YMMV / Dragon Ball Z


  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Vegeta has a lot of this, with two major debates among fans.
      • First, just how malevolent is he? Was it entirely Freeza's fault that he became an antagonist, or could he have been a villain all on his own?
      • Second, how deep did Vegeta's Heel–Face Turn go? Some fans say that he actually did become a good person but others disagree, saying that while he did at least stop murdering innocents he remained a selfish Jerkass with little regard for others. However, this is not exactly proving anything, since Vegeta has joined the Z-Fighters in saving the world.
    • Cell gets this sometimes, mostly because it's not entirely clear how much of his malice is his own, and how much of it is due to Dr. Gero's programming. On one hand, he flat-out ignores his programming to kill Goku and host the Cell Games instead. On the other, he later decides to wipe out all life in the universe because he believes that this is the ultimate purpose Dr. Gero built him for.
    • Goku gets some with questions raised as to whether or not he really is dumb or if his childish nature just stems from growing up without anyone who would qualify as a proper parental figure. In reality, it's a case of Culture Clash. For eastern cultures, Goku spoils Gohan too much, and Gohan's spoiled nature is even alluded in the show.
    • Chichi training Goten. After Goku died, did she feel she owed him a legacy? Did she feel like Gohan had already fulfilled her dream for an intellectual in the family? Was she trying to basically raise a Goku clone? Or were Goku and Gohan non-factors when she realized Goten wasn't academically inclined, so she focused on his real talents? Did she sincerely feel as though Goten needed to learn how to fight to protect himself from the kind of world that they live in? Or is it (most likely) just typical Asian parenting which focuses on overworking the first-born and being less strict with the others?
    • Videl's tomboyishness. After marrying Gohan she has retired from everything like she never ever cared about fighting before. Could it be because she only fought to attract the attention of her father who regularly neglected her to sleep with other women since he became world famous? Could it be because she couldn't experience normal life? She lived in a 50+ rooms estate, forbidden from doing normal things like dating, yet could do things like fighting crime. It does seem like her desire to be better stems from her desire to prove to her father what she is made of. Her mantra during the battle with Spopovitch was "I'm Mr. Satan's daughter." After Gohan told her the truth on who defeated Cell, there wasn't a single sign of disappointment in her face, but a huge smile of relief. She doesn't have to prove herself anymore to anyone, she is free to do what she really likes. And it seems like what she really likes is being boring.
  • Americans Hate Tingle:
    • In Japanese polls, Mr. Satan typically scores really high; in Dragon Ball Forever's poll, he even beat Roshi, Yamcha, Tenshinhan, Bulma, and Yajirobe in that order. In American polls, he ranks considerably lower. He doesn't rank well in Europe either.
    • Kid Trunks (and Gotenks) got this bad when the Buu Saga first aired in America. Viewers didn't take kindly to the fact that he ended up replacing Future Trunks. In his home country, Kid Trunks is just as popular as Future Trunks and Gotenk was the fourth most popular character, beating Piccolo and Gohan.
    • Buu is the second most popular antagonist in the series in his home country, but he's a much more divisive figure in the West where he's as likely to be called a Villain Sue or an inferior retread of Cell as a good final boss.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • It's impressive how quickly all of the characters get used to the fact that Goku had come back from the dead after seven years in the Buu saga, especially for Goten who until that point had never even met him. Compare to when they're fairly bereaved when Goku chose to stay dead, and in fact some of their life choices were based around Goku's death (Chi-chi allowing Goten to train, Vegeta and Bulma getting married).
    • This is addressed (though Played for Laughs) in the Buu saga. Mr. Satan is in tears over the fact that his daughter is dead, and despite the fact that everyone they love is dead, the surviving main characters are extremely nonchalant over it, even the seven-year-old boy who watched his mother be murdered.
    • Gohan was upset when he heard about Videl's death. He was moping on a rock when he heard the news. Goten wanted to rush Buu when he killed Chi-Chi, but was forced back by Trunks and Piccolo. He then spent several weeks in the Time Chamber, probably given him time to grieve and focus on killing Buu. And there's Chi-Chi going into an Angst Coma when she thought Gohan had been killed and Bulma screaming to the sky when she heard that Vegeta was dead.
    • Subverted at the end of the Saiyan Saga where all the remaining characters mourn the death of their friends because the Earth's Dragon Balls were gone with Piccolo and Kami's death. They only snapped out of their depression when they gained hope that they could use the Namekian's Dragon Balls to revive them.
    • After all the stuff Gohan went through since he was four years old, it's amazing that he's still sane and relatively normal.
    • This is probably one of reasons why Future Trunks is so loved by the fandom. He actually does angst about all the bad stuff that has happened to him. And really, who can blame him.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Nappa was easily defeated by Goku, though admittedly he killed several of the Z Fighters before then. This happened with Recoome, too, and to an even greater extent. After completely trashing Vegeta, Gohan, and Krillin, Goku arrives, heals them all, and pulls a One-Hit KO on him.
    • Babidi, who was defeated by Piccolo without much effort and later Killed Off for Real by Buu.
    • In the movies: Once Gohan reaches his state of Super Saiyan 2, Bojack simply is no match for him. In Fusion Reborn, Frieza himself became this for Gohan, and Super Janemba for Gogeta.
  • Arc Fatigue: Z's sagas in general, though Buu Saga was the longest. More so in the anime since in the manga it went by quicker since at that point it was more like series fatigue for Akira Toriyama.
    • The Frieza Saga was most infamous for this, as almost the entire second half was the singular goal of fighting Frieza, and Goku vs. Frieza alone was 20 episodes. The series was so infamous for this that Arc Fatigue was once called "Are They Still On Namek?"
    • The Android/Cell Saga was technically longer by episode count, but had considerably more plot and shorter fights. It's also the fan favorite saga too, in North American at least.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Piccolo fusing with Nail came off as this since up until that moment, it was never hinted that Namekians could fused with each other if they were the same type (Warrior-types could only merged with other Warrior-types). We only knew that Piccolo could reunite with Kami since they were once the same person.
    • Saiyans getting stronger from near-death seemed to only exist to allow the Saiyan characters to catch up during the Namek/Frieza Saga, most notably for Vegeta. This ranges from incremental boosts ( like the fights with Zarbon) to suddenly leaping up to the main villain's power (the fight with Freeza's 1st form) and sometimes flat out doesn't exist (the Curb Stomp from Perfect Cell which did nothing). It doesn't help that it went from being near death to simply getting injured, as Zarbon's fight gave Vegeta a minor boost after requiring life support to live, yet Recoome's fight left Vegeta fully conscious and standing yet multiplied his power many times over.
    • The existence of the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. It has been at Kami's Lookout the entire time and Goku even trained in it as a child. This not only opened the Plot Hole of how did kid Goku survived a month with ten times gravity but couldn't move on King Kai's planet as an adult, but it raised the question of why didn't anyone used it sooner. Using it for an entire day would have been too much before the Android/Cell Saga, but if kid Goku could survived a month, the humans could have lasted just as long during the Saiyan Saga. Yet, Kami never bothered to let them used it. And since Piccolo had Kami's memories after fusing, why didn't he think of having the humans and Saiyans go into the chamber while he hunted Cell?
    • Cell's From a Single Cell ability, especially since before that his regenerating used part of his ki whenever he did it. Taken to immense extremes when regenerating from his self destruct as Semi-Perfect Cell restores his Perfect form despite regurgitating #18, who was needed to achieve the form in the first place. There was also him getting a boost from near-death like a Saiyan. Cell up to that point has been beating up several times and never once got a boost from it. Yet, being reduced to a single cell somehow did it.
    • Goten and Trunks having Super Saiyan and no one knowing about it except Chi-Chi in regards to Goten. Up until this point, Super Saiyan was a hard form to achieve even for the halflings (Future Trunks in the manga was a Super Saiyan before Gohan died, so it's questionable how much he struggled with it). However, both Goten and Trunks were able to achieve Super Saiyan and control it better than the adults without trying. This is lampshaded by Gohan and especially Vegeta with him calling it "a Super Saiyan bargain sell".
    • Super Saiyan 3. When Goku was asked to kill Buu, he said point-blanked that he was only equal to Vegeta and that there was no way he could beat Buu. Then, when he fought Buu to buy time for Trunks to get the Dragon Radar, he revealed without warning that he had Super Saiyan 3. It's never explained how Goku got this form, how it was even achieved, and there was no foreshadowing for it unlike the other Super Saiyan forms. It's so out there that even the characters in the series didn't believed what Goku did and thought he was bluffing. Worse, Gotenks managed to get Super Saiyan 3 and it's never explained how. The anime made this a little better by Goku personally showing Goten and Trunks Super Saiyan 3 before his time was up.
    • Buu's absorption ability. It came out of nowhere and existed only to give Super Buu the advantage after Ultimate Gohan stomped him. It doesn't help that the Supreme Kai knew about this ability and chose not to tell anyone until Kid Buu reappeared.
    • Vegito defusing in Super Buu. Old Kai stated that the Potara Fusion was permanent unlike the Fusion Dance that last only thirty-minutes. However, the moment Vegito dropped his barrier when Buu absorbed him, he defuses. There was no explanation other than Goku's guess of 'bad air' or some weird magic within Buu. Which raised the question of why didn't Gotenks defused when he was absorbed. Dragon Ball Super revised this. Vegito defused because the Potara Fusion is only permanent for Supreme Kais. For mortals, the fusion last only an hour.
  • Awesome Ego:
    • Vegetto, the fusion of Goku and Vegeta. He has Vegeta's arrogance, with the power to back it up.
    • Vegeta falls into this when he fights a foe he can actually beat.
  • Awesome Music: The three intro songs used by the Ocean Dub, FUNimation Dub, and the original all have the distinction of being equally awesome.
    • ''Only a Chilling Elegy'', Freeza's Leitmotif in Kai. Ominous Latin Chanting mixed with Metal. Fits him to a T.
    • GINYU FORCE RULES! Also, their Bragging Theme Tune here.
    • Practically any of the insert songs from DBZ, such as Battle Point Unlimited, Solid State Scouter and Mind Power... Ki
    • The first Z movie, Return My Gohan! / Dead Zone: when Goku and Piccolo attack Garlic Jr. together, you get this - a mix of Goku's and Piccolo's themes.
    • Perfect Cell's Themealso deserves a mention. It sounds like an evil techno/metal fusion. If only they actually played this version in the show. That said, the version they do have in the show that loops over and over is an Ear Worm.
    • Hironobu Kageyama's "Unmei no Hi: Tamashii tai Tamashii" (translated as "Day of Destiny ~Spirit vs Spirit") was played during Gohan SSJ2 Transformation, and even amongst those who are more familiar and/or prefer the dub appreciate its value.
    • The various DBZ composers are considered a broken base by their respective fanbases. The original composer Shunsuke Kikuchi, the FUNimation Falconer Productions composer team, and even Kenji Yamamoto who composed Kai, most of the video games, and several insert songs for the original Z.
    • Vegeta's Hell's Bells and Super Saiyan Theme. It goes without saying that these two themes are easily the most recognizable themes in all of the English Soundtrack, most due to how they would always play whenever something epic happened in the show, whether it was Vegeta or non-Vegeta related. They're also awesome tracks on their own.
    • The Super Saiyan 3 Power Up Theme. Yet another theme that would always play when something epic would happen and was a great standalone theme on it's own.
  • Badass Decay:
    • In the anime, Freeza was damn near unstoppable when he was the Big Bad, as was Cell. They're a lot less threatening in Hell, even when they team up, and Pikkon defeats them with a fraction of the effort it took Goku and Gohan. Counts as Villain Decay as well. Freeza, however, looks to be getting some of his badass back, since the 2015 film is set to have a resurrected Freeza as the Big Bad.
