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DBZ Characters
Name: Dragon Balls
Japanese Pronounciation: Doragon Booru
Ethnicity: N/A
Origin of name: N/A
Lineage: Were created by Kami-sama, a Namek alien

Well, we'll start here since these objects are the title of the manga. The Dragon Balls are legendary crystal spheres, orange in color, of which if one collects all seven of them and invokes the name of the "Shenlon" (Dragon God), the finder is granted one wish.
After the wish is granted, the balls fly up into the air and disperse across the globe, turning into stone until they reactivate themselves in a year.
The seven balls, each containing one to seven stars in them, were created by Kami-sama (God) to instill hope in the world. However, they were often misused in the past.
We later learn that there is another set of Dragon Balls, on Planet Namek. It turns out that Dragon Balls originated there and that the idea was taken to earth by Kami-sama (who turns out to be a Namek alien). The difference is that the Namek Dragon Balls are much larger than earthly ones, the wish-giver is called "Porunga," and the finder receives 3 wishes. However, while with the earth Dragon Balls one can revive as many people as one wants with one wish (provided that they haven't been dead twice), the Namek balls restrict the number of people to one per wish (although the number of times one has been dead doesn't matter).
Although the Dragon Balls seem all-powerful, there is an important qualification to the wishes, the Shenlon/Porunga can't grant wishes that are beyond their powers. For example, they can't stop enemies from invading the earth if the enemies are stronger than Shenlon/Porunga. However, the GT "Ultimate Dragon Balls" seem to be a different matter altogether.

Name: Son Goku
Japanese Pronounciation: Son Gokuu
Ethnicity: Saiyajin
Saiyajin name: Kakarotto
Origin of Saiyajin name: Carrot
Origin of Earthly name: from Japanese
Pronunciation of "Su Wu Kong," a character from a Chinese novel.
Father: Burdock
Mother: ?
Spouse: Chichi
Offspring: Gohan, Goten According to Coffee
Table Book vol. 7
Date of Birth: Eiji 737
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 62 kg

The main character. Goku starts off at the beginning of the story as a young boy who's 12 years old (he says he's 14, but later learns that 12 comes after 11).
The story follows his life up to adulthood, which covers 42 volumes of the comic book. At the beginning, he is living deep in the mountains by himself; he was raised by his late step father, Son Gohan. However, he's no ordinary boy, he sports a tail and is strong enough to lift small cars and deflect bullets. His step father had taught him kung-fu.
His rustic life is interrupted by a teenager named Bulma, who coerces him to come along on her quest to find the legendary Dragon Balls. Son Goku's life is changed forever; he meets the first human ever since the death of his step father, he encounters bandits, anthropomorphic animals, and an emperor of the world-wannabe.
Goku's isolated, rural origins are obvious at first, for initially, he can't visually tell the difference between males and females, doesn't know what money is, doesn't know how to use an elevator, and is surprised by various forms of technology.
After the first adventure with Bulma and some other characters they meet along the way, Goku finds his way to Kamesenin's place (A.K.A. Mutenroshi) in order to pursue more martial arts training. There, he meets his life-long friend, Kuririn.
From now on, Goku's life becomes that of continually furthering his fighting capabilities (to the point beyond any normal human can ever fathom). He encounters various foes, and each one seems to be exponentially stronger than the one before. Progressively, he fights off the ruthless Red Ribbon Army, the conniving Pilaf and Co., the evil Piccolo Sr., the evil Piccolo Jr., his bad brother Radditz, Nappa, Vejeta, the Ginyuu Special Combat Team, the cold Freezer, Androids, the diabolical Cell, and finally Majin Buu. Goku also enters into several martial arts tournaments, the Tenkaichibudoukai, the first two (#21 & #22) of which resulted in second place, and in the 23rd Tenkaichibudoukai, he finally won, over evil Piccolo Jr.
After the grueling match with evil Piccolo Jr., Goku formally marries Chichi, fulfilling a promise that he unknowingly made when he was a boy. He has two children, Gohan and Goten. Goku dies twice in the manga, once after fighting Radditz, the other after he transports Cell. Ten years after he defeats evil Buu, Goku is hardy as ever, training for the 28th Budoukai. At that tournament, he meets the boy Uubu, who turns out to be the reincarnation of Buu. Goku, satisfied with this boy's potential, makes him his student, and leaves the tournament.
Son Goku also becomes the main character, along with Trunks and Pan, of the Dragon Ball GT TV series. DB GT is not based on manga, it is created from completely new plot with Toriyama Akira having little participation. In this TV series, a new adventure unfolds, with Goku turning in to a child, for starters.
Goku, by nature, is very kind-hearted and innocent. In fact, this influences many of his original rivals or enemies to eventually become his friends. These people include Yamcha, Kuririn, Yajirobe, Tenshinhan, Chaozu, Piccolo Jr., and even Vegeta. He is also very adventuresome, and like a true Saiyajin warrior, he loves to fight and is fueled by the insatiable hunger to get stronger.
He is already quite strong at the beginning of the manga, but he becomes even more powerful as he learns various techniques and trains hard. He masters such waza as Kamehameha, Genkidama, Kaiouken, Supersaiyajin, teleportation, Supersaiyanjin 3. Like all Saiyajin, he burns up an incredible amount of calories, and thus, he eats mammoth amounts of food. (As a boy, he once cleaned out an entire restaurant)
At the beginning of the manga series, we assume that Goku is human, albeit a tail and a very minor, unnoticeable tendency to become a gigantic were-ape when he sees a full moon. However, when Radditz comes to destroy earth, we learn, and Goku learns, that Goku is actually Kakarotto, a lower-level warrior sent from Planet Vegeta to earth to exterminate humans. In fact, Radditz is actually Goku's brother who comes to check up on his progress. The tail is a characteristic feature of the Saiyajin aliens, which allows them to power up to ten times their normal level of strength during the full moon. In the TV series, we learn he is the second child of Bardock.

