Akira Toriyama was writing and drawing the Dragon Ball manga every week with little idea of where the story was going to go next. He never expected the series to take off in the way that it did, nor for it to go on for so long.
The popularity of Dragon Ball (and its manga adaptation) meant that Weekly Shonen Jump pressured Toriyama to keep the story going for as long as possible, which is why the plot took some bizarre turns.
The fact that Toriyama was coming up with Dragon Ball on a weekly basis meant that he would sometimes drop hints about story ideas that he could follow up on at a later date, should he feel the need to. Toriyama left some of these ideas behind, which left many readers wondering why they were ever introduced at all.
We are here today to look at the story ideas that were created in the various Dragon Ball series and then never followed up on. From the mysterious fate of the Crane school, to the lack of help for Future Trunks in his own timeline.
Here are the 15 Dragon Ball Z Storylines That Were Completely Abandoned!
15 The Revenge Of The Crane School
Tien finally receives closure to his villainous past during the events of the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. He thanks Mercenary Tao and Master Shen for teaching him, before brutally beating the crap out of Tao and knocking him out of the tournament. Master Shen grabs his brother's body and swears vengeance on Tien. Shen promises that Tien will not die peacefully, before flying off.
Master Shen never reappears in the story. Mercenary Tao appears in two fillers storylines in the anime, but he never gets revenge on either Goku or Tien.
The story of their fates is also contradictory-- Dragon Ball Online claimed that Master Shen retired and Tien took over his school, while Akira Toriyama confirmed that Shen and Tao were killed during a bad business deal. Toriyama's answer also raises questions about who out there is strong enough to kill Shen and Tao?
14 The Disruptive Nature Of The Dragon Balls
Humans had been using the Dragon Balls for centuries before the events of Dragon Ball began. All we know for sure is that at least one person wished to become a monarch (possibly the ancestor of King Furry) and that's about it.
One person who was not a fan of the Dragon Balls was Old Kai. He complained that the usage of the Dragon Balls was disruptive to nature. Old Kai never elaborated on what he meant by this. The Namekians had been using their Dragon Balls for a long time without issue, so what did he mean about them being disruptive towards nature?
Dragon Ball GT offered a possible solution to Old Kai's point with the existence of the evil dragons being formed from wishes, but GT isn't considered to be part of canon and nothing in Dragon Ball Super suggests anything disruptive about the Dragon Balls.
13 Vegeta's Quest For Immortality
The reason Vegeta and Nappa traveled to Earth is that they received Raditz's final report about the existence of the Dragon Balls. The two Saiyans made their way to Earth so that they could wish for immortality.
Nappa screwed up these plans when he accidentally killed Piccolo, which rendered the Earth Dragon Balls inert. Vegeta eventually escaped after nearly being killed in battle. He later travels to Namek, so that he can wish for immortality using the Namekian Dragons Balls.
Vegeta abandons his desire for immortality after the Frieza Saga, for seemingly no reason. The return of Piccolo meant that the Dragon Balls were active once more and Goku wasn't around to stop him from making the wish, yet Vegeta just leaves the planet.
The version of Vegeta from the Future Trunks timeline also neglects to do this, even after Goku has died and is unable to stop him.
12 The Reincarnation Problem
The story of Dragon Ball Z concludes with Goku fighting a young boy named Uub, who hails from a distant village. This boy is actually Goku's equal in strength, despite never receiving any training. The reason Uub is so strong is that he is the reincarnation of Kid Buu.
The idea of reincarnation in Dragon Ball raises lots of questions that are never answered as they are brought up in the final few issues.
Why was Kid Buu allowed to escape from penitence for the countless murders he committed, while Frieza is punished for his comparatively lesser crimes? Why wasn't Perfect Cell also reincarnated, as he also had the excuse of being an artificial being that was created for the purpose of murder?
11 Trunks' Changes To The Timeline
The original enemies of the Android Saga were Android 19 and Android 20. These were scrapped because one of Akira Toriyama's former editors complained about their appearance. This led to the introduction of Androids 16, 17, and 18, with Cell following them.
