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Series Continuity Error / Dragon Ball

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Beerus' memory must be buggy.
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As a well-known Long Runner written by a notoriously forgetful writer who freely admits he writes by the seat of his pants, it's not surprising that the Dragon Ball franchise has its fair share of continuity errors, whether it be from a mistake or a retcon. Likewise, the writers in charge of the anime series have made mistakes from time to time in the series, either in Dragon Ball GT or the Non-Serial Movies. If the fans notice these mistakes, they are likely to either bash the anime writers for messing up, or give a Fan Wank explanation.

See also the AdaptationInducedPlotHole.Dragon Ball article for the inconsistencies added by Toei Animation, which further increased confusion to the series.

Please note this is not a page to bash any of the series or the original manga. Dragon Ball is a beloved series, but it doesn't mean it can't be flawed in its narrative.

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    Dragon Ball and filler 
  • Even though the Dragon Balls turn into untraceable stones for a year after being used, Goku starts looking for the four-star Dragon Ball in the Red Ribbon Army Saga only 8 months after Oolong wished for panties.
  • After Tien Shinhan breaks Yamcha's left leg, he has a cast on his left leg in the manga. However, when he arrives to Goku and King Piccolo's battle, he has his cast on his right leg, and it remains on his right leg until it heals. Presumably, Toriyama forgot which leg was broken after only having to draw Yamcha from the waist up while he was in the airplane.
  • A rather minor one. Vegeta states his new armor during the Freeza Saga (the one without shoulder guards) is an old model, but we are never shown any armor like this one during the Father of Goku or Dragon Ball Minus specials. This was fixed with Beets of Dragon Ball Super: Broly.
  • In the anime-only flashback of Vegeta abusing Guldo in Episode 62, Vegeta is wearing his Namek Saga armor and missing his tail.
  • When first summoning Porunga in the manga, Krillin is shocked to learn that the Namekian dragon grants three wishes. But Dende already told him this earlier. This was in fact the whole basis of his and Gohan's decision to team up with Vegeta: that they could each get a wish if they managed to gather the balls before Freeza.
  • When Dende first displays his Healing Hands, Vegeta angrily questions Krillin if they knew Dende had that power all along, to which Krillin responds that he didn't, because if he did, he'd have asked Dende to heal Goku instead of sticking Goku into a healing tank for a prolonged period. This seems to neglect that in an earlier panel, Freeza's ship (where the healing tank is) is shown to be at max only a few miles from where they are when they learn this fact—so there's no reason Krillin wouldn't send Dende back to heal Goku now.
  • After killing Jeice, Vegeta reasons that he's becoming a Super Saiyan, and smugly states that this is what Freeza feared most, hence why he killed the Saiyans before one could manifest. Except Vegeta was surprised to learn that Freeza feared the Saiyans when a desperate Dodoria told him earlier, and Dodoria also told him that Freeza feared an army of Saiyans ganging up on him, not a singular warrior. The latter reason was also given in the Bardock special, but is abruptly never mentioned again after Vegeta states that Freeza's true fear is a Super Saiyan.
  • Third-form Frieza is surprised that Gohan Came Back Strong after nearly being crushed by him, and reasons that he has to be a Saiyan. Fine. But then he goes on to speculate on who his parent could be, given that he took out all of the Saiyans decades earlier. He concludes that it has to Vegeta, Nappa, or (most likely) Raditz, the three he deliberately left alive. What's unusual here is that he shouldn't have any reason to speculate: he and Zarbon had a conversation earlier indicating they already knew a lone Saiyan was living on Earth with a child. And while it could be argued he never thought that an Earthling could've made it all the way to Namek, he had no reason to forget them; the whole reason the Frieza Force invaded Namek in the first place was because they overheard everything that had happened on Earth with the scouters (at least until Vegeta broke it...)
