We all know I love Dragonball Z, and I’m pretty sure there’re a handful of you out there who still do, too. While I certainly made sure to show my love for DBZ, I also made not one but two lists of plotholes I deemed unacceptable. A lot of comments hit me like a Solar Flare, arguing that I hadn’t listed real plotholes but rather just instances of filler used to allow time for the manga to catch up to the anime. I still say those plotholes are unacceptable and I think Akira Toriyama agrees with me, hence why Dragonball Z Kai, Toriyama’s re-edit of the series from 291 episodes down to 100, is being released in the US this month. In fact, you can still preorder it through Amazon right now. So in celebration of yet another “definitive” edition of DBZ coming out, I figured I’d run down a list of the Top 10 Worst Instances of Filler in DBZ.
But first, what is filler? I’m going to define it as thus: An episode or plot, usually a side plot, that has little or no relevance to the main plot and only serves to A, stall for time, or B. extend the series for no good reason. And this is MY list, so don’t disagree until you get to the point where you can leave a comment at the bottom. So are we ready? The table is set, now let us begin!
10. Goku and Piccolo Learn to Drive:
Right after the episodes where the Z Fighters are training for the arrival of the Androids, but before the episode where they actually appear, Chi Chi decides that Goku needs to learn to drive. Why? Because she’s sick of having to walk to the store all the time. Even though she’s been shown multiple times driving a flying car. Regardless, she forces not just Goku but Piccolo to get their drivers licenses, mostly for the lulz. Nothing happens the entire episode other than “random wackiness,” though not the kind that I find all that entertaining. And in the end, neither pass the test. Still, Goku has his license in a later episode, just because.
9. Gohan Thinks He’s a Super Hero:
After Cell is defeated, there are seven years of peace on Earth, meaning Gohan finally goes to school like a regular kid. Except he decides to fight crime for the heck of it. Sure, why not? While not everything he does as the Great Saiyaman is dull, a lot of it has no point to anything else in the series. Gohan is never in any real danger, nor is anyone near him since, as we know, he can move faster than a gunshot. It becomes especially painful to sit through episodes where he’s saving a random dinosaur he knows. Get back to the real action already Gohan.
8. The Ginyu Force on King Kai’s Planet:
I’ve been over why the Ginyu Force’s appearance on King Kai’s planet messes up rationality completely, such as making it apparent that somehow Yamhca, Tien, and Chiaotzu aren’t completely worthless but still aren’t used again, but when you get right down to it, this whole plot is not only really stupid but distracts from the real good stuff happening between Frieza and everyone else. Why do I wanna see these pointless characters fight guys that Goku and Vegeta already beat? Pass.
7. Terror on Arlia:
This is one of the first chances we get to see Vegeta and Nappa in action way before they even show up on Earth (and Vegeta’s color scheme rapidly changes without explanation). The concept behind this entire episode probably began with a “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” introduction and then someone else yelled, “Oh! Giant ugly bug things!” I’m just surprised no one bothered to shut that guy up. All I know is this was just here to fill space while everyone trained on Earth, but in the process it showed Vegeta blowing up a planet (showing that everyone, including Yamcha and his bunch, would have that amount of power by the Freiza Saga), and somehow allowing Vegeta the ability to breath in space. Just because.
6. Hey, This Isn’t Namek:
After Vegeta’s defeat on Earth, Gohan, Krillin, and Bulma fly off to Namek to wish everyone back that just got killed. In the manga they go straight there. However, in the anime, they run into a band of planetless scrubs on a weird looking spaceship and have to help them survive. Just because. We get the usual message of “Don’t judge one another off first impressions” or “You never know where you’ll find a friend” or some randomness like that, but nothing significantly cool. Also, we see Gohan and Krillin putting out fires with Kamehameha waves. Energy blasts shouldn’t be able to put out fires when they can also cause them. That just doesn’t make sense. There’s another plothole right there.
