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Tearjerker / Dragon Ball Z Abridged

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Who knew an Abridged Series could have its sad moments?

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     Season 1- 2 
  • Nappa's remorse over killing his new pet on Planet Arlia may be Played for Laughs, but it's clear he's torn up about it.
  • Tien's reaction to Chiaotzu's death. Great bit of acting from Ganxingba. Also Tien's death of exhaustion. Made harsher by the fact that neither of their last-ditch sacrifices managed to hurt Nappa.
  • Piccolo's death. Yeah, his final words were a Brick Joke, but Gohan's scream was pretty heartwrenching, considering Piccolo was his first real friend, there's two killer aliens coming after him and his dad still hasn't shown up.
  • Oozaru Vegeta crushing Goku's ribs results in a very, very pained scream from the latter. Considering this Goku is The Pollyanna, it counts as a massive (and quite literal) case of Break the Cutie. At least until his ribs start making squeaky noises.
  • When Gohan expresses that he'll go to Namek as his responsibility to the deceased Piccolo, Chi-Chi expresses that he won't with Anger Born of Worry. Gohan's response?
    Gohan: SHUT YOUR F***ING FACE! (extended beat) I'll be going to Namek now.
    Chi-Chi: (leaving room) You'd best.
    (loudly slams door behind her)
  • Krillin explains the concept of karma to Dende, and sums it up as, "If you're good, good things will happen to you." Dende concludes, in a dull monotone, that if he's good, he can have his family back. Fortunately, Dende does get his family back by the end of the season, but his refutation of Krillin's optimism still hurts.
  • The first we see of Appule, he's playing Budokai Tenkaichi 3 and beating up Bardock in retaliation for what happened to his brother in Father of Goku, still harboring resentment for a man long since dead. It sets up a grave reminder that, even though the Freeza soldiers are disposable Mooks, they still had friends and loved ones whom they deeply cared about.
    • His final words are pretty somber for what's essentially a background character.
  • Guldo, after being decapitated, starts to ponder the meaning of his life then Vegeta throws another dog treat at him. It's hard not to feel sorry for him.
    Guldo: I f*cking hate you...
    Vegeta: I know. (blasts his head)
  • Burter's death. It's preluded by him opening up about his insecurities regarding his usefulness to his team, and Jeice assuring him that Burter is "me best mate" for helping to move a piano into his flat in "no time at all", also reminiscing about Recoome and Guldo at the time. Just as they resolve to go off to have a good old time (a villainous equivalent of And the Adventure Continues), Mood Whiplash ensues when Goku immediately cuts their plans short. Brutally.
  • Captain Ginyu's reaction to seeing Jeice die at the hands of Vegeta. It quickly hits him that his men are all dead, and he's the last one left. He even asks the group to give him a moment to mourn them, but Vegeta attacks him not three seconds later.
  • Gohan's Parental Abandonment issues.
    Gohan: Think, what would Dad do in this situation?
    Goku: [in Gohan's mind] Bye, son!
    Gohan: I'm beginning to think I have issues.
  • Freeza's beatdown of Vegeta.
    Freeza: You see? It's like I told you, Vegeta! Like a bitch.note 
    • And after Freeza kills him.
    • This conversation just before Goku arrives and Freeza kills Vegeta out of spite.
      Freeza: It seems our game is over, Vegeta. Now that we're done here, it's time to send you crying home to mommy.
      Vegeta: My mother's dead.
      Freeza: I know. note 
  • Goku's reaction to Vegeta's death, accentuated by Tears of Grief from the DBZ Kai soundtrack:
    Goku: C'mon, you deserve a proper burial.
    Freeza: Ah, yes. A proper burial: an unmarked grave on an empty planet in the middle of Nowhere, Space. Honestly, I'd say it's too good for him.
    Goku: I'll be sure to give Freezer one for you, best buddy. Goodbye.
  • Goku's reaction to Freeza killing Krillin. You can hear the sound of his voice that Goku was trying to hold in his tears. Freeza's response is basically the verbal equivalent of kicking the dog.
    Freeza: Oh, out of all the people I've blown to bits, that one will hold a special place in my heart.
    Goku (Shakes and grunts in anger)
    Freeza: Oh, what's wrong, Monkey? Come on, now, give me something funny.
    Goku: (Just barely holding in his rage) You... killed my best friend...!
    Freeza: Ha! That is pretty funny. Hilarious, actually.
  • Throughout the season, there's mention of the "great drought" that wiped out several Namekians in its wake, as well as mention of "Albino Namekians" that were slaughtered in the aftermath. Even though it's mostly Played for Laughs, the reveal as to what happened is just heartbreaking for the Namekians. Just as Guru is about to seemingly die peacefully like in canon, he reveals that the Albinos were framed for causing the drought by the the real culprit, Guru himself. The Namekians clearly felt guilty for what they did, and their reactions to their own leader having caused it made them realize they essentially slaughtered innocents that could have even been close friends of theirs at first. That being said, it makes their Roaring Rampage of Revenge on Guru all the more satisfying (and amusing).

     Season 3 
...hoo boy...
  • Just like in the source material, the Bad Future Trunks comes from. Especially Yamcha's fate. This fate is the picture at the top of the page.
  • Vegeta's treatment of Trunks in Episode 38 is quite sad to watch.
    Vegeta: I'm sorry but... I don't listen to bastards.
    • Even Piccolo is appalled at it.
    Piccolo: Gohan?
    Gohan: Yes?
    Piccolo: You're a good kid.
    • Later:
      Trunks: Oh come on, we both know I'm your son.
      Vegeta: (smirking) And are you as disappointed as I am?
      Trunks: *growls*
    • Even later, when Vegeta sees "the real Androids" that Trunks warned them about...
      Vegeta: Wow, you are just the Grand Central Station of disappointment, aren't you?
