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Heartwarming / Dragon Ball Z

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"Woah, little guy! You're a strong one, aren't you?"

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     Saiyan Saga 
  • It's far from a warm and fuzzy moment, but when Raditz was telling Goku about his origins and just scaring everyone with his mere presence, Gohan kept struggling against Bulma until he broke free and ran to hug his dad's leg. There's just something touching about a boy running to his daddy for protection.
  • Not to mention the efforts Goku took to try to keep Raditz from even catching sight of Gohan the minute things got dangerous. He immediately did his best to gently push Gohan out of Raditz's line of sight. Though sadly it didn't work out, it's heartwarming to see the extremely naive boy now a protective and loving father.
  • Though during many a tragic moment, all of Goku's actions from the moment Gohan was snatched by Raditz counts as this. From his heartbreaking yell of grief to his constant assurances to Gohan that "Daddy" will come and save him, to trying to urge Gohan to run when he got the stuffing beat out of him to the point that "Daddy can't get up right now," and culminating in the fact that Raditz threatening to kill his son was what got him off the ground to do his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • There's one filler episode in which, while running on the Snake Way to meet King Kai, Goku mets with Princess Snake, a beautiful woman who tries to seduce him, but, true to his usual self, Goku is oblivious to it. One moment that stands out is when Goku is given a herb that makes him sleep, after which Princess Snake brings a visor that allows her to see Goku's dreams: It's a vision of Chi-Chi and Gohan. Awww... It's probably the first scene that shows that, despite the many jokes among the fandom about him being not the best husband and father, he does truly care about them. (Though it later turns into Nightmare Fuel when the dream turns into, well, a nightmare, when Vegeta and Nappa then appear and we see a close-up of a horrified Chi-Chi before Goku wakes up, which in turn becomes Harsher in Hindsight when much later in Dragon Ball Super it's revealed that Goku Black killed Chi-Chi and Goten (who's similar to how Gohan looked in the Saiyan Saga) in an alternate timeline in a similar manner.
  • The whole orphanage filler episode "Escape from Piccolo" counts. Gohan meets up with a few orphans, hangs out with them, and gets to know them. Then, after he leaves them, he wants to meet up with his mom (who he hasn't seen in half a year), but he couldn't do it because he had to train for the Saiyans, or else the world would be destroyed and he has to give up his chance to be with her to protect her and the other humans.
  • The moment in the anime episode "Saibamen Attack" when Tien, Chiaotzu and Yamcha arrive to help Piccolo, Gohan and Krillin. Tien meets Gohan for the first time and happily notes the boy is much like his father.
    Tien: He's bold, like his father.
    • Just the fact that Yamcha, Tien and Chiaotzu are all perfectly comfortable fighting alongside Piccolo.
  • Pretty much any scene of Gohan and Piccolo will have an "aaaawwwww" factor to it, but Piccolo's Heroic Sacrifice in the Saiyan Saga is an obvious one to cite.
  • In episode 30 of the original dub, before their fight, Vegeta offers Goku a chance to join him in a partnership. Naturally, Goku declines, stating that he already has everything he could ever want.
    Vegeta: I'm only going to say this once, so listen carefully. I Vegeta, prince of all Saiyan's would like to offer you Kakarot the opportunity to stand beside me in this conquest. With Nappa gone I could use a good man. Think about it, we would rule the planets. You could have anything you desired. There's no one in the universe that could touch us. Nothing would be out of your grasp. Well, what do you say Kakarot?
    Goku: I have everything I could ever want right here on Earth. So I'll have to say, no thanks. Besides, I've seen how you treat your partners. Not much job security.
    • Before that, during the beginning of his fight with Nappa. Goku makes a point to land a blow for Yamcha, Tien, Chiaotzu and Piccolo. Stating each strike is for all four of his friends. Making it perfectly clear Goku not only considers Piccolo a good rival, but a true friend also.
  • While also a tearjerker, after Goku witnesses Vegeta's transformation into ape form, he quickly deduces that he was the monster who killed his grandfather. After his realization he promises to himself that if he dies the first thing he'll do is apologize to Gohan Sr. when he gets to Otherworld.
  • Near the end of the saga, as Vegeta crawls away in an attempt to escape. Krillin tries to end his life, but Goku stops him. In one version of the dub, Goku requests that Vegeta be spared. Because, despite everything he did, they're not animals and should demonstrate the advanced trait of mercy. He further explains that Vegeta reminds him of how Piccolo used to be, and points out that he's since become a better person. What's so heartwarming about this version of Goku's speech is not just that Vegeta gets a free pass or that it gives Goku a surprisingly in-character adaptational Last-Second Chance moment, but also that Goku puts Piccolo on so high a pedestal.
    Goku: When Piccolo first came to us, he was just as evil as his father had been. He nearly destroyed not only me, but the entire planet. And now...
    Krillin: (shocked) ...And now he's one of us.
    Goku: Right, and if someone as evil as Piccolo can change. I think anyone can.

     Namek Saga 
  • A more subtle one is Gohan's rock-steady, not-taking-no-for-an-answer insistence on climbing aboard a centuries-old spaceshuttle and traveling to an alien planet so that he could be the one to personally wish Piccolo back to life. Consider that, prior to this point, Gohan was a sweet, shy crybaby who rarely raised his voice. He's five, by the way!
    • Say what you want about Chi-Chi, but after the scene when Gohan gets upset and yells at her, the Ox-King and Bulma comforts her and they warmly convince her to allow Gohan to go to Namek. It was also heartwarming to see Chi-Chi happy again while she was cutting and styling Gohan's hair, showing that she loves her family very much, despite her getting upset. This also ends with Goku testing Gohan's strength to see if Gohan was really well enough to go to Namek.
    • Especially changing out of his "school clothes" on the ship into a Piccolo-style outfit in his honor. Now THAT was awesome. He'd wear it until trading it in for Freeza armor after the battle with the Ginyu Force. But he would continue to wear Piccolo-style outfits for the most part throughout his childhood, culminating with a full outfit, complete with weighted shoulder wear and turban, at the Cell Games. He'd even wear a turban occasionally as the Great Saiyaman.
      • This realization makes me view the Great Saiyaman as less Narm and more "awww". But only a little...
      • Think of it this way: it's Narm with the helmet, it's Awww with the bandana.
  • A minor moment in the anime, when Bulma calls Roshi to update him on what's happening on Namek. Roshi is listening to a radio report about the city that Nappa destroyed. The man on the radio states that the surviving citizens are working hard in rebuilding their city. It's a small thing, but it's nice to know Nappa failed to wipe out the entire area.
  • Goku's reaction that his deceased allies have made it to King Kai's planet. This is actually the first time he's spoken to them in 6 years.
    • In particular, Goku's joy upon hearing Chiaotzu is alright. Considering how little he and Chiaotzu normally interact. It's nice to see that Goku still considers him a good friend.
  • The Ginyu Force exist because Toriyama used to watch Super Sentai with his son. This is cute enough, but reaches CMOH levels because Toriyama mentions in his intros in the tankobon that he was often too busy with the manga to spend time with his family.
  • The scene from the Frieza Saga with Vegeta and Krillin in episode 83. It starts out with Vegeta telling Krillin that he has to hurt him badly in order for Dende to heal him and make him stronger. There's only one problem, Krillin can't bring himself to hurt Vegeta. It was sweet to see that Krillin had started taking Vegeta's presence on the good-guy's side for granted. Not to mention this is coming from the man who, just a few months ago had argued that Vegeta should be killed. He actually wanted to deliver the blow himself. Vegeta's reaction to Krillin's blubbering was fun to watch too. You could tell he really had no clue why Krillin was hesitating, though his reaction is more like a Funny Moment.
    Krillin: (with genuine concern) But I could hurt you if I beat you up too much!
    • Vegeta later pays him back by making his resurrection possible: the Dragon Balls resurrect people where they die, and as Namek had been destroyed everyone thought he couldn't be brought back until Vegeta suggested that they wish his spirit to Earth before resurrecting him.
  • During the Freeza saga, Kami and Popo's reunion when Piccolo's resurrection brings Kami back to life as well. Also the fact that Piccolo was happy that his own revival would revive Kami, considering that his father/previous incarnation would have given anything to be able to safely kill Kami.
  • In episode 95 of the anime, Piccolo deliberately pushed Goku aside. Taking Frieza's Death Beam attack for him, instead of being the intended victim like in the manga.
  • The fact that Krillin's death is the one thing to push Goku over the edge to becoming a Super Saiyan. Despite all the others Freeza killed, Krillin finally making him reach something only obtainable through pure, unadulterated rage shows just how strong the bond between the two stayed, despite the fact that Goku is phenomenally stronger than him.
