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The heroines of Japanese cartoons: Bulma

Blue hair, pop colors and a strong passion for strawberries

The heroines of Japanese cartoons: Bulma Blue hair, pop colors and a strong passion for strawberries

There is not a Millennial in Italy who does not get excited listening to the notes of the first series of Dragon Ball. The appointment was fixed, every day on the Italian broadcaster Italia1, after the news and before The Simpsons: despite the associations of parents from all over the country did not accept its violent scenes (and Master Roshi's jokes about Bulma's panties, the battles that went on for weeks...), Dragon Ball is perhaps the greatest reference point of an entire generation of children who grew up in the Nineties.

Born in 1984 from Akira Toriyama's pencil (who at the time was already famous for drawing Dr. Slump) and inspired by the novel Journey to the West, one of the greatest classics of Chinese literature, the Dragon Ball’s universe has always been dominated by fighters. Much more than in other mangas (for example, One Piece), the most loved characters have always been the strongest ones; the lack of success achieved by Krillin and Yamcha (who?) against the glory of Goku and Vegeta is a clear proof. Between the never-ending battles and fusions of double logic, however, there is a character who has gone through the whole saga without ever punching: Bulma, the only true female protagonist, as well as one of the most popular characters in the whole series.


Strawberries or a Prince Charming?

Together with Goku, Bulma is the longest character in Dragon Ball. Her debut dates back to the very first episode: she is the younger sister of Tights, the female protagonist of the Dragon Ball prequel manga (Jaco the Galactic Patrolman). After she found the first dragon ball in her attic, she is the one who decides to begin the journey in search of the other spheres, to bring them together and evoke the legendary dragon Shenron, able to fulfill a wish. Her goal is not clear: at first he wants to receive a life-long supply of strawberries, then the man of her dreams. On the road she ends up meeting Son Goku, to whom she will remain bound with brotherly affection until the very end. Her story is a real educational novel that accompanies her from adolescence, when she is still a stubborn and spoiled 16-year-old girl, until adulthood. As years go by (and the love stories, first with Yamcha, then with Vegeta, from whom she also has two children) Bulma changes radically, until she becomes an elegant, brave and caring woman.

If Dragon Ball is inspired by the novel The Journey to the West, with Goku in the role of the protagonist Sun Wukong, Bulma is inspired by the monk Sanzang: they both are the brillant and non-violent counterpart of the protagonist and they do not fight, but prefer to hide and play with cunning; in the same way, they usually use skilful subterfections to be obeyed by friends and enemies. Just like Nami from One Piece and Fujiko from Lupin the III, in fact, Bulma is known for her intelligence beyond the ordinary: she is capable of inventing anything, from combat suits for the Saiyan to spaceships. It is she who designed the Dragon Radar, the tool that manages to find the dragon balls; and it will always be her, at the end of the series, to invent the time machine that brings her son Trunks to the past. And if it is true that over the years the attention has been increasingly focused on Goku and in general on the mechanisms of the fight (both against enemies and in tournaments), the role of Bulma has always been fundamental, so much to conquer the unconditional love of all fans of the saga.

A curiosity? The whole Bulma family bears the names of underwear. Her father, in fact, is Dr. Brief (men's briefs); her sister is called Tights, like pantyhose; her son is called Trunks, meaning the boxers; her daughter Bulla, which in slang means bra. Finally, the name Bulma indicates the short shorts that the girls lent for gymnastics (from the English bloomers).


The best looks of Bulma

In a universe of shōnen manga (manga dedicated mainly to a male audience), Bulma was one of the first female protagonists to bring a passion for fashion. Over the seasons and episodes, it is common to see her change her clothes. The approach to her representation, always fashionable and passionate about make up, has opened the doors to several other female characters.

Bulma is not a warrior, she is an ordinary girl with a strong intelligence and savoir faire, which also reflects in the accuracy of her looks. If, on the one hand, characters like Nami from One Piece and Fujiko / Margot dressed in a more sensual way and embodied the figure of the warrior and the femme fatale, Bulma instead focuses on color, on clothing that highlights its strengths while leaving a glimpse little, and on simplicity. Pop colors, fun patterns (like the famous panties with strawberries) and a versatile style. In fact, Bulma alternates streetwear clothing, with items that remind of the contemporary utility style (like the vest, down jacket, waistbag, orange jumpsuit) with more girly looks made of minidresses, blouses, scarves, ring earrings and colored pearls), and even a costume reminding the one of the Playboy Mansion bunnies.

In addition to a unique and extravagant style, Bulma is one of the cartoon characters to have changed the highest number hairstyles and haircuts during the seasons of the saga. Her hair is usually blue, but the shades vary in the points from light blue, to turquoise, up to aqua green; on some occasions she also sported a lilac head, a color that we unquestionably find among the trends of the moment. As for the hairstyles, the list is very long: Bulma wore very short hair, with a rebel tuft, but also a short bob with and without fringe, sometimes decorated with a wide headband; medium length hair, with fringe, gathered in a low ponytail or ponytail, and often gathered in a high braid stopped by a red bow on the nape. Among the favorite accessories, certainly there are silk scarves, but also earrings and hair decorations are in the top 3 of Bulma's must-have.