What are the best Dragon Ball Z characters?
The Dragon Ball series is one of the most popular animes of all time, and everyone in the anime community has opinions on who are the best characters.
However, regardless of who you enjoy the most, you can’t deny that some characters naturally stand out more than others, and today we’re going to be giving those characters the attention they deserve.
The Best Dragon Ball Z Characters
Our ranked lists are created by researching and rounding up information from the most reputable web sources.
Here’s our list of the 25 best Dragon Ball Z characters:
25. Tien Shinhan
Tien is a very disciplined and devoted martial artist, and aside from Piccolo, he is by far the strongest non-Saiyan member of the team.
As a descendant of the alien Triclops race, he has a third eye on his forehead, which he can shoot ki laser beams from.
Originally a student of the Crane School, he became Goku’s rival after Goku defeated his mentor, Mercenary Tao, in combat.
However, Master Roshi helped him understand that Goku wasn’t his enemy, and Tein went on to fight alongside the Dragon Team against some of the biggest enemies to threaten the earth.
When it comes to the great Dragon Ball characters, Tein is definitely often underrated, and he deserves more recognition for what he’s done.
24. Android 17
The brother and twin of Android 18, created by Dr. Gero to enact his vendetta against Goku.
After this arch, 17 disappeared for nearly a decade before returning in Dragon Ball Super, where he is seen working as a park ranger on a secluded island to help protect animals from the poachers seen in the Android Saga.
When Goku asks him to join Team Universe 7 in the Tournament of Power, which he accepts. In the end, 17 is the last man standing, and as a reward, he gets a chance to wish on the Super Dragon Balls.
Android 17 is an incredibly powerful character, and while his lack of consistent screen time makes him a less popular character than others, he definitely is a phenomenal character.
23. Goku Black
Often just known as Black, the true identity of this character is Zamasu, who comes from the unaltered timeline in Universe 10.
As the main antagonist of the “Future” Trunks Saga in Dragon Ball Super, Black is an incredibly powerful character, and his main goal is to destroy all mortals alongside his future self.
Before switching bodies with Goku, Zamasu was already a master combatant, and the strongest Kai to exist.
However, once he had access to Goku’s Saiyan power, his prowess grew exponentially, making him one of the most dangerous opponents in the Dragon Ball multiverse.
22. Future Gohan
An alternate timeline version of Gohan, who appears in the Future Trunks timeline, Future Gohan serves as a mentor to Trunks and the last line of defense against the androids.
Future Gohan dreams of being strong like his father, and he is willing to do anything to protect the earth, even if that means sacrificing himself.
This is why he works especially hard to train Trunks, because he knows that, eventually, this task will fall to him.
While Future Gohan is another character that didn’t get as much screentime as fans would have liked, in the time that he did have, he made a lasting impact with his uncompromising selflessness.
Goten is the youngest son of Goku and Chi-Chi and the younger brother of Gohan. A Saiyan/Earthling hybrid, Goten is the best friend of Trunks, and he is absolutely adorable, looking almost exactly like childhood Goku.
Like his father, Goten is incredibly powerful, and he obtained his Super Saiyan transformation way earlier than both his father and brother.
He could honestly probably even take out the toughest video game bosses with his eyes closed.
Seriously, he was even strong enough to spar against a Super Saiyan Gohan and put up a decent fight.
He may be young, but he is extraordinarily powerful, and fans immediately fell in love with this character as soon as he debuted.
Formerly known as Trunkten, Gotenks is a fusion of Goten and Trunks created using the Fusion Dance, and he is the first successful fusion character to appear in the Dragon Ball series.
A fusion taught to Goten and Trunks by Goku and later trained by Piccolo, Gotenks is summoned to help defeat only the most powerful enemies, making him similar to Gogeta, the fusion of Goku and Vegeta.
As the fusion of Goten and Trunks, Gotenks uses a lot of bizarre but powerful attacks, and there are so many that most are only used once during a battle.
Gotenks is one of the most interesting characters in the Dragon Ball Z saga, and fans love every time they get to see him in action.
Although he won’t be giving the best long-haired anime girls a run for their money, this supporting protagonist has been featured in Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, and Dragon Ball Super as a mainstay and fan favorite.
While he did have a brief rivalry with Goku when they were training under Master Roshi, that quickly died out, and the pair have become lifelong friends.
One of the most powerful martial artists in the world, Krillin is an incredible fighter, and he’s not afraid to take on major enemies even if he knows he can’t beat them on his own.
Throughout the series, Krillin undergoes a lot of character development, and perseverance, kindness, and sense of humor have endeared him to many, making him a Dragon Ball character that almost everyone loves.
18. Majin Buu
Majin Buu has many forms, such as Fat Buu, Super Buu, Good Buu, and Evil Buu, each with their own personality and life goals.
Featuring prominently in the Majin Buu saga, Kid Buu is the original and purest form of this character.
Although smaller than many of his other forms, Kid Buu is also one of the most dangerous, and he is extremely volatile and destructive, even destroying whole worlds.
