- Dragon Ball’s tournaments deliver non-stop action and provide a platform for creative and emotional battles.
- Some tournaments, like the All Universe Hide & Seek Tournament, may not live up to expectations due to unforeseen circumstances.
- The Tournament of Power is the most monumental tournament in Dragon Ball, with high stakes and epic battles that showcase the franchise’s best fights.
Dragon Ball has become one of the biggest anime series of its generation because it effectively creates consistent combat that continually tops itself. Dragon Ball is full of larger than life characters who are strong enough to destroy galaxies and it’s never too long until they’re locked in battle. These fights often have life or death consequences for them.
However, Dragon Ball also finds smart ways to structure this combat into martial arts tournaments that deliver non-stop action. These competitions can be purely for bragging rights or hold much more desirable rewards for the winner. Tournaments are one of Dragon Ball’s biggest traditions, some of which are much more successful than others.
10 All Universe Hide & Seek Tournament
Dragon Ball’s most lackluster organized tournament is ultimately one that took place before the series’ events. Omni-King Zeno establishes that he gets a lot of enjoyment from forcing his subjects to participate in twisted feats of strength. The All Universe Hide and Seek Tournament is a hide and seek competition where the 12 Gods of Destruction are the participants.
This tournament gets cancelled because Beerus falls asleep for 50 years during its proceedings, which is actually the catalyst for the animosity that currently exists between Beerus and the other Gods of Destruction. The video game Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission also returns to this idea in some welcome continuity.
9 Fortuneteller Baba Tournament
A strange, silly, and supernatural martial arts competition that’s hosted by Roshi’s sister, Fortuneteller Baba, becomes the climax of a Dragon Ball hunt and the perfect practice for the upcoming 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament. Goku and company require Baba’s assistance to locate the final Dragon Ball and since they can’t afford her payment they’re forced to fight for this opportunity.
Goku, Krillin, and Yamcha face Fangs the Vampire, See-Through the Invisible Man, Bandages the Mummy, Spike the Devil Man, and the ghost of Grandpa Gohan. Fortuneteller Baba Tournament gets points for creativity and its emotional closure, but it’s otherwise a stopgap between bigger story events.
8 Other World Tournament
One of Dragon Ball Z‘s more notable filler sagas chronicles Goku’s participation in the Other World Tournament, a martial arts competition where each of the galaxy’s four Kai pit their strongest deceased wars against each other. The Other World Tournament lasts for five episodes and many of its battles are treated like jokes and excuses for sillier characters.
However, the Other World Tournament does introduce Pikkon from the west quadrant of the galaxy, who becomes a very worthy adversary for Goku. Goku and Pikkon’s final fight is a satisfying clash of powers even if the rest of the Other World Tournament feels incidental.
7 Intergalactic World Tournament
The ninth Dragon Ball Z feature film, Bojack Unbound, begins with the quaint Intergalactic World Tournament, a competition that’s held by millionaire X.S. Cash as a birthday present for his son. Mr. Satan has designed this tournament to be a lot of pageantry until Bojack and the Hera Clan invade and take out Mr. Satan’s four decoy fighters.
Bojack and his Intergalactic Warriors have some unique fighting styles and strategies that properly put Gohan to the test. It’s also just pleasant to have Future Trunks and Tien around while Goku remains in the afterlife.
6 Zeno Expo
Dragon Ball Super‘s Zeno Expo is a lesser version of the multiversal Tournament of Power and feels like a way to pad the story before the main event. The two weakest universes, Universes 7 and 9, both select their three strongest fighters for a preliminary match that’s meant to build hype for the Tournament of Power.
Goku, Gohan, and Buu make for a unique roster who go up against the Trio of Danger, but the Tournament of Power tops all of these fights. Curiously, the manga depicts the Zeno Expo as a free-for-all fight between all 12 Gods of Destruction, where only Beerus, Quitela, and Belmod are left standing when the tournament gets called off by the Grand Minister.
5 Tournament Of Destroyers
Universe 6, the main realm’s complimentary sister universe, becomes the first alternate world that gets explored in Dragon Ball Super. A growing rivalry between Universe 7 and 6’s Gods of Destructions, Beerus and Champa, results in the Tournament of Destroyers. Each universe fights with teams of five, which becomes a fun precursor to the Tournament of Power.
It marks the introduction of Cabba, Hit, and Frost, not to mention Goku’s thrilling execution of Blue Kaioken, while also turning to a somewhat comedic conclusion where Monaka is technically the winner. There’s also quite the heightened set of stakes here since Universe 7’s loss means that Champa will use the Super Dragon Balls to swap the Earths from their respective universes.
4 Super Space-Time Tournament
The Super Space-Time Tournament plays out like glorified fan fiction because it’s included in the promotional anime spin-off, Super Dragon Ball Heroes. Aeos, a former Supreme Kai of Time, assembles powerful warriors from across different timelines and time periods. Super Dragon Ball Heroes can only do so much with these battles, but the sheer spectacle of them alone makes them entertaining.
The Super Space-Time Tournament assembles fringe characters who haven’t been seen in ages like Tapion, Pikkon, Dr. Wheelo, and Cooler, not to mention pair-ups with alternate versions of the same character, like Super Saiyan 4 Goku and Super Saiyan Blue Goku. Yamcha even finds his way into these proceedings after getting overlooked during the Tournament of Power.
3 Cell Games
Dragon Ball Z‘s Cell Games are one of the biggest acts of hubris on a villain’s part. Cell ostensibly hosts his own televised version of the World Martial Arts Tournament and declares that the Earth will be destroyed if no one is strong enough to defeat him. It’s a message that’s meant to intimidate the masses and they’re left with ten days to prepare.
The Cell Games turn into the grander showdown against Perfect Cell, which features characters like Tien, Future Trunks, and Vegeta at their very best. Gohan’s Super Saiyan 2 transformation is a series highlight, as is his following demolition of the seven Cell Juniors.
2 Tournament Of Power
Dragon Ball has had plenty of important martial arts tournaments, but none are on the Tournament of Power’s scale. This is a battle royale where 80 of the strongest warriors from across the multiverse must fight for their universe’s survival with a Super Dragon Ball wish further sweetening the deal. The Tournament of Power lasts for nearly a quarter of Dragon Ball Super.
Fighters from Universe 6 and 11 get a lot of attention, but this battle is so immense that it sometimes feels like strong characters get wasted. Ultra Instinct Goku’s clash against Jiren is one of the series’ best fights and it’s extremely fun to see Frieza and Android 17 help out Goku and Vegeta.
1 World Martial Arts Tournament
Dragon Ball’s World Martial Arts Tournaments are surprisingly some of the more grounded competitions in the franchise that have become a running tradition throughout the entire franchise. Dragon Ball‘s 21st, 22nd, and 23rd editions of this tournament all become series highlights that feature remarkable battles with Goku against Master Roshi, Tien, Demon King Piccolo, and Piccolo.
The 24th-28th World Martial Arts Tournaments are also memorable tests of strength throughout Dragon Ball Z, but the competition hits hardest in the original series. The sheer amount of these tournaments and the many milestones that they mark gives the World Martial Arts Tournament a clear advantage over the rest.
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