Dragon Ball Super is the latest installment in Akira Toriyama’s signature shonen series. DBS is nearly a decade old, while the grander franchise is nearly four times as old. Each Dragon Ball series chronicles Goku’s adventures as he grows stronger, defends the planet, and accomplishes incredible goals with other courageous heroes. Four decades of content means that Dragon Ball has a lot of lore to work through, which is largely consistent but still subject to scrutiny.
Dragon Ball Z doesn’t fill in every corner of its universe, which allowed for speculation and theories to develop in many areas. Dragon Ball Super‘s ongoing existence has inevitably disproved some of the major theories and assumptions that previously held strong for the series.
10 Super Saiyan & Kaio-Ken Can’t Be Combined
One of Goku’s mainstay maneuvers during the earlier Dragon Ball Z saga is his Kaio-Ken Attack. This power-up allows Goku to magnify his strength and speed, albeit at the expense of a great strain on his body. Goku’s Kaio-Ken days seemed to be over around the same time he transformed into a Super Saiyan.
A longstanding theory is that Goku couldn’t use his Kaio-Ken Attack while he’s a Super Saiyan since it’d be too much for his body to handle; otherwise, he’d cleverly combine these upgrades. It takes Goku decades to do so, but he does combine the Kaio-Ken Attack with Super Saiyan Blue power in Dragon Ball Super to prove that such a combination is actually possible.
9 The Dragon Balls Can’t Be Used To Wish To Become The Strongest
The wish-granting Dragon Balls are an extremely coveted relic that can grant remarkably greedy wishes, but they can’t do everything. Particular Dragon Ball limitations are laid out early on in the series, especially regarding resurrections. Characters like Vegeta want the Dragon Balls to become the strongest through the means of immortality.
This backward approach to becoming the most powerful left many fans to believe that someone couldn’t use the Dragon Balls to explicitly wish to be the strongest. This is disproven when Granolah and later Gas do exactly that on Planet Cereal’s set of Dragon Balls. However, this wish does come with the ultimate caveat where the person’s lifespan will be significantly shortened as payment.
8 All Saiyans Other Than Goku Were Violent By Nature
Dragon Ball Z inundates the audiences with villainous Saiyans during its introductory story arcs between Raditz, Nappa, and Vegeta and movie villains like Turles. Goku is initially ashamed of his Saiyan heritage, and he stands out as a kind-hearted Saiyan exception, something that’s largely explained through Goku being dropped on his head as an infant.
Dragon Ball Super provides some enlightening flashback material, with Bardock indicating Goku isn’t special and that Bardock was just as sympathetic. It’s a sweet turn of events, but one that goes against past Saiyan lore. The same is true for the Saiyans who are met from Universe 6, none of whom possess the killer instinct of other Saiyans.
7 Dragon Ball’s Anime Movies Are Always Non-Canonical
Dragon Ball has a rich history with movies that begins with three films from the original series that retell its events but with fantastical changes. Dragon Ball Z has more than a dozen movies that tell original stories with heightened villains that are a lot of fun but don’t technically fit within Dragon Ball‘s canon.
All of this evidence has conditioned audiences to expect the same out of any future Dragon Ball movies. The franchise has gradually broken this rule, and Battle of Gods, Resurrection ‘F’, Broly, and Super Hero are all canonical movies in the Dragon Ball Super timeline.
6 Uub Won’t Be Important Until The 28th World Martial Arts Tournament
Dragon Ball Z goes out on a curious time-skip epilogue set ten years after Majin Buu’s defeat. It’s at the 28th World Martial Arts Tournament where Goku encounters Uub, a young child who’s practically as strong as he is. Dragon Ball Z concludes with Goku pledging to train Uub and help him hone his powers, which is the narrative thread that Dragon Ball GT picks up on.
Goku’s first meeting with Uub at the tournament means that his involvement in the series before this should be impossible. Dragon Ball Super finds a clever way for Uub to contribute during the battle against Planet-Eater Moro when he donates energy to Goku to help him execute his final attack.
5 Saiyan Tails Will Be Necessary For New Transformations
Saiyans are a crucial component of Goku’s character and the key to his Great Ape transformation even before Dragon Ball introduces the concept of Saiyans into the series. Saiyan tails prove to be more of a liability than they’re worth, and each major character gets their tail removed over time.
Dragon Ball GT takes the opposite approach and argues that a Saiyan’s tail is a necessary element to transcend past limits and become a Super Saiyan 4 and beyond. There was heavy belief that Dragon Ball Super would also follow this principle. Not only does it not, but the new Saiyans that Dragon Ball Super introduces are without tails and flourish without them.
4 Goku Is Stronger Than Vegeta
One of Dragon Ball Z‘s most rewarding dynamics is the friendly rivalry that exists between Goku and Vegeta as they continually grow stronger and match each other’s milestones. Goku’s role as Dragon Ball‘s protagonist means that he typically stumbles upon prolific transformations before Vegeta, and there’s a common perception that Goku is the superior character.
Vegeta even concedes inferiority toward the end of Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball Super surprisingly speaks to the contrary and a sparring match between the two in Dragon Ball Super: Super Heropositions Vegeta as the winner. He’s even on track to become a God of Destruction in the manga.
3 Gohan Doesn’t Have A Job
Dragon Ball exists in an extremely heightened world that has an anthropomorphic dog as its king and wild dinosaurs that freely roam the land. Dragon Ball‘s wild nature earns it a lot of leeway, but characters still worry about income and how they’ll make ends meet. Goku doesn’t have a conventional job, but he’s taken on odd gigs and provided for his family.
Vegeta’s life with Bulma is also otherwise well-insulated due to the Briefs family fortune. There was an assumption that Gohan didn’t need a job because he and Videl were just able to live off of Mr. Satan’s wealth. Dragon Ball Super says otherwise, with Gohan’s scholarly passions pushing him into the role of a budding entomologist.
2 The Cell Juniors Are All Destroyed
A curious development during the height of Dragon Ball Z‘s Cell Games involves Cell creating seven tiny replicas of himself that he titles the Cell Juniors. These tiny terrors keep the heroes busy until Super Saiyan 2 Gohan systematically destroys them all. The Cell Juniors are an interesting concept that audiences were hoping Dragon Ball could find a way to return to.
Fans moved on and accepted that all of the Cell Juniors must be destroyed. Dragon Ball Super‘s manga includes an appreciated bonus page where Trunks and Goten’s exploits on Android 17’s Monster Island put them up against a pack of Cell Juniors. It doesn’t make its way into the anime, but it’s a surprising Cell Junior comeback.
1 Gohan’s Ultimate Upgrade Has Reached Its Apex
Gohan’s Ultimate upgrade that comes courtesy of Old Kai leaves him positioned to take out Super Buu and become Earth’s hero. This power-up is supposed to release all of Gohan’s latent potential, which prompted a theory that Ultimate Gohan is as strong as the character can get and that future transformations aren’t possible.
Additionally, there was also the theory that Super Saiyan transformations were independent of Gohan’s Ultimate form. Gohan Beast from Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero seems to be the next step in Gohan’s Ultimate form and shows that there are more places for this character to go.