Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball Z has been around for decades. Ever since it’s debut, it’s been able to captivate audiences and draw in fans with its action-heavy storytelling.
There are plenty of anime that have been around for longer than Dragon Ball Z, but this series has pierced through the mainstream and is regarded highly by fans.
Other popular series may come and go, but with the show’s impressive track record, it looks like there will always be some Dragon Ball Z property that’s still out there in the world.
Whether it’s through the anime, movies, or the long list of video games that are still in production, Dragon Ball Z has found a way to hook its audience.
However, with any series that has been around for so long, fans have started to develop a special relationship with the show. Fans are hopeful that they can dissect and influence Dragon Ball Z.
This behavior often results in thriving online fan communities where active debates and speculation take place. It’s truly special when fans understand a series so well that their own predictions and assumptions actually come true within the show.
Whether this happens through pure luck or because the creator is directly listening to fans, it always makes for a fun surprise. It’s amazing when a creator can work with their audience to make something special.
With that said, here are the 25 Crazy Dragon Ball Z Fan Theories (That Were Actually Confirmed)!
25 Super Saiyans Were So Rare Because Saiyans Never Had To Push Themselves
The Saiyans were always a powerful race that embraced conflict and domination. In spite of their strength, there were still legends about a Super Saiyan who allegedly would elevate their people and tap into unheard of powers.
Rumors about Super Saiyans began to grow, and while it does take a tremendous amount of strength to achieve, it may not be as difficult as the Saiyans originally anticipated.
Due to the reputation of Saiyans in the galaxy, they never really had to push themselves through intense training to get better.
This practice only starts to happen after a wealth of super strong opponents invade the Earth and Goku actually tries to better himself.
24 The Androids Were Conscious In Cell’s Body
During Android 17’s final appearance in Dragon Ball Z, he donates his energy for Goku’s Spirit Bomb against Majin Buu and remarks, “I haven’t heard that voice in a long time.”
Many fans naturally thought that this was a plot hole since Android 17 never actually meets Goku in this timeline.
However, Dragon Ball Super conveniently clears up this “mistake” when Goku and 17 are reunited.
Android 17 explains that after he was absorbed by Cell, he could still hear everything that was going on outside and could ostensibly see through Cell’s eyes.
This sheds some fascinating light on how Cell’s absorption process works.
23 Goku Is The Only Thing Preventing The Earth From Being Conquered
Goku is clearly the hero of Dragon Ball Z and therefore it's no surprise that he has repeatedly saved the Earth from destruction.
However, Goku’s role as the protector of the Earth is actually much more intricate than most people give it credit for.
The Red Ribbon Army would have taken over the planet if Goku wasn’t present to intervene. King Piccolo’s reign would have also been a success.
Furthermore, if Goku didn’t teleport Cell away during his self-destruction, then the Earth would have been destroyed.
Plus, Goku’s power was necessary to take down Majin Buu.
That being said, if Goku never existed, then Raditz would have never invaded Earth and Dr. Gero would have no grudge to avenge.
22 Saiyans Have Incredible Mimicry Skills
Saiyans are typically commended for their raw capacity for battle and their ability to turn into vicious Great Apes.
However, there are also many skills that Saiyans possess that are much less obvious than some of their flashier powers.
For example, Saiyans have an incredible capacity for mimicking and learning other people’s attacks.
Dragon Ball Z contains various instances where Saiyans are able to copy the techniques of others with very little training required.
This was shown with Goku or Gohan picking up the Kamehameha and with Goku adopting Krillin’s Destructo Disc technique.
Goten and Trunks also show a similar propensity with adapting the moves of their allies.
21 Saiyan Hybrids Are Stronger Than Pure Saiyans
At a basic surface level it may seem like a pure-blooded Saiyan would be stronger than someone who’s bloodline has been diluted, but it’s actually the opposite when it comes to Saiyans.
The increasing strength of characters like Gohan, and then later Trunks and Goten, seems to imply that Saiyans are actually stronger when human DNA is added to the equation.