Name: Son Gohan
Saiyajin name: None
Ethnicity: 1/2 Saiyajin, 1/2 Human
Father: Son Goku
Mother: Chichi
Spouse: Videl
Offspring: Pan

Goku's first child. Born sometime after the 23rd Tenkaichibudoukai when Goku fought Evil Piccolo Jr., Gohan is 4 years old at the time Radditz ushers in the Saiyajin invasion of earth.
Apparently, in the TV series, Chichi wanted to name him "Einstein" or "Archimedes." Accordingly, Chichi, as a kyouiku mama (education-minded mother), pushes text books on to Gohan from an early age. Perhaps because of his mom's zeal, Gohan decides he wants to become a scientist when he grows up.
However, Gohan's fighting career seems inevitable; Piccolo becomes Gohan's first teacher and mentor when he drags Gohan out to train with him, in order to whip Gohan into shape and prepare for the impending arrival of Nappa and Vegeta. (Goku has sacrificed himself to defeat Radditz)
After Vegeta is defeated by Goku (he has been revived by the Dragon Balls), Gohan decides to join Kuririn and Bulma on their expedition to find the Planet Namek Dragon Balls so they can save those killed (Yamcha, Tenshinhan, Chaozu, Piccolo) by the Saiyajin invasion. There, he fights the Ginyuu Special Combat Team and Freezer.
Back on earth, he fights evil Androids #19 and #20 along with the other warriors. After Goku recovers from his heart ailment, Gohan trains with his father to ward off the evil Cell, who has decided to wipe out the planet unless someone comes to stop him. Goku, realizing he can't beat Cell, banks his hopes on his son, who has the ability to power up enormously with anger. The fight with Cell, one of the more dramatic scenes of the manga, is a test of Gohan's strength, will, and morals. Gohan, despite all his combat experience, is a pacifist deep down. After all, he wants to be a scientist when he grows up. During the fight with final stage Cell, he becomes Supersaiyajin 2.
Later, when he is 16, Gohan begins to attend Orange Star High School in Satan City, leading a dual life of ordinary student and crime fighter "Great Saiyaman." At this juncture, he enters his first tournament, the 25th Tenkaichibudoukai. However, he leaves in the middle of the tournament in order to stop the evil machinations of Babidi, a sorcerer who releases a monster named Buu. Gohan battles Daabura and evil Buu.
Ten years later, in the epilogue of the manga, we learn that Gohan has devoted his life to studying and has become what he has always wanted to be, a scientist. (We don't know what kind of scientist though).

