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  • Obfuscating Stupidity: It's hard to tell what ratio of Roshi is a senile pervert to noble genius martial artist, but it's probably not an even split.
    • Some fans have grown Epileptic Trees on the idea of Mr. Popo secretly being more powerful than most of the cast for most of Z's continuity. Evidence to this conclusion includes the fact that Goku never explicitly overcame him in a fight, and that in the Buu saga he demonstrated the ability to catch Trunks and Goten by the feet while they were both Super Saiyans. It's such theories as this, and the fact that he could easily have defeated Demon King Piccolo, which led to his portrayal in Team Four Star's Dragon Ball Abridged.
      • Mr. Popo fighting Goten and Trunks was filler, at least.
      • Not only that, but he's given a power level of 1039 in supplementary material.
    • The original series features Hiro, an ordinary human who manages to get to the top 8 of the World Martial Arts tournament by sheer clumsiness alone. When he squares off against Yamcha, Yamcha mocks his foolishness...only for Hiro to suddenly punch Yamcha out of the ring. He is just an ordinary guy, yes…but one that Kami possessed at the time to fight Piccolo.
  • Obsolete Mentor: Master Roshi, Korin, Kami... Pretty much all the mentor characters, really.
  • Oddly Common Rarity: Later on in the series, every surviving Saiyan (along with their hybrid offspring) ends up a Super Saiyan. It's even lampshaded:

 Vegeta: [after hearing from Trunks that Goten can also go Super Saiyan] "What is this?! Some kind of Super Saiyan Bargain Sale? When was it that the transformation to the legendary warrior of the Saiyan race was reduced to a child's play thing?"

  • Off-Model: Due to this being a Long Runner, it's bound to happen often.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In the ending for Bio Broly, after Broly's mutilated clone was defeated by Goten, Trunks, and Krillin, Goku learns he has to go to HFIL due to Broly acting up and somehow suppress him, to which he ended up delaying to finish his (presumably huge) meal. The fight's outcome, not to mention the fight itself, is never revealed nor shown, as the movie ends right there.
  • Off the Rails: Dragon Ball Z's Tournament Arc, in which Goku shows up despite being dead, thugs under control of the Big Bad interupt a match to steal Gohan's energy, Trunks and Goten knock out a masked fighter and steal his costume so they can compete, two thirds of the contestants fly away during the first round, and Hercule tries to salvage the tournament by turning it into a battle royale. Then Vegeta blows up a chunk of the stadium.
    • This tends to happen at many tournaments. The third one in Dragon Ball involved the mechanically revived Tao Pi Pi trying to kill off the heroes, Chi Chi and Goku getting engaged after their round of 8 match, Kami coming down and possessing a contestant to get a shot at Piccolo Jr., and a battle between Goku and Piccolo Jr. that, in the end, results in the complete destruction of the entire island that the tournament is held on which, despite the strength of the characters that came through in later tournaments, remains the most destructive tournament battle in the show's history.
      • It's even commented on in the show, where previous to this World Martial Arts tournaments occurred every three years, but the gaps between the next two were 11 and 7 years respectively.
  • Oh Crap: A fair amount. Notable ones include Frieza seeing Goku become a Super Saiyan and Android 17 seeing that Piccolo wasn't firing randomly and was instead setting up an unavoidable attack, though these are by no means all of them.
  • Older Than They Look: Saiyans, in general, age very slowly to fight longer.
  • Old Master: Korin, Shen, Kami, and Roshi. Later on, even Goku himself to Uub.
  • Ominous Walk: Cell does this regularly knowing that his enemies' own fear will make them easier to defeat.
    • Cell's footsteps sound oddly mechanical for a bio-genetic clone.
      • Those sound effects are supposedly claimed to sound "claw-like". Which makes sense with his original, insectoid form... Not so much after he transforms and ends up with normal feet.
      • It could be his boots...
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Nearly every Big Bad, with Kid Buu being the ultimate distillation of the trope.
    • Fully subverted with the prime timeline's #16, #17, and #18.
  • One-Winged Angel: Most Big Bads, often resulting in a Bishonen Line.
  • One-Woman Wail: Happens often with tragedies and deaths.
  • Only the Pure of Heart: The condition for riding the Nimbus or controlling the Spirit Bomb. For the record, the number of people in the show who can do either can be counted on one hand.
    • Although according to dubbing and fanon, Cell can control the Spirit Bomb…
      • Cell actually states this in the manga as well.
      • Most fans jokingly think he gathers not the hopes and dreams of people, but their stupidity, in a concentrated form called "Stupid Energy" from a line he said in the Budokai games and Infinite World:

 Cell: "Okay, planet, give me that stupid energy!"

