With a powerful Kamehameha, the phenomenon we know as Dragon Ball smashed on the scene in Japan in 1984. Written by Akira Toriyama it garnered critical acclaim early on. Not being introduced to the American market until the late-90’s in its anime form, The Dragon Ball franchise made a big splashed and has been a staple of success ever since. If you’re like me you remember staying up late on Saturday nights to catch the adventures of a Saiyan from earth named Goku on Cartoon Network’s Toonami. I can’t tell you how many Kamehamehas I’ve thrown or how many times I’ve gone Super Saiyan on some dude who thought he was stronger than me. The show not only brought us epic battles, but great characters, the kind that kept you coming back for more.
So now let’s get down to My Top 20 characters in the Dragon Ball universe.
20. Master Roshi
Master Roshi (武天老師) “Invincible Old Master”
Lovable, laughable, and ever lecherous master of Goku and Krillin. Master Roshi is always portrayed as light-hearted in nature, but when push comes to shove he still packs a mean Kameameha.
Also known as the Turtle Hermit (亀仙人, Kamesennin) or Jackie Chun, is a master of martial arts, who trained Gohan, Ox-King, Goku, Krillin, and Yamcha. He has a sister named Fortuneteller Baba.
Master Roshi, the younger brother of Fortuneteller Baba, was a martial artist trained by the great Master Mutaito a few hundred years before the beginning of Dragon Ball. He was the first one to climb the extremely tall Korin Tower and train under the legendary Korin. It took Master Roshi 3 years to catch Korin and obtain the Sacred Water, which was rumored to tremendously increase one’s strength and speed.
The primary female protagonist in the series. In addition to being filthy rich she is arguably the smartest character in the series. Her strong unapologetic personality sometimes gets her into trouble (getting pimp slapped by beerus) but it’s something we’ve come to expect from this infamous blue haired genius.
Bulma is a brilliant scientist and the second daughter of Capsule Corporation’s founder Dr. Brief and his wife Panchy, the younger sister of Tights, and is Goku’s first friend. She used to be the girlfriend of Yamcha, but moved on and, eventually, became the wife of Vegeta, as well as the mother of Trunks and Bulla. While she is unable to physically fight most of the villains in the series, her gadgetry plays a key role in winning several battles as well as the search for the Dragon Balls.
Bulma is the most significant female character in the series. Aside from Goku, Bulma is the single longest-running character in the entire meta-series, being introduced in the first Dragon Ball chapter and episode, and maintaining a prominent role until the final chapter of the manga and the final episode of Dragon Ball GT.
A reincarnation of Kid Buu in human form Majuub is the strongest human on earth. Starting as a skinny shy kid from nowhere to Goku’s replacement as earths protector. This character was full with potential when first introduced… Unfortunately he lost that potential rather quickly due to bad writing, but was still impactful enough to make this list in the 18th spot.
Majubb is the result of the fusion between Good Buu and Uub in Dragon Ball GT, where his skin-tone becomes noticeably lighter, he is more muscular, and who wears Majin Buu’s black and yellow vest. He also gained a massive boost in power, capable with keeping up with Super Baby Vegeta 2. He makes his debut on the episode “The Return of Uub”. Uub retains many of Majin Buu’s abilities, including the power to turn organic beings into chocolate (and possibly other kinds of matter if he wished). Due to Uub’s human body being the base for the fusion, he apparently cannot regenerate, however. He appears several times throughout the series to help ward off some of the most powerful of foes: Baby, Super 17, and Omega Shenron. Seemingly permanent, Good Buu never separated from Uub after the fight with Baby. At the same time, Buu is able to communicate with Uub to give advice, and is also able to exert some control over Uub’s body, as he restrained Uub long enough to let Mr. Satan hit Uub out of the ring to win their tournament match.
Goku’s ever-present sidekick (rather hazardously so) and best friend who bit the bullet on many occasion often fighting on the front lines against some of the series’s most deadly villains. Despite only being human his bravery and loyalty to the cause made him the ride or die I couldn’t help but love.
