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Nightmare Fuel / Dragon Ball

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So remember, children: if you have a monkey tail, do not stare at a full moon. Otherwise, this will happen!

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  • A lot of the first areas in the series take place in scary forests at night with wolves and bats. With the classic threatening fight music played to it.
  • Launch's transformations. One moment she's sweet, innocent, good enough to ride the Kinto Un, then she sneezes and becomes a fearsome gun-toting psycho whose passage is said to leave not a blade of grass intact.
  • Goku becoming an Oozaru/Great Ape right before Bulma, Yamcha, Oolong and Puar's eyes. Plus Goku's original transformation, i.e his eyes turning red and heartbeat quickening before shifting into Oozaru is even more terrifying.
  • The Red Ribbon Army. The most evil army in the world, powerful enough that the world government, that has its own considerable military forces, won't dare to confront them. In addition to conventional weapons they have advanced combat robots (that would later evolve into Gero's Androids), powerful martial artists that can tear through tank armor, a prototype Mini-Mecha that can make short work of said martial artists, and at least one nuke. And the reason for their rampage? Not taking over the world (as they themselves think), but their boss wants to become taller.
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  • Any of the sexual assaults made towards Bulma, especially that time the two Red Ribbon Army soldiers were creeping on her despite her trying to explain she was only 16. The manga has Bulma run away straight away in gag fashion, but the anime expands the unsettling scene, having the goons tackle her to the ground before she throws sand in their faces and running away. Goku saves her and the whole thing is laughed off in a goofy manner, but still, it's very disturbing to have rape implications in a show aimed for kids. And this wasn't the first time Bulma was put in that situation...
  • Korin has three weird jars in the Senzu Bean room and Goku looks into them. In the first one, Goku sees Chi-Chi in the past and tries to call her but fails. The second jar has Bulma and Oolong cooking and having fun at Kami House in the present. When Goku opens the third one, a crazy red centipede bursts out, and wraps itself around the room giving Goku surreal visions of the future. It's a creepy moment among many.
  • Tao Pai Pai, the most evil villain (at the time) in Dragon Ball, certainly is Nightmare Fuel. Especially considering he is the most feared man on the planet Earth. In addition, he is a sadistic mercenary who is even willing to kill children.
    • The scene where he kills General Blue is somewhat disturbing, too. He boasts that he can kill the general with his tongue... and then he lives up to it. He just sticks his tongue out and uses it to puncture Blue's skull, killing him almost immediately. It's over so quickly that it almost doesn't even qualify as a fight.
  • But the creepier thing is Tao did the world a favor by killing the General. Blue is the most unsettling Dragon Ball villain and that's counting Piccolo vomiting up eggs and even Majin Buu. General Blue has Nazi get up complete with an arm band and acap, and being a blond pretty boy with The Fighting Narcissist personality, Blue alludes to the Aryans, and if that wasn't evil enough, all versions of him speak in a high pitched effeminate voice. Oh, and also? Blue is a shameless pedophile, openly swooning over young boys.
    • Even in the mostly family friendly DBZ Budokai Tenkaichi 3 game, General Blue is creepily suggestive towards Kid Trunks in their unique dialogue at the start of the match, which is all kinds of wrong and even older Future Trunks is creeped out facing Blue.
    • The pedophilia aspect of General Blue was mercifully kept out of the US Dub, though this is just as creepy as at one point when he gets angry at Bulma and makes the same suggestions.
      • Chi-Chi says it best in his Tenkaichi 3 bio: "He's part of the Red Ribbon Army, he talks like a woman and he's creepy..."
  • Let's face it: Goku himself, for his enemies. He looks like a cute child but is super-strong, Nigh-Invulnerable, and, as a child, has zero compulsions about killing his enemies. And if he looks at the full moon he turns into a gigantic ape-like berserker. There's a reason Pilaf was so terrified of him that he released Demon King Piccolo and Gero went completely insane and fixated on killing him with incredibly powerful robots (that are actually far more powerful than what he thought necessary), before finding out he's a member of a race of genocidal space warriors...