    • When King Kai is begging Goku to kill Freeza instead of letting him power up to 100%, Goku's reasoning for avenging Krillin is a mix of heartwarming and Nightmare Fuel.
    Goku: Krillin can't be brought back to life with the Dragon Balls a second time and I REFUSE TO TAKE THE DEATH OF MY BEST FRIEND SITTING DOWN! He was a good man, one of the bravest I've ever known! The fate this bastard dealt him was the last thing he deserved! Before I'm done, he will bleed!
    • When Goku crushes Frieza's hand (to stop him from killing the fleeing Gohan and Piccolo), he cites the murders of everyone Frieza is responsible for. It starts out with a general mention of everyone, but then Goku narrows his focus to Krillin's death and says how he'll make Frieza pay for that death. Even earlier, during the transformation itself, the usually kind hearted Goku swears revenge against Frieza vowing to make him suffer. The death of his best friend clearly drove Goku over the edge.
      • During the fight itself Goku thinks multiple times about Krillin's death. During Frieza's power up he thinks bitterly of how Frieza had no right, with King Kai questioning Goku how letting Frieza power up could possibly honor Krillin's memory. Goku retorts that crushing Frieza at his best will ruin his reputation as the strongest, translating the idea that Krillin's killer deserves such a humiliation. When Frieza boasts that he'll blow Goku to pieces "like that little bald guy", Goku says "That little bald guy was my best friend, his name was Krillin." and screams out "Now die!" in response to Frieza's insult. Later on when Frieza has been utterly humilated, cut in half by his own attack, and begging Goku for mercy, Goku's response is to ask if Frieza honored Goku's pleas for mercy when he asked him to spare Krillin.
    • What about Gohan’s part to play in Goku’s transformation? After Krillin dies, Goku’s completely frozen from the shock, but it’s when Frieza threatens to kill his son that Goku finally and utterly loses it.
  • Dipping into Funny Moments, but King Kai taking the time to telepathically share some of his corny jokes with Goku while the latter is fighting off Frieza as a Super Saiyan helps to show just how happy King Kai is that his best student has achieved so much (especially when he was almost certain that Frieza would kill Goku in the earlier portions of the saga).
    King Kai: Goku! Uh, how many Super Saiyans does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    Goku: (smiles) How many?
    King Kai: There's no telling. But it only takes one to beat Frieza! (starts snorting in laughter)
    Frieza: (thinking) What's he smiling about?
    King Kai: Come home alive, Goku.
    Goku: Don't worry, I intend to. Thank you, King Kai.
  • As weird as it is to think of this early in the run, Vegeta and Goku have some in the final portion of the Freiza Saga. Aside from Goku helping out Vegeta with the Senzu bean, there is of course Vegeta's vulnerable, teary-eyed confessions about his past to Goku as he's dying. This is followed by his request that Goku finally let go of his honor in order to beat Frieza and avenge the Saiyans, and Goku proceeds to bury his old foe out of respect. When Vegeta is brought back to life by the Earth's Dragon Balls, he's uncharacteristically delighted to see that his rival has achieved the Super Saiyan form. Goku, meanwhile, welcomes Vegeta back to the world of the living and comments that he's glad they didn't bury Vegeta too deep in the ground.
    Goku: Thank you for saving my son's life...
    • When Goku (and Krillin) appear to be unable to be resurrected due them dying (apparently in Goku's case) on Namek and the Dragon Balls resurrecting people where they died, Vegeta's the one to suggest they use the Dragon Balls and move their spirits on Earth before resurrecting them.
  • The final episode in the Frieza Saga when you see Gohan and his family settling back into a normal life after all the crap they went through on Namek. The original music in the Funimation dub truly sells the feeling of being home again.
  • It's probably a filler scene (it's honestly hard to tell given how many are woven into the story) but there's a touching scene where Yajirobe and Master Roshi are discussing how far Goku has come since they first met him. Roshi comments on the Super Saiyan transformation that Goku has now achieved, somehow having enough clairvoyance to feel his old student's new powers even though they're light years apart. As noted elsewhere in the lore, the Super Saiyan transformation brings a lot of a saiyan's inner darkness to the surface and makes them a more primal killing machine. Roshi is able to sense the turmoil that Goku's soul is going through, commenting on how such power could tear a man apart. Roshi finishes the conversation by giving a prayer to God to bless Goku, citing that the man sorely needs it. It's touching that even though Roshi and Goku are worlds apart in power level, and the student has very much surpassed the master, the fatherly concern that Roshi held for him has never wavered.
  • There's a part where Frieza compliments Super Saiyan Goku for his god-like power, noting that the war they've waged across Namek was a clash that mere mortals could only dream of. As arrogant as Frieza is he does acknowledge Goku's power as a cut above the rest. That's not the touching part, that comes from Goku's response. Goku retorts that just because he's strong, it doesn't make his life more important than anyone else's. The pure hearted young man who was tutored by Gohan and Roshi to care about his fellow man, loved his friends and family, and gave of himself to protect others (even if it meant giving up his life) never went away — no matter how powerful he became.
  • The Namekians don't know where they can stay until they can use the Dragon Balls to move to a new homeworld, and say so when they ask Bulma for help finding such a place. Bulma's answer? They can just crash at her home, she has more than enough space for about a hundred more people. Doesn't even need to think about it. Then, while she's at it, she invites Vegeta too, as he doesn't have a place or money and she has it and more than enough food to sate even a Saiyan. When it was time to make the first round wishes, they graciously let them use the first three wishes and opt to wait another time to use it on them.
    • In the anime, Bulma tried to cheer herself up by attempting to predict Goku's fate with some fortune telling trick. As she gets ready, Dende helps her by creating a fire, and is soon joined by all the other Namekians. Who despite having never even met Goku, are all just as eager for him to return safely to Earth as his family and friends.
    • In the anime, When it's time for the Namekians to say their goodbyes, they thanked them all for their kindness and saving them, saying that they love them all.
  • When the gang realize that wishing Goku and Krillin back now would just send them back to where Namek used to be, basically sending them to their deaths, it is Vegeta who tells them the loophole into getting them back to Earth alive, by wishing them to their Checking Station. Vegeta had nothing to gain from this, so he most likely did it just to show some appreciation for their help in defeating Frieza.
  • In episode 107, when Bulma offers Vegeta a place to stay she actually makes a few good points (at least in the dub). Like she said, it is a good idea to loosen up a bit and see what life has to offer.
    • Later, though it was also hilarious. Watching Vegeta interact with Bulma's mother was heartwarming as well. Despite his obvious confusion and even discomfort, Vegeta never once lashed out at Mrs. Briefs.
  • After Freeza transforms into his fourth and final appearance, he quickly dispatches Dende and moves behind Gohan to send a Death Beam his way. Vegeta, who's just been healed from Krillin injuring him, is now strong enough to see Freeza's movements and kicks Gohan out of the way to save his life. While he brushes it off as just a display of his newfound strength, it's noteworthy for being one of the few times Vegeta helps someone with no strings attached (and this is long before his Heel–Face Turn).

     Garlic Jr. Saga 
  • At the start of the Garlic Jr. Saga, Kami visits Piccolo and not only acknowledges how much he's changed over the years. He even goes so far as to ask Piccolo if he would replace him as Guardian of the Earth. While Piccolo gruffly refuses the offer, it's a huge change in their relationship from where they'd started.
  • The aftermath of Garlic Jr.'s defeat allows for a very sweet moment, particularly for Gohan, Krillin, and Piccolo. Gohan initially finds himself alone in the remnants of the battle area, and, fearing the worst, opines that Krillin should have stayed in his protective shield during the fight's climax. However, he's soon relieved to see Kami, Mr. Popo and Krillin emerge from the rubble and (with tears in his eyes) jumps into Krillin's arms for a hug. Piccolo then immediately reveals his presence as well and emphasizes how proud he is of Gohan's success in stopping Garlic's plan. He and Gohan affirm how appreciative each of them are of their friendship before Gohan passes out from exhaustion. Even as filler, it's a nice bonding scene all around for three characters who have fought alongside each other for three sagas in a row, and it's especially satisfying that they get to celebrate a major win they were able to accomplish without Goku or Vegeta's input.
    Gohan: Piccolo! We did it ourselves! We didn't even need my dad this time.
    Piccolo: We needed your dad very much, kid. And he was here the whole time.
    Gohan: What? Are you sure?
    Piccolo: (places his hand on Gohan's shoulder) Of course I'm sure. He was here, inside of you, Gohan.
