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"The Legend of a Dragon" (ドラゴンでんせつ Doragon no Densetsu, lit. "The Legend of the Dragon") is the thirty-third episode of Dragon Ball and the fifth episode of the Red Ribbon Army Saga. This episode first aired in Japan on October 8, 1986. Its original American airdate was February 15, 2002.



Silver while defeating professional boxers

Goku wakes up and begins looking for the Dragon Balls again. He is flying over a forest and gets hungry, so he decides to look for a "snack tree." He finds a piece of fruit, but a monkey takes it before he can. He chases the monkey but stops when he sees her give it to her baby. The baby monkey falls out of the tree, and when the mommy monkey is helping it, a panther attacks, but Goku beats it up. Then all the monkeys come and give Goku food. He eats too much and falls asleep. While he is asleep, the monkeys find the Five-Star Dragon Ball up in a tree and start playing catch with it.

At the Red Ribbon Army Headquarters, Colonel Silver, as "training", proceeded to fight four professional boxers at a time. Upon defeating them effortlessly, he was congratulated by his peers, while Silver admits he was hoping for more of a challenge. Silver is then called over to the leader of the Red Ribbon Army, Commander Red's office, where upon entry, Red proceeds to sic his pet cat on him, with Silver dodging him quickly enough to only leave a minor scratch on his cheek. Afterward, Red praises his quick reflexes and unflinching nerve, citing that the last person to walk into the door lost an eye, with Red stating that said individual is "no longer with us" (implying that he had the soldier executed for failing to dodge the cat). He then told Silver that he had what it took to get far in the Red Ribbon Army, citing that nothing succeeds like excess. Silver then agreed and that he's pleased to serve the Red Ribbon Army, with Red stating he shall serve it.

Meanwhile, Krillin is training with Master Roshi, doing push-ups with 2 turtles and the Turtle Hermit sitting on his back. Later, when they are eating, Master Roshi tells Krillin and Launch the legend of the Dragon Balls. It used to be a single giant orb, created by the Gods. However, its wish-granting power led to men waging wars out of greed. Angered, the Gods split it into 7 separate orbs. After the story, they talk about what they would wish for. Roshi then wonders what he could wish for. Launch then asks if Roshi wanted a new turtle shell, a bigger island, or even world peace and happiness. Roshi states that he wouldn't wish for anything, but secretly think about how he would wish to see Launch's panties. Krillin correctly suspects that Roshi would wish for something perverted.


The "Original Dragon Ball" as shown during Roshi's story

Goku wakes up and sees on the Dragon Radar that the Dragon Ball is moving away. Meanwhile, the Red Ribbon Army is looking for the same ball. Silver then tells the soldiers to have the area searched, stating he doesn't care if they burn the forest or dig it up so long as they find him the Dragon Ball. They eventually discover that the monkeys have it, and are ordered by Colonel Silver to burn the forest and shoot the monkeys. This gets Goku mad, and he attacks them. While the battle occurs, Silver asks his men about their progress in finding the Dragon Ball, to which they answer negatively. Nearby, having apparently defeated the soldiers who attacked him, Goku proceeds to crush a tank with a giant rock. Colonel Silver and one of his soldiers soon show up. Goku then recognized Silver as being the one who attacked the Ox-King. Silver threatens to kill Goku in a mock-introductory tone, but Goku stands firm and says he is not afraid of Silver. Just then, the mommy monkey and the baby monkey holding the Dragon Ball swing by. In an attempt to retrieve the Dragon Ball, Colonel Silver borrows the rifle from his soldier and shoots at the branch the mommy monkey was about to grab onto. While the two monkeys are falling into a gorge, Goku catches the mother monkey by the tail, saving her and the baby. The Dragon Ball, however, is dropped into the river and floats downstream.

Major Events[]

  • Master Roshi tells Krillin and Launch the tale he heard of the Dragon Balls' origins.
  • Goku protects a troupe of monkeys from the Red Ribbon Army in search of a Dragon Ball.


  • Colonel Silver vs. Four Professional Boxers
  • Goku vs. Panther
  • Red Ribbon Soldiers vs. Monkeys
  • Goku vs. Red Ribbon Soldiers





Differences from the Manga[]

  • The entire events of this episode were exclusive to the anime.


