Obfuscating Stupidity: It's hard to tell what ratio of Roshi is a senile pervert to noble genius martial artist, but it's probably not an even split.
The original series features Shen, an ordinary human who manages to get to the top 8 of the World Martial Arts tournament by sheer clumsiness alone. When he squares off against Yamcha, Yamcha mocks his foolishness...only for Shen to suddenly punch Yamcha out of the ring. He is just an ordinary guy, yes…but one that Kami possessed at the time to fight Piccolo.
Obsolete Mentor: Master Roshi, Karin, Kami... Pretty much all the mentor characters, really.
Ocular Gushers: In one episode of the Cell Games Saga, when Chi-Chi sees Gohan's blonde hair (at this time, she doesn't know what a Super Saiyan is), she acts shocked and cries because she felt that Gohan became a "punker."
Oddly Common Rarity: Later on in the series, almost every surviving Saiyan and their offspring, with the sole exception of Pan, ends up a Super Saiyan. It's even lampshaded:
Vegeta: [after hearing from Trunks that Goten can also go Super Saiyan] "What is this?! Some kind of Super Saiyan Bargain Sale? When was it that the transformation to the legendary warrior of the Saiyan race was reduced to a child's play thing?"
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In the ending for Bio Broly, after Broly's mutilated clone was defeated by Goten, Trunks, and Krillin, Goku learns he has to go to HFIL due to Broly acting up and somehow suppress him, to which he ended up delaying to finish his (presumably huge) meal. The fight's outcome, not to mention the fight itself, is never revealed nor shown, as the movie ends right there.
Off the Rails: Dragon Ball Z's Tournament Arc, in which Goku shows up despite being dead, thugs under control of the Big Bad interupt a match to steal Gohan's energy, Trunks and Goten knock out a masked fighter and steal his costume so they can compete, two thirds of the contestants fly away during the first round, and Mr. Satan tries to salvage the tournament by turning it into a battle royale. Then Vegeta blows up a chunk of the stadium.
This tends to happen at many tournaments. The third one in Dragon Ball involved the mechanically revived Tao Pi Pi trying to kill off the heroes, Chi Chi and Goku getting engaged after their round of 8 match, Kami coming down and possessing a contestant to get a shot at Piccolo Jr., and a battle between Goku and Piccolo Jr. that, in the end, results in the complete destruction of the entire island that the tournament is held on which, despite the strength of the characters that came through in later tournaments, remains the most destructive tournament battle in the show's history.
It's even commented on in the show, where previous to this World Martial Arts tournaments occurred every three years, but the gaps between the next two were 11 and 7 years respectively.
Oh Crap: A fair amount. Notable ones include Frieza seeing Goku become a Super Saiyan and Android 17 seeing that Piccolo wasn't firing randomly and was instead setting up an unavoidable attack, though these are by no means all of them.
It's fair to mention that no Saiyan is shown to be at an old age: when Goku leaves the Earth he's around 53 and in child form and Vegeta is some years older; Nappa was around 50 when he was killed; arguably, these are some of the oldest Saiyans that have been mentioned to have lived.
Given their occupation and practices, it's fair to say that the Saiyans might not have lived to be old anyway, though Vegeta mentions that they have more or less the same lifespan as a normal human.
Goku is a twofer. Not only does he stay at the peak of adulthood until the series ends, it also takes him until his late teens to hit his growth spurt. Before that he was a 15 year old who looked like a 10 year old.
Old Pan in the Distant Finale does show her age, but she looks about 80, not her real age of over 110.
Old Master: Karin, Shin, Kami, and Roshi. Later on, even Goku himself to Uub.
Ominous Walk: Cell does this regularly knowing that his enemies' own fear will make them easier to defeat.
Cell's footsteps sound oddly mechanical for a bio-genetic clone.
Those sound effects are supposedly claimed to sound "claw-like". Which makes sense with his original, insectoid form... Not so much after he transforms and ends up with normal feet.
Fully subverted with the prime timeline's #16, #17, and #18.
One of the Kids: Son Goku is a rare positive example of this trope, despite being an Idiot Hero and does cause a lot of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero moments. There are also moments when he tries to give the responsibility of saving the earth to other people—namely children like Gohan, Goten, and Trunks.
Chi-Chi, Gohan and Goten really pulled the short straw with this one.
Majin Buu is the bad kind of adult child, though he does redeem himself.
On the other hand, Goku survived on his own for years in the wild, as well as fought multiple battles as a child/teenager without anybody batting an eye. It's not entirely surprising that he would project those standards onto his kids, unaware of how his Saiya-jin heritage might have affected his situation differently.
The Ginyu Force was an elite team of Frieza's most powerful fighters... Who also play Jan-ken-pon to decide who gets to fight, bet on candy bars and hot fudge sundaes, and made ridiculous poses for fun.
Most fans jokingly think he gathers not the hopes and dreams of people, but their stupidity, in a concentrated form called "Stupid Energy" from a line he said in the Budokai games and Infinite World:
Cell: "Okay, planet, give me that stupid energy!"
To clarify, the "pure hearted" line regarding the Spirit Bomb (Genki-Dama) was only uttered by Krillin in Movie 3 (Tree of Might). Cell's claim to be able to create the Spirit Bomb is from the manga, too.
The anime does establish that only the pure of heart can deflect the Spirit Bomb, which is what Gohan was able to do. So could Kid Buu, but that was more likely because he was pure evil.
Baby has his own version of the Spirit Bomb; created by pure hatred.
Though it could be argued that being "pure of heart" does not mean you have to be pure good, and Cell was able to make his own Spirit Bomb due to the fact that his heart was pure, only pure evil.
To muddy the waters even further, in one of the non-canon movies (Super Android 13) Krillin remarks that, because Goku could still control the massive Spirit Bomb he'd gathered after becoming a Super Saiyan, that he was "still pure" even in that form.
"On the Next Episode of..." Catch Phrase: The Japanese version of each anime adaptation has Goku start each episode preview with "Osu! Ora Goku!", roughly "Heya! I'm Goku!", while some episodes in the Funimation dub have Goku say, "Hi, this is Goku! Join me on the next episode of Dragon Ball Z..."
In one of the movies, Vegeta hilariously shouts "Kakarotto Wa Ore No Mono Da!!" when Android 13 is beating his rival to death, and charges in to protect Goku. The context of this sentence is "Kakaroto is MY PREY hands off him", but "Ore No Mono Da" is usually used by jealous ex-boyfriends to say "belongs to me" (a good English translation is "Kakaroto is MINE").
Opt Out: Goku's giving the right to fight Cell to Gohan and also his initial refusal to be resurrected by the Dragon Balls.
Opposed Mentors: Master Shen and Master Roshi. The former trains brutual fighters for benefit and the later uses training for personal discipline.
The Other Darrin: As explained, doing all those fight scenes really strains the throat. Goku's Super Saiyan 3 transformation had non-stop screaming for the better part of an episode. And a few seiyuu did die by the time Kai aired.
Our Gods Are Greater: The Kaio. Interestingly, a lot of the characters are actually stronger than the Kaio, and the highest ranking Kaio has actually already been killed.
