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Nightmare Fuel / Dragon Ball Z

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As the Darker and Edgier Sequel Series of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z has some of the vilest villains in anime, and that's not even getting into the traumatic past of Trunks, the excessive violence or even some traits of the good guys. This may be a series where Death Is Cheap, but that doesn't diminish how scary it can get.

For Nightmare Fuel in the original series, go here, for the Abridged Series, go here, and for the sequel series, go here.

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  • Most of the Family Unfriendly Deaths/Cruel and Unusual Deaths in general, while not as bad as these kinds, are rather uncomfortable to experience, such as the picture above, of Dr. Gero killing an ordinary human just because he bothered him.
  • Recoome brutally beating Gohan bloody is incredibly difficult and painful to watch. Seeing other main characters getting thrashed around and getting back up for more despite the odds being against them is usually awesome; not so much when it's a little kid who only has a miniscule amount of combat experience under his belt. The beating he gets is so bad that Krillin, usually always cheering Gohan on, is begging for him to stop fighting.
  • The unusual amount of focus given to Android 18 shattering Vegeta's arm with a single kick. Never mind that broken limbs are often Real Life Nightmare Fuel in and of themselves. It was the fact that Trunks and everyone up on the hill realizes how screwed Vegeta is right on impact. Or the scream Vegeta lets out right as his arm goes limp. By this point, Vegeta's pretty much established himself as a guy that can not only take a pounding, but talk crap the entire way. To hear Vegeta scream out in pain to that degree is hair-raising (no pun intended) because it's something Vegeta just doesn't do.
    • For the lulz, 18 dislocates Vegeta's other arm a few minutes later.
  • The disturbingly creepy look that Vegeta gave to Gohan back on Namek.
    • Doesn't help that he hits Gohan in the most painful way possible soon after, then makes the threat that one he's done, he plans to destroy Earth.
  • Goku's heart virus. At one point, he states that it feels like he's dying. Remember, this is coming from a man who has not only had a literal death experience, but when he died, it was from having his entire abdomen blasted out. That should give you a clue as to how painful the virus is, and to a Super Saiyan no less.
    • Jaco the Galactic Patrolman managed to make this one even scarier in hindsight. He explains that the Galactic Patrol has Extinction Bombs, devices that release a virus that quickly drives an entire race into extinction, but they never managed to create one that worked for the Saiyan. A Saiyan's immune system can deal with the mightiest bioweapons of a galaxy-spanning civilization...but not with that.
    • There is anime filler where Goku has a nightmare as he's suffering from the heart virus. He's able to fight Androids 19 and 20, but he is then assaulted by an unidentified ghost-like figure, with only red eyes on its face. Goku is alarmed, claiming he's never seen anyone or anything quite like it before. As he says this the figure gives a wide grin and opens a mouth full of large fangs. If this was meant to be a personification of the heart virus, then it really underscores just how it was so different from, yet no less deadly than every other struggle Goku faced before (and even more so when you consider everything written above).
  • Aside from being blown up or vaporized by energy blasts, Akira Toriyama seems to like large chest wounds as indicators of fatal/near fatal injuries. Happens to Goku (literally in the second episode), Vegeta, Piccolo, Yamcha, Future Trunks at different points, among others. Up to Eleven during Buu's infamous Human Extinction attack, where the ENTIRE POPULATION OF EARTH save a handful, gets a terminal case of hole-through-torso, including (although not shown on screen) all the kids.

  • One detail that gets more terrifying as each succeeding story arc raises the stakes is when Raditz scans a farmer and sees his power reading ranks at a measly level 5. Keep in mind farming is a very physically demanding job - which this farmer had likely been doing his entire life - and that farming was part of Goku and Krillin's training regime, which pushed even these two past their physical limits.
  • When it was still the latest chapter, the reveal that Goku was actually an alien was quite the shocker, but what's really horrifying is how strong Raditz, Goku's older brother seemed at that time. He had no problem dealing with both him and Piccolo at once. Goku was now knowing what it was like for the first time to feel utterly hopeless. For extra damage, he then tells both that the two other Saiyans are FAR stronger than he is. Let that sink in for a bit.
    • For Goku's friends, the idea that there is someone even stronger than Goku running around out there and that Goku himself was sent to wipe out humanity. Keep in mind that as a young child, Goku destroyed an entire army by himself and was closed to invincible outside of a few named martial artists. He also single-handedly killed what was Satan of the Dragon World. To them, the very idea that Goku could have been their enemy must have been terrifying.
    • Jaco the Galactic Patrolman reveals that Bulma had long known about the Saiyans, even if she didn't know what they looked like... And all of sudden, one of the monsters shows up, smacks her best friend around, and reveals that said best friend is actually another Saiyan.
  • In a filler episode, the human Z-fighters are sent in a special room to prepare for the Saiyans. While there, they are all defeated with little to no effort and are given some brutal off-screen and on-screen deaths (which acts as an unnerving foreshadowing of what will happen to them). But what really made it scary was how Kami confirmed that they did well considering how strong Saiyans are known to be, and that Vegeta and Nappa are far stronger than the illusion Saiyans that the human Z-fighters had to take on.
  • Nappa. For those used to how he is in the abridged series, you'll be given an ugly reminder that he's every bit as sadistic and serious as Vegeta in canon. None of the scenes that were played for laughs in the abridged series are done so here. (Beware the Silly Ones, though.)
    • How about when he tears Tien's left arm off CLEAN? The scream thrown in great pain was more than adequate and Vegeta laughing about how fragile humans are.
    • It goes From Bad to Worse when Chiaotzu tries to do a suicide bombing on him and it not only fails, it doesn't even scratch the brute!
    • There's some scary foreshadowing in-universe for Piccolo, Krillin, and Gohan when they see Nappa being terrified when Vegeta yells at him for attempting to disobey his order to stall the fight for three hours. Piccolo comes to the correct conclusion that the one tearing them apart with ease was actually the weaker one.
  • Vegeta himself, for that matter. When he becomes Oozaru to stomp Goku, he does a damn good job of it. Made worse that unlike Goku and Gohan when they became Oozaru, he retained his consciousness, amplifying the already scary transformation. He then goes on to squeeze Goku with his bare hands in cold blood, which is especially terrifying.
  • Bardock and his team. From what little we see of them, they are True Companions, the kind of guys who you would want as your friends and protectors... And they conquer planets and wipe out the inhabitants.
  • The very existence of the Saiyans. They're genocidal monsters with enough strength to murder an entire planet in weeks or months, assuming they don't just blow it up. They only love fighting, and with the full moon, they become giant apes that have ten times their normal strength. They have an enormous appetite, and will gladly feast on the fallen enemies to sate it. They grow stronger the more they fight and if they ever get beaten and survive, they'll just come back even stronger. When they invade planets inhabited by weak and technologically primitive people, they send their children, who have a long childhood during which they look cute and can train without being disturbed until they have a sudden growth spurt and obtain a body perfect for fighting, at which point, they turn on the locals and wipe them out. At their full potential, the power of Saiyans greatly surpasses even the Kais! The galactic government has tried to deal with them with their Extinction Bombs, bioweapons capable of killing off an entire species, but found they were immune to any virus they could create and has taken to sending their agents to planets targeted by Saiyan to either kill the children before they can grow and murder the locals or use an Extinction Bomb on the locals so they would at least die quickly and with much less terror. No wonder even Frieza ultimately grew scared and decided to destroy them.
    • Extra-Nightmare Fuel for the galactic government, they were so willing to commit mass genocide that they invented and used dozens of civilization ending WMDs on the Saiyans. Even if the Saiyans deserve it, that's still horrific.
    • Let us never forget the fact that, had it not been for one childhood head injury, Goku would've done all of this to Earth.