Originally a monk of the Orin Temple, after training there for eight years, Krillin trained at the Orin Temple since he was four. He was the weakest student and was often bullied. When he was 13, he was getting tired of the bullying and he began to travel to Master Roshi’s island when he was seeking training to surpass the people at the temple to defeat his bullies and to attract girls. Krillin came to Master Roshi and became a student of the Turtle School in his first appearance in the series.
The guy who redefines the words anger management. The Legendary Super Saiyan with a legendary attitude. OK so he’s a few donuts shy of a solid dozen I’ll admit, but what he lacks in conversational skills he makes up for in shear power and brute force.
Broly was born in Age 737, during the period of intense turmoil between Frieza and the Saiyans. At birth, his most curious feature was his inordinate power level of 10,000. This anomaly meant that by birth, Broly’s power had already been close to that of Bardock and King Vegeta at the time of their deaths. In the Saiyan delivery room where he rests afterward, Broly is tormented by the constant crying of his neighbor, Kakarot. Kakarot’s crying affected Broly’s psychological state of mind, causing him to hold a subconscious grudge against him. The two infants would not meet again for almost three decades.
King Vegeta feared the threat the boy posed to his empire, and so he gave the order for the infant’s execution. Broly’s father, Paragus, begged the king to spare the child’s life, attesting that his son could be an extreme asset to King Vegeta and his son. King Vegeta was quick to point out that while this is true, the same is true that Broly could use his ever-increasing strength to overthrow the Saiyan royal family. King Vegeta closes the argument by sentencing Paragus to death, shooting him with an energy wave. Broly is then stabbed in the chest, and left to die with Paragus.
When Planet Vegeta is destroyed, Broly ascends and uses his powers to shield himself and his father. Ironically, the destruction of Planet Vegeta had been orchestrated by Frieza for the same reason King Vegeta tried to execute Broly earlier: Due to fear of the Legendary Super Saiyan rising up and overthrowing him. Broly then sticks with his father as Paragus plots revenge against King Vegeta and the royal family for the sentence they passed on them.
Goku’s long-lost daddy. He’s a very interesting character who deserves the 15th spot. We all wanted to know who Goku’s pappy was. Not only do we get the answer to that question, he also lives up to all expectations by being a physic bad ass. His life was short but that death was nothing short of…..iconic.
Bardock is a low-class Saiyan mercenary who leads a small platoon comprised of four other Saiyan soldiers in Bardock – The Father of Goku: Tora, Fasha, Borgos, and Shugesh. His wife Gine was also part of Bardock’s Team at one point. Together, the team makes a living by traveling to various planets where they decimate the defenses of these civilizations and prepare them for Frieza’s Planetary Market. Bardock was famous for his bravery even among the Saiyans; he is mentioned by Paragus in the movie Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan when he recognizes Goku as Bardock’s son, and it can be thought that Paragus was Bardock’s superior according to the Supplemental Daizenshuu. After being saved on the battlefield by him several times, Gine developed some feelings for Bardock. Due to her gentle nature, Gine was not cut out for fighting and retired. Her gentle nature has also changed Bardock’s behavior, as Saiyans usually do not show care for their children but Bardock does. Bardock and Gine already had two sons by the time of the destruction of Planet Vegeta. According to Akira Toriyama, the pair of Bardock and Gine were those rare Saiyans who were joined by a bond other than for reproductive purposes, and in an interview, he says that Bardock himself might have had siblings, but perhaps even Bardock himself does not really know and, at any rate, he probably has no interest in it either.
14. Cell (all forms)
Dr, Gero’s masterpiece and the only villain who wasn’t obsessed with world/universal domination. He is a bit of a pretty boy with a rather annoying temperament being quite vain in his attempt to show how strong he is. Even so his overall completeness as a character (no pun intended) makes him worthy of the 14th spot.
Cell was the ultimate creation of Dr. Gero, who came from a future timeline, designed to have all the abilities of the greatest fighters to have ever inhabited or visited Earth; the result was a “perfect warrior”, possessing numerous favorable genetic traits and special abilities. He was one of the few Red Ribbon Androids not directly completed by Dr. Gero; he was completed by Dr. Gero’s Supercomputer. He is the main antagonist of the Cell Saga.