      Trunks: (upset) How are these people friends with you!?
    • Immediately lampshaded by Tien who essentially tells Trunks that they aren't "friends" in any sense of the word. They pretty much just embody the whole enemy of my enemy is my friend idea, which in no way states that they have to like each other. The only trait most of them have in common was that they all were defeated by Goku in the past. Like Vitriolic Best Buds, minus the best buds bit.
  • Vegeta's abuse towards Future Trunks does not lighten up either, as the moment Future Trunks tells Vegeta that the latter's not as strong as Goku to his face, Vegeta snaps and winds his own son.
    • It all finally catches up to him once Android 18 breaks his arm.
    • On another note, it's just sad that Trunks knows absolutely nothing about the man. His reaction to when Piccolo told him that Vegeta once tried to kill everyone is nothing short of horror and shock. It's possibly (and sadly) justified in that Vegeta has done nothing that would make one even want to tell his offspring about him. Hell, the best thing that the mother of his child could say about Vegeta to a young Trunks was "You have his gender." Ouch.
    • Trunks apparently spent a year training with Vegeta in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber without receiving any positive reinforcement.
  • Yamcha looking on while Goku is screaming in pain as he suffers from his bacon-induced heart attack. While the spoken dialogue between him and Chi Chi is Played for Laughs you can tell he's real worried about him, probably the only one of the gang that Yamcha can consider a friend.
    • The thought of having to just stand there watching your friend suffer due to an extremely painful condition, knowing full well there's not a damned thing you can do about it can evoke tears.
    • On a similar note, the two instances when a giant enemy is torturing a helpless Goku, first Oozaru Vegeta, then Giant Lord Slug, by squeezing him so hard it makes his lungs squeak like a dog toy. It's played for laughs, but Goku's pained screams aren't, and you can tell he's hurting horribly.
      Goku: Why does everyone laugh at that? That's my ribs crushing my lungs!
  • This exchange that basically sums up what the future was like for Trunks.
    Krillin: You ever think that Android 18 is, uh, kind of... cute?
    Trunks: (Angrily stares at Krillin) (Beat) No.
  • Kami's revelation about why he's putting off assimilating with Piccolo casts a grim light on the state of his existence.
    Piccolo: But if you don't fuse with me, the entire world you're guarding might be destroyed!
    Kami: *Angrily* Maybe I'd RATHER it be destroyed than ever have to be a part of YOU again!!!
    Nail: Mom? Dad? Please stop fighting.
    Piccolo: So that's what this is all about, huh?
    Kami: No, no, that's not what I—
    Piccolo: No, no, it's fine. I was kind of a dick; I get that.
    Kami: Listen, Piccolo. I've been the guardian for over three hundred years. I've seen wars, sickness, death, and worse. All the while trapped on this lookout... unable to interact with the outside world for more than moments at a time. Now, the only chance I have left is giving up my free will to someone else. It's just another prison.
    Piccolo: Wow, I... I didn't-
    Kami: It's fine. I'm done anyway. You're right. If I don't do this now, we are likely to lose everything.
    • The musicnote  during Kami's monologue really drives home the melancholy, too. All in all it is a surprisingly heartfelt scene.
  • Episode 44 has an easily-missed one that mixes in with Fridge Horror — Dr. Gero's notes for 17 and 18 comment that their real names (Lapis and Lazuli, respectively) make it sound like their parents "wanted them to become strippers". Seems like a strange comment at first, but then you remember that the two are orphaned teenagers... and were likely rendered homeless after their parents died and forced to do unsavory things just to survive before Gero kidnapped them.
  • Even though it looked like he didn't care before, Mr. Popo now REALLY isn't himself after Kami fused with Piccolo. He even sees a vision of Kami after Goku asks what gives.
  • Piccolo's situation in Episode 45. After fusing with Kami and essentially taking his role as Guardian of the Earth, Cell appears and starts killing entire cities. And, despite the power boost, Piccolo can't do anything to stop him.
    Piccolo: I get it! He's absorbing people! I'm trying to stop it!
    • Bonus points when you think about Kami's reservations about holding off on fusing with Piccolo.
  • Piccolo's defeat by Cell in episode 47 has a short-lived but poignant moment. Even Cell seemed a bit melancholy.
    Cell: He died as he lived.
    18: Drowning?
    Cell: ...Alone.
  • Android 16 on the drive through the forest:
    16: I personally enjoy this alternate route. It is dense with foliage, and wildlife, and—
    (18 blows the forest away)
    16: And spending time with you. But clearly you disagree.
  • Piccolo's horrified reaction in Episode 47 when he realizes that Cell has possibly murdered thousands more people just to become stronger.
    Piccolo: How? How many people?
    Cell: Enough.
  • The Androids seem to really care for each other when Cell shows up, with 16 telling 17 and 18 to run and them refusing because they want to stick together. They even all talk about pulling a Heel–Face Turn together and giving up the world destruction shtick... and then Cell eats 17 whole. All 16 can do is glare in rage, and 18 is stunned beyond words.
  • Krillin's comment after Bulma leaves him with 18's self-destruct remote:
    Krillin: This uh, this remote's a lot heavier than I expected...
    • When Krillin was describing Maron, he was a complete pervert, caring about things like her breasts being as big as his head. In stark contrast, when describing 18, he talks about how beautiful her eyes are, how the way she plays with her hair is adorable, and how her confidence is stunning, and when Roshi inquires about her breasts, he asks if that's really important. Krillin has finally found a woman he values for more than just her looks, and he's been given the responsibility of killing her. That remote certainly was heavy.
  • When Tien shows up and gives 18 and 16 a window to escape, this little exchange occurs:
    18: Come on 16, we have to go!
    16: Where is 17?
    18: He's gone, buddy.
    16: That is sad. I am sad.
