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This article is about the first episode. For the home video, see Secret of the Dragon Ball.

"Of course, he would, kid. Seeing his young grandson that he raised venture out into the world all on his own, learning all about the great cities and crossing the desert and seeing the ocean. This'll be great. So, we're partners?"
Bulma to Goku

"The Secret of the Dragon Balls" (ブルマとそんくう Buruma to Son Gokū, lit. "Bulma and Son Goku") is the first episode of Dragon Ball and the first episode of the Emperor Pilaf Saga. It is also the first episode in the Dragon Ball anime tetralogy. This episode first aired in Japan on February 26, 1986. Its original American airdate was September 9, 1995.



Goku doing his morning chores

The story begins on Mount Paozu, with a young boy that has a monkey tail named Goku. He was found by a martial artist named Gohan and was adopted by him as his grandson, who Gohan trained to be a powerful fighter. Goku is now on his own, after his grandfather's death, and now guards his Dragon Ball that was given to him just before Gohan died.

A few months later, one day after fishing and chopping up wood, Goku came inside to see his Dragon Ball glowing, thinking it is his grandpa talking to him. On his way to find something to eat, he ends up angering a Sabertooth Cat and outruns it off a cliff and into a river, losing it.

While at the river, Goku strips to put his tail into the water as bait to catch fish. Soon enough, a monstrous fish jumps out of the water. Having no fear of the giant fish, Goku dodges it and kills it with one strong kick.

Goku about to throw Bulma's car

Goku and Bulma first meet

On his way home, dragging the dead fish, he gets run over by a teenage girl named Bulma in her car. Goku has never seen a car before and attacks, thinking that it is a monster; with his strength he picks up the car and throws it into the distance. In defense, Bulma takes out a gun and directly fires at Goku’s head, but due to being so powerful and bulletproof, the bullets only sting him. After nearly being killed by Bulma, Goku then starts to charge at her but stops when she reveals herself to be a human girl, not a monster as Goku stops and discovers that she is different.


Bulma explaining the Dragon Balls to Goku

Goku has always been told by his grandfather to be nice to girls, so he escorts Bulma to his home for dinner. Finally reaching there, Bulma sees an item that she has been desperately seeking, which is his Dragon Ball. Goku yanks it away from Bulma, saying that it was his Grandpa's. Bulma shows Goku her two Dragon Balls that she has and tells him that there are seven Dragon Balls in total, and they are spread all around the world. She explains that when they are all collected, they allow the owner to receive one wish. In Bulma's case, her wish is to have a perfect boyfriend, but Goku stubbornly refuses to give all that is left of his grandfather.


Emperor Pilaf finds his first Dragon Ball

Elsewhere, two strange figures named Shu and Mai, who are headed by a small blue entity named Emperor Pilaf, find a Dragon Ball in a dungeon seeking it to rule the world. Pilaf becomes enraged when Mai tells him that he needs to collect all seven of them to summon the eternal dragon, Shenron.

Back at Goku's House, Goku agrees to accompany Bulma on her journey to collect the Dragon Balls. She explains to Goku that she can detect them using her Dragon Radar. She uses her capsules to spawn a motorcycle that causes Goku to become shocked she's doing witchcraft.


Goku must save Bulma from the pterodactyl

The two then leave for the closest Dragon Ball. Along the way, Bulma stops to go for a pit stop, after riding off a steep hill. Before she can go, a fearsome pterodactyl kidnaps her, ties up Goku, and flies away. Goku eventually suspects the monster's true intentions, and comes to the rescue, taking the motorcycle's reins and driving off a hill into the air. He then takes out his Power Pole that he carries behind his back, and orders it to extend, immediately defeating the pterodactyl by smashing its crest and sending it falling to the ground below. Goku falls safely to the ground and uses his Power Pole to pin Bulma to a cliff. But worst of all, this is getting too much for her while crying, making Bulma pee badly on her pants. The two then head out back to their adventure on the search for Dragon Balls.

Major Events[]

  • Goku meets Bulma and joins her quest for the Dragon Balls.
  • Bulma reveals that her wish is for a boyfriend.
  • Emperor Pilaf finds the One-Star Dragon Ball.


  • Goku vs. Giant Fish
  • Goku vs. Bulma
  • Goku vs. Pterodactyl






  • Stripping (Debut) - Used by Bulma.
  • Hikou (Debut) - Used by Pterodactyl.