Cell is composed of cells from Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta, Frieza, King Cold, and according to the manga title page, a number of other lifeforms (in the FUNimation dub, it is also stated that he has cells from Krillin and Gohan). Strangely, most sources fail to include King Cold as one of his genetic donors, including the anime on some occasions. He also possesses the information on Nappa, Raditz, Chiaotzu, Tien Shinhan, Yamcha, and Future Trunks which were collected by Dr. Gero’s remote tracking device and stored in the Super Computer. Cell is therefore able to use their attacks (ex. Kamehameha, Regeneration etc.). His genetic composition is very much a part of his character. It is also implied that, when using these attacks, he often changes his genetic code so he can match the genetic source of his attacks, as when he is going to fire the Kamehameha at Piccolo, Gohan and Vegeta sense Goku in the distance, with the former being near Goku at the time. In his Imperfect Form, he is clever, calculating, and single-minded about achieving his Perfect Form. In his Semi-Perfect Form, he is a little more arrogant. In his Perfect and Super Perfect forms, he is extremely arrogant; he becomes very smug and he believes that every other living creature is inferior to him, and is shown to be very polite until he loses his temper. Upon meeting Piccolo for the first time in Gingertown, Cell tells Piccolo that the computer programmed some genetic traits to be more dominant than others. He bears a strong resemblance to Frieza in all of his forms, such as his tail and the talon-like feet of his first form, and his face while in his perfect form. His feet in his Perfect form are a type of Bio Suit shoes worn by Frieza’s race. His head-piece in his Perfect Form is a Namekian trait, so it is likely a recessive trait obtained from Piccolo’s cells. He can also revert a few stages at will if necessary, as evidenced when Cell reverts from his Imperfect form to his Larval form in order to use Trunks’ Time Machine.
13. Majin Buu (all forms)
Majin Buu (魔人ブウ 純粋)
By far the scariest villain in Dragon Ball Z. His pure unaffected impulsiveness made him an unpredictable nightmare of a bad guy. This same reason made you complete fall for this brand of evil. We didn’t want to hear some grand takeover plan or how he felt he was better than everyone else he didn’t give us any of that (Kid buu). He just went all out on our heroes and I love him for it.
Though Shin says that Bibidi made him, in truth Buu actually has existed since time immemorial. He cycled between rampages and long hibernation. During numerous iterations of this cycle, he absorbed the evil elements of mankind, becoming steadily more violent. The evil wizard Bibidi merely knew the means of calling Buu from out of his long slumber. Roughly five million years before the actual story of Dragon Ball takes place, Majin Buu was summoned once again by Bibidi. This monster was a virtually invincible force of destruction, and, because of his absolutely wild and ruthless nature, he could not be controlled, even by Bibidi himself. An example of this is when Kid Buu blew up Planet Alpha and its inhabitants, and almost hit Bibidi in the process, causing Bibidi to tell Kid Buu off and only meekly telling him he is his “father” when Kid Buu intimidated him by glaring at him. Eventually, Buu and Bibidi made their way to the Sacred World of the Kais, where the rulers of the universe and Bibidi’s sworn enemies, the Supreme Kais, lived peacefully. Majin Buu proceeded to kill both the Western Supreme Kai and the Northern Supreme Kai before encountering the Southern Supreme Kai, the strongest of the Kais. Although the Kai managed to fight evenly with Buu and land a few hits on the monster, Buu managed to absorb Southern Supreme Kai during their fight, which transformed him into a bulkier version of himself.
Eldest son of Goku and Chichi. Now Gohan has gotten some serious scrutiny throughout the years not that it wasn’t warranted. He’s shown us flashes of greatness whether it was him losing his shit against second form Frieza, or literally ripping Cell Jr’s to pieces. He quite easily was that nigga in those moments convincing us all of his claim to the throne as the strongest Z fighter. But then he went from chosen one to forgotten one in a flash. (I blame it on the girl…)
Gohan is the elder son of the series’ primary protagonist Goku and his wife Chi-Chi, the older brother of Goten, the husband of Videl and father to Pan. Gohan is the first hybrid (half-Earthling, half-Saiyan) to appear in the series. He is named after Goku’s adoptive grandfather, Gohan.
