Son Goku (A-C | D-H | I-O | P-Z) | Bulma | Krillin/Kuririn | Piccolo | Son Gohan | Vegeta (A-D | E-N | O-Z) | Future Trunks
Major Supporting Cast
Androids 17 and 18 | Trunks and Son Goten | Mr. Satan/Hercule | Fusions
Supporting Cast | DBZ/GT Supporting Cast | Tournament Characters | Future Trunks' Timeline | Galactic Patrol and Prisoners | Other Characters | Saiyans (Bardock/Burdock) | Namekians and Dragons
Original Series Villains | Red Ribbon Army (Dr. Gero/Android 20 | Cell) | Demon King Piccolo | DBZ Villains | Frieza's Empire (Freeza/Frieza | Cooler/Coola) | Majin Buu | DBZ Movie Villains | Broly | GT Villains | Moro
Multiversal Characters (Zeno | Goku Black | Zamasu/Zamas) | Universe 7 (Beerus) | Universe 2 | Universe 3 | Universe 4 | Universe 6 (Frost | Hit | Kale) | Universe 9 | Universe 10 | Universe 11 (Jiren)
New Media Characters
Dragon Ball Heroes | DBH Villains | Dragon Ball Online | Dragon Ball Xenoverse | Fusions (Video Game) | Dragon Ball FighterZ | Android 21 | Dragon Ball FighterZ Base Roster | Dragon Ball Legends
Krillin (クリリン, Kuririn)
Voiced by (English): Wanda Nowicki (Harmony Gold dub); Terry Klassen (Ocean dub); Laurie Steele (Young), Sonny Strait (Adult) (Funimation dub); Mike Thiessen (DB), Dan Gascon (GT) (Blue Water dub); Sharon Mann (AB Groupe/"Big Green" dub); Apollo Abraham (Creative Products Corp dub); Brian Beacock (Adult), Julie Maddalena (Young) (Bang Zoom!/Toonami Asia dub in Super)
Voiced by (Latin American Spanish): Eduardo Garza (current voice), Rossy Aguirre (young and adult until mid-Frieza saga), María Grey (Dragon Ball Harmony Gold), Luis Daniel Ramírez (Majin Buu saga and Movies 4-13), Alejandro Illescas (GT)
Voiced by (Brazilian Portuguese): Fábio Lucindo, Thelma Lucia (DB, Gota Mágica), Alex Minei (Kai: The Final Chapters), Yuri Chesman (Battle of Gods, Clone)
Voiced by (French): Claude Chantal (DB, Z), Thierry Mercier (GT), Monique Nevers (Kai, Super)
Voiced by (Italian): Veronica Pivetti (Most of DB), Marcella Silvestri (Rest of DB, Most of Z), Luigi Scribani (Rest of Z, GT, Super)
One of the few human characters who retained most of their screentime even in DBZ (even though it was mostly as a Plucky Comic Relief and by few we mean the only one). Started off as a rival to Goku when both trained under Master Roshi when they were kids. He soon became a best friend and Heterosexual Life-Partner to Goku and the two have been through thick and thin through their battles and lives.
- Action Dad: Zigzagged. Once his daughter is born, he officially retires from fighting. However, when trouble arrives, he is one of the first on the front lines. He follows Goku and the others after Gohan is attacked, and fights Frieza's army during his second invasion. In his arc in ''Super'', he is actually worried about what 18 and Marron might think of him, making him train again with Goku, and participate with his wife in the Tournament of Power.
- Adaptational Badass: A minor example in Dragon Ball Xenoverse. Unlike in the anime and manga, where he missed Vegeta's tail with the Destructo Disc, in Xenoverse, he successfully chops Vegeta's tail off, mostly due to Yajirobe being Adapted Out.
- In the anime version of the Tournament of Power, Krillin lasted long enough to knock out a fighter from Universe 10 and two fighters from Universe 4 alongside Android 18, before being taken down by Frost after he dropped his guard. In the manga, he doesn't last past the second chapter after the tournament starts and earns no eliminations since Frost takes him and Tenshinhan in a flash. Whether you count "assists" (team knockouts and saving his allies from being knocked out) as half points or full points (only counting knockouts), Krillin tied for 12th with Cabba or 13th with Hit respectively, putting him just outside the top 15% in either case (as Cabba could boast on surviving longer). If you count it by when he was knocked out (he's was the 16th person knocked out of the ring), then he's just in the bottom 20%.
- Adaptational Wimp:
- While he's normally a good fighter, in the non-canon movies, his role is only as a Plucky Comic Relief and his Butt-Monkey status is much more frequent. He's subject to all sorts of mishaps. Misfortunes that have fallen on him include being peed on by Gohan and having rubble from Garlic Jr.'s castle fall on him (movie 1), nearly getting his face fried by a ki blast and getting whacked in the head repeatedly with a shopping bag by Chi-Chi (movie 7), getting thrown into some rubble by Broly and forgotten by the rest of the Z-Fighters (movie 10) and a Running Gag in several of the films where a villain punches him square in the face, which leads him thinking, "why does this always happen to me?!"
- All Up to You:
- Goku gives him the Spirit Bomb to throw at Vegeta. According to Goku, he's the only one who can do it since Gohan doesn't know how to control energy well enough to use it.
- He, along with Gohan and Bulma, goes to Namek to search for the Dragon Balls since Goku is too badly injured to go. He also successfully distracts Frieza while Dende heals Gohan.
- Always Second Best: He is the second strongest student of the Turtle School. Despite all his training, he was always weaker than Goku even as a child, and the gap between them has only grown over the years.
