by Jeremy Carden
In a recent interview with Akira Toriyama, it was revealed that Dr. Gero modeled Android 16 after his dead son, who in life was a high-ranking member of the Red Ribbon Army that was killed in action. After creating #16, Gero programmed him as the most powerful of his androids, but also to be peaceful as he did not wish to see him fall in combat.
Learning this information made me speculate a few things such as the fate of Gero’s son along with who he was prior to his demise.
It is unknown whether or not Gero’s son was killed prior to the Red Ribbon Army’s quest to obtain the Dragonballs leading to the final confrontation with Goku. Considering that this unknown person was a HIGH-RANKING member of the RR Army we can assume that he was a Colonel or General.
We all know that during Goku’s war against the army, many members of the organization were killed.
To narrow down who #16 was based off of, I think it is safe to guess that it was a RR Army member who had well red hair.
This had me guessing it was either Colonel Silver or the person who I first assumed it to be; Commander Red!!!
Now here me out, I wager that Commander Red is the obvious choice over Colonel Silver for a few reasons. It goes back to the original design of #16 that Gero programmed him to be;
- The most powerful Android
Android 16 was the most powerful Android in Gero’s arsenal until the arrival of Cell (from the future) and that goes hand in hand to Commander Red who was the most powerful in terms of ranking within the RR Army.
Now it stands to reason that if Commander Red was Gero’s son, the good doctor would physically make #16 to be the opposite of Red. We have a short red-haired man who was the most powerful man in his organization but was looked down upon.
Then looking at #16, we have this massive hulking red-haired Android who looks down on everyone but not in a patronizing way. He is powerful but silent unlike Commander Red who is loud and easily angered.
Gero could have programmed #16 to be the exact opposite of Commander Red who was power hungry and did not hesitate to kill or destroy in order to get what he wanted. This is a direct contrast to #16 who is gentle like Gohan. He does not crave power, destruction, death and mayhem. It seemed that he appreciated all living things along with nature and would do anything to protect it.
This is a sharp contrast to Commander Red and his army which did not mind setting an entire forest on fire to get a Dragonball (well that was Colonel Silver’s doing).
- Did not wish to see him fall in combat
Finally, we get to Gero NOT wanting him to fall in combat. Now this could mean many things in terms of how Gero’s son actually died. He could have died in the line of duty in some kind of battle which is unseen in the manga or anime.
Dr. Gero was an old man and it is likely he was old during Dragonball when he worked for the army (never seen until the Android Saga). It is possible that during his time working for the army his son was killed then and that made him work even harder for the organization.
Honestly, if I had to guess I’d say that he knew that his son died and that is why he swore revenge on Goku for destroying the RR Army. Either because his son was dead prior to Goku’s attack and the army was all Gero had to live for or Goku killed his son making Gero furious at the little Saiyan. In either scenario, it seems like Goku was to blame for it all because he took away everything Gero held dear in this world.
Let’s say Commander Red WAS Gero’s son, it seems that Gero most likely escaped when everyone else evacuated the RR Compound during Goku’s attack and because of that he did not see the true reason for Red’s death.
As we all know, it was because Staff Officer Black who committed the murder of Commander Red after he found out the true intentions of the organization’s hunt for the Dragonballs (which was to make Red taller)! Finding out all of this along with a patronizing talk from the Commander was enough to push Black over the edge and shoot Red in the head killing him instantly!
Here is how I figured things played out in Gero’s mind as he escaped the compound; he saw that everything was being destroyed during the battle and it was all because of Goku. Considering that Black was his right-hand man, Gero probably figured that Red was in good hands and would escape with the Dragonballs.
It stands to reason that as time went on he knew the army had fallen but had heard nothing from the Commander. Remember that Android #20 told the Z-Fighters that Dr. Gero (himself) had created the small robotic device to track Goku from his teenage years to adulthood.
It all started when he sent one to spy on the little Sayian during the 22nd World Tournament where the climactic battle was Goku vs. Tien.
Keep in mind this occurred AFTER Goku’s assault on the RR Army. I think that Gero created a robot similar to that one to go checkout the ruins of the RR compound and there in the buildings discovered the corpse of Commander Red. He probably was enraged that “his son” was killed and figured that it was the work of Goku!
On DB Wiki it states; “Dr. Gero’s son was a high-ranking Red Ribbon soldier, but felled by an enemy bullet.”
That is interesting because Commander Red was killed from a bullet square in the head!
Now you could once again argue that Colonel Silver is Gero’s son because he too was “killed” by bullets because after failing to get the Dragonball he was seen walking out of Red’s office. He was then followed by some men with guns, we hear a few gunshots off screen but we never know his true fate. So there is a slim but very possible chance that Gero’s son was the Colonel.
In the original dialogue, Piccolo mentioned that Android #20 spoke as if he were Dr. Gero himself based off how he talked of vengeance and how the entire RR Army fell apart due to Goku’s interference. #20 quickly responded that it was impossible due to “his creator” having died long ago.
