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Recap / Dragon Ball Tournament Arc

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The Tournament Arc is the second arc of the Dragon Ball series

Short Summary

After the end of the Dragon Ball hunting adventure, Goku heads to Master Roshi to take him up on training under him. Another boy, Krillin, likewise arrives to seek training as well. Roshi agrees to do so and after some time decides to put their skills to the test in the World Martial Art Tournament. Yamcha is likewise participating which brings Goku's old friends together for a reunion. However Goku, Yamcha and Krillin find themselves facing formidable opponents as they try to make their way to the finals

Main Summary

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After making a brief stop at his old house for a fresh change of clothes and other things, Goku flies to the Kame House to take up the Kame Sennin's previous offer of training. Disappointed that he didn't bring Bulma with him, Master Roshi agrees...on the condition that Goku finds a hot woman. This proves difficult, as Goku has no understanding of terms like "sexy" or what women are.

Another boy shows up on the island, a young monk named Krillin (Kuririn in the Viz translation of the manga, and the Japanese dub). Krillin also wants to be trained by Roshi, and butters up the Invincible Old Master with dirty magazines. Still needing a hot girl as payment, the two boys manage to bring back a young lady called Launch (Lunch in the Japanese dub and Viz translation). Unfortunately, Launch changes personalities when she sneezes, and her other self is a violent, trigger-happy sociopath!

Roshi moves his house to a much larger island, and begins the training. Early morning exercise is delivering milk... on foot... to the entire island's people. In the late morning the boys are instructed to plow fields barehanded. After some breakfast, Goku and Krillin work in a construction site, without the usage of machinery. After some lunch and formal schooling, the next part of the training is swimming in a shark-infested lake, and then dodging angry bees while tied to a tree. And the boys have to do all of this while wearing heavy turtle shells on their backs, which only get heavier as training progresses. But as an incentive, Roshi plans to enter them in the Tenkaichi Budokai (Strongest UnderThe Heavens Tournament, or "World's Martial Arts Tournament" in the English dub), an international contest between warriors.

The months fly by, and the day of the tournament comes. Before leaving, Roshi has his students take off their shells, and the boys discover that they now have superhuman abilities. They go South City, where the Tournament is being held. There, Goku meets up with friends- Yamcha is also planning to enter the tournament. Before the boys enter the main hall, the Master gives Goku and Krillin one last gift; official Turtle School martial arts Gis, woven in a bright yellow-orange with blue accessories. Then the old master disappears...

Thanks to their training, Goku and Krillin easily make it through the qualifying preliminaries. Yamcha passes too, and the other finalists are...

  • Bacterian, a oversized slob who's disgusting stench paralyzes weaker fighters.
  • Jackie Chun, an Old Master with an eye for the ladies
  • Namu, a Buddhist monk who seems too serious for a comic series.
  • Ranfan, an attractive lady fighter.
  • Giran, a winged lizard monster.


Krillin vs Bacterian: At first, Krillin is at a disadvantage; Bacterian's stink makes him nigh-impossible to approach. Krillin's speed helps, but he is soon cornered. Then Goku points out that Krillin shouldn't be able to smell Bacterian, as the monk has no nose. Realizing that, Krillin turns things around and beats Bacterian.

Yamcha vs Jackie Chun: Yamcha does his best, but the former bandit cannot touch the old man. Chun easily blows Yamcha out of the ring.

Seeing how serious Namu is, Jackie reads his mind to learn why the Buddhist is at the tournament; Namu's desert village is stricken by a drought, so Namu entered the Tournament to buy water with the prize money.

Namu vs Ranfan: Ranfan uses his her feminine whiles to throw Namu off his game, at first. When Namu gets serious, Ranfuan strips to distract him. While Jackie Chun clearly enjoys the spectacle, Namu is able to rein in his shock and defeat Ranfuan.

Yamcha realizes that there's only one old geezer so powerful and perverted out there; Kame Sennin and Jackie Chun are one and the same!

