The Dragon Ball franchise is almost unrivaled in terms of popularity, endearing characters, and white-knuckle action. However, it’s also notorious for convoluted storylines and story elements that contradict previous plot points. For a series that starts out as a fun parody of the Chinese novel Journey to the West, the plot gets extremely wacky as the story goes on. While things get a bit messy by the time the Namek saga rolls around, Dragon Ball goes totally off the rails in the Android saga with the introduction of Future Trunks.
This time traveler is a fan favorite character who managed to eliminate the space tyrant Freeza, prevent the unsealing of Future Majin Buu, and defeat the genocidal god Zamasu. Future Trunks is ridiculously cool, and his introduction as a mysterious sword-wielding Super Saiyan is one of the most memorable moments in the entire series. However, his time traveling antics raise a lot of unanswered questions and parts of the character don’t hold up quite as well as they used to.
While Future Trunks’ journeys to the past to stop the destruction of the world at the hands of the androids and then an evil Goku are some of the best arcs in Dragon Ball, the character also comes with a collection of problems are mostly ignored by the series and those who enjoy it. While none of these issues make Future Trunks any worse of a character, these elements, and the implications of his actions absolutely deserve some examination and exploration.
Here are 20 Things Wrong With Future Trunks We All Choose To Ignore.
20 He Idolizes Vegeta
Future Trunks grew up in a timeline where his father Vegeta passed away shortly after his birth while fighting the incredibly powerful Android 17 and 18. Under these circumstances, it’s totally understandable that a young Future Trunks would idolize his brave father who went honorably in battle, except by this point in the story Vegeta is still a pretty awful dude.
Sure, in the main timeline Vegeta learns that it’s okay for him to love his family, but, in Future Trunks' timeline, this Vegeta is still an egotistical monster who has no problem eliminating those who oppose him or innocent bystanders. With only the rose-colored stories of his mother to form his opinion of his father, Future Trunks genuinely thought his father was a great noble and honorable person; which is about as far from the truth as possible.
19 He Has a Bowl Cut
Let’s make one thing absolutely clear, Future Trunks is one of the coolest characters in Dragon Ball, if not all of anime. His stellar introduction to the series, style that blends together futuristic, retro-elements, and mysterious origins immediately made him a fan favorite character to young viewers all over the world.
However, Trunks' distinctive fashion sense does not work for everyone and he inspired way too many kids to get bowl-cuts despite their parents' warnings and disapproval. Future Trunks' bowl-cut may have inspired more regrettable haircuts than any other anime character in the history of the medium and ruined more elementary school yearbook pictures than perhaps any other fictional character. He didn’t just make kids look ridiculous, he made kids want to have awful haircuts and that will forever be a blemish on the character.
18 His Sword Creates a Time Paradox
The Dragon Ball canon is a bit sloppy and frequently contradicts itself. While the film Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon is generally considered non-canonical, it does try to explain the backstory of Future Trunks' sword. In this film, which takes place in the main Dragon Ball timeline, Kid Trunks is given a magical sword from the alien Tapion that’s seemingly identical to the one used by his future counterpart. However, this can’t be how Future Trunks got his sword, as time travel in Dragon Ball doesn’t have the events of one timeline affecting another.
So either Future Trunks did get his sword from Tapion in this manner, which breaks Dragon Ball’s time travel rules; or Kid Trunks got a sword identical to Future Trunks this way, which only inspires the question of how Future Trunks got his sword.
17 His Belt Isn’t Cool Anymore
Future Trunks may be a time traveler, but his fashion choices don’t stand the test of time. His half jacket is still a powerful look and his boots rock, but his seatbelt belt buckle is way out of style. Sure it was cool when Future Trunks made his first appearance and there was a stretch in the mid-2000s where everyone was trying to pull off that look, but that fashion choice is all but over now that it’s the tail end of 2018.
Sure, there’s a chance that seatbelt buckles will be back in style before too long and Future Trunks' iconic look will be one the cutting end of fashion once more, but that just isn’t the case right now with his dated accessorizing.
16 His Hair Changes Color Without Explanation
If you even remotely follow what’s going on with modern Dragon Ball or the broader Dragon Ball fandom, chances are you saw that Future Trunks reappeared in Dragon Ball Super and now has blue hair. If you skipped Dragon Ball Super and are curious why you didn’t hear about why his hair is blue, it’s because there isn’t any explanation given.
In Dragon Ball Super, Future Trunks’ hair is not only different, but the characters act like its always been that color. While Trunks’ new design is just as good as his old one, this is still a strange development.
15 His Girlfriend is a Time Paradox
In Dragon Ball Super, Future Trunks is dating a woman named Mai who is roughly his own age and it seems like they have known each other for a quite a while. However, Mai is one of the first characters to appear in Dragon Ball and appeared to be in her late teens or early twenties when Goku was a child.