    • A number of the Z Fighters suffer from this (in part because they Can't Catch Up to the Saiyans).
    • Vegeta. Even he gets sick of being relegated to a second-string hero, and eventually attempts a short-lived Face–Heel Turn to reclaim his badass status.
    • Gohan also suffers from this early in the Buu Saga due to the fact that he more or less gave up fighting and focused on academics after defeating Cell (seven years prior). After watching Gohan struggle against Dabura, Vegeta points out that he had actually gotten weaker than he was seven years ago. However, he gets a power-up later on in the saga that makes him stronger than ever. Too bad he still got shafted in favor of Goku at the last minute.
    • These days, Yamcha's mostly known for dying a lot despite only dying twice (the same amount as Goku) in a series where Death Is Cheap. Most people forget that when he was first introduced in the series, he actually almost defeated Goku in battle. The only thing preventing him from the finishing blow so was that Bulma happened to wake up at that time, and Yamcha left 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.
  • Base-Breaking Character: There are characters that the fans are divided on:
    • Vegeta. A strong badass who gets more development than Goku or a whiny adult who keeps getting his ass kicked as a result of aiding the villain resulting in several Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! moments?
    • Yamcha. A cool badass who just has bad luck, or someone who can't win a fight? Also see Ron the Death Eater
    • Krillin. A similar argument is made against him as the one against Yamcha. Is he a good fighter who tries his best, or a fighter who is too Overshadowed by Awesome and needs to leave the fighting to more competent characters?
    • Videl becoming more "girly" after the Buu Saga has also met with mixed results in the West.
    • Buu, especially to American fans. Is he an interesting and threatening villain with varied personality changes, or a whiny, childish brute that doesn't cover any territory previous villains hadn't already done better? To be fair, the Arc Fatigue that the Buu Saga went through does nothing to earn him any popularity points.
    • The Saiyan race as a whole. There's one camp that says the Saiyans are great and the original cast were too boring, and another that feels the Saiyans are boring and one-dimensional characters compared to the original cast and hates them for it. Most fans split the difference and say that the Saiyans were cool and interesting, but that the series shouldn't have shafted the Earthling cast.
    • Mr. Satan/Hercule: Hated by many due to his Small Name, Big Ego tendencies and his knack for taking credit for the Z Fighters work, though others find him a humorous Joke Character. Notably, he's much more popular in Japan than other countries.
    • Goku's parenting skills. Does he do his best with what he knows and has his heart in the right place even if he does fall short most of the time, or is he a neglectful parent who is a horrible father and husband because he 'abandoned' his wife and children several times. This comes from Culture Clash, as Goku is not seen as a bad father in Japan or rest of Asia, even Europe. Also, Gohan never thinks Goku is a bad father, ever. There was one case when Goten thought his dad was a coward for not saving Gohan and Vegeta, but that's it. As soon as he saw the Super Saiyan 3 form, his respect for his father was rekindled. His sons adore him the way he is.
    • How heroic is Goku? Thanks to some Adaptational Heroism from both Toei and Funi, most fans tend to see Goku as a typical goody-two-shoes hero like Superman, which often leads straight to Fandom Rivalry between the two. Others who have taking Toriyama's interview about Goku and his other less than flattery moments to its most extreme conclusion view Goku as an amoral, coldhearted, prick who only cares about fighting and doesn't care about anyone else unless they can give him a good battle. There is a third group that admits that Goku can be a selfish jerk, but is ultimately a good person who will protect others even if it means sacrificing his pride and a good battle.
    • Gohan's character development after the Cell Games. Made sense for his character since Gohan doesn't really like to fight outside of sport or spending quality time, or him wasting his god given talent and a terrible way to bring Goku back into the series as The Hero.
    • Broly, a frightening, badass force of nature-type villain or a boring character with no personality beyond "super strong crazy guy" with an extremely flimsy motivation to kill Goku. The fact that even his fans tend to agree he got two more movies than he really should've does him no favors.
    • Bulma. While she has plenty of fans, many found her constant whining grating. This was especially troublesome in the Namek Saga, because unlike all the other instances of Bulma complaining, it was in an arc where she was completely unnecessary.
    • Is Chi-Chi a good mother who was just concerned that her children will follow their father's lifestyle or was she a harpy that robbed Gohan of reaching his true potential?
    • While not a seperate character per say, people are often divided on Freeza's Third Form. Like Super Saiyan 3, some fans loathe it for looking overly complicated and ridiculous, and many people note that it looks less like an augment of Freeza and more of a homage to Alien. Other fans, however, believe this form looks very intimidating and let's Freeza look every bit like the monster he is inside. It also helps that this both averts Monstrosity Equals Weakness and makes Freeza's next form much more unsuspected and chilling.
  • Better on DVD: The filler is significantly less annoying when you don't have to wait 23½ hours for the next twenty minutes of story.note  It must have been absolutely hell for fans when it aired WEEKLY in Japan.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Immediately after Vegeta's departure, Chi-Chi for some reason, shows callous No Sympathy behavior towards Goku not only by ignoring him despite being gravely injured but also blames him for what happened to Gohan despite not being as injured as him. There is no explanation for her sudden Jerkass behavior aside for comedy, is complete OOC for someone like her, and is never mentioned again, with every scenes before and thereafter shows her being somewhat caring to Goku.
    • Vegeta's desire to take over the Earth and fighting with Gohan after finding out that both Goku and Freeza had (apparently) died. It's a complete non-sequitur (it's anime-only filler that doesn't occur in the manga), it's odd considering that Vegeta later said that he actually wants to see Goku alive and it's never mentioned again, Gohan is seen in the next episode uninjured and Vegeta, who flew off, is standing exactly where he was in the previous episode, also uninjured.
  • Broken Base:
    • What do you watch Dragon Ball Z for? Is it for the action scenes and villains? Or, for the story and characters? There are even those who enjoy the show all together.
    • There are many who love Vegeta and his Character Development and there are also those who think he gets off too easy.
    • Dragon Ball vs. Dragon Ball Z is a not as commonly debated over but it happens.
    • The Buu Saga, some like Buu, the introduction of Super Saiyan 3 and the Fusion Dance, while others thought the saga went far too long.
    • The quality of the Funimation dub is another topic of debate. Some thinking it's great and faithful to the original with some good Woolseyism, others not liking it and thinking it added too much Dub Text, and that it changed the characterization of cast members too much among other things.
    • Also on the Funimation dub, Z versus Kai. Fans of Kai call it the superior dub and is Funi finally doing Dragon Ball right after they mocked up the first dub. Fans of Z think the dub is fine, especially the later parts from the Cell Saga onward and the remastered DVD sets where some of the more questionable vocal performances are redone and the Saiyan and Namek Saga redub with the Funimation's voices. This topic often dissolves into Flame Wars between the two side and is a Fandom Berserk Button. Realistically, it boils down to nostalgia VS wanting dubs to maintain as good an amount of accuracy to the original Japanese versions as possible.
    • Bruce Faulconer's tracks. Some love his tracks and think they are just as good if not better than the Japanese original tracks and wish he would return to Dragon Ball. Another group hates the music, seeing it as inferior to the original score and are happy that Funimation moved away from his stuff, and there's another group who like both for different reasons. There's also a third faction that say that, while the Falconer score isn't inherently bad and you can like them if you want, they don't care and ignore it.
    • Goku's insistence on Passing the Torch in the Cell and Buu sagas. The reasoning behind this was because Toriyama wanted to retire the character, but Goku's characterization led to half the fanbase scratching their heads over why Goku would put the world at risk for the sake of giving his kids a chance to shine.
    • The debate on which form of Buu is stronger, Super Buu or Kid Buu. Does not help that the manga never explicitly say which is stronger, only that Kid Buu is the most dangerous because he's insane. Goku himself offers little help because although he did not want to fight Super Buu and was evenly matched against Kid Buu, he lied or misled people several times throughout the arc about how strong he was. Namely, he claimed he was weaker than Fat Buu (which wasn't true) and led Vegeta to believe that they were even in power because he did not reveal that he could become a Super Saiyan 3. This debate become especially bad if you factor in the anime where it claim Kid Buu is the strongest form of Buu.
    • Who's stronger between Super Saiyan 3 Goku or Gotenks? For extra flames, ask if Super Saiyan 3 Goku is stronger than Gohan.
    • The discussion of where Dragon Ball Z should had ended. There are many fans who believed that series should have ended after the Frieza Saga with Goku dead and Gohan taking up the mantle, pushing the myth that Toriyama wanted to end the series there. There are others who wanted the series to end after the Cell Saga with Gohan becoming the new hero with Goku's death. And there's yet another group that believed that series should have ended with Gohan killing Buu. If you noticed a theme, most tend to be Gohan fans who strongly believe that the character got shafted because the Japanese fans favored Goku and refused to have him replaced (which isn't true).
    • Try asking a fan what is the Dragon Ball canon. Most will answer that it is anything Toriyama writes or says and any new information he gives overrides anything that came before. Others will insist that there is no canon since neither Toriyama nor Toei ever gave an official canon so fans are free to cherry-pick what they believe happened. Another fraction only sees the manga as the only true canon and disregard anything that isn't in it.
    • Dragon Ball Minus. A refreshing new view on Goku's backstory and his family before coming to Earth, or an inferior origin story that is too much like Superman and should have never taken the place of the beloved Bardock Special.
    • A big one in Spain regarding the translation of the Kame Hame Ha technique. In the manga, it was left untranslated, but in the anime it was translated as "Onda Vital" ("Vital Wave"). Some people consider it a good adaptation, specially since the literal translation was way too ridiculous and impossible to make it match the characters lips otherwise. For others, it's painfully cringe worthy, and a full blown Fandom Berserk Button (as in, detractors of the Spaniard dub use the term as a shorthand for "the Spaniard dub of DBZ sucked!"). However, since Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods the dub team has gone to use the original Japanese name, so the debate is now moot outside of nostalgia.
    • Whether or not the movies before Battle of Gods should be canon. Supporters note that the existence of such Ensemble Darkhorse like Cooler, Gogeta, Tapion, and Broly should be enough to justify them, and scenes such as Goku's Dragon Fist leave a sizable impact on the franchise. Detractors note, however, that most of the movies have severe trouble fitting into the timeline (especially World's Strongest), and are often just alterations or flat out copies of previous arcs.
  • Can't Unhear 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 the first 98 episodes of Dragon Ball Kai for the change of cast.
  • Catharsis Factor: Because of the host of Smug Supers and Complete Monsters in the series, fans have taking great satisfaction in watching the villain go down:
    • Goku beating up Nappa after he caused the deaths of almost all the Z-Fighters and mocked Goku for arriving too late to save his friends.
    • Frieza, the first Complete Monster of the franchise. He murdered countless people including killing Dende, torturing Vegeta to death, and killed Krillin by blowing him up from the inside out. So, it was immensely satisfying when Goku went Super Saiyan, and beat and humiliated him, going as far as to give Frieza "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Him being chopped into pieces by Future Trunks before being vaporized is also considered one of the highlights of the series.
    • Gohan going Super Saiyan 2 and slowly torturing Cell to death. Yeah, it was horrifying seeing sweet Gohan lose himself in rage, but it felt so good watching Cell suffer after he ate cities and stepped on 16's head, killing him permanently. Gohan killing Cell by destroying every cell in his body was also a catharsis moment since he bragged about how Goku died for nothing after his Heroic Sacrifice and murdered Future Trunks.
