Dragon Ball/Tropes E to N

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  • Earthshattering Kaboom: Happened to Planet Vegeta, Planet Namek... and even Planet Earth itself (twice if you include GT).
  • Easily Forgiven: Goku toward villains, over and over again. If Goku ever says he "won't forgive" someone or that there'll be "no mercy" for that person, don't believe him; he's lying.
    • Generally, forgiveness comes after he has given said villain a massive beatdown, or if the villain has been Hoist by His Own Petard, like with Frieza vivisecting himself.
  • Edible Smelling Salts: In the first Tournament Arc, Master Roshi hypnotizes Goku to sleep, mainly as a desperate move on his part. Later, the old master claims there's no stimulus to wake up the sleeping Goku. Bulma realizes there is a way, the only way, it's to announce that it's dinnertime. Goku instantly wakes up.
  • Education Mama: Chi-Chi.
    • To the point that she will insist that Gohan stay at home and study even if the fate of the world depends on it.
      • She gave up with Goten, and trained him personally until he became a Super Saiyan.
  • Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: General Blue, who is some sort of gay Aryan superman.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: The Ginyu Force, named after Captain Ginyu.
  • Egopolis:
    • Satan City is named after Mr. Satan following his courageous defeat of Cell. He's not actually in charge, but he does have a large influence.
    • Also deserving of mention is Planet Vegeta, which was renamed after the royal line of the Saiyans' king[1] after they defeated the Tuffles.
  • Emergency Energy Tank: Senzu beans, which instantly restore physical energy to 100%, as well as instantly heal injuries (as shown when eating a bean put Vegeta's arm back in place after it was dislocated by a kick from Android 18).
  • Endless Daytime: the planet Namek had multiple suns shining on it from all sides, keeping it in perpetual daylight.
  • Enemy Mine: Just about all the villains who eventually switched sides.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Trunks
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Kame Sen'nin/Muten Roushi, Tsuru Sen'nin, Baba Uranai, Kami.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Papas: Frieza, surprisingly.
    • Although with Frieza, it may be just because his father King Cold saved him from floating endlessly in space and gave him a new body.
  • Evil Duo / Friendly Enemies: Androids 17 and 18 to the Z-Fighters. Seeing as how they don't kill anyone in the main timeline, they aren't really all that bad; they simply want to find and destroy Goku because it would be fun.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: A running theme with the names in Frieza's family: Lord Frieza/Freeza, King Cold, Cooler...
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Pilaf releasing Piccolo Sr.
  • Evil Laugh: Garlic Jr. engages in this a fair bit, as do the evil incarnations of Majin Buu.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Freezer vs Vegeta and Bardock.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Either a ki-blast is in Japanese or it is this. Sometimes it's Played for Laughs. Other times, it's not. Example -- Super Buu's "Human Extinction Attack".
    • Tien Shinhan's "Volleyball Technique." He hits his opponent into the air like a volleyball. Lampshaded by the announcer.
  • Executive Meddling: The entire Android and Cell arc is the result of Toriyama's former editor, Torishima, not liking the character designs of the villains.
  • Explosion Propulsion
  • Expy: Master Roshi is an expy of God from Dr. Slump (not to be confused with Dragon Ball's Kami-sama), at least in appearance. (He frequently acts more like Senbei Norimaki, though.)
  • Extreme Omnivore: Yajirobe, who eats Cymbal after defeating him.
    • ImAHumanitarian And briefly considered eating a (presumably) dead Goku before deciding he would probably taste bad.
  • Eyedscreen: When Trunks falls.
    • When Trunks dies.
  • Eyelid-Pull Taunt: Kid Goku does this to "Jackie Chun" during their match.
  • Eye Lights Out
  • Eye Scream: Ironically, Goku in the early series gave this to Yamcha using his Jan Ken Fist (otherwise known as "Rock, Paper, Scissors Attack") Goku delivers a "Rock" (a punch), which Yamcha blocks, delivers the "Scissors" (eye poke) to his eyes, then finished it off with "Paper" (a slap) that knocked him away.
    • Vegeta is hit by a blast to his right eye as an ape.
    • Earlier than that, Goku did it during his fight with Piccolo Jr when the latter grew gargantuan. For a guy who's pure of heart, Goku really likes being a dick and hitting people in the eyes.
  • Face Fault: During the Other World Tournament mini-arc, an entire stadium of people execute a Mexican Face Fault!
  • Fakeout Escape: Vegeta is imprisoned inside a healing tank on Frieza's ship. When he breaks out of the healing tank, it alerts the guards. So he blasts a hole through the wall to them think he has escaped the ship; while Frieza's henchmen are searching for him outside the ship, he takes the opportunity to go steal some dragon balls and then escape.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Mr. Satan or "Hercule".
    • Though to his credit, he is a kind-hearted and caring person who genuinely wants to help people.
    • While he's nothing compared to the Z fighters, his strength and martial arts skills are nothing to scoff at; most normal humans couldn't come close to his strength.
    • And he was responsible for helping Goku power up his final Genki-Dama against Buu by convincing the people of earth to lend him their ki. Goku even declared him worthy of his "World Champion" title.
  • Fan Disservice: Early on, Goku got a full-frontal nudity shot in every volume... and he was only a kid.
    • In some parts of the world child nudity (or even adult nudity) isn't as big a deal as it is in the U.S. Kids, especially boys, aren't considered sexual beings, and they are free to run around naked until they decide on their own they're too old to have no sense of shame whatsoever. Child nudity is often played for laughs, but it can also highlight the innocence and the purity of the nude child, which in Goku's case is actually true.
  • Fan Service: To defeat an invisible man, Krillin removes Bulma's shirt in front of Master Roshi (and the audience), giving him a colossal Nosebleed that reveals the invisible man.
    • In the manga Bulma's breasts are shown completely exposed in some scenes.
  • Fantastic Racism: Freeza's fear-driven extermination of "the Saiyan-monkeys." The Saiyans themselves were, as a rule, disdainful of anyone who isn't a Saiyan.
