When you have a franchise that’s run as long as Dragon Ball, you’re bound to run into some continuity problems. In fact, every iteration of the Dragon Ball franchise, whether it’s an animated series, film, video game, or even the original manga itself, there’s a whole slew of inconsistencies.
Whether these are born from Akira Toriyama and his staff being forgetful (and, considering the amount of years this franchise has existed, and the gargantuan amount of content within it, is quite understandable,) or they stem from the creators actively choosing to redefine specific elements, you will find retcons and broken continuity everywhere.
That said, Dragon Ball Super and its recent film are unique in the sense that they MASSIVELY break continuity within the well-established lore of the franchise.
Sure, there are definitely changes that are small or inconsequential in nature, coupled with honest-to-goodness mistakes, but when it makes a big change, it makes a colossal one that has implications across decades of material.
With this list of 25 Crazy Things In Dragon Ball Super That Break Continuity, we’ve compiled some of the most mind-bogglingly bizarre alterations that Toriyama and his crew have intentionally implemented in Super, along with others that amount to minor mistakes that, while not devastating, still end up breaking continuity.
Again, nearly every saga of every Dragon Ball series does at least a few things that either retcon important material or breaks continuity in other ways, but Super is like an Oozaru going on a rampage against canon, and there’s no one around to blow up the moon.
Divine earrings are a decent way to fuse, but if you want the best bang for your buck, you better prepare to do a wacky and extremely precise dance. Goku picked up this particular method of fusing two warriors into one during his post-mortem Other World adventures, and made sure to bring it to the forefront in the battle against Buu.
So, how come in Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Piccolo is treated as the ultimate Fusion Dance expert? He didn’t discover it, nor was he the one to teach it to our heroes… that was all Goku. We get the idea of Piccolo observing and coaching Goku and Vegeta, but the film treated him like he was progenitor of the technique.
Akira Toriyama’s concept of time travel is fairly unique when compared to something like Back to the Future’s take, but Dragon Ball Super muddies its already complex nature, practically rewriting it in the process. Here’s the thing, though: time travel in Dragon Ball has always been overly complex and a little bit hard to comprehend.
When Super added in the idea of multiverses, all of which contain alternate time lines, Time Rings and much more, things became so complicated that we barely get what’s going on, and neither does Toriyama. Frankly, we don’t have the space to talk about all the inconsistencies, but doing a quick watch of Trunks explaining time travel in Z and then watching the Goku Black arc in Super, and you’ll understand… actually, you won’t, but that’s the point we’re making.
It can be easy to forget that within the first few episodes of Dragon Ball Z, the main character gets utterly blown away and spends a lengthy amount of time in the after life. This is bold in and of itself, but the after life, otherwise known as the “Other World,” is executed in such a unique and fun way that it’s easy to dull the pain of Goku’s demise.
The Other World itself goes through some minor conceptual changes throughout the series, such as the circumstances of keeping one’s body, but Super makes major and jarring alterations. These include, but are not limited to, there being multiple, specific versions of Hell, alternate check-in stations (rather than King Yemma being the one and only,) and much more.
The tale of Trunks’ hair color is bizarre and longer than it should be, and its blatantly contradictory “conclusion” makes it so much worse. Basically, for the majority of Trunks’ appearances throughout the entire franchise, his hair has been a light purple, but in Super he’s given blue hair.
Well, more specifically, Furure Trunks has blue hair, while kid Trunks has purple hair. Weirder yet, way back in the '90s, some toys of Trunks (before we even knew who he was) had blue hair instead of purple, so this problem is one that’s gone back decades, and we’ll likely never know the true answer.
The latest film in the franchise, Broly, makes some major changes to accepted canon and characterizations, and Bardock takes the biggest hit of them all. Portrayed as a ruthless Saiyan who cares little for his own son, the original Bardock is a terrible person who decides to stand up to tyranny to defend his race and, in his final moments of life, takes selfish pleasure in the fact that his son will eventually avenge him.
Broly transforms Bardock into the equivalent of Superman’s father, while also altering his characterization to be a far softer and kinder character, who aims to save Goku because he loves him. While this is nice, it makes Bardock a far less interesting character, and, again, and there’s already a better version of this tale in the form of Superman.
