"These are the Black Star Dragon Balls. They were made long ago before Kami separated from Piccolo. And I know this because I am a brilliant researcher and an unrivaled mastermind...with a special knack for devious behavior."
Pilaf (ピラフ Pirafu), referred to as Emperor Pilaf ( ピラフ大王 Pirafu Daiō, lit. "Great King Pilaf") by himself and his minions, is a small, impish, blue creature who craves nothing more than power and dreams of ruling the world. He previously ruled over his castle in the Mushroom Forest and has two followers, Shu and Mai. He is the main antagonist of the Emperor Pilaf Saga.
Emperor Pilaf is a small, blue, imp-looking creature that wears a green, red and black tunic with a frill on the neck. He also wears blue pants and cream shoes (black in the manga) and a multi-colored hat. In the middle of his tunic, he has a kanji that means "fried rice".
Emperor Pilaf acts much like a child would with a new toy despite his age, he acts as if he is king of the world all because of his "toys". Emperor Pilaf, in fact, has no special powers and usually keeps his henchmen in line through various torture devices he keeps in his castle home. Pilaf can also act as a parent figure to his lackeys, once telling them he was cutting their allowance. If something bothers Emperor Pilaf, he will cry, whine, and complain like a baby until he gets his way. Despite his immature attitude, Pilaf demonstrates some degree of reserve in the manga, where he is disgusted by Bulma's "diseased" confession that she figured he would strip and violate her as punishment for not giving him the final Dragon Ball.
Many things that would normally kill other characters, such as being kicked off a flying fortress, have the effect of only injuring Pilaf and his henchmen in a slapstick manner very similar to Mr. Satan.
A common misconception is that Emperor Pilaf only has two minions at his command: Shu and Mai. In the manga, this may very well be the case. However, in the episode The Nimbus Cloud of Roshi, a filler scene shows Pilaf receiving a call from an anonymous source, telling him that Master Roshi has a dragon ball they can steal. This necessarily would mean that Pilaf must have scouts all over the planet who may be skilled at finding the Dragon Balls, but not necessarily retrieving them.
As a villain, Pilaf is notorious as a bumbling and ultimately inept comical villain. In fact, some of his schemes end up having potentially disastrous consequences for the very world he wishes to conquer. His release of the evil Namekian, King Piccolo result in countless deaths (Master Roshi, Chiaotzu, and Krillin) caused by King Piccolo and his mutant offspring, and would have conquered the Earth if Goku hadn't stopped the Namekian's evil reign of terror, although the ordeal led to the birth of Piccolo, who would become one of Earth's greatest heroes. His assistance in the revival of Frieza (one of the series' greatest villains) unintentionally placed the Earth in mortal peril due to Frieza's quest for revenge on Goku and his friends. In fact, Frieza succeeded in destroying the Earth, killing Pilaf and everyone on it only for the event to be undone by Whis, allowing Goku a second chance to defeat the tyrant and save the Earth, as well as Pilaf. Finally, in Dragon Ball GT, Pilaf intended to use the Black Star Dragon Balls to conquer the world, only to mistakenly wish for Goku to become a kid again. Not only did he fail to get his wish but he doomed Earth unnecessarily once again due to the Black Star Dragon Balls' side effect, which ultimately caused the Earth to explode and ironically killing the Black Star Dragon Balls' creator Piccolo (whose existence Pilaf is indirectly responsible for due to his role in releasing King Piccolo). He is also partially responsible for Baby coming to Earth, due to Goku, Pan, and Trunks encountering Baby during their search for the Black Star Dragon Balls to prevent the side effect of Pilaf's wish from destroying the Earth.
Pilaf's selfish desire to rule the Earth (and in the case of the Golden Frieza Saga, get rich) and irresponsible use of the Dragon Balls (in the case of Frieza and the Black Star Dragon Balls) has actually caused the Earth to be destroyed twice (in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ though this event was undone by Whis and Dragon Ball GT though the people of Earth evacuated and the planet was restored by a wish to Porunga). Thus, while he may be a bumbling and inept villain, ironically it makes him almost as dangerous as core villains such as Frieza, Cell, and Kid Buu. Fortunately for Pilaf and the people of Earth, Goku and allies are around to deal with him and the unintended results of his schemes. However, the fact that he has been resurrected by the Dragon Balls by a wish that brought back everyone on Earth except those who are evil implies he is not truly evil in spite of his intentions and actions.
