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What An Idiot / Dragon Ball

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Much of the drama in the anime and manga of Dragon Ball comes from the characters constantly making bad decisions, being clueless about their own idiocy, and then being punished for it.

Dragon Ball Super has its own page.

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  • We note that this one is exclusive to anime filler, non-canon movies, and Dragon Ball GT, as it is notably averted in the manga canon, Resurrection ‘F’, and Dragon Ball Super. Powerful warriors both good and evil come through the pike in the Other World once they're destroyed.
    You'd expect: King Yemma and his people to dispose of the warriors' bodies before sending their spirits to their "final" destination unless keeping any of them around is absolutely necessary. (This is precisely the case in the manga and everything that came after GT.) At the very least, make sure only the good guys get to keep their corporeal forms.
    Instead: Everyone with a modicum of relevant power is later seen still with a body. Including the bad guys sent to Hell.
    You'd then expect: Some powerful dead face to stand guard in Hell making sure that any chaos doesn't last. Either make it one warrior who's generally antisocial or doesn't mind making the sacrifice, or a cycle of guys that get shifted in and out for one another (with Goku and Pikkon being obvious players). Or even a repentant evil soul, like Vegeta in the Buu Saga, who'd be happy to do some community service.
    Instead: Goz and Mez seem to be the only thing keeping the bad guys in line over there, up until GT where Piccolo dies permanently and, after a complicated gambit to get Goku out of Hell, does exactly that.
    The result: All it takes is for two evil scientists to get together and create an android, or for one Saike Demon to completely lose track of the soul-cleansing chamber while listening to his music, and literally, all hell breaks loose. The Piccolo solution above is devised only after the Z-Fighters are mostly done cleaning up the GT outbreak, and he wouldn't be there to do it if he hadn't sacrificed himself to get rid of a different problem earlier.
  • There have been many, many occasions when Krillin has been watching his friends be knocked around by an opponent. Nappa, Vegeta, Recoome, Frieza, the Androids, and Cell all instantly come to mind. During all of those fights, he had access to both the blinding Solar Flare technique and the cut-anything Kienzan/Destructo Disc technique. It's also well-documented that his ki control and awareness relative to the power he actually has is among the best in the series or at least the best among the human fighters.
    You'd expect: Krillin would take the opportunity his friends are providing by being knocked around to sneak up, use the Solar Flare technique, and then cut them in half with the Kienzan. Even if the opponent in question can regenerate or is powerful/fast/skilled enough to recover from the Solar Flare and dodge or deflect the Kienzan, or otherwise somehow dilute the effect of either technique, it's a weapon the opponent has to take seriously enough to leave an opening for his more powerful allies to gain the upper hand.
    Instead: Krillin often just stands there and watches, not even bothering to intervene in one-on-one battles when he has no reason to not gang up on the enemy. During their fights with the Androids, he doesn't even bother to fight. Even when he does use one technique, he doesn't think to use the other, which usually results in the Kienzan being dodged rather easily or the Solar Flare being utterly wasted on just escaping the enemy's pursuit. In fact, Cell makes much more fruitful use of the Solar Flare at one point than Krillin ever does (for more on that, see below). This little dialogue exchange from TeamFourStar’s Dragonball Z Abridged shows it best:
Vegeta: He didn't just blow it up?
Krillin: I thought the same thing, but no! So I thought fast and I used the Solar Flare on him!
Gohan: And then you used your Kienzan to cut him in half?
Krillin: Um...
Frieza: (flies back to the battlefield, angrily) I WILL MOUNT YOUR HEAD WHERE MY TAIL USED TO BE!
Krillin: To answer your question, Gohan. No, I did not do that.
  • Goku has access to the Instant Transmission technique. It allows for Teleport Spam during a battle, and failing that, allows for immediate withdrawal from a hostile situation providing you can find another ki location to lock onto. Seeing how friendly ki locations are all over Earth and other worlds, this is not a problem. Also, you can teleport anyone and anything that is currently touching you or you are currently touching. Modern armies would be green with envy.
    You'd expect: For Goku to teach this technique to everyone. Even if the technique is useless because the opponent is too strong for direct combat, then it could be used in a support role (fetching Senzu beans, getting Dende to heal combatants), for simple evacuation procedures (moving injured fighters), or for other purposes (fetching Earth or Namekian Dragon Balls, teleporting allies to the battle, simply just traveling to meet friends). Even if it takes considerable time to learn, they have access to several magical wish-granting dragons as well as the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and thus can easily address that concern.
    Instead: Goku doesn't teach anyone the technique that could save many of his friends or make any battle a whole lot easier. In fact, no one even thinks to ask Goku to teach them the technique.
  • Anytime a new enemy has arrived and his tremendous power could potentially destroy the entire universe.
    You'd Expect: For the Z-Fighters to simply finish him off as fast as possible. No time to have a good fight when said enemy could possibly endanger the innocent lives of everyone around them, Dragon Balls or not.
    Instead: They don't even take their enemies seriously, instead seeing them as another powerful opponent that they could possibly compete with. Unsurprisingly, this ended up causing a lot more problems than if the Z-Fighters just followed Trunks' example and pretty much kill them immediately.
  • Among the most notable traits of the Saiyan race is that anytime they are healed from a near-death state, their power will exponentially grow.
    You'd Expect: Knowing this fact, any of the Saiyan cast would abuse the hell out of this to get extremely strong really quickly. While the rarity of Senzu beans would make instant healing difficult to come by, they could recuperate conventionally and the boost would arguably be worth the wait. This is even worse after Dende is appointed as Earth's guardian, as his Healing Hands thing is basically a limitless Senzu.
    Instead: Vegeta is the only character to ever think of this, and only does so once in an extremely desperate fight against Frieza, i.e. precisely the worst time to exploit it. Instead, they stick to their regular old training style, which is proven to be pointless when the villain easily beats the hero, and they only survive by sheer luck. Notably, at one point it's suggested that Goku's rapid increase in strength on the trip to Namek was in part a result of him abusing the ability by accident when he decided to try dodging or blocking his own ki blasts, verifying that self-inflicted injuries can work just fine.

    Dragon Ball 

Emperor Pilaf Saga

Red Ribbon Army Saga

  • As Goku, Bulma, and Krillin are about to enter an underwater cave in their submarine, a sub commanded by General Blue fires several torpedoes at them, which luckily missed.
    You'd Expect: Them to immediately duck inside the cave or hightail it out of there. Either one works for staying alive.
    Instead: They scream for a good while, then talk and talk and talk long enough for Blue's sub to load another round of torpedoes and fire.
  • Commander Red has always been a man of short stature and has been picked on his whole life since elementary school for this reason. At some point, he becomes the leader of an entire army and hears about the fabled Dragon Balls. It's also possible that Goku and Bulma's travels in search of them have become known far and wide, especially since they helped the once dreaded Ox-King for one. In addition, Bulma's father, Dr. Briefs, is a famous scientist and owner of Capsule Corp, which, by itself, is known the world over and the army is confirmed to have several of the company's trademark namesake (small capsules that contain massive quantities of objects).
    You'd Expect: Red to pay Dr. Briefs for a Dragon Radar of his own, under the guise that it's for a noble cause. Not only that but he would also tell his men of his plan so everyone's on the same page. No one would get hurt, Red would wish to grow taller, and everything would be coming up roses.
    Instead: He doesn't tell his soldiers a damned thing, has his men terrorize villages, makes his own inferior Dragon Radars if Colonel Silver's comments are anything to go by, and his antics net the attention of Goku, who proceeds to utterly demolish his forces.
    You'd Then Expect: Red to call off their search, have his army convince Goku not to attack them, and not do anything to end up provoking him. The last thing they need is their army coming to an end at the hands of a 12-year-old child.
    Instead: He hires the mercenary Tao Pai Pai to kill the kid, which results in the death of the Indian Bora. Though Tao manages to seemingly kill Goku, he survives through dumb luck, undergoes Korin's training, and beats Tao in a rematch, enabling Goku to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    The Result: The Red Ribbon Army is decimated, Staff Officer Black finds out about Red's petty motives, and he gets shot through the forehead for his troubles.
  • Yamcha is getting beat up by an invisible fighter. He completely dominates the few times he manages to locate his opponent.
    You'd Expect: Yamcha to grab the man with one hand and beat him with the other.
    Instead: He exclusively uses punches and kicks, which involve only momentary contact, with no attempts whatsoever at holds.

Tien Shinhan Saga

  • Goku encounters a pair of thugs who are terrorizing a village with a magical gourd. If they call out someone's name and the person doesn't answer, "Here," they get sucked into the gourd and have their life force drained. Chao explains all this to Goku.
    You'd Expect: Goku to not give his name when the thugs ask for it.
    Instead: He readily answers that his name is Goku.
    You'd Then Expect: Goku to answer when his name is called.
    Instead: He says nothing.
    The Result: He gets sucked into the gourd, then gormlessly muses, "The gourd must have swallowed me because I didn't answer." No shit, Sherlock.
  • Krillin is fighting Chiaotzu and realizes he needs to use his hands for his telekinesis. He decides to distract Chiaotzu with math questions.
    You'd Expect: Chiaotzu to ignore Krillin.
    Instead: Chiaotzu lets himself get distracted, allowing Krillin to defeat him.

