Dear Art Director,
There are three parts to the DragonBall series, which were originally
based on manga (Japanese comics) created by Akira Toriyama. Apart from
these parts (which have different Japanese and American/Western
versions, due to differences in distribution), there are movies,
computer games and of course, manga, for each part. The second part,
Dragon Ball Z (DBZ), is in fact an American invention: this division
does not exist in the original Japanese manga, which follows Goku from
childhood to seniority. The third part, DragonBall GT (DBGT, stands
for "Grand Tour") is not based on a manga by Akira Toriyama and was
much les successful in its motherland.
My synopsis and character descriptions below contain many spoilers, so
beware, if you plan to watch the series.
Characters - Goku's Family "Tree"
(Son) Goku - The main charcter in all three parts is monkey-tailed
human-like Goku. In the first part, he is 12 year-old. He attempts to
get a hold of Dragon Balls: "The Dragon Balls are seven magical
spheres which are scattered across the world. When assembled together,
they can be used to summon the dragon Shenlong (Shenron) who will
grant one wish (within limits). After the wish is granted, the balls
are scattered again across the landscape and become inert for a year.
In times past, it would take generations to search the world and
gather the balls. In the beginning of the story however, one genius
inventor has created a "Dragon Radar" to detect the balls and making
the process far easier than it was intended to be." (SOURCE:
Wikipedia, Dragon Ball, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Ball>).
Most of Goku's family is introduced to us in the second series, DBZ,
which is about adult Goku.
(son) Gohan - Son Goku's son. Born at the end of Dragon Ball and
develops as a character through DBZ. Marries Videl.
Raditz - Important for DBZ development: he tells Goku that he is in
fact an alien, a "Saiyan", which is a race similar to humans. Raditz
is presented as Goku's previously unknown brother. Kidnaps Gohan to
press Goku to fulfill his alleged mission: to destroy earth. Raditz
becomes evil and Goku has to fight him. He dies with Goku in DBZ (but
Goku is brought back to life by his friends, using the Dragon Balls).
(Son) Goten - Goku's son.
Bardock - Goku's father.
ChiChi - Goku's wife.
Videl - Gohan's wife; Goku's and Chichi's daughter in law.
Pan - Goku's granddaughter
Ox King - ChiChi's father; Goku's father in law.
Grandpa Gohan - Goku's adoptive grandfather.
Bulma and Her family
Bulma - is Goku's friend and it is she, who initially goes with him to
find the balls in the first series. During DBZ, she's a fighter with
the rest of the Z force. Has a son with Vegeta, Trunks.
Vegeta - (DBZ) initially, an evil Saiyan, who fights against Goku.
Goku wins with the help of his friends. After Goku wins, Vegeta joins
Trunks - (DBZ) is Bulma's and Vegeta's son. On DBZ, he comes from the
future to inform Goku about certain events.
Dr. Briefs - Bulma's father
Bra - Bulma's daughter.
There are countless characters, so many are probably left out.
However, important ones are here.
Babadi - (DBZ) evil wizard.
Buu/Boo - DBZ - an evil creature created by Babadi.
Cell - In DBZ, the ultimate evil creature created in a lab. Fights the DBZ guys.
Chaozu - (DBZ) an ally of Goku, dies like the other friends, from the
hands of Nappa.
Ginyu - DBZ - an evil captain of the Freeza who attempts to swap bodies with Goku.
Nappa - (DBZ) an evil Saiyan, who fights against Goku and the friends,
and kills many of them.
Kuririn - (first series) Fellow student of Goku. First foe, then
friend. Dies in DBZ.
Piccolo - Goku's main enemy in the first series, Demon King. Sent by
Pilaf. Before he dies, lays an egg, from which a new Piccolo emerges.
Pilaf - "Emperor" Pilaf is an evil politician who sends Piccolo
against Goku. In DBGT, he wishes to bring back Goku to his childhood.
Tien/Tenshinhan - (first series) A martial arts rival turned friend.
Dies in the second series.
Yamcha - (first series) First foe, then friend during the first
series. Dies in the second series.
