Top 15 Dragon Ball/Z/GT Moments (EDITED)

So, yeah, I thought I would write about my favorite (animated) parts of the Dragon Ball franchise. It took a while to gather (and in some case, make) clips to go with these entries. There are a lot of good moments in the franchise, even though the overall quality varies, and I'm sure there are plenty of good bits I've overlooked. If you feel I've missed good ones, please do comment and explain why.

15) Z's Finale


Series: Dragon Ball Z

Episode: #291, "Even Stronger!! Goku's Dream is Super-Huge"


Comments: I've heard complaints about this ending, with Goku essentially abandoning his family and friends to train this child he just met (who' s the reincarnation of Majin Buu). But I find it rather fitting. Goku is just insensitive enough to go follow his desires despite being totally irresponsible. He doesn't mean to be a bad father and husband, but he's a weird guy who desires to fight strong opponents more than anything. Uub becomes the new Goku in a sense, and Goku his Kamesennin, opening his eyes to a whole new world of strength. Or perhaps Uub is Goku's new trainer?


14) Trunks' First Super Saiyan Transformation


Series: Dragon Ball Z Movie: Trunks Special, "Defiance in the Face of Despair!!"


Comments: Red light flashes onto grey rubble. Rain batters the ground. Son Gohan lies dead in puddle and the music swells as his protege clenches his fists and teeth and a scream of absolute anguish is released as he unleashes his rage, transforming into a Super Saiyan. The combination of art, soundtrack, and Tekeshi Kusao's performance make this one of the best transformation scenes in the franchise. 

13) Vegeta's Sacrifice


Series: Dragon Ball Z

Episode: #237, "For Those Whom He Loves... Vegeta Perishes!!"


Comments: The Buu arc is probably my least favorite story arc of Dragon Ball/Z, for several reasons unrelated to this moment. One of the good qualities of it, though, is Vegeta's character development. After having letting himself be corrupted by Babidi to enjoy being evil again, which led to Buu's revival and the apparent death of Gohan (he survived, though), Vegeta realizes that the time has come to pay the consequences. His fight against Majin Buu fruitless, the Prince of Saiyans decides to sacrifice himself to blow Buu to smithereens. In a rare moment of introspection and warmth, Vegeta says goodbye to his family, as well as Goku. The moment is made all the more poignant by a piece Kikuchi did for the ninth DBZ movie, one of my favorite pieces in fact.


12) Tenshinhan Attacks Cell



Series: Dragon Ball Z

Episode: #152, "No. 17 is Swallowed... The Transforming Cell is a Super Gourmet"


Series: Dragon Ball Kai

Episode: Episode #75, "Unmeasured Power! The Silent Warrior No. 16 Makes his Move"/#76, "Tenshinhan's Do-or-Die Shin Kikoho! Save Your Brother-in-Arms, Son Goku"


Comments: Tenshinhan is not a character I particularly give a damn about. He was a decent character for a while, during the 22nd Tenkaichi Budoukai, his fight against Piccolo Diamao, his rematch with Goku, his stand against Nappa. But after being wished back at the end of the Freeza arc, I stopped caring. The Saiyans had taken over entirely. However, Kuririn still had the benefit of being Goku's best friend and often around Gohan and Bulma. Tenshinhan, on the other hand, was just sort of in the background. But just when things seemed desperate in the Cell arc, with Cell closing in on Artificial Human 18 in his Semi-Perfect form, suddenly Tenshinhan appears and prepares his most powerful attack, the Shin Kikoho (Tri-Beam, for you dubbies). Cell thinks it's cute, but its power is such that it throws Cell back long enough for 18 to make her escape. Until his sudden reappearance in the Buu arc, this is Tenshinhan's last gleaming. (I put up the Kai version, too, but I prefer the Z version because Hirotaka Suzuoki's Tenshinhan is my preference.)  


11) GT's Finale


Series: Dragon Ball GT

Episode: #64, "Goodbye, Goku... Until the Day We Meet Again"


Comments: I think many Dragon Ball fans can agree that the best thing Dragon Ball GT did was end. Much like the end of Dragon Ball Z, it takes place at a Tenkaichi Budoukai. But this far-flung future tournament has an elderly Pan looking over a fight between her grandson Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr. (probably Bra's grandson). Suddenly she spots her long disappeared grandfather Goku and makes her way to him, but he's gone. Goku, now in an adult form again, smiles as he walks away through the tournament crowd and "Dan Dan Kokoro Hikareteku" plays as the final credits begin to roll over a montage of scenes from Dragon Ball/Z/GT. As Goku makes his way into the sky one final time, the narrator tells us that this is where the story of Dragon Ball ends. And it's all very beautiful. GT may have sucked overall, but this was a great ending.


