It’s wonderful that many anime series have the luxury of running for hundreds of episodes and can allow their story to grow and evolve in ways that would be a dream for most animations. Dragon Ball has decades of material and multiple series under its belt, which allows the series to cover a ton of content and shift styles through the years, but it also opens the show up to inconsistencies and plot holes.
As Dragon Ball has expanded its story and mythology through the years, it’s understandable for a few hiccups in continuity to take place. That being said, even though Dragon Ball has made some mistakes or been unable to reconcile certain oversights, there are still a number of “problems” that aren’t actually problems. Sometimes, Dragon Ball is crafty with its execution, but it does try to clear up questions from its hefty mythos and connect its dots whenever it’s possible. This show, like any show, isn’t perfect, but it deserves more credit than it gets for how well it juggles the many storylines and hanging threads that have cropped up over the decades. Accordingly, here are 30 Dragon Ball Plot Holes (That Aren’t Actually Plot Holes)!
30 Whether Great Apes Can Be Controlled Or Are Reckless
It’s funny to think that back in the days of the original Dragon Ball series, the Saiyan’s Great Ape transformation was the peak for the race. Provided that Saiyans have a tail, when they get a glimpse of the full moon (or a respectable substitute) they transform into giant apes that gain a tremendous power boost, but they also give up their intelligence and free will and become reckless animals... Or do they.
Only the Saiyan Elite can control this form, which is why Vegeta can handle it, for instance. Additionally, even in Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Broly’s Great Ape form is uncontrollable because in spite of his strength, his family were still low-class Saiyans.
29 Why The Forest Of Terror Presents The Villains That It Does
In Dragon Ball Super, Master Roshi sends Goku and Krillin on an errand that takes them into the illusory Forest of Terror. The forest presents a number of projections of Krillin’s past foes, yet they’re all people he’s incredibly stronger than at this point.
The reasoning for this is that the forest taps into the innermost fears of the most vulnerable. Goku is fine in this moment and Krillin is the one who needs to get his groove back. Furthermore, Krillin may now be much stronger than characters like Tambourine, but they currently spook him because he’s been out of the game and is worried about his safety in the upcoming tournament.
28 How Can Piccolo Destroy The Moon If It’s Already Been Destroyed?
Fairly early on in Dragon Ball, people figure out how troublesome the moon can be in terms of Saiyan transformations. Accordingly, Master Roshi (as Jackie Chun) destroyed the moon with a MAX Power Kamehameha during the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament in order to defeat Goku. However, during Piccolo’s training with Gohan in Dragon Ball Z, he also resorts to destroying the moon when Gohan’s Great Ape form overpowers him, so what gives?
The answer’s actually pretty easy: After Roshi destroys the moon, Kami promises to restore it if Goku promises to cut off his tail. This also opens up the larger issue that people like Kami have the power to restore the moon.
27 Villains Are Able To Keep Their Bodies In The Afterlife
Towards the beginning of Dragon Ball Z, the series establishes that only the truly good get to keep their bodies in the Afterlife as a form of reward. Goku gains this right, but those that aren’t as fortunate are turned into nondescript spirits. Later on, villains like Frieza, the Ginyu Force, and Cell are all shown with their bodies after their demises.
This is eventually explained in some sense by how the series expands its Afterlife to include a Heaven and a Hell. So, bad guys keep their bodies, but they get sent to this prison of sorts. This becomes even more fluid when it’s revealed that Frieza is sent to his own personal Hell.
26 Gogeta’s Strength Versus Vegito’s Strength
There’s been much debate in the Dragon Ball community between Vegito and Gogeta, the two separate fusions that exist for Goku and Vegeta. There’s still no consensus on which of the two is stronger, and Gogeta has always kind of been the odd one out because he only appears in the non-canonical movies and Dragon Ball GT.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly finally ends this debate and brings Gogeta into the canon for real. Furthermore, the Gogeta fusion is not turned to because it’s stronger, but rather because the two don’t have the Potara earrings necessary to make Vegito. If anything, it establishes that they’re equal (both can go Super Saiyan Blue)!
