10 Characters Who the Dragon Ball Franchise Potentially Could Have Been Great But Never Did

There are many interesting and promising characters in Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball, but it’s disheartening when they don’t live up to their potential.

Playful adventures, thrilling action, and cathartic character development are all areas in which the Dragon Ball franchise shines. But over this extensive voyage, it’s simple for certain storylines to be lost in the mix or for plans to alter. Numerous significant characters have been introduced in noteworthy ways in Dragon Ball. Simply put, it’s bad when their growth is halted in favor of the main heroes, who remain unaffected.

Naturally, it’s feasible that Dragon Ball may ultimately bring back underutilized characters and give them a chance to shine, as was the case with Gohan and Piccolo in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. Many Dragon Ball characters are still locked in the waiting room, never to be given the chance to live up to their full potential.

10. Excellent One of the strongest people on Earth, Buu hardly ever gets to fight

Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Chapter 290 (Dragon Ball Chapter 484), “The Creature Of Wrath”; Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Episode 254, “The Evil Of Men”

Dragon Ball has gotten quite comfortable with the formula where its major villains cycle through multiple transformations before they reach their peak power. Frieza and Cell both utilize this concept, but Majin Buu is slightly different in the sense that he creates multiple versions of himself in addition to bolder transformations. Buu experiences a splitting schism that results in the birth of Evil Buu and Good Buu, the latter of whom sticks around and becomes a permanent player.

Despite Buu’s extraordinary strength and special talents, he has mostly been written off as Hercule Satan’s strange companion. Due to his power, Buu ought to be at the front of every fight, but he is rarely given the opportunity to participate. Even after his training session for the Tournament of Power reduces him to Fit Buu, Dragon Ball Super even sets him up for victory. However, he fails the written exam and always nods off when it’s time to compete. Even more, Dragon Ball GT employs the character as a tool for Uub, who unites with Buu to gain his power and expertise.

There are many interesting and promising characters in Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball, but it's disheartening when they don't live up to their potential.

9. Yajirobe is a proficient swordsman who has been reduced to lighthearted humor

Manga Debut: Dragon Ball, Chapter 138, “The Weirdo With The Ball”; Anime Debut: Dragon Ball, Episode 04, “Mark Of The Demon”

It’s simple for fans of Dragon Ball to just associate Yajirobe with Dragon Ball Z as the stupid coward. Nevertheless, the warrior is presented in the original Dragon Ball as a skilled swordsman and Goku’s equal in his youth. The fact that Yajirobe spends much of his time in Korin Tower indicates how well-liked he is by the Guardians of Earth. Additionally, he is regarded as a reliable supplier of Senzu Beans, which have consistently proved essential to the heroes’ success. Yajirobe’s final claim to fame comes from the Saiyan Saga of Dragon Ball Z when he unexpectedly reappears and chops off Great Ape Vegeta’s tail.

Even if Yajirobe is a relatively weak human, it’s disappointing that the series doesn’t give him more to accomplish or that his amazing sword abilities aren’t utilized later on. If Trunks ever wanted to try his hand at swordfighting, he would be the ideal mentor. It’s interesting to note that in the Future Trunks’ reality, Yajirobe appears to be one of the few prominent characters who has survived. This demonstrates his tenacity and capacity for success, yet he still doesn’t receive any significant assignments.

8. The decades of history between Master Shen and Master Roshi were abruptly erased

Dragon Ball, Episode 82 (the anime): “The Rampage of InoShikaCho”; Chapter 113 (the manga): “Return To The Tournament”

Rivals are frequently used in anime, and even Dragon Ball’s Master Roshi had a turbulent past with Master Shen, a buddy who later became a fierce foe. The contrast between Master Roshi’s Turtle School and Master Shen’s Crane School in the first Dragon Ball is rather interesting. Tien and Chiaotzu, two of Shen’s best students, are even intended to be aggressive foils for Krillin and Goku. Roshi and Shen’s pupils compete against one another in Dragon Ball’s World Martial Arts Tournaments, which ultimately lead to Shen’s students defecting to Roshi’s Turtle School.

Shen has even more motivation to exact retribution as a result, but he and his brother, Mercenary Tao, are shown to have died suddenly off-screen and to have vanished from memory. This is really a sad turn of events for a rich character who is the only one who truly understands Roshi. Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super have the potential to offer Master Roshi a lot more work, either by pursuing his feud with Shen or by turning Shen into an ally. The character’s complete abandonment undermines all the original Dragon Ball reveals about this savage antagonist.