10) Goku Meets Goten



Series: Dragon Ball Z

Episode: #208, "Welcome Back Goku! The Whole Z Team is Gathered!!"


Comments: A lot of important events happen at the Tenkaichi Budoukai, but some of the best stuff isn't even the fighting, but moments like this. Having been in the afterlife for several years, Goku is allowed to come back to the world of the living for a single day to participate in the tournament. Appearing suddenly while his friends and family wait, Goku gets his first glimpse of his son, Goten, who was born after he died. Masako Nozawa really brings a lot of warmth and sincerity to both Goku and Goten and the music from the second DBZ movie makes for a cute little sound for this reunion.


9) Goku's Kamehameha vs Vegeta's Gallic-Ho


Series: Dragon Ball Z Episode: #31, "Now, Goku! A Final Technique with Everything on the Line"



Series: Dragon Ball Kai

Episode: #14, "Kamehameha Clash! Vegeta's Tenacious Grand Transformation"


Comments: One of my favorite battles in the franchise is Goku's bout with Vegeta in the Saiyan arc. Goku is quickly forced to use the Kaioken technique, and an angered Vegeta decides to destroy the planet with a beam attack. Goku counters with his own, but in order to overwhelm him he has to resort to using a 4x Kaioken. The clash of their beams is great, as is the great output from Masako Nozawa and Ryo Horikawa. Sean Schemmel and Chris Sabat do relatively well in the English dub for Kai.

8) Goku and Piccolo vs Garlic Junior


Original Video - More videos at TinyPic


Series: Dragon Ball Z

Movie: Movie #1, "Return My Gohan!!"

Comments: Goku and Piccolo engage a transformed, buff Garlic Jr., with flurries of punches doing absolutely nothing to the demon. Their opponent rams them like an uncoming train, overwhelming them until they remove their weighted training clothes. Two two seemingly defeat him with fast and furious shots, but Garlic Jr. has become immortal, and he's not going down so easily. I love this fight because it pits Goku and Piccolo, who at the time were still rivals, against a very powerful opponent, and at one point they're prepared to fight each other. (The clip has the Ocean dub track, which is just fine, because I really like Peter Kelamis and Scott McNeil in it.)


7) Trunks Kills Freeza


Series: Dragon Ball Z

Episode: #120, "Freeza Halved By a Single Blow!! Another Super Saiyan"



Series: Dragon Ball Kai

Episode: #56, "I'll Defeat Freeza! Another Super Saiyan"


Comments: Supremely confident, arrogant Freeza, and his father King Cold, come to Earth for revenge on Goku. He's not there to meet them, but a young man named Trunks is. Trunks freaks Freeza out by transforming into a Super Saiyan. Freeza wants to end the battle early, but so does Trunks, and he slices Freeza in half. Kenji Yamamoto scored both the Z and Kai versions of this scene. My preference is for "Battle Power Infinity" which sounds like it's ushering in a new generation, an new era. The piece used in Kai seems more like something to emphasize Trunks' power. It's good, but it's no "Battle Power Infinity". Poor Freeza. Whenever he runs into a Super Saiyan, he's one of the half-nots.


6) Vegeta's Death On Namek


Original Video - More videos at TinyPic


Series: Dragon Ball Z

Episode #86: "Such Regret...!! The Proud Saiyan, Vegeta Dies"


Series: Dragon Ball Kai

Episode: #42, "Defeat Freeza, Son Goku! The Proud Vegeta's Tears "


Comments: Ailing from his brutal beating at the hands of Freeza, Vegeta is finished off with a beam through his heart. With his dying breaths, the Saiyan prince urges Goku to kill Freeza, shedding tears as he begs the low-class warrior he despises to do what he had hoped to, stressing the importance that Freeza die by Saiyan hands. He finally falls silent. Goku buries the man who tried to kill him, acknowledging the strength of his pride and his hope to gain some of that himself. He declares that he will defeat Freeza. This scene says just as much, if not more, about Goku, than it does Vegeta. Goku, while knowing what sort of people the Saiyans were, nevertheless embraces his heritage to carry on Vegeta's desire. Out of respect for Vegeta's warrior strength.


