Dragon Ball: 10 Transformations With The Biggest Drawbacks, Ranked

Dragon Ball’s iconic Super Saiyan form and its many variations are powerful, but there is a wealth of other them that have awful drawbacks.

Many anime series takes a page from out of Dragon Ball’s manga and cater towards exaggerated action sequences where characters go through unbelievable metamorphoses to access unprecedented power. The series has gone through considerable changes throughout the years—but a core tenet that’s never been absent is a passion for powerful energy attacks and stunning boosts in power.

New transformations are so plentiful in Dragon Ball that they almost feel like a parody of themselves. Dragon Ball’s iconic Super Saiyan form and its many variations are most prevalent in the series. Still, there are many other transformations, many of which aren’t exactly advantageous in battle.

1. Zarbon’s Second Form Takes The Elegant Fighter From Beauty To Beast

Dragon Ball Z’s first expedition to Namek marks a simpler time for the anime before Super Saiyans were rampant and characters had achieved strength at the equivalent of literal Gods.

Frieza causes plenty of devastation on Namek, but before he gets his own hands dirty, he staffs out his henchmen, Dodoria and Zarbon. Zarbon has a rather suave and together appearance, but this veneer is shattered when he transforms into his second form. Zarbon becomes substantially stronger, but he loses agility and becomes a reprehensible monster. It’s a tough trade, especially for someone like Zarbon, who fixates on appearances.

2. Frieza’s Third Form Is An Ugly, Impractical Xenomorph Imitation

The tradition that a major Dragon Ball villain will reveal a revolving door of powerful transformations that they turn to during moments of desperation can often feel overdone, but Frieza helped kickstart this trend. Frieza goes through four distinct forms on Namek, and it’s only his third form that feels like the dud. This transformation is Frieza’s most bestial, and while it’s visually frightening, there’s no clear advantage in power.

It truly feels like a placeholder to prolong the fight, but Dragon Ball barely gives this transformation a chance, and so it feels forgettable and irrelevant in addition to impractical.

3. he Power Boost From The Majin Transformation Comes With Demonic Subservience

Dragon Ball Z’s Buu Saga brings dark magic into the equation. Babidi promises individuals massive boosts in strength but at the cost of becoming a possessed servant of the Majin race.

Dragon Ball Z’s Buu Saga brings dark magic into the equation. Babidi promises individuals massive boosts in strength but at the cost of becoming a possessed servant of the Majin race.

This access to more power is enough to tempt Vegeta, but this strength is irrelevant if the character has no free will and is forced to do someone’s bidding. The problem with the Majin transformation is that it’s inconsistent in this area, and individuals like Vegeta still retain some awareness as a Majin. In contrast, others such as Spopovich and Yamu are considerably more brainwashed.

4. The Saiyan’s Great Ape Transformation Trades Precision For Power

The Great Ape transformation has been a fixture of Dragon Ball since the original series and long before Saiyans’ concept had been developed. The Saiyan’s Great Ape transformation becomes phased out in service of the more practical Super Saiyan form.

Saiyans would turn into their Great Ape form to ensure that they wage maximum destruction and the larger size, greater strength, and enhanced abilities are hard to ignore. Simultaneously, the average Great Ape becomes a wild animal that can’t control its strength. Saiyan royalty doesn’t have this issue, but for others, it’s a major caveat.

5. The Potara Earring Fusion Is Supposed To Be A Permanent Union

The caliber of villains in Dragon Ball has reached such elaborate heights that the anime has reached the point where characters literally need to combine their strength and form a new and stronger fighter.

6. The Demon Clan Transformation From The Black Water Mist Creates Lazy Vampires

Garlic Jr. is a creative turn for Dragon Ball because he doesn’t just headline Dragon Ball Z’s first movie, but he also returns for his own mini filler arc in the anime. Garlic Jr. unleashes the Black Water Mist on the public, which turns anyone who inhales it into a Demon Clan member.

Black Water Mist victims seem marginally stronger, but more in a feral sense. They operate like vampires by biting their victims to spread the infection. It becomes a convoluted transformation, especially since former Demon Clan members, like Piccolo, resist it.

7. Ultra Super Saiyan Is A Bulky Insult To The Super Saiyan Name

Goku’s first transformation into a Super Saiyan remains one of Dragon Ball Z’s most powerful moments, but then a cavalcade of transformations follows with Future Trunks, Vegeta, Gohan, and more.

Future Trunks stumbles upon a new transitory stage between Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan 2 during their preparation against Cell. Ultra Super Saiyan, or Super Saiyan Third Grade, is more powerful than the regular form. Still, it comes with inefficient muscle mass that makes any Ultra Super Saiyan too slow to be effective. It’s a misleading transformation that becomes officially unnecessary once Super Saiyan 2 enters the picture.

8. Super Namekian Fusion Erases One Of The Party’s Personalities

It’s a little more difficult for Dragon Ball’s non-Saiyan characters to remain relevant and gain power boosts at the same level as any Super Saiyan transformation. Piccolo is an important character with one of the better story arcs, and it’s revealed that Namekians have their own form of fusion that can trigger a Super Namekian transformation.

Piccolo initially goes through this ceremony with Nail and then later does the same with Kami. The newfound strength is incredible, but this fusion completely erases one of the personalities. At least the other fusions create an amalgamation out of both individuals.

9. Super Saiyan 3 Is So Strong That It Can Barely Be Used

Dragon Ball has exhausted the different Super Saiyan transformations once it shifts away from a numerical system and instead features radical changes in hair color. Before the series gets this out of hand, it introduces Super Saiyan 3 as Dragon Ball Z’s ultimate transformation in power.

10. Kaio-Ken Blue Hurts The User’s Body More Than The Enemy

Sometimes new transformations feel more like temporary Band-Aids rather than permanent tools to use in battle. Goku’s intense training with King Kai results in him learning the Kaio-Ken Attack.

This aggressively multiplies the user’s strength but is advised with extreme caution due to how it can cripple the human body if pushed too far. Goku doesn’t only abuse the Kaio-Ken Attack, but it returns in Dragon Ball Super when he combines it with Super Saiyan Blue. Kaio-Ken Blue may provide a temporary solution, but it ravages Goku’s body and leaves him out of commission several days after the fight.

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