We all know that the main reason to watch any of the shows in the Dragon Ball franchise is for the fights. There have literally been hundreds of fights throughout the shows, and some are great reminders of exactly why the anime has been so popular. But with that many fights, there have also inevitably been some duds along the way.
Sometimes the characters involved just aren’t interesting. Other times, the fight relies on some gimmick that wears out its welcome before the fight even finishes. Or maybe it’s as simple as the fans just not having any reason to care about who wins because the stakes for the brawl are so low. Whatever the problem is, there are just some fights in Dragon Ball that fans remember for all the wrong reasons. Get ready for a trip down memory lane that you’d rather forget, because here’s Dragon Ball: 15 Lamest Fights In The Franchise.
15. PIKKON AND GOKU VS CELL, FRIEZA, KING COLD, AND THE GINYU FORCE
To start off with the problem with this fight, Goku was part of it in name only. He shows up and powers up, but Pikkon does all the work. And having Pikkon win a fight on his own is fine. It can be a cool way to introduce a character, like when Future Trunks took out Frieza and King Cold on his own. But while Trunks went on to be a major part of the franchise, Pikkon never does anything outside of side stories in the afterlife. So Pikkon winning this fight already feels like a waste in retrospect, and just leaves fans asking later on why nobody thinks to bring him in to help against Buu.
The biggest issue with this fight though was that Perfect Cell is in it. This fight happens a mere few episodes after Gohan just won his difficult battle against Cell. But then Cell shows up here and is immediately diminished as a threat because Pikkon essentially one hit KOs him along with some of the other strongest villains we’ve seen. And for what? To make Pikkon look tough for the pointless Other World tournament? It just made Gohan and Goku look weak for not being able to take out Cell sooner when it really mattered.
14. KRILLIN VS BACTERIAN
Dragon Ball was much lighter in tone than the subsequent series in the franchise, and to an extent, that was a good thing. Without each new villain having to be capable of destroying more and more of the planet, it allowed for fights more focused on specific techniques and the characters devising strategies to counter new moves. But it also made for some fights that were a little too lacking in consequences and just became silly. The height of that might have to be Krillin’s fight with Bacterian in the World Martial Arts Tournament.
Bacterian’s gimmick was that he was smelly and gross, and that became enough for him to beat his opponents. Simply by doing things like spitting on people and letting his own flatulence loose, Bacterian was defeating trained warriors. Sure it was meant to be funny, and it only lasted an episode, but other characters managed to still be amusing without their entire existence being a punchline. And the big moment where Krillin won came because of a fourth wall break where Goku reminded his pal that he doesn’t have a nose, so there’s no reason Krillin should even be able to smell Bacterian. So the pint-sized Z Fighter was triumphant because he wasn’t defeated by Bacterian’s unwashed tighty-whities. What a mighty hero.
13. KID GOKU VS CELL AND FRIEZA
A strange problem the franchise had for a long time was that villains never seemed to understand that they had the ability to train and grow more powerful. So when they showed up again in later episodes or movies, they were suddenly dispatched like they were nothing. Resurrection ‘F’ finally fixed this by introducing Golden Frieza, but back in the days of GT, the problem was still there. Which led to the sad rematch of Frieza and Cell against Goku.
This could have been a really cool moment where Frieza and Cell became an actual threat again by doing something like fusing together. Instead, Goku was having fun for the entire fight and barely even had to exert any effort. He had his Super Saiyan 4 transformation down by this point, but he elected not to use it. In fact, he didn’t turn Super Saiyan at all. So two of the best villains of the franchise were reduced to such weak distractions that Goku was able to shrug off their best attacks and win like it was nothing. Not exactly the rematch fans were hoping for.
12. SUPER BUU VS GOTENKS
When Goku revealed he could become a Super Saiyan 3, it seemed strange that he wasn’t able to finish off Fat Buu. Then Goku revealed he had been holding back because he wanted the next generation to get a chance to save the world. Yeah, because delaying killing the villains worked so well in the past, right? So Fat Buu survived long enough to transform into the even more powerful Super Buu and literally kill almost every single person on the planet. But at least Goten and Trunks were lucky enough to acquire the power to win the fight by not only becoming Gotenks, but also becoming a Super Saiyan 3.