  • Fantastic Voyage Plot: Vegito gets absorbed by Buu and looks around his insides for Gohan, Piccolo and Gotenks (now defused as Goten and Trunks). They also find the Fat Buu.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Garlic Jr. from the anime continuity is one of the few villains who actually got his wish for eternal life... except soon after, he fell into the Dead Zone. Twice.
  • Fiction 500: Bulma's family, due to them owning Capsule Corp.
  • Filler: DBZ is one of the most notorious of all anime series for this, including not just adding extra arcs, but stretching out battles because the manga hadn't concluded them yet. And we mean stretching them out.
    • Here's a good example. Frieza Saga. Namek's Destruction. Five minutes to go. Five Episodes later - "...Two more minutes!..." Two Episodes later - "Only one minute to go!...". Two more episodes later — Frieza's defeated. One episode later — Finally the planet goes Kaboom...and Goku escapes! Ten Full Episodes. Ten episodes of extreme heroic asskicking, but still...
  • First Girl Wins: One of the early known animes to avoid this. Bulma is the first girl and is easily the lead female of the first series in every aspect except that she's not the love interest. So when Goku finally grows up and Bulma notices, it's assumed that they'll get together. Then Chichi comes back.
  • Final Battle: The final battle of the series is Goku and Vegeta vs. Kid Buu in other world. Goku wins by gathering all of the people's energy from Earth to form the Spirit Bomb.
  • Final First Hug: Vegeta's heartbreaking farewell to Trunks.
  • Finger-Poke of Doom: Most of the villains get one, though the heroes get them as well.
    • Tao Pai Pai gets to have a tongue poke of doom against General Blue in the Red Ribbon Saga. It's fatal.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Flip Personality: Taken to extremes with Launch, whose body undergoes a physical change when she switches personalities.
  • Flying Brick: About 90% of the the cast in Z.
  • Follow the Leader: Inspired a lot of current Shonen manga. The creators of One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach have all admitted to being inspired by Dragon Ball to certain levels of degree.
    • Naruto goes so far as to having the titular character wear florescent orange/yellow and blue attire, similar to Goku. Except he's a freaking ninja. Also in part two of the series Naruto switches to an orange and black suit similar in design to Goku's gi. They also share a massive appetite and both turn into giant monsters.
    • Even video games such as Sonic the Hedgehog were influenced by it as well, from giving Sonic a Super Saiyan-esque transformation as early as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to the existence of Silver the Hedgehog in Sonic 2006 being credited to Trunks.
  • The Force Is Strong with This One: Mostly starts with the Saiyan Saga, after which almost all the main characters were trained in ki-sensitive.
  • Forehead of Doom: All over the place. In fact, it's something of an iconic trait of Toriyama's artstyle.
  • Foreshadowing: Any time a character in the first anime comments on how Goku must be from another planet due to his quirks (having a tail, being a Big Eater, etc). Despite this, it still comes as a shock to everyone when they discover that Goku really is from another planet.
  • For the Evulz:
    • Kid Buu was pretty much this. So was Fat Buu, before Mr. Satan convinced him otherwise. Although there was the matter of never being told this was wrong, but rather that this was a good way to get his masters to give him cake…
    • There was also Cell, who's only objective was to test out his "perfect body"…by killing everyone and everything. Even further, he wanted to see everyone's face to contort in terror at the sight of him first.
    • Frieza does half of what he does for this reason. He kills the Namekians after they give him the Dragon Balls and fully intends to destroy the planet once he gets his wish.
  • For Want of a Nail: The main timeline is very different than Trunks' timeline, for no discernible reason other than later on in his timeline Cell went into the past, creating the main timeline where he's already there; even though Cell apparently took no steps to actively change anything (in fact, being in a cocoon the whole time), there are several differences, though Kami briefly theorizes this may because time travel just messes with reality in general rather than needing anyone to change anything. Such changes include:
    • Androids #17 and #18 being inexplicably more powerful but nowhere near as evil.[2]
    • Dr. Gero turning himself into an cyborg and making #19.
    • Events happening earlier or later than they're supposed to, like Goku getting sick with his heart disease much later than Trunks expected.
    • And, of course, Cell being there in the first place, which causes widespread carnage and such.
  • Freaky Friday Flip: Captain Ginyu has the power to switch bodies with anyone, which he does with Goku. Eventually however, it backfires on him when he tries to take Vegeta's body and ends up in a frog's instead, rendering him harmless as his power requires the use of his voice. Later, when he meets Bulma, he acts nice to her and she makes a translator for him. He proceeds to switch bodies, then travels to Gohan, Krillin, and Piccolo, Bulma hanging on. He tries to switch with Piccolo, only for Gohan to throw Bulma frog in the way, fixing everything. Eventually leading a group of frogs in the Capsule Corporation Compound if the series is to be believed.
  • Free Sample Plot Coupon: The first attempted quest for the seven Dragon Balls is made easier thanks to the fact that Son Goku already had one of them before the series began. Also, Bulma already has two, so their first adventure focuses on finding only four more.
  • Friendly Target: Poor, poor Krillin and Android 16.
  • From a Single Cell: Cell and Buu. Even more so with Buu.
  • Full Set Bonus: The Dragon Balls.
  • Fun with Flushing: Early in the series, Master Roshi gets accidently flushed down the toilet while using a shrinking gadget to peep on Bulma.
  • Future Badass: Future Trunks.
    • Future Gohan takes this to extremes compared to his present day counterpart.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Bulma.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: The final fight between Goku and Piccolo.
    • Still didn't stop him, somehow.
  • Generational Saga: The life and times of Goku's and Bulma's families.
  • Genius Bruiser: Nappa, though it isn't shown much. That attack he uses to blow up a city? It requires a degree in nuclear physics.
    • Gohan fits this to a T.
  • Genre Popularizer: For the Fighting Series.
  • Genre Savvy: Both Krillin and Yamcha react pretty much how any real person would in these situations, basically knowing beforehand how something is probably going to go down, and how to avoid it or take advantage of it.
    • King Piccolo upon being released from the eletronic jar. The first thing he does is start killing off martial artists, knowing that they are the only threat to him. Later, on getting his Eternal Youth he kills Shenron so no one could (easily) use the Dragon Balls again. His only mistake was not killing Goku sooner.
