30 Facts About Dragon Ball Toei Hopes Go Unnoticed
Toei has keep a lot of Dragon Ball facts hidden from its fans.
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Despite its origin as a martial arts manga with an emphasis on comedy, it didn’t take long for Dragon Ball to adopt darker, heavier themes. By the halfway point of the Red Ribbon Army arc, the manga has had its first on-screen death and Goku has found himself in genuine danger. By the Demon King Piccolo saga, Dragon Ball has fully embraced its darker elements, pitting Goku against evil incarnate. Come Dragon Ball Z, the series can hardly be considered a comedy, instead resembling a martial arts, character driven drama where the stakes are constantly high and fights downright brutal.
While Super has dialed the darkness down a bit, at least overtly, it still manages to pull off some genuinely disturbing moments. Both the Goku Black and Universe Survival arcs deal with themes far too heavy for children, and do it with a fair amount of care to ensure the story never feels “cheap.” As dark as Dragon Ball can be, however, there are some elements so dark, they’re often obscured in the background. Get ready for 30 facts about Dragon Ball that Toei definitely wants to stay buried.
30 Why Goku Desperately Wanted To Spare Freeza On Namek
If you’ve only watched the anime, it can be a bit confusing to look back on Goku’s fight with Freeza and wonder why he so desperately wanted to keep Freeza alive. After all, Freeza blew up Krillin, committed mass Saiyan and Namekian genocide, and even threatened Gohan. Goku has no logical reason to want to spare Freeza, but Goku’s reasoning here isn’t logical, it’s purely emotional. Throughout the Saiyan and Namek arcs, Goku is constantly trying to prove he’s more Earthling than Saiyan, even going so far to spare the Ginyu Force.
Throughout the Saiyan and Namek arcs, Goku is constantly trying to prove he’s more Earthling than Saiyan
When he turns Super Saiyan, he realizes there’s truly no turning back, but he still tries. His final act of mercy towards Freeza is his final attempt at holding onto his Earthling upbringing. Toei portrays Goku as a battle-hungry, naive man-child in Super which causes fans to miss the depth of Goku’s arc in the original series. Goku’s dynamic with Freeza on Namek is dark, complicated, and a reminder of how subtle Toriyama’s writing can be.
29 Yamcha’s Dreams Never Come True
One of the biggest mistakes in literary analysis is assuming that a character’s arc is only complete if they get what they’re striving for. Due to the fanbase’s younger audience and an emphasis on watching the anime over reading the manga, Dragon Ball analysis tends to lack this understanding. When people discuss Yamcha, they mention how Toriyama abandoned him and how he was never used properly. The truth is, he was used properly. It was just sad.
From the start of the series, Yamcha has two goals: find a girlfriend and become a respectable martial arts. By the end of the series, he has accomplished neither. In fact, not only has he cheated on his longtime girlfriend by the last chapter, he’s also given up fighting altogether. This doesn’t mean Toriyama abandoned him, though, he just took a dark approach to his arc. Yamcha couldn’t keep up with love or martial arts so he just didn’t, leaving him alone and purposeless.
28 Tien’s Life Purpose Is Unattainable
Tien Shinhan, like Yamcha, is another character whose arc does not end favorably, but does indeed end. After their match at the end of the 22nd Budokai, Tien vows to keep training and eventually surpass Goku. For most of the Demon King Piccolo arc, they’re actually on fairly even ground. Once Goku drinks the Ultra Divine Water, however, he picks up a lead that he never drops for the remainder of the franchise.
His life’s purpose becomes to surpass Goku, but to say he can barely keep up would be an understatement.
Despite the massive gap that keeps growing between them, Tien never stops training. Even by as late as the Cell saga, he’s still intent on keeping up with Goku. As readers or viewers of Dragon Ball, we know that this simply isn’t possible. His life’s purpose becomes to surpass Goku, but to say he can barely keep up would be an understatement. At least he got to go to the Tournament of Power.