This change caused an issue, as Future Trunks now had to explain why there were so many Androids when he had only mentioned two existing in his timeline. Future Trunks' arrival in the past had somehow caused events to play out differently, such as Goku contracting the heart virus a lot later and other Androids being dispatched before 17 and 18.
So what exactly did Future Trunks do to cause these changes? The fans have come up with some interesting theories, yet the story itself isn't clear on the matter.
10 The Majin Buu Conspiracy
The influence of Hercule changed the personality of Majin Buu so that he became a benevolent being. Majin Buu then became Hercule's best friend and helped him to maintain the illusion that he was the greatest hero in the world.
You would think that the people of Earth would be less forgiving, considering how many people Buu had killed in the past. This was solved by Goku, who gathered the Dragon Balls and asked Shenron to erase all memory of Buu's previous actions from the masses so that Buu can have a fresh start.
The problem with Goku's wish is that he waited six months to make it. This means that there must be countless written records of Buu's actions, to say nothing of visual and audio recordings of the events, so the conspiracy to protect Buu would be undone pretty quickly.
9 The Epidemic (That Never Happened)
The reason Goku wasn't around to stop the Androids in the Future Trunks timeline was that he died from an unnamed heart virus. A cure was eventually created for the virus, but it wasn't made fast enough to save Goku. Future Trunks brought the cure back to the past, in order to prevent Goku from dying.
The heart virus ends up occurring in a different manner, as Goku isn't afflicted by it until the arrival of the Androids. We also never learn of anyone else being affected by the heart virus in the present timeline, even though Future Trunks claims that many people died from it in his timeline.
If the heart virus was killing people, then did Bulma or the other Z-Fighters neglect to share their information concerning the cure to the medical community? Everything about the heart virus is abandoned after Goku recovers from the illness.
8 Goku's Brief Telepathic Powers
Goku picked up several new abilities during the time he spent training with King Kai. The ones he used the most were the Kaio-Ken and the Spirit Bomb, which became important parts of Goku's arsenal of moves.
King Kai is one of the most powerful telepaths in all of Dragon Ball Z, as he can communicate over distances that span entire galaxies. Goku must have learned how to perform telepathy from King Kai, as he starts to exhibit mental abilities when he returns to Earth.
Goku demonstrates the ability to send messages through telepathy and can read the thoughts of others, which he does to Krillin on Namek. Goku never uses these abilities again, even though they would have been incredibly useful in many situations.
7 The Grisly Fate Of Ranfan
It is revealed that King Piccolo ordered Tambourine to murder all of the participants of the past few World Martial Arts Tournaments, as he feared that some of them may have the power to oppose him. We see Tambourine kill Krillin, Nam, and Giran, with several others being slain in the anime.
Tambourine's list of opponents includes a picture of Ranfan. She was a competitor in the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament who tried to use her wiles to seduce her opponents. We never learn if Tambourine killed her or not.
Ranfan never makes another appearance in Dragon Ball, even though almost every other early character has a brief cameo in the later story arcs. It's possible that she was buried after being killed and then resurrected by the Dragon Balls... while still buried. This actually happens in a filler scene, as Man-Wolf escapes from a shallow grave when he is brought back to life.
6 The Lost Love For Launch
Any Dragon Ball Z character who wasn't a Saiyan tended to lose importance to the story over time. Dragon Ball Super has rectified this somewhat, even if the result does feel like fan fiction.
Launch was a regular recurring character during the events of Dragon Ball and was involved with many of Goku's earliest adventures. She was totally dropped from the story of the original Dragon Ball manga after Goku defeated Piccolo and only made a few non-canon appearances in anime filler after that. We never got a resolution to her quest to win Tien's affections.
What makes Launch's absence so unusual is that many of the other early Dragon Ball characters have stuck around, even though they don't do anything. Why are Oolong & Puar still hanging around when they add nothing to the story, yet Launch is missing?
5 Frieza's Customers
Frieza was one of the leaders of the Galactic Frieza Army, alongside his father and brother. The goal of the Galactic Frieza Army was to find suitable planets, scour it of inhabitants, and repurpose the world for settlement. Frieza's forces were made up of powerful aliens from across the universe, many of whom were forced to join due to threats of death.
