While Dragon Ball Z's divisive Great Saiyaman Saga kicked off a new era for Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball franchise with a considerably lighter story that saw Gohan take center stage, the subsequent World Tournament and Babidi Sagas brought back DBZ's epic stakes and sense of danger that had been largely absent since the Cell Games Saga. As the Z Fighters stood together reassembled and ready for action for the first time in the seven years since Cell's destruction, a particularly dark twist would reveal that the ultimate threat stood among them, leading to one of the biggest betrayals in the franchise.
Here are all the biggest and most important plot twists from the World Tournament and Babidi Sagas, running from chapters 432-459 in the Dragon Ball Z manga series and episodes 210-231 in the anime adaptation.
Videl's Last Stand
While Videl may not have been on the same level as Gohan and the other Z Fighters, she truly is a gifted martial artist in her own right. She was capable of learning how to fly in a matter of months and far surpassing her World Champion father Hercule. However, for all of Videl's natural talent and the training she underwent with Gohan in preparation for the World Martial Arts Tournament, she proved to be no match for her first and only opponent in the tournament, Spopovich.
Videl opens her bout against Spopovich with a visible advantage, knocking around her hulking opponent around the ring before fatigue begins to set in and Spopovich reveals an unnatural amount of resilience. Spopovich went as far as to recover from Videl accidentally breaking his neck. After Videl is brutally beaten by Spopovich, it is revealed that Spopovich and his companion Yamu were both magically enhanced through the wizard Babidi's dark magic to serve as his pawns.
The Mysterious Mister Shin
One of the strangest, most mysterious entrants in the World Martial Arts Tournament was a diminutive figure named Mister Shin, constantly accompanied by a larger attendant and fellow entrant named Kibito. Shin, in particular, unnerved Piccolo so much on an instinctual level that the stoic Namekian surprised everyone by conceding his intended bout with Shin, rather than fight him.
After Kibito and Shin used Gohan as bait to lure out Spopovich and Yamu's grand plan in service of Babidi, Shin identified himself as the Supreme Kai, a Kai even higher and more powerful than the Grand Kai. As Kibito healed Gohan, the Supreme Kai rallied the Z Fighters to join him after recounting that Babidi was on Earth and plotting to reawaken the monstrous Majin Buu and plunge the universe in darkness.
Dabura Strikes First
While the Supreme Kai and Kibito were able to lead the Z Fighters in tracking down the location of Babidi's spaceship containing the captive Majin Buu, the heroes quickly found themselves on the defensive when Babidi's righthand associate, the Demon King Dabura. Dabura quickly leaped into action, revealing the villains were aware they were being hunted by the Supreme Kai all along.
In a matter of seconds, Dabura quickly struck before the Z Fighters even had a chance to react. He obliterated Kibito with a single energy blast point-blank to the face before turning his attention to the rest of the heroes. Spitting upon both Piccolo and Krillin, the two fan-favorite characters were petrified into solid stone as their friends could only watch helplessly while Dabura dared the remaining fighters to try and stop Babidi. In this rapid exchange, it became clear that the threat was real as the heroes' number was virtually cut in half.
Vegeta Embraces His Dark Side
Babidi's magic enabled him to take complete control of anyone possessing a noticeable amount of inner darkness, making Vegeta the prime candidate for the evil wizard to turn against the Z Fighters, which he did so under Dabura's personal advisement. The resulting Majin Vegeta immediately reveled in rediscovering his dark side, going as far as to kill scores of innocent civilians in order to goad Goku to fight with him again.
In a shocking twist, Majin Vegeta was not only able to resist Babidi's commands to attack the Supreme Kai and maintain his focus on Goku but privately revealed to his longtime rival that he actually allowed Babidi to take control of him with his magic. he revealed how he quietly resented how domesticated he had become an Earth rather than being the conquering Saiyan Prince he was raised as.
Majin Buu Awakens
For all the Supreme Kai and Z Fighters' best efforts, the heroes would ultimately fail to stop Babidi from achieving his plans not unlike how the Z Fighters previously failed to prevent Doctor Gero from activating Androids 17 and 18 during the Android Saga. Harnessing the raw energy expended during Goku and Majin Vegeta's fight, Babidi was able to break the seal on Majin Buu's prison as the Supreme Kai and Gohan failed to stop him in time.
To everyone's surprise, Majin Buu's ancient prison appeared empty when it first opened, with Babidi frustrated and the Supreme Kai relieved. However, Gohan sensed that Majin Buu had indeed been freed and was rapidly forming into his physical form above them, setting the stage for the Majin Buu Saga.