25 Why Doesn’t Beerus Or Other Universes Aid In The Fight Against Buu?
It’s logical that no higher powers intervene in the fights against Frieza or Cell, but when it’s eventually revealed that powers like Beerus and other universes exist, why didn’t they lend a hand against Buu and his violent ways?
Due to Beerus’ habits pre-Dragon Ball Super, it’s probable that he could have been sleeping through this entire Buu ordeal. It’s clear that Beerus doesn’t like to intervene in matters; he only goes to Earth because of his premonitions and curiosity over a Super Saiyan God. Furthermore, the other universes all tend to stick to their own universe’s business. It’s exactly why Frieza doesn’t try and go and conquer other weaker universes.
24 Vegeta Can Become Super Saiyan 4, But Skips Super Saiyan 3
Vegeta is clearly one of the strongest characters in the Dragon Ball universe, but the series’ figurehead, Goku, is the one that gets to experience and sample all of the fancy, Super Saiyan transformations. Goku gets to check off each of the Super Saiyan boxes, but in spite of Vegeta’s power, he doesn’t get that luxury. In fact, he goes all the way from Super Saiyan 2 to Super Saiyan 4 and skips a Super Saiyan stage in the process!
This maneuver isn’t typical and has everything to do with how Bulma helps Vegeta “cheat” to reach this stage. She creates a machine that administers artificial Blutz Waves that allows Vegeta to unlock the stage.
23 Why Doesn’t Cooler Transform Beyond His Second Form?
In the fifth Dragon Ball Z film, it turns out that Frieza has a brother by the name of Cooler. The character was popular enough to get the next film devoted to him and he’s been a steady presence in the Dragon Ball video games. Since Cooler is the same species as Frieza, it should mean that he has the same arsenal of transformations at his disposal. So, why doesn’t he go beyond his second form to defeat Goku?
Cooler eventually does show off his more advanced forms, albeit in the promotional anime Super Dragon Ball Heroes. In that, he becomes Golden Cooler, which shows he hasn’t fallen that behind his brother.
22 Different Namekians Aging Rates
Namekians are a fascinating race to come out of Dragon Ball, and even though a lengthy detour is made to Planet Namek, they never get analyzed to the same level as the Saiyans. A number of different Nameks are met and they raise some questions about just how quickly Namekians age. In Dragon Ball, Piccolo shifts from a child to an adult in only a few years, yet Dende’s aging is much more gradual, and Kami’s on a whole other level.
While this doesn’t entirely clear up the issue, a lot of this has to do with whether you’re a Dragon or Warrior class Namekian, as well as how much you exert your body.
21 Buu’s Physique
A very fun aspect of the otherwise powerful villain, Buu, is that the character had a number of different versions of himself that would spawn out of him and represent various facets of his character. It was a much more complex ability than merely transforming into a new form. There are skinny, fat, old, and young Buus that come to life, but the “good” one that sticks around has a pudgy physique that he uses to his advantage.
Many thought that Buu’s heft would be a disadvantage to the character, but Dragon Ball Super reveals that Buu can actually shed these pounds. He tones up, slims down, and becomes even stronger.
20 Ultra Instinct Versus Super Saiyan Blue Advanced
A satisfying aspect of watching Dragon Ball is seeing the new transformations that characters unlock and who’s the furthest along in power. Dragon Ball Super starts to play with power levels and transformations in a curious way when Goku and Vegeta’s next tiers diverge. Goku unlocks Ultra Instinct in the Tournament of Power, but when Vegeta reaches comparable strength, he instead transforms into something different, Super Saiyan Blue Advanced (or Evolution, as it’s sometimes called).
This isn’t to say that Vegeta can’t tap into Ultra Instinct, it’s just that he and Goku focus on different skillsets, which is why they both unlock different transformations. It’s not as if each form is exclusive to each character.
