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Tear Jerker / Dragon Ball

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This isn't the last time, either...

Yes, Power Levels are off the scale, defeated villains are Easily Forgiven, and all kinds of other ridiculous stuff goes on in Dragon Ball. But that doesn't mean it can't make you cry.

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  • Every single time Krillin dies.
    • From the original series: Krillin's first death, and Goku getting to him too late. Heartbreaking.
      • Worse, in the anime: Goku, who's a Big Eater, doesn't even touch his food, struggling to shake off the fact that a simple friendly task of Krillin offering to get his 4-star Dragon Ball back to him could lead to danger. He then flips out, after hearing Krillin scream and runs back to the contestant room, and the first thing he sees is Krillin's body on the ground. The announcer, who was also attacked, explains a monster came and fought Krillin and stole a list. The gang run back to see what happened. Goku tries to look for a heartbeat, but hears none. He then announces that Krillin is dead, and appears to fighting back tears, while deeply enraged. It's actually one of the first times we've seen Goku cry, and not in joy like the arc before.
      • Even the blonde Lunch, who introduced herself to Goku and Krillin by shooting at them, was sad and sorrowfully carried his body in her hands.
    • "Death 1.5", where he's gored by Freeza's first transformation during the Frieza Saga in Z, but is barely saved by Dende. Especially with how long it took him to expire.
    • His second death. Quick and senseless, but still just as wrenching. Goku's transforming into a Super Saiyan is at least partly a result of Krillin's deathnote .
    • His third death... not so much. Not quite as dramatically effective when you're turned into candy and eaten. Although, it was a Heroic Sacrifice as he acted as a decoy to protect his family which definitely has some emotional merit, which caused the almost-always stoic #18 to shout his name in worry. It gets really sad when you realize this ends up being a Senseless Sacrifice since his wife 18 and his daughter Marron were the VERY NEXT victims of Super Buu shortly afterwards.
    • His fourth death, in GT, when #17 is trying to get #18 to come back to him. Krillin (An aged man at this point, daughter Marron beside him) is telling him he has no control over her anymore, she's not a part of him, and she can make her own decisions. #17 doesn't like this. So he blows a hole through Krillin's chest, blowing him back and killing him. What sets it off is Marron and 18's reactions. Marron's shaking his limp body crying "Wake up, Daddy... wake up!" while 18 is begging for him not to leave her, crying while a montage of scenes between the two are shown. She sheds a few tears and whispers a soft "I love you" before rushing at 17.
      • What's even worse is if you think about the whole thing from #18's perspective. She likely hasn't seen her brother in about two decades, he shows back up, tries to convince her to go right back to the obviously-painful situation that they were in all that time ago, but at this point, she has friends and new family. Then the brother she loves kills the husband who she legitimately loves, despite her Sugar-and-Ice Personality flaw that sometimes makes it seem like she doesn't. And then he tries to kill her daughter. She's not a very emotional person, but that just hurts.
  • King Vegeta's death: The guy is trying to rescue his son from the clutches of a monster like Frieza and dies trying. What makes it worse is that Vegeta doesn't even know how awesomely brave his dad was when he died. Up until Frieza told him on Namek how he died just to get a kick out of him, he probably thought his father was on the planet when it happened.
  • Ever since he was four, Gohan's childhood has been nothing but struggle. Unlike his father, Gohan never wanted to be a fighter, he was just constantly pressured with the responsibility to do what no one else could.
  • A little too subtle to notice, but the fact that Chi-Chi blames herself for being so stubborn in Gohan's raising and her stance against his martial arts training, and that as a result she indirectly caused Goku's death at the hands of Cell isn't too easy to face. This is the very reason she is seen training Goten.
  • Every time this song plays in Dragon Ball Z, it's almost guaranteed to make you cry, as it accompanies some of the most dramatic deaths in the anime, including Piccolo and Vegeta's.
  • Bardock and Gine's sacrifice for their youngest son, Goku. They sent him off to Earth to protect him from Frieza, saving his life, and given the universe its savior. No one, however, remembers them for it. As far as Goku, the gods, and everyone else knows, Goku was sent as an infiltration baby, ordered to kill all life on the planet. Goku himself doesn't seem to think much of his parents given he never bothered to connect with them when he was dead, probably thinking they were typical, bloodthirsty Saiyans. What they gave and their love for their child is utterly lost to history, making them both unsung heroes.
  • In some ways, Vegeta's years-long rivalry with Goku can be really sad. Imagine being good at something and being proud of what you can do, only to be always bested by someone who is better than you in every way. Vegeta spent years trying to get out of Goku's shadow and become the better Saiyan, and seeing Goku easily do what would take days of training to pull off probably hurt him more than even the most brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. No wonder he was so obsessed in Z.

