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    A - B 
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Similar to Vegeta, a lot of fans question how evil Raditz is supposed to be. Despite being introduced as a Smug Snake with no sympathetic attributes, people wonder how much of that jerkish attitude comes from his nature or his upbringings (specifically, growing up as an orphan alongside Vegeta), and wonder what his relationship with his parents (introduced in Dragon Ball Minus and Dragon Ball Super: Broly) was like.
    • Vegeta has a lot of this, with two major debates among fans:
      • First, just how malevolent is he? Was it entirely Frieza's fault that he became an antagonist, or could he have been a villain all on his own?
      • Second, how deep did Vegeta's Heel–Face Turn go? Some fans say that he actually did become a good person, but others disagree, saying that while he did at least stop murdering innocents, he remained a selfish Jerkass with little regard for others. However, this is not exactly proving anything, since Vegeta has joined the Z Fighters in saving the world.
    • Cell gets this sometimes, mostly because it's not entirely clear how much of his malice is his own, and how much of it is due to Dr. Gero's programming. On one hand, he flat out ignores his programming to kill Goku and host the Cell Games instead. On the other, he later decides to wipe out all life in the universe because he believes that this is the ultimate purpose Dr. Gero built him for.
    • Goku gets some with questions raised as to whether or not he really is dumb or if his childish nature just stems from growing up without anyone who would qualify as a proper parental figure. In reality, it's a case of Culture Clash. For Eastern cultures, Goku spoils Gohan too much, and Gohan's spoiled nature is even alluded in the series.
    • Chi-Chi training Goten. After Goku died, did she feel she owed him a legacy? Did she feel like Gohan had already fulfilled her dream for an intellectual in the family? Was she trying to basically raise a Goku clone? Or were Goku and Gohan non-factors when she realized Goten wasn't academically inclined, so she focused on his real talents? Did she sincerely feel as though Goten needed to learn how to fight to protect himself from the kind of world that they live in? Or is it (most likely) just typical Asian parenting which focuses on overworking the first-born and being less strict with the others?
    • Videl's tomboyishness. After marrying Gohan, she has retired from everything like she never ever cared about fighting before. Could it be because she only fought to attract the attention of her father who regularly neglected her to sleep with other women since he became world famous? Could it be because she couldn't experience normal life? She lived in a 50+ rooms estate, forbidden from doing normal things like dating, yet could do things like fighting crime. It does seem like her desire to be better stems from her desire to prove to her father what she is made of. Her mantra during the battle with Spopovitch was "I'm Mr. Satan's daughter." After Gohan told her the truth on who defeated Cell, there wasn't a single sign of disappointment in her face, but a huge smile of relief. She doesn't have to prove herself anymore to anyone. On the other hand, an episode of Super has her say, contrary to Chi-Chi's attitude toward her children, that she'd be fine with Pan growing up to be a martial artist and looks back upon her own fighting career with fondness. So perhaps she took on fighting to prove herself to her father, but grew to like it aside from that motivation, and only retired because she conceived a child that needed to be raised. Alternatively, given how she learned about serious threats that were beyond her ability to fight, she may of realized she simply Can't Catch Up, and decided to focus on bettering herself outside of fighting.
    • Frieza get this to a lesser extent due to the series expanding the lore or outright making retcons. In his titular saga, his wish for immortality just seemed like a way for his empire to remain eternal. However, due to the introduction of Majin Buu and Beerus, which King Cold told him to never face, it possibly gives another reason for that wish: to find a way to prove his superiority against them.
    • Vegeta's Super Saiyan transformation. What was the real reason for it? Was it really a result of Vegeta's pride being so supreme that having it wounded was the ultimate pain he could suffer? You could argue that for someone as prideful as Vegeta, who has built his entire persona on strength alone, the idea of realizing he will never be the best would provide an existential crisis. Vegeta seems to argue this is what happened, since it was no longer caring about his purpose that drove his fury beyond his normal thresholds. Or was Vegeta lying to himself and the power was accessed in order to save his life? Keep in mind Goku's stance on the Super Saiyan power is that it must come in response to a need, not a desire. Perhaps for that one moment Vegeta's life mattered more to him than anything else and he realized that his desire for power was self destructive and was going to kill him, and it was when he let go of his desire however briefly that the power answered the need to save Vegeta's life.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: See here.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Subverted at the end of the Saiyan Saga where all the remaining characters mourn the death of their friends because the Earth's Dragon Balls were gone with Piccolo and Kami's death. They only snapped out of their depression when they gained hope that they could use the Namekian's Dragon Balls to revive them.
    • This is probably one of reasons why Future Trunks is so loved by the fandom. He actually does angst about all the bad stuff that has happened to him. And really, who can blame him.
    • It's impressive how quickly all of the characters get used to the fact that Goku had come back from the dead after seven years in the Buu Saga, especially for Goten who until that point had never even met him. Compare to when they're fairly bereaved when Goku chose to stay dead, and in fact some of their life choices were based around Goku's death (Chi-Chi allowing Goten to train, Vegeta and Bulma getting married).
    • This is addressed (though Played for Laughs) in the Buu Saga. Mr. Satan is in tears over the fact that his daughter is dead, and despite the fact that everyone they love is dead, the surviving main characters are extremely nonchalant over it, even the seven-year-old boy who watched his mother be murdered. Subverted elsewhere in the arc: Gohan was upset when he heard about Videl's death. He was moping on a rock when he heard the news. Goten wanted to rush Buu when he killed Chi-Chi, but was forced back by Trunks and Piccolo. He then spent several weeks in the Time Chamber, probably given him time to grieve and focus on killing Buu. And there's Chi-Chi going into an Angst Coma when she thought Gohan had been killed and Bulma screaming to the sky when she heard that Vegeta was dead.
    • After all the stuff Gohan went through since he was four years old, it's amazing that he's still sane and relatively normal.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Nappa was easily defeated by Goku, though admittedly he killed several of the Z Fighters beforehand. This happened with Recoome, too, and to an even greater extent. After completely trashing Vegeta, Gohan, and Krillin, Goku arrives, heals them all, and pulls a One-Hit KO on him.
    • Babidi, who was defeated by Piccolo without much effort and later Killed Off for Real by Buu. This is justified as Babidi wasn't really a fighter in the first place.
    • In the movies: Once Gohan reaches his state of Super Saiyan 2, Bojack simply is no match for him. In Fusion Reborn, Frieza himself became this for Gohan, and Super Janemba for Gogeta.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • The Frieza Saga was most infamous for this, as almost the entire second half was the singular goal of fighting Frieza, and Goku vs. Frieza alone was 20 episodes. Because of this, Arc Fatigue was once called "Are They Still on Namek?"
    • The Android/Cell Saga was technically longer by episode count, but had considerably more plot and shorter fights, not to mention a bigger variety of locations. It's also a frequent fan favorite saga too, in North America at least.
    • The Buu Saga, moreso in the anime since in the manga it went by quicker since at this point, it was more like series fatigue for Akira Toriyama.
  • Audience-Coloring Adaptation: While the manga isn't immune to Arc Fatigue, it is infinitely more fast-paced than its anime adaptation. As a result of the anime, though, the franchise as a whole is practically synonymous with overly long, dragged out fights. Part of the reason for the dragged out feeling of the anime is that it goes by a one episode per chapter basis - nine twelve page chapters for Namek to blow up is a lot more palatable than nine half hour long episodes.
  • Awesome Ego: See here.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The three intro songs used by the Ocean Dub, FUNimation Dub, and the original all have the distinction of being equally awesome.
    • "Only a Chilling Elegy", Frieza's Leitmotif in Kai. Ominous Latin Chanting mixed with Metal. Fits him to a T.
    • GINYU FORCE RULES! Also, their Bragging Theme Tune here.
    • Practically any of the insert songs from DBZ, such as Battle Point Unlimited, Solid State Scouter and Mind Power... Ki
    • The first DBZ movie, Return My Gohan! / Dead Zone: when Goku and Piccolo attack Garlic Jr. together, you get this - a mix of Goku's and Piccolo's themes.
    • Perfect Cell's Themealso deserves a mention. It sounds like an evil techno/metal fusion. If only they actually played this version in the show. That said, the version they do have in the show that loops over and over is an Ear Worm.
    • Hironobu Kageyama's "Unmei no Hi: Tamashii tai Tamashii" (translated as "Day of Destiny ~Spirit vs. Spirit") was played during Gohan SSJ2 Transformation, and even amongst those who are more familiar and/or prefer the dub appreciate its value.
    • The various DBZ composers are considered a broken base by their respective fanbases. The original composer Shunsuke Kikuchi, the FUNimation Falconer Productions composer team, and even Kenji Yamamoto who composed Kai, most of the video games, and several insert songs for the original DBZ.
    • Vegeta's Hell's Bells and Super Saiyan Theme. It goes without saying that these two themes are easily the most recognizable themes in all of the English Soundtrack, most due to how they would always play whenever something epic happened in the show, whether it was Vegeta or non-Vegeta related. They're also awesome tracks on their own.
    • The Super Saiyan 3 Power Up Theme. Yet another theme that would always play when something epic would happen and was a great standalone theme on its own.
    • While being nothing but a Filler Villain in the actual series after his Big Bad status in the movie, Garlic Jr. was given a pretty bitchin' leitmotif.
    • Ginyu Transformation theme, which was first used in the Namek arc but would be subsequently used for some of the show's most epic moments, such as the demises of Frieza and Cell, and the androids waking up.
  • Badass Decay:
    • In the anime, Frieza was damn near unstoppable when he was the Big Bad, as was Cell. They're a lot less threatening in Hell, even when they team up, and Pikkon defeats them with a fraction of the effort it took Goku and Gohan. Counts as Villain Decay as well. Frieza, however, got some of his badass back in Resurrection 'F'.
    • A number of the Z Fighters suffer from this in part because they Can't Catch Up to the Saiyans.
    • Vegeta. Even he gets sick of being relegated to a second string hero, and eventually attempts a short-lived Face–Heel Turn to reclaim his badass status.
    • Gohan suffers from this early in the Buu Saga due to the fact that he more or less gave up fighting and focused on academics after defeating Cell. After watching Gohan struggle against Dabura, Vegeta points out that he had actually gotten weaker than he was seven years ago. However, he gets a power up later on in the saga that makes him stronger than ever. Too bad he still got shafted in favor of Goku at the last minute.
    • Not a character, but an ability. The Destructo Disc was a dangerous attack used by Krillin that could cut through anything and was impossible to catch. Even Nappa, who had just beaten most of the Z Fighters, was angrily warned by Vegeta to avoid the attack. As the series went on, it became less of a threat. In one case during the filler Garlic Jr. Saga, Vinegar easily caught it. Other times, it would just break through characters like Cell.
  • Base-Breaking Character: See here.
  • Better on DVD: The filler is significantly less annoying when you don't have to wait 23½ hours for the next twenty minutes of story.note  It must have been absolutely hell for fans when it aired weekly in Japan.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Immediately after Vegeta's departure, Chi-Chi, for some reason, shows callous No Sympathy behavior towards Goku not only by ignoring him despite being gravely injured but also blames him for what happened to Gohan despite not being as injured as him. There is no explanation for her sudden Jerkass behavior aside for comedy, is complete OOC for someone like her, and is never mentioned again, with every scenes before and thereafter shows her being somewhat caring to Goku.
