Film Theory: What IS the Dragon Ball Z Kamehameha Wave?


Frieza: ” This planet is still going to blow, the core has been completely disintegrated.” Frieza: “Five minutes!” Frieza: “That’s how long you have.” And thus began the biggest lie in TV history [Film Theory Intro Sequence] Hello, Internet! Welcome to Film Theory, where 10 episodes , three hours and thousands of power levels later Namek finally exploded [‘In the arms of an angel’ plays] So, let me come out and say it: Dragon Ball rocks [Guitar Riff] the characters, the villans; but ESPECIALLY the powers I mean, what self-respecting kid HASN’T pretended to harness their ki and shoot out giant energy balls? Or fly around punching faster than speed of light? Or stood there screaming for hours
working to power up? Hey, here’s a joke for you How many Saiyans
does it take to screw in a light bulb? One! but it’ll take three episodes to do it [MatPat’s singing] Banana Nah [Still singing] Banananananana Now, if there’s one attack that everyone assosiates with the series, it’s Goku’s famous “KAMEHAMEHA” WAVE, or “TURTLE DEVASTATION” WAVE Named after the Hawaian king, Kamehameha. The move is used by everyone,
from Master Roshi to Buu And as such, it comes with a bunch of variations. But more often than not, it consists of the character gathering ki energy between their hands to form an energy ball that then gets blasted out in a beam towards your big bad with questionable gender. #LoveWins And I have to say, since starting Game Theory four years ago, I have received SO many emails, tweets, facebook messages from you loyal theorists, asking me to look into the physics
of this attack to figure out how YOU can start blasting your best friend into your neighbor’s backyard. And it was tough! I mean, really tough, actually. As what I found forced me to question some of my basic assumptions about how the universe works. And that’s no joke, as there were a LOT of revelations during the research for this one. But I THINK we’ve developed a pretty good theory about what’s going on during these moves. So, let’s start with what we’re given by the show. In the series, all these attacks are based on KI energy, life force energy that exists inside every living being. With the major focus being in the center of the body. By drawing it out, the user is able to manipulate it, and use it outside the body. from forming protective KI barriers, to create KI balls and KI blasts to vaporize an opponent. Until inevitably one cell of him manages to survive, and he’s able to completely regenerate even STRONGER than before. Here, have a senzu bean while you’re at it. Because THAT makes a lot of sense. Super Saiyan? More like Stupid Saiyan. *whispers* stupid senzu beans… Awh, all the world’s exsistence hangs in the balance Mwaa, I want a fair fight Anyway, I think it’ll come as no suprise to anyone to hear that DragonBall’s Ki is a direct reference to the real life idea of qi… or chi. One of the foundational principals in Chinese medicines and martial arts. The word literally translates as “Breath”, “Air” or “Gas” and is thought to be a life force, or energy, that exists in everything. Just like it is in the show. In Hindu, there is also the concept of chakras Centers on spiritual power throughout the body. So chi in real life is a: hard to define, mental/spiritul energy that when mastered can heal the wounded, stengthen a fighter, even go so far to give them darth vader force like powers! Similar to what we are seeing in the show at least, that’s what some people believe. but there is one big problem here; there is no good sources backing any of this up whether you believe in chi energy or not. most of the quote on quote ‘Science conducted supporting Chi’, was done by people with a firm belief of holistic medicine. So, defiantly not the most impartial of judges. and neutral researchers well… They’re just not interested in testing videos of people rolling around like idiots. Or, should I say, more importantly, the people with grant dollars aren’t interested in funding that sort of research. Which means, no scientists care. So that’s a bummer, but of course we’re not just gonna leave it at that! I am not going to let the scientific community’s inability to test this stuff prevent me from shooting energy beams of light out of my hands I mean, if Krillin can do it, so can I dammit! and as an aside here, can I just say, how depressing it is to think that Krillin is one of the strongest human beings alive on that show! Urgh! that’s a sobering thought… Anyway, we’re going to step in where science has failed and answer the true question these top research institutions should be looking at: How does a fictional character shoot a fictional wave of energy out of his hands? Well, to truly understand what’s going on, we have to look at the wave’s properties. and the first thing to note is that this isn’t just an energy wave. You can’t see energy. Energy is a property of a physical thing. Something physical has to possess that energy. If you need proof from the show: look at Gohan’s Kamehameha wave pushing against Cell’s, near the end of that story arch. See how his ball of energy causes Cell’s to collapse in on itself in response? It’s like if I pushed on a piece of cellophane or Reynolds wrap. Clearly there’s a lot of energy there, but it’s being carried in a physical form. It is literally a form of matter. What’s a ‘matter’? I don’t know, what’s-a-matter with you? [needle scratch]
Ha ha…! …ooooooh …Bad Marx jokes aside… Matter is anything that takes up space and has mass. I’m sure we’ve all learned the three states of matter right? Solids, liquids, gases? Problem is the Kamehameha wave doesn’t behave like any of those so… what is it? Well, I hate to break it to you, but your 3rd grade science teacher has been part of a life long conspiricy… a cover-up misleading generations of young students! There aren’t just three states of matter… There’s actually a fourth! Plasma and it’s this fourth state of matter that unlocks all the secrets to Dragon ball’s energy blasts. In fact, let me tell how big this lie you’ve been told actually is. Solids, liquids and gases make up 1% of the universe. One MEASLY percent! Matter in a state of plasma makes up the other 99% of the observable universe. Which makes humans, quite literally, part of the 1% So stop occupying Wall street ya hippies! So why have elementary school science teachers hidden this fact from generations of kids? Well, 3rd grade is pretty early to be learning physical chemistry. Plus, plasma isn’t something we run into all that often on Earth. You’re probably most familiar with it, thanks to fluorescent light bulbs What’s lighting up in there? Plasma. Lightning? Also plasma. Stars like our Sun? We’ve all been lead to believe that they’re big balls of gas Even by NASA in an incredibly poorly written definition on their website. Well, that’s wrong They’re mostly plasma because of how hot they are. And by the way NASA change that please You can’t say it’s mostly a ball of gas but then say it’s mostly plasma They are two different states of matter! It’d be like me saying this turkey sandwich is a ham sandwich just because it has another meat in it. They’re close, but they’re not the same. Can you tell that I skipped lunch to write this episode? [MatPat’s stomach gurgles]