    • Future Trunks destroying Future 17, 18, and Cell. If you watched the TV Special, History of Trunks, you saw how absolutely horrible 17 and 18 were, including killing Gohan by shooting him to death with energy blasts while he's pinned to a building and screaming in agony. Cell's trail of death was also well-known, especially if he succeeded stealing Trunks' Time Machine. The only drawback was that the beatdown were short since Trunks is a no-nonsense fighter.
    • Super Buu getting beating up by Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks, Ultimate Gohan, and then Super Vegito. This guy caused a massive amount of death by eating people alive including most of the main cast and mentally tortured Gohan in the English dub by invoking the memories of his brother and mentor. Although, what made Super Buu especially annoying was that he was an Invincible Villain who kept getting ahead thanks to the heroes' carelessness and Vegito forfeiting his fight by willingly getting absorbed. So him being rendered Deader Than Dead by Vegeta tearing Fat Buu from Super Buu's body was a satisfying moment.
  • Complete Monster: Has its own page.
  • Counterpart Comparison: Cell has quite a bit in common with Doomsday. Both creatures were created by a Mad Scientist to be the Ultimate Lifeform and turned into Omnicidal Maniacs, gaining power through Evolutionary Levels before ultimately killing the most iconic character not only in their respective stories, but their respective genres.
  • Crack Pairing: You can see loads of fanart of this type of shipping on DeviantArt.
  • Crossover Ship: A lot occurs with Sailor Moon, mostly due to their shared status as Killer Apps of the early Toonami block.
  • Crazy Awesome: Many
    • Vegeta.
      • He turned Saibamen into pulp and made Cui explode like a firework by just pointing at them. Plus, both were done so casually.
      • He became a Super Saiyan by training in 500 times Earth's gravity before finally cracking and giving up which is what caused him to transform.
      • He ripped off Android 19's arms while being drained of energy by him.
      • He vaporized half of Perfect Cell's body shortly after Cell completed his final form, proving that Cell was Not So Invincible After All.
      • He actually managed to find the strength to harm Beerus despite being a mere Super Saiyan through pure rage alone after Beerus slapped Bulma.
    • Freeza. He impaled Krillin in the chest with one of his head horns and then started to shift his head up and down, further injuring Krillin while also causing more blood to leak out of him. Later, he used a paintball style Beam Spam on Piccolo, threw a mountain at Goku using his mind, and imprisoned Goku in a golden sphere of energy in order to toy around with like a soccer ball. And he made Krillin implode from the inside out without touching him.
    • Gotenks, the Awesome Ego nonwithstanding. He is able to tear dimensions with his scream. One of his attacks includes summoning explosive ghosts to do his bidding. He even turns Super Buu into a ball at one point to enact a game of catch. There's also his ability to turn Super Saiyan 3 with little effort, actually managing it better than the person who showed Goten and Trunks the technique. The person in question, Goku, comparatively found the transformation exhausting, and it took everything for him to draw out its power in an all-out battle.
    • Vegito is even more ridiculous. While overpowered on his own, even by the show's standards, he takes it Up to Eleven when he manages to deal humiliating damage to Buu after being turned into a chocolate jawbreaker, noting that normally one can't move or think, let alone speak well enough, to taunt Buu some more.
    • Majin Buu as a whole is literally made of Crazy Awesome and with each new form, the amount of crazy awesomeness he produces skyrockets:
      • Fat Buu turned Dabura, the King of the Demon Realm, into a cookie and then ate him, destroyed a city by breathing at it and turned dozen of human into clay and used that clay to build his own house.
      • Super Buu goes even further. The first thing he does in his debut is kill a psychopathic gunman by pouring himself down the gunman's throat until he explodes. He does this while laughing. Then he murdered the entire human race in under a minute without having to move an inch by firing billions of ki blasts into the air. Oh, and he did this out of boredom. To cap off his crazy awesomeness, when Piccolo attempts to outsmart Buu by blowing up the entrance to the time chamber, locking him in the pocket dimension, Buu's response is to tear a hole between the dimensions and escape.
      • Kid Buu takes this trope Up to Eleven. Being completely unrestrained in battle, his fighting involves Beam Spam while using Self-Duplication stretching his limbs to extreme lengths and even taking time to whistle or beat his chest in midst battle. And unlike most villains who are Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy Up to Eleven, Kid Buu is too crazy to care about ego and how to attack.
    • Broly, being a massive Breakout Character, is a Super Saiyan Blood Knight Up to Eleven. He uses sheer Super Strength in his fights, omitting the need for fancy moves or techniques. Doing so, he still manages to make the Z Fighters look like amateurs for most of their confrontations.
    • Janemba, who releases all the denizens of Hell at one point, while turning the Afterlife into a jelly bean dimension, creating a clone of Goku to counter the Kamehameha technique, a bunch of clones and control of inter dimensional portals to launch attacks. After going One-Winged Angel, he takes it Up to Eleven by enhancing his dimensional portals to teleportation, beats a Super Saiyan 3 Goku, a feat that the aforementioned Kid Buu couldn't pull off and has a sword that cuts through dimensions from the swipes of the sword.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Inverted with Vegeta, he's popular among fans, but author Akira Toriyama stated that he was his least favorite character. Though lately Toriyama has stated that, in the event that there is talk of more films after Battle of Gods, he'd would like Vegeta to play the main role. Indicating he's since warmed up to the prince.
    • Broly have been accused of this despite not being one of Toriyama's characters. He is a Base-Breaking Character in the West despite also being a Breakout Character. In terms of coverage, he has three movies with him in it with Cooler, the next most popular non-canon villain, having two. However, in video games and other supplemental materials he is a God-Mode Sue who's given access to almost every Super Saiyan form despite already being the Legendary Super Saiyan. Even without those other forms, he can fight evenly with almost any character and worn down Android 18 in a fight, despite it being impossible to do since she has an endless energy supple. It has gotten so bad in eastern countries that he's seen as the Scrappy. The icing on the cake, Broly's creator complained about Beerus taking the title 'God of Destruction' (it's one of Broly's many nicknames) and reducing Broly to a weakling on top of not being as scary as him. This is completely disregarding that there are already several characters both canon and non-canon who are more powerful than Broly like all of Majin Buu's forms and Janema.
  • 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 Eiichirō Oda who practically worships him.
  • Creepy Awesome: Freeza, Cell and Majin Buu.
  • Creepy Cute: Vegeta as a child; The Cell Juniors; Kid Buu.
  • Die for Our Ship: Yamcha frequently gets this from a vocal minority Vegeta/Bulma fans who portray him as a rapist/womanizer. Glossing over Yamcha's selfless deeds for both characters, Bulma always flirting with other males while with Yamcha, and Vegeta not fully caring about Bulma and Trunks until Future Trunks death by Cell.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • She's not a villain by any means, but Bulma is often hit with this. As fans will pull a Ron the Death Eater and make Yamcha out to be an abusive Jerkass, they'll likewise erase all of Bulma's flaws; her selfishness, her temper, and her vanity, just to portray her as the helpless, abused victim needing to be saved by her true love, Vegeta.
    • Piccolo gets this, despite not being a villain since the start of the Saiyan Saga. Goku putting Gohan in the Cell Games is a big Never Live It Down moment for him within the fandom. He put his eleven (nine in the manga) years old son against a killer android when Gohan didn't have the love to fight like him and it took Piccolo pointed this out for Goku to realized it. Thing is, Piccolo did the exact same thing in the Saiyan Saga. He kidnapped Gohan and trained him to fight against two genocidal aliens when Gohan was only five and had no battle experience. He then chews Gohan out to the point of tears when he's too scared to fight effectively. So, the fandom is getting on Goku's case for something Piccolo gets a free pass on.
    • Vegeta, with help from the Funimation Dub. This really comes into play in who's the better father debate, Goku or Vegeta. Fans call Goku a bad father for abandoning his family to train and not coming back to life for the seven years he was dead, while Vegeta stood by his family the entire time and even took Trunks to the park despite all his flaws. This is disregarding that Vegeta ignored Trunks when he was a baby and couldn't be bothered to save Bulma and his child when Android 20 shot down their car. He also had an abusive relationship with Future Trunks. He physically attacked and demeaned Trunks several times before finally coming to accept him, after he's killed by Cell. Vegeta is also the same person who sold his soul for power, abandoning his family and his own morals just so he can finally beat Goku and be his old evil self again. This also comes into play when fans praised Vegeta for helping Gohan defeat Cell and coming up with the plan that killed Majin Buu. This is ignoring that it was Vegeta's fault that Cell became perfect and Buu woke up because Vegeta just couldn't wait to fight Goku.
    • Bardock, with added help from Dub Text. He only had one panel in the manga and a TV special, but he is still a popular character in the fanbase. He just finished his own What If? manga spinoff.
    • King Vegeta. He is always listed as evil in all materials such as the video games and he never express any regret for his actions. According to King Kai in Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans, King Vegeta wiped out the Tuffles without any provocation. He's even seen trying to kill a baby (Broly). Yet many fans think King Vegeta was just a benevolent ruler whose evil was entirely forced on him by Frieza. Once again, Dub Text plays a heavy part.
    • The Saiyan Race in general, due to their incredible popularity, and with most of the Ensemble Darkhorse statuses belonging to those like Bardock, Broly, King Vegeta and Fasha/Celypa. Some fans are willing to overlook the fact they stole their planet from the peaceful Tuffles, and worked willingly with Frieza until he betrayed them, just to paint them as innocent victims.
    • Frieza's brother, Cooler. Possibly because he was powerful, handsome looking, and one of the few villains in the franchise to actually show care for his henchmen (though that might've contributed from how respectful they are towards him).
    • Despite being redeemed villains, Androids 17 and 18 get some of this treatment due to their attractive looks, 17's devil-may-care thrill-seeking attitude making him a cool character to imagine hanging out with (not to mention a likable foil to Goku), and 18 being one of the least annoyingly bitchy and hostile of the regular female characters. Many fans tend to forget that these two twins were once villains on a mission to kill Goku as a means of entertainment. They're no saints, even though they did redeem themselves and became good persons (and 18 in particular went on to marry Krillin). That said, going after Goku was more likely due to Dr. Gero's programmingnote , as they were technically kidnapped and forcibly turned into cyborgs so it's not entirely their fault. But if Bulma gets to be on this list for being more of a jerkass than people like to admit, then so do these guys.
    • Cell also counts, as shown on the Alternative Character Interpretation entry. There are also those who downplay his actions, saying that Cell just wanted to get stronger, test himself, and have a fun tournament, which makes him no different than Goku. This is ignoring that Cell literally ate cities, tortured the Z-Fighters, crushed Android 16's head for no real reason other than to be a dick, and mocked Goku's Heroic Sacrifice. Cell also freely admitted to wanting to terrorized the Earth once defeats everyone in the Cell Games, all so he can enjoy the looks of horror in people's faces.
  • Ear Worm: DRAGON, DRAGON! ROCK THE DRAGON!
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The franchise has its own page.
  • Escapist Character: Son Goku. He is an All-Loving Hero who is The Ace and Hope Bringer among his friends and the universe at large. He is consider one of the strongest beings in the universe, regularly defeats super-powered aliens, androids, demons, and even gods, and can learn about any technique by just seeing it once. The fact that he was born weak and gained his strength through good old-fashioned hard work on top of being extremely talented endear him to a lot of people, which is part of why he is seen as a better main character than his son, who much more down to Earth. There's reason why he became the Expy to many modern day Shōnen protagonists and often compared to Superman.
