Whether you watched Dragon Ball Z on Fuji TV, Toonami, Cartoon Network, or anywhere else for that matter, there’s no denying that the exploits of Goku and his family and friends have had a lasting effect on fans around the world, no matter which language you watched it in. It’s got an ensemble of heroic characters, anti-heroes, intergalactic villians, ancient threats, martial arts, space travel, time-travel – everything a growing child needs to satisfy their craving for great action and creative storytelling.
For those unfamiliar with the anime, DBZ is difficult to describe without sounding a little corny. The dragon balls are seven, numbered, orange orbs that, when gathered together, will call forth the Eternal Dragon who will grant wishes to those who gathered them. The series acts as a sequel to the, also mega-popular, Dragon Ball series. In DBZ, Goku has a son, yet his life basically revolves around training, defending the earth, and being pretty dumb.
Keep in mind that this list is specifically about the English dub of Dragon Ball Z, so if any of the gripes that are detailed below are explained better in the original Japanese, then forgive us. Also, as the anime was running alongside the manga – and Akira Toriyama was working on both at the same time – we understand that a certain amount of filler was added to the show in order to pad out the story.
Here are 15 Things That Make No Sense About Dragon Ball Z.
15. Piccolo Blew Up The Moon!
To fans of the prequel, Dragon Ball, Piccolo is the final “boss battle” for the grown-up Goku at the end of the series. In Dragon Ball Z, however, the former villain takes on an anti-hero role in the early episodes, teaming up with his sworn enemy in order to take down a larger threat – Goku’s brother, Raditz.
After the somewhat successful defeat of this new foe, Goku dies from his injuries (only to be wished back to life later by uniting the dragon balls), and Piccolo vows to train the son he leaves behind, Gohan. As Gohan is also part of this warrior race known as the Saiyans, he has the ability to transform into a giant, powerful, ape at the sight of the full moon.
Piccolo’s solution? Blow up the moon using a high-energy blast, of course! No regard for the ocean tides or the axial tilt of Earth. We’d have smaller tides, controlled by the sun only, and that thing gets way too much credit as it is.
14. King Kai Knows Instant Transmission
While dead, Goku was training with King Kai on his planet at the end Snake Way – the million km long path that links the planet to a sort of processing building for dead people. Goku’s plan was to train with the King of the north area of the universe (yeah, that’s not even the nonsensical part) to become stronger to face the next threat.
Once Goku is wished alive again, he doesn’t automatically transport back to the world in which he died – he remains on King Kai’s planet and must make his own way back. What King Kai doesn’t tell Goku is that he knows a technique called “Instant Transmission” that allows the user to focus on another person and transport themselves instantly to that location.
Later, in the FUNimation dub, King Kai reveals that he didn’t teach it to Goku because he never asked. Kind of a dick move on Kai’s part. “I didn’t teach you that useful thing you didn’t know anything about because you never asked me to.” C’mon, Kai. Get with the freaking program. There are lives at stake here.
13. Dr. Gero Is Stronger Than Frieza
There was a time when Frieza was feared throughout the galaxy for his power and ruthlessness. He was the mightiest warrior alive in the universe, as far as our heroes were concerned. That was, of course, until Dr. Gero decided to build some androids.
Dr. Gero hated Goku so much for defeating the Red Ribbon Army in Dragon Ball that he went on to create some of the deadliest foes the Z-fighters have ever faced. Given number designations, the androids were much stronger than anything the heroes had ever faced up to that point – so much so that the child of Vegeta and Bulma came from the future (one in which the androids had killed pretty much everyone) to help stop them.
Gero also converted his body into an android form, placing his brain in a constructed vessel, strong enough in its own right to take down our heroes. He was eventually killed by his own creations, #17 and #18, but he was capable enough to go up against a Super Saiyan, something that Frieza had twice failed in doing by that point.
12. Vegeta’s Forgotten Crimes
Vegeta – the largest and most powerful threat during the Saiyan saga – killed a lot of people prior to fighting on the side of good. Despite also taking out some enemies of our heroes, from his introduction to his transition into an anti-heroic “good guy”, he killed civilians on Earth and villagers on Namek. These crimes are just simply forgotten by our heroes and, for the most part, they treat him as though he never committed them. Dragon Ball series mainstay Bulma even goes so far as to marry the guy, and have some weirdly-named children (more on that later).
His sins aren’t just from before! Even when he is fighting to defend Earth, he manages to kill a trucker in a fight with Android #18, murder a whole section of fans at the martial arts tournament (albeit under Babadi’s spell), and he regularly states out-loud that he wants to kill Goku.