Despite all his negative personality traits, Pilaf does seem to show more compassion in Dragon Ball Super, even helping Trunks with his math in return for letting him and his minions stay over at his house. When Future Trunks returns to the present, he shows concern about him being an illegitimate child of Vegeta and Bulma, worrying present Trunks as well. He also works together with Shu to help Mai win Future Trunks' affections, showing that he cares for her happiness. He also takes it upon himself to redo the Time Machine's computer coding when he notices how inferior it is and decides that he can do better. Though Bulma catches him, she recognizes his new coding is superior, demonstrating he is apparently a better programmer than Bulma or her future counterpart. Oddly enough, while he seems to have a good friendship with Trunks, he's been seen attempting to get revenge on Goku, though given Pilaf's history with him, this may not be surprising.
Emperor Pilaf Saga
Main article: Emperor Pilaf Saga
Emperor's Pilaf first discovers the One-Star Dragon Ball and finds out he needs to collect all seven Dragon Balls.
He ends up torturing his minions Shu and Mai repeatedly, due to them failing to gather any more Dragon Balls. He manages to collect all of the Dragon Balls, except Goku's Four-Star ball once Goku, Bulma and Oolong (who later are joined by Yamcha and Puar) appear near his castle and are ambushed by Shu and Mai.
After the group enter the castle and become trapped within, Pilaf uses a machine to pull Bulma out into a separate room where he prepares to torture her with a kiss. Bulma is surprised by this tame form of punishment, telling Pilaf that she thought he was going to grope her. Disgusted, Pilaf puts Bulma back with the others before proceeding to fill the room with sleeping gas where they recover the final Dragon Ball.
When Pilaf is about to make his wish to take over the world, Oolong jumps in and wishes for a pair of comfortable underwear. His wish ruined, Pilaf captures Goku and the others and plans to kill them in the morning by letting the sun roast them. However during their nightly stay in prison, Goku's friends are freed when Goku transforms into a Great Ape by looking at the full moon. Emperor Pilaf's castle is completely destroyed by Goku's carnage but Emperor Pilaf, Mai and Shu attempt an escape in the Pilaf Plane but they are taken down when the ape throws a piece of the tower at the plane causing them to suffer a crash landing.
Red Ribbon Army Saga
Main article: Red Ribbon Army Saga
Emperor Pilaf, tries to gather the Dragon Balls up once more using his Flying Fortress. After crossing paths with Goku once again, Emperor Pilaf falls prey to the Red Ribbon Army after parachuting out of his aerial base in order to avoid Goku. He is forced to hand over the Dragon Ball to the army, led by none other than Colonel Silver.
Fortuneteller Baba Saga
Main article: Fortuneteller Baba Saga Emperor Pilaf is in possession of the final Dragon Ball that Goku requires in order to revive Upa's father Bora. Emperor Pilaf keeps the Dragon Ball inside a Dragon Radar-proof box so that it can not be stolen from him again. He uses his satellite to watch as Goku battles his grandfather Gohan, seeing that his weakness is his tail but fail to see it getting removed.
Goku after soon finds him thanks to Fortuneteller Baba using her Crystal Ball and Emperor Pilaf then makes a deal with Goku that they will fight and the winner will get all the Dragon Balls. Emperor Pilaf, Mai and Shu then enter robot battle suits to fight Goku. They attempt to grab his tail but can not see it, Emperor Pilaf then calls time to devise a plan to beat him, they think he's just hiding his tail in his pants so Mai grabs Goku and Emperor Pilaf uses a flamethrower built into the suit to burn off his pants to find his tail but all they see is his butt with a hole where his tail was, realizing his tail is gone and they have no chance they take the balls and run, Goku chases them and they fire a missile at him, he then throws it back and they give up the Dragon Balls.
