Ki (気, Ki; Viz "Chi", English TV "Energy") is an essential component to energy techniques and transformations. Every living being has the ability to manipulate it to some degree, though most aren't aware of how to utilize it. Because of this, ki can be used to determine whether a person is alive, nearing death, or has died—at which point, it vanishes. It is composed of three distinct components including "energy" (元気, genki), "courage" (勇気, yūki), and "mind" (正気, shōki). Ki can be used for a variety of functions, including flying and the creation of energy blasts with varying degrees of power. The amount of ki a combatant possesses is generally referred to as their Combat Strength (戦闘力, Sentō Ryoku; Viz "Chi Level", English TV "Power Level").
Little is known about ki's history in the context of the series. In Earthlings, the use of ki appears to be particularly rare, and is tied to, and most commonly associated with budō. All Human-type Earthlings that have shown the capacity to use ki have been martial arts of astonishing levels of strength, outstripping what standard martial artists are capable of. Mutaito, the teacher of the Kame-Sennin and Tsuru Sennin, was one of the first known Earthlings to utilize his ki, and taught these arts to both his students. They would go on to develop their own teachings and pass them on through the Turtle School and Crane School of martial arts.
Beyond martial arts, most Earthlings view ki as a spectacle, and are unfamiliar with its inner-workings. While the concept of the Kamehameha was known during the original Dragon Ball series, after Mr. Satan's general rise to fame, Earthlings came to view ki as nothing but a trick, following in lead with the Tenkaichi Budōkai champion.
Outside of Earth, however, it would appear that ki is much more commonly known and employed by other races, leaving Earthlings as the black sheep among many of the universe's races. Nameccian children are known to be able to fly from a young age, utilizing their ki for the Air Dance Technique, and the concept of utilizing ki comes naturally to the warrior race of the Saiyans.
Ki is the essential life force of all living things, and because of this, ki can be found in any living creature to some degree. As such, ki can be used as a method to determine whether or not someone is alive (i.e. "dead" or "inorganic", such as is the case with the Androids, whose ki cannot be sensed), or near-death. It can also be used to determine the number of individuals in a direction. It is composed of three distinct components including "energy" (元気, genki), "courage" (勇気, yūki), and "mind" (正気, shōki). The "mind" or "soul" of the user is shown to affect the signal of their ki; when Ginyū, and later Zamasu, switched bodies with Gokū, their ki was no longer recognizable as Gokū's ki.
However, despite being the life force of living things, ki has found use in combat by practioners of budō on Earth, and other forms of martial artists and warriors from extraterrestrial and extradimensional worlds. Through sufficient training, it is possible for any living being to harness their ki, and utilize it as a weapon. The time at which it takes an individual to learn this differs by species just as much as it does for the individual person; it took Kame-Sennin fifty years to develop the Kamehameha, despite being a trained martial artist, and extremely powerful in his own right, while Son Gokū, a young Saiyan, was able to mimic the move after having only seen it once, and having had far less training than Rōshi. Earthlings by nature appear to have a more difficult time developing the ability to use ki than other species, though studying budō eases the learning curve.
The "aura" of an individual is a general effect of ki being expressed outside the body, usually in the form of "powering up". When a user focuses their ki, it manifests outside their physical body in the form of energy that can interact with the outside world, displacing solid matter among different effects.
While auras have been seen numerous times in the manga, they are not referred to by any unique color type. In the various Dragon Ball anime, however, auras have different colors and effects which are seemingly influenced by a variety of factors — species, mentality, and whether one is a mortal or a god. These colors are also subject to change. Piccolo and Gokū showcased blue and red auras respectively in the Dragon Ball anime, but would later go on to possesses the standard white aura that is common among mortals.
Vegeta's aura was initially white, outlined in a dark blue, before becoming the standard white aura. Another example is Freeza, who had a black and red aura, though it was later purple. It appears that the mind of the user can greatly influence the color of this aura — when Zamasu switched bodies with Gokū, he showcased a unique black ki, despite Gokū never using this sort of ki at all, implying that the mind or soul of the user has a powerful effect on the nature of their ki aura.
Gods have notably far more intricate auras. Super Saiyan God, for instance, gives off the appearance of a softly burning flame, complete with vibrant sparkles that are common to the Saiyan forms which use godly ki. Super Saiyan Blue's aura is a blue flame, outlined in yellow, with an inner burning white — while Super Saiyan Rage is the near reverse of this — and Rosé is a dark pink aura with inner purple. Beerus' aura is also unique, as the energy burns softer than most ki aura seen in the series
Other Types of Ki
Referred to as godly ki (神の気, kami no ki), this particular type of ki is prominent in either those who are classified as deities, gods, or can transform into them. This type of ki cannot be sensed by those who do not possess godly ki of their own (meaning they are either not gods or cannot transform into them), however, there is a heavy pressure that mortals can feel. How this type of ki can be obtained is unclear. For instance, in the case of Dende, from being the God of Earth, he can also sense godly ki, shown when being able to deduce that Beerus is a god from sensing the Hakaishin's ki, suggesting that the Nameccian also attained godly ki at some point, but through unexplained means. In the case of Gokū, he was able to gain godly ki from the Super Saiyan God ritual in which five righteous Saiyans pooled their energies into him, granting him godly ki during and after his transformation as a Super Saiyan God. In the case of Vegeta, he was also able to obtain godly ki from his training with Whis, suggesting Whis can seemingly grant it to others, given how Whis initially said he'd only train Vegeta if the Saiyan prince was willing to become a Hakaishin, and proven from Vegeta's ability attain and also sense godly ki from training with him after Whis was bribed with food. As noted by Freeza, godly ki is exceptionally pure.
While it is unknown whether he can use it, Hit has shown the ability to detect godly ki. He could sense Gokū's ki while the latter was increasing his power in Super Saiyan Blue with the Kaiōken, detailing the increase in increments.
Other gods, such as Kaiōshin, can recognize godly ki by simply looking at it; Zamasu was able to recognize that Gokū's Super Saiyan Blue transformation used godly ki while watching him through a television screen.
- Similarly to how godly ki cannot be sensed in the series, in Dragon Ball XenoVerse, Freeza mentions that his Scouters are unable to read godly ki. Despite this, when entering the game's scouter mode, the parameters of Beerus, Whis, and Son Gokū and Vegeta when the latter are in their godly states, can still be seen.
- In Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, Gokū refers to his ki as chakra when in his Sage Mode costume. This is a direct reference to the Naruto series, of which the DLC is based.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Chōzenshū 1
- ↑ Dragon Ball chapter 256, pp. 12
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Dragon Ball chapter 15
- ↑ Dragon Ball chapter 428, pp. 1
- ↑ Dragon Ball chapter 259, pp. 1
- ↑ Dragon Ball chapter 287, pp. 14-15
- ↑ Dragon Ball Super episode 50
- ↑ Dragon Ball Z: God and God
- ↑ Dragon Ball Z: Revival of 'F'
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Dragon Ball Super Episode 57
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Dragon Ball Z: God and God
- ↑ Dragon Ball Super episode 10
- ↑ Dragon Ball Super episode 54
- ↑ Dragon Ball Super episode 7
- ↑ Dragon Ball Super episode 13
- ↑ Dragon Ball Super episode 16
- ↑ Dragon Ball Super episode 18
- ↑ Dragon Ball Super episode 95
- ↑ Dragon Ball Super episode 39