    • An infamous filler has Vegeta desire to take over the Earth, which leads to a fight with Gohan, after finding out that both Goku and Frieza had (apparently) died. This is especially odd considering that Vegeta later said that he actually wants to see Goku alive and it's never mentioned again, Gohan is seen in the next episode uninjured and Vegeta, who flew off, is standing exactly where he was in the previous episode, also uninjured.
  • Broken Base:
    • What do you watch Dragon Ball Z for? Is it for the action scenes and villains? Or, for the story and characters? There are even those who enjoy the series all together.
    • There are many who love Vegeta and his Character Development and there are also those who think he gets off too easy.
    • The Buu Saga. Some like it for Buu, the introduction of Super Saiyan 3, the Fusion Dance, and for putting more humor back into the series. Others, however, believe that the saga went on for far too long.
    • The quality of the FUNimation dub. Some think it's great and faithful to the original with some good Woolseyism, while others don't like it for adding too much Dub Text, changing the characterization of characters too much, and replacing the original score. The improved quality of the dubs for Dragon Ball Kai and Dragon Ball Super also skewed the perception of some fans who mistakenly believe the original dub of DBZ to be of the same quality.
    • Bruce Faulconer's replacement score. Some fans love it and think it's just as good if not better than the original Japanese score and wish he would return to Dragon Ball. Another group hates his music, seeing it as inferior to the original score and are happy that FUNimation moved away from his stuff; and there's a third group who like both for different reasons. There's also a fourth faction that say that while the Faulconer score isn't inherently bad and you can like it if you want, they don't care and ignore it.
    • Frieza's third form. Like Super Saiyan 3, some fans loathe it for looking overly complicated and ridiculous, and many note that it looks less like an augment of Frieza and more of a homage to Alien. Other fans, however, believe this form looks very intimidating and lets Frieza look every bit like the monster he is inside. It also helps that this both averts Monstrosity Equals Weakness and makes Frieza's Final Form much more unsuspected and chilling.
    • How heroic is Goku? Thanks to some Adaptational Heroism from both Toei and Funi, most fans tend to see Goku as a typical goody two shoes hero like Superman, which often leads straight to Fandom Rivalry between the two. Others who have taking Toriyama's interview about Goku and his other less than flattering moments to its most extreme conclusion view Goku as an amoral, coldhearted, prick who only cares about fighting and doesn't care about anyone else unless they can give him a good battle. There is a third group that admits that Goku can be a selfish jerk, but is ultimately a good person who will protect others even if it means sacrificing his pride and a good battle.
    • Goku's parenting skills. Does he do his best with what he knows and has his heart in the right place even if he does fall short most of the time, or is he a neglectful parent who is a horrible father and husband because he "abandoned" his wife and children several times? This comes from Culture Clash, as Goku is not seen as a bad father in Japan or rest of Asia, even Europe. Also, Gohan never thinks Goku is a bad father, ever. There was one case when Goten thought his dad was a coward for not saving Gohan and Vegeta, but that's it. As soon as he saw the Super Saiyan 3 form, his respect for his father was rekindled. His sons adore him the way he is.
    • Gohan's character development after the Cell Games. Does it make sense for his character, since Gohan doesn't really like to fight outside of sport or spending quality time, or is he wasting his god given talent and being shafted in order to bring Goku back into the series as The Hero?
    • Goku's insistence on Passing the Torch in the Cell and Buu Sagas. The reasoning behind this was because Toriyama wanted to retire the character, but Goku's characterization led to half the fanbase scratching their heads over why Goku would put the world at risk for the sake of giving his kids a chance to shine.
    • The debate on which form of Buu is stronger, Super Buu or Kid Buu. Does not help that the manga never explicitly say which is stronger, only that Kid Buu is the most dangerous because he's insane. Goku himself offers little help because although he did not want to fight Super Buu and was evenly matched against Kid Buu, he lied or misled people several times throughout the arc about how strong he was. Namely, he claimed he was weaker than Fat Buu, which wasn't true, and led Vegeta to believe that they were even in power because he did not reveal that he could become a Super Saiyan 3. This debate become especially bad if you factor in the anime where it claim Kid Buu is the strongest form of Buu.
    • Who's stronger between Super Saiyan 3 Goku or Gotenks? For extra flames, ask if Super Saiyan 3 Goku is stronger than Gohan.
    • The discussion of where DBZ should have ended. There are many fans who believed that series should have ended after the Frieza Saga with Goku dead and Gohan taking up the mantle. There are others who wanted the series to end after the Cell Saga with Gohan becoming the new hero with Goku's death. Then there's yet another group that believed that series should have ended with Gohan killing Buu.
    • Try asking a fan what is the Dragon Ball canon. Most will answer that it is anything Toriyama writes or says and any new information he gives overrides anything that came before. Others will insist that there is no canon since neither Toriyama nor Toei ever gave an official canon so fans are free to cherry pick what they believe happened. Another fraction only sees the manga as the only true canon and disregard anything that isn't in it.
    • The DBZ dub versus the Kai dub. Fans of Kai call it the superior dub, believing that FUNimation finally did Dragon Ball right after the polarizing reception of the DBZ dub. Fans of DBZ think the dub is fine, especially the later parts from the Cell Saga onward and the remastered DVD sets where some of the more questionable vocal performances are redone and the Saiyan and Namek Saga redub with the FUNimation's voices.
    • Whether the collective name of the heroes are the Z Fighters or the Dragon Warriors. For most of the series' American run they were called the Z Fighters, but FUNimation started referring to them as the Dragon Warriors starting with Kai: The Final Chapters and Super. And it became even more confusing thanks to the English version of "Pledge of Z", the theme song of Resurrection 'F', which had the chorus verse of "We are Team Z!"

    C - H 
  • Can't Un-Hear It: See here.
  • Catharsis Factor: Because of the host of Smug Supers and Complete Monsters in the series, fans have taking great satisfaction in watching the villain go down:
    • Goku beating up Nappa after he caused the deaths of almost all the Z Fighters and mocked Goku for arriving too late to save his friends.
    • Frieza, the first Complete Monster of the franchise. He murdered countless people including killing Dende, torturing Vegeta to death, and killed Krillin by blowing him up from the inside out. So, it was immensely satisfying when Goku went Super Saiyan, and beat and humiliated him, going as far as to give Frieza "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Him being chopped into pieces by Future Trunks before being vaporized is also considered one of the highlights of the series.
    • Gohan going Super Saiyan 2 and slowly torturing Cell to death. Yeah, it was horrifying seeing sweet Gohan lose himself in rage, but it felt so good watching Cell suffer after he ate cities and stepped on 16's head, killing him permanently. Gohan killing Cell by destroying every cell in his body was also a catharsis moment since he bragged about how Goku died for nothing after his Heroic Sacrifice and murdered Future Trunks.
    • Future Trunks destroying Future 17, 18, and Cell. If you watched the TV Special, History of Trunks, you saw how absolutely horrible 17 and 18 were, including killing Gohan by shooting him to death with energy blasts while he's pinned to a building and screaming in agony. Cell's trail of death was also well known, especially if he succeeded stealing Trunks' time machine. The only drawback was that the beatdown were short since Trunks is a no nonsense fighter.
    • Super Buu getting beating up by Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks, Ultimate Gohan, and then Super Vegito. This guy caused a massive amount of death by eating people alive including most of the main cast and mentally tortured Gohan in the English dub by invoking the memories of his brother and mentor. Although, what made Super Buu especially annoying was that he was an Invincible Villain who kept getting ahead thanks to the heroes' carelessness and Vegito forfeiting his fight by willingly getting absorbed. So him being rendered Deader Than Dead by Vegeta tearing Fat Buu from Super Buu's body was a satisfying moment.
  • Crack Pairing: You can see loads of fanart of this type of shipping on DeviantArt.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Vegeta:
      • He turned a Saibamen into pulp and made Cui explode like a firework by just pointing at them. Plus, both were done so casually.
      • He became a Super Saiyan by training in 500 times Earth's gravity before finally cracking and giving up which is what caused him to transform.
      • He ripped off Android 19's arms while being drained of energy by him.
      • He vaporized half of Perfect Cell's body shortly after Cell completed his final form, proving that Cell was Not So Invincible After All.
      • He actually managed to find the strength to harm Beerus despite being a mere Super Saiyan through pure rage alone after Beerus slapped Bulma.
    • Frieza. He impaled Krillin in the chest with one of his head horns and then started to shift his head up and down, further injuring Krillin while also causing more blood to leak out of him. Later, he used a paintball style Beam Spam on Piccolo, threw a mountain at Goku using his mind, and imprisoned Goku in a golden sphere of energy in order to toy around with like a soccer ball. And he made Krillin implode from the inside out without touching him.
    • Gotenks, the Awesome Ego nonwithstanding. He is able to tear dimensions with his scream. One of his attacks includes summoning explosive ghosts to do his bidding. He even turns Super Buu into a ball at one point to enact a game of catch. There's also his ability to turn Super Saiyan 3 with little effort, actually managing it better than the person who showed Goten and Trunks the technique. The person in question, Goku, comparatively found the transformation exhausting, and it took everything for him to draw out its power in an all out battle.
    • Vegito is even more ridiculous. While overpowered on his own, even by the show's standards, he takes it Up to Eleven when he manages to deal humiliating damage to Buu after being turned into a chocolate jawbreaker, noting that normally one can't move or think, let alone speak well enough, to taunt Buu some more. In Super, Vegito, while in Super Saiyan Blue, doesn't even break a sweat fighting against Fusion Zamasu, who was at that point one of the strongest individuals in the multiverse.
    • Majin Buu as a whole is literally made of Crazy Awesome and with each new form, the amount of crazy awesomeness he produces skyrockets:
      • Fat Buu turned Dabura, the King of the Demon Realm, into a cookie and then ate him, destroyed a city by breathing at it and turned dozen of human into clay and used that clay to build his own house.
      • Super Buu goes even further. The first thing he does in his debut is kill a psychopathic gunman by pouring himself down the gunman's throat until he explodes. He does this while laughing. Then he murdered the entire human race in under a minute without having to move an inch by firing billions of ki blasts into the air. Oh, and he did this out of boredom. To cap off his crazy awesomeness, when Piccolo attempts to outsmart Buu by blowing up the entrance to the time chamber, locking him in the pocket dimension, Buu's response is to tear a hole between the dimensions and escape.
      • Kid Buu takes this Up to Eleven. Being completely unrestrained in battle, his fighting involves Beam Spam while using Self-Duplication stretching his limbs to extreme lengths and even taking time to whistle or beat his chest in midst battle. And unlike most villains who are Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy Up to Eleven, Kid Buu is too crazy to care about ego and how to attack.
    • Broly, being a massive Breakout Character, is a Super Saiyan Blood Knight Up to Eleven. He uses sheer Super Strength in his fights, omitting the need for fancy moves or techniques. Doing so, he still manages to make the Z Fighters look like amateurs for most of their confrontations.
    • Janemba, who releases all the denizens of Hell at one point, while turning the Afterlife into a jelly bean dimension, creating a clone of Goku to counter the Kamehameha technique, a bunch of clones and control of inter dimensional portals to launch attacks. After going One-Winged Angel, he takes it Up to Eleven by enhancing his dimensional portals to teleportation, beats a Super Saiyan 3 Goku, a feat that the aforementioned Kid Buu couldn't pull off and has a sword that cuts through dimensions from the swipes of the sword.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Inverted with Vegeta. He's popular among fans, but Toriyama stated that he was his least favorite character. Later on, however, he stated that, in the event that there is talk of more films after Battle of Gods, he would like Vegeta to play the main role, indicating he's since warmed up to the prince.