  • Akira Toriyama has stated that Frieza was inspired by his worst nightmares. This is quite evident in many of the character's transformations and actions in the series. And for a bonus, Frieza is voiced by Ryusei Nakao, who went on to voice Mayuri Kurotsuchi.
    Frieza: *after blasting a (at most) ten-year-old child into a smoldering corpse* "I promised you, didn't I? To show you a nightmare beyond the horrors of Hell? But it seems the little one won't be joining us. Such a shame, don't you think? When you see him in the next world, I suppose you'll have to tell him what he missed."
    • Not only that, he killed Dende so fast that none of the heroes even knew it happened until they saw the explosion behind them. To them, Frieza just pointed his finger and something blew up, only to discover it was one of their comrades. Frieza is so fast he can pull a "You Are Already Dead" on you.
    • Another example is when he impales Krillin on his horn, and bucks him up and down as blood spatters around.
    Frieza: Stay with it. Yee-haw! That's it, buck-a-roo. Ride 'em, cowboy!
    • Of course, Kai makes this part scarier and also ends up making a reference to Fist of the North Star while doing so.
    "And the spark goes out. Don't bother trying to save him. You can't; he's already dead."
    • King Kai lamenting about Vegeta's fate after his last attack utterly failed to do anything against Frieza. Vegeta is so terrified and broken that he can only float there and cry as he awaits his painful end. After all his boasting, all his scheming, and all the close calls, Vegeta and King Kai knew this was his final moment.
      King Kai: Even he knows that his fate lies in the hands of the icy tyrant. All things come around and Vegeta's treachery is about to be paid back.
      • The Kai dub manages to make King Kai's monologue even more ominous, as well as a bit of a Tear Jerker.
        King Kai: Poor Vegeta. At last, he understands the true nature of the monster he faces. For the first time ever, he's genuinely trembling. All of the fear and frustration he must be feeling. I can only imagine. His eyes don't lie, those tears are real. This is the first time the proud Saiyan prince has ever known what it is to feel helpless.
    • What is especially disturbing is that Frieza was not created to be evil like Cell and Majin Buu. He commits xenocide regularly because it is simply cheaper than buying the planet before he sells it off to someone else. This guy is one of the most evil and terrifying figures in the Dragon Ball universe and his M.O is the galactic equivalent of a real estate scam!
    • And of course, the line in the Z dub after he kills Krillin, Frieza tells a joke which should be so bad it's funny but it goes right past that and makes Frieza seem as evil as possible.
      Frieza: Pop goes the weasel.
    • And of course, there's the sheer power Frieza wields. The Saiyans and the Ginyu Force were all intimidatingly strong, but Frieza is this close to being a horribly evil Physical God. When Goku shows up to fight Nappa or the Ginyu Force, we know everything will be okay, but after he shows up to fight Frieza, and seems to be winning for a while, Frieza states that if he uses half of his full power, he can finish Goku. Okay, this is all trash talk we've heard before, but then Goku realizes, with a look of genuine fear, that Frieza isn't bluffing. The alien tyrant then gives him a savage No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, stopping only to say:
    Frieza: "Never mind half max power; I'm not even using one third of it."
    • Goku tries to turn things around with the Kaioken x 10, greater than anything we've seen before... and it doesn't even slow Frieza down. That's the moment where the viewer realizes just how bad things are for the heroes. And after that, he does a Kaioken x 20, smacks Frieza around a little, and then fires a Kamehameha at fairly close range. Then the smoke clears, and Frieza's injuries amount to nothing more than a second-degree burn on his palm. It's at that point that Goku realizes that Frieza isn't bluffing about being at half power.
      • Also keep in mind that pretty much every opponent after Frieza was either augmented or artificially developed, either by science or magic. Until his defeat by Goku, he was the strongest person in creation.
    • Vegeta, who was absolutely terrified of Frieza's previous forms decides he has to put himself near-death and get Dende to heal him just to even stand up to the bastard. Vegeta becomes so confident of his new power that he convinces himself he's reached Super Saiyan-status, but his confidence quickly evaporates even he realises that the power boost still wasn't enough and that Frieza had been toying with him throughout the fight. Even his Desperation Attack, which Piccolo stated would've destroyed the planet if it hit, was casually deflected by Frieza. The realisation that 1) he's not a Super Saiyan and 2) He will be mercilessly killed by his former master actually makes the proud Vegeta shed tears and resign himself to his fate. That's how terrifying Frieza was.
      Frieza: Are you done? Then I'll reciprocate...gently.
      • Cue Frieza torturing Vegeta in the most horrific manner possible. And those damn screams of pain Vegeta lets out as he's getting tortured. Even the part when the villain grabs Vegeta By the Hair (only shown in the preview of the next episode of Z, just not in the next episode itself; but then shown to its full extent in the uncut version of Kai) is VERY disturbing to say the least.
      • And to add Nausea Fuel to Nightmare Fuel, as Vegeta's blood is spattering everywhere, Frieza licks some of Vegeta's blood off his face. The look of cruel amusement on his face makes the whole scene even creepier.
      • What makes the context even scarier, is that Vegeta was technically raised by Frieza after the latter destroyed Namek to be his latest top subordinate. It makes it look like Vegeta was a scared child trying to stand up to his heinous father figure, only to be humiliated physically and verbally for even trying.
      • Worse, Piccolo, Gohan, and Krillin can only stand there and watch. They are utterly powerless to help Vegeta and can only watch as he's being beaten to death before their eyes. Frieza even mockingly says that they can jump in at any time. Even if Vegeta has been a dick towards them, none of them could stomach what they were seeing. This goes double for Piccolo, who was once the Demon King who caused his own fair share of Cruel and Unusual Death(s).
      • Even more horrifying is the way Frieza is about to perform a seeming Coup de Grâce on Vegeta by slashing his throat with his sharp fingernails! And this is only after he grabs Vegeta in front of Goku's friends and asks them if they can jump in at the last second. (The Kai version might have amped up the suspense with a Heartbeat Soundtrack that is speeding up to its intensity.) It's a good thing that the healed Goku jumps in at the last second as Frieza has described, even though everyone knows that Vegeta is about to die anyway.
      • And just when you thought Frieza's intent of killing Vegeta is thwarted, the Saiyan Prince somehow triggers the villain's Berserk Button by describing Goku's power as a Super Saiyan. This time, however, the villain succeeds by shooting a death laser into Vegeta's heart, resulting in an almost instantaneous death! Just watching Frieza finish him off with a true Coup de Grâce is pretty unsettling... and also heartbreaking.
      • Moments before he actually decides to smack around Vegeta during their fight in the anime, and just before the latter's Desperation Attack: Frieza makes it a point to demonstrate how he outclasses Vegeta, when the latter goes ballistic, and starts firing a cluster of huge Ki Manipulation at him. Frieza simply dodges them before they detonate, and at one point, moved so fast he appeared in front of Piccolo, Gohan and Krillin watching on the sidelines, and deviously smirked at them. He only did it out of pure intimidation and amusement, and the fact Vegeta's attacks were covering the air with smoke, and darkening the sky made the whole thing creepier. Needless to say, Piccolo was scared shitless, either out of the risk of being blown to bits by Vegeta or whatever he thought Frieza had in store, quickly grabbed Gohan and Krillin and high-tailed it way out of the expanding battlefield.
      • Adding to that, there is Vegeta urging Krillin to blast him at full strength to injure him. Krillin closes his eyes, turns around, and complies, resulting in a Torso with a View. Vegeta just laughs. The music does not help.
      • Then Vegeta crawls to Dende, and as him to heal him. Dende refuses, reminding Vegeta while not as much as Frieza, Vegeta did kill many of his people too. Dende finally relents, but for that few moments it was very unsettling.
    • There's also the fact that Frieza's forms were specifically designed to look like monsters from the author's own childhood nightmares. Frieza's 4th form is pretty freaky when he first transforms into it, mostly because of how his chalk-white skin combined with it being his most humanoid form makes him look ghostly and eerie human-like. Of course, it doesn't hurt that his first order of business is to blast Dende.
    • When Frieza shows up after the Grand Elder dies rendering the Dragon Balls useless. Frieza stands in complete silence for several seconds before smiling.
      Frieza: "It'll be quick. You needn't worry... death is my specialty."
    • The pure look of utter terror on Vegeta's face sells this scene. It tells you beyond a doubt that the heroes are screwed and are in for a painful death. The Scare Chord and the scene turning red and black also helped.
    • Frieza floating in space with a chunk of his face, an arm, and his lower half missing is pretty disturbing. Surprisingly, the Nicktoons broadcast of Dragon Ball Kai only edits this for blood, and nothing else.
      • An in-universe example is when Frieza's being healed. Look at the faces of the medics; you can't tell if they're concerned for Frieza or terrified wondering what the hell did that to him. All they know is that someone took on Frieza at full power and their boss got cut in half.
      • Not only that, but as soon as they are done healing Frieza, they all jump back. It's obvious that they know Frieza well enough that they are genuinely terrified of him lashing out and being an Ungrateful Bastard. Hell, just imagine if they accidently hurt Frieza during the treatment. Imagine treating someone like that. Some people throw a punch or lash out because of how confused they are during treatment. If Frieza had done that, the poor medic would have been splattered across the walls. It's likely that the medics did everything they could to keep him sedated as much for their sakes as his own.
    • His actions, by themselves, are very disturbing. His attitude, however? When he's not angry at you, he's rather polite.
    • After being ineffectually beaten up by Gohan, he gets up, very effectively beats up Gohan, and then begins to slowly crush his skull. Judging by Gohan's screams of agony, it's excruciatingly painful, and Frieza is laughing. Gohan is 5.
      • Even worse, while this is going on, Goku is in a healing tank. Since he can sense ki, he is fully aware that not only is his son in horrible agony, but that his energy is rapidly dwindling and he will die if something isn't done fast. His son is being tortured to death, and Goku is absolutely helpless to stop it.
      • Speaking of Gohan, in the anime, Gohan has a dream about Goku finally returning home. However, when Gohan follows Goku outside, the dream turns into a nightmare when Goku morphs into Frieza and mocks Gohan about Goku's supposed death. The Nightmare Fuel part? This shows that Frieza's sadistic assault on Gohan left him traumatized.
    • On a related note, Goku, just as Frieza is drowning him in the ocean, has a terrifying vision where Krillin is lying on the ground dead (in a manner that's eerily similar to how he was found dead in Dragon Ball), with it then cutting to a decimated planet Earth, while Goku hears his friends frantically calling his name for help (with Chi-Chi even letting out a bone-chilling scream). The vision ends with the Earth blowing up, which shocks Goku back into his fighting state. He knows well that he is the last person standing between Frieza and everyone and everything that Goku has ever loved.
  • The unique attack Frieza used to kill Krillin. It involves shooting a benign (at first glance) energy ball about the size of a pinprick into an enemy's chest cavity and then expanding it whilst still inside them. Never mind the implications of your body being invaded by anything against your will, but consider that Frieza’s energy was probably burning away at his insides. And you can see Krillin's chest heave unnaturally right before he explodes. At least, some of Frieza’s other victims got a much quicker death... some of them.
    • On that note, anyone who was unfortunate enough to be on a planet at the moment of its explosion.
  • At the time of being the most ultimate powerful figure within the entire DBZ Universe, Frieza proved that he can go beyond his ability in power. During the epic showdown between Goku, Frieza wanted to up the ante by going 100% Full Power. Just like the previous transformation sequences, it is brutal, cold and downright terrifying. His muscles enlarge to giant proportions, veins throbbing wildly and uncontrollably and his screams into his ascended state made things even worse for Goku for a while. The whole scenario shows just how much he's willing to go to take down Goku and flee Namek which at that point was a ticking time bomb ready to explode at any given minute.
  • Frieza destroying Planet Vegeta. Not just simply the planets demise itself, but how he acts throughout. Frieza flies out of his ship, completely emotionless and unresponsive to Bardock confronting him. He just slowly raises his finger while glaring at him, charging a death ball no bigger than the tip of his finger while the lone Saiyan is verbally spitting in his face. When Bardock throws an energy blast at him, Frieza finally breaks his composure and starts Laughing Mad, expanding the death ball to the point where Bardock’s attack is engulfed in it. Then he throws it at Bardock, his own army who just happened to be in the same path, and the planet Vegeta, where we get to see flames erupting from beneath the populace as Vegeta is disintegrated. Frieza's still laughing at all of this. Even Zarbon and Dodoria are deeply disturbed by the sight...
    • Emotionless? As he watches Bardock on a monitor rush through his whole army to get to him, Frieza first calmly requests opening the hatch, prompting a very disturbed "Wait, what?" reaction. Zarbon tries arguing the point, and then... Frieza lets his arm lower by his sides. This simple, wordless gesture prompts Zarbon to gasp, run out of the room to execute the orders, screaming "Yes, Sir!" And THEN you get a closeup on Frieza's face where pure, unadulterated hatred is displayed. Bardock is but a bug to crush under his heel, but Frieza will clearly NOT tolerate rebellion or any form of opposition, and deep down, you can sense his actual FEAR towards Saiyans.
  • Think about the power levels in this saga; after some months of training, Goku is at 180,000 and absolutely trashes the Ginyu force, with Ginyu standing at the max power level of 120,000. Frieza at max power? 120 FUCKING MILLION. Frieza at his strongest is a thousand times stronger than his most powerful henchman. How the hell is someone that powerful anyway? Answer; he was just born that way. Makes you wonder why the universe choose to give that much power to someone born in an evil family.
    • It isn't enough to say how his strongest form puts him above everyone else. Frieza, in his weakest form, is already at least 4 times stronger than Ginyu. At his weakest, he was considered the strongest and most feared being in the universe. Not even his own men had any idea that he was actually even stronger than that, or just how much stronger he actually was. If one does the math, Frieza is all of this to the universe when he's not even using 1% of his power, or even half of that. Later events in Dragon Ball Super in Resurrection of F, and Universe Survival Arc makes the '100% power' an utterly minuscule fraction of his true possible ability.
  • All of this becomes far worse in hindsight with Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ and its adaptation in the second arc of Dragon Ball Super, as they reveal that Frieza had never trained a single day in his life. Everyone else, save for Majin Buu, was an artificial creature or had trained hard to become so strong, but he was just born with that strength, and could become much stronger with training. If he had dropped his self-sure personality for even a week, even a Super Saiyan might not have been enough to defeat him the first time .
    • This extends to Frieza's genetic relative Cell, by the way. Cell's instinct is to absorb things to get stronger, but once he reaches what he believes to be perfection, he stops trying, figuring that he's strong enough already. And he was mostly right. That said, the endgame of that saga sees Cell lose his perfect form only to transform back into a stronger version of it without the requisite absorption after a near-death scenario. This indicates that he had access to the Saiyans' innate Zenkai ability. Just how much research had Dr. Gero actually done on other methods of getting stronger? And how much did Cell know about these methods? In other words, imagine Cell with a few weeks of good training along with the Saiyan and Frieza's genetics he had. Universe would've been completely screwed.