    • To clarify, the "pure hearted" line regarding the Spirit Bomb (Genki-Dama) was only uttered by Krillin in Movie 3 (Tree of Might). Cell's claim to be able to create the Spirit Bomb is from the manga, too.
      • The anime does establish that only the pure of heart can deflect the Spirit Bomb, which is what Gohan was able to do. So could Kid Buu, but that was more likely because he was pure evil.
    • Baby has his own version of the Spirit Bomb; created by pure hatred.
    • Though it could be argued that being "pure of heart" does not mean you have to be pure good, and Cell was able to make his own Spirit Bomb due to the fact that his heart was pure, only pure evil.
  • "On the Next Episode of..." Catchphrase: The Japanese version of each anime adaptation has Goku start each episode preview with "Osu! Ora Goku!", roughly "Heya! I'm Goku!", while some episodes in the Funimation dub have Goku say, "Hi, this is Goku! Join me on the next episode of Dragon Ball Z..."
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Vegeta's justification for helping Goku, which gradually loses its credibility as their respect for each other strengthens.
    • In the non-canonical movie, Vegeta hilariously shouts "Kakarotto Wa Ore No Mono Da!!" when Android 13 is beating his rival to death, and charges in to protect Goku. The context of this sentence is "Kakaroto is MY PREY hands off him", but "Ore No Mono Da" is usually used by jealous ex-boyfriends to say "belongs to me" (a good English translation is "Kakaroto is MINE").
  • Opt Out: Goku's giving the right to fight Cell to Gohan and also his initial refusal to be resurrected by the Dragon Balls.
  • Opposed Mentors: Master Shen and Master Roshi. The former trains brutual fighters for benefit and the later uses training for personal discipline.
  • The Other Darrin: As explained, doing all those fight scenes really strains the throat. Goku's Super Saiyan 3 transformation had non-stop screaming for the better part of an episode. And a few seiyuu did die by the time Kai aired.
  • Our Gods Are Greater: The Kaio. Interestingly, a lot of the characters are actually stronger than the Kaio, and the highest ranking Kaio has actually already been killed.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Saiyans transform into giant rampaging monkeys when they see the light of a full moon. Cutting off their tails prevents this, but until they reach a certain age, it will grow back.
  • Out of the Inferno: A lot of Big Bads, but Cell is the worst offender...particularly after he achieved perfection.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Krillin is THE poster boy for this, but it applies to just about anyone who isn't a Saiyan.
  • Overtook the Manga: The Garlic Jr. saga and Otherworld Tournament were created as a stopgap before the Trunks and Saiyaman sagas began.
  • Padding: The reason all those battles took so many episodes; Toriyama hadn't written the outcomes in the comics yet.
  • Painful Transformation: Frieza's first and second transformations look and sound excruciatingly painful. Broly's transformation into the Legendary Super Saiyan looks just as painful, mostly because he bursts out of his previous form.
  • Pals with Jesus: Goku [and co. through him] personally knows all the deities, and is stronger than them.
  • Panty Shot: Bulma provides a few of these in early episodes.
  • Pastel-Chalked Freeze-Frame: For particularly tense or dramatic cliffhangers.
  • Perpetual Motion Monster: The Androids Dr. Gero made.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Everyone. ...except Mr. Satan.
  • Pet the Dog: Piccolo took Gohan to train him to fight the Saiyans, but ended up caring about the kid. Fat Buu literally did this with a puppy he found, learning that being nice can be more fun than hurting people.
  • Phosphor Essence: Every character who goes Super Saiyan glows. While other characters can summon a Battle Aura, Super Saiyans are constantly glowing, as indicated by their clothes and skin tone being lighter even when the Battle Aura is off, and the hyper saturation of their hair in the most recent special.
  • Pillar of Light
  • Planet of Copyhats: When the Saiyans are introduced, they have a lot of the traits that Goku has already become known for.
  • Plot Hole: Bojack, an evil space pirate assumed to be on the same level as Cell was sealed away by the four Kaio centuries ago. Now take into consideration that Goku surpassed each of them in strength before the first saga of DBZ was over.
    • After Goku and Vegeta save Gohan, Goten, Piccolo, Trunks, and Fat Buu from Evil Buu's body, he technically should have reverted to his original gray self. Instead, he becomes another Kid Buu, as the original turned into Fat Buu after absorbing God.
  • Pocket Protector: In his first meeting with Mercenary Tao, Goku survives a beam shot that should've killed him thanks to an indestructable Dragon Ball inside of his shirt.
  • Podcast: Daizenshuu EX.
  • Potty Failure: Oolong, Krillin, Trunks and even Bulma pee their pants at different points of the anime. Only Bulma's and Oolong's accidents are present in the manga, and these examples sometimes overlap with Bring My Brown Pants.
  • Pound of Flesh Twist: Freeza's immortality wish is stopped by a language barrier.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: The Super Saiyans.
    • With the exception of Super Saiyan 4, which instead covers the Saiyans' body in a coat of red fur reminiscent to that of an ape.
  • Power Echoes
  • Power Floats: When characters raise their Power Level. Combines with - in order of ascending power - Dramatic Wind, Swirling Dust, Chunky Updraft and finally Psycho Electro.
  • Power High: Piccolo's infamous "Yes! Yes! I feel great! I can do this!" moment when he fuses with Nail. Nail even teases him about it in in The Abridged Series.
  • Power Levels: DBZ, Saiyan Saga to Freeza Saga, after which it was abandoned as the numbers became inceasingly (and exponentially) ridiculous. Toyed with in Buu Saga.
    • By ridiculous, we mean that Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta, who is the strongest, (albeit non-canon) character in the series, has a power level that is easily calculated at above 80 billion! [1]
        • Actually, no. [2] The closest the fans get to this is in the Super Exciting Guide where Vegetto is said to be Goku's power multiplied by Vegeta's, and Potara is said to be "like multiplication". Also, Super Saiyan 4 being a combination of Super Saiyan 3 and Oozaru is pure speculation.
    • Actually it's hard to comprehend just how strong the Vegetto fusion was. He had Super Saiyan 2 and could have easily gone to Super Saiyan 3 from what we've seen with Gotenks, but even in Super Saiyan he claimed Buu wasn't making him use any power at all.
    • A Million Is a Statistic: According to the Daizenshuu guide, the Super Saiyan form when first introduced had a power level of 150,000,000 vs. Frieza's 120,000,000. After that all numbers are just guesswork and become increasingly meaningless in favour of relative strengths. Towards the end of DBZ, Goku was strong enough to wipe the floor with Friza in base form itself. The closest reliable estimate is Supreme Kai talking about the Kaioshins who were at least a thousand times stronger than Frieza, all of whom were left in the dust by Super Saiyan 2 (and obviously, 3). If the web special is to be believed, Goten and Trunks' base power was at least equal to Frieza's level.
    • And speaking of GT, part of it's Canon Dis Continuity is because it's inconsistent to a point where even the concept of relative strengths doesn't seem to make sense.
    • Averted, as any character dependent on power levels alone would be owned.
    • Lampshaded in the web special by none other than Vegeta. In the web special, his younger brother Tarble is introduced, saying that a couple of remnants of Freeza's army followed him back to earth, and that he needs help fighting them. Naturally, Goku immediately obliges, but Tarble uses his scouter on him and reads a hilariously low power level, so the young Saiyan prince politely refuses Goku's help on the grounds of him being "too weak". Cue Vegeta saying that scouters are not reliable measurement for the real power level of a warrior, and Goku demonstrating this by turning Super Saiyan in front of him and making Tarble's scouter literally explode on his face due to overloading.
    • Another point is that towards Buu Saga, the real increase comes from finding new levels and fusion - the lower levels have pretty much ceased growing exponentially. Goku's Super Saiyan form is only marginally stronger than what it was in Cell Saga, and so it isn't of much use compared to Super Saiyan 2 and 3.
    • If we're talking about how unreliable the scouters are, Vegeta lampshades it even earlier (storyline-wise). Take a look at this line during his trouncing of Jeice on the English dub of Kai:

  “Anyone ever tell you you fools put way too much stock in those silly little gadgets!? I think fighting these Earthlings would have taught you that by now!”

  • Power Makes Your Hair Grow: Super. Saiyan. Three.
  • The Power of Friendship: In Dragon Ball Online, Krillin revived the Turtle School with this basis, in order to compensate for the general lack of strength humans have compared to aliens.
  • The Power of Love: Goku and (even more so) Gohan are always able to find a hidden reserve of power to protect the ones he loves.
    • (Or, to put it another way, he's normally powered by this, but hurt the ones he loves and...)
  • Prodigal Hero: Piccolo may count, as he (or rather, his father) had been apart from Namek for years and only comes back when it's targeted by Frieza.
  • Psychoactive Powers: Goku and Gohan both get stronger when those they love are threatened.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Vegeta.
    • Super Buu gets an honorable mention for having a particularly perverted psycho smirk.
    • Trunks, after being possessed by Baby in Dragon Ball GT.
    • Frieza got into these time to time.
  • Public Domain Character: Son Goku and Gyumaoh.
  • Punch Parry: Guaranteed to happen at least once in just about any major fight.
  • Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh: Vegeta and Goku has been on both sides of the punching. Mr. Satan is frequently the puncher when he's around.
  • Punny Name Theme Naming: Just about everyone's name is of the sort, and nearly every family group, alien race or team has theme to it. It's practically Toriyama's trademark.
    • Saiyans are word plays on vegetables: Vegeta, Kakarott (carrot), Brolly (broccoli), Bardock (burdock) and Raditz (radish).
      • Saiyajin--the Japanese name for Saiyans--is a play on "yasai", the Japanese word for "vegetable." Similarly, Tsufurujin ("Tuffles" in the dub) is a play on "furutsu" or "fruits." One of the only Tsufurujin who is named in the source material is called "Dr. Raichi" which is a play on the fruit lychee.
    • Bulma is a corruption of buruma, those panty-shorts schoolgirls from Japan wear in PE classes, which is itself a corruptions of bloomers. Her dad is Dr. Briefs, and her kids are Trunks and Bra/Bulla. Even Krillin lampshades Bulma's name as well in the Funimation dub of Dragon Ball:

 Krillin: It's so nice to see you again, Bloomer.

