The Dragon Ball franchise is notorious for making its cast less relevant over time. Anyone who wasn't a Saiyan ended up becoming useless within the space of a few arcs.
Tien went from being one of the first people to ever defeat Goku in a fair fight, to getting his pants pulled down during their next serious tournament match. Frieza was the unstoppable scourge of the universe in one arc and then jobbed out to Trunks within the first few minutes of the next one.
The only things left to challenge Goku and Vegeta are the literal gods of the universe, which is pretty much the premise of Dragon Ball Super.
We are here today to try and find the characters who were totally forgotten about by the other characters (and the author) of Dragon Ball Z.
From the Android who saved the world, to the girl who fell out of Toriyama's brain, here are 15 Dragon Ball Z Characters Who Were Completely Abandoned.
15 Grand Kai
When Goku traveled to the afterlife after the Cell Games, he was introduced to the other Kais from different parts of the galaxy. The anime had a filler arc that was set in the afterlife, where fighters from across the universe battled in a tournament in order for a chance to be trained by the Grand Kai.
The Grand Kai was the ruler of the other Kais and was said to be one of the strongest warriors in the universe. He also looks like a guy who follows the Grateful Dead around on tour.
You might think that Grand Kai doesn't belong on this list, due to him being a character created for the filler arcs. His inclusion to the story was actually suggested by Akira Toriyama.
The presence of the Grand Kai was mostly made redundant by the arrival of the Supreme Kai in the Majin Buu arc, as he fulfilled much of the same role. The pantheon of the universe grew much larger in Dragon Ball Super and the gods have taken on a much larger role in the story, yet we still haven't heard anything from the Grand Kai in a long time.
14 Fortuneteller Baba's Fighters
One of the story arcs in the original Dragon Ball series was called the Fortuneteller Baba Saga. Goku was unable to discover the location of one of the Dragon Balls, so he seeks the aid of Fortuneteller Baba.
She agrees to help him if he can form a team that can defeat her five champions. Goku and his friends have to battle Fangs the Vampire, See-Through the Invisible Man, Bandages the Mummy, Spike the Devil Man, and a mysterious masked stranger.
Fortuneteller Baba's warriors never appear again after their debut, despite them possessing some of the best abilities in the series. Spike could have killed most of the villains in the series with his Devilmite beam, yet he never shows up again, even when the safety of the world is at stake. The anime only brought some of the monsters back for "blink and you'll miss it" cameos during the Majin Buu Saga.
13 Android 16
Android 16 was the nicest of Dr. Gero's creations. He was programmed with the purpose of destroying Goku, yet he seemed to be able to grow beyond this and wanted to live a peaceful life. Android 16 was killed by Perfect Cell during the Cell Games. It was his death that finally made Gohan snap and activate his full potential.
Yamcha would later use the Dragon Balls to revive everyone who was killed by Cell and the Androids. However, we do not see Android 16 revived and he is never mentioned again. The Dragon Balls do have the power to revive the Androids, as Android 18 was brought back after being destroyed during the Majin Buu arc. So what happened t0 Android 16?
Did he use the confusion after the Cell Games to hide from his siblings, in an effort to seek an ordinary life? Was he actually brought back to life by the Dragon Balls? We have yet to discover his true fate.
The Dragon Ball movies are even further away from established canon than the filler arcs of the anime. It is very difficult to fit the movies in with any sort of established timeline, so they are considered to be in a separate reality of their own.
The problem with separating the two timelines is that some characters who debuted in the movies would appear in the anime. This was the case with characters like Garlic Jr. and Icarus the Dragon.
Icarus was a purple dragon who befriended Gohan. He debuted in The Tree of Might and would later appear in the Garlic Jr. Saga of the anime. Icarus and Gohan were inseparable, and it seemed as if the two of them were best friends... until the end of the Trunks Saga.
Icarus just disappeared and never showed up again. Gohan mentioned Icarus briefly during the Great Saiyaman Saga, yet never clarified what actually happened to him.
11 Grandpa Gohan
Grandpa Gohan was a former disciple of Master Roshi. He found the infant Goku abandoned in the forest and raised him as if he were his own son.
Gohan was killed during one of Goku's earliest transformations into his Great Ape form. Goku would later battle Grandpa Gohan again when Fortuneteller Baba brought him back from the dead for a single day.
It is unusual that we never see Grandpa Gohan in the afterlife. Goku is dead for a year after he is killed by Piccolo and remains there for many years, when he chooses to remain in the afterlife after he is blown up by Perfect Cell.