    Super Saiyan Goku 
  • Goku's first Super Saiyan transformation, in the original Japanese version. Other versions have scored the scene to look like something dramatic and awesome is happening, but in the original version (and the Kai episode rerun post-2011), the music gives the impression that not only is there no clue as to what the hell Goku turned into, but no indication that it's something good, shocking even Frieza. Imagine what the kids who first saw this scene, to see their hero Goku go through that...
    • Kikuichi Shunsuke's chilling musical score, simply entitled "Super Saiyan Son Goku", is more befitting of a horror movie than a martial arts anime, perfectly encapsulating the terror of witnessing a god, nay demon of Rage Itself being unleashed upon the universe. The first thing he does is order Gohan to leave, meaning he's on the verge of being overwhelmed by bloodlust and can't trust himself with his son.
    • The Kai redub also does a damn good job at just how terrifying Goku's transformation into a Super Saiyan is, though that can mostly be attributed to the outstanding voice work. Goku actually sounds like he's about to lose his mind, and the grunting seems like he's trying to hold himself back but ultimately failing to do so. The track used for this scene pre-2011, 'A Moment For Shuddering', also shows that as well. While it's certainly dramatic, it's not necessarily meant to convey how awesome the transformation is; rather, it gives the impression that Goku's rage is about to break. This is all culminated in a truly terrifying scream as Goku finally becomes Super Saiyan, as well as Frieza sounding both shocked and horrified. In fact, the only words he could say at the time was "You ruthless, heartless BASTARD! I will make you SUFFER!"
    • After becoming a Super Saiyan in Kai, Goku tells Gohan to take Piccolo and Bulma to the ship, then says "DO AS I TELL YOU, RIGHT NOW, BEFORE I LOSE WHAT LITTLE SENSE OF REASON I HAVE LEFT!" He's so overcome by anger that he doesn't trust himself not to hurt his son.
  • In general, what the transformation did to Goku. It took a gentle man who didn't like to kill and turned him into a monster that Frieza describes as just like himself. Also, instead of taking Frieza down quickly, he let him go to full power so he could make Frieza suffer longer and humiliate him with the fact that even at his best, he never stood a chance at winning. He bluffed to Frieza that Gohan, Piccolo, and Bulma weren't his concern, his thoughts on Gohan attempting to escape the planet distracted him enough for Frieza to momentarily get the upper hand. This may be the other reason why he allowed Frieza to power up to 100%: If he's focused on fighting Goku, he can't go after the others. That the bluff was plausible says a lot about what the Super Saiyan form did to Goku's personality.
  • While fans prefer to ignore it, Dragon Ball – Episode of Bardock makes Goku's transformation even scarier-as Frieza would know from his ancestor what a Super Saiyan looks like... And suddenly, the monster his ancestor warned him about was appearing before his very eyes, and he was the cause of it.