King Piccolo Saga

  • Krillin has been killed by Tamborine. Understandably, Goku wants revenge.
    You'd Expect: For Goku to attempt to prepare himself properly so he's not facing a monster that was strong enough to kill Krillin while totally exhausted from fighting Tien.
    Instead: He runs off half-cocked and finds himself completely unable to touch an opponent he could have beaten at full strength.
    You'd Then Expect: Goku to withdraw and come back when he has the strength to actually do something.
    Instead: He keeps insisting he's going to make Tamborine pay and thoroughly fails to do that, getting his Flying Nimbus destroyed in the process and ending up on the ground, unable to fight.
    You'd Then Expect: Goku to play dead.
    Instead: He grabs Tamborine's ankle, still swearing he'll get revenge, even though he's in no condition even to fight an ordinary human.
  • The anime adds a fight between Yamcha and Tambourine that requires handing an Idiot Ball to everyone involved. While trying to track down and kill Yamcha, Tambourine lands at the moved Kame House where the Dragon Team is hiding from King Piccolo and his minions. He asks how to get to NBI-8250012, which is Kame House's normal address.
    You'd Expect: They'd just follow Yamcha's example and tell Tambourine to cross the ocean.
    Instead: Bulma tells this green-skinned stranger that they came from that address, causing him to recognize Yamcha. Yamcha and Tambourine fight, but Yamcha is no match for Tambourine with his injured leg. Right as Tambourine is about to kill Yamcha, King Piccolo telepathically orders Tambourine to find and murder Cymbal's killer.
    You'd Then Expect: Tambourine would finish off Yamcha, since he only found him by chance and wouldn't be able to find him again if he moved.
    Instead: He tells Yamcha he's "putting [him] on hold" and flies off. And the Dragon Team stays put despite the enemy knowing their location and vowing to kill Yamcha!
  • King Piccolo has Goku right here he wanted to, crippled and disabled as a result of him using Tien as a human shield and now wants to finish him off by flying into the sky with a Ki blast.
    You'd Expect: That he makes sure he disables all his arms and legs so that he won't retaliate at all.
    Instead: He apparently chose not to check his body and arrogantly thinks that Goku wouldn't fight back at all, allowing Goku to use his right hand in order to use Kamehameha and kill Piccolo with one last punch.
    You'd Then Expect: Since Goku has been weakened and couldn't fly, Piccolo would simply fly away and dodge the attack. Then with his Ki spent, he goes ahead and finishes Goku off.
    Instead: He apparently decides to face the attack head-on and chooses to block it, which results in the punch penetrating right through his arm and torso, killing him. Guess we know now why his son Piccolo Jr. teaches Gohan how to dodge.

    Dragon Ball Z 

Saiyan Saga

  • When Goku and Piccolo fight Raditz, they manage to catch him off guard and Goku grabs his tail, rendering him helpless and vulnerable to the Special Beam Cannon. Raditz apologizes and says he'll leave Earth if Goku lets go.
    You'd Expect: That Goku would have enough sense to know that he's lying. Even Piccolo is telling him not to do it.
    Instead: Goku ignores Piccolo and releases Raditz's tail, and gets rewarded with crushed ribs. Raditz even lampshades this, calling his younger brother the "dumbest guy I've ever met". Thankfully, he manages to restrain Raditz again, and this time, he won't let go.
  • Around the same time Piccolo fires his Special Beam Cannon at both Raditz and Goku.
    * You'd expect: for Goku to push Raditz into the Special Beam Cannon's trajectory and get the HFIL out of the way.
    * Instead: He keeps holding onto Raditz and the cannon ends up leaving both of them mortally wounded. At least Goku got some training in the afterlife.
  • As Goku and Raditz are dying, Raditz is in utter disbelief that Goku would sacrifice himself. Piccolo is standing over Raditz as he ponders this.
    You'd Expect: Piccolo to quickly finish off Raditz.
    Instead: Piccolo feels the need to tell Raditz that Goku will later be revived with the Dragon Balls and talks about how they can grant almost any wish. Raditz has the information relayed to his Saiyan comrades, and they take an interest in the Dragon Balls and decide to abandon their current mission to come to Earth. Piccolo later finishes off Raditz, but it's too late. He just kickstarted the whole plot of Dragon Ball Z, all because he couldn't shut up.
  • Also at the same moment, Raditz has just successfully transmitted the info to his fellow Saiyan comrades and with it, he knows that they will eventually arrive on Earth and wish him back to life before wiping out the entire human population.
    You'd Expect: Raditz to just shut up and let Piccolo kill him, knowing full well that Vegeta and Nappa will destroy the unprepared heroes in revenge before eventually wishing him back to life with the Earth's Dragon Balls.
    Instead: He gloats to Piccolo about how the two Saiyan comrades who are much stronger than him will eventually arrive on Earth and kill them all before Piccolo eventually finishes him off. This allows the Z-Fighters to prepare themselves for their inevitable arrival and while the majority of them still aren't strong enough against them, it does allow Goku to become strong enough and come back to life to defeat the Saiyans and drive Vegeta away from Earth.
  • Knowing full well that the two Saiyans will arrive within a year, Yamcha, Tien, Chiaotzu, and Krillin trains in Kami's Lookout in order to become strong enough to beat them.
    You'd Expect: Kami and Popo suggest using the Hyperbolic Time Chamber in order to receive up to two years' worth of training within two days. Even if they can only survive up to a month before being forced to leave as shown with Goku beforehand they have a year ahead of them, meaning that there is nothing stopping them from recuperating themselves while switching places. When combined with their regular training and the training within the chamber, they will be able to receive three years' worth of training potentially strong enough to beat the upcoming Saiyans.
    Instead: Neither of them points this out and Kami & Popo have them do regular training which, while it does allow them to become as strong as Raditz, they ended up being unable to put much of a dent against Nappa, resulting all of them except Krillin dying pointlessly.
  • When Yamcha and the other Z-Fighters are fighting off the Saibamen, Yamcha seems to have been doing a good job killing them. That is until he is caught off guard, and one of them latches on to him and begins to self-destruct.
    You'd Expect: That the other Z-Fighters attempt to save Yamcha by distracting, harming, or killing the Saibaman that's attached to Yamcha.
    Instead: They just stand there horrified at the scene.
    The result: The Saibaman explodes, which leads to Yamcha suffering the most unnecessary and embarrassing death in the series which could have been easily avoided.
  • In the Saiyan saga Goku splits a senzu bean into two parts so that Gohan and Krillin can both have their part. They are fully recovered, even despite eating just half a bean.
    You'd expect: That from that point on they'd split every single bean to double their supply. For that matter, given the split worked in the first place, they would figure out the bare minimum amount of bean necessary and divide along those lines.
    Instead: No one splits a senzu bean ever again…
  • After Vegeta explains to Goku how Great Ape transformations are triggered by a Saiyan with a tail looking at a moon or other source of Blutz Waves and how Goku was a fool to get rid of his tail, he creates an energy ball in the sky to replace the moon, allowing him to transform. Soon after, Goku manages to blind him with the Solar Flare.
    You'd Expect: Since Vegeta already told him how their tails work, Goku would take the opportunity to cut off Vegeta's tail while he was blinded before preparing the Spirit Bomb.
    Instead: Goku does not bother with cutting off the tail and tries to prepare the Spirit Bomb while Vegeta is still in his Great Ape form. Thus, by the time Goku finishes it, Vegeta regains his sight, and blasts the shit out of Goku with a Mouth Cannon, rendering the energy pointless.
  • After Vegeta is severely weakened by Goku's Spirit Bomb, Yajirobe manages to slash his back with a sword to prevent him from hurting Gohan, and Vegeta falls to the ground.
    You'd Expect: Yajirobe, having just witnessed how tough Vegeta is, would take the chance to stab him to make sure he's dead.
    Instead: Yajirobe assumes he killed Vegeta and gloats about how he's stronger than him. When Vegeta gets up, Yajirobe unconvincingly says he was just joking, and Vegeta beats him senselessly.
  • After a grueling battle, the heroes have finally managed to defeat Vegeta, with Krillin being the only one left standing. He grabs Yajirobe's katana and attempts to finish off the Saiyan Prince, but Goku stops him, telling him to let Vegeta go in hopes he'll have a Heel–Face Turn like Piccolo did (and because he wants a worthy rival to fight).
    You'd Expect: Krillin, having seen how horrendously evil Vegeta is, ignore Goku and kill Vegeta while he's still weakened. Yeah, Goku may be upset, but many lives will be saved in the long run, not to mention that someone as cruel as Vegeta isn't going to magically change their ways overnight.
    Instead: He gives into Goku's demands and lets Vegeta enter his space pod and retreat.
    Result: The first thing Vegeta does with his new lease on life is head to Namek on a search for the Dragon Balls, even slaughtering a village of innocent Namekians for theirs. Krillin finds out about this and regrets not killing Vegeta when he had the opportunity to do so. And while Vegeta DOES help out the Z-Fighters fight Frieza later and does legitimately become one of the good guys,those Namekians he killed are never seen being brought back to life.

