What An Idiot: Dragon Ball

Much of the drama in the anime and manga of Dragon Ball comes from the characters constantly making bad decisions, being clueless about their own idiocy and then being punished for it.
  • In the Dead Zone movie, the villian Garlic Jr. has successfully gained Complete Immortality and is now immune to death - a point he spends the first half of the movie demonstrating. Finally, he has the heroes where he wants them and...
    You'd expect: He, knowing how dangerous the Z-Fighters are and that they defeated (at this point in the series) an entire army and Demon King Piccolo, a.k.a. the evil version of Kami, the guy who defeated Garlic's father despite overwhelming odds, kill them immediately.
    Instead: ...he opens up a portal to the titular Dead Zone to send them in. As in the place that is completely unescapable by anyone, immortal or otherwise. No points for guessing who ends up falling in.
    Even Worse: In the anime filler Garlic Jr. Saga, having apparently learned absolutely nothing from his earlier blunder Garlic Jr. does the exact same thing again!
    Also: Since Garlic Jr. is foolish enough to explain to the heroes how he managed to get out of the Dead Zone, he reveals the source of his power and they destroy it in the process, meaning he can't even use the same method to escape again.
  • In the Saiyan saga Goku splits a magic bean in two parts, so that Gohan and Kuririn can both have their part. They are fully recovered, even despite eating just half a bean.
    You'd expect: That from that point on they'd actually split any magic bean into two so that they have double the limited supplies of magic beans without having any drawbacks.
    Instead: No one splits a magic bean ever again...
  • According to Word of God, Krillin's Kienzan technique is capable of cutting through anything. Now, let's look at a certain point in the battle with the Ginyu Force: Recoome is about to use his Recoome Eraser Gun on Vegeta, while Krillin moves up for a sneak attack on him.
    You'd expect Krillin to bust out a surprise-attack Kienzan, slicing Recoome in half while he was busy with the attack and eliminating yet another member of the Ginyu Force, as well as making some headway toward not being regarded as a joke by the fans.
    Instead: Krillin slams Recoome's mouth closed mid-beam, accomplishing little more than knocking out his teeth and severely annoying him.
  • Related, there have been many, many occasions when Krillin has been watching his friends be knocked around by an opponent. Nappa, Vegeta, Recoome, Frieza, the Androids and Cell all instantly come to mind. During all of those fights he had access to both the blinding Taiyoken technique and the cut-anything Kienzan technique.
    You'd expect: Krillin would take the opportunity his friends are providing by being knocked around to sneak up, use the Taiyoken technique and then cut them in half with the Kienzan.
    Instead: Krillin just stands there and watches, not even bothering to intervene on one on one battles when he has no reason to not gang up on the enemy. During their fights with the Androids he doesn't even bother to fight.
  • While the gang is trying to survive Freeza, Goku is currently undergoing a healing treatment on his ship, but the rate of recovery is going very slowly. Krillin and Gohan have just discovered Dende's healing ability after he saves them both from otherwise fatal wounds.
    You'd expect: Gohan and/or Krillin try to sneak Dende away to where Goku is so Dende can heal him instantly as well and he can join the battle while Freeza is either distracted by Vegeta or Piccolo or focusing on transforming into one of his more powerful forms, or even just let Dende head to Goku on his own since Freeza doesn't know about Dende's healing power and considers him "small fry".
    Instead: Nobody thinks of doing this. Freeza eventually finds out about Dende's healing ability and quickly kills him to keep him from healing anyone else, and by the time Goku has finally recovered Vegeta is near death and the others are exhausted and worn out.
  • The Z Warriors are fighting Androids 19 and 20. Bulma is however upset about not being involved in the action like before.
    You'd expect: She'd invest in long range surveillance equipment so she can see the battle from a safe distance, especially since she has a baby now.
    Instead: She flies right into the battle, giving 20 the distraction needed to escape and activate the androids that Trunks did know about.
