Bulma (ブルマ Buruma?) is a fictional character who first appears in the Dragon Ball manga created by Akira Toriyama, followed by three anime adaptations. She was originally portrayed as a secondary main character, next to the main protagonist Son Goku, but her role was quickly downplayed as the series continued, even though she did still remain an important supporting character for most of the series. In the series, Bulma is the daughter of Dr. Briefs the founder of Capsule Corp, a fictional corporation that creates the special capsules many characters in the series use to store objects of basically any size. Bulma's mother Mrs. Briefs also appears occasionally in the series. Being the daughter of a brilliant scientist, Bulma is also a scientist and inventor. Bulma is most credited for inventing the Dragon Radar, a device that is specifically designed to detect the signal emitted by the Dragon Balls in the series.
Bulma's role as an inventor becomes important at several points in the series. Several of her creations were major to various plotlines, including a microband that could make her shrink, the time machine that brought her son Trunks to the past during Dragon Ball Z and the generator that allowed her husband Vegeta to achieve Super Saiyan 4 in Dragon Ball GT.
Bulma's personality is like the typical female characters in Toriyama's stories; nagging and temperamental. Bulma at first is the identical to the image of a pampered city girl for most of the series; arrogant and adventurous, but afraid of being alone. Her arrogance can be seen to stem from her intellect; Bulma is most recognized for her fierce determination to get what she wants, and can be viewed as reckless in those quests. Bulma is well known for her intellectual approach to situations and her sexiness. Master Roshi frequently harasses her. She is also very proud of her abilities and can be very cantankerous when slighted, which may indicate a similar approach with other men. Throughout the series, Bulma goes through many life-threatening situations and is often a damsel-in-distress, needing the protection of Goku and the others. Despite their heroics however, Bulma at times takes advantage of them by escaping whenever possible, uncaring of how they will survive.
Bulma mellows out as the series continues in the present timeline, ultimately befriending Vegeta and helping him adapt to Earth. Initially depicted to support Goku, her relationship with Vegeta and his rivalry with Goku sparks a friendly rivalry with Chi Chi, but she manages to remain one of Goku's strongest supporters due to their long friendship and she does seem to believe that Goku is more powerful than Vegeta. One of the best examples of this belief comes from The History of Trunks special when she describes Goku in such a positive way in contrast to her rather negative description of Vegeta.
Bulma is the second character to be introduced in the Dragon Ball series. In the early part of the story, she is the inventor of the Dragon Radar and is searching for the legendary Dragon Balls. Bulma was hoping to use the Dragon Balls to wish for the perfect boyfriend. While searching for a nearby Dragon Ball, she runs into Goku. It is at this time that she finds out Goku inherited one of the balls (the four-star ball) she is searching for from his adoptive father Grandpa Gohan. Because of Goku's love for the ball and his belief that his Grandpa's spirit lives in the ball, Goku is not willing to give it up. Bulma then asks him to loan it for her in exchange of taking him in her travels. At that point, they team up to find the remainder of the balls and the adventure begins. As the search progresses, Bulma and Goku meet Master Roshi after finding his pet turtle; Oolong, a shape-shifting pig who is terrorizing a village; and Yamcha, a desert bandit who Bulma soon finds herself attracted to, and who she eventually starts a relationship with. In one of the final episodes of Dragon Ball; Bulma can be seen having a crush on Goku when she witnesses his mature features. This affection for Goku never becomes anything serious due to Chi Chi's arrangements for their marriage, thus prohibiting any love relations between Goku and Bulma.
Dragon Ball Z
As the anime progresses, Bulma's role waxes and wanes. In the later action-oriented episodes of the series, there is little room for a genius but Bulma continues to play a role as a secondary character, helping Goku and his friends with her gadgets, and having a rather rocky relationship with Yamcha.
After five years of peace, an evil menace comes to the Earth. It is Goku's elder brother, a Saiyan, named Raditz. After Goku and Piccolo kill him, Bulma takes the scouter from Raditz, and fixes it to find the power levels of people in human numbers. During the subsequent battle against Vegata and Nappa, Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu and Piccolo are killed and because Piccolo dies, the Dragon Balls are rendered useless. After Goku defeats the Saiyans, Bulma volunteers to travel to Piccolo's home planet Namek and use the Namekian Dragon Balls to restore Yamcha and the others back to life. In need of a spaceship, Mr. Popo reveals one to Bulma, which had been the ship Kami had used to travel to Earth when he was a boy. Bulma repairs the ship with the help of her father, and flies off to Namek with Krillin and Son Gohan. While on Namek, Bulma has her body switched with the frog version of Captain Ginyu after she gives his frog body a special collar she developed that allowes him to speak in her language. Being able to speak once again, Ginyu shouts "Change, Now!", allowing himself to use his body switching technique with Bulma. Ginyu attempts to use Bulma's body to fight, but soon decides she is too weak. Ginyu then tries to swap bodies with Piccolo, but Gohan throws frog-Bulma in the way and she is transferred back into her own body.
After Goku defeats the tyrant Frieza, Yamcha and the others who were killed are revived by the Namekian Dragon Balls. However, Bulma's romantic relationship with him ultimately ends, though they remained friends afterwards. Vegeta eventually returns to Earth, staying with the Briefs family. Bulma choses to befriend him, developing a strong bond that by the time of the Androids' invasion, leads to a romantic relationship that leads to the birth of her first child, Trunks. Many years later she would give birth to Bra, Trunks' sister.
Seven years after the battle against the Androids, Bulma helpes Gohan by making a watch which automatically changes his clothes into a super-hero costume so he could fight crime, without his real identity being known. Later, she and the other Z Fighters, with the exception of Goku, Vegeta and Gohan, hide on Kami's Lookout from the monstrous Majin Buu, however she is killed when Super Buu turns her into chocolate and eats her. In the Other World, she, along with Chi Chi, Videl, and a reformed Dabura look for Gohan. Bulma is revived by the Namekian Dragon Balls, along with her family and friends, and gives her energy to Goku to create a Super Spirit Bomb which eliminates Kid Buu once and for all.
Dragon Ball GT
In Dragon Ball GT she becomes possessed by Baby, who takes her as his apparent queen and lover (or second in command), as possessing Vegeta gave him all of his memories and emotions. During this time, she organizes the migration to Planet Vegeta (Renamed Planet Tuffle), and creates the Blutz Wave device that helps Baby become a Golden Oozaru. However, the Holy Water hidden in Dende's Lookout is used to free her and the rest of Earth from Baby's enslavement. Later, she helps Vegeta reach Super Saiyan 4 by exposing him to a new Blutz Wave Cannon, and witnesses Omega Shenron's defeat at the hands of Goku.