The Dragon Ball franchise has been a cultural movement since the 1990s. Its popularity transcends that of many other Japanese animated shows. Dragon Ball knew its target audience and delivered to them a great show to shape their childhoods. This behemoth of a franchise has persisted into the modern era with video games, movies, merchandise, and even a brand new TV series. The creator, Akira Toriyama, is well-respected among the anime community and has been the inspiration for many other talented Manga artists.
When you have such a large franchise, it’s natural for misinformation to circulate through the fanbase. This isn’t anyone’s fault, it’s simply a complex game of Whispers. Rumors spread around quickly and some people may take them as fact. At times, even credible sources may provide fans with incorrect information. It doesn’t help when the creator of Dragon Ball has admitted to having forgotten certain details of the story. The result is a whole heap of confusion among those who watch the show.
The Dragon Ball franchise, in particular, has a few peculiar facts that fans have gotten wrong over the past couple of decades. There appear to be many conflicting views on certain facts. In some cases, the answer isn’t clear. This leads to speculation and fan theories, one of the causes for this type of misinformation. We’ve compiled a list of 25 things that fans may have misinterpreted about Dragon Ball. This article will be covering all the different aspects of the series, including Dragon Ball GT and the movies.
25 Goku, The Ideal Hero
One of the most common misconceptions is Goku’s sense of justice. In the English versions of the show, Goku is portrayed to be a stalwart defender of everything good. However, this was a slight error in the English versions of Dragon Ball Z. The original Manga had Goku as a lover of fighting above all else. Often his desire to fight strong opponents would come before doing the “right” thing.
That doesn’t mean Goku only cares about martial arts. He still has a caring side and is concerned about keeping the Earth safe. This aspect of his character is simply overstated a bit in the English Dubs.
24 Dragon Ball Z Was Supposed To End Early
It was widely believed that Dragon Ball Z was supposed to end after the Frieza saga. However, there is actually no evidence to suggest this was ever true. In fact, this wasn’t the only time as, during the original Dragon Ball, rumors about early endings still existed.
However, what is true was that Toriyama planned for Android 19 and 20 to be the only villains in Android Saga. After much reconsideration and discussions with his editors, Toriyama ended up taking the story arc all the way to Perfect Cell. There’s an awesome guide with more information about endings which you can check out here.
23 Multiple-Episode Power-Ups
This joke has overstayed its welcome. A common gag was that characters would spend several episodes attempting to charge their power. An oft-quoted example is Goku’s Super Saiyan 3 transformation.
The truth is, transformations don’t take long at all. Even the prior example is only a couple minutes long at most. Other transformations, like Super Saiyan 2 Gohan, are much shorter. While the parodies can be funny, they are a misrepresentation of the truth.
22 Broly Is The Strongest
This will be a point of contention until the end of time. The reality is, Broly’s power has its limitations and is not infinite. A lot of characters from the Majin Buu saga could outclass the “Legendary” Super Saiyan relatively easily.
It doesn’t help that Broly was presented in such an exaggerated manner in his movies. It always took a monumental effort to defeat him. Don’t get me wrong. Broly is a powerful foe and it’s understandable why people rate him highly. Perhaps the new movie can put these debates to rest.
21 Chi-Chi Made Gohan Weaker
Believe it or not, Chi-Chi was not responsible for Gohan’s steady decline. The in-universe explanation is actually a little different. Pacifism has always been a part of Gohan's nature. He never enjoyed fighting and would prefer to avoid doing so whenever possible. The only time he would fight is if he gets backed into a corner with no other option.
So, during the peaceful times after the Cell Games, there was no need for Gohan to continue fighting. It was the first time he had such a long break between enemies showing up and he made the most of it. By pursuing an academic career.
20 Goku Is The Strongest Character
There is rarely a time when Goku is the strongest character in the show. It’s understandable why this misconception arises since Goku is the main character. In the Saiyan Saga, Vegeta is able to surpass Goku in pure strength. While Goku is able to surpass Frieza with Super Saiyan powers, he is quickly matched when Future Trunks appears. In the Cell Saga, both Vegeta and Gohan are able to surpass his power.
Even in more recent shows, Jiren was able to beat Goku for the most part. Ultra Instinct gave him a great boost, but it ultimately fell short. The reality is, Goku always ends up relying on something like a Spirit Bomb or combined efforts to overcome his foes.
19 Over 9000 Vs Over 8000
The “Over 9000” line from various Dubs of Dragon Ball Z was a popular meme in the past. And it all stems from a mistranslation. The original Japanese version had Vegeta say “Over 8000.” Due to the various different languages using the former, it has become the more accepted version.