    • Broly has been accused of this despite not being one of Toriyama's characters. He is a Base-Breaking Character in the West despite also being a Breakout Character. In terms of coverage, he has three movies with him in it with Cooler, the next most popular non-canon villain, having two. However, in video games and other supplemental materials he is given access to almost every Super Saiyan form despite already being the Legendary Super Saiyan. Even without those other forms, he can fight evenly with almost any character and worn down Android 18 in a fight, despite it being impossible to do since she has an endless energy supple. It has gotten so bad in Eastern countries that he's seen as the Scrappy. The icing on the cake is that Broly's creator complained about Beerus taking the title "God of Destruction" (it's one of Broly's many nicknames) and reducing Broly to a weakling on top of not being as scary as him. This is completely disregarding that there are already several characters both canon and non-canon who are more powerful than Broly like all of Majin Buu's forms and Janema.
  • Creator Worship: Fans love to make fun of Toriyama's lack of planning, forgetfulness, and his tendencies to leave behind his human characters. Despite this, the fanbase loves him and are skeptical of any work that doesn't have his involvement. This love extend to other manga authors like Eiichirō Oda, who practically worships him.
  • Creepy Awesome: Frieza, Cell and Majin Buu.
  • Creepy Cute: Vegeta as a child, the Cell Juniors, and Kid Buu.
  • Critical Dissonance:
  • Crossover Ship: A lot occurs with Sailor Moon, mostly due to their shared popularity of the early Toonami block.
  • Complete Monster: Has its own page.
  • Die for Our Ship: Yamcha frequently gets this from a vocal minority of Vegeta/Bulma fans who portray him as a rapist/womanizer, while glossing over Yamcha's selfless deeds for both characters, Bulma always flirting with other males while with Yamcha, and Vegeta not fully caring about Bulma and Trunks until Future Trunks' death by Cell.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • She's not a villain by any means, but Bulma is often hit with this. As fans will pull a Ron the Death Eater and make Yamcha out to be an abusive Jerkass, they'll likewise erase all of Bulma's flaws; her selfishness, her temper, and her vanity, just to portray her as the helpless, abused victim needing to be saved by her true love, Vegeta.
    • Piccolo gets this, despite not being a villain since the start of the Saiyan Saga. Goku putting Gohan in the Cell Games is a big Never Live It Down moment for him within the fandom. He put his eleven (nine in the manga) years old son against a killer android when Gohan didn't have the love to fight like him and it took Piccolo pointed this out for Goku to realized it. Thing is, Piccolo did the exact same thing in the Saiyan Saga. He kidnapped Gohan and trained him to fight against two genocidal aliens when Gohan was only five and had no battle experience. He then chews Gohan out to the point of tears when he's too scared to fight effectively. So, the fandom is getting on Goku's case for something Piccolo gets a free pass on.
    • Vegeta, with help from the FUNimation dub. This really comes into play in who's the better father debate, Goku or Vegeta. Fans call Goku a bad father for abandoning his family to train and not coming back to life for the seven years he was dead, while Vegeta stood by his family the entire time and even took Trunks to the park despite all his flaws. This is disregarding that Vegeta ignored Trunks when he was a baby and couldn't be bothered to save Bulma and his child when Android 20 shot down their car. He also had an abusive relationship with Future Trunks. He physically attacked and demeaned Trunks several times before finally coming to accept him, after he's killed by Cell. Vegeta is also the same person who sold his soul for power, abandoning his family and his own morals just so he can finally beat Goku and be his old evil self again. This also comes into play when fans praised Vegeta for helping Gohan defeat Cell and coming up with the plan that killed Majin Buu. This is ignoring that it was Vegeta's fault that Cell became perfect and Buu woke up because Vegeta just couldn't wait to fight Goku.
    • Raditz. There are fanworks that portray him as a Jerkass Woobie due to supposedly being considered a weakling to the Saiyan race, and feel he could be redeemed if he wasn't killed off. This is ignoring that Raditz has no sympathetic attributes at all in the series, and him being treated as a weakling is Fanon, as the manga makes it clear Nappa considered him a valued ally before Vegeta (who treats everyone with scorn at this point) ditched the idea of reviving him. There are at least three popular fan works that try to make him seem nicer than he really is in canon.
    • Bardock, with added help from Dub Text. He only had one panel in the manga and a TV special, but he is still a popular character in the fanbase. He just finished his own What If? manga spinoff.
    • King Vegeta. He is always listed as evil in all materials such as the video games and he never express any regret for his actions. According to King Kai in Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans, King Vegeta wiped out the Tuffles without any provocation. He's even seen trying to kill a baby (Broly). Yet many fans think King Vegeta was just a benevolent ruler whose evil was entirely forced on him by Frieza. Once again, Dub Text plays a heavy part.
    • The Saiyan race in general, due to their incredible popularity, and with most of the Ensemble Dark Horse statuses belonging to those like Bardock, Broly, King Vegeta and Fasha/Celypa. Some fans are willing to overlook the fact they stole their planet from the peaceful Tuffles, and worked willingly with Frieza until he betrayed them, just to paint them as innocent victims.
    • Frieza's brother, Cooler. Possibly because he was powerful, handsome looking, and one of the few villains in the franchise to actually show care for his henchmen (though that might've contributed from how respectful they are towards him).
    • Despite being redeemed villains, Androids 17 and 18 get some of this treatment due to their attractive looks, 17's devil may care thrill-seeking attitude making him a cool character to imagine hanging out with (not to mention a likable Foil to Goku), and 18 being one of the least annoyingly bitchy and hostile of the regular female characters. Many fans tend to forget that these two twins were once villains on a mission to kill Goku as a means of entertainment. They're no saints, even though they did redeem themselves and became good persons (and 18 in particular went on to marry Krillin). That said, going after Goku was more likely due to Dr. Gero's programmingnote , as they were technically kidnapped and forcibly turned into cyborgs so it's not entirely their fault. Still, they were a legitimate threat during their time as the villains.
    • Cell counts, as shown on the Alternative Character Interpretation entry. There are also those who downplay his actions, saying that Cell just wanted to get stronger, test himself, and have a fun tournament, which makes him no different than Goku. This is ignoring that Cell literally ate cities, tortured the Z-Fighters, crushed Android 16's head for no real reason other than to be a dick, and mocked Goku's Heroic Sacrifice. Cell also freely admitted to wanting to terrorize the Earth once he defeats everyone in the Cell Games all so he can enjoy the looks of horror in people's faces. It is important to remember that yes, Cell has some of Goku's qualities due to shared cells, but by that same token, he has qualities of Frieza and King Cold.
  • Ear Worm:
    • CHA-LA! HEAD-CHA-LA!
    • DRAGON, DRAGON! ROCK THE DRAGON!
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The franchise has its own page.
  • Escapist Character: Son Goku. He is an All-Loving Hero who is The Ace and Hope Bringer among his friends and the universe at large. He is considered one of the strongest beings in the universe, regularly defeats super powered aliens, androids, demons, and even gods, and can learn about any technique by just seeing it once. The fact that he was born weak and gained his strength through good old fashioned hard work on top of being extremely talented endear him to a lot of people, which is part of why he is seen as a better main character than his son, who was much more down to Earth. There's a reason why he became the Expy to many modern day Shōnen protagonists and often compared to Superman.
  • Even Better Sequel: While Dragon Ball may have started the franchise, and is iconic in its own right, DBZ managed to be even better, becoming the trope codifier of shonen anime in general. DBZ is what most people think of when they think of Dragon Ball, said to have tighter action, better pacing, better fighting, and more memorable characters than its predecessor.
  • Evil Is Cool: Many villains are considered to be this. Nappa, Vegeta, Garlic Jr., Frieza, Zarbon, Captain Ginyu, Recoome, the Androids, Cell, Cooler, Broly, Zangya, Super Janemba, and even Super Buu.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Android 18 and Zangya for many male fans. In the former's case, it helps that she redeems after the Cell Saga.
    • Zarbon is considered this In-Universe by Bulma. At least until he transforms.
    • Android 17 for many female fans.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • Few topics on the internet (outside of Shipping) can match the volatility brought about by the question: who would win in a fight between Goku and Superman? Fan art, essays, and ridiculously detailed videos have been created in an effort to answer this question.
    • With One-Punch Man for the same reason as Superman. There have been wars over whether Saitama is stronger than Goku or vice versa. Ironically, One-Punch Man is an affectionate parody of shonen tropes with characters being expies of Dragon Ball characters (e.g. Boros). Still, that doesn't stop fans from comparing who is stronger of the two.
    • In a country specific case, with Saint Seiya in Brazil. It's understandable since Saint Seiya was the breakout anime in Brazil in the middle of the '90s and Dragon Ball Z one of those who followed the anime hype during the beginning of the 2000s. Internet fights are common between the fandoms.
  • Fridge Horror:
    • In Future Trunks' timeline, the world is a brutal dystopia where Androids 17 and 18 have killed all the heroes and are murdering normal citizens left and right on a daily basis for their own entertaiment, and the next arc has Super Buu temporarily killing every human in the main timeline. Now remember that Dr. Slump takes place in the same universe as this series…
    • Everyone on Earth except for four people died when the Earth exploded. That means Arale was killed too. Arale is a robot, much like Android 16. When 16 died he wasn't revived because he was a machine, and therefor never alive to begin with technically. So, what does that mean for Arale? Well, she is fine.
  • Fridge Logic: Has its own page.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Guldo's ability to stop time is portrayed as mostly useless since it only works when he's holding his breath. He's out of shape which means he can only do it for a few seconds at most and he's the weakest of the Ginyu Force, being easily overpowered by Krillin and Gohan. Two years later, and in the same magazine no less, DIO would show just how much damage a time stopping ability could do in the hands of someone truly powerful. It later becomes this within the franchise with the introduction of Hit.
    • In some localizations of the original Dragon Ball, Goku had the nickname "monkey boy" given to him by his friends in reference to his monkey-like tail and characteristics. However, with the frequent use of the term "Monkey" as a racial slur towards Goku and the other Saiyans by Frieza and his men in DBZ, his friends' nickname sounds awfully racist in retrospect.
    • When Ginyu switches bodies with Goku, it is treated as humorous moment for the most part since Ginyu is laughably incompetent at using Goku's body to the point that Gohan and Krillin can beat him up, and he gets utterly stomp by Vegeta. Then comes Dragon Ball Super, where Goku Black shows exactly how dangerous Goku's power and abilities are in the wrong hands, especially with someone who knows how to add their own skills on top of Goku's powerset.
  • Funny Moments: Have their own page.
  • Gateway Series: Along with Sailor Moon, DBZ introduced a new generation to anime in North America.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Ask the American audience who was the best villain in the series is. Cell would most likely get the most votes. In Japan, he actually ranks behind both Frieza and Buu.
    • Android/Cell Saga in general is more popular in the United States thanks to Cell, time travel, Future Trunks, and someone else becoming the hero of the saga besides Goku. While the Cell Saga is well liked in Japan, with Trunks in particular standing out as a Breakout Character from it, it is generally considered the weakest story arc there due to how unrelentingly dark it gets when compared to the other sagas.
    • DBZ in general is even more popular internationally than it was in Japan (which it is still very popular). For example, in the week of September 16-22, 2002, DBZ was once the highest rated show on cable and one of the top three shows in all television (cable or broadcast) for preteen/younger teenaged boys (9-14) in America.