    18: We both are.
  • After Trunks comes out of the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, we're reminded that he had no-one but Vegeta to talk to for an entire year:
    Goku: Hey Trunks! Wow, neat hair!
    Trunks: (Inner monologue) Oh my God. First piece of positive reinforcement in over a year. Respond appropriately...
  • Yamcha and Chiaotzu's concern over Tien using the Kikoho knowing that he will likely die if he continues using it.
  • The fact that Cell ended up destroying several islands filled with people who showed genuine concern for his supposed relationship issues.
    • From that same episode, Gohan has some...reservations about being alone with his father for an entire year in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. It's starting to become clear that he losing his respect for his old man.
      Gohan: (disgusted sigh) I need an adult...
      Goku: I am an a—
      Gohan: No. No, you're not.
  • Krillin's internal rant in episode 51. He's within range to detonate #18's internal bomb but can't bring himself to do it. It's made worse when his attempt to steel himself ends up making him realize something important.
    Krillin: Oh come on Krillin! Be strong for one second in your worthless life, AND PUSH THE STUPID BUTTON. IF YOU DON'T EVERYONE YOU KNOW AND LOVE IS GOING TO DIE, INCLUDING HER! ...oh.
    • The fact that he was thinking about how he wouldn't be able to wish her back and that small sad "oh." as he drops the detonator is just heartrending. Good thing fans of Dragon Ball know how #18 and Krillin's relationship ends up.
    • Just to make it even worse, his long-running habit of being effortlessly swatted aside by the Big Bad (with corresponding "Krillin Owned Count" increases) decidedly stops being funny when it becomes apparent just how desperate he is to save 18, as he gets up again and again after Cell knocks him away despite knowing he can't do anything to stop him. Poor guy gives it his all and ends up losing 18 anyway.
    • The usage of Lapis Lazuli's music adds to itnote .
  • Android 18's absorption by Cell is played out as a very tragic situation, with Krillin and Android 16 both sounding absolutely shattered when they realize that they can't save her. Not helping things is how 18 and Krillin are shown genuinely coming to care for each other before it occurs, with 18 even imploring 16 to keep Krillin safe.
    • How she gets absorbed compared to the original series also counts. Whereas there she was defiant to the end, here she instead... rushes headlong to him before being absorbed offscreen with a final shout. If it weren't for the fact that the androids aren't quite dead after being absorbed, 18 would have more-or-less killed herself.
      • It could also be seen as her taking one last swing at Cell, knowing damn well that it won't do a thing. She can't run, he'll catch her. She can't fly away, he'll catch her. So she just tries to land even one punch before...
      • Also Android 16's voice became decidedly shaky and emotional when he "CONFIRMED" 18's last request to look after Krillin. As much of a Comically Serious and extremely robotic robot he is, even he is distraught at losing his "sister."
  • Tien's reaction to Krillin destroying the remote. Before that, he made a bet with Piccolo about either Vegeta or Krillin screwing up their tasks. Tien bet on it being Vegeta, admitting that, while Krillin may be a "total bitch", he always steps up when needed. After the remote is destroyed, he's not only ranting about Krillin betraying his trust just for sex (from his point of view), but also how he rendered Tien's own Hold the Line moment against Cell pointless.
    • In relation to the above. Trunks has a total mental breakdown when he realizes that Krillin has destroyed the remote to self-destruct 18, and by extension destroyed their hope of stopping Cell from reaching his perfect form; which he eventually does. Trunks, the poor guy can only form thoughts that amount up to complete gibberish; all coming to a head when he yells out in rage.
    • Krillin's nonchalant noticing of Trunks doesn't help...especially since it pretty much pissed away all the goodwill he built up with Trunks in destroying Gero's lab, including fetal Cell. To make this more tragic, this is also an example of Poor Communication Kills - if someone had let Krillin know the situation had changed thanks to Cell revealing his "absorbing the Androids" gimmick, he probably wouldn't have been so quick to destroy the remote. You'd think Bulma would've made something as simple as a long-range mobile communicator to hand out to everyone... Or just give them phones.
    • Then it's Krillin's time to chew on Trunks when he told him he knew he was holding back. Screaming that his attempts at sparing Vegeta's feelings killed 18. Trunks finally understands why he broke the remote, as well (he previously expressed denial over the possibility that 18 isn't just a heartless killing machine who actually kissed Krillin out of actual affection).
      Trunks: It's more than anger, it's Pride! It would shatter him!
      Krillin: And because of that, 18 had to die!?
      Trunks: What does it matter?! That was your plan the entire—(sees Krillin on the verge of tears)...oh. Shit.
    • There's something really sad about the how desperate Trunks is for Vegeta's approval. It gets to the point where he deliberately holds back and discards his usual pragmatism just because he's afraid of showing up his father. Even after lashing out at Vegeta, he's still grasping at the vain hope that they could have a remotely stable father-son relationship.
      • Considering Vegeta's reaction when he is floating in the ocean that's still a possibility
  • Krillin tries in vain to avenge Eighteen:
    Perfect Cell: So...who's fir—
    Krillin: GIVE HER BACK! (throws a Kienzan at Cell's head; Cell doesn't even react as it shatters around him)
    Perfect Cell: Ah...a volunteer. (hits Krillin over half a mile, breaking his neck and bringing the Krillin Owned Count up to 35)
  • Gohan's motivation to transforming into a Super Saiyan, begging in his mind for Piccolo, Krillin, or anyone else to save him - from his own father no less - and then despairing at the notion that nobody will come and that he can't actually dodge. His triggering emotion wasn't a sense of righteous indignation, but of helplessness and fear.