A full list of DB characters is available here:
Wikipedia - List of Dragon Ball characters
"Dragon Ball is the story of Goku, a brave, innocent young boy with
incredible powers who is plunged into a mystical adventure that is
played out in exotic lands filled with noble warriors, beautiful
princesses, shape-changing monsters, armies of ruthless villains and a
kooky old wise man. Goku and Krillin travel to Master Roshi\'s island,
hoping to train from the reknowned martial arts master. Before he will
train either, they must prove their worth. As a test, Master Roshi
sends them to Devil\'s Hand, where legend has it that there is a
sleeping princess. The one who can bring this legendary lady to Master
Roshi will be worthy of training. But others have their eye on the
Sleeping Princess. A determined launch has set out to bring back the
royal gem for her own monetary reasons. Also, Bulma, Yamcha, Puar, and
Oolong join in the adventure when they try to find Goku. Surprises are
in store for everyone as the Devil\'s Hand is home for the sinister
Lucifer, a vampire with diabolical plans to destroy the Earth! And to
make matters worse, he\'s backed by a league of ferocious ogres! Can
Goku and the gang survive Devil\'s Hand? Or is the Earth doomed...?"
(SOURCE: Media Miner, Dragon Ball - Description/Synopsis
Full Episode Guide by TV.com
"Before we go further, let me make one thing clear; Dragonball and
Dragonball Z are the same thing. Toriyama's manga was named Dragonball
throughout its run. The initial anime TV series, which covered manga
Volumes 1-16, was named Dragonball as well. When the new series, which
covered Volumes 17 to 41 premiered, it was named Dragonball Z or
Dragonball Zeta in order to differentiate it from the older TV series.
" (SOURCE: Michael Surbrook and Curry Coffelt, "DRAGONBALL Z HERO",
"Many years have passed since Goku first searched for the Dragon
Balls. He is a grown man, with a wife and son. He and his friends have
settled into their own lives and, for the most part, things are rather
peaceful. Then one day, Goku learns he is really a Saiyan and comes
from another planet. Now begins new adventures for Goku and his
friends as they defend their home against new, more powerful threats."
(SOURCE: TV.com DragonBall Z
"Five years after the end of "Dragonball", Son GokŻ reunites with his
friends, bringing along his four-year old son Gohan. Gohan is not like
his father; he'd rather study than fight. Raditz, a warrior from space
lands on earth searching for someone named "Kakarot". He reveals
himself as Raditz of the Sayans, the older brother of Kakarot! And
Kakarot turns out to be GokŻ! With two other Sayans coming to earth,
can GokŻ and the Z Warriors withstand the onslaught!?" (SOURCE: -
Dragonball Z (1989) -, Cinema.com
Episode Guide - Tv.com
DragonBall Z - Episode Guide from DBZGT Legacy
"Dragonball GT is the continuation of Dragonball Z and Dragonball.
Goku is accidentally wished back into his child form thanks to Pilaf
trying to use the Black Star Dragon Balls. Now he, along with a grown
up Trunks and his granddaughter Pan, must travel the universe to
search for these Black Star Dragonballs and return them to the Earth
within one year, or the Earth will be destroyed. Of course it's not
going to be easy, but with the help of a robotic friend named Giru
they're sure to succeed. The bigger question is what new dangers will
await our heroes in space and when they return to Earth?" (SOURCE:
Dragonball GT - Episode Guide from TV.com
DragonBall GT - Episode Guide from DBZGT Legacy
A Very good synopsis from DooYoo: "Goku's Getting To Old For This Sh*t"
Dragon Ball AF
This is a sequal rumoured to appear. However, it is all fiction:
"Dragon Ball AF is a non-existent animation or comic book series that
has been rumored to exist by many fans of the Dragon Ball anime and
manga franchise. It is not only fictional, but a complete fabrication
in itself, and a source of confusion and frustration to many anime
fans." (Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Ball_AF>).
Akira Toriyama is the creator of the first two series and was an
advisor in the third.
Other cast credits could be found here:
Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Ball GT
Important Internet Resources
Especially, check out the Newbie guide
Wikipedia - Dragon Ball GT
Wikipedia - Dragon Ball Z
Wikipedia - Dragon Ball Category
Wikipedia - Dragon Ball - List of Episodes
I hope this answers your question. Please contact me if you need any
further clarifications on this answer before you rate it.