19 Broly’s History And The Saiyans’ Past
It was always a double-edged sword when Dragon Ball would jump to the past and fill in details about Goku’s infancy and the Saiyans’ rocky relationship with Frieza before their demise. Furthermore, the temptation to add more Saiyans into the mix led to Broly’s backstory in Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan, which further complicated an already shaky history.
There were many inconsistencies in terms of these events, as well as what goes down with Bardock due to several specials and texts handling the material in different ways. Dragon Ball Super: Broly creates the new, definitive timeline and puts all of this to rest. It also gives Broly and Paragus a real backstory that makes sense.
18 Who Defeats Buu In Future Trunks’ Timeline If Goku Isn’t Around?
Time travel is always going to be tricky business that can cause more inconsistencies than it’s worth. When Future Trunks first pays Goku and company a visit, it’s in response to the invasion of the Androids and Cell. After that problem is handled, Future Trunks returns to his timeline, but we know that it’s only a matter of time until Buu rears his head. If Goku’s not in Future Trunks’ timeline, then who beats Buu over there?
When Future Trunks returns in Dragon Ball Super, he says that the events of the Buu Saga do eventually come to pass in his timeline, but he takes care of Dabura and Babidi before they can resurrect Buu.
17 How 17 Recognizes Goku’s Voice During His Spirit Bomb Request
Fan service in a series can be a wonderful thing, but it can also cause problems when it’s not properly thought through. A prime example of this is that when Goku calls for energy for his Spirit Bomb against Buu, Android 17 is one of the people that hands over some strength. He also remarks that he recognizes Goku’s voice, yet he and Goku technically never meet!
This gets cleared up in Dragon Ball Super when the two do meet for the first time. 17 clarifies that even after he was absorbed by Cell, he could still hear everything that was going on outside of his body, such as his encounters with Goku.
16 Why Some Saiyans Can Turn Into Super Saiyans Without Trauma
Back when it seemed like Super Saiyan transformations were going to be a rarity, there were slightly different conditions in place for how to reach this echelon of power. Goku, Future Trunks, Vegeta, and Gohan all experience severe pain as a catalyst that pushes their power into Super Saiyan territory. It was described as a necessary component to the form, but then it slowly falls off the map.
Accordingly, Dragon Ball Super features scenes where Goku and Vegeta tutor Cabba, Kale, and Caulifla on how to become Super Saiyans and it turns out that it’s actually less rage-based and more to do with the stimulation and concentration of energy near the tailbone.
15 Trunks And Goten Can Become Super Saiyans At Such A Young Age
Turning into a Super Saiyan is an extreme milestone for Goku and Vegeta. It’s such an elusive power that it eluded the Saiyan race for centuries. Clearly, it takes a lot to reach this level, yet Goten and Trunks both achieve Super Saiyan status in their adolescence!
For one, the series explains that Saiyan-human hybrids have a higher capacity for power, which surely aids Goten and Trunks. Additionally, Trunks going through extensive gravity training with Vegeta and Goku allegedly maintains Super Saiyan status during Goten’s conception. They’re extreme circumstances, but they appear to work. Having Goku and Vegeta for your parents probably doesn’t hurt either.
14 The Inconsistent Time That Passes During Battles
There are plenty of action and shonen anime series that draw out battles or have lengthy stretches of filler, but few are more infamous than Goku’s lengthy battle against Frieza on Namek that’s only supposed to cover five minutes of time. This battle clearly shows that time is fluid in Dragon Ball and that certain fights will distill time in a way that’s more advantageous to how it’s presented.
There’s also the possibility that time moves completely differently and operates on an entirely different scale. The Tournament of Power, for instance, uses “takis” as its measurement of time, so details like this could also explain other suspiciously short or long battles.
