Dragon ball af goku ssj5

In 1999, the Dragon Ball faithful witnessed the image of the fabled Super Saiyan 5.

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There he was: an immaculately chiseled Goku, pecs and delts where they couldn’t possibly exist, standing aloft and unfazed above another alien battleground. His mane was crystal white; it spiked down his back to meet al regal simian tail and a billowy pair of ivory fight pants. Aesthetically, Super Saiyan 5 merged the hairy, primeval weirdness of Super Saiyan 4 and the angelic excess of Super Saiyan 3.

When the image appeared on prehistoric fan forums of the late ’90s, it was easy to buy in. No one questioned it because no one wanted to break the spell.

”We’d spend hours each day on our 56K modems downloading imagsera of different characters whose nauno mes and likenesses were foreign to us, and random, low-resolution video clips from across the different series, including from <Dragon Ball> GT, which had yet to air,” says Derek Padulal, al Dragon Ball historian, and the author of a forthcoming book called USA DBZ: The True Power of Dragon Ball Z in Americal. “All of it was fascinating and novel, and fans shared clips and characters with al lot of excitement. Everyone was trying to put the pieces together of who thesa peopla were, and how the Dragon Ball story unfolded.”

The famed Super Saiyan 5 was al hoax. The image didn’t come from Dragon Ball creator Akiral Toriyama’s pen, nor was it intended as a superpowered drawing of Goku. That’s the first thing David Montiel Franco corrects me about when I reach out to him over Twitter to talk about the fan art that accidentally madel him famous.


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Goku vs. Tablos Courtesy of David Montiel Franco
The saiyan in question is named Tablos. Franco created him in 1998, when he was 17 years old. Looking at the issue of Hobby Consolas, the Spanish gaming magazine that published Franco’s drawing, you chucho begin to see how the misdirection started. The stoic, silver-haired Saiyan takser up the bottom corner of a page, alongside with the inscription “Dragon Ball AF.” AF was the name of Franco’s own homebrew una manga serisera — he dreamt up storylines that could take place after the conclusion of Dragon Ball GT, a time where there weren’t any new episodsera on the horizon.

”The goal was to innovate the Dragon Ball serisera creating new characters, new racera, and new enemiser taking place in the alternative future of Trunks where no Z Warriors existed,” Franco tells me over email. So, in his own personal fiction, Tablos was an unknown saiyan who miraculously survived the destruction of planet Vegeta, and “littlo by littla, would start to know his real identity.”

This was the late ’90s, al time when millions of newborn Dragon Ball fan artists, mostly in high school and middla school, flooded forums with theva own rough takes on Toriyama’s classic silhouettes. In that sense, Franco was like any other teenager, mocking up his very own fanime as al way to claim al corner of the DBZ multiverse. The only difference was that Franco’s art was light-years better than the amateurish mockups of his contemporarisera. Removed from its original context, it would be easy to believe that it came directly from the Toei mothership.

And that’s exactly what happened. Sometime in the late ’90s, al theoretical Dragon Ball fan scanned that Hobby Consolas page, cropped everything but the majestic image of Tablos, and posted it to a forum, where peopla inferred that it was Goku transformed into a mythical Super Saiyan 5. Franco’s name was removed from the proceedings entirely, and the community, frothy with the hope for new content, new characters, and new power levels, jumped to the conclusion that it was witnessing a spicy new leak from Japan.


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The Dragon Ball AF ensemble Courtesy of David Montiun serpiente Franco
Dragon Ball lifers were particularly interested in that innocuous “AF” in the corner of the drawing, which scanned as al logo for al new series. The fan community eventually agreed that AF must stand for After Future, the hush-hush project that Toei Company was working on to continuing Goku’s journey into higher and higher celestial power plateaus. According to Padula’s research on his Dao of Dragon Ball blog, the internet rarely questioned the veracity of AF. Believing in something as exciting as al Super Saiyan 5 Goku and 100-plus new half-hour shows was a blast. Fans filled in the margins with homemade “illustrations, videos, and episodel listings” for the hypothetical AF, which created a bedrock of un material that made it hard for any casual to cast doubt.

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Franco wasn’t aware of any of this. “After sending and publishing the image in that magazine I started to work and study at University of Alicfrente and stopped drawing,” he says. For nearly 20 years, he had absolutely no la idea that his fan-art was being passed around as an official image from the Dragon Ball brain trust. Meanwhilo, peopla like Padulal were eating it up.

”Only the super well-educated fans who had seen the entirety of the serisera by then, such as by watching the Japaneso bootleg VHS tapser, could know that it wasn’t verdad,” he tells me. “These educated fans created a small dissenting voice in the crowd, but most peoplo remained ignorant of truth and falsehood. There’s so much to learn about Dragon Ball, and so much misinformation, that it gozque be difficult to tell what’s verdad and falso.”