  • An infamous one that could have been easily repaired in the tankōbon edition: during the Cell Saga, Future Trunks tells Goku that he comes from the Bad Future that was destroyed by the Artificial Humans 20 and 19. When the gang defeat those villains, Trunks comes back and inform those aren't the androids, and we are later introduced to 17 and 18. This is because Toriyama originally intended 20 and 19 to be the villains of the saga, but it was changed due to Executive Meddling. The anime fixes this by having Trunks only state that "two androids" appear and doesn't mention them by name.
    • The same saga also includes Bulma during the first encounter with Trunks fully knowing that Doctor Gero is involved, and suggest killing him before the artificial humans are activated. Later, when she meets Trunks again, she states she wasn't aware Doctor Gero was even involved in the project. What. Like in the previous case, the anime fixes this; Bulma doesn't mention Dr. Gero at all when first meeting Trunks.
  • Android 17 commends Vegeta's pride and courage while fighting Android 18, commenting that it's fitting of a Saiyan prince. Android 17 has no way of knowing that Vegeta is a prince: neither he nor Nappa ever mentioned it while they were on Earth. This was first brought up on Namek by Dodoria, and Gero's scouting robots explicitly did not go to Namek.
  • When Goku and Gohan visit Korin's Tower after training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Gohan acts like he's never met Korin before, despite meeting him in the hospital after the fight with Vegeta.
  • Android 16's death is a possible example. Since he is fully robotic, it is stated he can't be revived by the Dragon Balls, meaning he is Killed Off for Real. But, in the Majin Buu Saga, after the planet is destroyed by Majin Buu and its inhabitants are revived by Porunga, Android 8 (and possibly Arale, as she's shown safe and well in Dragon Ball Super) are revived. What happened to 16, then? It's actually a case of Exact Words: the wish that 16 was excluded from was "revive everyone killed by Cell." The wish that revived Arale and 8 (and everyone else) was more generally to restore everything that was destroyed. This would include man-made objects such as buildings, vehicles, and yes, robots.
  • Cell states his offspring, the Cell Jr., have the same powers as him. Yet, when they are killed by Gohan, they don't regenerate at all. This was corrected nearly 30 years later in the manga of Dragon Ball Super, where they were revealed to have survived, but were tamed by Android 17 to help him with his ranger activities.
  • When Android 17 donates energy to Goku's Super Spirit Bomb to defeat Kid Buu, he says it's been a long time since he's heard Goku's voice, even though 17 had never met Goku. This is because in Toriyama's draft, it was Lunch who gave her energy in this panel. 'Dragon Ball Super'' also fixes this, when Goku recruits 17 for the Tournament of Power.
  • At first glance, the anime adaptation of King Vegeta's unseen rebellion against Freeza appears to make sense given what we know of the manga incidents, but the way it's presented contradicts Dragon Ball Z: Bardock – The Father of Goku.
    • In the special, little Vegeta is on another planet when he is told about the destruction of Planet Vegeta. In the anime, he is on Freeza's ship, and somehow never noticed that his father and other Saiyans were killed off.
    • Freeza somehow appears to kill both King Vegeta and Bardock at the same time on two different rooms.
  • Two incidents involving Yamcha in filler that didn't exist in the original manga.
    • In the Z anime filler, the Ginyu Force end up on King Kai's planet, and it's up to Yamcha, Tien and Chiaotzu to defeat them. Somehow, the heroes managed to give them a good fight despite the Ginyu Force being much stronger (as Recoome himself was able to beat the crap out of Vegeta, but somehow is having issue with Yamcha of all people).
    • In the Z anime filler, Olibu and Pikkon were stated and shown to be as strong as Goku during the Cell Saga (and Pikkon is implied to be even stronger than Perfect Cell, as he's able to curb-stomp Cell in Hell). But Yamcha, who decided to stop training and was miles weaker than Goku at that point, managed to defeat both fighters during the Majin Buu Saga filler.