27 Toriyama Almost Ended The Series After Demon King Piccolo
The Demon King Piccolo arc is often considered to be the moment Dragon Ball definitively shifts from a martial arts manga with some humor to a bonafide action-drama where characters are in danger and stakes are aggressively high. At the same time, though, this arc could have easily marked the end of the series. Had Toriyama not been allowed to age Goku up, he would have ended the manga here, depriving fans of seven more years of Dragon Ball. While it’s not hard to imagine the series would still be beloved in ending early, it’s hard to imagine it would have gained its worldwide popularity without the likes of Piccolo, Vegeta, and the Super Saiyan transformation. Good thing Toriyama got what he wanted.
26 Roshi Could Have Saved Us A Lot Of Heartbreak In The Saiyan Saga
In an interview with Toriyama near the release of Resurrection F, he revealed that had Roshi kept training, he would have been about as strong as Nappa. In hindsight, this paints an uncomfortable picture of the Saiyan saga. Chaozu, Tien, and Piccolo all ended up casualties due to Nappa’s overwhelming strength. If a fully trained Roshi were there, however, they likely could have survived. The issue with Nappa was just how out of everyone’s league he was. Even if Roshi couldn’t beat him, his presence would have been a great morale booster in the time until Goku’s arrival. Sadly, Roshi wanted to pass the torch onto the next generation, making a future retcon a bit uncomfortable.
25 Tien Will Never Settle Down With Lunch
Lunch, or Launch if you’re only familiar with Funimation’s dub, falls into that same depressing category as Yamcha and Tien where her life’s purpose truly has no ostensive meaning. With her only real goal to settle down with Tien, and Tien’s only real goal to train until he catches up to Goku, there’s no place for Lunch in Tien’s life. While Tien can at least get a bit stronger while trying to match Goku, Lunch gets nothing out of pursuing Tien. They live together for a time, but eventually, Tien runs off to do his own thing, leaving her abandoned and alone. It’s a sad end for a character who, while definitely minor, was at least beloved by fans.
24 The Kienzan Can Cut Anything In Half
Leave it to Krillin to develop the one technique capable of slicing anything, and anyone, in half. The Kienzan, otherwise known as the Destructo Disc, may possibly be the single greatest Ki attack in the series. During the fight against Freeza, Krillin even uses it to slice his tail off. In a more fortunate scenario, Krillin may have even pulled off ending Freeza right then and there. Later in the Buu arc, Goku even uses it to cut Buu in half. It doesn’t fell him, of course, but it does prove that he isn’t impervious.
The Kienzan, otherwise known as the Destructo Disc, may possibly be the single greatest Ki attack in the series.
The only instance where the Kienzan fails is in a filler section during the Cell saga where Krillin tosses one at Perfect Cell and he manages to tank the hit head-on. In the manga canon, there’s no reason to assume the attack wouldn’t work as intended. Cell is still a biological being, after all. As far as Ki attacks are concerned, Krillin’s got one dangerous trump card.
23 Dragon Ball Super Isn’t A Sequel To The Anime
If you’re coming into Dragon Ball from either Dragon Ball Z or Dragon Ball Kai, chances are you’re going to feel a bit of a disconnect coming into the sequel. There’s a good reason for that: Super is a sequel to the manga, not the anime. Tonally, Dragon Ball Super is more in-line with Toriyama’s original run of the series than Toei’s adaptation. The former was fast-paced while the latter was slow; the former had a more complex Goku while the later simplified him; the former put an emphasis on storytelling through action; and the latter tended to create new moments specifically for characterization. More importantly, however, the anime already had a sequel, one that it blatantly lead into it: Dragon Ball GT.
22 The Anime Continuity Ends With GT, And GT Alone
Dragon Ball GT may not be canon for the overall franchise, but it is absolutely canon in the anime’s continuity. From the start of Dragon Ball to the end of Dragon Ball GT, Toei crafted one, continuous story that took 11 years to tell. Dragon Ball’s ending transitions into DBZ, and DBZ’s transitions into GT. There are even previews in the last episode of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z that show off the next anime that would be airing the very next week. Dragon Ball Super can’t be a sequel to the anime, because the anime already has a sequel.
It’s a clear continuation of the anime adaptation.
No matter how poorly told GT’s story is, it’s a clear continuation of the anime adaptation. It doesn’t fit with the manga, but the anime takes a great deal of effort in making the jump from DBZ to DBGT smooth. Is it smooth? Not really considering GT is a sequel to an adaptation that had concluded, but it’s smoother than the jump from DBZ to Super due to the sheer virtue of it being a direct, planned sequel.