Frieza Saga

  • Krillin, Gohan, and Bulma have just touched down on Namek, and have encountered their first foes: a pair of low-level Frieza grunts, who are so weak that they need to rely on handheld blasters rather than projecting their own ki.
    You'd Expect: Them to immediately rush in and take these guys out. They may not be that strong, but they're still heavily-armed soldiers.
    Instead: They keep their ki low to the point that they don't seem like a threat at all, for no apparent purpose other than that they can then go up to full power and kick their asses.
    Result: Before aforesaid asskicking can commence, the soldiers, unafraid of their foes, blow a hole right through Kami's ship and render it inoperable, leaving the characters without any way to get off Namek or use the ship for any other purposes. Even Bulma gets mad at them over it, especially since she's lucky they targeted the ship and didn't decide to vaporize her instead.
  • Vegeta has gone rogue and killed Cui and Dodoria, going on to massacre an entire Namekian village to take their Dragon Ball and hide it in the water. Shortly afterward, he runs into Zarbon, whose transformed state easily overpowers the Prince of Saiyans. After receiving reports that Vegeta is in possession of a Dragon Ball, Zarbon takes Vegeta back to Frieza's spaceship for questioning. On top of that, Saiyans have a biological ability to come back stronger every time they're defeated or nearly killed, and the prior fight left Vegeta in pretty bad shape already.
    You'd Expect: That they would wait for Vegeta to regain consciousness normally while keeping him wounded enough so he couldn't escape. They should know about the aforementioned power boost as well, considering Saiyans used to be under their employment (and up until recently, they still were).
    Instead: They put him in a healing pod, which will completely heal him up.
    You'd Then Expect: If that's the case, then Zarbon should look after Vegeta and make sure to jump him while he's still getting used to his healed wounds.
    Instead: Zarbon leaves Appule with Vegeta. To quote Frieza in DragonBall Z Abridged, "Appule couldn't handle a shot of raspberry schnapps, much less Vegeta".
    Result: Vegeta is fully healed and stronger than ever. He kills Appule, escapes with all five of Freeza's Dragon Balls, and then later kills Zarbon even after he transforms.
  • According to Word Of God, Krillin's Kienzan technique is capable of cutting through anything. Now, let's look at a certain point in the battle with the Ginyu Force: Recoome is about to use his Recoome Eraser Gun on Vegeta, while Krillin moves up for a sneak attack on him.
    You'd expect Krillin to bust out a surprise-attack Kienzan, slicing Recoome in half while he was busy with the attack and eliminating yet another member of the Ginyu Force.
    Instead: Krillin slams Recoome's mouth closed mid-beam. It allows Gohan to save Vegeta from the wrath of the Eraser Gun, but Recoome is SEVERELY annoyed, as some of his teeth have been knocked out.
    Result: Recoome breaks all the bones in Krillin's body, cripples Vegeta, and almost kills Gohan and Goku has to save them.
  • After it has been discovered that the Namekian Dragon Balls can only revive one person back to life, Piccolo steps in and ordered that they wish him back first so that Earth's Dragon Balls will be restored back to life and they can revive their deceased friends. Now there are two more wishes remaining.
    You'd Expect: For Piccolo to order them to use the wish to either revive Goku to full health or even better, wish to teleport everyone sans Frieza back to Earth (if Piccolo was feeling sadistic, he would make Vegeta stay there too so he could suffer Frieza's wrath). Then, they would use the Earth's Dragon Balls to revive everyone killed by Frieza's men and the Z-Fighters (and Vegeta) will train as hard as possible to prepare for Frieza's inevitable arrival.
    Instead: Piccolo wishes for him to be transported to Namek so he can fight Frieza head-on, despite knowing full well of his power (and not to mention that if he dies, the Dragon Balls will be rendered useless and all their hardships will be for nothing). Piccolo himself even realizes the futility of it and if it weren't for Nail providing him a Deus ex Machina power-up, things would have ended really badly for the heroes.
  • While the gang is trying to survive Frieza, Goku is currently undergoing a healing treatment on his ship after his fight with Captain Ginyu, but the rate of recovery is going very slowly. Krillin and Gohan have just discovered Dende's healing ability after he saves them both from otherwise fatal wounds.
    You'd expect: Gohan and/or Krillin try to sneak Dende away to where Goku is so Dende can heal him instantly as well and he can join the battle while Frieza is either distracted by Vegeta or Piccolo or focusing on transforming into one of his more powerful forms, or even just let Dende head to Goku on his own since Frieza doesn't know about Dende's healing power and considers him a "small fry".
    Instead: Nobody thinks of doing this. Frieza eventually finds out about Dende's healing ability and quickly kills him to keep him from healing anyone else, and by the time Goku has finally recovered, Vegeta is near death and the others are exhausted and worn out.
  • When Goku is charging the Spirit Bomb to try and kill Frieza, Frieza catches him doing it, but to Frieza, it just looks like Goku is standing there with his hands raised.
    You'd expect: Frieza would either look up (you know, the direction Goku's hands are pointing) or immediately attack him while his guard is down.
    Instead: Frieza stands there for a good few minutes trying to figure out what Goku's doing, never thinking to look up. By the time he decides to just attack Goku, the Spirit Bomb is close to being finished; it's even closer by the time he actually looks up; and, after Piccolo steps in to distract Frieza, Goku is able to finish it. Cue a Distant Reaction Shot and Frieza almost being killed.
  • Frieza reveals that he survived the Spirit Bomb, and has a weakened Goku right where he wants him.
    You'd expect: Since Goku is the strongest of the bunch, for Frieza to shoot a Death Beam straight through Goku's heart, and then finish off the others.
    Instead: He chose to make Goku suffer as much as possible by killing his loved ones first before killing him, thus he shoots the Death Beam at Piccolo (in the anime he at least tries to shoot Goku only for Piccolo to Take the Bullet for him), not even killing him, and then blows up Krillin. He then threatens to do the same for Gohan, triggering Goku's ascension to Super Saiyan. Because of his sadism, Frieza ended up creating the very legend he feared so much.