King Piccolo Saga
Main article: King Piccolo Saga
Emperor Pilaf releases King Piccolo from his confinement in exchange for being given a portion of the world in which he can rule over. He helps Piccolo in finding the Dragon Balls, allowing him to use his airship and giving him the location of the Dragon Balls, thanks to his Global Dragon Radar. He, Shu, Mai, and Piano watch King Piccolo battling and defeating Goku. Soon after, Piccolo betrays Pilaf, Shu, and Mai and kicks them off the airship.
Piccolo Jr. Saga
Main article: Piccolo Jr. Saga In the anime filler, he attempts to defeat Goku and Chi-Chi in order to obtain the Bansho Fan on the side of a freezing mountain in their Pilaf machines, prior to Goku and Chi-Chi's wedding.
The Pilaf Gang plotted world domination, working in secret. However, when Cell appeared, they decided to evaluate the situation a little more and postponed their plans. When they were thinking about making a move again, Majin Buu appeared and they postponed their plans again.
Dragon Ball Super
God of Destruction Beerus Saga
Main article: God of Destruction Beerus Saga
Stranded hungry on a small island in the ocean, the Pilaf Gang are seen as children. Emperor Pilaf is trying to fish for food while Mai and Shu search for the treasure Pilaf had seen on a treasure map. Pilaf starts to get frustrated because Mai and Shu aren't obeying his orders and he isn't catching any fish. Suddenly, the Dragon Radar starts to detect the Dragon Balls due to Trunks opening the container they were protected in. In shock, Emperor Pilaf shouts he's found the Dragon Balls and that also shocks Mai and Shu. When this happens, Trunks closes the container in which the Dragon Balls are held, which turns off the Dragon Radar. This leads Shu and Mai to think Pilaf is lying. Pilaf tells the two that the Dragon Balls are being held on the cruise ship which Bulma's party is held and is nearby, and they use the boat they have to row it towards the ship.
Once they get close, the boat sinks and they encounter a shark. They get saved by Goten and Trunks who were about to head back to the party when they saw the three out there. Trunks offered food to Emperor Pilaf, Mai, and Shu but Pilaf said they didn't take hand-outs which he later regretted, so Trunks and Goten went back to the party. Goten and Trunks came back later to give them food. When Goku fought Beerus in his Super Saiyan God form, Pilaf and his minions spent the majority of the fight sleeping on the ship until the fight was over, when they row off into the distance and vow to get the Dragon Balls next time.
Golden Frieza Saga
Main article: Golden Frieza Saga
Pilaf, along with Shu and Mai are looking for the Dragon Balls. They managed to find six and are looking for one in a cave. The Pilaf Gang are encountered by Sorbet and Tagoma. They are forced to give Sorbet the Dragon Balls to wish for Frieza's revival. Emperor Pilaf reluctantly summons Shenron and Sorbet wished for Frieza's revival and Shu wished for a million Zeni while Mai wished for the best ice cream in the world. Mecha Frieza is revived in pieces as he had been previously cut to pieces by Future Trunks before being incinerated by a ki blast. Emperor Pilaf, Shu, and Mai were somewhat horrified by the sight of Mecha Frieza being alive despite his condition. Though Sorbet and Tagoma collected most of the pieces Pilaf found a piece of Mecha Frieza's eye and decided to hand it over to them which Sorbet thanked him for. After Sorbet and Tagoma left, Pilaf decides that they should build a spaceship to avoid Frieza's wrath before going off with Mai and Shu to enjoy spending the Zeni and eating some ice cream which Mai and Shu offered to him as consolation for not getting to make his own wish.
Universe 6 Saga
Main article: Universe 6 Saga Pilaf, Mai, and Shu are with Goku and the rest of the gang while traveling in a cube spaceship to the Nameless Planet where the tournament between universe six and seven is being held. They overhear Beerus speaking of the Super Dragon Balls. While Shu thinks the balls are big, Pilaf underestimates the size and compares them to watermelons. As soon as they arrive on the Nameless Planet, everyone is able to see the Super Dragon Balls and they are amazed by their size, exceeding the expectations of them being the size of watermelons.
