Dragon Ball Z is one of the most popular anime around. This series, based on the manga by Akira Toriyama, has been on the air since the late 1980s. Known for its incredible fight sequences and powerful characters, this anime is a great entry point for any new fan of anime.
We've already written about the some of the best fights of Dragon Ball Z. Now, let's review some of the low points of this show. Since it was based on a manga that was still actively in production, the writers often added extra episodes that would keep the anime from running past the action of the manga. Known as filler episodes, they simply do just that: fill the space in a series and lend little to no substance to the overall story.
This list is not meant to bash the series in any way. We are simply highlighting the episodes that could have been either trimmed down or eliminated completely. Below are the 17 Most Worthless Filler Episodes of Dragon Ball Z.
17 "The Evil of Men" (Episode 254)
In this episode, we find Mr. Satan and Majin Buu becoming fast friends after Buu swears off killing anyone ever again. Their newfound peace shatters when two serial killers, Van Zant and Smitty, try to kill Buu but shoot Bee the puppy instead. Furious, Buu hurls them over a cliff and heals Bee's wound.
Now, this is where the episode gets all Little House on the Prairie. After rebuilding Buu’s home into the shape of a puppy, Mr. Satan cooks dinner for everyone and shares a bath with Buu and Bee. And we're feeling very uncomfortable over here.
The highlight of this episode is the emergence of a new iteration of Majin Buu. Van Zant returns and takes his revenge on the new BFFs by shooting Mr. Satan. Buu loses control and steam billows from his head. Even after healing Mr. Satan, he still can't seem to calm down. He then produces Evil Buu, the physical manifestation of his fury.
Beyond contributing to the next stage of Buu’s transformations, this episode was a waste of time.We certainly could have done without family bath time.
16 "Blackmail" (Episode 204)
In "Blackmail", Gohan and Goten run into Chobi, their long-time dinosaur pal. Interestingly enough, we never see him in another episode, past of present. That’s some great friendship. While watching TV, the brothers see their dino friend has been kidnapped and forced to perform in a circus. Goten and The Great Saiyaman (aka Gohan in his trademark black and green costume) come to his rescue. The dinosaur is saved and returned to his parents. Hooray... or better yet: who cares?
As annoying as this Great Saiyaman Saga was, it does help set up events the next saga. Videl, Mr. Satan’s daughter and Gohan’s classmate, discovers the truth about Great Saiyaman’s true identity and blackmails Gohan into joining the World Martial Arts Tournament. His participation in the games is necessary when the next set of enemies invade Earth. She also figures out he is Goku’s son and pressures him into giving her flying lessons so she can become a better fighter.
Score: Videl, 3. Gohan, 0.
15 "The Puzzle of Tao" (Episode 174)
Occurring during the Cell Saga, this next filler episode includes Goku’s encounter with a former childhood enemy, General Tao. An adversary from the original Dragon Ball series, Tao tests Goku’s limited mental capabilities by challenging him to solve three puzzle rings. As he struggles to solve the puzzles, Tao and his henchman Vodka steal the four Dragon Balls in Goku’s jacket. Hours later, he solves the puzzles, finds Tao and Vodka, and retrieves his jacket along with the two Dragon Balls that Tao had in his possession.
Other than following Goku’s journey to find the Dragon Balls, this episode had no effect whatsoever on the overall storyline of the Cell Saga. Goku could have simply shown up with the retrieved Dragon Balls and the audience would not have cared about his journey to retrieve them. General Tao’s appearance, however, served as a nice throwback for diehard fans of the original Dragon Ball series.
14 "Global Training" (Episode 12)
The Vegeta Saga’s main storyline focused on the enemy Saiyans making a year-long trek across the galaxy to Earth. Since the best action doesn't take place until they arrive, this filler episode focused on re-establishing two characters from the original series: the Z Fighters Tien Shinhan and Chiaotzu. The two friends are shown living in isolation with another Dragon Ball alum, Launch. Long story short, Bulma and Krillin arrive and invite them to join Kami’s training to prepare for the Saiyans, and they accept.