So before we see how plasma plays a part in Dragonball we need to know what exactly it is You know how when you heat up a solid it melts and becomes a liquid and you heat it up a bit more and it becomes a gas Well, if you heat the gas even more it becomes plasma Basically the electrons in the atoms of the gas get so excited they start to break away. So what you end up with is this soup of negatively charged electrons floating along side positively charged ions from the atoms that have lost their electrons. Long-story-short, the main thing to remember is a plasma is a super-heated gas. So when Goku makes a ball of energy appear out of nothing that’s not 100% true. There’s gas! Air between his hands that he’s super-heating to create that ball. So the next logical question there is: How is he heating it up? And the answer is surprisingly simple: Just like a fluorescent bulb. When you turn on a light electricity is sent through the gas in the tube. Super charging the atoms so that the electrons start popping off, creating the glowing plasma to illuminate the room. The characters in Dragon ball are doing the same thing. Their ‘Ki power’ is really them harnessing their body’s electric potential and focusing it on area’s around them. Skeptical? I hear what you’re saying but consider this In the battle against Vegeta, Goku calls upon his triple Kaio-ken attack and what do we see happen? Electricity starts radiating around his body His electric potential has sky-rocketed. And as Super Saiyans ascend to higher and higher levels we see lightening pulsing around their bodies. Lightning, AKA plasma. but that’s not all, You know how any of these warriors need a huge burst of energy to ascend to the next level or start their energy attack? but then, once they’re there, they’re able to sustain that power level? Well, plasma and electric potentials explain that too To convert any gas to plasma, including air, there’s a big start of energy. Typically around 33 kilovolts per centimeter but, once the plasma arch’s been created, it can be sustained with only a tenth of that energy 3 kilovolts per centimeter by that same principle the arch needs to be started next to its energy source but once there, it can be drawn out to ten times the distance from said source Which, in the case of the Kamehameha wave, is why the wave starts near Goku and then can A) reach out so far away from him and B) is so much stronger when launched near the opponent like when Goku choose to fire at point blank at Cell as his last ditch attempt to finish the fight. Speaking of villains, during the second comeing of Broly we find Kamehameha’s can combine to become even stronger As Gohan, Goten and Goku join forces for the so-called ‘Family Kamehameha’. It would be a touching moment if I weren’t so distracted by the fact that Goku is literally a spirit in this instance! If you’ll pardon my little rant here, but I mean okay, the guy dies and is wished back into existence every 10 episodes. Fine, I accept that. but for his attack to still be viable when he’s still technically a ghost!? Ugh! Anyway, the important point here is the separate beams can combine and grow stronger. Plasma exhibits this same quality. Look at your typical plasma ball No, that’s not just an out-dated desk ornament. It’s a lesson on Dragon ball Z physics. Notice that, as the beam of plasma has a point to focus on, they combine and grow stronger, bigger and more powerful. Just like we see on the show. And don’t worry, I hear your question. If plasma is just superheated gas, how can it obliterate Cell or push people away? PS: Goku should have won Deathbattle #butthurt Well listen up, salty Superman hater , because it’s probably the single biggest clue that this beams are plasma instead of just pure energy. You see, the wild thing about plasma is that they’re nothing like a gas. That why they qualify as a entirely separate state of matter. Remember that this is the stuff than stars are made of. So Goku is basically creating a small star in between his hands. And at high temperature, plasma become thicker, more viscous to the level that it can physically be pushed. That’s why everyone from Frieza to Buu can try to stop this thing with their hands. It’s also how in that earlier example, Gohan’s wave is able to push Cell back into the skies. It’s a denser plasma beam able to overcome the momentum of his attack. It’s also how Goku was able to form a ki shield. It’s the same plasma shield technology that the company Boeing has just patterned. I kid you not, plasma shield are becoming a real thing. Truly, we live in the future. And you know how characters are always getting into energy clashes with the two beams struggling for superiority? Whoever it’s Gohan vs Cell or Goku vs Vegeta, beams colliding is a staple of the show with that rounded ball shape being iconic of these sorts of stand offs Would one plasma beam be able to push against another? Well yes. In real life, it’s difficult to find examples that are nearly that spectacular or focused but putting two plasma balls and watching their beams strikes each other, you see them pushing against one another forcing in to each other up and out until the connection is broken or they’re too far away from their primary energy source. And then, what about that ball shape? Well, we can compare the beam collision to that of stars in outer space. Looking up their collision pattern, with two big balls of plasma combine at moderate to high speeds, they splashed outward like we see in the Goku/Vegeta battle. But they also fuse together. Fusion-Ha! into a swirling mass of energy. Their magnetic field reorganize
into a ball shape before… well, in space, they create a black hole. In Dragon ball, it doesn’t go that far. Oh sure, the planet will most likely come to a horrific conclusion but you know, at least we won’t be crushed under the infinite blackness of gravity. So, there you have it. “ki” and “wave attack” are most likely electric potential and plasma. It’s interesting. In the end, spiritual energies like Dragon ball’s ki or real life chi are models created to explain weird trends or natural phenomenon in the world around us. In that, they’re not that far different from a scientific theory. Theories, by their nature, are incomplete. And you know what? Probably wrong in some ways. Sometimes in a lot of ways. But what they provide is an useful explanation for what we see until we inevitably learn more and revise our theories to accommodate that new information. In this case, plasma and electric potential work fairly well for a phenomenon we see throughout the series, evolve, change, defy it’s own logic. Sorry, just theorizing about theorizing. I guess I should end on a joke now. Huuum… Oh I know. Dragon Ball GT. Bah doum tching. But heh, that’s just a theory. A film theory. Aaaand cut. If I could summon Shenron right now, I’d wish that you subscribed. So make my wish come true, spirit bomb that button. Or maybe I could make you wish for another Dragon Ball video come true. Click right here to check out my one minute lore episode covering the backstory of the franchise. Who care if you know it already? The animation are awesome and I’m there too which should count for something. And with Dragon Ball Super going on, might as well refresh yourself with good old Matpat. And Yamcha. Actually, Yamcha’s not there. Finally, for you people who refuse to click on anything, do you like Five Night At Freddy’s? If so, there’s a brand new theory today. Click the purple fan *shivers* to find out the huge mistake Scott made in FNAF 4. Seriously, Scott, you screwed the pouch on that one. Now, if you excuse me, I got something a bit more “joyful” to do some research on.

