For decades, audiences have followed the adventures of Goku and his friends on both the page and the screen. Dragon Ball is one of the most popular manga of all time, so it's not surprising that the anime has strived to be a faithful adaption. However, like any adaptation, the Dragon Ball anime has made its fair share of changes from the original source material.
Fans frequently deride any changes an adaptation makes from the source material, whether removing scenes or dialogue or adding filler content to stretch out the story to fit it nicely into precise 25-minute increments. Nonetheless, some changes are necessary or even for the best, as the Dragon Ballanime was better off without these moments.
10 Frost Eliminates Krillin Too Early In The Manga
Krillin may be the first Universe 7 member to be knocked out of the Tournament of Power in the anime, but he still has a few moments to shine. He saves his wife, Android 18, from an early elimination, and they team up to take down multiple foes from Universe 4.
While Krillin is eliminated by Frost in both versions, in the manga, his elimination comes at the very beginning of the Tournament, before he has the chance to throw a single punch. Part of what made the Universe Survival Arc great in the anime was that it gave characters who had been put aside for much of the anime their individual moments to shine. Something the manga failed to do.
9 Tien's Defeat To Frost Is Dishonorable
Tien Shinhan is a fighter with a reputation for going down swinging. His last gasp Tri-Beam against Nappa, his brave stand to delay Semi-Perfect Cell, and in the anime bringing down Universe 2's sniper Harmira with him were all cases of Tien nobly taking on stronger foes with everything he had until the bitter end.
In the manga, like Krillin, Tien is ended at the very outset of the Tournament of Power by Frost. However, the character's devoted fans likely preferred the anime's portrayal, in which he never fights Frost, and at least gives him a chance to show off his most beloved techniques.
8 Guldo's Death Was Rightfully Toned Down
Vegeta decapitating Guldo represents one of the most brutal moments of the franchise. However, it may surprise fans who have only seen the moment on TV that the adaption is actually moderately toned down compared to its more detailed, original depiction. Most notably, Guldo's severed spinal cord is visible as his head is ripped from his body.
It's not uncommon for manga to be gorier than their anime adaptations. While fans may complain about that, a few who started watching as kids would've likely had their parents' TVs or computers turned off if this moment had been as graphic as it was in the manga.
7 Trunks, Goten, And Maron On Monster Island Is Unnecessary Filler
Trunks, Goten, and Maron's time as rangers filling in for Android 17 on Monster Island could have easily been made into a few filler episodes or a subplot during the Tournament of Power. The show thankfully just leaves them on the Island for the Tournament of Power, but the manga shows their encounter with Cell Juniors and alludes to their victory over a group of poachers.
While the three's experience could've produced some funny high jinks, the Universe Survival Saga is already the longest arc in Dragon Ball Super. Additional anime filler content would have slowed the arc further, distracting audiences from the non-stop action.
6 Not All The Spinoffs Match The Current Tone of the Franchise
Spinoffs Dragon Ball Minus, The Episode of Bardock, and Jaco The Patrolman have influenced movies, been adapted into special episodes, and have had characters incorporated into the main series with mixed responses. However, one spinoff that hasn't been adapted into the anime is Neko Majin.
Many Dragon Ball characters make appearances in Neko Majin. Adapting any of those interactions into the anime or specials would have been an odd fit with the more serious tone the franchise has grown into. Super has embraced some lighter aspects of the original series, but more comic relief characters would be more of an intrusion than an addition to the main storyline.
5 10% Of Vegeta's Power Undersells Hit's Threat
The Universe 6 Arc was the first to introduce characters from other universes. The most interesting addition is the 1000 years old assassin Hit, who quickly displays his skill with a victory over Vegeta. Unfortunately, it was revealed by Whis in the manga that due to the consequences of Super Saiyan Blue, Vegeta could only use 10% of his power in that showdown.
The anime thankfully leaves out this revelation as it diminishes one of the best beatdowns of the entire series, removes tension from Hit's subsequent fight with Goku, and once again downplays the importance of skill in favor of exposition about power levels and percentages. Something that's been a persistent target of criticism from the fan base.
4 Doctor Gero's Execution Of A Civilian Goes One Panel Too Far
The arrival of Doctor Gero and Android 20 is a particularly haunting and violent moment in the anime. The Dragon Ball manga doesn't shy away from blood, and Gero's execution of a civilian includes perhaps the most gruesome panel in the whole series when he literally squeezes a man's head off.
As with Guldo's death, perfectly adapting this scene from the manga likely would have raised the parenting warning level and may have prevented some lifelong fans from being allowed to watch in the first place.
3 Yamcha's Surrender Shows A Lack Of Pride
For decades Yamcha has been the butt of fans' jokes. One fight in the manga that contributes to this image occurs against Fortuneteller Baba's third fighter, Bandages the Mummy. In this one-sided affair, Yamcha surrenders after being held over a pool of deadly acid.
In the anime, on the other hand, Yamcha refuses to give up, and though he may suffer a far more vicious beat down for his troubles, he is able to leave the battlefield with his honor intact. Most of the fan base delights in Yamcha's constant humiliation, but for his proud few followers, even a small display of pride can be an important moment for the character.
2 Gohan's Last Fight Against Buu Is Too One-Sided
Gohan is among the most popular characters in the entire franchise. With the Buu Saga originally envisioned as the end of the series, more so than most characters, Gohan deserved a proper final showcase of his power.
However, in the manga, Gohan's final battle against Super Buu is a crushing defeat, where he fails to land a single hit on his opponent. He stills suffers a defeat in the anime, but puts up a more respectable showing worthy of a cherished fan favorite.
1 Some Fourth Wall Breaks Just Can't Be Adapted Cleanly
Dragon Ball has its fair share of characters breaking the fourth wall. While these instances are mostly limited to the manga, there are a few in the anime as well. And, as Vegeta has painfully learned, never fight an 80s gag manga character.
Some breaks are just meant for print media and can't be adapted to the screen. Characters breaking the lines between panels and pulling back pages don't really have adequate equivalents when animated. Limiting the fourth wall breaks allowed the anime to stay focused on the story.
Next: Dragon Ball: 10 Things About The Series Manga Readers Know That Anime-Only Fans Don't