Our Werebeasts Are Different: Saiyans transform into giant rampaging monkeys when they see the light of a full moon. Cutting off their tails prevents this, but until they reach a certain age, it will grow back.
Pals with Jesus: Goku [and co. through him] personally knows all the deities, and is stronger than them.
Panty Shot: Bulma provides a few of these in early episodes.
Parabolic Power Curve: The end of the Cell Saga provides a non-videogame example. Goku decides that torturing their bodies in the Time Chamber will only help until a certain point, so he and Gohan practice maintaining the Super Saiyan form until it feels natural. Sure enough, this accomplishes more in one visit than Vegeta or Trunks manage in two, although there were some domestic issues.
Parent with New Paramour: Type 2 is Videl's opinion of her father's fangirls, and this is before she found out he was a total fraud.
The Patient Has Left the Building: After being beaten up by Vegeta and sent to the hospital, Goku repeatedly tries to escape the hospital to train (he actually succeeds once, but he's sent back to the hospital).
Pet the Dog: Piccolo took Gohan to train him to fight the Saiyans, but ended up caring about the kid. Fat Buu literally did this with a puppy he found, learning that being nice can be more fun than hurting people.
Phosphor-Essence: Every character who goes Super Saiyan glows. While other characters can summon a Battle Aura, Super Saiyans are constantly glowing, as indicated by their clothes and skin tone being lighter even when the Battle Aura is off, and the hyper saturation of their hair in the most recent special.
Please Select New Planet Name: After the Saiyans conquered Planet Plant, they renamed it after the warrior - now king - who lead them to victory: Vegeta. Not that Vegeta, his father.
Frieza and Cooler also rename planets that the Planet Trade Organization conquers. Though that's a little inconsistent.
Planetary Parasite: The Big Gete Star from the Dragon Ball Z movie The Revenge of Cooler probably counts, since it was a mechanical life form that was trying to absorb New Namek.
Planet of Copyhats: When the Saiyans are introduced, they have a lot of the traits that Goku has already become known for.
Plot Hole: Bojack, an evil space pirate assumed to be on the same level as Cell was sealed away by the four Kaio centuries ago. Now take into consideration that Goku surpassed each of them in strength before the first saga of DBZ was over.
After Goku and Vegeta save Gohan, Goten, Piccolo, Trunks, and Fat Buu from Evil Buu's body, he technically should have reverted to his original gray self. Instead, he becomes another Kid Buu, as the original turned into Fat Buu after absorbing one of the Kais.
A major plot point in the series is the characters using multiplied gravity for massive strength boosts in a short time. Goku Trains at 100x Earth's Gravity on his way to face Frieza, and Vegeta later trains at 300x. However, if an average human's power level is 5, then 300x gravity would be felt the same as normal gravity to someone with a power level of 1500, which was roughly the same as Raditz. Considering that Goku's original Super Saiyan transformation was 150 million, he'd need to train at over 3 million times Earth's gravity to feel any difference.
Goku reached King Kai's planet which has 10x gravity, and he was initially barely able to stand. By then, he must've been barely stronger than Raditz. The effects are largely the same across the the board.
Pocket Protector: In his first meeting with Mercenary Tao, Goku survives a beam shot that should've killed him thanks to an indestructable Dragon Ball inside of his shirt.
Potty Failure: Oolong, Krillin, Trunks and even Bulma pee their pants at different points of the anime. Only Bulma's and Oolong's accidents are present in the manga, and these examples sometimes overlap with Bring My Brown Pants.
Power Levels: DBZ, Saiyan Saga to Frieza Saga, after which it was abandoned as the numbers became inceasingly (and exponentially) ridiculous. Toyed with in Buu Saga.
By ridiculous, we mean that Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta, who is the strongest, (albeit non-canon) character in the series, has a power level that is easily calculated at above 80 billion!note To clarify, Frieza's second form is stated to have a power level of over 1,000,000 and is weaker than Goku's base. Super Saiyan 4 is a combination of SSJ3 (x400) and the Oozaru(x10). The fusion dance is stated to increase your power to ten times the fighters' power combined. Even if Vegeta had only barely managed to match Goku's base power from Namek, this puts it at 2 million times ten (fusion, 20 million), times ten (Oozaru, 200 million), times four hundred (SSJ3, 80 billion). And of course, this is disregarding any increases in power levels between the Namek and the Buu sagas (when fusion was first introduced).
Actually, no.note Fusion was never stated anywhere to be a multiplication of 10 times the combined power of the fighters; that's just a common, yet baseless, theory fans use (along with it being 50x). The closest the fans get to this is in the Super Exciting Guide where Vegetto is said to be Goku's power multiplied by Vegeta's, and Potara is said to be "like multiplication". Also, Super Saiyan 4 being a combination of Super Saiyan 3 and Oozaru is pure speculation.
Actually it's hard to comprehend just how strong the Vegetto fusion was. He had Super Saiyan 2 and could have easily gone to Super Saiyan 3 from what we've seen with Gotenks, but even in Super Saiyan he claimed Buu wasn't making him use any power at all.
A Million Is a Statistic: According to the Daizenshuu guide, the Super Saiyan form when first introduced had a power level of 150,000,000 vs. Frieza's 120,000,000. After that all numbers are just guesswork and become increasingly meaningless in favour of relative strengths. Towards the end of DBZ, Goku was strong enough to wipe the floor with Friza in base form itself. The closest reliable estimate is Supreme Kai talking about the Kaioshins who were at least a thousand times stronger than Frieza, all but one of whom (who is dead now) were left in the dust by Super Saiyan 2 (and obviously, 3). If the 2008 special is to be believed, Goten and Trunks' base power was at least equal to Frieza's level.
And speaking of GT, part of its discontinuity is because it's inconsistent to a point where even the concept of relative strengths doesn't seem to make sense.
Averted, as any character dependent on power levels alone would be owned.
Lampshaded in the 2008 special by none other than Vegeta. In the 2008 special, his younger brother Tarble is introduced, saying that a couple of remnants of Frieza's army followed him back to earth, and that he needs help fighting them. Naturally, Goku immediately obliges, but Tarble uses his scouter on him and reads a hilariously low power level, so the young Saiyan prince politely refuses Goku's help on the grounds of him being "too weak". Cue Vegeta saying that scouters are not reliable measurement for the real power level of a warrior, and Goku demonstrating this by turning Super Saiyan in front of him and making Tarble's scouter literally explode on his face due to overloading.
Another point is that towards Buu Saga, the real increase comes from finding new levels and fusion - the lower levels have pretty much ceased growing exponentially. Goku's Super Saiyan form is only marginally stronger than what it was in Cell Saga, and so it isn't of much use compared to Super Saiyan 2 and 3.
If we're talking about how unreliable the scouters are, Vegeta lampshades it even earlier (storyline-wise). Take a look at this line during his trouncing of Jeice on the English dub of Kai:
“Anyone ever tell you you fools put way too much stock in those silly little gadgets!? I think fighting these Earthlings would have taught you that by now!”
The Power of Friendship: In Dragon Ball Online, Krillin revived the Turtle School with this basis, in order to compensate for the general lack of strength humans have compared to aliens.
The Power of Love: Goku and (even more so) Gohan are always able to find a hidden reserve of power to protect the ones they love.
