Ah, Dragon Ball Z. Japan really set a mark for this one, but here in America, Dragon Ball Z sets the standard for everything that an anime should be according to many self-titled old school anime lovers. It was, after all, the anime that brought America’s eyes to the genre of animation and television and, among them, Goku and all his supposed glory really opened America up to anime as a legitimate genre.
The thing is, have you ever noticed how little the writers of Dragon Ball Z actually seem to have done when it comes to their universe and story? One or two plot holes in any given series tends to be more that enough for some watchers to give up on a series, but Dragon Ball Z carries them like frequent badges of honor, trudging on past them like they don’t exist and only rarely circling back to fix a mistake or explain the plot hole in the first place.
While there are some arguments that a lot of the loop holes came when the anime was translated and shipped over to America, some folks out there make the very simple argument that the anime panders to those who just want epic battles and nothing more.
What do you think? Let’s nerd rage on this one.
15. Why Does Everyone Hate Vegeta, Anyway?
Have you ever noticed that, especially early on, Vegeta seems to be this big evil villain? He comes in and everyone is just like “Hey, screw that Vegeta guy!” and the audience (that’s you) just goes along with it.
From the word “go,” Vegeta is labelled as the big bad dude that you don’t want to cross, but have you ever stopped to wonder why you are lead to believe that? I’ve had this conversation with DBZ watchers and the first thing they come up with is that he’s killed so many good guys. A man who kills good guys is obviously evil, right? Let’s examine. Do you know what Vegeta’s kill count for good guys really is? I’ll give you three guesses. Ready?
14. The Afterlife Is Really Just An Afterthought
Everyone freaks out when one of the heroes dies. Have you noticed that? The first time Goku dies, for example, you get this big monologue about how he needs someone to take care of the people he’s leaving behind and then they all scream “NO! GOKU, NO!” and it’s this big sad thing. In that self-same episode, you have folks talking about wishing themselves into eternal life.
Like it matters.
The thing is, you have this big idea of death but so many characters have died and it doesn’t even matter! When you die, you’ll either come back or have never been truly dead in the first place. You go to a “world beyond” leaving others to carry on, but in actuality, the afterlife in the Dragon Ball Z universe is really just an afterthought and a way to bring a little emotion into a vastly emotionless anime.
13. Frieza Has Family? Since When?
Speaking of death as an afterthought, you have Frieza and his supposed deaths. Everyone seemed surprised when he died, but the afterlife being such an afterthought really leads into yet another huge plot hole involving Frieza.
Apparently he has a family reunion with his old man after he dies and shows up with his dad. We know from the get go that Frieza is the penultimate ruler of the universe, so it’s surprising enough when he dies. Then we learn that he comes back with his daddy, King Cold and that he has a brother named Cooler, too? It’s like the writers said “Yeah, this guy is the strongest guy in the universe. He’s so strong he runs the place!” and then suddenly, they throw in the fact that he’s got family. Oops?
12. Who Needs Rules?
For a show that is named after them, Dragon Ball Z really doesn’t seem to give a damn about the actual Dragon Balls all too much, do they? The show itself really only seems to give a damn about the Dragon Balls when someone dies. They even ask the question about why they wouldn’t just wish the bad guys away in the first place, to which the answer involves the dragon only being as strong as the person who summoned it. And yet the dragon can revive dead people, revive entire nations of people, restore planets and much more. I don’t see any of the summoners doing that, do you? It seems to me that this show’s namesake really isn’t paid attention to enough. What do you think?
11. It Was All A Dream
You’ve seen those episodes where endings were just a dream, or like those cheesy Batman episodes where the dolphin kamikazis a bomb so Batsy can live, right? Well, we get into a rather large plot hole with the same type of explanations. When Goku is fighting Frieza, we watch an entire episode where Goku unsuccessfully attempts to escape a planet. He tries fixing ships, getting creative, but in the end we watch him floating in the sky as the planet goes boom-boom. Yet, Goku is very much alive! How? Well, Goku obviously found a Saiyan ship floating around randomly and jumped aboard to escape. Checks out, right? Not really. Seems to me that the writers wrote themselves into a corner and said “Screw continuity. Let’s just show the viewers two separate events.”
10. Planet Vegeta Does The Time Warp (Again)
Everyone knows that the Saiyans are the last of their kind. When Goku finds out what he is, he also finds out that he’s a member of a nearly extinct race. If they are such great warriors, though, why are they almost extinct with only four members to count?
Because their planet was destroyed.
First they say it was a comet, which is confirmed by other characters. Then they say that Frieza destroyed it. Okay, we can look past that little hiccup, but the problem here is more along the lines of the time frame by which this all occurs.
At first, and this is confirmed as well by other characters, they say that the planet was destroyed four years ago in the American version. The issue here is that the planet was destroyed as Goku left it… 23 years ago.
9. MY POWER LEVEL IS OVER 9000!
This is the biggest trope that the anime world has ever seen, and easily the most laughable. As we know, the power of Saiyans or others who fight like them is measured in a four digit number. But wait! Later, we find out that there is a higher level than the previous cap of 9,000, which was supposed to be the highest measure of power. Later, Bulma has to hide on the other side of the world when power levels reach about 26,000. Otherwise, she would be dead just by being too close. Then, we get to a fight between Goku and Frieza where power levels boost up to over one million! That’s some serious firepower. The thing is, that kind of power is enough to backlash and destroy entire worlds inadvertently. It’s cool, though. Nobody cares.
