Dragon Ball References Abundant In The Latest MCU Flick: Shang-Chi

Marvel's Shang-Chi Director Destin Daniel Cretton talks about how Dragon Ball was a major inspiration for the film.


The highly anticipated MCU film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” was released worldwide on September 3rd, 2021. And, much to the delight of Anime fans, the film included references to popular Anime, including the famous Dragon Ball series.

Dragon Ball is one of the most well-known manga and anime franchises, with its various fighting styles, transformations, and techniques becoming some of the most parodied and referenced in general pop culture today. So much so that Marvel decided to reference Goku and his iconic move – the Kamehameha wave in the film.

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers from the movie. Read ahead at your own discretion!

There are a number of references to Dragon Ball and its main character.

First, the outfit worn by Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), specifically his jacket. The orange color on the center with blue shades on the sleeves looks strikingly similar to Goku’s traditional battle Gi. In fact, Shang-Chi’s jacket almost looks identical to the orange-blue jacket with King Kai’s Kanji on the chest that is available in stores.

Comparing Shang-Chi's clothes with Goku's

The second is the Dragon that appears in the film with Shang-Chi running. It pays homage to the Dragon Ball Z opening scene where Shenron appears above from the clouds and Gohan jumping from mountain to mountain. The third is Shang-Chi’s fighting pose. It’s pretty much comparable to Goku’s signature pose during battle.

Similarities between Shang-Chi and Dragon Ball

Finally, As Shang-Chi battles his father near the end of the film, he gains control of the ten rings and begins to swirl them around faster and faster. The pose he takes is akin to Goku’s when the latter charges up his Kamehameha.

MCU Canonizes Dragon Ball In Shang-Chi: Shang-Chi's fireball is similar to Goku's Kamehameha

Shang-Chi doesn’t use the attack at that moment but, he later decides to use it in the film’s climactic fight scene.

Marvel officially drops the Easter-egg by directly mentioning the name of the Turtle School’s signature technique. Katy (Awkwafina) refers to Shang-Chi’s attack as a “Kamehameha Fireball” as they reflect on the fight in the end-credit scene.

Director Destin Daniel Cretton explains how Asian films and Anime (including Dragon Ball) were an inspiration on making this film.

It was actually a very personal pitch. I put together a PowerPoint presentation of visuals from a lot of my favourite movies, from Asian cinema, from Chinese cinema, from Korean cinema. Japanese cinema, including a lot of anime. 

Destin Daniel Cretton, Roundtable interview with Geek Culture

As a 42-year-old father of two children, the Director’s nostalgic traits took center stage as he drew inspiration from his childhood experiences and the movies he watched as a child. He specifically highlighted Dragon Ball Z as one of his biggest influences, particularly for the sequence in which Shang-Chi goes up against his father and they both use the legendary Ten Rings.

I grew up on Dragon Ball Z, and I used a clip of Goku-san doing the Kamehameha. I showed that as one of the clips. [Mild Spoilers] In the movie there’s a moment when they’re doing like the tug of war, and it’s like dad and son and there’s a scene in Dragon Ball Z when there’s like a Kamehameha that’s happening, and it’s going on for a long time, so that was one of the inspirations for the movie for sure!

Destin Daniel Cretton, Roundtable interview with Geek Culture

Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball, is a huge fan of Jackie Chan and old Kung-Fu movies. He was deeply influenced by them in making Dragon Ball. Similarly, Cretton took inspiration from Jackie Chan’s Kung-Fu action and implemented them in this movie. With a lot of similarities between Cretton and Toriyama, fans speculate whether the Director might consider making a live-action Dragon Ball movie in the future…

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a superhero film released in 2021 that is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is the twenty-ninth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as the sixth installment and the second film of Phase Four. The film was released on September 3, 2021. The film is directed and co-written by Destin Daniel Cretton and stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, Awkwafina as Katy Chen.

Written by Akira Toriyama and illustrated by Toyotarou, Dragon Ball Super is a Japanese manga and anime series that follows on from the original Dragon Ball manga. Having a monthly release schedule, it began serialization in Shueisha’s shōnen manga magazine V-Jump in June 2015. As of July 2021, the series is compiled into 16 volumes.

The events of Dragon Ball Super take place after the defeat of Kid Buu. Goku and his friends continue their journey to become the strongest as they face numerous foes who threaten their very existence. The story revolves around wish-granting orbs that can be used for both good and evil. It’s up to Goku and the gang to maintain peace within our world.

Interview Source: Geekculture
Image Source: Twitter

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