  • Glurge: Vegeta's death speech gets embellished a little too hard in the FUNimation dub. Although, the speech is cleaned up in the Remastered DVD set:
    "Kakarot... Listen. Destroy... Frieza. He made me what I am... don't let him do it to anyone else..."
  • Growing the Beard:
    • While the Saiyan Saga was mostly built upon the legacy of the original Dragon Ball, DBZ really grew into its own at the start of the Frieza Saga. The epic saga which had the heroes severely underpowered against an army of superpowered aliens with no hope of escaping, an Enemy Civil War, and a dark villain who is feared by all, even the Kais. There's also the introduction of the Super Saiyan, which has become an iconic staple of the franchise.
    • For the English voice cast, it was around the Androids Saga and Imperfect Cell Saga that they really started to fulfill their roles as the characters, especially Piccolo and Vegeta. Not to mention that by this point, the FUNimation cast had stopped trying to mimic the Ocean dub voices and instead portrayed their roles with their own styles.
    • The dub in general hit its stride around the Perfect Cell Saga. By then, they had a good mix of staying truer to the Japanese text while still adding Woolseyisms.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Frieza's viewpoint about the Saiyans ("You do realize how hypocritical this is? Your outrage over the loss of innocent lives? The Saiyan race isn't exactly known for its mercy. Compared to you brutes, I'm a saint!") becomes somewhat more depressing when we learn that in Super, a certain evil Saiyan who looks exactly like Goku commits genocide on a multi-planetary scale.note  Then we have the eventual appearance of Broly in Dragon Ball Super: Broly ("The greatest enemy is a Saiyan" anyone?).
    • When Vegeta is telling Goku about how he's cast out because he's born with a low battle power and is therefore considered worthless by Saiyan's society. This becomes hasher when you take Minus, in which Goku was sent to Earth not because he was weak, but to save and protect him from Frieza. Goku is led to believe for the rest of his life and even his afterlife that he was thrown away when it's the furthest thing from the truth.
    • In the Japanese dub, the episode where Buu kills nearly the entire supporting cast by turning them into candy and eating them. Master Roshi is one of those killed, and it becomes a lot more tragic when you learn that his voice actor, Kohei Miyauchi, died shortly after the episode was completed and it marked the final time he voiced the character.
    • During the Buu Saga, there's a subplot involving a duo of snipers killing innocent people For the Evulz. One of the shooters is reluctant at first until the more sadistic of the duo talks him into it. This sounds eerily similar to the Beltway Sniper Attacks that happened in the Virginia and D.C. areas in October 2002. Adding to it was that the English dub of those episodes first aired on Toonami when the shooting spree was still going on.
    • Watching Future Trunks fighting to change his future and prevent its destruction becomes this when you find out what Super did to it...
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: A Q&A section in one of the volumes revealed that Android 16 was based on Gero's dead son. This makes Gero's attempts to keep the other (violent and rebellious) Androids from activating him seem less like he's afraid of 16 and more like he's afraid of them hurting him.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Have their own page.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • FUNimation got a lot of flak for their Orange Brick releases, especially for the cropping to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio. Then Kai's TV broadcast did the same thing.
    • Fans of the Japanese version of Bardock - The Father of Goku wasn't please with the FUNimation dub. The added Dub Text made Bardock more sympathetic, regretfully of his past actions, and he does show real love for his son in the end. In the original text, Bardock is very amoral and doesn't care about Goku at all until he sees a vision of Goku fighting Frieza. Come Minus, Toriyama's version of Bardock is more like the dub, including him having a loving wife and him actively saving his son's life by sending him to Earth.
    • In the early days of the franchise's Western presence, a Pojo magazine explained how fans wanted an uncensored version of DBZ so they could hear Goku say "Damn!", among other things. In the uncut dubs of DBZ and Kai, Goku says it on a near-Once an Episode basis.
    • When Goku contemplates permanently fusing with Gohan, he wonders if he'll have to go to high school after this. Cue Dragon Ball Evolution, where Goku is a high school student with hair similar to Gohan's.
    • All the Space "X" jokes from DBZ Abridged, especially those tied to Jeice, got a lot funnier with the full-color release of the manga where Toriyama revealed the Ginyu Force's backstories — and Jeice's says that he played Little League baseball back on his home planet.
    • Enma states that he sent Dabura to Heaven because he would have enjoyed Hell too much. The first ever appearance of Hell in the manga is revealed to look like an episode of the Teletubbies had a baby with A Troll in Central Park. Now his Tastes Like Diabetes schtick from the anime makes a lot more sense.
    • Dr. Gero claimed that he didn't think Goku would become much stronger after the Saiyan Saga given his age. This is hilarious given that in the Super manga, Goku claims that 80 years old is still considered fairly young for a Saiyan.
    • Gohan's assurance to Videl on learning about ki when he said that a toddler can do it. Funny now that their future daughter Pan was able to complete that feat as a baby in Super.
    • Frieza's Latin American voice actor, Gerardo Reyero, has voiced Superman and one of his most well know roles is Captain Hero, a parody of Supes. Goku did fight Superman!
    • In one episode of the English dub, Gohan refers to Piccolo as "My Big Green Uncle". This becomes even more hilarious when you realize that there were some cheesy English dubs of DBZ called "The Big Green Dub".
    • Masako Nozawa's Vocal Dissonance as Son Goku was "corrected" in the English dub by giving the character an obvious adult male voice. In Digimon Tamers, Nozawa would voice another manly warrior character "grown up" from an adorable child form — Dukemon (Gallantmon) — only this time, the character did retain his childlike voice in the English dub and was mocked for it. On a related note, while Goku's Japanese voice actress is known for voicing an Iconic Sequel Character Digimon, his most famous English voice actor is known for voicing an Iconic Sequel Character Pokémon (Lucario).
    • In the Buu Saga, when Majin Vegeta challenges Goku for a fight, Supreme Kai tries to reason with Goku, and when that doesn't work, he tells Goku that he'll have to kill him if he wants to fight Vegeta. A moment later, Goku actually raises his hand, fully prepared to blast him to smithereens. Come Super, it is revealed that the lives of the God of Destruction and Supreme Kai are tied, meaning Goku came dangerously close to not just killing Supreme Kai, but Beerus as well.
    • When Mr. Satan wants to convince the world he defeated Buu, he gets him to have his picture taken while lying on the ground, saying it's "the latest style of picture taking". That's right: Toriyama unintentionally predicted planking.
    • Justin Cook started voicing Dende for the FUNimation dub just a handful of months before the dub of Yu Yu Hakusho began airing in the United States. This can make the respectful dynamic between Dende and Piccolo, voiced by Christopher Sabat, amusing given how Cook and Sabat would have an entirely different relationship play out as Yusuke and Kuwabara, respectively. Even funnier is the fact that Justin Cook also voiced Raditz and Yusuke in the climax of the Chapter Black saga transforms into his berserk form, (which resembles the Super Saiyan 3 form), but once he regains control of his body, he retains the mass of hair, making him look like a leaner version of Raditz.
    • A panel of a page of the manga during the Cell Saga has a guy wearing a straw hat with exposed arms, who looks very similar to Monkey D. Luffy, years before One Piece was created.
    • In one episode of the Saiyan Saga, King Kai tells Goku the origins of the Saiyan race's rise to power, how they gained their technology by stealing it from the planet Plant, home of the Tuffles race, and dealing with another group of aliens to start the Planet Trade business. Not only is there no mention of Frieza having involvement in any of that, but then King Kai says that Planet Vegeta was destroyed by a god who was angry at the Saiyans and called forth a disaster (the meteor) that wiped them all out. It ended up seeming like King Kai just lied to Goku to keep him in the dark about Frieza's existence so that Goku wouldn't want to challenge him. Years later, we find out about Beerus, this universe's God of Destruction, and that he'd arranged for Frieza to wipe out Planet Vegeta because he was angry at the Saiyans. Perhaps King Kai had heard more truthful details than anyone realized.
    • The Cell Games Reenactment has all the characters portrayed as mascot-suited actors, despite most of them being human looking or humanoid. This is exactly how the costumed promotional Goku and Vegeta characters are portrayed in Real Life.
    • Cell consumes Android #18 through his tail and regurgitates her through his mouth, which resembles the brief trend in South Park where everyone starts eating through their rectums and defecating through their mouths.
    • The Ocean dub had Vegeta claim that Bardock was an average fighter, but a brilliant "scientist". In Dragon Ball Super: Broly, there are Saiyan scientists, but Bardock isn't one of them.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient:
    • DBZ starts like this: Goku has a son. Goku has a brother. Goku is an alien. Goku dies. However, it's only a this if you've seen Dragon Ball first.
    • Goku's fight with Vegeta, specifically their Beam-O-War when Vegeta tries to destroy the Earth because he's lost his temper from things not going his way.
    • Goku going Super Saiyan the first time
    • Admit it, you were shocked when Trunks appears, turns Super Saiyan kills Frieza and King Cold.
    • Vegeta performing his Final Flash technique against Cell. The sheer scale of the attack was unlike anything DBZ had provided prior to it.
    • Gohan going Super Saiyan 2.
    • Goku transforming into a Super Saiyan 3.
    • The Buu Saga could be pretty uneven in tone, but it was still pretty shocking when Super Buu killed every single human being on Earth in the span of about three minutes, and then later successfully blew up the Earth as Kid Buu.
  • Ho Yay: Has its own page.
  • Hype Backlash:
    • Often lumped together with Pokémon and Sailor Moon in this respect. Many people watching DBZ in the present consider it to be an unremarkable anime with far too much screaming and powering up. The fact that it was outright referred to as "the greatest action cartoon ever made" by Toonami didn't help either.
    • Broly's extreme popularity within the fandom has this effect on some once they finally watch his movies. It's even worse in the East where he is seen as The Scrappy.
    • This is one reason why the Japanese version of the series is so contentious in the West. Among Western anime fans, a widely held opinion in the Subbing vs. Dubbing debate is that the Japanese version is inarguably better and more "hardcore" than the English dub, with stronger voice performances and the series' content being in its raw, unaltered form. As such, many fans of the dub watched DBZ in Japanese expecting an even cooler version of a widely loved mainstream anime, only to be highly disappointed by Goku and many other characters sounding less badass and more cartoonish and childish, which happened on a wider scale with Super. While this reaction has dampened over time, due to the Japanese version getting greater exposure and more fans gaining respect for it, this still holds to an extent — on top of another layer of this caused by a Vocal Minority of elitists who proclaim Japanese DBZ to be the greatest thing ever and label every English dub of the franchise as a bastardization.

    I - R 
  • Idiot Plot
    • The Android/Cell Saga comes dangerously close to being this, with a lot of the problems happening because of terrible decisions being made by the characters (mainly Goku, Vegeta, Trunks, and Krillin). What keeps it from being too severe an example and ruining the arc is that the decisions are consistent with already established character flaws (Goku is a Blood Knight who likes fighting fair too much, Vegeta is an arrogant jerk, Trunks is desperate to change the future, and Krillin is very hesitant and was blinded by love).
    • The Buu Saga, on the other hand, suffers from this problem a lot more, with just about every character on both sides making bad decisions to keep the plot going and, despite some cool fights, is where the Arc Fatigue was obviously starting to set in.
  • Iron Woobie: Future Trunks and Tapion from the 13th movie.