Main article: Copy-Vegeta Saga Pilaf is seen along with Shu and Mai working in a hotel restaurant. When he hears Gohan's phone call with Goku about him not being able to control his Ki, Pilaf uses the money they made to fund a new Pilaf Machine to finally get revenge on Goku. While sneaking outside of Gohan's house, they end up coming across Pan who sneaks aboard their machine which goes into space and gets destroyed but the gang is saved by Pan who just learned how to fly.
"Future" Trunks Saga
Main article: "Future" Trunks Saga Pilaf, Shu and Mai get taken in by Bulma and now live in Capsule Corporation and receive private tutoring with Trunks. During their lunch break, they see a Time Machine appear with another Trunks unconscious in it. Pilaf and his gang listen to the conversation Goku, Vegeta and Bulma have while listening and find out that there are two Trunks and guess that the future Trunks is some sort of hidden child resulting from a scandal. However, they are surprised to learn he is Trunks from the future. Intrigued Pilaf inspects the Time Machine with his cohorts only to be driven off by Bulma though she ends up discovering her future counterpart's notes as a result of them messing around it.
Pilaf, Shu, and Mai continue to watch and listen when Goku Black follows into their time and watch the fight between him and Goku through a projection that Beerus and Whis were watching. When Black destroys the time machine, Pilaf and his gang extinguish the fire dressed as a fire brigade.
Pilaf, Shu, and Mai find out that Bulma has another Time Machine which had been used by Cell to travel from his timeline. Bulma reveals she plans to fix it using her counterpart's research notes and enlists the Pilaf Gang and Kid Trunks into helping her. A couple days later, Pilaf wakes up to find that Bulma and the others had been working through the night. He is impressed by Dr. Briefs before noticing Bulma's computer. He notices the Time Machine's software encoded on it though he recognizes the coding itself is inferior and decides to redo it himself only to be caught by Bulma who yells at him for touching her stuff, though after looking at the new code she realizes it is much better and compliments him on doing such a good job.
Dragon Ball GT
Black Star Dragon Ball Saga
Main article: Black Star Dragon Ball Saga
"Get away from me! Your three times my size. I wish you were a little kid again, then I can really teach you a lesson or two"
In the first episode of Dragon Ball GT, he makes a final major appearance as an elderly man. Pilaf, along with the now elderly Shu and Mai, arrive at The Lookout with the use of their robot suits in order to use the Black Star Dragon Balls to make a wish, while Goku continues his training with Uub before finally finishing his training with Uub before Uub goes back to his village. The trio manage to summon Ultimate Shenron in order to make their wish to take over the world, but are caught by Goku after Goku sees the strange light inside the lookout while he is about to leave the lookout to return home, whom they try to stop with missile launching robot suits after discovering that he looks familiar, but fail after Goku easily stopped the missiles and tells the gang that they never change. Emperor Pilaf becomes angry and complains how he wishes Goku was a kid again so he could beat him up, unaware the Eternal Dragon hears this wish, grants it, and turns Goku into a child and then scatters the balls across the galaxy, setting into motion the events of the entire series.
Main article: Baby Saga
Before the Earth explodes, Emperor Pilaf and his gang are last seen briefly, when Super Saiyan 4 Goku teleports them to the new planet Tuffle.
Main article: Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure
Pilaf, Mai, and Shu worked for the Mifan Empire, specifically under Minister Shen and General Tao. They were the ones who developed the Global Dragon Radar for them. However, shortly after Pilaf and his minions created it, General Tao betrayed and attacked them.
Battle of Gods
Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods
"I am not a monkey! I'm Emperor Pilaf!"
Before the events of Battle of Gods, Pilaf and his gang gathered all the Dragon Balls themselves and wished for youth, but Shenron made them a little too young.
Four years after the battle with Majin Buu, the Pilaf Gang is poor and needs money and food to survive. They secretly attend Bulma's party at Capsule Corporation to retrieve the Dragon Balls. Pilaf is frustrated that the Dragon Balls are hard to come by until they find a room with the prizes inside. Pilaf, Mai, and Shu look cautiously in the prize room for the Dragon Balls and come by them as the number one prize for the winner. However, they are caught by Trunks who happens to be passing by.