    Gohan: (chuckles) Hey, Piccolo?
    Piccolo: Yes?
    Gohan: (looks down, smiling) Gosh, you're such an incredible friend.
    Piccolo: (beat) You too, Gohan. You, too.

     Android/Cell Saga 
  • Goku revealing that, after he just barely escaped Namek, he landed on the planet Yardrat. Once Goku, with only a smile, shows he means no harm, the Yardrats immediately took a liking to him, healing him up and even repair his ship. Heck, they would end up teaching him one of his most iconic techniques, the instant transmission. The Yardrats really have big hearts for saving Goku, despite only a minute of info from them.
  • When Goku is in real danger of being killed by Android 19, all his friends rush to save him, regardless of the consequences.
  • While this is strictly in the first Funimation dub (and added dialogue where there was originally silence), it still counts: When Goku is brought to his knees by the heart virus, Gohan can be heard shouting “Daddy!” out of fear for his father and Goku responds, through clenched teeth “G-Gohan..stay!” to keep his son away from the battlefield.
  • A very subtle one considering how Saiyans are. As Goku is literally getting the life sucked out of him, Vegeta saves him. Although he did it because he wants to kill Goku himself, he waits until Goku is unconscious despite watching the fight since the beginning. Much like with Trunks, who waited until Vegeta lost consciousness while fighting Cell before intervening, Vegeta didn't want to hurt Goku's pride. Despite still hating Goku at this point, he had enough respect to wait until his fellow Saiyan couldn't fight anymore before jumping in. He even shows an ounce of concern about Goku fighting while he's sick, calling him an idiot.
  • When Future Trunks first came to the present timeline, the first two to really trust him and accept the offered drinks are Bulma and Gohan, his future mother and mentor/best friend respectively. Trunks has this little smile on as he watches the younger counterparts of the two people most important to him.
    • Also, while waiting for Goku, Trunks keeps stealing glances at Vegeta and again, having a small smile on his face as he meets his father for the first time.
  • During the three years before the androids' arrival, Piccolo is invited to train with Goku and Gohan. In one of the fillers, it's even revealed that Piccolo became a regular guest of the Son family. If ever his transition from a lonely Anti-Hero to a full-on True Companion is cemented, it's by this arc.
    • In the scenes involving that, it shows that Piccolo is almost like a brother to Goku given that he did train Gohan and, given how much of family he is in later seasons, makes sense. Given the two's history, seeing the two bond with Gohan is actually rather nice.
    • The look of absolute elation on Gohan's face when Goku suggests the three of them train together is also pretty heartwarming by itself.
    • There's a scene of Goku, Gohan, and Piccolo training in filler that is adorable on multiple levels.
      • Goku and Piccolo are sparring, while Gohan watches. Then the adults both go into a Let's Get Dangerous! moment, and start going at each other with everything they've got, to the point that they're moving too fast for Gohan to see them. Considering how many epic battles the two have had in the past, it's sweet to see them having a friendly match.
      • Despite Gohan being leagues behind his father and Piccolo at this point, he refuses to give up, throwing himself directly at his father to demand he get to be involved. Goku's shocked face quickly turns to a grin and despite knocking Gohan down easily with a "Hey Gohan, you're WAY too slow!" Gohan immediately charges back into the fray, creating a "Proud Papa" grin from Goku and, in the dub, a silent "That's my boy."
  • Episode 124, Bulma's concern for Vegeta when he accidentally injures himself while training for the Androids. She quickly rushes to his side when it's obvious he's badly hurt. Also notice that while he's still gruff and eventually refuses her help, Vegeta actually doesn't appear to mind her concern all that much.
    • Note, Yamcha also shows genuine concern for Vegeta's wellbeing. Despite his growing jealously towards the Saiyan prince, Yamcha doesn't let that stop him from being a compassionate person.
  • Piccolo sending Gohan to take Bulma and Yajirobe home while he and everyone go to face the Androids. Piccolo knows that everyone dies, and he knows Gohan barely makes it out alive too, so it stands to reason he wants to make sure he is as far away from trouble just to be safe.
  • When Kami decides to merge with Piccolo, Mr. Popo is shocked and in tears. Kami tells him to not worry, as Piccolo has changed and is no longer the demon king he once was. Seeing Kami so at peace with the idea of merging (even more than Piccolo), when a decade before he attempted to seal him permanently into a jar, or kill him while weakened (and himself), is very touching.
  • Almost all of the scenes with Chi-Chi taking care of Goku when he's sick. By the way she acted in the Saiyan and Frieza Sagas it is easy to believe that Chi-Chi doesn't really care for Goku and more-or-less tolerates him for Gohan's sake. Then, you have these series of scenes with Chi-Chi besides herself with worry for her husband and is begging him to get well in tears. It's at this moment that you realize that despite how harsh Chi-Chi is towards Goku, she dearly loves him.
    • These same scenes also applies to Yamcha. Seeing him helping Chi-Chi take care of Goku is just so touching. Even if he can't help with the androids, he can at least keep one of his oldest and dearest friends comfortable at the time he needs it the most.
    • As Goku slowly recovers from his illness, his friends become more eager for him to recover so he can fight the androids. This angers Chi-Chi, calling them selfish since they wanted Goku to fight before he's even out of bed and she won't let Goku fight until he's all better. No matter your feelings about Chi-Chi, she did have a valid point and it sweets seeing her take up for her husband.
    • As Goku is resting after a particularly harsh fight and having a heart failure due to not having taken the medicine for his heart, Future Trunks and Chi-chi are watching over him. Trunks wonders if coming to the past and giving Goku the medicine was worth it or not, since he may have changed the future for the worse. Chi-chi smiles and comforts the kid, telling him (paraphrased)...
  • Another scene is that after Goku had been deathly ill from the heart disease, he remarks to Chi-Chi and Master Roshi that he's going back out to fight the androids. Chi-Chi of course is against it at first, nearly losing her husband already with the heart disease. But the two eventually come to an agreement, knowing she can't stop her husband from going back out there, with the promise that he'll save the earth from the androids. of the RAREST things I've ever seen. While it's out of focus, we only see up to Chi-chi and Goku's shoulders. But from the look on Master Roshi's face, and the way Goku's hand tenderly squeezed Chi-chi's shoulder-leaning a bit closer to her's easy to assume that Goku actually gives his wife a good bye kiss! The whole scene screams, "Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other!"
    • Before then, Chi-Chi excitedly jumping out the second story window to greet Goku, who is finally out of bed and well again. He actually picks her up and starts spinning around with her out of sheer happiness. Being Goku, he does get carried away and accidentally tosses her into the air, but quickly catches her and apologizes. Of special note is that she doesn't get angry about it and they both laugh it off. It's an incredibly sweet scene and drives home how much they truly care for each other.
  • When Goku finally gets up after recovering from the heart virus, and teleports into the plane Gohan and Krillin are in. AWWWW!!
    Goku: Hi, Krillin!
    Krillin: Goku!! (tackles Goku while crying)
    • Leans a little into CMOF territory when Krillin's tackle sends them both smashing out of the side of the plane.
    • Also worth noting is that Gohan just stands there and stares at his father, tears in his eyes, without saying a thing until Goku smiles at him, reaches over and ruffles his hair. At which point, the fact Goku is alive finally connects and Gohan declares how much he’s missed him.
    • It's also heartwarming since before Goku arrive, everyone was pessimistic about being able to handle Cell and the androids. As soon as he arrives, everyone's mood jumps up, even Piccolo's.
  • While it counts as tearjerker too, 17’s reaction to seeing Piccolo getting blasted by Cell and is appalled by it says a lot about this present-day version of 17. Over the last two episodes, 17 and Piccolo beat the crap out of each other in an epic fight and now 17 is showing major concern for his opponent against a sadistic monster like Cell. Even calling Cell a “beast” for how he just ruthlessly “killed” Piccolo.
  • As Android 16 marches off to stop Cell from absorbing Android 17, he gives this goodbye to Android 18...
    Android 16: By the way, I enjoyed the time we spent together. You guys are (pause) cool!
    • The pause before he says "cool" is endearing in its own way. It's almost like an uncool dad or teacher saying it to hip teenagers.
  • When Krillin has the opportunity to deactivate Android 18 but can't bring himself to do it. This could even double as a Tear Jerker.
    Krillin: I can't do it. I love her.
    • Shortly after this moment, Krillin smashes the remote to 18’s surprise. Although confused, Android 18 is very visibly moved by Krillin’s decision.
