Dragon Ball / Tropes E to N

This page covers tropes found in Dragon Ball.

Tropes A to D | Tropes E To N | Tropes O to Z | YMMV


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     E 
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • For its first story arc, the story was an updated retelling of Journey to the West with a few vague science-fiction elements. When it came to the Tenkaichi Budoukai story arc immediately thereafter, it jumped feet-first into martial arts action, and when the Red Ribbon Army was introduced immediately after THAT, the world became openly, and proudly, Fantasy Kitchen Sink for the rest of the series's run.
    • One element early on in the series that really sees some head-scratching is the conclusion of the Boss Rabbit storyline. Considering it ends with Goku actually going into outer space with no space suit and dropping the villains of it off onto the moon, it always feels weird seeing climax of the Frieza Saga where Goku has to escape the dying Namek in time, since if the explosion doesn't kill him then the vacuum of outer space will. And Roshi blows up the moon later on, presumably with the Boss Rabbit still on it.
  • Easily Conquered World: King Piccolo takes over the world in just a few hours. The world wasn't prepared for someone that powerful, and admittedly his rule didn't last very long.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • Goku and Bulma holds no ill-will towards Yamcha despite his attempts to rob them and kill the former. Oolong is the only one who remains distrustful of him and even that doesn't last long.
    • After Tien and Chiaotzu made their Heel–Face Turn no one within Goku's group of friends think badly of them and welcomes them within the group despite Chiaotzu trying to kill Krillin on the Crane Hermit's orders and Tien breaking Yamcha's leg while he was unconscious on top of trying to kill Goku during their match.
  • Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: General Blue has flamboyantly effeminate mannerisms. When Bulma attempts to seduce him, she discovers the hard way that he hates women as he screams obscenities at her.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: After King Piccolo has conquered the world, Goku is offered a chance to drink the Ultra Divine Water at the top of Korin's Tower. This magic water gives him the tremendous power he needs to level the playing field against the demon king.
  • Enemy Mine: When Goku meets Yamcha, the latter is a desert bandit who tries to kill him and take his capsules. After Yamcha learns of the Dragon Balls, however, he changes tactics and helps Goku, Bulma, and Oolong with the intention of letting them gather the Dragon Balls and then stealing them for his own use.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • We first see Krillin he tries to impress Master Roshi by making a grand entrance by jumping off his boat and doing several flips, only to land head first into the sand. That pretty much tells you all you need to know about Krillin.
    • Chi Chi is being chased by a T-Rex when we first see her. While crying and running, she removes a boomerang from her helmet, throws it, and decapitates the T-Rex. When she realizes what she's done, she vaporizes the body with a laser built into her helmet. While screaming for help the whole time.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: After learning who King Piccolo is, Chiaotzu fears that Master Shen released him to get back at Tien and him for betraying him. Master Roshi quickly says that not even Shen would free Piccolo since he knows firsthand how horrible the Demon King is. He did watched Piccolo murder his fellow students and humiliate his master.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": In the original Japanese, several characters are known by titles and are never given actual names. The English version partially-converts these titles into names.
    • Muten Roshi or Kame-sennin, meaning Invincible Old Master and Turtle Hermit, respectively. In English, he's Master Roshi, the Turtle Hermit.
    • Tsuru-sennin translates to Crane Hermit. The English version added the name Master Shen, the Crane Hermit.
    • Uranai Baba translates to The All-Seeing Crone. In English, her title was partly translated to Fortuneteller Baba.
    • Kami, the Japanese name for God, is exactly what his title indicates. In English, his title was changed to Guardian of Earth while he kept Kami as a name.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Piccolo to Kami. Piccolo is all the evil Kami expelled out of him centuries ago.
    • Although neither of them know it, King Piccolo to Goku. Both are aliens from worlds that were in distress (one being outright destroyed), they both were raised in isolation away from the civilized world, lost their memories of their old worlds, and had come to see the blue planet as their one true home. Their arrival on Earth also greatly impacted the planet changing it forever. The difference between them is that whereas living on Earth gave Goku the best qualities of humanity, it gave the Nameless Namekian that later split into Kami and Piccolo the worst qualities.
    • Master Shen to Master Roshi. They are both the founders of their respected fighting schools and have two students each. However, Master Roshi uses Martial Arts to enrich one's life and to protect the weak. Master Shen uses Martial Arts to terrorize and even kill.
  • Evil Laugh: King Piccolo and his sons often share a hearty laugh at the impotence and helplessness of their intended victims.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Pilaf releases Demon King Piccolo in the hopes that Piccolo will conquer the world for him. All he gets for his trouble is being forced to jump out of a plane midflight, while Piccolo goes on attempt world domination for himself.
  • Evil Overlord: King Piccolo takes over the world and proclaims several times that he wants to turn the Earth into a planet of darkness.
  • Explosion Propulsion:
    • Goku launches himself sky-high at Piccolo using an explosive kamehameha right at the ground below him. Goku is moving so fast after the propulsion that he literally flies through Piccolo, like a human bullet.
    • In a later episode he does the same thing again by firing the kamehameha using his feet.
  • Expy:
    • Goku of Sun Wukong, The Monkey King from Journey to the West, with light dashes of Superman.
    • Oloong originally, of Zhu Bajie (aka "Piggy") from Journey to the West also.
    • Master Roshi is an expy of God from Dr. Slump (not to be confused with Dragon Ball's Kami-sama), at least in appearance. (He frequently acts more like Senbei Norimaki, though.) His alter-ego Jackie Chun is also clearly based on Jackie Chan's persona, if not his appearance.
    • Yamcha is a Composite Character. Initially Toryama used Sha Gojo from Journey to the West for the character. A likely prototype design for Yamcha was the title character to Akira Toriyama's one-shot Pink. Although Pink is a female, she also is a bandit living in a desert hideout who has an animal companion and rides a flying vehicle similar to Yamcha's Jet Squirrel. After cutting his long hair for the first time in the series, Yamcha looks very similar to the character Tsukutsun Tsun from Dr. Slump in both appearance and characteristics.
    • Chichi of Princess Iron Fan from Journey to the West. Her helmet is also a homage to Ultraseven from Ultraman
    • Launch's bad form was based on Polly Buckets, a character from Dr. Slump.
