This small backstory may add a touch of sympathy to your thoughts about one of the series’ most genius villains.

Dragon Ball is the franchise that just keeps giving. Beginning with the franchise’s 2013 canon revival in the form of the Battle of the Gods film, series creator Akira Toriyama himself also became deeply involved with the production of the subsequent TV series Dragon Ball Super. Sadly, it was recently revealed that said series will be going on indefinite hiatus at the end of March, but based on Toriyama’s track record we’re guessing that we haven’t seen the last of Goku and his friends.

Given the sheer length and complexity of the franchise, every so often pieces of trivia emerge regarding the beloved characters that lend some excitement to longtime fans. The most recent instance occurred last week in the Japanese Twitterverse, over which user @pereperekun shared a photo of the “Dragon Ball Q&A” section found in the Dragon Ball Full Color Androids/Cell Saga Volume 1 (released in 2014). It was in this same Full Color series that readers also discovered the true human names of Androids 17 and 18.

This particular piece of trivia is not related to 17 and 18, but to their taller and much more reserved comrade Android 16:

▼ “I found this shocking revelation about Android 16’s origins at this hour and now I can’t sleep…”  

Toriyama writes:

Dr. Gero’s son who died young a long time ago served as the visual model for Android 16. He was a high-ranking soldier for the Red Ribbon Army but was shot down by the enemy. Dr. Gero reserved special feelings for 16 as “his son,” and although he equipped 16 with immense power and a frightening destructive device, he didn’t want to see him be defeated on the battlefield and thus programmed him to have a gentle personality. 16 was consequently considered a failed creation.”

The smaller caption below Toriyama’s quote reads: “Was the reason Dr. Gero didn’t want to activate 16 perhaps because of his parental love to not see him destroyed?”

Meanwhile, the panel containing an illustration of Android 16 on the left features him saying, in true Android 16 fashion, “You guys were too noisy and scared the birds away…”

▼ Oh 16, it’s time to find you a third hobby besides killing Son Goku and ornithology.

While a handful of diehard Dragon Ball fans scoffed at this revelation as common knowledge from a while back, others were genuinely surprised to learn this new piece of background information:

“I’m more surprised that Dr. Gero was married…”
“It’s just like with Astro Boy. I wonder if that mad scientist was a good father up until he lost his son…?”
“Are we just gonna forget all about Android 8?”
“Since Dr. Gero’s son is the model, 16’s voice actor is the ‘hottie voice’ of Hikaru Midorikawa! Also, I wonder if his son had a mohawk, too.”
‘There’s a resemblance in their eyes, nose, cheekbones, jaw, and ear piercings.”
“No matter how I look at him, I just see Carver from Dragon Quest VI [a video game series with character designs by Akira Toriyama].”

Speaking of androids, Toriyama has similarly revealed that the inspiration for Android 19’s appearance was a doll retrieved from an enemy base. Now if only he could clarify the visual model for Vegeta’s epic widow’s peak…

Source: Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@pereperekun