Tear Jerker / Dragon Ball

This isn't the last time, either...

Yes, Power Levels are off the scale, defeated villains are Easily Forgiven, and all kinds of other ridiculous stuff goes on in Dragon Ball. But that doesn't mean it can't make you cry.

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  • Every single time Krillin dies.
    • From the original series: Krillin's first death, and Goku getting to him too late. Heartbreaking.
      • Worse, in the anime: Goku, who's a Big Eater, doesn't even touch his food, struggling to shake off the fact that a simple friendly task of Krillin offering to get his 4-star ball back to him could lead to danger. He then flips out, after hearing Krillin scream and runs back to the contestant room, and the first thing he sees is Krillin's body on the ground. The announcer, who was also attacked, explains a monster came and fought Krillin and stole a list. The gang run back to see what happened. Goku tries to look for a heartbeat, but hears none. He then announces that Krillin is dead, and appears to fighting back tears, while deeply enraged. It's actually one of the first times we've seen Goku cry, and not in joy like the arc before.
      • Even the blonde Lunch, who introduced herself to Goku and Krillin by shooting at them, was sad and sorrowfully carried his body in her hands.
    • "Death 1.5", where he's gored by Freeza's first transformation during the Frieza Saga in Z, but is barely saved by Dende. Especially with how long it took him to expire.
    • His second death. Quick and senseless, but still just as wrenching. Goku's transforming into a Super Saiyan is at least partly a result of Krillin's deathnote .
    • His third death... not so much. Not quite as dramatically effective when you're turned into candy and eaten. Although, it was a Heroic Sacrifice as he acted as a decoy to protect his family which definitely has some emotional merit, which caused the almost-always stoic #18 to shout his name in worry. It gets really sad when you realize this ends up being a Senseless Sacrifice since his wife 18 and his daughter Marron were the VERY NEXT victims of Super Buu shortly afterwards.
    • His fourth death, in GT when #17 is trying to get #18 to come back to him. Krillin (An aged man at this point, daughter Marron beside him) is telling him he has no control over her anymore, she's not a part of him, and she can make her own descisions. #17 doesn't like this. So he blows a hole through Krillin's chest, blowing him back and killing him. What sets it off is Marron and 18's reactions. Marron's shaking his limp body crying "Wake up Daddy... wake up!" while 18 is begging for him not to leave her, crying while a montage of scenes between the two are shown. She sheds a few tears and whispers a soft "I love you" before rushing at 17.
      • What's even worse is if you think about the whole thing from #18's perspective. She likely hasn't seen her brother in about two decades, he shows back up, tries to convince her to go right back to the obviously-painful situation that they were in all that time ago, but at this point she has friends and new family. Then the brother she loves kills the husband who she legitimately loves, despite her Sugar-and-Ice Personality flaw that sometimes makes it seem like she doesn't. And then he tries to kill her daughter. She's not a very emotional person, but that just hurts.
  • King Vegeta's death: the guy is trying to rescue his son from the clutches of an monster like Frieza and dies trying. What makes it worse is that Vegeta doesn't even know how awesomely brave his dad was when he died. Up until Frieza told him on Namek how he died just to get a kick out of him, he probably thought his father was on the planet when it happened.
  • Ever since he was four, Gohan's childhood has been nothing but struggle. Unlike his father, Gohan never wanted to be a fighter, he was just constantly pressured with the responsibility to do what no one else could.
  • A little too subtle to notice, but the fact that Chi-Chi blames herself for being so stubborn in Gohan's raising and her stance against his martial arts training, and that as a result she indirectly caused Goku's death at the hands of Cell isn't too easy to face. This is the very reason she is seen training Goten.
  • Every time this song plays in Dragon Ball Z, it's almost guaranteed to make you cry, as it accompanies some of the most dramatic deaths in the anime, including Piccolo and Vegeta's.
  • Bardock and Gine's sacrifice for their youngest son, Goku. They sent him off to Earth to protect him from Frieza, saving his life, and given the universe its savior. No one, however, remembers them for it. As far as Goku, the gods, and everyone else knows Goku was sent as an infiltration baby, ordered to kill all life on the planet. Goku himself doesn't seem to think much of his parents given he never bothered to connect with them when he was dead, probably thinking they were typical, bloodthirsty Saiyans. What they gave and their love for their child is utterly lost to history, making them both unsung heroes.

     Dragon Ball 
  • The end of Mystical Adventure. When Upa gets the courage (from Goku) to ask Shenron to revive his father. It's more of a so happy it's sad moment, really. What really makes this scene is the song Dragon Ball Densetsu playing over it.
  • In the first World Tournament when it looks like Jackie Chun (aka Master Roshi) killed an apeified Goku with a Kamehameha wave. The reactions of Bulma, Krillin, Yamcha, and company is really upsetting.
    • Yamcha desperately tries to stop him from killing Goku. After it looks like he's been killed and Krillin asks what happened, he can't even bring himself to say it and just shakes his head.
    • Bulma breaks into tears and is crying on Yamcha's shoulder.
    • Both Puar and Oolong are horrified, with Puar on the verge of tears.
    • Then we got Krillin yelling in horror for Goku not to leave them and accusing Jackie Chun of being a murderer. Even sadder for Krillin considering he had bonded with Goku for the past several months and even had become best friends with him; to see that his new friend had apparently been killed right in front of him is absolutely heartbreaking.
    • In the sub, the next episode preview has Bulma doing the commentary. The thing is, Goku is always the one who does it which makes the episode highly imply that he's dead. Sure Goku turns out to be fine but still...
  • When the Masked Fighter is revealed to be Gohan Sr. in Dragon Ball. Goku begins to cry as he hugs his grandfather. Bulma even says "Gosh, even Son's crying!" A rare occasion indeed.
    Yamcha: For all his power, it's easy to forget that he's just a little kid...
    • A particularly heart-wrenching line from this scene, in the dub: "I looked for you everywhere and I couldn't find you!" Oh, Goku.
    • This is even sadder when Goku thinks he'll be reunited with his grandfather again, but realizes that Grandpa Gohan can't stay and has to return to the afterlife.
  • The murder of Bora by Taopaipai. This was the first (onscreen) death of the entire series. Watching Upa run to this dead father while crying, and Goku charging at Taopaipai is the first major tragedy of Dragon Ball.
  • Muten Roshi's failure to re-seal Piccolo Daimao leading to his eventual death.
  • In the 10th anniversary film Path To Power, Hacchan's death.
    Hacchan: Hi Goku, are you okay?
    Goku: Y-yeah...
    Hacchan: I'm... So... Glad...

  • On November 17th, 2017, Bulma's original Japanese VA (Hiromi Tsuru) was found dead in her own car at the age of 57; needless to say this shocking news simply crushed the hearts of Otaku from all three generations of her career....especially on those who've grown up on the Dragon Ball franchise.
    • Her funeral was a private affair. Her owakare-kai memorial was attended by hundreds and was an elaborate memorial to everything she'd done, with Bulma being the most prominent (her altar even included dragon balls). And then there's a line from the memorial speech Masako Nozawa gave for her comparatively-young friend (Nozawa was 81 when this happened, to Tsuru's mere 57):
      “If you gather the seven Dragon Balls, any wish you want will be granted. But this time, they’re useless... I’m so sorry.”