13 Why Is Uub A Reincarnation Of Buu?
Plenty of villains meet their end in the Dragon Ball universe, but for the most part, that means that these troublesome antagonists are out of the picture. However, towards the end of Dragon Ball Z, one of the series’ most wicked villains, Kid Buu, gets the privilege of being reborn as a good-hearted fighter, Uub. It’s a huge perk, but why does he deserve this luxury?
Buu’s reincarnation doesn’t just happen, but rather, it’s a subtle wish that Goku makes to Shenron. This shows that reincarnation isn’t a constant thing in the universe, but something that can still happen under the right circumstances. It’s maybe a tactic that Goku should try more often.
12 Frieza’s Inclusion In The Tournament Of Power
Dragon Ball Super deserves some credit for not only the number of twists that it pulls off, but also how many old faces it brings back into the forefront in a serious way. After some last minute complications, Frieza becomes the final addition to Universe 7’s team for the Tournament of Power. It’s a bold strategy by Goku, but wouldn’t it make sense to recruit a villain that’s conceivably stronger and less prone to betrayal, like Cell?
Cell would certainly be a strong ally, but Frieza also proves that he’s still getting stronger and unlocking new forms. Despite his frequency in the series, he’s still the best pick.
11 The Never Ending Supply Of Warriors In The Frieza Force
Frieza has shown on several occasions that he’s capable of destroying an entire planet on his own, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t appreciate some backup. Another reason why Frieza’s power is so intimidating is because of the expansive amount of soldiers in his committed Frieza Force. These fighters continue to get wiped out — most notably in Resurrection ‘F’ — so where do more recruits keep coming from?
Dragon Ball Super: Broly helps show the recruitment process and how Frieza will make new warriors out of displaced fighters from across space.
10 Why Frieza Knows About Super Saiyans, But Not Super Saiyan Gods
It’s difficult when a show goes on for as long as Dragon Ball because it sometimes means that new developments will clash with some of the established canon from its earlier, simpler years. For example, Frieza eliminates the Saiyan race because of his fear over an emerging Super Saiyan. This was the strongest transformation at the time, but now, there’s so much more and Beerus has a similar premonition over a Super Saiyan God, for example.
Frieza’s clunky motives get tidied up in Dragon Ball Super: Broly, when the past material gets retconned and expanded to include the more recent developments of Super Saiyan Gods.
9 Why Pan Never Becomes Super Saiyan
Pan may still be a wee toddler in Dragon Ball Super, but Dragon Ball GT puts an older version of the character center stage alongside Goku and Trunks. Pan makes for an entertaining main character and she definitely comes into her own, but in spite of her considerable strength, she never turns into a Super Saiyan. At the time, many thought that this might have something to do with Pan’s gender.
This is not the case, and apparently, they wanted to make Pan a Super Saiyan, but couldn’t figure out how to do her hair, as laughable as that sounds. Super also clearly proves that women can become a Super Saiyan without difficulty.
8 Mr. Satan’s True Nature Not Coming Out
Hercule Satan enters Dragon Ball Z during its later stages, but he becomes a consistent source of comic relief that never quite leaves the series. Mr. Satan is supposed to be the series’ take on a realistically strong character who’s a gigantic showboat and wants to trick people into thinking that he has Saiyan-like strength. In spite of how Mr. Satan has gotten credit and stolen the spotlights for Goku’s actions, it’s still surprising that he’s been able to fool the public for so long.
Mr. Satan apparently continues to manipulate the public by buying good press and in Dragon Ball Super, it’s revealed that he’s even put together a feature film to push his propaganda.
7 New Gods Of Destruction And How The Position Is Filled
As Dragon Ball continues to expand its boundaries and introduce stronger fighters, the addition of each universe’s God of Destruction isn’t that surprising. It makes sense that such a juggernaut would be at the top of each universe, but with people like Goku and Vegeta possessing such power, shouldn’t they also qualify? How is the fancy position even chosen?
