One of the most memorable villains to face Goku and the Z Fighters in the popular anime/manga franchise Dragon Ball Z is Captain Ginyu, leader of the elite mercenary squad the Ginyu Force. Hired by Frieza to combat the Z Fighters and recover the Dragon Balls on Namek, Ginyu revealed that he had the ability to change host bodies, using the surprise technique to temporarily swap bodies in Goku when he realized the warrior significantly exceeded him in combat strength.
A popular fan theory posted to Reddit suggests that Ginyu's true, original body has never actually been revealed over the course of the entire franchise but, rather, is just the latest in a line of body swaps.
When Ginyu unveiled his body transformation to Goku during their fight, Jeice, the sole surviving subordinate member of the Ginyu Force, reacted as though he had seen his commander use the move before, unsurprised and confident in the technique's success. This suggests that Jeice had witnessed Ginyu change bodies with other fighters before or was at least fully aware of its prior usage, not even reacting when Ginyu deliberately wounded himself before the swap to inhibit Goku once he possessed his old body.
Jeice's lack of surprise and Ginyu's willingness to potentially destroy his old body suggests that the classic, purple figure with black horns was never his true form at all. This idea is continued by Ginyu attempting to swap bodies with Vegeta when Goku's body is damaged in the resulting fight against the Z Fighters. Fortunately, Goku is not only able to regain control of his own body by jumping in the path of Ginyu's body swap beam but later tricks Ginyu into possessing a Namekian frog when the villain attempts the technique again.
The non-canonical Dragon Ball GT revealed that Ginyu had died at some point over the course of the series and is seen in his purple, black-horned form as his soul waits in line to enter Hell. This strongly implies that the first time audiences see Ginyu, the villain is indeed in his original body despite what Jeice's reaction suggests otherwise. However, given that the canonicity of GT has been widely disputed due to the lack of franchise creator Akira Toriyama's involvement, as well as inconsistencies present in the most recent anime series, Dragon Ball Super, this Ginyu appearance is potentially similarly out of continuity.
Ginyu is revealed to have survived the destruction of Namek, while still trapped in his frog form after briefly possessing Bulma in an anime filler storyline. Briefly seen on Earth in Z, the plot thread is resolved in Super, with Ginyu possessing the body of one of Frieza's soldiers, Tagoma before being killed once and for all by Vegeta. Ginyu hasn't been seen since in Hell -- in anyone's body -- leaving the mystery of what the Ginyu Force's captain true form still an unresolved plot point at this time.
As the first fighter to force Goku to unleash his full power shortly after the heroic warrior arrived on Namek and leading the colorful and eccentric Ginyu Force, Captain Ginyu has gone on to become one of the Dragon Ball franchise's most recognizable characters and a staple in subsequent video game adaptations.
The character's signature body swap technique has similarly been present in his video game appearances, though the question of whether he is in his original body remains after the character's relatively recent demise in Dragon Ball Super, potentially taking his secret to the grave. Though, as any Dragon Ball fan knows, death is seldom ever the end...
Newly dubbed episodes of Dragon Ball Super air on Saturdays at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Adult Swim.
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