    • Vegeta in the Namek saga. He didn't take on a fight he knew he couldn't handle.
    • Just about everybody of the Main Cast in the 25th Martial Arts Tournament. It was a forgone conclusion to everybody involved that the Final Match of the Junior Division was going to be Trunks Vs. Goten. Krillin lampshades once or twice, and Videl is surprised when Gohan shows very little interest in one Goten's victories.
  • Genre Shift: The franchise started as a comedic Journey to the West meets Indiana Jones treasure hunt, and ended as a serious and often grim Journey to the West meets Superman.
  • The Gloves Come Off: Vegeta does this in the Buu Saga, by letting Babidi take control of him solely for the power boost that it involved.
  • God Is Flawed: Very apparent with the Supreme Kai, who is just that: the Supreme God of the Dragonball universe. Unfortunately, he is not too wise as he not only hastens Majin Buu's release by allowing Gohan's energy to be stolen at the world Tournament but also was the key reason the Z sword was broken. While that actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, the Supreme Kai's expressions and words immediately after the sword broke made it clear that he believed things had taken a turn for the worse. Topping it all off is his incredible underestimating of the Saiyans, whom he believed were strong but not too strong. It's only when Vegeta decimates Pui Pui that he begins to realize the Saiyans are stronger than he thought.
  • Going to Give It More Energy: Son Goku does this once. You think Vegeta's going to try this against #19, but he just rips off his arms and blows him away conventionally.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Goku may be a complete and utter moron, but his eldest son Gohan is a full fledged Genius Bruiser who gets straight A's and smashes around beings stronger than the Gods themselves!!
  • Goodnight, Sweet Prince: Used in the English Dub of Dragon Ball Z when Freeza was going to kill Vegeta.
    • Of course, Vegeta actually is a prince...and in comparison to Freeza, quite sweet.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Twice with Goku.
  • Gosh Hornet: When Roshi "trains" Goku and Krillin in the original Dragon Ball... by tying them to a tree with a beehive and watching them freak out.
  • Grandpa, What Massive Hotness You Have: Goku after Pan's birth. Despite spending seven years not aging, he still doesn't look any older than 30.
    • And let's not forget Bulma's mom, who seems to be immortal. Or made entirely out of plastic.
    • This is something of a running joke, where Goku pretty much just stopped aging while Chi Chi and Bulma continues to do so. Lampshaded by Chi Chi in GT. Bulma, however, doesn't seem to notice that her mother now looks younger than her.
    • Vegeta states that Saiyans stay in their prime longer than humans in order to fight longer, which explains why those two don't look any older. The only dramatic change Goku has is his height.
  • Gratuitous English: Most alien and supernatural creatures have name-puns based off English words, and Toriyama had said that Vegeta's attacks used English names to highlight his alien nature.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Piccolo's name can be either translated as "small" and "little" in Italian.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: In the Japanese version, of all things. The second opening contains the words "Ippai oppai", written in English letters and appearing completely out of context. It means "Lots of boobs".
  • Gravity Screw
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: The heroes' exploits often go unnoticed by the population of the world. It all started when Goku single-handedly took down the Red Ribbon Army, a dangerous organization that has terrorized the world for years, but nobody ever found out who did it. When Goku killed Piccolo, there were reports of a boy fighting the Demon King, but the image was so bad and it was so dangerous to get closer that nobody could tell who it was specifically. When Goku beat Piccolo Jr., all the spectators had long left the premises of the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament once they found out who exactly contestant Ma Jr. was. Freeza and his father are galactic tyrants who were threatening to destroy the Earth, but again nobody ever found out that the Z warriors managed to stop them. Lastly, Mr. Satan took the credit for defeating Cell and Buu. It's a good thing Goku and his friends don't care about fame.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Subverted in a recent web special where everyone is surprised the wife of Vegeta's brother is an adorable cartoonish alien. The exception is Master Roshi, who points out that Saiyans seem to have strange tastes in women. Unfortunately, he said it in earshot of Bulma AND ChiChi, and gets severely beaten for it.
    • Played straight with Zangya, one of Bojack's henchmen.
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"Space Chicks are hot!"
—Krillin regarding Zangya
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    • Inverted with Zarbon, who is a green skinned space man.
      • And subverted in that his true form/GameFace looks like a ridiculously overmuscled humanoid toad.
  • Greek Chorus: Any time a character is on the sidelines, they become this.
  • "Growing Muscles" Sequence: Done all the time by both heroes and villains activating their Super Modes.
  • Guns Are Worthless: A major part of the universe in so far as martial artists go. Starting with Launch spraying gunfire like confetti at other characters to no effect in Dragon Ball and continuing on to Raditz catching a shotgun blast with his bare hands, guns are fundamentally useless.
    • Future Trunks easily deflects a few blaster shots just before he kills Frieza. Also, Gohan catches an entire clip from a submachine gun fired on full auto with the same hand, bullet by bullet - something Master Roshi had also done before.
    • It's practically a Dragon Ball tradition to show conventional military forces challenging the likes of superpowered villains such as Buu or Cell. The humans (or sometimes aliens) attack en masse with their guns, tanks, and airplanes, only to be annihilated. Then we find out that they never learn anything from this, because they try it again.
      • Well, given that Muggles don't know how to use ki attacks and such, artillery fire is pretty much all they have to fight with.
        • To be even fairer to the ordinary citizens of the Earth, we only know of five times in the whole of the Dragon Ball canon when the entire army's firepower was ineffective against an enemy: King Piccolo, Nappa, Cell, Buu, and the Androids - and all five are separated by a timespan of years/decades. With these odds, it really isn't an unreasonable solution to try and kill these creatures with regular firearms.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: It helps that Saiyans are incredibly similar to humans, but genetic mixes often prove to be stronger than purebloods. Gohan, Goten and Trunks are all half-Saiyan, and Pan is quarter-Saiyan and, thus far, the only female to use a Kamehameha (and only in the non-canon DBGT, at that).
  • Hand Blast: Androids 16, 17, and 18 had this.