Bulma: [angry] It's BULMA!

    • Piccolo and all of his minions/spawns are musical instruments: Tambourine, Cymbal, etc. Other Namekians are typically named after words meaning "snail" and "slug", with Namek itself being a shorthand of "namekuji", the Japanese word for "slug".
    • Frieza and all of his relatives were named after things related to the cold, as a pun on how cold-hearted and cruel they all were.
    • Kuririn (Krillin) is a pun on "kurin" ("water chestnut"). His and 18's daughter Marron, as well as his similarly-named buxom filler girlfriend before 18, is named after the French word for "chestnut".
    • Gohan and Videl's daughter Pan is arguably the best example of the whole franchise, drawing influence from Goku, Chi-Chi, Gohan, Mr. Satan, Videl and Piccolo. Goku's saiyan name (Kakarot) is a pun on "carrot". Chi-Chi is Japanese for "milk" or "udder". In Latin America Dubs (where they speak Spanish), the name is literally changed to "Milk" for censorship reasons. Gohan is a homophone for "cooked rice" in Japanese. Videl is an anagram for "Devil" and Mr. Satan has "Satan" in his name. Pan could refer to the Japanese AND Spanish word for Bread (following her paternal side: food) or referring to Pan of Greek Mythology (following her maternal side: mythology). The coup de Grace comes from Piccolo, whose named after the musical instrument. Piccolo was a mentor, father figure, and close friend of Gohan, Pan's father. Pan could thus come from the musical instrument of the PAN flute. For those keeping track, 3 different races of beings (Human, Saiyan, Namekian) and at least 11 people are direct influences to her name. If you include indirect influences, you could almost say half the cast came together JUST TO NAME HER.
    • There are many, many more examples than just the ones above. Not enough room to list them all, and some (like the Ginyu Force) require some Bilingual Bonus to understand.
  • Raise Him Right This Time: After finally being defeated, Kid Buu is reborn as a kind-hearted child named Uub.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: One of the first things to come to mind when remembering the fight scenes in DBZ. If not Trope Namer, Trope Codifier at least, come on.
  • Rated "M" for Manly: Especially in DBZ.
  • Readings Blew Up the Scale: Power-detecting "scouters" would helpfully indicate this to you by exploding off of your face.
    • Somehow, your ear isn't blown off by this event, either.
      • Not if you can deflect shotgun blasts with your bare hands.
    • Just how extreme this can be is in the Frieza saga, when Super Saiyan Goku's power level causes all the sensors as far away as planet #79 to overload, destroying the whole lab complex *and* killing the goons.
  • Reality Warper: Janemba was said to possess powerful psychokinesis and was able to use this ability to almost overthrow the Kais themselves by turning the Otherworld council into small, jellybean like fragments and allowing all of the previous Big Bads to escape from Hell.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Master Karin of Dragon Ball looks like an ordinary house cat (albeit a walking, talking house cat) but is really over 800 years old.
    • Master Roshi (aka Muten Roshi), despite looking in his 70s since the start is actually 300 years old, as is his rival the Crane Hermit and his brother Mercenary Tao. Roshi and Crane are old enough to have been young monks when King Piccolo ravaged the Earth 300 years ago. Garlic and his son Garlic Jr., nemeses to Kami in a Non-Serial Movie and anime filler are also at least 300 years old. And if you think that's astounding, Roshi's older sister Uranai Baba, is 500 years old. In anime Filler, Roshi's turtle celebrates his one thousandth birthday. Mr. Popo has been attendant to every Guardian of Earth (or at least a large number), so he's much, much older.
    • The Nameless Namekian separated into Kami and King Piccolo 300 years ago, having already been about 200 when this happened. Non Serial Movie villain Lord Slug and Namekian elder Guru (who actually does look his age) is also from this time. Oddly enough, prior to remerging with Kami, Piccolo Jr., King Piccolo's reincarnation was about 14 years old (though he had already merged with an older Namekian in the Frieza saga). Namekian merging is... complicated.
    • The Kais are in the millions of years old. The Eastern Supreme Kai killed Bibidi, the creator of Majin Buu, five million years ago, making Bibidi's son Babidi at least that old. Numerous other demons and deities from both the original manga and anime filler are likely at least as old.
      • Old Supreme Kai takes the cake here, as he's ridiculously old even by Kai standards. He actually does look pretty old, but he counts his age a "15 generations". Logically, he'd be talking about Kai generations. Considering that Eastern Supreme Kai has not visibly aged in 5 million years, this would be an unbelievably long time indeed.
  • Redemption Failure: Buu is convinced to stop his rampage by Mr. Satan/Hercule for a time, but his destructive nature breaks free and later takes control once entirely after a criminal shoots his pet puppy and wounds Mr. Satan.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: This relationship exists with Goku playing the red to various other characters, although Vegeta is the best and longest running example. They even have the right colors on their uniforms.
    • And then there's Mez and Goz, an actual pair of a red oni and a blue oni.
    • Mirrored to an extent in their sons, Goten and Trunks.
  • Red Shirt Reporter: The reporters investigating the mysterious disappearance of Ginger Town's inhabitants; they get to suffer the same fate, i.e. being sucked out and absorbed by Cell.
  • Refusing Paradise: After Goku's first death, he chooses to head to be trained under King Kai and eventually return to Earth to fight the Saiyans, despite being all but guaranteed to go to Heaven.
  • Reincarnation: Dragon Ball loves this trope: Piccolo being the reincarnation of Piccolo Sr. and Uub being the reincarnation of Kid Buu. Interestingly, both of them are good guys, are reincarnations of Big Bads (of the Complete Monster variety at that) who had epic fights with Son Goku and both had a "rematch" with him in a Tenka'ichi Budokai.
    • Piccolo Jr. took longer to befriend Goku, because he actually remembered his past life; while never as evil as his previous self, Piccolo Jr. was initially quite ruthless and went through a somewhat prolonged Heel Face Turn (fueled by two Enemy Mine arcs in a row, and Goku's son as a Morality Pet) after his defeat. He also looks the same as Piccolo Sr. because in addition to being his reincarnation, he's also his clone.
  • Reluctant Warrior: Notwithstanding his reluctance to kill, from the Cell Saga onwards, Goku shows a strange reluctance in being Earth's protector and always holds back in all his fights, to the point where he again plays his Idiot Hero card. Instead he put his hopes on Gohan, Goten, Trunks, Piccolo and even Vegeta and it really backfired on him in the Buu Saga.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation: Made and dubbed during this period (and quite possibly the trope codifier for starting the North American Anime craze of the mid-late 90s). One of the hundreds of Anime spawned during this period and one of the several dozen that caught on in America. You can confidently say that this series is one of the main reasons Anime became popular during the 90s outside of Japan.
  • Rise From Your Grave: Justified via the wishes of the Dragon Balls in some episodes in the series. One of them shows Vegeta's gloved hand rising from Namek's dust of his grave for a few moments, and then his fully-resurrected body emerges in wonder.
  • The Rival: Dragon Ball runs on this, after which it gets demoted somewhat for Z.
  • Rival Dojos: Crane School and Turtle School in Dragon Ball.
  • Road Sign Reversal: Bulma was fleeing from General Blue through an abandoned pirate hideout. She came to an intersection and drew an arrow on the ground in dust to tell Goku which way she went, but Blue got to it first and changed it to point the opposite direction.
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors: Who can forget that scene with the Ginyu Force?
    • It's also one of Goku's attack sets, the Janken fist. "Rock" gives a solid punch, "Paper" gives a fierce slap, and "Scissors" gives an eye-poke. Perhaps this is why when fighting a Big Bad, you never "Rock, Paper, Scissors" on who gets to fight him. Ask Vegeta.
    • This is also how Goku, Gohan and Vegeta decide who fights Puipui, Yakon and Dabura in Babidi's ship. Kaioshin about has a coronary watching them.
    • Played for laughs when Goku first introduces Gohan to Master Roshi, Krillin, and Bulma. Gohan plays with a crab, who for obvious reasons can only use "scissors".
  • Rousseau Was Right: The philosophy that defines the entire franchise; easily missed if all you focus on is the (admittedly awesome) action sequences. The warm heart that drives the story celebrates unconditional kindness and faith in fundamental human decency; proven by the fact that virtually ALL of Goku's friends minus Kurilin and Bulma were once black-hearted villains who were shown kindness and hence given the chance to earn their humanity.
    • While not a black-hearted villain, Krillin did have a bit of a mean streak at the beginning of training with Master Roshi in Dragon Ball. As part of Goku and Krillin's training, Master Roshi picked up a rock, drew a Turtle symbol on it, and threw it into the Forest for only one of them to find. Krillin manages to get the rock by tricking Goku in allowing him to "examine" the rock.
  • The Runaways: Androids 17 and 18, starting from when they were human.
  • Sad Battle Music: In Dragonball Z episode 25, Krillin and Gohan fight Nappa to a sad fighting theme. Averted in the Western dub, where it is replaced with a more action-y theme.
  • Scare Chord: a recurring one throughout the series.
  • Schmuck Banquet: Goku eats a giant fish roasting out in the open, unaware that it belongs to Yajirobe.
  • Screaming Warrior: Basically all of them.
  • Sculpted Physique: No, not the chiseled bodies of the protagonists, but the seemingly carved from rock, steel, or plastic looking villains and aliens. ... who also had a set of washboard abs.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Buu is reborn as Uub.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Piccolo was one of these, sealed into a simple electric rice cooker. Buu was also sealed in a veiny-looking ball so that it would be easier for Bibidi to control him and transport him from place to place.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: The elder Kai. Although, the can would be more a sword.