21 Ginyu Taking Goku’s Body Saved His Life
Goku gets very lucky on Namek because he’d have no chance defeating Freeza if Ginyu didn’t take his body. The only reason Goku is able to put up as good a fight, and eventually turn Super Saiyan to defeat Freeza, is because of the massive Zenkai he got after Gohan and Krillin trashed Ginyu-Goku. Without that Zenkai, Goku would only be around Ginyu’s level in strength, making Piccolo their best bet in taking on Freeza. Once the latter triggers his final transformation, however, all hope would be lost. It really goes to show just how valuable Zenkais were during this portion of the series.
20 Ultra Instinct Can Reject Goku’s Body
In perhaps Dragon Ball Super’s most unexpected turn, episode 130 ended with Ultra Instinct rejecting Goku’s body entirely, giving Jiren an opportunity to seize victory. After an entire arc of building Ultra Instinct as the universe’s greatest trump card, it betrayed Goku in a moment of critical importance. Had UI run out any time earlier, Freeza and 17 most definitely wouldn’t have been able to rescue Goku, securing a victory for Universe 11. Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see how the franchise plays around with the concept of Ultra Instinct. Goku can’t use it willingly anymore, but it’ll likely pop up again, and with an added risk to using it.
19 Krillin Almost Doomed Everyone On Namek
In an alternate universe where Goku couldn’t convince Krillin to spare Vegeta after their battle, Freeza would have decimated everyone on Namek. The only reason Krillin and Gohan survive as long as they do when they first get to Namek is because Vegeta is running around doing some Freeza Force clean-up. Vegeta takes out Cui, Dodoria, Zarbon, and just about every unnamed soldier on the planet. When the Ginyu Force arrives, he takes out Gurd and stalls long enough for Goku to show up and defeat Reacoom.
Without Vegeta, Gohan and Krillin wouldn’t so much as be able to defeat Cui. They also likely wouldn’t find a chance to locate Guru to have their potential unlocked. Along with defeating Freeza’s fodder, Vegeta also destroys all the scouters on Namek, allowing Gohan and Krillin to fly around at their leisure. Freeza would eventually find all the Dragon Balls and blow up the planet out of frustration once he realizes he can’t make his wish, taking Gohan, Krillin, and Bulma with it.
18 Vegetto Nearly Lost Against Buu
Vegetto’s curb stomp battle with Buuhan is, by far, one of the most cathartic moments in Dragon Ball. Goku and Vegeta have fused, Buu is losing after spending an entire arc dominating the main characters, and Toriyama busts out some of the most creative choreography in the series up to that point. It’s a satisfying transition into the Buu arc’s finale and it’s an immense pleasure to experience whether you’re watching the anime or reading the manga. Unfortunately, Super sours the moment with a retcon.
Since he defuses almost immediately upon entering Buu’s body, this means that he was on the verge of defusing outside.
Thanks to the reveal that non-Kaioshins can only stay fused for an hour with the Potaro, Vegetto not only loses a lot of his narrative weight in the original series, he also nearly loses the fight against Buuhan. Since he defuses almost immediately upon entering Buu’s body, this means that he was on the verge of defusing outside. Had he waited a second longer to be absorbed, Buu would have won the fight, easily defeating Goku and Vegeta.
17 Goku Didn’t Keep His Body In Trunks’ Timeline
One of the biggest misconceptions in Dragon Ball is over what happens to someone afterlife. Perhaps because most fans came into the series with DBZ, fan consensus seems to assume that everyone keeps their body in the afterlife. In actuality, you only get to keep your body if you lived someone pulls strings for you (what Kami does for Goku after the Raditz fight,) or if you’ve done enough good to earn it (sacrificing himself against Cell is what allows Goku to keep his body the second time around.)
Because he passes away due to natural causes and never gets a chance to save the world from Cell, Goku does not keep his body in Trunks’ timeline.
Because he passes away due to natural causes and never gets a chance to save the world from Cell, Goku does not keep his body in Trunks’ timeline. He likely became a soul, was reincarnated, and was erased with the multiverse when Zeno wiped everything out. This explains why Kaio doesn’t simply tells Trunks about New Namek or why Goku never tries to come back to Earth for one day. He can’t. He’s not around.