  • So a Kid from the Future has come back to the past to save Goku from a heart virus, believing he will be able to find a way to defeat androids that will soon wreak havoc on the Earth. Dragon Ball is doing The Terminator now, some suspense, mostly resulting from the events not playing out the way the kid said they would and Vegeta's unrelenting stupidity, but nothing too frightening... until another time machine is uncovered. A time machine that has clearly been there much longer, is damaged from the inside and has the molt of an unnervingly large Four-Legged Insect like creature, whose mere shed remains have evil eyes, not far away. The good news is that we now have an idea why past events are not unfolding like they should, the bad news is that Earth's defenders thought they had the benefit of foresight but are really years behind whatever that may be.
  • Cell, Doctor Gero's greatest creation. It wants to eat you and all your friends. Slowly. Through a giant stinger that acts like a large, natural syringe. Even if you're strong enough to rip this natural syringe clean off to try to control the damage, it'll just grow back. And those strong enough won't likely encounter it until it's too late, given it's been operating under their noses for years, drinking away civilization and the ecosystem, steadily getting stronger. There's no way to stop it - machine guns, tanks, and entire armies only serve to annoy it... or amuse him. And after it eats you, it wants to destroy all traces of everything you know and love, but only after sending all the survivors into absolute soul-crushing despair. The icing on the cake is that one of the world's most brilliant scientific minds saw fit to create this thing.
    • Though to be fair, it's very likely Doctor Gero simply had no idea what kind of a personality his creation would develop. Had he known that the ultimate being would inherit the personality of the most sadistic warlord in the universe, combined with the ambitions and love for combat of an entire warrior race, things may have turned out differently.
    • Cell's battle aura in his Imperfect Form is made of the souls of the people he absorbed. And they're crying out in pain.
    • If you think the way he absorbs normal people is bad, wait till you see how he absorbs Androids 17 and 18. His stinger opens up into a funnel and he sucks them in whole like a snake. Watch as the bulge in his tail that was once Android 17 gets smaller and smaller as he advances towards Cell's torso until completely disappearing... You have the pleasure of watching from Android 17's PoV as Cell's tail slowly opens and descends. You actually see the throat of his tail. On top of that, what Cell says as he does this:
      Cell: All that you fail to understand will now be made clear to you. Hahahahaha!! Welcome home!!!
    • Cell's absorption of Android 18 is even worse. 17's reaction to the final attack was a look of shock and then a bit of swearing, and Cell swallowed him pretty quickly. With 18, there's something perversely sexual about it. It takes a long time to swallow her, and it's not a smooth process either; there's lots of creepy sucking motions, accompanied by 18's frightened cries, not to mention that when the tail first sweeps down over her, she screams.
      • The fact that Cell has 17's personality and memories inside of him as he does this does NOT help the imagination given that they are brother and sister.
      • Something similar happens when Cell confronts 16, 17, and 18. Cell looks at 18 in a way that seems almost covetous and says one of the creepiest lines ever:
      Imperfect Cell: Ahhh. You too, my little peach. I'm going to gobble you up!!
    • Another thing that's really disturbing is how after Cell absorbs Android 17, he imitates his voice in order to try to convince Android 18 to be willingly absorbed. The worst thing is that for a split second, she seriously looks like she's considering doing that, until Cell makes the mistake of using 17's voice to call Dr. Gero 'great'. (Or refer to him as Dr. Gero-sama, depending on which version of the show you watch.)
    • Cell's overall design is creepy, especially compared to Frieza and Buu because of how different it is to the rest of the cast. He was a lizard/insect hybrid with Hellish Pupils and was generally menacing. And when he absorbed 17, Nightmare Retardant aside, it's surreal seeing a monster like that getting an expressive, humanlike face. Thankfully, the effect disappears when he reaches perfection.
    • Here's a chaser. Something to think about when Android 18 is regurgitated. She was never dead. She was absorbed by Cell two weeks before the Cell Games, and she never died. She wasn't digested. She wasn't assimilated. She was still perfectly intact inside Cell for about two weeks. And she was completely powerless to do anything about it. Thankfully, she seemed to be unconscious during the whole time, but still...
    • When Cell absorbs Piccolo's arm. Fortunately, Piccolo can simply rip off that husk that was once his arm and grow a new one, but imagine if Cell did that to someone who does not have regenerative powers...
    • The scenes of clothing littered all over the ground from hundreds if not thousands of people from Nicky Town is pretty chilling. Cell absorbed each and every one of them, sparing no one, not even children. To him, they are all just a part of his endless buffet. And the Z Warriors can do nothing to stop him.
    • During one of his rampages, he's at a carnival and a young couple is fleeing from him in a house of mirrors. Imagine running for your lives from a creature who's appearing and cackling in all the mirrors, not having any clue where he could be, the last shot is his tail piercing through the mirrors and impaling the couple as they scream in terror.
    • The absolute worst part is that, when Goku steps down and states that someone else is going to fight Cell (in the Kai Dub on Nicktoons), Vegeta looks on in horror and shock and says that "None of us have the slightest chance of beating him (Cell)!" Cell is so powerful, cocky badass Vegeta is afraid. Holy shit.
      • Keep in mind that this is the second time Vegeta has acknowledged that an opponent was capable of beating him, the first being Broly. He NEVER does that, to the point that in all previous fights, he has either won or been incapacitated in some manner.
    • Cell's transformations as well. Unlike Frieza, where he at least retains some traits of his previous forms, Cell's head crest and some other minor traits are about the only thing to remain consistent throughout his transformations. But he still physically transforms into his new forms, meaning we get to see his body twist and contort itself into his new form. It's even worse when he finally becomes his Perfect Form, as after the Body Horror part, an energy cocoon forms around him and his sheer power sends shock waves throughout the world. Trunks tries to interrupt the transformation, but as he's trying to pierce the cocoon, he, and the audience, are treated to an absolutely horrifying shadowed Cell midway between forms, emitting an inhuman screech. The scary part is given how much changed between his first and second forms, there's the feeling of mystery at just what he's turning into now.
  • When Cell comes across Piccolo and a random man in the street, who begs Piccolo to take his money and save him. Cell stabs him with his tail, and it starts... moving, like it's drinking, and the man is petrified. The man's entire body STARTS TO MELT; his face eventually caves in, and his body is sucked up until there is nothing left but his clothes. Piccolo, who is usually stoic, is too petrified by fear to do anything but watch in horror, both scared and disgusted at how emotionless Cell was in killing a random civilian. The scariest part is that Cell glared at Piccolo the whole time while doing so.
  • In "Our Hero Awakens", Cell has already sucked dry an entire town. We see one Badass Normal guy with an automatic rifle trying to stop him, only to find that his bullets bounce off Cell like raindrops. This is the type of character who in an 80s action flick would be the one to save the day, but in the Dragon Ball universe he's just fodder. As Cell drains him, we see that his wife and child were hiding nearby and could hear the whole horrific ordeal.
  • His announcement of the Cell Games; Cell goes to a local TV station and interrupts all broadcasts by going through the floor much to the shock and horror of those there and watching it. When he reaches the top floor, he announces himself as Cell and that he was the one responsible for the deaths and terrorizing all the towns and cities as the Big Monster of Nicky Town and reverts to his Imperfect Voice. He then announces the Cell Games to all who's watching and states that if he's not defeated, he will destroy all life. To cap this off, he then blows a hole through the building destroying a mountain in the nearby distance before flying off.
  • After having the top half of his body blown up, it's assumed that he's finally dead....until the lower half suddenly leaps to standing position and regenerates that top half. It's one of the many instances that highlights that Cell is not a man in a bug costume, but an unnatural being whose regenerative properties are presented an unnatural exaggeration of Piccolo. It's especially jarring that while Cell did regenerate his arm similar to Piccolo, this layer of restoration hints of how absurd his healing factor is.
  • Cell's desperate attempt after he takes too much heavy damage from Super Saiyan 2 Gohan who manages to beat Android 18 out of him. Reverting back into his second form, Cell goes ballistic knowing he is outmatched and starts bloating up like a grotesque balloon. Before the inevitable Earth-Shattering Kaboom, Goku intervenes and manages to transport him onto King Kai's planet until he finally detonates, taking King Kai, Gregory, Bubbles and Goku and the entire little planet with him. You would think with Goku's Heroic Sacrifice that it would be the end. But it's not. In fact, Cell regenerates with his cell core and manages to resurrect himself into a more powerful state called "Super Perfect Cell". Cue Mass "Oh, Crap!" from what’s left of the Z gang at that point on.
    • And to drive the point home, he reintroduces himself via energy beam through Future Trunks' chest. Out of a dust cloud, too fast for anybody to dodge or react, before the Z-Fighters can even take in what is happening. Future Trunks hits the ground with a basketball-sized hole in his torso. And then hacks up about a pint of blood. Yikes.
  • While it's easy to overlook thanks to it being an incredibly awesome moment for Gohan, Cell's death is pretty gruesome if you overlook that. Saying that he had it coming would be a massive understatement, but Cell doesn't die quickly and painlessly, no. He slowly disintegrates while screaming in pain. Even as he breaks apart into millions of pieces and then into microscopic cells, take into consideration that this is Cell we're talking about here, so he likely felt every last bit of it until he was erased for good. That had to have been utter hell to go through.
    • It doesn't help in the brief moment before his body breaks apart completely that his face distorts into deranged exaggerations of himself at a rapid pace.
  • What makes Cell so scary is the fact that he isn't some alien or some eternal mass of chaos like Buu. He is a creature created on Earth by an ordinary, vengeful human. A human, the people that Goku and the others spent their lives protecting, created an absolute monster that feeds off of other humans in the slowest, painful way possible. How morally bankrupt and cruel does a person have to be to create such a creature?