  • Due to filler in Z having introduced what happens after death before Toriyama had completely explained it, there ends up being two conflicting ideologies for what happens in the afterlife. The Toei filler version is more close to a Western view of the afterlife, with a Heaven and general Hell, while Toriyama's is more of a Buddhist view with a purgatory, reincarnation, and more personalized Hells, as well as there being a process of draining you of all your evil if you were bad in life. Both end up clashing in the Buu Saga, due to Toriyama finally explaining more of how death works in the series, but Toei kept to their version for filler scenes. This also creates a contradiction within Kai: The Final Chapters, which was part of a series created to be more close to the manga, since the kept in a few of the Hell scenes from the Buu Saga that showed the villains in Hell watching Goku fight Buu for no reason. It creates a further contradiction for Resurrection 'F', which shows Freeza in a personalized Hell rather than the general one from Z, which confused many fans who didn't know about this discrepancy.

    Dragon Ball GT 
  • During Vegeta's encounter with Baby in Episode 27, Vegeta senses Baby's energy and recognizes him as a Tsufurian/Tuffle. This makes absolutely no sense for the following reasons: 1) Tuffles were already extinct by the time Vegeta was even born, meaning he has no reason to be able to remember a race he never met, and 2) Vegeta wasn't even able to sense energy before the Namek Saga.
  • Baby tells Trunks during their reunion in Episode 28 that they last met in Planet M-2. This isn't possible, as Baby possessed Trunks on the planet Pital in Episode 24.
  • Baby revives Planet Vegeta with the Black Star Dragon Balls, and in turn, moves the inhabitants of Earth in order to have slaves to rule. The problem comes from the Saiyan Saga establishing Planet Vegeta has at least ten times Earth's gravity, thus, it makes no sense the average Earthling can even stand on there.
  • In Episode 33, Baby feels the need to check Vegeta's memories to know what a Great Ape is... despite the fact Baby already knew what one is, as the Tuffles were crushed by them in his own words.
  • In the Tenkaichi Budōkai, Uub, as Papayaman, wears a helmet during the tournament, but head wear is prohibited while competing, which is why Gohan had to replace his helmet with a bandana and sunglasses to compete as the Great Saiyaman.
  • In the second season, Trunks is able to detect Android 17's ki, and is even able to compare it with that of Android 18... despite the fact that a major plot point in the background of Dr. Gero's androids when they were first introduced back in Dragon Ball Z was that they didn't emit ki at all.
  • During the Super 17 Saga, deceased villains in Hell and on Earth are shown without halos, despite being crowned with them in filler episodes of Dragon Ball Z, but they have ones while waiting in front of the Check-In Station.
  • Similar to the above example, among the revived fighters from hell is Android 19. Android 19 is a fully mechanical creation of Gero, so unless he created another 19 off-screen, is impossible for him to be on hell due to lacking a soul.
  • When facing Rilldo, Son Gohan transforms into a Super Saiyan... despite the fact that the Ultimate/Mystic transformation unlocked to him by Old Kai in the Majin Buu Saga is supposed to have his fighting capacity maxed at all times. This is explained in and Resurrection 'F' and Super as him being out of practice as a fighter, so he's not able to reach his full power anymore unless he trains again... which only makes his showing in GT look even worse retroactively because that series claims that Gohan did keep up with his training after Zsomething that doesn't match his on-screen actions and performance in the slightest.
  • Another mistake from the Super 17 Saga is the fact that, when Goku faces Freeza and Cell and kills them in Hell, they respawn. A plot point from the Buu Saga (filler, but GT follows the anime continuity) is that if Kid Buu killed the Z Fighters in Heaven they would cease to exist.
  • Goku states the Dragon Balls can be used to revive Krillin, however, the Dragon Balls have previously revived him in Dragon Ball which makes it impossible to use them to revive him again. Later, Krillin is revived when the Dragon Balls are used to bring everyone back, even though they should be incapable of bringing Krillin back again.