Dragon Ball Super’s manga fills in a few details about the specifics of the God of Destruction role. Whis helps train Vegeta for the role to potentially replace someone and Goku even starts to learn Beerus’ “Destroy” ability, which shows that it’s not exclusive to official Gods of Destruction (but may be stronger in that context).
6 The Fact That There Are Two Zenos
Dragon Ball Super brings Grand King Zeno into the mix and he’s basically the unfathomably strong individual that governs over all twelve universes; he can wipe out an entire universe with minimal effort. Due to Goku’s efforts, the Zeno from Future Trunks’ timeline gets brought into the present and there are now two Zenos who live together in harmony. With the immense strength of just one of these individuals, how can two be allowed to co-exist and then why wouldn’t there also be a Past Zeno?
Timeline’s don’t work that way, and even though the presence of two Zenos is very volatile, if it’s for the better of all of the universes, then it’s allowed.
5 Vegeta Becomes A Super Saiyan God Without The Ceremony
The big centerpiece around the Battle of Gods feature film and the first arc in Dragon Ball Super is that Goku needs to undergo a special ceremony in order to become a Super Saiyan God. The transformation is a mystery to most, but if six righteous Saiyans contribute their energy to another Saiyan, they can achieve that power. It works for Goku, and then later on in the series, Vegeta is also able to become a Super Saiyan God, but he never underwent such an ordeal!
Apparently, the ceremony is the more traditional route to become a Super Saiyan God, but it can still be unlocked via brute strength, it’s just more difficult.
4 Buu’s Lengthy Slumber That Keeps Him From The Tournament Of Power
It’s rather exciting when it looks like Buu will be one of Universe 7’s fighters for the Tournament of Power. Buu is so gung-ho for the event that he even whips himself in shape like never before. Unfortunately, at the last minute, Buu is unable to compete and Universe 7 needs to find a new teammate because Buu falls asleep and simply can’t be woken up.
Buu’s sleep feels like a plot contrivance and an easy way to create drama before the Tournament of Power begins, but considering how long Buu hibernated in the past, this actually makes a lot of sense.
3 Why Kale Can Become A Legendary Super Saiyan
Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power arc got people’s attention because it meant a wealth of new fighters would be introduced. This could also be a sly way to finally get non-canonical characters into the canon via dopplegangers from other universes. This is what happens with Universe 6’s Kale, who for all intents and purposes is the female equivalent to Broly. She berserks just like he does, but it’s never made clear why.
The likely answer here is that each universe has their own Legendary Super Saiyan and Kale is Universe 6’s. Furthermore, each universe is shown to have mirror versions of other characters, like Frost, so Kale’s resemblance to Broly isn’t unprecedented.
2 The Connection Between Gods Of Destruction And Supreme Kais
After Beerus and Whis appear, a rather substantial bombshell is dropped in regard to the relationship between Gods of Destruction and Supreme Kais. The information comes out that if one of the individuals in this pair gets eliminated, then the other goes with him. So, why don’t more people take advantage of this loophole and try to eliminate the Supreme Kai to take out the God of Destruction?
Such a move could be done, but it’s not as if Supreme Kais are weak, and there’s still a strong support system in place here. It’s hard to believe that someone like Zeno wouldn’t step in if things got out of hand.
1 Shenron Is Afraid of Beerus
Ever since the start of Dragon Ball, the most awe-inspiring entity has been the mighty Shenron. He might not be a fighter or have visible physical strength, but the ability to grant basically any wish is a whole lot more impressive than brute power. However, it seems ridiculous that someone like Shenron would be afraid of anything, but he totally freaks out and acts out of character when Beerus threatens him.
It’s likely that Beerus could destroy Shenron, but by the same rationale, Shenron would also be able to wish immortality on himself or use his powers against Beerus. What makes more sense is that Shenron is just surprised to see someone like Beerus on Earth.
These were the most significant plot holes that weren't actually plot holes from Dragon Ball, but there are still even more out there! Now’s your chance to sound off in the comments below with your favorites!