    Super Saiyan 2 Gohan 
  • Let's cut to the chase. When Son Gohan achieves the Messianic powers of a Super Saiyan 2, he changes from a sensitive and kind-hearted little boy to a cold-blooded, sadistic murderer that would make Frieza or Broly run for their lives. Watching the once kind-hearted boy coldly sneer "Kill him now? Hmph, not yet Dad. He deserves to suffer much longer!!" is incredibly unsettling. Cell even calls him "a ''monster''": as in the same Cell that is fueled on the lives of thousands, if not millions of people and laughed with glee as he absorbed the two teenagers his creator turned into cyborgs as they screamed for their lives. He also stated he loves seeing the twisted faces of terror in people, and said to Goku that if it wasn't for the tournament he created, he'd wipe out the earth in one shot without batting an eye. When Goku called out to Gohan that he should end the fight since Cell, while cornered could become more unpredictable than before, Gohan's response was to glare at him and give his most sadistic smirk he's ever shown, before giving the line that he'd like to carry on what was effectively torture. That kid was clearly Not Himself.
    • The part of the battle most people remember is this one, but one has to watch the entire fight to really get the full impression. The contrast between Gohan before he ascends and afterwards is startlingly dramatic.
    • Gohan is right about Cell deserving it, though, considering that Cell DRANK 600,000 innocent people and intended to kill everyone on Earth just to see the terror on their faces before they die.
      • That may be the case, but the fact that Gohan beats the crap in Cell in uncontrollable rage is somewhat disturbing. But the sheer freakishness of it goes Up to Eleven when you consider this- this Superpowered Evil Side has been lurking in him since he was 4 years old.
      • However, it is quite reasonable to sympathize with Gohan, even in Super Saiyan 2. He has lived through traumatic experiences since he was 4 years old, so it is logical to assume that sooner or later he would explode with anger. Remember the Nappa fight? The battle on Namek? And how he saw Namekians being killed by Frieza's army since he was 5 years old, and bullied by Vegeta at the end of the Namek saga?
    • Fundamentally the whole end of the Cell Games is incredibly disturbing when you actually think about it. Goku fights Cell first before giving up after it became clear that he couldn't win, leaving his friends and family absolutely petrified with fear, particularly his 11-year-old son who worships him and can't even conceive of being stronger than his father, despite Goku fighting to show Gohan that he has surpassed him. Goku then leaves the rest of the fight to Gohan. Piccolo (who didn't even have a real childhood) calling Goku out on the fact he's letting his young child get tortured really emphasizes that Goku's just left the fate of the entire world on the shoulders of a boy that isn't even a teenager yet and loathes violence (not to mention giving Cell a Senzu Bean to ensure a fair fight). Worse, Goku really had no choice but to trust in Gohan's power since no one else could match Cell. Goku's confidence in his son might have been proven correct but considering what it required, and Goku was obviously banking on, Gohan literally being driven into a homicidal rage by the emotional trauma, the transformation is arguably worse than Goku's first transformation into a Super Saiyan. The fact that he snaps to the point of sadism really isn't surprising considering the emotional state it took to get him there. Just watching him coldly take apart Cell and the Juniors even before he starts talking about making Cell suffer is pretty distressing considering the natural human instinct is to protect and shield children from these kinds of events, emphasizing that despite Goku being raised by humans, he isn't a human and such sentiments are not shared by Saiyans. It's pretty hard to blame Gohan for any of what ensues and it's just made worse by the fact that the already traumatized kid is left to blame himself for his father's death following this.
    • Goku putting Gohan to fight had nothing to do with Saiyan Nature. Goku himself has been fighting villains and monsters since he was 11 or 12 years old without issues, about the same age Gohan is when fighting Cell, so he didn't see the problem with it because for him it was normal at that age. If Goku made a mistake, it's that he didn't really take into account just how different his son is from himself, especially how much his son actually dislikes fighting.

    Buu - All Forms 
  • Frieza was, and to some, still is, the iconic villain of the Dragon Ball universe. While subsequent villains were more powerful in the individual sense, Frieza was a ruthless tyrant who ran an empire and was known of and feared throughout the galaxy. If you've watched Z you likely know that while he's clearly afraid of Goku post-transformation, he gives a fight a try anyway - and gets his ass kicked. And comes back for more at least twice. In Super, you find out that Buu, along with Beerus, were the two individuals Frieza was basically instructed by King Cold, "If you see them, run the other freaking direction." Even to someone who, at the time, was as untouchable as Frieza, the only other individuals known to exist that invoked this level of horrifying terror were a GOD OF DESTRUCTION... and Buu.
  • The first fight against Fat Buu, where Vegeta has to blow himself to smithereens in a Heroic Sacrifice and burn himself literally to ASHES ... for nothing. After the fact, a desiccated husk of Majin Vegeta remains in a dark sky ripe with thunder clouds, that falls to the ground to break and be turned into dust into the wind... Talk about a horrible way to go. And again, all for nothing.
  • Then, Piccolo has the mother of Oh, Crap! moments when he sees Buu regenerate from that! Piccolo, the team's Smart Guy and The Stoic is literally running for the hills upon seeing the pieces of Boo come together.
  • The Fridge Horror of being absorbed by Majin Buu. You are taken into his body where he feeds off your power and knowledge and uses them to kill everyone you know. Worse, you cannot die or do anything to stop him. You are forever trapped in an immortal being who will continue to use your abilities to kill billions.
  • Even though he only appeared in one episode, Evil Buu (gray) arguably is pretty freaking scary given his depressing, morbid appearance. Any child who sees this haunting stare [1] would most likely be scared senseless. Let's see. Soulless white eyes within black sclera which originated the Black Eyes of Crazy trope? Check. Gray, melancholy color compared to bright, jubilant pink? Check. Sickly, anorexic body? Check. Even when anorexic Buu is pink [2], that unnerving smile isn't exactly doing anyone's mind any favors.
    • How he was extremely deathly stoic in his fight with Good Buu, and then when he eats him, it results in an utterly crazed laugh with completely wide eyes and smile as he turns into Super Buu. Talk about Not So Stoic
  • During Super Buu's fight with Vegito, he forces himself into the fused Saiyan's mouth and tries to destroy him from the inside. Vegito's powerful enough to resist it, but Buu is able to remain inside his body. The following few minutes are outright disturbing as we see random parts of Vegito's body swelling to ridiculously grotesque size as he attempts to beat Super Buu back out.
  • Super Buu. While Fat Buu was more like an innocent child that didn't know how not to break stuff or the difference between good and bad, Super Buu was, along with Kid Buu, the most deranged. He has this trademark pose where he's standing straight up, but his long neck is tilted to one side and he's got a Cheshire Cat grin about two sizes too big for his face.
    • When Gohan pounds Super Buu into the dirt, Buu begins screaming and ranting like a madman, suddenly going from a snarling rage to a wide-eyed Nightmare Face complete with a Slasher Smile over how he'll make Gohan pay. Despite the flashy display of generating a large aura of Ki while being covered in protruding veins, Gohan doesn't sense much of a power boost from him and says as much. Buu's only response is to look at him, head cocked to the side, baring a manic grin, and mutter. "You're missing the point." That point being that Buu just set his body up to self destruct to take out the area for miles around, knowing that he can just reassemble himself. Buu is not someone you want to make angry.
    • His actions in this form don't help. As mentioned before, the other forms just liked Stuff Blowing Up. His methods of killing/torturing are extremely sadistic, yes, even worse than Frieza, Cell, or Broly. That includes turning one into food of choice and eating them (keeping them fully conscious the whole time), shrinking someone and then stepping on them, and liquefying himself and force-feeding his own body down another's throat, then expanding inside them until they burst. Once Buu makes this, Mr. Satan is completely horrified.
      • There's also the fact that, aside from being the strongest of the Buus, he's also the smartest. He can tear you down more psychologically and physically. And don't try to outwit him, as he already planned for that; just ask Gohan.
      • The Human Extinction Attack: a now-Laughing Mad Buu launches a continuous stream of energy beams that exterminates the entire human population within minutes. He pulls off a Class 3a Apocalypse for no reason other than "I can actually do this". As Team Four Star put it, "This is the first time in the series where the civilian casualty number isn't just high — it's complete." To make matters worse, the ki blasts are shown not exploding and vaporizing their targets on impact, but tearing through their torsos. Dragon Ball Z has established by this point that a hole in the chest is neither a quick nor a painless way to go. Never mind that the streets of Earth's cities were likely littered with blood and dead or dying bodies until... well, see below.
      • Kid Buu later upgraded it to Class X-3, with an immediate threat of Class X-4 to boot.
      • You know how at that point in the series death was almost completely reversible at will thanks to the Dragon Balls? To the point Piccolo even tried to buy time by suggesting Super Buu kill all the humans down on mainland Earth knowing they could be wished back? Suddenly when he did that attack it didn't feel so cheap anymore.
      • From Bad to Worse — remember, the earth's dragon can't revive people more than once, and as far as they knew, the Namekian dragon could only revive three people every 130 days.
      • Despite all of the Body Horror he can do, he, for the most part, was essentially a thug whose only thought was "opponent" and "food" and could only hurt you physically. However, once he absorbed Piccolo and Gotenks, he became much more dangerous — not in physical power (which did grow tremendously with Gotenks' Super Saiyan 3 power), but in intelligence (courtesy of Piccolo), something which the other forms mostly lacked. Imagine if you gave the smartest mind in the series to the most powerful being in the universe. The result is a ruder version of Cell whose ego is boosted even further after absorbing Gohan himself, can back his power with wit, and destroys people with emotional torment (in this case Gohan, made worse since he was repeating things that his teacher taught him to mess him up and it works). Buu's manipulation ends with Gohan being rendered helpless by the brutal physical and mental assault of his empowered enemy. It got so bad that at one point, it had to be not shown — not censored, but not shown at all — meaning it was as bad as, if not worse than, Frieza's beatdown of Vegeta.
      • Goku has it almost as bad. Imagine standing there and watching as Buu take your last son and uses his power against you. He just came back to life and he's utterly helpless against the monster who murdered his wife and took his sons in the worst way possible. In the English dub, Buu even had the nerve to call Goku dad after absorbing Gohan.
  • Kid Buu was frightening as well. Yeah, he looks smaller, and maybe not as intimidating, but his first act in this form is to attempt to blow up the Earth, seemingly out of pure spite. When that is blocked, he prepares a blast ten times larger that they can't block. Goku begs him to not go through with it, that "There will be nothing! Nothing left at all!" Buu's response is a giggle and one of the evilest smiles of all time, then he destroys the planet. That's when it was clear: this Buu had nothing resembling reason, unlike his previous forms. He had no ambitions to prove himself or to be the strongest, no need for anything to entertain him. He was simply going to kill and kill and kill until nothing was left. For no reason.
    • The totality of this moment is reflected upon once the blast hits Earth's surface. The camera cuts all the way across the universe to New Namek, where Elder Moori and the Namekians are shown being shaken from their daily routines as they sense Earth's destruction. They look up at the sky in mild shock.
    • Kid Buu then travels to the after-life and Yamcha, in complete horror, makes light of the fact that IF enough energy is used, someone could KILL someone who was already dead. He then goes on to say that doing so would cause them to cease to exist and not even Dragon Balls can bring them back. Kid Buu was strong enough to do just that. This means that, if he were more sadistic, he could subsequently torture you for all eternity and you wouldn't die unless he destroyed your soul!
    • He's the only villain that's completely incapable of being reasoned with. Frieza and Cell may be inhuman in nature and power, but you can still reason with them. Even Super Buu could be distracted for a good fight. That won't work with Kid Buu. He has no pride to manipulate, no ambitions or understandable emotions to get a rise out of, and nothing you can bargain with. It just wants to destroy everything, pure and simple. And there's nothing you can do to stop it.
    • Kid Buu's very body language is chilling in how utterly lacking in restraint it is. And then there's his scream. Psychotic doesn't even begin to describe it. It's... primal.
    • After Buu destroys the Earth he teleports all over the universe and destroys several other planets in a row like a cosmic wrecking ball without giving the people on those planets any chance of fighting back or even realizing what was happening. It was at this moment tha it becomes clear to the viewer that the entire universe really was in danger since this thing wouldn't stop until everything was dead.
    • What little forewarning we got was for the most part Kibito Kai's unrestrained horror as the transformation from Super Buu to Kid Buu arrived to the Huge Buu stage for a moment. Until that moment he, and his fusee Shin and Kibito, had been scared of Buu, but it was controllable, and after the fusion, he actually considered going after Super Buu himself. Then he saw that... And was on his knees in pure abject terror trying desperately to deny the truth, that Buu was returning to his original form. And when he continued changing, he revealed what was happening with just as much horror.
      • And why did Kibito Kai have that reaction? Because that was the Buu that killed the other Supreme Kais, and he remembers all too well the horror of that monster.
    • The other piece of forewarning: when Vegeta was about to rip Fat Buu from him and trigger the change, Super Buu begged him not too out of sheer horror at the idea of reverting to Kid Buu. Sadly, he was too scared to properly explain what he meant by "I wouldn't be me anymore", and Vegeta went through with it. Thus Super Buu reverted to his original form... While Super Buu tried desperately to prevent the change.
    • Heck, Kid Buu's theme song is the creepiest soundtrack in all of DBZ Kai. It's nightmarish and gives off the vibe of a horror film.
  • Even Fat Buu gets one. After deciding he's gonna eat Dabura, he starts dancing towards him in an innocent, yet menacing fashion while chanting "Me eat you up, me eat you up, me eat you up". Dabura tries to put up resistance, pummeling him, blasting him, spitting petrifying saliva at him, but no matter what he does, Buu continues to dance towards him until the Demon King is finally consumed.
    • Here it is in all it's horrifying glory.
    • Fat Buu gets another dark moment near the end of his career as a servant. After Babidi threatens him with sealing and insults him too many times, a single panel shows Buu's face just before his master-slaying ploy. It is an uncharacteristically serious and dark face for him; if a face acted as someone else's death warrant, Buu's would be it. One look at that and you just know, Babidi is already dead.
  • Think you're safe from Super Buu? Think again!

