Dragon Ball is a series that is all about characters who go too far. The characters within the Dragon Ball, Z, GT, and Super shows evolve from simple martial artists into fighters that are more powerful than the strongest Gods.
This is as extreme as a series can get, but Dragon Ball has always been strangely upfront about how much of a spectacle it is. Even before it introduces aliens and Super Saiyans into the canon, it plays around with boys who turn into apes, androids, and demon kings. It is thus far from a grounded series.
A lot of the fun of each new arc comes from finding out what new ridiculous places the series will explore. Usually these new storylines are enjoyed by fans, but there are times when certain decisions that the series makes— whether they be major plot points or minor details— can simply be too much for audiences to handle.
Whether it’s certain acts of violence, inappropriate content, or sheer implausibility, Dragon Ball is still guilty of getting out of control. Some of these moments amount to simple frustrations, but other examples are so drastic that audiences even jumped ship.
With that said, here are the 15 Times Dragon Ball Went Way TOO Far!
15 When Imperfect Cell Drains Humans
This is just pure nightmare fuel. For those who wanted Dragon Ball to pull more from the filmography of David Cronenberg, then Imperfect Cell is a dream come true. Cell proves to be a formidable villain that even ends up taking Goku's life, but his earlier insect-like forms highlight Dragon Ball at its most creepy.
Imperfect Cell needs to absorb energy from life forms in order to gain strength and achieve his more powerful forms. Cell's android-gulping antics are disturbing in their own right, but what's worse is the stuff that he does with his tail.
Imperfect Cell's tail drains the life from its victims, leaving behind droopy husks of skin. One of the series' most unsettling scenes is when the Z Warriors discover all of the corpses that Cell has drained. It's one thing to find dead bodies, but this goes out if its way to be way too graphic and gross.
14 When Majin Vegeta Kills Spectators To Prove He's Evil
Vegeta’s return to the dark side during the Buu Saga makes for one of the most exciting chapters from the series. It provides a viable reason for Goku and Vegeta to square off again and conjure much of the same magic from their first fight at the start of the series. Majin Vegeta versus Goku is one of the best fights from the show and a lot of it has to do with the fact that Vegeta is “evil” again.
There are many moments throughout Majin Vegeta’s run on the show where the character goes out of his way to show how evil he is. Vegeta has had his good guy status for so long at this point that the series knows that it has to really prove that he’s evil, otherwise people won’t buy it.
One of the most shocking examples of this is when Majin Vegeta randomly shoots a blast of energy at the World Martial Arts Tournament. The blast kills a number of innocent spectators and nearly kills even Bulma. What makes Vegeta’s callous actions so offensive here is that he kills these people just to get Goku’s attention and prove that he’s a bad guy.
13 When Goku Trades Bulma To Roshi In Exchange For Training
One of the more interesting relationships throughout the entirety of Dragon Ball is Goku's friendship with Bulma. The two have known each other longer than any other characters on the show and have thus gone through some exceedingly weird adventures together. This is especially true during the early years of Dragon Ball.
Life gets considerably weirder for Goku and Bulma when they encounter Master Roshi, who often pushes good taste to its limits. Roshi constantly acts inappropriately around Bulma. One of the ickiest examples of this is when he offers to train Goku.. in exchange for Bulma.
That’s only the tip of this iceberg, though, as Roshi does not let up with Bulma once she gets within his grasp. Not only does this objectify Bulma, but Goku is also far too young to understand what's going on. Roshi instills his creepy values on this young boy who simply wants to become stronger. Why wasn't Roshi interested in any of Bulma's tech skills? This would have been a far more appropriate trade.
12 When Dr. Gero Impales Yamcha
It's become a bit of a running joke that Yamcha is Dragon Ball’s resident punching bag. Even now, in Dragon Ball Super, the show still kicks him around. It’s truly hard to believe that, at one point, this guy and Goku were equals in battle.
After the conclusion of the Frieza Saga, the show felt like it had reset a little and that anyone was capable of unlocking new strength. That's why it's especially heartbreaking when Yamcha squares up against Dr. Gero and just gets decimated.
It's a depressing death because it sees Yamcha make an early return to his vacation home in the afterlife, but it also goes out of its way to be vicious. Dr. Gero impales Yamcha with his arm and it makes all the abuse that he suffers from Nappa look like child's play.
This could have been the perfect opportunity for Yamcha to rise back into the spotlight and show off some new ability, but instead he just continues to prove how expendable he is.
