Kong count #32 – Ozaru from Dragonball

We’re covering a lot of oversized simians in this series, but if you were to go looking for merchandise in back-alley shops of Akihabara, there’s one specifically that I’d put my money on you finding first, before Donkey Kong, or even King Kong himself: one of the Ozaru Saiyans.


You see, Akira Toriyama’s Dragonball series is probably the single most influential Japanese comic series of all time, and, thirty years on, it’s still heavily marketed today. The series started as a spoof on Journey to the West, so our protagonist, Goku, is a monkey. (If you’ve ever wondered why the main character in most-popular-manga-ever One Piece is named Monkey, dollars to doughnuts the answer is “to be more like Dragonball.”)


Throwing a bit of a werewolf curve into things, Goku will transform into a rampaging giant monster at the sight of the full moon. This mechanic is more heavily-featured early on in the series, but only comes up a few times later, and is eventually expanded upon when-

…do you care about spoilers? I mean, I assume everyone in the universe sort of knows about Dragonball now, right?

Anyway, it turns out Goku is from a planet full of folks who do the same thing (eat a lot, fight a lot, have improbable hairstyles, and turn into monsters by moonlight); he’s a Saiyan of planet Vegeta (Dragonball is also full of stupid name puns, FYI). Goku and his son get into scraps with a few of these planet-conquering primates, and naturally have to defeat at least one other Ozaru (“great ape”) along the way.


Being one of the most popular franchises ever conceived, there’s marketing for just about every character, so of course there’s a wide range of Ozaru figures to pick from (my favorite is the DX Creatures Vegeta).

vegeta While there are many Saiyan characters in the main series and its numerous spin-offs, most don’t actually transform in the story proper. Video games have stepped in to smooth that all over, so we even get to see the bald dude turn giant monkey (spoilers: he’s not bald anymore… also, he doesn’t keep the mustache)

There have also been stupid versions that we prefer to not talk about.


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