Name: Son Goten
Saiyajin name: None
Origin of name: Go-ten parallels Go-ku: "ten"
means "heaven" in Japanese, "ku" means sky."
Ethnicity: 1/2 Saiyajin, 1/2 Human
Goku's second child. Born sometime after the battle with Cell. At the time his older brother Gohan is 16, he is 7.
Physically, Goten looks just like his father when he was young, especially because of the hair. Apparently, the genetic coding for hair in Saiyajin lower-level warrior males comes from a limited pool, for Goku's father Bardock also had similar hair and a totally unrelated lower-level warrior, Tulece also had a similar hair-do...
ANYWAY, Goten is a boy full of energy who has learned basic martial arts skills from his mom, training with his best friend, Trunks, and from his brother Gohan. His innate fighting ability inherited from his father, just like Gohan, is great. He has naturally mastered, along with Trunks, Supersaiyajin without going through special training or using anger as a trigger.
Goten enjoys playing and fighting more than studying, for apparently, Chichi was less harsh on him than his older brother. He enters the 25th Tenkaichibudoukai, which turns out to be a kind of reunion of sorts, since the late Goku was granted special permission to visit the real world and attend the tournament for one day. Thus, Goten sees his father for the first time.
In the Kid's Division of the Tournament, Goten ends up fighting Trunks for the championship, and narrowly ends up with second place. Goten and Trunks also enter the Adult Division, masquerading as another fighter, Mighty Mask.
During the Buu confrontations, Goku, with his limited time on earth, teaches Goten and Trunks a new technique he learned while he was in the other world-Fusion. Fusion, a technique of the Metamoru Aliens, allows two fighters of similar power levels to fuse to become one, stronger fighter. With this technique, the two kids become Gotenks, an almost totally different character-a haughty one at that. Gotenks successfully fights evil Buu, but like Ultraman, time runs out, before Buu is completely defeated. Ten years later, in the epilogue, Goten is a teenager leading an ordinary life, trying to date girls.

Name: Chichi
Ethnicity: Human
Origin of name: breasts?
Father: Gyuumao
Mother: ?
Spouse: Son Goku
Offspring: Son Gohan, Son Goten
Chichi is the daughter of Gyuumao, a huge guy that lives on flame encircled Mt. Frypan.
As a girl, she meets Goku and decides she wants to marry him. Chichi makes him promise. As Goku later recalls, he didn't understand the scope of what he was promising; he thought "marriage" was something to eat. ^_^
Time flies by, and Chichi enters the 23rd Budoukai as "Anonymous." During the match with Goku, she is miffed that he doesn't remember her and thus reminds him of her identity and his promise. Goku, who easily defeats her, casually agrees to tie the knot.
As the mother of Gohan, this woman with countrified speech turns into a fervent kyouiku mama. She forces Gohan to go to juku (cram school) at the ripe age of 4 and is highly disapproving of his fighting forays with his dad.
She later freaks out when Gohan shows his Supersaiyajin form to her; she thinks that Gohan has turned into a recalcitrant furyou (juvenile delinquents in Japan often bleach their hair blond). After her second child, Goten, she seems to have loosened her education pushing habit.
Chichi is the daughter of Gyuumao, a huge guy that lives on flame encircled Mt. Frypan.
As a girl, she meets Goku and decides she wants to marry him. Chichi makes him promise. As Goku later recalls, he didn't understand the scope of what he was promising; he thought "marriage" was something to eat. ^_^
Time flies by, and Chichi enters the 23rd Budoukai as "Anonymous." During the match with Goku, she is miffed that he doesn't remember her and thus reminds him of her identity and his promise. Goku, who easily defeats her, casually agrees to tie the knot.
As the mother of Gohan, this woman with countrified speech turns into a fervent kyouiku mama. She forces Gohan to go to juku (cram school) at the ripe age of 4 and is highly disapproving of his fighting forays with his dad.
She later freaks out when Gohan shows his Supersaiyajin form to her; she thinks that Gohan has turned into a recalcitrant furyou (juvenile delinquents in Japan often bleach their hair blond). After her second child, Goten, she seems to have loosened her education pushing habit.