Goku vs Giran: at first, Goku and his titanic foe start out equal. Then Giran spits out a sticky substance that wraps around Goku and ties him down. Giran tosses the immobilized Goku out of the ring, but the boy flies back on his Kinto'un. Giran cries foul, and the Tournament officials agree that while the cloud was already part of the surrounding area, Goku is forbidden from using it again. Giran goes to punch Goku out, but the boy's tail inexplicably grows back, allowing him to hang onto Giran's fist. Feeling stronger with his tail back, Goku breaks out of Giran's gum, then breaks a piece of the outer area as a test. Giran folds on the spot.

While Krillin is shocked to see his training partner's new appendage, the rest of Goku's friends worry; when is the next full moon?

Krillin vs Jackie Chun: the battle quickly starts out in Chun's favor, though Krillin can just barely keep up. He almost gets the win when he distracts Jackie with some panties and kicks him out of the ring, but Jackie saves himself by using none other than the Kamehameha to rocket back into the arena. Not long afterwards, Jackie defeats Kulilin.

After the match, Yamcha voices his suspicion that Jackie is Roshi. Jackie denies it, of course, and his denial is strengthened by the fact that his hair is still attached to his head and Kame Sennin is bald. But Yamcha is unconvinced...

Goku vs Namu: at first, the Warriors appear to be equal, though Namu is thrown off by Goku's unpredictability. At the first chance he gets, Namu used his Heavenly Cross, an arms-first body slam, on Goku. When Goku manages to recover, Namu tries his move again, only for Goku to use the linear nature of the technique to kick him out of the ring.

Defeated, Namu prepares to return to his village in shame, but then Jackie gives the Buddhist a container capsule and directs him to a public well; water is free in the non-desert regions. Chun admits that he is Master Roshi, and that he read Namu's mind. When asked why he entered the tournament in disguise, Roshi admits that he was afraid that if one of his students won, they might get a big head and stop training. But with A Lesson in Defeat, they could become the greatest fighters in history. To thank the Invincible Old Master, Namu poses as Master Roshi to fake out Yamcha.

Goku vs Jackie Chun: the two finalists use everything they've got, with Jackie Chun's strength and experience against Goku's energy and creativity. Techniques, ranging from ancient and absurd are thrown out, and Kamehamehas are compared. Realizing Goku is too strong to defeat by normal means, Jackie Chun unleashes his trump card; the Bankoku Bikkuri Shi, where he traps the target in a cage of lightning. Jackie tells Goku to surrender to before electricity kills him. But before Goku can admit defeat, the worst happens— Goku has seen the full moon! Turning into his giant monkey form once again, Goku breaks out of Jackie's technique and begins to rampage. As the crowd panics, Yamcha yells for Puar to turn into scissors like before. But Jackie is already in action. Reaching full power, the old master fires off his strongest Kamehameha into the air. When the dust settles, Goku is nowhere in sight. Had Jackie killed the young warrior? Actually, it was the moon Jackie destroyed— Goku shrank down to his normal self without its light.After giving Goku new clothes to replace the ones that were destroyed by his transformation (someone get the kid some Magic Pants), the fight resumes. At this point, both fighters are too tired to use any special moves. Getting an idea, Jackie goads Goku into exchanging flying kicks with him, both hitting at the same time. The two of them fall, and, after much struggle against fatigue, the first one to rise is Jackie Chun; being the taller one, his kick dug in deeper than Goku's.

With the Tournament over, Jackie accepts the prize money and sneaks away. After removing his disguise in secret, Kame Sennin returns to the gang and claims to have been lost in the crowd. Master roshi congratulates his students on their efforts in the tournament, and to use their defeats as a reminder that there's Always Someone Better. As a reward for their progress, however, Roshi decides to take the entire gang out to dinner. This proves to be a costly mistake, as Goku's appetite makes the final bill so large it costs almost all of the prize money!

What will be Goku's next adventure? Find out next time... on Dragon Ball!