In fact, the more the blood race is diluted, the faster Saiyans seem to be able to become Super Saiyans and tap into deeper power.
Dragon Ball Z’s manga eventually confirms that half-Saiyans are stronger as a result of their half-human blood, which validates what many fans had hypothesized.
20 Frieza’s Defeated By Goku Was Due To Laziness & Lack Of Training
Many fans speculated that because Frieza’s base power was so immense, he never truly had to go all-out and push himself to new levels of strength.
Frieza’s still exceptionally strong, but he doesn’t have to work for it.
Accordingly, Goku is able to beat him (although a lot of effort is needed), but if Frieza actually worked harder and trained himself, then he’d definitely be able to beat Goku.
This more or less gets confirmed in Dragon Ball Super when Frieza actually trains for the first time. When he does this, not only does he becomes stronger, but he also unlocks a new form in the process - Golden Frieza.
19 Goku Cannot Combine His Super Saiyan And Kaio-Ken Attack
Once Goku gains his Super Saiyan ability, his former go-to power up, the Kaio-Ken Attack, suspiciously disappears.
Fans started to speculate that the only reason for this would have to be that these two maneuvers cannot be used in tandem due to the varying ways in which they drain and put strain on the body.
A resolution to this issue was finally provided when the Kaio-Ken Attack made its long-awaited return when it was used in conjunction with Super Saiyan Blue.
Since Super Saiyan Blue is all about restraint and controlling how the energy in your body is used, Goku can finally return to his old trick - but not without a price.
18 Saiyans And Humans Share DNA
The idea that Saiyans and humans share some kind of genetic connection is a rather popular theory. It makes a lot of sense considering how Saiyans look suspiciously similar to humans.
This may seem a tad superficial, but in addition to this, when Saiyans and humans reproduce, their children are born without the typical Saiyan tails.
This hints at a relationship between their DNA.
Furthermore, humans share their distant roots with apes and it’s surely no coincidence that Saiyans are able to turn into Great Apes, which are a crucial foundation of the Saiyan species.
17 The Movies Were Always Supposed To Be Non-Canon
There’s a lot of debate on whether the movies are supposed to exist in the show’s timeline, especially since there are a lot of inconsistencies in them and it can sometimes be hard to properly place the films.
Fans still argue about this issue, but TOEI has outright said that the movies were always meant to be treated as creative one-shots, which is why even the original Dragon Ball movies all take such radical approaches.
This theory gains more credence when Dragon Ball Super rolls around because the first two arcs of the series literally re-do the last two Dragon Ball Z films in order to bring them into the show’s canon.
16 Krillin Is The Strongest Human
There continues to be much debate over who the strongest of Dragon Ball Z’s humans is, with fans bringing Master Roshi, Krillin, and Tien into the argument.
Tien essentially disappears into a life of training that doesn’t get to be seen, while Krillin adopts more of a domestic life and becomes a police officer.
It’s fair to say Tien was stronger than Krillin at one point, but when Dragon Ball Z comes to a close, Krillin still has his fighting spirit.
Dragon Ball Super proceeds to redeem the character even further due to how he performs the best out of any humans in the Tournament of Power and receives numerous episodes of development.
15 Android 16 Is Modeled After Dr. Gero's Son
Android 16 is definitely the oddest android to appear during the Cell Saga.
The stoic machine adopts a more pacifistic approach than his fellow homicidal androids, but this docile attitude may actually stem back to the conditions surrounding Android 16’s creation.
Akira Toriyama confirms that Dr. Gero had a son in the Red Ribbon Army who unfortunately met an untimely end.
It makes sense that Gero attempted to give his son a second life with Android 16.
This also explains why the android has a gentler, more peaceful outlook on life than his counterparts.
14 Goten’s Birth And Super Saiyan Status
This is pretty out there, but it actually makes sense in a crazy kind of way.
Timing would indicate that Goten is conceived during the preparation period that leads up the Cell Games.
During this span of time, Goku and Gohan’s training entailed them to stay in their Super Saiyan forms 24/7 in order to go beyond their usual limits.