  • Evil Is Cool: Many villains are considered this, as is usual in Dragon Ball Z. Nappa, Vegeta, Garlic Jr, Frieza, Zarbon, Captain Ginyu, Recoome, the Androids, Cell, Cooler, Broly, Zangya, Super Janemba, even Super Buu.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Android 18 and Zangya, for many male fans. In the former's case, it helps that she redeems after the Cell Saga.
    • Zarbon is considered this In-Universe by Bulma. At least until he transforms.
    • With female fans, Android 17.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: Quite a few.
    • Mr. Satan's name is not Hercule. Hercule is his censored name for the North American version. Satan is not his last name either, but his ring name. His real name is apparently Mark. Funimation later set the name into Mark "Hercule" Satan.
    • Never ask a group of DBZ fans which English dub they prefer: FUNimation or The Ocean Group.
    • Ask if the Orange Boxsets are worth buying.
    • Entire flame wars can erupt just on how a name should be spelled. It doesn't help that there are fans who insist on spelling every name with their literal romanized Japanese transliterations (Bejiita, Pikkoro, Buruma, Bebi, etc.), despite the fact that most of the Japanese products already have official romanized spellings (i.e. Saiyan, Vegeta, Piccolo). Flame wars will also erupt when you try to defend a character who is hated by the majority of the fandom.
    • Z vs. Kai is another issue with base-breaking potential, especially since some of the key voices got changed in the English Kai dub (all of them in the Latin-American dub of the first 98 episodes), whether people preferred truer to the original script versus those who liked the Woolseyism, and the changing of the music from people who like the original score or the Bruce Faulconer's tracks. It gets really bad if you say that this is Funi's chance to do a good English dub and suggests their Z dub was a mess. For extra flames, go and say you like the Funi Z dub better than Kai and don't really care about it being closer to the original manga and the only redeeming thing about Kai is the stronger vocal performances from the veteran voice actors to hardcore Japanese fans. The nicest response you will get is that you're living off of nostalgia.
    • Never say you like the anime more than the manga because of the Adaptation Expansion elements it created.
    • A lot of fans of Dragon Ball Z never took well the comparisons with Superman, especially in Europe and Latin American. However, after the release of the movie Man of Steel it has become more rabid than ever. Try to say that Man of Steel is "like Dragon Ball Z, but actually well done" (or some variation of it) or fail to mention that its action scenes are clearly influenced by Z, and you risk receiving a flood of hate mail.
    • Treating GT as canon is another good way to get people to flame you.
    • Treating the movies or filler as canon is another mistake. Some circles go so far as to discourage discussion of the anime at all, as the only true canon is the manga. And on another bizarre note, in the circles that do support the movies, don't you dare claim that anyone is even a little bit stronger than Broly. Various other fans will call you an idiot if you like Broly at all, saying he's the worst, most generic villain ever.
    • If you have some time to kill, head over to KanzenshuuEX (one of the largest and oldest DBZ fan sites) and mention that you feel that Ocean Group really dropped the ball on their English dub of the series and you're so grateful that Funi got the rights away from them. You'll get an earful. note  On the same site, don't mention the dubs at all. It will be a mixed of how Funimation ruined and exploited DBZ and those who may not agree with Funimation, but liked their current efforts with Kai and trying to be truer to the source material. Finally, don't you dare say you like the English voice actors more than the Japanese. (That is, if you don't go to a forum specifically for the English dubs. Even then, though, the people can get annoying if they're sub fans).
    • Speaking of the Japanese cast, do not tell a purest that you think Masako Nozawa is horrible playing adult Goku and she makes him sound like an old woman, and that Sean's Goku is much better and fits the character. If you're really feeling bold, also say that Nozawa shouldn't play Goku's entire family.
    • For the music, tell a fan of the Japanese version that Shunsuke Kikuchi's score makes the anime sound dated and you're glad that Funi replaced the tracks with something more modern for the 90s.
    • Gohan's character development after the Cell Saga.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • Few topics on the internet (outside of Shipping) can match the volatility brought about by the question: who would win in a fight between Goku and Superman? Fanart, essays, and ridiculously detailed videos have been created in an effort to solve that question.
    • With One-Punch Man for the same reason as Superman. There have been wars over whether Saitama is stronger than Goku or vice versa. Ironically, One Punch Man is an affectionate parody of shounen tropes with characters being expies of Dragon Ball characters (e.g.Boros). Still, that doesn't stop fans from comparing who is stronger of the two.
    • In a country specific case, with Saint Seiya in Brazil. It's understandable since Saint Seiya was the breakout anime in Brazil in the middle of the 90s and Dragon Ball Z one of those who followed the anime hype during the beginning of the 2000s. Internet fights are common between the fandoms.
  • Fanon: A lot.
    • An example is Yamcha was fired from his baseball career (which was thought by Toriyama for the anime) for being in a fight. Not only is this never mentioned and was Yamcha explicitly holding back, but the characters indicate that fights breaking out were a common occurrence in the stadium (likely a reference to hockey riots). Yamcha is also seen playing after the saiyan saga, disproving this. This one was seemingly motivated by Ron the Death Eater.
    • The idea that Freeza's entire race is as naturally powerful as himself. While King Cold, Cooler, Chilled and Frost do have comparable power, Word of God says that Freeza was a mutant member of his race that, like his father, was born with abnormally huge power. There's also the idea that Freeza's entire line undergo the same transformations, where only Freeza and Frost had forms highlighting their Bio-Armor, and Cooler alone had a 4th transformation.
    • Another example is that Yamcha was terrified of the saibaman and only decided to face them after Tien because of a desire for glory. Not only does Yamcha never display any fear of the saibaman, but he explicitly volunteers in place of Krillin because the latter had already died in the King Piccolo storyline and thus couldn't be revived by Earth's Dragonballs.
    • Saiyans mate for life and their tails or tail spots are an erotic area.
    • There seems to be a consensus among fans Chi-Chi is the reason Gohan stopped training in the 7 years between Cell and Majin Buu sagas. Gohan is the reason Gohan stopped training. He doesn't like fighting, period. Extending to that Chi Chi physically abusing Gohan with a frying pan when he didn't do what she wanted. She was strict with him, but never abusive.
    • Apparently in certain parts of the fandom Goku is a horrible father who never took the time to raise his kids, whereas Piccolo was the 'true father' who raised Gohan instead. This ignores the fact that Goku was perfectly fine helping Chi-Chi raise Gohan for four years (and would've continued if Raditz didn't kill him), raised Gohan for three more years afterwards, and spent yet another year in the HTC with Gohan before dying again. This, compared to Piccolo 'raising' (after literally kidnapping) Gohan for only six months/one year. The numbers don't really add up.
  • Follow the Leader:
    • Inspired a lot of current shonen manga. The creators of One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach have all admitted to being inspired by Dragon Ball to certain levels of degree.
    • Naruto goes so far as to having the titular character wear florescent orange/yellow and blue attire, similar to Goku. Except he's a freaking ninja. Also in part two of the series Naruto switches to an orange and black suit similar in design to Goku's gi. They also share a massive appetite and both turn into giant monsters. Even more since Naruto got a Golden Super Mode like Goku before him.
    • Even video games such as Sonic the Hedgehog were influenced by it as well, from giving Sonic a Super Saiyan-esque transformation as early as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to the existence of Silver the Hedgehog in Sonic 2006 being credited to Trunks. In fact, Sonic 2006 features a scene where Sonic, Shadow, and Silver all go Super Hedgehog, evoking strong resemblance to Goku, Vegeta, and Trunks.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Due both being popularized to western audiences by Toonami, it has this with Sailor Moon. Also happens with other Shonen Jump series as well, especially One Piece.
  • Fridge Horror:
    • In Future Trunks' timeline, the world is a brutal dystopia where Androids 17 and 18 have killed all the heroes and are murdering normal citizens left and right on a daily basis for their own entertaiment, and the next arc has Super Buu temporarily killing every human in the main timeline. Now remember that Dr. Slump takes place in the same universe as this series…
    • Everyone on Earth except for four people died when the Earth exploded. That means Arale was killed too. Arale is a robot, much like Android 16. When 16 died he wasn't revived because he was a machine, and therefor never alive to begin with technically. So, what does that mean for Arale?
  • Fridge Logic: Has its own page.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Guldo's ability to stop time is portrayed as mostly useless since it only works when he's holding his breath. He's out of shape which means he can only do it for a few seconds at most and he's the weakest of the Ginyu Force, being easily overpowered by Krillin and Gohan. Two years later (and in the same magazine no less!), DIO shows just how much damage a time stopping ability can make in the right hands of someone truly powerful.
    • In some localization of the original Dragon Ball Goku had the nickname "monkey-boy" given to him by his friends in reference to his monkey-like tail and characteristics. With Dragon Ball Z, however, and the frequent use of the term "Monkey" as a racial slur towards Goku and the other Saiyans by Frieza and his men, his friend's nickname for Goku sounds awfully racist in retrospect.
    • When Ginyu switch bodies with Goku it is treated as humorous moment for the most part since Ginyu is laughably incompetent at using Goku's body to the point that Gohan and Krillin can beat him up, and he gets utterly stomp by Vegeta. Then comes Dragon Ball Super, where Goku Black shows exactly how dangerous Goku's power and abilities are in the wrong hands, especially with someone who knows how to add their own skills on top of Goku's powerset.
  • Funny Moments: Have their own page.
  • Gateway Series: Along with Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z introduced a new generation to anime in North America.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Ask the American audience who was the best villain in the series is, Cell would most likely get the most votes. In Japan, he actually ranks behind both Frieza and Buu.
    • Android/Cell Saga in general is more popular in the United States thanks to Cell, the used of time travel, Future Trunks, and given more focused to characters outside of Goku. While the Cell Saga is well liked in Japan, it is generally considered the weakest story arc there.
    • The Z series in general is even more popular internationally than it was in Japan (which it is still very popular). For example, in the week of September 16-22 2002, Dragon Ball Z was once the highest rated show on cable and one of the top three shows in all television (cable or broadcast) for preteen/younger teenaged boys (9-14) in America.
  • Glurge: Vegeta's death-speech gets embellished a little too hard in the Funimation dub. Although, the speech is cleaned up in the Remastered DVD set:
    "Kakarot... Listen. Destroy... Freeza. He made me what I am... don't let him do it to anyone else..."
  • Growing the Beard:
    • While the Saiyan saga was mostly built upon the legacy of the original Dragon Ball, Z really grew into its own at the start of the Frieza Saga. The epic saga which had the heroes severely underpowered against an army of superpowered aliens with no hope of escaping, an Enemy Civil War, and a dark, but lovable villain who is feared by the gods. There's also the introduction of the Super Sayian.
    • For the English voice cast, it was around Imperfect Cell Saga that they really started to fulfill their roles as the characters, especially Piccolo and Vegeta. Not to mention that by that point the FUNimation cast had stopped trying to mimic the Ocean dub voices and instead portraying their roles with their own styles.
    • The dub in general hit its stride around the Cell Games. By then, they had a good mix of staying truer to the Japanese text while still adding Woolseyism.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • When Vegeta was telling Goku about how he was cast out because he was born with a low battle power and was therefor considered worthless by Saiyan's society. This becomes hasher when you take Dragon Ball Minus in which Goku was sent to Earth not because he was weak, but to save and protect him from Frieza. Goku is led to believe for the rest of his life and even his afterlife that he was thrown away when it's the furthest thing from the truth.
    • In the Japanese dub, the episode where Buu kills nearly the entire supporting cast by turning them into candy and eating them. Master Roshi is one of those killed, and it becomes a lot more tragic when you learn that his voice actor, Kohei Miyauchi, died shortly after the episode was completed and it marked the final time he voiced the character.
