In April of 1989, an anime aired on Cartoon Network that shook audiences across the United States, and changed anime forever. The show of course was “Dragon Ball Z.” Coming off the original series “Dragon Ball,” DBZ had the same great characters we grew to love, but it also added new characters that we cheered for, that captivated our hearts, and that drove us to tears.
Even though the original series was also a masterpiece, DBZ took everything incredible from that show, and made it better with the superior writing and animation. When the show ended in 1996, it spawned “Dragon Ball GT,” which spawned “Dragon Ball Kai.” Although controversial with many fans, these series still had some of the elements that the fans loved seeing in this beloved franchise.
One of the greatest aspects of the Dragon Ball franchise is the villains. The bad guys in Dragon Ball made fans beat their chests in anger at the very thought of them, but kept us glued to the screen as we anticipated their demise at the receiving end of a Kamehameha wave. We have narrowed down a list of who we feel are the 10 greatest villains of the entire franchise. A list could be made solely of the villains from DBZ, but there are so many great villains in the entire franchise, that it would be a great disservice to not mention their despicableness.
10) Omega Shenron
Starting off the list is the baddie from “Dragon Ball GT.” Created by the negative energy from the Dragon Balls, Omega Shenron has power from six of the seven Dragon Balls (Goku swallowed the 4-star Dragon Ball). Many of the bad guys on this list took multiple heroes in order to defeat, but it took a fusion of Goku and Vegeta at Super Saiyan 4 to finally bring down this big bastard.
I actually saw “Bojack Unbound” for the first time not that long ago. I am familiar with nearly all of the movies from the DBZ era, but this was one that escaped me. Nothing out of the ordinary separates Bojack from the rest of the villains from Dragon Ball. He’s arrogant, overly powerful, and hyped up beyond belief. Name me one DBZ villain who isn’t. What separates Bojack from the rest of the villains is the circumstances surrounding his defeat.
Gohan was always said to be an extremely powerful Saiyan. In fact, both Goku and Piccolo would most likely have been killed by Raditz if not for the assistance of the four-year-old Gohan. Since then, (aside from transforming into a great ape), Gohan did not do as much to truly show his full potential. That is, not until he faced Bojack. Since Goku was dead due to the exploding Cell, it is up to Gohan to defeat the evil Bojack. Bojack and his gang effortlessly take out Trunks, Piccolo, Tien, Krillin, Yamcha, and even Vegeta. Goku leaves King Kai’s world briefly to inspire his son to take down Bojack. Ghana realizes his true potential, and punches a hole through Bojack, and follows through with a Kamehameha wave that obliterates the space pirate. Although not spectacular with himself, Bojack gave Gohan some much needed props that earned him the Number 9 spot.
Although he becomes a friend at the end Beerus’s thirst for the destruction of Earth makes him one of the best villains in the Dragon Ball universe. As the God of Destruction, Beerus is one of the most powerful beings in the universe, and one of the most feared. Even Shenron found himself quivering in the presence of this badass. Beerus comes to Earth solely to try and encounter a Super Saiyan God. Upon his first encounter with Goku, Goku is defeated in two blows despite entering Super Saiyan 3. After crashing Bulma’s birthday, Vegeta is so terrified of him, that he makes a complete ass of himself to try and keep Beerus entertained. Eventually, Goku discovers how to become a Super Saiyan God as he goes for round two with Beerus. Despite becoming the most powerful he has ever been, Goku once again gets his ass kicked by Beerus. Although we have yet to see what else Beerus has to offer, he proved to be one of the most entertaining and the most powerful villain in all of Dragon Ball. Also, any villain that can make Vegeta do a ridiculous bingo dance has earned a spot on this list.
7) King Piccolo/Piccolo Jr
A lot of people seem to forget that Piccolo was not always the babysitter for Goku’s kids and Vegeta’s kid. Back in the days of the initial series, King Piccolo was the main baddie who was out to conquer the Earth by defeating Goku and friends. King Piccolo was the initial great villain of the series, and he set the standard for all villains to come. What makes Piccolo Jr great in DBZ was his change of heart.
6) Majin Buu/ Kid Buu / Super Buu
It is so hard to distinguish whether Buu is better when he is a big fat tub of lovable goo, or when is a chiseled death machine, that both of his forms had to be on this list. First off, think of the laundry list of characters that Buu killed such as Vegeta, Gohan, Goten, Trunks, Chi-Chi, and the rest of f****** planet Earth. The childish nature of Majin Buu mixed in with his insufferable need for sweets made him the equivalent of that annoying kid in your second grade class who would throw a fit if he didn’t get to play with a certain toy. Buu’s eventual death at the receiving end of a colossal spirit bomb launched by Goku was badass, and an awesome ending to the ninth and final season of DBZ.