  • Self-Duplication: Piccolo had the power to split himself into several copies, which he used as a training technique. His attempt to use it in combat didn't pan out nearly as well.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Discounting the Non Serial Movies, if Freeza had not taken any steps to avert the prophecy of the Super Saiyans, chances are Vegeta would never have turned against him, and therefore Goku would never have reached that point, and it would never have happened. Nice Job Fixing It, Villain.
    • Taking into account the flashback and the Bardock special, Freeza already seems to have noticed the discontent among the nobles of Vegeta. The final straw was when Bardock, a mere footsoldier, managed to complete a task that even Freeza's elite forces were unable to do. His problems started when he tried to enslave the people of Vegeta, but his genocidal tendencies certainly didn't help matters.
  • Senseless Sacrifice
  • Sensor Character: Early on in Dragon Ball Z, the ability to sense power levels without a scouter or other device is part of what separates the good guys from the bad guys. As the series goes on, more and more people become able to do it on their own.
  • Sentai: The Ginyu Force is an allusion to these kind of shows.
  • Serial Escalation: Take your pick. Mostly the special attacks and transformations.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Future Trunks.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Freeza kills Dende as soon as he realizes Dende is the one who's been healing everybody.
  • Shout-Out: To Disney's Cinderella. Say it with me now, "Bibidi, Babidi, Buu".
    • The scene where King Cold's menions rebuild Freeza is an obvious shout out to The Six Million Dollar Man, right down to the dialogue.
    • Go read Doctor Slump, then re-read Dragon Ball. There's more visual references than one would think. Example: Vegetto gets turned into a talking coffee drop...
    • In the episode where Nappa destroys several news aircraft, one of them is a Shuttlecraft from the Star Trek movies, complete with Warp nacelles, twin-line markings and NCC-1701-A on the side.
    • King Kai has a chimp named Bubbles.
    • The helmet Chichi wears in early in Dragon Ball, with the forehead laser and the throwing blade, seem to have been inspired by the Emerium Beam and Eye Slugger used by the eponymous hero of Ultra Seven.
  • Ship Sinking: Double subverted with Bulma & Yamcha.
  • Signature Move: Several. Cell gets a lot of mileage from using these.
    • Goku: Janken Fist, Kamehameha, and in anime-only things like movies and GT, Dragon Fist.
    • Master Roshi: Kamehameha. He's actually the inventor, it took him fifty years.
    • Yamcha: Wolf Fang Hurricane Fist, Sokidan.
    • Kuririn: Kienzan.
    • Tenshinhan: Kikouhou.
    • Piccolo: Makankosappo.
    • Gohan: Masenko, later Kamehameha.
    • Gotenks: Super Ghost Kamikaze Attack.
  • Single Specimen Species: The Buyon in Muscle Tower back in the early series could resist Goku's Kamehameha unharmed, and no other is ever seen again. Much later on in the series (and curiously also related indirectly to the Red Ribbon army) we get Cell (who does reproduce all by himself, compromising his uniqueness, but that doesn't last long).
  • Sinister Silhouettes: Ginyu Force is seen as this at one point, and one of the earlier opening sequences has Vegeta and Nappa as silhouetttes doing a Power Walk.
  • Slap-On-The-Wrist Nuke: Any major attack in the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai and Budokai Tenkaichi video game series.
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Effectiveness: HIGH. Many examples but notably Freeza annihilating all the Namekians, Dr. Gero succeeding in killing Goku via Perfect Cell, Cell achieved his perfect form and almost destroyed the world and Buu killed almost all of humanity life itself AND did destroy the Earth plus countless other planets.
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Threat: Most of the major Dragon Ball enemies are global threats (except the 22nd Tournament, which slid down to a strictly personal threat). Then the threat level started to crank up from the Freeza saga onward, all the way up to threats to all existence in the Buu saga and Dragon Ball GT.
  • Smug Snake: Raditz.
  • Smug Super: Pick an enemy of the main cast, any enemy.
  • Snake People: The Namekian Dragon.
    • No mention of Princess Snake?
    • Or the Earth Dragon who is even more snake-like than the Namekian one?
  • Snap to the Side: Raditz does this whenever Goku grabs his tail.
    • Happens alot in this show, really.
  • So Last Season: Everything. Attacks, power-ups, warriors, Big Bads, everything. It gets to the point were if something was used last season, you can be sure that it's not going to have any real impact now. In particular, the Spirit Bomb went totally unmentioned after it failed to kill Freeza, so when Vegeta suggested using it against Kid Buu, Goku was visibly shocked at the suggestion.
    • The most notable subversion of this, however, is likely the Taiyou-ken/Solar Flare. It maintains incredible utility far past its original inception back in Dragon Ball, serving as the only form of effective defense against higher level foes. It's even later used by Cell against the heroes themselves to useful effect.
    • May be interpreted as a running theme of the series. Which is that there is no ultimate power, invincible warrior, supreme skill, unbeatable technique, etc. No matter how mighty you are or think you are, someone, somewhere, sometime (possibly even you yourself in the future) will either be or become, better. The pinnacle of Badass of each saga is either directly or indirectly turned into a running joke in the next. This includes the Super Saiyan transformation itself, which goes from legendary uber power-up enabled only by appalling cost, to something schoolkids do for fun.
    • Lampshaded in one of the OVA's. "They are as strong as Freeza you say? Aww, that's boring. But perfect for the kids!" Who are under 10 at this point.
    • This is especially true for each of Vegeta's finishers, of all things. He used his Galick Gun once against Goku, then never again. He used his Big Bang once against Android #19. Not counting anime filler where he uses it against a Cell Junior and against Goku during their second fight, he uses his Final Flash once against Perfect Cell.
  • The Something Force: The Ginyu Force.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Both during the sagas and throughout the entire series.
    • Subverted with Babidi's Elite Mooks who were defeated so easily by the heroes it even shocked the King of All Cosmos. If anything, they were slightly mightier than the Big Bad of two seasons prior. Even The Dragon was just as strong as last season's Big Bad at full strength.
      • It should be noted that said dragon, Dabura, is NOT defeated so least when he fights Gohan.
        • Although he would have been, had Gohan actually trained for more than a few months before the World Tournament. Or transformed to Super Saiyan 2. Which he should've been able to do regardless of having his power drained and incompletely restored.
    • Subverted in the Red Ribbon Army Saga. After Goku kicks the grenade into Tao Pai Pai's face, he just mows through an entire army, shrugging off a direct hit from a sniper rifle. Staff Officer Black's powered armour is actually less of a challenge than the ruthless assassin Tao.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The romanizations of many characters' name tend to vary between Japanese media. Even the English adaptation of the manga and anime can't seen to agree on which spelling to use.
  • Spheroid Dropship: Frieza's Saiyan Pods are of the sufficiently advanced variety that has interstellar capability.
  • Spinoff Babies: Although its anything but this, the original Dragon Ball was both advertised and came off as this to American viewers due to Z being localized first.
    • A more straight example may be GT, which turned Goku back into a kid and pushed his granddaughter Pan to the forefront.
  • Spirited Competitor: Goku. Cell acts like one, but that changes when he starts to lose.
    • Majin Buu is an incredibly spirited competitor. He's like Goku in many ways.
      • Except, again, when he starts to lose.
  • Split Personality Merge
  • Spoiler Title: Pretty much every episode of the English dub of Z had this problem. Particularly bad are when the title of the episode reveals the death of a character.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: Krillin's signature attack (though many of the other Z-Warriors can do it too) is the Destructo Disk; a concentrated disk of Ki energy thinned to a razor sharp tip. Frieza and Cell also have a remote-controlled variation.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Launch on Tien.
  • Stat-O-Vision: Scouters.
  • Stealth Based Mission: Thoroughly outnumbered by aliens individually stronger than they are, quite a large part of the Freeza arc ends up being this for Krillin and Gohan.
  • This is averted briefly when they attack Dodoria in front of Frieza and Zarbon. Of course, they're only strong enough to lightly injure him, and it lapses back into this again.
    • They were seriously lucky Vegeta was providing a handy distraction by killing Freeza's Dragons and Mooks; Gohan and Krillin go almost entirely unnoticed by Freeza until the Ginyu Force arrives. Of course, this meant they had to hide from Vegeta too.
  • Storming the Castle: Goku did this against the Red Ribbon Army at their headquarters. By himself. At age 13. And won.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Bulma uses this for snark value when complaining about how recklessly endangering her companions are.
  • Super Mode: Super Modes to be precise. Super Saiyan, then 2, 3 and 4. Not counting False Super Saiyan, Legendary Super Saiyan and the 2 Ultra Super Saiyan levels.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: One of the most infamous examples.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: The kind-hearted and sweet Son Gohan becoming bloodthirsty and sadistic when he fought Cell as a Super Saiyan 2.
    • Goku, to a lesser extent when first transforming into a Super Saiyan.
    • Technically Majin Buu fits this trope, as he physically splits into his good and evil halves, followed by the evil side demonstrating its superiority quite easily and then taking control of the entire body.
      • In the same vein, we have the Nameless Namekian splitting into Piccolo Sr. and Kami in Dragon Ball's backstory.
    • Majin Vegeta is a subversion. Vegeta is Not Brainwashed and is no different with the powerup than he would be otherwise.
  • Super Empowering
  • Superpower Meltdown: Chiaotzu, Android 16 and 18, and Cell.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: This line from Freeza.