Because of how ambiguous this powerful character is, and because his forms differ so much, he is definitely one of the most interesting characters, and the Buu Saga remains a favorite among fans.
17. Master Roshi
Hide your kids, hide your wife, hide the best red-haired anime girls, because this character is a raging pervert.
A martial arts master, Master Roshi, has trained some of the most powerful characters, including Goku, Gohan, and Krillin.
While he is undeniably powerful, Roshi is also a huge source of comic relief, and his nose bleeding antics of watching Wide-Thigh Aerobics and reading dirty magazines never fail to make fans laugh.
The main antagonist of the Broly Saga and the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie, he is the latest Legendary Super Saiyan to appear.
To say Broly is a complete powerhouse is an understatement. This guy is a whole nuclear power plant.
In his Super Saiyan form, he is one of the strongest Dragon Ball characters, stronger even than Goku and Gohan in their Super Saiyan forms.
He was even able to take a point-blank Super Kamehameha from Goku and walk away unscathed.
Brody is, without a doubt, a powerful villain and one of the worst threats to ever be seen in Dragon Ball.
A magical dragon from the Dragon Ball franchise, Shenron is often known as the Dragon God.
Like other Eternal Dragons, Shenron looks like a traditional Chinese dragon, and when he is summoned, the sky turns dark even during the day.
While he is courteous and polite, he is largely a neutral figure who grants any wish regardless of who summons him.
Shenron is an absolutely iconic character and a fixture throughout the series.
Whis is a Guide Angel Attendant for the God of Destruction, Lord Beerus, in Universe 7.
A tall, effeminate alien with light blue skin and white hair that gives him an appearance similar to some of the best white-haired anime girls, Who is exceptionally calm and peaceful.
While he chooses not to get involved in the affairs of mortals often, he was able to protect Bulma by holding back a rampaging Broly, buying Goku and Vegeta time to perform the Fusion Dance.
Impressively powerful in his own right, Whis is a fantastic character, and that definitely deserves recognition.
Regarded as one of the most powerful characters in the entire franchise, Gogeta is a fusion of Goku and Vegeta.
Without this fusion, the world wouldn’t have been able to survive as long as it has, and he was able to take down Super Janemba impressively quickly.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, Gogeta was also able to defeat Omega Shenron, which is an incredible feat.
Gogeta is by far the strongest character and one that you can’t help but get hyped about whenever he appears.
Bulma is one of the most popular Dragon Ball characters and, while she has had a lot of hair colors, she is most commonly seen with green-turquoise hair, which easily makes her one of the best green-haired anime girls in DBZ history.
She’s a total badass and proves that brains can sometimes be much more effective than brawn.
While she may never punch villains out of the sky, her intelligence and engineering skills make her a definite force to be reckoned with.
She is also responsible for inventing time travel and creating some of the first interplanetary ships on Earth.
While the physically strong characters in Dragon Ball Z definitely play a huge part in keeping the world safe, without Bulma, not even they could prevent annihilation.
The father of Goku, Bardock led the first Saiyan group in an attempt to attack and scavenge other planets for their resources.
An incredibly strong character, he was betrayed by Frieza, who slaughtered his crew.
In an act of revenge, Bardock went after him, fighting his way through waves upon waves of Frieza’s soldiers, and persisting even though badly wounded, until he was able to face Frieza himself.
What made Bardock so memorable wasn’t his strength or abilities, but how fiercely he cared for his crew and how deeply he believed that his son would change the world.
10. Android 18
Android 18 is the older twin sister of Android 17 and she was designed to enact Dr. Gero’s vendetta against Goku.
Like Android 17, she initially doesn’t question her orders, but eventually grows to become a member of the Z Fighters, ultimately becoming Krillin’s wife and creating one of the best anime couples in Dragon Ball Z.
Love life aside, she is also one of the few female characters in Dragon Ball Z that can actually fight, and she was even able to take on Vegeta and break his arm while he was in his Super Saiyan form.
This Dragon Ball character is definitely worthy of all the appreciation she gets.
The ultimate creation of Dr. Gero, Cell was designed using genetics from the best and strongest fighters on Earth.
The goal was to create the perfect warrior with traits and abilities from Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta, Frieza, and King Cold.
Serving as the antagonist in the Imperfect Cell Saga, Perfect Cell Saga, and Cell Games Saga, Cell does whatever he can in his quest to obtain his perfect form.
What made Cell so memorable was just how cool he was as a villain. He’s as powerful as he is intelligent, and even Goku admitted that this android was stronger than him.
While he may have been ultimately defeated, his arch was one of the most interesting, and his character development was great to get to watch from start to finish.
The God of Destruction in Universe 7, this anthropomorphic cat-humanoid looks like something you might catch in one of the best Pokémon games.
Although he is incredibly powerful, he’s also strikingly lazy and can be as playful as a common feline.