    What's worse: Vegeta destroyed 19 with his Super Saiyan form and Piccolo had 20 ready for the kill when Trunks comes back from the future and tries to explain that 19 and 20 aren't the androids he warned them about. If Bulma didn't show up, 20 would likely have been killed before he could reach his lab, the other androids might've been tracked down and destroyed, preventing Cell from transforming at all.
  • The most extreme turning point of the Cell/Android Saga was only ever possible due to a massive avalanche of dumbassery on the part of damn near everyone involved.
    • Cell interrupts Android 17 and Piccolo's much-lauded even battle, which Androids 16 and 18 are watching in the background, and makes it perfectly clear that he wants to absorb 17 and 18 to achieve his perfect form. When Cell nearly kills Piccolo and utterly curbstomps 17, 16 steps in and stops Cell before he can absorb 17, then proceeds to more than hold his own against the bio-android.
      You'd Expect: For the Twins to immediately take the opportunity to RUN FOR THEIR LIVES.
      Instead: They stand and watch.
      What's worse: After 16 fires his Hell's Flash blasters on Cell, 17 ignores 16's warnings that Cell isn't dead yet and comes back into the battlefield area gloating about how the three of them can use the world as a playground. Cue 17 being absorbed and 16 rendered nearly nonoperational by Semi-Perfect Cell.
    • Follow that up with a series of events which involves Tienshinhan putting his own life on the line with a furious assault of Neo Kikoho attacks to keep Cell back, and Cell destroying an entire fleet of islands because he can't find 18.
      You'd Expect: 18 to take this opportunities and get AS FAR AWAY AS SHE POSSIBLY CAN, even if she has to abandon 16 to do so—in which case she should trust that Cell can't sense him either and wouldn't care to even target him.
      Instead: She only gets as far as hiding on one of the islands with 16. Only by fortune is her island the last one left that he doesn't destroy.
    • OR You'd Expect: Tienshinhan realises that if his Neo Kikoho is actually strong enough to push Semi-Perfect Cell back that far, he could probably use it on the currently stunned Android 18 to either destroy or severely damage her to point where Cell might not be able to use her. Better yet, if having Tien turn around and kill 18 after it's made clear the twins aren't pure psychos in this timeline is too much of a moral slide backwards for his character, have HER be the one to suggest the idea and insist on it.
      Instead: No one catches on to this and he just continues his futile beam spam.
    • Meanwhile, Goku is up on the Lookout with Gohan, and both are able to sense everything that is going on, yet Goku knows that neither of them has gained the strength to take on Cell and survive.
      You'd Expect: For Goku to use the Instant Transmission technique to get his allies off of the island before their lives are on the line, and grab 18 while he's at it so Cell can't absorb her.
      Instead: Goku sits on his butt, doing nothing but making horrified expressions and explaining to Gohan that there's nothing they can do, hits Gohan to stop him from going to help Piccolo, only rescues his allies when they're both on the brink of death, and doesn't even think to grab 18.
    • Krillin arrives on the battlefield near 16 and 18's hiding place with an emergency suspension controller created by Bulma to shut off the cyborg twins so that they can be destroyed easily. By this point he's most likely sensed Cell's increasing power and figured out that Cell got 17. Despite his growing crush on Android 18 and his having discerned that the twins aren't evil incarnate, he knows that he probably has to do this in order to make sure Cell can't absorb 18 and become a full-on intergalactic menace. Also worth noting is that at this point Vegeta has arrived on the battlefield an Ascended Super Saiyan and is laying a physical and verbal smack-down on Semi-Perfect Cell.
      You'd Expect: Well, first off, for 18 to have FINALLY MADE A BREAK FOR IT BY NOW so that she wouldn't even BE THERE for Krillin to find. Barring that, for Krillin to be able to get a grip, immediately go to 18, convince her to leave and then lead her the hell away from the place, tell her about the suspension controller and make sure to keep it just in case his best efforts to save her fail and he has to use it anyway.