    • Bulma's Mom, from Marilyn Monroe. Also overlaps with Casting Gag, as her Japanese voice actress (Mariko Mukai) was her defacto voice actress for Monroe in almost all the Japanese dubs of her films. Dr. Brief resembles Albert Enstein.
    • Android 8 of Frankenstein's Monster.
    • The killer Tao Pai Pai. His appearance are based from the villain of the '78 Jackie Chun's movie Snake in the Eagle's Shadow.
    • Piano (one of King Piccolo's monster) of Baramos, another pterodactyl headed cloaked humanoid from Dragon Quest III. The game was drawn by Toriyama and during the same year as the King Piccolo Saga.
    • Jackie Chun is obviously named for Jackie Chan, but the similarity ends there. There is, however, a Jackie Chan expy competing in each Tenkaichi Budokai, though he never makes it past the preliminaries.
    • Sergeant Metallic, an android created by the Red Ribbon Army, is clearly based on Arnie's portrayal in The Terminator.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Tien Shinhan's "Volleyball Technique." He hits his opponent into the air like a volleyball. Lampshaded by the announcer.
  • Expecting Someone Taller:
    • King Piccolo's reactions when he learns that his children were killed by a mere child.
    • When Snow's mother sees the Dragon Balls that the Red Ribbon army was so desperately looking for, she comments that she expected them to be bigger.
  • Extreme Omnivore:
    • Buyon, the mutant blob from Muscle Tower ate everything from rocks, bones, to attempting to eat Android 8.
    • Yajirobe, who eats Cymbal after defeating him. This made even Goku recoil.
  • Eyelid Pull Taunt: Goku pulls his eyelid and sticks out his tongue to taunt enemies several times as a kid, such as during his match with Jackie Chun in the 21st World Tournament.
  • Eye Scream: Goku in the first story arc uses his Jan Ken Fist (otherwise known as "Rock, Paper, Scissors Attack") against Yamcha. Goku delivers a "Rock" (a punch), which Yamcha blocks, delivers the "Scissors" (eye poke) to his eyes, then finished it off with "Paper" (a slap) that knocked him away.

     F 
  • The Family That Slays Together: Piccolo sees his sons as one big family who absolutely enjoys killing and tormenting humans.
  • Fantasy All Along: Reality Ensues when society all but breaks down after King Piccolo takes over, abolishes all laws and frees all the prisoners. It gets even worse after Piccolo announces that he will destroy one city by lottery every year for the next 36 years. But then the evil demon king is defeated by a super-powered monkey boy and order is promptly restored across the world with no lasting consequences.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Dragon Ball version of Earth is largely based on China, although the Papaya Islands were based on Indonesia according to Word of God.
  • Fanservice: Bulma is the main source of this. An example: to defeat an invisible man, Krillin removes Bulma's shirt in front of Master Roshi (and the audience), giving him a colossal nosebleed that reveals the invisible man.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: King Piccolo spent over three-hundred years trapped in a rice cooker. He's deathly afraid of that happening again.
  • Father to His Men: King Piccolo's only redeeming trait. Compared to every villain in the entire Dragon Ball series, he actually cares for his underlings and goes out of his way to avenge them, which Goku learned the hard way. Helps that they are actually his kids.
  • Faux Affably Evil: King Piccolo may talk in a polite tone, but his voice is filled with disdain towards humanity.
  • Fearless Fool: Subverted in the Red Ribbon Army arc. Goku's friends learn that he's attacking the Red Ribbon Army's base alone and rush to help him, terrified that his inability to grasp the danger will get him killed. However, by the time they arrive, Goku has already finished taken care of things.
  • Fed to the Beast: During the Red Ribbon Army Saga, Goku and Android 8 have General White corner at the top of Muscle Tower, only to fall through a trap door he set. They end up plummeting into a pit where he houses Buyon, a giant beast that they use to dispose of prisoners. The monster's rubbery body prevents Goku doing any damage and it nearly eats them. Luckily, Goku gets the idea of breaking a nearby wall to allow the extremely cold air of outside to flow in and freezes the monster. Once the monster's frozen solid, he shatters it with a kick.
  • Fiction 500: Bulma's family lives in a luxurious estate and can afford to fund their numerous scientific advances because they own Capsule Corp, an international company that manufactures Capsulesnote . Their products are a constant presence throughout the series.
  • Final Battle: At the end of the 23rd World Tournament, Goku squares off against Piccolo Jr., revealed to be the reincarnation of his mortal foe. Piccolo has already imprisoned Kami and intends to kill Goku, the only person who was able to prevent his conquest of the world the last time he tried it. All eyes are on the stage as a simple contest for martial artists to test their skills turns into the ultimate battle to decide the fate of the Earth.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: Tao Pai Pai offers to fight General Blue using only his tongue after being ordered to prove his skills. He succeeds.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Krillin is the master of these. He nearly beats Jackie Chun by exploiting his perverted nature; he throws girl underwear on the floor and kicks Jackie when he makes a dive for it. He also grabs Goku's tail during their fight, although Goku grew out of that weakness, and sucker punches him when he tricks him into looking the other way.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: An overreaching theme of the series. People who were once hated enemies or fierce rivals can eventually becomes friends through trials, hardships, and working towards a common goal.
    • Bulma tricks Goku into acting as muscle for her search for the Dragon Balls. However, the experiences they share on their journey steadily grows their relationship into one of the closest friendships either character will ever have.
    • Yamcha meets Goku as a desert bandit, planning to rob him and take his Capsules. He follows Goku and Bulma on their journey, intending to steal the Dragon Balls for himself, but ends up helping them gather the Dragon Balls and survive Pilaf's Castle. After taking the charge in overcoming Goku's uncontrollable Great Ape form, Yamcha's forgotten all about robbing them. He starts dating Bulma shortly after.
    • Krillin is initially hostile to Goku, but warms up to him in the course of training for and competing in the 21st World Tournament. By the time the 22nd rolls around, Krillin is one of Goku's best friends, up there with Bulma.
  • Flip Personality: Taken to extremes with Launch, whose body undergoes a physical change when she switches personalities.
  • Flying on a Cloud:
    • The Flying Nimbus/Kintoun is a fast, yellow, possibly sentient cloud that Goku got from Roshi who in turn got it from Karin. It only allows people who are pure of heart to ride it; anyone else just falls through it like a cloud.
