The Shadow Dragons (邪悪龍 Jaaku Ryū, lit. "Evil Dragons") are evil beings created by the overuse and built-up negative energies of the Dragon Balls over the series, and the Earth Shadow Dragons are the final villains in Dragon Ball GT. In Dragon Ball Fusions, they are considered part of the Offworlder race.
The avatars that have been taken over by the Earth Shadow Dragons in Dragon Ball Heroes: Victory Mission are referred to collectively as the Disciples of Evil.
The Shadow Dragons were all part of one original dragon.
Dragon Ball GT
The Shadow Dragons are a direct consequence of the numerous uses of the Dragon Balls over the course of the Dragon Ball series. Every time a wish was made with the balls, negative energy was released along with the positive energy. In response, the Dragon Balls would absorb the negative energy and disperse it harmlessly over many years.
Originally, the difficulty of finding and assembling all seven Dragon Balls meant that they had plenty of time to disperse the negative power accumulated from each wish, but increasingly advanced technology (such as the Dragon Radar) made finding the artifacts a simple task. Moreover, a seemingly endless succession of powerful villains forced the defenders of Earth to use the Dragon Balls just to repair the damage done to the planet and its people. Consequently, the balls had less and less time to disperse the negative energy, causing a large amount of it to build up in the Dragon Balls. When the balls could take no more, they cracked. Upon attempting to summon the Eternal Dragon, however, Goku and the others unknowingly released the negative energy in the form of a dark dragon named Black Smoke Shenron, who separated into the seven Shadow Dragons, each taking form around one ball.
The fight against the Shadow Dragons makes up the events of the Shadow Dragon Saga. The battle against the evil dragons can be considered the closing segment of the series (finding the Dragon Balls was the beginning) that teaches the Earth to stop relying on the Dragon Balls to solve their problems. It can also be seen as the heroes' ultimate challenge: when the Dragon Balls finally turn against the Z Fighters. Interestingly most of the Shadow Dragons seem to justify and view the mayhem they cause as simply a form of punishment for overusing the Dragon Balls and tend to blame those that created them and the Z Fighters overreliance on the Dragon Balls for the destruction they cause. (Although this is the same sort of twisted reasoning that Android 13 used to justify following his programming.)
The Shadow Dragons are (in order of appearance): Black Smoke Shenron (the dark dragon summoned from the corrupted balls, who consumes them and separates into the other seven), Haze Shenron, Rage Shenron, Oceanus Shenron, Naturon Shenron, Nuova Shenron, Eis Shenron and Syn Shenron, who becomes Omega Shenron after absorbing the other 6 Shadow Dragons' Dragon Balls. They are eventually all defeated by Goku except Nuova Shenron, who was killed by Omega Shenron for betraying him.
Of the seven, only Nuova, Eis and Syn Shenron have martial arts skills which pose a serious challenge to Goku; the other four rely more on trickery and their elemental powers. Nuova Shenron is believed to have the least negative energy of the Shadow Dragons, due to his morals and the wish that created him. While most of the other dragons were made by very selfless wishes (or in the case of Oolong's underwear wish, which created Oceanus, a wish in the gray area), Nuova is created by a very selfish wish made by King Piccolo, who wishes for his youth and power to be restored.
Dragon Ball Heroes: Victory Mission
During the events of the Jaaku Missions Saga, the Shadow Dragons are released once again, and most take possession of a player avatar in the Dragon Ball Heroes dimension. The three Android Avatar users Genome, Nim, and Nico are each kidnapped by one of the Shadow Dragons.
Black Smoke Shenron fights against the heroes using Shadow GT Goku after Dr. Auto summons him. However, Black Smoke Shenron is defeated when Adult Gotenks arrives and destroys him using his Burning Kamehameha.