  • Happy Fun Ball: Do not taunt an angry young Saiyan. Made especially clear in DB Movie 4 "The Path to Power", a combo re-telling of the Pilaf and Red Ribbon Army sagas, when Goku killed Regent Black with his Kamehameha after the latter killed Android Eight.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: It only works if you're a Saiyan and not a normal Earthling.
  • Heel Face Turn: Many, many characters starting with Yamcha and Oolong. Vegeta is but one example.
  • He Is All Grown Up: Hot damn, 16-year-old Gohan is one fine piece of man.
    • Chichi's reappearance during the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai counts as well.
      • Goku's reappearance at the same tournament is the same way. Even Bulma was starting to fall for him.
  • Heroic BSOD: (well, more like anti-heroic) Vegeta suffers one for about half of the first Broly movie after The Reveal that Broly is the "Legendary Super Saiyan" and therefore unbeatable. Even a peptalk from Piccolo is unable to clear it up, Vegeta only joins the fight when his royal pride gives him a kick in the pants.
  • Heroic RROD: Especially Goku's Kaiou-ken power-up technique. It strained his body so hard that Yajirobe's congratulatory slap on the shoulder was agonizingly painful to him.
    • Real Life example: You know why they kept changing voice actors so often? Doing take after take of over the top shouting & screaming tends to give you throat polyps.
      • Funimation Voice Actor Eric Vale reportedly passed out in the recording booth while recording lines for Trunks in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber.
      • The same for Funimation's Sean Schemmel, who apparently passed out while recording Goku's Super Saiyan 3 transformation.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In spades.
  • Heroic Second Wind: In reality, Heroic Fourth and even Fifth Winds are not uncommon in any major fight. The most notorious of these was in Frieza saga where Goku got enough winds to keep coming back stronger and stronger till he went Super Saiyan and still had a couple more afterwards. Vegeta and Gohan in particular get the worst trashing of all characters and keep coming back a record number of times.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Goten and Trunks. Also, Tienshinhan and Chaozu.
    • It's less severe since they both do get married and have families, but Goku and Krillin were this from almost the very beginning to the very end.
  • High School Sweethearts: Gohan and Videl.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Typical cause of villain mastermind death.
    • Tao Pai Pai was killed by his own grenade. (He got better.)
    • Freeza was killed by his own Kienzan-like energy attack. (He got better.)
    • Dr. Gero got his head blown off and crushed by #17.
      • And it happened to him again in the afterlife, which by their rules means he's Killed Off for Real.
    • Babidi was killed by Buu.
    • In the films and anime filler, Garlic Jr. ended up in his own Dead Zone twice. Unfortunately for him, he's immortal.
    • In Movie 8 (Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan), Paragus was crushed in his space pod by his son Broly, and then thrown into Comet Kamori, the comet he'd planned on destroying the planet and everybody on it, including Broly.
      • Lampshaded by Paragus himself, whose dying words question his ironic fate.
  • Holy Halo: Worn by dead characters.
  • Hold the Line: DBZ might as well be the trope codifier. Every saga involves the current fighters holding off the Big Bad until Goku either arrives, heals, or finishes powering up.
    • Averted in the Cell saga. Perfect Cell waited until everyone had time to get in extra training before the Cell Games.
    • Subverted with Super Buu. When they had to hold him off so Gotenks could learn Fusion in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, he responded to a request for patience by killing every person on Earth in a single attack.
  • Homage: Dragon Ball is a homage to the classic Journey to the West, particularly the first arc, with Bulma in a gender-flipped Xuanzang role, Son Goku is Sun Wukong, Oolong is Zhu Bajie, and Yamcha is Sha Wujing. Dragon Ball Z, at least the first few parts of it, is a homage to Superman and Western Sci-Fi themes).
  • Honor Before Reason: Son Goku's unfailing and unconditional love for all life has turned practically every villain he met, with the exception of Freeza and Cell, into paragons of heroism.
    • Even Buu, who is pretty much evil incarnate, was transformed into an incredibly nice yet timid person after being killed simply on Goku's wish, and NOT to a dragon.
    • During the Cell Saga, Cell provides Goku a moment to eat a Senzu Bean before continuing the fight. Vegeta comments that Goku's Saiyan honor wouldn't allow him to use such a dishonorable "crutch". In fact, Goku gives Cell the Senzu bean before letting Gohan fight Cell.
  • Hot Dad: Son Goku, Kurillin and especially Vegeta have been worshipped as such amongst certain fangirl communities. Heck, even Piccolo is subject to this worship, with his fatherly relationship to Son Gohan as justification. And the same with Gohan after Pan's birth.
  • Hot Mom: Pretty much every mother on the show - especially Bulma's {unnamed} mother.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: Goku vs. Frieza.
    • Vegeta vs. pretty much anyone more powerful. He may lose, but he'll go down kicking and screaming.
      • One instance that comes to mind is Vegeta attacking Android 18 even after she breaks his left arm at the elbow.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Gohan and Videl. GT's art style skewered it, but in most manga images, her shoulders are level with his waist. Also inverted with Krillin and 18.
  • Hulking Out: Goku and Gohan's Oozaru transformation.
    • And, to and extent, their initial Super Saiyan and SS2 transformations(respectively), both being shown to increase their muscle size noticeably(Gohan actually appears to get TALLER).
    • And of course there's the "Ascended Saiyan" (AKA "Super Saiyan 1.5") as shown in the Cell Saga by Goku, Vegeta, and Trunks (who actually took it so far he hulked out to the point of losing speed and mistook that for surpassing Vegeta).
  • Humans Are Morons: It turns out that humans are selfish, childish, misguided idiots who only worry when something bad happens to them, can't put anything in perspective, and will only do anything as simple as, say, raise up your hands to fuel the Spirit Bomb when a voice encompassing the Earth asks (Vegeta actually said "please" the first time, although he didn't even give them that much detail 'cos they're so dumb), and defeat the Big Bad when their Fake Ultimate Hero tells them do it. Not that the aliens are any better...
    • After Vegeta fails to convince humanity to raise their hands he delivers this gem: "Raise your hands in the air, right now, OR YOU'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!"
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Any time a character eats a senzu bean.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Numerous villains deliberately limit themselves in combat.