    • There's also a dark purple version that anyone can ride, even if they are impure of heart (like Krillin) or just plain evil (like Mercenary Tao). Unfortunately for Tao, Korin can make the cloud drop its rider at any time.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Although it's only in the anime, it's established early on by Colonel Silver that the Dragon Balls are unbreakable after he drops a fake Dragon Ball on the floor. Several dozen episodes later, Goku is saved from Mercenary Tao's Dodon Ray because he has the 4-star Dragon Ball in his shirt, blocking the shot.
    • There are several elements throughout the series that suggest Goku isn't human. He has a tail and is abnormally strong. He turns into a Great Ape when he looks at a full moon. He's capable of mastering advanced martial arts techniques by seeing them and imitating them. Major Metallitron's scanner can't even identify his species. All of this builds up to the reveal at the beginning of Z that Goku is an alien Child Soldier sent to exterminate all life on Earth, who suffered brain damage and forgot his mission.
  • For the Evulz:
    • Despite being quite wealthy, Tao refuses to pay the tailor who made his outfit in three days, doing a week's worth of work. He offers a free assassination to the man instead, but when the tailor refuses, Tao simply kills him instead.
    • Tien breaks Yamcha's leg despite the latter being unconscious just because he can.
    • Justified by King Piccolo; as the physical embodiment of evil incarnate, he wants to make others suffer and delights in chaos.
  • Free Sample Plot Coupon: The first attempted quest for the seven Dragon Balls is made easier thanks to the fact that Son Goku already had one of them before the series began, while Bulma already has two, so their first adventure focuses on finding only four more.
  • From Bad to Worse: The King Piccolo Saga is when the series introduce a villain who is truly playing for keeps. Upon his release, Piccolo has Tambourine murder dozens if not hundreds of martial artists, one of them being Krillin, and he beats Goku nearly to death and takes the Dragon Ball he was protecting. Roshi dies in a Senseless Sacrifice and Chiaotzu is killed trying to stop Piccolo from wishing for his youth. Piccolo then kills the Eternal Dragon, making all death permanent, before flying to the world capital and taking it over. It gets even worse after he abolish all laws and frees all the prisoners, throwing the world into complete chaos. And to top it all off, he plans to destroy a section of the world every year by lottery for the next 36 years. This was the darker moment in the original series.
  • Fun with Flushing: Early in the series, Master Roshi gets accidently flushed down the toilet while using a shrinking gadget to peep on Bulma.

     G 
  • Genius Bruiser: King Piccolo, one of the strongest villains in the original series and also one of the smartest. He outsmarted and out-gambled all the heroes despite some setbacks from Goku and Master Roshi. There's a reason why he won even if it was for a short time. First, he saw through Master Roshi and the others' plan to steal his Dragon Balls while he searched for them, so he swallows them, forcing Roshi to play his final card, the Evil Containment Wave. He then kills Shenron, knowing that someone in the future may use the Dragon Balls against him. When he became scared of Goku after he survives a city buster, he grabs Tien and uses Goku's compassion for others to cripple him.
  • Genre Shift: The franchise started as a comedic Journey to the West meets Indiana Jones treasure hunt, and ended as a serious and often grim Journey to the West meets Superman.
  • God Is Flawed: It is to expected since Kami is a mortal being who ascended to godhood rather than a naturally omnipotent deity. He divided most of his flaws to purify himself and ascend to the role, creating Piccolo, but he's still fallible in his decision making. After Piccolo kills Shenron, Kami considers leaving the Dragon Balls destroyed because he believes it was a mistake to create them, and it's only through Goku's sincere desire to help his friends that he becomes convinced to give the Dragon Balls another chance.
  • Good Is Not Soft:
    • Goku as a kid/teen. Unlike his adult self he rarely if ever extends mercy to those he sees as his enemy. At his most ruthless, he kills hundreds if not thousands of Red Ribbon Army soldiers including most of the commanders, and hunts down Tambourine and King Piccolo for Krillin and Master Roshi's murders. He also kicks Drum, one of King Piccolo's children, so hard in the face that he not only instantly kills him but causes his eye to pop out.
    • Master Roshi. He maybe a kindly, perverted old man, but he's ruthless when it comes to training his students, making them be chase by dinosaurs and sharks, stun by wasps, and work to complete exhaustion.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: After Goku tricks Piccolo into getting hit by his own energy seeker attack, his right arm is badly damage. Goku tries to get Piccolo to surrender, saying that he can't fight in this condition. Piccolo's response, rips his arm off and grow a new one.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The seven magic Dragon Balls are fancy stones with stars inside them that don't do anything individually. However, when all seven are brought together, they can be used to summon the Eternal Dragon, Shenron, who will grant one wish before scattering the balls to the far corners of the Earth.
  • Graceful Loser: Most major characters in the Tournament Arcs tend to accept their defeats with grace and dignity:
    • Despite being disappointed, Goku accepts his defeats at the 21st and 22nd Martial Arts Tournaments. He's even dismissive when Tien says that he won because he was lucky.
    • At the 23rd Tournament, Tien accepts that Goku is the better fighter after their rematch.
    • Despite how badly the Worf Effect hits him, Yamcha never takes his losses personally. He even asks for advice from the people who beat him.
    • Krillin graciously admits defeat towards Piccolo after putting up a brilliance fight that shocks the reborn demon king.
    • After being assured that the future generation was in good hands, Master Roshi forfeits his fight against Tien.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: In the Japanese version, of all things. The second opening contains the words "Ippai oppai", written in English letters and appearing completely out of context. It means "Lots of boobs".
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: The heroes' exploits often go unnoticed by the population of the world.
    • Goku single-handedly takes down the Red Ribbon Army, a dangerous organization that has terrorized the world for years, but nobody ever finds out who did it.
    • When Goku kills Demon King Piccolo, there are reports of a boy fighting the Demon King, but the image is so bad and it's so dangerous to get closer that nobody can tell who it was specifically.
  • Groin Attack: During the 23rd World Tournament, Yamcha attempts to kick Hero in the head, but Hero ducks and Yamcha lands crotch-first on his thick skull.