- Amazon Chaser: One for Android 18. He falls for her for being so strong and pretty.
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Played for Laughs. After Gohan blurted out why Krillin wished for the androids to have their bombs removed from their bodies (because he had a crush on Android 18), Krillin punched Gohan on the head to shut him up. Yes, Gohan, right after he defeated Cell the Ultimate Lifeform.
- Awesome, but Impractical: His signature move, Destructo Disk, can cut through anything (except Cell, purely in anime filler) and is completely unblockable, but it's slow to produce, its aim is unwieldy, and it can't be guided once launched. And the few times he has an opening to actually use it, he tends to ruin it by Calling His Attacks. By the time of the Universe Survival Arc, however, Krillin has gotten a lot more proficient in its use, being able to fire and control three Destructo Discs as a distraction for a smaller fourth one, and even call them back toward his target.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: He learns the Kamehameha by watching Goku and Yamcha do it. He figures since Yamcha is able to do it, he should be able to as well.
- Back from the Dead: Just about everyone did this, but Krillin is notable for being the first main character to do so and is tied with Chiaotzu for most deaths in the manga.
- Badass Adorable: Not to the degree of Goku or Gohan, but he still counts.
- Being Good Sucks: He knows exactly where he stands on the power scale, and is the first to state it when things become hopeless and the futility of fighting against overwhelming odds. His need to protect others get him killed three times, four if you count GT. Despite this, he still keeps fighting and is one of the first on the frontlines, no matter who the enemy is. He lampshades this near the end of the Cell Games, saying how Goku and Gohan changed him and how he would have given up a long time ago if it wasn't for them. He says this with mock resentment.
- Big Brother Mentor: To Son Gohan. On Namek, he guides and protects Gohan in Goku's absence. Their experience formed an unbreakable bond that is second only to Piccolo to Gohan.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: His thoughts turn to the author after Goten and Trunks fail to fuse correctly two times in a row. Likewise, in Broly: Second Coming, he mentions that the rest of the cast "wouldn't last a season without him."
- Bully Turned Buddy: Initially, he was a bully to Goku. He often demeaned and looked down on Goku for being naive and Book Dumb. Goku being Goku noticed none of this, was very friendly towards Krillin. They eventually become best friends.
- Butt-Monkey: He has died three times, he Can't Catch Up, and his signature attack, likely the most deadly in the manga, just can't score a critical hit. He even lampshades this in the movies (where he's a major victim of Adaptational Wimp) shouting "Why does this always happen to me?!". Happens again in Super when he is the first to get ringed out during the ToP. Everyone, including 18, insults him for losing so fast.
- Butter Face: Well he's not exactly ugly, but he appears not to even have a nose. That said, he's a pretty buff guy.
- By-the-Book Cop: After the Buu Saga, he gets a job as a police officer, and takes it extremely seriously. He has no reservations at all about writing Bulma a ticket.
- Call-Back: When he and Goku first meet Master Roshi, Krillin tries to score points by claiming that he's shaved his head since that's what "real" martial artists like Roshi do (Roshi points out that no, he's just bald due to age). Then during the World Tournament in the Buu saga, Goku is confused by Krillin (who he hasn't seen in several years) having hair, to which Krillin replies "I could have sworn I told you that."
- Can't Catch Up:
Krillin: Goddammit all, Goku, you and your son both set such high, wondrous standards that mere mortals like me can't ever possibly hope to reach, no matter how hard I try; I really hate you both so much sometimes.
- Started out as the The Rival to Goku, although he was never as strong as him, and fell further behind with each new story arc. However, he remains important to the story up until the Buu Saga.
- His acceptance of this trope occurs in the finale of the Cell Games when Cell all but ignored his and every other Z-Warriors' attempts to help Gohan in his Beam-O-War against the monster, and blasted them aside like "flies" just by casually raising his ki. Powerless to defend his beloved friend's son, Krillin bitterly and tearfully laughs:
- To an extent, the Universe Survival Arc downplays it: Whilst he is still one of the weakest, he is an experienced tournament fighter who has developed many techniques based on deception and good position. He manages to defeat Gohan in a friendly match. Sure, it was against base form Gohan but even that far outclasses Krillin power-wise, and Gohan was also doubting Krillin's usefulness to the tournament before that. The tournament also reminds us that Krillin is only a weakling by the standards of his incredibly powerful friends; he competes in a tournament including most of the strongest fighters that existed in the 8 of the 12 universes at the time, and holds his own. He's amongst the most skilled and powerful 80 or so mortals in existence.
- Cerebus Retcon: The fandom often makes jokes about how often Krillin has been killed, and how Death Is Cheap in general thanks to the Dragon Balls. Super, however, officially acknowledges Krillin's multiple deaths in an episode where he and Goku fight illusions of previous villains, showing that Krillin is outright traumatized by what's happened to him and that he's terrified of the villains who killed him. Even if he never showed it, Krillin still knows what it's like to die, and just because those deaths were undone doesn't mean the experience just went away.
- Character Development:
- While he wasn't purehearted enough to ride the Nimbus at the beginning of the series, he's more than worthy of it now. Shown when he was able to hold and throw the Spirit Bomb, something that only those with pure heart could do.
- He started off as a shameless Dirty Coward but gradually became a braver and honorable person.
- Child Prodigy: A Downplayed exampled. He never was as talented as Goku, who is a Human Alien from a fighting race, but compared to other humans, he was an exceptionally strong child. He was able to survive Master Roshi's training regimen and would have been second only to Goku in the 21st Martial Arts Tournament if Master Roshi hadn't entered. He also learned the Kamehameha on the fly with no prior training at the age of sixteen when it took his master fifty years to developed it. The only things that really held Krillin back was his lack of self-esteem, which was an effect of the bullying he received from the monks at his former temple and his occasional bouts of arrogance.