(Or, to put it another way, they're normally powered by this, but hurt the ones they love and...)
Previously On: Every episode has an opening narration to let you know what happened in previous episodes. In order to draw out epic action in later episodes, they sometimes had a Previously On segment to let you know what happened earlier in that episode.
Prodigal Hero: Piccolo may count, as he (or rather, his father) had been apart from Namek for years and only comes back when it's targeted by Frieza.
Protagonist Power Up Privileges: Goku is always the first to train at a new training ground, then moves on to a new one when the rest of the heroes make it there. He's also the first to reach Super Saiyan.
Saiyans are word plays on vegetables: Vegeta, Kakarott (carrot), Brolly (broccoli), Bardock (burdock) and Raditz (radish).
Saiyajin—the Japanese name for Saiyans—is a play on "yasai", the Japanese word for "vegetable." Similarly, Tsufurujin ("Tuffles" in the dub) is a play on "furutsu" or "fruits." One of the only Tsufurujin who is named in the source material is called "Dr. Raichi" which is a play on the fruit lychee.
Bulma is a corruption of buruma, those panty-shorts schoolgirls from Japan wear in PE classes, which is itself a corruptions of bloomers. Her dad is Dr. Briefs, and her kids are Trunks and Bra/Bulla. Even Krillin lampshades Bulma's name as well in the Funimation dub of Dragon Ball:
Krillin: It's so nice to see you again, Bloomer. Bulma:[angry]It'sBULMA!
Piccolo and all of his minions/spawns are musical instruments: Tambourine, Cymbal, etc. Other Namekians are typically named after words meaning "snail" and "slug", with Namek itself being a shorthand of "namekuji", the Japanese word for "slug".
Frieza and all of his relatives were named after things related to the cold, as a pun on how cold-hearted and cruel they all were.
Kuririn (Krillin) is a pun on "kurin" ("water chestnut"). His and 18's daughter Marron, as well as his similarly-named buxom filler girlfriend before 18, is named after the French word for "chestnut".
Gohan and Videl's daughter Pan is arguably the best example of the whole franchise, drawing influence from Goku, Chi-Chi, Gohan, Mr. Satan, Videl and Piccolo. Goku's saiyan name (Kakarot) is a pun on "carrot". Chi-Chi is Japanese for "milk" or "udder". In Latin America Dubs (where they speak Spanish), the name is literally changed to "Milk" for censorship reasons. Gohan is a homophone for "cooked rice" in Japanese. Videl is an anagram for "Devil" and Mr. Satan has "Satan" in his name. Pan could refer to the Japanese AND Spanish word for Bread (following her paternal side: food) or referring to Pan of Greek Mythology (following her maternal side: mythology). The coup de Grace comes from Piccolo, whose named after the musical instrument. Piccolo was a mentor, father figure, and close friend of Gohan, Pan's father. Pan could thus come from the musical instrument of the PAN flute. For those keeping track, 3 different races of beings (Human, Saiyan, Namekian) and at least 11 people are direct influences to her name. If you include indirect influences, you could almost say half the cast came together JUST TO NAME HER.
There are many, many more examples than just the ones above. Not enough room to list them all, and some (like the Ginyu Force) require some Bilingual Bonus to understand.
Readings Blew Up The Scale: Power-detecting "scouters" would helpfully indicate this to you by exploding off of your face. Thankfully, they do this without harming the user, even on humans who should in no way be tough enough to walk away unharmed from such a thing.
In the anime, Frieza and Goku powered up to such extremes that they blew up scales in other solar systems, destroying the whole lab complex *and* killing the goons.
Reality Warper: Janemba was said to possess powerful psychokinesis and was able to use this ability to almost overthrow the Kais themselves by turning the Otherworld council into small, jellybean like fragments and allowing all of the previous Big Bads to escape from Hell.
Master Roshi (aka Muten Roshi), despite looking in his 70s since the start is actually 300 years old, as is his rival the Crane Hermit and his brother Mercenary Tao. Roshi and Crane are old enough to have been young monks when King Piccolo ravaged the Earth 300 years ago. Garlic and his son Garlic Jr., nemeses to Kami in a Non-Serial Movie and anime filler are also at least 300 years old. And if you think that's astounding, Roshi's older sister Uranai Baba, is 500 years old. In anime filler, Roshi's Turtle celebrates his one thousandth birthday. Mr. Popo has been attendant to every Guardian of Earth (or at least a large number), so he's much, much older.
The Nameless Namekian separated into Kami and King Piccolo 300 years ago, having already been about 200 when this happened. Non Serial Movie villain Lord Slug and Namekian elder Guru (who actually does look his age) is also from this time. Oddly enough, prior to remerging with Kami, Piccolo Jr., King Piccolo's reincarnation was about 14 years old (though he had already merged with an older Namekian in the Frieza saga). Namekian merging is... complicated.
The Kais are in the millions of years old. The Eastern Supreme Kai killed Bibidi, the creator of Majin Buu, five million years ago, making Bibidi's son Babidi at least that old. Numerous other demons and deities from both the original manga and anime filler are likely at least as old.
Old Supreme Kai takes the cake here, as he's ridiculously old even by Kai standards. He actually does look pretty old (only due to his fusion with a witch, though), but he counts his age as "15 generations". Logically, he'd be talking about Kai generations. Considering that Eastern Supreme Kai has not visibly aged in 5 million years, this would be an unbelievably long time indeed.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: This relationship exists with Goku playing the red to various other characters, although Vegeta is the best and longest running example. They even have the right colors on their uniforms.
And then there's Mez and Goz, an actual pair of a red oni and a blue oni.
Mirrored to an extent in their sons, Goten and Trunks.
Redshirt Reporter: The reporters investigating the mysterious disappearance of Ginger Town's inhabitants; they get to suffer the same fate, i.e. being sucked out and absorbed by Cell.
Reincarnation: Dragon Ball loves this trope: Piccolo being the reincarnation of Piccolo Sr. and Uub being the reincarnation of Kid Buu. Interestingly, both of them are good guys, are reincarnations of Big Bads who had epic fights with Son Goku and both had a "rematch" with him in a Tenka'ichi Budokai.
Piccolo Jr. took longer to befriend Goku, because he actually remembered his past life; while never as evil as his previous self, Piccolo Jr. was initially quite ruthless and went through a somewhat prolonged Heel-Face Turn (fueled by two Enemy Mine arcs in a row, and Goku's son as a Morality Pet) after his defeat. He also looks the same as Piccolo Sr. because in addition to being his reincarnation, he's also his clone.
Reluctant Warrior: Notwithstanding his reluctance to kill, from the Cell Saga onwards, Goku shows a strange reluctance in being Earth's protector and always holds back in all his fights, to the point where he again plays his Idiot Hero card. Instead he put his hopes on Gohan, Goten, Trunks, Piccolo and even Vegeta and it really backfired on him in the Buu Saga.
It's not so odd when you consider that by the end of the Cell Saga and up until midway through the Buu Saga, he was dead. What was meant to be a single day to spend time with his family and friends, turned into a race to save the universe from total annihilation. While Goku did what he could, he stressed again and again that as he was dead, it was never meant to be his fight, and the next generation needed to save the Earth in his place. Him being resurrected was something akin to a Godzilla Threshold since a Kai giving his life to a mortal was unthinkable.