The main timeline Mai is currently a child, due to a botched wish on the Dragon Balls. However, this can’t be why Mai is the same age as Trunks in the future, as the Dragon Balls don’t exist in the future and events that lead to her becoming a child again would not have happened in Future Trunks' timeline.
14 He Apparently Knows the Spirit Bomb Technique
At the end of the Goku Black storyline, Future Trunks destroys Fused Zamasu’s physical form by gathering the energy given to him by the remnants of humanity, transforming it into a Spirit Bomb attack, and then channeling that energy into his sword.
This is a thematically appropriate event and allows Future Trunks to finally become humanity's savior after years of struggling to live up to his expectations for himself. However, viewers never see Future Trunks learn the Spirit Bomb technique from one of the Kai deities and it was implied that Goku was the only person capable of gathering energy from other living beings. It’s not that this is a bad ending to this storyline, but his Spirit Sword attack comes out of left field and undermines the impact of this conclusion.
13 He Became a Supreme Kai Disciple Without Realizing
In the Dragon Ball Super manga, which loosely follows the events of the anime while diverging significantly at specific story beats, Future Trunks becomes a Supreme Kai Disciple without realizing that it and has access to a host of useful powers and abilities.
This is really odd and undermines Future Trunks' nature as a naive, but generally thoughtful, and intelligent character. To become a kai disciple, the Supreme Kai Shin would have had to perform a day-long ritual; meaning Trunks spent an entire day with the Supreme Kai dancing around him, without ever questioning the purpose of the bizarre activity. This plot point dumbs down Future Trunks to almost an incredible degree and breaks a reader’s suspension of disbelief.
12 We Don’t Know What His Last Name Is
Names in Dragon Ball are pretty weird. Most of them are puns and a good number of those puns don’t translate super well into English. For instance, Future Trunks and his family all have names that are based on articles of clothing. His name is clearly based on swim trunks, his mother’s name, Bulma, comes from bloomers, and his grandfather, Dr. Brief, is clearly from the corresponding style of underwear.
However, Dr. Brief’s created the common misconception that Bulma and Trunks’ last name is Brief. This isn’t the case, though, as Brief is the scientist’s first name and surnames don’t really exist in the Dragon Ball universe, outside of the Son Goku’s family. So after all this time, fans of the series still don’t know what Future Trunks’ last name is if he has one at all.
11 He’s Currently Living In a Time Paradox
At the end of the Goku Black saga in Dragon Ball Super, Whis sent Future Trunks and Mai to a new timeline where their universe was not yet destroyed. Here, they would have to work together with this timeline’s version of themselves to stop the evil Zamasu from enacting his evil plot to destroy humanity. However, this creates a wealth of paradoxes and breaks the time travel rules set earlier in the series.
In Dragon Ball time travel, changing the events in one timeline won’t affect other timelines. Since Future Trunks never traveled to this timeline, it’s very likely that this timeline could be totally dissimilar to his own. Having multiple versions of the same people is also likely to cause quite a few problems as well.
10 It Took Him Longer to Become a Super Saiyan
The main timeline Trunks appears as a baby in the Android saga, where Future Trunks appears also. In the Buu saga, the main timeline Trunks is known as Kid Trunks and he and Goku’s youngest son, Goten, play a pretty big role in the story. Strangely, though, Kid Trunks is able to transform into a Super Saiyan at a younger age than Future Trunks was able to.
Yes, you can argue that Kid Trunks was able to obtain this transformation sooner than his future counterpart because he was able to spend time training with Vegeta in a gravity chamber, but that still doesn’t negate the fact that it undermines the pain Future Trunks endured to earn that level of power. Future Trunks could only become a Super Saiyan after Future Gohan passed away, while Kid Trunks easily reached the form offscreen.
9 There Are Two Future Trunks
Further muddying the multiple timelines in Dragon Ball cannon, there are actually two Future Trunks that significantly affect the events of the story. There’s a timeline in Dragon Ball where a Future Trunks travels to the past, stops the Androids with the help of the Dragon Team, and then returns to his own timeline.
However, this Future Trunks is then swiftly taken down by an Imperfect Cell who takes his time machine and then travels back in time to feast on humanity and the Androids to obtain his perfect form. It’s a pretty unappreciated aspect of both Trunks and Cell’s character that Perfect Cell can only exist in one specific timeline, and only because a version of Future Trunks was eliminated by him.
8 He Never Gets Credit for eliminating Freeza
It’s a pretty commonly held misconception that Goku took down the evil space tyrant Freeza, when in fact Future Trunks was the one who ended the villain’s life the first time around. After recovering from his fight with Goku on Namek and enhancing his damaged body with mechanical limbs, Freeza travels to Earth with his father, King Cold, with the intent of enslaving the planet and eliminating the Dragon Team.