5. Hey, This Still Isn’t Namek:
So now that our trio of not-so-successful space travelers has left the foreign spacecraft behind, do they make it to Namek? No, they land on someplace they think is Namek and spend a few episodes gathering pretend Dragon Balls with two aliens pretending to be Namekians just so they can steal the heroes’ space ship and leave. More pointless Dragon Ball hunting takes place, something we had moved past even before the end of Dragonball, but now it’s just happening to prolong the quest to Namek even further. The amount of joy I felt when they FINALLY arrived on the real Namek was overpowering.
4. Gohan and the Orphans:
During that ill-fated year between Raditz’s arrival and Vegeta and Nappa making their way to Earth, everyone was busy doing something. Goku was constantly running on Snake Way, Krillin and the other Also-Rans were training with Kami, and Gohan was getting beaten and abused by Piccolo, supposedly to prepare him for the Saiyans’ arrival. While most of Gohan’s wilderness training is awful filler, it hits a peak of just plain bad when the orphans show up. Why? No real reason other than to waste a few episodes showing Gohan seeing some random kids without parents being tough on their own before a lesson is learned about Gohan needing to be tougher for the Saiyans or something that he already learned with one of the other filler training episodes. Sure, throw in some orphans. Just because.
3. Bulma Does Anything:
I could have broken this into a few different examples, such as Bulma chasing down a stray Dragon Ball on Namek that she herself manages to lose, or Bulma befriending the Ginyu frog and accidentally getting her body switched with him, but I realized that pretty much any time Bulma shows up for an extended episode she’s there just to fill time doing nothing important whatsoever. The whole Dragon Ball hunt? After the two episodes with her losing, finding, and almost losing the ball again, nothing’s different than when she started. The same goes with the Ginyu frog body switch. Somehow she’s even hurled all the way from the Frieza battleground back to whichever random island she was hiding on in the first place as if nothing happened. Bulma nearly lost all relevance to the plot, making her only real achievements of Dragonball Z being getting pregnant and then somehow not losing Trunks in the ocean on accident, just because.
2. Goku Helps a Family of Pterodactyls, Just Because:
Buu has just been defeated and peace has been restored to the universe. Hooray! The next episode is devoted to showing things settling in for a time of peace with some fun bits where we get to see how the Z Fighters handle said peace. Hooray! Then there’s an episode where everyone gets together for a barbeque. Just because. But that’s not the bad part. The unforgivable filler content happens because Goku isn’t at the barbeque because, and here it comes, he’s helping a family of pterodactyls keep their nest safe for their eggs to hatch. Just. Because. He finally shows up at the end of the episode to make everyone get the food out again and stay longer just to hear him talk about the filler plot he just encountered. At least with three episodes left in the series things couldn’t get any worse.
1. The Three Final Episodes:
Well dang it. The final three episodes of the series have to do with yet another Tenkaichi Budokai, throwing us another 10 years ahead to see how the characters are doing. And what do we find out? Everyone pretty much lost contact with one another because Goku doesn’t bother to stay in contact with anyone, a task that’s literally as simple as blinking an eye due to Instant Transmission. For some reason the tournament is of interest for the Z Fighters because Goku thinks there’s some super strong fighter appearing, someone who happens to be Buu reborn as a human named Uub (I see what they did there). And in these final three episodes we are shown that Gohan is a nerd, Videl is a housewife, Trunks is a chaunce, Goten looks like Yamcha, Yamcha is still worthless, Vegeta doesn’t have much to do anymore, Krillin has grown a mustache, and Goku is an incredibly horrible friend and family member since he decides to just pick up and fly away to train this random kid he just met because he thinks he has potential. Not Goten. Not even Pan, his granddaughter. Nope, just some kid he met for the first time here. And the saddest thing of all? Even though they insist on continuing the series with GT, we discover that Uub is 100% worthless, meaning Goku wasted all those years abandoning his family and friends yet again. How sad.
But the filler can’t all be bad, right? I’m not going to leave on such a sour note this time. Nope, I have two instances of where the filler wasn’t just acceptable; it was awesome.
This right here:
And this as well:
They somehow make the Season Seven DVD collection suck marginally less just by existing.
But that’s all the energy I can gather for bad uses of filler today. What about you? Did you enjoy these filler plots? Do you think they’re invaluable to the series as a whole? Or did I miss an example of filler that beats everything I just said here? Leave a comment and let me know.
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