It is odd that Grandpa Gohan never visits Goku during this period. You would think that Goku would want a reunion with the man who raised him, yet we only ever see Grandpa Gohan in flashbacks during the Dragon Ball Z era of the show.
10 Monster Carrot & The Rabbit Mob
The early sagas of Dragon Ball were weird. This is because Akira Toriyama was writing weekly comics that came into his head and thus wasn't planning out long storylines.
One example of this can be seen with the Rabbit Mob. These were a group of gangsters who were led by Monster Carrot, who was an anthropomorphic rabbit. Monster Carrot had the ability to transform anyone he touched into a carrot.
Goku defeats the Rabbit Mob and uses his power pole to dump them on the moon. He promises to return in a year and bring them back... and then totally forgets about them. Master Roshi then blows up the moon during the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament.
Akira Toriyama confirmed that the Rabbit Mob survived and were floating in space. So what happened to them? Did they stay in space forever or did they land on Earth? If so, did they survive Majin Buu's attack on the people of Earth?
9 Jimmy Firecracker
Jimmy Firecracker was the fearless announcer of the Cell Games. He was one of the few people who was brave enough to actually approach Cell and ask him questions.
When the Cell Games were underway, Firecracker was all prepared to announce Hercule as the victor, but, instead, was forced to watch as the Z-Fighters showed up and started flying around.
The reason Jimmy Firecracker's absence from the story is so notable is that he is one of the few people who knows the truth about what happened during the Cell Games. He knows that Hercule is a charlatan and that Cell was defeated by other people.
It is odd that Hercule doesn't keep him close by, as giving Firecracker a prominent role in his organization would be one way to buy his silence. We never hear from Jimmy Firecracker again after the Cell Games... so maybe it's possible that Hercule had him rubbed out in order to keep his secret safe?
8 Erasa & Sharpner
Akira Toriyama decided to switch the protagonists of Dragon Ball after the Cell Saga. The series underwent a time skip, which resulted in a teenage Gohan becoming the new main character. This change did not last long, however, as Toriyama realized that Gohan wasn't suited for the role of protagonist, so he brought Goku back from the afterlife.
Dragon Ball briefly turned into a high school drama series, as Gohan has to balance his studies with being a superhero. This was the plot of the Great Saiyaman Saga, as we see Gohan living the life of Peter Parker for a short time.
Gohan befriended three people during his time in high school: Videl, Erasa, and Sharpner. Videl ended up becoming a main character, since she became Gohan's main love interest. Erasa and Sharpner pretty much disappeared after the Majin Buu Saga and were never mentioned again. Maybe they moved to the same farm that Icarus was sent to?
Dragon Ball hasn't had many female fighters. This has changed somewhat in Dragon Ball Super, but it is true that we saw very few women who could duke it out with the men for most of the history of the series.
One of the few women to ever make it into the qualifying rounds of the World Martial Arts Tournament was Ranfan. She wasn't a particularly strong fighter, so she used her feminine wiles in order to bamboozle her foes. This often meant taking off her clothes in the combat arena. At one point, Ranfan tries using this tactic on Nam, who simply closes his eyes. Ranfan is never seen again after the tournament.
Ranfan's name is on the list of King Piccolo's targets, yet we never discover if they managed to track her down or not. The only thing we know about Ranfan's fate is that she eventually married a man named Trunks, who is a different character than the person you are thinking about. The Trunks name was likely used as part of Toriyama's love of puns, as Ranfan is the shorted Japanese word for lingerie.
Goku is sent to Kami's Lookout so that he can prepare to fight Piccolo at the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. Kami decides to enter the tournament in secret, as he doesn't want to risk Goku losing and putting the world at Piccolo's mercy. He does this by possessing the body of an average mortal, named Shen.
Shen is just a regular middle aged man, who has his body stolen for a day by God. He manages to defeat several powerful martial artists, before taking on Piccolo and losing. Kami flees from Shen's body in order to protect himself from Piccolo's reversal of the Evil Containment Wave.
Shen concludes that he must have been drunk or sleep walking, even though everyone (including his own son) was telling him about all of the martial arts feats he had just performed. We never see Shen again after the tournament concludes.
You would think that he would be curious about what happened on the events of that day, or may have been able to identify the people who showed up to the Cell Games.