  • When Vegeta decides to let Cell absorb #18 and Krillin has decided to spare her life, Trunks intervenes. With his current level of power, he could easily have blasted her to bits, but instead he tells her to run. In that moment, it didn't matter what #18's future counterpart had done, all Trunks saw was a helpless young woman, no different from the countless other victims in his time.
    • While Trunks is dealing with Cell, Android 18 is trying help 16 to his feet to escape. When it was taking too long, Krillin shows up to help 18 carry 16. The look on 18’s face is priceless, as she looks touched by Krillin’s willingness to help them despite the trouble she and the other androids have caused.
  • As Android 18 is being absorbed by Cell, which is pure Nightmare Fuel, Krillin rushes Cell yelling “You let her go!” It just goes to show how Krillin has accepted his feelings for 18 and is more concerned about saving her than trying to beat Cell.
  • Krillin choosing to help Android 16 against Trunks’ wishes also counts. Trunks is understandably against helping 16 because of what the Androids have done in his timeline, but Krillin reminds Trunks how things are different now and that an Android could save the world this time. Krillin’s choice pays off big time, twice! First with Android 16 motivating Gohan to “let it go” against Cell which leads to Cell's defeat and then much later with in Dragon Ball Super with 17 winning the Tournament of Power and wishing back the other universes erased during the tournament.
  • Upon arriving on New Namek while looking for a Namekian to replace Kami, as well as obtain a new set of Dragon Balls. Goku and the Namekian's meet properly for the first time. While Goku is initially startled upon meeting so many people who look just like Piccolo. The Namekian's are thrilled to meet him, happily greeting Goku as their savior. Though Goku is a bit embarrassed, since he did technically "fail" to save their home planet. The Namekian's don't see it that way and are more than happy to help him.
  • Seeing Goku and Gohan spending time in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. It is somewhat rare to see Goku spend time with just Gohan, even if they are training to fight Cell. You can just see the love they have for each other through all the scenes, and how Gohan practically hero worships his father to the point that the notion of becoming stronger than him leaves him in a state of disbelief. More touching is the scene in the anime when you see Goku and Gohan sleeping together peacefully with content smiles on their faces.
  • It’s worth noting that while Chi-Chi is usually accused of being too pampering and protective of Gohan, we see in the Time Chamber that Goku is just as guilty of it. The main hurdle he and Gohan have to overcome is that Goku can’t make himself go all-out because he’s afraid of hurting Gohan. This issue, while Goku is finally able to push past it in the Time Chamber, persists through the rest of the series, with Gohan usually calling his father out with “Stop holding back!” It’s a rather sweet concept that as much as Goku loves to fight and loves a challenge, he can’t stomach hurting his son.
  • Android 16's interaction with Dr. Briefs' cat, Tama/Scratch.
    • The warmth he shows towards all life, really. Even the other two Androids, 18 and 17. Before he fights Cell, 18 is confused about what he's doing and he tells her he enjoyed the time they spent together and thinks they're cool.
  • Gohan asking Piccolo to make him a battle outfit modeled off of Piccolo's. The latter is momentarily surprised by this, but then immediately complies, a warm smile on his face.
    Gohan: You were my first teacher, after all.
    Piccolo: Yeah, kid. It'll make you look really sharp.
    • Gohan dressing as Piccolo takes on further significance when he ends up saving the world. Piccolo Daimao nearly conquered the planet and was stopped by a child. Fourteen years later, that child's son saves the planet while dressed as Piccolo, taking the former Demon King's Heel–Face Turn a step further.
  • Gohan and Krillin's reunion with Dende.
  • In a filler episode, as Goku is relaxing with Krillin before the Cell Games, he admits to Krillin that he isn't sure that if they are strong enough to defeat Cell, but he doesn't want Chi Chi or Gohan to worry and he wants to spend as much time with his family should anything happen.
    Goku: These are precious times, Krillin. Being together is everything. That's all that really matters to me right now.
  • During the eleven days before the Cell Games, Krillin shamefully tells Goku that he had the chance to kill Android 18 and prevent Cell from becoming perfect, but didn't do it. Without asking for an explanation, Goku just says, 'You had your reasons'. Just looking at Krillin's face you can tell that the weight of the world was taken off his shoulders.
  • A particularly unexpected one comes from Vodka, a mob boss gathering Dragon Balls. When confronted by a totally oblivious Goku, he activates a protective dome to hide in. As the dome closes, he urges his henchmen to get in as well.
  • Goku's absolute faith in Gohan's ability to beat Cell is certainly this, as well as Gohan not realizing that he has surpassed his dad because he truly believes that his father was holding back throughout the entire fight.
    • On the opposite end of the spectrum, Piccolo's absolute refusal to stand by as Gohan gets pummeled early in the fight is another moment. In particular, he gives Goku a very severe What the Hell, Hero? speech for risking his son's life on a gamble.
      Piccolo: [after hearing Goku's reasoning for letting Gohan face Cell alone] Enough of this game, Goku! You're wrong about your son. Gohan may have that power, but it doesn't matter! He doesn't thirst for blood and mayhem! He isn't a fighter like you!
      Piccolo: Do you want to know what he's thinking? He's not thinking about strength OR competition! He's wondering why his father is standing there, letting him die! And so your son may be the most powerful person in the world, but he's also a scared eleven-year-old boy! I'd rather DIE than wait.
    • And keep in mind, Piccolo is the same person who put a scared five-year-old Gohan in front of two powerful and ruthless aliens, and chewed him out for being a coward. It really shows how much he changed from the cold, merciless demon king.
    • It's also worth mentioning that Piccolo's sentiment was distinctly Not Hyperbole. As he finished chewing out Goku, he begins taking his weighted clothing off, fully prepared to die fighting Cell in order to free Gohan.
  • This may also balance with Tear Jerker, but when Gohan cries and blames himself for Goku's death and not finishing Cell off, Krillin tells him not to be hard on himself and that he fought well.
  • After Cell kills Future Trunks (or at least VERY badly wounds him), it's a wonder Vegeta didn't go Super Saiyan 2 himself. The reason? The look on his face says it all: whatever jealousy he felt towards Trunks, whatever annoyances he had with him, Trunks is HIS SON. He'd called Trunks as such before, but in that single moment, the words "my son" finally hit him like a ton of bricks. The unbelievable rage he unleashes on Cell just solidifies this.
    • As Vegeta has his epiphany he rates Cell's murder of Trunks as more important than the android having tricked him and mocked his ancestry.
    • Made better when Trunks is revived and Yamcha tells him what Vegeta did.
    • And made even better when Trunks returns to the future and tells his mother about it. Bulma is moved practically to tears.
    • Better yet, before Future Trunks leaves, he waves/salutes goodbye - this is as close to Vegeta saying "Good job, son" as he'd ever allow.
  • When Gohan thinks that all is lost, he notes that at least everyone is going to die together, and that they'll be reunited with Goku soon.
  • During the Beam-O-War in the Cell Saga when Tien, Yamcha, Krillin, and Piccolo try to support Gohan, they all lament how Goku and Gohan changed them one way or another.
    Piccolo: No, Gohan, I won't let you die all alone out there, 'cause, kid, you were the first person to ever show me what it means to have a friend.
    Krillin: Don't know why I'm getting up again. It'd be much easier to keel over. I know back in the day, I never would've done this. Guess I only have Goku and Gohan to blame. Those two guys really changed me for keeps. And you know, someday, I'll get them for that.
    Tien: Surpassing Goku has been my goal ever since I became a martial artist. Without him, there's no way I would've come this far. And how did I repay him? I stood there and watched him die. I will not make the same mistake with his son.
    Yamcha: Goku, I hope you know how great a kid you've got. Like father, like son, right? Well, I won't let you down.
  • During Gohan's final struggle against Cell, the entire conversation that he has with his father has heartwarming written all over it, but what sticks out the most to me is this exchange (in English)
    Gohan: I haven't changed... not at all..
    Goku: Would you STOP attacking yourself! I don't know where you got it in your head that there's something wrong with you, 'cause there's not!
    • Gohan was crippled by regret and self-doubt, and resigned himself to defeat after his left arm was heavily injured. Cell taunted him on whether he was gonna give one last attack, and Gohan just dismisses the notion. As Cell charges his attack, Gohan thinks to himself believing the moment to be truly the end of the Earth. And then, he hears a familiar, reassuring voice:
    Goku (voice only): (laughs) You've got to be joking. Giving up already? Well, that's nothing like the Gohan I know!
    Gohan (shocked): D-Dad!? (looks around) Where are you!?
    Goku: The Other World. And thanks to King Kai, I can communicate with you telepathically... I know you have the power to beat him, Gohan, I've sensed it all along. Now give him the biggest Kamehameha you've got. I know you can this, Gohan. I promise.