Pilaf and Mai try to get out of this situation but Pilaf gets offended when Trunks calls him a monkey. When he calls for his friend, Goten, the Pilaf Gang gets scared because he looks exactly like Goku when he was younger. They freak out and begin to leave Capsule Corporation. Once they leave, Pilaf is mad that they couldn't get the Dragon Balls but Mai has grabbed one and has a plan for it. They are approached by Trunks who is told by Bulma to invite them to the party.
The Bingo Game is starting to begin but one of the Dragon Balls is missing. Pilaf, Mai, and Shu want to leave but Trunks grabs a hold of Mai by the arm and the four-star Dragon Ball she rook falls out. Pilaf rushes to grab the Dragon Ball to try to cover it up but gets caught. While Mai and Shu threatens to kill Trunks, Pilaf requests for money for the Dragon Ball in return but that does not happen. The Dragon Ball gets taken from Pilaf by Bulma after the altercation with Gohan.
Later the God of Destruction Beerus gets angry and threatens the life of Earth. However, Goku shows up to request time from Beerus to use the Dragon Balls to summon Shenron and ask how to summon a Super Saiyan God. Goku becomes the Super Saiyan God and combats Beerus. During this and after, Pilaf, Mai, and Shu continue to eat food.
Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’
Pilaf, Mai, and Shu are searching for the Dragon Balls when they encounter Tagoma and Sorbet who tracked their location from space with six Dragon Balls in their possession. After getting threatened by the two soldiers, they decide to help gather the Dragon Balls to help them revive their emperor, Frieza. Pilaf, Mai, and Shu failed in teaming up on Sorbet while Tagoma dived to locate the last ball on the ocean floor. Mai's and Shu's weapons get blasted with Sorbet's Bad Ring Laser but Pilaf's did not. They reach the desert when Pilaf is forced to summon Shenron for the two soldiers. After Sorbet has made his wish reviving Frieza, the Pilaf Gang walking away rich from the encounter after Shu took Sorbet's second wish for Shenron to grant them one million zeni.
Their haste to leave Earth with Frieza, Sorbet spares the Pilaf Gang after Tagoma informs him that they need to leave before the Saiyans' figure out what they are up to. However, before they leave, Pilaf stops them and reveals they missed a piece of Frieza's body (Frieza's eye) which he hands over to Sorbet who thanks Pilaf for finding it. After this, the Pilaf Gang goes to eat Mongolian Barbecue, unaware of the great evil they have just assisted in reviving.
Main article: Dragon Ball Super: Broly Pilaf, Mai, and Shu are with Trunks and Goten when Trunks calls Bulma to inform her that the six Dragon Balls that she had collected in her lab have been stolen by thieves wearing Frieza-style armor.
Other Dragon Ball Stories
The Real 4-D
Main article: Dragon Ball Z: The Real 4-D
Pilaf appears as a hooded figure, having gathered all of the Dragon Balls he wishes to Shenron for someone capable of defeating Goku to appear, causing Frieza to be summoned, although he is never actually named.
- Statements by authors and guidebooks
Though his power is weak compared to other villains in the series, he is shown to be highly intelligent as he is able to construct his own Dragon Radar and develop powerful robotic power suits that can fuse together to create a giant robot. Additionally, he is quite resourceful as he was able to find the Electric Rice Cooker containing King Piccolo in order to release him. He is also shown to have considerable mathematical and programming skill in Dragon Ball Super the latter of which even Bulma recognizes.
- "The Treatment" – Pilaf blows a kiss at his victim and blushes. He uses this attack on Bulma, but she shrugs it off as ridiculous.
- Flight – The ability to fly using ki. In the trailer for Dragon Ball Heroes: Ultimate Mission 2, Pilaf is shown flying alongside the other villains.
- Chainsaw – Used only in the anime, in an attempt to torture Shu.
- Switchblade – Used only in the anime, to threaten an alligator on Roshi's island.
- Pilaf Machine:
- Arm Extension – The ability to elongate arms. Used by Pilaf's machine at the end of the Fortuneteller Baba Saga, as well as Dragon Ball: Advanced Adventure and the Budokai Tenkaichi series.
