Remember the simpler times when Goku was just a boy and the Dragon Balls were actually revered? With Goku ultimately gaining the strength to compete with Gods of Destruction in Dragon Ball Super, fans often find themselves reminiscing on Dragon Ball, the series that started it all.
Despite lacking the powerful energy attacks and transformations of its sequels, Dragon Ball did present fans with some interesting, and often quirky techniques that laid the foundation for what was to come. Here is a list of 5 stellar techniques that made fans drop their jaws during the early days of Goku's adventure, along with 5 techniques that made fans wonder if Akira Toriyama was taking his work seriously.
10 Useful: Flight
Unless characters have wings or they happen to possess the innate ability to hover, as Puar first demonstrated in Dragon Ball, gaining the ability to fly back then was a sign of true talent.
Chiaotzu used this technique to avoid being knocked out of the ring so early during his fight with Krillin. The only reason why this skill is even being considered as a technique is due to the fact that at the time, only a select few were able to use this ability, giving those who could fly a clear advantage over those who could not.
9 Useless: Stripping
This entry isn't a typo. During the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament, a fighter named Ranfan attempted to use her sudden lack of clothing as a weapon against her opponent, Nam. The reason why this technique is so useless is because Nam was able to close his eyes so that he could be distracted by her, and incapacitated her with ease.
Such a distraction would never work on most opponents in a serious fight, especially someone like Goku or Piccolo, and although Roshi would definitely be affected by this technique, he wouldn't let such a crass technique be the end of him in a battle with high stakes. Sure, it worked on Yamcha, but what doesn't work on him?
8 Useful: Kamehameha
The Kamehameha Wave was first displayed by Master Roshi back in Dragon Ball. Although now it is used as a finisher, the technique had more practical uses in the original series. For example, Master Roshi first used the technique to put out a stubborn fire, while Goku used it to push himself higher into the air as he and Tien fell towards the ground as their match in the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament came to a close.
Goku even used a Kamehameha with his feet to shoot himself back up to Piccolo after being knocked to the ground during their destructive battle. This technique proved to be one of Dragon Ball's most versatile, powerful attacks.
7 Useless: Multi-Form Technique
This technique was first shown when Tien fought Goku in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. To back Goku into a corner, Tien split himself into three more fighters, taking advantage of Goku's inability to fight four foes at once.
The major downside to this technique is that one's strength is split evenly between the clones, so each clone is weaker than the original, meaning that to truly get maximum use out of this technique, the clones would have to attack at once. If this technique was truly all that useful, Tien wouldn't have gotten knocked out of the ring right after using it.
6 Useful: Thunder Shock Surprise
Although Master Roshi was reduced to a joke character in Dragon Ball Z, he was known to have some of the most powerful techniques back in Dragon Ball. One of them was his Thunder Shock Surprise, a move he used on Goku during the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament.
This move turns the victim's own energy into 20,000 volts of electricity, forcing them to endure the pain until they are completely fried. It's one of Roshi's most lethal attacks, and the only reason Goku was able to escape it was because he looked into the full moon and transformed into a Great Ape.
5 Useless: Mafuba
This technique remained useless in Dragon Ball, mostly due to the fact that it did not work on King Piccolo during his second coming. Even when Master Mutaito managed to successfully seal King Piccolo, someone as clueless as Emperor Pilaf managed to break that seal. While the move does allow weaker opponents to end a fight with a foe that outranks them, the cost outweighs the benefit. First is the obvious risk that the user may die upon using the technique despite the result.
Second, if the glass that they wish to seal the target in is cracked just a little, they will have wasted their efforts. Finally, the move can be reversed, and if someone jumps in front of the attack, they automatically become the new target. With so many places for something to go wrong, it just makes better sense to pound your opponent into the dirt the good old fashioned way.
4 Useful: Devilmite Beam
Spike the Devilman was a martial artist from Hell who Fortuneteller Baba hired to fight Goku, Krillin, and Yamcha. Once hit with his signature move, the Devilmite Beam, a target's own negative thoughts are turned into a destructive force, powerful enough to obliterate them. It doesn't matter if someone is a hero of justice.
All this technique would need is a small bit of negativity to destroy its target. It was just bad luck that Devilman had to go up against Goku, an exceptional boy with a completely pure heart, nullifying the attack. Such a technique would kill most characters from Dragon Ball, and even Dragon Ball Z for that matter.
3 Useless: Shapeshifting
Shapeshifting can be practical for reconnaissance, as long as the user doesn't do much talking, since it only copies a target's appearance and not much else, unless the user is good at vocal impersonations. Still, what good is being able to transform into a 15-foot tall robot if you can't copy its strength?
Oolong turned into this very thing and yet managed to burn his metallic thumb in a bowl of hot ramen. Transformations look like cheap knockoffs of the original, even when done by a professional like Puar. The only actual time this technique was truly useful was when Puar turned into a pair of scissors to cut Goku's tail after he first transformed into a Great Ape.
2 Useful: Carrot Touch
Monster Carrot was a villain introduced in Dragon Ball with the peculiar ability to turn people into carrots with just a single touch, giving young fans another reason not to eat their veggies. Not only could he turn people into the perfect snack, but Monster Carrot could reverse the technique by clapping.
Besides that, there was nothing his victims could do once he had touched them. Although he lacked physical strength, he used Bulma's carrot as leverage to prevent Goku from attacking him, although just punching him alone was a risk. Of course, the major drawback to this ability is not being able to touch your pets, lover, or family and friends, but if you do on accident, you can always reverse it.
1 Useless: Smelly Finger
When fans saw that Krillin was fated to duel Bacterian, a gargantuan man who chose to ignore the concept of personal hygiene, they weren't too envious of the bald fighter. All of Bacterian's techniques were rather simple, and stuck with the theme of using his excruciating body odor to disturb and disorient his opponents.
In a serious fight, however, Bacterian's techniques would never be enough to grant him a victory. Particularly, his Smelly Finger technique, in which he rubs a finger around his crotch before touching an opponent, is something that, although it wouldn't be pleasant if touched, can be fixed with a long shower. Even in Dragon Ball, there are energy blasts that can easily knock Bacterian away before he can get close enough to touch someone with his finger.