- Chivalrous Pervert: When he was younger, he was almost as perverted as Roshi himself, which is a little upsetting considering his age. Seems to fade out with age as seen with 18 and Maron, as he's shown no perverted thoughts towards either of them.
- Comedic Sociopathy: When he was introduced, he was a Dirty Coward who cheated Goku out of his meal after he fairly found Master Roshi's rock, regularly tried to cheat at his training by taking shortcuts, and constantly demeaned and took advantaged of Goku's naivety. Which justified all his Butt-Monkey moments early in the series. This aspect of his personality eventually went away as he got older.
- Combat Pragmatist: Initially started out like this, using a pair of panties as a distraction against Jackie Chun/Master Roshi, asking Chiaotzu basic math questions to disrupt his psychic powers, and attempting to exploit Goku's Achilles' Heel by grabbing his tail during their fight in the tournament. In Z, he takes on foes many times stronger than him with just his guts and sneaky, underhanded tactics. And he is utterly unapologetic about it, as seen in the "Tien Shinhan Arc":Son Goku: That was dirty...!
Krillin: Dirty doesn't mean shit in a fight!
- Cower Power: When he was a cowardly little boy, he often hid behind Goku to the point of using him as a human shield.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: He's hoisted into the air where he hopelessly flails before his body eventually expands and explodes while he cries out for Goku's name in terror. Unfortunately for Frieza, the killer responsible, Goku went Super Saiyan for the first time in response.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's usually used as a Plucky Comic Relief, but he can be a serious badass when it's important.
- A Day in the Limelight:
- He is the protagonist of his own arc in Super, where we actually discover his own self-esteem issues on how he Can't Catch Up and having to defeat his demons in the form of visions of the past villains, including Frieza and Tambourine, who killed him in the past.
- In the early Namek Saga as well. With Goku left recovering on Earth, the rest of the Z-Fighters dead, Bulma being a non-combatant, and Gohan still a child with little experience, this basically left Krillin as the leader of the hero team up until he made a deal to team-up with then Anti-Villain, Vegeta.
- Deadly Disc: His Signature Move, the Destructo Disk/Kienzan.
- Deadpan Snarker: When he's not screaming in terror, the guy tends to be the wittiest character and the most likely to lampshade hang.
- Death by Irony: His second death: After seeing Frieza transform into his final form, he comments that he doesn't look very intimidating. He later becomes the last character Frieza kills on Namek, screaming in terror as he dies.
- Demoted to Extra: GT, along with anyone not named Goku and Pan (though Trunks did have a prominent role in the first half of the opening saga).
- Determinator: It's very hard to keep this guy down. The only time he gives up is when faced with the Androids, and even then it's because he knows that even Vegeta and Piccolo don't stand a chance.
- Deuteragonist: Throughout most of Dragon Ball, except the Piccolo Arc where he's dead and Tenshinhan takes over. He's back in this role for much of the Namek/Frieza Saga.
- Dies Wide Open: After Tambourine kills him, this (along with Blood from the Mouth) is how Goku finds his body. Tenshinhan is the one who finally closes his eyes.
- Did Not See That Coming:
- In the 21st Tournament, he knocks Jackie Chun out of the ring after tricking him to dive for panties. He would have won... If Jackie Chun wasn't Master Roshi who knows the Kamehameha.
- During the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, he successful grabs Goku's tail, which he thinks will render Goku powerless. He is shocked to learn that Goku overcame this weakness after playing along for a few minutes.
- Dirty Coward: When he was first introduced, he had no problem using cowardly, underhanded tactics to get ahead, even if meant throwing Goku under the bus. He gets better after becoming friends with Goku and progressively becomes braver.
- Disability Immunity: He has no nose, but that makes him immune to bad smells.
- Distracted by the Sexy: With both Android 18 and Zangya. He eventually marries the former.
- Dork Knight: Don't let the goofy demeanor fool you, he's still one of Earth's defenders and one of the most powerful martial artists the world has ever seen.
- Doting Parent: To his adorable little girl, Marron.
- Dreadful Musician: Shown in a movie when he's singing karaoke and he sounds horrible.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: In the King Piccolo Saga. He's killed off-screen and in the manga, we only hear his screams.
- Dub Name Change: Before the dub that became well-known there, Latin America had a short-lived Dragon Ball dub (based on the equally short-lived Harmony Gold dub) called Zero y el dragón mágico ("Zero and the Magic Dragon", as the Harmony Gold dub changed Goku's name to "Zero"), in which Krillin's name was changed to the quite regional name of "Cachito".
- Due to the Dead: Uniquely. Because they plan on wishing him back to life, Bulma builds a cold storage coffin to prevent his body from decaying, shrinks it down with a capsule, and hides it in a drawer of panties. They close his eyes, wipe the blood from his face, and lay him in.
- Eaten Alive: He's eaten by Super Buu after being turned into living chocolate. It's so traumatizing that Krillin doesn't want to fight Buu again when King Kai recruits Yamcha and him as a last line of defense.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Krillin is a trained martial artist who was raised in a temple by monks since he was a child. Despite being weaker than Goku, he could still kill a tiger with his bare hands and fight against seasoned adult fighters. He becomes empowered after learning the Kamehameha at the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament.