    • During the Buu Saga, there was a subplot involving a duo of snipers killing innocent people For the Evulz. One of the shooters was reluctant at first until the more sadistic of the duo talked him into it. This sounds eerily similar to the Beltway Sniper Attacks that happened in the Virginia and D.C. areas during October of 2002. Adding to it was that the English dub of those episodes first aired on Toonami when the shooting spree was still going on.
    • Watching Future Trunks fighting to change his future and prevent its destruction becomes this when you find out what the Sequel Series Dragon Ball Super did to it...
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: A Q&A section in one of the volumes revealed that Android 16 was based on Gero's dead son. This makes Gero's attempts to keep the other (violent and rebellious) Androids from activating him seem less like he's afraid of 16 and more like he's afraid of them hurting him.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Have their own page.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • FUNimation got a lot of flak for their Orange Brick releases, especially for the cropping to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio. Then Kai's TV broadcast did the same thing.
    • However, the difference comes in how the show was cropped. FUNimation cropped the episodes straight-up so that important parts of the frames got cut off, where as Kai got reframed so that didn't happen. Even then, though, Kai, minus The Final Chapters, was left in 4:3 on the home releases, respecting the original intent of the series' animation team. Plus, the remastering process for Kai was handled to actually bring the show into HD, whereas Z's...wasn't.
    • Similarly, fans of the Japanese version of the Bardock Special wasn't please with the FUNimation dub. The added Dub Text made Bardock more sympathetic, regretfully of his past actions, and do show real love for his son in the end. In the original text, Bardock is very amoral and doesn't care about Goku at all until he sees a vision of Goku fighting Frieza. Come Minus, Toriyama's version of Bardock is more like the dub, including him having a loving wife and him actively saving his son's life by sending him to Earth.
    • When Goku contemplates permanently fusing with Gohan, he wonders if he'll have to go to high school after this. Cue Dragon Ball Evolution, where Goku is a high-school student with hair similar to Gohan's.
    • All the SpaceX jokes from DBZ Abridged, especially those tied to Jeice, got a lot funnier with the full-color release of the manga where Toriyama revealed the Ginyu Force's backstories — and Jeice's says that he played Little League baseball back on his home planet.
    • Enma states that he sent Dabra to Heaven because he would have enjoyed Hell too much. The first ever appearance of Hell in the manga is revealed to look like an episode of the Teletubbies had a baby with A Troll in Central Park. Now his Tastes Like Diabetes schtick from the anime makes a lot more sense!
    • Dr. Gero claimed that he didn't think Goku would become much stronger after the Saiyan Saga given his age. Never mind that Goku is only 28 (and losing a year being dead makes him physically 27), which is still around the physical peak of a normal a human, this is hilarious given that in the Dragon Ball Super manga Goku claims that 80 years old is still considered fairly young for a Saiyan.
    • Gohan's assurance to Videl on learning about ki when he said that a toddler can do it. Funny now that their future daughter Pan was able to complete that feat as a baby in Dragon Ball Super.
    • Frieza's Latin American voice actor, Gerardo Reyero, has voiced Superman and one of his most well know roles is Captain Hero, a parody of Supes. Goku did fight Superman!
    • In one episode of the English dub of DBZ, Gohan refers to Piccolo as "My Big Green Uncle". This becomes even more hilarious when you realize that there were some cheesy English dubs of DBZ called "The Big Green Dub".
    • In the Majin Buu saga, when Majin Vegeta challenges Goku for a fight, the supreme Kai tries to reason with Goku, and when that doesn't work, he tells Goku that he'll have to kill him if he wants to fight Vegeta. A moment later, Goku actually raises his hand, fully prepared to blast the Supreme Kai to smithereens. Come Dragon Ball Super, it is revealed that the lives of The God of Destruction and The Supreme Kai are tied, meaning Goku came dangerously close to not just killing the Supreme Kai, but Beerus as well!
    • When Mr. Satan wants to convince the world he defeated Buu, he gets him to have his picture taken while lying on the ground, saying it's "the latest style of picture-taking". That's right: Toriyama unintentionally predicted planking.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: DBZ starts like this: Goku has a son. Goku has a brother. Goku is an alien. Goku dies. Though, it's only a "Holy Shit!" Quotient if you've seen Dragon Ball first.
    • Goku's fight with Vegeta, specifically their Beam-O-War when Vegeta tries to destroy the Earth because he's lost his temper from things not going his way.
    • Goku going Super Saiyan the first time
    • Admit it, you were shocked when Trunks appears, turns Super Saiyan kills Frieza and King Cold.
    • Vegeta performing his Final Flash technique against Cell. The sheer scale of the attack was unlike anything Dragon Ball Z had provided prior to it.
    • Gohan going Super Saiyan 2.
    • Goku transforming into a Super Saiyan 3.
    • The Buu saga could be pretty uneven in tone, but it was still pretty shocking when Super Buu killed every single human being on Earth in the span of about 3 minutes, and then later successfully blew up the Earth as Kid Buu.
  • Ho Yay: Has its own page.
  • Hype Backlash:
    • Often lumped together with Pokémon and Sailor Moon in this respect. Many people watching DBZ in the present consider it to be an unremarkable anime with far too much screaming and powering up. The fact that it was outright referred to as "the greatest action cartoon ever made" by Toonami didn't help either.
    • Broly's extreme popularity within the fandom has this effect on some once they finally watch his movies. It's even worse in the East where he is seen as the Scrappy
  • Idiot Plot: The Android/Cell saga comes dangerously close to being this, with a lot of the problems happening because of terrible decisions being made by the characters (mainly Vegeta, Trunks, and Krillin). What keeps it from being too bad an example is that the decisions are consistent with already established character flaws. The Buu saga, on the other hand, suffers from this problem a lot more, with just about every character on both sides making bad decisions to keep the plot going.
  • Internet Backdraft: Is Goku a good father? Is Piccolo a better father?
  • Iron Woobie: Future Trunks and Tapion from the 13th movie.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks: There was once a time where fans of Dragon Ball could express their interest in the franchise in the open. However, it achieved popularity inside and outside Japan. It may be different in Latin America as well as Latino-based boards, but if you say you like any series (except for maybe the original Dragon Ball) on English boards or in anime clubs? You'll be asked why or told how bad it is, if not flat-out insulted.
  • It Was His Sled: Most spoilers in the series have been mainstream for years, despite being shocking at the time. This lends itself to the fact that Z is where most of the international fans caught onto the franchise, and a number of them still aren't even aware that the examples of this trope were supposed to be as surprising, and the listed below isn't even all of them!:
    • Goku is a part of an alien race called Saiyans, he has a brother called Raditz. He also dies in his fight with him.
    • Piccolo undergoes a Heel–Face Turn. Vegeta does as well... Sort of.
    • Goku is the Super Saiyan. However, it is later revealed that most other Saiyans can become Super Saiyans.
    • Cell is the true Big Bad of the Android Saga.
    • Babidi successfully revives Buu.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
  • Jerkass Woobie: Vegeta counts in the Funimation dub. He's the Big Bad in the Saiyan Saga, but when you find out about what happened to him, it's pretty hard not to pity him.
  • Love to Hate: Frieza, Cell, and Super Buu. Even the movie-villain Cooler is this for many fans.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Cell. In his imperfect form, Cell runs rings around the Z Fighters as he masterfully evades their attempts to ambush him while draining countless cities of their populations' bio extract. Upon finding himself sorely outclassed by Vegeta later in the series, Cell tricks the Saiyan prince into allowing him to absorb Android 18 by promising to provide him with an opportunity to test the full extent of his newfound power. In the ensuing rematch, he succeeds in reaping vengeance upon Vegeta by breaking him down physically and psychologically. When facing Trunks, he shows how savvy he is about how raising his strength and muscles only slow him down. And then, rather than kill Trunks and everyone else, Cell instead opts to hold a martial arts tournament where all of Earth's greatest fighters can challenge him and be defeated... and he announces this to the entire planet on TV just so he can see them panicking and living in fear. During the Cell Games, however, Cell becomes increasingly reckless and overconfident in his actions until he ultimately loses control when Gohan became a Super Saiyan 2. And said state was precisely what he was seeking; the problem was that he never really calculated that Gohan's power increase would be far greater than his.
    • Super Buu goes for this after he's born, and until Vegito comes on the scene, he's successful at it.
    • Vegeta was also this when he was a villain. Frieza tried his hand too, but overall lies firmly in Smug Snake territory.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Broly. His power is maximum.
    • Mr. Popo, due to a fight scene he has in the anime where he takes on Super Saiyan Goten and Trunks at the same time.
    • Tien. His Win/Loss record really isn't any better than Krillin or Yamcha's. He's still managed to endear himself with the fanbase for his feats against Nappa, Cell, and Buu.
    • Fans claim that Goku is the strongest character in all of anime, is the father of every Shonen hero for the last three decades, and can kick Superman's butt. We'll leave the Superman vs. Goku debate there.
    • Gohan, he's even more of a badass then his father. He can be the strongest in the universe if he trains and when he loses his temper, he will destroy you. Not to mention the on-going myth that Gohan's Ultimate Form plus Super Saiyan will cause the planet to explode.
    • Chi-Chi is the strongest being in the universe since she can control Goku. Doesn't help that several characters actually do believe this, including Piccolo who says he didn't want to crossed Chi-Chis for this reason.
    • Humorously, the Farmer gets this treatment as well as the Memetic Loser trope. The reason is that he seems to appear a total of 3 times in the series looking slightly different with each appearance meaning he has survived multiple close encounters with the heroes which is more than most people can claim.
  • Memetic Hair: Super Saiyan hair.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Chiaotzu is a memetic loser for having made a Stupid Sacrifice that didn't even scratch Nappa.
    • The fandom jokes about Krillin always dying. He's been killed three times, by Piccolo, Freeza and Buu.
    • Yamcha is known as the one defeated by a Saibaiman.
    • Raditz is an absolute weakling, compared to other Dragon Ball Z villains.
    • On a similar note, the Farmer with the shotgun, for being the first character to get die in the series. As well as the fact, nobody knew about his death so he never got revived by the Dragon Balls.
  • Memetic Molester: Cell. If his habit of sticking his tail in people and sucking them dry wasn't creepy enough, the way he advances on 18 before absorbing her...
  • Memetic Mutation: Franchise had its own page.
  • Memetic Psychopath:
    • Mr. Popo, thanks to Team Four Star.
    • Chi-Chi was considered this long before DBZ Abridged Series but definitely helped by its portrayal of her.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • Many fans tend to sympathise with Bardock and his fellow Saiyans too much. While it is true that they were quite badass and that Bardock in the end faces off against a far greater evil, it is often forgotten that the Saiyans weren't exactly a bunch of nice, cool people, but a horde of heartless Star Conquerors.
    • Among fans, keeping track of each character's Power Levels and using these as evidence of who would win in a fight is common, despite the fact that Toriyama only introduced the concept of power levels to point out that they weren't an accurate method of measuring one's ability.
    • Among some fans, Vegeta is seen as the better warrior because he relies on his own strength, even if does leads to him getting his butt kicked most of time. These fans find it endearing that Vegeta is willing to fight and die even if he is outmatched. They also praise him for training much harder than Goku who has everything handed to him. This, of course, ignores that Goku does trains very hard, he in fact trained long before Vegeta did. He just doesn't torture himself to become stronger. Goku also prefers fighting without help, but knows when to swallow his pride for the greater good. Part of this is culture clash since self-dependence is more favored over teamwork in the West, while the East puts more emphasizes on teamwork and often paints lone wolves like Vegeta in a negative light.