Android/Cell Saga

  • In an anime filler episode, after Gohan finally had enough and decides to retaliate against the Sadist Teacher Mr. Shu for continuously whipping him, the latter decides to call Chi-Chi and try and make Gohan look like a bad guy for attacking him.
    You'd Expect: For him to continue telling her a made-up story about how much of a bad guy Gohan is while faking innocence at the same time and try not to anger the student's mother at any opportunity.
    Instead: Right after making up a false story, he has the gall to insult Goku, AKA Chi-Chi's husband, and decides to whip Gohan right in front of her; no mother would want him as a tutor after everything he had done, and that includes Chi-Chi, whose response after hearing it is to throw him out of the house and tell him to never come back again.
  • After making short work of Frieza and King Cold, Trunks approaches Goku to warn him about the impending arrival of the Androids that devastated his timeline along with the heart virus that led to Goku's permanent death.
    You'd Expect: For Trunks to explain to Goku about the Androids in full detail like their appearance (i.e. a blonde woman wearing clothing much like him and a black-haired man wearing black clothing along with a scarf, both delinquents in their teenage years) and how their powers work (e.g. that their Ki can't be sensed, they have an infinite energy supply).
    Instead: Trunks does not give any further details regarding the Androids that are set to invade years ahead, causing the Z-Fighters to get caught off-guard due to them being unable to sense the Androids' Ki. And when they appeared, they believe that Dr. Gero and Android #19 are the Androids that supposedly terrorized Trunks's timeline before realizing too late that they aren't the ones Trunks warned about.
    Even Worse: Goku points out in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot that Trunks could've just given them a picture of the Androids so they'd know which menace they should watch out for.
  • In Trunks's original Bad Future, Goku is suffering from an incurable heart illness.
    * You'd expect:For his friends to quickly gather the Dragon Balls and try and see if Shenron can remove the virus.
    * Instead: They don't, and Goku suffers a painful and agonizing death. And because he already died once and the virus is a natural cause, there's no hope of reviving him with the Dragon Balls.
  • Six months after Future Goku's demise, two Androids have appeared to terrorize the world and they ended up becoming too much for even a Super Saiyan Vegeta to defeat.
    You'd Expect: That Future!Piccolo will head to Kami's Lookout and urge the latter to fuse with him, giving him more than enough power to stop the Androids. While it will render the Dragon Balls inert and make all future deaths permanent, the threat of the cyborgs will cause even more deaths and besides if Piccolo dies, Kami goes along with him, and the Dragon Balls will become useless anyway.
    Instead: Piccolo decides to rush against them without thinking of this. As a result, this caused him and the rest of the Z-Fighters besides Gohan and Future Trunks to die, and with him gone, so are the Dragon Balls, allowing the Androids to freely terrorize the world for 20 years.
    Worse:It's stated that Piccolo was the FIRST one of the Z-Fighters to get killed.
  • After learning from Trunks about the Androids, Bulma creates an interesting plan. Rather than wait for the androids to be released, they use the Dragon Balls to figure out where Gero is and take him out. The others dispute this (moral point) as Dr. Gero hadn't done anything wrong. They'd be destroying an enemy that hasn't committed a crime yet.
    You'd Expect: For someone to realize that while they can't kill him, there is no rule about keeping him under surveillance. It might be a good idea to learn where his secret hideout is, and maybe the Z-Fighters can intercept the androids there to prevent the loss of innocent life. If nothing else, they at least know where his hideout is and can intercept him there. Maybe a chance to look at his technical files while he is away.
    Instead: The characters do nothing to learn about the enemy and do their own training. This leads to a secret ability on the bad guys (they don't emit Ki and can't be tracked) which allows the Androids to take a quick upper hand. Imagine how the Cell Saga would have gone if the Z-Fighters knew where Gero's lab was, rather than wasting 2 episodes to find it.
  • In that same scene, Vegeta declares that if anyone tries to find Doctor Gero with the Dragon Balls, he'll kill them himself because it would deprive him of a good fight.
    You'd Expect: Someone present to shut him down, preferably Goku, who is much stronger than him. The only reason Vegeta is allowed to stick around is that he hasn't done anything too evil yet, and now he's just made a death threat. At this point, he's unstable at the bare minimum, and him sticking around is not going to be helpful. Either find some way to deal with him or at least make it very clear that his actions won't be tolerated.
    Instead: Nobody minds the fact that Vegeta has openly declared that he considers their own lives less important than him getting in a good punching session. He goes on to cause significantly more problems in the arc that entirely owe to him acting on the intent which he openly declared three years ago.
  • At the beginning of the Cell Saga, Chi-Chi doesn't want Gohan to fight (for understandable reasons) and would rather have him study instead.
    You'd Expect: For Chi-Chi to realize that although her concerns about her son getting harmed and even killed are valid, Gohan would have no successful academic future if the world is destroyed.
    Instead: "That's right, mister! There's nothing more important than Gohan's studies right now! If Gohan takes three years off, he'll fall behind!"
  • Whilst the Z-Fighters train in the anime, Yamcha decides to try Vegeta's gravity room. He sets it to 300 Gs and barely manages to turn it off before getting crushed to death under his own weight.
    You'd expect: Yamcha would learn his lesson and work his way up to 300 Gs. Given that he managed to pull himself up off the floor enough to turn off the machine while three hundred times his normal weight, he could probably handle one-third that, and try for higher levels when he gets used to it. If it's really hard, well...that's good. That's how you get stronger.
    Instead: He gives the whole thing up as a bad job and goes back to his less effective training methods, and Can't Catch Up for the entire rest of the franchise.
  • The Z-Fighters are fighting Androids 19 and 20. Bulma is, however, upset about not being involved in the action like before.
    You'd expect: She'd invest in long-range surveillance equipment so she can see the battle from a safe distance, especially since she has a baby now.
    Instead: She flies right into the battle (with said baby), giving Android 20 (AKA Dr. Gero) the distraction needed to escape and activate the androids that Trunks did know about.
    What's worse: Vegeta destroyed Android 19 with his Super Saiyan form and Piccolo had 20 ready for the kill when Trunks comes back from the future and tries to explain that 19 and 20 aren't the androids he warned them about. If Bulma didn't show up, 20 would likely have been killed before he could reach his lab, and the other androids might've been tracked down and destroyed, preventing Cell from transforming at all.
  • Dr. Gero a.k.a. Android 20 is cornered by Androids 17 and 18 and they rouse Android 16 from his slumber.
    You'd expect: Gero to model himself after 17 and 18 but with better upgrades instead of using an easily destroyed shutdown remote.
    Instead: He uses the far weaker Android 19 for his own cyberization and gets killed by 17. Amathia at its finest, folks!
  • When Piccolo is blindsided by Imperfect Cell's Kamehameha, Cell takes this opportunity to drain the energy from Piccolo's left arm. Piccolo, claiming he has no chance of winning now, asks Cell to at least tell him who he is, where he came from, and what he's after before he finishes him off. However, keep in mind that Piccolo has a Healing Factor.
    You'd expect: That Cell (who has Namekian DNA in his system) would know full well that Piccolo is bluffing and will regenerate his arm soon, and thus kill him without entertaining his "last request".
    Instead: Cell falls for the ploy hook, line, and sinker, and lays out his entire origin story to Piccolo on a silver platter, including his plans to absorb Androids 17 and 18 in order to become a perfect being. This buys Piccolo enough time to regenerate his arm and regain his strength, and then Krillin and Trunks arrive on the scene on top of that. Cell may have used a Solar Flare to escape, but he gave Piccolo and the others enough knowledge and foresight for them to impede his plans in the future.
  • The most extreme turning point of the saga was only ever possible due to a massive avalanche of idiocy on the part of damn near everyone involved.
    • While the Z-Fighters continue to search for Cell, the Androids suddenly arrived at Kame House with them demanding Goku's location. It should be noted that this is after they were informed that Cell plans to absorb both Android 17 and 18 in order to become perfect.
      You'd Expect: For Piccolo to reveal that there is a monster named Cell that is currently hunting them down, attempting to absorb them in order to gain absolute perfection. If they don't believe it, show them a live broadcast, revealing reports of people being drained by the monster. Afterward, he would offer an Enemy Mine where they either try to hide somewhere that Cell won't detect or they help him in their search for the Bio-Android, and in return for their compliance, he will reveal where Goku is currently located (yes, it would suck for Goku to die again, but still).
      Instead: Piccolo decides to challenge all three Androids hoping to destroy at least one of them somehow forgetting that Cell could sense ki. While he's lucky enough that only 17 chose to fight him with the others standing on the sidelines, he's not so lucky that he ended up inadvertently revealing their location to Cell. Next.
    • Imperfect Cell interrupts Android 17 and Piccolo's much-lauded even battle, which Androids 16 and 18 are watching in the background, and makes it perfectly clear that he wants to absorb 17 and 18 to achieve his perfect form. In the ensuing battle, Cell nearly kills Piccolo and utterly curb stomps 17, heading towards the Android to absorb him... with Tien entering the battlefield just in time to watch.
      You'd Expect: For Tien to step in and use his Neo Tri-Beam against Imperfect Cell to stall him while ordering the Androids to run away as far away as possible.
      Instead: He does nothing but stand and watch, only interfering after... okay. Next.
    • Android 16 steps in against Cell before he can absorb 17, then proceeds to more than hold his own against the bio-android.
      You'd Expect: For the twins to immediately take the opportunity to RUN FOR THEIR LIVES.
      Instead: They stand and watch.