Nimu is kidnapped and possessed by Oceanus Shenron, gaining her cracked Dragon Ball on his forehead, and fights against Beat. Salaga has Eis Shenron's cracked Dragon Ball on his forehead, and fights Kabra, Abra, and Viola on the Sacred World of the Kai. Nimu is freed by Beat, the two of them defeat Oceanus Shenron, who flees.
Basaku gains has Nuova Shenron's Dragon Ball on his forehead and confronts Kagyu (and briefly Tsumuri) at the World Martial Arts Tournament stage. Rezok has Haze Shenron's cracked Dragon Ball on his forehead, and confronts Froze inside the Big Gete Star. Later, Froze is assisted by Erito, and Haze Shenron takes over Mizore/Fasha after losing Rezok, causing Fasha to gain Haze Shenron's cracked Dragon Ball on her forehead. After Fasha is defeated, Haze Shenron gains a "Super" form thanks to Oceanus Shenron who appears but then quickly leaves again after powering him up, Haze Shenron manages to defeat Froze's team but is then obliterated by Froze after the latter used a Super Class-up.
Nico is possessed by Naturon Shenron, gaining a cracked Dragon Ball on her forehead, and fights against Note and Forte. Note and Forte face off against Super Class Nico and her King of Destruction Super Android 13. Meanwhile, Kagyu continues his battle against Nuova Shenron-possessed Basaku, and Kagyu uses his Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta to defeat Basaku's entire team, including Super Saiyan 3 Majin Vegeta until Majin Vegeta manages to take control of Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta. Note and Forte then use their own Super Class-ups and then take on the Super Saiyan 2 form to fight against Nico and her team. Kagyu defeats Basaku's team, holding Basaku at sword point after grabbing Dabura's sword, and then freeing his Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta from Babidi's influence.
Kagyu has his Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta and Super Saiyan 4 Goku charge up a combined attack to finish off Basaku. At the same time, Note goes Super Saiyan 3 and she and her Super Saiyan Goku prepare a Spirit Bomb to use against Nico. Kabra, Abra, Viola, and their teams also use a combined attack on Salaga, who had also used the Super Class-up. All of these finisher attacks hit and those possessed by the Shadow Dragons are defeated.
Nuova Shenron later leaves Basaku's body and briefly talks with Kagyu. Naturon Shenron releases Nico from his control and manages to trick Forte into getting absorbed, so Note prepares to fight. Eis Shenron leaves Salaga's body in order to fight them himself and defeats them, he prepares to finish them off when suddenly Super Saiyan 4 Broly arrives, quickly defeats him, and takes him away. Before leaving, Broly prepares to finish off Kabra but it is not shown if he did. Broly then takes Eis Shenron's Dragon Ball from his body. Broly then arrives at Basaku, Kagyu, and Nuova Shenron's location, however, Kagyu helps to save Nuova, and Broly ends up killing a fake Nuova Shenron, taking his false Dragon Ball. After Beat and Froze arrive Broly reveals himself and eats the Three-Star and Four-Star Dragon Balls to keep them from the heroes and then defeats Basaku, Kagyu, Froze, and Beat and takes Haze Shenron's Two-Star Dragon Ball from them before rushing off.
Note transforms into a Super Saiyan 3 and defeats Naturon Shenron using a Kamehameha. However, Broly soon arrives, quickly defeating Note and Forte and taking the Seven-Star Dragon Ball.
It is revealed that Genome was the one who had Super Saiyan 4 Broly track down each of the Dragon Balls. Rage Shenron is located at the Shadow Dragons' nest alongside Syn Shenron (who is inside a tank). After Oceanus Shenron returns, Genome arrives and has Broly fight and destroy Rage Shenron. Genome then allies with Oceanus Shenron.
Genome goes to kill the Dragon Ball Heroes in order to wake up Syn Shenron and take the One-Star Dragon Ball, however Kagyu reveals that he saved Nuova Shenron, and summons the Shadow Dragon to help him. Nuova Shenron uses the power of Black Smoke Shenron and fires a blast at Genome in an attempt to defeat him.