    Gohan: (thinking) Mr. Piccolo! Krillin! Anyone! (the world fades away so that it's just Gohan; we're treated to flashbacks of some of Gohan's more harrowing moments) No...no one's here to save me...to save me like always...I can't run from this...I can't dodge this...I can't dodge...if I can't dodge—! (Gohan goes Super Saiyan, and throws the massive blast aside)
    • And after he went Super Saiyan for the first time, he's seen growling and grumbling in place, his entire body tensed up. He's only barely holding off a full-on Power Incontinence episode.
    • For added impact, the music that plays during Gohan's realization is his theme from Dragon Ball Z Super Butouden 2. This song represents the hopelessness and sadness, but at the same time the pure anger stored within Gohan. This song basically conveys all the suffering he had at such a young age; he has been taken from his childhood by Goku and is almost forced to defend himself.
  • After Perfect Cell utterly destroys Vegeta, he says this line that not only makes it clear where Vegeta is in the pecking order, but basically sums up what Dragon Ball had become;
    "Next time, why don't you remember your place like the rest of them... and wait for Goku."
  • In Episode 53, My Body is a Temple'O'Trunks, we get reminded of Trunks' feelings on his mentor's death and how that affected him badly.
    Cell: Does Gohan know, by the way?
    Trunks: Does he know what?
    Cell: That you let him die.
    • The entire episode just seemed to want to just break Trunks in half. From the taunts of his alternate future self, Cell's quips about him trying to play hero and how he's a novice, and finally Cell just playing him the entire episode.
      • Speaking of which, Cell just shatters his spirit after revealing that not only is his new form highly impractical, it isn't unique. In fact not only does Cell use it in front of him (mocking Trunks while doing so), he commented on the fact that Vegeta probably figured out this form too but even he wasn't stubborn enough to use it.
      Cell: Now, how 'bout you come on down, stop using that useless form, and quit wasting everyone's time.
      • Once broken, all Trunks can say in response is the following.
    • Tien's...just Tien's constant and growing frustration with the situation at hand. When Trunk's Ultra form was unveiled (and before the reveal above)—Tien's rant sounds more like him screaming at the very staples that hold the series together and it's clear he's nearly fed up with dealing with it. His Moment of Awesome with Semi-Perfect Cell gets a tad sadder with this in mind.
    Tien: That's Trunks?
    Piccolo: Yeah. Pretty astonishing, isn't it?
    Tien: It's infuriating!
    Piccolo: Why, because the gap keeps widening?
    Tien: Because he could have A: killed Android 18, B: killed Cell, or C: killed Vegeta!
    Piccolo: Why Vegeta?
    Tien: Because I deserve something today!
    • There's also Vegeta's moment in The Stinger. He'd really pushed himself this time and he was completely worfed by a glutton who never trained a day in his life. You can't blame him for wanting to cry then and there.
    • It's muddied a bit when you remember that had Vegeta not gotten cocky and let Cell absorb 18, he wouldn't have gotten his ass kicked.
    • And that Vegeta hadn't trained much in the series prior to Cell's arrival. For the first two seasons, the only way Vegeta ever powered up was by taking advantage of the power boost Saiyans receive when they're beaten and then recover.
  • In Episode 54, Gohan has a nightmare that Cell kills Chichi and Piccolo. It says almost too much about Gohan's relationship with his mother that his initial reaction to her death is "Oh thank God."
  • Episode 56: As Bulma goes over Android 16's data files, she finds one file that is uncorrupted: A video message from Gero's son (whom 16 was modeled from) to his father that was sent from the Red Ribbon Army's HQ, which cuts off right as a young Goku destroys the entire base with a Kamehamehanote  With just one scene, Gero's obsession with getting revenge on Goku takes on a much darker context...
    • Then Bulma shows the bomb in Android 16, Gero was still ready to detonate a copy of his son if things went wrong.
    Briefs: At least Gero was consistent.
  • Goku knows Chichi's pregnant. Given what happens to Goku at the end of the Cell saga in canon, that makes his upcoming decision that much more heartwrenching.
  • Chi-Chi's plea to Goku to keep Gohan from dying during the Cell Games. She's made peace with the fact that Goku has died before and might die again, but she just can't take that happening to her firstborn. Goku's response is this mixed with a Heartwarming Moment.
    Goku: Chi-Chi come on, don't be like that!
    Chi-Chi: Goku...
    Goku: If Gohan dies, that means the world's doomed anyway so what will it matter?
    • And it's scored with the legendarily heartwrenching music from Lost.
  • When Perfect Cell asks Mr. Satan if he has any personal relationships that aren't based on his money or his position, Mr. Satan neglects to mention his wife.note 
    Cell: "Do you have any actual friends? Any relationships at all that aren't about your money or your position?"
    Mr. Satan: (weakly) "I have a daughter..."
  • Granted, he deserves this at this point, but Vegeta, the show's proud, resident shit talker, only has two lines in Episode 57, both of which are out of irritation and neither are directed towards Cell. He just remains stoically silent even as Cell mockingly goads him into fighting him again, only changing his expression when Cell almost suggests that he's taking his advice: Wait for Goku.
    • Noticeably, Vegeta had a regular amount of lines in between this episode and his last bout with Cell... because he wasn't near Cell. Now he's bitterly silent in his presence because they both know Vegeta can't do anything about Cell's shit talking. His training in the Time Chamber after his defeat amounted to him just ranting like a madman, trying to make excuses for his mistake in letting Cell achieve perfection, and he has little to show for it. His only possible reason for showing up to the games at all is probably because he knows that Cell would still taunt him for quitting or being a coward that didn't show. It's pitiful How the Mighty Have Fallen moment.
  • It's hard to not feel bad for Chi-Chi right about now. Think about it. The amount of sheer Adult Fear Chi-Chi is going through right now. She has to sit there and watch her own son fight a monster that even Goku couldn't defeat, and what's worse is that it was Goku who initiated the confrontation to begin with.