      Instead: 18 is STILL hiding practically right underneath Cell, gawking at everything as it goes on, even amidst 16's own warnings to run away and forget about him. As for Krillin, he spends a good 10-plus minutes lollygagging about his crush on her, makes the decision to destroy the controller, THEN comes over and tells her to run. It is at this point that Cell finally spots 18.
    • The crowning achievement of stupidity, however, has to go to Vegeta, who, again, while effortlessly curb-stomping Semi-Perfect Cell, acknowledges Cell's last transformation.
      You'd expect: That he would also acknowledge his son Trunks' warnings, considering that he knows a great deal about Cell, and annihilate the evil android while he still had the chance and prevent the destruction of the world as well as thousands of lives.
      Instead: Vegeta, despite seeing immediately that Cell's appeal to his massive overconfidence and lust for battle is a pathetically blatant ploy, inevitably gives in and agrees to allow Cell to attain his perfect form, which allows Cell the time to even spot 18 in the first place, then attacks his own son Trunks to get him out of the way, thinking only about getting a decent fight from the whole deal.
    • The result of all this (plus a Solar Flare): Cell absorbs Android 18, transforms into his Perfect Form, and proceeds to kick the crap out of Vegeta, Trunks, Krillin, and Android 16 while treating them all as a warmup, now capable of threatening the entire solar system with his power. Nice Job Breaking It, Heroes!!
  • The Full-Power Super Saiyan means that by remaining transformed as a SSJ for extended periods of time the users can control their energy consumption much better than any other form of SSJ, thus they become stronger in training than any other form of SSJ would make them. While the FPSSJ users Goku and Gohan exit the training room in this state Vegeta and Trunks notice how genius this kind of training is, Vegeta even comments about this.
    You'd expect: That during their second year-long-training Trunks and Vegeta entered they'd be SSJ all the time, thus not only becoming FPSSJ but they'd be if not stronger at least equally strong as Gohan and Goku.
    Instead: Vegeta and Trunks completely forget about the benefits of training as a SSJ all the time, thus even though they trained double the time Goku and Gohan did, they were far weaker.
  • In the Cell Arc, when the Z Fighters are fighting against Cell, and Goku wants Gohan to fight. He thinks of giving Cell a Senzu Bean to insure that the fight will be "fair" because he didn't want Gohan to win without it feeling like a real victory.
    You'd Expect: For Goku to realize that fair fights do not matter in situations when an Omnicidal Maniac is trying to destroy the universe, and let Gohan fight Cell at his weakest instead, or better yet, Goku decides to fight Cell himself.
    Instead: He foolishly gives Cell a senzu bean!!! Really Goku, who really cares about being fair in situations like this??
  • Right before this, during Goku's fight with Cell he's managed to get the android to use up a good bit of energy. Now that he's weakened, Trunks suggests that all of the Z Soldiers attack Cell - as strong as he is, not even he can match all of them fighting against him at their peak while he's lost much of his strength.
    You'd Expect: That everyone listen to Trunks! Remember, if Cell decides nobody can defeat him he's going to blow up the planet and kill everyone!
    Instead: Vegeta calls Trunks an idiot and berates him for daring to choose a "cowardly" option, and the other Z Soldiers all silently agree with him that they shouldn't do a joint attack. It kind of makes you wonder how it somehow took all the way until the Buu saga before a villain was successfully able to destroy the Earth considering the standards the Z Soldiers operate by.
  • Near the end of the Cell games, when Cell is very close to being defeated, he decides to self-destruct, taking the whole planet with him as one last act of spite. Goku decides to use instant transmission to teleport Cell away from the planet.
    You'd Expect: Goku to immediately teleport Cell into space, or anywhere free of life, instead of waiting until there was five seconds left of the countdown. However, it should be noted that Goku said he could only teleport to people/places he knew about beforehand.
    Instead: Goku teleports him to King Kai's planet with five seconds to spare, so that Earth would be spared. There is then, due to narrative decompression, a five minute window before Cell explodes.
