Dragon Ball started as a journey story, an adventure of young Goku and the friends he made on his way to finding the dragon balls. Many of those friends stuck with him or were featured prominently throughout the rest of the original series, even as the focus shifted to martial arts. But, not everyone made it to the stories of Dragon Ball Z, and even less made it to Dragon Ball Super. To be fair, Dragon Ball is a huge world, one that can be hard to keep track of, and even Akira Toriyama himself has admitted to straight up forgetting various elements and characters of the franchise when writing the manga.
Because of this, it’s easy to see how some characters that were so prominent in early story arcs were eventually reduced to background characters and cameos, if they appear at all. With that, we thought it’d be interesting to look through some of characters in Dragon Ball that have faded into the background. We’re only looking at living characters, no one who is dead, and we’re taking into consideration characters who might be featured now, but were forgotten about for a long period of time. With that, here are 15 characters that Dragon Ball forgot about.
Launch was a pretty big part of the original Dragon Ball series, but after the Saiyan saga of Dragon Ball Z, she was pretty much never seen again. She was a peculiar girl with a strange “ability” that caused her to change personalities and hair color whenever she sneezed. There was her blue-haired personality, the good and innocent Launch, and her blonde-haired personality, the most wanted criminal in Brown City.
Launch hung around Master Roshi and later Tien Shinhan throughout most of Dragon Ball and part of Dragon Ball Z, but after leaving Tien, since he had no interest in romance, she went off on her own. And yet, the only time we would see her was in fillers or anime-only cameos. Toriyama’s reason for the lack of Launch in the series was that he simply forgot about her.
14. MR. POPO
Mr. Popo is still active as Dende’s attendant, but we’ve seen less of the two in Dragon Ball Super. Then again, Mr. Popo might be better off with as little screen time as possible. Why, you ask? Because of the fact that his character design resembles racist caricatures, something that some broadcasts tried to cover up with digital alterations.
That said, other than the obvious of him being a servant, Mr. Popo himself possesses no character traits that make fun of any race of people aside from his design. Mr. Popo is always helpful and kind towards Goku and friends and is a good friend to Kami and later Dende. Yet, he’s only made a few short appearances in Dragon Ball Super, not serving to add much to the plot aside from a few lines.
Like Mr. Popo, the guardian of Earth himself, Dende, has started to see less and less screen time in the latest incarnation of the world of Dragon Ball. Dende first appeared as a child on Namek, a physically weak but magically powerful Namekian who helped Gohan and Krillin make wishes on the Namekian Dragon Balls. Later in the Cell saga, Goku brought Dende from New Namek to be the new guardian of Earth.
Dende helped revive Shenron and has since taken the place of Kami as Earth’s guardian. Dende helped out in the Cell saga and the Majin Buu Saga, where he was seen to have grown up quite a bit. But, in Dragon Ball Super, Dende has only made a few appearances, not contributing as much help as he used to.
12. FORTUNETELLER BABA
Fortuneteller Baba had her own saga in Dragon Ball, but her role was diminished in the following series as well as in Dragon Ball Super. In Dragon Ball, Baba was sought out by Goku and friends to help them find the final dragon ball. Baba charges a hefty fee for her services, but offered an alternate form of payment, defeating her five warriors.
Goku is able to defeat the warriors and Baba Yaga helps them find the final dragon ball so they can wish Bora back to life. After this, Baba is seen a few times in Dragon Ball Z, most notably when she brings Goku back to Earth for one day after his death. She also does the same for Frieza, so he can fight in the tournament of power, one of her only two appearances in Dragon Ball Super.
Don’t let your eyes deceive you, that’s not actually Bulma, it’s Maron. Maron was Krillin’s girlfriend whose place in the canon is not always clear, since she mainly appeared in filler. Maron was part of the Garlic Jr. Saga, revealed to be Krillin’s girlfriend who looked remarkable similar to Bulma. However, Maron was nowhere near as smart as Bulma and was mostly used as eye-candy on the show.
Maron’s only non-filler appearance was in the Android saga when she was looking for Krillin to get back together with him. However, even this moment, which was removed in Dragon Ball Z Kai, is considered part of the filler, so it kind of makes sense that we haven’t seen Maron since. The creepiest thing, however, is that Krillin and Android 18’s daughter is named Marron, though Toriyama made it clear that she’s not named after her father’s ex.
Yet another resident of Kami’s lookout who hasn’t been seen much is Korin. Technically he lives in a tower that leads to Kami’s lookout, but regardless, we haven’t seen much of Korin since Dragon Ball. In the original series, this wise cat first appeared when he trained Goku to his full potential during the Red Ribbon Army saga.
Korin is the only person who can grow “senzu,” beans that restore energy and heal all wounds. The senzu are a crucial part of later Dragon Ball sagas and most of Dragon Ball Z. That said, the senzu seem to be the only reason we see Korin these days, Goku usually barging in to ask for some and then promptly leaving. In fact, he’s not even seen during one of the two times that he gives Goku senzu in Dragon Ball Super.
9. GOTEN AND TRUNKS
This one is a bit of a technicality but hear us out. There’s no doubt that Goten and Trunks have gotten their fair share of screen time, since they were both the focus of the fusion saga and have had some great character moments. Heck, Trunks’ future self has had two arcs in the entire franchise that have focused on him. However, the kid version of Trunks hasn’t had much focus since the Buu saga, and the same could be said of Goten.