  • It Was His Sled: Most spoilers in the series have been mainstream for years, despite being shocking at the time. This lends itself to the fact that DBZ is where most of the international fans caught onto the franchise, and a number of them still aren't even aware that many examples of this were supposed to be as surprising, and the list below isn't even all of them:
    • Goku is a part of an alien race called the Saiyans, and he has a brother named Raditz. He also dies in his fight with his brother.
    • Piccolo undergoes a Heel–Face Turn. Vegeta does as well... Sort of.
    • Planet Vegeta was actually destroyed by Frieza, not an asteroid.
    • Goku is the Super Saiyan. However, it's later revealed that most other Saiyans can become Super Saiyans as well.
    • Cell is the true Big Bad of the Android Saga.
    • Babidi successfully revives Buu.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: There was once a time where fans of Dragon Ball could express their interest in the franchise in the open. However, it achieved popularity inside and outside Japan. It may be different in Latin America as well as Latino-based boards, but if you said you like DBZ (except for maybe the original Dragon Ball) on English boards or in anime clubs? You'll be asked why or told how bad it is, if not flat out insulted as having poor taste. However, in The New '10s, this has changed a lot.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Vegeta counts in the FUNimation dub. He's the Big Bad in the Saiyan Saga, but when you find out about what happened to him, it's pretty hard not to pity him.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: If there are three things that stick out in the last saga of the series, it's the Fusion Dance, Super Saiyan 3 and Majin Buu's outright Crazy Awesome-ness.
  • Love to Hate: Frieza, Cell, and Super Buu. Even the movie villain Cooler is this for many fans.
  • Macekre
    • The Ocean dub for the Saiyan Saga and the early-Namek Saga had its scripts supervised by Saban Entertainment, who wanted content more suitable for syndication, i.e. like a typical '90s Saturday morning cartoon show. As a result, the first 67 episodes of the series were edited down to 53, it was subject to strict censors (Never Say "Die", removal of blood, violence against the five-year old Gohan was lessened), and lots of juvenile dialogue was added. This also created a few Dub Induced Plot Holes such as Vegeta saying Goku's father was "a brilliant scientist" and Goku believing that Vegeta in his Great Ape form killed Grandpa Gohan instead of realizing it was he himself who did it.
    • The early Funimation dub was not subject to the same censors as the Ocean dub and were allowed to dub the episodes unedited for most part. However, due to using the same scriptwriters, who translated in the same loose manner as before, the dialogue was just as juvenile. The late-Namek Saga is a big offender as Goku and especially Frieza had some significant Dub Personality Changes.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Vegeta, as the fans often use his pride to claim that he is extremely superior to other fictional princes.note 
    • Broly. His power is maximum.
    • Mr. Popo, due to a fight scene he has in the anime where he takes on Super Saiyan Goten and Trunks at the same time. And this is before mentioning his Abridged counterpart...
    • Tien. His win/loss record really isn't any better than Krillin or Yamcha's. He's still managed to endear himself with the fanbase for his feats against Nappa, Cell, and Buu.
    • Fans claim that Goku is the strongest character in all of anime, is the father of every shonen hero for the last three decades, and can kick Superman's butt. We'll leave the Superman vs. Goku debate there.
    • Gohan. He's even more of a badass than his father. He can be the strongest in the universe if he trains and when he loses his temper, he will destroy you. Not to mention the ongoing myth that Gohan's Ultimate Form plus Super Saiyan will cause the planet to explode.
    • Chi-Chi is the strongest being in the universe since she can control Goku. Doesn't help that several characters actually do believe this, including Piccolo who says he didn't want to cross Chi-Chi for this reason.
    • Mr. Satan is the grand champion of all time. He certainly didn't get backhanded by Cell and was sent flying miles away into a mountain. That was all smoke and mirrors.
    • Humorously, the farmer gets this treatment as well as the Memetic Loser trope. The reason is that he seems to appear a total of three times in the series looking slightly different with each appearance meaning he has survived multiple close encounters with the heroes which is more than most people can claim.
    • Yamcha of all people gets this treatment in certain franchise works.
  • Memetic Hair: Super Saiyan hair.
  • Memetic Loser: Has its own page.
  • Memetic Molester: Cell. If his habit of sticking his tail in people and sucking them dry wasn't creepy enough, the way he advances on 18 before absorbing her...
  • Memetic Mutation: Franchise had its own page.
  • Memetic Psychopath:
    • Mr. Popo, thanks to Team Four Star.
    • Chi-Chi thanks to her temperament and how overprotective she is of Gohan.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • Many fans tend to sympathize with Bardock and his fellow Saiyans too much. While it is true that they were quite badass and that Bardock in the end faces off against a far greater evil, it is often forgotten that the Saiyans weren't exactly a bunch of nice, cool people, but a horde of heartless star conquerors who served said greater evil. This is even brought up in Goku's battle with Frieza, where Goku acknowledges that the Saiyans brought their demise upon themselves due to becoming that way.
    • Among fans, keeping track of each character's Power Levels and using these as evidence of who would win in a fight is common, despite the fact that Toriyama only introduced the concept of power levels to point out that they weren't an accurate method of measuring one's ability.
    • Among some fans, Vegeta is seen as the better warrior because he relies on his own strength, even if does leads to him getting his butt kicked most of time. These fans find it endearing that Vegeta is willing to fight and die even if he is outmatched. They also praise him for training much harder than Goku, who has everything handed to him. This, of course, ignores that Goku does trains very hard, he in fact trained long before Vegeta did. He just doesn't torture himself to become stronger. Goku also prefers fighting without help, but knows when to swallow his pride for the greater good. Part of this is culture clash since self dependence is more favored over teamwork in the West, while the East puts more emphasis on teamwork and often paints lone wolves like Vegeta in a negative light.
    • Mr. Satan's name is not Hercule. Hercule is his censored name for the North American version. Satan is not his last name either, but his ring name. His real name is apparently Mark. FUNimation later set the name into Mark "Hercule" Satan.
  • Mis-blamed:
    • Toriyama didn't write the anime. He wrote the manga it was adapted from. The pacing of the anime was actually out of his hands; Toei intentionally made filler arcs with his mild supervision, and padded the episodes so they wouldn't overtake the manga.
    • The Chickification of Videl is often blamed on sexism on Toriyama's part. In fact, Toriyama only wrote the manga, in which this never even happens - it only happens in GT, which Toriyama wasn't a big part of, and Super, which Toriyama doesn't actually write beyond basic plot outlines for story arcs, meaning how Videl are handled is all up to the actual anime writers.
    • In a case where Toriyama escaped blame when it belonged to him, many Gohan fans who dislike how he never got to truly take up the mantle as The Hero blame the Japanese fandom and their extreme love for Goku as not allowing it to happen, and by extension Toriyama's editors for listening to them. In fact, Toriyama was beyond adhering to editors and fans by the Buu Saga, and has flat out said that the decision to reverse his course on Gohan and give Goku the spotlight again was made by him all on his own because he just didn't feel like Gohan was suited for the role after all.
    • FUNimation is usually blamed for having a female voice actor for Frieza, but the Ocean dub had already done so before the recast.
    • Contrary to what some fans believe, most of the censorship in the Ocean dub was actually ordered by then-distributor Saban Entertainment, and not the Ocean Group themselves. Supposedly, Saban feared that no station would carry the series in a favorable time slot if it was broadcast uncut, and given the slew of anime being broadcast heavily edited in the United States during that period, it's not hard to see why. Of course, this became moot once Toonami picked up the series a couple years later.
    • The use of the term "android" to include Androids 17 and 18, who are more accurately described as cyborgs, is often considered a translation error, or at the very least a case of Lost in Translation. In reality, the Japanese term jinzoningen (literally "artificial human") has roughly the same meaning as English "android", a human like robot, and usually doesn't include cyborgs, either.
  • Moe: Kid Goten and Pan are seen as this by the fans.
  • Moment of Awesome: Has its own page.
  • Mondegreen: I LOVE CORNBREAD!!!
  • Moral Event Horizon: See here.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Whether he sounds like Masako Nozawa or Sean Schemmel, Goku's prolonged screaming is sure to excite at least one viewer, if only because his screaming is almost always followed by him doing something amazing.
  • My Real Daddy: While the manga is done by Toriyama only, and the anime adaptation is pretty faithful to it despite the filler, there are some interpretations of the characters that are considered vastly superior to Toriyama own intent:
    • Bardock, Goku's father, is an odd case, as he wasn't written originally by Toriyama. Instead, Bardock was the focus of a special called Bardock: The Father of Goku, which dealt with the destruction of Planet Vegeta. The tragic nature of the character who didn't have anything heroic to his name other than friendship with his fallen comrades, and died by the hand of Frieza without doing much, was so memorable it made Bardock the Breakout Character he is known today. When Toriyama decided to write him in Minus, most of the critical reception was negative since it wasn't like in the animated special. As such, Bardock real daddy is mostly considered to be Takao Koyama, the writer of the special, than Toriyama himself.
    • Koyama's interpretation of Future Trunks and Future Gohan in the second animated special is considered to be vastly superior to Toriyama own version, "Trunks: the story". The main difference with both versions is that in the manga, Trunks was already a Super Saiyan and couldn't save Gohan. In the animated special, however, Trunks transforms due to Gohan's tragic death. As such, Trunks' transformation is widely considered to be one of the series' most memorable Signature Scenes.
    • Android 16 is a minor example. While both versions of the character are the same, the anime added more scenes, which made him a more effective character, since in the manga, his character traits like his liking of nature are more of a Informed Attribute.
  • Narm: Has its own page.
  • Narm Charm: The Obligatory Swearing in the uncut FUNimation version is laughable and forced at times, but many kids (and adults) at the time found it cool and were drawn to the uncut version because of it:
    Vegeta: If there's anything I've learned from this ordeal, it's that I am a freaking genius!
  • Nausea Fuel: Perfect Cell literally vomiting out 18 after how much of a beating SSJ2 Gohan gave him, made worse in the uncut where she's actually seen sliding out his mouth.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Yamcha getting killed by a Saibaman, which in fact provides the current trope image, and losing Bulma to Vegeta.
    • Krillin dying a lot and his general Butt-Monkey status.
    • At the end of the Saiyan Saga, Chi-Chi was completely neglectful of Goku, caring nothing for his health and only showed concern for Gohan. This is what most fans best remember for, and it leads into Accuser of the Brethren territory, as every good deed Chi-Chi does after this incident is overlooked and/or ignored in favor of this incident.
    • Goku giving Cell a Senzu Bean and putting his eleven years old son against a killer bio-android are sadly things that many fans best remember him for, along with his fear of needles only appearing in the anime.
    • Mr. Satan taking credit for beating Bojack, Cell, and Kid Buu.
    • Goku's Super Saiyan 3 transformation.note 
    • Vegeta's fear of worms and him screaming "It's over 9000!!". Fans usually make art of it, along with Goku's fear of needles.
    • In the Subbing vs. Dubbing debate, a favorite argument by sub fans to denounce the dub is its poor quality voice acting, various alternations to the original dialogue, replacing the original score, and kid friendly censorship.
    • Fans of the Funimation dub will forever remember the original Japanese version of the series for Masako Nozawa's "Granny Goku" voice. Whether the voice is good or bad is up for debate, but these fans claim that the original version is absolutely terrible because of Nozawa's performance alone.