- Gigantic Rock Throw – Pilaf Machine picks up a gigantic boulder and launches it at its opponent. This attack is one of the Pilaf Machine's Blast 2 in the Budokai Tenkaichi series.
- Rolling Smash – Pilaf Machine rolls itself up in a ball and launches itself at the opponent. It is one of Pilaf Machine's Blast 2 in the Budokai Tenkaichi series, and similar techniques are used in Advanced Adventure and Dragon Ball: Origins 2.
- Great Pilaf Operation – Pilaf launches himself at the opponent and lifts them up in the air. Shu, and Mai then arrive and then run over the opponent two times and while the opponent is in the air, they then fuse and tackle the opponent, taking away a large percent of life (two lifebars). It is the Pilaf Machine's Ultimate Blast in the Budokai Tenkaichi series.
- Pilaf Barrier – One of the Pilaf Machine's Blast 1 in the Budokai Tenkaichi series.
- False Courage – One of Pilaf the Machine's Blast 1 in the Budokai Tenkaichi series.
- Fused Pilaf Machine:
- Double Buster – The Fused Pilaf Machine releases strong pink waves of energy from the two slots on the front of Mai's Pilaf Machine unit, which creates massive damage.
- Gatling Gun – Used only in the Fused Pilaf Machine. Mai's Pilaf Machine unit reveals a machine gun from its left arm and releases waves of blasts at his opponent. This attack is used in the Budokai Tenkaichi series.
- Launch Missiles! – Used only in the Fused Pilaf Machine. Pilaf yells "launch missiles now!" and Shu's Pilaf Machine unit releases a powerful missile that takes away a huge percentage of damage. Pilaf and Shu used this technique against Goku, but the missile was caught and thrown back at them.
- Pilaf Barrier – One of Pilaf Machine's Blast 1 in the Budokai Tenkaichi series.
- False Courage – One of Pilaf Machine's Blast 1 in the Budokai Tenkaichi series.
Appearances in other media
Pilaf appears as the leader of the Pilappaggy Villain Union with Buggy in the crossover manga Cross Epoch. Both characters have the same Japanese voice actor, Shigeru Chiba. They use a flying ship called Tettiri Number 55, and try to defeat Goku and Monkey D. Luffy for always getting in the way of their attempts at world domination. They are shot down from the sky by the other characters.
Video Game Appearances
Emperor Pilaf makes an appearance in the first Dragon Ball video game, Dragon Ball: Dragon Daihikyou as an enemy. He also appears in Dragon Ball: Shenron no Nazo as a boss. He later makes short appearances in Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans, Dragon Ball Z: Buu's Fury when Goten and Trunks try to take a Dragon Ball he found, and in the beginning of Dragon Ball GT: Transformation where he mirrors his anime appearance. He is an assist character in Dragon Ball Z: Bakuretsu Impact.
Emperor Pilaf, using a Pilaf Machine combined with his henchmen's, is a boss in Dragon Ball: Daimaō Fukkatsu, Dragon Ball 3: Gokuden (and its remake), Dragon Ball Z: Super Gokuden: Totsugeki-Hen, and Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans. He is part of two bosses in Dragon Ball: Advanced Adventure, both in his robotic suit; in the first battle he and Shu both fight Goku in their robots, and in the second they merge with Mai's robot. His and Shu's robots are also playable in the Bonus Mode.
Emperor Pilaf appears in Dragon Ball: Origins, playing the same role he did in the manga, as well as in two extra stages where he rebuilds his castle and creates new evil plans: the first time (level 6-5), Pilaf attempts to eliminate Goku before he becomes too much of an obstacle, while the second time (level 6-6), he gets Ranfan to join him, and terrorizes a nearby village. He appears as the final boss using is Flying Fortress and the Fused Pilaf Machine with his henchmen in Dragon Ball: Origins 2, as well as in three extra stages: in the bonus level 8-4, he kidnaps Senbei Norimaki and Turbo Norimaki, and obliges them to repair his Flying Fortress and his Pilaf Machines. In the bonus level 8-6, he employs Colonel Violet to lead him to the Red Ribbon Army Headquarters control room to find a surviving Red Ribbon Battle Jacket. In the bonus level 8-7, he employs King Nikochan and his servant to repair and improve his flying fortress' nuclear reactor. He then confronts Goku with his henchmen after he trained to pilot his Pilaf Machine, but they are defeated once again. This bonus level ends with Pilaf telling that he needs to find a fighter stronger than Goku no matter how many time it will take, and then a flashforward shows Pilaf finding the Electric Rice Cooker where King Piccolo is sealed.