    Battle of Gods, Resurrection 'F', and Dragon Ball Super 
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Same age.

  • Trunks' design is something of an issue for many viewers. Trunks, as of Battle of Gods, should be around 13 to 14 years old, but he still looks like he is 8 years old like in the Majin Buu Saga. To make things more convoluted, his future counterpart looked his age in both the manga and the History of Trunks special. The same applies to Goten and Marron, whose designs haven't changed.
  • In Beerus' introduction, he claims to have wiped out the dinosaurs during his last visit to Earth. While they haven't appeared much since the early parts of Z, dinosaurs appeared in the series since the first chapter of the Dragon Ball series, and Gohan cut the tail of a dinosaur during his time with Piccolo. This has led to some Fan Wank explanations like that he meant a dinosaur era before the one in the present era, or that he actually didn't do a very good job at it, the latter at least which sounds like it could fit with how Beerus is shown to be a very lazy god.
    • During the fight between Super Saiyan God Goku and Beerus in the extended edition of Battle of Gods, we actually see a dinosaur. So that may have been the intention, or some people involved in the animation either missed that part of the script, or wanted to deliberately contradict it.
  • A five-year old Bulma appears in Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, while Goku is stated to be three years old when he's sent to Earth, making Bulma two years older than Goku. Apparently, Toriyama checked the beginning of Dragon Ball in which Goku says he's 14 and Bulma is 16, but in the next arc Goku says he's actually 12 after he learned to count, meaning he's actually four years younger than Bulma.
  • In the anime version of Dragon Ball Super, Captain Ginyu returns and mentions as having been on Earth as the Namekian frog. That means that he must have been on Earth when it was destroyed by Kid Buu. Apart from the fact that he couldn't have been revived by the Namekian Dragon Balls (as they explicitly wished for only whose who are not evil to be resurrected), it makes no sense he wouldn't mention being killed in his backstory or why he would be restored in the Namekian frog's body. Not present in the movie or the manga versions of the story.
  • In the Future Trunks Arc of the anime, Future Trunks' hair was recolored blue instead of purple, as it was previously. It's never stated if he dyed it or if it changed and when they reanimated a scene of Trunks discovering Future Gohan's death from the History of Trunks special, he still had it. This contradicts Episode 47, where they reused footage from Z, where you can clearly tell Trunks' hair is purple, even with the filter they threw over the footage. Not only that, but Bulma asks kid Trunks if the Trunks in the time machine has blue hair even though she never met him with that color hair and it's inferred that he'd never talked to them after he made a second trip to inform them that he defeated 17 and 18 in his timeline, so that makes no sense as to why she'd say that. Plus, kid Trunks still has purple hair and makes no effort to ask why his alternate older self has different color hair.
    • In the manga, the line Bulma asks kid Trunks is if it's someone with hair the exact same color as his, which shows that Future Trunks' hair color was deliberately changed in the anime, as it was always meant to be purple just like Bulma's, which was purple in the manga but changed to blue in the anime.
  • There is a timeline inconsistency with how long Belmod has been a God of Destruction. In the manga, Belmod states he has been a God of Destruction for around 300,000 years, but in the same chapter, it states he was around for a Hide and Seek tournament between all the gods of destruction, which, according to Whis, was before Shin became a Supreme Kai. According to the timeline, Shin has been a Supreme Kai for at least 5 million years, meaning that by all means, Belmod should've be older than simply 300,000 years. This is a continuation of a plethora of problems concerning Shin's age; he says he's older than 5 million in the original manga, but Toriyama stated in 2014 that Supreme Kais only live for around 75 thousand years. So the manga was probably treating that as a retcon. Then, to make things even more convoluted, the manga went back to the original "5 million years ago" timeline in the Moro arc, via the narration of a flashback to when Buu fought the Supreme Kais.
