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When we first see Vegeta, while he is in space headed to Earth and on the Bug Planet he looks like this

Vegeta First Apperance

But when he gets to earth he undertakes a sudden colour change to this

Vegeta on Earth

Now at first since Vegeta is initially off world i though that maybe it might have been the local suns had a different colour light to Earth's, but then that wouldn't explain why his scouter would remain the same colour.

I am wondering, is Vegeta's colour change a result of his design changing mid series? or is there a reason why everything but his scouter changes colour when he arrives on Earth?

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  • I don't remember where I read it so I'm not positing it as an answer, but his colors in that first shot were supposedly a production mistake that wasn't noticed until the last minute and so they just left it. It was never intended to be his design.
    – Ryan
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 18:58
  • Doesn't it depend on which dub you're watching? I don't recall seeing that view save for in a flashback when Goku fought Majin Vegeta. Maybe I'm just getting old?
    – Callat
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 14:21
  • @Ryan It took me way to long to realize that comment was not one I made a long time ago and forgot about. Anyway, Wasn't the bug planet filler.
    – Ryan
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 16:38
  • @Ryan, haha yes I've been confused by you too :P and also yes to the bug planet being filler.
    – Ryan
    Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 17:46

4 Answers 4

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From what I can find, there was no official explanation given for the color change. A couple of fan theories, including this one, are basically that the coloring was done before the mangaka announced the actual hair color, and that they fixed it once the color was announced. This is corroborated by the Wikia trivia for the episode, which states:

This episode marks the debut appearance of Vegeta and Nappa in the anime. They are shown in colors quite different from their later ones, especially Vegeta. This is because Toei guessed their colors, as the corresponding Manga volume was not in color. Vegeta's case is corrected in the Dragon Ball Kai version of this episode and in the Dragon Ball Full Color Manga version as well. Nappa's was not, though it is possible he owns more than one suit of Battle Armor.

In-universe, his hair didn't change color, as he stated

that a pure-blooded Saiyan's hair does not change from the day they are born, aside from Super Saiyan transformations (Wikia)

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According to this video from a Dragon Ball youtuber, it was guessed from the manga as stated in the previous post, and then Toriyama saw it and told Toei that wasnt how Vegeta was supposed to look so they fixed it later

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NunByMIPT4

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It was a production mistake. They didn't have anything to go off of for coloring. It's also why Trunks has purple hair in Z instead of blue. Similarly is Goku's Super Saiyan appearance in Lord Slug, there was nothing to go off of but notes, so the coloring had to figured out by them.

But I'd note that the wiki answer about the first appearance of Nappa and Vegeta is wrong, they appear briefly in the second episode of Z as Raditz tells Goku and the others about the sayains and in it, Vegeta is colored the same as when we first seem him and Nappa speak.

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The entire animation over time adjusted mid series. DBZ Manga was in black and white thus no information on color scheme for animated characters was referenced.... this had been adjusted.

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