The Renaissance Age of Animation: Made and dubbed during this period (and quite possibly the trope codifier for starting the North American Anime craze of the mid-late 90s). One of the hundreds of Anime spawned during this period and one of the several dozen that caught on in America. You can confidently say that this series is one of the main reasons Anime became popular during the 90s outside of Japan.
Revenge Before Reason: A defining character trait of both Vegeta and Frieza. Frieza, arrogant and downright terrified of the concept of an opponent stronger than him, utterly refuses to let his defeat at Goku's hands lie unavenged even though he clearly does not have the power to defeat him. This first results in a Backstab Backfire, and when he miraculously survives that he goes to Earth for more... and ends up cut in half.
Vegeta is a little smarter about this than Frieza as he is more of a schemer, but it's still there. He almost obsessively remembers those who have slighted him (this is one of his major goals for being on Namek) and in Goku's case dedicated his life to vengefully defeating him, an animosity that lasted far past his Heel-Face Turn. His ego-driven desire to utterly finish if not humiliate those who have defeated him has led to a lot of pain and failure on his part, which of course leads to more bitterness.
Revisiting The Roots: The Buu saga tries to go back to the humor from the beginning of the series, after a long time being a fighting series.
Rise from Your Grave: Justified via the wishes of the Dragon Balls in some episodes in the series. One of them shows Vegeta's gloved hand rising from Namek's dust of his grave for a few moments, and then his fully-resurrected body emerges in wonder.
The Rival: Dragon Ballruns on this, after which it gets demoted somewhat for Z.
Rival Dojos: Crane School and Turtle School in Dragon Ball.
Road Sign Reversal: Bulma was fleeing from General Blue through an abandoned pirate hideout. She came to an intersection and drew an arrow on the ground in dust to tell Goku which way she went, but Blue got to it first and changed it to point the opposite direction.
It's also one of Goku's attack sets, the Janken fist. "Rock" gives a solid punch, "Paper" gives a fierce slap, and "Scissors" gives an eye-poke. Perhaps this is why when fighting a Big Bad, you never "Rock, Paper, Scissors" on who gets to fight him. Ask Vegeta.
This is also how Goku, Gohan and Vegeta decide who fights Puipui, Yakon and Dabura in Babidi's ship. Kaioshin about has a coronary watching them.
Played for laughs when Goku first introduces Gohan to Master Roshi, Krillin, and Bulma. Gohan plays with a crab, who for obvious reasons can only use "scissors".
Rousseau Was Right: The philosophy that defines the entire franchise; easily missed if all you focus on is the (admittedly awesome) action sequences. The warm heart that drives the story celebrates unconditional kindness and faith in fundamental human decency; proven by the fact that virtually ALL of Goku's friends minus Kurilin, Roshi and Bulma were once selfishly-driven or black-hearted villains who were shown kindness and hence given the chance to earn their humanity.
While not such a villain, Krillin did have a bit of a mean streak at the beginning of training with Master Roshi in Dragon Ball. As part of Goku and Krillin's training, Master Roshi picked up a rock, drew a Turtle symbol on it, and threw it into the Forest for only one of them to find. Krillin manages to get the rock by tricking Goku in allowing him to "examine" the rock.
Even Bulma was initially a vain teenage girl who couldn't see past her own desire to have a perfect boyfriend and was willing to waste the Dragon Balls on getting one to come along.
The Runaways: Androids 17 and 18, starting from when they were human.
Running Gag: In the original Dragon ball Roshi would offer up wonderful mystic objects as rewards for the hero's good deeds- only to be reminded by Turtle that he'd accidentally destroyed them earlier.
A magic carpet that he'd befouled. (Although he substitutes the Nimbus Cloud which is pretty much the same as long as you have a pure heart.)
The Bancho fan that he used as a placemat and threw out when he spilled juice on it.
An immortal phoenix that died after eating tainted bird seed.
Sacrificial Revival Spell: An amusing but but still touching instance of this occurs late in the Buu saga of Dragon Ball Z. The beyond ancient Old Supreme Kai gives up his life energy so Goku, as a dead man stuck in other world, can fight elsewhere/live normally again. His halo vanishes and the Old Kai, without pain or distress, gains one.
Sad Battle Music: In Dragon Ball Z episode 25, Krillin and Gohan fight Nappa to a sad fighting theme. Averted in the Western dub, where it is replaced with a more action-y theme.
Dabura is heavily based on Satan, being the ruler of a demon world. However, he was enslaved by an evil wizard. Dabura appears in Sand Land as Lucifer.
Piccolo was also placed in the role of Satan for a while after his introduction. Specifically, the first Piccolo went by the title of "Daimaou" or "Demon Emperor". The better-known second Piccolo, the reincarnation of the original, also initially considered himself the Daimaou, but was never actually as evil as he'd been in his first life and eventually made a full Heel-Face Turn.
Broly refers to himself as such; he may be the Saiyan equivalent. Cooler also posses many traits.
Ironically, Earth's "strongest" man is called Mr. Satan, but, global deception aside, the man's nothing like his namesake (even the mass deception is in part for the good of the world). He's as gentle as a flower, tried to befriend Majin Buu, and rescued a puppy from gun-toting thieves.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Piccolo was one of these, sealed into a simple electric rice cooker. Buu was also sealed in a veiny-looking ball so that it would be easier for Bibidi to control him and transport him from place to place.
Sealed Evil In A Six Pack: One movie villain called Hildegarne (or Hirudegarn) was a giant monster split in half and sealed inside two siblings, Tapion and Minosha. The heroes spent a part of the movie fighting the bottom half, until the top half appeared and joined the other half.
Second Super-Identity: Gohan becomes a crime fighting superhero. At first, he just turns into a super saiyan and is referred to as "The Gold Fighter." Later, Bulma builds him a sentai outfight and he adopts the moniker, "The Great Saiyaman."
Self-Duplication: Piccolo had the power to split himself into several copies, which he used as a training technique. His attempt to use it in combat didn't pan out nearly as well.
Taking into account the flashback and the Bardock special, Frieza already seems to have noticed the discontent among the nobles of Vegeta. The final straw was when Bardock, a mere footsoldier, managed to complete a task that even Frieza's elite forces were unable to do. His problems started when he tried to enslave the people of Vegeta, but his genocidal tendencies certainly didn't help matters.
If the followup "Episode of Bardock" is canon, this means that Frieza's fear and the legend of the Super Saiyan was the direct result of his own actions namely, he was the one who sent Bardock to the past AND caused the anguish that triggered his transformation that would become the same legend he feared so much.
Sensor Character: Early on in Dragon Ball Z, the ability to sense ki/power levels without a scouter or other device is part of what separates the good guys from the bad guys. As the series goes on, more and more people become able to do it on their own.
Sentai: The Ginyu Force is an allusion to these kind of shows.
Sequel Episode: Most of the story's major arcs have few connections to each other but there are a few proper sequels. The 22nd and 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai arcs are sequels to the 21st Tenkaichi Budokai arc, separated from each other by the Red Ribbon Army and Piccolo Daimao arcs. They also got a partial sequel years later at the beginning of the Buu arc. The Red Ribbon arc got a sequel in the form of the Android/Cell arcs while the Piccolo Daimao arc was immediately followed by its sequel.