  "The blood of the Saiyans must be completely cut off. Not because I believe in ridiculous legends, such as the Super Saiyan, history's greatest warrior, but because I do not feel well with them around."

  • Sweet Tooth: Majin Buu. Even the Saiyans can't nearly rival him as a Big Eater.
    • 3 quarters of the world population is turned into candy! He keeps the earth intact so that he can devour sweets on every shop in the planet. And it even unlocks deeper levels of his power!
  • Tainted Veins: Babidi's henchmen.
  • Taken for Granite: Dabura's spit turns people into stone, which Piccolo and Krillin became until he was killed.
    • Vegeta became a statue after sacrificing his life to generate a massive explosion in an attempt to kill Buu.
  • Taking the Bullet: Goku once took an anti-tank rocket for Ox King and Chichi. With his face. He didn't even flinch.
    • Closer to the trope, Piccolo take the Ki blast from Nappa to save Gohan during the Sayan saga.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: When all the Saiyans at that point couldn't save the Earth, Mr. Satan stopped Majin Buu from turning it into a lifeless mudball doing this.
  • Tame His Anger: Tienshinhan, Piccolo and Vegeta. In fact, most villains that become good later on.
  • Tangled Family Tree: Due to equal parts intermarriage, fusion, time travel, cloning and absorption.
  • Taught By Experience
  • Team Dad: Trunks to Pan, Goku, and Gill/Giru in the first half of GT.
    • You could make an argument for Master Roshi (Kamesennin) in Dragon Ball through about the Saiyan saga for DBZ being the team dad/grandpa.
    • Another good argument can be made for Piccolo, as he often acts as both the father figure and mentor for several of the younger members, as well as the voice of reason.
  • Tears of Remorse
  • Temporal Paradox: Trunks's and Cell's time-traveling shenanigans results in quite the merry-go-round. Made weirder by the discovery that his time machine actually goes into another timeline instead of its own. On the plus side, it avoids the usual Mind Screw.
    • Episode of Bardock has Bardock go back in time to Planet Plant before it was inhabited by Vegeta. It turns out that Chilled, one of Freeza's ancestors, comes to the planet with a scouting force. When Bardock fights him he becomes a Super Saiyan and totally whoops his ass. This means that Chilled was the one who created and passed down the legend of the Super Saiyan, and that Bardock is the legendary Super Saiyan from 1000 years ago that Freeza and Vegeta are always talking about. Given this new context, Goku being the next Super Saiyan (or at least the one who will defeat Frieza) is completely logical.
      • Actually, the original Super Saiyan whose legend the Saiyans passed down through their generations isn't Bardock, but another Saiyan whose power in fact destroyed their original homeworld, which led to their coming to Planet Plant.
    • Temporal Mutability: The "branching timelines" version, of which there are at least three: one for the main characters, one for Future Trunks, and one for Cell (the one who gets the most screentime), which is why destroying timeline 1's larval Cell does nothing to him and Trunks can't prevent the Androids from existing in his reality. On the bright side, he gets strong enough to take them apart when he returns, along with his timeline's Cell.
      • According to one of the guide books and fan speculation, there logically has to be a fourth timeline in existence: the one that the Trunks who was killed by Cell visited. In other words, a timeline that received Trunks' warning of the androids, but was not attacked by Cell.
  • Theme Naming: * Dragon Ball combines this trope with A Worldwide Punomenon. For instance, the names of Saiyans are all puns on vegetables. Vegeta = vegetable, Raditz = Radish, Nappa = a type of cabbage, Kakarotto = carrot, and Broly = broccoli.
    • Namekian names are based on snails (e.g. Nails, Dende) or musical instruments (Piccolo Daimao and every one of his children).
    • Every single member of the Briefs family is named after a type of undergarment; Bulma (bloomers), Bra, Briefs, and Trunks.
    • The Ginyu Force are all dairy-based (e.g. BUTTAH! JEEZE!)
    • Frieza's family has a cold motif; Frieza = Freezer, Coola = Cooler, Chiller, and King Cold
      • Additionally, all of Frieza's minions (the Saiyans as vegetables, other aliens as fruits, and the Ginyu force as milk products) are named after things you would keep in a refrigerator, or perhaps freezer.
    • The Non Human Sidekicks are varieties of tea (Puar/Pu-erh, Oolong).
    • There are several dimsum-related puns in the original Dragonball series (e.g. Yamcha/Yamucha, Shao and Mai).
    • Chow, Mein, and Pilaf from the original Dragonball series.
      • The English translation managed to take the pun further, by saying their goal was to bring about the "Reich Pilaf".
    • The tiny character Jiao Zi or Chow Tsu- is Chinese for Gyouza which are Pot-Stickers.
      • A DBZ magazine once wrote an article stating that the creator admitted that this had more to do with his being uncreative with names than trying to be funny.
    • Just "Saiyans are usually puns of vegetables"? Saiya is yasai (野菜 やさい) backwards. Which means vegetable. I'm just saiyan.
      • I'm Gohan to kill you for that.
      • Double that with Vegeta and Tarble, which makes up Vegetable.
      • Also: the Tsufuru, the race Baby belongs to, are a pun on "furutsu" or the Japanese pronunciation for "fruits".
      • GOHAN (to eat or rice), since his father loves eating more than anything else (especially rice).
    • Let's not forget Bibidi, Babidy and Buu!
    • Best of all, however, is Pan. Her name is a pun on pan, the Japanese word for bread (fitting, since almost every character has a food reference in their names), but also on the Greek god Pan, whose devilish appearance fits with the demonic theme naming of her family (grandfather Mr. Satan and mother Videl, which is an anagram of "devil"). Phew!
    • The most startling name of all is Chi-Chi. It's not the Japanese meaning that makes this one stand out, but the Spanish translation: it literally means "BOOBS."
    • Then there's the Garlic Jr. arc with Garlic Jr. and the Spice Boys.
  • Third Eye: Tien.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: One of the movies has Goten and Trunks fighting Hitler and an army of zombified Nazis.
  • Time Skip: Several. Roughly 30 years passed from start to finish.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential
  • Time Travel: The modus operandi of the Cell saga. Arguably Timey-Wimey Ball too.
  • Training From Hell: They keep trying to find ways to top themselves, beginning with weighted clothing and continuing to rooms that can simulate 450 times normal gravity and beyond.
  • Tranquil Fury: Numerous examples, but most notable is Goku as the first Super Saiyan who doesn't destroy himself in murderous, unbound rage (though he did take a couple minutes to torment and terrorize Frieza before offering to leave peacefully). Gohan's fight with Cell is similar, though it treads closer to Gohan becoming uncharacteristically sadistic before he regains his composure.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Literally every time someone charges up, the most that is done about it is stand around and comment on how their power level is going up. At least once, Vegeta waits around for a perfectly killable enemy to power up fully just so he could have a more interesting fight. It doesn't end well.
    • Subverted yet also played straight at the same time only once when Trunks attacks Cell while Cell transforms into his Perfect Form. It doesn't even work.