Meanwhile, while running on Snake Way to King Kai’s planet, Goku accepts a ride from a passing street sweeper. He gets comfortable and falls asleep on the back of the vehicle. He eventually falls off and lands in the Underworld.
In other news, Gohan continues to torment a dinosaur by cutting slices from his tail for his daily meals.
And elsewhere, Piccolo destroys several pyramids while training.
Thrilling storylines indeed.
13 "Goku's Ordeal" (Episode 125)
Before the arrival of the killer Androids, this entertaining episode provides some comic relief for viewers. Frustrated at having to walk everywhere, Chi-Chi demands that Goku gets a car and his driver’s license. He immediate throws Piccolo under the bus, stating he doesn’t have his license either. Chi-Chi then threatens that if they don’t both get licenses, they will have to prepare their own meals.
As expected, chaos ensues as they try to pass their driving tests. There are car crashes, plenty of road rage, a drag race, and, in the end, no licenses. Honestly, the best part of this episode is Piccolo dressed in Goku’s street attire. Thanks to Chi-Chi, he is donning a backward baseball cap, t-shirt, and some very skinny jeans. He looks particularly awkward and quite annoyed.
Though this episode lends no expansion to any storyline, it is a memorable episode among Dragon Ball Z fans.
12 "Gohan's First Date" (Episode 202)
As mentioned earlier, an entire Saga was devoted to Gohan’s strange adventures as The Great Saiyaman. In this episode, Gohan is blackmailed (yet again) into his first date with Angela, one of his classmates. After seeing her nearby while changing out of his hero costume, he is scared she knows his secret identity. In exchange for keeping his secret, Angela insists on dinner and a movie.
Their date (which Gohan is completely messing up) is interrupted by a nearby fire. Videl tries to extinguish it on her own but is unable to. Gohan ditches his date and changes into The Great Saiyaman to help out. Once he is back to being Gohan, Angela sees him talking to Videl and gets jealous. She then tells them both his secret: she saw his teddy bear underwear while he was changing in the gym. She breaks up with him and storms off.
The moral of this story: Gohan is a sucker.
11 "Goz and Mez" (Episode 13)
One of the most excruciating parts of the Vegeta Saga was Goku’s endless journey on Snake Way. This episode continues the action discussed in entry #14. After landing in the Underworld, Goku comes face-to-face with two powerful guardian demons named Goz and Mez. They offer Goku an enticing deal: if he can beat them in two challenges, they will put him back on Snake Way. After sumo wrestling with Goz and playing tag with Mez, Goku is named the victor.
Keeping their end of the bargain, they show him a secret passage to get back to Snake Way. After stealing a piece of King Yemma’s forbidden fruit, he takes the passage. Sadly, the two guardians have set him up. The passage actually leads to the drawer of King Yemma’s desk. Goku must now start his treacherous journey on Snake Way all over again!
It feels like the audience is being punished for no reason and must watch more episodes of this mind numbing journey. Maybe Dragon Ball Z creator Akira Toriyama secretly hates us.
10 "Princess Snake" (Episode 14)
Good news everyone! The Snake Way adventures continue! This episode follows the previous entry and brings more monotony and underwhelming action with it. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
As Goku travels down the endless torture known as Snake Way, he passes a castle that has appeared on the road. He meets Princess Snake and her attendants. Immediately, she becomes enamored with him. Princess Snake tries her best to seduce him with dancing, food, and a hot bath. Goku, the simple-minded man that he is, doesn’t pick up on her advances and just wants to leave to continue his journey. Much to her dismay, he wants nothing more than to see his wife and family.
Defeated, the Princess reveals her true form as an evil giant snake. The castle disappears and Goku finds himself literally in the belly of this beast. Goku escapes the clutches of this seductress and continues on his arduous excursion on Snake Way.
9 "Bulma's Big Day" (Episode 60)
As a general rule, most Bulma-focused episodes result in unnecessary fillers. As soon as you see her name in the title, settle in for some boring side stories that often have no bearing on the greater arc the show is telling.