Single Specimen Species: The Buyon in Muscle Tower back in the early series could resist Goku's Kamehameha unharmed, and no other is ever seen again. Much later on in the series (and curiously also related indirectly to the Red Ribbon army) we get Cell (who does reproduce all by himself, compromising his uniqueness, but that doesn't last long).
Sinister Silhouettes: Ginyu Force is seen as this at one point, and one of the earlier opening sequences has Vegeta and Nappa as silhouetttes doing a Power Walk.
Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Any major attack in the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai and Budokai Tenkaichi video game series.
Sliding Scale of Villain Effectiveness: HIGH. Many examples but notably Frieza annihilating all the Namekians, Dr. Gero succeeding in killing Goku via Perfect Cell, Cell achieved his perfect form and almost destroyed the world and Buu killed almost all of humanitylife itself AND did destroy the Earth plus countless other planets.
Sliding Scale of Villain Threat: Most of the major Dragon Ball enemies are global threats (except the 22nd Tournament, which slid down to a strictly personal threat). Then the threat level started to crank up from the Frieza saga onward, all the way up to threats to all existence in the Buu saga and Dragon Ball GT.
So Last Season: Everything. Attacks, power-ups, warriors, Big Bads, everything. It gets to the point were if something was used last season, you can be sure that it's not going to have any real impact now. In particular, the Spirit Bomb went totally unmentioned after it failed to kill Frieza, so when Vegeta suggested using it against Kid Buu, Goku was visibly shocked at the suggestion.
The most notable subversion of this, however, is likely the Taiyou-ken/Solar Flare. It maintains incredible utility far past its original inception back in Dragon Ball, serving as the only form of effective defense against higher level foes. It's even later used by Cell against the heroes themselves to useful effect.
May be interpreted as a running theme of the series. Which is that there is no ultimate power, invincible warrior, supreme skill, unbeatable technique, etc. No matter how mighty you are or think you are, someone, somewhere, sometime (possibly even you yourself in the future) will either be or become, better. The pinnacle of Bad Ass of each saga is either directly or indirectly turned into a running joke in the next. This includes the Super Saiyan transformation itself, which goes from legendary uber power-up enabled only by appalling cost, to something schoolkids do for fun.
Lampshaded in one of the OVA's. "They are as strong as Frieza you say? Aww, that's boring. But perfect for the kids!" Who are under 10 at this point.
This is especially true for each of Vegeta's finishers, of all things. He used his Galick Gun once against Goku, then never again. He used his Big Bang once against Android #19. Not counting anime filler where he uses it against a Cell Junior and against Goku during their second fight, he uses his Final Flash once against Perfect Cell.
Solid Clouds: Flying Nimbus, which Goku rides around on before he learns to fly on his own, would probably apply.
Subverted with Babidi's Elite Mooks who were defeated so easily by the heroes it even shocked the King of All Cosmos. If anything, they were slightly mightier than the Big Bad of two seasons prior. Even The Dragon was just as strong as last season's Big Bad at full strength. The only reason he did so well is because Gohan, who defeated said Big Bad, had done basically no training and was weaker than he had been before, not to mention holding back for no good reason (Vegeta was supremely annoyed by that).
Subverted in the Red Ribbon Army Saga. After Goku kicks the grenade into Tao Pai Pai's face, he just mows through an entire army, shrugging off a direct hit from a sniper rifle. Staff Officer Black's powered armour is actually less of a challenge than the ruthless assassin Tao.
This is lampshaded in the special Yo! Son Goku and his Friends Return, when two soldiers from Frieza's army who have become even stronger than Frieza show up with the intention of terrorising the Earth. By this point, Goku and Vegeta's youngest sons, neither of whom is older than ten, are more than a match for them.
Played painfully straight with Beers from "Battle of Gods", who not only curb stomps Super Saiyan 3 Goku, but Super Saiyan God state, which canonically is the strongest power up in the series, does not even come close to beating him at all.
The real kicker of this that not only Beers' assistant, Whis is much stronger than even Beers, but since he's the designated God of Destruction of the Dragon Ball universe which is No 7 out of 12, that means that there are eleven other ones that are even stronger than Beers
Spank the Cutie: Goten gets a spanking from Chi Chi for rushing into battle against Majin Buu. Though considering he was in Gotenks form, it was also Trunks' fault.
Spell My Name with an S: The romanizations of many characters' name tend to vary between Japanese media. Even the English adaptation of the manga and anime can't seen to agree on which spelling to use.
Spheroid Dropship: Frieza's Saiyan Pods are of the sufficiently advanced variety that has interstellar capability.
Spinoff Babies: Although its anything but this, the original Dragon Ball was both advertised and came off as this to American viewers due to Z being localized first.
A more straight example may be GT, which turned Goku back into a kid and pushed his granddaughter Pan to the forefront.
Spoiler Title: Pretty much every episode of the English dub of Z had this problem. Particularly bad are when the title of the episode reveals the death of a character.
Spontaneous Weapon Creation: Krillin's signature attack (though many of the other Z-Warriors can do it too) is the Destructo Disk/Kienzan; a concentrated disk of Ki energy thinned to a razor sharp tip. Frieza and Cell also have a remote-controlled variation.
Some characters, Such as Spike the Devil Man and Dabura, can literally create weapons like pitchforks and swords out of thin air using Magic Materialization/Busshitsu Shutsugen Majutsu.
Spoofed with Their Own Words: One of the earlier episodes has Raditz tearing off Piccolo's arm, followed by the mocking line "Has anyone seen my arm? You can't miss it, it's green!" This line is present verbatim in pretty much every parody, rewrite, or Abridged Series of DBZ.
Stable Time Loop: "Episode of Bardock" implies that one is in place. To elaborate: Bardock survives Frieza destroying Planet Vegeta, which somehow sent him back to Planet Vegeta's prehistory (so far back the Saiyans aren't even living there yet and it's still called Planet Plant), encounters Frieza's ancestor Chilled, goes Super Saiyan during the ensuing fight, and whoops Chilled's ass. Chilled survives, and passes the legend of the Super Saiyan down to his descendants, thus being the cause of Frieza's fear that a Super Saiyan would emerge and challenge him, leading to him destroying Planet Vegeta...
Androids also have this by virtue of being machines.
Stealth-Based Mission: Thoroughly outnumbered by aliens individually stronger than they are, quite a large part of the Frieza arc ends up being this for Krillin and Gohan.
This is averted briefly when they attack Dodoria in front of Frieza and Zarbon. Of course, they're only strong enough to lightly injure him, and it lapses back into this again.
They were seriously lucky Vegeta was providing a handy distraction by killing Frieza's Dragons and Mooks; Gohan and Krillin go almost entirely unnoticed by Frieza until the Ginyu Force arrives. Of course, this meant they had to hide from Vegeta too.
Superpowered Evil Side: The kind-hearted and sweet Son Gohan becoming bloodthirsty and sadistic when he fought Cell as a Super Saiyan 2.
Goku, to a lesser extent when first transforming into a Super Saiyan.
Technically Majin Buu fits this trope, as he physically splits into his good and evil halves, followed by the evil side demonstrating its superiority quite easily and then taking control of the entire body.