    • As do the heroes. Usually in the form of weighted training; these will be thrown away immediately after the villain reveals his own handicap. Our hero is also not left handed!
  • I Am X, Son of Y: "I am Vegeta, Prince of the Saiyan Warrior Race!!"
  • I Am Your Opponent
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Kami invokes this at the beginning of the Piccolo Jr. saga, when talking with Mr. Popo about how to deal with King Piccolo's offspring, since killing him means he would die as well.
  • Idiot Ball: Oh stupidity, thy name is Dragonball Z.
    • Raditz, Goku's evil brother who kidnaps Gohan and ransoms his life for the lives of 100 humans that he wants Goku to kill, promises to leave Earth in peace if Goku will spare him. It works.
    • Vegeta prompting Freeza to transform, for no reason whatsoever. Had he not, Piccolo would have been able to defeat Freeza before Goku even finished healing.
    • Everyone except Bulma (and possibly Krillin) during the Android Saga. Her plan? Gather the Dragon Balls and have Shenron tell them where Dr. Gero's lab is, so they don't have to lift a finger later to train or bring back the people that will inevitably die because of them. The reason why this didn't happen? The "heroes" want to test their strength against the Androids, despite Trunks explicitly saying that they would be massacred.. Keep in mind that Goku is the only one capable of dealing with this new threat at this point, despite the fact that Future Trunks is just as strong as he is, and gets his ass handed to him by the Androids on a regular basis.
  • Idiot Hero: Goku, although he lived a sheltered life until he turned 12. And technically, Mr. Satan.
  • Impossible Task Instantly Accomplished: Master Roshi took 50 years to develop the Kamehameha Wave, and is first seen using it to extinguish a burning mountain. He levels the mountain, but that's not the point. The point is, Goku performs a weaker version of it almost immediately after seeing this feat.
    • It took them a bit longer, but Krillin and Yamcha were both able to perform the Kamehameha during the second World Tournament arc, roughly 3-4 years later.
    • Tenshinhan, who studied with Master Roshi's arch rival, slams Yamcha with a Kamehameha right after his very first one. Yamcha is a Butt Monkey.
    • Kid Buu takes it Up to Eleven, mastering both Kamehameha and Instant Transmission on sight.
  • Inaction Sequence: Used and abused in Z, to the point that some viewers started calling the series "Drag-On Ball".
  • Interspecies Romance: There's quite a bit going on here with the Saiyans not being human. More obvious with Tarble and Gure.
  • Interrupted Cooldown Hug: Majin. Buu.
  • I Need You Stronger: Vegeta and Cell take turns letting their opponent get stronger for a better fight. Doesn't work very well for either of them.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: If a Saiyan with a tail looks at the full moon, they transform into giant ape-like creatures that typically go on a berserk rampage. This can be stopped by cutting their tail off.
  • Invulnerable Attack
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: Vegeta by Android 18.
    • A mechanical and physically augmented girl nonetheless.
  • It Got Worse: Famous examples occur in: the very first arc of the manga, the Piccolo Daimao Arc, the Saiyan Arc, the Namek/Frieza arc, the Cell Arc, and the Buu Arc.
  • Jerkass: Vegeta and Piccolo. Even though they both end up being the Jerk with a Heart of Gold, the former has more than a few instances where he's just a plain a-hole, even when he turns to the Z Fighter side.
  • Join or Die: This is Frieza's main method of recruitment. According to dialogue amongst Frieza's henchmen (which was drastically changed in the Funimation dubbing), Frieza's modus operandi was to wipe out all but a handful of a race save for the most promising or useful individuals and offer them a place in his empire. He promised those that joined that their race would eventually gain a more prestigious place in his New Order and those that refused were simply made extinct.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Goku and Vegeta inside Super Buu.
  • Keep the Reward: 18 subverts this during the Buu Saga. She agrees to throw her fight with Mr. Satan in exchange for double the prize money.
  • Kiai
  • Ki Attacks: Z is one of the most infamous examples in all of anime for using this trope as stable.
  • Kick the Dog: All the villains, and even all the heroes who used to be villains, are guilty of this, especially Piccolo and Vegeta.
  • Kid Hero: Subverted with 9-year-old (physically 10) Gohan during the Cell Games. Gohan's hybrid human-Saiyan heritage make him potentially the most powerful being on earth. Too bad his gentle personality rendered him unable to use that power and potentially kill Cell, even when the villain threatened not only his life but the lives of his friends.
    • Played straight with Goku in the original Dragon Ball. A caring, gentle boy who unlike Gohan was perfectly capable of using his status as one of the strongest guys on the planet.
  • Kill'Em All: What Majin Buu eventually did to natives of Earth. You can do that when you have an attack called "Human Extinction." And thanks to this, Hercule/Mr. Satan is the only character in the entire series who has not died at least once.
    • Well, the most notable at least. Others such as Fat/Good Buu, Lord Enma, Fortune Teller Baba and the minor characters born post-Buu arc do not die either.
  • Knuckle-Cracking: especially Buu, despite having no bones.
  • King of All Cosmos: Nearly every deity.
  • Kung Fu Sonic Boom: Every time from the Freeza Saga onwards.
  • Large Ham: Mr. Satan. Honorable mentions to Vegeta and Frieza.
  • Last Villain Stand: Frieza's last shot at Goku. Frieza had lost all his minions, failed to obtain immortality, had been demonstrated as not being the strongest in the universe, had even been cut in half, and was only alive because Goku decided to give him enough energy to survive his injuries. Instead of using that energy to try to escape Namek before it exploded, Frieza tries to kill Goku one last time.
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Goku: You FOOL!!!

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  • Laughably Evil: Almost every single major villain had his fair share of comedic traits. Majin Buu takes this trope to the extreme.
  • Lawful Stupid Chaotic Stupid: Goku offers to spare Raditz' life and ends up spending his own to make up for that blunder. He doesn't get smarter later on, but his power level usually made up for it.
    • Albeit, some of his Idiot Ball moments are as much due to naivete as stupidity. He wises up a little as the series goes on. Goku appeals to the better nature of his enemies, but if they prove irredeemable, he has no problem doing what he must.