The Tournament Arc has the following tropes

  • A Lesson in Defeat: This is the primary reason for Master Roshi's assuming his "Jackie Chun" Secret Identity. He wanted to prevent Goku and Krillin from getting big heads by progressing too far too quickly.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Roshi feared that Goku and Krillin would become this if either of them won the tournament, thus his reasoning to enter the tournament in disguise.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Goku once more turns into an Oozaru/Great Ape during his fight against Jackie Chun. He's stopped when Chun blows up the moon.
  • Charlie Brown from Outta Town: Wow, there's this amazing contender called Jackie Chun! who just so happens to be an old lecher, knows how to counter the Jan-Ken-Punch, and uses the Kamehameha! Reminds me of someone I know...
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Goku and Krillin are given a task to find a rock that Roshi wrote on, and return it to him before sunset. The loser would not get dinner. Eventually, Goku and Krillin are forced to fight over the rock, and Goku outmatches Krillin. Krillin plays up being a Sore Loser and throws the rock away...only that he has the real rock hidden on his person. He wins, and receives dinner, while Goku does not. Unfortunately, for Krillin (along with Launch and Roshi), Launch decided to cook puffer fish, and didn't extract the poison from it - leaving all except Goku, with food poisoning.
    • Krillin has since occasionally tried to cheat during training. One example is when delivering milk, Master Roshi ordered Goku and he to zig-zag through trees along a path. Krillin attempted to take the path when he realized he was being left behind only to be caught by Master Roshi and was forced to start over.
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  • Combat Breakdown: After hypnosis, massive monster transformations, Shock and Awe, and moon-shattering ki blasts, the fight for the title of "Strongest Under The Heavens", is decided by a flying kick. Jackie Chun wins purely because Goku's reach was too short.
  • Detonation Moon: Jackie Chun blows up the moon to end Goku's Oozaru transformation.
  • Fanservice: One of the series most famous examples is when Ran Fan stripping to her underwear in the fight with Namu.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: During the preliminary rounds, Goku taps the back of a contestant's leg with his finger, causing him to fall out of the ring.
  • Guile Hero: Krillin comes more and more into this role - using tricks, and clever tactics to get the upper hand against his opponents. He almost eliminated Jackie Chun from the tournament with not much more than girl's underwear.
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  • Heel: Giran and Batcerian.
  • Know When To Fold Them: Giran does this after seeing Goku demolish a wall after he regrows his tail.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: See Cheaters Never Prosper.
  • No Antagonist: This arc is unique for not having an Arc Villain. It's just a good old-fashioned tournament.
  • Oh, Crap!: Bulma, Oolong, Yamcha, and Puar's reaction when Goku's tail grew back.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Roshi manages to the win the tournament under his Jackie Chun disguise but has to use his winnings to pay the bill for the victory dinner afterward as he forgets Goku is a Big Eater.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Goku is red, Krillin is blue.
  • The Rival: Krillin is this to Goku when they first meet, trying all his might to beat Goku; overtime, they became the best of friends.
  • Secret Identity: Roshi disguises himself as a contestant called Jackie Chun in order to personally test his pupils powers. He ultimately manages to win the tournament too but not without some effort against Goku.
    • Secret Chaser: Yamcha suspected Jackie Chun is really Roshi, until he was proven wrong.
    • Secret Keeper: Namu found out the truth. He even disguised himself as Roshi in the crowd to convince everyone Roshi and Jackie are separate individuals.
  • Shock and Awe: Jackie Chun uses a technique against Goku called the "Thunder Shock Surprise" - using 50,000 volts to shock Goku into submission, thereby winning the match. It's too bad Goku looked at the full moon and transformed into Oozaru, cancelling it out.
  • Shout-Out: The name of Master Roshi's alter-ego, Jackie Chun, is clearly based on Jackie Chan's persona.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Ran Fan is the only female participant in the tournament to reach the quarter finals.
  • Tournament Arc: As if the name wasn't obvious enough.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: Master Roshi believes that Victory Is Boring, so he goes as "Jackie Chun" to teach his students that there would always be someone out there stronger than them, so they should continue to train diligently.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Roshi's training mostly consists of sowing fields... while wearing 98kg turtle shells - barehanded, delivering milk across towns wearing the same, and dodging bees while tied next to a tree.
  • Worf Effect: Yamcha is easily defeated by Jackie Chun in the quarter-finals.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Ran Fan uses this in order to gain an advantage over her opponents.

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