Future Trunks stops the father-son team in their tracks, though, and quickly ends both of their lives with his Super Saiyan might. This battle may not be as climatic as the fight between Goku and Freeza, but Future Trunks got the job done when Goku couldn't, and ought to get credit for it.
7 His Antics Contradict Common Understandings of Multiverse Theory
In Dragon Ball Super, the angel Whis reveals that there are 12 universes that make up Dragon Ball’s multiverse. However, Future Trunks’ time travel creates multiple timelines that are essentially multiple universes and seem to operate on a lot of the same principles.
Most fiction treats multiple timelines and multiple universes as one and the same, since they are functionally identical and separating them usually leads to quite a bit of confusion. While the perplexing and contradictory time travel mechanics and multiple universes in Dragon Ball are primarily the results of a lack of planning in the writing, Future Trunks introduced a lot of these issues and deserves to take at least some of the heat for these issues.
6 He Somehow Knows the Fusion Dance
In the Dragon Ball Heroes storyline, which takes place via an arcade game that ties-in manga, Future Trunks somehow knows the Fusion Dance and uses the technique to combine with Gohan and Vegeta. While Dragon Ball Heroes is non-canonical and essentially a way to depict some of the more popular fan theories, Future Trunks never learned the Fusion Dance from Goku, and only his main timeline counterpart should know this technique.
Yes, it is cool that Heroes finds a way to involve Future Trunks in its story and create even more fusion characters, but this plot point further blends the two Trunks and makes it harder to keep their unique abilities and personalities separate.
5 He Has a Super Saiyan Blue Transformation, But Not Really
By the time Future Trunks appears again in the Goku Black saga, the majority of the main characters are way more powerful than when he last saw them. Both Goku and Vegeta have Super Saiyan Blue transformations that allow them to battle against foes stronger than them.
To stay relevant, Future Trunks gains a form known as Super Saiyan Anger, that makes him nearly as strong as Goku and Vegeta in their Super Saiyan Blue forms, but it also further saturates the number of Super Saiyan transformations. The form used to be special and part of an ancient prophecy, but Super Saiyan Anger only makes the once iconic transformation feel even more mundane.
4 He Learned The Mafuba from a Cell Phone Video
A lot of the attacks in Dragon Ball are martial arts techniques that characters dedicated months or years of their lives towards mastering. Each technique is either invented by a fighter or passed down by a martial arts master to their most trusted students.
Which is why it’s odd and a bit upsetting that Future Trunks learns the Mafuba, one of the Turtle School’s most powerful attacks, from watching a cell phone video. Future Trunks is able to master this sealing technique to an extent where he is able to imprison the evil god Zamasu, in a matter of minutes. Future Trunks learning this attack so quickly through a video totally undercuts the skill and time it took other fighters in the series to learn the basics of it.
3 There Isn’t Much Fire in his Burning Attack
Future Trunks’ signature attack, and the one he uses to end the evil King Cold, is called the Burning Attack. It is super cool and involves him making an intricate series of hand signs before firing off a massive blast of energy. Oddly, though, there isn’t a lot of fire or heat involved in an attack that’s supposed to be burning.
If it weren't for the hand movements, this technique could be confused for just about any other blast attack that appears in Dragon Ball. Yes, the attack is awesome and incredibly powerful and, yes, it’s a really cool name for an attack; but it is noticeably misnamed and that lessens the impact of his signature move.
2 He Never Wins
While things usually work out alright in the end for Future Trunks, he almost never wins the fights that are the most important to him. He isn’t able to defeat the Androids in the past, he passes away in the final fight against Cell, and he only manages to damage Fused Zamasu’s physical form before he transforms into a cosmic plague.
While he does manage to defeat the Future Androids after he returns to his own timeline, the world is already destroyed by this point and he merely manages to bring their reign of terror to an end, rather than prevent it all together. Future Trunks is an amazing character, but it is disheartening to see that his entire life is a series of failures and concessions.
1 He Underutilized His Time Machine
While Future Trunks' plan to travel back in time and eliminate the Android threat before they could destroy the world was a solid one, he didn’t utilize the affordances of time travel nearly as well as he could have. When he first went back in time to warn the Dragon Team about the Androids that would appear in three years, he could have stayed in that time period and trained with the team rather than jump ahead three years, or spent that time hunting down the Androids lair and destroying them before they’re fully functional.
It makes sense that the Dragon Team would want to fight the Androids at their strongest to test their own abilities, but Trunks merely wants to stop their rampage and it’s odd that he didn’t use all of the options available to achieve this goal.
What else was wrong with Trunks in Dragon Ball? Let us know in the comments!