You just can’t keep a good plothole down, can you? I still love Dragon Ball Z, no matter how much I complain and how much I moan about it, but I’m compelled to continually find problems with the story, the characters, and the progression of the series. I consider a plothole anything that isn’t readily explained, so it either breaks the plot, breaks the flow, or breaks the concepts completely. By now you’ve read my list of 10 DBZ plotholes, as well as my list of 10 more DBZ plotholes, but I have one last list that should end this discussion once and for all. Here are yet another 10 DBZ plotholes, and I dare you DBZ manga fans to prove me wrong this time.
10. Vegeta Doesn’t Actually Have a Heart:
One of the most impactful moments of the series has to be Vegeta’s (first) death. Instead of a moment of bro rage, like his second sacrificial death, he’s taken a severe beating from Frieza and knows he’s going to die. Goku arrives on the scene and instead of just saying, “Go get ‘em,” Vegeta begins openly weeping as he explains why he, and all Saiyans, are the way they are: Frieza gave them no choice but to be bloodthirsty killing machines. In a fit of tears, Vegeta lays it on the line and begs Goku to finish the fight because, essentially, Vegeta was a scared little boy who was kidnapped from his father.
And then Vegeta comes back and he’s overjoyed at the thought of getting to fight with the pew-pews and the Saiyan Pride once again. In fact, within the first five minutes of resurrection, he’s threatened Earth, mocked Goku’s inevitable death on an exploding planet in front f his son, and generally been a real D-bag. So Vegeta opens up and says he’s only bad because Frieza gave him no other option, and now that Frieza’s dead he remembers, oh yeah, he loves being an evil SOB. Speaking of which…
9. Vegeta Dooms Everyone Because He’s Impatient:
None of the characters of the show really think things through in the long run, but none fewer than Vegeta. He’s so in the moment that he forgets some critical and obvious details, such as what letting a super power villain become even more super powered would actually mean, or believing that because his power level is higher than his opponent at this one second, there couldn’t possibly be any way for that to shift dramati- OH GOD HE POWERED UP A LITTLE BIT MORE I’M DOOMED!
Vegeta’s flip-flopping costs everyone a whole huge headache during the overall Cell Saga as he has two separate chances to end all their problems. First, he could have fought Dr Gero and destroyed him immediately after blowing up Android 19, but he didn’t mostly because he felt it would be more fun to see what Android 17 and 18 would be like to fight. And then he gets beaten stupid and everyone gets mad at him. Luckily, Vegeta gets a chance to train in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber (let’s not get into how huge of a plothole that is) and returns so powerful that he can beat Cell in his second form without a contest. Except Cell convinces Vegeta to let him achieve perfection, thus giving Vegeta a real challenge.
What makes no sense here is that even the simplest of idiots can remember that in less than a day, Goku (that’d be Vegeta’s arch rival and constant one-upper), would be coming out of the same training even strongerer, and best yet, he’d totally love to fight Vegeta in a no-holds-bared sort of match. Only with Goku, there’s no risk of something really bad happening should Vegeta lose the match. Nope, Cell’s offer was too tempting and Vegeta fell for it. It’s not like, you know, everyone around him keeps getting stronger and stronger and new villains keep showing up all the time…right? At least Vegeta was always ready for a fight, unlike…
8. Gohan Suddenly Loses All Interest to Fight:
A lot of the series paints Gohan as the main protagonist rather than Goku. Gohan has a real training arc in the Saiyan Saga, displays a lot of heroic qualities on Namek, and then finally manages to surpass his dad’s strength and save the Earth by the end of the Cell Saga. Peace is restored; Gohan has succeeded in being strong like his dad and following in his footsteps.
And then he just stops caring. Once immediate danger is gone, Gohan figures, “Meh, this fighting thing’s boring now.” Just like that, all training stops and he starts studying again. For a character who’s supposed to be really smart, this sure is a dumb thing to do. I mean, if anything were to happen and the Earth would need saving once more, it’s not like Goku’s alive and can just fix it. The whole point of Gohan’s awakening in the Cell Saga was to teach him to take up his dad’s role and save the world should evil threaten it again. Goku’s dead, Trunks has returned to the future, and Vegeta certainly doesn’t have the noblest ideals. And wouldn’t you know it, evil does threaten the world again and it becomes apparent that Gohan is far outclassed. It’s like these Saiyans don’t understand the show’s lore…
7. Saiyans Don’t Understand Their Own Anatomy:
There are two main things the Saiyans know about themselves before the whole Super Saiyan Sitcom that the show becomes. Raditz explains to Goku, very clearly I might add, that Saiyans can transform into giant apes during a full moon, something that Goku then witnesses firsthand when Vegeta transforms later on. We also learn from Vegeta that Saiyans get stronger after every battle, win or lose, and that a Saiyan that heals from near-death feels his power greatly magnified each and every time.
Entire plot points hinge on this fact, such as Goku training relentlessly in his spaceship on the way to Namak, beating the hell out of his body and healing repeatedly, only to arrive on Namek to own the Ginyu Force as a result of this huge power spike, or when Vegeta has Krillin blast him through the chest and then makes Dende heal him so that he could potentially stand a fighting chance against Frieza, or when Cell regenerates from his explosion and is suddenly a match for Gohan’s Super Saiyan 2 form. Yeah, that bit of anatomy is rather useful, isn’t it?