7. Launch Possesses A Terrifying Transformation & Plenty Of Room To Grow

Dragon Ball: “Look Out For Launch” (the anime) and “Who’s That Girl?” (the manga) are the two series’ debuts.

There are a lot of characters in Dragon Ball, therefore it’s inevitable that some may be neglected if they are unable to keep up with Goku and the other superheroes of Earth. But Launch is a special case, where Akira Toriyama acknowledges that he completely forgot the character even exists. This is a regrettable development because there aren’t many strong humans in Dragon Ball, particularly among women. The launch is cursed with an odd trait that makes her demeanor change to resemble Jekyll and Hyde anytime she sneezes. This imaginary illness fits in perfectly with the original Dragon Ball, which frequently favors imaginative play over aggressive action.

One of Tien’s closest friends, Launch demonstrates her ability to manage herself under pressure. It irritates me that all of this potential is wasted when Toriyama disregards her. The launch is brought back by Toriyama, but only in supporting roles—like in The Return of Son Goku and Friends, for example! It is insufficient to merely acknowledge Launch’s existence; her fearlessness, proficiency with weaponry, and tactical understanding may be put to far better use.

 6. The strongest warrior on Earth, Uub, hasn’t been seen in ages despite being his destiny.

Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Chapter 324 (Dragon Ball Chapter 518), “Ten Years After”; Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Episode 289, “Granddaughter Pan”

Time jumps are common in anime, and Dragon Ball Z takes a novel approach in its final epilogue. Ten years after Kid Buu’s passing, the heroes gather for the 28th World Martial Arts Tournament in Dragon Ball Z’s Peaceful World Saga. Goku is shocked at the strength of a little child, only 10 years old, during said tournament. It is revealed that this boy, Uub, is the outcome of Goku’s “wish” to eventually confront Kid Buu once more—albeit as a decent and pure person. Goku leaves his friends and family behind in Dragon Ball Z’s epilogue to teach Uub to become Earth’s greatest hero because he is so amazed by Uub’s power.


Given how great of an honor this is, it is even more depressing that Uub hasn’t been in Dragon Ball much since Goku’s reckless deed. Dragon Ball Super is officially set before Z’s ten-year time-skip epilogue, meaning that Goku hasn’t met Uub yet, which is the main reason Uub has been postponed. The manga for Dragon Ball Super manages to mention Uub in passing during Goku’s fight with Moro, but it’s only a small bit of plot advancement. Although Dragon Ball GT gives the character a bit more development, he still ends up as an inconspicuous warrior with less screen time and impact than characters like Vegeta or even Pan.

5. In Dragon Ball Super, Cabba is set up to be Vegeta’s Saiyan protégé.

Dragon Ball Super, Episode 32, “The Matches Begin!” is the anime debut. Everything Is Heading To The “Planet With No Name!”; Dragon Ball Super, Chapter 7, “Warriors From Universe 6” is the manga debut.

Dragon Ball Super introduces a multiverse, which significantly broadens the franchise’s scope. One of the most intriguing revelations of Dragon Ball Super’s multiverse is the continued existence of a robust Saiyan population in Universe 6, which is the sister world of Universe 7. On the planet Sadala in Universe 6, Saiyans continue to exist, and in Universe 7, three of their greatest members—Cale, Kaulifla, and Cabba—are presented. Each of these Saiyans is assisted by Goku and crew in becoming Super Saiyans, and they excel in this role. Vegeta and Cabba have the strongest friendship; in fact, Vegeta even promises to go to Planet Sadala, see the sights, and assist Cabba in becoming a better fighter.

Regretfully, Cabba and the other Saiyans from Universe 6 have not been seen since the Tournament of Power, and it is seeming less and less probable that they will travel to Planet Sadala. Vegeta and Cabba have a great rapport, and their friendship has a lot of untapped potential. Additionally, Vegeta seldom ever takes on students, thus Cabba is a very fortunate person. Whether Cabba makes an appearance alongside Vegeta or in a stand-alone Universe 6 side narrative, fans can’t wait for him to return.

4. Android 18’s Strong Ascent Has Been Interrupted by Her Domestic Life

Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Chapter 155 (Dragon Ball Chapter 349), “The Androids Awake!” Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Episode 133, “Nightmare Comes True”

Several of Dragon Ball’s most iconic heroes began as malevolent adversaries. Before Cell absorbs them and makes them even more dangerous, Androids 17 and 18 pose a serious threat. Just as surprising as Bulma and Vegeta’s union, Krillin’s love for Android 18 results in an odd union. Dragon Ball characters frequently abandon their martial arts training in favor of their families; this is partially the case with Videl, Bulma, and even Gohan. However, it’s disheartening to see this get tempered because Android 18 has so much promise and a strong enthusiasm for fighting.

