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What's the True Origin of the Kamehameha in DRAGON BALL?

DRAGON BALL #9 -- Retro Review

Wait -- am I actually writing up another episode of JOJO’s here?

It’s another head-smacker that I would’ve come to a long time ago (if I’d gotten a proper introduction to these characters). Capcom and SNK may have pilfered a bunch of their fighters from JOJO’s, specifically; but this is the first appropriated DRAGON BALL character I’ve spotted.

One of the combatants in the first FATAL FURY game was named Tung Fu Rue. He was an old, martial arts master with the ability to morph into a hideously muscular monstrosity. Sound familiar? Well, he was also bald, with a pointed white goatee… just like Master Roshi’s. I sincerely doubt that’s coincidental.

Since that pushes my thoughts over to fighting games (as will happen), I ought to bring up the Kamehameha (which, like Chichi, is introduced far sooner than I would’ve expected). I’m really starting to wonder if the Kamehameha, the Hadoken, the Ripple and basically every projectile attack in every fighting game ever have all been riffing on the same concept. Was there some specific folk tale that first put forth the notion of dudes throwing fireballs out of their palms? Was it JOURNEY TO THE WEST? Considering that Ryu from STREET FIGHTER was so famously modeled after real life karate legend, Mas Aoyama, might this have started with some installment of KARATE FANATIC?

Obviously, you’re seeing a fanciful extension of chi here. Instead of controlled breaths that throw more weight into an attack, it’s an actual electrical aura that flies out beyond the punch. The imaginative process would be easy enough to understand, but… still… it seems too specific to be that simple. And Roshi naming the attack for Kame, the god of Shintoism, and explaining that he learned the art from Kame itself…

…that seems exactly the sort of uncomfortable, non-PC religious explanation that would be made safe and more generalized by later franchises. It’s less uncomfortable to say that Ryu’s Super-Hadou comes from his power bar than it is to ascribe it to the heavens, isn’t it?

If any of you more learned Vicers know something about this, I’d love to hear some explanations. I'd kill to be enlightened.

Watch "the Kamehameha Wave" and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode.

Username_Undefinedon June 27, 2014 at 9:51 a.m.

The kamehameha isn't related to any sort of deity. I think you're confusing "kami" and "kame" Kami is a god; kame is Japanese for turtle. かめはめ波 literally translates to "Turtle Destruction Wave" which makes sense when you consider that Master Roshi is known as the Turtle Hermit. That or Toriyama read about a Hawaiian king and liked the sound of his name.

Also, fighting games absolutely took the idea of shooting energy out of your hands from this. Why wouldn't they? It's awesome and flashy and would draw people in when the arcade machine was in attract mode.

Lurkeroon June 27, 2014 at 10:18 p.m.

I would imagine that it is difficult to depict an extension of chi in illustration since chi is "invisible". Thus, artists just made up beams of energy or light that come from people's bodies. It's kinda like the halo of angels is depicted in art.

Kame is for turtle. Kami is for god. Although, there are probably some religious aspects to chi as well.

YotaruVegetaon June 28, 2014 at 10:03 a.m.

@Username_Undefined: Yeah, it's definitely partly inspired by King Kamehameha.

hitsusatsu11on June 28, 2014 at 12:03 p.m.

Master Roshi (also called the Turtle Hermit or Kame Senin) invented it, it is the signature move of the Turtle (Kame) School, which is passed down to Goku (and sons) and Krillin.

Alternatively, Master Roshi's rival, and former fellow student of Master Mutaitio, the Crane Hermit (Tsuru Senin) invented the Dodon-pa energy beam, which was passed down to Tenshinhan and Chaozu.

reiyoon June 29, 2014 at 7:09 a.m.

Kamehameha, or Turtle Destruction Wave is Master Roshi, the Turtle Hermit's signature attack and invented it. Also maybe from King Kamehameha of Hawaii.

flashback180on June 29, 2014 at 11:38 a.m.

^ true ,fun fact the Kamehameha wave was actually not created by toriyama , it was actually his wife that gave the idea behind it.

Kino88on June 29, 2014 at 7:07 p.m.
Wow your so lucky..., watching Dragon Ball fresh for the first time Such memories!, You should keep this up cause there's plenty more from this Pre DBZ series that you've probably never expected,

Dig Deeper into Kamehameha

An energy attack used in Dragon Ball. The technique was invented by Master Roshi.

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