  • A plot hole exists when Master Roshi explains the origin of the Dragon Balls, and how they used to be one giant idol of a dragon. This conflicts with the rest of the manga and anime, where Kami created the Dragon Balls. However, this is only given as a tale that Roshi had heard, which probably was a legend with no real basis. Furthermore, this episode is filler, so the existence of a plot hole should come as no surprise and this information can be perfectly discarded.
    • The Legend itself is not surprising as most of the general population of Earth are ignorant that the Dragon Balls even exist, which has likely caused them to be viewed as nothing more than mythical objects spoken of in old legends such as the story told by Master Roshi. As most people are also unaware of the existence of Kami let alone his role in creating the Dragon Balls, it is not surprising that the people of Earth would create a myth to explain the existence of the Dragon Balls.
    • Ironically, the legend itself is similar to the origins of how the Namekians created the Namekian Dragon Balls which were created from pieces of one of the Super Dragon Balls. However, they differ in that the Namekian Dragon Balls were created using the pieces from the original set of Dragon Balls created by Zalama. Kami himself created the Earth's Dragon Balls due to a sort of racial memory of that event, so it is possible that Kami may have created this myth to obscure the origins of the Earth's Dragon Balls using whatever racial memory he may have possessed of the origin of the Namekian Dragon Balls, as the Namekians were presumably unaware that there was more than one Super Dragon Ball, which may explain why the legend states there was originally only one Dragon Ball.
    • Another more likely possibility is the story of the Earth's Dragon Balls' origins became distorted and obscured with the passage of time changing overtime with each retelling or leading to the development of multiple different origin stories, with the one told by Roshi simply being one version of the legend that he had heard.
  • Commander Red states that he needs four more Dragon Balls; however, he still needs six.
  • After Commander Red throws the knife at the statue, Colonel Silver's hair and eyebrows are black instead of red. This might be due to the shadow covering him, as shown when it covers parts of him in previous and following scenes.
    • On a similar note, Red was shown throwing his knife via his right hand (as evidenced by his ring being on the hand that threw the knife). It would later be revealed that Red was in fact blind in his right eye (possessing an eyepatch there).
    • On that note, the statue that Red destroyed with his knife was similar in appearance to the Birth of Venus.
  • When Bulma asks Roshi for the Three-Star Ball he had around his neck in "The Nimbus Cloud of Roshi", Roshi states that it is a trinket that he never had any use of, and he is baffled when Bulma explains their power and their ability to grant a wish. Whereas in this episode, Roshi seems to know the origin of their creation. However, it is possible that he may have learned the story after his encounter with Bulma. It's possible that Roshi, after learning of their power from Bulma, may have done his own research on the Dragon Balls. Another possibility is that he only remembered the old legend after his encounter with Bulma. Presumably, Roshi himself may have never believed the tale and had forgotten it due to his old age, only to be reminded of it later on thanks to his encounters with Goku and Bulma.
  • The song Dragon Ball Densetsu can be heard in the Japanese version when Roshi is explaining the origins of the Dragon Balls. The English version did not include the song.
  • In Roshi's flashback, one of the greedy men who wished for power from the Dragon Balls resembles Fighter 69 from the World Martial Arts Tournament. Plus, the two members of the Silver Corp who stumble upon the Five Star Ball (and the monkeys) resemble the Orin Monks who used to bully Krillin. The taller of the two men is voiced by Chris Cason, who also voiced the monk that Krillin defeated at the tournament.
  • In the Japanese version of Red's meeting with Silver, shortly after Silver dodged his cat, Red's commendation was slightly more forgiving yet strict, simply congratulating him for his reflexes yet otherwise sternly warning him that possessing even the slightest bit of pretentiousness could result in death, advising him to remain cautious. The English version adds in an anecdote of the last member to arrive at his office losing his eye to the cat and strongly implying Red had said individual executed because of this.
  • In the English dub, shortly after Commander Red stops speaking about how many Dragon Balls he needs, before Silver responds, a laugh can be heard. This is most likely the recording crew laughing at the Scottish/Asian accent that the VA seems to shift into irregularly.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of Launch's good form wearing her original outfit in the original Dragon Ball. However, she doesn't wear her fingerless gloves, sporty shoes and socks. It won't be seen again until Dragon Ball Z's "Global Training".


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