Name: Son Gohan, Sr.
Japanese Pronounciation: (Jichan)
Ethnicity: Human
Father: ?
Mother: ?
Spouse: ?
Adopts: Son Goku
Goku's step father (youfu). Son Gohan had found Goku abandoned in the wilderness and decides to take him in.
As one of Kamesenin's students, he is a martial arts master and teaches young Goku kung fu. An elder at the time he finds Goku, Gohan has a grandfatherly soft countenance, and Goku affectionately called him "Jichan" (Granddad, abuelito).
Unfortunately, he was trampled to death when Goku inadvertently became a big ape during a full moon. At one point in the manga series, Goku winds up fighting Son Gohan Jichan at the Fortune Teller's (UranaiNo Baba) place. Gohan has come down to the real world temporarily for a part time job for the Fortune Teller. After the fight, Goku realizes who his opponent was, there is a warm reunion, and Son Gohan returns to the other world satisfied that Goku has become stronger than he is.

Name: Bardock
Japanese Pronounciation: Baadakku
Ethnicity: Saiyajin
Origin of name: Burdock
Father: ?
Mother: ?
Spouse: ?
Offspring: Radditz, Son Goku
Goku's father. He only appears once in the manga series, in a comment made by Freezer.
During the Planet Namek Episodes, Freezer recognizes Goku's face, and recalls that he had seen it before when he was destroying Planet Vegeta. The face is similar to the leader of the stubborn resistance movement against Freezer's invasion, Bardock.
The whole saga about Bardock and the origins of Goku is portrayed in a TV Special, Tatta HitoriNo Saishuu Kessen (The Lone Warrior and the Final Battle). He is a lower level warrior, and a cold parent; he does not care much for his newborn Goku, who has low power. Later, he faces Freeza alone, but perishes in a huge energy ball that also destroys Planet Vegeta. His trademark is his bandana.

Name: Radditz
Japanese Pronounciation: Radditsu
Ethnicity: Saiyajin
Origin of name: Radish
Father: Bardock
Mother: ?

Goku's big bad brother. This warrior with a lot of hair arrives on earth to check up on his younger brother's progress in making earth suitable for invasion.
However, after finding Goku, he realizes that his younger brother has suffered from amnesia. When questioned, Goku recalls falling off a cliff when he was small and suffering from a concussion. Radditz proceeds to reveal Goku's alien origins and his original mission to kill off the human race. Of course, Goku will not accede to his brother's demands.
Therefore, Radditz, who is much more stronger than Goku at this time, takes Goku's child, Gohan, hostage until the next day, while Goku is to kill 100 people and show their bodies to him. Goku ends up teaming up with Piccolo Jr. to fight Radditz. The bad brother is finally defeated with Piccolo's Makankousappou, although Goku sacrifices himself in the process.

Name: Bulma
Japanese Pronunciation: Buruma
Ethnicity: Human
Origin of name: bloomers (woman's underwear)
Father: Dr. Brief
Mother: Name Unknown
Spouse: Vegeta (whether they're actually married is a question)
Offspring: Trunks, Bra

Goku's friend. As a teenager of 16, she originally persuades Goku to join her journey to find the seven Dragon Balls.
A vociferous and pushy person, her reason to collect them is to fulfill her wish to find a boyfriend. She ends up falling in love with Yamcha, who is initially a highway robber.
As the daughter of Dr. Brief, the founder of the huge machinery/vehicle company, Capsule Corporation, Bulma is also mechanically inclined. She invented the Dragon Radar, which detects the special rays that emanate from the Dragon Balls, enabling the user to track the balls down.
After the first journey, she joins Goku on a trek to find the Dragon Ball with 4 stars, which he originally inherited from Son Gohan Jichan. However, she later regrets joining, as Goku confronts and battles the ruthless organization, Red Ribbon. Bulma also plays a role in the Planet Namek episodes, for she and her father are responsible for building/restoring the space ships that transports Goku, Kuririn, Gohan, and herself to the doomed planet.
After the warriors arrive back on earth, she develops a relationship with Vegeta (her relationship with Yamcha had faltered). By the time Androids #19 and #20 (Dr. Gero) appear, Bulma has given birth to Trunks. Later on, she creates the special wristwatch for Son Gohan that allows him to transform in to his costume for "Great Saiyaman." In the epilogue, 10 years after the defeat of evil Buu, we see that she has had another child, a daughter named Bra.
In the alternate future from whence teenage Trunks hails from and the world has been devastated by the evil Androids #17 and #18, Bulma has invented the time machine that allows Trunks to travel back to the past to warn Goku and co. of the impending appearance of the androids.