It’s too bad then that no one knows what to do with it. A smart man would see this problem and determine that the absolute best strategy in any situation that allows for extended periods of training, such as the three years before the Androids’ arrival or the magic year in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, would be to have two Saiyans beat the ever-loving hell out of each other, rest for a bit to heal, then do it all over again. And if no senzu beans are readily available, the tech is there to make rejuvenation chambers. Perhaps this would make the plots pretty basic, sure, but all this does is show that these characters are too stupid to figure out really good training regiments, even after already doing them. Maybe they don’t feel like they need to train anymore because…
6. Super Saiyans? No Problem!
Remember how it was a big deal when Goku transformed into a Super Saiyan? Remember how it felt when a mysterious youth arrived on earth and transformed into a Super Saiyan before killing Frieza? Remember how amazing it was when Vegeta found the inspiration to transform in order to fight the Androids? Remember how Gohan struggled to become a Super Saiyan and then ascend to a Super Saiyan 2? Remember how Goten and Trunks just felt like becoming Super Saiyans one day? Yeah, awesome…
The magic of the Super Saiyan transformation isn’t so much that it’s just cool to see your favorite characters get stronger and explode into a shiny golden thing. No, the treat is to see their breaking point and have them backed into such a corner that they have no choice but to transform or die. That’s why the transformation is cool. Goten transformed because he was sparring with his mom. Trunks transformed because he wanted Vegeta to take him to the park. No magic. No mystery.
With this element lost, it becomes a real question of “Why?” If Goten and Trunks can just transform, does that mean that all children born from a Super Saiyan parent can just transform? Well, no, because Vegeta wasn’t a Super Saiyan when he impregnated Bulma with Trunks, so that doesn’t work, and then their second child, Bra (I don’t remember her US), isn’t capable of transforming at all. So what makes Goten and Trunks so special that it just happens for them? Nothing, the plot just wanted to speed things along. Oh well, it’s not like there’s a benevolent deity helping these things along…
5. Heaven Really Couldn’t Care Less:
The Buu Saga is all about how rules were meant to be broken and that the gods of the spiritual realm really don’t give too craps as to what’s going on in the mortal world and specifically Earth, the planet where the greatest galactic threat is resting, just waiting to be resurrected. When the Supreme Kai finally steps in to try and stop Babidi from resurrecting Majin Buu, he’s flabbergasted that Goku, Gohan, and Vegeta are all so freaking strong. It’s cute to essentially see God amazed by the Saiyans’ power, but then you remember that it doesn’t make any sense.
According to Supreme Kai, he’s been following Babidi’s spaceship around, hoping to catch him before he has a chance to bring Buu back to life. But we know that Buu is sealed up on Earth, so either Supreme Kai just forgot that important detail, or he’s just plain stupid. I’m going with both. If you were in a battle that resulted in the god of gods getting eaten and somehow managed to get the evil creature that did the eating all sealed up and safely tucked away, you’d probably make a note of that, wouldn’t you? Or at least check up and see if the evil space wizard you just killed had a son or something that could eventually resurrect the monster, right?
What makes this worse is that Goku’s unbelievable power isn’t a mystery to the Other World as he’s competed in a tournament and is training with the strongest warriors of all time where each of them is amazed that he already outclasses them despite only being dead for a few weeks. That would raise a few eyebrows, or at least it would if the gods cared what was going on. Oh well, at least they don’t have to worry about time travel…
4. Does Trunks Understand How Time Works?
Future Trunks is one of my absolute favorite characters of the series, partly because he’s one of the few who cut through the BS and say straight out, “We need to kill these guys to stop them from killing EVERYONE!” He’s cool because he’s lived in a world where the worst-case scenario has happened and he’s the last one alive, so he can impart his knowledge to the past and see if it helps. I mean, it doesn’t, but he can try at least.
Except, he doesn’t really understand how this whole time travel business works. When he arrives in Timeline A (the main series’ timeline), the first thing he does is reveal that he’s a Super Saiyan and then kills Frieza. He does this because he knows that Goku’s still two hours away and thinks that if he doesn’t step in, Frieza will destroy the planet. Though answer me something: If Trunks didn’t show up in Timeline B (Future Trunks’ timeline), but none of the Z Fighters were killed and Frieza was dead…who must have killed Frieza? Yet Trunks knows when and where Goku will arrive down to the second, a prediction only made accurate if Trunks had killed Frieza in his own timeline as well.
