Bulma is a direct parody of the character Xuanzang from the Chinese novel Journey to the West.[4] Even though Bulma’s character parodies a monk, her Japanese name “Buruma” is the brand of a popular gym short worn by girls in Japan. Her re-adapted name Bulma is a direct take on the word bloomers, which was a popular type of women’s underwear in the early 20th century.

As with most characters in the Dragon Ball series, Bulma’s name is consistent with those of the rest of her family. Her family name has been said by Toriyama to be “Briefs”, which is a type of undergarment. All of Bulma’s family members are named after underclothing of some sort.

  • Appearance

Bulma’s appearance in the anime differs slightly than her appearance in the manga. In the manga, her hair is usually depicted in a shade of fuschia, while in the anime and the first chapter of the manga, her hair is a shade of turquoise. Her hair in the film Dragon Ball: The Path to Power is changed to the manga color for unknown reasons.

Bulma’s appearance in the series is not as consistent as the other characters as she quite often changes her hair style and clothing. Bulma has also been seen topless, in several chapters and two episodes. She is the only female character in the entire Dragon Ball series to appear topless. In most editions of the episodes in question the scenes are censored.

  • Personality

Bulma’s personality is like the typical female characters in Toriyama’s stories; nagging and temperamental. Bulma at first is identical to the image of a pampered city girl for most of the series; arrogant and adventurous, but afraid of being alone. Her arrogance can be seen to stem from her intellect; Bulma is most recognized for her fierce determination to get what she wants, and can be viewed as reckless in those quests. Bulma is well known for her intellectual approach to situations and her beauty. Master Roshi frequently harasses her. She is also very proud of her abilities and can be very cantankerous when slighted, which may indicate a similar approach with other men. Throughout the series, Bulma goes through many life-threatening situations and is often a damsel-in-distress, needing the protection of Goku and the others.

Bulma mellows out as the series continues in the present timeline, ultimately befriending Vegeta and helping him adapt to Earth. Initially depicted to support Goku, whom she affectionately calls Son-kun, her relationship with Vegeta and his rivalry with Goku sparks a friendly rivalry with Chi Chi, but she manages to remain one of Goku’s strongest supporters due to their long friendship.

  • Plot overview

Bulma is the second character to be introduced in the Dragon Ball series. In the early part of the story, she is the inventor of the Dragon Radar and is searching for the legendary Dragon Balls. Bulma was hoping to use the Dragon Balls to wish for the perfect boyfriend. While searching for a nearby Dragon Ball, she runs into Goku. She finds out Goku inherited the four-star Dragon Ball from his adoptive father Grandpa Gohan. Because of Goku’s love for the ball and his belief that his Grandpa’s spirit lives in the ball, Goku is not willing to give it up. Bulma then asks him to loan it for her in exchange of taking him in her travels. At that point, they team up to find the remainder of the balls and the adventure begins.[5] As the search progresses, Bulma and Goku meet Master Roshi after finding his pet turtle; Oolong, a shape-shifting pig who is terrorizing a village; and Yamcha, and his shape shifting cat companion Puar, a desert bandit who Bulma soon finds herself attracted to, and who she eventually starts a relationship with. In one of the final episodes of Dragon Ball; Bulma can be seen having a crush on Goku when she witnesses his mature features. This affection for Goku never becomes anything serious due to Chi Chi’s and Goku marriage, thus prohibiting any love relations between Goku and Bulma.[6]

Dragon Ball Z


As the anime progresses, Bulma’s role waxes and wanes. In the later action-oriented episodes of the series, there is little room for a genius but Bulma continues to play a role as a secondary character, helping Goku and his friends with her gadgets, and having a rather rocky relationship with Yamcha.

After five years of peace, an evil menace comes to the Earth. It is Goku’s elder brother, a Saiyan, named Raditz. After Goku and Piccolo kill him, Bulma takes the scouter from Raditz, and fixes it to find the power levels of people in human numbers. During the subsequent battle against Vegeta and Nappa, Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu and Piccolo are killed and because Piccolo dies, the Dragon Balls are rendered useless.[7] After Goku defeats the Saiyans, Bulma volunteers to travel to Piccolo’s home planet Namek and use the Namekian Dragon Balls to restore Yamcha and the others back to life. In need of a spaceship, Mr. Popo reveals one to Bulma, which had been the ship Kami had used to travel to Earth when he was a boy. Bulma repairs the ship with the help of her father, and flies off to Namek with Krillin and Son Gohan.[8]

After Goku defeats the tyrant Frieza, Yamcha and the others who were killed are revived by the Namekian Dragon Balls. However, Bulma’s romantic relationship with him ultimately ends, though they remained friends afterwards. Vegeta eventually returns to Earth, staying with the Briefs family. Bulma chooses to befriend him, developing a strong bond that by the time of the Androids’ invasion, leads to a romantic relationship that leads to the birth of her first child, Trunks.[9] Many years later she would give birth to Bra, Trunks’ sister.

Seven years after the battle against the Androids, Bulma helps Gohan by making a watch which automatically changes his clothes into a super-hero costume so he could fight crime, without his real identity being known.[10] Later, she and the other Z Fighters, with the exception of Goku, Vegeta and Gohan, hide on Kami’s Lookout from the monstrous Majin Buu, however she is killed when Super Buu turns her into chocolate and eats her. In the Other World, she, along with Chi Chi, Videl, and a reformed Dabura look for Gohan. Bulma is revived by the Namekian Dragon Balls, along with her family and friends, and gives her energy to Goku to create a Super Spirit Bomb which eliminates Kid Buu once and for all.[11]