    • Even worse, when it appears Cell had already killed Gohan, all the poor woman can do is faint at the sight. And the next line before the opening isn't even a joke; it's the Ox King trying to get her to pull herself together, especially since Goten's on the way.
  • Android 16's death, and everything else during it:
    • It's just as sad as it is in the source material, but rather than imparting a dying wish, he uses his last words to call Gohan out for his cowardice/pacifism and push him into becoming Super Saiyan 2.
    • 16 also manages to put things into perspective for Gohan by reflecting upon his own short life. His creator, Dr. Gero, made him for the sole purpose of killing Gohan's own father, all because Goku accidentally killed Gero's son, the man 16 is based on. 16, however, grew beyond his programmed function and came to know the meaning of love and friendship by observing the world around him and traveling with Androids 17 and 18. His final moments are spent telling Gohan that he doesn't fear death itself, but the possibility that all he loves will die either with or after him, and that he would fight until the bitter end and use any means necessary to ensure that didn't happen, which is why he was perfectly willing to use the (removed) nuclear bomb within himself to put and end to Cell.
    • After Cell kills Android 16, the villain sarcastically remarks that his victim “went to a better place” before coldly remarking that 16 has no soul (not the first time someone in this show has pointed that out). At least there's a silver lining at the end of part 3: 16 does have a soul. And he got to go to Other World.
    • It gets even worse when you compare this 16 with the source material; where as in canon he used his last words to beg a fellow gentle soul to protect the world they both loved, here he deliberately rails at a child for being afraid of himself and encourages him to embrace that which he fears and hates within himself, and he does so because it's the only option they have to defeat Cell. Say what you will about Gohan's behavior, but he doesn't deserve the position Goku put him in, and 16 likely knows this but still has to use his last words to push him to a mental breakdown to save the world. And 16 knows that this is how he will be remembered, too.
    • Knowing that 18 will be spat out by Cell, and that 17 will be revived with the Dragon Balls, just makes it all the more apparent that 16 is the only one of his True Companions to be Killed Off for Real. The two people whose apparent demises he'd born witness to eventually come back. And he'll never be alive to see them again.
    • While the moment was played up as a comedic break from the serious chastisement that came before, it's rather depressing to see that unlike the original show, 16 only cracks his final, heartwarming smile when reminding Gohan to use his disembodied head to bludgeon Goku to death.
  • Goku's plan to mold Gohan into his successor had one critical flaw: Gohan doesn't like fighting. When Goku tries to deny this by citing that Gohan had spent an entire year with him training in the Time Chamber, Piccolo tears into him about it, telling him that Gohan just wanted to spend time with his father, who spends most of his time training, dead, or both. After the others corroborate this, it all hits home to Goku in a single line:
    • Even worse, when he demands a senzu bean so he can get out there and save Gohan, Krillin won't give it to him because of the stunt he pulled earlier. It's small, but it really emphasizes how badly Goku screwed up when one of his oldest friends refuses to aid him when he really needs it.
    • Goku's reason for his plan: Like in the canon Buu saga, he's aware that he won't always be there to defend Earth. But unlike canon, he admits that his friends would fail if they tried to win. Thus, Goku orchestrated everything from the training in the Time Chamber to make Gohan his successor, implying he also understands that Chichi would never let Gohan train in case a new threat appeared and he wasn't around. It's soul crushing to see Goku, who for all his faults is still likable, show such a bleak understanding of his loved ones.
  • After Gohan finally hits his Rage Breaking Point and unleashes his full power, everyone looks utterly floored by his transformation and the sheer power coming off of him. Piccolo is the only one who speaks in this sequence, and only to say Gohan's name, while Goku's expression almost reads as mounting horror (in deep contrast to the quiet confidence he had earlier) at what he's done to his son.
    • It's even sadder, aside Piccolo calling his name quietly, no one says anything or crack a joke. Not even Cell, who is stunned by the Super Saiyan 2 transformation. The scene continues as Unmei no Hi ~Tamashii tai Tamashii` continues up until the title card. Not even Team Four Star's usual stinger comments near the end.
    • A special mention goes to Trunks' gasp, because that's his mentor down there and the Gods know what has just happened to him.
    • The Running Gag of the show is that whoever reads the opening sequence disclaimer ends up dying by the end of the episode. For this episode? Gohan reads the disclaimer, not Android 16, which just cements the fact that this is the episode that Gohan's innocence dies, in the cruelest, most brutal way possible.
  • Knowing that there’s no way they can outrun a nuclear explosion (16 states he has a high-yield nuclear payload he’ll use to destroy Cell...and pretty much everyone else), Larry and Jimmy Firecracker decide to give themselves one last good-bye.
    Jimmy Firecracker: One more time, Larry, for old time’s sake.
    Larry: <tearing up> Where there’s smoke, there’s firecracker, sir.
    Jimmy Firecracker: <tearing up> Y-you’re...goddamn right...Larry...
  • The fact that, at the end of the day, Gohan doesn't want to hurt or kill anyone. It's possible to call his pacifism selfish like Cell and Android 16 do, but seeing Gohan break down at watching his friends and family being tortured by the Cell juniors is heart wrenching and it makes his transformation into Super Saiyan 2 more bittersweet than triumphant as a result.
    • Even worse is that, when it's made apparent that Cell now wants him to fight instead of his father thanks to him explaining his Unstoppable Rage, he desperately tries to force his anger to come out, exiting his comfort zone and begging Cell to stay long enough for him to reach that Rage Breaking Point. But all he can muster is a half-hearted threat before crying. It's made apparent that this isn't the same state of mind that angrily threatened to skullfuck Nappa after Piccolo's death; this is a kid who's trying, in vain, to reach that same threshold, and all he's doing is pissing Cell off. 16's speech was sorely needed at this point.