He briefly appears in the opening cinematic of Dragon Ball Z: Sagas. Pilaf is mentioned in the Dragon Ball Online timeline. Also, a character very similar to Pilaf, his descendant Paella, appears in the game. Pilaf and his gang also appear in Dragon Ball RPG: Shōnen-hen.
"A diminutive imp-like Earthling vying for world domination and who claims to be an emperor. He possesses a variety of advanced vehicles and devices, including one that can detect Dragon Balls. Though highly intelligent, he lacks foresight, which often places Shu, Mai, and himself in danger."
— Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Pilaf's Z Encyclopedia entry
Pilaf appears in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot as a non-playable character and can often be found wondering the Earth with his gang searching for either treasure and Dragon Balls, as well as getting lost and/or separated from Shu and Mai. He also appears in a few Sub Stories.
"Pilaf is indeed of royal blood, being the prince of the Meshikiya Kingdom. Pilaf's father was king, and his desire for world domination led him to attack the neighboring tribe. He was overwhelmingly defeated, and Pilaf then took his father's treasure and fled the kingdom. By selling the treasure, Pilaf was able to build his castle and various machines, and it was just as his savings dried up that he learned of the Dragon Balls."
— Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Secrets of Pilaf 1
According to the Secrets of Pilaf 1 section of the Z Encyclopedia, Pilaf is indeed of royal blood, as his father was king of the Meshikiya Kingdom, thus making Pilaf a prince. It also reveals that the Meshikiya Kingdom attacked a neighboring kingdom as part of a plan for world domination, only for it to be defeated forcing Pilaf to flee with his father's treasure, which he sold to acquire funds that he used to build his castle and various machines, though his savings almost dried up around the time Pilaf learned of the Dragon Balls.
- Japanese: Shigeru Chiba
- Latin American Spanish dub: Yamil Atala
- Arabic dub: Muhammad Hadaki (DB)
- Portuguese dub: Ricardo Spínola
- Brazilian Portuguese dub: Élcio Sodré, César Emilio (DBS: Broly)
- Italian dub: Massimiliano Loti (DB eps 1-99 and DBS) Sergio Romanò (DB 100-153, DBZ and DBGT)
- Polish dub: Michał Sitarski (DBS)
- Catalan dub: Joan Velilla (DB), Francesc Alborch (DBGT)
- Tagalog dub: Louie Paraboles
- Vietnamese dub: Chơn Nhơn
- The name Pilaf is a pun on the rice dish of the same name. The simplified Chinese characters he wears on his chest are 炒饭 (chǎofàn), which means "fried rice".
- Pilaf is most commonly associated with the One-Star Dragon Ball, as he was the one in possession of it during Goku's first two quests for them. Even in Dragon Ball GT, when he discovers the Black Star Dragon Balls, the One-Star Ball is the one he picks up.
- Interestingly, Pilaf's affinity for the One-Star Ball is shared with Syn/Omega Shenron, the final villain in GT, and thus the final major villain in the entire Dragon Ball anime series. In contrast, Pilaf was the first major villain of the series (being the main enemy in the first saga of Dragon Ball), as well as the one who (inadvertently) started the first arc of GT.
- It is revealed in the anime only that Shu and Mai aren't his only minions and in "The Emperor's Quest", there is one who left a spy tracker in Skull Valley. Mai mentions that after he left the tracker, he was never heard from again. It is assumed this spy was killed by the Wolves. Another minion is later heard calling Pilaf on a crocodile-shaped telephone.
- In the 9th Dragon Ball Z movie, Bojack Unbound, Pilaf, Mai and Shu are on cards in a card game Goku and King Kai are playing.