      What's worse: After 16 fires his Hell's Flash blasters on Cell, 17 ignores 16's warnings that he should flee since Cell isn't dead yet and comes back into the battlefield area and states that he will be the one to finish off Cell. Cue 17 being absorbed and 16 rendered nearly nonoperational by Semi-Perfect Cell.
    • Follow that up with a series of events that involves Tien keeping Cell back with a furious assault of Neo Tri-Beam attacks, and Cell destroying an entire fleet of islands because he can't find 18.
      You'd Expect: First, Tien to have acted before Cell became Semi-Perfect. Given how effective his Tri-Beam is against Cell despite having just absorbed 17, surely it could have been far more effective if he used it before Cell absorbed him?
      Instead: Tien's interference comes after things have gotten dire, and he ends up completely drained in the end with no real damage done to Cell despite everything.
      You'd Also Expect: 18 to take these opportunities and get AS FAR AWAY AS SHE POSSIBLY CAN, even if she has to abandon 16 to do so-—in which case she should trust that Cell can't sense him either and wouldn't care to even target him.
      Instead: She only gets as far as hiding on one of the islands with 16. Only by fortune is her island the last one left that he... actually, more on that in a bit.
    • Krillin arrives on the battlefield near 16 and 18's hiding place with an emergency suspension controller created by Bulma to shut off the cyborg twins so that they can be destroyed easily. By this point, he's most likely sensed Cell's increasing power and figured out that Cell got 17. Despite his growing crush on Android 18 and his having discerned that the twins aren't evil incarnate, he knows that he probably has to do this in order to make sure Cell can't absorb 18 and become a full-on intergalactic menace. Also worth noting is that at this point Vegeta has arrived on the battlefield as a beefed-up Super Saiyan and is laying a physical and verbal smackdown on Semi-Perfect Cell.
      You'd Expect: Well, first off, for 18 to have FINALLY MADE A BREAK FOR IT BY NOW so that she wouldn't even BE THERE for Krillin to find. Barring that, for Krillin to be able to get a grip, immediately go to 18, convince her to leave and then lead her the hell away from the place, tell her about the suspension controller and make sure to keep it just in case his best efforts to save her fail and he has to use it anyway.
      Instead: 18 is STILL hiding practically right underneath Cell, gawking at everything as it goes on, even amidst 16's own warnings to run away and forget about him. As for Krillin, he spends a good 10-plus minutes lollygagging about his crush on her, makes the decision to destroy the controller, THEN comes over and tells her to run. It is at this point that Cell finally spots 18.
    • The crowning achievement of stupidity, however, has to go to Vegeta, who, again, while effortlessly curb-stomping Semi-Perfect Cell, acknowledges Cell's last transformation.
      You'd expect: That he would also acknowledge his son Trunks' warnings, considering that he knows a great deal about Cell, and annihilate the evil android while he still had the chance and prevent the destruction of the world as well as thousands of lives.
      Instead: Vegeta, despite seeing immediately that Cell's appeal to his massive overconfidence and lust for battle is a pathetically blatant ploy, inevitably gives in and agrees to allow Cell to attain his perfect form, which allows Cell the time to even spot 18 in the first place, then attacks his own son Trunks to get him out of the way, thinking only about getting a decent fight from the whole deal.
    • Even Future Trunks isn't immune, despite being the Only Sane Man in the situation. While keeping Cell away from Android 18, he knocks Cell down and far away on a couple of occasions, making it clear he is Cell's physical superior and could finish him off just as easily as Vegeta.
      You'd expect: Him to immediately strike and kill 18 when he has the chance, not only because of his own deep-seated issues with the twins but as a pragmatic measure to ensure that Cell can't absorb her and is thus destined to become Super Saiyan chow. Hell, 18 herself could be the one to suggest it if we're worried about making Trunks look too heelish. By this point, she's already threatened to blow herself up, so it wouldn't be unreasonable. Barring that, you'd expect him to just kill Cell while he's punching the shit out of him.
      Instead: He's caught up in defending her like she's an ordinary innocent victim and not the Living Battery Cell needs to go One-Winged Angel, as well as protecting Vegeta's pride by not letting him think he's stronger than him. So not only does he hold back too much power when fighting Cell, he finds himself within striking distance of 18 at least once yet only thinks to shout at her to "blow [her]self up or leave." And again, she still does absolutely nothing conducive to helping her own escape.
      Furthermore: Any of the worries from either solution are easily alleviated with only a little extra forethought or knowledge.
      First off, 
    • The result of all this (plus a Solar Flare): Cell absorbs Android 18, transforms into his Perfect Form, and proceeds to kick the crap out of Vegeta, Trunks, Krillin, and Android 16 while treating them all as a warmup, now capable of threatening the entire solar system with his power. Nice Job Breaking It Heroes!
  • Having seen Gohan's latent power, Goku decides that his own son will succeed him in defeating Cell.
    You'd Expect: That he tells the other Z-Fighters about his own plans and try to give convincing arguments as to why he has to do so.
    Instead: He did not bother telling anyone of this plan, causing most of his friends, especially Piccolo, to think that Goku did not really care about his son. Without Cell's own idiotic moment, Goku's idiotic actions would have directly caused the end of the world.
  • After a grueling battle against Cell, Goku decides to forfeit the match and pass it on to Gohan to deal against Cell much to the surprise and shock of everyone involved. When asked, Goku hopes that Gohan will eventually succeed him as the protector of Earth.
    You'd Expect: For Goku to just go ahead and let Gohan fight Cell at his weakest while also asking Krillin to give him a Senzu Bean just in case his plan fails and is forced to step in to continue the fight against Cell.
    Instead: He foolishly gives Cell a senzu bean! Why? It's all because it's "not fair" for his own son to fight him like that! Even this logic falls flat because the Cell Games were set up as a tournament of attrition, with Cell's TV announcement welcoming fighters to come and try to wear him down.
  • Right before this, during Goku's fight with Cell he's managed to get the android to use up a good bit of energy. Now that he's weakened, Trunks suggests that all of the Z-Fighters attack Cell - as strong as he is, not even he can match all of them fighting against him at their peak while he's lost much of his strength.
    You'd Expect: For everyone to listen to Trunks! Remember, if Cell decides nobody can defeat him he's going to blow up the planet and kill everyone!
    Instead: Vegeta calls Trunks an idiot and berates him for daring to choose a "cowardly" option, and the other Z-Fighters all silently agree with him that they shouldn't do a joint attack. It kind of makes you wonder how it somehow took all the way until the Buu saga before a villain was successfully able to destroy the Earth considering the standards the Z-Fighters operate by.
    Even Worse: Ultimately, once Cell comes back from exploding, kills Trunks, and injures Vegeta and Gohan, the remaining Z-Fighters just team up to try and kill Cell just as Trunks had suggested anyway. However, because the Z-Fighters hadn't done so earlier when they had the chance, the only ones left are far too weak and Cell had gotten a massive power boost at that point, too massive for any of their attacks to have an effect. It isn't until Vegeta manages to get up and attack that anything they do does anything more than irritate Cell, and even Vegeta's attack only manages to distract Cell long enough for Gohan to win the Beam-O-War.
  • When Goku decides to have Gohan fight Cell himself, he declares to Cell that he will have an opponent even stronger than Goku himself if he builds up Gohan's rage long enough.
    You'd Expect: Knowing full well that he did the same trick on Vegeta and it is going to have the same outcome, he instead kills (or at least threatens to) Gohan and demands that Goku eats his Senzu Bean and have a rematch, knowing that he already has an even fight with the Saiyan.
    Instead: He accepts Goku's offer and makes Gohan angry to the point of turning Super Saiyan 2. No surprise that Cell ends up being stomped by the angry child.
    What's worse: This is the entire plan that Goku's string of earlier idiotic actions was leading to all along. Meaning not only was Cell Out-Gambitted by Goku, but said gambit was predicated on daring Cell to be an even bigger idiot than him and Cell took the bait.
  • Not even Gohan is immune after his Super Saiyan 2 transformation. Near the end of the Cell Games, Gohan had the chance to finish him off. Cell was badly wounded and couldn't regenerate, which would mean another attack would be enough to actually finish him off for good. Goku urgently yells at his son to do so now, as if the battle gets too drawn out Cell could grow desperate and try something really nasty.
    You'd expect: For Gohan to listen to his father and finish things immediately. Plus, it's not like he and his father haven't dealt with something like that before, as was the case with Frieza when he started growing desperate during his fight with Goku, which of course led to Namek's destruction. Gohan's father is actually speaking from firsthand experience.
    Instead: Gohan smugly feels Cell's suffering needs to go on and flat-out ignores Goku's warnings, allowing him to restore his body. Eventually during the battle Cell is reduced to his Semi-Perfect Form, and Gohan still doesn't pounce on the chance to finish him off—which is what causes and allows Cell to decide to self-destruct, taking the whole planet with him as one last act of spite.
    Also: Seeing that Cell was knocked back into his Semi-Perfect form, Goku, Vegeta, and Trunks could've just jumped into the fight and killed Cell themselves. Goku could even have grabbed Cell once he powered down, teleported him to King Kai's planet, killed the monster in Other World, and teleport back to Earth. Oh, and speaking of King Kai's planet...
  • While Cell is triggering and charging up the bomb in his body in rage from the previous event, Goku decides to use Instant Transmission to teleport Cell away from the planet.
    You'd Expect: Goku immediately grabs Cell and brings him to King Kai's Planet, where there are only two/three people without wasting any time, grabbing King Kai and Bubbles (and Gregory) right after that, and takes everyone but Cell to Earth, having a very angry King Kai but saving the day.
    Instead: He wastes time giving a farewell speech to both the Z-Fighters as well as Gohan before teleporting them to King Kai's planet, giving him no time to teleport back once Cell explodes, taking him and King Kai along with them. Come Dragon Ball Super and King Kai never lets Goku hear the end of it.