Unlike his father, Gohan lacks a passion for fighting and prefers to do so only when the need to defend his loved ones arises. Nevertheless, Gohan fights alongside the Z Fighters in the defense of Earth for much of his life. He eventually settles down with a family at the end of Dragon Ball Z, opting for the life of a scholar instead.
Piccolo Jr. (ピッコロ・ジュニア)
Namek’s strongest warrior, Goku’s longtime rival, and Gohan’s mentor. These are all the personality hats or should I say turbans worn by yours truly the green goblin…. I mean Piccolo, yeah that’s right. On a serious note this guy does it all, and unlike other sidelined Z-fighters he actually continues to get stronger as the show progresses. Cool, calm, collected, plus one bad ass turban.
Piccolo also known as Ma Junior, is a Namekian and the last child and reincarnation of the Demon King Piccolo, later becoming the reunification of the Nameless Namekian after fusing with Kami. According to Grand Elder Guru, Piccolo, along with Kami and King Piccolo, are part of the Dragon Clan, who were the original creators of the Dragon Balls.
A wise and cunning warrior who was originally a ruthless enemy of Goku, Piccolo later becomes a permanent member of the Dragon Team, largely due to forming a mutual respect to Goku and even more from forming a close bond with Goku’s first-born son Gohan.
The God of destruction. An interesting personality that honestly annoys the shit outta me more than anything else. His absolute power is nothing take lightly however. Sure there are stronger beings out there but few do it with the swag of Beerus.
Out of the many gods in the universe, Beerus is the most feared. He is feared by the Kais, the Supreme Kais, King Cold, Frieza, King Vegeta, Vegeta, and even Shenron himself. As a God of Destruction, he is tasked with maintaining balance in the universe. Beerus is the God of Destruction of Universe 7, and his administrative zone includes planet Earth. He slumbers for several years to several decades straight, and he destroys planets in his administrative zone during the few years when he is awake. This is because destruction is required to create new planets, but he does not act on the Supreme Kais’ orders, nor does he try to coordinate his actions with them; the god destroys according to his own judgment. Also, because he is quite capricious, Beerus destroys even important planets “without a second thought”. When he finds it bothersome, he lets someone else act as an agent of destruction. While he is awake, tense days for the Supreme Kais continue, as nobody knows how many planets will be sacrificed.
9. Future Trunks
Future Trunks (未来のトランクス)
The first child of Vegeta and Bulma who came from the future to save Goku’s life. Trunks has two of the most interesting story arcs in all of Dragon Ball Z. His first appearance left us all speechless. Becoming the second Super Saiyan in the series and completely molly whopping Mecca Frieza and his father King Cold. Definitely one of the more liked characters in the show.
Trunks is the Saiyan and Earthling hybrid son of Vegeta and Bulma from an alternate future. By the time present Trunks was born, the timeline had been altered by Future Trunks’ and Cell’s trips to the past. Therefore, the two Trunks had completely different lives (as opposed to those who lived before the Time Machines arrived, they lived exactly the same lives as their counterparts until the point at which the two timelines diverge: three years before the androids arrived).
Well-mannered, serious and very cautious, Trunks hails from an alternate timeline in which Android 17 and Android 18 murdered the Z Fighters and proceeded to create apocalyptic hell on Earth. Trunks is trained by Future Gohan as a teenager and becomes a gifted fighter, swordsman and a Super Saiyan; traits that aid him greatly in the battle against the Androids after traveling back in time in order to save his own future.
8. Super 17
Super 17 (超１７号)
Arguably the most bad ass villains in all of Dragon Ball universe a combination of confidence and the kickassness to back it up. One of my favorite villains, he puts in work on the Z- Fighters defeating all of them relatively easily, even pushing Goku to try to sacrifice himself in order to win. This ultimately failed but he was later beaten due to his conflicting personalities, being a fusion and all.
