This time, I’m looking at my five favorite characters from the Dragon Ball franchise. As usual, though, this is not a Top 5 list. Instead, my choices are being presented in alphabetical order.
Bulma is among the longest-running characters in the franchise, and she changes and evolves so much. While some of her behavior changes, one thing about her doesn’t: the fact that she’s an intelligent woman and is the one coming up with the technology and gadgets that the Z Fighters use during their adventures. Even though Dragon Ball is a shonen franchise, it’s always struck me from the first time I watched an episode of the series that a female was allowed to be intelligent. Sure, she’s also there for the sex appeal, but the intelligence is one of her most defining character traits.
When Bulma first appears in the Dragon Ball franchise, she’s still young. She was a boy crazy and slightly bossy high school student in the first series. In the beginning of Dragon Ball Z, Bulma is a young woman who has unfortunately evolved from being a boy crazy kid into a screechy young woman. But after becoming a mother later in Dragon Ball Z, Bulma seems to find a balance when it comes to her emotions. The maturity she gains later in the series helps to make up for some of her obnoxious behavior earlier on in the franchise.
How could Goku not make this list? He is the protagonist, after all!
Goku, of course, goes through so much evolution from the time we meet him at the beginning of Dragon Ball. He starts out as young and naïve, but he’s strong for a little guy. Through meeting Bulma, he learns how to interact with other people. And with the help of Master Roshi, young Goku learns how to hone his natural abilities. Even with all of his physical strength, Goku has a kind heart and cares about his friends.
In Dragon Ball Z, we see Goku evolve into a husband and father, although he seems to do a little better in the father role than the husband role (although maybe not by much). He learns that he’s from an alien race, but Goku remains the same person he’s always been since the start of the series. And even though Goku gets stronger and powers up through training, he’s considerate enough to make sure he and any opponent he fights are as far away from cities and other places where people are gathered in order to avoid accidentally killing or harming anyone not directly involved in a battle.
And who can forget Goku’s cluelessness and hefty appetite? LOL.
Kuririn (aka Krillin)
When we first meet Kuririn (aka Krillin) in Dragon Ball, he’s young and cocky. But as he gets to know Goku and comes to realize just how much stronger the other is, Kuririn’s cockiness diminishes. He becomes Goku’s best friend and loyal companion.
But after being knocked down a few pegs, Kuririn becomes timid, especially when he faces off against extremely strong adversaries. Kuririn has a good heart, and like Goku, is loyal to his friends. He also develops a kind of support role for Goku’s son, Gohan.
While Kuririn may not be as strong as most of the characters in the Dragon Ball franchise, he’s still an endearing character to the audience.
We first meet Trunks when “Future Trunks” comes from the future to help out Goku and the other Z Fighters. Right from his introduction, we could see that he had badass sword abilities. But beyond that, he seems to possess some of the best traits of both of his parents. He has strength, but he also possesses smarts.
While I also do like young Trunks, I admit that I prefer “Future Trunks.” Seeing young Trunks’ adventures lets the audience see how he will ultimately become like Future Trunks, but young Trunks just isn’t quite as cool as his future self.
While Vegeta is the anti-hero, he goes through quite the evolution to become one of the “good guys.” When the audience first meets Vegeta, he’s one of the ruthless Saiyan villains in Dragon Ball Z who comes to take over the Earth. At first, after being defeated by Goku, he’s still a villain… but he doesn’t seem to be quite as ruthless as when he was first introduced. As time goes on and Vegeta gets to know Bulma, we see Vegeta evolving more and more into an anti-hero. He’s not purposefully doing it, of course, but it’s something that evolves over time.
While Vegeta may never be quite be as chummy with the other Z Fighters as Goku, he still has a charm about him that helps him to kind of fit in with the group. And with his infamous scene in the Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods anime film, you can see just how much he’s changed as a character from when he was first introduced in the franchise.
Oh, and as a bonus… we can’t forget how Vegeta rocked a pink shirt.