YMMV / Dragon Ball

For the other YMMV subpages:
  • Accidental Innuendo: Not technically in the show itself, but in the FUNimation theme song: "Rising, rising, mesmerizing, unbridled ecstasy!"
  • Americans Hate Tingle: Well, "hate" is probably too strong of a word, but in the US, while Z is a cultural icon, the original series is far more obscure and mostly known only by fans of the franchise. In Asia and parts of Europe, it's Dragon Ball that's the better known of the two.
  • Angst? What Angst?: At the start of the series Goku is alone in the mountains, never seeing another person until Bulma ran him over. His grandfather, the only family he has ever known, died years before the main story, crushed to death by a giant monster. And as far as Goku knows his biological parents abandoned him in the woods. Yet, Goku shows no distress about any of this, even smiling when explaining being found in the mountains. Even saying his grandpa is dead provoke little emotional response, except when talking about how he died. Bulma even ask how can he be so cheerful.
  • Arc Fatigue: While not as bad as the Z arcs, the Red Ribbon Army arc is the longest pre-Z arc and can take quite some time to sit through, particularly in the anime where there is a plethora of filler to drag it out even longer.
  • Badass Decay: While many of these characters don't complete their Badass Decay until DBZ, they do have a noticeable decline in effectiveness in this series:
    • Master Roshi: At the start of the series, he is stronger than Goku. He even beats Goku during the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament. By the Piccolo Jr. Saga, he is Demoted to Extra, and he stays that way through Z. This was intentional to show how his students were steadily surpassing him.
    • These days, Yamcha's mostly known for getting his ass kicked a lot. Most people forget that when he was first introduced in the series he gave Goku his first real fight, although most of that was because Goku was hungry when they fought. note  The only thing that preventing him from finishing the fight was that Bulma happened to wake up and Yamcha ran away because of his crippling fear of pretty girls. He was also the first person to use a KI technique and ended up saving everyone from Goku's Great Ape form at the end of the story arc.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The Penguin Village episodes. The segment is actually a crossover with one of Toriyama's other works, Dr. Slump, but to fans who don't get the reference it comes off as simply bizarre.
  • Broken Base:
    • Dragon Ball vs. Dragon Ball Z is a not as commonly debated over but it happens.
    • Comparisons between Dragon Ball Super and Dragon Ball GT, were bound to happen. Some complain that GT was moving the pace forward by its second episode while Super takes its time to cover the events of two films, which in turn draws out the old laundry list of GT's narrative flaws. Overall, most agree that right now it is impossible to compare Dragon Ball Super with Dragon Ball GT since Super is ongoing while GT ended decades ago. However, since the start of the Champa Saga, most fans have considered Super to be superior to GT. Even before the end of the retellings, some thought Super was better than GT simply because of the character interactions and characterizations.
  • Can't Un-Hear It:
    • In Latin America, anyone who has heard the Mexican dub growing up will tell you that Mario Castañeda is the official voice of Goku, the same with René García as Vegeta and Laura Torres as Kid!Goku and Kid!Gohan, reason why not many have enjoyed the dubbed version of Dragonball Kai for the change of cast.
    • For Brazilian fans, Wendel Bezerra is very strongly associated with Goku as a grown up. Even when you hear him as Jackie Chan, it's not easy not to think of Goku.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Goku, when he wasn't defeating armies on his own armed with only a magic pole and a flying cloud, he was transforming into a giant Ape and destroying anything in his path, using air to one shot his opponents, kicking peoples asses with rock-paper-scissors, using his tail to fly like a helicopter, flying into the air and punching holes through demon aliens with only one arm and using his power pole to sodomize a ninja. And this stuff happened when he was a child. As an adult he reeked of Crazy Awesome, so much so that him just powering up nearly destroyed the planet.
    • Tao Pai Pai killed General Blue with his tongue and he did this during his debut in the show. His crazy awesomenes then goes to a whole new level when he taps a pillar and breaks it out, while leaving the building completely intact then throws the pillar and jumps onto it while it's moving. Tao Pai Pai's only comment on that matter is, "Who needs a jet when when we've got a perfectly good pillar."
  • Creator Worship: Fans love to make fun of Toriyama's lack of planning, forgetfulness, and his tendencies to leave behind his human characters, but make no mistake that the fanbase loves him and are skeptical of any work that doesn't have his involvement. This love extend to other manga authors like Eiichiro Oda who practically worships him.
  • Cult Classic: The series gets this treatment in the USA due to being ignored for the anime that only adapted the second half of the story, Dragon Ball Z.
  • Evil Is Cool: Piccolo and his father, King Piccolo. They're just both completely badass. King Piccolo is one of the first villains to be competent, as he's a Hero Killer and Piccolo Jr. almost defeated Goku.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • The announcer for the World Martial Arts Tournament, so much so that when he didn't appear in the Cell Games saga some fans got quite irate. Fortunately, he makes his return in the Buu Saga.
    • General Blue, for being pretty much the only competent member of the Red Ribbon Army - starting at the point where he strangles an electric eel to death while it's still electrocuting him. There is also the fact that he is the first villain to almost kill Goku in a straight fight.
    • Akkuman/Devilman for having what could be considered the most powerful attack in all of Dragon Ball/Z. Hell he was even a playable character in Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (where he even gets his own what-if story), Dragon Ball: Advanced Adventure and Dragon Ball: The Revenge of King Piccolo.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • With Saint Seiya fans in Latin America, particularly Brazil.
    • With the One-Punch Man fandom, mostly with arguments in who would win between Saitama and Goku.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • Quite the overlap has formed between fans of the Dragon Ball franchise and those of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. A major part of this is that both series' abridged versions are in close collaboration with each other, but on the official side of things, the mid-2010s saw both franchises get new anime installments in the form of Dragon Ball Super and Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, both seen as major returns to form for their respective series. It also helps that they aired concurrently for a good chunk of their runs, broadcasting new episodes within hours of each other each week.
