It’s a little crazy to think that when Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball franchise began back in the ‘80s, it was a relatively grounded martial arts series. It still took place in a universe that was skewed toward comedy as it was toward action and the show hadn’t even introduced extraterrestrials, alternate universes, gods, and the wealth of fancy transformations that have become so expected from the series yet. The world of Dragon Ball has evolved and changed in many ways since its inception, but one of the earliest characters that was introduced to the series and has remained a constant is Goku’s best friend, Krillin.
As other early cast members from Dragon Ball like Yamcha and Bulma slowly receded into the background, Krillin always stayed in the main picture to some degree, even if he wasn’t always making a difference. Krillin entered the series as a partner and rival of Goku and he’s grown as a fighter in some serious ways throughout the course of the series. It’s clear that Krillin is a character that’s important to the DNA of the series and, in spite of all of the high-powered Saiyans, he still remains relevant. Krillin’s been a big help in battle and a major friend of Goku throughout the series, but there are also some things about him that don't add up.
With that said, here are the Things That Make No Sense About Dragon Ball’s Krillin!
A lot of ridiculous energy attacks have come and gone in the various Dragon Ball series, and even though the Kamehameha is always going to be the show’s signature attack, Krillin’s Destructo Disc has also made a respectable name for itself. It’s also absurdly strong.
It's shown on numerous occasions that this attack can cut through anything. In fact, Buu is the only character that could survive the attack's powers. However, why isn't such an incredibly powerful attack used more often and exploited as much as possible? Either make it that strong and spam it, or scale back its power a little.
There are plenty of embarrassing gaffes that get made throughout the course of Dragon Ball, but it’s pretty funny to think that one of Krillin and Android 18’s initial interactions was built on such a fundamental misunderstanding.
After the fallout of Cell, Krillin attempts to use a remaining wish from the Dragon Balls to turn Android 18 and 17 into humans so that they can live happily ever after together. It's a funny moment when 18 points out that they're not a couple, but rather siblings. This also helps spawn her and Krillin's romantic relationship.
Clearly size doesn't matter in the Dragon Ball universe. The most powerful being of all, King Zeno, is only a few feet tall. Big surprises come in tiny packages.
It's said that Krillin is supposed to only be around 100 pounds, which actually seems about right for someone who's only five feet tall, however an important thing to consider here is that Krillin also has a lot of muscles, which would obviously contribute to more weight. Accordingly, 100 pounds seems pretty low for a Z Fighter, and even though this is getting critical to an unreasonable degree, it still doesn't make much sense.
Most Dragon Ball fans know that Krillin isn't bald and that he actually shaves his head. In fact, during his periods of down time, Krillin even goes back to growing out his hair as he settles down.
Krillin shaves his hair out of respect for martial arts and as a reminder to his days as a Shaolin monk, but it's also revealed that he actually believes that being bald makes him slightly stronger by helping with the increase of ki flow. He's surprised when he learns that Roshi's baldness isn't a choice. He rocks the style, though, even if his beliefs are slightly off.
Dragon Ball builds plenty of tension with its high stakes battles and evil invaders, but it’s important to remember that the series began with heavy comedic elements. The fate of the universe may often be in jeopardy, but this is still a show that knows how to get silly and it isn't afraid to get meta when the moment is right, usually by using Krillin as its mouthpiece.
In the movie Broly: The Second Coming, Krillin delivers the line, "None of you would have lasted a season without me!" Additionally, in Dragon Ball Z’s manga, Krillin calls out and draws attention to when the book lazily reuses some panels and he jokingly critiques Toriyama for it. It seems odd that Krillin is able to break the fourth wall while other characters can't.
The events of anime-only filler in Dragon Ball are always difficult to effectively judge, but they sometimes contain such fun additions to the story that it’s hard to pretend that they don’t exist. For instance, there’s a stretch of episodes during which some of the lesser Z Fighters venture to King Kai’s planet and train under his tutelage, yet Krillin is absent.
With all of time that Krillin spends in the afterlife, wouldn’t it make sense for him to decide to connect with King Kai at some point to learn some of the bigger techniques that he knows or just generally boost his power since King Kai is likely a better teacher than Master Roshi at this point?