  • Doctor Gero, the mastermind behind the Red Ribbon Army, definitely deserves mention. His methods for creating Androids 17 and 18 involved kidnapping teenage siblings and wiping them of their memories. And that's not the worst he does either. It is implied the reason he created Cell, if he had any idea what kind of sadism his creation would obtain, was to enact revenge against humanity for his Red Ribbon Army's destruction. The worst part is that like Mercenary Tao, he's human and not created to be evil like Buu or an alien like Frieza so he's perfectly aware of the suffering he's causing people and he loves every minute of it.
    • The scene where he absorbs Piccolo's strength is also pretty creepy, and a lot more suggestive than necessary.
    • And then there's the fact that Dr. Gero specifically kidnapped and mutated 17 and 18 for the sole purpose of what amounts to feeding them to a monster from our worst nightmares. To him, those two human kids are just food, nothing more.
    • Because of Gero's hatred of Goku he ruined at least two timelines, one where Future Trunks came from and the one Cell came from, and nearly destroyed the solar system of the main timeline. All those people dead and suffering at the hands of the androids happened because of one man's petty vengeance. One man completely ruined the world.
  • Garlic Jr's fate. He becomes the first Dragon Ball villain to successfully wish for immortality to the Dragon Balls, but in the end, it amounts to nothing, and in fact, inflicts him with a Fate Worse than Death. The reason? His special technique consists of opening a portal to a Phantom Zone called the Dead Zone, but both times he tries to use it against his enemies, he ends up getting trapped in it. The second time, he becomes trapped permanently there, as Gohan destroyed Garlic Jr's home planet, which was the source of his power. Being immortal, and with no means to getting out, it means that he'll be there for the rest of all eternity. And sure enough, he isn't heard from again.
  • Major league Adult Fear territory: Everything that happens to Gohan through the Saiyan saga - especially if you're Chi-Chi. First kidnapped by a stranger, then rescued only to be kidnapped again by someone Chi-Chi would have known for a fact was Goku's mortal enemy. He then disappears for an entire year, only to return just in time for him to be thrown into a fight with two more guys that are even worse. Chi-Chi gets mocked on occasion for her coddling ways, but after a year like that, who could blame her for being a bit rattled?
  • Captain Ginyu. The Ginyu force is this in-universe, since it's what Frieza uses when he's really pissed and wants things done. The weakest of them has psychic powers able to make two warriors with over thirty times his power level helpless, then there are three people that could curb stomp Vegeta (no, not acting together, every one of them could to this on his own), and they are to Ginyu less than what Vegeta is to them. So far, however, is just the usual Sorting Algorithm of Evil. The real horror is what happens when you are stronger than Ginyu. He would seriously injure himself, then swap bodies with you, getting a much stronger one, leaving you to die from his self-inflicted and painful injury. The worst of it? Jeice knew of that ability. Is what we see Ginyu's original body? And how many times did he do that before?
    • The second Budokai Tenkaichi game outright states that Ginyu's current body isn't his own. Considering how willing he is to pull out the body-swapping technique, it does make one wonder how many other victims Ginyu left to die in such a manner.
    • In the anime, the Ginyu Force are dancing idiots whose true threat level doesn't become apparent until well into their fights. In the manga it's almost immediately apparent when they show up with scouters, greet Frieza and then immediately cross Namek, a planet three times larger than the Earth, right to Gohan, Krillin and Vegeta. A few chapters ago there was some drama over Goku having to cross Snake Way and arrive on Earth due to Kaio losing track of time but these guys made a comparable trip in no time at all.
  • The very concept of the Garlic Jr. saga's Black Water Mist. Just breathing it in will turn anyone (unless they're a Namekian, have a dragon shielding them, or are just incredibly lucky) into an evil, vampiric demon. Imagine you look around you after you're in a situation where you don't breathe the mist, and you see everyone you know and love trying to kill you. Or better yet, imagine what's going on in everyone's head right after they breathe the mist. Do they want to kill those close to them, or is it a case of "And I Must Scream"?
    • There's also the fact that the mist covered the entire planet. Over 90% of the Earth's population transformed into bloodthirsty mindless drones of Garlic Jr and his henchmen. We're also shown a very disturbing clip of a young couple hiding out in a destroyed city whilst people all around riot, saying how that "evil mist changes people", before they are suddenly attacked (and probably infected) by several infected animals. We hear their screams as one of the girl's shoes flies off and the camera lingers on it for several seconds.
  • The fact that during and after the Cell Saga, anyone with enough power is capable to nearly destroy a planet by elevating his Ki (especially if unchecked). During the Buu Saga, we see how Goku provokes earthquakes and destruction across Earth only with his transformation into Super Saiyan 3.
  • After you've seen Dragon Ball Super, all the times Supreme Kai was threatened and/or on the verge of death suddenly become a lot more chilling than they already were, knowing that if he dies Beerus himself would cease to exist (and Whis would become inactive afterward), which would have severely affected events going forward into that series. spoilers 


  • Babidi is a sadistic little creep who can't fight on his own, but can take even the faintest traces of darkness in someone's soul and forcefully corrupt them into psychopathic slaves. Plus, his whole method for reviving Majin Buu revolved around inflicting pain. On top of that, he'll gleefully show you via magic the death and chaos Buu causes, just to show you how little hope you have.