    Also: Cell was knocked back into his Semi-Perfect form when he decided to self-destruct. Goku, Vegeta, and Trunks could've just jumped into the fight and killed Cell themselves. Goku could even have grabbed Cell once he powered down, teleported him to King Kai's planet, kill the monster in Other World, and teleport back to Earth.
    You'd Expect: That Goku, able to move quickly in the very least, would grab King Kai, Bubbles and Gregory and teleport somewhere safe.
    Instead: He stands there, looking dumb and saying something to the effect of "I'm sorry King Kai, this was the only place I could think of". The four of them are subsequently killed.
  • Related to that, just minutes ago before Cell activated the bomb in his body, Gohan had the chance to finish him off. Cell was badly wounded and couldn't regenerate, which would mean another attack would be enough to actually finish him off for good. Goku urgently yells at his son to do so now, as if the battle gets too drawn out Cell could grow desperate and try something really nasty.
    You'd expect: For Gohan to listen to his father and finish things immediately. Plus, it's not like he and his father haven't dealt with something like that before, as was the case with Frieza when he started growing desperate during his fight with Super Saiyan Goku, which of course led to Namek's destruction. Goku is actually speaking from firsthand experience.
    Instead: Gohan smugly feels Cell's suffering needs to go on and flat out ignores Goku's warnings, allowing him to restore his body. Eventually during the battle Cell is reduced to his Semi-Perfect Form, and Gohan still doesn't pounce on the chance to finish him off—which is what causes and allows him to trigger said bomb.
  • In the episode "Videl Is Crushed," Videl is getting badly beaten by Spopovitch. Gohan rushes to give her advice about giving up and how she isn't able to defeat Spopovitch.
    You'd Expect: Videl to take Gohan's advice and save herself from possibly dying.
    Instead: Videl continues to fight Spopovitch and he almost kills her by stepping on her skull, attempting to crush it.
    Thankfully: Gohan intervenes and Spopovitch was only forced to kick her out of the ring.
  • In Broly: Second Coming, Gohan arrives on the scene to find Goten, Trunks, and Videl getting the shit beaten out of them by Broly.
    You'd Expect: Gohan to go Super Saiyan 2 and own Broly’s ass.
    Instead: He only goes Super Saiyan 1 and vice versa happens.
  • In the Buu saga, Yamcha is piloting a plane containing Bulma, Chichi, the Ox King, Master Roshi, Videl, Puar, Android 18 and Marron. A powerful shock wave destabilizes the plane and damages the controls, which results in busted engines and a dangerous loss of altitude. Everybody is panicked.
    You'd expect: Yamcha to fly out of the plane and use his strength to stabilize it enough to allow a safe landing.
    Instead: When Bulma screams at him to do something, he responds that he cannot do anything with damaged engines and braces himself for the impact... somehow forgetting that he can fly and is strong enough to land the plane safely.
    Thankfully: Android 18 does that and saves the day.
  • In the Buu Saga, Chi-Chi is at Kami's lookout and she's struck with grief because of Gohan dying (her anger is justified though, because Gohan is her child and she only feels like how any decent mother would). She wants to give Super Buu a piece of her mind.
    You'd Expect: For Chi-Chi to listen to the others and not try to tell Super Buu off because she has no chance in even harming him.
    Instead: She walks up to Buu and slaps him in the face for supposedly killing Gohan, then Buu kills her by turning her into an egg. Then again, this is Chi-Chi we're talking about, but even she should know better.
  • In the Buu Saga, after Gohan and Gotenks have been absorbed, everyone starts making a big deal about how the only being strong enough to defeat Buu is Vegeto, who comes unfused after being absorbed by Buu.
    You'd Expect: Goku and Vegeta, both of whom had prior experience with Frieza and Cell, to take into account that the fate of the entire universe and the lives of everyone in it, including those of their loved ones, were at stake, re-fuse at first opportunity, and do everything in their power to defeat Buu.
    Instead: Vegeta crushes his earring, because defeating Buu using the fusion would hurt his pride.