To make matters worse, Trunks doesn’t seem to think about staying in Timeline A long enough to go find Dr Gero’s lab and killing him long before the Androids arrive or are even built. Rather, he opts to skip ahead three years to when the fighting starts and then realizes that everything’s all wrong, but this leaves no time to then go kill Dr Gero anymore. The reasoning behind Goku not agreeing to track down Dr Gero three years early is because he feels that’s unfair, but Trunks is coming from a different perspective where he wouldn’t see it nearly the same way. Hey, and speaking of Goku’s reasoning there…
3. Goku’s Morals Make No Sense:
As I just mentioned, one of the Z Fighters makes a plan to find Dr Gero three years before the Androids attack and stopping him right then and there. Someone points out that they don’t know where Dr Gero is located (even though Bulma is standing right there and does in fact know where Dr Gero’s lab is located), to which someone comes up with the brilliant idea of summoning the dragon and have him locate Dr Gero’s lab. That’s when Goku says, for no good reason, “No, he hasn’t done anything wrong yet.”
First off, Dr Gero only builds the Androids because Goku destroyed the Red Ribbon Army, which Dr Gero was very much a part of (he’s retroactively placed in the role as their chief scientist, but whatever). As a kid, Goku had no qualms about killing each and every enemy that stood in his way, including the Red Ribbon Army’s top leaders. He’s seen firsthand the terror that the Red Ribbon Army caused, so his notion that Dr Gero “hasn’t done anything wrong yet” is outlandish.
Secondly, and as I just pointed out, Goku didn’t used to have a problem killing anything that stood between him and his goal. He’d kill monsters, fry animals that tried to eat him first, and even kicked a grenade back into Mercenary Tao’s face (that’s murder and you know it Goku). Goku spared Vegeta’s life, but that was because he wanted to fight him again. He then spared Frieza’s life because he was making a point and…wanted to fight Frieza again. Deciding to spare Dr Gero is rationalized so flimsily that I’m surprised his friends didn’t mutiny right then and there since they’re always the ones near death. Oh that reminds me…
2. Where Did the Senzu Beans Go?
The biggest and most necessary deux ex machina of the series is unquestionably the mighty senzu bean. Shaped and sized like a lima bean, a single senzu bean has the ability to heal you back to 100% power even when near fatal, including mending broken bones and injuries as severe as holes in your stomach and necks being shattered. They truly are wonderful things, and you’d think the Z Fighters would have a near-endless supply just floating around somewhere.
Well, you would, except they only get just enough for the plot to be full of “tension.” Each time Korin appeared in the series, he’d give out a few more senzu beans but never quite enough to completely heal everyone when the time arrived. He’d mention that he only had a few left and that growing new beans took time, but it was never really clear how low it took to grow more beans. Everything was just sort of left to the imagination there, and we sort of had to deal with it.
That is, until we remembered seeing a jar stuffed with senzu beans in the middle of Dragon Ball. When Yajirobe first makes it to the top of Korin’s Tower, he gorges himself on senzu beans, not realizing that a single one can keep you full for days. Since then he hasn’t shown a real affinity toward them other than just being Korin’s assistant. The real question here is: What happened to the hundreds of beans in the jar? The characters couldn’t have eaten more than maybe 30 throughout both series, so do we just assume that Yajirobe ate all the other ones? Or is Korin growing special beans to account for the new power levels? It doesn’t make any sense with the story, but then again…
1. The Creators Couldn’t Decide What Tone They Wanted For DBZ:
Akira Toriyama is a fantastic character designer. Chrono Trigger is a Game You Should Have Played, as are all of the Dragon Quest games. Dr Slump is hilarious and lighthearted, and Dragon Ball Z remains one of my favorite series ever, purely for the nostalgia factor. But it’s apparent after getting about half way through DBZ that neither he nor anyone else helping with the story knew what sort of tone the series was supposed to have.
For those unaware, “tone” is the overall feeling the story conveys. Dragon Ball was predominantly a comedy and had a very satiric, upbeat tone. Bad guys were typically silly, jokes were intermixed into everything including fights, and plots could be resolved with the most ridiculous things, such as Oolong stepping in and wishing for a pair of panties instead of Pilaf getting control of the world, or the special containment jar meant to hold King Piccolo being a rice cooker. Even the fights themselves seemed more ready to be satire of the usual kung fu dramas that were so ingrained into Japanese culture, what with combatants inventing new moves left and right.
But when transitioning to Z, the tone got changed drastically to that of a serious action show, and for the most part, everything through the end of the Frieza Saga does a good job of balancing the action with the comedy. But then everything just keeps breaking down harder and harder when we’re expected to care about characters dying and getting wished back, villains blowing up cities and planets, and actual serious character development getting so high and mighty that you aren’t sure what you were supposed to be feeling.
Goku and his gang are cartoon characters, completely and utterly, but then half way through their story we’re expected to care about them on a whole new level and have to see them act serious. This would be like seeing Elmer Fudd blow up the forest and then Buggs Bunny has a serious monologue to Daffy about how everything’s changed. No, not gonna fly. So many holes cropped up in the plot thanks entirely to DBZ’s creators shrugging and saying, “I don’t know, this was a comedy, right?” So many things could have been resolved with simple lampshading, but alas, DBZ is stuck as a relic of the past.
There, I think I’m finally done with the problems in DBZ. I seriously can’t think of a single plothole left. But, I bet you can, can’t you? Feel free to leave a comment and tell me about a plothole I missed. Or go ahead and tell me why I’m wrong with these current ten. I mean, it’s not like I’ll actually take it seriously or anything. After all, I was raised on DBZ.