34 thoughts on “Film Theory: What IS the Dragon Ball Z Kamehameha Wave?

  1. Master Roshi is the creator, Goku and Killen just use it. That's why it is also called the Turtle Destruction Wave as Roshi is the Turtle Hermit.

    Ki energy is light and body energy. That's the bases for the Turtle Destruction Wave, the collection of the body's latent energy.

    That's what is focused into light energy for the various attacks and power ups, with electric potential being the ignition source that creates a plasma attack and fields.

    Also Goku was not meant to be a ghost, he should have had his body but with a halo.

  2. I’m in 5th grade and everyone says there are only 3 types of matter but I always say the a forth plasma. And because of that some people make fun of me and are rude and think I’m just lying but I never say that I’m not right NO MTTER WHAT

  3. Ok… so… 33kV per cm square… but what about A? We know V but A (ampers) are important too if someone want to make a small experiment… Have A (ampers) big role? Thats the question…
    Note: Sry… Some of text is from google tranclator so it can be wrong

  4. DONT LISTEN TO MATTPAT!!!! THERE IS A 5TH STATE AND I MUST SAY IT BEFORE THE TEACHERS GET ME! THEY ARE AFTER ME!! THE 5TH STATE OF MATTER IS B— OH NO!!! AHHHH——————

  5. Clearly, in 3rd grade the entire class wasn’t yelling about plasma existing.
    Teacher: there are 3 states of matter
    Students: Noooo, plasma! Plasma! Four!
    School for you.
    Fun fact-there are actually 5 states of matter, the weird one named after scientists that no one even knows what is

  6. 3rd or 4th grade teacher talked about plasma abit, I think… (she just mentioned it) and I think she said we’ll learn about it later, so Ik plasma noob

  7. Biophotons/ Bioelectricity. There is also a spiritual(emotional and psychological component to it) whoch is why an individual can use it to heal and the energy/power is affected by a person's willpower, emotions and intent.

    Spirit Goku was most likely contributing to the spiritual aspect of the wave aiding the fighters in moral, confidence, faith and will etc which resulted in boosting the power of the wave

  8. all the energy blast and power ups are js expression since we can’t see energy which akira toriyama knew. he js gave them a shape and color so it wouldn’t look like they’re js some stupid high people.

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