- Family Theme Naming: Krillin has a daughter named Marron. Both names are puns on chestnuts.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Goku, after he completed his character development. Krillin didn't like Goku at first, seeing him as a naive idiot who took his strength for granted. After going through Training from Hell together, they become much friendlier. Their relationship is solidified after Goku kills King Piccolo and restores the Dragon Balls, both to avenge and revive him.
- When Krillin first appeared, he was an exact foil to Goku. Whereas Goku was an impossibly pure-hearted child who takes his incredible strength for granted, and has a lot of confidence in his power, Krillin was a devious Bratty Half-Pint with a blatant inferiority complex. By the time of the series' first Tournament Arc, he's largely grow out of most of this thanks to his training and Goku's influence giving him genuine self-confidence.
- He's also a foil to Gohan in the Namek arc. Gohan is incredibly powerful, but he's also a five-year-old kid with only a year of training under his belt and a bad habit of not being able to turn down someone in need. Krillin is in his mid-20s, has been a professional martial artist for longer than Gohan's been alive, and is much more pragmatic besides. He doesn't have Gohan's raw power, but he's got a much wider range of techniques and enough strategic cunning to apply them effectively. Gohan comments on this, see Weak, but Skilled below.
- Friendly Target: Three times in the manga (which ties him with Chiaotzu), plus another two/three/no one is sure times in alternate timelines, plus another on GT. So, 3-7 times. Ouch.
- Genius Bruiser: He's one heck of a strategic fighter. He nearly beats Jackie Chun (Master Roshi) by throwing a pair of panties into the ring and kicking him out of the ring. He defeats Chiaotzu by making him use his hands, which was the source of his psychic powers, by making him do basic math and successfully grabs Goku's tail during their match, it only fails since Goku trained his tail during the three years before the tournament. He also comes up with the technique that can cut through anything, as well as the technique that wiped out the Saibamen. He repeatedly makes good plans to take the stealthy approach on Namek, scores a hit on Frieza (notable, as that's the first time he was injured on screen), and performs a sacrifice that would have worked had Super Buu not been much faster than he anticipated.
- Godzilla Threshold: Hits it during the Frieza Saga; with Frieza himself mere minutes from arriving and killing everyone, Krillin decides that the only way they could possibly stop him was by using their last wish on the Namekian Dragon Balls to make Vegeta immortal. At the time, Vegeta was still a villainous Blood Knight who would most likely kill Krillin and the other Z-Fighters once he didn't need them anymore. The only reason Vegeta doesn't get his wish at the last second is because before Dende can complete the wish, Guru, the Namekian who created the Dragon Balls, dies of grief, causing Porunga to disappear.
- Good Is Not Soft: While Krillin is a nice and soft person, he can be rather ruthless when he feels the needs to be in Z. He once tried to kill the badly wounded and fleeing Vegeta with Yajirobe's sword, and was content to let Vegeta die at Cell's hands due to his actions. He even hopes that Zarbon and Vegeta kill each other rather than risk having to deal with either one.
- Good Parents: Is one to Marron. Heck, he even sacrificed himself to protect her and his wife.
- Guile Hero: Although he's far from the strongest character, he is one of the sneakiest. He will use any weakness presented to him to get ahead. He almost beat Master Roshi (who was disguised as Jackie Chun) by throwing a pair of panties into the ring and kicking him when he dives for them, he helps Yamcha win his match against the Invisible Man by making Master Roshi nosebleed on him, he wins his match against Chiaotzu by asking him basic math questions to disrupt his psychic ability, and he takes advantage of Goku's naivety to trick him several times and tries to beat him by grabbing his tail (it didn't work, because by then, Goku had already trained his tail, but it's the thought that counts). As an adult, he invents a technique that can cut through almost anything, taking advantage of foes who like to No-Sell everything, kept Frieza busy so Dende can heal Gohan, and successfully hid a Dragon Ball from Vegeta for several days.
- Happily Married: He's smitten by Android 18 from the get go. Following the Time Skip after the Cell Games, they're Happily Married.
- HeelFace Turn: Krillin started out as a bullying rival of Goku but became his best friend.
- Henpecked Husband: Shows shades of this in Bio-Broly and GT. Also, throughout the series, he's shown to be the obviously submissive one in his relationship with Android 18.
- Heir to the Dojo: According to Dragon Ball Online, Krillin becomes the official heir to the Turtle School.
- Hero-Worshipper: A mild example. Out of all the characters, Krillin puts the most faith in Goku to solve their problems. He wants to retreat after Goku falls ill and after everyone is beaten by the androids, Krillin says things would have been different if Goku was there. It takes Tien pointing out that Goku can't be that much stronger than Trunks and Vegeta for him to see the flaw in his logic. His hope is completely restored once Goku gets well and is still willing to fight despite the odds.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He attacks Buu first to allow his family and friends to escape his onslaught on the lookout. While it fails for almost everyone, it allows Dende, whose survival was the most important as it allows the Dragon Balls to work, to survive.
- He's Back!: As of episode 76 of Super, he's finally managed to shake off the depression and fear that's held him back after dying so many times, awakening his fighting spirit and deciding to become a martial artist once again.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Goku. His death is one of the few things that can drive Goku into uncontrollable rages and Krillin often seeks Goku's approval about things. He also puts the most faith in Goku to save them when things become really bad.
- Honorary Uncle: To Gohan, especially after the events of the Saiyan and Frieza Saga. He even calls Krillin "uncle" a couple of times.
- Iconic Sequel Character: Krillin is noted as the series' second most enduring character from the original run after Bulma, but he did not make an appearance until the second overall arc.
