DragonBall Z is without a doubt one of the largest and most influential anime/manga of all time. It is not just because of the over-the-top action, the memorable signature attacks, or the great one liners (It’s over 9000). No. It is because of the large variety of interesting characters that the anime features.
Everyone from the weak to the strong, the good and the bad, the ‘normal’ to the straight up bizarre. In this post, we’re counting down the top ten most badass characters in the DragonBall Z series. This list will include characters from the films and the filler arcs but will not include characters from the DragonBall, DragonBall Super, and DragonBall GT series. Those will be their own separate lists.
Raditz is the most important Saiyan on this list for one reason. He mirrors and represents the opposite of what Goku holds dear. He’s ruthless, cold, and unfeeling and although initially happy to see his brother is ultimately disappointed that Goku won’t join him. However, his battle with Goku and Piccolo is completely epic. It would’ve been nice to have seen the two talk again at some point.
Quote: “We are Saiyans, the mightiest warriors in the universe. I can still remember the day that we first sent you to this planet as an infant. We had high hopes for you then Kakarot, why have you not carried out your mission?”
Vegeta’s right hand man who isn’t too bright but is a dominating force to be reckoned with. Nappa makes this list because he’s one of the few villains who actually fought multiple Z Fighters at the same time. Unfortunately, he was defeated by Goku and later killed by Vegeta. He definitely should’ve had either more backstory revealed or an arc himself.
Tien has come along way since him antagonizing Goku in the DragonBall anime. Despite being much weaker than the Saiyan characters Tien has managed to keep himself relevant. His most stand out moments are when he takes on Nappa and Cell. Hope, he can have more to do in the future.
The “fastest” member of the Ginyu force. Burter has a great presence but the series did an injustice to the character. There’s literally nothing for the character to do. I would’ve liked to have seen his super speed abilities but atlas. Still, the whole chocolate bet made him an instant favorite.
Quote: “No one can survive the force of the hurricane!”
The lumbering, hulking flamboyant member of the Ginyu force. One of the most prominent features is just how goofy Recoome is. It’s the way he toys with his opponents while he’s beating the crap out of him. Vegeta took on Recoome at full power and still the Recoome was toying with him. He’s easily a character that probably would’ve been a decent good guy.
Quote: “Oh…wait a second. Remember what our fearless leader said? When on a new planet, make sure that you test your powers first, because the climate might affect your ability to fight.”
The saiyan that looks like Goku for some reason but isn’t related to him. Right. Turles is one of the more interesting movie villains and definitely should’ve had an arc in the series. His motivations are pretty cool but I would’ve loved to have seen more when it comes to his backstory.
The galactic tyrant who deserves a spot on this list. Frieza is a badass and the overarching antagonist of the series. What makes him awesome is that he is quite polite to be such a ruthless, genocidal maniac.
Quote: “I spy with my little eye, one pitiable Namek who got away!”
If Frieza and King Cold are any indication of how the changeling race is, then Cooler definitely takes the cake. As cold as Frieza is, Cooler is much less polite and more ruthless. Cooler takes it upon himself to get revenge for the defeat of his brother and he has no chill. But it’s his ultimate form that makes him badass as he just decimates Goku.
12. Kid Gohan
Before he grew up into a punk, Gohan was awesome. Particularly in his kid phase and early teens. What makes kid Gohan the best is no matter how strong the opponent, he was ready and willing to take the fight to them. Hell, he fought Vegeta, Guldo, Recoome, Captain Ginyu (in Goku’s body), even Frieza and Cell. Always looking to prove himself to his father and Piccolo.
One of the most interesting characters of the series. Beerus is both ruthless and silly. He’s a God of Destruction and has no qualms about destroying anything if he’s in the mood. Beerus is the only character to actually defeat the all of the Z Fighters but spared them. Hilarious his need for eating different sweets.
Quote: “Now all that is left is the destruction of earth, but I think it would be a waste to destroy it. The food of this planet is very delicious. ”
10. Imperfect Cell
The ultimate creation of Dr. Gero, who traveled back from a future timeline, Cell is the embodiment of all the best traits and special abilities of all the greatest fighters from Earth or who have visited it. His greatest desire is to become the “perfect warrior” by absorbing Androids 17 and 18.
Cell is an all around great villain but his imperfect form is the most standout. He looks like a mutant cockroach and his voice he has this raspy voice.
Quote: “Once I have absorbed the other androids, I will be the most powerful being who has ever lived.”