    • On an older note, Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball have a wide shared or at least friendly fanbases in the Americas and Europe, one often seen as something of a Distaff Counterpart to the other. It was probably spurred by the two airing on many of the same channels and blocks, sometimes right after each other. It helps that both have enough similarities for the fanbases to find common ground, but different enough they aren't seen as competition. To a lesser extent, fans of Dragon Ball have also enjoyed Saint Seiya and YuYu Hakusho (and viceversa).
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Special mention to Europe (especially France, Spain and Italy) and several countries in Latin America, where the Dragon Ball franchise is not only probably THE most popular anime in history, but also a full-blown pop culture classic. The fact that it became popular in those territories way earlier than in the US, definitely helped.note 
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Given what Dr. Gero did to avenge the fall of the Red Ribbon Army it makes Commander Red's real goal even more disturbing.
    • Oolong's off-comment about Bulma not having a pretty death does happen later on as she ends up one of the victims of Super Buu, being turned into chocolate and eaten alive.
    • In the anime: Master Roshi's destruction of the moon to reverse Goku's Great Ape transformation becomes horrifying when one remembers that's where Goku dropped off Boss Rabbit and his goons.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • When Yamcha first gets a glimpse of the titular Dragon Balls, he confesses that he thought they'd be as big as dodgeballs. Come the Namek arc in Z, we get introduced to a second set of Dragon Balls that happen to be roughly around that size.
    • Commander Red is voiced by Kenji Utsumi in the Japanese version, and desires to become taller. Utsumi later voices a Stalinist rogue GRU Colonel, yet later ends up defeated by someone who looks a heck of a lot like a tall version of Commander Red in Metal Gear Solid 3.
    • The scene where Pilaf blows a kiss to Bulma in the Pilaf Saga becomes hilarious when his Japanese voice actor, Shigeru Chiba, ends up (another silly villain who has a huge amount of Foe Yay/somewhat Yandere-esque traits towards his nemesis. And the villain's nemesis, Terra Branford, has an alternate costume that gives her a slightly similar appearance to Bulma.note 
    • In the second episode of the anime, Bulma has this prophetic line:
    "I don't know what planet [Goku's] from, but it's not Earth."
    • In the 13th episode Oolong says this line:
    "So what's the deal, is Goku some kind of alien?"
  • Ho Yay: Has its own page.
  • Inferred Holocaust: While the Dragon Balls are used after the King Piccolo Saga to revive everyone he killed (including those killed by his offspring), during his reign Piccolo abolished all laws and released all prisoners, encouraging the people to sow chaos and mayhem. There's no telling how many were killed or otherwise victimized during this period of terror.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Mai and Shu, especially when they're being verbally and/or physically abused by Pilaf. Their status as Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains also helps.
    • The Crane Hermit, Master Shen. He is an evil and bitter old man, but he's like that thanks to King Piccolo's cruelty. He watched his fellow students and friends be slaughtered by Piccolo's children and was then forced to watch his master humiliated by Piccolo himself. After witnessing the futility of being good and the failure of justice, he turned aways from his master's teachings.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Demon King Piccolo qualifies, considering that he knew that Shen Long would have been called again with another potential reunion of the Dragon Balls (so he kills him before having any chance to depart).
  • Memetic Badass: Monster Carrot's Story-Breaker Power is often brought up by fans to point out that he could theoretically defeat any opponent. Nevermind that he's a spineless coward, if he can so much as touch an opponent he instantly wins.
  • Moral Event Horizon: See here.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Any time Shenron, the Eternal Dragon, is summoned
    • Goku catching a giant fish.
    • Bulma and Goku meeting for the first time.
    • The infamous scene where Bulma (unknowingly) flashes Master Roshi in exchange for a Dragon Ball.
    • Before that, Goku removing Bulma's underwear and screaming that her balls are gone.
    • Master Roshi using a Kamehameha to blow away the fire on Frying Pan Mountain.
    • Goku's first Kamehameha, which destroys the group's car.
    • Goku's transformations into a gigantic ape in the first two arcs.
    • Goku vs. Jackie Chun (aka Master Roshi in disguise), especially the last part that ended with a double KO.
    • Goku flying straight through Demon King Piccolo's torso.
    • Goku's battle with Piccolo Jr, and Goku winning despite having all of his limbs disabled.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Several of the jokes in the early parts of the manga when it was still largely a comedy have not aged well. One very early chapter features Oolong drugging Bulma and trying to molest her in her sleep, which is Played for Laughs, and General Blue is a Depraved Homosexual played absolutely straight. The anime makes Blue even worse by implying him to be a pedophile on top of being gay.
    • The manga's explicit depictions of nudity & sexuality also fail to resonate well with Western audiences, particularly in America, due to the fact that most of the characters who are shown naked or involved in sexual activities are below the legal age of consent.Note  The fact that Goku's genitals are shown more than anyone else's doesn't help, nor does the fact that Bulma once attempted to seduce him in exchange for his Dragon Ball.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Upa was initially believed to be a girl, even by other characters of the show.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Seems to creep up in the motivation behind a lot of the franchise's offerings ever since the dreaded Dragonball Evolution.
  • Woolseyism: In the Japanese version, the announcer mispronounces Goku's name by reading the kanji for Son Goku as Mago Gosora. In the English Dub, where Alternate Character Reading isn't exactly a thing, it's localized as him mispronouncing Goku as gah-kay-ah. Viz's translation of the manga, meanwhile, takes a slightly different path by having the announcer mispronounce "Son Goku" as "Song Oku".
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