- Idiot Ball: Despite being one of the smarter fighters of the Z-Fighters, he takes a while to figure out Goku isn't himself when Ginyu takes his body, despite the many signs (being struck by him, wearing a scouter, teaming up with Jeice, having a different voice, being told by Gohan) until Ginyu himself confirms it.
- I Got Bigger: He becomes noticeably taller by the time of the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, although he's still really short.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: As a kid, Krillin covers up his insecurities by talking about how strong and skilled he is and all the training he received at his former temple. He also talks down to Goku about his lack of manners and education. Gradually, he loses the superiority part and chooses to cover his insecurities with humor instead. He is generally much more confident as an adult, but he's very aware where he sits on the power scale.
- Informed Ability: Supplemental material has stated that Krillin is the strongest human character in the series. Ignoring the Can't Catch Up tendency for all the non-Saiyan characters, Tien had the better showings in fights in the series, although this may be attributable to Krillin's cowardice and tendency to enter fights with Gohan and/or Goku at his side. This is not at all helped by Tien being hinted at being an alien born on Earth.
- Insecure Love Interest: Even after he married 18, he still wonders why she chose him, and still is worried about if he is worthy of her.
- In-Series Nickname: Called Pachinko-Head by Yajirobe.
- Intergenerational Friendship: He is good friends with Goku's son, Gohan. In the later parts of the Saiyan Saga and throughout the Namek Saga, they were practically Bash Brothers.
- Iron Butt Monkey: Out of the main cast, he takes the most physical punishment. Even as a child, having almost all the blood sucked out of his body is Played for Laughs. Chi-Chi also accidentally slammed a door into his head. Krillin often lampshades this about himself.
- Kamehame Hadoken: Learned from observing Goku and Yamcha using it. He doesn't use it as often as Goku, though.
- Kavorka Man: He may not be the most (conventionally) attractive of the series, but somehow he dated Maron, and married Android 18, to the surprise of the fans of the series.
- Knight in Sour Armor: He's not cynical in the way that Vegeta and Piccolo are, but when confronted with a particularly strong opponent, especially if said opponent is mopping the floor with someone stronger than him, Krillin will probably be the first to wax on about how hopeless the situation is, and may even suggest escaping. However, it's his loyalty to his friends and his own sense of justice, that not only prevent him from doing this, but often gets him to dig deep and do something surprisingly clever and/or awesome that actually cause much more damage to the opponent than expected.
- The Lancer: Until Tenshinhan showed up, where he was shifted into The Smart Guy.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- When he was a sneaky, underhanded child, he got this a lot. The first being when he cheated Goku out of dinner when he stole the rock Goku found as part of Master Roshi's test. Dinner that night was an improperly cooked puffer fish, which made everyone sick except Goku since he didn't eat anything. He also tried to cheat during training, which Master Roshi always caught and forced him to start over.
- Despite all the messes he's been put through, including being the one to die the most next to Chiaotzu and being the resident Butt-Monkey, he gets his happy ending by marrying 18 and having a daughter, because he refused to shut down and kill 18 despite knowing that Cell was looking for her.
- Lesser of Two Evils: During the Namek Saga, he hits the Godzilla Threshold and agrees to let Vegeta use the Dragon Balls to become immortal because he finds that the better option than being killed by Frieza, who's far worse than Vegeta.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: When he has these moments, Krillin is capable of surprisingly kickass things, and gets the drop on the the Big Bad of the arc, more than once. For example, briefly fending off Nappa from Gohan and almost killing him with the Destructo Disc, cutting Frieza's tail off in his second form with the same move, and in the anime, saving a young woman and her little brother from Imperfect Cell by ramming into him.
- Living Emotional Crutch: Krillin is this to Goku. Very few things can get Goku angry. Hurting or killing Krillin is one of them, and he will go into a murderous rages as King Piccolo and Frieza learns.
- Love at First Sight: For Android 18. He was falling for her after she kissed him, and for not killing him.
- Love Makes You Dumb: The reason why Cell was able to absorb Android 18 and reach his final form, although Vegeta didn't help matters since he let Cell go to become complete.
- Martial Arts Uniform: Initially wearing the uniform of his old Shaolin school, Krillin adopts the Turtle Hermit School uniform at the same time as Goku, though he keeps his old one as a spare/casual wear for a while.
- Mundane Utility: He uses his Supernatural Martial Arts skills in his day job as a cop.
- Nice Guy: Moreso as a grown up, Not that he wasn't nice as a kid, but he wasn't perfect either.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- He was the one who suggested going along with Vegeta and Nappa's "cultivars" game against the Saibamen in order to stall for time, as Goku was arriving a day late. It would have worked just fine if but then Krillin himself lost his temper and cut the game short.
- Came very close to this when he wanted to kill Vegeta before he could escape: if Goku hadn't talked him out of it, Vegeta wouldn't have been able to team up with Krillin and Gohan on Namek.
- No Body Left Behind: His second death was due to Frieza blowing him up.
- The Noseless: Lampshaded in an early fight in Dragon Ball, where he only is able to defeat an incredibly stinky fighter after he's reminded that he has no nose.
- No Sympathy: After Vegeta gets his ass kicked by Perfect Cell, especially since Vegeta stupidly let Cell become Perfect in the first place. Krillin only decides to help Vegeta out for Trunks' sake, openly saying that he wouldn't care if Vegeta died, and as far as he's concerned, he deserves to be killed for being such an idiot.
- Now, Let Me Carry You: Goku saved Krillin's life several times and even avenged his death when he was murdered by King Piccolo's minion. The one time Krillin gets to repay Goku is when he is nearly killed by Great Ape Vegeta.
