Dragon Ball: Jaco’s Backstory & Bulma Connection Explained

Dragon Ball Super introduced Jaco the Galactic Patrolman as the newest Z-Fighter, but the alien’s backstory with Bulma comes from a separate manga.

Dragon Ball Super introduces Jaco as Earth’s resident Galactic Patrolman, but how did he come to be in Akira Toriyama’s world? The Dragon Ball Super era has added a host of fascinating new characters into the anime and manga franchise’s extensive book of lore, including Beerus, Whis and a canon iteration of Broly. Another new face is Jaco, an alien policeman whose jurisdiction includes the planet Earth – an incompetent Green Lantern if you will. Jaco arrives in the main Dragon Ball story in the Resurrection F movie, and helps the Z-Warriors battle against Frieza’s goons before making further appearances throughout the Dragon Ball Super series.

Unlike Beerus, Whis, and Broly, who are all afforded proper introductions, Dragon Ball parachutes Jaco into the narrative without much in the way of explanation. It becomes clear that Jaco is well acquainted with Bulma and her family, but during all her years of friendship with Goku and the others, not once did Bulma mention being best pals with an extra-terrestrial. Jaco’s Dragon Ball debut leaves many questions. How is he connected to the Dragon Ball story? How does he know Bulma? Why hasn’t he been mentioned before?

Jaco’s backstory is largely covered in a separate manga written by Dragon Ball creator, Akira Toriyama, and released in 2013. Set approximately a decade before the events of Dragon Ball’s opening chapter, Jaco the Galactic Patrolman sees the titular alien crash-land on Earth during the course of his duties, meeting a scientist called Omori who lives alone on a remote island. The alien and the scientist become friends, and Jaco even forgives Omori for dabbling in time travel. Since his ship is broken and Omori can’t fix it, Jaco spends some time on Earth with his new friend and apprehends a group of men attacking a young girl. Introducing herself as Tights (another scientifically-minded type), Jaco later rides to the rescue again to save Tights from a space launch gone awry. The story is essentially about an alien coming to Earth and helping an old man rediscover his faith in humanity after a traumatic past.

As Jaco the Galactic Patrolman progresses, the references to wider Dragon Ball mythology become more overt. Tights are revealed to be the older sister of Dragon Ball’s Bulma, and after the child engineering prodigy joins her sister on Omori’s island, she effortlessly fixes Jaco’s ship. Moreover, it’s revealed that Jaco’s reason for coming to Earth was to kill an alien invader from the planet Vegeta – the one and only Goku. Since Jaco is busy at the time, however, he doesn’t notice Goku’s pod crashing into a nearby field, and simply assumes the Saiyan must’ve gone to some other planet. During the years between Jaco’s arrival and the beginning of Dragon Ball, the alien and Omori remain friends with Bulma’s family, and the closing scenes see an older Bulma showing Jaco two Dragon Balls and a preparing to go on a trip to find the rest – the fabled beginning of the Dragon Ball story.

Jaco may seem like an odd addition to the Dragon Ball franchise, and it’s hard to fully appreciate him as a character without reading his spin-off manga, but the story adds much-needed context to Jaco’s later appearances. The prequel establishes Jaco’s opposition to time travel as shown in Resurrection F, and also explains the character’s familiarity with Bulma. While it’s never explicitly stated why Bulma neglected to mention Jaco previously, it’s possible that her family were made to keep his existence secret as part of the deal between the government and Omori that allowed the scientist to keep his island.

It’s also interesting to wonder how significantly Jaco could’ve changed the Dragon Ball story if he had noticed Goku’s Saiyan pod landing on Earth. With his strength, Jaco probably could’ve apprehended the infant Goku and the entirety of Dragon Ball would never have taken place. Perhaps Goku would’ve become a bitter, twisted Saiyan in prison and forged an allegiance with Moro, eventually returning to dominate Earth, rather than protect it.

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