  • Growing Muscles Sequence: When Master Roshi powers up to use his Kamhemahema, his muscles expand tremendously. The withered old master briefly resembles a bodybuilder for the duration of the attack.
  • Guns Are Worthless: A major part of the universe in so far as martial artists go. Starting with Bulma shooting Goku on there first meeting and later Launch spraying gunfire like confetti at other characters to no effect in Dragon Ball and continuing on to Raditz catching a shotgun blast with his bare hands, guns are fundamentally useless.
  • Gut Punch: The series starts out as a light-hearted comedy story about Goku and his misadventures with his friends. Then Krillin is murdered at the end of the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, changing the tone of the series forever.

     H-J 
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Subverted in parts of the original series since Krillin did hold his own against Piccolo, actually freaking him out and Tien was almost equal to Goku until he drunk the Ultra Divine Water. Krillin also gave Goku a decent fight at the 22nd Tournament.
  • Healing Factor: During the 23rd World Tournament, Goku manages to cripple Piccolo's arm. For a moment, the battle seems to have been won, but Piccolo tears off his arm and grows a new one.
  • Healing Potion: Senzu beans instantly restore physical energy to 100% as well as instantly healing injuries and providing 2 weeks worth of nutrition. There are limits to their abilities, however; certain injuries and illnesses are too extensive for a Senzu bean to suffice.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Yamcha, Tien, and Chiaotzu.
    • Yamcha starts out as a desert thief who has no problem attacking a kid. He joins the adventure to find the Dragon Balls planning to steal them for himself and have his own wish granted, but slowly becomes a friend to Goku and Bulma.
    • Tien and Chiaotzu are both Arrogant Kung Fu Guys who use their abilities to torment other fighters and cheat at the World Tournament. Tien aspires to be a great assassin and seeks revenge against Goku for defeating Tao, but with some advice from Master Roshi, he learns to enjoy the pure art of fighting during his match with Goku and forsakes his darker ambitions. Chiaotzu follows in his footsteps shortly after.
  • Heroic Rematch:
    • Goku vs. Tao Pai Pai. He nearly kills Goku, takes his Dragon Balls, and murders Bora in cold blood. After promising Upa to revive his father using the Dragon Balls, he climbs Korin's Tower to drink the Sacred Water to become stronger to challenge Tao again.
    • The same happens with King Piccolo, who easily curbstomped Goku in their first fight to the point that his heart stops for several minutes. Goku returns to Korin's Tower to train under Korin to become stronger, only to find out that he has already surpassed Korin. So, Korin has Goku retrieve the Ultra Divine Water, the true Sacred Water that is suppose to unlock one's hidden powers if they have any. Once Goku drinks the water and survives the pain, he becomes many times stronger and is ready to challenge Piccolo to one final match.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Roshi's master imprisons King Piccolo in the demon king's backstory, ending his reign of terror by using the Evil Containment Wave. This comes at the cost of his own life.
    • Subverted when Tien attempts this after he learns how to use the Evil Containment Wave. Depending if you read the manga or watch the anime, he fails because he breaks the rice cooker before he confronts Piccolo, or he fails because Drum interferes and indirectly saves his life.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Tao Pai Pai is killed by his own grenade.
  • Holy Halo: During Baba's Tournament, Gohan has a halo over his head to signify his nature as a virtuous, deceased soul returning to earth for just this one day.
  • Honor Before Reason: Goku is pissed when Kami dares to interfere with his fight with Piccolo to the point that he allows Piccolo to have a free hit. He also refuses his friends' help when Piccolo is ready to blast him into atoms because he would lose the match if they helped.
  • Hope Bringer: Throughout the series, Goku's friends come more and more to rely on the idea that Goku can solve anything, punch out anyone, and turn any dark situation brighter. After he defeats the Red Ribbon Army singlehandedly, his friends have stop believing he even has limits. When he shows up at the capitol to fight King Piccolo, his friends don't even need to hear his name to know exactly who is standing between Piccolo and world domination and who is going to win.
  • Horrifying the Horror:
    • No matter how ugly or monstrous one might be, everyone who stands against him quickly learns why they should be afraid of Son Goku.
      • Although a human, Mercenary Tao is a famed assassin who has mercilessly killed hundreds without his stoic demeanor breaking. After being pounded by Goku during their rematch, he loses his composure and is reduced to pulling a dirty ploy.
      • After nearly beating the demon spawn Tambourine to death and easily evading his energy attack, Tambourine becomes so frightened of Goku that he attempts to fly away.
      • Goku scares the Demon King himself after surviving an attack that levels a city. Piccolo is barely holding himself together, calling Goku inhuman and a monster.
      • Piccolo Jr freezes in terror and is left speechless after Goku tanks an explosion that covers an entire island.
    • Despite being much weaker than King Piccolo, Master Roshi manages to scare him shitless by revealing he knows the Evil Containment Wave. Although Roshi fails to trap Piccolo and dies, Piccolo is left shaking on the ground for several seconds.
  • How Much More Can He Take The last part of the Jackie Chun versus Goku fight. They have been fighting for four hours, both of them are on their last legs and are reduced to just beating each other into submission, and both refuse to go down.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Chichi is a child when we meet her. Her father, the aptly named "Ox King", towers over even the adults in the cast.
  • I Am Not a Gun: Android #8 is created as a Killer Robot by the Red Ribbon Army, but refuses to kill.
    "I'm not Android 8! My name is Eighter!"
  • Idiot Hero: Goku has No Social Skills, is extremely naive about the world, and is too trusting for his own good. He's also brave, loyal, and frequently goes out of his way to help his friends or even people he just met. He gets a little less naive as he grows up, but he never completely leaves his idiot tendencies behind.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die:
    • Goku feels responsible for Bora's death since he was killed while defending him from Tao. He makes it his mission to collect the remaining Dragon Balls and wish him back to life.
    • After finding Krillin murdered, Goku is mad at himself since Krillin only went back to the stadium because he forgot his Power Pole and Dragon Ball.
    • Poor Tien is consumed by guilt after Chiaotzu is killed because he asked him to interfere with King Piccolo's wish instead of staying down like Master Roshi ordered.
  • I Lied: When General Blue threatens to shoot a paralyzed Goku unless they tell him where the Dragon Ball is, Bulma gives in and tells him. He then decides to shoot Goku anyway, quoting the trope.