Name: Trunks
Japanese Pronunciation: Torankusu
Ethnicity: 1/2 Saiyajin, 1/2 Human
Origin of name: trunks (Japanese word for Boxers)
Father: Vegeta
Mother: Bulma
Son of Bulma and Vegeta. There are essentially two different Trunks, one coming from a grim and chaotic future and one that was born in to a comfortable home in a comparatively more peaceful time.
Teenage Trunks from the future (mirai), age 17, arrives just when Freezer and King Cold have come to earth in order to wreak revenge on Goku. However, the connivance of these sub-temperature villains is foiled by Trunks, who hacks Freezer to pieces and finishes off his dad too. Minutes later, Goku's ship from Yardalat Planet touches down, and Trunks has a little pow-wow with the Saiyajin hero.
Trunks convinces Goku of a disastrous future when Goku has died of heart disease and evil Androids are running amuck. He informs Goku of where the Androids will come and, fortunately for Goku, gives him medicine from the future that will remedy the presently incurable disease.
Trunks later comes back to check up on Goku, only to discover that he (Trunks) has inadvertently changed the past (as he knew it). New androids appear (#19, #20, and #16) and the ones he is worried about, #17 and #18, turn out to be harmless.
However, a great menace appears, a biologically-created creature named Cell. (The story gets somewhat complicated here.) Trunks stays on to battle Cell, and returns to the future satisfied, after Cell is defeated by Gohan. Back to the future (sorry), Trunks, now much stronger after training with Goku in the past, easily defeats the evil androids and future Cell, restoring peace in his time. Trunks from the future is pensive, battle-hardened, and weary of the destruction and violence of the future.
The other Trunks is chibi Trunks, who is best friends with Goten. This Trunks, age 8, takes things for granted, having lived comfortably as part of the Capsule Corp. empire and knowing no hardships that future Trunks experienced.
Definitely more rambunctious than future Trunks, chibi Trunks is full of wild antics, such as knocking out a fighter, taking his costume and, along with Goten, pretending to be him in order to participate in the adult division of the Tenkaichi Budoukai. Trunks, just like his best friend, mastered Supersaiyajin naturally. Trunks can fuse with Goten to become Gotenks.

Name: Bra
Japanese Pronunciation: Bura
Ethnicity: 1/2 Saiyajin, 1/2
Human Origin of name: bra (We now have a Variety of underwear now, Briefs, Bloomers, Trunks, Bras).
Father: Vegeta
Mother: Bulma - her second child.
We only catch a glimpse of her at the end of Dragon Ball, in the epilogue. Apparently, she doesn't seem to have inherited the Saiyajin love of battle as Pan, Gohan's daughter, has. She also appears in Dragon Ball GT as a loud and independent-minded adolescent. Seems like she takes on more from her mom.

Name: Vegeta
Japanese Pronunciation: Bejiita
Ethnicity: Saiyajin
Origin of name: vegetable
Father: King Vegeta
Mother: ?