  • Laxative Prank: Bulma does this to Oolong when he refuses to cooperate with her in helping find the Ox-king. She gives him a candy that he thinks is delicious, but really it's a laxative, and every time she whistles, he will have an emergency. Goku tries this on Oolong, too.
  • Lego Genetics: The logic of Cell's creation: He's created from Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Freeza, King Cold, Tien, Gohan, Krillin, and Yamcha's DNA. He's born knowing all their techniques and possesses all their strengths.
    • It's even implied that many of Cell's personality traits derive from some of his 'parents'. He inherited Goku's love and desire for a challenge, while at the same time getting Frieza's tendency to lose it when he realizes he's outmatched. His politeness comes from Freeza, and his arrogance from Vegeta and Freeza.
  • Licked by the Dog: Gohan's got an entire musical number dedicated to how much he loves Piccolo, the literal embodiment of evil.
    • Also happens to Buu later on.
  • Lightning Bruiser: While this applies to every fighter in the series, Broly is the ultimate example of this trope. He's a walking mountain of muscle, with the power and brute force to match, but still possesses speed enough to completely avoid the attacks of Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Future Trunks and Piccolo (he simply chooses not to for most of the fight). This trait also nullified whatever advantage Future Trunks may have had when he temporarily became a similar Mass of Muscles to fight Perfect Cell.
    • It's Lampshaded in the second Broly movie, where several characters comment that he is slow relative to his strength, but he's so bloody powerful it doesn't matter.
    • Keep in mind Broly's speed was compared to Goten and Trunks', both of whom were Super Saiyans. It's the equivalent of a middle-aged man chasing two hyperactive kids.
    • At 100% power, Freeza's final form is almost three times bigger than it is at base level power. Unlike the other examples, the additional bulk does not slow him down, and in fact he is at his fastest while in this state. In fact, the drawback is that this power is uncontrollable.
      • Not actually three times taller, though. Just three times as wide, with the extra 200 pounds of muscle.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Does anyone remember Vegeta shoving a ki blast in Cell's face to distract him during Teen Gohan's Ultimate Kamehameha? Now what was it that Trunks did during the second Broly movie again…
    • Frieza kills Vegeta with a death beam, Cell does the same to Trunks.
  • Limited Animation: A side effect due to all the filler in Z, It fares better somewhat in the other series though.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Dabura's spit turns people to stone. Trunks and Goten accidentally smash Piccolo after he gets turned into a statue, not know it's actually him. This leads to a Gory Discretion Shot when Dabura is killed and Picolo turns back into flesh and blood. Good thing he can regenerate, huh?
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: "Goku interviewed by Shonen Jump." Note however that Shonen Jump canonically exists in all Urban Fantasy and Slice of Life manga contained within, so this does make sense in-universe.
  • Living Prop: Bulma and Vegeta's daughter, Bra, and Krillin and 18's daughter, Marron. Given their overall plot relevance, they mainly exist as a way for Toriyama to establish that their parents were/are still romantically involved, without having to actually write romance, as he was both shy about it and afraid he'd be terrible at it. Goten and Trunks served the same function while also being legitimately relevant characters in their own right.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Toriyama admitted to having forgotten some of them entirely.
  • Look What I Can Do Now!
  • Losing Is Worse Than Death: Goku is guilty of this at least twice, once when fighting Piccolo and again during the Cell Games.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: When the Cell Jrs. are killed in the manga, they get gibbed. Also, the result of Frieza getting hit by his own destructo discs.
  • Mad Scientist: Doctor Gero.
  • Make Room for the New Plot: At the end of the Frieza arc, "Frieza comes back to Earth with his dad for revenge" would be a major plot conflict. But then Future Trunks arrives, beats the snot out of both of them single-handedly, and warns the heroes that they need to prepare to fight an enemy far stronger than Frieza.
  • Male Gaze
  • Maniac Monkeys: The Saiyans.
  • Market-Based Title: While the animated adaptations have the same name as they do in Japan, the manga version is only called Dragon Ball there. The French version followed the same title pattern as the Japanese one, but in the United States, the parts of the manga that correspond with the Dragonball Z anime were released with the Z attached.
  • Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game: Dragonball Online. Double plus for fans who hate Dragon Ball GT in that Dragon Ball Online is considered canon by Toriyama, and says that Dragon Ball GT never happened.
  • Master Apprentice Chain: Several, starting with Mutaito > Mutenroshi > Son Gohan, Sr. > Son Goku > Uub
    • Also: Mutaito > Tsurusennin > Tenshinhan & Chaozu
    • Mutaito > Mutenroshi > Ox-King > Chi-Chi > Son Goten
    • Arguably, Piccolo > Son Gohan > Videl
      • In that case, Piccolo > Son Gohan > Trunks in the alternate timeline
  • Mayfly-December Romance: Implied. Saiyans appear to age more slowly than humans. This becomes quite noticable later in the series, where pure-humans Chi Chi and Bulma have gradually aged while pure-Saiyans Goku and Vegeta have barely aged at all. Even Pan, who is one quarter Saiyan, is confirmed to live to at least 110.
    • This also appears to be the case with Krillin and #18's relationship. In GT Krillin is almost an old man while 18 hasn't changed at all; likely due to her cybernetic enhancements slowing down her aging considerably.
  • Meaningful Funeral: In Dragon Ball Z, when Vegeta dies at Frieza's hand on Namek, Son Goku buries him on the spot with a few understanding words. In the English dub, the eulogy is a bit more long-winded.
  • Megaton Punch: It's not played for laughs; the characters are simply very strong. Often followed up by the character moving quickly behind the victim (like he just teleported there) and hitting him with a downwards blow that sends the victim crashing to the ground.
  • The Messiah: Goku loves life. All life. In full swing by the time of the Piccolo Junior arc of Dragon Ball, after which the only villain Goku himself is directly responsible for killing is Kid Buu.
    • And even THEN he asked that Buu be reincarnated.
  • Mickey Mousing: The Funimation dub did this at times.
