Dragon Ball Z has all the right kind of crazy to get into, but it lacks any continuity or character consequences to make the show more enticing beyond watching two dudes fight on an exploding planet. That’s what Dragon Ball Z is all about; muscular men throwing one another through mountains and making the planet shake just by throwing a punch. The plot holes and broken narrative elements are so numerous it almost seems intentional. Yes, we can laugh at the widely known goofy moments like, “It’s over 9,000!”, but lets take a closer look. I’m embarking on an epic quest to list what exactly is wrong with Dragon Ball Z. Taking a critical approach to one of Anime’s most beloved franchises is what the people want. For example, it took way longer for Namek to explode than five minutes. Or did it!?
#28 Gohan’s Reversal:
A large complaint I have with Dragon Ball Z is the gross mishandling of characters. It’s a widely accepted argument that Dragon Ball Z should have ended with the Cell Saga. Ending the show there would have brought a satisfying conclusion to the series. Regular people finally got a first-hand look at the power of the Z-warriors; Vegeta found redemption for his sins, and Goku was killed and surpassed by his son. Gohan was built up from the beginning. We’ve seen potential in his character through fights with Vegeta, the Ginyu Force, and Frieza. Never did Gohan play any major role in killing more important villains, but since the fight with Raditz, we’ve been teased that Gohan will most likely assume his father’s role eventually.
This magical ending did indeed happen. Dragon Ball Z unfortunately lived on with the purpose of undoing every story arch that was concluded thus far. Gohan did an about-face. When we last left Gohan, he was the most badass character in the series. Not to mention he was the same age of the bulk of the audience. Now he’s going to high school and spending his off time playing superhero. The Great Saiyaman Saga is the worst filler segment across the Dragon Ball franchise as a whole. Gohan didn’t develop as character, nor was he ever in any danger while fighting humans. He becomes one of the weaker characters in the series and possibly the most annoying. With Gohan being an adult, he lost the only interesting thing he had going for him. The only thing to come out of The Great Saiyaman Saga was Videl, who arguably just serves the purpose of a whom to produce another Saiyan character later on.
#82 Vegeta is a bitch
The one who is sold as the badass of the series is actually the biggest crybaby. Once a saga, Vegeta has to have his obligatory speech. Prince of all Saiyans, check, part of a warrior race, check, Goku is a low-level clown, check. Dude, we get it! Vegeta is like the most popular girl in highschool’s best friend. She’s still really pretty and gets a lot of attention, but will always live in the shadow of her friend. She knows she’ll never move up the chain. Vegeta has pride, but should keep it to himself more often.
#101 Goku believes he can’t breathe in space
The Saiyan’s have proved they can breathe in space on multiple occasions. Our first example (in terms of timeline) is when Frieza committed the genocide against the Saiyans. Here, we saw Bardock challenge Frieza…in space. In the Saiyan Saga, we see Vegeta and Nappa blow up a planet while standing on their space pods. During the three years before the Androids appeared, Vegeta transformed into a Super Saiyan in space.
When Frieza realized he couldn’t defeat Goku in battle, he came up with a plan to destroy the planet they were on. After a massive blow to the planet’s core, it would explode in mere minutes. After the planet was gone, Goku wouldn’t have any more air to breathe. However, the question of whether or not Goku can survive the resulting explosion isn’t ever asked. Later on, the Z Warriors are surprised Buu came out of Earth’s explosion. Maybe Frieza doesn’t remember the genocide he committed? Perhaps he didn’t know Bardock was a Saiyan? I don’t know. Either every Saiyan aside from Goku can breathe in space, or he just took Frieza’s word for it. I don’t blame him for not wanting to test out the theory.
#173 Regeneration doesn’t matter
After the battles with Frieza and the Androids, the writers felt they needed a new avenue to display a character’s strength. Blowing up planets is old news. Hell, Krillen can probably do it. But how would characters deal with being blown up? We saw basic iterations of this concept with Piccolo. I never understood the durability of a Namekian. Piccolo explained that if his head remained intact, he could heal. This doesn’t seem to be the case with scores of Namekians being beaten to death by Frieza and his men. Piccolo himself was killed by a blast that didn’t even amputate anything. Perhaps internal damage plays a role?
Cell takes this to the next level by being able to reform so long as a single cell is alive. Even after he self-destructs in a last-ditch effort to kill Gohan, Cell comes back for more. As mentioned earlier, Buu destroys several planets while on them and manages to regenerate as good as new. Regenerating bad guys is the new power-up. It’s a visual display of power their opponent can show. When Gohan first transformed, he blew Cell in half. The same goes for the fight between Vegito and Super Buu. Virtually every attack dealt by Vegito tore Majin Buu apart. Majin Buu especially suffers from being blown up, arms amputated, face smashed in, and numerous horrible injuries merely to serve the purpose of what a badass he was, or his opponent, depending on who was winning that episode. You would think one of the non-regenerating characters would become a casualty at some point.
Those are just a few issues with one of Anime’s best. Come back later when I talked about who is more lame between The Gold Fighter and The Great Saiyaman. What are your favorite goofs of the series? Post below!