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Afterimage Technique (残像拳 Zanzōken, lit. "Afterimage Fist") is an ability to move so swiftly that an image of the user is left behind.


Jackie Chun Zanzoken

Jackie Chun creates an afterimage against Tien

Theoretically, the Afterimage Technique is a move that can be performed (to some degree) in the real world, since it merely requires moving faster than the eye can see. This is a similar phenomenon to that of one moving their hand back and forth very fast and seeing a sort of afterimage of the hand. However, the speed at which the Dragon Team move their entire bodies is far too difficult for a normal Earthling to perform.

The image itself cannot perform physical tasks, as it fades through everything. Most often, it is used to dodge an incoming attack and get behind the opponent to perform a counterattack. Its usage is not limited to just counterattacks, though, as it can also be used to confuse enemies: the image is used to distract the enemy, forcing them to think it is the actual fighter and giving the user a chance to perform the actual attack. In early Dragon Ball, afterimages are characterized as being see-through distortions of the users; however, in later parts of the series, they can be easily confused with the user simply moving at great speeds to avoid incoming attacks.


Dragon Ball[]

The Afterimage Technique is first seen during the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament, when Jackie Chun fights Krillin.[11] In an early English dub of Dragon Ball, he calls it The Devil's Afterimage, but originally there was no 魔 (Ma; lit. "demon") character that marked all "devil" techniques. Jackie Chun is also able to perform the Afterimage Strike[6][12] where he spins around his opponent, leaving a lot of afterimages of himself. In this form, it is hard to tell which one is the real Jackie Chun.


Goku uses the Afterimage Technique in the Muscle Tower

Goku adapts this technique in the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament, and is able to produce more afterimages than Jackie Chun, fooling him with his own attack.[13] Goku uses Afterimage Technique while facing Red Ribbon Army soldiers on the second floor of the Muscle Tower.[14] Krillin briefly used the afterimage technique to catch General Blue offguard long enough to deliver a kick to his face.[15] Later, while he is trying to grab the Sacred Water from Korin, Goku tries to use the Afterimage Strike but is tricked by the talking cat, who evades the Saiyan with his own afterimage. Goku uses the Afterimage Technique again in his second fight against Mercenary Tao.

Under the name Phantom-Star (幻星拳 Genseiken, lit. "Phantom Star Fist"), the technique is used by members of the Chin-Star School.[1] Jackie Chun uses the technique again during his match against Tien Shinhan in the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament. In the anime (but not in the manga), Krillin uses it once against Goku when they are pitted against each other.[16] Shortly after the tournament, Goku uses the Afterimage Strike against Tambourine.

Dragon Ball Z[]


Dodoria uses an afterimage as part of the Dodoria's Blow attack

Later on, almost all fighters in the series are able to use afterimages, and its usage is not marked by anything, making it similar to flight. In Dragon Ball Z, Dodoria uses an afterimage as part of his Dodoria's Blow technique. He uses it again to attack Moori, a Namekian Elder. Goku, during the late stages of his fight with Frieza, left behind an afterimage after his attempt at having Frieza's Death Saucer be redirected to him failed, which Frieza discovered after he had seemingly hit Goku with the attack.

Cell uses afterimages several times: in his Imperfect form against Android 17[17] and in his Perfect form during his matches in the Cell Games. Goku also uses it against Cell during these games, one of these being under similar circumstances to when he fought Frieza.[18][19]

Trunks uses it against Goten in the 25th World Martial Arts Tournament.

Dabura uses a magic version of the Afterimage Strike against Gohan called Afterimage Sorcery.[12] After Gohan dodged his Evil Flame, Dabura uses the technique to create an illusion to dodge Gohan's counterattack. On the other side of the battlefield, Dabura arrogantly says "Looking for me?!" and fires the Evil Impulse to blast Gohan into the ocean.

Dragon Ball Super[]

Goku using Afterimage to dodge bullets

Goku using Afterimage to dodge bullets

Goku uses this technique to dodge bullets from a few robbers that try to steal his truck.

Later on during the Tournament of Power, Goku utilizes this technique once more against Caulifla in order to confuse her and succeeds the technique with a heavy kick.

Dragon Ball GT[]

Haze shenron afterimage

Haze Shenron using an afterimage

In Dragon Ball GT, Goku and Vegeta use this technique to distract Omega Shenron while attempting the Fusion Dance. The two Super Saiyan 4s move so rapidly that they seem to "blink" in and out of view, leaving multiple afterimages. They even manage to move so fast that they perform the fusion technique in multiple locations at once, greatly confusing the shadow dragon.