hands, they are both fired with outstretched arms, they are both signature moves and they both result in a large, powerful, beam-shaped blast. The only real differences between the moves are the position of the hands when charging and the color of the resulting energy beam. All things considered, we could easily classify the Galick Gun as a form of the Kamehameha. Just don’t tell Vegeta!
5. THE SON FAMILY
Here’s a fun one! Did you know that both Goku’s sons know how to use the Kamehameha? All three of the Son boys know how to use this powerful attack, and as a result it has shifted from being a signature attack of just Goku to being a signature attack of his family.
Because they all know the Kamehameha, there have been a few father-son Kamehamehas.
Gohan first learned the Kamehameha some time during the Cell Saga, as the first time he used it was against Cell himself, and Goten, like his dad, learned to use it just by watching someone else do it, though he didn’t master it until later. Because they all know the Kamehameha, there have been a few father-son Kamehamehas used, including one that defeated Cell, and one family Kamehameha in the DBZ movie, Broly – Second Coming.
Like we said, Goten didn’t master the Kamehameha right away, despite his innate ability to easily learn new techniques. In fact, Goten didn’t even get the name right, a mistake that had somewhat disastrous effects. When Goten first tried to use the move, he mispronounced it as “Kamekameha,” and as a result, he sort of invented a new technique.
The Kamekameha is very similar to the Kamehameha, though it seems to be much more chaotic and harder to control, resulting in an energy wave surrounding Goten as he fires the blast. The Kamekameha is also hard to direct, which lead Goten to miss when firing at Trunks. Luckily, Goten eventually learned the correct way to gather and fire his energy as a Kamehameha, preventing any further dangerous use of the Kamekameha.
3. CAR DESTRUCTION WAVE
As many fans know by now, Goku was able to use the Kamehameha after witnessing Master Roshi use it once. Because of his innate learning abilities, Goku quickly picked up on how to gather and fire the energy for the attack, which is part of why the move became a signature of his throughout the series.
Goku first used the attack mere minutes after seeing Roshi do it, an act that surprised even him.
Perhaps this is why he aimed the attack at Bulma’s car, since he didn’t think it would actually work the first time. Unfortunately, it did, and Goku completely trashed Bulma’s car with his Kamehameha. The attack might translate to “turtle destruction wave,” but in this case, it might as well mean “car destruction wave.”
2. BENDING SURPRISE ATTACK
There’s one more Kamehameha variation that deserves its own entry, the Bending Kamehameha. As the name implies, it’s when Goku, or other users, shoot a Kamehameha, then change the direction of the tip of the blast, bending the beam. This has been used as a means of surprising an enemy through misdirection.
Goku first used the Bending Kamehameha in Dragon Ball against Ninja Murasaki, and later to hit King Piccolo directly in the head. He would also use it in Dragon Ball Z against Raditz, though to lesser effect, and against himself so that he could get a zenkai power up by attacking himself. The Bending Kamehameha is a rather effective technique, especially when the target is used to seeing a regular Kamehameha beam only going straight, creating a sense of surprise that has helped defeat various villains in the series.
1. PLASMA WAVE
Despite all that’s been revealed about the Kamehameha, and ki attacks in general, we still don’t know one important fact: what exactly is the Kamehameha? Sure, we know it’s an attack that’s created by gathering energy from within, a concept based on Eastern ideas of chi, but what is the stuff it’s actually made of?
What scientific properties does ki, and thus the Kamehameha, have?
The closest explanation that we have, and the one that makes the most sense, is plasma. Plasma, in terms of physics, is the fourth state of matter alongside gases, liquids and solids. Simply put, plasma is when particles of gas are ionized. Things like lightning and neon signs are made of plasma, and are formed when gas particles are energized. From this we can theorize that ki attacks like the Kamehameha are created by one’s ki igniting the air to create a destructive blast of plasma.
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