Krillin has an excellent nose for trouble, which is ironic because he hasn’t really got a visible nose. We see him wear master Roshi’s glasses on occasion, which is a minor miracle because just what is holding them up? Does Krillin even have a nose? If he doesn’t why doesn’t Krillin have a nose?
Krillin actually does have a nose. It’s just never drawn in the anime or manga. Toriyama once said Krillin doesn’t need a nose because he breaths through his skin, but many people think he is joking.
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Toriyama’s Photosynthesis Theory
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the great ones comment on Krillin. In 1987 Toriyama stated Krillin doesn’t need a nose because he can breathe through the pores of his skin. He described it as a “physical idiosyncrasy” which I suppose makes it canon, but at the same time we can’t rule out he was taking the Micky! It’s part of an ongoing joke that he doesn’t have a nose, but he also doesn’t nose like functions.
He can smell the flowers and get a nosebleed, like you or me.
In the World Martial Arts Tournament Krillin is fighting a mysterious fighter, who looks like a distant relation to Master Roshi, named Jackie Chun. Early on in the fight, he gets knocked on his butt by this old geezer, and in both the manga and anime you can clearly see a rush of blood from his nose. So where did the blood emanate from if he doesn’t have a nose! Also, in another scene with Bulma, he attempts to sniff a diamond to see what it smells like, but the less said about this scene, the better… Regardless of what happened, the facts are Krillin has a keen sense of smell, Ipso facto, he must have a nose!
So he has a nose, but why can’t we see it?
So the question shouldn’t be Why Doesn’t Krillin have a nose, but really why doesn’t Krillin have a visible nose. The answer to this lies in the creative mind of his creator Toriyama. Perhaps while trying to give Krillin a distinctive look, he thought he’d be funnier without a nose. Maybe during the first draft of Krillin, he forgot to draw one and just kept it as a humourous mistake. Perhaps he a plan to write a story/explanation why Krillin didn’t have a nose but never got around to it. Whatever the reason, it was a splendid decision, and helped craft one of our most beloved characters.
In this fantasy world, where men turn into apes, and Android’s can have babies with men with no noses, who are we to question Krillin’s appearance? It’s just another unanswered question like why is the Ox-King so gigantic and why is Yamcha so good at baseball?