- Older than They Look: He comes off as being much younger than he really is at a glance even as the years go by, in part because of his short stature (and in Japanese, the fact he's still voiced by a woman even as an adult).
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Former Trope Namer. He is the strongest pure blooded human in the series and one of the few survivors of the Saiyan Invasion and nearly got the killing blow against Vegeta. He also manage to outlive Vegeta against Frieza, being literally the last person to die. However, he is far behind all the Saiyans, yes even the children, and Piccolo. He is often beat up or killed by the latest threat to the point that is what most fans know him for. Heck, it's to the point where many fans have argued that, had he not been in Dragon Ball, and kept his power level from Dragon Ball, scale-wise, he'd be comparable to Beerus in most other universes.
- Papa Wolf: Don't screw with Marron around him or his wife. He tries to fight Super Buu to protect his family. He didn't last long, but he still tried.
- Poor Communication Kills: He never thought to tell Piccolo or anyone else that a Saiyan can make their tails immune to being grabbed. He, and Goku's other friends, also never told him that Saiyans had the ability to transform at the sight of a full moon.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Basically his major role in Z and the movies. (For example, disguising himself as Piccolo before saving Gohan, and then doing a cape twirl).
- Porn Stache: Despite not having a nose, he manages to grow a big, bushy mustache worthy of a 70s porn star in GT.
- Present Absence: He is murdered at the very end of the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, kicking off the King Piccolo Saga. From there, Krillin's death drives Goku on his quest for revenge. He even does it again in the Frieza Saga. It is Krillin's death that allows Goku to become a Super Saiyan.
- Punny Name: His name is based on "kuri" (栗), which means "chestnut." ('lin' could also be the alternate reading of 'hayashi' = 'grove'.)
- Refuse to Rescue the Disliked: After Vegeta is curb-stomped by Cell, who Vegeta stupidly allowed to become perfect purely for Blood Knight reasons, Krillin states outright that it's his own damn fault and that Vegeta deserves to be killed for being such an idiot... but ultimately gives in and helps him because Trunks believes in him.
- The Resenter: At the beginning, he was resentful towards Goku for being so much stronger than him. However, as time went, he lost his resentment until it completely disappeared by the time of the first tournament.
- Retired Badass: He officially retires from fighting after the Cell Games, although he's one of the first ones on the front lines when danger appears.
- The Rival: His introductory episode was called "Goku's Rival", though the two went from rivals to best friends fairly quickly.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He kills three Saibamen with his Scattering Bullet special attack when Yamcha is killed to protect him. Also, Goku always has one when Krillin dies.
- Robosexual: Played with. He marries Android 18 but that name is a limitation of English in the translation, as the original "Jinzou-Ningen" doesn't specify mechanical or biological artificiality. She and her brother were originally humans before being modified by Gero, thus allowing 18 to have a daughter.
- Rooting for the Empire: In-Universe example. After Cell dismisses Mr. Satan by knocking him into a mountain, Krillin tells Gohan without shame that he was rooting for Cell.
- Sacrificial Lion: First major good guy to die in the entire series. He is also the last one killed in the Frieza Saga which triggers Goku's transformation into a Super Saiyan.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Sensitive Guy to Goku's Manly Man. He is very open about his feelings and often cries, while Goku can be somewhat emotionally repressed. Krillin often looks to Goku as a source of strength.
- Signature Move: The Destructo Disc/Kienzan. Although he is hardly the only user of it, he is the one who invented it and uses it the most.
- Skintone Sclerae: While a staple of the early Toriyama style, he's the only major character to keep this trait. Interestingly, he didn't have this trait in the anime until the Red Ribbon Army arc. It's averted in the manga however, where colored illustrations depicting him have the same whites in his eyes as everyone else.
- The Smart Guy: This is what keeps him in the game until the end of the Frieza arc, and also what keeps him getting the most screen time out of the human combatants even after he's far outclassed by the Saiyans.
- Spanner in the Works: Krillin, along with Gohan, were this to both Vegeta and Frieza on Namek. They successfully hid a Dragon Ball for several days, them teaming up with Vegeta kept them alive until Goku arrived, and they took the Dragon Balls and used them before Vegeta or Frieza knew what was happening. Even Krillin's death was the trigger needed to activate Goku's Super Saiyan form.
- Spell My Name with an S:
- Oh, let us count the ways... Krillin (Funimation), Kuririn (Viz, also the literal transliteration), Kulilin (wears hats with this on it in the manga), Klilyn (most Bandai toys and in some cel art by Toei)...
- Despite his name having been spelt as "Kulilin" in the manga, the name "Kuririn" involves a play on "kuri", the Japanese word for "chestnut" (this is joked about, with reference to his bald head, at one stage) - likely, "Kulilin" is the result of liberal transliteration of Japanese ("l" and "r" sounds are indistinct), and "Krillin" is supposed to be an adaptation that is better suited for the foreign palate. (Incidentally, you can buy and eat 'krill' with a bit of difficulty, so it keeps the edible theme naming going.)
- Story-Breaker Power: This trope is probably the reason he never uses the Solar Flare and the Destructo Disc together to defeat any of his opponents. However, that combination wouldn't work with any enemy who can regenerate or are super powerful.
- Strong Girl, Smart Guy: Downplayed but he has some of this dynamic with 18, who is stronger than him by a pretty wide margin in terms of raw power but he's a more skilled and strategically inclined fighter than her.