At the end of it, this doesn’t make a major difference. It’s a mistranslation that has been blown out of proportions by Internet culture. Regardless, “Over 9000” has been immortalized by the Internet as a running gag for the Dragon Ball franchise.
18 Kid Buu Is The Strongest Form Of Buu
Since Kid Buu was the “final boss” of the Buu Saga, it’s natural to think he would be the strongest form. Even the Supreme Kai stated this form was the most dangerous and is pure evil. The fact that it takes a Spirit Bomb to win also adds to the misinformation.
The reality is that Kid Buu is weaker than Super Buu, especially after absorbing other characters. How is he the most dangerous then? It’s Kid Buu’s lack of sense and reason that makes him such a threat. His first action was to blow up the entire Earth. Even Super Buu was unable to hurt Hercule due to their prior friendship.
17 Fusion Dance Is Better Than Potara Fusion
Similar to Broly, this will be another constant debate among Dragon Ball fans. It often boils down to Vegito versus Gogeta. Which fusion is stronger? It’s a tough call. The Elder Kai states that Potara fusion is “better.” This can be interpreted in many ways, but generally, you can say that it also implies “stronger”.
The Fusion Dance requires participants to be of equal strength. The Potara earrings don’t have this restriction and thus has the potential for a more powerful result. Further evidence comes from Dragon Ball Super. Here, Potara earrings result in huge increases in power for Vegito and Kefla.
16 Power Levels Matter
One of the most useless aspects of Dragon Ball is Power Levels. It was a strange addition from the start and rightfully discarded during the Frieza Saga. Even the show acknowledges that Power Levels are an inaccurate way of measuring a person’s strength.
Even to this day, you’ll see some lists estimating Power Levels of characters. While it can be fun to do, that’s all it should be. Using arbitrary numbers to compare the different characters isn’t a fair or efficient assessment.
15 Super Saiyan 2 Is A Rage-Fuelled Form
Gohan’s Super Saiyan 2 transformation maintains that massive power-ups require some level of emotional strain. Come the Majin Buu Saga, this is no longer the case. Goku appears to have gained Super Saiyan 2 and 3 simply by training.
Even Gohan is able to transform into a Super Saiyan 2 during the World Tournament at will. Despite not training regularly for the past several years. Even with the recent Dragon Ball Super, the Universe 6 Saiyans achieve this form with relative ease.
14 The Super Saiyan Multiplier
This has been a cause for confusion for a while. It’s not always clear what the Super Saiyan multiplier actually entails. At a basic level, it’s how much of a power boost the transformation yields.
The widely accepted explanation is that turning into a Super Saiyan multiplies base strength by 50. Essentially, the stronger a character’s regular form, the stronger their version of Super Saiyan becomes. Of course, things start to get complicated when you add in Super Saiyan 2 and beyond.
13 Mystic Gohan Is A Transformation
During the Majin Buu Saga, Gohan undergoes a special ritual to unlock his hidden potential. That’s the key here. Gohan simply becomes naturally stronger. He doesn’t transform into “Mystic Gohan” like he would a Super Saiyan.
At least, that’s how it should be. In Dragon Ball Super we see him transform into a Super Saiyan. It’s possible that the lack of training has blunted some of that hidden potential. Once he starts training again, he seems to recover most of that lost power.
12 Trunks Is Not Stronger Than Zamasu
As cool as it would’ve been, the truth is Trunks doesn’t reach Zamasu levels of power. While he does get a major boost in strength, it’s still not enough to defeat the evil Kai. Trunks is able to hold out for a while but ultimately falls short.
Another bonus misconception is the source of his power. The blue-ish aura might leave a few people confused. However, Trunks does not tap into the same Ki used by Goku and Vegeta in their Super Saiyan Blue transformations.
11 Teen Gohan And Adult Gohan
This is a funny one that stems from some of the Dragon Ball games. The games often name Cell Saga Gohan as a teenager and Majin Buu Saga Gohan as an adult. This doesn’t seem too odd at first but is a little on the strange side.
The truth is, in the Cell Saga, Gohan is eleven, making him younger than a teen. Whereas in the Majin Buu Saga, he’s actually 16, a little less than the typical adult age. This problem could’ve been avoided entirely if they named characters by the era (e.g. Cell Saga Gohan) instead.
10 Turles And Goku Are Not Related
The introduction of Turles raised many questions. He was the original “evil” Goku with Dragon Ball Super recreating the trope in the Zamasu arc. So, are Goku and Turles related? Nope, not all, other than they’re both Saiyans. So why do they look similar?
