In the Dragon Ball franchise, Future Trunks and Kid Trunks have very little in common, despite being the same person. Here’s why they’re so different.
Despite being two versions of the same person in the Dragon Ball franchise, Kid Trunks and Future Trunks have very little in common. Though one is a child and the other is adult, it would be normal for the two characters to share several of the same personality traits, and while this is certainly true for Goku (who some may say never really grew up), it can’t be applied to Trunks.
The first version of him to come onto the scene was of course the one from the future, who shocked the Z-Warriors in his first appearance by turning Super Saiyan and killing Frieza. Eventually, they discovered that this mysterious stranger was actually the son of Vegeta and Bulma, he just hadn’t been born yet in the present day. When Dragon Ball Z returned Trunks to his own time and moved into the Buu Saga, viewers got to meet the eight-year-old Trunks from the main timeline, whose mischievous antics often put both him and Goten in hot water. Years later, Dragon Ball Super allowed for the two to interact with each other for the first time through a story arc that brought Future Trunks back to the present.
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It’s hard not to notice that the two have completely different personalities. Trunks is an incredibly arrogant character, as indicated by how much his cockiness bled over to Gotenks (the fusion between him and Goten). It was Gotenks’ cockiness that held him back in the fight against Majin Buu. The future version, on the other hand, is more measured in his actions and is much better at taking his opponents seriously. Plus, Kid Trunks has a bit of a bad attitude, whereas Future Trunks is selfless, good-natured, and easy to get along with. While age could be a factor to some degree, their differences likely have less to do with growing up and more to do with their backstories and the people around them.
It’s important to keep in mind that Future Trunks came from a world where most of the Z-Warriors were killed by Android 17 and Android 18. With his father dead, he spent most of his time in the company of Gohan, whose mild-manner and noble personality must have rubbed off on him. Future Trunks has expressed a great admiration for Gohan, so it’s not surprising that he’d be strongly influenced by him. Both Gohan and the challenges Trunks has had to endure in a harsh world without the Z-Warriors have made him into a highly disciplined warrior. Unlike Kid Trunks, he isn’t the kind of person to act overconfident. That was made obvious by his break with Vegeta over what to do about Cell. Vegeta wanted to let him transform so that they could see what he was capable of, but Trunks was determined to destroy him before he could become too powerful for them to handle.
This approach stands in stark contrast to Kid Trunks, where the Vegeta in him is more clearly felt, due to the heavy presence that the Saiyan prince had in his life. Future Trunks never really knew his father, but that’s not the case with the child version. Being raised by someone like Vegeta perfectly explains his attitude and arrogance in Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super.
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