One of the most popular anime series of all time, Dragon Ball Z, is still going strong decades after its first airing. Who doesn’t enjoy watching superheroes battle it out with the destiny of the entire world on the line?
As Dragon Ball Super and its impending sequel Dragon Ball Super Hero continue to expand the series, we believe now is a fantastic opportunity to honor DBZ and its most memorable characters. Here are the 10 best characters from the show’s long history, starting with Frieza and ending with Goku.
Bulma’s role in the Dragon Ball Z narrative isn’t as prominent as it was in the original series, but that doesn’t diminish her importance. There are few people in the world like Bulma, who can’t resist pulling out a helpful gadget or two when the going gets tough. What would have happened to our heroes if she hadn’t brought along her collection of Capsule Corp. trinkets? Also, Bulma and Vegeta’s unusual romance is one of the series’ most interesting subplots. The first time she worked with Goku, she was a completely different person.
9. Android 18
The DBZ universe generally has a clear distinction between good and evil, but there are a few notable outliers. Android 18 is a good example of this. As a warning from Future Trunks, 18 swiftly reveals to be more than simply a killing machine for our heroes. Dr. Gero couldn’t smother her fierce independence or sardonic wit, which show a vulnerable side of her personality. She gives up her original plans to start a family with Krillin before the series’ end. 18 is one of the show’s most intriguing and multifaceted characters, despite the fact that the series never tells us more about how the relationship developed.
Dr. Gero’s final creation, Cell, is an organism with virtually infinite growth potential. However, what makes him so intriguing is his willingness to wait for characters’ full development. He has tremendous strength, but he often stalls and waits for the heroes of Earth to reach their full potential so he may face them head-to-head.
Although Cell isn’t nearly the greatest villain in DBZ’s history, he’s nonetheless responsible for some of the show’s biggest moments. Gohan’s motivation to unleash his full potential was the tragic demise of Android 16. When Goku returns to assist his son finally vanquish this all-powerful threat to humanity in the epic final fight, don’t forget.
Unless you include Krillin, Goku’s long-time training partner and friend, no list of Dragon Ball Z would be complete. In Dragon Ball Z, Krillin’s power is swiftly surpassed by Goku’s, yet he remains eager to battle, even if it means getting beaten up over and again. In fact, it’s become something of a running joke how bad Krillin’s fighting record is. Krillin’s death at the hands of Frieza is the most unforgettable, and he has never forgotten it. However, Goku’s metamorphosis into a Super Saiyan was sparked in part by the loss of his father, who was killed in the process. Krillin may never be the strongest, or the most… alive, but he’s always there for his pals, and that’s why he’s ranked seventh on this list.
Trunks is a one-of-a-kind character in the DBZ universe because he appears in two completely different forms. We first meet Trunks early in the Cell Saga, as a battle-hardened teen warrior from the future with a dire message. In the beginning, Trunks makes a strong impression with a few lightning-quick sword slashes against Mecha-Frieza and King Cold, and he continues to grow as the story progresses.
Trunks is shown as a young boy, free of the stress of growing up in a dystopian society populated by wicked androids. In the Buu Saga, Trunks and Goten are a constant source of hilarity. Regardless of which version you choose, he’s an excellent addition to the series’ cast.
Throughout Dragon Ball Z, Piccolo underwent a radical transformation. In the original Dragon Ball series, it’s easy to forget that he was the main antagonist in the final story arc. Over the course of the series, Piccolo goes from being Goku’s mortal opponent to a reluctant ally to a full-fledged friend. As a result of Piccolo’s interest in Gohan, the two warriors are reconciled, despite the fact that they earlier had a rocky relationship. With the help of fellow Namekians like Nail and his doppelganger Kami, Piccolo can keep up with the likes of Goku and Vegeta, who are both Saiyans.
Gohan, the elder son of Goku, has the potential to be the series’ strongest combatant. His potential is never utilized because he prefers to live a pacifist’s life, only engaging in combat when absolutely necessary. When it comes to the franchise’s biggest and most memorable moments, Gohan has been a key player. For the sake of defeating Cell, Goku transforms into the first Super Saiyan 2 in the series, and we get an example of his inner potential. During the Buu Saga, he obtains the power to transform into an Ultimate form that is distinct from his Saiyan incarnations, considerably expanding his capabilities. Gohan may never be as powerful as his father, but he is the heart and spirit of Dragon Ball Z.
Frieza may not be the most powerful villain by the end of the series, but he has an unmatched capacity for evil. It’s evident that Frieza and the rest of his family wish to rule over a vast space empire with an iron fist. That Frieza was the man who wiped out the Saiyans’ home planet of Planet Vegeta before we ever meet Goku is well-known even before we meet him. Even when we do meet him, his wicked deeds are on full display as he tortures and kills individuals on Namek in order to gain the Dragon Balls they so much desire! After killing Krillin, he goes on to destroy the planet Namek in an effort to take Goku’s life. Frieza’s vicious, nasty demeanor has never been matched by any other villain, and this is why he ranks third on our list of the greatest villains of all time.
Considering Goku is the protagonist of the Dragon Ball story, he’s no surprise to see him occupy the top spot on this list. His adopted home world desperately needs a hero like Goku. In order to defeat the most powerful beings in the cosmos, he always has to dig deep and uncover a new source of strength or a new level of Super Saiyan-hood. A true Saiyan warrior can’t be defeated by anyone—not even Frieza, Broly, or Buu!
Furthermore, Goku is a genuinely nice guy. He wants nothing more than to train hard, prove his mettle and come home to a good meal. Even if he’s less nuanced and nuanced than his archrival Vegeta, Goku’s consistency has to be admired.
Vegeta is the only character in Dragon Ball Z to have a more well-defined arc than everyone else. Initially, we see him as a bully intent on destroying the Earth, as he is a prince of the long-dead Saiyan Empire. Vegeta begins the series as an enemy of the Z Fighters, but as the series progresses, he becomes a hesitant ally. Bulma and he even start a family when he marries her. Vegeta, on the other hand, has a tendency to prioritize his feud with Goku over the well-being of the world.
He’s the best character in the series since he’s so intriguing. Always second best is his fate. There is no way Vegeta can keep up with Goku in high-gravity training or death-defying plans. The fact that he keeps trying is what makes us love him.