5 Master Shen
The 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament turned into a conflict that reflected the rivalry between the Turtle School and the Crane School. Master Roshi's prize students went up against the followers of Master Shen. The tournament concluded with Goku's battle against Tien. It was during this battle that Tien and Chiaotzu finally broke away from their evil master and shunned his underhanded tactics.
Master Shen would reappear in the final arc of Dragon Ball. Tien defeated Shen's brother, the Mercenary Tao, in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. Master Shen fled, while swearing revenge on Tien. He did not appear again in the story, though Mercenary Tao would reappear in the anime filler arcs.
Akira Toriyama confirmed that Master Shen and Mercenary Tao were killed during some deal that went wrong, though he never explained the circumstances of their death. This was later retconned by Dragon Ball Online, which confirmed that Master Shen is still alive, though retired. So which one is correct?
4 King Chappa
The World Martial Arts Tournament wasn't the only notable fighting contest in the world of Dragon Ball, as Hercule became known as the greatest warrior on Earth by competing in other competitions.
There was a character in the original series of Dragon Ball who seems to have been a prototype for Hercule. His name is King Chappa and he was a previous World Martial Arts Tournament winner, before he lost to Goku. King Chappa also bears a strong resemblance to Hercule.
King Chappa lost to Goku in the preliminary rounds of the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament. He is later killed by King Piccolo's men and revived by the Dragon Balls. King Chappa returned for the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament and lost to Goku again.
He never returns to the series or challenges any of the other martial artists on Earth, including Hercule. King Chappa was one of the few recurring challengers from the World Martial Arts Tournament outside of the main cast, yet Toriyama (and the anime staff) never had any more use for him.
The Garlic Jr. Saga is one of the few storylines in Dragon Ball that is composed entirely of filler. It was created to stretch the series out longer, as Akira Toriyama was still working on the Dragon Ball manga at the time.
This is why the Garlic Jr. Saga includes so many elements from the movies (like Icarus), as they needed as much material as possible to fill out an entire story arc.
One of the most memorable characters introduced in the Garlic Jr. Saga was Maron. She was dating Krillin after he returned from Namek. Maron would actually return to Dragon Ball Z during the Cell Saga, where she goes to the Kame House in search of Krillin.
He is too busy fighting the Androids (and meeting his future wife), so he doesn't know that she went looking for him. Maron is never seen again after this point. This is a shame, as Krillin named his daughter Marron, though Akira Toriyama has confirmed that she wasn't named after Maron.
It would be interesting if Dragon Ball Super did a storyline where Android 18 met Krillin's ex-girlfriend and reacted to the fact that their daughter has the same name.
2 The Namekian Village That Vegeta Destroyed
Mr. Popo gathers the Dragon Balls during the Frieza Saga and makes a wish that will bring back all of the people who were slain by Frieza and his henchmen during their invasion of Namek.
When the Namekians are brought to Earth, they notice that one of their tribes is missing. Vegeta reveals that he massacred the tribe and that they weren't revived because he wasn't working for Frieza at the time.
We never find out if the Namekians ever wished their fallen comrades back to life. They have no problem using wishes to revive the Z-Fighters that they have never met before, but they don't seem to go out of their way to restore their dwindling civilization.
We also never hear of any attempt of vengeance on Vegeta. This includes Piccolo, who is stronger than Vegeta when they return to Earth (due to him absorbing Nail), yet he is fine allowing one of the destroyers of his people to get off scot-free.
Akira Toriyama doesn't have the best memory in the world. He freely admits that he has forgotten large parts of Dragon Ball's story, which is partly due to the fact that he was making most of it up as he went along.
The worst example is the fate of Launch, or rather, the lack of fate. Launch was a major character in the early parts of Dragon Ball. She appeared in numerous story arcs, leading up to the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, though she never appears in the Dragon Ball manga again after this.
Dragon Ball Z was slightly kinder to Launch, as the anime staff included her in some of the early story arcs. She was eventually forgotten here too, and was relegated to background cameo roles for the remainder of the franchise.
Have you ever had a pet who died and your parents told you that they were sent off to live on a farm? Akira Toriyama does the same thing to many Dragon Ball characters. He once had an interview to promote Battle of Gods, where he stated that Launch and Tien briefly lived on a farm together.
Launch wasn't cut out for the country life, so she left Tien, though she did come back to see him occasionally. Yamcha and Chiaotzu also lived on this farm. This was her ultimate fate in Toriyama's mind, though she never got the send-off she deserved in the actual story of Dragon Ball.
Can you think of any other characters from the Dragon Ball franchise who were completely abandoned? Tell us about them in the comment section!