The lore explanation is that low-class Saiyans often have the same hairstyles. Since Goku and Turles are both from the bottom tiers of Saiyan society, it makes sense for them to look the same. Admittedly, a story about Goku’s long lost brother could be decent. The special episode about Vegeta’s brother, Tarble, was actually alright.
9 Bardock The Brilliant Scientist
In one of the earliest English Dubs of Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta states Goku’s father was a brilliant scientist who created the artificial moon used to transform into Great Apes. This was a huge misrepresentation of the character as nothing suggests Bardock is some sort of scientific genius.
Later Dubs made sure to rectify this glaring mistake. However, that hasn’t stopped this from being a joke among the fandom. Just be sure to remember that Bardock doesn’t spend his spare time inventing new technology for the Saiyan race.
8 What Exactly Is Ultra Instinct?
The anime wasn’t 100% clear about the various definitions of Ultra Instinct. This can lead to some conflicting views. First of all, there is Ultra Instinct as a technique. This is the ability to attack and defend without consciously thinking about movement. It’s something not even Beerus can master.
What Goku does is an actual transformation enabling him to master this technique. The transformations greatly increase Goku’s power level (which doesn’t necessarily happen with the technique) in addition to the other benefits. Keep in mind that this is a simple explanation as there are more nuanced details.
7 Gohan The New Main Character
There was a possibility that Gohan was going to the be the main character during the Majin Buu Saga. As we know, that didn’t exactly go to plan. Some believe that it was fan complaints that lead to Goku coming back as the star of the show.
In actuality, it was Akira Toriyama who felt Gohan wouldn’t be suited as the main character of his story. So, he decided it was best if Goku was still the protagonist. Regardless, other characters like Gotenks, Gohan,, Vegeta and even Hercule all got their special moments in the final arc of Dragon Ball Z.
6 Hercule Is His Name
This is one of the more stranger facts on this list. Hercule isn’t the actual name of everyone’s favorite World Martial Arts champion. The “destroyer” of Cell actually uses Hercule as a stage name. What’s his real name then?
Well, it’s actually Mark. Just Mark. Last names aren’t a common occurence in the Dragon Ball universe. Goku and his sons are some of the few to even have a family name. All that aside, it’s cool to know that even the champ has some weird secrets.
5 Krillin Is The Worst
It’s easy to fall into the trap that Krillin is a useless character who is one of the weakest. There are many jokes of which Krillin is the punchline. The truth is, that’s a major disservice to one of the more resilient characters in the series.
He was one of the few survivors in the Saiyan Saga. He also plays a huge role during the adventures the heroes have in Namek. Even more recently, Krillin pulls his weight in Dragon Ball Super during the Tournament of Power. Krillin is anything but cowardly and weak.
4 The Canon Status Of Movies
One of the questions I’ve always had was “are the movies canon?” Dragon Ball Z has so many movies, some of which would even make sense timeline wise. Well, it turns out that not a single movie is canon to the Dragon Ball Z story.
This may be more obvious to avid watchers of anime. For others, like myself, it was a tad bit confusing at first. Why make so many movies with the same character if they don’t add to the plot? Anyway, the upcoming Dragon Ball Super movie about Broly will indeed be canon. For now anyway.
3 The Father-Son Kamehameha
As a kid, I thought that Goku was literally next to Gohan during the Father-Son Kamehameha. The symbolism was completely lost on me at the time. Even growing up I still didn’t give the scene much consideration.
This is further perpetuated by the Bojack movie where Goku does indeed leave Otherworld to help Gohan. It’s completely plausible that Goku would actually show up to defeat Cell. Turns out this wasn’t the case.
2 Goku Is Dumb
While it’s true Goku isn’t good at Maths or spelling, that doesn’t make him dumb. He grew up in the woods, mostly by himself. His perspective on the world is just different because of his upbringing. He can be naive and clueless at times, but he’s not a dunce.
Proof of this is the way his mind comes to life during combat situations. His ability to strategize and plan during the heat of battle is unmatched. The years he spent surviving in the woods and his Saiyan heritage have sharpened his instincts. In battle, Goku can outsmart intelligent fighters like Jiren and Hit.
1 Akira Toriyama Has Nothing To Do With GT
Believe it or not, but Akira Toriyama does actually have some involvement with Dragon Ball GT. The series may have mixed views from the fans, but that doesn’t change the facts. In fact, it was Toriyama who came up with the name of the show.
The famous Manga artist also did some drafts for character designs, including Goku, Pan, Trunks and other important characters. While a lot of the story and direction didn’t come from him, Toriyama did play a role in the creation of GT.