  • Any transformation in the Great Ape/Oozaru by Goku or Gohan. Not only do they have an appearance of a monster, but whenever a Saiyan turns into one, unless they're an elite, they lose all senses of themselves.
  • But an Oozaru with conscious thought —à la Vegeta— sounds even more terrifying. This means that they know exactly what they're going to do, and you're the helpless grunt about to have your bones ground to dust- at best.
    • Well, at least with a conscious thought, you'd be able to know when to stop destroying when the jobs done. With an out of control Oozaru form, you just kill and kill.... and you don't stop until the transformation's over, and you have no memory of what happened...
    • When Goku gets his ribcage crushed by Oozaru Vegeta in the Saiyan Saga. He'd already weakened his body to the point where a light slap from Yajirobe made him wince, so when you think about how much this had to hurt it's amazing that he was able to contribute to the fight at all.


  • Early in the Buu saga, we see the fight between Videl and Spopovich. Long story short, this entire episode, if you remove the fantasy elements, is a wrestler pounding a young girl in a tournament, and absolutely no one is coming to help her!!. There's a shot of Spopovich stepping on her head, and all Videl can do is cry out in pain!! She's lucky Gohan defied his father and flew in to save her, which, really, brings up a whole 'nother issue! Even Goku is really disgusted with this guy (Spopovich), and went on his way to mutter "I don't like him" and "there's something wrong with that guy" more than once. Still, he didn't actually intervene, but it was more of a matter of time: if Gohan didn't do it first, Goku would have.
    • Even if you keep the fantasy elements in, for not one, but two solid episodes, the fight between Videl and Spopovich is pretty horrific. Videl, struggling to even make him react to her attacks, delivers a kick that spins his entire head around. After a scene in which everyone thinks she did kill him (including Videl herself, who didn't mean to go that far), HE GETS BACK UP, NEARLY PULLS HIS HEAD OFF, AND SETS IT BACK INTO PLACE! From there, he gets his revenge, pummeling her into heavy bleeding, and not stopping. Her screams are horrifying, especially the ones where he pulled on her hair. Both episodes are considered as Nightmare Fuel in-universe by spectators and the narrator.
    • Then we find out that Spopovich lost easily to Hercule in the last tournament, bringing out the Fridge Horror of what was able to make him at least ten times stronger and teach him to fly and use energy attacks. And then Vegeta falls under Babidi's influence.
    • Although utterly well-deserved after what he did to Videl, Spopovich's death is still horrifyingly gruesome. Babidi uses the magic he's bestowed upon Spopovich to make the guy's body start to inflate like a balloon. We can hear bones crunching, and get a close-up on his eyes bugging out as his own expanding body mass starts to crush his head as he cries out in agony until it's just a gurgling sound...and then he explodes! And as seen below, it's not even the last time such a death happens in the Buu Saga!

Van Zant

  • Van Zant, the bandit who shot Buu's dog and later Mr. Satan. In his first scene he kills an elderly couple and revels about how great it feels to kill someone. Then we see him shooting people at random in a nearby town. It all leads up to Van Zant shooting Buu's dog and Mr. Satan and this triggers the release of Buu's evil side, meaning he's responsible for every bad thing that happens afterward. All this for no reason other than the sheer thrill of killing people. Even worse is that at the time Buu had reformed and posed no threat to anyone. What's worse is that he uses Buu's destruction spree as an excuse, reasoning that everyone will be killed eventually, and even going so far as to pretend that Buu killed his victims. And just why he does all of this? He's reckoned that with Buu flying around basically laying waste to the planet, he's probably going to die soon, and he decided it'd be fun to try to take as many people with him as possible. That's his entire motivation. The most terrifying thing about him is that he is a completely normal human being with no superpowers. Put emphasis on completely, since he is just a simple human with no superpowers or martial arts training. All other human villains were leaders of evil organizations (Commander Red), or were mercenaries and later cyborgs (Tao Pai Pai), but he is just an average human. Most of the other villains in the series are intergalactic warlords, androids or other supernatural creatures and use ki-blasts and other superpowers for evil, Van Zant uses normal guns to accomplish bad things. It is terrifying to see that a regular human, who uses normal guns to accomplish bad deeds, can be just as bad as intergalactic alien warlords or insane androids.
    • And, partially related to this is how Zant and his crony Smitty die. Zant's death is standard fare for DBZ (vaporized by a point-blank Ki Blast from Skinny Evil Buu), but Smitty suffers what may be the most horrifyingly brutal death of the entire series note  And, in a series where the main characters routinely get holes blown through them, lose limbs, and get bones snapped, that's saying a LOT.
    • On the subject of Van Zant's death, while the anime spared some of the more gruesome details of Evil Buu vaporizing him, the manga gives us a more gruesome up close look, showing his his jaw breaking off while his eyes fly out of their sockets. As much as he deserved it, that's still a horrible way to go out.
    • This doesn't mention the look that Majin Buu gives him just as he's starting to explode. This may be one of four times in the entire series that we see Fat Majin Buu with his eyes wide open.
    • Someone had to mention how Mr. Satan reacts to the whole thing. Mr. Satan is absolutely furious at Van Zant and attacks him. Mr. Satan, the same guy who acted all fearless in the Cell Games and felt more awkward than scared when he first met Buu, became pissed off and Took a Level in Badass. That's saying a lot.


  • This may be more Nausea Fuel than Nightmare Fuel, but Piccolo being forced to basically reassemble himself after Trunks knocks him over as a statue. Presuming that Piccolo was not conscious for his time as a statue and only regained consciousness when the attack wore off (i.e. when Buu killed Dabura), imagine if your first conscious realization after being turned to stone is, "Oh, Crap!. I'm in pieces." And then there was the effort involved. It's already a known fact that, yes, while Piccolo can regenerate limbs, it's not an easy process. And he had to regenerate several portions of his body.
    • Trunks, at the time less than 10 years old, freaked out as soon as he saw the others coming back to life, remembering that he had broken the statue. He looked over the ridge where Piccolo had been standing and visibly blanched. What kind of visceral, meaty horror he saw can only be imagined, and at such an age.
    • It also helps to remember that this is a show that is all too pleased to show you the gore of battle...yet it did not let you see what Trunks was seeing. Instead, all you saw was young Trunks looking as if he's about to throw up at the ghastly sight, before informing Goten and Krillin that "you don't wanna go up there, guys." Take Our Word for It indeed...
  • This example is mostly reserved for the earlier movies: How utterly Piccolo's ruthless can be towards the villains, even after his Heel–Face Turn. Whenever he goes up against the henchman, he makes damn sure they suffer an agonizing death, and he seems to enjoy doing it too.
    • Lord Slug: He engages in a Curb-Stomp Battle against Wing and breaks both his arms. Realizing how screwed he was, Wing offered Piccolo a spot in Slug's army. Piccolo stretched his hand out as if to help Wing back up... and puts it in front his face. He then proceeded to blow Wing's head off.
    • Revenge of Cooler: He fires a homing blast at Doore, who tried to chase after Gohan. attempted to outrun and then block it, but it proved too much to handle and got vaporized. Neiz caught Piccolo when an electric cage. Piccolo was screaming in agonizing pain... until Neiz got too close. Piccolo smirked, grabbed Neiz by the face, and fried him to death with his own attack.


The Tree of Might

  • Word of God stated that Turles is essentially what Goku would be if he never landed on his head, wiping his memory.
  • When he plants the Tree of Might, it turns the planet to a desolate wasteland. Also, whoever eats from this fruit obtains immense power.
  • When Turles forces Gohan's eyes open to see the fake moon, going Oozaru.

Lord Slug

  • Slug when growing into a Super Namek/Giant Namekian. He's even bigger than Piccolo when he went giant in the original series.
  • Goku's False Super Saiyan transformation. It shows up for a brief moment, but it's scary to see the desperate Goku suddenly turn into a Kaioken-esque Screaming Warrior on a rage fueled rampage.

Super Android 13

  • In an infamous moment among DBZ fans, Goku turns Super Saiyan and charges the eponymous android with Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs only for Android 13 to be completely unaffected. Think about how frighteningly strong any sort of being that can No-Sell SSJ Goku's punches and kicks must be. Then, particularly if you're male, think of that same being punching you directly in the balls.
  • The horrifying face Goku sports when after turning Super Saiyan and subconsciously absorbing that tremendous power, turning him into a giant ball of raw power that Android 13 can't even approach without disintegrating his fists. Also, even after skewering the android and blowing him up, Goku STILL sports that bared tooth expression as if to stress how BAD the strain maintaining this state is upon him.