In the same vein, we have the Nameless Namekian splitting into Piccolo Sr. and Kami in Dragon Ball's backstory.
Majin Vegeta is a subversion. Vegeta is Not Brainwashed and is no different with the powerup than he would be otherwise.
Super Empowering: The Namekian Guru was able to unlock some huge reserves of power in Gohan and Krillin as well as give Dende his healing ability.
Happens multiple times to Piccolo when he "fuses" with Nail, and later in the series, Kami, while still technically remaining himself.
The Elder Kaioshin has the ability to take a person "far beyond their limits". The exact definition of this is vague, but it's enough to let Gohan outclass Super Buu with little effort.
"The blood of the Saiyans must be completely cut off. Not because I believe in ridiculous legends, such as the Super Saiyan, history's greatest warrior, but because I do not feel well with them around."
Temporal Paradox: Trunks's and Cell's time-traveling shenanigans results in quite the merry-go-round. Made weirder by the discovery that his time machine actually goes into another timeline instead of its own. On the plus side, it avoids the usual Mind Screw.
Episode of Bardock has Bardock go back in time to Planet Plant before it was inhabited by Vegeta. It turns out that Chilled, one of Frieza's ancestors, comes to the planet with a scouting force. When Bardock fights him he becomes a Super Saiyan and totally whoops his ass. This means that Chilled was the one who created and passed down the legend of the Super Saiyan, and that Bardock is the legendary Super Saiyan from 1000 years ago that Frieza and Vegeta are always talking about. Given this new context, Goku being the next Super Saiyan (or at least the one who will defeat Frieza) is completely logical.
Actually, the original Super Saiyan whose legend the Saiyans passed down through their generations isn't Bardock, but another Saiyan whose power in fact destroyed their original homeworld, which led to their coming to Planet Plant.
It's possible that this Saiyan could still be Bardock, or at least his tale inspired by him as the legend of the Super Saiyan, was after all, considered a myth. As is the nature of myths, a number of parts of the story could be added or embellished from the historical event(s) it was based on. Bardock still may have inspired the Saiyans to go to Planet Plant.
Temporal Mutability: The "branching timelines" version, of which there are at least three: one for the main characters, one for Future Trunks, and one for Cell (the one who gets the most screentime), which is why destroying timeline 1's larval Cell does nothing to him and Trunks can't prevent the Androids from existing in his reality. On the bright side, he gets strong enough to take them apart when he returns, along with his timeline's Cell.
According to one of the guide books and fan speculation, there logically has to be a fourth timeline in existence: the one that the Trunks who was killed by Cell visited. In other words, a timeline that received Trunks' warning of the androids, but was not attacked by Cell.
The names of Saiyans are all puns on vegetables. Vegeta = vegetable, Raditz = Radish, Nappa = a type of cabbage, Kakarotto = carrot, and Broly = broccoli.
Namekian names are based on snails (e.g. Nails, Dende) or musical instruments (Piccolo Daimao and every one of his children).
Every single member of the Briefs family is named after a type of undergarment; Bulma (bloomers), Bra, Briefs, and Trunks.
The Ginyu Force are all dairy-based (e.g. BUTTAH! JEEZE!)
Frieza's family has a cold motif; Frieza = Freezer, Coola = Cooler, Chiller, and King Cold
Additionally, all of Frieza's minions (the Saiyans as vegetables, other aliens as fruits, and the Ginyu force as milk products) are named after things you would keep in a refrigerator, or perhaps freezer.
There are several dimsum-related puns in the original Dragonball series (e.g. Yamcha/Yamucha, Shao and Mai).
Chow, Mein, and Pilaf from the original Dragonball series.
The English translation managed to take the pun further, by saying their goal was to bring about the "Reich Pilaf".
The tiny character Jiao Zi or Chow Tsu- is Chinese for Gyouza which are Pot-Stickers.
A DBZ magazine once wrote an article stating that the creator admitted that this had more to do with his being uncreative with names than trying to be funny.
Just "Saiyans are usually puns of vegetables"? Saiya is yasai (野菜 やさい) backwards. Which means vegetable. I'm just saiyan.
I'm Gohan to kill you for that.
Double that with Vegeta and Tarble, which makes up Vegetable.
Also: the Tsufuru, the race Baby belongs to, are a pun on "furutsu" or the Japanese pronunciation for "fruits".
GOHAN (to eat or rice), since his father loves eating more than anything else (especially rice).
Let's not forget Bibidi, Babidy and Buu!
Best of all, however, is Pan. Her name is a pun on pan, the Japanese word for bread (fitting, since almost every character has a food reference in their names), but also on the Greek god Pan, whose devilish appearance fits with the demonic theme naming of her family (grandfather Mr. Satan and mother Videl, which is an anagram of "devil"). Phew!
There's also a third source for her name; the pan flute, which is a wind instrument like... the piccolo!
The most startling name of all is Chi-Chi. It's not the Japanese meaning that makes this one stand out, but the Spanish translation: it literally means "BOOBS".
Which is why her name was changed to Milk in the Spanish translation.
Then there's the Garlic Jr. arc with Garlic Jr. and the Spice Boys.
Tranquil Fury: Numerous examples, but most notable is Goku as the first Super Saiyan who doesn't destroy himself in murderous, unbound rage (though he did take a couple minutes to torment and terrorize Frieza before offering to leave peacefully). Gohan's fight with Cell is similar, though it treads closer to Gohan becoming uncharacteristically sadistic before he regains his composure.
Transformation Is a Free Action: Literally every time someone charges up, the most that is done about it is stand around and comment on how their power level is going up. At least once, Vegeta waits around for a perfectly killable enemy to power up fully just so he could have a more interesting fight. It doesn't end well.
King Kai desperately tells Goku to finish Freeza before he can hit 100% power, but Goku's so enraged over Krillin's death that he wants Freeza to know he's totally beaten.
Trunks attempts to defy this by attacking Cell while he transforms into his Perfect Form, but his attacks just bounce off Cell's Battle Aura.
Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Pretty much every child in the main team, but Gohan is the embodiment of the trope. He's a child who, because of who and what he is, is continually put in situations he has no business in.
Mr. Satan is literally the champion of averting this trope. Even with the amounts of comic relief pain he suffers (slapped by Cell, being blown away by the Kung Fu Sonic Booms of the Saiyans fighting the Big Bad complete with rocks smacking his face, harming himself when jumping off a cliff of the homeworld of the Kaioshin under the impression it's all his dream, and still afterwards etc.), he ironically is the only non-afterlife-resident member of the cast who didn't ever die.
The fact that he even tried to fight Cell in the first place is proof of this, since less than a week earlier Cell had inflicted a One-Hit Kill on the most powerful battalion in the army on live radio, and during his doomsday broadcast had disintegrated a mountain. Even after Cell smacks him into a mountain Mr. Satan continues to believe that he is the only person capable of beating him.
Frieza twice barely survives a battle with a Super Saiyan, the first time due to a mercy act, and the second due to an ass pull miracle. Both times, he deliberately returns for more.
In a more literal example, Bulma's mother, who does not understand the concept of swiftness in a life-or-death situation. For example, upon hearing that West City is going to be destroyed, she decides that she MUST find just the right dress for the occasion instead of packing up to flee the city.