11 When Bojack Crushes Gohan
The Dragon Ball movies have a contentious reputation amongst the fans. Bojack Unleashed is one of the better films due to some impressive fight choreography and character designs. It's also a movie where Gohan gets to be front and center due to the fact that Goku is currently dead at that point in the canon.
The battles against Bojack and his goons certainly don’t hold back in the brutality department. Because Gohan is now an adult, the material seems to also grow up, depicting bloodier and gorier scenes than ever before.
Bojack really beats the bejeezus out of Gohan. However, things go too far when the Saiyan starts to cough up blood. Despite this, Bojack continues his pounding and begins to crush Gohan's ribs. It’s a brutal attack that goes on longer than it needs to, but at least Gohan comes out on top when all is said and done.
10 When Future Trunks Slices And Dices Frieza
This has become one of the most well known moments from all of Dragon Ball Z. First of all, the scene is genuinely surprising, as it marks the return of a villain that the audience thought was dead. Secondly, it also introduces an extremely cool new character to the series. Even if the scene wasn't incredibly graphic it would still be one of Dragon Ball’s most memorable scenes… but it is incredibly graphic.
Trunks makes his grand appearance here and uses it as an excuse to show off his signature weapon: a sword. That might seem pretty basic when these characters can shoot out energy blasts, but boy does it is it effective.
What follows is one of the most violent moments in the series up until that point. Trunks slices the tyrant into dozens of pieces and then blows them up. This level of aggression definitely isn't needed, but it sure is cathartic.
9 When Garlic Jr.’s Spice Boys Kill Innocent Villagers
Garlic Jr. and his Spice Boys may not be anyone's favorite villains, but they still leave an impact due to how far they'll go for their cause. Garlic Jr. is actually one of the rare characters who pops up in both the anime series as well as the supplementary Dragon Ball Z movies.
In The Dead Zone, Garlic Jr. and company unleash a vicious virus known as the Black Mist. This brainwashing mist leads to plenty of traumatic moments (like when some infected animals kill innocent pedestrians), but things soon get even worse.
Salt and Mustard maliciously murder some random villagers when they begin their mission for domination. It's a disturbing moment that's only there to show you just how evil these guys are. Torturing civilians is pretty bad, but this movie is also full of villains who relentlessly beat up a prepubescent Gohan. There’s a lot to cringe at here.
8 When Recoome Breaks Gohan’s Neck
The battle against the infamous Ginyu Force on Planet Namek marks an especially violent time in the series' Frieza Saga. This elite team may have unlimited flair and style, but they also know how to deliver a beat down. Recoome is certainly the most brutal member of the team. His appearance alone is liable to trigger flashbacks of Nappa to the Z Fighters.
Recoome wastes no time as he kicks the collective butts of Gohan, Krillin, and even Vegeta. What pushes this battle over the top, though, is how aggressive Recoome is to Gohan, who is just a mere boy at the time.
Recoome is determined to kill this young boy and the episode doesn’t shy away from some graphic scenes, such as when this brutal warrior breaks the young Gohan's neck. Thankfully, a well-timed intervention and a Senzu bean nurse Gohan back into fighting shape. That doesn't make this fight any less insane, though.
7 When Frieza Impales Krillin With Horns
Krillin's death at the hands of Frieza is a truly devastating moment in the series. It's no surprise that this trauma is what helps to push Goku over the edge and allows him to attain the powers of a Super Saiyan for the first time. Krillin's death is a lot to take in, but some of Frieza's earlier violence towards the bald-headed fighter is even more difficult to watch.
Frieza's bull-like second form doesn't get a lot of attention, but it might be due to the fact that the memories associated with those horns are just too much to bear. Frieza proves that the horns are far from ornamental as he stabs Krillin directly in the chest.
This is already pretty violent, but it gets even worse when Frieza taunts Krillin as he bleeds out. Frieza jumps around and wags the impaled Krillin on his horns like he's some kind of toy. The whole sequence goes too far-- and not just due to the violence, but also due to the gleeful gleam in Frieza's eyes.
6 When Buu Explodes Smitty With His Liquid Bomb
Buu pulls all sorts of disturbing tricks during his tenure on Dragon Ball Z. No other villain has the power or creativity (or hunger) to turn their enemies into cookies, eggs, chocolate, or any other food. These transformations all lead to plenty of traumatic deaths, but Buu still has many other disturbing tricks up his sleeve.
For instance, one of Buu's identifying traits is his pink, malleable body. His body can stretch, absorb blows, and, in some extreme cases, liquefy itself. This transformation gives Buu a huge advantage when it comes to mobility, but he can also weaponize it in the worst possible way.
