Dragon Ball Z takes place five years after the end of the original Dragon Ball series. During those five years, many things happened. Goku got married and had a kid, while Piccolo learned the iconic Special Beam Cannon. Meanwhile, Vegeta and the other Saiyans were probably conquering dozens of habituated planets.
Since many western fans were first introduced to the franchise with Dragon Ball Z, most never realized how much has changed since the end of OG Dragon Ball and the beginning of Z. For many fans, including myself, Goku was always a father. Everyone always knew how to fly, and Launch never existed.
While even the more passive fans of the Dragon Ball franchise may know some of the things that happened between the original show and Z, I don’t think most realized how crazy a lot of those things are. Dragon Ball Z was a big jump from normal Dragon Ball. Not only were the characters older, but the setting and tone were now completely different. In this list, I’ll be going over 20 crazy things that happened between the original show and Dragon Ball Z. A lot of these entries may be obvious to the common fan; however, I’ll be going over the greater context of why those things specifically were crazy.
20 The Z Warriors Never Contact Each Other
Almost none of the main characters of Dragon Ball stayed in contact with each other since the end of the original series. Krillin remained with Master Roshi, and Bulma and Yamcha continued their off-and-on relationship. Besides that, though, everyone acted as if they never met since Goku’s and Piccolo’s fight.
Everyone at the Kame house was shocked to see Goku has a son at the very start of Z, and Gohan was already four. So during the course of five years, Goku never contacted any of his friends to say he had a son? In Dragon Ball Super they all appear to hang out together more regularly, so I guess everyone has finally learned to pick up a phone and talk to each other.
19 Dr. Myuu Creates General Rilldo (Dragon Ball GT)
What? Dragon Ball GT stuff is on this list? Of course there would be at least one Dragon Ball GT entry on this list!
Even though Dragon Ball GT takes place after Dragon Ball Z, there is actually something important that happens in-between the original Dragon Ball and Z. In the Dragon Ball GT Perfect Files, released in 1997, there was a timeline that showed the major events in the show. Apparently, between the time of Dragon Ball and Z, Dr. Myuu captured General Rilldo and turned him into a machine. Admittedly, this is pretty obscure information based on characters that I don’t think most care about, but I thought it was interesting.
18 Yamcha Learns To Fly
We are all so used to seeing the Z Warriors flying that we all forget that most of them didn’t know how to fly for a long time. Tien and Chiaotzu were the first characters to be shown flying. Krillin was then shown flying in his fight with Piccolo in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. Piccolo was always shown being able to fly, whereas Goku used flight in his last-ditch effort to beat Piccolo.
Everyone but Yamcha learned how to fly by the end of Dragon Ball. Yamcha would suddenly be shown flying at the beginning of Z. He either learned how to fly between Dragon Ball and Z, or he learned it while training at Kami’s.
17 Piccolo Turns Eight
Piccolo’s height and maturity always made him seem like an older gentleman. In reality, Piccolo only turned eight when Dragon Ball Z began. You see, Piccolo is a Namekian and they age differently.
Piccolo was born when his previous incarnation, King Piccolo, was defeated by Goku. Before he passed, King Piccolo spit out one last egg that would end up being his new reincarnation. The 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament took place three years after King Piccolo’s defeat, which would mean normal Piccolo was only three years old by the time the tournament happened. Five years after that is when Z begins, meaning Piccolo only turned eight when Z started.
16 Chi-Chi Gives Up Fighting To Be A Mother
The Dragon Ball franchise has never had a particular great representation of women. In fact, there are hardly any women within the main cast. To be fair to the series, the few main women there are pretty great. Bulma and Android 18 are big fan favorites, and for good reason.
However, the franchise has this bad habit of domesticizing a lot of their female characters. Many of the women in the series become mothers, and rarely, if ever, take part of any of the main action scenes. Chi-Chi is probably the most disappointing, since it was established at the end of Dragon Ball that she was a very skilled martial artist. Yet when Z comes around, she essentially becomes nothing more than an overbearing mother.
15 Garlic Jr. Uses The Dragon Balls To Become Immortal
If you thought I wouldn’t include any of the Dragon Ball movies, then you thought wrong. Many of the Dragon Ball Z films actually take place during the course of the series; however, the very first Z movie, The Dead Zone, actually takes place right before the events of the first episode. Garlic Jr., the main villain of The Dead Zone, is actually one of the few bad guys in the series to successfully gather the dragon balls and wish for immortality. Of course, this ends up biting him back at the very end, when he gets sucked up into the Dead Zone and remains trapped there for an eternity (or until a filler arc in the original Z, at least).