As far as distinguishing features go, the unusual dots on Krillin’s forehead are arguably as iconic as Goku’s hair or Trunks’ sword. There are no special powers behind the markings. Instead, = the six dots on Krillin's head are part of a Shaolin monk tradition. The devout prove their faith by burning incense on their foreheads and letting it go all the way, leaving distinctive scars in the process.
The anime doesn't get too deep into these significant marks on Krillin's face, but that's their origin, as unorthodox as it may seem.
Once Dragon Ball Z enters its later stages, it becomes difficult for anyone who’s not a Saiyan to remain relevant when it comes to battle. Everyone continues to get stronger, but transformations became all the rage and humans just didn't have the same range that Saiyans did.
The Cell and Buu Sagas feature plenty of powerful Super Saiyans and even adds fusions in the mix, too, but unfortunately, Krillin becomes severely underused. During Buu's reign, he only gets one uninteresting match in the 25th World Martial Arts Tournament. Then in the Cell Saga, where he's even more relevant, he only gets to face off against a Cell Junior.
Krillin’s life before he goes to train with Master Roshi when he's twelve years old shows that he lived and trained at a Shaolin temple with a bunch of monks. While this shows off his background, it doesn't explain why he lived at the temple. Did he have parents who just happened to leave him there? Was he an orphan that the monks found and decided to train? There are definitely some questions around Krillin’s strange youth that have been left unanswered.
A lot of the pasts and families of Dragon Ball’s characters have been shown before (including Frieza's), but Krillin’s remains a mystery.
In another of Shin Budokai's alternate reality scenarios, Android 18 is the one who makes a wish with the Dragon Balls at the end of the Cell Saga, rather than Krillin. She still attempts to turn herself and her brother into humans, but when that fails, she comes up with an interesting alternative. Android 18 wishes to turn Krillin into an Android.
Shenron also denies this wish, but that being said, it's a curious thing that nearly happens. It also speaks to the power of Krillin and Android 18’s love and the weird paths that the show takes them down.
Power scaling is all over the place in Dragon Ball, especially in Dragon Ball Super. Even though both Krillin and Gohan’s powers have gone down as they’ve slacked in their training, they both get serious again later on and up their games. That being said, Krillin is able to defeat Gohan when they prepare for what’s to come, and even though he performs similarly well against Goku earlier in the season, this seems a little ridiculous.
As out of practice as Gohan is, Krillin shouldn’t be that powerful, especially because the fight consists of basic attacks and dodges and has nothing to do with anything too incredible in the energy attack department.
Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power is one of the series’ most exciting arcs because it not only introduces all sorts of new fighters, but it also allows many of the series’ old fan-favorites to rejoin the fray. Goku needs to fill Universe 7’s roster with the strongest fighters and it’s deeply satisfying to see faces like Android 17, Master Roshi, Tien, and Krillin reemerge.
Super spends a lot of time building up Krillin to do well in the tournament, but in the end, he’s the first person to be eliminated. At this point, he’s technically stronger than Roshi and Tien, yet he still loses. It’s a confusing blow.
It’s certainly an exciting moment during the fight against Frieza when the tyrant reveals that he actually has multiple forms and that he’s only been using a fraction of his strength. Each of Frieza’s forms have their own strengths and weaknesses, but Krillin really blows it when it comes to Frieza’s first transformation.
Krillin manages to successfully blind Frieza’s second form with his Solar Flare technique. It's a gambit that he pulls off in order to keep Gohan, Dende, and Vegeta safe, but it’s one that works and temporarily disables Frieza. However, at this pivotal moment, Krillin just abandons Frieza and retreats. He could have ended him with a Destructo Disc, but he doesn't even try.
When both Krillin and Android 18 decide to participate in the Tournament of Power, they need to find someone to watch after their daughter, Marron. Naturally, Bulma or Chi-Chi would be sound choices, as they're the ones who are typically on babysitting duty (and they have other kids present), but instead, they decide to leave her with Goten and Trunks.
On top of this, Goten and Trunks are already busy guarding Android 17's wildlife island, so they're not exactly free or in a safe place. Krillin exhibits reservations about this decision, but that makes his choice to go through with it even worse.