5) Goku Defeats Piccolo Daimao


Series: Dragon Ball

Episode: #122, "The Last Gamble!!"


Comments: Goku challenges the opponent who almost killed him once and has already technically taken over the world, the evil Piccolo Daimao. The demon king uses Goku's friend Tenshinhan as a human shield and then disables all but one of Goku's limbs with his laser eyes. Confident that he has won, Piccolo lets Tenshinhan go and prepares to finish Goku off. However, this is the opportunity Goku is waiting for: he uses a Kamehameha to rocket himself into the air, and he launches himself through Piccolo, putting an end to his short reign.


4) Goku Transforms Into A Super Saiyan


Series: Dragon Ball Z

Episode: #95, "Transformed At Last!! The Legendary Super Saiyan, Son Goku"


Series: Dragon Ball Kai Episode: #47, "Awaken, Legendary Warrior... Son Goku, the Super Saiyan!" Comments: Freeza's shocking reappearance after being hit by a huge Genki Dama is followed by his injuring of Piccolo and brutal murder of Kuririn. Enraged, Goku begins to lose all control of himself. Lightning falls from the sky, the ocean stirs violently, and Goku's hair stands on end and changes color as he screams. Goku has finally become the legendary Super Saiyan. The Japanese version of Dragon Ball Z is my favorite version of this scene, but both the Japanese and English version of Kai were decent enough.


3) Gohan Defeats Bojack


Series: Dragon Ball Z

Movie: #9, "The Galaxy at the Brink!! The Super Incredible Guy"

Comments: Even as a Super Saiyan, Gohan is no match for Bojack, who begins to squeeze the life out of him. His desperate cries reaching the afterlife, Goku breaks the rules of life and death themselves by teleporting to Earth and punching the space pirate in the face. Before disappearing again, Goku encourages his Gohan to release his full power. Gohan transforms into his Super Saiyan 2 form and makes short work of Bojack's minions. Gohan then kills Bojack himself. The showdown features Kikuchi's best music to date, and some of Masako Nozawa's best voice acting, as well.


2) Goku Defeats Ma Junior



Series: Dragon Ball

Episode: #148, "Hooray! The World's Strongest Man"


Comments: Piccolo Daimao's reincarnation/son, Piccolo (Jr.) has learned from his father's mistakes. He doesn't leave either Goku's arms or legs in good shape during their bout. Piccolo fires an enormous beam that he, and Goku's allies, all believe has obliterated him. All seems hopless now. But as Piccolo gloats, Kuririn spots Goku in the sky. It seems that Goku has held back his ability to use Bukujutsu, the flying technique, and he flies right at Piccolo, headbutting him out of the ring. Goku has not only won the Tenkaichi Budoukai, but saved the world from its greatest threat.


1) Gohan Transforms Into Super Saiyan 2



Series: Dragon Ball Z

Episode: #184, "The Tragedy of No. 16!! Super Gohan's Anger Explodes"


Comments: My absolute favorite moment in the Dragon Ball franchise is Gohan's transformation into the second full Super Saiyan form at the Cell Games. Since Gohan first appeared, his hidden potential had always been brought up, and it had always been speculated that he could one day surpass his father. Frustrated at not getting at this power, Cell deployed the Cell Juniors to beat on his father and friends, but Gohan was still holding back. The final straw is Cell's stomping to death of the already disabled Artificial Human #16 who just wanted peace and valued that and nature the way Gohan had. Gohan explodes with rage, accompanied by the song "Unmei no Hi ~Tamashii tai Tamashii~" ("Day of Destiny ~Spirit vs Spirit") sung by Kageyama Hinorobu that echos the importance of that moment: Gohan is finally reaching his potential, and Cell is in for the fight of his life. Ultimately, we know Gohan prevails, but this is the real moment of triumph. The son has surpassed the father.


And so...


Dragon Ball Kai has allowed me to add different versions of these moments. I might add a few new clips later on, even. I hope you enjoyed the list! - Penguin Truth (2011)

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