Goku's enemy at first, later rival. Born on Planet Vegeta as a prince, this proud Saiyajin is classified as an elite warrior.
He arrives on earth after hearing that Radditz has died. Along with Nappa, another Saiyajin, they have come to claim earth and find the Dragon Balls, which they learned from Radditz shortly before his death.
Goku easily defeats Nappa, but a big battle unfolds between Goku and Vegeta. Goku realizes the strength of his opponent and uses his newly learned Kaiouken. Vegeta, on the other hand, is enraged that a lower-level warrior like Goku can put up such a good fight. This major battle, which was, I'd say, well sequenced and excellently portrayed in the manga, ends up nearly in a draw. Goku, who fights to his limits, pushes Vegeta into using the big ape form. This is a major blow to Goku (literally). However, the fight ends up nearly tied, as Yajirobe daringly slices Vegeta's tail off (this returns the ape back to normal) and as Gohan turns into a giant ape and falls on top of Vegeta.
Later, on Planet Namek, Vegeta ends up teaming up with the Z Warriors to battle the common enemy, Freezer. This relationship is an uneasy one; Kuririn and Gohan are wary of him and, indeed, Vegeta was planning to finish them off after Freezer was cleared away. Vegeta fights the Ginyuu Special Combat Team and Freezer, before being killed by the ice box from Hades.
He is brought back to life on earth and ends up living there after the Freezer Episodes. On earth, Vegeta sort of mellows out, develops a relationship with Bulma, and has his son, Trunks. With the other warriors, he fights evil Androids #19 and #20 (Dr. Gero), the supposedly evil Androids #16, #17, and #18, fights the various stages of Cell, and takes on Buu.
Vegeta is driven by the incessant desire to become stronger than Goku, who always seems to be a step ahead of him. Proud and adamant, he will not allow anyone to be more powerful than he is; after all, he is the prince. Like Goku, the Saiyajin blood in him makes him crave fighting.
However, being with Goku and his friends changes him. Once full of pure evil, his black heart becomes diluted into a shade of gray. He shows signs of affection to his son, Trunks, when they are training in the gravity room at Capsule Corp. headquarters. (He promises to take him to an amusement park).
But, apparently, there is a violent conflict deep down inside him; he tries to deal with his inherent evil and his acquired goodness (hey you psych majors -the cognitive dissonance musta been great). This conflict plays out in the Buu Episodes, when Vegeta willingly submits to Babidi's trance in order to clear his conscience and fight Goku as an evil enemy as he was way back when.
But, Goku sees through Vegeta's antics and knows that Vegeta will never be able to return to the pure evil that he once was. Goku is right; Vegeta stops his battle with him and fights Buu instead. For the first time in his life, he fights for a cause that is not his own. Shortly before he self explodes to destroy Buu, he puts his hand on Trunks and tells him his last words and regards for his wife Bulma.
Vegeta is later revived in order to help Goku fight Buu, and they fuse through Potara into the warrior, Vegetto. In the end, Vegeta relinquishes his evil (or most of it) and stymies his pride when he calls Goku the number one warrior. In the epilogue, we find out that he has a second child, Bra.

Name: Oolong
Japanese Pronunciation: Uulon
Ethnicity: Anthropomorph (personified animal)
Oolong is a pig-like human (or human-like pig; no, not Porco Rosso) who is Goku's friend.
Initially, though, he is a rogue character that raids towns of food and girls (he's a pervert). He does so by transforming into some scary-looking robot or animal or demon. However, young Goku is recruited to stop this pillaging, and he unmasks the true identity of this shape-changing monster (more or less innocuous pig). Thus, Oolong is forced to apologize and return all of the girls he kidnapped (they were living well, though, and refused to go back to the farming village).
He then accompanies Goku and Bulma on their trek to locate the Dragon Balls, and tries to escape when the going gets rough. At the end of their journey, he prevents emperor-wannabe Pilaf from getting his wish when Oolong asks the Shenlon for panties instead. Throughout the Dragon Ball saga, he appears sporadically. Like Puuar below, he is not a warrior type.

Name: Puuar
Japanese Pronunciation: Puuaru
Ethnicity: Anthropomorph (personified animal)
Origin of name: puuar is another type of Chinese tea
Relations: ?
Puuar is a friend of Goku and side kick to Yamcha during his highway robber days. This furry creature is more animal than human, though it can speak and transform like Oolong. Puuar looks like a cat.
Apparently, Puuar went to the same kindergarten as Oolong did, the school where, as Puuar reminds, Oolong was expelled after stealing someone's panties (I told ya he's a pervert). Evidently, Oolong also bullied Puuar there. Not surprisingly, their first encounter since then (when Goku and Co. meet Yamcha) was not very friendly. But, it seems as though they haven't had any problems
since then.