Majin Buu Saga

  • During the 25th World Martial Arts Tournament, Videl is getting badly beaten by Spopovich, who shrugs off most of her attacks. Gohan rushes to warn her to give up and that she isn't able to defeat Spopovich.
    You'd Expect: Videl to take Gohan's advice and save herself from possibly dying.
    Instead: Videl continues to fight Spopovich and he almost kills her by stepping on her skull, attempting to crush it.
    Thankfully: Yamu becomes disgusted by the beatdown and demands that Spopovich end the match immediately, thus he was forced to kick her out of the ring.
  • Right before Goku faces Majin Vegeta, Goku is concerned about taking enough damage to free Buu from his seal and wants to finish the fight as quickly as possible.
    You'd Expect: Goku goes full power with Super Saiyan 3 and knocks Vegeta out before anything can happen. He would then join Gohan and Kaioshin (Supreme Kai Shin in the English dub) and take out Babidi and Dabura. Even if Super Saiyan 3 drastically reduces the amount of time the dead Goku can stay on Earth, the fight with Vegeta would have been the perfect time to test it out.
    Instead: Goku powers only up to Super Saiyan 2 and fights Vegeta on equal footing.
    Result: Buu is released from his seal, beats Gohan and Kaioshin to near death, leads Vegeta to self-destruct, and wreaks havoc on the world. Sure enough, when Vegeta briefly returns to help Goku fight Super Buu, he makes his anger at Goku for making him think they were equal VERY clear. Goku's excuse? "I was saving it for when I really needed it! It was still untested!"
  • Dabura wants to dispose of Buu because he thinks Buu can't be controlled. And had an opportunity when his back was turned for Dabura to catch by surprise.
    You'd Expect: Dabura would use his stone spit to petrify Buu as that would incapacitate anyone hit no matter how strong they are.
    Instead: He throws a spear which Buu easily regenerates from.
    Result: Buu beats up Dabura and ends the fight, turning him into chocolate then eating him, and later, kills his master and wreaks havoc on Earth.
  • The characters gather on the lookout and make a wish on the Dragon Balls to try to mitigate the effects of Babidi's recent rampage. They wish for everyone without evil hearts who died that day to be returned to life.
    You'd Expect: Them to realize that this means Gohan was either brought back by this wish, or Not Quite Dead to begin with and go looking for him or try contacting him. (The only other possibility is that Gohan was clinging to life and only expired after the wish, which feels like an unlikely conclusion.) Keep in mind that nobody who saw Gohan's "death" ever actually saw his body; they just couldn't sense his energy, which could easily mean he was simply knocked out. For that matter, the Supreme Kai seems to be absent, meaning that figuring out what happened to him is also a good idea.
    Instead: Nobody on the lookout puts two and two together, despite having multiple days of downtime, and the two parties involved remain split, unable to combine their efforts or share information. Even days afterward, dialogue from various characters implies they still haven't figured it out. Goku and Piccolo even talk about Gohan as if he's permanently dead, even though at worst, they should be able to bring him back, and at best, they don't need to!
  • After Vegeta and Gohan's death, Goku has resolved to teach Piccolo the Fusion Dance, so that Piccolo can then teach it to Goten and Trunks and they can fuse once Goku's time in the Real World is up.
    You'd Expect: Goku and/or Piccolo to send Goten and Trunks to the Room of Spirit and Time immediately as soon as Goku departs. True, there will be more than two people within it, but unlike the kids, Piccolo only needs water to sustain himself, giving the two enough food to survive there for as long as two years. Hell, they don't even really need two years; just long enough to figure out the Fusion Dance and master their fused form, which shouldn't take more than a month inside the Room (or roughly two hours outside of it). After all, every hour passing outside is another hour where Majin Buu can run rampant, destroy something valuable like the Dragon Balls, or even stumble across them and kill them all. They can't afford to waste any time when the whole universe is at stake.
    Instead: Goku decides to have them train the old-fashioned way at the Lookout with only a few days to spare, despite the fact that Goku claims that it took him a week to learn the Fusion Dance technique (and for that matter, he admits he's never successfully fused before, and if he's teaching it to Piccolo and having him teach Goten and Trunks, they're essentially learning the technique fourth-hand). Even when Piccolo suggests the above, Goku refuses, claiming that the room has a limit of two days per person on it, and Goten and Trunks might need to use it again sometime (which makes one wonder what could possibly be a more urgent time than right now). Piccolo agrees with this bizarre assertion, and teaches the kids the old-fashioned way, over the course of an entire day, despite having only two days remaining.
    Result: During the time it takes for Goten and Trunks to learn the Fusion Dance, learn how to do it properly, fail the Fusion Dance at least twice, fight Buu initially and fail, and then return to train further with Piccolo and learn how to master it, Buu ends up undergoing a further transformation into the merciless, psychotic, far more powerful Super Buu. This forces Piccolo, Goten, and Trunks to use the Room anyway to turn a half-hour of training into two weeks of it, at which they master Gotenks enough to match Super Buu in a fight... which wouldn't have been necessary if they'd just trained there, to begin with.
  • Yamcha is piloting a plane containing Bulma, Chi-Chi, the Ox-King, Master Roshi, Videl, Puar, Android 18, and Marron. A powerful shock wave destabilizes the plane and damages the controls, which results in busted engines and a dangerous loss of altitude. Everybody is panicked.
    You'd Expect: Yamcha to fly out of the plane and use his strength to stabilize it enough to allow a safe landing.
    Instead: When Bulma screams at him to do something, he responds that he cannot do anything with damaged engines and braces himself for the impact... somehow forgetting that he can fly and is strong enough to land the plane safely.
    Thankfully: Android 18 does that and saves the day.
  • Chi-Chi is at Kami's lookout and she's struck with grief because of Gohan dying (her anger is justified though because Gohan is her child and she only feels like how any decent mother would). She wants to give Super Buu a piece of her mind.
    You'd Expect: For Chi-Chi to listen to the others and not try to tell Super Buu off because she has no chance of even harming him.
    Instead: She walks up to Buu and slaps him in the face for supposedly killing Gohan, then Buu kills her by turning her into an egg and stepping on it. Then again, this is Chi-Chi we're talking about, but even she should know better. It was probably Worth It in her head though, and Buu was going to kill them all anyway.
  • Goten and Trunks have gotten a lot stronger and even developed some original techniques to fight Buu with, as Gotenks.
    You'd Expect: Gotenks would take this seriously.
    Instead: He screws around and pretends he can't beat Buu, so Piccolo destroys the entrance to the Time Chamber, trapping them inside.
  • Having unlocked the absolute peak of his potential and becoming far more than powerful enough to annihilate Super Buu effortlessly, Gohan ends up in a similar situation to the one that got Goku and Future Trunks killed back in the Cell Games.
    You'd Expect: Learning from what happened with Cell, Gohan just blast Buu into nothingness immediately.
    Instead: Apparently having learned absolutely nothing from the fight with Cell, Gohan just toys with Buu for an excessive period of time including allowing Buu to blow himself up and even waiting an hour for him to regenerate and come back to fight, arrogantly believing there's nothing Buu can possibly do to defeat him.
    Result: Buu remembers his long-unused absorption ability and absorbs Gotenks and Piccolo, becoming powerful enough to manhandle Gohan.
  • After Super Buu has absorbed Gotenks and Piccolo, Gohan mentions that Buu's newfound strength is on a time limit due to Gotenks' fusion.
    You'd Expect: Gohan to play things a little conservatively and stall Buu long enough for Gotenks' Fusion to wear off, severely diminishing his strength and putting him on equal if not inferior terms again.
    Instead: Gohan completely forgets this and foolishly tries to fight Super Buu head-on, with Buu constantly taunting Gohan and chipping away at his fighting focus and confidence, all the while easily beating him.
    Result: Goku is forced to come back with the Potara Earrings, but doesn't get them to Gohan in time, who also winds up absorbed.
  • After Gohan and Gotenks have been absorbed, everyone starts making a big deal about how the only being strong enough to defeat Buu is Vegito, who comes unfused after being absorbed by Buu.
    You'd Expect: Goku and Vegeta, both of whom had prior experience with Frieza and Cell, take into account that the fate of the entire universe and the lives of everyone in it, including those of their loved ones, were at stake, re-fuse at the first opportunity, and do everything in their power to defeat Buu.
    Instead: Vegeta crushes his earring because defeating Buu using the fusion would hurt his pride.
    Then: Given another set of Potara earrings, Goku immediately crushes his because he regards it as "cheating"mere episodes after calling Vegeta out for doing the exact same thing!
  • Related to the above, millions of years ago, a demonic entity known as Majin Buu has been created by Bibidi and is wreaking havoc across the universe. Said Majin proved to be too much for the Supreme Kais to defeat.
    You'd Expect: For them to use their Potara earrings to fuse together or at least have the Grand and South Supreme Kais fuse together to defeat and vaporize the Majinnote . Granted they'll probably never be able to defuse again but that is of little consequence compared to the potential destruction of an entire universe.
    Or: They will head towards Beerus's palace, wake him up and urge him to disintegrate Majin Buu, reminding him that if all the Supreme Kais died, then Beerus will disappear along with them.
    Instead: They apparently decided to split up and fight him across different planets, never thinking to gang up on him even though they all possess the Instantaneous Movement. This resulted in the death of North and West Kai along with the absorption of the South and Grand Supreme Kai. Even though they barely managed to foil Buu's rampage, the deaths of all the other Kais only leave the Eastern Supreme Kai, the weakest and least experienced as the only Kai left in the universe which led to their universe's mortal level being the 2nd worst in the whole multiverse.
  • In the episode "Deadly Vision," Goku and Vegeta travel in Buu's body and argue. Buu pops up in his own head.
    You'd Expect: For Goku to shut up and try to take on Buu.
    Instead: He deliberately tells Vegeta that he is unable to fuse with him, right in front of Super Buu.
    Then: Vegeta calls out Goku on it and tells him "Nice work, is there anything else you'd like to tell him?"
  • Kid Buu charges up an attack powerful enough to destroy the Earth and then some, causing Goku and Vegeta to flee for their lives. As this happens, Kibito Kai goes to Earth to teleport them to safety.
    You'd Expect: Either one to grab Gohan, Goten, Trunks, and Piccolo, assembling their sons and their strongest backup, knowing that Dende and Mr. Satan (and Bee) would be brought back by the Namekian Dragon Balls. Regardless if he were to grab Dende or not, it wouldn't have done him much good since the Earth will be destroyed anyways, with the Balls.
    Or: Goku and Vegeta to simply power up to Super Saiyan 2 and Goku 3 if need be and simply overpower the attack so the Earth isn't destroyed at all, much like Goku himself did against Vegeta's Galick Gun way back in the Saiyan Saga, then just fight Kid Buu like they end up doing later anyway. An attack that can blow up the planet ten times over is less than nothing to them at this point in the series.
    Instead: Everybody simply flees off-world and allows the Earth to be destroyed. Goku grabs Dende, Mr. Satan, and Bee. Goku, it's alright to save Dende and a dog, but why save the guy who stole the credit that your son deserved for beating Cell? Sure, it actually turned out really well for saving the universe, but only because whenever Goku acts like an idiot it somehow translates into the luckiest draw of all time.
  • Both Goku and Vegeta, despite powering up to their Super Saiyan 3 and Super Saiyan 2 respectively, were no match for Kid Buu's infinite endurance and Good Buu is currently fighting against the Majin but even he's failing. Vegeta decides to have Dende go to New Namek, restore Earth and wish back everyone that died from the moment Babidi invaded. While Goku believes that it's to bring Gohan, Goten, Trunks, and Piccolo to the Supreme Kai Planet against Kid Buu, Vegeta in fact wanted Goku to use the people's energy in order to prepare for the Spirit Bomb.
    You'd Expect: For Goku to use his Instant Transmission to bring Gohan, Goten, Trunks, and Piccolo from Earth to the Supreme Kai Planet in order to bring additional fighters to stall Kid Buu while Goku charges the Spirit Bomb. He can even teleport to Korin's Tower in order to bring Senzu Beans to restore both him and Vegeta to full health so the latter can rejoin the fight against the Majin once Good Buu falls.
    Instead: Goku doesn't think about any of this and decides to charge the Spirit Bomb with everyone including the four fighters above donating their energy. This nearly led to their doom as Majin Buu and Vegeta, with their weakened state are unable to stall Buu for long and even Goku would have the Spirit Bomb reflected back at him had Vegeta not used the last wish to restore Goku to full energy.

