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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!

See also:

  • 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. It's better if you see it yourself on the wiki.
  • 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.
  • 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 Kame 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 Tao 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.
  • Goku's rampage in the Red Ribbon compound. He was casually massacring them all, the rare hits they scored barely annoying him, and throwing a nuke at him only resulted in a destroyed mountain... And to make things worse, he was supposed to be dead.
    • Team Four Star represented it perfectly in their animation of the death of Gero's son.
    • The worst part? Had Goku not hit his head years earlier, this would have been the fate of the world's entire population: massacred by an alien invader that just couldn't be stopped. In fact that would have been the moment the world's fate was sealed: the Red Ribbon Army was the single strongest military force on Earth, and their demise would have been the moment the Earthlings lost any chance of offering a meaningful resistance to the invader.
  • For as silly as Devilman ends up being? The Devilmite Beam is anything but. As Master Roshi describes it, it takes any evil, negative thought or malice within a person's heart (which would mean the majority of people) and forces their heart to expand with that evil until their chest literally explodes! It is fortunate enough then that Goku is a truly pure hearted individual (given he can ride the Flying Nimbus) because before he survives it? Even Fortuneteller Baba is TERRIFIED of Devilman using such a technique.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Chiaotzu was pretty unsettling too when he was a villain. His constant staring ahead at seemingly nothing along with him rarely speaking can give a creepy impression. Hell, he barely changes expression at all during his match with Krillin with his only movements being hovering slightly over the ground. Then he whips out the Dodon Ray that can cause severe burns on who or whatever it zaps, as one poor contestant found out the hard way.
  • 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 people, 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 and death 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.
  • Krillin's death at Tamborine's hands. 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.
    • 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.
  • Tambourine period. Piccolo is undoubtedly stronger even in his old age, but Tambourine was created to kill every World Martial Arts Tournament contestant, and he did a damn good job of it, completely stomping every entrant he came across. Krillin? A swift kick was all it took. Goku? Utterly trounced him in their first encounter. Bacterian? Offed with little effort. King Chappa, a former champion in his own right? Didn't stand a chance. Pamput? Killed in front of plenty of adoring fans. Giran? Snapped through his Merry-Go-Round gum like it was tissue paper. Nam? Taken out completely off-screen! The Dragon he may have been, but Tambourine was the first true Hero Killer and definitely showcased why that was.
  • 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!
    • The worst part? Had Goku not hit his head, this was the Earthlings' last hope. After all, the Demon King wanted to rule over the shattered remnants of the planet and enjoy the chaos, the Saiyan invaders wanted instead to massacre everyone.
  • The famous May 9th broadcast to the world where Piccolo Annouced "Piccolo's Day", a day where one of the 43 regions of the world would be wiped out entirely, killing everyone living there in a single blast. The worst part is that Piccolo gleefully announces "The Lucky" region to be the last to be destroyed will enjoy 43 years of living in fear.
  • 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 Kame 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.
  • 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.