Super 17 is the powerful fusion of Android 17 and Hell Fighter 17; created by the evil scientists Dr. Gero and Dr. Myuu. Super 17 is a very tall android, sporting an athletic build with more prominent facial features, giving the fusion a more mature appearance. While overall resembling Android 17, His hair extends to under his shoulders, which he commonly keeps tucked back behind his ears, leaving his shorter bangs hanging above his face. He wears the same blue jeans with a rip over the left thigh, bronze earrings, and orange scarf. Alternately, he sports a bronze wide belt-buckle with the Red Ribbon logo and a cross over it, dark blue boots with bronze tips, a form-fitting dark blue shirt with missing shoulders and matching glove, and bronze wrist-guards. He also wears brown overalls and small brown vest with bronze trimming.
The Potara fusion between Vegeta and Goku. Badass…. nuf said.
The Potara Earring Fusion used to form Vegito is what Old Kai considers to be the proper way to do fusion, as opposed to the Fusion Dance technique. The resulting fusion lasts forever for Supreme Kais. However only last a hour for mortals, even if the fused being removes the earrings. The determination of power levels is complex and more unpredictable than that of the Fusion Dance but in Vegito’s case, the rise in power is inconceivably drastic. Vegito has the confidence and fighting smarts of Goku, along with the superior attitude and genius strategic mind of Vegeta.
Originating from the Fusion dance technique between Goku and Vegeta. He is at a slightly higher slot than his potara counterpart simply because he dominated fights on a different level mainly toying with his opponents. Plus that vest….. Am I right?
Although they are made in a similar way, Gogeta has personality traits that are different from Vegito, though it is impossible to tell which counterpart’s personality is the dominant one. Since his appearances have been limited and short, it is difficult to tell if his personality is a composite of both Goku and Vegeta (Vegeta’s seriousness and Goku’s sense of justice) or a completely unique personality. At Super Saiyan 4, it would seem that his personality is like that of Vegito, as he is shown to enjoy toying with his enemies and pulling pranks.
Goku Black (ゴクウブラック)
Evil Goku, aka Goku Black, aka Zamasu takes the 5 spot as the Z-fighters most difficult challenge to date. Goku Black was so bad he had us thinking can they even beat him? He was a villain you loved to hate. HE HAD GOKU’S FACE for crying out loud! Love him or hate him he was some character.
Before acting on his dark impulses, as Zamasu, he was a calm and patient individual, willing to listen to his teacher’s words. Finally giving in to his desires, Black mercilessly killed Gowasu as his first step down a dark path. Upon taking Goku’s body, Black became much more emotional. He gained many opposite characteristics to his host body’s personality.
Like his future timeline counterpart, he is extremely sadistic, seen when he kills Bulma, along with the vast majority of the Earthlings, believing it to be “justice”. However, he retains his past self’s politeness and is shown to be graceful during his first fight with Goku as Black. Black also claims to have already destroyed multiple different planets’ populations before going to Earth. During his short battle in the present timeline, Black seems to enjoy the pain Goku inflicts on him in their battle, suggesting a masochistic side, which disturbs Goku. During his fight with Trunks, he showed a sense of brutality as he savagely fractured Trunks’ arm and shoots a barrage of ki blasts at his defenseless opponent. However, Black also seems to share a few traits with Goku, namely his desire to fight strong opponents and love of battle, even going as far as holding his full power back in order to further enjoy a fight. Black also shares Goku’s sense of determination, vowing to find Trunks as he escaped to the past.
The most iconic villain in all of Dragon Ball Z bar none. Next to Goku the most persistent mother f&%ker in the entire series. I mean the way he keeps coming back… you would think he was a backstreet boy. Each time reminding us… yes you can be strong without hitting puberty. In all seriousness he has given us some of the most evil, and ruthless moments in the show. For that he has earned his place on the list.
