When Goten and Trunks were initially introduced, many fans believed that they would be the torchbearers for the next generation. Their fusion, Gotenks showcased immense power in their fight against Majin Buu. However, in Dragon Ball Super, the kids of Goku and Vegeta have been largely left out from the fight. The dynamic young duo of the Dragon Ball franchise seems to have stunted growth, but why is that the case?

History of Goten and Trunks

Trunks is born in Age 766, a year before the arrival of the androids. Goten is born in Age 767. Then we have the 7 year time skip to the Buu Saga, which happens in Age 774. Trunks is 8, while Goten is 7 years old. The duo did spend roughly two weeks in the Room of Time and Spirit but it isn’t long enough to have any drastic effect on their age.

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The events of Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! occur in Age 776, two years after the events of the Buu Saga. We do get the kids and their fusion Gotenks in action, but nothing about their physique implies their ageing. Then Dragon Ball Super kicked off in Age 778, with the Battle of Gods arc. 


What’s interesting to note is that the Moro arc happens sometime in Age 780. This is also the same time where the events of The History of Trunks take place. Trunks in the Moro arc still seems like a child. Whereas the same aged future trunks had an early teenager look to him. 

The ending of Dragon Ball Z gave us the 28th World Martial Arts Tournament. This takes place in Age 784, where Goten is 17 while Trunks is 18. This event gave us new designs for the duo which seemed more suited to their age. 

It seems that present Goten and Trunks have taken inspiration from Ash Ketchum and maintained their same physique. 

The series has never given us a clear explanation of why Goten and Trunks don’t age. Nonetheless, there are a few things that could explain why Toei Animation and Shueisha have chosen to keep them as children. Dragon Ball Super is more corporate-driven than Dragon Ball Z, so every decision that the company makes is from a business standpoint. 


Shōnen manga

The Dragon Ball Franchise takes place in the Shōnen manga. The manga brand largely pertains to young teenage boys. As a result of this, a young male protagonist is usually part of the ensemble cast. Hunter x Hunter and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure are just a few examples of the Shōnen brand that feature at least some young characters in the show. 

This can be seen in the Dragon Ball franchise itself. Goku maintained a child-like physique till the 23rd Tenka-Ichi Budōkai, which was the last arc in Dragon Ball. In Dragon Ball Z, we are introduced to Gohan who became a young member of the Z fighters. And when Gohan grew up, Goten and Trunks were introduced to become the next youngsters in the series.

Even Dragon Ball GT follows this pattern. We are introduced to Pan and then Goku also gets wished back to a kid. Thus continuing the Shōnen tradition. It’s very likely that once Pan, Gohan’s daughter grows up, we will see Goten and Trunks with teenager designs.


Trunks and Mai

The Pilaf Gang wished themselves to be much younger. In the Goku Black arc, we see ‘Future’ Trunks and Mai together. This also led to present Trunks and Mai to develop some sort of attachment towards each other. It seems that Dragon Ball Super wants to keep the Trunks-Mai storyline going for a while. That may be one of the reasons why Dragon Ball Super hasn’t ‘aged’ Trunks.

As a fan of the series, it’s disappointing to see Goten and Trunks left out of major battles in Super. Adding to the dismay is the fact that they haven’t grown physically at all since the renaissance of the Dragon Ball franchise. In fact, you could even argue that the duo had more shine in the last arc of Dragon Ball Z than they had in the entirety of Dragon Ball Super.

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Perhaps the new upcoming arc in the manga will give Goten and Trunks more limelight. We will just have to wait for the Jump Festa announcement to find out.