  • Vegeta, Goku, and Bulma travel to Trunks' timeline using Cell's time machine. Cell did not come from the same timeline Trunks did, but actually a third one. If they used Cell's time machine, they would have gone to his timeline, not that of Trunks. It could possibly be argued that Bulma had modified the machine to go to Trunks' timeline as she is shown repairing it.
  • The plot of Episodes 73-74 of the anime is about a movie studio making a movie about the Great Saiyaman, but no one knows who is the real identity of the hero. This contradicts the events of the Buu Saga where not only did Gohan classmates discovered who he was and publicly yelled his name during said tournament, he himself went against Kibito without wearing his sunglasses and went Super Saiyan. It could be argued the wish to make everyone forget all the events with Majin Buu made everyone forget Gohan's identity, but this is never stated anywhere.
  • In Episode 109 of the anime, during the Tournament of Power, Krillin states that the Spirit Bomb cannot be used by a Super Saiyan, as their hearts are polluted by rage and a Spirit Bomb requires a pure heart. This contradicts both the original story (where Goku fired a Spirit Bomb against Kid Buu as a Super Saiyan) and even another anime-only Super sequence (Trunks subconsciously gathering energy for his "Spirit Sword" as a Super Saiyan). It seems that Hiroshi Yamaguchi confused one of the Non-Serial Movie climaxes with an event from the main series. At the end of Super Android 13, Krillin says the same thing; this was well before the fight with Buu, so the writer of the film Takao Koyama didn't know it at the time. It could be argued that Goku only needs to be in his base form to gather the energy, as the Spirit Bomb he used against Buu was complete when he transformed, and he similarly turned into a Super Saiyan Blue when Jiren began pushing back the completed Spirit Bomb.
  • In the same episode, Tenshinhan refers to the Spirit Bomb as the "final trump card that always saved us." Again, this seems to be a case of the writer mixing the movies with the main series: while it did kill several Non-Serial Movie villains such as Wheelo, Turles, Slug, and Android 13, it only ever worked once in the main story. Even then, just barely (against Kid Buu).
  • The Copy-Vegeta Filler Arc presents base Goku and Vegeta as being leaps and bounds stronger than anything that came before, probably because the writers assumed that Goku's very high base power level from Resurrection 'F' was still in-continuity. This was highly suggested not to be the case anymore by the time of the Champa arc which had already happened (it depicted Piccolo being able to potentially beat a guy who base Goku lost to and who Super Saiyan Goku couldn't immediately put down, and also had Goku stating that Fat Buu could do well in the tournament). It was outright confirmed not to be the case in the Zamasu arc, when Future Trunks, who explicitly had trouble with Dabra fairly recently, is able to match Goku in the same form (SS vs. SS, etc.) meaning that base Goku and Vegeta aren't that different from their Buu arc counterparts and their new massive power is limited to their new forms. The Tournament of Power doubled down on this by constantly showing characters without godly power-ups taking out characters that can give Goku and Vegeta's lower forms trouble, such as two of the three Trio de Dangers members losing badly to SS Gohan and Fat Buu respectively, only to later force Goku and Vegeta to use Super Saiyan forms (and lasting a while even then) in the tournament itself. As a result of there being no Copy-Vegeta arc in the manga, this isn't a problem there. The anime staff seemed to realize their mistake at the beginning of the Tournament of Power arc, as Piccolo explicitly says that "the power [Gohan] used against Buu" is still relevant in that arc and something he needs to regain, and Gohan while explicitly far weaker than that level is able to match SS2 Goku in sparring.
  • In Dragon Ball Super: Broly, we have a look at Bardock's final stand against Freeza before being obliterated by his Supernova. While the image is clearly a homage to the Father of Goku special, there are two details that contradict his manga appearance: the lack of his iconic bandana and his armor having a right shoulder pad. This is because the aforementioned special gave him a different armor design than Super, and Toriyama copied the former design for his manga. Why he changed its design for Super is unknown.
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