16 The Tournament Of Power Was The Greatest Trick Of All
In a move that has Toriyama written all over it, the Grand Priest reveals that Zeno had planned to erase all the universes if nobody had used the Tournament of Power wish to revive them. In the moment, this takes a bit of tension away from the tournament as the whole point truly was to ensure the universes deserved to stick around, but it holds up rather well under analysis. By making the tournament a test of character, it’s arguably given more stakes in hindsight. A single selfish wish would have annihilated the multiverse. Considering how many characters wanted their own selfish wish, it certainly paints the entire arc in a different light. Had Freeza remained on stage, for example, his wish would have erased Universe 7 even though they won.
15 Gohan’s Arrogance Is A Massive Liability
Gohan may be one of the most level-headed characters in the franchise, but he’s also prone to moments of extreme arrogance that end up putting the Earth at risk. In both the Cell and Buu sagas, Gohan finds himself with new power that he ultimately squanders out of overconfidence. Against Cell, his arrogance directly causes Goku to need to sacrifice himself to protect the Earth. In the Buu saga, Gohan toys with Super Buu long enough to let him absorb Gotenks. Both times, he could have easily won, but he decided to play with his food. In hindsight, it’s probably for the best Gohan has taken a backseat during Super. He’s a clear liability.
14 Goku Doesn’t Care About Bardock At All
As badly as some fans want Goku and Bardock to finally meet, it’s important to recognize how little Goku cares about his father. In fact, he’s never even asked Vegeta about Bardock. As far as Goku is concerned, Grandpa Gohan is the only father figure he wants or needs. Any relationship between Goku and Bardock comes from a place of misunderstanding Goku’s character. From the start of the Saiyan saga, he goes so far as to reject his heritage. While he comes to terms with it later in the series, it’s never to the point where he would accept his father with open arms. Goku is just too fundamentally different from the average Saiyan who lived on Planet Vegeta.
13 Freeza Is The Most Dangerous Character In The Franchise
No character stands out as tremendously dangerous as Freeza. After training for only four months in Resurrection F, he went from weaker than your average Android to stronger than a Super Saiyan Blue. Through just meditation in Hell, Freeza was able to master his Golden form, removing all stamina issues associated with the form and securing himself a spot on Universe 7’s team. Now that he’s alive and active again, who’s to say he can’t get stronger?
Now that he’s alive and active again, who’s to say he can’t get stronger?
Freeza has something no other villain has had up to this point: discipline. He understands he needs to train and so he does. He certainly has an impatient streak, which will likely keep him in check for the remainder of the series, but his talent for improving in such a short amount of time makes him a threat unlike any other. If he trained in the original series, nobody would have been able to stop him.
12 Jiren Would Have Doomed The Multiverse
With Jiren slated to win the Tournament of Power with a selfish wish in mind, it’s truly a wonderful thing that he ended up losing. No matter how justice oriented Jiren was, he wasn’t justice oriented enough to think to revive all the lost universes. At his core, Jiren was a selfish being who only participated in the tournament for a wish that mattered to him. Compare him to Goku, Vegeta, and 17, who all ended up wanting to revive the other universes. Jiren came close to winning many times, and any of those times would have resulted in an empty multiverse. You got your family back, Jiren, but only to see them erased once again.
11 Butterfly Effect: How Trunks Really Changed The Future
Like Trunks’ erased universe, the butterfly effect caused by his time traveling to the main timeline goes rather unexamined within the story. It’s mentioned offhand, but never really dwelled on. If Trunks is to believed, his presence causes a butterfly effect where Gero builds Android 19; Android 16 is awakened and released; Androids 17 and 18 are more docile but far stronger, and Goku’s heart virus takes far longer to take effect. It’s a strange new series of events considering how similar the two timelines are, but it likely stems from Trunks taking on Freeza himself.
In the original timeline, Goku would have teleported to Freeza and wiped him out before he could do anything damage. Since Goku could feel Trunks’ Ki, however, he held back and decided to let Trunks handle it. At the same time, Trunks panicked over Goku’s lack of appearance and stepped in to fight Freeza himself spurring the timeline into a radically different history.