“Taking his life was a big mistake! Nobody messes with my friends!”
Goku, Dragon Ball
The Events That Changed Dragon Ball Forever
Up until the events after the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, Dragon Ball had an air of comedy, Goku was a no care in the world monkey boy who just wanted to fight strong guys. After losing to Tien in the final of said tournament Goku discovers he has left his belongings at the arena and Krillin volunteers to go fetch them for him.
What follows probably changed Dragon Ball forever, like I said before this tournament Dragon Ball was a comedy and although people had died (Goku wiped out an army by himself) it never had much impact on the show or the characters.
But this time it was different, we had seen Goku be excited for a fight and we had seen him be a bit impatient but at his heart he was pure, he is only able to fly on his Nimbus because of said purity. This time however marks the first time we see Goku actually get mad (and genuinely upset), this wasn’t “I’m excited to fight a strong guy!” but more like “Some motherfucker needs to die”.
Goku flees the scene with tears in his eyes and even defies a direct order from his Master to not pursue the killer. Goku’s intent is clear here, the person who did this needs to die. For me this is truly when Dragon Ball became Dragon Ball Z, the stakes had been upped, the plot got a bit darker and the fighting got that much more intense.
Now in Dragon Ball as a whole death has no real consequences as you can be wished back by said Dragon Balls, Krillin himself has gone on to die at least three more times so it may have lost its sting over the years. But this was the first time we’d seen one of the main cast die and it certainly had an impact.
Krillin’s death changed the series forever, fighting was no longer just for fun (although it’s super fun!) but sometimes you have to fight to protect people. Goku hasn’t changed much over the years, he still eats like a family of elephants and all he really wants to do is get stronger and fight strong guys but sometimes you have to take things seriously… but only sometimes.
A video featuring all the times Krillin has been “Owned”, a running gag in Team Four Star’s amazing Dragon Ball Z Abridged.