  • Immune to Bullets: Goku and his friends, along with most of the villains. Bullets are shown to hurt, but that's about it.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: In the final great battle of his childhood, Goku punches a hole clean through Demon King Piccolo.
  • Impending Clash Shot: At least once per fighting antagonist arc, an episode of the anime will have a Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame(usually based on a panel from the manga) of either the characters charging into the fray or one if not both at ready fighting stances. Like before Goku fights Demon King Piccolo in the episode before their fight proper.
  • Impossible Task Instantly Accomplished:
    • Master Roshi took 50 years to develop the Kamehameha Wave, and is first seen using it to extinguish a burning mountain. He levels the mountain, but that's not the point. The point is, Goku performs a weaker version of it almost immediately after seeing this feat.
    • Tenshinhan, who studied with Master Roshi's arch rival, slams Yamcha with a Kamehameha right after his very first one.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Early in the series, Goku is judged to be pure of heart by the Nimbus, a magic cloud that only allows pure-hearted people to ride it. This never changes; no matter what happens and what he goes through, Goku's innocence and good heart never falters. During Baba's Tournament, Goku's innocence even saves his life by allowing him to withstand the Devilmite Beam, which expands the evil inside a person's heart and uses it to kill them.
  • Indy Escape: Very early in the original series, Emperor Pilaf menaces Goku and friends with a gigantic pinball that chases them down a hallway.
  • Infant Immortality: In a filler scene during the King Piccolo Saga, Snow, the girl from Jingle Village, grabs a rifle from a fallen King Castle soldier and takes aim at Piccolo Daimao as his back is turned, but gives up. Piccolo then turns right around and fires eye-lasers in her direction. When the smoke clears, we're relieved to see that he wasn't aiming for Snow at all, but another soldier directly behind her.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Goku has no social skills when Bulma finds him in the mountains. He often tells Bulma how useless she is and even looks under her skirt trying to find, depending on the version, either her tail or her balls. During his adventure to find the Dragon Balls, he gets into the habit of patting a person's crotch when he meets them to find out their gender. He grows out of it, but he never stops being bluntly honest in his evaluation of other people's ability to fight or even just contribute.
  • Instant Expert:
    • While there are a few techniques Goku had to study and practice, most of Goku's abilities were learned through instant mastery of something he'd already seen someone else perform;.
      • Master Roshi spent fifty years perfecting the Kamehameha. After watching him use it to destroy Frypan Mountain, Goku immediately reproduce a weaker version.
      • During the 21st World Tournament, Jackie Chun performs the Afterimage in his fight with Goku and Goku quickly learns to replicate the ability. Jackie tries to outsmart him with a Double Afterimage, but Goku effortlessly masters that as well and even advances it to a Triple Afterimage.
      • Goku is never shown learning how to perform Tien's Solar Flare or Flight technique from the 22nd World Tournament. In the 23rd, however, he uses Tien's Solar Flare against him and masters Flight on-the-spot to turn an imminent defeat into a desperate victory at the end of his match with Piccolo.
    • Tien brags that he can learn any technique just from seeing it and demonstrates by using the Kamehameha on Master Roshi.
  • Instant Flight, Just Add Spinning: A young Son Goku uses his tail to fly and avoid touching the ground outside the ring in the first Tournament Arc. He also used his Staff as a rotor repeatedly.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own:
    • Goku has several allies join him in the course of the Red Ribbon Army conflict. Bulma, Krillin, Android #8, and Bora all have roles that help Goku advance in his battle against the ferocious military. The final assault on the Red Ribbon headquarters, however, is performed by Goku alone; his allies come to help, but they only arrive after he's finished destroying the Red Ribbon Army.
    • Invoked by Goku during the 23rd World Martial Tournament. He refuses any help while fighting Piccolo despite his friends trying to help him, including the Guardian of the Earth. It is a tournament and Goku wants to win fairly.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: If a Goku looks at the full moon, he transforms into a giant ape-like creature and goes on a berserk rampage. This can be stopped by cutting his tail off, but it grows back after a while. A more permanent solution is toblow up the moon.
  • Irony:
    • Commander Red hires Mercenary Tao to kill Goku which ends up destroying the Red Ribbon Army. Tao kills Bora, which makes Goku go after all of the Dragon Balls to resurrect him. Before then, Goku was only interested in the 4-star ball.
    • One has to be familiar with Dragon Ball Z to fully appreciate the irony of the Goku versus King Piccolo fight. Both are aliens who have long forgotten their real names and were sent to Earth to save their lives. The big twist, Goku came from a race of ruthless warrios who were also planet destroyers. Piccolo, or more correctly the Nameless Namek, came from a peaceful, benevolence race. After becoming infected by humanity Goku became a good person while Piccolo became corrupted. In another world and time, Goku would have been the conqueror and Piccolo would have been the savior.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That:
    • As a kid, Goku had a hard time understanding that everyone is not super. One of the best examples is when the group needs to get across a deadly booby-trapped hallway without touching the floor. Goku and Krillin easily jump across the traps. Goku tells Bulma it's her turn, and she angrily yells that there's no way she can jump that far. Goku is surprised.
    • He also thought that every boy has a tail. Amusingly, when he tells Bulma, she gets upset that she still doesn't know about the male anatomy at her age.
  • It's Always Spring: The majority of episodes/chapters are set in May, mainly due to the Tenkaichi Budokai always being on May 7th and two major storylines directly following the tournament: Red Ribbon Army and Piccolo Daimao.
  • It's Personal:
    • This is what dooms the Red Ribbon Army. After Mercenary Tao kills Bora, Goku's goals shift from recovering the Four-Star Ball to collecting all of the Dragon Balls so that Shenron can resurrect him. He also relishes the idea that he can kill two birds with one stone by recovering the Dragon Balls and tearing down the RRA's base, where previously he'd been content to fight the RRA simply because they were between him and a Ball.
    • At the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, the Crane Hermit enters his students to show-off against the Turtle School. Then he learns that Goku killed his younger brother, Tao. After that, things became very personal.
    • King Piccolo and his children make things personal for Goku when Tambourine kills Krillin. By the final fight, Goku isn't interested in the state of the world so much as making Piccolo pay for taking those dear to him.
