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Why Dragon Ball's Universe Has Even Long-Time Fans Scratching Their Heads

Akira Toriyama's entire "Dragon Ball" series has gone through more twists over the years than Shenron's winding tail. "Dragon Ball" initially starts as a humorous martial arts story loosely inspired by the classic Chinese novel "Journey to the West." It's a massive, far cry compared to where we are today with "Dragon Ball Super." Goku and the other heroes are used to dealing with alien warlords, evil scientists, and universe-destroying gods with the action cranked all the way past 10. We'd almost wonder if we're comparing two completely different franchises when considering the ultimate transformation of "Dragon Ball" throughout the years.

Fortunately, the ever-changing ride has been loads of fun for many long-time fans. But it has also produced a few confusing headaches. The series is a bit notorious for switching things up so much that fans have had to debate their choices for the worst retcons throughout the "Dragon Ball" franchise. Also, while each new Super Saiyan form was initially straightforward enough to easily grasp at first, with the "Super" manga still pumping out new powerful upgrades, fans might need to start considering charts. But if there's one aspect of "Dragon Ball" that definitely has long-time fans scratching their heads, look no further than how the series maps and depicts its universe.

Fans wonder what's beyond the universe

Pondering about the far reaches of our universe is a typical brain-stretching moment that can fill one with wonder. However, thinking about what's beyond the universe in "Dragon Ball" will probably leave you frustratingly perplexed. That seems to be the case with fans on the "Dragon Ball" subreddit, who are all trying to theorize about what exists outside Universe 7. What makes the question so tempting to ask is how Akira Toriyama has officially mapped out Universe 7, which is where the Earth of "Dragon Ball" resides. A post by u/Acceptable-Check-653, which has been upvoted over 1,000 times, features a universe map from one of the official "Super Exciting Guides" for "Dragon Ball" (via Dragon Ball Wiki). It looks like a snow globe with Earth at the bottom and afterlife locations like Snake Way and King Emma's Palace more toward the top. But what happens if you move out of the sphere?

Some fans think that what's outside the sphere is literally nothing. "As for what is outside the universe, it is either a complete dark void, or it is 'the vast nothingness' we see when Future Zeno erases Future Trunks' universe," u/ClockwerkKaiser posted. Future Zeno does erase Future Trunk's universe in "Dragon Ball Super" Episode 67 (via Crunchyroll) to get rid of Zamasu, who had infected everything. And the void concept would serve as a convenient way to link the series to what's outside. Still, that wasn't the only series connection theory thrown by fans. Another commenter, u/Potars asked, "Could it be that what's between them is the area that's seen when Gogeta and Broly break reality in their fight?"

The Supreme Kais do orbit the universe

We don't have an official word on beyond the sphere serving as Zamasu's punishment or the canon strange place Broly and Gogeta punch themselves through. Yet some fans on this Reddit thread did note that the picture featured is missing a critical piece that proves there is technically something out in the void. The realm of the Supreme Kais exists in a spherical form, much like Universe 7. However, It's significantly smaller and orbits around the Universe, similar to Earth's moon. We get a better picture of this type of system in "Dragon Ball Super" Manga Chapter 16 (via Viz). A panel shows off Universe 10 along with a Supreme Kai realm near it. Speaking of other universes, perhaps it's also possible that there is some cosmic link outside in the void that somehow connects everything.

"Dragon Ball Super" stuck with Akira Toriyama's image of the spherical universe but decided to give details on 11 more, especially during the "Tournament of Power" Arc. Per Kanzenshuu, the series notes that any two universes that add up to 13 connect like twins. It's why there are Saiyans that exist in both Universe 6 and Universe 7. If that's the case, it makes us wonder just how close in proximity could the two spherical universes be to one another. Seriously, the series should think about getting Bulma on the case to figure out this mystery.