Watch basically any episode of the Saiyan or Frieza arcs, and the iconic Ki Blasts of Dragon Ball Z are spectacular forces of destruction, adorned with all kinds of special visual effects to give them even more impact. Even something as simple as Vegeta firing off a single blast is treated with care, and each burst is practically unique.
In Super, most (if not all) standard ki blasts are treated like weak, rapid fire shots of yellow bolts that look more like a cheesy version of Gundam Wing’s machine gun effects than anything in Dragon Ball. While not a story-shattering continuity change, this nerfing of the visual and destructive splendor just looks and feels awful.
The specifics of Goku’s origin have gone through some minor (and major) changes in the past.
When we’re first introduced to the character, he’s just a weirdly strong kid with a tail who was found as a baby by Grandpa Gohan. Sometimes baby Goku is found in his space pod, other times he’s not. Sometimes he was said to be violent before he bonked his head, while other media shows him being a good boy from the start. In fact, the only truly major retcon came in the form of Goku being a Saiyan… that is, until Broly came out.
In Broly, Goku isn't a baby. He’s a child that’s a few years of age, and he definitely knew his parents and possibly his brother. While he probably forgot them by hitting his head, this age change was totally unnecessary and shatters continuity for zero reason.
Bulma is one of Dragon Ball’s longest running characters, and she’s absolutely awesome. Sure she was cool when she was going on adventures with Goku as a kid, but her impressive level of genius is really what makes this character shine.
Of course, there is something that’s not quite right about Bulma, and it’s her age.
Now, we know that discussing her age is something of a trigger for her, but we’re not actually talking about how old she is… we’re specifically referencing how Bulma herself doesn’t seem to actually know how old she is.
Bulma claims she is 38 in Super’s films, but she’s actually 45 if we check out her official birth date. Sure, she could be concealing her true age, but we think it’s probably just a mistake on the writer’s part.
First, an uncomfortable fact: Dragon Ball GT might still be canon, despite Funimation saying otherwise and a general fan belief that it’s not. There’s plenty of timeline room before reaching the age of GT, so there’s nothing that’s outright contradicted GT’s events just yet (aside from a few small changes)… well, except for the hoopla surrounding divine powers and the nature of the universe(s.)
Basically, Super Saiyan God and its related forms, Beerus, Agnels, the multiverse itself, and so much more are never once mentioned in GT. Obviously they weren’t invented yet, but the fact that Super consciously takes place before GT, when they could’ve easily done a hard retcon of it, makes us think Toriyama genuinely wants to tie things together, and if that’s the case, he’s already messed up.
Even casual fans will mention Goku’s explosive transformation in a Super Saiyan as one of their favorite parts of the franchise. The rage he harbored against Frieza was the perfect catalyst for his titanic transformation. Likewise, Vegeta’s burning desire to surpass Goku led to his own Super Saiyan transformation, while Gohan’s internalized hatred was what helped him achieve Super Saiyan 2.
These awesome transformations were tied to intense emotions and turmoil, and only through harnessing them were our heroes able to evolve… but Super decides to throw that all out the window by saying you can just find a tingly feeling in your back and then use that to transform.
…. And that's how you deflate one of the most emotionally charged concepts in an entire franchise. This change is like the midi-chlorians of Dragon Ball.
How come the Room Of Spirit And Time goes through so many arbitrary changes in Super? To be fair, the nature and rules regarding this room changed in during DBZ, but Super is worse. For example, there’s a two person and two day limit (due to the room’s supplies,) but Goku and Vegeta just chill in there for three days (that’s three years, by the way.)
Most grievously, though, is that Piccolo states the room can only be entered by a single person twice in their entire lifetime… and yet, that rule seems to have been tossed to the wayside. It can be argued that Dende improved the room when he reconstructed it, but there’s no hard proof to support the theory, making the changes remain as inconsistencies.
Krillin was an excellent rival for Goku in Dragon Ball, but an even better best friend to him and Gohan. His most defining features are, of course, his bald head, noseless face, Shaolin markings, and his height… or lack thereof. In fact, If you were a kid watching the show for the first time, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Krillin is a kid just like Gohan.