    Gohan: No, Dad. I can't even use one of my arms anymore. And my energy's been cut in half.
    Goku: Remember what you learned in our training, and trust yourself. It may feel like Cell weakened you. But really what's draining your strength is your own self-doubt. Just don't listen to it, okay?
    Gohan: Okay. It's all starting to become clear now, Dad. I've got one arm, but that's all I need!
    Goku: And don't even think about feeling sorry for me because King Kai and I couldn't be having any more fun here if we tried!
    Gohan: B-But Dad - It's my fault you died. It's all because I got carried away. If only I finished Cell sooner, I would have-
    Goku: Hey, we don't know what would have happened. For all we know, that might have been the best move. Sometimes life's just too uncertain to have regrets.
    Gohan: Yeah, but-
    Goku: If you want to blame anyone for this, blame Cell! Make him pay for what he's done!
    Gohan: I will!
    • That same scene is even more heartwarming in Japanese, partly because of the score used, but mostly what Goku said in his first line that was poignant:
    Gohan (thinking to himself): This is it. It's all over. The Earth will perish.
    Goku (voice only): That's nonsense, Gohan! Saiyans never give up, Gohan!
    Gohan (shocked): Father! (looks around) W-Where are you!?
    Goku: I'm in the afterlife. I'm able to contact you with Kaio-sama's help....You have the blood of the Saiyans: a warrior race. Attack with your best Kamehameha and you'll win. I'm very sure about that.
    Gohan: B-But I only have one arm, and half my ki's gone...
    Goku: You can do it! Believe in your own power, Gohan! You are the strongest in the entire universe!
    Gohan: I-I understand, Father! I'll do my best!
    Goku: I'm doing well and I'm happy in the afterlife with Kaio-sama, so you'll have to live well on Earth from now on.
    Gohan: I'm sorry, Father. You died because I was too arrogant...
    Goku: Gohan, don't be sad. I'll always be beside you whenever you think of me.
    Gohan: But-
    Goku: If this is what you feel, avenge my death, and defeat Cell!
    Gohan: Yes!
    • The image of Goku's spirit helping Gohan during the Beam-O-War It is both heartwarming and awesome. Even dead, Goku supports his son.
  • After Gohan has just defeated Cell, the Z Fighters (including Vegeta) all gathered with smiles on their faces around an exhausted but smiling Gohan after his victory.
    • The thoughts of the warriors as they come to Gohan's aid, knowing that they are completely outmatched against Cell, but still can't leave themselves to let Gohan fight him alone. Really, that entire episode is a combination Tearjerker, Moment of Awesome, and Heartwarming Moment for almost all the Z Warriors. Piccolo, Tien, Yamcha, and Krillin note how much having Goku and Gohan in their lives has changed them, spurring them to put it on the line to help Gohan after Goku's sacrifice. Even Vegeta finally gets moved, by Goku's Death, Gohan's Fight, and the Z-Warrior's Struggle, to finally finish breaking that shell he has around himself. This moment marks his biggest character development, as he fights to help former enemies and rivals he's only held at arms length. The moment when you see his Big Bang Attack mark the absolute end of the fight by giving Gohan the chance to finish Cell, for all of these reasons, will give you Goosebumps.
    • Goku's words to Gohan: "Gohan, I'm so proud of you!"
  • Goku wishing his friends well as he progresses to the afterlife, followed by everyone reminiscing on his importance and strength. Scenes of Goku's adventures throughout the series are interspersed with their dialogue.
    Krillin: You know, even though he was saying good-bye, it didn't make me too sad because he was so cheery about it.
    Yamcha: Yeah, well Goku's been that way ever since he was little. It's like nothing ever got to him. He's always had that goofy smile on his face. Guess that's just... him.
    Krillin: (chuckles)
    Piccolo: Hmph. Goku has, and always will, be Goku. He gave me a Senzu Bean when I was trying to kill him. Even with a villain like me, he always assumed the best. Nothing can take that from him.
    Gohan: Dad, I know what I'll remember about you. I remember when we were up against Frieza, and knew we couldn't win. How you just walked right up to him. And whenever things seem tough for me, I think of you walking forward like that, and it makes me strong. You've given us so much, Dad. Thank you, for it all.
  • Krillin doing his damnedest to come up with a wish that will help out Android 18, eventually settling for the removal of the bomb from her chest. The dedication stuns everyone. 18, while defensive, thanks Krillin for his act, setting the standard for their eventual relationship.
  • Trunks saying goodbye to everyone before returning to his timeline. This includes Bulma expressing pride in what he's become and wishing him safety, and Trunks sharing a silent salute with Vegeta, the latter having finally accepted him as a son.
    • Goku and Gohan get another moment during this scene, with the former's spirit showing up to pat his son on the shoulder. Gohan, stunned, turns around, looks to the sky, and smiles at Goku's beaming face.
      Gohan: Father.
      Goku: (quietly) Gohan.
  • In the final episode of the Cell Saga, appropriately named "Free the Future", we see Trunks with all the power he had gained from the past not only take out the androids who murdered his friend and mentor, Gohan, but also Cell before he could steal his time machine and repeat the terror from the current timeline. Although it is a bittersweet ending since all the Z-Fighters are dead and there are no Dragon Balls (on earth anyway) to reverse the decades long damage the androids cause, it still gives a feeling of closure knowing that all the brave warriors had finally been avenged, especially Gohan who placed the hope of the world onto Trunks before he died. Trunks said it best just before he kills Cell, "The nightmare's over!".
  • With the knowledge that Android 16 was based on his dead son, Gero's fierce insistences that 17 and 18 stay away from him seem almost protective, especially when 18 points out he had already gotten rid of all the previous androids.
  • In the manga, the scene where Chi-chi just breaks down crying when she was told Goku was dead and he's not coming back. Other than the time he was bedridden, this is the only time we see how much she really cares for Goku. Doubles as Tear Jerker especially in the manga where Gohan and Gyumao apparently couldn't console her.
  • It may not seem like it, but this scene is a massive one by Vegeta standards. Vegeta has a massive ego, and, at this time, refused to believe anyone could be even close to his level. This is on top of how much of a massive dick he's been to Trunks at this point. The fact that he introduces Trunks as his son, boasts about how Trunks is a true Super Saiyan, and claims that Trunks is only slightly weaker than Vegeta himself (saying that the differences is negligible) is massive praise by his standards.

     Majin Buu Saga 
  • The lyrics to the Japanese Ending Theme "We Were Angels" is an unabashedly warm-hearted celebration of Love, Friendship and Hope.
    In the Deep Reaches of Time are Buried Memories,
    It's true, We Were Once Angels,
    From the Top of the Sky We Spread the Seeds of Love
    So that The World may one day be Free of Sadness
    Hey, do You see the Wide Blue Sky Above You?
    Doesn't The Sight Fill Your Heart with Courage? Even Now!
    To My Friends, Even Though They Have Lost Their Wings,
    They Still Hold A Mysterious Power Within,
    To My Friends, Who Embrace The Light and Dare To Dream
    Hey Look! That Rainbow In Your Glittering Eyes,
    Still Shines On!
  • The development of Gohan and Videl's relationship throughout the early parts of the saga, as well as in Z in its entirety.
    • The most heartwarming part is when Gohan departs to train with Kibito. Videl tries to go along, but while Gohan wants her there, she realizes her relative inexperience at flying along is holding him back. When she goes to leave, she tells Gohan to stay safe not just for the rest of the world, but specifically for her.
    • Another contender is the during the flying lessons, shortly after Videl cuts her hair. Is it her continuing to intimidate him? Is it overly romantic? Is it Gohan making a fool of himself in front of her? Nope. It's just the two of them sitting in a field together and casually talking about this and that like a pair of normal kids. In a show that constantly zigg-zaggs between huge battles, goofy comedy, and awesome visuals, just how relaxed and simple the whole scene is has a bit of a sweet feel to it. Bonus points for this being the one relationship (out of Goku and Chi-Chi, Vegeta and Bulma, and Krillin and 18) that we actually get to see unfolding naturally.
  • After such a traumatic childhood, seeing Gohan having a normal(ish) life as a dorky high school student, complete with awkward girl problems, is absolutely adorable, even if it doesn't last very long.
  • Another minor "Aww, Look! Vegeta Does Have a Heart!" moment, but when Vegeta accidentally hits Trunks while they were training together and making him cry, he looks horrified and regretful for having hurt his son. Then he makes it up to him by taking him to the park as he promised he would if Trunks landed a blow on him. Also given the general sense of the way Saiyans were raised, it says a lot that Vegeta regrets hurting his son while they were training together! And the second episode of Dragon Ball Super shows Vegeta follow through with that promise and then some.