In Dragon Ball Super, when Goku recruits Krillin for the Tournament of Power, he also wants to get him back in proper fighting shape and guarantee that he’ll be able to hold his own. Part of this training involves Roshi’s suggestion to send them to the Forest of Terror where many of the past foes who have defeated Krillin, like Tamborine, Frieza, and Super Buu, are all present.
Though Krillin is no longer as powerful at this point, foes like Tamborine or Frieza shouldn’t be freaking him out anymore. He’s still come a long way and while the episode is helpful for his character development, it’s also pretty disrespectful about how far along he’s come, too.
There are plenty of ways to increase your power level in Dragon Ball, but it’s definitely a bonus when someone just gives you that extra strength as thanks for your help. As a sign of gratitude, the Grand Elder Guru unlocks Krillin and Gohan's powers, which is said to allow them to access their "full potential."
First off, this phrasing is problematic because it's unclear if it means their full potential in that one moment or their full potential ever. Additionally, Krillin observes that the Guru increases his power level by tens of thousands, which is certainly convenient, but it also seems a little implausible. How does he have so much locked power?
Krillin is Goku's best friend and he's very a much a family man in the later stages of Dragon Ball Z. However, during Krillin's introduction in Dragon Ball, he's quite the creep. He bribes his way into Roshi's Turtle School with contraband and he's very much a cheater who will go to any means necessary to win.
Obviously characters can grow up and change, but Krillin's adult self is so different than the childhood version that this youthful take on the character almost seems like a mistake, especially when you consider that he came from a Shaolin temple.
Krillin's decision to become a police officer makes perfect sense. He decides to use his strength to help those in need and also wants to make a living to support his family. While this all seems ideal, Krillin appears to take a fair bit of gunfire and show utter fear while on the job, even though he's well equipped for this task.
A lot of this has to do with Krillin getting his mojo back, but he takes damage from gunfire ,and even if he's out of shape, he shouldn't be that vulnerable. It doesn't make much sense. After all, if he is that weak then he shouldn't be constantly in the line of fire.
The Spirit Bomb is Goku’s trademark big finish, but he’s not the only one who gets to wield such a powerful attack. Technically, there's evidence of Krillin firing off a Spirit Bomb in the battle against Vegeta. Goku passes off his Spirit Bomb to Krillin to throw at Vegeta, but this isn't the only time when this has happened.
In Supersonic Warriors, after Goku perishes from his heart virus, he returns to Earth for a day to teach the move to Krillin, as well as the Kaio-Ken Attack. In the end, Krillin puts these skills to use to defeat Cell during the Cell Games. It's even a move that Krillin is capable of performing in Xenoverse 2.
During the Cell Saga, Krillin opts to save Android 18 and keep her alive, which ultimately turns out to be a good decision. However, for a while, at least, it's a major blunder. Cell is able to absorb her and Android 17 in order to become his Perfect form and cause all sorts of chaos.
Krillin allows this to happen by proxy and all he really bases his decision to save 18 on is that she kisses him and doesn't exhibit complete malice. It's a bad choice that could have made things much worse for everyone involved.
One of the most appealing parts of the earlier stages of Dragon Ball is that everyone is more or less at a comparable power level. When it comes to tournaments, it’s never clear who’s going to win or who will be the first one out, which is certainly not the case in the series now.
Fortuneteller Baba decides to throw a tournament and Krillin pretty much immediately loses Baba's challenge even though he's come a long ways and is more or less on equal footing with Goku at this point. Furthermore, Puar goes on to win the fight that Krillin loses, which is pretty darn insulting.
Yamcha has arguably turned into Dragon Ball’s resident punching bag and joke, but Krillin isn’t far away on the mockery scale. There was definitely a time when Krillin’s ineptitude and tendency to expire in battle became a running joke among the Dragon Ball community.
Plenty of people don’t make it in Dragon Ball and even Goku has met an unfortunate end several times, but the series has also stressed that Krillin is the world’s strongest human. So why is he always the one who passes on the most? Even in Dragon Ball GT, Krillin continues to meet an untimely end. It doesn’t exactly seem fair.