Unfortunately, Gotenks was also an absolute moron. Goku and Gohan showed they could be capable heroes when they were kids, but Gotenks really lacked their maturity. He treated Super Buu like a total joke, stalling for time to make up silly names for his own attacks. Goten knew for a fact that Buu had killed his mother, but even that didn’t motivate Gotenks to use his full power. He even deliberately withheld his Super Saiyan 3 form for dramatic effect. The entire fight was just childish, and Gotenks being such an idiot negated how impressive his quick ascension to power was. It was honestly enough to make you feel bad for Buu for having to fight this jackass.
11. AVO AND CADO VS GOTEN AND TRUNKS/GOTENKS
Yup, another bad fight featuring Gotenks. Honestly though, this entire story featuring Avo and Cado wasn’t very good. It took place in the aftermath of the fight with Buu, and rather than learn their lesson from that encounter about not underestimating their opponents, the Z Fighters have become even more overconfident. So upon hearing that two members of Frieza’s army are still alive and coming to Earth, they playfully draw lots to see who gets the pleasure of fighting the invaders. Trunks winds up winning, so him and Goten get the fight and fuse to form Gotenks.
Just like they did with Buu, however, Gotenks treats this showdown like a game. He probably could have won the fight if he gave it his all for once, but instead, Gotenks uses his usual style of stopping to name every attack he does. Avo and Cado also merge to form a fighter named Aka, and this new form proves capable of withstanding more than the Z Fighters thought. As Aka starts endangering everyone, Goku and Vegeta finally have to step in to save everyone. Goku proves exactly how weak Aka was by defeating him with one punch. In the end though, all the fight accomplishes is to remind everyone how stupid Gotenks is.
10. THE GREAT SAIYAMAN VS FRIEZA
We already talked about one less-than-wonderful instance of Frieza being brought back into the franchise during GT, but even before that fight, Frieza was already being mistreated in the Dragon Ball Z era. We saw what a good Frieza return looked like in Resurrection ‘F’, but in the movie Fusion Reborn, Frieza escaped Hell then too. It was a good opportunity for a cool moment of some kind, like maybe giving a challenge to one of the side characters for once. Instead, he encountered Gohan. Sounds good though, right? But this was also after Gohan had taken to dressing as the Great Saiyaman. That’s a lot less good.
Gohan starts off the fight doing his dorky poses, while Frieza reveals he hasn’t come to this fight alone. Frieza brought an army with him from Hell, composed of people like the Ginyu Force and even other movie villains like Bardock. Gohan doesn’t pay any of the others any mind though. He flies right to Frieza, punches him once, and DBZ‘s greatest big bad dies on the spot. All of Frieza’s allies retreat, and that’s the end of it. Considering how weak Gohan had grown by this point, and how much time Frieza should have had to train, this should have been a great rematch. Instead it was just a pointless throwaway scene.
9. GOTEN AND TRUNKS VS ANDROID 18
Yet another instance of Goten and Trunks making the list. What can we say, the kids really don’t make for the most entertaining fighters in the franchise. They’re often naive, out of their depth, or just annoying by trying to be funny. This fight was an example of all three.
Unsatisfied with competing in the junior’s division of the World Martial Arts Tournament, Goten and Trunks hid under a bulky costume to pose as an adult named Mighty Mask. As powerful as they were, they looked like they were on the verge of winning the tournament until they came up against Android 18.
The fight itself was not terrible, but again, the stakes for it were beyond insignificant. The tournament had clearly been rendered irrelevant after Gohan and most of the other Z Fighters went after Babidi, so for the series, continuing to dwell on the results of the tournament just became an unnecessary distraction. Viewers wanted to see what was going on with Majin Buu, or the fight brewing between Goku and Majin Vegeta. And then this entire fight proved nothing, since neither the boys nor 18 outfought the other. Instead, Goten and Trunks’ costume ripped and ruined their disguise, resulting in them being disqualified from the tournament.
8. VEGITO VS SUPER BUU
There’s a reason not many people call anything past the Cell Saga in Dragon Ball Z their favorite part of the series. The episodes with Buu certainly had their moments, but it’s also where the power levels of the show got way out of hand and fights started relying too much on silly gimmicks. The epitome of the problem was probably Vegito’s fight with Super Buu. As much as people praise Vegito for being powerful, putting on a pair of earrings to suddenly get a huge power boost is pretty lame and feels undeserved.