    • One of the most infamous examples of this is the idea that Goku is a bad father to Gohan. This stems from how he was dead twice and not there for Gohan, and how he made Gohan fight Cell. The series has shown consistently that Goku loves Gohan, has done his best to protect him, and that he regrets not being able to be there all the time for him. The Cell part is the worst he gets as a father as the other characters point out how bad this was and Goku acknowledges he made a mistake. Despite this, fans still use this as ammo to say Goku is a bad father.
  • Older Than They Think: You probably think Tapion is based on Link from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but, according to Wikipedia, Wrath of the Dragon was released in 1995, while Ocarina of Time was released in 1998. The Crono reference is still obvious, though.
  • Periphery Demographic: Much like Sailor Moon, DBZ was conceived and marketed for young boys, but also attracted a sizable fanbase of older anime fans, which led to the releases of uncut, uncensored versions of the series in the West. Come The New '10s, and adult fans became the primary Western demographic for the Dragon Ball franchise. The series also has a sizable fanbase of women, who are drawn in by the attractive male heroes and strong female characters such as Android 18.
  • Popularity Polynomial: During the mid-2000s, it wasn't popular to say you liked the series outside of the original Dragon Ball. The fall of anime in general in the West during that time period also didn't help. However, the series has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to Kai, the movies released during The New '10s, Super, FighterZ, and even DBZ Abridged. Toriyama's greater involvements in projects after the widely panned Dragonball Evolution was also a huge benefit.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Zigzagged. Some of the video game adaptations such as Budokai 3, the Budokai Tenkaichi series, Legends, Legendary Super Warriors, Origins & Origins 2, Attack of the Saiyans, Legacy of Goku II, Raging Blast, Xenoverse, among others are considered both great adaptations of the series and solid games. FighterZ in particular was a breakout hit, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest Dragon Ball games of all time as well as a polished, deep and gorgeous fighting game in its own right. Others, such as Sagas, the first Budokai, Taiketsu, Ultimate Battle 22, Final Bout and the NES game released in North America as Dragon Power, range from being mediocre to being almost unplayable. About the only redeeming quality in some of the latter games is their music.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Main Timeline Trunks. The Trunks introduced in the Android Saga was a badass from a dark future whose experiences had humbled him and made him serious, making him very popular among fans. But when history changed so that the androids were defeated, the Trunks of the main timeline was allowed to grow up with both his parents and came off as a spoiled, cocky brat. However, this is mostly in the West. In a popularity poll done before the Buu Saga ended in Japan, Trunks was the third most popular character followed by Gotenks. The exact same ranking as Future Trunks when he was polled.
    • Gohan for the Japanese audience was the belief among Western fans. As the story goes, Toriyama replaced Goku with Gohan as the main hero of the series after the Cell Saga, but the Japanese audience didn't buy it and demanded Goku be brought back. However, Toriyama himself has stated that he brought back Goku simply because he determined that Gohan was unsuited to be the main hero.
    • Goten for some, came off as a poor man's substitute for Goku and never became as beloved as Goku or Gohan.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • For some fans, Chi-Chi. She left a bad taste in many fans' mouths after she neglected Goku after he was badly injured from his fight with Vegeta and blamed him for Gohan being forced to fight, despite him being dead when Piccolo kidnapped Gohan and had no say in the matter. She started to win fans over after she throws Mr. Shu out the window and chase him off the property. Then after Goku becomes sick with his heart virus, there were several episodes showing Chi-Chi caring for him, closed to tears in worry. Her pure joy at Goku's recovery from his illness and the tender moment afterwards won over many fans. She won many more after she became more mellow in the Buu Saga onward and trained Goten. She also earn some Woobie points for her future counterpart, who lost both her husband and only son, and her main timeline counterpart blames herself for Goku dying in the Cell Games because she undermined Gohan's training and for being too hard on Goku.
    • Fat Buu wasn't very well received when he first appeared, in the West anyway, mostly since despite his build up as this galaxy destroying Eldritch Abomination, he was a silly pink blob that turned people into candy. After he kills Babidi and starts gradually making a Heel–Face Turn, though, he won some fans over. It also helps that the saga got more legitimately intimidating villains with his later forms, Super Buu and Kid Buu.
    • Mr. Satan, or Hercule if you prefer, managed to get a pretty big dose of this right at the same time for the Western fanbase. His general personality of Small Name, Big Ego and taking credit for defeating Cell after everything the Z Fighters went through pissed off a lot of fans. The Buu Saga ultimately revealed that even with his ego, he actually does appreciate his fans and would refuse to betray their trust and he was ultimately granted a neat pair of awesome moments near the end both his What the Hell, Hero? moment and his rescue of an injured Vegeta. Some fans of the anime and manga still feel his cons ultimately outweigh his positives, but it's safe to say he's a lot better received compared to when he first appeared. Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods solidly establishes him as a friend to Goku's family, and has him donate his own prize money to them.
    • Goten and Trunks (to the Western fanbase) got this at the very end of DBZ when they're seen as teenagers. Trunks has lost most of the arrogance, becoming much more polite like Future Trunks. What remains of his arrogance is expressed in mutually friendly banter between himself and Goten. Goten, meanwhile, has developed his own look and personality, becoming his own character instead of just a carbon copy of young Goku. That the relationship between the two is also absolutely dripping with Ho Yay won over a lot of Yaoi Fans, as well.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Brian Drummond voiced Vegeta in the Ocean dub, and was later overshadowed by Christopher Sabat due to the FUNimation dub becoming the definitive English version from that point onwards. As such, many Death Note fans have noted that Ocean!Vegeta sounds a lot like Dub!Ryuk, to the point that Ryuk's exclamation of "the symptoms are staaaaartiiiiing!" in an early episode is highly reminiscent of Vegeta's most memetic line.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Yamcha gets this in fanfics, being portrayed as a drunkard or unfaithful in relationships. Here's one of many examples. Fans also try to exaggerate his personality and make him out to be an evil person, despite him causing far less damage than the other reformed characters of the series. While Yamcha started off as a bandit, he never made any goals to seek immortality or murder many innocent people. The Funi dub of the anime doesn't help either, because many lines they wrote make him out to be an asshole, when really, he's a nice guy.
    • Goku gets this when it comes to his fathering skills. Some fans tend to act as though he is a terrible father who doesn't care about his kids. In many countries, including Japan, Goku is more commonly seen as a good father, illustrating a clear case of Culture Clash among fans of the show. Goku gets this again regarding on how "heroic" he is. Toriyama has gone on record saying that he was dissatisfied with the "righteous hero"-type portrayal of Goku in the anime. He tries to portray Goku as someone who doesn't fight for others, but fights only to battle strong people. At the same time, Toriyama also says in several interviews that Goku is a nice and good person, but is hopeless when it comes to a good battle. Some fans had taking Toriyama's words to mean that Goku is an amoral asshole who only cares about fighting and nothing else, ignoring all the times Goku has shown concern for his friends, family, and others like his battle with Raditz and the other Saiyans as well as him trying to pass the torch so future generations won't depend on him to save the day. May be another case of Culture Clash since this view of Goku seems primarily a Western's interpretation, while the East still views Goku as a very heroic character despite his flaws. Even stranger, some fans think Goku being an asshole is a good thing since they despise the idea of him being anything like Superman.
    • Chi-Chi. In canon, she can be an overbearing person whose Education Mama tendencies can reach annoying and illogical levels, which the anime plays up. She is also a dedicated mom and wife who dearly loves her family and most of her actions are done out of fear of them being hurt or killed. While some criticism against her character is well-deserved and understandable (her constant nagging and complaining, her Skewed Priorities, and Insane Troll Logic), some of it can be biased and unwarranted (her dislike of some characters, her overprotectiveness). Fans also go as far as to ignore her good qualities traits and act as though she’s a heartless jerkass who hates her family. Even the English dub and Super get in on this, with the former exaggerating her bad qualities while downplaying her good ones, while the latter reverts her back to her old characterization with her bad personality traits (her being too overbearing and hot tempered) before the Buu Saga.
    • Despite being the White Sheep of the Saiyans, and having been described by Toriyama himself as a gentle, caring person, some people say that Gine was just as bad as the other Saiyans since she did take part in missions to cleanse planets before becoming a butcher, and that after her death, she went to Hell, with a couple of fanfics showing her there (which, given all of the good things that Toriyama said about her, is very unlikely). This is ignoring the fact that it's never clarified if she actually killed anyone, and was in fact described to have been a very poor fighter, which is why she retired from missions. Even if she did kill a few people, that doesn't change the fact that she has been officially described as a good person by Toriyama himself.
  • Rooting for the Empire:
    • There are fans who sincerely believe that the Saiyan genocide at the hands of Frieza was probably the best thing he has ever done. This is due to the fact that most of the Saiyans were rude, bloodthirsty beings. Other fans go even further, saying that Vegeta's brutal torture at the hands of Frieza was a well-deserved punishment.
    • Like the characters in the series, most fans wanted Cell to kill Mr. Satan and his pupils when they attempted to fight him and mocked Goku and his friends.
    • After he helped Cell to become perfect by attacking his own son, fans wanted Vegeta to pay for his arrogance.

    S - Z 
  • Sacred Cow:
    • Goku, as one of the most iconic anime characters and biggest Memetic Badasses of all time, particularly after the Popularity Polynomial set in and DBZ became popular on the Internet. Very few people familiar with DBZ label him as "overhyped" or "overrated", and most fans agree that his place in otaku and pop culture is well deserved. Goku's genuine popularity and legendary reputation is one reason why the prospect of him as a Super Smash Bros. character is treated like a legitimate possibility by some fans rather than an absolute joke like with many other non-gaming characters.
    • Within the Japanese cast, Masako Nozawa (the voice for Goku, Gohan and the other male members of their family) is considered this. Though most of her Dragon Ball voicesnote  are very polarizing in the American fanbase, she is considered a Living Legend as a voice actress and her performances are absolutely beloved in her native Japan (and she does have her fair share of American fans as well).
    • Sean Schemmel's English Goku voice is considered this (particularly in modern DB works) by fans of the Funimation dub, as he continues to make the character more palatable for American fans that don't like Nozawa's performance.
  • Saved by the Fans: Vegeta. He was supposed to die in the Saiyan Saga, but was saved by fan demand.
  • Seasonal Rot: The Buu Saga is seen as this by some fans. Most of the issues pointed are the story being more over the top than ever, Piccolo being Demoted to Extra, Buu lacking any solid motivation, Vegeta making a Senseless Sacrifice despite an attempt to develop him, Goku and Vegeta being the Spotlight-Stealing Squad again when the series appeared to be focusing on Gohan, the divisive characters of Goten and Trunks, and having an Idiot Plot where characters repeatedly make dumb decisions in order to pad out the story. However, this sentiment seems be based more in the West. In Japan, Buu was a more popular villain than Cell (who was seen as a step down from Frieza) and Japan's audience wanted Goku back (he was ranked #1 on a fan poll) so they didn't mind him taking over the last leg of the arc along with Vegeta (who ranked #2 on the same poll). They actually liked Trunks/Gotenks significantly more than Gohan and saw the latter as something of a Replacement Scrappy for the former; hin that same poll, Trunks is ranked 3rd followed by Gotenks at 4th, and ratings dropped when Gohan came back in the story, after spiking while Gotenks was fighting Buu in the time chamber.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • Nowadays, DBZ, while still beloved in many parts of the world, especially Latin America, is more known for its writing problems, especially in the later parts, and the fact the series is more about spectacle than an actual story. While the manga has remained hugely influential in the shonen demographic since the '90s, many can agree its succesors took DBZ's strengths alongside other genres to make it more compelling and even influential. The degree of the effect has generally ranged from "it's kinda boring compared to stuff now" to "it flat out sucks".