For years, it was widely understood that, after the destruction of Planet Vegeta, the last surviving full-blooded Saiyans were Goku, Vegeta, Nappa, and Raditz, as they were all off-planet when it blew up. It turned out that there were a few more, such as the mighty Broly, Turles, Onio, and Paragus.
However, it’s later revealed that another Saiyan survived the mayhem: Tarble, the youngest son of the King of Planet Vegeta, and a character who just so happens to be the little brother of Vegeta. The weirdest thing about this is that he was never mentioned in the Dragon Ball Z series prior to Dragon Ball Z: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! (making this entry the only one not taken from the English dub of the series).
10. Solar Flare Usage
Solar Flare has got to be one of the most useful techniques in the Dragon Ball series, with its ability to temporarily blind even the strongest of foes. The technique was invented by Tien Shinhan and debuted during his World Martial Arts Tournament match-up with Jackie Chun (Master Roshi in disguise). Since then, many of the Z-Fighters have gone on to use the non-lethal move.
The issue is, why aren’t people using it more? There have been so many occasions when the hero has been at the mercy of the villain. We’re talking up close and personal and ready to kill, but the hero just squirms as though they don’t have this sweet move in their arsenal to help them escape. Goku, Krillin, and Trunks all know how to use this ability, and of course Tien, but they just don’t use it enough. They could definitely just blind their foe and instantly defeat them – well, maybe just Goku. But perhaps Krillin wouldn’t have died so many times had he been using Solar Flare more often.
9. Super Speed Under-Utilized
Another thing that the heroes and villains don’t use often enough is their super speed. We’ll notice a bunch of vertical lines to indicate that they were in one place for a split second and that they zoomed to another place so quickly you could barely see it. Dragon Ball Z fans see this all the time.
There are too many moments, however, that heroes and villains alike will attempt to stop an energy blast from their enemy rather than simply flying away. Sure, the ground below them may take a hit, but they will be unscathed and ready to continue the fight.
Fighters are also guilty of firing a ki blast of their own in order to counter the other – Gohan and Cell‘s Kamehameha vs Kamehameha, for instance – rather than simply using their super speed. They could fly a few feet in the air and fire a blast of their own and it would probably be more dramatic than the stalemate we have to watch for half an episode.
8. Goten And Trunks: Super Saiyan Children
The super saiyan transformation was something that was painstakingly achieved by Goku, triggered by his rage at how Frieza destroyed his best friend, Krillin. His son, Gohan, achieved the transformation after high-intensity training with his father in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. Vegeta achieved it through grueling and punishing training of his own, determined to catch up with his rival, Goku.
Goten and Trunks, however, are a different story altogether. Goten is the son of Goku, and Trunks is the son of Vegeta. They both are half-saiyans, which apparently makes the transformation easier than for a pure-blooded saiyan, but they were both children. Goten is 7-years-old when he transforms for the first time in the anime, and it comes out of nowhere! Trunks is a year older, but his transformation is just as surprising, leading to Vegeta to question his whole training regiment.
If Vegeta wanted his race to be strong once more, why he didn’t just work his charms on women other than Bulma? Prior to his obvious falling in love with her, we mean. We all know she’s his bae now.
7. Absorbing Z-Fighters
When the organic android Cell set out to absorb androids #17 and #18, fans weren’t prepared for how weird the absorption would actually be – Cell’s almost needle-like tail expanded and swallowed them whole. He absorbed #17 first, then #18, and finally achieved his perfect form.
However, we’re wondering where they went. Before Cell’s final demise, a well-placed attack leads to the release of #18, and she is completely intact. Where was she stored before that? Especially since, shortly after achieving perfect form, Cell’s whole top half was blown away by a Kamehameha courtesy of Goku (which he heals from). If #18 was stored in his stomach, she should have been destroyed.
Other absorption questions arise from the Majin Buu saga – Majin Buu absorbs various Z-Fighters and is almost unstoppable, but then they are released before he takes on his final form, Kid Buu. Does this make Kid Buu comparatively weaker than his earlier forms? Advocates of Super Buu may say so.
6. Mr. Satan/Hercule Is Invincible
Mr. Satan (or Hercule, depending on who you ask) was introduced to the series during the Cell Games Saga as the famous, and absolutely useless, World Martial Arts champion. When Cell announces the Cell Games, Mr. Satan steps up, vowing to take down this freaky looking chump. When he gets there, he is swatted away with a single backhand.
The hit he receives should definitely behead him, but it raises him up into the air and far from the ring, to land on the rocks. No matter which way you look at it, Hercule should have died right then and there. But no, the champ persists and regularly takes hit after hit throughout his continuing tenure in the Dragon Ball series.