- Super Cop: By Resurrection 'F' and Super, he's found a job as a cop. Bear in mind that he is arguably the strongest Earthling, with enough ki to slice the planet in two, if not destroy it outright. As he takes his job very seriously, however, he will only use the vehicles and equipment issued to him for their intended purposes, using his absurd power only as a last resort.
- Superior Successor: He officially surpasses Master Roshi by the time of the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. He also surpasses Kami after training with him to fight the Saiyans. Going by Dragon Ball Online, he becomes the new master of the Turtle School.
- Surpassed the Teacher: He becomes stronger than Master Roshi and Kami by the time of the Saiyan Saga. Officially, he is stated to be the strongest human in the world.
- Taken for Granite: Along with Piccolo, he is turned to stone by Dabura's Super Spit.
- Tender Tears: Sensitivity, thy name is Krillin.
- Targeted to Hurt the Hero: Frieza tried to do this in Super. He offers his men planets if they can kill Krillin, knowing the emotional pain it will cause Goku. Krillin, however, proves to be far too strong to be killed by standard mooks.
- There Is Another: In late Buu Saga anime filler, he and Yamcha of all people are chosen by King Kai to stand by as a last resort against Kid Buu if Goku and Vegeta fail to defeat him. Krillin points out that he lasted less than a second when he tried to fight Super Buu earlier in the same arc, and when Kid Buu briefly teleports to the afterlife to wreak havoc on the already-dead, Krillin gets his ass kicked once again. Yet for all his complaining, he still steps up to fight despite knowing he's hopelessly outclassed against the pink monster.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Even for a show where Death Is Cheap, Krillin has died quite a bit. Subverted, however, in that his deaths always hold emotional weight.
- He is the first main character to ever die in the series, being killed by Tambourine back in Dragon Ball.
- He dies at the hand of Frieza, where his death was seemingly permanent due to having died once already (the Namekian Dragon Balls had been turned to stone because of the Namekian Grand Elder's death, and it was thought it would be permanent at this point). There's also the fact his death triggered Goku's Super Saiyan transformation for the first time.
- During the Buu Saga, he is turned into stone by Dabura's spit, which is quickly undone when Dabura gets killed. Then he actually dies when Super Buu turns him into chocolate and eats him.
- In the Super 17 Saga of GT, Android 17 kills Krillin under Hell Fighter 17's influence after he tries to prevent Android 18 from joining them.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Unlike most of the human cast, Krillin continues to receive screentime and plot importance, and he actually comes through with the occasional cool moment at several critical points. He also got to marry Android 18, and have a daughter with her.
- Time to Unlock More True Potential: He has his hidden power awakened by Guru, giving him a fighting chance on Namek.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: To Android 18, who's as tall as Bulma and Chi-Chi.
- Took a Level in Badass: During the lead up to the Universe Survival Arc, he takes several huge ones to the point of being able to hold his own with Base Gohan and give Goku a decent fight. He can now throw multiple Destructo Discs and control their trajectories, just like Frieza's Death Saucers. He also improved his Solar Flare to 100x, which can blind even those with their eyes closed and disable the ability to sense ki for a time.
- Took a Level in Kindness: He started out as The Bully and a brat who often cheats and demeans Goku. After becoming friends with Goku, he becomes a nicer person and eventually develops a pure heart, as seen when he is able to hold the Spirit Bomb.
- Underestimating Badassery:
- He did this all the time as a child. He didn't think much of Goku when they first meet, seeing him as some goofy boy who had no real training. He is also dismissive of General Blue and Fangs the Vampire, seeing them as pushovers since he fought and got fairly far in the World Martial Arts Tournament. All three of them easily beat him up. He still didn't learn his lesson when he meets Chiaotzu, seeing him as a runt. He manages to beat Chiaotzu, although it's a tough match, which he barely won. Even as an adult and a more experienced warrior, he underestimates Frieza's true form since it is smaller and on the cute side compared to his other transformations.
- He gets this a lot himself both as a child and as a small adult on top of being a human. Nappa nearly lost his head because he was going to catch the Destructo Disc if Vegeta didn't warn him to dodge at the very last second and Frieza nearly gets cut to pieces by the same attack. He is also the one to throw the Spirit Bomb at Vegeta, who all but ignored him.
- Vocal Dissonance: Like Goku, Gohan, Goten and Yajirobe, his Japanese voice artist is a woman, even in his adult stage.
- Wake-Up Call Boss:
- Amusingly, he manages to be this to Piccolo during the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. He makes Piccolo reveal some of his true power and although Piccolo beats him, he's shocked that Krillin is still alive after he thought he killed him, making Piccolo muse that taking over the world may be tougher than he thought even if he kills Goku.
- He's also Goku's first true challenge at the 22nd World Martial Tournament. If Goku hadn't trained his tail, he would have lost to him.
- Warrior Monk: Was originally a student at a Shaolin temple, until he got tired of the other students picking on him for being so small, and decided to train under Roshi instead.
- Weaponized Stench: During the Tournament of Power, Krillin fights Majora who tracks him by smell. To bypass this, Krillin takes off one of his shoes and throws it in Majora's face, paralyzing him long enough for Krillin to knock him out of the arena.
- We Are "Team Cannon Fodder": Subverted. Yes, he's part of Team Cannon Fodder, but Krillin always gets a few good hits in against the villain of the day, and he doesn't lose his importance as a character until the Buu arc.
- We Have Become Complacent: He largely retires from fighting after the Cell Saga, preferring to settle down with his family. He reaches his lowest point in Super, where he's become so weak that he can be harmed by conventional bullets. When 18 criticizes him for having become such a weakling, stating that the warrior he had become was not the man she fell in love with, Krillin agrees to train with Goku again.