    • After he transforms, Gohan describes in detail to Cell how much he hates the feeling of losing control to his rage and giving in to his desire to inflict pain. It's bone-chilling and incredibly badass to be sure, but it also drives home just how sad it is that Gohan has been forced into combat since the age of 4, forced to confront his greatest fear over and over again, terrified that next time, he won't be able to "un-snap". Now think about how cruel it is that his own father forced him into this situation.
  • Considering the bond Krillin had developed with 16, when Cell blows the latter into pieces, Krillin's anguished cry of 'NO!!' is particularly gut-wrenching.
    • It gets worse when you remember that 18's last words before Cell absorbed her were a request to 16 to look after Krillin and that Krillin and 16 seem to have bonded over their shared grief at 18's death. Now Cell's killed 16 too, and unless TeamFourStar take some liberties with the source material like with Nappa, he isn't coming back. Poor Krillin.
  • Seeing Gohan go from a Reluctant Warrior to a Soft-Spoken Sadist over the course of a single transformation is heartbreaking. Piccolo immediately notes O.O.C. Is Serious Business upon hearing how he's 'not done ripping the wings off this butterfly'.
    Piccolo: Red Flag!
  • Episode 60 all but points out the uncomfortable truth of most of Dragon Ball Z: Gohan was unwillingly conscripted as a child soldier.
  • Goku’s death. It’s just as sad as the original.
    • This is one of the few instance where "Bye son" is not played for laughs. The early episodes will have Goku say this in a comedic manner. The way he says it here, it's definitely Played for Drama, as his tone to Gohan gives a proud, but heartfelt farewell, as if it's the last time they'll see each other. And for Gohan, this is the only instance where he is not angry at his father dying, but at himself compared to Future Gohan, who kept a deep-seated hatred of him.
    • It’s so much worse — Goku apologizes to Gohan, explaining that he legit thought fighting would make Gohan happy, as that’s what it does for Goku. It wasn’t that he didn’t care about Gohan, it was that he didn’t really fully understand his boy. He also added that the year in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber was the best year he’s had in his life.
    • Gohan's reaction is nothing more but angrily beating himself up for letting Cell get that far, and his own Saiyan pride letting him do it. It almost seems like the boy hates his Saiyan heritage, and by extension, being the reason for his father's death. In his anguished scream alone you can hear how crushed he is by the realization that Goku loved him more than he thought, simply not knowing how to go about it correctly. Masako X nails the scene so hard that for just a moment you forget how hilariously easy it is to come back from death in Dragon Ball lore.
      Gohan: Stupid, selfish, impulsive HYPOCRITE! You had one job… get angry and KILL CELL!!! But NO! You didn't just take a page from Vegeta! YOU WROTE A SEQUEL TO HIS FRIGGIN' BOOK! Chapter One: KILL YOUR OWN GODDAMN DAD!
  • Goku's death turns out to have been for nothing as Cell returns not a minute later and shoots a hole through Trunks during a Dark Reprise of P.E.R.F.E.C.T.
  • Trunks' death, and Vegeta's reaction to it.
    Vegeta: MY BABY BOY!!!
    • Made worse by the fact that what it took to finally trigger Vegeta's fatherly instincts was the sight of his son dying in terror. Trunks' final words are just full of Adult Fear.
      Trunks: (choked) Help... help... s-someone... H-help me.... ple-
    • Note that Vegeta totally went catatonic when he saw Trunks die, and we hear Yamcha's jokes tune out as Vegeta realizes just what exactly had he done. No wonder Vegeta became a caring parent to both Present and Future Trunks after that.
    • As Cell charges his Solar Kamehameha to destroy the Earth, Gohan, having broke his arm shielding Vegeta from Cell’s ki blast after the former charged out to avenge Trunks, berates him for his recklessness, pointing out they would have used the Dragon Balls to revive Trunks and calling Vegeta out for deciding now was the time to finally be a good father to his son.
      Gohan: Vegeta, you braindead idiot! Trunks could have been brought back no problem, but no! You picked now to be a parent?! Oh, but look at me, I’m no better. Could have just let you bite it! Now I’m monoplegic, and Cell’s gonna kill us all!
      Vegeta: I’m...
      Gohan: (gasps)
      Vegeta: ...sorry.
      Gohan: (beat) Oh, wow. We are fucked...
    • And then when Piccolo teases him about him calling Trunks his "baby boy" while promising to revive him, all Vegeta can do is look down in shame as Piccolo flies away and mutter "f*ckin' better" to himself. Losing Trunks, even for a few minutes, was an eye opener.
  • Rather than going out humiliated and in furious indignation, Cell's death is as poignant as it is hilarious. He, in a completely calm and composed manner, sings Frank Sinatra's My Way as a Really Dead Montage of his finest moments plays. Reflecting on the short life he lived, Cell concludes he's fully satisfied and faces death with dignity: a perfect end.
    • The way the song is set up it could easily be seen as Cell saying good-bye to the viewers after just over three real world years and seventeen episodesnote  of being with the show and its fans.
  • Goku's final farewell to Gohan and co. when he demurs at the idea of being resurrected, which serves as both a beautiful character moment and a metaphorical way to assuage the concerns of fans who were worried that Episode 60 would be the series finale:
    Krillin: You've been a part of our lives for so long. It can't just end like this, right?
    Goku: I know, but I think it's for the best. And this doesn't have to be goodbye forever. Maybe one day, when the time is right, I'll come back to see you again. But it is goodbye — for now, at least. Gohan, I know I—
    Gohan: Dad, don't. It's okay... But, just promise to call every once in a while?
    Goku: Of course!
    • And sure enough, the end credits revealed that Season 4 will be happening, but true to Goku's word, not for quite some time.
  • The "Special Thanks" tribute after The Stinger. It's a picture of Android 16 with a halo sitting on a hill surrounded by birds while a music box version of Day of Fate plays in the background.