  • Mis-blamed
    • No, Toriyama didn't write the anime. He wrote the manga it was adapted from. The pacing of the anime was actually out of his hands; they intentionally made filler arcs with his mild supervision, and padded the episodes so they wouldn't overtake the manga. Also, while Toriyama originally planned to end the manga as early as the first volume-or-so, he kept going due to the popularity it achieved. He also has admitted in interviews that he did not plan anything out ahead of time.
    • FUNimation is usually blamed for having a female voice actor for Freeza, but the Ocean dub had already done so before the recast.
  • Moe: Kid Goten and Pan are seen as this by the fans.
  • Mondegreen: I LOVE CORNBREAD!!!
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Frieza has committed so many attrocities that it's difficult to say where he crossed it. If it wasn't learning how Frieza killed Vegeta's father and race after promising he wouldn't, then his genocide of the Namekian race, killing Dende, and later Krillin was probably Frieza's big crosser for many fans. In-universe though that's peanuts compared to the millions if not billions of people he's slaughtered up to that point. What made the Saiyan genocide worse was despite being evil Psycho for Hire, they were nothing, but loyal to him, and not only that, during the destruction of the planet, the blast not only took out the Saiyans, but several of his soldiers that happened to be in the way, were loyal to him and begged him not to do it. Frieza continues anyway and then gloats how "the fireworks are splendid".
    • Frieza's Co-Dragon, Dodoria, crosses it when he kills Dende's brother, Cargo, in cold-blood. For some, he crosses it earlier when he snaps one of the Elder Namek's neck after he handed over the Dragon Ball.
    • Dr. Gero kidnapping 17 and 18 to turn them into cyborgs definitely qualifies. And while it's clear they don't like him, they're decidedly subtle about it. Just what did he put them through? If that doesn't qualifies, him creating Cell. An android that literally sucks the life out of other people. Several characters questioned what the hell Gero was thinking making a monster like Cell. Plus there's his petty grudge against Goku destroyed at least two timelines.
    • Future 17 and 18. For many, they became completely irredeemable after they murdered Gohan by shooting him to death, while he's screaming in agony.
    • Cell crushing Android 16's head. Up until that point, he could have justified his actions as a mix of programming and harmless fun (since the Dragon Balls could easily fix the damage he'd caused). Or, when he came back from near-death, murders Trunks, and then spends several minutes mocking Gohan about how Goku died for nothing and how his actions made him stronger. He then mockingly thank Goku.
    • Babidi has several moments that could qualify, with the murder of Spoppovich and Yamu (who had exceeded his expectations) being the first. He then writes off Dabura, the loyal servant he appeared to actually like, once Majin Buu is on the scene. If that isn't enough, he laughs gleeful as Buu turns an entire city into candy and eats them. And he makes the entire world watch.
    • Super Buu crosses this for many fans when he ruthlessly kills Chichi in front of her son, Goten, turning her into an egg to smash it because she was annoying him. He then proceeds to kill almost the entire cast by turning them into chocolate and eating them. He then mocks Gotenks about it, gleefully patting his stomach. Later he absorbs Gotenks and Piccolo, and beats the crap out of Gohan while mentally torturing him about his inability to save anyone.
    • For many fans, Kid Buu destroying the Earth, killing the remaining survivors of Super Buu's massacre outside Goku, Vegeta, Denda, and Mr. Satan.
    • It's hard to tell exactly where Van Zant, the ax-crazy gunman from the Buu Saga, crossed this line. Could it be when he decided that since "everyone's gonna die soon anyway", he's going to satisfy his sociopathic impulses by going around and randomly killing people with his arsenal of guns? Perhaps when he on-screen snipes a harmless old lady in the head right in front of her husband, and then has his lackey shoot the husband too? Or when we later see them going on a killing spree through a major city, killing at least 40 people? Or perhaps when he comes across the recently Heel–Face Turn-ed Majin Buu playing with his new puppy, and shoots the puppy right in front of Buu? Or then, when he shoots Mr. Satan - Buu's first and only friend - leading to Buu ejecting his evil half, which consumes him and becomes the above-mentioned Super Buu?
    • In the Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans OVA, Goku & Gohan seem to consider genocide of the Tuffle is this for most of the saiyans at the time.
    • Paragus either crossed it when he forced a mind-controlled Broly to destroy the South Galaxy, or when he tried to abandon his own son to die.
    • Broly himself crossed it when he tried to kill an unconscious Gohan just to torment Goku.
    • If you take the events of the first Broly movie as true, then most fans feel that King Vegeta crossed it when he ordered Broly's death for no other reason then fear.
    • In a desperate attempt to catch Gohan off guard, Bojack casually sacrifices Zangya, who was nothing but loyal to him.
  • Moment of Awesome: Has its own page.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Whether he sounds like Masako Nozawa or Sean Schemmel, Goku's prolonged screaming is sure to excite at least one viewer, if only because his screaming is almost always followed by him doing something amazing.
  • Narm: Has its own page.
  • Nausea Fuel: Perfect Cell literally vomiting out 18 after how much of a beating SSJ2 Gohan gave him, made worse in the uncut where she's actually seen sliding out his mouth.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Vegeta's fear of worms and him screaming "It's over 9000!!". Fans usually make art of it, along with Goku's fear of needles.
    • Goku giving Cell a Senzu Bean and putting his eleven years old son against a killer bio-andorid are things that fans best remember him for, along with his fear of needles only appearing in the anime.
    • Yamcha getting killed by a Saibaman and losing Bulma to Vegeta. In the former case it's entirely ignored that he beat the snot out of that Saibaman and got blindsided by an attack nobody knew about in advance, and that the only reason he stepped up to the plate first was because if Krillin had gone ahead and gotten killed, then he would have been permanantly killed (As this was before they knew about a second set of Dragon Balls)
    • Krillin dying a lot and his general Butt-Monkey status.
    • Mr. Satan taking credit for beating Bojack, Cell, and Kid Buu.
    • At the end of the Saiyan Saga, Chi-Chi was completely neglectful of Goku, caring nothing for his health and only showed concern for Gohan. This is what most fans best remember for, and it leads into Accuser of the Brethren territory, as every good deed Chi-Chi does after this incident is overlooked and/or ignored in favor of this incident.
    • Goku's Super Saiyan 3 transformation. note 
  • Nightmare Fuel: Has its own page.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: The original Ocean dub. By today's dubbing standards it wouldn't be considered good with all the cuts, omissions of death, and changing certain characters. One cannot deny, however, that the Ocean dub is what got many people into the fandom, especially after it premiered on Toonami.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Once Dragon Ball's plot became more space oriented, it became increasingly similar to the Superman mythos. This was lampshaded in the Dragon Ball Z Abridged Bardock special when Granpa Gohan considers naming Kakarot as Clark.
    • You probably think Tapion is based on Link from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but, according to Wikipedia, Wrath of the Dragon was released in 1995, while Ocarina of Time was released in 1998. The Crono reference is still obvious, though.
  • Popularity Polynomial: During the mid-2000s it wasn't popular to say you liked the series outside of the original Dragon Ball. The fall of anime in general in the West during that time period also didn't help. However, the series has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to Kai, the movies released during The New '10s, Super, and even Abridged. Toriyama's greater involvements in projects after the widely-panned Dragon Ball Evolution was also a huge benefit.
  • The Problem/No Problem with Licensed Games: Both subverted and played straight. Some of the video game adaptations such as Budokai 3, the Budokai Tenkaichi series, Legends, Legendary Super Warriors, Origins & Origins 2, Attack of the Saiyans, Legacy of Goku II, Raging Blast, Xenoverse, among others are considered both great adaptations of the series and solid games. Others, such as Sagas, the first Budokai, Taiketsu, Ultimate Battle 22, Final Bout and the NES game released in North America as Dragon Power, range from mediocre to almost unplayable. About the only redeeming quality in some of the latter games is their music.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Main Timeline Trunks. The Trunks introduced in the Android Saga was a badass from a dark future whose experiences had humbled him and made him serious, making him very popular among fans. But when history changed so that the androids were defeated the Trunks of the main timeline was allowed to grow up with both his parents and came off as a spoiled, cocky brat. However, this is mostly in the west. In a popularity poll done before the Buu Arc ended in Japan, Trunks was the third most popular character followed by Gotenks. The exact same ranking as Future Trunks when he was polled.
    • Gohan for the Japanese audience according to a popular myth among western fans. As the story goes, Toriyama replaced Goku with Gohan as the main hero of the series after the Cell Saga, but the Japanese audience didn't buy it and demanded Goku be brought back. However, Toriyama himself has stated that he brought back Goku simply because he determined that Gohan was unsuited to be the main hero (though he has never elaborated on why he felt this way) and has never mentioned anything about fan demand forcing him to shaft Gohan in favor of Goku.note  The prevalence of this myth may be the result of Sequel Displacement among Western fans as most saw Dragon Ball Z first and maybe eventually watched the original Dragon Ball afterwards, and so grew up with Gohan first rather than Goku and developed a preference for Gohan.
    • Goten for some, came off as a poor man's substitute for Goku and never became as beloved as Goku or Gohan.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Fat Buu wasn't very well received when he first appeared (in the West anyway), mostly since despite his build up as this galaxy-destroying Eldritch Abomination, he was a silly pink blob that turned people into candy. After he kills Babidi and starts gradually making a Heel–Face Turn, though, he won some fans over. Helps also that the saga got more legitimately intimidating villains with his later forms, Super Buu and Kid Buu.
    • Mr. Satan, or Hercule if you prefer, also managed to get a pretty big dose of this right at the same time for the western fanbase. His general personality of Small Name, Big Ego and taking credit for defeating Cell after everything the Z Senshi went through pissed off a lot of people. The Buu Saga ultimately revealed that even with his ego he actually does appreciate his fans and would refuse to betray their trust and he was ultimately granted a neat pair of awesome moments near the end both his What the Hell, Townspeople? moment and his rescue of an injured Vegeta. Some fans of the anime and manga still feel his cons ultimately outweigh his positives, but it's safe to say he's a lot better received compared to when he first appeared.
    • Goten and Trunks (to the western fanbase) got this at the very end of Dragon Ball Z when they're seen as teenagers. Trunks has lost most of the arrogance, becoming much more polite like Future Trunks. What remains of his arrogance is expressed in mutually friendly banter between himself and Goten. Goten, meanwhile, has developed his own look and personality, becoming his own character instead of just a carbon copy of young Goku. That the relationship between the two is also absolutely dripping with Ho Yay won over a lot of Yaoi Fans, as well.
    • For some fans, Chi-Chi. She left a bad taste in many fans' mouths after she neglected Goku after he was badly injured from his fight with Vegeta and blamed him for Gohan being forced to fight, despite him being dead when Piccolo kidnapped Gohan and had no say in the matter. She started to win fans over after she throws Mr. Shu out the window and chase him off the property. Then after Goku becomes sick with his heart virus, there were several episodes showing Chi-Chi caring for him, closed to tears in worry. Her pure joy at Goku's recovery from his illness and the tender moment afterwards won over many fans. She won many more after she became more mellow in the Buu Saga onward and trained Goten. She also earn some Woobie points for her future counterpart, who lost both her husband and only son, and her main timeline counterpart blames herself for Goku dying in the Cell Games because she undermined Gohan's training and for being too hard on Goku.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Yamcha gets this in fanfics, being portrayed as a drunkard or unfaithful in relationships. Here's one of many examples. Fans also try to exaggerate his personality and make him out to be an evil person, despite him causing far less damage than the other reformed characters of the series. While Yamcha started off as a bandit, he never made any goals to seek immortality or murder many innocent people. The Funi Dub of the anime doesn't help either, because many lines they wrote make him out to be an asshole, when really, he's a nice guy.