    • The original Ocean dub. By today's standards, it wouldn't be considered good with all the cuts, omissions of death, and changing certain characters. One cannot deny, however, that the Ocean dub is what got many people into the fandom, especially after it premiered on Toonami.
    • The FUNimation dub, when considering the most "uncut" form in which it was released. It was an early anime dub of a kid-oriented shonen series that made concessions for older fans, such as restoring some of the violence and language from the Toonami version on the DVD release, redubbing early, heavily bowdlerized episodes to be more faithful to the original Japanese version, and eventually restoring the original Japanese music score for later releases. Nonetheless, compared to modern anime dubs such as those for Dragon Ball Z Kai and Super, there are still many awkward relics such as Dub Text, Lull Destruction, mispronunciation of Japanese attack names, inconsistently alternating between Gosh Dang It to Heck! and awkwardly placed Obligatory Swearing, changing the beloved "CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA" opening to a generic rock score (although the Japanese ending was retained), and generally altering characters' personalities. A viewer accustomed to later uncensored/uncut dubs would find the FUNimation dub to be dated halfway between the bowdlerized Ocean dub and the uncensored, extremely faithful dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai.
  • Self-Fanservice: Fans tend to make Android 18 much more curvier than she actually is in fanart, often putting her on Bulma's level, if not higher.
  • Sequel Displacement: The original Dragon Ball is said to have better storytelling than DBZ, but in the West, the latter is better remembered and more iconic than the former. This is because the initial attempts to dub Dragon Ball were a huge failure. More than half of DBZ had already aired in the United States before Dragon Ball finally received a proper dub. Some fans even have the habit of referring to the franchise as a whole as DBZ, owing to its aforementioned iconic status. As a result of all this, many casual fans are unaware that Goku's adult form debuted in later parts of Dragon Ball, due to its reputation as "that prequel to DBZ where Goku and Bulma are kids".
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: The debates over who Trunks' romantic partner should be have gone on for more than two decades. The three most popular candidates have historically been Pan, Marron, and Goten, with all three sides going after each other. Then Super and its associated movies began hinting at Mai as Trunks' love interest. Although Mai is not without her fans, the three warring factions mostly set aside their differences to unite against her; they consider her completely unacceptable, whereas any of the first three listed could at least be tolerated.
  • Signature Scene: See here.
  • So Bad, It's Good:
    • Some fans have this opinion of the Ocean dub. The treasure trove of Narm and Ho Yay greatly helps.
    • The AB Groupe dub, better known as the "Big Green" dub after Piccolo's Dub Name Change in it. The script is a "Blind Idiot" Translation from Japanese to French to English, there are only a handful of actors and most of them are miscast and given terrible direction, and nearly everyone speaks like a Motor Mouth. The result is an unintentionally hilarious World of Ham dub with gaffs like Vegeta calling Goku by that name and not "Kakarot"; Kamehameha being yelled for every technique Goku does, even if it's not the actual Kamehameha; and Gohan's dragon, Icarus, speaking.
    • Even the early FUNimation dub falls into this, with its own share of dodgy performances and cheesy lines like Goku's Superman-esque speech to Frieza and a lot of Frieza's lines thanks to dodgy translations:
      Frieza: (while swinging an impaled Krillin on one of his horns) Hey, whip it! YEEEEEHAAA! That's it, buckaroo! Ride 'em, cowboy!
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • In the FUNimation dub of the episode "The Renewed Goku", when King Kai makes a premonition that Vegeta would die at the hands of Frieza after failing to destroy him, you notice that his voice sounds faded out. It's as if the voice actor portraying Kai (Sean Schemmel) was talking through a microphone that was turned off while another mic was a little bit far away from him.
    • The electrical aura of a Super Saiyan 2 and 3 is far less impressive in the anime than it is in the manga, and sometimes not present to the point that it can be difficult to tell the difference between a Super Saiyan and a Super Saiyan 2.
  • Strangled by the Red String: The Japanese voice actors have even commented on the rushed romantic relationships. The relationship between Bulma and Vegeta is a particularly glaring example, yet at the same time, a relatively beloved one. Their relationship had so little buildup and came out of nowhere. Even Goku's reaction upon hearing that they had a child is one of disbelief. It helps that it does manage to be somewhat realistically portrayed in spite of its implausible nature: The conception of Trunks was implied to be from a one night stand, and it took years for them to actually become close to each other.
  • Strawman Has a Point: In the FUNimation dub, Goku gave Vegeta a what the hell moment after the latter kills Burter and Recoome, whom both were unconscious, saying he was being pointlessly cruel. How does the latter respond? That they did deserve it, especially since Recoome would have killed Gohan and Krillin had Goku arrived late, and then proceeds to tell Goku that his kindness would bring about his own defeat.
  • Subbing vs. Dubbing: DBZ has been very hotly debated in this respect. In addition to the usual question of Japanese vs. English voice cast, the English dub has been criticized for replacing the original score, engaging in a lot of Dub Text and Lull Destruction, altering the tone of the series to make it more hardcore, altering characters' personalities, and for the earlier dubs being heavily censored; with the original Japanese version generally preferred by hardcore fans. However, after the FUNimation dub became the singular definitive English version and the company began redubbing it uncut, English DBZ began to gain more support, with fans citing its strengths more often, such as the improved performances and various Woolseyisms. This sentiment has only increased as DBZ has become more heavily marketed to adults than children in the West and subsequent English dubs of later Dragon Ball series have increased in quality. In a medium where the original Japanese version is almost always preferred worldwide, DBZ and its successors stand out for having an original Japanese version that is as debated in the West as the English dubs of other series are.
  • Superlative Dubbing:
    • A specific example with Goku. As DBZ was introduced to America separately from the original Dragon Ball, giving Goku a childlike voice similar to Masako Nozawa's performance would have come across as very strange to American fans. He was therefore voiced by various adult male actors before eventually settling on Kirby Morrow for the Canadian dub and Sean Schemmel for the American dub, the latter of which is considered to be the definitive Goku voice by many American fans. While Goku's character in the dub was initially criticized for being changed from a goofy manchild to a serious hero akin to Superman, his character would gradually be aligned more with the Japanese original over time, eliminating this particular criticism of American-adapted DBZ. Of note is the fact that, while Nozawa voiced Dukemon/Gallantmon in Digimon Tamers in a very similar manner to Goku,note  her performance wasn't met with the same controversy when uncovered by Western fans because the character's English dub voice (Steve Blum) wasn't nearly as beloved there as Schemmel was for Goku.
    • It's generally agreed that the FUNimation dub got better with time. The "uncut" redub of the first 63 episodes is generally very well-liked, and introduced elements such as better performances, more faithful dialogue translations, and rare profanity that would pave the way for the English dub's full-blown beard growing with Dragon Ball Z Kai.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The insert song "Battle Point Unlimited" (used in episode 120, when Trunks goes Super Saiyan and kills Frieza) is a pastiche of an entire album (1985's A Secret Wish) by the German synth pop band Propaganda. In this case, the plagiarism is so bad that it's possible to recreate the entirety of "Battle Point Unlimited" using samples from A Secret Wish. Fittingly for Dragon Ball, it was composed by Kenji Yamamoto, who would be fired from Toei Animation midway through the production of Dragon Ball Kai after executives learned that he had spent his career plagiarizing numerous western artists such as Pink Floyd, James Horner, Danny Elfman, and Journey.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Raditz. He's the long lost brother of the main character Goku, so you would expect him to be a major part of the plot. Instead, he's killed at the beginning of DBZ and is rarely mentioned again.
    • You'd think that King Cold, being Frieza's father and the real leader of the Planet Trade Organization, would be an Arc Villain. Instead, he ends up getting killed off with little fanfare just to show how powerful Future Trunks is.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Nappa plays a huge role in the Saiyan Saga, being the one who kills off most of the heroes. However, after being killed by Vegeta, he stays dead in a series where death is famously cheap. Any time Nappa appears again, it's just a quick cameo in Hell. Granted, he does finally get to confront Vegeta again in GT... only to be curb stomped. It could have been interesting to have seen a fight between the two with Nappa actually having a fair chance at winning, or even to have Nappa pull a Heel–Face Turn like Vegeta. Additionally, at the end of the Frieza Saga, they use the Dragon Balls to wish back everyone killed by Frieza and his men. Since Vegeta was in Frieza's command at the time, Nappa should have been revived, too, but wasn't.
    • At first, it was set up that the Z Fighters would face 17 and 18, but then Cell shows up and the conflict changes to him. One wonders if how they would've dealt with enemies that weren't wholly malign instead of another monstrous sadist like the last arc.
    • All of the villains during the incident when Nappa is revived and attacks Vegeta during GT, as well as in Fusion Reborn, apparently made no attempt to become stronger at all since their deaths and as such get slaughtered by the good guys in droves with no effort, even the ones that logically should be strong enough even despite that to a least pose a challenge like Bojack and General Rilldo. It would have been fun to see the good guys struggle and triumph over dozens of villains that were good enough to at least stand up to them.
    • Videl is introduced as a slightly irritating but quickly charming character who dovetails nicely with Gohan and the extended Z Fighter family, and even has early episodes dedicated to the relationship between the two... only for her to be relegated to the Kami's Lookout crew, then turned into chocolate by Super Buu and effectively written out of the story. Pretty much everything in the early high school portion of the story is unimportant, outside of establishing what's new since the Time Skip.
    • The conclusion to Gohan's arc: After having a power up with the Grand Elder on Namek and defeating Cell after Goku's death, it's heavily implied that Gohan is taking his father's role as the effective protector of the Earth. The Buu Saga reverses this by de-powering him and having Goku come back so the plot can concentrate on him and Vegeta. Even after having a second power up that's implied to have unlocked his latent inner power, it turns out to be completely useless against Super Buu after he absorbs Gotenks and Piccolo.
    • The World Martial Arts Tournament that opens the saga. Those familiar with the earliest sagas were probably expecting a modern take on the famous set piece. It's completely ignored part way through the proceedings and only shows up again to demonstrate how ruthless Majin Vegeta is.
    • Goten and Trunks' contribution to the fight. Much like Gohan in the Cell Saga, it's implied that the pair are intended to be the saviors of the day, and hopefully the future, given how prodigious their power levels are for their age. They were absorbed by Super Buu not long after Gohan received his power up.
    • A minor example with Spopovitch's death. After what the guy did to Videl, many fans wanted to see Gohan beat the snot out of him. Heck, they even built it up. The death he gets ends up being appropriately gruesome, which feels karmic given his gruesome treatment of Videl in the tournament. However, it's at the hands of Babidi. Gohan's only involvement with Spopovich was to get his energy stolen by him and Yamu.
    • In the manga, the fight between Goku and Majin Vegeta is utterly wasted. This was the rematch fans had been wanting to see for years, and it only lasts a few panels as Majin Buu is released and Goku talks Vegeta into stopping the fight. This is averted in the anime, where the fight is much longer and more intense.
    • Anime only example. In the manga, the training for the Saiyan Saga just has brief panels showing it. For Goku, this shows him sparring with King Kai. One would think that given how the anime expands upon training, we would see more of this. However, none of the training we see Goku go through in the anime involves sparring with King Kai.
