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The Iconic Dragon Ball Z Reference You Likely Missed In Naruto

Believe it when we say that it's no secret that "Dragon Ball" played a massive influence on "Naruto" creator Masashi Kishimoto. The manga author has even stated that besides some artistic guidance, Akira Toriyama's legendary tale of a monkey-tailed martial arts adventurer taught him valuable lessons about consistently entertaining an audience (via Anime News Network). With hundreds of manga chapters, anime episodes, and even a worthy spin-off with "Boruto: Naruto Next Generations," it's clear Kishimoto took that long-term audience captivation lesson to heart. And along the way, he's also continued to pay homage to Toriyama's iconic series.

Some of the links between "Naruto" and "Dragon Ball Z" are immediately apparent when mentioning the two. Both heroes from the two series have a taste for orange in their wardrobes. And the grand battles during the end of "Shippuden" have a lot in common with Goku's fights against the likes of Frieza and Broly. We'd even compare Naruto's healthy appetite for ramen to Goku's bottomless belly for nearly anything. But the brave ninja hero doesn't compare to his beloved Hinata Hyuga, who has canonically proven that her excellent ramen-eating skills put Naruto to shame. There are tons of subtle references to "Dragon Ball Z" on "Naruto," but surprisingly, there's one obvious example of such that might have flown under the radar for many.

Shippuden's Son Goku is similar to his Dragon Ball counterpart

Son Goku does technically appear on "Naruto: Shippuden." But the appearance isn't some MCU multiverse setup from Shonen Jump. Instead of the Saiyan warrior hopping in to test his mettle against Madara Uchiha or the members of Akatsuki, the series features a character with the same name as the famous "Dragon Ball" hero. However, when we break down some exciting details about Son Goku on "Naruto," it's evident how much of a love letter the character is to his "Dragon Ball" counterpart. The Four-Tailed Beast Son Goku makes a significant appearance in Episode 326 (via Crunchyroll), chained up but lively and proudly introducing himself to Naruto as the "King of the Sage Monkeys."

Son Goku looks like a giant ape, which is a reference to the Saiyan Great Ape form from "Dragon Ball." Like the Great Ape, the Tailed-Beast Son Goku can spew some chakra-rooted attacks, notably the Monkey Flame Arson (via Narutopedia). It has an uncanny similarity to the Great Ape's mouth energy attacks. The fact that the beast sports four tails could also reference the four-star Dragon Ball that Goku got from his grandpa Gohan. And finally, Son Goku's Jinchūriki is a shinobi named Roshi. Roshi and Son Goku's conversation in "Naruto manga chapter 572" (via Viz) indicates that their relationship is a bit complex compared to the Turtle Hermit and Goku in "Dragon Ball." But it's still a great parallel, especially because in a pivotal "Dragon Ball" episode, Roshi brings Goku under control from his Great Ape form by infamously blowing up the moon.

Chiaotzu actually appears in the manga

So Son Goku appears on "Naruto" through subtle similarities with another character. But what if Masashi Kishimoto just decided to skip the clever nods route and went right for altogether dropping a "Dragon Ball" character on "Naruto"? This has already been witnessed by fans whose eyes are as intense as the Byakugan. In the pages of manga chapter 150 (via Viz), while away with Jiraiya, Naruto stops by a mask shop. Most of the masks on the panel seem like typical ones that members of Anbu might wear. However, one of them is the face of Chiaotzu from "Dragon Ball." The loyal sidekick of Tien is all smiles, which is creepy when we think back to his sinister origins in "Dragon Ball."

Chiaotzu's appearance in the mask shop makes sense, as the character looks like a living doll. And Kishimoto certainly wasn't playing favorites when he blatantly included the character as an Easter egg in his manga. If he had, we would have likely seen the face of another non-nose bald fighter. As quoted by the DBHype Twitter account, the author revealed in Saikyo Jump that his favorite "Dragon Ball" character is Krillin. Our fingers are crossed that we get a neat Krillin reference in "Boruto" someday.