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They Wasted A Perfectly Good Character / Dragon Ball Super

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As a whole, Super is better at using its characters compared to Z, mostly thanks to the in-between Breather Episodes. However, the show still runs afoul with this trope:

  • Gohan, especially in the first half of the anime, where he contributed nothing to any of the main story arcs outside of Resurrection 'F' where he was hit with severe Badass Decay and was nearly killed three times. His exclusion was considered the most jarring since Gohan was the Deuteragonist of Dragon Ball Z before taking up the main character role for the lion's share of the Buu Saga, at least until his following Goku's formula of heroism to face Super Buu failed to Toriyama's whims. This was being corrected during the Universal Survival Saga where Gohan got the most screentime after Goku and his Ultimate Form back, only for the writers to seemingly get tired of him at the eleventh hour once again. While he was named the leader of Universe 7, he ends up being Authority in Name Only, with the people who actually followed his advice mostly comprising of U7's weaker members and many of the more powerful ones being the ones who barely even bothered with team tactics. Instead of living up to the potential he was built up to, as many people outright took for granted would happen with how far into the Tournament of Power he was getting, he ends up pulling a Taking You with Me on Dyspo, completely abandoning his fight with Toppo to do it, in addition to becoming the only fighter of Team Universe 7's final five to not fight Jiren. To many, it mirrored Tien's very widely panned sendoff in all but a more prominent opponent being taken down, right down to the fact that many Gohan fans just sort of expect him to be treated like this after decades.
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  • Piccolo, who like Gohan had no major role in any story arc and was killed off in the middle of the Resurrection 'F' Saga. Despite being part of the U7 team during the Champa Saga, he only had one fight that he lost, due to cheating and was forced out by Vegeta so he could fight Frost. Like Gohan, this was being reversed since he played a more major role in the Universal Survival Saga and even helped Gohan get his Ultimate Form back. However, it comes full circle when he gets eliminated by Damon in episode 119 in a lackluster way, especially after he had his shining moment eliminating the Universe 6 Namekians. He gets taken out by Damon because he relied too much on ki sensing instead of his other senses. Many fans pointed out that Piccolo has enhanced hearing, which could have made him more suited to eliminate Damon rather than 17.
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  • Goten and Trunks. After playing an important role in the Buu Saga, they're sidelined all throughout Super. While Trunks gets a lot of development in the Future Trunks Saga, Goten is all but left out and never receives a focus episode. This sentiment only increased in the Universal Survival Saga, where they aren't chosen to be on the U7 team due to their lack of experience and being too straightforward.
  • Majin Buu since, despite being advertised as one of the members of the five man team against Universe 6 he ultimately falls asleep (anime) or fails the entrance test (manga) and therefore never gets a chance to show his stuff in the tournament. Things started to look up for him in the Universal Survival Arc as he not only got to be the first member of Universe 7 to fight in the Zen'o Exhibition Match, but also was shown in a slimmer form whilst training for the main tournament and showing a variety of interesting moves that could help his team. Then he falls asleep, again, so that he can be replaced in the tournament with Frieza. In the manga, Majin Buu is asleep when Goku and Co consider him for the Tournament of Power, making his role in the Universal Survival Arc very minimal.
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  • Tagoma. In one episode, he gets built-up as the strongest warrior in Frieza's army after he one-shots Shizami and Gohan while they were distracted, and proves to have been turned into a demented lunatic who can pose a threat to the Z Fighters, which even impresses Frieza himself, especially considering he was much more sane before enduring Training from Hell with Frieza. He then gets body jacked by Ginyu the episode after and hasn't appeared ever since.
  • Botamo for having the least amount of development of the U6 team and having the shortest match in the Champa Saga. His fight only lasted half an episode despite his unique ability and it was anti-climatic since Goku just threw him out of the ring. He lasted longer in the Universe Survival Saga (even giving Vegeta some trouble alongside Magetta) but he was still the first team member taken out. It's quite ironic that, outside of his manga fight, his only fighting scenes are through an illusion of him done by U4 Shantza. At least he performed better than Dr. Rota.
  • Vegito. After decades since his last appearance in the Buu Saga, Vegito returned stronger than ever as a Super Saiyan Blue and gave one of best animated fights in the franchise before defusing in the middle of the battle. Fans were not happy, especially those who wanted Breather Episodes with Vegito. The sentiment increased during the Universal Survival Saga, where Potara Fusion was allowed after Universe 6 had Kale and Caulifla fuse into Kefla, but because of concerns of losing two members, Universe 7 decided against using fusion, meaning the chances of seeing Vegito fight Kefla, Jiren, or Toppo were shot down hard.
  • Yamcha, despite having his own Breather Episode. He's left out of the Resurrection 'F' and Universal Survival Sagas despite his unique moveset and personality. Not helping is that there's an ongoing gag about him coming out of his retirement from fighting to wait for an invite to be on the U7 team for the Tournament of Power, solidifying his Butt-Monkey status. Given the active contempt the writers seemed to have for Tien, imagine if he'd taken up his spot on team U7, or at the very least had joined to replace Buu. Not only would it have meant all the heroes from the pre-Buu arc would have been given a chance to fight together after many of them stopped doing so, it would have allowed him the chance to show he can still fight, and even if he did get taken out early, the fact he would have gone and maybe gotten a few knock outs would have at least been a decent usage of his character.
