Plight of the Children (走れ悟飯! チチの待つなつかしのパオズ山, Hashire Gohan! Chichi no Matsu Natsukasi no Paozu Yama; lit. "Hurry Gohan! Longing for Mt. Paozu where Chichi waits.") is the sixteenth episode of the Vegeta Saga in the uncut Dragon Ball Z series. The episode first aired on August 16, 1989. Its original American air date was September 11, 1998.
After the storm, Gohan washes up on a beach, seemingly dead. He is found by two local children, Chico and Rom, who believe him to be a castaway. They at first believe him to be dead, and they do not believe him to have anything they consider valuable, until they find his sword. When Rom picks it up and tests it out, Gohan awakens, revealing he was merely unconscious, not dead. The two panic upon realizing that he is still alive, but then Gohan collapses again and blacks out.
When he awakens, Gohan finds that the two have taken him in and have laid him on a bed. Rom and Chico introduce themselves and explain to Gohan where he is. Gohan discovers that they have brought him to a run-down old house with a few meager decorations and only a handful of intact pieces of furniture. Gohan then introduces himself and the two other children reveal that they are, in fact, orphans and they believe him to be parent-less as well.
Gohan, after having been alone for so many months, is extremely joyful at having the chance to communicate with others again. They tell their story to Gohan and explain why they are orphans. Two years prior to Gohan's arrival, a gigantic tsunami destroyed the town and killing almost everyone, leaving Rom and Chico to fend for themselves. They go on to explain about the other five parent-less children who they banded together with in order to survive. Just as Gohan is about to explain how he still has his parents, a signal sounds from outside, interrupting him before he can finish. They make him follow them as they escape from the adults who are coming after them.
Gohan catches up just as Rom swings across from the building's roof to a small tree-fort on a vine with Chico, but Rom promises to go back for him once his sister is across. But the two men catch up to Gohan before Rom can go back for him. Acting like a cornered animal, Gohan slips away from his pursuers and leaps the entire distance between the roof and the tree and escapes their grasp. The adults are left speechless at seeing someone so young perform such a fantastic feat as Rom gloats to them from the tree fort.
Rom explains to Gohan that the two men are from 'the home', a place where the children will be forced to do chores and work if they are caught. Gohan is stunned by this explanation and Rom goes on to tell him that since they have found them, the adults will be back. Chico begins to cry when he says this, but they are stopped when they hear screaming. They look down and see that the adults have captured one of the other children, Ena, and are putting her in the black van they came in. The girl is rescued by a tall boy who zooms past and takes her from their grasp.
Rom shouts out Pigero's name in joy at seeing the big boy. Pigero then proceeds to fight with the adults and defeats them one by one as they rush at him. Once he has defeated them, he takes Ena and they run as the rest of the children throw rocks and debris at the last adult standing. Everyone bands together under Pigero, and try to drive them off. The woman, who was the only one who did not attack Pigero, tries to tell them that if they come with the adults, they will go to a place where they will get new clothes and hot meals, but the children believer that she is lying. Pigero yells at them to let them stay in the village as the other children cheer him on.
The adults then leave in a huff, promising to return. Once they are gone, Rom introduces Gohan to Pigero, who immediately takes a liking to him. Now that the adults have left, the children go about their normal day. They play, wrestle, and Gohan joins Pigero in climbing to the top of the tallest building that was left standing in the village.
A while later Gohan walks around a nearby town, and creates a distraction by crying in the town square. While the adults are gathering around him, the other children proceed to steal food from the nearby stands. Unfortunately, the children are caught in the act and are forced to abort their mission, running off as Gohan makes his getaway as well. The adults chase after them, but they are not quick enough to keep up with the children, who leave them in the dust as they keep on running. They escape the final leg on bicycles as they are being chased by a police officer on a hover-scooter. The children panic as the officer gains ground on them, but his pursuit is stopped when he crashes into a stand selling flowers. Now that the officer is out of commission, they leave the town in the dust, while Rom congratulates Gohan on his first food heist.
Later that night, Gohan lies awake as the other children sleep peacefully. Making sure that they are truly asleep, he grabs his belongings and walks out into the night. Pigero, who was outside keeping watch, remembers the tidal wave that destroyed their village and took their parents away from them. He is snapped out of his thoughts when he sees Gohan walking out the door from his spot in the tree. He calls down to Gohan to ask where he is going. He jumps down from the tree and has Gohan explain to him why he is going. Not knowing what else to do, Gohan reveals that he still has his mother, and was on his way to see her when he got caught by the storm. Much to his surprise, the other children had woken up and overheard him when he said this. He apologizes for not telling them sooner, but they tell him it does not really matter to them whether he has a family or not. When Gohan tells them where his house is, Pigero tells that Mount Paozu is nearby and he could take him there in the morning.
When the children prompt him, he tells them about his mother and his life back home. The children are impressed by his stories and tell him about how many of the cities are only 100 years old and how many children did not go to school then. They discuss how if things were different, they would set up a special place, just for orphans like them. They talk long and say how they would not build roads or highways and just live off the land if it were up to them. After their talk, they all come to an agreement to take Gohan and drop him off at his home. When one of them asks how they will accomplish this, Pigero tells them that he has a plan.
The next day, they lie in wait for the people from 'the home' to come again, but they grow anxious as they are late in coming that day. Rom believes they may have finally given up, but one of them spots the black van from the day before and sounds the alarm. When the adults leave their vehicle, they are immediately bombarded with rocks and pebbles shot by the children. With the men distracted, Pigero pulls the woman out of the car and commandeers the vehicle, then signals to the other children who run from their hiding places and head towards the van. They all pile in just as the police arrive on the scene. Upon seeing the law, Pigero orders them to scramble and they all rush to get out, but they are surrounded before they can run away and hide. While the other children are grabbed, Gohan leaps over the head of the man who is trying to get him. The children fight valiantly, running, kicking, punching, and biting the officers to keep them from taking them. Unfortunately, it is not enough as the police soon overwhelm all of the children except for Gohan, who barely manages to free Pigero by slicing his handcuffs in half with his sword.
Considering the future of the other orphans, Pigero grabs Gohan and they escape in a stolen police-craft, to the betrayal and disappointment of the other children orphans. After they have escaped Gohan grabs Pigero by the arm and begs to tell him why he has chosen to leave the other children behind, when Pigero punches Gohan and knocks him down. In the Japanese version Pigero states that his reason for this is because he does not want them to become delinquents, while in the FUNimation dub his reason is because he can not provide enough for them. After he drops him off on the slopes of Mt. Paozu, Pigero drives away with tears in his eyes as he sets off to start a new life as Gohan bids him farewell.
Once Pigero is out of sight, Gohan begins to climb the side of Mount Paozu, eagerly energetic to see his mother again. Once he has climbed the side, he runs a path that he had found which will take him towards his home. After a few hours of running and climbing, Gohan rejoices when he finally comes within viewing distance of his home, even managing to see his mother through their front window. He begins to make the final steps of his journey, but begins thinking about the orphans, who continue to be brave even without their parents. After he thinks about them and the many hardships they have faced, he runs back into the forest with tears in his eyes.
After running as far as he can, he finally stops near a big tree nearby a small patch of flowers. As he tries to keep himself from crying, he senses someone and looks up, only to see Piccolo, who appears to have waited for him there. Piccolo sternly reminds Gohan of his mission, and he takes him back to the island where Gohan will continue his training.
- During the scene where the anthropomorphic dog police officer is chasing the orphans and Gohan, the number 7 is emblazoned on the side of his hover-scooter. But in a later scene, this is changed to the number 5.