It is always fascinating when we are able to track down the actual first-time uses of certain words or phrases in DBZ fandom. Some of the things we take for granted and simply accept as commonplace were actually created by fans either for simplicity’s sake, out of ignorance, or even sometimes out of honest mis-translation.
Some of our favorite examples are things like:
- “Ultra Super Saiya-jin“, a term coined by Curtis Hoffmann back in 1993 in his summaries of the tankôbon to describe the in-between stages of SSJ that Vegeta, Trunks, and even Goku showcase after Cell has been introduced
- “Kushami“, the Japanese word for “sneeze”, also coined by Hoffmann in 1993 as a nickname for Lunch in her transformed state
- “AD” as used for years in the chronology of the series, a mis-translation of eiji or simply “Age” by Greg Werner in the late 1990s from his translation of the timeline in the seventh daizenshuu
There are other ones that we have not been able to track down the first-ever uses for. There is “Mystic Gohan” to refer to the character after his “upgrade” from the Old Kaiôshin (which goes back to at least the year 2000 in quick searches); there is the word “zenkai” incorrectly used as a proper noun to explain the power-up that a Saiya-jin receives after recovering from near-death, which appears to be an English-language-only development, possibly originating sometime in the early-to-mid-2000s; there is “base” that gets used to refer to the “normal” (tsûjô in Japanese), non-SSJ forms of characters, which appears to have become common-place in the English-speaking fandom during the PS2 video game revival for the franchise.
It really gets funny when people cross the line into delusional territory, though. A commenter on our third “Inconsistencies” video posted and asked why the video was receiving bad comments. When another commenter was challenged on their response of it being from “some guy [who] is being critical and nitpicking when he himself has made no creative contribution to this world”, they followed up and justified their existence and contributions to fandom with:
Well if you really need to know, I’m the first person to use the word “canon” in reference to continuity. That was on the Pojo forums way back in maybe 2002. You won’t find any record of that word being used in that context previous to that time either. So, yeah it’s more of a contribution to a subculture in general and not specifically to DBZ, even tho it was on a DBZ forum.
I’ll add that it was a more or less original contribution and not simply a commentary on a finished work.
Yes. You read that right. This individual honestly believes that they invented the term “canon” as it relates to continuity in a work, fictional or otherwise (or, giving them the biggest benefit of the doubt that I can, perhaps just DragonBall). Either that, or they at least have a hilarious (if not obnoxious) sense of humor about themselves.
The word “canon” shows up at least two years prior on alt.fan.dragonball (and probably much earlier if you are willing to dig). This person’s claim is essentially dead-on-arrival from the very beginning.
The word itself goes back thousands of years with this very same definition, so they certainly can’t take the claim in that respect. As far as I know (and I hardly claim to be an expert), the term originated with the Bible and what the church deemed to be the “true” and “correct” stories to include in their official version. The word and its associated phrases (“Such and such is canonical…”) have been floating around with not just anime, but all types of fiction for decades. I know little-to-nothing about Star Wars, but I know there are just as many heightened-emotion arguments about what is canonical with its expanded universe as there are with our own ridiculous arguments relating to DragonBall GT and the movies and the guide books and the international translations and so on and so forth.
That someone honestly believes that they were the first person to use the word “canon” as it relates to DragonBall… and did so only in 2002… and relays this information with the tone they did, propping their “original contribution” above something that is “simply a commentary on a finished work”…
I mean, it goes beyond delusional at that point, right…?