There are five iconic characters from the world of Dragon Ball that are the cream of the crop
If you were a child of the 90s, you probably rushed home to catch the latest animated escapades of your favorite anime icons during Cartoon Network’s Toonami block. Besides the robotic wars in Gundam Wing, the spirit realm clashes featured in Yu Yu Hakusho, and the telekinetic wars taking place in Mob Psycho 100, young anime heads also got their kicks from watching the Z Warriors save the world in Dragon Ball Z.
Throughout the years, we’ve been treated to four different series within Akira Toriyama’s combat-filled extravaganza. We followed young Goku’s journey for the Dragon Balls alongside Bulma and friends in Dragon Ball, the rise of the Super Saiyans in Dragon Ball Z, the return of Kid Goku in Dragon Ball GT, and the God-level battles present in Dragon Ball Super. And throughout every show’s run, fans have become accustomed to their favorite heroes and villains along the way. There are five iconic characters from the world of Dragon Ball that are the cream of the crop, so let’s make sure we show them the love they deserve right now.
Piccolo, the strongest Namekian of them all and one of Dragon Ball’s most beloved characters amongst the African-American contingent of fans, stands tall as a father figure and a badass martial artist. His show-ending clash with Goku during Dragon Ball was an incredible showcase of his immense power. Once Dragon Ball Z kicked off, witnessing Piccolo’s change in character from a savage world-destroyer to a trustworthy guardian was one of the show’s best character story arcs. During every Dragon Ball Z story arc, Piccolo shined in his role as a supporting player who could be counted on wear down major villains, help train the show’s younger warriors and offer some words of encouragement to those around him. Piccolo’s inclusion in Dragon Ball Super is proof of his respectable stature amongst the Dragon Ball fanbase.
There’s one character every Dragon Ball fan mentions when the topic of best character introductions comes to mind – Vegeta and Bulma’s Super Saiyan son, Trunks. It seemed like certain doom for the Z Warriors when Mecha Frieza and King Cold arrived on Earth to seek revenge. But Trunks’ sword-based antics and overwhelming power destroyed them both in just a matter of minutes. Ever since then, fans have come to regard Trunks as one of the coolest heroes on the show. And for female followers, Trunks is afforded even more points due to his striking good looks. Kid and Future Trunks have been fun to follow during their rise in fame and power levels during Dragon Ball Z and Super. There are so many standout moments to speak of when Trunks comes to mind – his fusion with Goten during their clash against Super Buu, the entirety of The History of Trunks film, and his triumphant victory over Fused Zamasu are clear proof of his awesomeness and favorable status.
You have to have the utmost confidence and highest form of “can’t nobody see these hands!” energy in order to match the high levels of cool exhibited by Cell. Dragon Ball Z’s third story arc villain easily stands head and shoulders above Frieza and Majin Buu. Once he finally attained his perfect form, Cell’s cockiness reached new levels and made him the villain everyone loved to hate. The fact that he decided to hold his own tournament and wait for all of its participants to train while he merely stood in place waiting for them is incredibly badass. Cell’s clashes with Vegeta, Trunks, Goku and Teen Gohan are the stuff of legend. It felt so good to see him get torn to shreds with a Father-Son Kamehameha, but some fans out there (including us) were a bit saddened to know that Cell’s heelish ways would no longer be on display. Extra props go out to Cell’s English voice actor Dameon Clarke for making him a super remarkable villain whose likeability has stood the test of time.
The all-powerful Saiyan race was wiped out in just a matter of seconds due to Frieza’s overwhelming power. Among the last remaining survivors of that cowardly attack was Vegeta, one of the proudest Saiyan warriors of them all. At first, Vegeta was nothing more than a mere villain who sought out the Dragon Balls for his own selfish desires. But after being bested by Goku after an immensely entertaining clash, Vegeta began to grow beyond his evil ways and change into a hero that everyone could throw his or her support behind. It may have taken a while for him to get there (he was still kind of a douchebag during the Frieza saga and when he got that supremely evil M plastered on his forehead), but Vegeta eventually came to become a highly respected character. He’s gotten plenty of victories and given Goku a run for his money on multiple occasions. His hardened exterior may make him seem like a selfish, uncaring individual. But during the moments where he reflects on his growth and his family, Vegeta’s true character shines through brightly.
It wouldn’t make much sense for a list about the best Dragon Ball characters to not include the main character that drives every storyline to completion. And that main character is none other than the naïve yet warm-hearted Super Saiyan known as Goku. Goku’s ascension to Ultra Instinct levels of strength has been an amazing story arc to follow – he’s locked horns with all of the Dragon Ball series’ major antagonists and pushed past his power limits every single time. Goku certainly has his faults – his love for fighting tends to overshadow his love for Chi-Chi, his big heart tends to cause bigger problems for him down the line, and his fatherly instincts certainly have some room for improvement. But Goku’s combat prowess, strong love for those around him and his unrelenting sense of justice make him one of the best superheroes in all of pop culture. And when it comes to Dragon Ball as a whole, Goku easily nabs the #1 spot as the manga/anime’s greatest character of them all. Now let’s offer all our love to Goku by raising our hands to the sky and letting that man gather out energy for another Spirit Bomb!