Accordingly, it stands to reason that Goku was a Super Saiyan during the conception of Goten.
While this may not be the reason why Goten is able to become a Super Saiyan at such a young age, it certainly plays a factor.
Team Four Star has proudly pushed this bizarre theory into the ether.
13 Cell Can Create Cell Juniors Thanks To Android 17 And 18
Cell creates his Cell Juniors after he absorbs Android 17 and 18. The absorption gives him a hefty power boost.
Many fans theorize that the reason why he’s now able to reproduce alone like this is because he has Android 17 and 18’s reproductive organs inside of him.
It’s a crazy idea to try to consider, but it strangely makes sense.
Cell is constantly using his DNA to his advantage and this is just another example of him making the most out of what he has to work with.
12 Vegeta Is Always Second Best To Goku Because Toriyama Resents The Character
There are definitely Vegeta fans out there who are forever hopeful that their favorite character will usurp Goku one day.
Vegeta has plenty of moments where he gets to be in the spotlight, but it’s unlikely that he’ll ever completely overshadow Goku.
A strong reason for this is creator Toriyama’s opinion of Vegeta.
Toriyama loves Goku and sees him as a symbol of hope. However, he actually isn’t that big of a Vegeta fan.
In fact, when fans wrote him letters over their concern that the character might expire in battle, he intentionally wrote in his demise during the Buu Saga.
Vegeta may a great foil for Goku, but Toriyama is never going to let him win.
11 Pikkon Enters The Afterlife Because Of A Heroic Sacrifice
It’s easy to forget that one of the major caveats in Dragon Ball’s afterlife is that most people don’t get to retain their bodies.
The majority of individuals are turned into nondescript souls, some of which are assigned to be reincarnated.
Goku gets to retain his body due to his immense amount of good deeds and his relationship with Kami. However, Pikkon receives the same luxury.
Since Pikkon is practically as strong as Goku in the Other World Tournament, there would have been very few individuals powerful enough to send Pikkon to the afterlife.
Because of this, it makes sense that Pikkon probably went out in some honorable sacrifice for the greater good, which seems realistic given his character.
10 Potara Earring Fusions Are Just Permanent Unions For Kai
Dragon Ball Z presents two different forms of fusion to its audience.
The fusion dance requires a degree of skill to master, but the benefit is that it’s not permanent. There are also the Potara Earrings, which are said to be permanent and clearly bring forth a great deal of trepidation.
That being said, the two times that Goku and Vegeta use the earrings, the fusion is broken from extenuating circumstances.
However, the real fact of the matter may be that the Potara Earrings are only permanent when they’re used by the Kai.
All of the fusions that the show depicts in this regard don’t get broken, so maybe there’s a small loophole here.
9 Dr. Gero Hid Android 16’s DNA From Cell
When Cell enters the picture, he soon has Android 17 and 18 on his radar, but he has absolutely no knowledge of Android 16.
This initially seems like an oversight, but then Android 16 turns out to be an unexpected ally and advantage in the battle against Cell.
Much of 16’s actions stem back to the fact that Android 16 actually uses DNA from Dr. Gero’s own fallen son.
As a result of the personal factor involved here, Dr. Gero intentionally hides information on Android 16 from Cell in order to safeguard his boy and prevent him from meeting another unfortunate ending.
8 Majin Buu Is A Sly Critique Of Western One Country
Akira Toriyama has been open about how Majin Buu's character design is partially based on his editor, Fuyuta Takeda, but there's a lot more going on with this character.
Many fans have looked at Buu's tendency to turn his enemies into food, his bullying nature, and his passion for feasting as a veiled insult about the U.S.
Japan and the U.S. have obviously had a complicated history, but it's worth pointing out that the Buu Saga originally aired in the '90s and that a number of Buu’s attacks have eerily reminiscent fallout of WWII.
7 Goku And Frieza's Namek Battle Is in Slow Motion
One of the most notorious moments in Dragon Ball Z’s history is the final “five minutes” of Goku and Frieza’s fight on Namek.