Marron is born to Android 18, and since then, instead of being the cunning monster that degraded Vegeta during the Android Saga, she has grown into a devoted wife and mother. The fact that Android 18 is constantly available merely exacerbates her image as the underdog. When she is chosen to compete for Universe 7 in the Tournament of Power, she is at least given the chance to defend her universe. Having said that, her brother Android 17 emerges as the most notable Android fighter. While Android 18 helps out against Cell Max as well, it doesn’t fully reflect her abilities.

3. Pikkon Establishes Himself As Goku’s Deserving Rival in a Different World

Manga Debut: N/A; Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Episode 195, “Warriors Of The Dead”

After his battle with Cell, Goku dies, but he has an unexpectedly productive afterlife. A captivating anime-original filler story in Dragon Ball Z centers on Goku’s involvement in the Other World Tournament, which brings together the most formidable warriors from all around the cosmos. Goku easily wins the match up until he runs upon Pikkon of the West Galaxy. Though Pikkon’s somber personality and weighted attire are reminiscent of Piccolo’s, he gains an array of varied elemental moves for his attack repertoire.

Pikkon makes a reappearance in Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn, when he acts as the de facto police of hell. But Pikkon has been largely missing from Dragon Ball Super and has gradually slipped into oblivion because he is a filler character. It wasn’t meant to be, despite the hopes of many Dragon Ball fans, that Pikkon would be canonized and included in the Tournament of Power. Strong, honorable, and distinct from the majority of Goku’s valiant companions is Pikkon. Given all he has to give, Dragon Ball’s decision to have him benched only serves to detract from the plot.

2. Goten Is Born With The Genes For Greatness, But Is Reduced To Childish Mischief

“I Am Saiyaman!” was the anime debut of Dragon Ball Z, whereas “Videl’s Emergency!!” was the manga debut of Chapter 230 (Dragon Ball Chapter 424).

One of the most fulfilling aspects of Dragon Ball is the way that the generational narrative is fueled by time, enabling Goku to pass on his heroic legacy to his offspring. Gohan emerges as the first Super Saiyan 2, demonstrating even more promise than his father. Goten, Goku’s second kid, surprises everyone by being even more naturally gifted in this area. At seven years old, he transforms into a Super Saiyan, making him the youngest person to reach this milestone. Goten is destined for stardom, particularly in his collaborations with Trunks. Gotenks, their combined form, severely harms Super Buu and is the only character other than Goku who can transform into a Super Saiyan 3.

Even Trunks and Goten’s position in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is handled as a broad joke since they are unable to properly fuse, demonstrating how at ease Dragon Ball Super is with exploiting both characters as comedy relief. While the Saiyaman X-1 and X-2 characters in Dragon Ball Super enjoy a fun spotlight throughout their adolescent years in the manga, there isn’t any real character development. It’s a pity for Goku’s kid that Goten hasn’t demonstrated any new abilities or transformations in the years since his boyhood. Even the Tournament of Power, which would have been the perfect setting to challenge him, is denied to him.

1. One of the most powerful humans on Earth, Tien is now an afterthought.

Dragon Ball, Episode 82 (the anime): “The Rampage of InoShikaCho”; Chapter 113 (the manga): “Return To The Tournament”

Tien, the victor of the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, has had more unfortunate experiences than any other Dragon Ball character. In the first Dragon Ball movie, Tien is presented as a formidable opponent and combatant who can truly defeat Goku. In their rematch in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, Goku emerges victorious, although Tien’s ability and inventive attack style are still undeniable. When Vegeta and Nappa invade Earth, Tien and the majority of the humans from the first series experience a significant deal of humility.

Sadly, Tien never really bounces back from this setback and continues to exist just as a memory of Dragon Ball’s more sensible past. More than can be said about Yamcha, Tien performs his part against Cell, survives Super Buu’s Human Extinction Attack, and even takes part in the Tournament of Power. Dragon Ball Super, on the other hand, is happy to reiterate Tien’s strength without ever allowing him to use it. This is probably related to Dragon Ball’s ever-expanding array of characters. Given how long he’s been around, Tien still deserves more. In addition to being overdue for a significant update, he looks like a good fit to become an Ultra Instinct expert.

Source: CBR

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