     Dragon Ball 
  • The end of Mystical Adventure (the third movie). When Upa gets the courage (from Goku) to ask Shenron to revive his father. It's more of a so happy it's sad moment, really. What really makes this scene is the song "Dragon Ball Densetsu" playing over it.
  • In the first World Tournament when it looks like Jackie Chun (aka Master Roshi) killed an apeified Goku with a Kamehameha wave. The reactions of Bulma, Krillin, Yamcha, and company is really upsetting.
    • Yamcha desperately tries to stop him from killing Goku. After it looks like he's been killed and Krillin asks what happened, he can't even bring himself to say it and just shakes his head.
    • Bulma breaks into tears and is crying on Yamcha's shoulder.
    • Both Puar and Oolong are horrified, with Puar on the verge of tears.
    • Then we got Krillin yelling in horror for Goku not to leave them and accusing Jackie Chun of being a murderer. Even sadder for Krillin considering he had bonded with Goku for the past several months and even had become best friends with him; to see that his new friend had apparently been killed right in front of him is absolutely heartbreaking.
    • In the sub, the next episode preview has Bulma doing the commentary. The thing is, Goku is always the one who does it which makes the episode highly imply that he's dead. Sure Goku turns out to be fine but still...
  • When the Masked Fighter is revealed to be Gohan Sr. Goku begins to cry as he hugs his grandfather. Bulma even says "Gosh, even Son's crying!" A rare occasion indeed.
    Yamcha: For all his power, it's easy to forget that he's just a little kid...
    • A particularly heart-wrenching line from this scene, in episode 76 of the dub: "I looked for you everywhere and I couldn't find you!" Oh, Goku.
    • This is even sadder when Goku thinks he'll be reunited with his grandfather again, but realizes that Grandpa Gohan can't stay and has to return to the afterlife.
  • The murder of Bora by Taopaipai/Mercenary Tao. This was the first (on-screen) death of the entire series. Watching Upa run to his dead father while crying, and Goku charging at Taopaipai/Tao is the first major tragedy of Dragon Ball.
  • Episode 86 of the anime, poor Nam getting badly injured by Tien. Who then mocks Nam, claiming that if he'd known Nam was friends with Goku and the others, he would have done far worse.
  • In the King Piccolo arc, there's a filler scene from episode 107. Of when Tien, Chiaotzu, and Master Roshi are gathering the Dragon Balls of the former having a run-in with an unnamed fighter from his past with the Crane School (the said man has a Dragon Ball in his infant son's crib). Long story short, Tien broke the man's leg in competition even though he'd been named the victor of their match. This left the fighter crippled with a permanent limp and it took two years for him to recover enough just to get back to his family. That backstory alone is sad enough, but when he encounters Tien again, he understandably is both bitter and possibly afraid that the ex-assassin-to-be would try to ruin his life again and has his wife call the police (though that was partially due to thinking he was responsible for Tambourine's murders). The police arrive, another long story short, Roshi is able to defuse the situation by vouching for Tien's character and the cops stand down. The man, however, accuses that Tien would probably just tear apart his place just to find what he wants, as expected of a man who formerly ruined his life, and even points a shotgun at him. Does Tien get angry? Does he attempt to take the gun? Does he attempt to use telekinesis to take the ball? None of the above; he gets on his hands and knees and begs for the ball, even offering the man vengeance by breaking his arms. The man is taken aback by the humble gesture and grants Tien his forgiveness and the dragon ball. It's honestly a powerful scene that one wouldn't expect from the Dragon Ball series, let alone filler, and emphasizes the point of "just because you've had a change of heart doesn't magically erase all of your crimes".
    • The man's rather bitter reaction to Tien's initial apology is particularly harsh. Though completely understandable, given the circumstance.
    Tien: I'm sorry about your injures. I was a different person back then.
    Fighter: So was I! I could walk without using a cane!
  • Master Roshi's failure to re-seal Piccolo Daimao leading to his eventual death.
  • In episode 112 of the anime after King Piccolo summons Shenron. Poor Chiaotzu tries to thwart King Piccolo's wish, only to be killed rather brutally before he can even fully get his own wish out. As if that isn't enough. Once Piccolo gets his wish and has his youth restored, he goes on to murder Shenron before the Eternal Dragon can disappear and disperse the Dragon Balls.
    • Tien lamenting Roshi and Chiaotzu's deaths. This is extra tragic since it was his idea for Chiaotzu to try and ask Shenron to send Piccolo away from Earth in the first place.
  • Episode 124 of the anime has Piccolo's son Junior wonder through the woods. Until he spies a family celebrating the birthday of their son. Seeing this, Junior becomes angry and distracts the family before destroying the boy's cake and birthday present for seemingly no reason other than spite. It's then you realize that Junior isn't just a weapon Piccolo created to seek his vengeance, he's also a lonely child with no one to turn to.
  • Episode 130 has Goku fighting a doll made by Mr. Popo from his hair. In the end, when it looks like Goku triumphed, the doll is revealed to simply have run out of energy. There's just something about seeing the lifeless husk laying there all white and motionless that's kind of sad. The somber music that plays upon its "death" doesn't help.
  • In the 10th-anniversary film Path To Power, Hacchan's death.
    Hacchan: Hi, Goku, are you okay?
    Goku: Y-yeah...
    Hacchan: I'm... So... Glad...