9. Garlic Jr. (DragonBall Z: Dead Zone)
A Makyan who’s ambition is global domination and revenge against Kami for having defeated his father Garlic. Although small in physical stature he is incredibly powerful and becomes more powerful when he transforms into his super form. Not to mention, he is the first and only villain to gain immortality after acquiring the Dragon Balls.
Garlic Jr. is probably one of the most underrated villain characters. Sure, he got a movie and came into the series as filler, but he never really got the screen time he actually deserves. He’s an interesting character as he has a plausible motivation.
Quote: “I told you. I will never die!”
A scientist and the second daughter of Capsule Corporation’s founder Dr. Brief and his wife Mrs. Brief. She eventually becomes the wife of Vegeta.
Bulma might be human but her overall contributions to the team have kept her in league with the Z fighters. And for fans of the DragonBall series she does develop into quite the attractive woman. Not to mention she does catch the eye of the Prince of Saiyans.
Quote: “Somebody help me! I’m too young and pretty to die!”
A supporting protagonist and best friend of Goku, Krillin is one of the most powerful and talented humans on the planet. Despite being overpowered by other opponents, he is courageous and good natured. His short statue and baldness often aid with his comic relief. He gets married to Android 18.
Krillin is the most beast human character of the show. No matter the odds he takes on the bad guys regardless. Sure, he gets kicked around but his contributions do help the Z fighters. And he married 18.
Quote: “Tell me something, is it just my imagination, or is that freak staring right at me? I always get singled out. Well, that’s what I get, for being so good at this!”
The prince of the fallen Saiyan race he was once a ruthless, cold-blooded warrior but develops over the course of the series from villain, to anti-hero, to protagonist. His greatest goal in life is become the universe’s most powerful warrior to defeat and surpass his friend and rival, Goku.
If there was ever a character that talked trash and was too proud, it was Vegeta. But these qualities do help with revelations that help to develop his character.
Quote: “What’s the matter? You look a bit ruffled.”
5. Bardock (DragonBall Z: Bardock-Father of Goku)
A low-class Saiyan warrior, husband of Gine, and the father of Raditz and Goku. He is a very adept fighter and a devoted Saiyan Army soldier. This dude might be Goku’s father but he easily exudes badassery.
Why is Bardock so awesome? Not because he is Raditz and Goku’s father but because the dude is pretty beast. It does suck that he never really gets the spotlight that he deserves but his time onscreen has made him standout.
Quote: “This is for all the people that we’ve killed in your name! I wish we were never foolish enough to obey you! Here! Have it!”
4. Goku / Kakarot
Main protagonist of DragonBall Z, a Saiyan sent to Earth to Earth as an infant with the mission to destroy it, but after an accident alters his memory, he becomes the Earth’s greatest defender. He is best known for using his abilities for the protection of others, constantly training to be the best warrior possible, and eating tones of food with minutes.
Who doesn’t like Goku. He’s fun, he’s loyal, he’s clueless. The champion of Earth shows a deep sense of compassion that makes him instantly likable.
Quote: “Sorry, I saw an opening that just screamed ‘ATTACK,’ so I did, ha!”
A Saiyan who is the latest of the Legendary Super Saiyans who appear every thousand years. Due to his overwhelming power and trauma during his childhood, he does have moments of madness. Oh by the way, did we mention that he utterly hates Goku.
Mentally unstable and insanely strong, Broly makes this list simply for the fact that he is a juggernaut. Although he does have a pretty dark backstory he comes at the Z fighters swinging.
Quote: “You, Kakarot! I choose you to be the first of my victims!”
2. Kid Buu
The original and purest form of the Majin called Buu. Because of his unpredictability and evil nature he is easily the most dangerous of the Buu forms. His irrationality, spontaneous, and rather childish personality along with his abilities make him a surprisingly challenging opponent.
The ultimate evil. Buu is as silly as he is dangerous and has the most diverse of fighting styles. Also, he can learn any ability by seeing it once.
Quote: “Me Buu, not you!”
1. Android 18
The twin sister of Android 17 and Dr. Gero’s eighteenth android creation. Android 18 later becomes the wife of Krillin and the mother to their daughter, Marron. Initially cool and confident, she displays a sarcastic humor which becomes her most prominent trait.
What makes 18 so awesome is the fact that she is strong and powerful woman but she is still feminine. She’s cold, she’s serious, she’s sarcastic and she can kick all kinds of booty. Not to mention she is super hot. Krillin is a lucky man.
Quote: “Spare me!”
Thanks for checking out our favorite DragonBall Z characters and in the comment section below, let us know who your favorite characters are.