But here’s the thing about Krillin’s short stature when it comes to Dragon Ball Super: he actually shrinks. Like, significantly shrinks. Back in Dragon Ball Z, Krillin was just about up to his wife’s shoulders, but in Super, he’s only up to her waist. While this has to be a mistake, it’s such a significant height difference that we’re shocked no one caught it.
Mai lives a tortured existence. A grown woman during the era of the original Dragon Ball, she’s been reduced to a child’s form, with her companions enduring the same fate, and has continued to remain as such for decades.
The character once again gets a little time in the limelight during Dragon Ball Super, but there’s one significant difference regarding her looks that creates a bit of a continuity error: her eyes. During Dragon Ball, Mai’s eyes were blue, but they are strangely black in her latest appearances.
While Beerus is one of the best new characters added into the franchise, Toriyama and company seem wantonly fixated on retconning him into events that he previously had no involvement in, regardless of the damage it does to established continuity. While we get into more examples later, one major inconsistency is the question of who locked Old Kai in the Z-Sword.
In Dragon Ball Z, Old Kai states that the person who sealed him within the sacred sword was much weaker than Majin Buu. In Super, he claims that Beerus is the one who did it. Is Beerus weaker than Majin Buu? Uh, no. Definitely not. Why they felt the need to create this continuity issue is beyond us, but it’s really the least problematic example when it comes to Beerus.
Despite being such a popular character, details regarding Frieza are still fairly enigmatic. We know a little about how his organization works, and a slight bit about his race and family, but not too much. The lack of information regarding these subjects actually makes him a more interesting character, but some of that intrigue is lost when he inexplicably knows who Beerus and Buu are.
The Buu thing is bad enough, but the worst problem involves Beerus. Apparently, Beerus was the one who ordered Frieza to destroy Planet Vegeta, which is an absolutely pointless change meant to ham-fistedly insert the god into established canon, and it just doesn’t work.
How can terrible fight choreography be considered as breaking continuity? We’re glad you asked! Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z established the series as an action powerhouse, with immense inspiration being drawn from old-school Kung Fu films.
Many of the main characters in the franchise are trained martial artists, and even those who aren’t tended to have unique fighting styles (like Vegeta), and this was shown off in great detail during the fantastically framed, conceived and executed fight scenes. Heck, even GT had a few exquisite and creative battle scenes.
Where has this creativity gone in Super? Almost every fight for 85% of the series is an ugly, sloppy and poorly choreographed mess that looks like no one had any idea what they were doing. So basically, in terms of execution and conception, Dragon Ball Super breaks the continuity of excellent fight sequences. And that’s awful.
Gogeta’s appearance in Dragon Ball Super: Broly was absolutely awesome. This rare fusion was finally given a chance to shine in the spotlight, and he took great advantage of it with creative moves and outstanding choreography. Gogeta was portrayed as the ultimate peak of power, and after turning Blue, he seemed like a supreme being no matter what angle you approached from.
The only question that remains is how did his raw power not force the 30 minute time limit to prematurely end? In GT, SSJ4 Gogeta is essentially a god, but his divine might caused the transformation to cease well before the limit. The same even happened with SSB Vegetto (which we’ll touch on again later.) While it’s true that we didn’t mind seeing Gogeta being an untouchable force of nature, the lack of a shortened time limit still broke continuity.
Broly offered some interesting retellings of established lore regarding Bardock, the Saiyans, Frieza, and more. While there was definitely a lot of interesting stuff, one particular moment disregards a major component of what we know about the history of the Saiyans: their Scouters. In the movie, Frieza and King Cold are the ones to give this technology to the Saiyans, but way back in DBZ, their origins are vastly different.
When both the Saiyans and Tuffles were at war with each other on Planet Vegeta, the Tuffles were clearly shown to be the ones who invented Scouters, so we can assume that the use of Scouters was adopted after they had become extinct. This is yet another example of a seemingly arbitrary change to canon, and we’ll be forever perplexed by it.
The planet known as “Earth” in the Dragon Ball franchise certainly bears similarities to the planet that we currently live on in the real world, but those comparisons only go so far. Often referred to as “the Dragon World,” Earth in Dragon Ball has unique political structures, technology, animal life and even religion, as what is essentially God Himself is just chilling out on a floating island.