    Dragon Ball GT 

Black Star Dragon Ball Saga

  • The Black Star Dragon Balls have been used, thus spreading them across the galaxy. If they aren't returned to the Earth within a year, the earth will explode.
    You'd Expect: For the gang to use one of the other two sets of Dragon Balls and wish for the Black Star balls to be returned to Earth, then have Piccolonote  simply disable the balls for good, not only preventing them from being used again but also removing the threat to the Earth once and for all. Maybe perhaps using one of the other wishes to restore Goku to his regular age at the same timenote !
    Or: Have Goku teach Gohan, Goten, Trunks, or one of the other Z-Fighters how to use Instant Transmissionnote , and then use one of the other 2 sets of Dragon Balls to warp the Z-Fighters to the location of the Black Star Dragon Balls and return with them, thus recovering them in a month's time topsnote . The best part about this solution? If someone used the Black Star Dragon Balls again, the gang wouldn't even have to waste time learning Instant Transmission to recover them in the future!
    Instead: Neither possibility crosses anyone's mind - they don't even consider the options, much less try one. To be fair, it's worth noting that in Super, they try and wish a similar wish of Shenron, who states that such a wish is beyond his power, but that doesn't explain why they don't at least try with the Earth Dragon Balls or the Namekian Dragon Ballsnote .
  • Continuing from the above, our heroes have decided that the only way to gather the Black Star Dragon Balls and stop Earth from blowing up is to travel through space to search for them.
    You'd Expect: That all of their best fighters would be the ones to go on this voyage. Goku of course, but also Vegeta, who is the next strongest after Goku, and who should be fairly knowledgable about space from his old Space Pirate days. Uub has gotten quite strong from his years of training with Goku, so it makes sense for him to go too. Piccolo is a logical choice for the crew as well. Gohan has given up training in favor of academic pursuits, but he should still be quite powerful, and it's not unreasonable for him to try to get a few months of vacation time so that he can go on the journey (this is the fate of the world we're talking about), and if the spaceship they use has a gravity room, then Gohan can easily train and get back in shape during the voyage. And while she's not a fighter, bringing Bulma along to maintain the ship and keep it in top condition isn't a bad idea. Who knows what they'll encounter in deep space, and with the Earth in peril, there's no reason not to pull out the big guns.
    Speaking of the ship, You'd Also Expect: That the spaceship they use would be a shiny new ship based on the design of the ship Goku used to go to Namek, with a gravity room for training, and plenty of living space and amenities for the long voyage. It's been 26 years since Namek, plenty of time for more advanced technology to allow for significant improvements over that original design.
    Instead: The only people who go are Goku, whose body has been regressed into a child and is thus weaker (and his maturity seems to have regressed as well), Trunks, a slacker who hasn't gotten significantly more powerful during the years of peace, and Goten, just as much of a slacker who spends more time chatting with his girlfriend than training but he ends up being hijacked by Pan, a Bratty Half-Pint who has natural strength but minimal actual training and can't even turn Super Saiyan, making for a crew who constantly struggles against the enemies they encounter who are inexplicably stronger than Buu. Additionally, the ship they travel in is a total piece of junk, being so small that you can barely move around inside, much less train, as well as constantly breaking down, and frequently falling apart during atmospheric entry, all problems that the multiple spaceships that Dr. Briefs made two whole decades ago did not have.
  • One of their visits for the Black Star Dragon Balls has a monster named Zoonama threaten to destroy a village with earthquakes unless they give him a bride.
    You'd Expect: That either Goku, Pan, or Trunks just casually knock him out and either drive him away from the village or interrogate him on why he is attacking them.
    Instead: They apparently decided to have Trunks built up as the bride just so that they can cut the whiskers off with the scissors. Except that nothing stops them from just cutting it off with their ki blasts.
  • As an extension of the above, Goku, Trunks, and Pan are all capable of flying around and firing powerful blasts of energy at will, as well as being stronger and more durable than most lifeforms in the universe.
    You'd Expect: That the trio would make extensive use of their natural abilities throughout their journey.
    Instead: The trio constantly Forget About Their Powers, frequently engaging in more complicated solutions to problems that flight or an energy blast or even raw physical strength could solve, and frequently fleeing from weak foes who pose absolutely no threat to them. Pan in particular is especially prone to becoming a Damsel in Distress as well.

Baby Saga

  • Kibito Kai is tasked with going to the Lookout and finding the Sacred Water that could cure Baby's victims. During his search, he is confronted by the Baby-possessed Dende and Mr. Popo.
    You'd Expect: That Kibito Kai would remember that he is literally millions of times stronger than the two of them combined, and could easily use even a fraction of that strength to knock them out (or even better, use the same "hold someone in place" technique half of him used on Gohan during the Buu Saga).
    Instead: Kibito Kai completely forgets about his infinitely greater strength, runs away from them, and panics when he ends up getting cornered.
  • Baby and Goku's fight escalates as Baby turns into a Great Ape, with the Tuffle only having the goal of focusing on killing Goku and ignoring everything and anyone else that happens to be around them.
    You'd Expect: Pan or Trunks to perform a sneak attack on Baby and rid him of his tail, which is the only thing keeping him on par with Goku, and end the fight early without running the risk of killing Vegeta.
    Instead: Pan and Trunks both fly up to Baby's face and land a couple of blows that stun him for a few seconds but leave him unscathed and even more pissed than before.
    As A Result: Baby swats both Pan and Trunks away (with the former needing to be saved by the latter) and his fight with Goku ultimately goes unhindered.
  • Goku has exhausted his energy fighting Baby, and as a result has to have Trunks, Goten, Pan, and Gohan share their energy with him, they are unable to properly do so with the Great Ape Tuffle right on their heels and ready to attack until Uub reveals his Batman Gambit and sufficiently incapacitates Baby for them to do so.
    You'd Expect: Goku and company immediately start restoring Goku's energy, as the sooner they could do so the sooner they could not only continue the fight but attack at the opportune moment when Baby is unable to defend himself.
    Or: Someone would realize that Baby's defenseless and cut off his tailnote  to end the fight before any more destruction is caused or time is wasted.
    Instead: They stand there gawking at Uub's retaliation with him pleading with them to go do what they need to do, and only near the end of Uub's attack do they proceed with the action.
    As A Result: Baby gets Uub out of him and attacks the group with only a few seconds to spare, which ends up getting everyone injured sans Goku and leaving them in a state far too weak to help as they had earlier.
  • Just as the heroes are celebrating their victory over Baby as well as curing his victims, thanks to the Sacred Water, the Earth suddenly shook which made the Z-Fighters realize that it will soon be destroyed within two weeks as a result of Baby using the Black Star Dragon Balls, necessitating the need to evacuate the populace to the planet that Baby reconstructed.
    You'd Expect: That as soon as the populace is evacuated and Earth restored using the Namekian Dragon Balls, they would seek the Balls and either disable them or keep at least one with them, ensuring that the Black Star Dragonballs can't ever be used again for evil deeds and/or pose a danger to Earth.
    Instead: Piccolo chooses to stay on the soon to be gone planet Earth to take himself along with it, never mind that even ignoring the above, the Balls are scattered throughout the galaxy which meant that they're almost virtually impossible to find. As a result, Piccolo allows himself to die pointlessly, only to later cut his own peaceful afterlife short and be stuck in Hell forever.

