There's an episode of Dragon Ball Z titled Saving Throw, which is described like this on Wikia:

Vegeta lies unconscious after his battle with Cell, and Trunks unleashes his hidden powers to save his father's life. With Goku and Gohan still training, Trunks is the only person standing in the evil android's way.

It doesn't seem to have anything to do with throwing. What does "saving throw" mean here? I guess “throw” here doesn't mean tossing something.

  • Sorry, but where does throw occur? You'll need to provide more context, the episode description doesn't help, and not everyone has access to streaming services.
    – jimsug
    Aug 4, 2014 at 20:05
  • This is a series about fighters. They hurt and throw each other all the time. And I don't remember any specific "throw" in this episode, so this is why I'm asking this question.Sorry, but the description from Hulu is all I got.
    – user9304
    Aug 4, 2014 at 20:18
  • @jimsug in the TITLE of the episode. Read the posting.
    – Mark
    Aug 5, 2014 at 6:17
  • @user9304 99.99% of time there is no such thing as throwing, and if, its not in the sense of proper jiujitsu / judo / other MA definition of throw, but a ridiculous display of pyhsical superiority. also thrwoing doesn't make too much sense anyway, since everyone can fly O.o
    – Mark
    Aug 5, 2014 at 6:19
  • This doesn't seem unclear to me at all. I can't figure out why it's closed. I edited it just to make it a little easier to understand though (I put the question in the question itself, where it belongs) and voted to reopen.
    – user230
    Aug 5, 2014 at 10:23

2 Answers 2


In role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, it is common to have the opportunity to deflect, decrease, avoid, or recover from certain types of attacks. You roll the specified dice, and if they come up with the required number or higher, you have saved yourself from some or all of the damage. The process of performing this is called "making your saving throw"; the number itself is also called your "save".

For example, suppose that your character has been knocked unconscious in battle, and the game master says that you need to roll a 12 or higher on 3 six-sided dice in order to regain consciousness. When you roll the dice, you get a 6, 4, and 3, totaling 13: this is higher than the 12 you needed, so you have "made your saving throw" and your character wakes up and can take actions again. If you had rolled 6,4,1 for a total of 11, you would have "failed your saving throw" and your character remains unconscious until the next opportunity to try to wake up.

So, the title is a reference to role-playing games and this damage-avoidance/recovery process; and the "throw" of "saving throw" refers to physically throwing dice to generate a random number.

  • Is it really possible that this RPG term has been in used in the context of the Japanese anime?
    – user9304
    Aug 4, 2014 at 20:23
  • 2
    In translation, sure.
    – Hellion
    Aug 4, 2014 at 20:28
  • 1
    @user9304 I updated your link to something everyone could access and noticed this at the bottom of the Wiki page: “The FUNimation Entertainment title of this episode is a reference to the role-playing games in which a player can roll a set of dice to try and negate damage taken or status ailments received. This is known as a ‘saving throw’.” Aug 4, 2014 at 21:36
  • 1
    @user9304 Given that many RPGs involve fantasy combat, I'd say yes, it is not only possible but highly probable that the anime creators / translators were very aware of RPG mechanics. Aug 5, 2014 at 15:29

While I'm not sure if the etymology actually stems from RPGs, a "saving throw" is basically "utilizing your very last, desperate chance to save yourself, when all else failed". I've failed to find any better evidence for this idiom than this TVTropes page, though:


(in this context, it's the author doing a "saving throw" by retconning the work).

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