Five episodes. Raditz made an impact that lasted throughout the entire season in merely five episodes. DBZ begins with the viewers learning that Goku is actually an alien called a Saiyan from the planet Vegeta. This is learned from his brother Raditz who has come to Earth to see if Goku did what he was supposed to do by destroying it. Raditz proceeds to kidnap Gohan, threaten to kill Gohan, blow off Piccolo’s arm, and then betray Goku and cause his untimely death. Again, he did this in only five episodes. The death of Raditz also signaled that two even stronger Saiyans (one of which is Vegeta) were on their way to destroy the Earth as well. Nothing that spectacular happens during the fight with Raditz by Dragon Ball standards. Hell, this was before the days of going Super Saiyan. However, Raditz set the tone for the rest of DBZ that carried on throughout the series.
If ever there were a villain in DBZ that was hyped, it would be Frieza. After learning about the great destroyer of planet Vegeta which froze the Saiyan race to the brink of extinction, it was only a matter of time before this guy would have to face Goku and Vegeta. When Frieza makes his debut, he does not disappoint. Resembling an even more threatening version of Mewtwo, Frieza, is as cocky as they come, and also one of the most powerful villains to grace our 90s TV screens. After this heartless bastard kills Krillin in cold blood, Goku goes Super Saiyan for the first time ever. Where the hell would Dragon Ball be if not for that glorious spiky blonde hair and glaring green eyes. Frieda also has without a doubt the most satisfying death as his own attack severs him into pieces.
People reading this list are probably wondering why the hell Frieza isn’t Number One. Granted, given all these facts Frieza is more than deserving of the Number One spot, but there are two big problems that knocked him down to Number 4. The first is the overuse of filler. DBZ is known for having a ton of filler episodes in their series, but during the Frieza saga it gets ridiculous. Imagine you are watching this for the first time, and have to wait a week just to see the next episode air on Cartoon Network. When that next episode airs, all you see is that Goku is still just charging that damn spirit bomb as he was for the last few episodes as well. The second problem I have is that it was Goku who defeats Frieza, and not Vegeta. Of course, Goku is the main hero of the show, and Vegeta still had a lot of work to do before he became a good guy. However, this was Vegeta’s one chance to avenge his loved ones, and bring closure to what had been torturing him for years. Goku has no memories of his home world. Vegeta does, and as prince of all Saiyans, he also feels he has the duty to destroy the being that caused the death of his people. It took the surprising death of Krillin to have it make sense to have Goku do a prince’s work.
When characters like Krillin and Goku die, the fans tend to brush it off since they seem to die all the time. However, when Cell kills Trunks, nobody sees it coming, especially Vegeta. Cell launches a beam of energy that punches straight through Trunks causing him to bleed out and die. In a fit of rage, Vegeta goes Super Saiyan, and attacks Cell which is all in vain as Cell brushes him off like he’s nothing. What may be Cell’s most intimidating aspect is his nature. Cell is arguably Dr. Gero’s most perfect android. Cell does not know anything other than his mission. He feels no sorrow or regret because he physically cannot. Cell eventually carries out his final plan by exploding. His explosion has the power to destroy the Earth, so Goku sacrifices himself by instant transmissioning himself and Cell away from the blast causing Goku to die for the second time. Cell survives his self destruction and becomes even more powerful than ever, which leads to an epic showdown with Gohan.
When Broly was a baby, the Saiyans thought that he was too powerful so they ran him through with a sword. On the day that Frieza destroyed the planet Vegeta, the impaled baby Broly grabbed his father and flew them away from the planet destroying blast, and brought them both to safety. That is the most metal shit I have ever heard. When Broly got older, he realized his true potential, and then killed his father by crushing him in his own space pod, and throwing him into an oncoming meteor. You don’t f*** with Broly. In Broly’s first appearance, “Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan” it took the power of all the nearby Saiyans to give Goku even a chance at hurting Broly.
One of the best parts of Broly’s first movie is that it was one of the first times that we really saw Vegeta swallow his pride for the greater good. After realizing that Broly was probably the most powerful Saiyan ever, he gives up, and refuses to try and stop him as he feels it is no use. Broly is the embodiment of the term badass. However, there is still one more person who is stronger than him. Or should I say, one more Saiyan.
Aside from Goku, the only other person who was mentioned in each entry on this list was the initial main villain in Season One of DBZ, Vegeta. The prince of all Saiyans, Vegeta initially travels the galaxy with fellow Saiyan Nappa. Vegeta eventually kills Nappa, and then kills him again when he returns in “Dragon Ball GT.” More of Vegeta’s villainous nature occurred in an episode prior when he and Nappa went to a planet inhabited by insect creatures, saved the planet, and then proceeded to blow up that planet right when two insect lovers were about to finally reunite. However, it is not the bad stuff that Vegeta did that gave him the Number One spot, it is what he did after. After being defeated by Goku, Vegeta stays on Earth plotting how to eventually defeat him. During this time, Vegeta marries Bulma, and has a son. At different times, Vegeta is faced with the dilemma of whether or not he should assist Goku, Gohan, or someone else trying to save the world. Sometimes Vegeta swallows his pride and helps out, other times he refuses because he still believes that is beneath him.