    • After his reincarnation, Piccolo shows up to the 23rd World Tournament seeking revenge against Goku for killing him. Unbeknownst to the world, he's been alive these past three years but has put his plans for world domination on hold for the sake of preparing to take revenge.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: After losing his rematch against Goku, Tao Pai Pai (Mercenary Tao) follows up his "surrender" by throwing a grenade. Unfortunately for Tao, Goku deflects it right back at him.
  • Jerkass: Too many to name. Let's just say that all the villains in this series are either minor to major jackasses.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: On a small scale, Yajirobe. A belligerent glutton who loudly declares he wants nothing to do with the other Z-Warriors, yet still always ends up coming to their aid when they really need it. He drives Goku to Korin's Tower after he was badly injured from his first fight with Piccolo and climbed to the top with Goku on his back. When Goku was falling to his death after beating Piccolo, Yajirobe comes from nowhere and catches him.
  • Just a Kid: Goku is constantly disparaged or dismissed by opponents who assume he's harmless simply because he's a kid. Those opponents quickly regret it when they find out how powerful and dangerous Goku really is.
  • Just Toying with Them: Just like its sequel series, this happens a lot:
    • As a kid, Goku enjoyed toying with his opponents, but unlike most examples there is no real malice behind it. To him, fighting is one big game and it is no fun if he just curb stomps everyone. He even refers to fighting as playing. He also tends to toy around because his full strength can easily kill most people. This behavior can be seen most in his fight with Ninja Murasaki. Goku could easily beat the guy in minutes, but plays with him, actually playing hide-and-seek and racing. Murasaki is so weak compared to Goku that it doesn't matter anyway, and he's one-shotted once Goku gets serious.
    • Tien toys with his opponents, but it's mostly to show off how superior he is. Chiaotzu was much the same way.

    K 
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Mercenary Tao's Establishing Character Moment involves murdering General Blue as a demonstration of his skill, using only his tongue. This might be a tragic and shameful sendoff for a character who lasted much longer than any other military leader, had General Blue spent that screentime being anything but a complete and utter bastard. He did not, and so the audience would not miss him.
  • Kid Hero: Goku is only 12 years old during his first adventure and his conflict with the Red Ribbon Army. He's older when he fights King Piccolo, but he's still only 15. Krillin also briefly gets in on the heroics during the Red Ribbon conflict.
  • Kid Hero All Grown-Up: After a three-year time skip following the King Piccolo arc, Goku meets his friends again for the 23rd World Tournament. At 18 years of age, he's finally on the cusp of adulthood and he looks the part.
  • Killed Off for Real: Near the end of the Red Ribbon Army arc, Goku comes up with the idea of using Shenron to resurrect the murdered Bora. This one choice changes the nature of the series from All Deaths Final, making it possible that anyone could be revived so long as there's someone to make a wish for them. But nobody's gathering the Dragon Balls for the commanders of the Red Ribbon Army.
  • Knight of Cerebus: King Piccolo. The humor and lightheartedness of Dragon Ball ended with him.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Karin, the guardian who lives at the top of Karin Tower. His home is full of magical items and he seems to have some magical abilities himself, including the ability to read minds. He is also responsible for growing the magical senzu beans which Goku and company use as curatives in their journeys. At the same time he is quite a skilled martial artist and is able to out-maneuver Goku with ease the first time they meet.

    L 
  • Lack of Empathy:
    • Commander Red of the Red Ribbon Army sends countless men to their deaths against Goku in order to gather the Dragon Balls, all for the sake of making a shallow wish to Shenron to become taller. When his best subordinate, General Blue succeeds in retrieving the Dragon Radar from Goku, Red forces him to fight a hopeless battle against Mercenary Tao to test the assassin's skills. At no point does he display the slightest consideration for the lives and wellbeing of the men under him, ultimately resulting in his own death at the hands of a disgusted Staff Officer Black.
    • This is needed for Tao to be the world's greatest assassin. He has no problem murdering children and kills Bora in coldblood in front of his son. He also tells Upa that he should feel lucky that he doesn't kill him too.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: A humorous example. Krillin cheats during training and as a result gets dinner while Goku goes hungry. However, Lethal Chef Lunch cooks dinner that night with toxic pufferfish, meaning Goku avoids getting sick.
  • Laxative Prank: Bulma does this to Oolong when he refuses to cooperate with her in helping find the Ox-king. She gives him a candy that he thinks is delicious, but really it's a laxative, and every time she whistles, he will have an emergency. Goku tries this on Oolong, too.
  • A Lesson In Defeat: At the 21st World Tournament, Master Roshi enters his students Goku and Krillin, but also enters the tournament himself under the guise of "Jackie Chun". He wants his students to do well, but he's afraid that they'll win the tournament, become complacent with their strength. By defeating them in the tournament, he intends to prove to them that there will always be someone stronger and they should never quit striving to improve. This is a lesson Goku ultimately takes to heart, becoming a defining aspect of his character.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: At the end of the Pilaf arc, all the protagonists are trapped with only a tiny hole to look out as Pilaf summons Shenron and prepares to make his wish for world domination. Suddenly, Oolong springs into action. This shapeshifting pig who can only hold a form for five minutes and has largely caused more harm than good on the adventure manages to save the world by turning into a bat and casting his wish to Shenron before Pilaf has a chance to. Pilaf's plans are thwarted and Oolong gets a magically-conjured pair of Bulma's panties.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Bulma is one of the only characters seen with more than two outfits throughout the entire series.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: "Goku interviewed by Shonen Jump." Note however that Shonen Jump canonically exists in all Urban Fantasy and Slice of Life manga contained within, so this does make sense in-universe.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Goku's transformation into a Great Ape is known by most of his friends. They never tell him to save his feelings since he accidentally killed his grandfather when he transformed.
  • Long Runner: The manga started in late 1984 and ended in 1995. The anime started in 1986 and ended in 1996. Dragon Ball Kai may or may not count as additional seasons. Has 2 movies, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and Dragon Ball Z: Revival of F that are considered canon. Starting in June 2015, an anime called Dragon Ball Super is going to air. There are also a number of TV specials and OVAs. Official spinoffs like Jaco the Galactic Patrolman may also be included.
