When all hope seems lost, and the enemy is to strong to vanquish in your current form, it’s time to reach inside yourself, and release your hidden power. What set “Dragon Ball Z” apart from “Dragon Ball” was the inclusion of the transformations. No longer did fighters solely rely on further training themselves, or learning a new fighting technique; they relied heavily on changing their current form to reach further heights.
For this list, we decided to focus on transformations and fusions from both the heroes and the villains, as well as the timing of each power-up. If your favorite moment is not on this list, make sure to leave it in the comments below.
10) Goku goes Kaioken X3
When the Saiyans invaded Earth, it took the training of King Kai to progress Goku’s power to stand a chance against Vegeta. Using the Kaioken technique that King Kai taught him, he was able to defeat Nappa with a single blow. However, to defeat Vegeta, Goku had to risk destroying himself by going Kaioken X3 to keep Vegeta from destroying the Earth.
9) Super Buu becomes Kid Buu
The mightiest villain in the DBZ universe before Lord Beerus was introduced, Buu proved a major threat in all of his forms. Causing the deaths of billions of people on planet Earth, Buu was an indestructible force that only got more powerful once he assumed his true form of Kid Buu. When he became Kid Buu, not only did his power increase, but so did his annoying behavior. After beating you within an inch of your life, Kid Buu would then laugh in your face as you try and catch your breath.
8) Frieza’s final form
Without a doubt the most hyped villain in DBZ, Frieza starts out powerful, but as he enters each of his forms, both his power and tenacity increase. In his first form, Vegeta, Gohan, and Krillin struggled to land even a single blow on him, but a powered up Piccolo was able to match him in this form, and his forms to come. However, in his final form, not even Goku could overcome this beast, without unlocking his hidden power. Frieza’s final form is his most well-known form with its dark purple colors, and Mewtwo like design.
7) Perfect Cell
Perfect Cell is a cool design, but what puts it above Frieza’s is what it took to reach this form. Cell had to devour tens of thousands of people in order to become Imperfect Cell, and then he had to devour Android 17 and Android 18 to become Perfect Cell. His insect like design mixed in with his humanoid form makes Perfect Cell both alien, but with a touch of humanity.
6) Piccolo merges with Kami
Although Piccolo’s power did not increase as much as he or the fans had hoped, the fusion of Piccolo and Kami was assurance that the villainous Piccolo of the past was long gone, and the Z Fighter Piccolo was here to stay. Piccolo had to swallow his pride, and merge with Kami so that he had a chance when fighting Cell. What also made this moment stick out was that Kami was officially gone, and not coming back. This meant that the Dragon Balls were also gone, of course we all knew those would come back in some way. In the original series, Kami was known for being a martial arts master, and one of the strongest people in the universe, so him being gone was DBZ’s way of officially waving goodbye to the original series.
5. Goku and Vegeta fuse
Throughout the series, whether they were fighting on the same side or not, Goku and Vegeta always were rivals trying to surpass the other. However, when Buu was on a rampage, and the lives of all their loved ones were on the line, Goku and more importantly, Vegeta, swallow their pride so that they can fuse into the mighty Vegito. In “Dragon Ball GT,” they fuse again at the Super Saiyan 4 level, but the first time the two swallowed their pride and became the incredible Vegito, fans everywhere cheered for their two favorite characters.
4) Goten and Trunks fuse
Vegito may have had meaning, but Gotenks was far more entertaining, and was far more memorable. Goten and Trunks were always fan favorites due to their childish back and forth banter. When it came time to find a way to beat Buu, Piccolo trained the two to fuse due to their bond and friendship. Enter Gotenks who is quite possibly the most obnoxious character in all of “Dragon Ball.” Gotenks was so powerful, that he was able to go Super Saiyan 3 out of the blue.
3) Future Trunks goes Super Saiyan for the first time
Up until this point, it was believed that Goku was the only person who could go Super Saiyan. When Frieza and King Cold came to destroy Earth, fans were panicking as Goku was nowhere to be found. Out of nowhere, a mysterious warrior fought them, went Super Saiyan, and defeated them without breaking a sweat. This set the tone for what was to come. Not only would there be more Super Saiyans, but there would be stronger villains as well.
2) Gohan goes Super Saiyan 2 in the Cell Games
After realizing the threat that Cell posed, both Goku and Vegeta realized that they needed to ascend beyond the power of a Super Saiyan. Goku, Gohan, Trunks, and Gohan were all able to go Super Saiyan 2, but the true power of this form came from Gohan during his battle against Cell. After losing his father to Cell, Gohan had rage he needed to channel into his Super Saiyan form. When his rage was channeled, along with the help of Goku, Piccolo, Tien, and Vegeta, Gohan showed his full power, and finally defeated the evil Cell.
1) Goku goes Super Saiyan for the first time
If there was ever a moment that defined all of “Dragon Ball Z,” it would be when Goku went Super Saiyan for the first time in his battle against Frieza. Hyped since the Saiyan saga, the legendary Super Saiyan was told to be a legendary form lost thousands of years ago. However, Vegeta believed that this form could eventually return if a Saiyan grew strong enough. After losing his best friend in cold blood to Frieza, Goku’s rage takes hold as he entered his Super Saiyan form. Goku defeats Frieza as he tells him his new purpose in the world. In this scene, Goku became the hope of the universe, the answer to all living things that cry out for peace, protector of the innocent, the light in the darkness, truth, ally to good, and nightmare to you.