  • Too Cool to Live: Vegito is widely regarded as the strongest fighter in the entire Dragon Ball continuity, so strong that he toys with Super Buu (+ Gohan) and easily has the capability to destroy him. He only lasts for four episodes before getting swallowed by Buu and reverting back to Goku and Vegeta. Goku and Vegeta crush their Potara earrings, and Vegito isn't seen again until the Future Trunks arc of Super, over two decades since he first debuted.
  • Tough Act to Follow: The Frieza Saga is considered the most popular and beloved arc in the entire franchise, and the measuring stick for every other arc that followed. In Japan, it's especially considered to be superior to the Android/Cell Saga, with that arc not enjoying the same popularity that it did in the West. That said, the Frieza Saga still consistently tops opinion polls in pretty much every region of the world. In the West, however, many fans have this opinion of the Android/Cell Saga and its titular villain, often saying that the Buu Saga and everything else in the franchise that followed has never quite been of the same quality.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: Bulma, in the anime's Frieza Saga.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The Androids were an attempt at this for having facial features radically different from the series' norm. It didn't quite work, as both 17 and 18 are often considered adorable (even in-universe by Krillin about 18), and Chiaotzu predated the bleach white 19 by several years.
    • Semi Perfect Cell and 4th form Frieza play this straight.
    • The dual voices of the fusion characters can be quite disturbing, though the effect was more than likely intentional, considering that fused warriors are inherently unnatural beings, and verges into Creepy Awesome considering how powerful they are.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Chi-Chi comes off as this for some fans. The series makes her out to be hysterical and unreasonable for freaking out over Gohan's safety and education. While she goes too far, there are times when she actually has good points.
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • In-Universe, very few people actually like Vegeta, probably because he killed (or helped to kill) most of them.note  Goku, Bulma and their children together seem to be the only ones that like him, and even they sometimes get tired of him. To many fans though, he's one of the best things about DBZ.
    • Zangya. In Bojack Unbound, she only appears in ten minutes, speaks very little and is not even respected by the main villain. And in Fusion Reborn, she only appears in a second. But she is incredibly popular among fans, and many see her as Draco in Leather Pants.
    • Frieza, Cell and Buu. Nearly everyone in the series either fear or hate them but are among the most popular characters in the fanbase.
    • Inverted with Mr. Satan. Almost every human on Earth looks up to him, but a lot of fans in real life (especially American fans) dislike him and look down on him for taking away Gohan's credit of defeating Cell. It wasn't until the Buu Saga where he showed redeeming qualities. Of course, while Satan's glory hounding is certainly contemptible, such fans probably don't realize that Goku and friends don't really care about getting credit, in fact Goku chose to stay dead precisely to avoid recognition for his kills and unwanted attention from bad people resulting from that recognition.
  • Values Dissonance
    • In many of the nude scenes, Americans see Ho Yay or even shotacon that no Japanese viewer would see.
    • Having your 11 (9 in the manga) years old son fight a psychopathic, murderous android comes across as cold and uncaring. However, around the same age, Goku was living on his own, traveling the world, and fighting an evil army. To him, what he's doing to Gohan is no different than his own adventures as a child.
    • Goku's parenting skills. In North America, especially the U.S., Goku comes off as a neglectful father and husband. In other parts of the world, especially the Asian countries, Goku comes off as a good father who spoils Gohan (too much according to Japan).
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • Puar is supposed to be male according to Word of God, but ended up female in the FUNimation and Ocean dubs. It didn't help that, in all versions of the anime, Puar is voiced by a woman.
    • Chaozu. While Chaozu has a more masculine appearance than Puar, his makeup and his relationship with Tenshinhan, along with being voiced by a woman in all versions can make the whole issue seem rather confusing.
    • Zigzagged with Frieza. In Japan, Latin America and Europe, he was given a Badass Baritone, which helped to avert this. On the flip side, many viewers of the Ocean and FUNimation dubs initially assumed that the character was female due to the polite mannerisms, the prominent lips, and the overall color scheme (white, pink, purple). This was made worse by the fact that in these versions, Frieza was voiced by women.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • For a long time, you couldn't say that you remotely liked Bruce Faulconer's replacement score. To utter such words would have you mocked for enjoying music that was inferior to Shunsuke Kikuchi's original score and made some fans questioned your fandom. While the Faulconer score remains a divisive topic among the American fanbase, appreciation for it has grown; particularly for Vegeta's Super Saiyan Theme, Ginyu Transformation, Goku's Super Saiyan 3 transformation, and the DBZ Finale theme. Nowadays, it's not uncommon to see fans who overall prefer the Kikuchi score express some appreciation for Faulconer; and even those who flat out don't like Faulconer's music will usually at least acknowledge that it got better over time. Most of this new respect happened because of Dragon Ball Z Kai, which originally had a completely different musical score that broke the fanbase even more. Some fans even wish Faulconer would return to Dragon Ball.
    • The English cast. Until about the mid-2000s, it was popular to bash the English voice actors along with the rest of the dub. Now, the English cast is beloved by fans on both sides of the Pacific, especially after their work on Dragon Ball Z Kai.
    • FUNimation as a whole gets this. In the early to mid-2000s, the company was roundly bashed by fans of the original Japanese version. They were often compared to 4Kids Entertainment and it was common to find websites dedicated to criticizing them. Now, they are one of the most renowned dubbing companies in the world. Fans of DBZ are also quick to defend the dub, especially the later seasons and their redubbing of the first two sagas. Additionally, the censored dub, which was the root of most of the 4Kids comparisons, fell out of favor over time.
    • The series itself, and to a lesser extent the entire Dragon Ball franchise in the West, Latino country not included. In the late '90s and early '00s, there was a general anti-DBZ sentiment around most internet communities. It used to be held up as an example of everything wrong with "modern anime" in the West and was usually seen as the Lowest Common Denominator standard for bad anime. Now, it's become much more socially acceptable to mention you watched or even enjoyed DBZ even when it originally aired in the West. As a result, DBZ reclaimed its crown as possibly the most popular anime out there, and became a well respected staple of geekdom with a very large and active fandom of old and new fans. To put the hatred into perspective, VG Cats once described InuYasha as "freaking Dragon Ball Z for girls" to insult it. At the time, this was a very common sentiment, and it even evolved into Memetic Mutation to insult anime series people didn't like.
  • Wangst: Vegeta throws angry tantrums whenever it looks like somebody has surpassed him. By the end of the series, though, he gets better.
  • What an Idiot!: Has its own page.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: This is a series for ten year old boys, but the high amount of violence wouldn't pass for a kids show in the States. Not helped by the fact that its primary demographic in the West in The New '10s shifted to adult fans. The Namek Saga, for example, is possibly the most graphic and violent saga that the series has given us, which was controversial for its time and one of the reasons why the series was criticized in the '90s by Moral Guardians.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: Like most shonen, Dragon Ball fans are guilty of this. If a character is not one of the strongest in the series, they are written off as worthless. The human cast gets this especially bad since they Can't Catch Up to the Saiyans. Even Piccolo eventually falls behind, making fans declare him a wasted character, despite them helping the stronger characters in other ways outside of power. Gohan, however, gets this the worst since most of his fanbase seems to only like him when he's a badass. It's so bad that if Gohan isn't the strongest unfused character, they call him a wimp and decry him as a terrible character since he wants to live a normal life.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Having Masako Nozawa voice Bardock, Scholar Gohan, and Goten. Hearing an old woman's raspy man voice as a ruthless warrior and a bespectacled adult man can be rather jarring. Raditz also got away with having a different voice, so why not those two? For Goten, he's already a miniature Goku, so him having the exact same voice as his father even as a teen keeps him from being little more than a clone and a Replacement Scrappy. Her flagship role, Adult!Goku, is infamous for this; while she was fitting for his child voice, some, mostly Western fans, felt such a high-pitched voice coming from a masculine character was head scratch worthy.
    • Hikaru Midorikawa as Tenshinhan, from 2006 onwards. While Midorikawa is an excellent voice actor, more than competent and has a very quirky, recognizable voice, he sounds absolutely nothing like Hirotaka Suzuoki. Plus he already plays Android #16.
    • Pauline Newstone from the Ocean dub and Linda Young from FUNimation as Frieza. It made the gender confusion worse in the West since Frieza already have many girly qualities. This was subverted with the casting of Chris Ayres for Dragon Ball Z Kai onwards.
  • The Woobie:
    • Future Trunks, what with being the only hope left in an apocalyptic hellhole of a Bad Future where the villains could kill him at most any time and just leave him alive to toy with him for roughly twenty years until he finally turns the tables and it was awesome.
    • Yamcha has it pretty hard. His long-term girlfriend of several years leaves him for a former Space Pirate and he has never found a steady girlfriend since his break up. He's also continuously hit with the Worf Effect to the point that he is considered the biggest Memetic Loser in the series. The more vocal parts of the fandom have no sympathy for him and is often demonized in fan fictions where he's portrayed as a Domestic Abuser, which is why Bulma left him for Vegeta. In addition, fan works constantly portray him as a selfish glory hog who is weak because he was caught off guard by a Saibaman's suicide attack, even though that attack could've killed anyone on the battlefield except maybe Piccolo.
    • Present Chi-Chi. While she can be annoying, overprotective of Gohan, and can sometimes be selfish when it comes to her priorities, she's shown many times that she loves her family very much, yet fans ignore her good qualities and portray her even worse in fanfictions, possibly bordering on Moral Event Horizon treatment of Goku and her sons. Also, in the show, she had to go through watching Goku (who was her fiance at the time) almost getting murdered by Piccolo, who was his mortal enemy. She also had to go through dealing with her son Gohan getting kidnapped by Raditz and then Piccolo. Is it any wonder she was so angry when Gohan said he wanted to go to Namek to revive Piccolo? And she has to deal with a lot of stress because of her son and husband getting put in dangerous situations. This may be why she wants Gohan to become a scholar, because she feels that education is the only way to survive, and she may not want Gohan to depend on fighting forever.
    • Future Chi-Chi. She ends up losing her husband to the heart virus and then ends up losing her son to a battle with the Androids.
    • Gohan is a woobie for having to go through witnessing his father die twice. He never was a fighter at heart and ever since he was 4, his childhood has been nothing but struggle. In the Cell Saga, he's shown to have a lot of self esteem issues. During his battle with Cell, it was hard for fans to watch Gohan turn from a Nice Guy into a homicidal manic that would make Frieza proud. Considering all the things Cell did, it's kind of hard to blame him. He does get better in the later Arcs.
    • Android 18 has some of woobieness in the Cell Saga. She was a human forcibly converted into an android and programmed to kill Goku, and was in the middle of the saga being chased and stalked by Cell, got to see her brother eaten, and got absorbed herself on the verge of death.
    • Fat Buu. He just can't win against another form of himself. First, Evil Buu quickly beats him into submission, not even really toying with him. Then Mr. Buu defends Mr.Satan and helps buy time in facing Kid Buu. Kid Buu is in all likelihood vastly stronger than the lean, grey Evil Buu, but takes his sweet time mercilessly slaughtering Mr. Buu and eventually causes the latter to deplete his ki reserves. It takes a freakin' lot to elicit that feeling between two amorphous blobs which usually take shape, when it probably doesn't make sense how the match is even possible. (It doesn't affect him on a deeper level, but when you have *fanfare* "The Woooorld Champiooon" on your side, what will?) But he's far from the first in the series.
  • Woolseyism: Has its own page.

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