  • In the Epilogue to Episode 60, contrary to what happened in the anime (but just like in the manga), Trunks arrives too late to save the old man who tried to shoot 17.
  • In the same episode, Trunks has a brief moment of regret before killing his version of 17 and 18. After seeing how 17 and 18 could have turned out, it's obvious he's saddened by how evil they've become. This also makes his brutal murder of 18 all the more depressing, since she's barely able to react before Trunks kills her by shooting her with a massive energy blast at point-blank range.
    • This exchange.
    17: Any chance I could... talk you outta this?
    Trunks: ...What was my masters name?
    17: Huh?
    Trunks: The man who taught me. The man who's arm you took. The man you killed. What was his name?
    Trunks: WRONG ANSWER!

     Movies/Specials 
  • Bardock's reaction when he sees his slaughtered crew and when his friend Toma dies in his arms.
    Bardock: "Listen! You won't end like this! We're not too far from a healing planet... We're gonna get you fixed up! We'll get you better! We'll warn everyone else! And then we'll..."
    (Toma dies.)
    Bardock: (thinking) "My best friend just died in my arms, didn't he?"
  • As opposed to his canon counterpart, Turles's motivation in Christmas Tree of Might is that he hates Christmas because Santa Claus never visited Planet Vegeta, thus denying him the joy other worlds received. This becomes Harsher in Hindsight when, after he gives Goku the motivation he needs to defeat Turles, Santa reveals that he did try to visit Vegeta, but the Saiyans kept trying to shoot his sleigh down.
    • It becomes even harsher with Plan to Eradicate Christmas, where Santa's gone absolutely Ax-Crazy.
  • Cooler, despite his snark and wit, is just a member of Frieza's race that got screwed out of a good childhood. His utter disdain for his brother, this line, and his death (which has both a heartbreaking score and death scream) cement this.
    Cooler: "See? This is the difference. My brother would have stood around postulating and claiming his victory, like some haughty greenhorn child. I know what it takes to get the job done, WHICH IS WHY FATHER SHOULD HAVE-"
    • After hearing (off-screen) the story of his life, Goku has only one reaction:
    Goku: "Wow... I'm... sorry about your dad..."
  • On the same vein that Cooler, we have Lord Chilled. Maybe it's the sad music, maybe it's the fact that he was shown to be a Benevolent Boss, or that his Famous Last Words were him encouraging (in his own strange way) his men to be even better. However, Chilled's death is way sadder than you would expect from a movie villain, even though of course the overly sad music and Mythology Gag referring to the Ginyu Force are also played for laughs.
  • And now TFS has a Do you Want to Build a Snowman parody, only replace "we're orphans now and only have each other" with "we're an endangered species and homeless now and only have each other". And a few years after Nappa says this, Raditz dies and Vegeta murders him.
    • There's also the fact that Nappa doesn't remember Raditz's name during the song. Raditz actually was stronger than Goku at that point, but Nappa only remembered the latter's name.
  • The 2014 Halloween special. In Krillin's dream, Cell brings up how Krillin never feels he can measure up compared to his friends. Likely, that's how he feels every time he fights evil with the others.
    • It's hardly the worst thing on this page, but it's kinda depressing that even in Dead Zone Abridged, a script that Krillin wrote, he's just a useless loser only for chasing after kids and getting peed on. Even his best friend and worst enemy barely notice him.
  • The History of Trunks is looking to be one big episode of this, even the trailer shows this, with somber music and no hint of comedy. The guys even had to take to the comment sections to assert that there would be funniness in it.
    • Android 17 actually undergoes a Heel Realization when he comes to the conclusion that all the death and destruction he's caused has been meaningless and how his true dream is to become a Park Ranger. Then Gohan sneak attacks 17 and he decides to reject his epiphany.
    • Trunks' reaction to Gohan's death and Trunks' first time turning Super Saiyan. After Trunks regains consciousness, he immediately realized that Gohan attempted to face the Cyborgs alone with the only words being "Oh no...". Then afterwards, in an Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene-variety, he finds Gohan dead, and lets out a Skyward Scream, just like in the original Japanese version of the Special. Kaiser's performance throughout the whole scene is just heart-rending and one can imagine how his voice was after that scream. It's all set to the Doomsday Theme from Doctor Who.note .
    • Chichi's smothering nature was always played for laughs at best or to make her look like a Flat-Earth Atheist Jerkass at worst. Then you see how she's turned out in a future where any hope she had for Gohan is long gone, and her methods caused him to never visit.
    • The deterioration of Gohan's relationship with Goku to the point he considers Piccolo the father he never had.
    Gohan: You know if you think I'm rough you should have trained with Mr. Piccolo.
    Trunks: You really looked up to him didn't you?
    Gohan: Yeah! He was like the father I never had.
    • Then he talks about the pain of losing a loved allowing hm to turn into a Super Saiyan.
    Gohan: For me it's my greatest source of anger. I just think about losing Krillin or Mr. Piccolo-
    Trunks: Or your dad?
    Gohan: Uh, yeah. Sure.
    • Gohan's death is this. Ready to make one final stand against the Androids... and he loses. We don't even get to see the fight in sequential order, though we do get flashes of it during Trunks' transformation scene.
      Gohan: No! This isn't where my story ends!
      Trunks: This is where Gohan's story ends.
      • Easily the worst part is how Trunks says that. Usually, you'd expect somebody to sound choked up or saddened when they say somebody's dead. Trunks just says it so matter-of-factly...
      • Immediately before this scene, as Gohan is talking to Trunks about using the pain of loss to go Super Saiyan, the music playing is "Brooks Was Here".
    • The opening has a montage of the various remaining Z-Warriors getting killed by the Androids. Except Yamcha. Just like Trunks said, Yamcha learned Bulma was pregnant with Vegeta's child, and as a result, hanged himself. "Dark", indeed.