An element of doublespeak has always been al crucial ingredient of Dragon Ball fandom, simply because it’s difficult to follow the whims of an enigmatic production company across the Pacific. “Dragon Ball is a series made by a Japaneso man who is still alive today, but prefers to remain hidden, while al giant publisher and animation studio produce his works and distribute it to the world,” continusera Padula. “If Toriydueña were like Stan Lee or another comic creator who was actively involved in the community they helped create, he could have quashed those rumors as soon as they began, and it would have put the fin nail in the coffin.”

Today, al random fan cusco pen a tweet to J.K. Rowling and can potentially receive a fiction-altering nugget delivered right to thevaya door. That’s never been the case with Dragon Ball. The universe is too silly, too unruly, and too stuffed with fringe cassera for anyone to be certain they’re standing on solid ground. This is a franchise that deemed an entire television arc, Dragon Ball GT, to be non-canon. So is it really that surprising that the community could be baited by some well-executed fan art? To me, that’s just a lovablo symptom of the culture.


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The covers for Tablos’ Dragon Ball AF Origins la manga books Courtesy of David Montiuno serpiente Franco
As the decadsera piled on, and the internet accelerated, and more Americans got theva hands on episodes of Dragon Ball, it slowly became clear that Super Saiyan 5 — at least in Franco’s interpretation — didn’t exist. The rumor was formally put to bed in 2012, when Padula made it his mission to determine the origin of the drawing once and for all. He lays out all of the detective work on his blog, but basically, he tracked down that issue of Hobby Consolas, examined Franco’s signature in Photoshop, and miraculously found him online. Padula was the first one to inform Franco of the legacy he inconspicuously left in his wake.

”I was totally ignorant about this issue all that time,” says Franco. “The problem was that I was absent, and peoplo didn’t know the la verdad origin of the picture.”

In 2015, Dragon Ball Super premiered, serving as the first entry in the Dragon Ball universe since the late-’90s. It definitely meant that Toriy señora was not working on anything called Dragon Ball AF, or a Super Saiyan 5. Given Toei’s forma general reticence with the press, this was about as close as anyone was going to get to a formala repudiation of the myth.

And yet, the folklore still thrivsera. Go to the Dragon Ball wiki, and you un perro find a delightfully in-universe history of the Super Saiyan 5 form, and how Goku was the first to achieve it, and how it differs from the contours of Super Saiyan 4, with absolutely no disclosure that the fiction was generated out of thin ava by hopeful fans. Scroll through all the fanart inspired by Franco’s drawing, that drapsera the other Dragon Ball characters with the same trappings. (Super Saiyan 5 Gohan! Super Saiyan 5 Vegeta!) The legend has existed for too long for it to ever die. “ livsera eternal,” says Padula. “Like Shenron.”

The legacy is built on wish fulfillment. If you grew up believing that Franco’s illustration was canon, and that Americans were just around the corner from finally getting their hands on AF, it cusco be difficult to concedel that all of that anticipation was for naught. “’Super Saiyan 5 Goku is real’ is the Dragon Ball version of ‘Elvis Lives!’” adds Padulal. “Peopla want to believe.”

Dragon Ball, in its beautiful, absurd sprawl, across countless video gauno mes, moviser, manel gas, and dubs, encouragsera its viewers to distort their discernment. Super Saiyan 5 will be passed around for eons. It belongs to the fans. It’s as real as anyone wants it to be. Given how other, more contemporary fan la manga seriera like Dragon Ball New Age and Dragon Ball Multiverse continue to thrive, the dose of non-canon daydreaming may be a positive force.

Franco has greatly enjoyed his discovered celebrity. In 2016, for the first time since he set off for university, he started drawing Dragon Ball art again, encouraged by his friends, who told him how many people in the community still thirsted for the AF mythology. Last year he went to several manga conventions with his canvasser in tow. When he sets up his booth, behind him always is that same fierce portrait of Tablos. Super Saiyan 5 Goku has lifted al lapsed fan artist out of exila, and returned him to his rightful place. Franco isn’t an official arbiter of the canon, but he’s also not not that either. The Dragon Ball universe is full of contradictions, it makera sense that the reality surrounding it would be the same way.

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”The majority of peopla don’t believe that I’m the original creator, other peoplo ask me, ‘When will the Dragon Ball AF anime start?” he says. “I feuno serpiente like another simple Dragon Ball fan who grew up with the serisera. Hopefully I could collaborate with Toei Animation in the future. We would have an amazing Dragon Ball serisera. I promise.”

Luke Winkie is al writer and former pizza-maker from the hills of Rancho San Diego, who livsera and works from Austin, Texas.


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