  • Mighty Glacier: Trunks when he reaches Ultra Super Saiyan (a level that sits between Super Saiyan 1 and 2), which sacrifices speed for power. In this state he possessed enough power to kill Perfect Cell, but lacked the speed necessary to make it useful. Perfect Cell, Goku and Vegeta also reached this level, but were savvy enough to figure out its critical weakness and elected not to use it (Vegeta choosing to stop at Ascended Super Saiyan, and Perfect Cell and Goku going onward to the Full Power stage). In fact, Trunks doesn't figure out this form's weakness until Cell explicitly tells him why he can't win with it.
    • Actually, it's implied Cell made him think he could win, as he went to a similar stage saying he could do it, but then returned to his "perfect" form, because well it wouldn't be perfect. It later reappeared again when Cell had his own Unstoppable Rage against Super Saiyan 2 Gohan, which Trunks was the one to point out its ineffectiveness.
  • Missing Episode: Material was cut in the original version of Z's Ocean dub of seasons 1 and 2, mostly for violence, but sometimes smaller arcs were too.
  • Mix-and-Match Man: Cell.
  • Monster Protection Racket: Tenshinhan and Chaozu do this in their debut appearance until Goku puts a stop to their scheme.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: A variation, as Goku was sent to destroy humanity, not to escape death. (Though it inadvertently did that, too.)
    • Kami. (Also a variation, as he raised himself.)
  • The Movie
    • A lot of movies.
  • Mundane Wish: Played With when Emperor Pilaf has finally gathered the seven Dragon Balls, and is so overcome as he begins to make his wish to the dragon for eternal life that he stammers a bit. Oolong the anthropomorphic pig takes the opportunity to leap between Pilaf and the dragon and wish for women's panties. Of course, still averted if you consider that Oolong is quite pleased with this turn of events.
  • My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad: Between Goten and Trunks.
  • My Grandma Can Do Better Than You: In the Toonami version, a virtual Saiyan warrior (conjured by Mr Popo's training room) uses this line to ridicule the secondary characters' power levels.
  • My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: It's not a narrative conceit here; all Saiyans become stronger after recovering from an injury.
  • Names to Know in Anime: Too many. Akira Toriyama, original writer; Masako Nozawa, voice of all Son family males; Ryo Horikawa, voice of Vegeta; Norio Wakamoto, voice of Cell; Ryusei Nakao, voice of Freeza; Toru Furuya, voice of Yamucha; his fellow Slapstick member, Toshio Furukawa, voice of Piccolo...
  • The Napoleon: Commander Red and Vegeta.
  • The Needless: The Namekians don't need food, only water. Frieza (and presumably the rest of his family) doesn't need to breathe.
  • Nemean Skinning: As Goku said to Bulma and the others when appearing in an attire based on the skin of a tiger: "It was either him or me, I swear!"
  • Never Say "Die": Taken to the extreme in the first 53 episodes of the Ocean Group dub. Getting blasted into ashes was called "being sent into another dimension". After the Ocean dub resumed in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada, as well as other English-speaking countries, the show went from that to merely saying "destroy", "hurt", and "gone" as well as other words that essentially meant to kill or be dead. Late into the Buu saga, however, the dub suddenly stopped this, and "kill" and "die" were used as often as in the FUNimation dub, which was completely exempt from this. The "another dimension" thing is sort of justified as death is a multiverse of many heavens for different planets that even a few living people can freely travel too. (Going back after death has limits, though.)
    • This only took effect from the fifth episode of the original broadcast. Some lines were re-recorded for subsequent airings of the first two episodes but episodes three and four kept references to death even (or especially) on the DVD release. Episode 66 of Daizenshuu EX featured some sound clips.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Vegeta is behind everything. Everything. Read the page for more details than your mind can handle.
    • It also could be stated that had Piccolo simply ignored Raditz and simply shut up about the Dragon Balls, a large portion of the conflict would have been avoided in DBZ. I suppose his eventual demise was a form of Karmic Death.
      • Of course, by the time the androids arrived everyone would have been significantly weaker had the Saiyan and Namek sagas never happened, and everyone probably would have been killed.
      • The androids themselves might have been weaker too, since they were modeled after the various heroes, and Dr. Gero would not have had access to data on the other Saiyans or Freeza and King Cold. Of course, none of this would have prevented Babidi from coming, and then everyone would have truly been screwed. (He possibly might not have gathered enough energy to resurrect Buu, but he still had Dabura. . . .)
        • The arcs with Buu and Babidi are only shown to occur in the main timeline where Future Trunks did a lot of unnecessary time traveling (stopping Mecha-Frieza and King Cold being the first). That in itself plays the trope straight, but again, the events of Future Trunks' timeline (and most of DBZ) would not have happened if Piccolo didn't tell Raditz about the Dragon Balls. Nappa, Vegeta, Mecha-Frieza, and King Cold would have never come to Earth for revenge and Goten, Trunks, and all of the other kids would have never been born. Piccolo would have never merged with Nail or Kami and Dr. Gero wouldn't have the data to make the Androids as strong as they were.
    • Kami making the Dragon Balls in the first place. He made them to make the world better but people only wanted them for selfish purposes (Pilaf taking over the world, Oolong wanting gold, Vegeta wanting Immortality, etc.).
      • Piccolo has another one when he fights 17 for the second time. Because he powers up, Cell can locate him and therefore the androids, speeding up his plans to absorb them. Had he waited for Vegeta and Trunks, 17 and 18 would have gone the same way as 19 in half the time, before Trunks takes out Cell like he does upon returning to the future.
      • Gohan does it too during the Cell Games, letting his rage cloud his judgment and refusing to finish off a clearly outmatched and half-destroyed Cell because he hadn't suffered enough. Of course, Cell can regenerate, and then he decides to just blow everything up...
      • Even moreso than Kami making the regular Dragon Balls; how about the Black Star Dragon Balls? They work just like the original ones did, only they scatter over the entire galaxy when a wish is made, and rather than turning to stone for a year, they destroy the Earth in one year's time if they're not all gathered and brought back! I know you made these before you expelled your evil side, Kami, but still, what were you thinking?! Or was that just your trial run?