  • It was pretty much taken for granted that not all of Universe 7 would make it far in the Tournament of Power, but after far from insignificant amounts of buildup, who is the first one eliminated? Krillin, blindsided by Frost no more than three episodes into the competition. This despite all his hyping up and rekindling his fighting spirit stronger than ever, as well as the point that he'd been developing powerful and clever new techniques to put to use in the competition. To an extent, this is the reaction in-universe as well. The manga is an even worse offender, since Krillin gets taken out in an even more humiliating manner, without even throwing a single punch much less get an elimination.
  • Some people argue that a lot of focus in the Tournament of Power is either on Universe 7 or a select amount of characters.note  In fact, we don't really see any real fights from anyone outside of Universe 7 and until Episode 102,note  only Universes 6, 7, and Basil knocked anyone out. Universes 3 and 10 have it really bad, as a lot of their warriors are seen as cannon fodder. To add further insult to the injury, some of the fightersnote  got knocked out without showing any reaction from the gods of their respective universe nor a shot of them getting benched which gives the impression that they were just glorified mooks at best and leaves a rather minimal impact to the audience as they were knocked out. It ends up making the tournament look like a group of poor saps taking a shot against the powerful twin Universes 7/6 and failing time after time. This becomes especially jarring after a lot of those characters mentioned are erased, turning it to "Universes 4, 3, and 11 taking turns fighting Universe 7 while the others stall".
  • Many fans were disappointed that Tien Shinhan didn't even get his own episode as a protagonist during the Universal Survival arc unlike the other members of Universe 7 and was quickly eliminated in a Taking You with Me during an episode he showed up halfway through. Before this point, the one thing he'd done was eliminate another minor opponent Roshi had paralyzed. Sadly, some of his fans had seen this coming a mile away after his abysmal performance in his own recruitment episode, right down to Goku having literally forgotten he existed and only having asked him because Roshi happened to be there. It says something that the Super manga, where he gets eliminated by Frost without a chance to do anything even sooner than he was in the anime, can be cited as an improvement because of how completely godawful his elimination episode was.
  • Despite being one of the members of Universe 6 (the team with the most screentime other than Universe 7), Dr. Rota does not demonstrate any of his abilities whatsoever despite hyping himself up and gets knocked out by Vegeta along with Prum without much fanfare. We don't even see Champa's reaction towards one of his fighters getting knocked out in contrast to Beerus with Tien. Though this did contribute to him being a Fountain of Memes One-Scene Wonder Memetic Badass.
  • A minor example, but Hit was seen to have fallen victim to this trope. While there admittedly was focus on him when he teamed up with Goku and his battle with Jiren, he quickly falls into obscurity once he gets eliminated by Jiren at the end of Episode 111. Fans felt that he could have contributed more, and some believed that he could've joined forces with Universe 7 in the final battle against Jiren. Overall, fans felt that Hit was shafted aside to build up Jiren's threat level and making him Goku's new main rival.
    • In the manga, Hit is arguably handled worse. While in the anime, he had some spotlight at certain points (even an episode where he and Goku teamed up against Dyspo and Kunshee), but in the manga, his only real scene was his fight against Jiren, which happened after Universe 9 got erased as opposed to the halfway point of the Tournament of Power. Hit doesn't score any knockouts either, meaning that Frost (who knocked out 7 Universe 9 fighters, Tien, and Krillin) had more of a role than Hit (who only served to show how strong Jiren was) in a way.
  • While they may or may not become a recurring character afterward, Brianne de Chateau may qualify as far as the tournament is concerned. Despite seeming pushed more than other characters (prominent in the opening and one ending, as well as early appearances in video games about Dragon Ball), all she amounts to is defeating someone from Universe 10 (and by accidentally attacking said distracted enemy), and ultimately is defeated by Android 18, a character she'd never interacted with before that episode. You could remove her from the whole arc and by and large nothing would change.
  • A minor complaint, but the last warriors from Universe 2 (Rabanra, Zarbuto, and Zirloin) barely even have any visible fighting screentime before their final battle, with them even pointing out that they're not really relevant. The fact that Zarbuto is a Tuffle is only pointed out All There in the Manual and nothing about the race is brought up at all in the Tournament of Power (Jimizu's role as a Yardrat, in contrast, was brought up slightly). Even worse, when they do fight (we do get to see a weakened Goku endure all three of them before they transform), it's literally just them borrowing the powerups from the Maiden Squadron. Sure, they were more formidable even being able to activate a Black Hole that would've knocked Goku and co. out if Goku hadn't surpassed his limits again, but it overshadowed themselves as fighters.