Despite his cat-like proclivities, he is still the strongest opponent to ever fight the Z Fighters at the time of their conflict, and he isn’t afraid to threaten the Earth if it gets him what he wants.
However, since his encounter with Goku and his friends, Beerus has become lighter and more comical than before, showing more restraint with his powers and putting a stop to his planetary threats.
Beerus has grown to be a really solid character in the Dragon Ball franchise, and it’s hard not to like him once you get to know him.
Frieza is the most significant antagonist in Dragon Ball history, and he served as the main villain throughout the Namek Saga, Trunks Saga, God of the Universe Saga, and Frieza Saga.
A galactic tyrant who oversees the Planet Trade Organization, he is unbelievably brutal and cruel, willing to do unspeakable things if it furthers his goals.
If he had succeeded in killing Goku, then the whole universe would have fallen to him without anyone to stand in his way.
But, as it happened, he was the catalyst for triggering Goku’s first Super Saiyan transformation and was later killed by Trunks and then again by Goku in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F.
Son of Goku and one of the best black-haired anime girls, Chi-Chi, Gohan is a main character in the Dragon Ball series and he has seen a lot of character development throughout the series, particularly after his defeat of Cell.
However, unlike his father, he isn’t passionate about fighting, despite being an incredibly powerful warrior in his own right.
However, when the Earth and his loved ones are threatened, he will fight alongside the Dragon Team without hesitation.
Needless to say, Gohan is one of the most popular Dragon Ball characters and his power is so great it can even surpass Goku.
A fusion of Goku and Vegeta created with the use of the Potara Earrings, Vegito is considered one of the strongest Dragon Ball characters from the original Dragon Ball manga.
While fans debate whether or not Vegito or Gogeta is stronger in the anime series, we have to give the number 5 spot to this character.
With Vegeta’s cockiness and tactical skills melded with Goku’s cheery nature and creativity, Vegito is just amazing and he’s been shown to more than hold his own, especially against Super Buu.
A powerful member of the Namekian alien race, Piccolo is capable of Ki manipulation, flight, telepathy, super hearing, and regeneration.
Although he started off as an enemy, using his cunning and strength to try and kill Goku, he gradually lost a lot of his villainous qualities, which led to one of the best redemption arches of any Dragon Ball character.
He ended up becoming a permanent member of the Dragon Team after training Gohan and developing a strong relationship with him.
While he may have gotten off on the wrong foot, Piccolo has grown to become one of Earth’s greatest heroes and a favorite of fans across the globe.
An Earthling/Human hybrid and son of Vegeta and Bulma, Trunks is an amazingly capable fighter, and he was even able to take on Frieza and King Cold.
While he was a relatively minor character as a younger child, years after Cell’s defeat he takes a more central role, and at only eight years old he proves to be impossibly strong for his age, able to transform into a Super Saiyan and become accustomed to it without instruction from Vegeta.
While his name may leave a bit to be desired, this kid has won over the fanbase as a whole and will always be one of the best Dragon Ball Characters in the franchise.
The main character of the Dragon Ball series, Goku, could easily put combatants from the best fighting games to shame, and he is arguably the strongest fighter in the anime.
Originally sent to Earth as an infant to destroy the planet, a head injury as a child knocked his destructive nature out of him and he grew up to be one of the planet’s strongest characters and fiercest defenders.
Goku always fights for what he thinks is right, and he’s never given to backing down from a fight when the world hangs in the balance.
While he isn’t the only character to have saved the world, and he does rely on his friends to help him, his motivation and never-give-up attitude make him an incredibly likable character.
The prince of the Saiyan race and one of the main Dragon Ball characters, Vegeta, is another character who started off as a cruel and ruthless killer but made a change for the better.
Vegeta’s development is by far some of the best in the entire series, and watching him go from villain to anti-hero, and then to a full-fledged hero, is incredibly rewarding.
While he is undoubtedly one of the strongest Dragon Ball characters, and his dedication to getting stronger to defend his world is admirable, it is his climb to redemption that truly endeared him to so many fans.
It can be rare to find such a fleshed-out and well-written character arch like this, and that alone makes him one of the best and most memorable characters in the Dragon Ball franchise.
The Dragon Ball anime series is one of the most successful and beloved in anime history.
Filled with some of the best characters to ever be created, this series is a gem that everyone should indulge in at least once.
While choosing the best characters is challenging given that there are so many, these 25 are Dragon Ball characters who stand out the most and resonate with viewers.
Here’s a quick recap of the 25 best Dragon Ball Z characters:
- Android 18
- Master Roshi
- Majin Buu
- Future Gohan
- Goku Black
- Android 17
- Tien Shinhan
If you enjoyed this article, check out some of our other anime lists:
- The 25 Best Bearded Anime Characters
- The 25 Best Bald Anime Characters
- The 25 Best Sci-Fi Anime Movies & Series
- The 25 Strongest Anime Characters
- The 25 Best Naruto Characters
- The 25 Best One Punch Man Characters
What’s the best Dragon Ball Z character, in your opinion? Leave a comment below.
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