In this episode from the Namek Saga, Bulma is captured by two of Frieza’s henchmen, Blueberry and Raspberry. Yes, those are their actual names. She convinces them that by using the Dragon Balls for themselves, they can become stronger than their boss. Bulma tricks them into believing that Dragon Balls are underwater and leads them to a set of pearls instead. As Frieza's soldiers try to retrieve them, they are captured by a giant crab. Her plan succeeds, and she takes the Four Star Dragon Ball that Raspberry had in his possession.
Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Yes, the Dragon Ball recovery storyline is needed but Bulma saving the day against two random soldiers could be better.
8 "Pendulum Room Peril" (Episode 17)
In this not-so-thrilling Vegeta Saga episode, the weakest Z Fighters get confirmation that they don't stand a chance against the villainous Saiyans. In preparation for the upcoming invasion, Krillin, Yamcha, Tien, and Chiaotzu travel to Kami’s Lookout Tower for training. But after two months of waiting, they still haven't received a single lesson with Kami. Finally, Mr. Popo, the Guard of the Earth’s faithful attendant, takes them into the Pendulum Room. Once inside, they face simulations of two Saiyan warriors named Shorty and Scarface. They try their best to beat the warriors but eventually each Z Fighter is mercilessly defeated.
After the fight, Kami shares with them that the simulation Saiyans were only at half the strength of the real Saiyans. Yikes! But does this news discourage them? No! They commit to becoming even better fighters. How inspirational.
Granted, they are still very weak fighters but at least they're the very best at being so darn weak.
7 "Memories of Gohan" (Episode 171)
Filler episodes don't just serve as a way to supplement the action in sagas-- they also act as bookends for them. Filler is often added to either the start or ending of Dragon Ball Z sagas.
Here, this episode serves as the calm before the storm of the Cell Games Saga. The audience is subjected to lots of nostalgia and tedious storylines. It’s Gohan’s 11th birthday, woohoo! Goku and Chi-Chi spend the majority of the episode reminiscing about their son’s early years.
Later on, while passing an apple tree with a huge chunk missing from its side, Goku recalls how Gohan created that hole as a child. After losing control in his toy car, he is hurled toward the tree and instinctively powers up to crash through it. The episode ends with everyone gathering for Gohan’s birthday party and having a great time together.
Such sweet and peaceful ties until everyone starts dying during the Cell Games. Thanks for more wasted time, DBZ.
6 "Friends or Foes?" (Episode 39)
In search of the Dragon Balls, Bulma, Krillin, and Gohan take off in a spaceship and head for the planet Namek. In the course of this trip, we watch them do absolutely nothing. Seriously. They complain about being stuck on the ship for the 7th or 8th straight day and how bored they are. Yeah, we feel the same way.
Soon, they are under attack by a passing spaceship and, after steering to avoid a collision with it, they find themselves warped inside of its hull. As they explore the ship, the gang runs across various booby traps that hinder their exploration. They come across banquet table with a full meal laid out. And in their minds, it makes sense to partake in it. And what happens? Yes, they set off yet another trap. The episode ends with the group being captured by a group of weapon-touting children.
And if you happen to be a fan of Bulma wearing skimpy outfits, she inexplicably spends the entire episode in a tank top and panties. This may be giving the animators too much credit but this outfit could be an homage to Sigourney Weaver’s character Ripley in Alien.
5 "Plight of the Children" (Episode 16)
Young Gohan is back with another low-quality, time-wasting episode!
This time, he meets some delinquent orphans during the Vegeta Saga. Gohan is quite the delinquent in this episode and participates in several crimes with these kids. They manage to steal food, assault social workers, get caught in high-speed chases, and engage in a little grand theft auto. Hardly the life skills that Piccolo was hoping Gohan would be picking up in the wilderness.