    • Vegeta's relationship with his son in general, really. With Future Trunks he was in full "Well Done, Son" Guy mode, but seven years later with his "real" son it's clear that he loves Trunks even if he isn't always explicit about it.
    • During the Junior Division of the tournament, one young fighter loses and begins to cry. Mr. Satan appears at his side, encouraging the boy and hoisting him up on his shoulders for the fans to celebrate. He might be a blowhard, but Mr. Satan really does appear to mean well.
    • When Trunks defeats Goten in the final of the World Tournament Junior Division, Goku "aww"s over his boy losing. Vegeta laughs and claps him on the shoulder, joking that he can't win them all. He's not gloating (not much anyway), he's not going out of his way to rub it in, he's just cheerfully joking with him like the proud father he is. It's arguably the friendliest their never-ending rivalry ever gets.
    • While Goku and Vegeta are pigging out before their matches during the World Tournament, Gohan and Videl show up to join them and inform them that Trunks knocked out Hercule with a single punch. Vegeta says absolutely nothing, just looking at his meal- and smiling. This is a fighter who rarely smiles genuinely unless he's sneering at his opponent, and he's smiling because he's damn proud of his son.
  • Piccolo's response to Goten and Trunks calling Goku a coward for not being there when Vegeta fought Majin Buu: getting outraged and attempting to defend him.
  • Who does the gang run into when they arrive at the Tournament? The original Tournament Announcer! He's overjoyed to see them since he thought the last few matches without them were kind of boring, and he's quick to call out that one of them killed Cell and not Mr. Satan (he thought it was Goku, which was a good guess). It's quite a sweet reunion for such a minor character, and shows how far these friends have come.
  • Krillin and Android 18 getting married, having a family, and becoming Good Parents. Krillin has been beaten up, stabbed, even killed a few times and is constantly the Butt-Monkey. Android 18 was forcibly converted into an android, got to see her brother eaten, and got absorbed herself. By the time the Buu saga rolls around 18 is accepted by the Z warriors, she and Krillin are Happily Married, and they have a daughter.
    • Further proof of this is when she ends her match with "Mighty Mask" (actually Goten and Trunks); she uses a miniature Kienzan, something she clearly learned/practiced from her husband.
  • When 18 is going up to fight in her match against "Mighty Mask" at the tournament, Chi-Chi, Bulma, Ox-King, and Oolong cheer her on, along with 18's daughter. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, 18 sports a slight Luminescent Blush. The cyborg who once tried to kill Chi-Chi's husband and fought against Bulma's son and the rest of their friends now has these same women as friends. That's right, 18 has friends.
    Ox-King: Good luck, 18!
    Chi-Chi: I guess since neither Gohan or Goku are here, I'll just cheer for 18!
    Bulma: (Cheers with her)
    Oolong: Get him, get him!
    Marron: Win, Mommy!
    18: (Happy Tsundere blush)
  • Goten and Goku's first meeting in the anime. Goten is seven years old and has never met his father before; he hides behind Chi-chi's skirt for several seconds, staring in silence... then abruptly screams "Daddy!" and rushes into his arms. Even Piccolo was smiling.
    • The entire reunion scene, especially in the anime, is one big heartwarming moment. In it you see all of Goku's friends and family in tears at seeing him again after seven years. Gohan, Oolong, Yamcha, and Krillin ran up to him and hugged him. Goku's voice also became tender when he speaks to Chi-Chi, saying that he missed her.
  • Before Goku goes into battle against Vegeta he gives Gohan words of encouragement so he can unlock his hidden power again so he can stop Buu's resurrection. After taking in his dad's words, Gohan laments about how good it is to hear his father's voice again and it's a shame his one precious day on Earth got so messed up.
  • Vegeta preparing to sacrifice himself to kill Buu, finally revealing that he has a heart and embracing his son Trunks for the first time... topping it all off with a "You've made me proud." After spending the entirety of the previous major arc not even giving his family a second thought, this was a true indication of just how far the Saiyan Prince had come. It would've been even more heartwarming if Buu hadn't survived and Vegeta hadn't brought back to life the next day.
    • Goten was so moved by this scene, he sucked his thumb briefly.
    • He earns double bonus badass-Heartwarmer points when he asks if he will see Kakarot in the afterlife. Piccolo, never one to mince words, point blank explains that while Goku was rewarded for all the good deeds he's done, Vegeta's history is too brutal, and he will ultimately be sentenced to Hell. Vegeta only smiles, with his "of course" face and tells Piccolo to run.
      • Then, during the explosion, two things happen. First, Piccolo tries to go back and save him (he's of course stopped), and at least in the dub version, there is a moment where the blast radius reaches its apex that underneath Vegeta's theme, his screams are cut off, at which point no one can claim it's not a Tear Jerker.
      • Krillin stops Piccolo, then he later tried to stop Vegeta himself only to be prevented by Piccolo.
    • Krillin's reaction to Vegeta's death shows just how far Vegeta had come, as just a decade earlier Krillin had to be talked out of executing him.
    • Pretty much any time the incredibly emotionally stunted Vegeta and #18 show that they care, especially #18 - at least with Vegeta you get the constant idea that Earth has been slowly growing on him through the series; with #18 you get a while before she shows, however briefly, that she actually cares about anyone - until then you get the idea that she's just hanging around everyone out of habit rather than friendship. Her yelling out to Krillin before his Heroic Sacrifice against Super Buu was a nice "awww, she does care" moment, even if she and everyone else did die immediately afterward.
    • We even see that Vegeta cares for Gohan and Goten, as well; when everyone believes that Buu killed Gohan, Vegeta is enraged and mentions this as one of his main reasons for wanting to kill Buu. Later on, after Earth is destroyed, Vegeta snaps at Goku, not that he let his son die, but that he let their sons die.
    • Worth noting as well is that after Earth is destroyed and both Vegeta and Goku’s sons are killed, Goku goes complete numb. He stares at the ground and makes absolutely no response to Vegeta’s ranting, only sits in complete silence with a look of utter despair on his face that he let his children die.
  • Everything about the episodes where Hercule/Mr. Satan and Majin Buu become friends. Best example; earlier on, Mr. Satan tricks Buu into lying down so he can take a picture of himself standing triumphantly over Buu as "proof" that he "defeated" Buu. But after he and Buu have actually become friends (and had helped save a puppy from a fatal wound), Mr. Satan remembers the picture and, realizing how wrong it was to take advantage of Buu's naivete, tears it up and throws it away. Such a far cry from when he was willing to take undeserved credit in the previous saga.
    • Let's not forget Buu's healing the blind kid earlier. It showed to the audience that Buu could be a good person once he got past his serious lack of knowledge about right and wrong — something that Hercule was quite willing to fix upon learning this himself. Unfortunately, however, this quickly turned into terrifying when Buu flies off to get some milk for the blind boy. He finds an innocent man simply unloading from a truck, then proceeds to turn this man into a carton of milk. Milk that he then gives to the child. It's people. This turns the meeting with the boy into a Red Herring, while this showed that Buu could be a good person, to those who thought that Buu is going to turn over a new leaf because of his meeting with the boy. Then right after he leaves the boy, Buu destroys yet another city.
    • When Fat Buu first transformed into Super Buu, Super Buu lunged at Hercule, but at the last moment he had enough restraint to not kill Hercule, instead opting to fly away. And this was after force-feeding himself to a gunman until he explodes.
  • Related to the above, Mr. Satan/Hercule is the only character to get Buu to not kill people, by simply asking him to not do that rather than immediately fighting him. The only other character to even consider doing that is Goku.
  • Upon returning to Otherworld after his 24 hours is up, Goku checks with King Yemma if Gohan had checked in yet. Yemma checks for him and confirms that Gohan didn't check in and Goku is ecstatic that his son's not dead and flies around Snake Way cheering and immediately Instant Transmissions to him once he finds Gohan's energy signal to be with him and helps Gohan train with the Z Sword.
  • After has all his hidden power unlocked, Gohan has a heartfelt goodbye with his father before going off to face Majin Buu, with Goku believing this is the last time he'll see Gohan until his eventual death. It wasn't but still, incredibly touching. What really sells this moment is that Gohan gives his father what he believes to be his final hug. You can tell that Gohan is very reluctant to let go and looks close to tears when Goku says that this is the final time they will meet before Gohan dies and join him.
    Goku: Okay, go be a hero.