- Emperor Pilaf makes a minor appearance in Dr. Slump and Arale-chan: N-cha! Love Comes From Penguin Village where he is in a crowd with Mai, Shu, Oolong, Launch, King Nikochan and his servant, Pink and Cobalt Blue. Ironically to this, Pilaf has once expressed great distaste for the Dr. Slump manga and believes that Shonen Jump became much more sophisticated following the manga's cancellation.
- The Dragon Ball Z anime movie/filler villain Garlic Jr. looks and sounds very similar to Pilaf, sharing the same voice (the same Japanese voice is only in the Garlic Jr. Saga though), skin color and diminutive size, except Garlic Jr. is a much more serious villain.
- The Imp creatures in the video game Chrono Trigger resemble Pilaf; that game's characters were designed by Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama.
- Pilaf is responsible for the return of at least two villains many years after they had been defeated by someone other than Goku, the first being King Piccolo (seal by Master Mutaito) in Dragon Ball and second being Frieza (killed by Future Trunks) in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’. Ironically both of the villains he helped where far stronger, evil, and a more serious threat than Pilaf himself and both threatened the Earth that Pilaf longed to conquer.
- In fact, it resulted in the Earth being destroyed by Frieza's Earth Breaker before that timeline was removed by Whis' Temporal Do-Over. Thus his role in Frieza's revival can be considered an extreme example of his bumbling nature and tendency for his actions/plans to backfire.
- His role in reviving Frieza is ironic given that Pilaf is friends with Trunks and an ally of Frieza's killer Future Trunks in Dragon Ball Super. However, it should be noted that he was forced to revive Frieza under threat by Sorbet and Tagoma. Though he does share the tyrant's dislike of Goku even though Pilaf is technically an ally of his in Dragon Ball Super due to Goku's role in foiling his efforts to rule the Earth in the past.
- Additionally, due to releasing King Piccolo, he is inadvertently responsible for the creation of Piano, Tambourine, Cymbal, Drum, and Piccolo's subsequent reincarnation into Piccolo Jr. after he was killed by Goku, as all of them were born as a direct result of King Piccolo's release.
- In Dragon Ball GT Pilaf sought to use the Black Star Dragon Balls to rule the world. However, due to Goku's interference, he once again failed to have his wish granted. Ironically, even if Pilaf had successfully had his wish to rule the world granted, the world would have been destroyed by the Black Star Dragon Balls side effect. This just serves as another example of Pilaf's bumbling nature.
- The Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ manga implies Krillin is aware of Pilaf's desire to use the Dragon Balls. This contrasts with Battle of Gods and Dragon Ball Super, where nobody seems to recognise the Pilaf Gang. However, it is likely that he is unaware that they have been turned into children and simply concludes them as being the most likely suspects due to their history of collecting Dragon Balls.
- In Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, Mai states that Pilaf is the prince of the Meshikiya people (メシキヤ族 Meshikiya-zoku), who once ruled over an entire region on Earth.
- Pilaf's hobby is world domination.
- Pilaf dislikes people who interfere with his plans.
- Pilaf, or at least a character named after him, was meant to appear in the cancelled Dragon Ball Z Live Action film (which eventually became Dragonball Evolution). In it, he was portrayed as a Namekian and one of King Piccolo's top-ranking henchmen, and was to be depicted in a significantly more villainous light. Aside from being directly responsible for King Piccolo's return, he also was known to commit massacres that wipe out the population of any cities he attacks, and he also went as far as to torture Bulma upon capturing her. He also deliberately instigates Goku's transformation into a Great Ape so he could make a getaway and ensure Bulma and Yamcha were killed.
- Emperor Pilaf (Collectibles)
- Daizenshuu 4, 1995
- Daizenshuu 7, 1996
- Dragon Ball Adventure Special
- Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, 2020
- Dragon Ball episode 13, "The Legend of Goku"
- Dragon Ball episode 11, "The Penalty is Pinball"
- Dragon Ball Online, 2010
- Dragon Ball chapter 19, "At Last... the Dragon!"
- Pilaf was unaware that Shenron granted three wishes when he summoned him during Frieza's resurrection.
- Daizenshuu 7, 1996