The children, survivors of a horrible tsunami, evade being caught by the social workers that want to take them to an orphanage. Pigero, the leader of the orphans, eventually returns and has a heart-to-heart with Gohan. He admits to Pigero that he is not an orphan and that he just wants to go home to see his own mother. The children agree to help him get back to Mount Paozu.
When the social workers show up again, Pigero has a sudden change of heart. He decides not to save the younger kids and flees with Gohan in a stolen police vehicle instead. The heartbroken children then are taken into custody. The reason for his decision: he can’t adequately provide for the children, so he abandons them. He rides off into the sunset to start his new life.
That’s cold, Pigero.
4 "He's Always Late" (Episode 288)
The Peaceful World Saga is just as boring as it sounds. It serves as the epilogue to Dragon Ball Z after the conclusion of the Majin Buu Saga. What that translates to is very little action and tons of heartwarming moments with the Z Fighters and their families. These types of episodes usually either add depth to characters and their backgrounds or just become more bloated storytelling.
Guess which category this episode fall under?
The gang meets at Bulma’s place for a barbecue. As usual, Goku is late to arrive. Instead of attending the family gathering, he gets distracted by a nest of eggs that are about to hatch. Even Goku finds spending time with his friends as lame as we do. The party turns out to be a snoozer because Goku is the life of the party. After having to defend the eggs against predators, he finally arrives just as the party is ending. He then proceeds to retell the story of his day. Ugh.
3 "Krillin's Proposal" (Episode 117)
Poor Krillin gets roped into an unnecessary adventure when his not-so-bright girlfriend mentions she has been thinking about their engagement. Kilian ponders whether he is even worthy to marry her when Turtle suggests the Mermaid Tear, the largest pearl ever. Krillin is convinced he should retrieve this treasure for his future fiancée.
Accompanied by Gohan, Krillin encounters numerous underwater creatures that won’t let them get near the pearl. They decide against trying to retrieve it and return to land empty-handed. Krillin decides to break up with Maron but soon regrets his decision when she reveals she would have said yes to his proposal. Just then, a guy pulls up and whisks Maron away. Heartbroken, he tells his friends that he broke up with Maron.
Was this episode necessary? Yes and no. Yes, because we are finally rid of that annoying character Maron. And no, because we really don’t care about Krillin’s personal life. Considering how frequently he dies in the series, he wouldn’t have had time for a real relationship anyway.
2 "A New Friend" (Episode 10)
We get two pieces of unnecessary information in this episode: Yamcha is a baseball player for the West City Taitans and a lonely Gohan befriends animals. Part of the painfully long Vegeta Saga, these two plot points are the highlights of this episode.
Yamcha has been playing baseball during the 5-year gap between Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. Bulma and Krillin meet with him to tell him about Goku’s death and the Saiyans’ arrival. He agrees to go with them to train for their arrival. They really need to discover text messaging in this world. It would save the viewers a lot of pain.
In the rest of the episode, we see Young Gohan struggling to survive in the wilderness alone. In a desperate act of loneliness, he befriends a dinosaur and tends to his wounds. Later, his new dino buddy is attacked by a carnivorous dinosaur. Gohan tries to save him but is knocked unconscious. In the meantime, his dinosaur friend gets eaten. Way to be there for your friend, Gohan.
1 "The Strangest Robot" (Episode 9)
We have come to the final entry in the most worthless filler episodes. At the top of the list is none other than young Gohan getting another meaningless friend killed!
After awaking from his night of transforming into Great Ape mode, Gohan finds himself alone with no tail and a random sword. Piccolo has left him in the wild to learn how to become a stronger fighter. He's chased in the desert by an alligator, mountain lion, and hawk, and then falls down a hole into a cavern and finds a curmudgeonly robot. The robot wants nothing but to be left alone. Annoying Gohan then cries and cries until the robot finally decides to help him.
As they start to bond, Gohan decides he will help the robot escape too. However, he manages to cause a cave-in while trying to free the robot (because is the worst). The robot sacrifices himself to help Gohan escape. He dies and Gohan cries yet again.
Which Dragon Ball Z filler episode is the most annoying to you? Let us know in the comments!