The fight was even worse because moments before, Buu had also gained a cheap power boost by absorbing Piccolo, Gotenks, and Gohan, despite earlier stating how much he wanted a challenger to test his power against. Then Vegito came along and totally stole Mystic Gohan’s moment to shine after all that time the show spent having his power unlocked. And to top it all off, the fight devolved into Vegito being turned into a piece of candy…but still continuing to fight. Watching a little ball of chocolate seriously injure the most powerful antagonist of the series to date was ridiculous. Vegito might be powerful, but this fight was a major low point in the series.
7. NAPPA VS VEGETA
We talked about three instances of Frieza getting rematches against the Z Fighters that were a disappointment, but he was far from the only villain who had potential for an interesting reunion. While Kid Goku fought Frieza and Cell in Hell during GT, many of the other dead villains from the franchise invaded Earth. Of course, not all of them would be super strong, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have interesting conversations with familiar faces at the very least.
When Nappa was out destroying a city and came across Vegeta, it looked like a setup for an intriguing moment between the former partners. After all, Nappa got sent to Hell for doing far less than the horrible things Vegeta did, so Nappa must have been pretty resentful of the fact that his old comrade was still running around free. You’d think he would have had something to say about that, right? You’d think he’d have something to say about something, right?
Instead, Vegeta threatened to kill Nappa if he didn’t leave. Frieza’s old lap dog didn’t leave, and didn’t even say a word, so Vegeta killed him. The wasted potential here made for a very underwhelming moment.
6. GOKU AND PAN VS RAGE SHENRON
We’ve talked about a few different crappy fights that happened in Dragon Ball GT, but one of the best story arc ideas the franchise had was actually in GT. GT’s last hurrah featured an arc in which over-reliance on the Dragon Balls finally having negative consequences by spawning seven evil dragons created from the negative energy that had been building up. It was a cool idea, but the execution was pretty lackluster. Most of the evil dragons didn’t feel like much of the threat at all. A couple were okay, but the worst of the bunch was definitely Rage Shenron.
Rage Shenron’s gimmick was throwing electric gel everywhere, while simultaneously becoming more powerful and increasing in size. Despite Rage’s weak point being obvious, Super Saiyan 4 Goku couldn’t figure out how to stop him from getting more powerful. Goku and Pan finally looked to be on the verge of losing this fight, when it began to rain. And because Rage was composed of electric gel, the rain hurt him enough to weaken him and take away all his power. So Goku and Pan, two of the most powerful characters in the show, only won this fight because of bad weather.
5. GOGETA VS OMEGA SHENRON
Yet another example of why the concept of fusion is terrible came about in Dragon Ball GT. We already knew Gotenks and Vegito devolved into cocky, childish idiots when fused, but this fight basically ruined the one fusion character who had previously seemed like a badass. In the non-canon movie Fusion Reborn, Goku and Vegeta discover that doing the fusion dance rather than putting on the Supreme Kai’s earrings yielded a different fused character. Gogeta looked tough, was hyper-powerful, and best of all, he was a no-nonsense character. He immediately took out Janemba without playing around at all. So you’d hope when Gogeta took on someone even more powerful in Omega Shenron that he’d be just as pragmatic. No such luck.
GT’s Gogeta already kind of sucked because right as Vegeta finally looked like he’d get to do something cool when he became a Super Saiyan 4, he just became another power-up for Goku. Bad quickly became worse this time around when we realized this Gogeta was just as childish as Gotenks and had the same issue of being so cocky and stupid that he wasted all of his time playing games rather than, you know, trying to win the fight. It also didn’t help that Omega Shenron was one of the most generic enemies of the franchise, so there was nothing interesting going on there.
And the end of the fight was just plain bad. Gogeta whips out a combination of Goku and Vegeta’s signature attacks, the Big Bang Kamehameha, which sounds cool, but was just a very plain looking energy beam. Right as Gogeta is about to finish Omega by using the move a second time, the fusion ends, meaning Gogeta wound up accomplishing nothing of consequence. Why do the characters even bother using the fusion technique when they have such a bad track record with it?