Bulma's father, in the same situation, asks her to hurry up, before remembering that they have to water the plants before they leave.note You know, the ones Piccolo Daimo is going to blow up.
Dr. Gero designs numerous androids that either turn good or turn on him, designs these androids to be stronger than him, converts himself into an android that is weaker than the other androids he has already designed, and constantly orders around and threatens the androids that, again, are stronger than him when he has no way to control them. That he ever lived long enough to be a threat to the heroes at all is nothing short of a miracle.
Anytime Vegeta fights an opponent who can power up. Vegeta's ego always gets the better of him and he allows said opponent to power up, up to and including once punching out his own son just for the sake of his ego. While Goku does this too, Vegeta has horrible judgement when it comes to relative strengths. This has cost him his own life at least once and usually causes him to go into a B So D after realizing he got outclassed (yet he somehow never realizes he should just stop letting his opponents do this).
Three-Point Landing: Almost everybody does this when falling, except when they fall flat to the floor.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Vegeta finally settles on "good guy" and shows no signs of wanting to go back to a villain, until Majin Buu shows up.
Totem Pole Trench: Done by Goten and Trunks to enter an adults-only tournament in Dragon Ball Z. And the best part is, they are competent at fighting in tandem like that, only stopping at #18, who blows their ruse in the semifinals.
Troubled, but Cute: 20 years of fleeing for your life from two homicidal androids has left Future Trunks emotionally scarred (and serious).
Future Bulma too.
True Companions: Goku, Krillin, Bulma, Yamcha, Master Roshi, Ooling, Puar, Turtle, and then any kids any of them might have. Other characters, like Tien, Piccolo and Vegeta, might become something like friends with the rest but aren't usually seen hanging out with the others.
Tsundere: Videl to Gohan. Gohan mentions it to Bulma in a conversation but what makes it less clear is Videl's status as an Action Girl. As Gohan mentions, she has no interest in romance. If you need any more proof, pay attention to the close-ups of here face when Gohan is teaching her how to fly.
Also, Bulma & Chi-Chi.
T-Word Euphemism: Lord Pilaf's minions and the English localisers on the "K-word".
The Unfought: Goku never once directly meets General Red, the commander of Red Ribbon Army, who is later killed by his own sidekick.
Not counting GT, he never gets to fight Android 17 either, due to the heart virus; by the time he's recovered from it, 17's already been absorbed by Cell.
Uniqueness Decay: The titular magical orbs start out as the awesome Holy Grail of all mystical artifacts, then eventually become relegated to fuel for resurrections as the series continues.
Unskilled, but Strong: Some Z villains, most notably Frieza, who had innately high levels of Ki, but zero knowledge in how to control it.
Basically, everybody in Frieza's empire. They were in a rude awakening when they went up against adversaries who could control their own levels in order to fool scouters. This concept came as a complete surprise to them, as they never before encountered beings capable of this. Vegeta and Nappa had the benefit of watching Raditz fight Goku and Piccolo, and hence learned of the ability before arriving. Vegeta even picked it up after visiting Earth, becoming one of the people to demonstrate it to Frieza and his mooks.
This was Captain Ginyu's downfall when he switched bodies with Goku. Goku, at the time, was second only to Frieza in terms of strength, but a lot of that rested on Goku's techniques. Lacking that training, Ginyu only had access to Goku's base power, which was enough to make him level with Gohan and Krillin (combined) but completely outclassed by Vegeta.
Subverted and then immediately played straight when the Dragon is summoned at Capsule Corp. Everybody else in the city freaks out... until they learn it's from Capsule Corp. and assume it's just another experiment, continuing with their lives.
Villainous Breakdown: Several of the villains have this as the heroes start to overpower them, but Frieza's and Cell's are the most memorable.
Frieza: arrogant, composed, fiendishly polite. But as the trial on Namek draws on, you realize that his disdain for the Saiyan race hides a great fear of the legend of the Super Saiyan. Once Goku gains that power, he starts to noticeably lose his composure - he panics, becomes desperate, and goes through waves of denial tempered by lots and lots of fear.
This gets an echo when he meets Trunks on Earth. Apparently, meeting Goku has only made him even more fearful. Within seconds, he goes from condescending when he thinks Trunks is a regular Earthling to outright panic when he realizes Trunks is also a Super Saiyan. You can just see the fear on his face. He immediately tries to obliterate Trunks where he stood with a very overkill-esque attack, which turns out to be utterly futile.
Cell goes through one when Gohan turns Super Saiyan 2. It's especially jarring, as the transformation turns the normally kind and gentle Gohan into someone as sadistic and cruel as Cell was. And he's hellbent on making Cell suffer for what he's done. As the fight progresses, it starts to resemble something like a horror movie, with the roles of victim and monster switched around, as Gohan effortlessly advances towards an increasingly fearful Cell, knocking away all his attempts to stave off the inevitablee. It ends with Cell backing away and tripping into a ditch trying to get away. The role reversal is poignant.
Cell: "Get away, you monster!"
But of course, once Cell regenerates himself to even more powerful than before, he's totally back to his arrogant, evil self, and Gohan has since had a very sobering experience to help get a hold of himself - the final confrontation is considerably more heroic.
Villain Pedigree: Goku has already outgrown most human opponents by the end of Dragon Ball. Throughout Z, the bad guys are either demons, alien invaders, genetically engineered killing machines or humans who've been cybernetically amped-up.
Villains Want Mercy: Raditz pulls this out on Goku after being grabbed by his weak point. After Goku lets him go, however, he hits him in the stomach and Goku has to sacrifice his life to defeat him. Later, when Frieza begs SSJ Goku for some energy after being sliced in two by his own attack, Goku complies once again but not before calling out Freezer on how many people had probably begged him some mercy and he hadn't given them any. Frieza, of course, then uses the energy for one last ditch attack, so Goku just kills him (or tried to, at any rate).
Averted in the Italian dub, that makes fused characters speak with the voice of the most popular character in their fusion (Gogeta and Vegeth speak with Goku's voice; Gotenks speaks with Trunks's voice).
Goku (Wacky Parent) to Gohan (Serious Child). Although they both share their goofy moments and are nice guys, Gohan is shown to be more serious, intelligent and mature than Goku. Justified as they were raised differently.
Mr. Satan (Wacky Parent) to Videl (Serious Child). Satan acts very boastful and silly, while Videl spends most of the series being laid-back and serious when the situations call for it.
Saiyans who haven't trained themselves to overcome the weakness become instantly paralyzed if their tail is grabbed. Goku got over this as a child, while Raditz was still vulnerable to it as an adult. Nappa and Vegeta were also immune, either through training or because they were simply born that strong as elite warriors.
In each of their respective Non-Serial Movie appearances, the embodiments of evil Hirudegarn and Janemba become defenseless when enraged/insulted.
What the Hell, Dad?: Surprisingly, Goku, of all people. He doesn't have a job, doesn't bring any money in even when he could have entered the World Martial Arts Tournament and won plenty easily, he barely keeps in contact with his friends, and chose to spend a year in space away from his family after only being home for a month from his previous year-long absence. He also decides to stay dead after the fight with Cell in order to keep enemies from coming to Earth, even though he had to know by a certain point that Chi Chi was pregnant. Then again, he may not have been keeping a close eye on them after all.