Differences from the Manga[]

  • When Goku punches the tree stump all the wood fell neatly in a stack but in the manga, they all scatter on the floor, and Goku is shown picking the pieces up.

Goku running from a Sabertooth Tiger

  • In the manga, Bulma never hit Goku with her car as she stopped before that could happen. However, in the episode True Colors of the Masked Man, there's a flashback that shows Bulma not hitting Goku with her car.
  • Bulma's panties in this episode are white with pink polka dots, but in the manga version, they are just plain white.
  • When Goku defeats the Pterodactyl, it falls down a trench, however, in the manga it just falls on flat ground.


  • When Goku is looking for something to eat he finds an apple and takes a bite of it and throws it on a Sabertooth Tiger's head. The Tiger chases Goku down a cliff, and then Goku gets the idea of catching a Giant Fish for dinner. In the manga, Goku does not encounter the tiger and peacefully walks by a cliff and voluntarily jumps off to go catch a fish.
  • Emperor Pilaf and his minions make an early debut when he finds a Dragon Ball and Mai explains to him the legend of the Dragon. Pilaf and his minions do not debut in the manga until Goku got to Pilaf's Castle which is not until "The Dragon Balls are Stolen!"
  • When Goku is looking for Bulma's "tail", he lifts up her skirt, revealing her panties.


Visual edits[]


Original (Left) and Edit (Right)

  • In the BLT dub, footage from "The Nimbus Cloud of Roshi", "The Ox-King on Fire Mountain" and the movie Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies is seen in a brief daydream segment when Bulma is explaining to Goku what the journey will be like. Chi-Chi's hair can be seen just as the dinosaur is zoomed out. Strangely the fight between Goku and King Gurumes from Curse of the Blood Rubies is used, even though it does not occur in the television series. However, this was not used in the later English dubs and Japanese version.
  • In the BLT dub, white underwear is crudely drawn over Goku's crotch in the scene where he skinny-dips to catch a fish. Also, the part where he urinates in the water just as he gets in was completely removed.
    • The Blue Water dub retains this censorship, but with a brown fundoshi-like garment drawn over instead of white underwear.
  • The part where Goku lifts Bulma's skirt up to see if she has a tail is still present in the BLT dub but her panties are oddly repainted pink to match her skirt.
  • In the BLT dub, scenes from the episode "A Wish to the Eternal Dragon" are seen while Mai is explaining the legend of the Dragon.

Scenes removed[]

Bulma shoots

A scene of Bulma shooting Goku with a gun that was removed from the BLT dub

  • The scene where Goku fishes with his tail while naked, and then kicks the fish is completely removed in the Harmony Gold dub.
  • The part where Bulma shoots Goku with a gun was completely removed in the BLT dub.
  • The scene where Bulma lifts up her skirt and offers to let Goku touch her butt if he gives her the Dragon Ball was completely removed in the BLT dub.

Dialogue changes[]

  • In the BLT dub, in the scene at the beginning of the episode showing the landscape, Grandpa Gohan's voice is heard saying the last things he had said before he died. This is the only time Grandpa Gohan is heard in the BLT dub because it was canceled way before they got to the episode he debuts in.
  • When Goku talks to himself on his way to the lake he originally talks about what he wants to eat, while in the BLT dub, he already knows he wants a fish (he told the 4-star ball) and asks himself where the "River Trail" was.
  • The Giant Fish Goku catches talks in the Japanese version but does not talk in the English dubs.
  • Certain suggestive dialogue between Goku and Bulma is replaced with other bickering in the BLT dub.
  • In the BLT dub, Goku tells Bulma that his name means "Saber of Light".
  • Bulma apparently already knows Emperor Pilaf is after the seven Dragon Balls in the BLT Dub because she says she needs to get them before that "crazy emperor" does. This is also a bad plot hole in the story due to the fact that he just got his Dragon Ball while Goku and Bulma were still talking.
  • Goku originally assumes that Bulma's two Dragon Balls are two "Grandpas'", while in the BLT dub, he says that she must have gotten them from her grandfather.
  • In the original Japanese broadcast of the first five episodes, the Fuji TV logo shown was still the 1957 version. It hadn't updated to the 1986 version yet (to celebrate their 30th yet). This was plastered on later reruns (including the Dragon Box).



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