    Then: Given another set of Potarra earrings, Goku immediately crushes his because he regards it as "cheating"mere episodes after calling Vegeta out for doing the exact same thing!
  • In the episode "Deadly Vision," Goku and Vegeta are traveling in Buu's body and arguing. Buu pops up in his own head.
    You'd Expect: For Goku to shut up and try to take on Buu.
    Instead: He deliberately tells Vegeta that he is unable to fuse with him, right in front of Super Buu.
    Then: Vegeta calls out Goku on it and tells him "Nice work, is there anything else you'd like to tell him?"
  • Kid Buu was going to destroy the Earth with a ultra-powerful attack to made Goku and Vegeta flee for their lives.
    You'd Expect: Goku to grab Gohan, Goten, Trunks, and Piccolo instead, knowing that Dende and Mr. Satan would be brought back by the Namekian Dragon Balls. Regardless if he were to grab Dende or not, it wouldn't have done him much good since the Earth will be destroyed anyways, with the Balls.
    Instead: He grabs Dende and Mr. Satan. Goku, it's alright to save Dende, but why save the guy who stole the credit that your son deserved of beating Cell!
    What's worse: Goku let his own children DIE so he could save a lying fraud and a boy he barely knew.
    But wait, there's more! According to Word of God, Gohan's Mystic Form is the ultimate form of Unlock Potential meaning he is now fighting at 100% of his unlimited power, and he failed to beat Super Buu because he had mental blocks from fighting his own brother and mentor, meaning he could have easily killed Kid Buu. By letting his children die, Gohan doesn't participate in the Final Battle and thus the universe is nearly destroyed by Buu. Way to go, Goku.
    Even More!: Once everybody is brought back to life including Gohan, Goku even suggests bringing in Gohan and the others to fight Kid Buu. They do no such thing and go with the Spirit Bomb plan anyway, and as he gives up his energy it ends up making Gohan and everybody else far too weak from it to try to fight Kid Buu in the process.
  • Kibito Kai goes to Goku and Vegeta to teleport them to safety.
    You'd Expect: Vegeta to grab the others, or at least Trunks and make a run for it.
    Instead: He blindly lets Kibito Kai teleport him and Goku to his planet, allowing Trunks, Goten, Piccolo, and Gohan to die with the planet. Worst of all, he ends up blaming Goku for the whole thing.
  • We note that this one is exclusive to anime filler, movies, and GT, as it is notably averted in the manga canon. Powerful warriors both good and evil come through the pike in the Other World once they're destroyed.
    You'd expect: Yemma-Daio and his people to dispose of the warriors' bodies before sending their spirits to their "final" destination unless keeping any of them around is absolutely necessary. (This is precisely the case in the manga.) At the very least, make sure only the good guys get to keep their corporeal forms.
    Instead: Everyone with a modicum of relevant power is later seen still with a body. Including the bad guys sent to Hell.
    You'd then expect: Some powerful dead face to stand guard in Hell making sure that any chaos doesn't last. Either make it one warrior who's generally antisocial or doesn't mind making the sacrifice, or a cycle of guys that get shifted in and out for one another (with Goku and Paikuhan being obvious players).
    Instead: Goz and Mez seem to be the only thing keeping the bad guys in line over there.
    The result: All it takes is for two evil scientists to get together and create an android, or for one Saike Oni to completely lose track of the soul cleansing chamber while listening to his music, and literally, all hell breaks loose.
  • In Dragon Ball GT's Super Android 17 saga, Android 18 steps into Goku's fight against Super 17. Angry over 17 murdering Krillin when his Evil Knockoff had him Brainwashed and Crazy prior to the fusion, she confronts him about becoming a coward, losing his identity and letting mad scientists tell him what to do. Super 17 is visibly shaken at this.
    You'd expect: Dr. Myu to relay orders to Super 17 through the sort of "blueprint telepathy" seen between them in the fight with the other Z-Fighters just before Super 17 went Gatling Good on Majuub, in order to get him to attack 18.
