Dragon Ball as a series is no stranger to fan speculation and rumors – from the existence of Super Saiyan 5, to who could beat Goku in a fight if he was using Ultra Instinct, while on the moon, and having just eaten several large meals at 100x gravity. But one bit of trivia that has gone unanswered for decades is the question of why almost every villainous character sports odd nodes or vents on the side of their heads instead of traditional ears. Everyone from Frieza, to Cell, and even all 96 forms of Majin Buu sports the design, so what gives? Well wonder no more, as in an interview conducted by Weekly Shonen Jump, released today, Dragon Ball series creator Akira Toriyama explained everything a fan could ever want to know about the mystery.
According to Toriyama, the the vents are actually the result of evil ki building up in one’s system to the point that it begins to warp a character’s physical form. In the case of Frieza, the effect became more and more noticeable as he changed from form to form, while Cell, who began life in his imperfect form without the feature, grew them as he evolved into more and more evil designs. Even minor baddies like Burter of the Ginyu force posses the trait, marking it as a universal indicator of badness across the 7th universe.
As to why more human-looking races like the Saiyans don’t grow such things, Toriya explained that “The Saiyans as a race were a war-like people, but they were never truly evil by the definition of the universe as a whole, so their evil ki never built up enough that it could manifest on a physical level.”
The interview ended on a question about the Dragon Ball Super manga’s newest villain, the ancient wizard Moro, who personally caused the complete eradication of the population of hundred of planets and does not possess said vents. In response, Toriyama, according to the interview, held his head in his hands and muttered “F*ck.”