4. TIEN, CHIAOTZU, AND YAMCHA VS THE GINYU FORCE
Most DBZ fans know that the original airing of the series included a lot of filler material to stretch out the show so it didn’t catch up to the manga. It slowed down the pace of a lot of fights, and also added in some new brawls that weren’t featured in the manga. On occasion, it actually added some good moments, like spending more time on the battle between Goku and Majin Vegeta. But more often than not, the filler featured really pointless scenes and fights, like when King Kai brought the Ginyu Force to his planet.
Tien, Chiaotzu, and Yamcha were still dead thanks to Nappa, and the Ginyu Force were dead as well, so right from the get go, there was really nothing more that could happen to any of the characters. There were no stakes in the fight except for King Kai testing out how much stronger the Z Fighters had gotten. But seeing how someone like Chiaotzu never participated in a fight again in the franchise, his training was totally insignificant. The Ginyu Force were fun on Namek, but here they were just pointless, and ultimately nothing more than another pointless distraction from the main battle with Frieza.
3. THE PARA PARA BROTHERS VS GOKU, PAN, AND TRUNKS
GT really had to get creative to find ways for Goku to get involved in challenging fights. By this point, he was so overpowered that he made almost everyone else look ridiculously weak. The solution the series took was to make even more absurdly powerful villains like Super Android 17, as well as the utilization of gimmicks that inhibited Goku’s ability to fight at full strength. The latter is what got us villains like the Para Para Brothers.
The three aliens didn’t look intimidating at all, but apparently had one of the most debilitating abilities in the franchise. By turning on their boom box and beginning to dance, they could force their opponents to dance as well. So Goku, Pan, and Trunks could only helplessly twirl and do the monkey as their opponents punched them in the face. It was kind of amusing, sure, but at the same time really sad that the strongest hero in the franchise could be beaten up by such a simplistic and silly technique. When these guys fared better against Goku than Frieza and Cell did in their GT rematch with the Saiyan, that’s not going to be a crowd pleaser.
2. GOHAN, KRILLIN, AND PICCOLO VS GARLIC JR.
Ask any fan of Dragon Ball Z what the worst saga of the series was and they’ll almost unanimously say the Garlic Jr. Saga. The anime-only saga was an example of the filler put into the show to keep it from blowing past the manga source material. And it really did come off as nothing more than filler with how little it had going for it. Goku and Vegeta, the two most popular characters in the show, aren’t even around to help. On top of that, Garlic Jr. just isn’t a compelling threat.
With only Gohan, Krillin, and Piccolo to carry this saga, the stakes just didn’t feel as high. What made it even worse was that Garlic Jr. is so stupid that he lost this fight the same way he lost it the first time. This saga assumes the Dead Zone movie is canon, a film that ends with Garlic being trapped in the eponymous world. And apparently he learned so little from that encounter that he opens the Dead Zone up once again only to be trapped in it a second time at the end of this fight. Boy, we can’t wait for Garlic Jr. to come back a third time, where maybe he’ll try this brilliant idea of opening up the Dead Zone again!
1. BIO-BROLY VS GOTEN AND KID TRUNKS
If we’re being frank, there was no way this fight was ever going to be good after what this movie did to Broly. The title of the film just felt like such false advertising, since the Broly everyone recognized and liked was barely even in the movie. Instead, we got a giant boring slime monster that had the villainous Saiyan’s name.
Making the situation worse was that Broly’s opponents were once again Goten and Kid Trunks. But unlike in Second Coming, Gohan wasn’t there this time to at least add a dash of seriousness to the fight. So the battle was between two children and an ugly lump of slime; revititing stuff.
While it’s possible that stronger protagonists could have helped support such a ludicrous film, there was simply no salvaging the movie’s ending. They finally defeat Bio-Broly by soaking him with water, and if Rage Shenron taught us anything, losing to water is one of the most anticlimactic ways to go. Bio-Broly is commonly considered the worst movie in the franchise, and it certainly deserves that reputation with this disappointing treatment of one of the series’ finest villains.
Which fight do you think was the worst of the franchise? Were there any we named that you think weren’t that bad? Share your thoughts in the comments!