    • Goku gets this when it comes to his fathering skills. Some fans tend to act as though he is a terrible father who doesn't care about his kids. In many countries, including Japan, Goku is more commonly seen as a good father, illustrating a clear case of Culture Clash among fans of the show.
      • Goku gets this again regarding on how 'heroic' he is. Toriyama has gone on record saying that he was dissatisfied with the “righteous hero”-type portrayal of Goku in the anime. He tries to portrayal Goku as someone who doesn't fight for others, but fights only to battle strong people. At the same time, Toriyama also says in several interviews that Goku is a nice and good person, but is hopeless when it comes to a good battle. Some fans had taking Toriyama's words to mean that Goku is an amoral asshole who only cares about fighting and nothing else, ignoring all the times Goku has shown concern for his friends, family, and others like his battle with Raditz and the other Saiyans as well as him trying to pass the torch so future generations won't depend on him to save the day. May be another case of Culture Clash since this view of Goku seems primarily a western's interpretation while the East still views Goku as a very heroic character despite his flaws. Even stranger, some fans think Goku being an asshole is a good thing since they despise the idea of him being anything like Superman.
    • Chi-Chi. Fans tend to call her a horrible person and the worst parent of DBZ, despite other parents doing far worse than she did. Even though she did mellow out and gave up being overprotective, fans ignore this and portray her as a hateful/abusive person in many fanfics. Even the Funimation Dub of the anime gets in on this, by portraying her as a completely unpleasant person, when she's really chill in other versions of the anime. Fans also tend to blame her for Gohan's usually less than badass demeanor. Similarly to Goku, she is hurt from Culture Clash as well.
    • Despite being the White Sheep of the Saiyans, and having been described by Akira Toriyama himself as a gentle, caring person, some people say that Gine was just as bad as the other Saiyans since she did take part in missions to cleanse planets before becoming a butcher, and that after her death, she went to Hell, with a couple of fanfics showing her there (which, given all of the good things that Toriyama said about her, is very unlikely). This is ignoring the fact that it's never clarified if she actually killed anyone, and was in fact described to have been a very poor fighter, which is why she retired from missions. Even if she did kill a few people, that doesn't change the fact that she has been officially described as a good person by the creator himself.
  • Rooting for the Empire.
    • Like the characters in the show, most fans wanted Cell to kill Mr. Satan and his pupils when they attempted to fight him and mocked Goku and his friends.
    • After he helped Cell to become perfect by attacking his own son, fans wanted Vegeta to pay for his arrogance.
  • Saved by the Fans: Vegeta. He was suppose to die in the Saiyan Saga, but was saved by fan demand.
  • Seasonal Rot: The Buu Saga is seen as this by some fans. Most of the issues pointed are the story being more over-the-top than ever with examples such as the Super Saiyan 3 form, Piccolo being Demoted to Extra, Buu being almost the same as the previous villain Cell to the point of lacking a motivation, Vegeta making a Senseless Sacrifice despite an attempt to develop him, Goku being the spotlight stealing squad when the series appeared to be focusing on Gohan, Goten and Trunks, and the anticlimatic and sudden ending. Although, this seems more in the West. In Japan, Buu was a more popular villain than Cell (who is actually the least popular main villain in the series) and Japan's audience wanted Goku back (he was ranked #1 on a fan poll) so they didn't mind him taking over the last leg of the arc along with Vegeta (who ranked #2 on the same poll).
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Not as severe as most that suffer from this effect, but seeing the massive influence it had, has, and will probably continue to have on shonen manga, it's somewhat unavoidable. The degree of the effect has generally ranged from "it's kinda boring compared to stuff now" to "it flat out sucks."
  • Sequel Displacement: The original Dragon Ball is said to have better storytelling than Dragon Ball Z, but in the West, the latter is better remembered and more iconic than the former. This is because the initial attempts to dub Dragon Ball were a huge failure. More than half of Dragon Ball Z had already aired in the United States before Dragon Ball finally received a proper dub. Some fans even have the habit of referring to the franchise as a whole as DBZ, owing to its aforementioned iconic status.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: The debates over who Trunks's romantic partner should be have gone on for more than two decades. The three most popular candidates have historically been Pan, Marron, and Goten, with all three sides going after each other. Then Dragon Ball Super and its associated movies began hinting at Mai as Trunks's love interest. Although Mai is not without her fans, the three warring factions mostly set aside their differences to unite against her; they consider her completely unacceptable, whereas any of the first three listed could at least be tolerated.
  • Signature Scene: Some are considered iconic of anime in general:
    • Any time Shenron is summoned, must like the original series.
    • Piccolo shooting his Special Beam Cannon at Raditz while Goku grabs him from behind.
    • In the dub, when Vegeta realizes that Goku's power level is over 9000.
    • Unfortunately for Yamcha, his death scene from a Saibaman blowing up on him.
    • Piccolo sacrificing himself to save Gohan from Nappa's death blast.
    • Goku's Kamehameha vs Vegeta's Gallick Gun.
    • Goku and Vegeta's first fight as a whole.
    • Vegeta's futile battle with Frieza, culminating in Frieza's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
    • Frieza shooting Vegeta in the heart, culminating in his tearful story and his entire death scene in general, with Goku holding a Meaningful Funeral for his old foe and giving him a decent burial.
    • Goku's first transformation into a Super Saiyan after Frieza pushes him too far in his cruelty. The Irony that befalls Frieza (because of Frieza, mind you) is but one of the reasons why people remember it so fondly.
    • Goku facing off against Frieza while Namek is on the verge of destruction. It's so iconic that some of the fighting games will have Goku and Frieza in the exact condition they were in during that battle (i.e bloody and bruised) if you choose them and the crumbling Planet Namek as the arena.
    • Future Trunks owning Mecha Frieza and his father, King Cold, in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • Vegeta turning Super Saiyan for the first time and completely dominating Android 19.
    • Gohan becoming a Super Saiyan 2.
    • Goku's Heroic Sacrifice at the end of the Cell Games.
    • Gohan and Cell's epic Beam-O-War at the end of the Cell Saga.
    • Vegeta giving his life to destroy Buu.
    • Goku transforming into a Super Saiyan 3
    • Vegito vs. Super Buu
    • Goku throwing a giant Spirit Bomb to finish off the final form of Buu
    • In one of The Movies, the battle against Broly.
    • From Movie 13, Goku's Dragon's Fist.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Some fans have this opinion of the Ocean dub. The treasure trove of Narm and Ho Yay greatly helps.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • In the FUNimation dub of the episode "The Renewed Goku", when King Kai makes a premonition that Vegeta would die at the hands of Frieza after failing to destroy him, you notice that his voice sounds faded out. It's as if the voice actor portraying Kai (Sean Schemmel) was talking through a microphone that was turned off while another mic was a little bit far away from him.
    • The electrical aura of a Super Saiyan 2 and 3 is far less impressive in the anime than it is in the manga, and sometimes not present to the point that it can be difficult to tell the difference between a Super Saiyan and a Super Saiyan 2.
  • Strangled by the Red String: The Japanese voice actors have even commented on the rushed romantic relationships.
  • Strawman Has a Point: In the FUNimation dub, Goku gave Vegeta a What the hell moment after the latter kills Burter and Recoome, whom both were unconscious, saying he was being pointlessly cruel. How does the latter respond? That they did deserve it, especially since Recoome would have KILLED Gohan and Krillin had Goku arrived late, and then proceeds to tell Goku that his kindness would bring about his own defeat.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The insert-song "Battle Point Unlimited" (used in episode 120, when Trunks goes Super Saiyan and kills Freeza) is a pastiche of an entire album (1985's A Secret Wish) by the German synth-pop band Propaganda. In this case, the plagiarism is so bad that it's possible to recreate the entirety of "Battle Point Unlimited" using samples from A Secret Wish. Fittingly for Dragon Ball, it was composed by Kenji Yamamoto, who would be fired from Toei Animation midway through the production of Dragon Ball Kai after executives learned that he had spent his career plagiarizing numerous western artists such as Pink Floyd, James Horner, Danny Elfamn, and Journey.
  • Tear Jerker: Has its own page.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Raditz. He's the long lost brother of the main character Goku, so you would expect him to be a major part of the plot. Instead he's killed at the beginning of Dragonball Z and rarely mentioned again.
    • You'd think that King Cold, being Frieza's father and the real leader of the Planet Trade Organization, would be an Arc Villain. Instead, he ends up getting killed off with little fanfare just to show how powerful Future Trunks is.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • At first, it was set up that the Z Fighters would face 17 and 18, but then Cell shows up and the conflict changes to him. One wonders if how they would've dealt with enemies that weren't wholly malign instead of another monstrous sadist like the last arc.
    • Nappa plays a huge role in the Saiyan saga, being the one who kills off most of the heroes. However, after being killed by Vegeta, he stays dead in a series where death is famously cheap. Any time Nappa appears again, it's just a quick cameo in Hell. Granted, he does finally get to confront Vegeta again in GT... only to be curb-stomped. It could have been interesting to have seen a fight between the two with Nappa actually having a fair chance at winning, or even to have Nappa pull a Heel–Face Turn like Vegeta. Additionally, at the end of the Frieza saga, they use the Dragon Balls to wish back everyone killed by Frieza and his men. Since Vegeta was in Frieza's command at the time, Nappa should have been revived, too, but wasn't.
    • All of the villains during the incident when Nappa is revived and attacks Vegeta during GT, as well as in Fusion Reborn, apparently made no attempt to become stronger at all since their deaths and as such get slaughtered by the good guys in droves with no effort, even the ones that logically should be strong enough even despite that to a least pose a challenge like Bojack and General Rilldo. It would have been fun to see the good guys struggle and triumph over dozens of villains that were good enough to at least stand up to them.
    • Videl is introduced as a slightly irritating but quickly charming character who dovetails nicely with Gohan and the extended Z Warrior family, and even has early episodes dedicated to the relationship between the two... only for her to be turned into chocolate by Super Buu and effectively written out of the story. Pretty much everything in the early high school portion of the story is unimportant, outside of establishing what's new since the Time Skip. Although, most of the high school potion was anime Filler.
    • The conclusion to Gohan's arc: After having a power up with the Grand Elder on Namek and defeating Cell after Goku's death, it's heavily implied that Gohan is taking his father's role as the effective protector of the Earth. The Buu Saga reverses this by de-powering him and having Goku come back so the plot can concentrate on him and Vegeta. Even after having a second power-up that's implied to have unlocked his latent inner power, it turns out to be completely useless against Buu after he absorbs Gotenks and Piccolo.
    • The World Martial Arts Tournament that opens the saga. Those familiar with the earliest Dragon Ball sagas were probably expecting a modern take on the famous set-piece. It's completely ignored part-way through the proceedings and only shows up again to demonstrate how ruthless Majin Vegeta is.
    • Goten and Trunks' contribution to the fight. Much like Gohan in the Cell Saga, it's implied that the pair are intended to be the saviors of the day, and hopefully the future, given how prodigious their power levels are for their age. They were absorbed by Super Buu not long after Gohan received his power up.
    • A minor example with Spopovitch's death. After what the guy did to Videl, many fans wanted to see Gohan beat the snot out of him. Heck, they even built it up!
  • Too Cool to Stay Fused: Vegito is widely regarded as the strongest fighter in the entire Dragon Ball continuity, so strong that he toys with Super Buu (+ Gohan) and easily has the capability to destroy him. He only lasts for four episodes before getting swallowed by Buu and reverting back to Goku and Vegeta. Goku and Vegeta crush their Potara earrings, and Vegito is never shown again.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: Bulma, in the anime's Freeza saga.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The Androids were an attempt at this for having facial features radically different from the series' norm. It didn't quite work, as both 17 and 18 are often considered adorable (even in-universe by Krillin about 18), and Chiaotzu predated the bleach-white 19 by several years.
