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Reality Ensues / Dragon Ball

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  • The original series often had this trope as a source of comedy. Oolong is a monster who terrorizes a village and kidnaps little girls and takes them to be his brides. Goku and Bulma eventually outsmart and defeat him and force him to take them to his lair... which is not a cave, but a luxurious house... which he bought using the money he extorted from the villagers (Oolong himself lampshades this). And the girls? They are all spoiled brats who are living like queens and ordering Oolong around. Oolong begs their parents to take them back and reveals this is exactly why he was looking for a shy Nice Girl.
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  • When Goku gets injured in his fight with Vegeta, there are no Senzu beans available. He recovers at an impressive speed considering his injuries, but he spends a month recovering in the hospital before there are more Senzu beans. Played up even more in a filler arc during this, where Goku escapes the hospital and attempts to resume his training, but because he hasn't properly recovered yet he winds up injuring himself even more and immediately gets re-hospitalized.
  • Videl, fresh from learning how to harness her Ki and fly, drops out of the heroes' mission to defeat Babidi and prevent the releasing of Majin Buu because she is unable keep up with the others' flying speeds, and has yet to learn the same flying techniques the heroes use to prevent herself from being unable to see. She also realizes that if someone as powerful as Gohan is worried about a problem, it means an Empowered Badass Normal like herself has no chance of helping, and leaves to prevent herself from being a liability.
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  • No matter how powerful you become, you can still succumb to illnesses: in the future timeline, Goku dies of a heart virus, and even in the main timeline where he's able to get treatment for it, he's still laid flat for over ten days.
  • Cell announcing that he will essentially destroy the world if nobody can defeat him at the Cell Games in 10 days on worldwide television gets exactly the sort of reaction you would expect: the entire world is thrown into chaos as all of humanity panics in terror at the fact that the world is going to end in 10 days. Thousands of people try to evacuate from cities worldwide and the world's Army is immediately sent to try and destroy Cell, only for Cell to destroy all of them without breaking a sweat; of course, this was the sort of reaction Cell was hoping for.
  • While he may have been The Load for most of the fight, Gohan being afraid for his life and too scared to do anything for much of the battle against Nappa is a spot-on portrayal of how any 5- or 6-year-old would react if they were suddenly thrown into a life or death battle, and the Training from Hell that Piccolo put him through ultimately did little to mentally prepare him for it; Krillin even brings this up in Gohan's defense when an angered Piccolo attempts to berate him.
  • Training instances:
    • People who weren't formally trained tend to not know what they're doing when self-training simply because they were never taught how:
    • In Resurrection 'F' and Dragon Ball Super, Whis informs Vegeta that part of the reason he hasn't been able to surpass Goku, despite all the Training from Hell he goes through, is because he trains too hard and doesn't let his body get proper rest.
    • Gohan gets weaker by the time of the Buu Saga because he failed to keep up with his training, just as real-life athletes can get out of shape when they stop training: it gets worse by the time of Resurrection 'F' where he can't even keep up basic Super Saiyan, leading to Piccolo temporarily dying at Frieza's hands; after that, he begs Piccolo to train him and tells Goku to train Pan when she gets older.
  • In the original series: it doesn't matter if your skills are just as good as your opponent's, if you're a child and he's an adult and more experienced he has the advantage: Goku found out in his first Tenkaichi, when, in the final exchange, Jackie Chun played him like a fiddle to get him in a mutual flying kick, in which the longer legs of the adult Jackie Chun guaranteed a stronger and deeper kick than those of the still child Goku.
    • In the same arc Goku developed a technique where he spins like a top with enough force to repel his opponent, Namu; Goku almost wins, but becomes too dizzy and collapses.
  • The TV special Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks is built around this trope:
    • One of the supposed safe haven towns left on Earth has an amusement park that is constantly open and considering how loud amusement parks are it doesn't take long for the Androids to find and destroy it along with all of its inhabitants.
    • When Android 18 goes clothes shopping and after she finishes raiding the store of all the clothes she wanted with the "consent" of the store owner and employees, Android 17 destroys the store and employees inside of it. What, did you actually think they would let them live? Remember, they're programmed to hate all humans, no exceptions.
  • In Dragon Ball Super, jilted movie star Barry Khan attempts to blackmail Gohan by getting Cocoa to kiss him and taking a picture of it, making it look like Gohan was cheating on Videl (who is now Gohan's wife). Barry did this all because Videl didn't want Barry's autograph. When she's shown the pictures, Videl just tears them in half, then calls Barry out on how pitiful he is for trying to drive a wedge between her and Gohan. Of course Videl would believe her husband over someone who has been obviously antagonistic towards the both of them when presented "proof" of infidelity.