  • Token Evil Teammate: First Piccolo, then Vegeta after Piccolo mellows out.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Mr. Satan is literally the champion of averting this trope. Even with the amounts of comic relief pain he suffers (slapped by Cell, being blown away by the Kung Fu Sonic Booms of the Saiyans fighting the Big Bad complete rocks smacking his face, harming himself when jumping off a cliff of the homeworld of the Kaioshin, after believing it's all his dream, and still afterwards etc.), he ironically is the only non-afterlife-resident member of the cast who didn't die ever.
    • The fact that he even tried to fight Cell in the first place is proof of this, since less than a week earlier Cell had inflicted a One-Hit Kill on the most powerful battalion in the army on live radio, and during his doomsday broadcast had disintegrated a mountain. Even after Cell smacks him into a mountain Mr. Satan continues to believe that he is the only person capable of beating him.
    • Freeza twice barely survives a battle with a Super Saiyan, the first time due to a mercy act, and the second due to an Ass Pull miracle. Both times, he deliberately returns for more.
    • In a more literal example, Bulma's mother, who does not understand the concept of swiftness in a life-or-death situation. For example, upon hearing that West City is going to be destroyed, she decides that she MUST find just the right dress for the occasion instead of packing up to flee the city.
  • Three-Point Landing: Almost everybody does this when falling, except when they fall flat to the door.
  • Took a Level In Jerkass: Vegeta finally settles on "good guy" and shows no signs of wanting to go back to a villain, until Majin Buu shows up.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Done by Goten and Trunks to enter an adults-only tournament in Dragon Ball Z. And the best part is, they are competent at fighting in tandem like that, only stopping at #18, who blows their ruse in the semifinals.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: How Super Saiyan is achieved.
  • Trope Codifier: Many of the tropes common to the Fighting Series genre were codified by Dragon Ball.
  • Troubled but Cute: 20 years of fleeing for your life from two homicidal androids has left Future Trunks emotionally scarred (and serious).
    • Future Bulma too.
  • True Companions: Goku, Krillin, Bulma, Yamcha, Master Roshi, Ooling, Puar, Turtle, and then any kids any of them might have. Other characters, like Tien, Piccolo and Vegeta, might become something like friends with the rest but aren't usually seen hanging out with the others.
  • Tsundere: Videl to Gohan. Gohan mentions it to Bulma in a conversation but what makes it less clear is Videl's status as an Action Girl. As Gohan mentions, she has no interest in romance. If you need any more proof, pay attention to the close-ups of here face when Gohan is teaching her how to fly.
    • Think Videl is bad? Bulma and Chi-Chi are even worse.
  • T-Word Euphemism: Lord Pilaf's minions and the English localisers on the "K-word".
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Krillin and Android 18.
  • Ultimate Lifeform: Cell.
  • The Unexpected: The videogames are featuring more and more of these, particularly Sparking Meteor / Budokai Tenkaichi 3.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Bulma.
  • Unskilled but Strong: Some Z villains, most notably Freeza, who had innately high levels of Ki, but zero knowledge in how to control it.
    • Basically, everybody in Freeza's empire. Since Scouters are completely useless against somebody who knows how to control his Ki, Freeza and his minions probably never encountered people who could do it before they came to Earth. Interestingly, this would include Nappa and Vegeta.
      • And then Vegeta would become one of the guys showing them the error of their ways. After turning on them, of course.
    • This trope actually causes wonder at how so many fans are still hung up on whatever power level numbers somebody says they picked up from a doujin or something.
    • This was Captain Ginyu's downfall when he switched bodies with Goku. With Goku's body, he had strength available to potentially become the strongest being on Namek, but he had no knowledge of how to use Goku's techniques, such as the Kaio-ken, so he turned out to be unable to use any of that power.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Gohan, and the other Saiyans at times also.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight
    • Subverted and then immediately played straight when the Dragon is summoned at Capsule Corp. Everybody else in the city freaks out... until they learn it's from Capsule Corp. and assume it's just another experiment, continuing with their lives.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Raditz pulls this out on Goku after being grabbed by his weak point. After Goku lets him go, however, he hits him in the stomach and Goku has to sacrifice his life to defeat him. Later, when Freezer begs SSJ Goku for some energy after being sliced in two by his own attack, Goku complies once again but not before calling out Freezer on how many people had probably begged him some mercy and he hadn't given them any. Freezer, of course, then uses the energy for one last ditch attack but Goku just blasts him off.
  • Voice of the Legion: Fused characters.
    • Averted in the Italian dub, that makes fused characters speak with the voice of the most popular character in their fusion (Gogeta and Vegeth speak with Goku's voice; Gotenks speaks with Trunks's voice).
  • Walking the Earth: what Mr. Satan was reduced to when Majin Buu killed off the human race.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: Master Roshi battles his pupils in the Tenkaichi tournament under the guise of Jackie Chun. He believes that Victory Is Boring, so he tries to prevent them from winning so that they'll always strive to become stronger rather than rest on their laurels.
  • Wasteful Wishing: Subverted. Oolong's wish for panties was a waste, but wasting the wish prevented Pilaf's rise to power.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: For Goku and Raditz, grabbing their tails rendered them instantly powerless. Goku, however, was able to overcome this weakness through training, which Krillin found out the hard way.
    • Apparently, as the Z-Fighters found out firsthand when they tried grabbing Nappa's tail, elite Saiyans like Vegeta and Nappa either straight averted that weakness from birth or were able to subvert it through training themselves before we even saw them in the series.
    • In each of their respective Non-Serial Movie appearances, the embodiments of evil Hirudegarn and Janemba become defenseless when enraged/insulted.
  • We Are Team Cannon Fodder: All the same reasons for Can't Catch Up. At one point every main character besides the Saiyans attack the Big Bad while he is preoccupied with dueling Kamehameha waves. And he just shrugs them off.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Future Trunks is constantly looking for Vegeta's approval. It isn't until Cell kills him that Vegeta realizes how important his son is to him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: For Launch. Handwaved at the start of Z and never brought up again.
    • Ginyu as well...yes, 'he' shows up again, but what about his body?
      • I think it appears in one of the filler episodes, having been teleported along with everyone else from Namek. It still acted like a frog.
  • What Is This, X?: In the Funimation dub of Dragon Ball, in one episode, when Bulma gets surprised that she has to wear a Playboy Bunny costume: "What is this, Easter Bunny?!"