14 Videl Is Born
We are so used to seeing Videl as a teen/grown-up that we forget she is actually around Gohan’s age. That means, just like Gohan, she was born around the five years between Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z.
While Videl being born between the original show and Z isn’t the craziest thing ever, it does mean that our good old friend Hercule had Videl before he was the World’s Martial Arts Champion. That means he was just some dude with a wife and kid before the events of Dragon Ball Z. I always assumed he received his fame and fortune from his mediocre martial arts, yet apparently he had a family life long before he became the Earth’s champion.
13 Dende Is Born(?)
Okay, so I don’t really know how old Dende is. Namekian ages and growth are very inconsistent. Piccolo became a full grown man by the age of three, while Dende remained a child for like forever. Yeah, he grows a few feet, yet he never stops looking like a kid.
When Gohan and the others first meet Dende during the Namek Saga, he appeared to be around Gohan’s age. Gohan was around five during the Namek Saga. However, they never directly state Dende was the same age as Gohan... or at least I don’t recall that they did. I’m assuming Dende is Gohan’s age, and that would mean he was also born between Dragon Ball and Z.
12 Dr. Gero Starts Working On The Androids
After Goku defeats the Red Ribbon Army, the lead scientist of the army, Dr. Gero, set about his revenge. Gero would send out tiny drones to follow Goku for years, recording all his fights. Gero would then calculate all that data in order to create countermeasures against Goku.
The good doctor wouldn’t enact his revenge against Goku until the Android Saga. So between the time of the Red Ribbon Army saga in Dragon Ball and Android Saga in Z, Dr. Gero has been working on his androids. It is kind of weird that Dr. Gero took so long to create the androids, since in the original Dragon Ball we already had Android 8.
11 Goku And Piccolo Team-Up Against Garlic Jr.
While the TV show and manga reveal that Goku and Piccolo first teamed up when fighting against Raditz, the very first Dragon Ball Z movie shows the actual first time the two team-up. You see, The Dead Zone takes place before Raditz shows up in Dragon Ball Z. That means Raditz wasn’t really the first time Goku and Piccolo teamed up. The two actually joined forces against Garlic Jr., one of everyone’s top five favorite Dragon Ball Z movie villains. Though Goku and Piccolo were able to overpower Garlic Jr., they couldn’t properly finish him off since he was an immortal. It was kid Gohan who put an end to Garlic Jr. by sending him to another dimension.
10 Goku And Chi-Chi Got Married
We actually got to see Goku and Chi-Chi get married in the last few episodes of the OG Dragon Ball anime. However, in the US, the Dragon Ball manga is split into two. While in Japan it was all one Dragon Ball manga, the US had Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z.
Officially, the Dragon Ball manga ends in the US with Goku beating Piccolo Jr. Z starts with Raditz arriving on Earth. Even though Goku and Chi-Chi are shown getting married in the Dragon Ball anime, it technically took place in between the original show and Dragon Ball Z. The odd thing about Goku’s and Chi-Chi’s wedding is that they didn’t even invite any of Goku’s friends. Not even Krillin or Bulma went to the wedding.
9 Yamcha Became A Baseball Player (In Filler)
One of the strangest decisions the anime did was to make Yamcha a professional baseball player. It wasn’t in the original Dragon Ball manga; it was essentially added in the anime to flesh out Yamcha’s character some more and include more silly filler. Yamcha became a baseball player between Dragon Ball and Z.
Weirdly enough, Yamcha being a baseball player was well-accepted by fans, even though it was just anime filler. There’s just something oddly charming knowing that one of Earth’s strongest warriors is a professional sports player. Eventually, in Dragon Ball Super, they incorporated Yamcha’s skill in baseball, officially making it canon.
8 Launch Goes Searching For Tien
Launch was a side character in Dragon Ball. She essentially served as Master Roshi’s housekeeper, but she had a unique gimmick. She has some sort of multiple personality disorder; every time she sneezes her hair changes color, and she has a completely different personality. Whereas her blue-haired self was nice, her blonde form was more aggressive and violent.