  • Look Behind You: When Goku and General Blue are fighting in Pirate Cave, Bulma attempts a distraction by pointing to the side and yelling. It backfires spectacularly, since while General Blue doesn't even twitch, Goku himself stops, turns, and looks, which gets him thrashed.
  • Look What I Can Do Now: Early in the King Piccolo arc, Goku is nearly killed by Piccolo. When Goku's heart restarts itself, Yajirobe and he embark to Korin Tower and get Goku more training. Meanwhile, Master Roshi sacrifices himself in a failed attempt to reimprison Piccolo, who goes on to kill Chiaotzu, abduct the President of the World, and declare himself ruler. All hope for the world now rests on the shoulders of Tien, who proved himself Goku's equal in the preceding Tournament. Tien squares off with Piccolo's spawn Drum and comes up short, only for Goku to return newly empowered by the Ultra Divine Water, effortlessly slaughter Drum, and settle in to battle Piccolo for the fate of the world.
  • Losing Is Worse Than Death: Goku refuses anyone's help when fighting Piccolo during the 23rd Tournament, even after Piccolo has proven that he doesn't really care about the tournament or its rules and is here to kill him. Even when the smoke finally clears with Piccolo unconscious and Goku barely able to move, the most important thing to him is verifying that he won the match fairly and is now the World Champion.

    M 
  • Made of Iron: General Blue of the Red Ribbon Army gets slammed into a wall and knocked unconscious by Goku, buried under a ton of rock when the Pirate Cave collapses, somehow escapes that only to crash his plane into a mountain trying to evade Goku's flying nimbus, then gets headbutted into the horizon by Arale, and none of this manages to stop him. He finally dies as a victim of The Worf Effect, courtesy of Mercenary Tao.
  • Make Way for the New Villains: After outperforming any other character in the Red Ribbon Army and nearly defeating Goku twice, General Blue receives his unceremonious sendoff with the arrival of Mercenary Tao. Tao is instructed to fight Blue in order to demonstrate his skill and proceeds to kill Blue using only his tongue.
  • Male Gaze: Bulma and virtually every beautiful girl is subjected to the camera lovingly exploring their figure from time to time. An example is when Muten Roshi, in a filler scene, tries to grope Lunch while she's cooking; the scene holds the visual on Lunch's butt.
  • Misleading Package Size: Anything from the Capsule Corporation (vehicles, appliances, houses, ect.) collapses down for storage in a capsule no bigger than a person's finger.
  • Modesty Towel: Episode 2 has a (anime-only) scene where kid Goku takes a towel. When Bulma is telling Goku that the towel is supposed to go on his front, he puts it in front of his head. Another episode has Bulma come out of the shower in a towel and yell at Oolong for giving her his pajamas that do not fit her.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Dr. Slump crossover is very lighthearted, with all the action treated for comedy; then the show suddenly goes into the Mercenary Tao arc, where Goku faces the most powerful and ruthless foe he's yet encountered.
  • Mook Horror Show: When Goku confronts the Red Ribbon Army for the last time. He tears though Red Ribbon Headquarters to get the Dragonballs. He dodges a shell fired from a rocket launcher literally meters across, then slams the soldiers into a wall. He shrugs off a sniper shot as if it was a pellet from a BB gun, terrifying the sniper. Then he starts punching through the ceiling to reach the leader's floor.
  • Monster Protection Racket: In the anime, a filler episode meant to introduce the characters features Tien and Chiaotzu driving away the monster Inoshikacho from a village and collecting a reward. In truth, however, they were working with Inoshikacho, pretending to fight him so they could extort the money from the townsfolk.
  • Ms. Fanservice: In the Pilaf arc, Bulma's main contribution to the plot is titillation. She appears naked several times throughout the arc and is even forced to wear a Playboy Bunny outfit for the latter half. She ties to get Goku's Dragon Ball by flashing him, and later she manages to pull this tactic off successfully with Master Roshi. She grows out of this in later arcs, however, where her contributions tend to be more scientific in nature and her fanservice scenes, while still present, become less frequent.
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • Subverted by Yamcha, who is introduced as a desert bandit attempting to rob Goku and Bulma of their capsules. Goku tries to fight him off, but he's too hungry to last the fight. Despite the kid's immense physical power, Yamcha nearly succeeds in taking Goku for all he's worth, and is only forced to flee due to his gynophobia when Bulma wakes up.
    • When Goku first visits West City, he gets lost trying to find Bulma's house. A pair of thieves attempt to rob him in an alley, but after Goku headbutts one into a wall, the other realizes they've made a terrible mistake and gives Goku some helpful advice.
    • During the Crossover with Dr. Slump, General Blue tries to prevent Goku from attacking him by holding Arale at knifepoint. It does work at first, as Goku doesn't know about Arale's strength either, but then he tries to kill Goku, and Arale sends him flying to Egypt.
    • In an episode, some random crook shoots Tao Paipai. Without warning. From behind. Tao Paipai deflects the bullet straight at the attacker with his hand.
  • Mundane Solution: In the 22nd World Tournament, basic arithmetic defeats insurmountable psychic prowess. Krillin is rendered powerless by Chiaotzu's telekinesis, but observes that he has to keep his hands outstretched to use it. Krillin begins asking Chiaotzu basic math questions such as 9-1. Chiaotzu takes the bait but has to count on his fingers, dropping his telekinesis and allowing Krillin to hit him and knock him out of the ring.
  • Mundane Utility
    • Master Roshi seems to possess several fantastical items, many of which he doesn't even realize. One was the Bashousen, a magical fan that could summon wind and rain, which Chi Chi needs to put out the flames of Frypan Mountain. It turns out he unwittingly used the magical artifact as a coaster only to throw it out when it became dirty.
    • As training exercises, Master Roshi has Goku and Krillin put their great strength and speed to use by doing construction work and delivering milk.
  • Mundane Wish:
    • Bulma embarks on a search for the Dragon Balls to grant a wish for a boyfriend. When Yamcha catches wind of their power, he joins the adventure for similar reasons: he wants to steal the Dragon Balls for himself and use Shenron's power to overcome his gynophobia.
    • When Emperor Pilaf has finally gathered the seven Dragon Balls, he's so overcome as he begins to make his wish to the dragon for world domination that he stammers a bit. Oolong takes the opportunity to leap between Pilaf and the dragon, wishing for women's panties.