    • In the Japanese text this scene is mix with a bit of a tear jerker with Goku lamenting that Gohan has grown up and he didn't get the chance to see it. You can tell that Goku does regret staying dead, but did it because he truly believed he was protecting everyone.
    • And later when he returns to Earth, Gohan asks Kibito to change his garb to resemble Goku's as a way to honor his father as the greatest warrior who ever lived.
  • While it is an Anime exclusive example, King Kai pulling strings to have Krillin and Yamcha join the rest of the powerful warriors of the universe is pretty sweet, with him stating that they more than done enough to earn their spot among them.
  • The battle with Kid Buu seems almost like it was structured just to finally get Vegeta and Goku to become friends (or at least reduce the animosity down to a friendly rivalry). This first comes into play when they start swapping out fights with Buu. When each sees the other struggling, they step in to let the other recuperate. In Vegeta's case, this was particularly meaningful, since he was still technically dead, and to die again would erase him from existence.
  • Vegeta's speech to the humans during the final battle with Kid Buu, where he encourages them to raise up their arms to give Goku the power he needs to create a Spirit Bomb big enough to destroy Buu, and tells them to "consider this your first step to becoming a warrior race." While it does take a while for the humans to get the hint, it's saying a lot when it comes from the guy who tried to destroy the Earth himself a decade earlier.
  • Vegeta dies fighting Majin Buu and is sent to Hell for the evil deeds he's done in the past. Flash forward about three days and a massive epic fight, in which Uranai Baba briefly brought Vegeta back from the dead because Goku needed help. Dende wishes for Porunga to bring everyone who isn't evil back to life, and Vegeta is resurrected along with everyone else. The look on his face is just amazing.
    Goku: And guess what else, the evil people weren't wished back. The verdict's in, you're a good guy!
    • It must further be stressed that Vegeta outright got himself in a Deal with the Devil to get the power boost he would need to fight Goku, then murdered innocents to rile him into fighting him. Yet, during his short time in Hell and after coming back to fight to save the universe, he learned his lesson, learned to let go of his hatred, pettiness and selfishness, enough to propose the plan of using the Namek Dragon Balls to bring back every one of Buu's victims, except the bad guys! At this very instant, he didn't remotely care or expect coming back to life, it was a perfectly selfless wish!
  • Goku begging the people of Earth for their energy. His childlike voice is pretty Narmful, but is immediately recognized by the characters he's met over the course of Dragon Ball. #8, Suno, Upa, Bora, Lunch, all of them readily lend him their energy out of gratitude for his heroic deeds. Even #17, a cyborg who was made to kill Goku, offers his energy out of the goodness of his heart.
  • As Goku's about to throw the Spirit Bomb and kill Buu, he warns Vegeta to get out of the way. Unfortunately, Vegeta's too weak from having had to distract Buu to move. Despite everyone (even some confused villains who were watching), including Vegeta pressuring him. Goku can't bring himself to sacrifice Vegeta.
  • After Goku throws the Spirit Bomb and kills Buu, he floats down slowly to the face-in-the-mud Vegeta, holding out a thumbs up, saying "we make a pretty good team after all, don't we?" Vegeta's head slowly lifts, smirks, and he returns the thumbs up.
    • In the English dub, they even have a good laugh together.
    • Also the little speech Goku gives about hoping Kid Buu returns as a good person is a heart-warmer, showing just how forgiving Goku can be, especially since unlike Freeza and Cell who were intelligent and chose to be evil, Buu was just a psychotic child who didn't know better.
    "Maybe you'll come back someday as... as a better person, I hope. I'd like that. Perhaps we'll have a little one on one. Adios. I'll be waiting for you, Majin Buu!"
  • As Super Saiyan Goku pushes the Spirit Bomb towards Kid Buu, it shows everyone cheering Goku on; Dende and the Kais on planet Namek, Goku's friends and family on Kami's Lookout... and in Other World, King Kai, nodding happily and saying "I taught him that technique!", and King Yemma holding up the large TV he's watching the fight on and going "attaboy!". Even the villains in Hell are watching, and Babidi is rejoicing (since Buu turned on him and killed him). It all culminates in Dende, Vegeta, Gohan, and Piccolo calling out Goku's name, before they (along with Goten, Trunks, Old Kai, and Kibito Kai) emphatically shout "DO IT!" as Goku releases the bomb.
  • Hercule tries to get Fat Buu to wake up after Kid Buu spits him out and says that Fat Buu is his only friend, which is kind of depressing. Luckily by the end of DBZ, Hercule has genuinely befriended him and he has Buu as a permanent roommate.
    • Also, him protecting Buu from Vegeta as the latter prepares to finish Buu off, as it shows just how much their friendship meant to Hercule. He even goes so far as to say that he'd take full responsibility for him to make sure Buu would never cause havoc again.
    • From Vegeta's point-of-view, he tries to kill good Buu, but only in order to protect everyone. When Hercule throws himself between Vegeta and Buu, despite his threats and big talk, Vegeta can't bring himself to hurt Hercule.
    • Vegeta's pragmatism in dealing with the threat Buu represents stands in stark contrast to his actions earlier in the series. The man who once helped Cell achieve his perfect form is now intent on eliminating a potential hazard. It shows how much the last seven years, and in particular his recent death, have changed his priorities.
    • Goku ultimately telling Dende to heal Buu, pointing out to an incredulous Vegeta that if it wasn't for Hercule and Buu he never would have thrown the Spirit Bomb to defeat Kid Buu. As such Fat Buu deserves to life on Earth with everyone else.
  • Hell, Goku and King Kai as well as Mr. Satan and Buu get in on it as well. No matter how ill-advised it was, Goku was unwilling to kill Vegeta in order to kill Kid Buu. As a result, Fat Buu jumps in to save Vegeta by attacking Kid Buu, even smacking Hercule out of the way to do so then orders his friend to recover Vegeta. That shows surprising amount of forethought for the usually ignorant Fat Buu. Mr. Satan than saves Vegeta and Goku throws the bomb. However, Goku was too weak to use it properly. In desperation, Vegeta orders Hercule to make the humans give more energy, but King Kai informs them that this will kill the people as it will draw on their life force. Mr. Satan, now knowing this, refuses Vegeta's order. Basically, he finally admits that he's a fraud, but claims that he could never forgive himself if he lets the people of Earth die through abusing the trust they give him. They love him and he respects them too much to cause their deaths even to save the universe. The whole sequence from beginning to end is enough to make the hardest, most uncaring person to get diabetes. At the very least, when Vegeta points out that he saved their lives by wishing them back, he realizes that they can use their last wish to restore Goku's strength. The look on Goku's face when Dende informs him of the wish is just the cherry on top. Plus, there's the very fact that they even use the Dragon Balls to erase all of Earth's memory of the event (besides for the main cast, of course) to let Fat Buu live a normal life on the the planet just seals it. Hell, even the fact that Hercule apologizes for the fact that he claimed that Goku was his undercover persona. Earth's future and Fat Buu's future life on it are more important to him than the glory of saving it. Which brings us to his donation to Goku in Dragon Ball Super...
  • Vegeta finally comes around from his hatred of Goku. Earlier in the saga, he'd realized that Goku's power naturally increased more quickly, but he was bitter about it and sold out to Babidi to close the gap. Now he admits, without rancor, that Goku is quite simply better than him.
  • All of the reunion scenes after everyone is wished back to life in the Buu saga, some of which you have to watch the anime to see. Special mentions go out to Krillin's family — when his daughter runs up to him for a hug, and he looks up to see 18 coming out of the shadows, smiling and waving, and Gohan landing behind Videl and tapping her on the shoulder... and she turns around, is shocked to see him, and starts crying and beating him on the chest. And he just looks adorably confused.
  • After Goku, Vegeta, Hercule, Majin Buu, and Dende return to Earth following Kid Buu's defeat, we are treated to a touching reunion with all the Z-Fighters, especially with Goku who has been dead for seven years and had given what he believed was his final goodbye just the day before. Chi-Chi crying onto Goku's chest after he tells everyone that he is not dead anymore and that he can go home with his family should leave anyone with a warm feeling in their chest. It even left Android 18 smiling.
  • During the party at Capsule Corporation during episode 288 "He's Always Late", everyone gathers around Goku to hear about some baby dinosaurs he'd watched over all day, that is everyone save Vegeta. Who is leaning against the wall in the back. What happens next is that Goku urges Vegeta to come be a part of the group, and then everyone else does the same.
    Goku: (spots Vegeta) Hey Vegeta, what are you doing way over there? Come on over here with us.