    • The entire premise of the Shadow Dragon Saga in GT. The threat is their own fault for using the Dragon Balls too much throughout the history of the show. Then again, GT has a serious Canon Discontinuity problem, so this might have to go on that page.
      • Not using too much, using too nicely. Negative energy built up because all the Z-Fighters' wishes were nice, such as bringing back the good guys/innocents who had been killed. If something like Oolong wishing for lots of money had happened, the issue wouldn't be one.
        • Seriously: count how many times people were resurrected with Dragon Balls. It's THE most common wish they made.
        • Although, one of the Shadow Dragons was created by an evil wish and the other was created by a wish that was selfish at face value but noble in reason. These dragons' natures would be shaped oppositely by those of their wishes just the same, however.
    • Especially during the Cell and Buu arcs - quite a few problems would have been solved if the Z senshi hadn't gone in with both guns blazing.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Majin Buu turns Vegetto into a Coffee flavored Jawbreaker and believes he's won. Except...that it turns out that Vegetto has not only retained all his power, but now is much faster than ever and impossible to hit with his small size (not that Buu could touch him before anyway). Hilarity Ensues as Buu gets his most embarassing, worst ever beating of all, with his ass handed back to him in humiliating fashion. To add insult to injury, it's accompanied by the choicest You Fight Like a Cow dialogue from the "strongest piece of candy there is".
  • No Accounting for Taste: Vegeta and Bulma, Goku and Chi Chi.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Freeza in the Japanese version.
    • General Blue. Both of whom are male.
  • Nobody Calls Me Chicken: Vegeta.
  • Nobody Poops: Subverted in a Funny Moment by Super Buu.
  • No One Could Survive That: Any major ki attack as far back as the Piccolo Jr. saga.
    • And after we establish that everyone is, in fact, strong enough to survive all but the most devastating ki blasts, Goku doesn't manage to get off Namek in time... He does.
      • If Goku hadn't found Ginyu's space pod, he would have suffocated in space.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Vegeta, Gohan, & Videl took some of the worst beatings in the series history. Vegeta and specially Gohan also got to pummel others into submission.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Half the tension and drama in the entire series is based around the Dragon Balls vanishing if their creator dies.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Any Saiyan upon hitting Earth.
  • The Noseless: Krillin. Parodied early in the manga when he's fighting someone who defeats enemies through his body odor, which he struggles with until Goku points out he's drawn without a nose.
  • No Social Skills: Goku and ChiChi had both lived pretty sheltered lives before they turned 12, the latter's was only so because her dad was needlessly violent and overprotective of his wealth and daughter, not to mention living on top of Frypan Mountain. Goku, on the other hand turned into an Oozaru in a full moon, and accidentally killed his grandfather, and he only taught him how to fight, fish, and be nice to girls, and that's it. No important social skills were taught to Goku, unfortunately, and he had to learn some of them himself (such as, humorously, the difference between boys and girls). Even to this day, he still struggles, but at least he looks good in a tuxedo.
    • Then there's Majin Buu, the Laughably Evil Big Bad who isn't actually all that evil, just misguided. Ironically, when Goku fought him and the relationship between Babidi and Buu was now breaking down, he asked him as to why he listens to Babidi as Buu is too gifted a fighter to do so. This ironically played a part in Buu getting rid of Babidi. When Mr. Satan asked why he kills, he answered that his creator Bibidi said "kill", while Babidi said "destroy". Mr. Satan pointed out that those two are gone, and he could do something better and kinder with his time. When Buu asked if killing is bad, Mr. Satan said it is. Afterwards, Buu simply said "Okie-dokie! Buu no kill no more." For that short time, Mr. Satan actually saved the world by asking the Big Bad to stop.
    • There was also the Saiyans, notably Vegeta, who were raised for fighting, not really manners or socially acceptable actions.
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Vegeta: Service woman! Bring me a drying cloth at once!

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Frieza: Why do you loathe what I've done so much? Saiyans are just as ruthless as I am! They were killers, all of them! And you have the gall to condemn what I've done. You and your bloodthirsty race!
Goku: They paid for their mistakes!
Frieza: Heh heh heh heh. Is that why they died? I thought it was because I killed them!
Goku: You're just a beast, with no conscience!
Frieza: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! So I'm a beast, huh? Oh, and what about you, Mr. Super Saiyan! Aren't you just like me?
Goku: Hmph.
Frieza: So the jury's still out on that one. Let's just give it a little more time.

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  • Won't Work On Me: Sometimes, when the difference in powers is too great, some characters can completely ignore the attacks of their enemies. Once Cell became Perfect Cell, he completely ignored Krillin's flurry of blows as well as a Kienzan to the neck. Broly managed to take the combined strength of all the Super Saiyans in the cast as well as Piccolo without as much as budging from their attacks. This was actually subverted on a fight between Perfect Cell and Vegeta: Vegeta dared Cell to take his Final Flash full-on. Confident that Vegeta couldn't hurt him, Cell accepted the challenge. Cell ultimately changed his mind at the last second and decided to dodge the blast, since it was far more powerful than he expected, but he still got part of his torso blown off.
  • Not So Harmless: General Blue. Goku made such quick work of the other Red Ribbon officers, it came as a tremendous surprise when Blue turned out to have the edge over him. Especially given that Blue's own superiors were dismissive of him as a bungling idiot who they'd probably dispose of after his next failure.
    • Pilaf. Oh, you thought the first arc's pathetic megalomaniacal loud mouth villain is nothing to worry about? Oh, buggery, he's released the local equivalent of ["Satan from his prison"] in a cretinous bid for power.
      • Then all that trouble he caused in Dragon Ball GT in just the first episode?
  • Novelty Decay: The titular magical orbs start out as the awesome Holy Grail of all mystical artifacts, then eventually become relegated to fuel for resurrections as the series continues.
  • Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: In the Ocean dub of one DBZ episode, Krillin mutters out this prayer when he and Dende are confronted by Vegeta on Namek, until a whale shows up and distracts him.
  1. Every male member in this family who ascends the throne seems to bear this name.
  2. Apparently, the versions Trunks was expecting killed Gero before he could tune up their perpetual generators and tune down their personalities to make them more controllable.