“Shenron is shown to us with brown antlers, sharp teeth, green scaly skin, red eyes, four toes on each foot, a long serpentine body, long flowing whiskers, a long snout, crescent-shaped nostrils, and flowing green hair on his cheeks.” But now there is a question for us in store, ‘is this all that there is to this Eternal Dragon with massive Ki and power?’ Is Shenron nothing more than a dragon who grants wish to the people who gather all the Dragon Ball together? These are the questions that spike up the curiosity factor inside of us and keeps us in a loop of question and answer as we get to know more facts about this legendary dragon and his powers as a whole.
To begin with the simplest fact of all, let take a look at who is Shenron and what really the ideology behind the inclusion of such a mighty and powerful character in Dragon Ball. While many may view Dragon Ball Z as a story of a young Saiyan warrior who decided to break the taboo that their clan only focuses on destruction and mayhem and instead decided to be a part of another group who are more humane and saner in terms of justice and power, many may not know that Dragon Ball Z is actually focused on the ‘seven dragon balls’ that we see in the anime. Whole of the anime actually revolves around the gathering of these seven balls, where the character who gathered all of them can then go around and make a single wish that they might have had for a long time in their heart.
The inclusion of these dragon balls in the series actually made the anime work like a charm for it gave the option for characters to die and again be resurrected by the help of these dragon balls. It has gone on to revive both fallen protagonist and antagonist in the anime and this is a factor which helps the anime to take a step closer to reality by having a more in-depth background and story setting. Not only has these dragon balls brought back characters from the dead but also has gone on to save many planets which were once destroyed during battles and rage filled moments. Their inclusion in the Dragon Ball universe has made it possible for the series to be flexible like a bubble-gum whereon it can now take turns and leaps from places to places without being worried about the death of a certain character or total destruction of a planet.
As with most wish-granting Eternal Dragons, Shenron, though good-natured, is essentially a neutral figure who grants any wish within his power regardless of the intent of the wish itself or the nature of his summoner. As Shenron is a neutral figure in the Dragon Ball series it just makes sense that the wish granting Dragon shown here grants both the wish of the good and the bad. This aspect of him adds more spark to the anime as it gives us a chance to see our favourite fights between protagonist and antagonist once again. Shenron’s part to equally grant wishes of both the good and the bad is shown to us when Shenron grants the wish of even pure evil beings like King Piccolo, Garlic Jr., Dr. Kochin, Lord Slug and Sorbet and pure virtuous beings like Oolong, Porunga, Krillin and many more. Shenron’s real strength however can be determined by the fact that he does not differentiate between the good and the bad and this is something which makes him tough as an Eternal Wish Granting Dragon, this side of him makes all the difference in the anime as it makes us live through even more of the harsh conditions in the anime when we have some of the pure evil beings resurrected back to reality. Their resurrection in the show gives it more light and glorious feeling as it takes us back into the nostalgic moment of when the character was fought and defeated.
While Shenron is kind at heart and means no harm to those that stand around him he is also a dragon who takes things too seriously and if there are times when he feels that a wish is a waste of time or his call into the world is being wasted by some measly time consumption and frivolous wishes, it is then that we get to see the power surging inside of him. One such instance that we can recall in the anime is that of Yamcha and his time to wish from the dragon balls.
Yamcha in this moment goes on to take his time and ends up wishing for only a necklace which infuriated Shenron as he is annoyed by the indecisiveness and a puny wish of a necklace. Though he does not differentiate between the good or the bad when granting wishes, he too has a point of annoyance when he feels that his time is being wasted. There was a time in Dragon Ball when Shenron physically rebuked Gohan’s friendly dragon Icarus as he misunderstood the situation and attempted to defend Gohan because this was an outside interference and is something which Shenron really hates and loathes.
This side of Shenron the Legendary Dragon also shows us that he is someone who we cannot mess with and fool around with as he takes pride in the power that is bestowed within him, he absolutely stands against those that like to waste time be idle chatter and fights. It gives Shenron the attitude of a Legendary Dragon and makes him live up to the title that is attached with his name. This attitude in him is needed as it does not waste time in anime by flashbacks or other such drama and keeps the story stuck on course.
Though Shenron is said to be a kind dragon at heart and grant the wishes of the summoner to make him happy, Shenron actually has the tendency to play around with the summoner if the wish is not made in a proper manner because unlike the rest of Dragon Ball Z and its characters, “Shenron actually follows wishes to the letter rather than the apparent spirit.” This sentence here means that he is someone who does not give an inch to the summoner and makes it so that they should wish for their inner desires by carefully thinking upon its word to word instead of just blabbering what they want.
Shenron has the capacity to fool those that grant the wish and therefore, every time that he is summoned, he makes it so that he sticks to the letter/word of the wish instead of the spirit and the will behind it. One such incident that is recorded in the anime is the moment when Pilaf Gang are rendered into children after they poorly worded their desire for “youth.” This poor choice of word made their wish more like a curse and it is something which showed us the way in which Shenron’s wish factor performs.
This is a side which actually matters a lot in the anime as it tells us about the intellect and high thinking of Shenron even in such a tensed and dramatic situation. It is not just strength that matters when asking for a wish, it is also intellect and the form of speech that counts and this is something which Shenron clearly shows us in the anime through the way he grants the wish making it even more complicated and delicate that it sounds.