    • Commander Red sends his men to scour the world searching for the Dragon Balls in the hopes of achieving his greatest wish: he wants to be tall.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: Goku and Krillin seek out Master Roshi to learn martial arts from him, and he sets about giving them training exercises to improve their strength while not teaching them any specific forms or techniques. This sets the stage for the emphasis on escalating strength and increasing one's power in the series.

    N 
  • The Napoleon: Commander Red is a short, belligerent red-head who leads the Red Ribbon Army. He plans to ask Shenron to make him taller.
  • Nemean Skinning: On his way to his second tournament, Goku is harassed by a trio of tigers. When he shows up for the registration, he's wearing a tiger skin pelt.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: King Piccolo spits out a final egg upon his death containing his own reincarnation. It's later learned that if Piccolo dies, so does Kami. Because Kami does't die with King Piccolo, he's able to restore Shenron, who revives everyone killed by King Piccolo and his men.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: As part of his flamboyance, General Blue has a tendency to let out the classic Japanese noblewoman laugh, bringing his hand up to conceal his mouth while he cackles.
  • No-One Could Survive That: Having taken a job to kill Goku, Mercenary Tao makes short work of the kid and finishes him off with his Dodon Ray, a ki beam fired from his finger. Confident that no one can survive the attack, he promptly takes the three Dragon Balls he was hired to collect and leaves. What he doesn't realize is that there are supposed to be four Dragon Balls; the fourth was in Goku's pocket the whole time and blocked Tao's beam. Goku wakes up a short time later.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown
    • After finishing his training with Korin, Goku pays Mercenary Tao back for almost killing him with a brutal, one-sided beating.
    • Tambourine brutally beats Goku up when they first met, because Goku is exhausted and hungry from his battle with Tien.
    • Once Goku is rested and fed he has a rematch with Tambourine. It is one of the most brutal beatdowns in the original series with Goku seemingly beating someone to death with pure brute force.
    • Drum, one of Piccolo's minions, effortlessly beats Tien to a pulp before Goku arrives to save him.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis
    • Mercenary Tao, the first real serious villain of the series. Being a professional assassin, he more often than not goes for quick kills. When Goku proves to be durable against physical blows, he attempts to pierce his heart with a finger beam. His only real mistake was not checking Goku's body.
    • The Demon King Piccolo. His first order of business upon his return is to kill all the world's martial artists so no one can ever seal him again and collect the Dragon Balls to wish for youth. Upon finding out that two of his children are killed, he goes and deal with the threat directly and nearly kills Goku, even checks his heart to make sure he's dead. He allows the other heroes to collect the remaining Dragon Balls and swallows his so they couldn't steal them. When he is about to make his wish and Chiaotzu attempts to interrupt, he's quickly killed. Once he regains his youth, he kills the Eternal Dragon so no one can ever use the Dragon Balls against him. There's a reason he remains the only villain in the series to win.
    • His son, Piccolo Jr, is no slouch. Realizing that he can't take over the world without first defeating Goku, he trains for three years and enters the Martial Arts Tournament since he knows Goku will be there. He carefully hides his power and identity until he match against Goku and holds nothing back, coming close to killing Goku.
    • Before him, Piccolo's second son Tambourine. He takes out his targets quickly and effectively, often aiming for pressure points. Until his second fight with Goku, all of his 'fights' ended in a few hits.
  • Non Sequitur Thud: When General Blue's car gets thrown across a field by Arale, he's left sprawled on the ground mumbling, "But I don't want to go to school today, mommy."
  • No Ontological Inertia: The Dragon Balls fade into useless stones if Kami, the creator of the Dragon Balls, dies.
  • No Pronunciation Guide:
    • In the anime, a running gag is made of people mispronouncing Goku's name whenever they see it in writing, usually pronouncing it as "Go-Cow-Uh".
    • Chiaotzu's name is also pronounced incorrectly by the tournament's announcer during the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament.
  • No Sell:
    • General White gives Goku a punch directly to the gut. Goku remarks that it felt like a fly landing on him and returns the blow with an uppercut that sends White bouncing off the ceiling.
    • Taopaipai cannot be harmed by the Kamehameha no matter how powerful it is. It just glances around his body like water. His clothes can't say the same, much to Tao's annoyance.
    • Goku tanks a flying kick to the chest by Grandpa Gohan during Baba's tournament. Gohan is shocked by this.
    • King Piccolo takes a direct hit from Goku's Kamehameha. It doesn't even do Clothing Damage to him.
  • The Noseless: Krillin doesn't have a nose. Discussed during the 21st World Tournament when he's fighting Bacterion, a combatant who defeats enemies through his body odor. Krillin has trouble getting past the foul stench until Goku points out he's drawn without a nose.
  • No Social Skills
    • Goku in a nutshell. He lived most of his life in the mountains and never saw another human until he meets Bulma at the age of 12. He can't even tell the difference between a boy or a girl without touching them and has no concept of tact. He never truly assimilates into society.
    • Yajirobe much like Goku grew up in the wilderness. He's rude and picks his nose without any thought or care.
  • Not So Different: In the dub, King Piccolo says that Goku and him are very much alike since they both enjoy inflicting pain.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain:
    • Pilaf may be a bumbling idiot, but he does successfully capture Goku and his friends when they first enter his castle and steal the Dragon Balls from them. He also captures them again and places them into a cell that will cooked them alive at noon. He later gives Goku a good challenge using mechas that he created and comes up with a semi-competent plan to grab Goku's tail, which only fails because Goku lost his tail fighting Gohan Sr.
    • Goku makes quick work of the Red Ribbon officers until he encounters General Blue. It became a tremendous surprise when Blue turned out to have the edge over him, especially given that Blue's own superiors were dismissive of him as a bungling idiot who they'd probably dispose of after his next failure.
  • Not Quite Dead
    • Taopaipai gets blown up by his own grenade, but survives and becomes a cyborg in time for the 23rd World Martial Arts tournament.
    • Piccolo is an interesting variation of this trope. On one hand, King Piccolo is killed, but his mind and essence lives on through Piccolo Jr. So he is both Killed Off for Real since King Piccolo is dead and Not Quite Dead because his essence still exist.


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