  • Universe 4. They have some of the best character designs in the Tournament of Power, interesting powers, and use gimmicks and trickery in order to survive in the tournament despite their weakness. Unfortunately, ultimately 8 of the 10 members don't get a knockout and all of them are defeated in the episode they feature in. This is particularly true for the two hidden fighters Damom and Gamisaras where despite hyping them up as a major threat to Universe 7, with even Beerus being afraid of them, they end up going down rather quickly once they are detected. It ultimately turns Quitela into a Big Bad Wannabe where despite his hatred for Beerus and desire to take him down, he doesn't put a dent in Universe 7's numbers and ultimately gets erased rather pathetically, denying that his outcome is actually true. Additionally, the Last Stand showdown with Damon is very anticlimactic and unemotional compared to other showdowns, even the Butt-Monkey Universe 10 and Universe 2's last remaining warriors. The showdown between Ganos and Master Roshi was arguably more emotional due to how Roshi came very close to dying for good, and for how well handled Roshi was that episode.
    • In the manga, although his role was slightly more identical to the anime (getting taken out by Piccolo), Gamisaras actually did something logical and attacked various members from other universes while they were focused on their battles, putting a dent on their numbers and taking out Android 18, the entire Maiden Squadron, and a few Universe 10 warriors.
  • Due to the huge staff working on the episodes, most of the —admittedly very large number of— new characters remain undeveloped with no clear backstory (the number of characters introduced in this arc who have an in-depth backstory can be counted in one hand, with Jiren's being a mystery until only 4 episodes remain) or elements that don't pay off (like Quitela's hidden warriors or Gohan's leadership). While the concept of the battle royale was roughly played out during the first episodes (like Basil's fight with Napapapa or Caulifla's fight with the Pride Troopers), this is quietly dropped out at some point when everyone decided to focus on Universe 7, giving them most of the eliminations.
  • In the manga, Katopesla is hit with this. Being the hilarious Ensemble Dark Horse of U3, possibly one of the most popular ToP newcomers not to be from universe 6, and one of the longest-lasting fighters in the anime's entire tournament, you'd expect him to get to stick around, but instead he becomes his universe's first casualty.
    • Several other characters get shafted quite hard in the manga as well. For instance, Monna, who was able to last for half of the Tournament of Power in the anime before facing Cabba (even almost knocking him out as well), gets eliminated off screen in the manga. And Dr. Rota gets no expansion at all, making you wonder if he was just there as a living joke in a team full of relatively competent fighters.
  • Android 18 in the manga. After barely appearing at all in the manga save for one or two instances, she goes into the tournament and initially seems to be doing pretty good, like her anime counterpart. However, she is abruptly knocked out after only getting around two eliminations by Gamisaras, with little moments of actual interaction occurring between her and Android 17. While she at least did better than Krillin, and Tien, she still went out so poorly, especially compared to the anime version where she lasted all the way until the final battle with Universe 11, and was eliminated sacrificing herself to keep 17 in, which many argue was the best elimination of any of the fighters from Universe 7.
  • Kale's rampage in the manga essentially turns everyone, save the remaining Universe 7 members, Caulifla, Cabba, and the Pride Troopers that were rather formidable in the anime, into glorified C-List Fodder. Within the span of a few pages, Universes 2, 3, 4 and 10 are all erased from existence without having the glorious Last Stand they had in the anime. Kale accidentally knocks out Magetta (speaking of which, he only had one notable role, and that was assisting Frost with knocking out Krillin) and the Universe 6 Namekians (unlike the anime, they made small appearances in the manga beforehand). Ganos and Shantza, who had interesting abilities in the anime which could've been expanded on (some people were even hoping for a badass showdown between Roshi and Ganos like in the anime), get wasted by her. How about Anilaza, the Climax Boss before the final showdown between Universe 11? Kale just kicks it out in one page of the manga, while in the anime, an entire episode was dedicated to it. Universe 2's remaining warriors? All of them get taken out by Kale very easily, which could've explored more on Zarbuto, the supposed Tuffle. Ultimately, Kale got significantly more notice, but at the expense of a ton of other characters, to the point where it seems like Toyotaro wants the arc to be over as fast as possible.
  • While Kahseral got a slightly better role in the manga than he did in the anime, Dyspo and Toppo had a lot left to be desired in terms of the manga. Remember when Toppo outright revealed he was a God of Destruction Candidate when he met Goku? Remember when he outright turned into a hulking monster as a God of Destruction? Remember when he hit Goku in the groin? Well in the manga, all he really did was temporarily overpower Goku and fight with Vegeta afterwards (basically an extended version of the battle he had against him while Goku was fighting Kale and Caulifla in the anime). Heck, Toppo doesn't even turn into a God of Destruction or EVEN demonstrates his powers, and his defeat is rather pathetic - Vegeta sees that Goku is down, turns into his own powerful Super Saiyan Blue, and the aura blows Toppo out of the ring. As for Dyspo, the rabbit never really got to perform much either, and although he did overpower Goku alongside Toppo at first, Dyspo gets wiped aside by Vegeta, and the only other significant role he does is beat Cabba up - but then Caulifla puts him on a hold. We never even get to see how his fight with Android 17 went either - as Dyspo stupidly rushes to rescue Toppo - while Frieza unceremoniously knocks the two out by destroying the rocks underneath them.

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