Sure, they’ve had their short adventures and filler, but the two half-Saiyans have not had as much screen time as the original half-Saiyan, Gohan. Think about it, we got to see Gohan grow up, go through trials and adventures as a warrior, but Goten and Trunks have been demoted to background characters during their formative years.
8. UPA AND BORA
Upa and Bora both had a couple of cameos in Dragon Ball Z and the now non-canon Dragon Ball GT, but other than these, the father-son duo have not been seen since Dragon Ball. What makes this a big deal? Well, for one thing, the second wish ever made in the Dragon Ball franchise was to bring Bora back to life after his death at the hands of Mercenary Tao.
This marks him, and his son, as relatively important figures in the history of Dragon Ball. And yet, we haven’t seen the two since the King Piccolo Saga, outside of a few anime-only cameos, like when they offered their energy to help Goku make a spirit bomb. You’d think Goku would at least check in on his old friends!
7. ANDROID 8
Speaking of Goku not visiting old friends, another forgotten ally of the original Dragon Ball was Android 8, also known as Eighter. Android 8 was the first android to appear in Dragon Ball, and his last appearance was in the King Piccolo saga. He had a few cameos in Dragon Ball Z, most notably when he was giving energy for Goku’s spirit bomb, like most other Dragon Ball character cameos, but he’s had no story presence.
Android 8 has yet to appear in Dragon Ball Super, and we’re not really sure there’s a way to include him at this point, since he was kind of a low stakes character to begin with, and is much more so in the current state of the Dragon Ball world. Still, the series as a whole has more or less forgotten Android 8.
6. ANDROID 17 (BEFORE SUPER)
This one is sort of another technicality, since Android 17 is currently a big part of the universal survival saga of Dragon Ball Super, but there was a time when he was completely forgotten. After the Cell saga, Krillin wished for the bombs within 17 and 18 to be removed, and the androids went their separate ways. 18 eventually found her way to Krillin and the two married and had a daughter.
Android 17, however, was absent from the Buu saga and was only seen briefly at the end when he gave Goku his energy for the spirit bomb. Otherwise, Android 18 was completely forgotten about, and more focus was put on his sister. But, as Dragon Ball Super came around, we learned he had been living the life of an animal protection ranger, forming a family of his own the whole time we didn’t hear from him.
While Oolong makes occasional background appearances and has a few lines in both Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super, he is, for the most part, a relic of the original series. Oolong was first introduced as a villain that terrorized a town with his shapeshifting abilities. However, he was soon, for lack of a better word, “tamed” by Bulma and would eventually become one of Goku’s many lifelong friends.
Though he joined Goku and Bulma on their journeys, he soon fell into the background, acting mostly as comic relief or filler in both Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super. Oolong hasn’t really brought anything to the world or story in a long time, and if you hadn’t watched any of the Dragon Ball series in a while, you’d probably forget about this perverted talking pig.
Speaking of villains that became good guys, we can’t talk about this beloved Dragon Ball trope without talking about the original bad-guy-turned ally, Yamcha. Yamcha was a big part of the original Dragon Ball and even served some purpose in Dragon Ball Z. However, he’s sort of become the butt of every joke with how weak he is compared to the other Z-fighters.
Because of this, though fans definitely remember Yamcha, Toriyama himself seems to have forgotten about this former desert bandit. By this we mean that Yamcha is never considered by anybody to help fight in various tournaments in Super and had retired from fighting in Dragon Ball Z. Nowadays, Yamcha pretty much only shows up for the sake of comic relief, acting as the butt of the joke for how weak he is now.
Unlike Yamcha, Yajirobe was never really the strongest fighter in the bunch, so it kind of makes sense that he has faded into obscurity. That said, he was still kind of a big part of Dragon Ball, so the fact that he hasn’t really been seen that much since the Saiyan saga is somewhat disappointing. Yajirobe was first introduced in the King Piccolo saga, showing surprising speed and swordsmanship, both of which were able to help defeat Cymbal, who he ate after killing.
Yajirobe also climbed with Goku to the top of Korin tower, where he met Korin and the two have often been seen together since. Yajirobe’s only appearance in Dragon Ball Z was when he cut oof Vegeta’s tail, and he’s been rarely seen since, only making cameo appearances, really, in Dragon Ball Super.
2. THE NAMEKIANS
Though there are not many Namekians left, we know that the species is thriving as much as they can. After they were revived from their death at the hands of Frieza and his minions, they found a new planet to call home. With a wish from the dragon balls, the remaining Namekians were transported to New Namek, where they were basically never seen again.
The only time we saw the Namekians was when Goku retrieved Dende to be the new guardian of Earth. Otherwise, these green aliens didn’t make an appearance in Dragon Ball Z and have yet to show up in Dragon Ball Super. There were, however, a few Namekians that showed up in the Tournament of power, though they were from a different universe.
1. THE PILAF GANG
Our last entry is actually the first villains of the entire Dragon Ball saga. Pilaf and his two followers, Mai and Shu, eventually made their comeback as mainstay side-characters in Dragon Ball Super, but these comically inept villains were completely absent for the entirety of Dragon Ball Z.
When you think about it, it’s actually really great that Pilaf and gang are back, albeit as children, in Dragon Ball Super. It’s a nice way for the series to make a callback and continue the trend of villains becoming allies. That said, we have to wonder if Toriyama purposely chose to keep the Pilaf gang out of Dragon Ball Z, despite being such a big part of the original series. Who knows, but we can say that the Pilaf gang was completely forgotten for one of the franchise’s three series.
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