The reason the Galactic Frieza Army takes over so many worlds is so that they can be sold to the highest bidder. We never find out exactly who has enough cash to buy a whole planet, or why Frieza and his family bother dealing with them at all.
It is established that Frieza is the most powerful being in the universe before the events of the series (as Beerus/Majin Buu are asleep and the Androids haven't been created yet) so why doesn't he just take the money from his clients?
4 The Destructive Power Of The Demon Clan
Death is cheap in the world of Dragon Ball, due to the ability to revive the dead through the power of the Dragon Balls. It is for this reason that we have seen quite a lot of the afterlife of the Dragon Ball universe, as many characters (especially Goku) have spent time hanging out with angels and gods.
It's possible for a heroic person to be denied their place in Heaven in the Dragon Ball world due to a unique ability possessed by members of King Piccolo's Demon Clan. Anyone who is killed by King Piccolo or one of his "children" will have their soul banished to Limbo, where they will suffer for all eternity.
This ability seems to go against the established rules of the afterlife in Dragon Ball and it seems to be unique to King Piccolo and his offspring. How did a relatively minor evil creature gain the ability to defy the laws of death itself?
3 The Two Kamis
It was established during the Red Ribbon Army Saga that Dragon Ball takes place in the same world as Dr. Slump, which was Akira Toriyama's previous manga. Goku and Arale have crossed over with each other on numerous occasions, which included Arale having a cameo on Dragon Ball Super.
While Toriyama was fine with connecting the worlds of his two most beloved pieces, he never addressed some of the issues this connection caused. One of the biggest problems involved God himself: Kami.
The Kami of Dr. Slump is the God of the universe with abilities that reflect this lofty status, such as being able to destroy planets. Dragon Ball also has a character named Kami, who is the God of Earth.
There is a huge difference in the appearance and powers of the two Kamis which is never addressed in either Dragon Ball or the later versions of Dr. Slump.
2 Chi-Chi's Waning Discipline
Chi-Chi is often criticized by the Dragon Ball Z fanbase due to her overbearing nature towards her son. A lot of this comes from the anime, where her behavior is borderline child abuse at times.
Chi-Chi is obsessed with the idea that Gohan should become a scholar, unlike his deadbeat father. It is to this end that she pressures him into always studying, even though the safety of the world is at stake.
It seems that Chi-Chi does a total one-eighty when Goten is born, as she doesn't force him to study when he grows up. Chi-Chi actually trains Goten in martial arts, which is how she learns that he can transform into a Super Saiyan.
We never learn what caused such a huge change in Chi-Chi's personality. The absence of Goku is a possible answer, but he wasn't exactly a devoted husband or father when he was around. So what caused Chi-Chi's stubborn attitude towards her children to shift?
1 Will Someone Give Trunks The Directions To New Namek?
One of the saddest things about the life of Future Trunks is how alone he is compared to the characters from the main timeline. He doesn't have any other allies to call on in battle, as Gohan was killed during his last battle against the Androids. The burden of protecting the Earth fell on Trunks' shoulders alone.
It didn't have to be this way, as another set of Dragon Balls exists in the galaxy. The Namekians on New Namek still had access to Porunga, yet no one in the Future Trunks timeline seemed to bother asking for their help.
It was established in Dragon Ball Super that King Kai possessed the ability to find New Namek, as he used their Dragon Balls to rebuild his planet.
Why didn't he uses his powers to find New Namek and relay them to Bulma, so that she could build a ship that Trunks could use to travel to the planet and ask the Namekians to wish back Gohan, whom they still owe for helping them to solve the Frieza crisis? Why not just have King Kai ask them to make the wish using his telepathy? Why did no one think of this when Piccolo was first killed by the Androids so that they could restore the Dragon Balls of Earth?
It seems like everyone in the Future Trunks timeline forgot that they had access to powerful allies and were just content to let the Androids blow everything up.
Can you think of any other Dragon Ball storylines that were completely abandoned? Sound off in the comments!