8. The Time Warp, Again.. And Again
One thing I always find hilarious is the usage of time in the Dragon Ball series. There are several instances where the heroes are given a specific amount of time to get something important done, or face likely world-shattering consequences. This bothers me in all television and movies ever since I would hold my breath when someone was underwater just to see if I could do it, too.
The biggest one here is Frieza’s five minutes, which they make a huge deal about. Frieza’s five minutes turns into something like nine or ten episodes where Frieza dies, gets brought back and tries to kill Goku and everyone else as well. If you ask me, ten episodes is a hell of a long five minute countdown.
7. Animals Talk. Just Not That One.
Anime is just full of smart animals that do way more than a real one could ever do, and that is just fine in my book. Hell, it’s fine when some anime creatures even talk. It makes sense in some aspects, like in Sailor Moon where the cat is some creature that just so happens to look like a cat but is really some spirit of the moon or something, right?
In Dragon Ball Z, though, you have no real explanation of anything. You have some sort of pseudo-Nazi pig that talks, but other pigs obviously don’t. A dog that’s president of a world, too! And that’s all well and good until you figure out that other animals from the same world and species have no such abilities and there’s absolutely no explanation as to why.
6. In Space, Everyone Can Hear You Scream
Everyone knows that when you’re in space, shit is silent and there is no air. While space isn’t exactly the void that some think it is, it is a cold hard fact that if you’re outside of Earth’s atmosphere, you aren’t going to be breathing. Even on other planets, you aren’t going to be breathing anything that’s going to be translated by your body into workable aspiration materials. Granted, in a series with aliens and such it makes sense that there are those who could survive the rigors or space and even other planets that are habitable. The problem is that they make a big animated deal out of the Saiyans and their foes legitimately BREATHING in space. A hard fight and you’re on an asteroid to catch your breath? Checks out.
5. Tis But A Flesh Wound
Hey, I get it. Even though a human who gets a small bullet-sized puncture wound is probably going to be dead or disabled until he either dies or recuperates. That doesn’t mean a badass warrior is going to get hurt by a bullet, right? A hole in the body might not affect a Super Saiyan warlord from outer space, right? Okay, that’s fine. What bothers me is when you have one episode where Goku gets a seven inch hole blasted through him and he not only survives but keeps on fighting! What an epic, bona fide badass, right? That is until you realize that a similarly sized hole was the thing that lead to Goku’s original death. So which is it? Do holes through your chest kill Goku, or don’t they?
4. Ships Are Disabled, But Useable, But Not.
Several events in the series may not make sense, but the space ships that they use in these shows are more unreliable than that old Ford you bought from some guy named Gerald who claimed that it was indestructible and “never gave him any problems.” In more than one episode, you have a space ship that is deemed to be unsalvageable and unusable, only to be used later in the series without any work having been done to it. You have ships that were driven one moment only to be unable to fly any further for no other reason than they turned it off or landed it. It is really enough to make a person wonder if they just get their ships as prizes from some intergalactic form of Chuck E. Cheese or something.
3. Snake Way And Strange Geometry
I am hoping this plot hole is more of a translation issue than a question of whether or not the writers of the series can figure out basic geography, but look at the story of Snake Way. This thing is supposed to be around ten thousand miles long, right? Okay cool. So it’s a few thousand miles short of Earth’s equatorial diameter of just short of thirteen thousand miles. The problem lies in the fact that Goku and many other people he fights as well as his allies have traversed Earth many times without issue and many of them can do it in a very short amount of time, yet it took Goku over one hundred and fifty days to traverse the Snake Way, which is just as long! How is this corrected? “Oh. It’s not 10,000 miles. It’s, like, a million miles!” Checks out.
2. Biology 101
There was once an idea that if a person had their arm cut off, their children would be born without an arm as well. As humans became more intelligent and studied the way their bodies worked, we realized that losing an arm for a parent is not a genetic condition and wouldn’t be passed on to children, who would be born with both arms fully intact.
As a Saiyan, Goku has a tail, which is a remnant and is connected to his ability (or curse) to shapeshift when he sees the moon. He had his tail cut off several times to avoid this transformation and sometimes it grew back, sometimes it didn’t The same incongruence is found in other Saiyans. Tail comes back. Tail doesn’t come back. The issue is that they explain a Saiyan kid not having a tail due to the parent having it cut off. Wtf.
1. A Goku-Centric Universe
In another list, we explained that Goku is absolutely not the most powerful anime character ever, nor is he the strongest character in the Dragon Ball Z universe. He’s lost a vast number of fights and has had to call in his allies to clean up his messes more times that any avid fan could count. You have Krillin who has the single deadliest move in the series, Tien surpasses Goku just by training enough and other characters bring Goku so much shame that you have to sit back and wonder why Goku had so much love from the fans to begin with. As time goes on, he becomes iconic for the Dragon Ball series but no one can tell me why. It’s a show about finding Dragon Balls to make wishes about some biologically transient alien from a planet that blew up four years ago, 23 years ago.