- Weak, but Skilled: This is his hat. Not having nowhere near as much raw strength or ki, he is a seriously cunning fighter. He ran rings around Nappa and Frieza when they tried to kill Gohan, and played a major part in the battle with Vegeta. As 18 is Unskilled, but Strong, it adds a facet to their Opposites Attract relationship.
- This is immediately apparent in his fights with Goku and Piccolo in the World Martial Arts Tournament. Despite clearly being outclassed by both in terms of raw power, he's able to fight evenly with them due to the sheer variety of the techniques he uses (some of which he came up with completely on the fly) and being able to exploit their weaknesses and openings. Notably, the only other person who has shown comparable skill is Master Roshi, who has centuries of experience.
- He's the first non-Crane-style student on Earth to learn how to fly (on his own, though with some idea of how it's done, and on-screen since we don't know when Goku learned). More notable is that he managed to develop a technique that could seriously wound or kill an opponent easily a hundred times his strength. He just rarely hits anyone with it.
- He's able to fire off the Genki-dama/Spirit Bomb (Goku collected the Genki) with some accuracy, though it wasn't enough to do in Vegeta.
- During their "image training" on the way to Namek, when Krillin compliments Gohan on his strength, Gohan tells him he was surprised by just how many different techniques Krillin threw at him.
- Even in the Cell Saga when stakes quickly became so high he was outmatched, he still kept his importance due to his skills at observation and resourcefulness - when things look their bleakest, Krillin is often the one to point out something important or give a pragmatic plan of action. And this extends to his ability to sense Ki, as more often than not, he is the first one to sense something from long-range, or is the quickest to sense the 'real' details of someone's new abilities (such as Trunks' not-so-hidden Ultra-Super-Saiyan). He even puzzles out Piccolo's sudden outburst after the Androids beat them. Yamcha takes his threat to betray them seriously while Krillin figures out pretty quickly that he is actually going to fuse with Kami for the power boost and is hiding his embarrassment with aggression. Acknowledged as such in Kai ("I can still sense Ki with the best of them!"), and even referenced in Battle of Gods when Roshi asks if Krillin is still able to follow the fight while the rest of them can't (he can't, but points for trying to sense God Ki).
- In the GBA Game Supersonic Warrior, he's forced to be Earth's champion when Goku ends up succumbing to the heart virus despite Trunks coming to the past. Turns out, "weak but skilled" means he has the best Ki control among the Z Warriors - since he has to keep up with superhumans and aliens, who simply have more of it than he does, he's had to use it wisely - and he's up to the task of merely protecting Earth. Specifically, he stops Super Saiyan Vegeta from destroying 18 before Taking a Level in Badass when Goku uses his free day of life from Baba to teach Krillin both the Kaioken and the Spirit Bomb. He ends up defeating Perfect Cell singlehandedly and even defeating Majin Buu with a well-timed Kamehameha.
- He's able to defeat Gohan in a mock fight in the Universe Survival arc because, as he points out, there are rules and restrictions in a tournament that prevent people like Gohan and Goku from just utterly obliterating their opponents, which puts weaker but more cunning fighters like himself on a more even playing field.
- The Worf Barrage: His Destructo Disc is able to cut through virtually anything, and had previously sliced off Frieza's tail with ease. The first sign of just how powerful Perfect Cell really is is when he is hit directly in the back of the neck with one... and the disc shatters while Cell is left without a scratch. Before that, in the Garlic Jr. Saga, one of Garlic Jr.'s mooks was able to simply catch a Destructo Disc and toss it aside like a frisbee.
- The Worf Effect: Gets this from time to time. He blows past the preliminary round of the 21st Martial Tournament as easily as Goku, yet is completely outmatched by Jackie Chun and he gets his butt handed to him by General Blue despite his good showing against the robot pirate that gave even Goku a hard time. He beats Chiaotzu who is second only to Tien in strength, yet loses to Goku who was playing with him. He is the first to fall to Tambourine and is nearly killed by Piccolo Jr at the 23rd Martial Arts Tournament. In Z, he manages to kill three Saibamen with one shot, but the blast did nothing to Nappa and Vegeta. In Super, he's explicitly shown to be aware of this and even develops a complex over how much weaker he is than the likes of Goku and Vegeta, until he realizes when fighting Frieza's forces that because he's been hanging around fighters like them, he's become insanely strong by human standards.
- World's Strongest Man: According to Yamcha and Toriyama, he's the strongest Human character. At the very least, he is definitely the strongest of the "ordinary" humans with no known unusual ancestry or outside physical enhancement.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: As seen in a movie, when Chi-Chi slaps him with a shopping bag and kicks him, he doesn't make an effort to fight back. This is more likely because she's the wife of Goku, his best friend, as he had no problem fighting Zangya in the Bojack movie.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: When Supreme Kai warns the Z Warriors that Babidi is capable of finding even the slightest trace of evil in someone's heart and using it to control them, Krillin points out that one of them wasn't always one of the good guys- Piccolo, who was literally made of Kami's pure evil. However, Vegeta is in the same room too. Babidi takes control of Vegeta rather than Piccolo, ultimately leading to Buu's revival.
- Your Size May Vary: Although never exactly tall, Krillin's height is wildly inconsistent, especially in the anime. The only time it is ever consistent is when he wears his gi. For instance, early on in Z, one shot shows him to be only slightly shorter than Goku while the next shows Raditz completely towering over him. In Super, he has shrunk significantly, but his height is at least somewhat more consistent.