Demigra Assault Saga
Main articles: Super Dragon Ball Heroes: Universe Mission and Demigra Assault Saga During the Demigra Assault Saga, it is revealed the Dark Dragon Balls have their own set of Shadow Dragons. These Shadow Dragons are counterparts of the Earth's Shadow Dragons.
Earth Dragon Balls
All of the Dragons' personalities are inversely proportional to those of the wishes that created them (whether they were selfish or selfless). They also bear a direct relation to their time in the manga (comical or dark). Their power levels seem directly proportional to the strength of the wishes used to give them life.
Their names in the English dub are related to the name "Shenron". When the dragons are ordered by ascending number of Dragon Ball stars, the first letter of their names spells SHENRON. These are their names, listed from 1 star to 7 star:
- One-Star Dragon: Syn Shenron is created by the wish that revived all those killed by Frieza and his men on Namek. Therefore, just as Haze (being created by a single person's revival) is one of the weakest, Syn (created by the most people's revival) is the strongest. His brutal, unrelentingly evil nature could be the result of the amount of negative energy used to create him, or as a result of the selflessness of the wish's intentions (by reviving the Namekians, the heroes intended to use Porunga to transport everyone except Frieza away from the dying planet of Namek, leaving the tyrant to perish in the explosion). Interestingly Syn Shenron was created as the result of Frieza's actions on Namek, as the wish was to revive all the people killed by him and his henchmen. In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, when Omega Shenron points this out to Frieza, Frieza states that it would technically make him Syn Shenron/Omega Shenron's mama. The fact of his creation being the result of the actions of Frieza one of the series most evil villains it is actually quite fitting, that he is the strongest and most evil out of all the Shadow Dragons. Syn's ability to absorb the other Shadow Dragons and add their powers to his own could be seen as symbolic of Frieza's obsession with conquering planets and absorbing them - as well as their warriors and technology - into his already massive empire.
- Two-Star Dragon: Haze Shenron is the most comical of the Shadow Dragons, and is correspondingly created by a wish that takes place in the early half of Dragon Ball (specifically, the Fortuneteller Baba Saga), a very comical manga/anime in and of itself. The wish that creates him revives only one person (Bora), and so the wish uses relatively little power, leading Haze to being one of the weakest of the Shadow Dragons. Haze Shenron's power over pollution and toxicity may be viewed as a negative contrast of Bora (who was revived by the wish that created Haze Shenron) being a guardian of the Sacred Land of Korin (Bora protects the Sacred Land of Korin while living in harmony with nature while Haze's powers ultimately pollute and destroy the land around him making it toxic and eventually uninhabitable).
- Three-Star Dragon: Eis Shenron is among the dirtiest of all the Shadow Dragons, even more so than Syn Shenron (he uses both Pan and Nuova as shields to protect himself). In the anime, he is created by the wish that revived those killed by King Piccolo and his minions. Other sources state that he was created by a wish that is made so that, of all people, Majin Buu, a creature responsible for the deaths of billions and the destruction of countless planets, could have a second chance by making everyone but the Z Fighters forget his evil deeds, arguably making it the most selfless wish made.
- Four-Star Dragon: Nuova Shenron is created by King Piccolo's wish for eternal youth, which is undeniably selfish, and as such, is the noblest and honorable of the Shadow Dragons. Nuova is also notable for being the fastest among the dragons; his speed is enough to completely outclass that of a Super Saiyan 4, and catch even Omega Shenron by surprise. He is very serious, as the King Piccolo Saga is a very dark and serious time in the Dragon Ball manga/anime. His power to control fire and heat could be seen as symbolic of Piccolo's origins as a "demon king." Demons normally dwell in Hell, and Hell is usually filled with fire. His siding with Goku also resembles King Piccolo's son/reincarnation Piccolo who started out as a villain created by the actions of King Piccolo only to later join forces with him. Interestingly Nuova Shenron shares traits with Goku as they both come from dark backgrounds (Goku as a Saiyan was originally sent to destroy Earth while Nuova is a Shadow Dragon) though later choose to fight against their own evil kin (Eis and Raditz respectively), which is likely a reference to their association with the Four-Star Dragon Ball.
