Dragon Ball Villains

Dragon Ball Villains

(pop culture)
Akira Toriyama's popular long-running manga (Japanese comics series) Dragon Ball (1984–1995) was a loose adaptation of the classic Chinese tale Journey to the West (titled Saiyuki in Japan). It was not only a phenomenal success in Japan, but was just as popular in America. The anime (Japanese animation) itself was first aired on syndicated television in the United States in the early 1990s before moving to the Cartoon Network, where it runs as of 2006. Toriyama added a strong dose of science fiction and superhero action influenced by American comics. There was also a great deal of destruction from epic battles fought by the characters on Earth and across the universe. Dragon Ball's hero, Goku, was one of the last survivors of an alien race known as Saiyans, and over the run of the manga—and the anime series adapted from it, which was renamed Dragon Ball Z when Goku reached adulthood—he and his allies faced many villains. Toriyama created an amazing variety of characters, each unique in his or her own way, to fill the roles of villains in Dragon Ball. To give a complete overview of every major villain in Dragon Ball would require many volumes that would rival the Encyclopedia Britannica. However, there are villains whose actions had major consequences on Dragon Ball's characters. Raditz was the first major villain introduced in the first episode of Dragon Ball Z, “The Arrival of Raditz” (the original Japanese title “A Sheltered Boy: My Name Is Gohan”). He is Goku's brother, a Saiyan … and he wasn't too happy when his brother refused to join him in conquering the universe. Raditz has superstrength and speed, and like all Saiyans, has the ability to turn into a giant ape-like beast in the light of a full moon. In the battle that followed—which lasted several episodes—Raditz was defeated, but at the cost of Goku's life. These events marked the beginning of the “Saipan Saga,” which involved Goku's death, his entrance into the afterlife to further hone his fighting skills, and his resurrection in the world of the living. Vegeta is another Saiyan who traveled to Earth with his partner Nappa to face off against Goku following a final message broadcast by Raditz. Along the way, the two carved a swath of destruction (destroying the entire planet Arlia, for instance) and engaged in a fierce battle with Goku's allies on Earth. In a no-holds-barred match, Goku and his son Gohan defeated Vegeta, who escaped. Later in the series, Vegeta would become an ally of Goku, but still held within his heart a desire to defeat Goku in combat. Vegeta would eventually marry Bulma, Goku's traveling partner during his teen years, and they would have two children, Trunks and Bra. Trunks would become a key character in Dragon Ball Z, or rather, his older self from the future, called Future Trunks. He was responsible for defeating perhaps the most important villain in Dragon Ball Z: Frieza. Introduced during the “Super Saiyan Saga,” Frieza is a powerful alien who can take various forms to engage in combat. He nearly wiped out the entire Saiyan race and their home planet, as well as many other worlds across the universe. He also killed Krillin, Goku's close friend, which triggered Goku's transformation into the “Super Saiyan” form. Goku defeated Frieza, literally blowing him to bits, but Frieza's father rebuilt him and, together, both headed to Earth to take revenge on Goku and wipe out the Earth as well. Frieza and his father were stopped by Future Trunks, who arrived and defeated them with ease. Frieza was dispatched by Trunks quite efficiently: not only did Trunks slice the villain into tiny pieces with his sword, but he incinerated them with an energy blast for good measure.