    • Another moment from that episode is Vegeta giving Buu one of his sandwiches after seeing that he's clearly interested in them. It really goes to show just how far they've both come.
  • In "Granddaughter Pan", some jerk accidentally trips over a tiny Pan and gives her the middle finger. Pan cries because her ice cream cone dropped, so Goku says, "You can have Grandpa's ice cream!" Awwww.
    • For those keeping score at home, Goku is sharing his food.
    • Goku and Pan's bond in DBZ.
    • Goku spent the entire story calling any older paternal figure "Grandpa," so there's something very touching about seeing him fill that role. That it comes just as he essentially retires to becoming a mentor, in the shoes of Kamesennin before him, makes it even sweeter.
  • One on the manga's very last page. Before the start of the finale, there is one page doubled with a tearjeker, on the page there is the picture of the first meeting between Goku and Bulma, where you see that it really puts into perspective all the times that have passed since then, and how they have moved on since.
    This story began with a chance encounter long ago... and now we come at last to the present. From now on, you'll have to see into their world with your own eyes... but maybe that will be even more fun!
  • The cover of the final volume is Goku flying in space, waving at the reader and saying "THANK YOU! GOODBYE!!" (and Majin Buu's in a flying saucer, waving bye as well).
  • The ending narration for the final episode of the anime, as triumphant music plays in the background.
    "Young Uub has been taken in by the greatest Martial Arts master in the universe. Goku, the orphan who fell from the stars to become the savior of mankind. As the two set off on a new adventure. One thing is for certain. As long as Goku lives, peace and prosperity will reign."

     Dragon Ball Z Movies 
  • The intro to the latest Dragon Ball Z TV special is one, taking Opening Shout Outs and combining them with happy glimpses into the lives of all the main characters, with a V-Formation Team Shot at the end. And then there's the rest of the special...
    • The ending is just as heartwarming, showing how Goku's family grows over the years.
  • The end of Bardock: The Father Of Goku, when Bardock learns through his ESP that Goku will take down Freeza. The sheer pride he feels for his son, and his wish that he could've hugged the kid at least once, is sincerely touching and heartbreaking (considering this happens when he's about to die).
  • In Tree of Might, the moment Goku sees the fake moon lighting up the sky, he knows that there is trouble and rushes off to confront the Big Bad.
  • During Goku and Slug's fight in the Lord Slug movie, Goku manages to transform into a pseudo form of Super Saiyan. With his newfound power, Goku easily dominates Slug. However, once Slug reveals his Namekian nature by removing his helmet Goku's newfound power fades away almost instantly from his shock. Goku then tries to talk Slug down, even telling him outright that he doesn't want to hurt him. Just shows how much of an All-Loving Hero Goku is, considering Slug had already proved himself to be a monster.
  • In Bojack Unbound:
    • Tenshinhan draws a match against Trunks. They both know Trunks is going to win in the end, but Tenshinhan's a good sport about it and wants to enjoy the fight, so he tells Trunks not to hold back. Ever the gentleman, Trunks demonstrates his respect for Tenshinhan by doing exactly that. It's a solidly entertaining fight scene, punctuated by Trunks offering Tenshinhan a hand up after his loss.
    • When Gohan is failing against Bojack (literally being crushed to death) his dead father opts to break the rules of the afterlife, instant transmit onto the battlefield and force Bojack to release his son by punching him in the face. In both English and Japanese, this is preceded by a cry of "My son needs my help!" in English and a "I can't take it anymore!" in Japanese. In both versions, Goku catches his falling son and gives him a much needed pep talk (though much more severe in Japanese). Never mind the fact that him interfering at ALL is a major no-no because he's dead. Goku doesn't care.
    • Goku's absolute faith in his son, culminated in his response earlier when King Kai tells him that Bojack and his army are planning to take over the Earth:
      Goku: Then they are already defeated. My son will stop them.
  • The ending credits of Bio-Broly showing how Goten and Trunks were born and grow up showing they were the heroes of the movie, and truly inherited the spirit of their fathers.
  • Fusion Reborn ends with Goku and Vegeta parting on good terms as the latter returns to his spirit form. This was before Vegeta finally let go of the nastier parts of his rivalry with Goku in the canon story, so the fact that they end up regarding each other as friends in this film may come off as surprising.
    Goku: Vegeta, thanks.
    Vegeta: What do you mean? I should be thanking you, Kakarot.
    Goku: Nah. What do you mean, I loved every minute of it. [as Vegeta becomes a spirit again] Goodbye, my friend.
  • A particular scene comes to mind from the Z film Wrath of the Dragon. Early on in the film features a scene with many of the main characters enjoying an evening barbecue. Trunks and Goten's hands are shown sneaking up from underneath the grill grabbing skewer after skewer of shish kabobs, intending to give the food to Tapion. Goku notices them and breaks into a very warm smile and silently moves the last skewer over on the grill towards Trunks' hand.
    • In the same scene, a drunk Master Roshi attemps to cop a feel on Videl, with Gohan quickly getting in-between the two. Goes to show how strong their bond is, and how much Gohan desires to protect her.
    • Another scene from Wrath has Vegeta, who had entered the fight with Hirudegarn with his typical self-centered reasons (his first day off in a month and some monster attacks his home) and is smashed into a crowded office building. Hirudegarn prepares a fire breath attack and Vegeta glances at the people near him. He then expends all of his energy creating a barrier that shields everyone from the attack. Its a small moment but it shows just how much he's changed from the Ax-Crazy planet killer he was in the beginning. To cap it off, we later see the very same people he had saved helping him up.
  • When Tarble visits Vegeta, it's a clear showing of Vegeta's Character Development that he tolerates his brother (as opposed to killing Nappa when Goku beat up the big guy).
  • There are quite a few of these in Battle of Gods:
    • The entire ending credits sequence, which is a huge nostalgia trip for everyone who has read or watched the series and shows that the movie is a labour of love.
    • Videl announcing that she's pregnant, along with everyone's reaction to it, especially Gohan's.
    • What triggers Goku's second transformation into Super Saiyan God is seeing his friends and family crying out for him, starting with Chi-Chi. Given how often Goku's treated as a negligent father and husband by fans, it's touching to see that he puts his wife first here.
      • There was also Goku admitting that he hated how he became a Super Saiyan God since he couldn't reach it with his own power, but he swallowed his pride to not only fight Beerus, but to protect his friends.
      • During that scene, the first one to point out he became that strong thanks to his friends is actually Beerus himself, averting Evil Cannot Comprehend Good. Doubly heartwarming when you consider the only person Beerus seems to hang out with frequently is Whis, meaning he must legitimately consider him a friend despite how much they argue.
    • On a similar note, when Beerus knocks Bulma down, Vegeta freaks out and manages to briefly surpass Goku (something that Goku willingly admits!). Of course, he refuses to admit the reason for his strength boost afterwards.
      • Even before that, the Saiyan Prince who likes talking about his pride at every opportunity utterly humiliates himself (to the point of a potential CMOF during his bingo song and dance) in an attempt to keep Beerus happy and protect his family, friends, and the inhabitants of Earth in general.
    • Beerus not destroying the Earth, displaying the genuine respect and perhaps even care for its inhabitants. This coming from the being who destroyed the planet of a lesser god because he lost a game.
      • For that matter, Beerus is an unusual example of a DBZ antagonist in that he's not even really actually evil at all. Sure, he threatens to destroy the Earth, but he conducts himself with a great deal of dignity and respect for Earth's inhabitants, and is even polite at Bulma's party. When Goku initially challenges him early on in the movie, he politely accepts the challenge. He legitimately just wants to find out what a Super Saiyan God is, and have a battle worthy of his level of skill. When you think about it, he's actually quite a bit like Goku in that sense.
      • He's sort of a deconstruction of Goku, both of them being rather lazy outside of the prospect of fighting things, obsessed with food, kind and respectful but with no sense of being rude, outright terrifying to enemies when angry and generally the most dangerous things in the universe. The only difference is is that Beerus had nobody to give him a moral compass.
    • In the uncut version of the movie, we have an extended scene with Old Kai and the Supreme Kai. Supreme Kai is musing about how Goku can make friends with anyone, including the God of Destruction himself. Old Kai then says that it wasn't just Goku alone, but their entire group. He goes on to say that it was probably the entire planet itself since Goku was supposed to be a vicious warrior and Vegeta was a murderous space pirate who were both turned to good people. It gives new highlight that the despite humans being physically weak, the human heart itself can turn even the most vicious being into a friend.
  • Former Demon King Piccolo quietly (if grumpily) babysitting Gohan and Videl's infant daughter is pretty adorable.