    Instead: He runs his mouth literally saying much of the same stuff 18 is saying except trying to apply it against her. 17 gets pissed off. End of Myu. Now, from that point…
    You'd expect: 18 to realize he just acted freely of his own volition, whatever the catalyst may have been, and use that opening to try to get the real 17 to overcome the Hell Fighter in his psyche and bring him back to his senses.
    Instead: She's still pissed off and perfectly content to resume the fight without even trying to reason with him any further.
    The result: She ends up losing her brother in addition to her husband, the Z Fighters don't get the chance at a potential ally who could've aided greatly in the Evil Dragon saga, and we miss out on an amazing Call Back to Goku's long-established usual method of making friends.
  • In Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and Dragon Ball Super, King Kai has just been notified telepathically by the Supreme Kais of Lord Beerus' awakening. Knowing as they do that if Son Goku learns of the existence of a powerful god like Beerus he'll naturally want to fight the guy and see what he's got, King Kai tries to keep Beerus a secret from Goku, who is currently training on his planet.
    You'd expect: Him to be careful never to let that name come out of his mouth until Beerus is back to sleep and the trouble has passed.
    Instead: He says the name at least twice, resulting in Goku overhearing him, which forces him to tell the truth.
    You'd then expect: Him to not go into detail about Beerus' strength, but instead casually paint the guy as "nothing you need to worry about, he's an old friend and a fellow god like us Kais, just show him respect and don't make him mad." In fact it might've been better to just do that without even going through the failed attempt to keep Beerus a secret at all. Without the preconceived notion of a super-powerful god, Goku might just be put off enough by Beerus' scrawny visage, Whis' effeminacy, and his inability to precisely gauge either of their Ki, and thus perceive them to be just like the Kais, whose divine powers lie in magic rather than combat. If Beerus didn't do anything to Kick the Dog while he was there, Goku most likely wouldn't have stepped up to fight.
    Instead: He tells him all about how Beerus is a destroyer god and actually expects warnings about how "he's the God of Destruction, he's too strong, you don't stand a chance against him, etc." to actually faze Goku.
    The result: When Beerus shows up asking about a Super Saiyan God, Goku spares little time saying "Hey, dude, heard you were strong. Let's fight!" and getting his ass kicked as a result.
  • The backstory with Beerus and King Vegeta with Prince Vegeta watching from the shadows—particularly in Super, where there's more to Beerus' abuse of the King (and his call for Freeza to destroy the Saiyans) than a mere distaste for the King's food. While abusing King Vegeta, Beerus recalls that he asked the King to get him the most comfortable pillow in the universe even if he had to steal or kill for it, and apparently he did just that, but what he did after that point…
    You'd expect: That he gave Beerus the most comfortable pillow, since Beerus had obviously impressed upon the King what a powerful monster the God of Destruction really is otherwise he wouldn't have entertained such a frivolous mission.
    Instead: He hoarded it for himself and gave Beerus the second most comfortable pillow, hoping Beerus wouldn't notice the difference.
    The result: King Vegeta gets humiliated in front of his son, said son tries to force Beerus off only to be paralyzed by the GoD's power, whatever Beerus does to encourage or order Freeza to destroy the Saiyans happens, cue Vegeta-Shattering Kaboom.
  • Thanks to Majin Buu being stingy with pudding and nobody standing a chance against Beerus in the ensuing fight, all that's keeping Beerus from destroying the Earth is the prospect of eating more of Earth's best food. So he decides to play Oolong in a game of rock-paper-scissors for the fate of the Earth. They end up drawing twice with both hitting scissors each time. A long pause of deliberation occurs before the third game.
    You'd expect: That Oolong consider making a different move this time, or at least have a good strategic reason for doing what he does next.
    Instead: He picks scissors for the third time in a row and gets beat by Beerus' choice of rock. The best explanation he can come up with is to pin it on the saying "third time's the charm."