These are the Black Star Dragon Balls. They were made long ago before Kami separated from Piccolo. And I know this because I am a brilliant researcher and an unrivaled mastermind... with a special knack for devious behavior.
~ Emperor Pilaf

Pilaf, or Emperor Pilaf as he called himself, is the secondary antagonist in Dragon Ball and a minor antagonist in Dragon Ball GT. He wants to use the Dragon Balls to rule the world.

Pilaf is much like a power-hungry and totalitarian dolt who thinks that he is destined to rule the world. Whenever something bothers him, he will be cry and complain like a baby until he gets his way.


Dragon Ball

Pilaf is a tiny 36-year-old imp who rules a giant isolated castle. He has two main followers, Shu and Mai, whom he loves to torture for their failures. Pilaf got one of the Dragon Balls and just waited for someone to arrive at his castle looking for his ball. As Son Goku and his friends came, he immediately sent his two henchmen, who imprisoned them and stole the Dragon Balls from them. With all the Dragon Balls, Pilaf summons Shenron to realize his wish. Goku tries to escape using a Kamehameha, but it only made a hole on the wall, from where Oolong managed to escape by turning into a bat. As Pilaf was about to ask his wish, Oolong jumps in and immediately asks for female's underwear, which Shenlong grants to him. Pilaf obviously gets mad and catches them again, but Goku turns into an Oozaru ape and starts rampaging, destroying Pilaf's castle in the process. Pilaf tries escaping in a plane and shots a bomb at Goku, which merely knocks him out. Goku returns to normal and Pilaf flees.

Some time later, after the Red Ribbon Army is defeated, Goku gets all the Dragon Balls except for one. By going to the fortune teller Baba, Goku finds it with Pilaf, who discovered a way to block the Dragon Radar to locate the Dragon Balls. He uses a gigantic robot to fight Goku, only to be defeated again. He later releases King Piccolo from his confinement in hopes he would help him conquer the world, only to be betrayed by him.

Dragon Ball GT

I wish you were a little kid again, then I can really teach you a lesson or two.
~ Pilaf as he wishes that Goku was a kid again so he could stomp him.

Much time later, Pilaf returned in Dragon Ball GT as an elderly figure along with Shu and Mai (who are also elderly) and managed to enter the Kami's Lookout and summon the Red Shenlong from the Black Star Dragon Balls. However, before he can make his wish to take over the world, he is interrupted by Goku in the middle of summoning after Goku asks where the mysterious light is coming from as Pilaf discovers that Goku looks very familiar and orders Shu and Mai to fire the missile at Goku, but the Saiyan was still too strong and tells the gang that they never change, which infuriates Pilaf. As he argues with Goku, he asks that he wanted Goku to be small again, so he could stomp him, unaware that the dragon is listening. The Dragon mistakenly interprets this as a wish and grants it, turning Goku into a child, much to Pilaf's dismay. Pilaf wasn't seen again after this.

Battle of Gods

In the recent movie Dragon Ball Z : Battle Of Gods, while the Z Warriors are busy with Lord Beerus, Pilaf, Mai and Shu return and once more try to steal the Dragon Balls. Once again, Shenlong's summoning goes wrong for them, resulting in their own unintended de-aging into young children. Mai for her part takes advantage of this and begins a friendship/young romance with Trunks. It has been suggested, but not confirmed, that since these events occur ten to fifteen years (version depending) before the timeframe of Dragon Ball GT, this supersedes and perhaps eliminates that series, since that depicted Pilaf and his gang as elderly



  • The name Pilaf is a pun on the rice dish of the same name. The simplified Chinese characters he wears on his chest are 炒饭 (chǎofàn), which means "fried rice".
  • Pilaf is most commonly associated with the One-Star Dragon Ball, as he was the one in possession of it during Goku's first two quests for them. Even in Dragon Ball GT, when he discovers the Black Star Dragon Balls, the One-Star Ball is the one he picks up.
  • Interestingly, Pilaf's affinity for the One-Star Ball is shared with Yi Shenlong, the final villain in GT, and thus the final major villain in the entire Dragon Ball anime series. In contrast, Pilaf was the first major villain of the series (being the main enemy in the first saga of Dragon Ball), as well as the one who (inadvertently) started the first arc of GT.
  • It is revealed in the anime only that Shu and Mai are not his only minions and in "The Emperor's Quest," there is one who left a spy tracker in Skull Valley. Mai mentions that after he left the tracker, he was never heard from again. It is assumed this spy was killed by the wolves. Another minion is later heard calling Pilaf on a crocodile-shaped telephone.
  • In the 9th Dragon Ball Z movie, Bojack Unbound, Pilaf, Mai and Shu are on cards in a card game Goku and Kaio are playing.
  • Emperor Pilaf makes a minor appearance in Dr. Slump and Arale-chan: N-cha! Love Comes From Penguin Village where he is in a crowd with Mai, Shu, Oolong, Lunch, King Nikochan and his servant, Pink and Cobalt Blue.
  • The Dragon Ball Z anime movie/filler villain, Garlic Jr., looks and sounds very similar to Pilaf, sharing the same voice (same Japanese voice only in the Garlic Jr. Saga), skin color and diminutive size, except Garlic Jr. is a much more serious villain.
  • Pilaf is voiced by Chuck Huber in the FUNimation dub.
  • Pilaf was voiced by Dean Galloway in the Blue Water dub.
  • Pilaf is voiced by Don Brown in the Ocean dub.
  • Pilaf is voiced by Tom Fahn in the Bang Zoom! dub.
  • Pilaf is voiced by Shigeru Chiba in the Original Japanese dub.


           Dragon Ball Villains

Dragon Ball
Pilaf Gang
Emperor Pilaf | Shu | Mai

Red Ribbon Army
Commander Red | Assistant Black | Captain Dark | Captain Yellow | Colonel Silver | Colonel Violet | Major Metallitron | General White | General Blue | Murasaki | Buyon | Hasky) | Tao Pai Pai

Crane School
Master Shen | Tien Shinhan | Chiaotzu
King Piccolo's Demon Clan
King Piccolo | Tambourine | Piano | Cymbal | Drum | Piccolo Jr
Bacterian | Bear Thief | Giran | Launch | Monster Carrot | Octopapa | Oolong | Pirate Android | Puar | Spike the Devil Man | Yamcha

Dragon Ball Super
Champa | Frost | Goku Black | Zamasu | Quitela | Zen-Oh

Video Game Exclusive
Towa | Mira | Demigra