  • In the finale of Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta's plan to defeat Buu is to have the people of Earth willingly give Goku their energy for a Spirit Bomb by telling them to raise their hands. Everyone who isn't a member of the main cast thinks that the weird voice is a dream at best; in fact, the first person who tries it is terrified when his energy is drained and suspects that it's actually a demon. When Goku is metaphorically given the microphone, people who were friends with him in the past recognize him and willingly give him their energy... but it still isn't enough; only when Mr. Satan, who is well known by the public, tells them to give up their energy do they listen.
  • When Vegeta tells Mr. Satan to ask the people to give more energy for the Spirit Bomb, which would kill them, Mr. Satan can't do it. He can't bring himself to betray the people's trust, especially since he's harboring immense guilt from pretending to have beaten Cell seven years ago, calling himself a "shameless fake."
  • Future Trunks wastes no time killing his enemies as soon as possible, not wanting any epic fights: he immediately slays Freiza and King Cold; he immediately destroys Cell as a fetus to stop him from being born in this timeline. Back in his timeline, he kills every villain in one episode without hesitation; he even calls Vegeta out for not killing Cell when he had the opportunity.
  • One can say that Chi-Chi's overprotective attitude towards Gohan constantly putting his life on the line to fight dangerous monsters (minus the whole Skewed Priorities & Insane Troll Logic) is a realistic portrayal of how real life parents were to act if their children were constantly put in dangerous situations that can result in their children getting seriously injured, or worse, killed.
    • In the start of the Frieza Saga, Gohan proudly announces that he wants to go to Namek to bring Piccolo back to life. While Chi-Chi was portrayed in the wrong for this, her reaction comes off as understandable. Given Piccolo's history of being the demon king back in Dragon Ball and the fact that Gohan was kidnapped by said demon king (and Chi-Chi hadn't seen her son for a whole year), there's no way Chi-Chi (nor any parent) would be okay with Gohan leaving her sight after that.
  • Mr. Satan's reaction to Videl's death in the Buu Arc can count (before he was aware of the Dragon Balls): he's totally heartbroken and acts shocked when the other characters act so nonchalant about it.
  • Gohan being socially awkward in the Saiyaman Saga also counts as this trope: when he acts awkward and superhero-like in his Saiyaman costume towards other people, almost everybody (except for Goten) looks at him strangely, cringes for him, and/or mocks his costume and poses.
  • At school, Gohan asks to be excused to go to the restroom so he can fight crime as Saiyaman: due to him being gone for a long period of time, his teacher and classmates mock him for being in the restroom for too long.
  • During his time at school, Gohan is forced to play Baseball despite his own desire not to. Despite not being as powerful as he was before, Gohan is still one of the strongest beings on the planet, and so he takes a baseball to the face and suffers no damage. Unsurprisingly, his classmates are confused and startled by how casual Gohan was during it, and one of his classmates afterwards even approaches him to recruit him to join their sports team after seeing that, though Gohan declines.
  • The show also realistically portrays (& averts) the Easily Forgiven trope. Everyone forgives Piccolo...except for Chi-Chi. Chi-Chi is one of the few who doesn’t seem to like nor trust Piccolo too easily. Seems "bitchy", but considering how Piccolo almost killed Goku (and in fact later did), kidnapped her son for a year, and was partially responsible (along with Vegeta) for Gohan getting seriously injured and (almost) killed in the Saiyan Saga, Chi-Chi had pretty good reason to not like the guy and was rightfully afraid of him. It takes until the Buu arc, roughly 18 years after Piccolo's introduction in the series and 13 years after his Heel–Face Turn, for her to truly forgive him.
    • This is also the case with Vegeta. In the Cell to Buu Arc, none of the Z fighters really like him due to the horrible things he did in the Saiyan and Frieza arcs. Only Goku, Gohan, and Bulma tolerate Vegeta. Piccolo and Tien openly dislike Vegeta throughout the series, though both of them have forgiven him by the time of the Buu arc.
  • Demon King Piccolo took over the world and started a reign of terror. His son/reincarnation, also named Piccolo, can never enter a tournament under his real name.
  • On the topic of King Piccolo, he birthed several "sons" when he was an elder namekian far past his prime, and when he was restored to his youthful prime. As fertility and the ability to procreate healthy offspring declines with age, the sons he birthed in his prime (Piccolo and Drum) are both far more healthy and powerful than Tambourine, Piano and Cymbal.
  • Likewise, when Fat Buu, having had a Heel–Face Turn makes it out of the arc alive, they have to use a wish to wipe the memories of the normal inhabitants of Earth. Mr. Satan's friend and turning over a new leaf or not, Fat Buu wiped out and ate cities, Super Buu wiped out every human that wasn't on the lookout, and Kid Buu went on a planet-destroying spree. While said wish is unrealistic, what’s realistic is that there would be no way Fat Buu would be forgiven by the townspeople otherwise.

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