The Solar flare technique is a non-lethal attack used throughout the entire Dragon Ball series, but do you know how the attack works or what it means?
Dragon Ball Series
What is the Solar Flare technique?
The Solar Flare technique is a non-lethal Ki based attack that emits concentrated Ki from the practitioner’s body in the form of white light. The technique is used like a flash grenade to temporarily blind the opponent.
It works by flooding all of the light sensitive cells in the eyes and making vision impossible. The Solar flare is an effective technique in buying time to run away from a physically stronger opponent.
To use the Solar flare the practitioner raises both of their hands to the side of their face and spreads all four fingers open with the palms facing inward. The thumb is also extended but stays inside the palm. They then emit the light from their bodies and it spreads out in all directions, as if their bodies are turned into a small sun.
The technique was first used by Tien Shinhan in the 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai against Jackie Chun. It was later used by Goku, Krillin, and then Cell.
There is no effective counter to the Solar flare except to wear sunglasses. Even if the people nearby close their eyes, the intense flash of light still dazzles the optic nerves. This can be seen on Planet Namek when Krillin uses the technique against Dodoria and tells Gohan to look away. Even after the attack was over, Gohan was still dazzled.
The English translation of taiyō-ken as Solar Flare sounds cool but shallows the meaning and removes cultural value. The technique has absolutely nothing to do with the sun and does not rely on it in any way. No amount of sunlight is “reflected off of them,” and the technique can be performed in complete darkness or underneath clouds if needed, as the light (the yáng energy) already exists inside the practitioner’s body.
It just so happens that when the technique is used, they often show the sun in the same frame or scene, adding to the emphasis that it’s super bright and simultaneously referring to its original name and meaning. And the name Solar Flare omits mention of internal energy, Daoist cosmology, or a mind-body connection. Call it whatever you like, but Akira Toriyama named it taiyō-ken for a reason.