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I have recently started watching Dragon Ball Z(Remastered Edition)* after a long break. There is this scene in S01E21 (Counting Down) in which Master Roshi and others summon the dragon to wish Goku back. Just before they can wish him back, Oolong (the pig) says:

Excuse me, Mr. Dragon could be possibly destroy the Saiyans that are on the way to Earth right about now.

to which the dragon replies:

Your wish cannot be granted because the guardian of Earth created me. I cannot grant a wish which exceeds his power.

Now, this has put me into dilemma. If the dragons' power was only limited to Earth, why was everyone around the universe after these Dragon Balls?

Here are few questions that bug me:

  • When the dragon says "wish which exceeds his power", does he mean that he can only use his powers on/for the Earthlings?
  • If yes, how could they wish Goku back, because technically, he is not born on Earth?
  • If not, why did destroying the Saiyans exceed the dragon's power?
  • Everyone around the universe was searching for Dragon Balls because they could fulfill anyone's wish. Does it mean that it is not mandatory to be an Earthling, but it's compulsory to be on Earth to have your wish granted by the dragons?
  • If yes, why didn't they ever wish to destroy the enemies after they had landed on Earth and within the effect of the dragons' power?
  • I think what it means is Kami is not strong enough to take on or defeat Vegeta or Nappa, so Shenron cannot destroy them. It also conflicts with the 'can not kill' criteria of the wishes, but that's just my two cents on the situation. – user28770 Oct 17 '16 at 15:42
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You misunderstood Shenlong's words. Shenlong was created by the guardian of the Earth, Kami, in chapter 165. Therefore, Shenlong could not have greater powers than his creator. Shenlong's powers are not limited to the Earth nor are they limited to Earthlings. That's not how it works and it is not what he meant by that. They are disallowed from killing others, creating love, or anything that Kami wouldn't have been able to do with his own power.

Although the above statement is still rather vague. I mean, does this imply that they could wish for weak Earthlings to die, because Kami has the powers to do so? Or could Kami himself grant immortality, since his powers should be greater than or equal to those of Shenlong's? Those rules aren't ever explained in detail in the manga as far as I know, and it is never explained whether Shenlong can't kill anyone or only those stronger than Kami, but it is clear that Shenlong couldn't kill Nappa, Vegeta or any other villain Earth has encountered, because neither Kami nor Dende were that strong to begin with.

Dragon Ball wiki page

You can read more about the Dragon Balls' or Shenlong's powers on the wiki page.

The Earth Dragon Balls are about 7.5 cm (approximately 3 in) in diameter, and they summon a dragon named Shenron. They were created by Kami, and later re-created by Dende. Shenron can grant a wish within its powers as long as it does not kill, create love, repeat a wish he previously granted, surpasses its creator's power, and a few more restrictions. Legitimate wishes include eternal youth, immortality, bringing back a scorched forest or even an annihilated planet. Also, it is possible to return a person to life, although only if they meet certain criteria, like dying of unnatural causes or within the time-frame of a year (half a century according to the Ocean Dub), and each individual can only be brought back once. The Eternal Dragon will grant the first wish uttered after it was called, by whomever is present.

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    Interesting. The wiki answers do clear the cloud. – ItachiUchiha Mar 24 '15 at 3:45
  • You should really use Kanzenshuu as a citing source for these sorts of things. Because that wiki page is clearly wrong on a few things. For example. The one year time frame was only stated to be the case for mass wishing. For instance, you can not bring back the Saiyan planet and bring back all the Saiyans. But it is certainly possible to bring back one or two or even three Saiyans(with individual wishes). If it were the case that the dragon balls couldn't bring back people after a year then they wouldn't have been able to bring back Freeza in the Fukkatsu no F movie. – M Davies Aug 30 '16 at 21:27
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As far as I remember, Goku was sent to destroy Earth. But for the whole time, he did the opposite to that . The 2 Saiyans that you are mentioning about, are Vegeta and Nappa. Both come to find Goku and destroy him along with Earth.

Shenron couldn't grant this wish because he said that he can't use his powers to kill or forcibly against anyone stronger than his creator.

Later on, Dende becomes the guardian, and recreates the Dragonballs because the old ones disappeared when the combined Piccolo/Kami died. After he recreates them, some time passes and he improves them, allowing three wishes to be granted instead.

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    This doesn't seem to address any point in the question. – nhahtdh Jun 7 '15 at 19:19

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