The characters in Dragon Ball are so often in battle or away on another planet that it’s easy to lose track of where they all live and go to relax. Bulma’s house is often designated as the hangout spot, but the Z Fighters don't all live there.
Believe it or not, Krillin and Android 18 actually live in the Kame House with Master Roshi and his collection of animals and creatures, even after they have their daughter, Marron. It's not until Dragon Ball Super that the family finally moves out and finds a place in Satan City. They lived at Kame House for seven years, which couldn't have been comfortable.
In the Buu Saga, it’s alluded to that Piccolo and Krillin performed the fusion dance for Goten and Trunks to show them how it’s done. We don’t actually see this, but Akira Toriyama indulged fans and drew a hypothetical picture of it in Weekly Shonen Jump, giving this fusion some weight, even though it and many others have popped up in games like Dragon Ball Fusions.
However, the fusion dance relies on exact measurements, and Piccolo and Krillin are not only a different species, but they’re also vastly different heights. It’s hard to imagine how such a fusion would be successful in the first place.
Though Goku has lent the power of the Spirit Bomb to Krillin on some rare occasions, it is usually Goku who hurls the attack. However, in Shin Budokai, Goku gives Krillin the energy of a Spirit Bomb and Krillin chooses to absorb it. Rather than using the Spirit Bomb as a projectile, Krillin uses the power-up to gain enough strength to be able to fight Frieza.
This strategy isn’t exhibited by anyone else. Trunks manages to channel the power of the Spirit Bomb into his sword, but Krillin is one of the extreme few who has used it for such a boost of physical strength.
It’s repeatedly stated by various guidebooks and even Toriyama himself that Krillin is Earth’s strongest human. Dragon Ball Super does a lot of work to redeem Krillin and show that he’s still got a strong fighting spirit within him, but it’s hard to believe that he’s also stronger than Tien.
Tien is always training and he also possesses certain mystic links, whereas Krillin lets himself go later on. Furthermore, Tien also shows in Super that he’s come a long way, as he lasts longer in the Tournament of Power than Krillin does, so how is he weaker than Krillin?
Ironically, Dragon Ball has slowly turned into the Goku and Vegeta Show. Because of this, fans now want more of the series’ side characters and less of Goku, the protagonist, saving the day. Initially, Toriyama's editor told him that he thought Goku was bland and that they needed a more interesting character in the series. As a response to this, Toriyama created Krillin, who was very different than Goku and more comedic.
However, at this point, it's kind of crazy to think of Krillin as a more exciting alternative to Goku. If anything, it's the opposite now.
Krillin and Android 18's relationships is one of the strongest in all of Dragon Ball. Their love for one another even turns into a compelling plot point during the Tournament of Power and the secret to their strength. It’s unlikely that these two are going to call it quits anytime soon, but Krillin may still harbor some lingering feelings for his previous girlfriend, Maron.
Krillin and Android 18’s daughter is named Marron, which has repeatedly been refuted as a mere coincidence, but it seems far too coincidental. After all, his daughter's name is almost identical. It’s pretty hard to ignore this.
Goku and company’s battle against Frieza is certainly one of their most grueling battles, as it forces many of the fighters to consider bleak compromises in order to survive. During an extreme moment of desperation during the fight against Frieza, Krillin supports Vegeta's plea for immortality because it would allow them to finally be able to defeat him.
This is an awful idea, however, as Vegeta is still very much a villain at that point and would certainly go on to eliminate Goku afterwards. War can make people think crazy things, but this feels like a particularly off moment, especially since child Gohan even knows better.
In the original Dragon Ball series, there's a competitor in the World Martial Arts Tournament named Bacterian who's major asset in battle is his putrid smell. Bacterian smells so bad that many fighters are completely helpless to his odor. So of course, Krillin is able to beat Bacterian because he doesn’t have a nose (something that Goku needs to remind him about).
It's fun to see Toriyama and company have fun with the character designs in such a literal way, but the idea that Krillin actually has no nose and that he "breathes through his skin" is pretty insane.
Are there any other things about Krillin in Dragon Ball that don't make sense? Let us know in the comments!