The origin of Dragon Ball AF has remained a mystery for over 13 years. Today that mystery will be solved and you will finally discover the true origin of the fan created Dragon Ball series that became a worldwide phenomenon.
To bring you up to speed, the Dragon Ball AF series was a complete lie that was promoted by fans as “the next official Dragon Ball series.” This was never true and still isn’t, but the rumor took on such massive proportions that it inspired fans to create their own manga, toys, action figures, fan fiction and anime with the same name of Dragon Ball AF, perpetuating the rumor even longer and making it appear official.
You can read more about it on my Dragon Ball AF Explained article.
Today’s article will show you where it began. Namely, with the image above.
This image launched a tidal wave of crap onto the internet that is still being sifted through today.
So it has now become important to ask the following 3 questions.
Where did this come from? Who created it? Who is it supposed to be?
It took 13 years to solve these mysteries, and now on The Dao of Dragon Ball the true origin of Dragon Ball AF will finally be revealed!
Where Did this Image Come From?
Aside from asking this obvious question, seemingly nobody cared enough to try and track it down. Or they attempted to and failed.
The rumor mill of a new Dragon Ball series was and still is so strong (via Dragon Ball Hoshi) that all people cared about was the IDEA of a new, higher level Goku.
Most Dragon Ball fans want there to be a new Dragon Ball series, so they latched onto it like a hungry dog on a steak and wouldn’t let it go, no matter how convincing the counter arguments.
With each additional fan image, fan fiction, fan manga or fan animated episode, Dragon Ball AF took on a life of its own and its origins became more and more trivial.
The mystery of who created Dragon Ball AF faded into oblivion.
So it was with great surprise that on February 15, 2012 I found a conversation on the Kanzenshuu.com (formerly Daizenshuu EX) forums discussing this very issue.
A member with the username of Raykugen said on this Dragon Ball thread that he found the original image in an old Spanish video game magazine called Hobby Consolas.
This Hobby Consolas was issue 92, of May 1999, and was a magazine that focused on console gaming and pop culture, which included things like Star Wars and anime titles such as Dragon Ball.
Raykugen says that he lives in Spain and remembers reading that the image was first seen here. So he got a copy of the magazine.
The image appears on page 134 in the reader fan mail section where readers could ask the staff questions and submit their pop culture fan art.
Dragon Ball fan art was a common sight in hobbyist magazines of this era because it was so exceptionally popular. This was as true in Spain as it was in the United States.
Here’s a close up of the image.
This was most likely the first place it was ever seen by the public.
Whoever first posted it on the internet must have scanned it from this magazine with a low quality scanner. It then circulated around the internet in various forms, losing even more quality with each revision until you see what is visible at the top of the article.
Who Created This Image?
If you take a closer look at the bottom left portion of the magazine you’ll see the name “David Montiel Franco,” from “Alicante.”
Then if you zoom into the image’s bottom left corner you’ll see a signature.
With the image turned on its side you can sort of decipher the signature as “David Montiel F”
Another Kanzenshuu.com forum member named Tzigi tracked David down to a university in Alicante, Spain.
I then emailed David with a short list of questions in both English and Spanish via Google Translate, notifying him of the ongoing discussion and saying that I am a Dragon Ball researcher looking for clarification on the origin of Dragon Ball AF.
David didn’t respond to ANY of the questions. This is all he wrote:
Uh… okay then.
If you go to the site you’ll see the original image we’ve analyzed so far along with several other Dragon Ball looking characters drawn in a similar Dragon Ball type of style. They all appear to be done by the same person.
But you’ll also be very confused because while it does provide visual validation it unfortunately provides no written information.
Is this an Image of Goku?
We’re at the last step of the puzzle.
This image was a new creation that nobody had ever seen, seemingly not much different from any other fan art.
What made it so unique is that it had a “Dragon Ball AF” logo on it, implying that it was somehow a new series. And the face and body resembled Super Saiyan 4 Goku with uniquely white hair, so somebody apparently called it Super Saiyan 5 Goku and then everyone ran with it.
Theories abound about how Goku had fused with Shenlong the God Dragon at the end of GT and become immortal, or reached some kind of super advanced form, turning his hair white.
But is that person really Goku?
The image is fascinating because it certainly looks like Goku but it has such distinctive non-Goku type features that it raised a lot of questions.
Why is he wearing such weird clothes? Why is his hair and fur white? Is he taller? If he is wearing earrings, is it actually a potara fusion of Goku and Vegeta or has he become divine like the Kai’s?
On David’s blog the classic image being discussed was not titled Goku or any other derivative. It was titled “Tablos.”
I followed up with a second email, this time translated into Spanish by Raykugen, an actual Spaniard, to make sure David understood.
Among a few other clarifying questions I asked,
“Were you the first one to create the Dragon Ball AF image labeled “Tablos”? It’s also the same name as your username on Blogspot. So is that the characters name and your username, or is it supposed to be Super Saiyajin 5 Goku and it just has your username on it? Did you originally draw this in 1999 and then submit it to the Hobby magazine?”
Weeks went by and on March 16 he responded with an only slightly more informative response:
Really?! Goku’s dead?
That’s Not Super Saiyan 5 Goku!
From this short response we learn that David Montiel Franco is the originator of the Super Saiyan 5 Goku image, which he states is not actually Super Saiyan 5 Goku. It’s Tablos, an original creation that has absolutely NOTHING to do with Goku!
This should come as a shock because it’s this image of “Goku” that spawned the entire Dragon Ball AF fandom, the millions of fans across the world looking for information about “the new Dragon Ball series,” over a decade of lies and outright crazyness, and eventually legitimate fan created Dragon Ball AF manga featuring this character as depicted.
It also led to Super Saiyan 6 Goku, Super Saiyan 7 Goku, Super Saiyan 10 Goku, all the way up to Super Saiyan 50 Goku. Without this image, which isn’t even Goku to begin with, we wouldn’t have Dragon Ball AF, which is a series all about Goku.
All of the fan art, high quality recreations of this image, and derivative works centered around this character being Goku, were, according to the existence of this Tablos character, off track from the very beginning.
Does that mean that they have no value as art? No it does not.
But to re-emphasize this once again… This is not Goku. So should we now question the existing Dragon Ball AF character, or can he still remain as Goku with the same design?
I don’t believe it even matters at this point.
Dragon Ball AF has taken on a life of its own, and whether it’s Super Saiyan 5 Goku, Tablos, or even some other person, each of those AF stories stands on its own.
Regardless of the characters or the quality of drawings, which can vary wildly, what’s important is what they represent: The hopes and dreams of every Dragon Ball fan who wishes for the story to continue.
And that is something history can never change, even if it is rewritten.
The Origin of Dragon Ball AF Revealed
I will admit that I sat on this information for months because I had no other source of confirmation, and that’s because none came up.
I did doubt. I wondered. I wished that David had answered my other questions and could provide more proof.
But I am grateful that he responded and claimed ownership. That in itself is a huge step forward after years of complete silence.
In addition, the other drawings on the site look uncannily similar to the first.
So I can’t help but conclude that David is the originator of the “Super Saiyan 5 Goku” and essentially the spark that fueled the flame of the entire Dragon Ball AF phenomenon.
Without David Montiel Franco and this image the gargantuan rumor that is still going strong would never have begun and you wouldn’t be reading this.
As a result you now know the origin of Dragon Ball AF. A mystery that took over a decade to solve.