It has been three years since the last Tenka-ichi Budokai. Three years since Piccolo Daimao reigned supreme over the world. Three years since Son Goku left to train with Kami-sama himself. Now Lunch and Muten Roshi wait for their friends and pupils to arrive, the first ones to make it to Papaya Island this year. A taxi pulls up beside them, and out of it steps Oolong and Puar.
"It's been awhile, old man!" Oolong smiles.
"It's good to see you again, Muten Roshi-sama." Says Puar.
Roshi nods. "Oolong, have you been collecting girls' panties as usual?"
"It's been three years and that's the first thing you ask..."
Then a third person gets out of the taxi...
"The others aren't here yet?"
"I'm at a loss for words! You've grown even more feminine!"
"Keep your hands off my ass!"
"I see your personality hasn't matured though!"
"Neither has yours." Bites back Bulma.
Muten Roshi asks about Yamcha, which is a sore subject for Bulma. He came back to Metro West once over the last three years, but then left again to train on his own. Roshi laughs, saying how Kuririn never came back to Kame House. Similarly, no one has seen Tenshinhan or Chaozu. Roshi surmises that each were enormously motivated by Goku, those three years ago.
A little girl's balloon slips from his grasp and gets caught in a tree. Bulma comforts the child, saying she can grab it for her. But try as she might, Bulma simply isn't tall enough...
"Yo!" A friendly tall man greets them, and grabs the balloon.
"Here you go, Bulma"
The man takes off his head wrap as the rain lets up. The gang are utterly dumbfounded.
He's Son Goku!
"Bulma! Did you and the Old-man shrink or something?"
"No, you really grew up!"
"Now that you mention it, maybe I did grow a little taller, huh..."
"Bulma! Your lips are red! Are you sick?!"
"Ugh! It's lipstick! Lipstick!"
"Yup! He's definitely Son-kun!"
Muten Roshi tells Goku to hurry up and register for Budokai before he runs out of time. Goku asks about the others, and Roshi tells him that they haven't arrived yet (and for the first and only time in his life, Goku isn't the one late to the party).
"I can't believe it! That Son-kun's grown into such a handsome young man!"
Puar, in the broiest of bro moves shouts back,
"Yamcha is even handsomer!"
"Oh? Are you sure?"
The gang waits patiently for the others to arrive, growing more worried by the minute, as the Tenka-ichi Budokai registration draws to an ever closer to an end. Roshi tries to register for them, to no avail. And unfortunately, as the last moments approach, Oolong and Puar wouldn't have enough time for their transformations to reset to sign up as all four. They consider signing up for just Yamcha and Kuririn, but Lunch doesn't think it would be very fair to Ten and Chaozu. But then, Goku feels a flash of ki... "They made it in time!"
Puar rushes over to his best friend Yamcha, as they each greet Muten Roshi.
"Look how much I've grown, Muten Roshi-sama!"
"You're looking good, Kuririn!" Goku smiles.
"Now the whole gang's here!"
Kuririn is stunned. "G-Goku... Goku?"
"Goku! You jerk! I missed you so much! I never got to thank you, you moron!"
"Piccolo Daimao killed me, but I was brought back to life, all thanks to you!"
"I'm glad for you, Kuririn."
"That's Goku?" Yamcha asks Tenshinhan.
"So it would seem..."
"He's sure grown a lot..."
Yamcha and Ten are eager to see how much stronger he's become.
Muten Roshi has rented rooms for all of them, so that they can use tonight to catch up. As they walk toward their hotel, Tenshinhan secretly asks Roshi if he's competing this year as well. Roshi says that he's sitting this one out, knowing he'll have no chance at keeping up with them anymore. Kuririn and Yamcha can't get over how tall Goku has grown! (Kuririn was so sure he'd finally gotten taller than him...) "Son-kun is so cool now!" Bulma says to herself, sighing happily. "A woman's heart ever changes." Oolong sighs.
Back at their hotel rooms, Kuririn and Goku talk about their training for a bit, but Goku is distracted; Piccolo Daimao's double will be here, as Kami-sama predicted. And Goku has to be ready to fight him. As Kuririn turns to ask Goku what kind of training he did, Goku is fast asleep. Kuririn smiles. In their own rooms, Yamcha and Tenshinhan concentrate on the battles ahead of them. Tenshinhan focused on finally, truly closing the gap between himself and Goku.
The storm outside has gotten much worse. A clock tower is struct by lightning, and the debris falls down onto a boy and his mother below.
But before either are seriously injured, someone obliterates the debris with ki.
Who is their mysterious savior?
the last remaining son of Piccolo Daimao.
The next morning, Goku asks Muten Roshi if he brought his usual Kame Uniform to wear for the Tenka-ichi Budokai. "What for? Each of you is doing exceeding well on your own path! You needn't wear the uniform of the Turtle Hermit style forever, you know."
So naturally, they each had their own tailored anyway.
Yamcha is surprised. "Huh? Goku! Your tail!"
"Oh, Kami-sama took it off. I don't really know what he meant, but he said my tail was a real problem, ever since he brought back the moon after it disappeared."
"You could probably say that." Kuririn grins at Yamcha.
Then Goku and Tenshinhan both feel a familiar ki...
The 23rd Tenka-ichi Budokai begins now!!