SEX AND NUDITY
One of the more amusing aspects of the series is the sexual humor. Sexual comments in the Dragonball series are not to be taken seriously. Some of the comments may be considered, by some, to be sexually harrasive, but it is intended to be purely humor.
Goku lived in a forest until he met Bulma; most of his life he was alone. The only other person he knew of was his grandfather. Bulma was the first female Goku encountered. His became fascinated with the differences between men and women. He could not tell the difference between men and women without staring at or patting the groin area of the person in question (Toryama-c, 2000).
On the morning of the first night of their quest, Goku woke early and attempted to use Bulma as a pillow. He discovered she "wasn't lumpy as grandpa." Goku removed Bulma's underwear and was shocked to discover some things were "missing." This scene is widely regarded on many fan-based web sites as one of the funniest in the history of anime. Bulma was not shown nude, but there was indication she was nude off screen. This scene was cut for the English version (Toryama-c, 2000).
When Goku and Bulma were on their initial quest for the Dragonballs, they encountered Master Roshi. Roshi was written as a "dirty old man" for humor purposes. Roshi was in possession of one of the Dragonballs. Bulma noticed he kept the Dragonball on a necklace and asked what she could give him for it.
In the Japanese version, Roshi asked to see Bulma's panties. In the English version, he asks to see Bulma's belly-button. While this seems to be a harmless change, the humor of Bulma realizing, too late, that her panties were removed by Goku in the aforementioned scene is not there in the English version. Again, there is no actual nudity in the television series (fig 1., Toryama-c, 2000).
While there are several cases of female characters in their underwear, the only real full nudity occurs with the male characters. It is not sexual nudity; it's situational.
In the 1970's television series "The Incredible Hulk," when Dr. David Banner transformed into the Hulk, the final form was not much larger than his regular form. The advantage of this is Dr. Banner's clothes didn't need to stretch much (Johnson, K., 1977).
As mentioned, when a Sayian has a tail, they can transform into large apes of enormous power. One of the problems with the transformation is that their clothes do not grow with them. Unlike the Hulk, the ape form of a Sayian is roughly sixty-feet tall. Their clothes did not stretch to conform; they shredded. While it is not necessary to clothe the character in ape form, when the character reverts to his normal form he is naked. This results in the only nudity in the English version (Toryama-d, 2000 ).
However, showing a full-frontal nude male, even a drawn one, is forbidden by the FCC (FCC, 2002). The Japanese version does show the male genitals, it is not a focal point and it is not on screen long.
The English version attempts to show the full transformation. The scene is not cut. Instead, the Funimation editors have placed a new "cover" over the questionable parts.While there are only three occasions where this occurs in Dragonball Z, it is obvious which parts of the frame are not in the original version. The covering is not quite as abrupt as a black box, however using a daisy in the middle of an Arizona-like desert-scape doesn't seem to fit (Fig. 2, Toryama-I, 1989).
The only actual sexual intercourse in the series was implied by the existence of children. While the idea of unwed parents is becoming more widely accepted, it is generally not considered a topic for young children.
This issue does present itself in the Dragonball series as the characters were too young. However, the Dragonball Z series is where the problem presents itself.
While there was no wedding scene in the series, Goku and Chi-chi were mentioned repeatedly as being married (Toryama-j, 1989). They had two children: Gohan and Goten, thus implying they had sexual intercourse.
Vegita and Bulma also had two children: Trunks and Bra. However, the English series seems to make a point of not mentioning the characters were married (Toryama-k, 2000).
Piccolo also creates an interesting issue in regards to reproduction. Nameks are asexual beings. While most of them in the series appear male, each is capable of producing an egg, and presumably fertilizing it, for reproduction (Toryama-h, 1990).
Even though the nudity and implied sexual intercourse are considered adult issues in the U.S., the Japanese version aired without incident. This raises the question, would a directly translated version air here without incident? The answer is a very simple "no."