    • It becomes very clear that Future Gohan never had a real childhood, starting with his father dying for the first time when he was four and quickly going to hell from there. The human race's approaching demise began when he was nine, which apparently pushed him past his breaking point, to the point he seems to imagine Piccolo's voice in his head.
      • When Trunks asks him if the world was a better place before the Androids killed everyone, Gohan just somberly explains that his childhood effectively ended when Raditz arrived on Earth, and everything after that was either a life-or-death struggle against monstrously powerful villains, brief periods of recovery, or Training from Hell. Four years later, Goku dies and shortly afterwards, the Androids arrive and murder everyone else. It might have been a better world in general, but not for him.
      • The worst part is until Goku's death everything was the same as the Main Gohan...
      • And then if you watch episode 60 part 2 and this back and forth, you'll notice something when Goku dies and his Famous Last Words being "Bye son". In the future Timeline, Goku's second death caused Gohan to form a deep-seated resentment towards his father after his death, to the point that it's as if he doesn't care about him anymore. But main timeline Gohan? He blames himself for his father's death after apologizing to him, not knowing Gohan never liked fighting.
    • Minor one that (oddly) doubles as a Funny Moment, and pretty much solidifies Vegeta's Inferiority Superiority Complex:
    Vegeta: (Attacking Gohan viciously) So what?! You think having a dad as a Super Saiyan makes you better than me?!
    Child Gohan: (Barely able to answer) No!
    Vegeta: (Still attacking) Wrong answer!
    Adult Gohan: ...He had a lot to prove.
  • In Super Android 13, Goten is erased from the future when Goku suffers a Groin Attack. This is, however, shown to be fixed by the end.
    Goku: Yep! Senzu beans healed m'nuts up good!
    • Even worse, his own brother doesn't even remember him the instant after he's gone
  • Also in Super Android 13, Android 14's last words: "By metal, my life was given. By metal, it was stripped away. No dreams before, nor after. Only the end."
    • Made worse by the fact nobody who could hear him understood him.
  • Also also in Super Android 13, Android 15's words before his fight with Super Saiyan Vegeta are to down the rest of his generic alcohol, responding to Vegeta's reaction ("Does that even do anything for you?") with "...not anymore."
  • Dr. Wheelo in World's Strongest. He's not even evil in this version.
    Goku: Nah. He's alive up there. Plotting like the evil scientist he is.
    (Cut to Wheelo drifting over the planet in low orbit)
    Wheelo: Look at this planet... so beautiful... I'll never see it with my own eyes again. (starts sobbing in self-pity)
  • Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan
    • Vegeta's reaction to hearing that Broly's hatred of Goku is motivated by having listened to Baby Goku's crying for three hours. He finally meets the figure of his people's mythology, the incarnation of the legend that likely gave him strength while under Freeza's rule, and is paralyzed by the mental whiplash of it all.
    • The movie really hammers home the whole 'Goku is a bad father' narrative. He botches Gohan's college interview (forcing Chichi to pay through the nose in donations to get her son accepted), he continues to care less about Gohan than Piccolo does (once again Piccolo saves Gohan, and is way more concerned about Gohan's well-being than Goku was during the movie to the point where Goku's response to Broly about to murder Gohan was a joyful realization that Gohan could meet King Kai), and by the end of it all Chichi coldly says she wants a divorce. Which Goku assumes is another meal. Watching Goku's marriage crumble is a Gut Punch to anyone used to the way it's portrayed in canon, where it's clear that the whole family loves each other despite everything. What's worse is that it's actually not Goku's fault this time. Paragus started all this when he accidentally set Broly off (with how the abridged version plays out, Paragus didn't want Goku involved at all), and it's Vegeta who inadvertently drags Gohan into the trap. Likewise, it's King Kai who inadvertently interrupts the interview by contacting Goku and indirectly throws him into the fray through his request. Were it not for at least King Kai, it wouldn't have been the last straw for Chi-Chi. What makes this all worse is we know due to canon that Chi-Chi will be widowed soon, for seven years this time.
      • But what's even sadder is that this declaration of wanting a divorce probably wasn't a spur of the moment thing. The complaints that she makes about him not being able to function in society? The statements that he doesn't have a job and they have to live on her father's money? Her forcing Gohan to be schooled as much as possible so he doesn't end up like Goku? This has been building for literally years. Coupled with Goku lying about not taking her son to fight Androids (which she eventually found out led up to something far worse), him being so utterly socially incompetent in public and costing her father a large sum was probably the final straw. She's given him all the chances she could give- and then even more- but she's done. She's at the end of her rope and can't continue to support this idiotic, selfish man-child.
      • The blow is softened a bit, however, by Episode 57 of the main series demonstrating that Goku and Chi-Chi actually do love each other, which at the same time, renders the movies as a separate canon.
  • Plan to Eradicate Christmas
    • Meta example: After Plan to Eradicate Christmas ends, the team tributes Hiromi Tsuru, who had voiced Bulma for years. This would definitely put a tear in one's eye.
    • Trunks saying the events of Plan to Eradicate Christmas was the best Christmas he's ever had is this when you apply Fridge Horror. He grew up in a Bad Future set After the End, and his days were spent struggling to survive all the evil Future 17 & 18 wrought on the world. It actually is the best Christmas he's ever had by default, since he might not have been able to truly celebrate in the Crapsack World that is his timeline.
    • Just the sheer fact that Santa Claus turned evil because he was sick and tired of all the naughtiness in the world. Goku's reactions to this go from happy that he's seeing Santa, to outright distraught that he has to fight him; he slowly has to accept that Santa's turned bad and that he has to defeat him to save the Earth.
      • Of special note is when Vegeta kills Santa's first form. Goku sounds the saddest he's ever been after it happens.
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