  • Kinkaku and Ginkaku. At first they just look like two Fist of the North Star Mooks with a submachine gun... Then comes the roll call, and anyone among their victims who doesn't answer quickly gets sucked in a gourd that is said to melt their flesh and bone and turn them into sake. And, just for dog-kicking sake, the episode they appear in has them trying to do it to a two weeks-old toddler. Good thing Goku passes by and decides to stop them...
  • Chiaotzu has always been creepy, since he's based off of Chinese Vampires, and his creepy voice didn't help in the times where he was a villain.
  • Tenshinhan was terrifyingly brutal as a Crane Student assassin, terrorizing folktown and breaking Yamcha's leg. Even more violent is Tien's past where we see Tao Pai Pai abusing the hell out of him while Chiaotzu and Crane Hermit watch.
  • Krillin's death at Tamborine's hands gets no mention here? The manga version is a pretty unsettling Mood Whiplash; Krillin volunteers to get Goku's things for him and not one page later we hear him scream. The gang rushes in to find him dead with his eyes wide open and the announcer lying near him saying a monster came and took the Dragon Ball and the martial arts society list. Goku holds his friend's body and says to the horror of both his other friends' and the audience's that Krillin is, without a doubt, dead. Very chilling...
    • The anime version of this is arguably worse. After the tournament ends, the gang manages to head to a restaurant to celebrate Tien's victory until Goku suddenly remembers leaving his things at the tournament grounds. Krillin volunteers to go all the way back and get them like the manga. For one eerily intense moment, Goku suddenly gets a strange feeling and stops Krillin. He quickly brushes it off however and goes to eat with the others. Even during the meal, however, Goku doesn't join in and decides to wait for Krillin, still can't getting over his foreboding about his friend. It quickly descends into something more nightmarish as Goku suddenly can hear Krillin screaming in pain (in the dub he even screams Goku's name!) Goku immediately runs all the way back to the tournament and finds the same scene as the manga; Krillin dead and his four-star ball stolen.
    • What really makes this version scary is the ominous music playing in the last seconds of the episode. Also, the screen turns an eerie blue with the last shot of Goku holding Krillin's corpse with the same open eyes like in the manga. Terrifying...
    • Going back to the moment where Goku stops Krillin briefly, it makes for some serious Adult Fear with Goku thinking that maybe he could have prevented his death if he had only said something.
    • Tambourine's flashback makes it no less scary. With him giving the Tournament Announcer a Jump Scare while hanging down from the ceiling like a monstrous bat to dodging all of Krillin's attacks before breaking his neck with a kick. The wide open eyes of Krillin as he drops dead is just the cherry on top.
  • King Demon Piccolo's Ax-Crazy behavior. The original Demon King managed to give a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Goku so badly that it stopped his heart.
    • The end of that fight. Goku dodges an energy blast, tries to surprise Piccolo, but gets nailed by another. The anime takes it time by going into slow motion, where we can hear Goku's heart beating loudly and slowing down till it stops. Sweet dreams!
  • Yajirobe is willing to eat anything, including mutated Namekians he has all reasons to think are demons and even human beings. In fact, when he thought Goku had been killed by King Piccolo, he actually considered eating him before deciding it would be too disrespectful...
  • The anime's Cave of the Darkness small filler arc where Goku (along Yajirobe) is sent by Korin to find the true Ultimate Divine Water to beat King Piccolo is literally the creepiest part of Dragon Ball. As it involves traveling to an Icy Mountain (full of killer snow monsters) and entering the dark cave underneath. It's especially unnerving when Goku stumbles across a Kami House inside the dark cavern and sees illusions of his happy smiling friends, who tell him to give up his quest in creepy echoey voices. Goku is outraged and flees only to be chased by Demon-Master Roshi and nearly killed, if not for Yajirobe's intervention. After Goku proves his goodness by saving Yajirobe's life, the Darkness appears and offers Goku the divine water but says it will definitely kill him. Goku gulps it down and nearly dies but Oozaru (the Saiyan beast inside him) gives a roar and Goku survives, powered up enough to beat King Piccolo. In the manga, Korin just gives Goku the Divine Water, which after seeing the expanded anime story, is quite disappointingly underwhelming.