    • Semi Perfect Cell and 4th form Frieza play this straight.
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • In-Universe, very few people actually like Vegeta, probably because he killed (or helped to kill) most of themnote . Goku, Bulma and their children together seem to be the only ones that like him, and even they sometimes get tired of him. To many fans though, he's one of the best things about DBZ.
    • Zangya. In "Bojack Unbound" only appears in ten minutes, speaks very little and is not even respected by the main villain. And in "Fusion Reborn", she only appears in a second. But she is incredibly popular among fans, and many see her as Draco in Leather Pants.
    • Frieza, Cell, Buu are more straight forward examples. Nearly everyone in the show either fear or hate them but are among the most popular characters in the fanbase.
    • Inverted with Mr. Satan. Almost every human on Earth looks up to him, but a lot of fans in real life (especially American fans) dislike him and look down on him for taking away Gohan's credit of defeating Cell. It wasn't until the Buu saga where he showed redeeming qualities. Of course, while Satan's glory hounding is certainly contemptible, such fans probably don't realise that Goku and Friends don't really care about getting credit, in fact Goku chose to stay dead precisely to avoid recognition for his kills and unwanted attention from bad people resulting from that recognition.
  • Values Dissonance
    • In many of the nude scenes, Americans see Ho Yay or even shotacon that no Japanese viewer would see.
    • Having your 11 (9 in the manga) years old son fight a psychopathic, murderous android comes across as cold and uncaring. However, around the same age Goku was living on his own, traveling the world, and fighting an evil army. To him, what he's doing to Gohan is no different than his own adventures as a child.
    • Goku's parenting skills. In North America, especially the US, Goku comes off as a neglectful father and husband. In other parts of the world, especially the Asian countries, Goku comes off as a good father who spoils Gohan (too much according to Japan).
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • Puar is supposed to be male according to Word of God, but ended up female in the FUNimation and Ocean dubs. It didn't help that, in all versions of the anime, Puar is voiced by a woman.
    • Chaozu as well. While Chaozu has a more masculine appearance than Puar, his make-up and his relationship with Tenshinhan, along with being voiced by a woman in all versions can make the whole issue seem rather confusing.
    • Zig-Zagged with Freeza. In Japan, Latin America and Europe, he was given a Badass Baritone, which helped to avert this trope. On the flip side, many viewers of the Ocean and FUNimation dubs initially assumed that the character was female, due to the polite mannerisms, the prominent lips, and the overall color scheme (white, pink, purple). This was made worse by the fact that in those versions, Freeza was voiced by women. Lampshaded in Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
      (upon hearing Freeza's true gender)
      Krillin: That thing's a guy?!
  • Vindicated by History:
    • Until a couple a years ago, you couldn't say that you remotely liked Bruce Faulconer's music. To utter such words would have you mocked for enjoying music that was inferior to the original track and made some fans questioned your fandom. Now, Bruce Faulconer's scores are fondly remembered especially Vegeta's Super Saiyan Theme, Ginyu Transformation, Goku's Super Saiyan 3 transformation, and DBZ Finale. Even those who overall enjoyed the Japanese track better have their favorites and those who don't like Faulconer's work do show some appreciation. Most of this new respect happened because of Kai, which originally had a completely different musical tracks that broke the fanbase. Some fans even wish Faulconer would return to Dragon Ball.
    • The English cast in general. Until about the mid-2000s, it was popular to bash the English voice actors along with the rest of the dub. Now, the English cast is beloved by fans on both sides of the Pacific, especially after their work on Kai.
    • FUNimation as a whole gets this as a dubbing company. In the early to mid-2000s FUNimation was roundly bash by purest of the original Japanese version. They were often compared to 4Kids and it was common to find websites dedicated to criticizing FUNimation for any and all changes done to Dragon Ball. Now, they are one of the most renowned dubbing companies in the world and are applauded for their work in Kai. Fans of Z are also quick to defend the dub, especially the later seasons and their redubbing of the first two story sagas.
  • Wangst: Vegeta throws angry tantrums whenever it looks like somebody has surpassed him. By the end of the series, though, he gets better.
  • What an Idiot: Has its own page.
  • What Could Have Been: Gohan was slated to become the protagonist after the Cell Saga. However the author later decided against it, believing he wasn't fit the role. There were several instances where the story could have been drastically different. This page goes into more details about what could have been.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: This is a series for ten year old boys, but the high amount of violence wouldn't pass for a kids show in the States.
    • There is one (excluding Buu) thing that should most certainly never be seen by anyone under the age of 16, and this is Cell absorbing Android 18. It's preceded by an aura of extreme helplessness in the face of a sadistic psychopath, and when it happens, there's a lot of emphasis on what's flat-out a disturbing scene that would already be evoking rape imagery, what with the way Cell's tail moves when it happens, without the whimpers and yelps 18 makes.
    • The show's filler-free counterpart, Dragon Ball Kai, had its nudity censored in any regional version, including the original Japanese version, and yet still tends to make violencenote  still disturbing for kids. The U.S. version tried playing it straight by reducing most of the violence and language for any kids' channels, including Nicktoons; but after the channels pulled the plug, Kai averts the trope when it made the Channel Hop to [adult swim] in its uncensored form (excluding the nudity and the "hole in the chest" part) and now has a rating of TV-14-LVnote .
  • What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: Like most Shonen Dragon Ball fans are guilty of this trope. If a character is not one of the strongest in the series they are written off as worthless. The human cast gets this especially bad since they Can't Catch Up to the Saiyans. Even Piccolo eventually falls behind, making fans declare him a wasted character, despite them helping the stronger characters in other ways outside of power. Gohan, however, gets this the worse since most of his fanbase seems to only like him when he's a badass. It's so bad if Gohan isn't the strongest unfused character they call him a wimp and decry him as a terrible character since he wants to live a normal life.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Having Masako Nozawa voice Bardock, Scholar Gohan, and Goten. Hearing an old woman's raspy man-voice as a ruthless warrior and a bespectacled adult man can be rather jarring. Raditz also got away with having a different voice, so why not those two? For Goten, he's already a miniature Goku, so him having the exact same voice as his father even as a teen keeps him from being little more than a clone and a Replacement Scrappy.
    • Nozawa as Adult!Goku. While she was fitting for his child voice, some, mostly Western fans, felt such a high-pitched voice coming from a masculine character was head-scratch worthy.
    • Hikaru Midorikawa as Tenshinhan, from 2006 onwards. While Midorikawa is an excellent voice actor, more than competent and has a very quirky, recognizable voice, he sounds absolutely nothing like Hirotaka Suzuoki. Plus he already plays Android #16. A better choice would have been Ken Narita, seeing as Narita has already replaced Suzuoki for Mobile Suit Gundam (beginning with Unicorn) and Rurouni Kenshin, and sounds just like the late Suzuoki.
    • Pauline Newstone from the Ocean dub and Linda Young from FUNimation as Frieza. It made the gender confusion worse in the West since Frieza already have many girly qualities. Subverted with the casting of Chris Ayres for Kai onwards who is much closer to the Japanese voice.
  • The Woobie:
    • Future Trunks, what with being the only hope left in an apocalyptic hellhole of a Bad Future where the villains could kill him at most any time and just leave him alive to toy with him for roughly twenty years until he finally turns the tables and it was awesome.
    • Yamcha has it pretty hard. His long-term girlfriend of several years leaves him for a former Space Pirate and he has never found a steady girlfriend since his break up. He's also continuously hit with the Worf Effect to the point that he is considered the biggest Memetic Loser in the series. The more vocal part of the fandom have no sympathy for him and is often demonized in fan fictions where he's portrayed as a Domestic Abuser, which is why Bulma left him for Vegeta. In addition, fan works constantly portray him as a selfish glory hog who is weak because he was caught off guard by a Saibaman's suicide attack, even though that attack could've killed anyone on the battlefield except maybe Piccolo.
    • Future Chi-Chi. She ends up losing her husband to the heart virus and then ends up losing her son to a battle with the Androids.
    • Present Chi-Chi also qualifies. While she can be annoying, overprotective of Gohan, and can sometimes be selfish when it comes to her priorities, she's shown many times that she loves her family very much, yet fans ignore her good qualities and portray her even worse in fanfictions, possibly bordering on Moral Event Horizon treatment of Goku and her sons. Also, in the show, she had to go through watching Goku (who was her fiance at the time) almost getting murdered by Piccolo, who was his mortal enemy. She also had to go through dealing with her son Gohan getting kidnapped by Raditz and then Piccolo. Is it any wonder she was so angry when Gohan said he wanted to go to Namek to revive Piccolo? And she has to deal with a lot of stress because of her son and husband getting put in dangerous situations. This may be why she wants Gohan to become a scholar, because she feels that education is the only way to survive, and she may not want Gohan to depend on fighting forever.
    • Gohan is also a woobie for having to go through witnessing his father die twice. He never was a fighter at heart and ever since he was 4, his childhood has been nothing but struggle. In the Cell Arc, he's shown to have a lot of self-esteem issues. During his battle with Cell, it was hard for fans to watch Gohan turn from a Nice Guy into a homicidal manic that would make Frieza proud. Considering all the things Cell did, it's kind of hard to blame him. He does get better in the later Arcs.
    • Android 18 has some of woobieness in the Cell Saga. She was a human forcibly converted into an android and programmed to kill Goku, and was in the middle of the saga being chased and stalked by Cell, got to see her brother eaten, and got absorbed herself on the verge of death.
    • Fat Buu. He just can't win against another form of himself. First, Evil Buu quickly beats him into submission, not even really toying with him. Then Mr. Buu defends Hercule and helps buy time in facing the final Big Bad, Kid Buu. This version is in all likelihood vastly stronger than the lean, grey earlier version, but takes his sweet time mercilessly slaughtering Mr. Buu and eventually causing the latter to depleting his ki reserves. It takes a freakin' lot to ellicit that feeling between two amorphous blobs which usually take shape, when it probably doesn't make sense how the match is even possible. (It doesn't affect him on a deeper level, but when you have *fanfare* "The Woooorld Champiooon" on your side, what will?) But he's far from the first in the series.
  • Woolseyism:
    • Quite a few, but the most obvious is Mr. Satan being renamed Hercule, although he is called Mr. Satan in the uncut DVDs, though that actually adds to his bravado by making him "Mr. Hercule Satan".
    • The Flashback showing how Gohan got his name the Hebrew version. Shortly after he was born, his grandfather was visiting, and while talking to Chichi he noticed that the still unnamed baby was smiling and laughing happily whenever food was mentioned. Chichi remarked in amusement that he’s a ‘little Goku’ (Goku katan), so they named him ‘Gohan’ for short.
    • From a Single Cell line comes from the dub. In the original text Cell says that as long as his core is intact, he can regenerate. His core is in his head, so how did he regenerate when Goku blew his head off? The dub line actually makes more sense.
    • A number of the Z era movies had non-distinct Japanese titles such as: Dragon Ball Z the Movie, Ultimate Decisive Battle for Earth, or Extreme Battle!! The Three Great Super Saiyans. While they're not bad titles per say, they aren't very distinct from each other or give the audience a clue as to the true premise. The English titles make it much more distinctive and clues the audience to what the plot is such as the previous three examples being titled ''Dead Zone'', ''The Tree of Might'', and ''Super Android 13''

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/DragonBallZ