  • "What the Hell?" Dad: Surprisingly, Goku, of all people. He doesn't have a job, doesn't bring any money in even when he could have entered the World Martial Arts Tournament and won plenty easily, he barely keeps in contact with his friends, and chose to spend a year in space away from his family after only being home for a month from his previous year-long absence. He also decides to stay dead after the fight with Cell in order to keep enemies from coming to Earth, even though he had to know by a certain point that Chi Chi was pregnant. Then again, he may not have been keeping a close eye on them after all.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Piccolo delivers this to Goku when the latter sends his 11-year old son (9 in the manga) to fight Cell without helping him.
    • While never explicitly stated, the looks of Goku's friends' faces said it all when Goku gave Cell a Senzu bean right before Gohan fought him.
    • Funnily enough, Goku delivers it to aforementioned son (after Gohan becomes his Super-Powered Evil Side) when Gohan refuses to finish Cell off.
    • Vegeta letting Cell reach his Perfect form and letting Babadi turn him into Majin Vegeta are more egregious examples.
      • He even explains why he did it in the latter case. He also tries to throw off his responsibilities to his family, but Goku does not buy his excuse and decks him.
    • Vegeta later pulls a What the Hell, Hero? on Goku twice after his second death: The first was when he learned about Goku's SSJ 3 transformation, and was bitter because not only did this mean Goku held out on him during their fight, but had Goku revealed his SSJ 3 to him, Vegeta would not have had to resort to the Heroic Sacrifice / Redemption Equals Death method in his failed attempt to stop Majin Buu. The second time was when he learns that while Vegeta was still in the afterlife, Goku, in exchange for Old Kai having Gohan unlock his full potential so he could defeat Buu, offered for Old Kai to either grope, kiss, or have nude pictures of Bulma, resorting to a severe (albeit somewhat comical) tongue lashing from Vegeta.
    • And a little before that, Vegeta yells at Goku again for escaping from the exploding Earth without taking the unconscious Gohan, Goten, Trunks, and Piccolo with them, essentially leaving their kids to die.
  • When You Snatch the Pebble: Goku goes to Karin's Tower to drink the Super Spirit Water, which he hears will make him much stronger. Actually getting the bottle of water from Karin, however, is a daunting task because of Karin's swiftness. When Goku finally does get the bottle, he is told that it contains just ordinary water--his attempts to take the water were what increased his strength.
    • Goku tries to be a little sly about this, however, and tries to drink a bit of the water while Korin's asleep. He decides against it. Turns out to be a Secret Test of Character.
    • Wax On, Wax Off: Both this and the above trope come back again during the King Kai arc of Goku's training, where he's told to first catch Bubbles, a monkey, and whack Gregory with a mallet. Sounds simple enough, considering Goku is an alien with super speed. King Kai, however, conveniently forgot to mention that his planet's gravity is 10 times that of Earth, which means even taking a step took tremendous effort on Goku's part, but not for Bubbles or Gregory, who have lived on the planet for so long the latter can fly at subsonic speeds!
  • Willfully Weak: The trope's page has all the examples.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Many examples. The Giant Ape Transformation turns anyone however pure into...well a complete beast.
    • Broly. Big Time (although in his case, his great insanity was more related to his traumatic past than to his actual power)! Baby Vegeta in DBGT is a more straight example, as upon gaining the Golden Ape form, he progressively gets worse in terms of his mental and emotional stability.
    • Partially with any Super Saiyan or Super Saiyan 2 in the beginning. They struggle to keep ruthless aggression down and are not so nice anymore.
    • Kid Buu's ridiculous power is only rivaled (and actually augmented) by his utter insanity.
    • Frieza would lose his rational thinking and grip on reality the more he powered up. This was one reason why he chooses to stay in his weaker forms.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Gohan.
    • Vegeta was also heavily implied to be Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. In the former's case, he had to be taken by Frieza, one of the universe's most evil characters from his father, King Vegeta, when he was a little boy in what was heavily implied to be a deal Frieza forced upon him. Then, Vegeta is forced to obey Frieza's commands or else he would murder his dad, and despite this, Frieza killed him anyways, and then committed genocide against his own people, and even afterwards he was treated by a slave by Frieza and his henchman, especially Frieza and Zarbon. When Goku learns of these details when Vegeta was dying from Frieza puncturing his hear with a death beam, even Goku took pity on him.
    • Broly is another case. It is heavily implied in his debut film that Broly barely even had a chance to be anything else, as other than Goku's crying next to him, he also ended up being nearly executed by King Vegeta for no reason other than simply because King Vegeta feared Broly's power level of 10,000, a high power level especially for his age. Then he narrowly survived Planet Vegeta's destruction at the hands of Frieza (his powers were literally the only reason he and his dad even survived Vegeta's destruction), and if Shin Budokai is anything to go by, it is also heavily implied that Frieza's destruction of Planet Vegeta contributed a LOT to Broly's Ax Crazy nature, and he later ends up being brainwashed by his own father.
  • The Worf Barrage: The Kamehameha was the ultimate energy technique in Dragon Ball and it always did some damage even if it was only Clothing Damage. Raditz negating the attack full out was a sign of things to come. And the Spirit Bomb is only a finishing move once in the whole series.
    • The Kamehameha was shown to be still be fairly powerful throughout the series while the Sprit Bomb thing was somewhat averted in the non canonical movies where it was used no less than 3 times to kill the big bad in the films.
    • Besides, the true finishing occasion in the series with the Spirit Bomb? The last Big Bad. (This applies to GT as well.)
  • World of Cardboard Speech: Several. Goku's declaration that he has turned into the feared Super Saiyan to Freeza, and later verbally shreds him talking about how he was bested by "a monkey." Vegeta also got a few in the Majin Buu saga, one right before he kills himself to defeat Buu. Some time later he acknowledges that he will never fully surpass Goku, but that realization is what leads to the solution to finally stop Buu.
  • World of Badass: One of the biggest ever!
  • Wuxia: The anime adaptation lovingly pays homage to the conventions of the Classic Shaw Brothers Kung-Fu films of the 60's, in lighting, movement, costume design and especially the sublime musical score by Kikuichi Shunsuke.
  • X Meets Y: The francise started as "Journey to the West" meets "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
  • Yellow Brick Road: The Snake Way, sort of.
  • You Are Already Dead: In the seventh movie Future Trunks battles Android 14, their fight comes to an end when their blows collide with Trunks using his sword, Android 14 comes out seemingly unscathed he runs out at Trunks and his body splits in half just before he reaches him.
  • You Are Number Six: Androids.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Vegetto was a master of this. And then he got turned into a jawbreaker. And continued.
    • For the minority who don't know: This is literally true. Vegetto is turned into a small ball of hardened sugar. That kicks ass. And throws insults. Yes.