I loved Launch; however, she completely disappeared before Z started. The excuse given was that she went out looking for Tien, for whom the blonde Launch developed an infatuation. She was a really fun character and deserved more than what she got. I’m honestly surprised that she never made any appearances in Dragon Ball Super, not even in a cameo.
7 Vegeta And Nappa Probably Conquered A Lot Of Planets
I’m actually being very presumptuous with this entry; nonetheless, we all know that Vegeta and Nappa must have conquered dozens of planets for Lord Frieza. They were feared across the universe, and it has been suggested that Vegeta may have been a prodigy since a young age.
The first time we see Vegeta and Nappa in Dragon Ball Z, they have just conquered a planet. So we know they had conquered at least one planet. Raditz was capable of conquering Earth by himself, so it’s totally in the realm of possibility that Vegeta and Nappa have conquered several planets between Dragon Ball and Z. Heck, they probably conquered a lot of planets during the course of Dragon Ball.
6 Raditz Heads To Earth
It is established in the Dragon Ball canon that traveling in space takes a long while. Until Goku learns instant transmission and the introduction of gods takes place, traveling from planet to planet actually took months. It took almost a whole year for Vegeta and Nappa to arrive on Earth.
With that in mind, Raditz must have taken off for Earth during the five years between the original Dragon Ball and Z. Who knows how long it actually took him to crash land on the planet? However, it most definitely happened a while before the events of Dragon Ball Z.
5 Gohan Grows A Tail
The series never specify if Saiyan hybrids with tails are born with them, or if they grow them over time. By the time Dragon Ball Z starts, Gohan is four and already has a tail. While we have seen full-blooded Saiyans having tails since they are born, it is unknown if Gohan was the same way. So far, Gohan is the only Saiyan hybrid who had a tail. The assumption among fans is that Saiyan tails are a recessive gene, meaning Saiyans/human breeds have a low chance of gaining a tail from their parent.
However Gohan got his tail, he still gained it during the time period between Dragon Ball and Z.
4 Gohan Has Never Seen The Full Moon
Crazier than Gohan being the only mixed human/Saiyan hybrid to have a tail, Gohan also hadn’t seen a full moon until Dragon Ball Z either. Admittedly, he is only four when Z starts, but it is pretty hard to believe Gohan never saw the full moon before the Saiyan Saga. It is especially hard to believe considering he lives in the woods, away from other people and the lights of the city.
To be fair, it is completely possible that Gohan went through his first four years never looking at a full moon. However, it is still pretty crazy that it took training with Piccolo during the Saiyan Saga for Gohan to see a full moon and turn into a great ape.
3 Piccolo Learned The Special Beam Cannon
While the main heroes of Dragon Ball were enjoying several years of peace after Goku beat Piccolo Jr. in the World Martial Arts Tournament, Piccolo was preparing his revenge. Right before the events of Dragon Ball Z, Piccolo learned what would arguably be his most famous move.
The Special Beam Cannon is a distinctive type of Ki-blast. Piccolo uses his index and middle finger to charge up an energy wave that shoots like a drill. The move penetrates Raditz and Goku, ending them both. Introduced very early in Dragon Ball Z’s run, the Special Beam Cannon will ultimately be remembered as one of the most popular moves in the franchise.
2 Goku Got A Son
Of course, this is the main thing that happened between the original show and Dragon Ball Z. Goku becoming a father is the clearest distinction between Dragon Ball and Z. Gohan is arguably the biggest addition Z had when the show first started, forever changing Goku’s life and changing the direction of the series from that point forward. Gohan is such an important character in the original Z that it is sometimes hard to imagine the Dragon Ball franchise without him.
It is insane to think Gohan didn’t even exist in the original Dragon Ball, which is why Gohan being born between the original series and Z may be the craziest thing to happen during that time period…
1 Goku And Chi-Chi Got Close
Of course, in my opinion, I think the way Gohan came to be may be even crazier. You see, Goku seemingly has no interest with romance. Even though Chi-Chi was head-over-heels for him since childhood, Goku really had no concept of what marriage was. Of course, he still marries her, and somehow is able to be close enough with Chi-Chi to have Gohan.
The thing that still blows my mind is that Goku seems to be oblivious to most forms of closeness, even in the most recent series, Dragon Ball Super. It is revealed in Super that Goku claims to never have kissed anyone, despite the fact he has been married for all that time. How did he get a son and then a second son without knowing what kissing is?