Frieza is introduced in the series as the powerful galactic overlord on a mission for immortality and conquest, ruler of an empire said to control seventy-nine or more planets. Frieza creates armies from the planets that he conquers, his most utilized race were the Saiyans. Frieza had heard about the legend of the Super Saiyan, a being with unrivaled power, but dismissed it as simple mythology; however, after several Saiyans emerged with rapidly evolving potential, Frieza began to fear that the legend would indeed come true, so as a result, destroyed the Saiyan race. His actions and lust for power eventually bring him into conflict with the heroes of the series when he tries to take possession of the wish-granting Dragon Balls on Planet Namek.
Toriyama’s introduction of Whis has stolen the hearts of millions, and he is quickly becoming a household name. He is likable, polite, and most importantly insanely strong. Shown toying with goku and vegeta in a sparring session. He even knocked out beerus with relative ease when he had to. Whats not to like?
Whis is Beerus’s attendant and is in love with Earth’s food. He has the ability to rewind time up to 3 minutes into the past. He is also Beerus’s teacher and implied to be stronger than him. He is the angel of universe 7 and is the strongest known character of universe 7. He has an elder sister, Vados, who trained him for years, but eventually stopped. His father is Daishinkan.
That’s right 2nd and I’ll explain why. While he might be everyone’s favorite Saiyan from earth he can also at times be the most rigid. Goku is the man. I’m not taking anything from him he’s a great main character, but he leaves much to be desired in the development department. Ask yourself has Goku changed at all since Dragon Ball? Possibly a little at best if you analyzed it enough. For the top spot however that doesn’t cut it. Admittedly his personality is a double-edged sword making him lovable, while also at times making him very frustrating. His ever consistent attitude toward things is what makes Goku, Goku. It’s the way Toriyama wants it.
Originally named Kakarot, Gokuu is born a member of a race of extraterrestrials called the Saiyans. Shortly following his birth, Gokuu is sent from his native planet Vegeta to Earth, for potential selling on the intergalactic market by destroying all its life; Goku was also sent away to escape Freeza’s genocide of the Saiyans. Once he lands on Earth, he is adopted by an old man named Gohan (who is later just called Grandpa Gohan). At first, Goku is very violent as a kid due to his Saiyan blood, but due to an injury to his head that caused him severe amnesia, Gokuu changes to a more tempered, innocent boy. At the start of the series, Gokuu meets Bulma, Yamucha, Oolong, and Pu’ar, whose characters mirror those found in Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West. He also encounters Kuririn, who eventually becomes his best friend, and others during his journey for more strength. Participating in several World Martial Arts Tournaments, Gokuu also battles foes-turned-allies such as Tenshinhan and Chaozu, as well as the offspring of Demon King Piccolo named Majunior (later, he’s named just Piccolo).
The bad boy of the Dragon Ball universe, Mr. attitude, and everyones favorite anti-hero Vegeta comes in at the top spot. He is the best thing that ever happened to Goku, his introduction gave him a legitimate rival. We have been on this roller coaster of ups and downs with Vegeta. From villain, to circumstantial ally, to reluctant friend, to father, and back to bitter rival. His character development has been masterful, and his being moon to Goku’s sun has been AMAZING for the franchise.
Vegeta starts out haughty, arrogant, self-entitled and ruthless as the prince of Saiyans. His royal status caused him to develop an inflated sense of superiority and he holds himself above most, if not all people he encounters. Regal, egotistical and full of pride, Vegeta was once a ruthless, cold-blooded warrior and outright killer. However, as the story unfolds, he changes to a person capable of caring about and loving someone other than himself.
Vegeta was once a young member of the Saiyan army, but after his race’s demise, he worked alongside Nappa and Raditz, directly under Freeza. He seeks immortality to rule the universe, but once he learns about Freeza destroying his planet from Dodoria, he resolves to take out Freeza (not to avenge his race, but to assure his own rule over the universe as well as to get back at Freeza for unknowingly using him to further his own goals). He later battles Freeza with the main cast on Namek and dies in the ensuing fights; once he is revived, he returns to Earth, where he adjusts to everyday life and remains there for good.