Piccolo delivers this to Goku when the latter sends his 11-year old son (9 in the manga) to fight Cell without helping him.
Funnily enough, Goku delivers it to the aforementioned son (after Gohan becomes his Superpowered Evil Side) when Gohan refuses to finish Cell off.
Vegeta letting Cell reach his Perfect form and letting Babadi turn him into Majin Vegeta are more egregious examples. He even explains why he did it in the latter case. He also tries to throw off his responsibilities to his family, but Goku does not buy his excuse and decks him.
Vegeta later pulls a What the Hell, Hero? on Goku twice after his second death: The first was when he learned about Goku's SSJ3 transformation, and was bitter because not only did this mean Goku held out on him during their fight, but had Goku revealed his SSJ3 to him, Vegeta would not have had to resort to the Heroic Sacrifice / Redemption Equals Death method in his failed attempt to stop Majin Buu. The second time was when he learns that while Vegeta was still in the afterlife, Goku, in exchange for Old Kai having Gohan unlock his full potential so he could defeat Buu, offered for Old Kai to either grope, kiss, or have nude pictures of Bulma, resorting to a severe (albeit somewhat comical) tongue lashing from Vegeta.
And a little before that, Vegeta yells at Goku again for escaping from the exploding Earth without taking the unconscious Gohan, Goten, Trunks, and Piccolo with them, essentially leaving their kids to die.
When You Snatch the Pebble: Goku goes to Karin's Tower to drink the Super Spirit Water, which he hears will make him much stronger. Actually getting the bottle of water from Karin, however, is a daunting task because of Karin's swiftness. When Goku finally does get the bottle, he is told that it contains just ordinary water—his attempts to take the water were what increased his strength.
Wax On, Wax Off: Both this and the above trope come back again during the King Kai arc of Goku's training, where he's told to first catch Bubbles, a monkey, and whack Gregory with a mallet. Sounds simple enough, considering Goku is an alien with super speed. King Kai, however, conveniently forgot to mention that his planet's gravity is 10 times that of Earth, which means even taking a step took tremendous effort on Goku's part, but not for Bubbles or Gregory, who have lived on the planet for so long the latter can fly at subsonic speeds!
Broly. Big Time (although in his case, his great insanity was more related to his traumatic past than to his actual power)! Baby Vegeta in DBGT is a more straight example, as upon gaining the Golden Ape form, he progressively gets worse in terms of his mental and emotional stability.
Partially with any Super Saiyan or Super Saiyan 2 in the beginning. They struggle to keep ruthless aggression down and are not so nice anymore.
Kid Buu's ridiculous power is only rivaled (and actually augmented) by his utter insanity.
Frieza would lose his rational thinking and grip on reality the more he powered up. This was one reason why he chooses to stay in his weaker forms.
Vegeta was also heavily implied to be Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. In the former's case, he had to be taken by Frieza, one of the universe's most evil characters from his father, King Vegeta, when he was a little boy in what was heavily implied to be a deal Frieza forced upon him. Then, Vegeta is forced to obey Frieza's commands or else he would murder his dad, and despite this, Frieza killed him anyways, and then committed genocide against his own people, and even afterwards he was treated by a slave by Frieza and his henchman, especially Frieza and Zarbon. When Goku learns of these details when Vegeta was dying from Frieza puncturing his hear with a death beam, even Goku took pity on him.
Broly is another case. It is heavily implied in his debut film that Broly barely even had a chance to be anything else, as other than Goku's crying next to him, he also ended up being nearly executed by King Vegeta for no reason other than simply because King Vegeta feared Broly's power level of 10,000, a high power level especially for his age. Then he narrowly survived Planet Vegeta's destruction at the hands of Frieza (his powers were literally the only reason he and his dad even survived Vegeta's destruction), and if Shin Budokai is anything to go by, it is also heavily implied that Frieza's destruction of Planet Vegeta contributed a LOT to Broly's Ax-Crazy nature, and he later ends up being brainwashed by his own father.
The Worf Barrage: The Kamehameha was the ultimate energy technique in Dragon Ball and it always did some damage even if it was only Clothing Damage. Raditz negating the attack full out was a sign of things to come. And the Spirit Bomb is only a finishing move once in the whole series.
The Kamehameha was shown to be still be fairly powerful throughout the series while the Sprit Bomb thing was somewhat averted in the non canonical movies where it was used no less than 3 times to kill the big bad in the films.
Besides, the true finishing occasion in the series with the Spirit Bomb? The last Big Bad. (This applies to GT as well.)
"World of Cardboard" Speech: Several. Goku's declaration that he has turned into the feared Super Saiyan to Frieza, and later verbally shreds him talking about how he was bested by "a monkey." Vegeta also got a few in the Majin Buu saga, one right before he kills himself to defeat Buu. Some time later he acknowledges that he will never fully surpass Goku, but that realization is what leads to the solution to finally stop Buu.
World's Best Warrior: There are lots of contenders—including most Big Bads. However, at the end of the story, Vegeta dubs Goku as the single best.
Writers Cannot Do Math: The Cell games occurred on May 27, Age 767. The 25th Tenkaichi Budokai occurs on May 7, Age 774. Goten was conceived sometime in the 10 days leading up to the Cell Games, yet is somehow listed as 7 years old at the 25th Tenkaichi Budokai.
In the anime, Piccolo explicitly states Gohan to be 11 years old while fighting Cell, however after the seven year time skip Gohan tells Goten he was twice Goten's age before he became a Super Saiyan. Making him closer to 14 which would fit with Budokai games that refer to the Cell Game saga Gohan as, "Teen Gohan". Though this all contradicts the manga which states Gohan to be nine while fighting Cell.
Wuxia: The anime adaptaton lovingly pays homage to the conventions of the Classic Shaw Brothers Kung-Fu films of the 60's, in lighting, movement, costume design and especially the sublime musical score by Kikuichi Shunsuke.
You Are Already Dead: In the seventh movie Future Trunks battles Android 14, their fight comes to an end when their blows collide with Trunks using his sword, Android 14 comes out seemingly unscathed he runs out at Trunks and his body splits in half just before he reaches him.
You Fight Like a Cow: Vegito was a master of this. And then he got turned into a jawbreaker. And continued.
For the minority who don't know: This is literally true. Vegito is turned into a small ball of hardened sugar. That kicks ass. And throws insults. Yes.
Vegito: "I'm not any ordinary candy. I'm a jawbreaker, the strongest piece of candy there is!"
And you can see where Vegito gets it from in SSJ2 Goku and Majin Vegeta's epic battle.
Vegeta: "You've become quite the escape artiste."
Goku: "Maybe you should work on some better finishing moves."
Special mention goes to Frieza whose declarations run on the lines of "You fight like a stupid monkey."
You Fool!: Goku yells this at Frieza just before finishing him off with an energy wave when he refuses to give up the fight. This was Frieza's secondBackstab Backfire, after Goku had both invoked Cruel Mercy and then saved Frieza's life after he cut himself in half.
In the video games, Android 17 yells this during guard counter attacks.