It is possible that #20 did not mention Gero’s son being the reason for his vendetta against Goku, because if he did that would pretty much solidify that he was in fact Dr. Gero himself.
Something else to take note of is how #16 treats his comrades by looking at their actions. Whenever it is suggested that he take part in combat for #17 and #18 to see what he could really do, he outright refuses stating that his only target was Goku.
This made the other two Androids go into battle while #16 just stayed on the sidelines.
This kind of mirrors Commander Red’s position as the head of the RR Army, he just sat around while his underlings were out in the field of battle taking care of opposition until his goal was achieved and that was the gathering of the 7 magic balls.
For #16 it was just him getting to where Goku was and destroying him. I do find it interesting that he just went along with #17’s plan of driving to Goku’s location instead of simply flying there. Not to mention he was able to trace power levels with a built in detector meaning that he would have been easily able to track down Goku and kill him in no time. However, he just went where the other 2 Androids went. I guess that comes with his peaceful nature just going along with his “friends.”
To wrap things up, I’ll discuss how Commander Red and Dr. Gero were tied together in terms of how his son ran the army while he as top scientist.
Based on what we do know, the RR Army was not always the terrorist organization that we saw it to be in the Dragonball series. It was once a corporation similar to Capsule Corp. developing new technology to advance modern day living.
Due to Dr. Briefs development of the Capsule or Dyno-Caps, the success of that organization far exceeded anything achieved by the RR corporation which led to them forming the RR Army.
The original goal was to rule the world with the Dragonballs, but as I mentioned earlier the true purpose of gathering the balls was to make Red taller. It seems that the only person who knew of this goal was Commander Red himself…and possibly his father Dr. Gero.
Again, it goes back to why Gero made #16 to not only be the most powerful Android but to be the biggest and tallest of the robots because it was the “dying wish of his son!”
Dr. Gero was probably a loving father but did not like what his son was becoming which was a power-hungry tyrant that did not care what it took to obtain his goals even if it meant death and destruction. Again, this goes back to Gero creating #16 to be a PEACEFUL Android rather than an Android created not only for the destruction of Goku but not mindlessly killing and destroying in order to fulfill their mission.
When Super Saiyan Vegeta missed Android #18 with his Big Bang Attack blowing up a pickup truck and causing a huge explosion, #17 commented “Now that’s what I like to see; destruction!”
Then when riding the van they stole through the woods on their way to Goku’s house, #18 was annoyed by the bumpy ride and blasted the forest in order to create a clear path for them to drive on.
#16 never partook in any needless destruction and opted to sit on the sidelines and play with the birds. This was a huge contrast from his Android companions!
You could see how overly protective he was of #16 when #17 and #18 were eager to awaken him from his “coffin.” Gero kept making excuses as to why they should not activate him saying that he wasn’t finished yet and that he would destroy the world if he was let loose.
This led to #17 scanning #16 saying that he was too inferior to do something like that. In any case, we know that Gero was very adamant in keeping “his son” safe from harm.
To him #17 and #18 were the rebellious children that would most likely have a negative influence on “the good child” (#16) and he did not want him to have anything to do with them.
It does make me wonder if he was honestly still working on programming Android 16 or if he was actually finished with him but never released him due to not wanting him to fight.
That seems very strange for him to create the strongest Android in his arsenal, but program him to be peaceful and not fight. If he had let #16 loose to attack the Z-Fighters on the island off of South City (instead of himself and Android 19) then I think it is safe to say all of them would have been killed with ease!
However, Commander Red was not very powerful in terms of physical appearance (unless you count that one time when he is ordering around Colonel Silver and tosses a knife so hard that it destroys a statue in his office though I think that was just done for dramatic effect and it was prior to us learning that he was in fact a midget) and it makes sense that Gero would make his Android counterpart to be the exact opposite.
I do find it kind of ironic that if Goku did kill Dr. Gero’s son then it all goes around full-circle;
Dr. Gero created #16 out of pure vengeance and with the one mission of killing Goku
#16 attempted to kill Cell due to the beast being the reason of so much death and destruction to the world that he had loved so much
The death of #16 was the key to Goku’s son (Gohan) having the power to kill Cell which was ultimately Dr. Gero’s greatest creation in order to protect the planet
Goku died as a result of Cell blowing himself up in order to protect the planet
Wow kind of funny how all of that just comes together! Gero created #16 to be a peace loving robot and in the end his death was the result of a 7 year period of peace until Majin Buu arrived.
This is why I feel that Commander Red is POSSIBLY the son of Dr. Gero who he based Android 16 was based off of. Who do you think was Gero’s son; an unseen solider that perished prior to the army’s appearance in Dragonball, Commander Red, Colonel Silver or someone I failed to mention in this blog? Feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comment section below!
Now when all is said and done this is of course just pure speculation by yours truly. However, it is always fun to try and connect the dots to figure out the mysteries of Dragonball. I hope that you all enjoyed this blog and keep your eyes open for the next one about a character who stands the test of time as an ageless female who is actually related to this blog in one way or another…
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