- Five-Star Dragon: Rage Shenron is individually frail, but has some of the deadliest elemental powers of any Shadow Dragon, and is created by the wish that revives Goku after he sacrifices himself to kill Raditz (only one person is affected directly, but it is designed to save everyone from the Saiyans). Rage Shenron's powers of elasticity is strong enough to withstand Goku's 10x Kamehameha, even though his offensive power is not even enough to hurt Super Saiyan 4 Goku at all. Rage is relatively dark compared to Haze or Oceanus, but is created in Dragon Ball Z, which is considered a much darker manga/anime than Dragon Ball. Since he was created by a wish in the Vegeta Saga, his powers are symbolic of the Saiyans. His elasticity is symbolic of the highly-expandable Saiyan Armor; his individual frailty is symbolic of Raditz's relative weakness compared to his comrades.
- Six-Star Dragon: Oceanus Shenron is the second most comical dragon, and is created in a time when the series is still very comical (specifically, the Emperor Pilaf Saga). She is both good (in that she provides free fish to the townsfolk, and it was only they, not Oceanus, who abused their newfound laziness, though she may have counted on this) and bad (in that she uses several dirty tactics to try to defeat Goku and pollutes the town with rotten fish), and is created with a wish neither completely good, nor completely evil: Oolong wished for a hot girl's panties (or the most comfortable underwear in the world in the dubbed version), which may also explain why Oceanus has a female appearance. However, as Oolong made a selfish wish with good intentions (wasting the dragon's powers before Pilaf could wish for world domination), Oceanus is likewise an evil dragon beneath a benevolent façade (both figuratively and literally, as she also hides her hideous true form behind her elegant "water spirit" persona). Her shapeshifting is also a trait she shares with her creator Oolong (who incidentally is known to have transformed into a handsome man when he was first introduced as well as shapeshifting into the attractive female Bulma).
- Seven-Star Dragon: Naturon Shenron is the darkest of the first four dragons, and is created in a very dark time in Dragon Ball Z. He uses very evil tactics (such as using Pan as a shield), which corresponds to the selfless wish to revive Majin Vegeta's victims in the Majin Buu Saga. Incidentally, Naturon is very weak until he absorbs a body, at which point his power rises exponentially. This parallels Majin Vegeta's "controller", Babidi, who was likewise a relatively frail schemer who relied on others to defend him. His desire to burrow underground like a mole could be seen as symbolic of Babidi's strategic choice to bury his spaceship underground so Shin and Kibito could not find it. Additionally, he shares his power of absorption with Majin Buu who was revived as a result of Majin Vegeta's desire to fight Goku.
Dark Dragon Balls
As the only wish made on the Dark Dragon Balls was to restore Mechikabura to his prime, it is likely that this one extremely selfish wish was what caused all seven of the Dark Dragon Balls' Shadow Dragons to emerge.
The Shadow Dragons of the Dark Dragon Balls appear the same as their Earth counterparts, but darker and with Demon God markings.
- One-Star Dragon: Xeno
- Two-Star Dragon: Xeno
- Three-Star Dragon: Xeno
- Four-Star Dragon: Xeno
- Five-Star Dragon: Xeno
- Six-Star Dragon: Xeno
- Seven-Star Dragon: Xeno
- Until Dragon Ball Super, it was assumed that fifteen years had gone by without any wishes. This would have allowed the negative energy to dissapate over a long time.
- It could be assumed that all the evil souls that escaped hell released more negative energy into the world and forced the Dragon Balls to absorb more than they could handle.