He survives explosions, ki blasts, being splatted against walls, and landing akimbo on sharp rocks. He’s even one of the last surviving people from Earth after Buu kills everyone, and he even helps Goku and Vegeta defeat Kid Buu, in his own way.
5. Mr. Satan – Legitimate Champion
Speaking of Mr. Satan, we have to acknowledge that he’s definitely not all talk. Sure, around the Z-Fighters and any of their enemies, he’s for sure the weakling of the bunch, but he did legitimately become Martial Arts Champion while our heroes were on Namek.
The Champ certainly has a vast knowledge of many fighting styles, as demonstrated by his showy presentation when challenging a foe, the only real reality check for him comes from when he goes up against things that should be impossible.
The thing that makes the least amount of sense is that, after he finds out about these amazing possibilities, he doesn’t try to train with any of our heroes. The Saiyans may be a little too much for him, but he certainly could become a student of Master Roshi. Imagine Mr. Satan with more strength and abilities – Earth would be forever protected!
4. Master Roshi’s Immortality
Master Roshi is a lecherous old hermit who lives with a turtle on a tiny island with a single house. He has trained Grandpa Gohan, The Ox King, Goku, Krillin, and Yamcha, and has been able to do so for many years, as he is apparently immortal.
Roshi is over 300 years old when we see him in Dragon Ball, although his immortality only prevents him from dying of old age. Roshi can still be killed, as we see in Dragon Ball, but as long as he doesn’t get killed and eats the Paradise Grass from the Forrest of Terror every 1,000 years, he will not die.
Later, in Dragon Ball Super, Goku and Krillin have to fetch the grass on behalf of Roshi, the latter lying in order to coerce them into obtaining the herb for him. We have to wonder about Roshi’s motives, since he doesn’t train anyone anymore, and he himself doesn’t have to defend Earth. Is he just trying to live longer in order to make some more inappropriate advances to the female characters? Only the Turtle Hermit knows.
3. Hyperbolic Time Chamber
The Hyperbolic Time Chamber seems to be a source of much contention between fans. Its availability gives some fans of the Dragon Ball series pause, making them wonder why the heroes don’t use it more often to become stronger, especially in ticking clock situations, like the looming arrival of the Saiyans.
Time within the chamber passes 365.24 times faster than outside. This means that a day of training inside this mystical structure equates to a whole year of training. That’s a lot of progress. It’s how Gohan was able to transcend to Super Saiyan while training inside with his father.
It is mentioned that a person can only spend a maximum of 48 hours of real world time inside the chamber, and that they can only enter twice in their lifetime, but after the Majin Buu saga, improvements were made, and it would make sense for the heroes to use it. Gohan never had time for training, but surely he could have set aside an hour a week to really find his high-levels once more, right? A wasted opportunity, really.
2. So Many Wasted Wishes
The whole of Dragon Ball is based on the fact that there exists a set of seven magical orbs that will grant any wish within the power of the Eternal Dragon that is summoned from them. These can be the Earth dragon balls, the slightly larger Namekian dragon balls, or the newly discovered super dragon balls, which are the size of planets.
The issue here is that there have been too many wasted wishes throughout the series, several of which occurring in Dragon Ball Z and the movies it produced. The most recent culprits have occurred in Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, when it’s learned that the Pilaf Gang wished for their youth and became children again, and also in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F‘, when Sorbet wishes for Frieza to be resurrected. Rather than wishing for himself to become powerful, or even for immortality, he wishes to be once again to be under the heel of another. Sorbet’s wish is widely regarded as the worst wish in DBZ history.
1. The Whole Brief Family
Names in Dragon Ball Z are always kind of weird. Piccolo’s a woodwind instrument, Vegeta is a seasoning and soup mix, but the whole Brief family have some of the strangest names in the English translation of the Dragon Ball series. Let’s start with Dr. Brief, the elderly founder of Capsule Corp. and Bulma’s father. His name doesn’t raise too many eyebrows, until we consider what he named his children.
He named his first born Tights. Her name is Tights Brief. What the hell is that? And then there’s Bulma, who has also gone by Bloomers. Tight bloomers. You see it, right? Not just us? Moving onto Bulma’s children, it seems like the gift for strange garment-related names has been passed down from the previous generation, as she goes on to name her first child Trunks Brief. And then there’s the one that really takes the cake – Bulla Brief, Bulma and Vegeta’s daughter. Bulla literally translates to “Bra.” Bra Brief.
Maybe Master Roshi is the true writer of Dragon Ball. That way it makes a little more sense.
Got more senseless moments from DBZ? Or maybe an explanation? Drop them in the comments.
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