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.

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

  1. Current Episode:

    Next Episode:
    "What's he doing?"

    Next Episode again:

    "I'm so done with this just kill me"

    Next again??:

    Day 43,Still waiting for the wave to hit the enemy

  2. There is a fifth state of matter. It's called "Bose–Einstein condensate" (BEC).

  3. Actually in the Broly movie, Goten made a wish to the dragon balls he had collected bringing back Goku for that moment, he wasn't a spirit…

  4. But when frieza was about to destroy vegeta (planet) he was in space. And space is a vacuum how is he creating plasma literally out of nothing

  5. there's no viable way to make and create plasma because the ionic charge in the surrounding air isn't enough, nor does your body have 33 kilowatts of energy in it.

  6. Okay so I know the whole goku vs superman thing is way old but this episode gave me an idea back when I first watched it.
    If all the beams in dbz are plasma, plasma gives off radiation, hence why our sun gives off radiation. Superman is essentially weak to certain types of radiation, which is why he gets power from a yellow sun but is weakened by a red sun.
    So would it not stand to reason that different Ki techniques give off different radiation? That goku could in fact modify his attacks to give off the same radiation as a red sun? Essentially turning superman into… Krillin.
    I mean, he's credited as being a fighting genius, which means he'd try a bunch of different approaches and he's fought energy absorbing enemies before (Mr creep man Gero).
    While it may be true that goku wouldn't understand the idea of the radiation or science behind it, it's almost guaranteed that he would stumble upon it, he is canonically incredible at probing an enemy for a weakness. Means he wouldn't get the radiation but he'd get that different Ki attacks seem to slam superman way harder.
    Just a thought…

  7. I like this theory, but there are a few inaccuracies I actually have to correct.

    1. There are more than 4 states of matter. For example, we know Bose-Enstein condensates. More recently, we have discovered photonic mass, and we also know that neutrinos and dark matter exist, which are states of matter of their own. There at least 16 different states of matter recognized by the scientific community. Some of these may even be more plausible than plasma as an explanation for the Kamehameha surge, although it is difficult to know for sure.

    2. You said that 99% of the observable universe is made of plasma, but this very inaccurate. It would be more appropriate to say that 99% of baryonic matter of the observable universe, which, to an approximation, is correct. That may just me being nitpicky, but as a physicist, I think this difference is important to emphasize, since it allows for the possibility of an unknown form of non-baryonic matter or exotic energy as a mechanism that would explain the Kamehameha as well.

  8. mat is like your english literature teacher
    DB creator: add lighting to make transformation coller
    mat: ScIeNcE

  9. I am dissapointed in the whole comment section for not mentioning on how mat pat pronounces kaioken and kamehameha

  10. 1 it's kami kami haaaaaa 2 there are 5 states of matter the states are gas solid liquid plasma and Bose-Einstein condensates

  11. You said it yourself. Plasma is a superheated gas, so the sun is in fact a ball of gas. How do you figure that nasa is wrong?

  12. Not the biggest lie….
    this has been explained by the creators….
    also shown when goku and beerus fight in the underground cave. They have a whole clash while the water drops are seemingly moving in slow motion…. If any fight was real speed. Itd be like…. oh yeah the tournament with kid goku where noone besides main characters could even see them move. Huge power and speed difference compared to Goku on Namik.

  13. Raditz:"Prepare yourself for my final attack… KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BIR- scouter beep. Ooh! A higher power level… well then… bye!" fucking flies away.

    Piccolo (Slug Yoshi.): "Wait what? COME BACK AND FIGHT ME!!"

  14. Matter, no matter what form, plasma, solid, liquid, gas, Bose-Einstein condensate, superfluid, only makes up 5% of the universe. The other 95% is dark matter and dark energy so to say plasma makes up 99% of the universe is false

  15. Wait just realized how does goku keep on dying and coming back to life because I remember hearing you can only come back once

  16. Well… If we're talking about our scientific knowledge, this makes sense but you have to think more on the concept of ki and life energy from DBZ and our own world and figure out the similarities from there before applying all of this.

  17. If its possible to do a Kamehameha then does that mean……..GOKU IS REAL!!!!!!!!! KAAAAAAAAAAAAAA MEEEEEEE HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA MEEEEEEE

  18. so what if we learn how too make plasma betwean ournhands we can do dragon ball z in real life dbz musical after the musical thebtheater need to rebuild

  19. so umm how much energy would you need for this attack i mean goku can literally drill through the world to its core and if he does this wont the world go into total disaster?

  20. Before I watch it this I will guess without reading the comments. Matt patt ignores the idea of Ki and or brushes over it and comes up with something silly yet plausible. The video is still entertaining. Ok watching video,now.

  21. So how about the spirit bomb? He can pass it to his allies and it wont burn or harm them. Hell it wont burn people who are pure of heart. There is also the fact that there are different types of ki or chi. Not to mention ghosts using ki. Still a very fun video but I must say I don't agree.

  22. take half of the inside of a light bulb, put it in one hand. Take the other half put it in the other hand. When you put both hands together it makes plasma. So in theory you can do this in real life.

  23. So when you get butter you heat it solid liquid then heat to has and heat gas (gas and plasma) but… What if you… Heated up… Plasma?

  24. Wait since the characters in db are insanely fast we wouldn’t be able to see them. But the show slows down the fight so we can see it. So when they’re fighting for a full episode for us it could only be like a minute to them.

  25. Matpat:this is how to do a kamehamhea(but not really it's just clickbait)
    Me:am I suppose to have a plasma ball in my hands???

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