Cooler's Revenge

  • It can be jarring to realize that not only did Frieza have his father King Cold, but also an older brother. Cooler isn't avenging Frieza's death out of love, but out of sheer spite and a sense of self preservation and his family's honor. Upon learning that it was a member of the supposedly 'weak' race of creatures, a Saiyan, he felt that someone killing Frieza and not him, was an outright insult to him. So what does Cooler do? He heads to Earth, enraged, to avenge Frieza and kill the one that had done it. He's just like Frieza, but even worse. His power exceeds him. It's implied in the film that he's in the same form and strength as his brother's fourth and final form... except that he has another form to surpass him!
    • The near final moments when Goku repelled Cooler back with his Super Kamehameha and his own Supernova straight to the sun. Anyone who's read this page so far knows where this is going... Let's just say that Cooler's demise was a slow horrific incineration that would leave some viewers raising a few eyebrows. He may (like many other Z villains of the entire series) have deserved it but in the end, it’s still a horrible demise...

The Return of Cooler

  • ...Then it turns out Cooler survived as a piece of his head intact, and a computer chip called the Big Gete Star fused with it, turning Cooler into a Hive Mind. His first order of business was to invade New Namek, enslave its population and engulf part of the planet in a giant mass of metal. Cooler also appears as a new body with enough power overwhelm Super Saiyan Goku and Vegeta at the same time and can rebuild himself each time he's damaged.

The History of Trunks

  • Future Androids 17 and 18. Unlike their current counterparts, these androids kill For the Evulz and do so in extremely painful and humiliating ways.
  • When Future Gohan dies. It was horrifying to see him get hit by those beams, while he's screaming in agony, and he's laying on the ground helpless! You begin to realize how hopeless the situation was, even though it seemed Gohan was holding his own. When Trunks faced his own beatdown at the hands of the Androids, for some reason, they made the incredibly intelligent decision to use the creepiest Gregorian-chant BGM as a backdrop.
  • The look into Trunks's nightmarish future, with a blinding orange sunset, coupled with "Mind, Power, KI" gives an idea of how bleak things are under the Androids' reign.
  • From the second the rain falls on Gohan's final battle, the entire film takes on an eerie Film Noir aesthetic of dark shadows broken only by flashes of lightning, dim lamps and dying sunlight. Trunks hiding in terror from 17 and 18 among the shadows of urban decay is a scene straight out of a 1980's Slasher Movie, complete with a blood-chilling Ominous Pipe Organ score to emphasize just how hopeless his plight is.


  • Broly's screams when going Legendary Super Saiyan. He sounds like a baby crying interspersed with maniacal laughter.
    • At the last part of the transformation, if you watch closely, it looks like Broly's power tears his skin open before resetting into the finished product.
  • The Goku we all know and love was born with a power level of 2. Broly? Broly was born with a power level of 10,000. That's a base power level, with no training or power-ups. Canonically, he could have wiped the floor with basically everyone in the Saiyan Saga save Goku and Vegeta as a day-old infant. If that's how powerful he was when he was a baby, it's horrifying to think how strong Broly is as an adult. No wonder King Vegeta was terrified of him.
    • Also consider that, at least in the original continuity, Broly was stabbed as a newborn by agents of King Vegeta. Talk about Adult Fear if you're Paragus - but Broly came close enough to death from this. The fact that he didn't die from being stabbed in the chest as a baby is frightening, but keep in mind what happens if you nearly kill a Saiyan but don't get the job done. As ridiculous as Broly's power level was out of the womb, how much more was it after an assassination attempt?
  • Every villain in the series, when being fought, has taken hits and bled. Frieza, Cell, Bojack, Buu, it doesn't matter. Each and every one of them gets a beating here and there. Broly, though? He doesn't get hurt at all. The only hits that have ever make Broly flinch in any form, at least in the original movies, are the killing blows at the end of each one. He can take everything that you can throw at him and not notice. On top of that, he's insane. You can't bargain with him or surrender. You can't scare him, you can't team up on him and all he wants to do is kill you... as slowly and painfully as he can. And unlike the other villains, he's not doing it because you're in his way or for profit. Broly does it because he loves it. It doesn't matter if he's ordered to kill you, once he sees you then he will go after you, and he will kill you.
  • Legendary Super Saiyan Broly. One of the things he's most noted for is his Empty Eyes. This gives him a demonic appearance, on top of the fact that he grows nearly twice as tall as his original self, is bulkier than the Ultra Super Saiyan 2nd state, and destroys a slave race's planet just to see them cry about it. But all you need to realize that he's a bad mofo is to watch one of the many scenes in the first movie where there's a close-up onto his eyes.
    • This goes even further in that, for most of the series, the use of 'empty eyes' signifies that a character is either enraged or releasing stupidly high amounts of energy. In this case, it's very clearly both.
  • The way Broly kills Paragus. Sure, Paragus certainly deserved it, but it doesn't make it any less horrifying. Paragus climbs into a space pod to escape New Planet Vegeta, which is about to be hit by a comet, and intending to leave Broly behind. Unfortunately for him, Broly shows up, grabs the space pod, hoists it over his head, and crushes it with Paragus still inside. Worse still, he crushes it slowly enough that Paragus has time to lament over his fate - meaning that Paragus's death was a slow and painful one. Ugh...
  • Speaking of bad ways to go, both of the times Broly dies aren't pretty.
    • In The Legendary Super Saiyan, Goku punches Broly in the chest while Vegeta, Gohan, Piccolo, and Trunks give him their energy. Said punch rips a hole into Broly's chest, blood spewing out as Broly's face begins to crack. Broly then begins to spasm before he explodes, choking out one last "Kakarot!" as he does. Thankfully, Gory Discretion Shot comes into play and we don't see anything really grisly, but god damn.
    • In Second Coming, Broly gets blasted into the sun thanks to the Family Kamehameha - at which point we're treated to a clear shot of his heart messily bursting because of the extreme heat, followed by Broly himself. What a way to go.
  • If you really think about it, the reason Broly is like this (at least post-Super) can be this. On the very day that Planet Vegeta blew up, King Vegeta attempted to kill him via knife because having such a powerful being around was deemed too much of a threat. It didn't work, and shortly afterward, the annihilation of the Saiyan Race had occurred, with only Broly and Paragus surviving the explosion itself due to the former's immense power. But that isn't what sets Broly, the trigger for his Legendary Super Saiyan transformation is the Saiyan child that just so happened to be crying right next to him: Goku. For him, the very sight of Goku brings the traumatic events of his youth to the forefront, all because Goku cried in the same room as him on the worst day of his life, causing a rampage that nearly breaks five of the strongest characters in the series at that point. And then in Second Coming, Goten accidentally wakes up a frozen Broly with his crying and incurs his wrath, waking up a hulking monstrosity with one thing left on his mind: murder Kakarot! And since Goten looks an awful lot like his dad, he'll have to do.

Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans

  • In Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans, Frieza, Turles, Cooler and Slug come back as ghosts. After they are defeated, Hatchiyack absorbs their spirits, which is apparently very painful. We are then treated to a sequence of each villain's ghost being trapped inside of a ball and writhing in agony.
    • It's stated and mentioned by Goku that Hatchiyack is either the same power level as Broly or a bit beyond it. It doesn't help and adds fuel to the fire that he reemerges as an android hellbent on slaughtering Goku and his friends.

Battle of the Gods

Resurrection 'F':

  • Frieza is back. The monster that brutally slaughtered TRILLIONS of people and blew up countless planets; who created a galaxy-wide Real Estate scam where planetary-scale genocide was commonplace as part of his father's empire; who mercilessly tortured Goku, Gohan and Piccolo and savagely murdered Dende, Vegeta and Krillin has returned. The Evil Overlord is back, burning with revenge, and more powerful than ever!
  • The third trailer starts pretty awesome, with epic footage of the fights, and both a Heavy Metal tune and a J-Pop song playing as the Z-Fighters fight epically, but then... The music abruptly ends as we see Frieza literally stomping Goku to submission, and further commentary of Beerus and Vegeta seemingly chastising Goku for being soft. Cue Frieza cackling maniacally as the Earth blows up, and the background? Goku screaming in agony. End of the trailer...
  • We already knew Frieza to be a Bad Boss, but it reaches new levels. His own men only resurrects him as a desperate, last resort because they need him (the only reason is that they can't face the continuous revolts in the empire, and Frieza's mere presence will be enough to scare them all into submission). And the one telling us that is Frieza. He's perfectly aware of this and doesn't care, worse, seems to enjoy it. His first actions after his resurrection show us exactly why it's like that. First thing he does, he kills one of his men, just to check how strong he is. Then, one of the soldiers that helped his resurrection lampshades the Revenge Before Reason and... Well, remember how he killed Krillin? He does the same, but throws the unlucky soldier in space to boot. And that leaves a hole on the ship that starts sucking everyone but Frieza (who could just survive into space anyway). Luckily, they have shields that prevents that, and ultimately the order to raise them is given. By Sorbet. Frieza would have just let everyone die. To sum it up: a wrong move, and you risk a horrific death. Be too close to who made the wrong move, and you risk to die all the same. Do nothing at all, and you might die anyway because he needed a target. Not bad enough? A casual line in the movie implies that his soldiers are forced to join his army. Punch-Clock Villain doesn't even start to describe it.
  • Then, of course, Beerus gives us another one. Not only will the guy destroy your planet over a petty insult (from even a minor citizen of your planet), but he can destroy MULTIPLE solar systems by accident just because he ate something especially spicy. Whis has to hunt him down and knock him out. Good thing Whis has a Reset Button. Good Lord...

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