Super 17 Saga

  • Upon escaping Hell, Nappa runs into Vegeta, his former partner, and killer, who calls him a "brainless idiot" and a "bald-headed buffoon". Vegeta then tells Nappa to leave the area or be killed by him again. Nappa is understandably pissed at Vegeta for killing him, especially since he had served as Vegeta's loyal aide from the time Vegeta was a child, all the way up until when they went to Earth together.
    You'd Expect: For Nappa to put his anger aside and leave as Vegeta told him to, as he knows that Vegeta is much stronger than him, and he doesn't even stand a snowball's chance in hell of avenging his own death.
    Instead: Nappa lunges at Vegeta to try and destroy him. No points for guessing how that works out for him.
  • Trapped in hell as a result of the efforts of Gero and Myuu, Goku decides to escape from it and defeat Super 17.
    You'd Expect: For Goku to either turn Super Saiyan 4 and just teleport himself out or have King Yemma request the aid of Fortuneteller Baba to transport him back into the real world since he is not officially dead meaning he can return without any penalties.
    Instead: Piccolo is forced to act dickish in Heaven in order to be pointlessly sent to Hell for his "crimes" all because the characters above do not give any thought about doing this. On the plus side, at least Hell has a decent means of keeping its inhabitants inside, now.
  • In the Super Android 17 saga, Android 18 steps into Goku's fight against Super 17. Angry over 17 murdering Krillin when his Evil Knockoff had him Brainwashed and Crazy prior to the fusion, she confronts him about becoming a coward, losing his identity, and letting mad scientists tell him what to do. Super 17 is visibly shaken at this.
    You'd expect: Dr. Myuu to relay orders to Super 17 through the "blueprint telepathy" of sorts seen between them in the fight with the other Z-Fighters just before Super 17 went Gatling Good on Majuub, in order to get him to attack 18.
    Instead: He runs his mouth literally saying much of the same stuff 18 is saying except trying to apply it against her. 17 gets pissed off. End of Myuu. Now, from that point...
    You'd expect: 18 to realize he just acted freely of his own volition, whatever the catalyst may have been, and use that opening to try to get the real 17 to overcome the Hell Fighter in his psyche and bring him back to his senses.
    Instead: She's still pissed off and perfectly content to resume the fight without even trying to reason with him any further.
    The result: She ends up losing her brother in addition to her husband (who thankfully gets brought back later on), and the Z-Fighters don't get the chance at a potential ally who could've aided greatly in the Shadow Dragons saga, and we miss out on an amazing Call-Back to Goku's long-established usual method of making friends.

Shadow Dragon Saga

  • The seven Dragon Balls have been corrupted with negative energy from overuse, and have transformed into seven evil dragons, who all fly off in different directions to wreak havoc on the Earth.
    You'd Expect: That the Z Fighters would all band together and either hunt down the dragons one by one as a group or split up to take them all on simultaneously. The Earth is in dire peril once again, and now they no longer have the Dragon Balls to act as a Reset Button. They must act quickly and hold nothing back to keep casualties to a minimum. Additionally, not all of the dragons were created equally, and some of them are actually rather weak, so even some of the weaker members of the Z Fighters who have long been outclassed could potentially do something to contribute.
    Instead: Only Goku and Pan pursue the dragons. Everyone else sees fit to just sit around and do nothing despite the dire and immediate threat. Only towards the end of the saga, when there is only one dragon left, does anyone else think "Hmm, you know, maybe we should do something to try and help."
  • Later when fighting Omega Shenron, Goku and Vegeta managed to successfully fuse together in their Super Saiyan 4 form and is more than enough of making Omega a fool.
    You'd Expect: That Gogeta would immediately destroy Omega without wasting any more time than what is necessary.
    Instead: Apparently he thinks that the negative energy sky is more important than the universal-threat dragon and toys with him until he reflects the karma ball. By the time he gets serious, the fusion has almost worn off. Thanks to that the only contribution they did is preventing Syn from obtaining the Four-Star Dragon Ball, which Syn later ends up getting back anyway.
  • After firing a Big Bang Kamehameha on Omega Shenron, the latter ended up reverting back to Syn Shenron but unfortunately, Gogeta has defused just as he is about to deal the finishing blow. At this state, both Goku and Vegeta are more than a match for Syn Shenron only for the latter to attempt to absorb back the Dragon Balls and re-transform into Omega.
    You'd Expect: That both Goku and/or Vegeta would immediately stop him from doing so and would quickly destroy him when he is at his weakest knowing full well that they would stand no chance against Omega and would likely not get the opportunity to refuse again.
    Instead: They just stood there and let Syn absorb all the Dragon Balls with Goku only getting the Four-Star ball but the boost is more than enough to put the two Super Saiyan Fours on the defensive and by the time they got the fusion dance, they already ran out of Ki to the point that Goku ended up reverting to normal form.

    Non-serial movies 

Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone

  • The villain Garlic Jr. has successfully gained Complete Immortality and is now immune to death — a point he spends the first half of the movie demonstrating. Finally, he has the heroes where he wants them and...
    You'd expect: He, knowing how dangerous the Z-Fighters are and that they defeated (at this point in the series) an entire army and Demon King Piccolo, a.k.a. the evil version of Kami, the guy who defeated Garlic's father despite overwhelming odds, kill them immediately.
    Instead: ...he opens up a portal to the titular Dead Zone to send them in. As in the place that is completely inescapable by anyone, immortal or otherwise. No points for guessing who ends up falling in.
    Even Worse: In the anime filler Garlic Jr. Saga, having apparently learned absolutely nothing from his earlier blunder Garlic Jr. does the exact same thing again!
    Garlic Jr.: Now behold — the terrifying abyss that is the Dead Zone! For banishing me before, you shall suffer that same gruesome fate forever! And— ... Wait, did I...? I just did it again, didn't I? I literally did the exact same thing that got me an L last time! What am I doing?! This is exactly what my therapist told me not to do!

Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug

  • While Goku is trapped by a distracted giant Slug, Piccolo wants to give his powers to Goku in order for him to fight back.
    You'd Expect: For Piccolo to just stretch his arms out to Goku and give him the energy.
    Instead: He apparently forces himself into Goku as he struggles to do it.
    Piccolo: I should probably stretch my arms for this...

Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge

  • Frieza's brother Cooler gets beaten by a vengeful Goku, and so, decides to power up to his fifth form, which as pointed out by Goku, is several times stronger than Frieza. Goku gets promptly brutalized and finds that the power boost Kaioken gives him is useless against Cooler.
    You'd Expect: Goku to get the hint and just STOP using Kaioken and simply go Super Saiyan. After all, this movie apparently takes place during the 3-year wait for the Androids, and Goku also stated he learned how to control the Super Saiyan form during the 1-year intermission between the Frieza and Android sagas.
    Instead: He continues using Kaioken. Only after a massive beating and Cooler literally flying through his Kaioken Kamehameha completely unharmed does he finally use Super Saiyan to put Cooler down.note  This one is so odd that it's common to Fan Wank the entire film as an Alternate Universe where Goku hasn't unlocked the form yet.
    Worse: In the next movie, Return of Cooler, Goku does the exact same mistake again during the first part of his fight with Meta-Cooler. Thankfully, he wises up after Cooler hurls him into a mountain and immediately goes Super Saiyan before too long... not that it does him any good.

Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13!

  • Goku, Trunks, and Vegeta are fighting Androids 13, 14, and 15 in the arctic.
    You'd expect: That since they already had a hard time fighting the Androids in the city in their base forms, for the 3 Saiyans to just go Super Saiyan and destroy the Androids immediately.
    Instead: They continue to fight in their base forms. Which gives the Androids the advantage to give them brutal ass-kickings. Only after that do they go Super Saiyan and disable 14 and 15, leaving only 13. Guess Goku never really learned his lesson after the thing with Cooler.