Frieza brazenly states that they have five minutes until Namek explodes, but their fight continues for nine more episodes.
It’s never officially stated by either character, but a sound solution here is that these nine episodes actually play out in slow motion.
These characters have become so strong that these final minutes would be impossible to show in real-time, so the episodes slow the fight down so that fans can see exactly what Goku and Frieza are doing.
In the height of a battle, five minutes can feel like an eternity.
6 Future Trunks' Timeline Is The Main Dragon Ball Timeline
It may be a lot to wrap your head around, but the timeline that’s followed in Dragon Ball Z isn’t actually the “main” timeline of the show’s universe.
Due to the importance that’s given to Future Trunks’ timeline and how he consistently saves the show’s “present timeline,” it’s actually a much more dynamic story if his world is the main world.
The fall of Goku in the future timeline has Trunks travel through time to save a different timeline from the same fate that plagued his.
However, he’s already lived all of this, so it's still all filtered through Trunks’ experience, even if he’s not the main character.
5 Frieza Is Just A Child
It’s crazy to think that someone as vicious and destructive as Frieza is just a petulant teenager, but it’s also oddly fitting.
Frieza is really just some brat who’s rebelling and doesn’t have any better way to communicate.
Frieza is fairly playful with his fighting during his first appearances, but it’s the introduction of his father and older brother that really seal the deal on how old the villain really is.
No exact ages are given for King Cold or Cooler, but if they’re older than Frieza, it stands to reason that he’s probably pretty young.
4 Gohan Was Supposed To Become Dragon Ball Z's Main Protagonist
Goku definitely runs the show in the original Dragon Ball, but the series chronicles his growth as he becomes an adult.
Dragon Ball Z then poignantly begins with the addition of Goku’s child, Gohan.
Goku continues to grow in Dragon Ball Z, but Gohan develops a whole lot more and it’s clear that the show's plan is for him surpass his father.
This plan comes to fruition, but it’s obvious that Toriyama got cold feet and had to eventually make Goku the hero again.
Gohan still gets plenty of attention in the Buu Saga, but it’s definitely Goku’s fight to win.
3 Bulma’s Wish For A Boyfriend Causes The Saiyan Saga To Happen
Throughout the original Dragon Ball, Bulma consistently brings up the fact that she wants to use the Dragon Balls to wish for a boyfriend.
While this never happens, there’s enough time between Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z that fans theorize that she easily could have gathered the orbs and put her wish in motion.
Since Bulma ends up married to Vegeta, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that Bulma’s desire for a boyfriend is actually what inadvertently causes the Saiyan invasion.
It’s a complicated way to rewrite some of history, but it’s also a testament to the powers of Shenron and the mysterious ways in which fate can work.
2 Namekians And The Kai Are Connected
Throughout Dragon Ball’s vast universe, it is always the Kai who are in charge of celestial matters.
While they're the ones who are in control, there’s a strange stipulation on both Earth and Namek in terms of Kami, Dende, and the Great Namekian Elder.
All of these great Namekians share certain Kai-like powers and responsibilities. Because of this, some fans have theorize that Namekians are actually some distant form of Kai.
While their appearances aren’t that similar, it would explain why they can live for so long and how they're allowed to have dominion over places like Earth.
1 Bulma’s Mom Is An Android
Very curiously, the appearance of Bulma’s mother, Mrs. Briefs, never changes throughout Dragon Ball Z.
During this time, she looks almost as young as Bulma despite the fact that she’s supposed to be nearly 70 years old.
While Bulma ages, her mother doesn’t. The answer behind this could easily be that Dr. Briefs actually designed an android.
We learn that Red Ribbon goes bankrupt because of Capsule Corp and their technology, so they could have co-opted their robotics and androids division.
Plus, Android 18 and Krillin’s daughter, Marron, prove that androids can still have kids, which is consistent with Bulma’s birth.
It’s never officially stated, but it’s also never disproven either.
Can you think of any other Dragon Ball Z fan theories that we forgot to mention? Sound off in the comments!