  Vegetto: "I'm not any ordinary candy. I'm a jawbreaker, the strongest piece of candy there is!"

    • Lots of it between SSJ 2 Goku and Majin Vegeta's epic battle.

 Vegeta: "You've become quite the escape artiste."

Goku: "Maybe you should work on some better finishing moves."

    • Special mention goes to Frieza whose declarations run on the lines of "You fight like a stupid monkey."
  • You Fool!: Goku yells this at Frieza just before finishing him off with an energy wave when he refuses to give up the fight. This was Frieza's second Backstab Backfire, after Goku had both invoked Cruel Mercy and then saved Frieza's life after he cut himself in half.
    • In the video games, Android 17 yells this during guard counter attacks.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Bulma and Trunks (light purple, in his case).
  • You Leave Him Alone: When Son Gohan tells you to do this, you better damn well stop beating his loved ones... otherwise...
  • You Talk Too Much: Piccolo to Raditz.
    • Even Android 18 remarks this to Vegeta.

 Android 18: "He talks too much."

Vegeta: "What was that?!"

  1. To clarify, Frieza's second form is stated to have a power level of over 1,000,000 and is weaker than Goku's base. Super Saiyan 4 is a combination of SS 3(x400) and the Oozaru(x10). The fusion dance is stated to increase your power to ten times the fighters' power combined. Even if Vegeta had only barely managed to match Goku's base power from Namek, this puts it at 2 million times ten (fusion, 20 million), times ten (Oozaru, 200 million), times four hundred (SS 3, 80 billion). And of course, this is disregarding any increases in power levels between the Namek and the Buu sagas (when fusion was first introduced).
  2. Fusion was never stated anywhere to be a multiplication of 10 times the combined power of the fighters; that's just a common, yet baseless, theory fans use (along with it being 50x).