Aside from that, the Dragon World has unique geography and continents that don’t mirror our own version of Earth. Well, except in Dragon Ball Super. Likely an oversight (rather than intentional alteration,) Earth is portrayed as looking exactly like ours in terms of continents.
For all its problems, Dragon Ball Super is genuinely hilarious. While humor has always been a major component of the franchise, Super consistently knocks it out of the park with genuine laugh-out-loud moments. One such example is Goku apparently having no idea what kissing is. This moment is hysterical, mainly due to Vegeta’s utter astonishment and frustration, but, at the same time, it makes absolutely no sense.
Even if we disregard the fact that Goku has multiple children, there is no way in the world that Goku, at his current age, doesn’t know what kissing is. It’s an actual impossibility. It seems like they just wanted to make this joke, so they made the joke, without actually caring about the fact that it was nonsense.
Toriyama can’t seem to decide what he wants the origin of the Saiyans to be, despite them being the most prominent race in the franchise.
Did they come from another place entirely before landing on Planet Vegeta? Were they actually from Planet Vegeta but evolved separately from the Tuffles? Oh wait, now there was planet Plant, before it became Planet Vegeta, and the native race created the healing juice from the Rejuvenation Chamber. What does Planet Vegeta even look like? Did the Tuffles create the Saiyan tech and look, or did that come from Frieza? Did Frieza fear the Saiyans, or did Beerus tell him to blow up Planet Vegeta? Wait, we thought all Saiyans were savage warriors, why are there some without tails?
It’s a true a lot changes happened throughout Z and GT, but Super is just as guilty… and we still don’t know why this keeps happening.
Beerus, the God of Destruction, is an imposing and powerful figure. To prove this to us, Toriyama makes sure that Beerus lets us know that he was the one who wiped out the dinosaurs. Wow! Isn’t that awesome!? We thought it was an asteroid, but it was Beerus! That’s so awesome and clever. Except it’s not. It’s stupid and actually doesn’t make any sense at all to anyone who has even watched a single episode of Dragon Ball Z.
Right in the very opening of the first episode of DBZ, there’s a dinosaur. Then a dinosaur plays a huge role in Gohan’s training. In fact, there are dinosaurs in the same movie where Beerus makes that claim. Like Goku and kisses, this was another joke for a joke’s sake, and it’s just as nonsensical.
A lot of things related to the Saiyans have been retconned by Super, and Saiyan facial hair happens to be one of them. If we’re being honest, this particular issue regarding Saiyans, their facial hair, and even their hair in general, has been around forever, but it’s just extra weird in Super.
Supposedly, a “pure” Saiyans hair never changes, at least according to Vegeta. And yet, in GT, Vegeta ends up with a mustache and a hair cut. Also, does that mean Nappa and King Vegeta were born with a mustache and beard, respectively?
In fact, Goku and Vegeta have full beards in Super, so they’re defying their own logic. Maybe the line wasn’t meant literally, or referred specifically to altering their hair’s appearance, but still, it’s a pretty weird thing to implement, and even weirder to disregard.
One of the most tragic moments of broken continuity isn’t really a moment… it’s hours upon hours worth of character development, spanning decades in the making. Yes, we’re talking about Goku and how Super inexplicably decided to make his character regress by amplifying his worst qualities until he became an unreliable and dangerous moron.
We’ve seen this man grow from a baby to an adult, all while becoming a multi-faceted person who learns from his mistakes and has a lot more going on under the hood than it seemed. Unfortunately, Super has decided to portray Goku as a total imbecile and has tossed away nearly every last inch of character growth he’s ever had.
Fans were absolutely psyched to see Vegetto make his comeback in Dragon Ball Super. This beloved fusion was last seen facing off with (and demonstrating his supreme might against) Majin Buu, but now we’d get to see him against a far greater threat, all while backed up by the divine wrath of Super Saiyan Blue.
While his moments in the series did end up being really cool, Vegetto’s fusion was cut short due to his enormous power. This is a massive deviation from continuity regarding how Potara Fusions work, as they are supposed to last indefinitely. Super sloppily retconned that list bit, too, explaining it’s only permanent for Kais.