Smitty learns this first hand when he suffers from what might be the most painful death in all of Dragon Ball. Buu turns into a liquid and forces the two-bit criminal to drink him. After that, Buu slowly expands himself within Smitty's body until he simply explodes from the pressure. It's an extremely violent death that shows the worst side of Buu.
5 When Gohan Buries A Village Of Namekians
This moment is just all sorts of tragic. There are many times throughout Dragon Ball’s run when innocent people get caught up in the crossfire of battles. All of these moments sting, but the aftermath of these tragedies is never shown.
The series doesn’t show the families of Nappa and Vegeta’s victims because that’s not what this series is about. That being said, one scene in particular does take a second to reflect on death and dig into the tragedies of war. What makes it especially grueling is that it involves innocent Gohan when he’s a child.
While most of the characters are off on Namek, Gohan encounters a village of slaughtered Namekian corpses from an attack over a Dragon Ball. Gohan is horrified by the carnage and feels compelled to do something about it.
Accordingly, Gohan single-handedly buries these corpses and creates memorials for each civilian. It’s an incredibly emotional scene and it’s a testament to how quickly Gohan grows up during his time on Namek.
4 When Buu Can't Handle Rejection
Buu is one of the biggest threats in the Dragon Ball universe, but something that makes him particularly frightening is that he’s not so much evil as he is confused. Buu is like a child in many ways and a lot of his bursts of violence are the result of him getting angry when he doesn’t get his way. Buu just wants to make sense of the world around him and that puts a strange weight on his actions.
One moment that especially highlights how Buu’s lack of compression and insane anger can be a volatile combination involves a woman who he encounters. Buu attempts to force himself on this woman with kisses, but she understandably refuses.
Buu notices that she has a fashion magazine with an attractive male model on the cover. He then transforms himself to look like this handsome man and tries to kiss the woman once again, but she still refuses. At this point, Buu blows her up, but not before saying, “women don’t know what they want.”
3 When Van Zant Kills Bee The Dog
Van Zant is just the worst-- there’s no debate there. When Majin Buu takes control of Earth and announces that the end of the world is upon everyone, a lot of people react in different ways.
Van Zant’s response to this is to wield a machine gun and spray bullets all over the city because, if it’s the end of the world anyway, why should it matter if he kills a few people early? Van Zant says he wants to go out “with a bang,” so the fact that all of this senseless violence is merely for some sort of celebrity status is truly disturbing stuff.
His rampage eventually takes him to Majin Buu’s house where he plans to take down the villain. He hits Buu's house with a rocket launcher and later shoots Mr. Satan, but the one action that’s truly deplorable happens when he shoots Buu’s dog, Bee.
That’s right, a poor animal gets killed just because this madman throws a tantrum. It’s easy to see why this display of violence helps bring Evil Buu to life.
2 When Buu Destroys The Human Race
There’s a lot of senseless and over the top displays of violence in the Dragon Ball series, but the moment when the show truly goes too far happens when the entire human race gets exterminated. The Earth also temporarily gets destroyed during Dragon Ball Super, but what makes this genocide by Buu far more grueling is how personal this massacre is.
Aptly enough, Buu’s overpowered move is called the Human Extinction Attack and it does exactly that. Buu does what no other villain in the series is capable of doing and actually destroys the entire human race.
As Buu’s attack wipes out everyone on Earth, the episode makes the point of cutting to many beloved characters right before they are wiped out. Some of these characters haven’t been seen since the days of Dragon Ball and yet the series shows them once more before they inevitably die.
It’s a painful sequence that emphasizes how real this threat is, but it’s obvious that this scene goes a little too far. How is the next villain possibly supposed to top wiping out the human race?
1 When Spopovich Beats Down Videl
Videl’s fight against Spopovich at the World Martial Arts Tournament is largely considered to be the most brutal, disturbing fight in Dragon Ball. It’s nearly four relentless minutes of Videl getting beaten nearly to death.
What makes this so painful is that Spopovich pretty much has the lead from the start but never slows down. This is just a one-sided attack on Videl as this brute of a man tries to claim her life. There are moments where Videl nearly falls out of the ring but Spopovich pulls her back in so he’s able to continue the fight. He doesn’t want the win, he just wants to make her hurt.
Spopovich’s actions make Gohan and Goku especially uncomfortable and Gohan explodes and nearly interrupts the fight as a result. Spopovich wants to trigger the Z Fighters and draw out their strength-- and he certainly succeeds. It’s just a shame that Videl has to be the pawn. Lucky Goku gets a Senzu bean to her in time.
Are there any other scenes from Dragon Ball that went way too far? Let us know in the comments.