  • When King Piccolo realizes just how much of a threat Goku is during their climactic battle, he resorts to an attack so powerful that it utterly annihilates the entirety of the capital city. Miles away, Suno is helping in a hospital when all of a sudden, the ground stats shaking uncontrollably. The windows burst and a gale rushes into the room... when it's over, she glances out of the window to see an enormous mushroom cloud on the horizon. Yeah, the anime takes an "ordinary" explosion and puts in overt parallels to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    • On a meta level, since the episode debuted in 1988, that almost certainly means that at least some of the production team were alive at the time of the bombings 43 years earlier.
  • When King Piccolo gets really desperate, he takes Tien hostage and orders Goku to do nothing. To put his opponent down, he blows rocks at Goku's limbs with such force that they break instantly, dripping blood off of them and making Goku scream in utter agony. Remember, Goku is fifteen during this part of the story.
  • Goku's Doll. Popo makes a sort of copy of Goku, and the look on its face can be a touch unsettling. Then it starts to make sounds with its mouth as it begins to charge a Kamehameha and it gets even creepier.
  • So you're watching the last few moments of Goku's fight with Piccolo, all is right, Goku gives a thumbs up to all his friends as they shout the countdown. Right when they get to nine, Piccolo gets up and fires a mouth beam straight into Goku's right shoulder. And this isn't Z, where a direct hit from a beam causes some external wounds, and maybe torn clothes or something like that. No. This is Dragon Ball and Goku now has a hole he can stick his hand into under his shoulder. After writhing in pain for a while, Piccolo gets up and begins stomping on the wound over and over as Goku grabs the ground in pain. All the while, Piccolo is grinning ear to ear, and even laughing. Tenshinhan, Yamcha and Krillin try to help but Piccolo stops them before they can enter the ring. Goku, the badass, still manages to get up and get in an attack before a swift kick from Junior reminds him he has a giant hole in his body. Junior, the prick, then elbows Goku, right in the wound, followed by more blood curdling screams. And just to add injury to injury, Piccolo breaks Goku's leg.
    • Earlier in the fight, Goku tricks Piccolo into breaking his right arm. Goku tells him to surrender, saying he can't fight with one arm. In response, Piccolo rips off his own arm, and grows a new one from the bloodied stump. Right then and there, Piccolo was the biggest threat of the original saga, not just because of his strength, but because the only way to beat him was to be even stronger.
  • At the end of the 22nd World Tournament, when Krillin is found dead, and after Goku rushes off to find his killer, Master Roshi tells the remaining cast the story of the fiend responsible, King Piccolo, and the anime version of this is pure nightmare fuel. Unstoppable demons everywhere, killing, ripping tanks apart, and implied eating people all over, with King Piccolo lording over and enjoying it all like a game. The years of darkness were only stopped when King Piccolo was sealed away, and the left note and the description of Krillin's murderer indicates King Piccolo is free once again...aaannd then the body count rises, all these fighters seen from past tournaments, just showing up dead, like Krillin, Goku MIA, Roshi dies, Chiaotzu is killed, so is the Eternal Dragon, it was dark times. Everything was pointing to a full-on return to the nightmare world of the past...then Goku wins, but skip ahead a few years and Piccolo Jr. shows up, the final demon-clansmen, and for the longest time, his aim was to return the world to that nightmare. And to think the hero he is today never would have come to be, and instead he would have returned the world to that darkness, if not for Goku and sweet little Gohan.


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