5 Dragon Ball characters who were always underdogs (& 5 who were overhyped)

Krillin flying around happy (Image credit: Akira Toriyama/Shueisha, Viz Media, Dragon Ball Z)
Krillin flying around happy (Image credit: Akira Toriyama/Shueisha, Viz Media, Dragon Ball Z)

Dragon Ball’s world is filled with powerful characters bestowed with incredible abilities. While some are able to destroy entire worlds with a single finger, others can defeat a planet’s whole army alone.

But under the surface of these flashy characters, there has always been a select few who stand out. Despite not being the most powerful, these characters always give their all in a fight. In this list, we look at 5 such characters from Dragon Ball, who were underdogs, and also list 5 others who were overhyped.

Disclaimer: This list is based upon the author's opinion and follows no particular order. It contains spoilers for Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super.


Characters in the Dragon Ball roster who are underdogs

1) Krillin

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One of the strongest men on earth, Krillin is a loyal friend to Goku. Introduced to us as a rival to our Saiyan, Krillin quickly became a fan favorite with his bravery and martial arts skills.

But as the years went on, he started to become overshadowed by the enormity of the characters around him. Krillin went from being a frontline fighter to a side character during most fights. But that does not mean he is not able to pull his weight when needed.

During most fights, Krillin puts his life on the line to save the planet, even if he knows there is no possibility of victory. And it is especially during those moments that he reminds us of his strength and unwavering loyalty, making him a fan-favorite.


2) Tien Shinhan

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Another one of Goku’s early rivals and friends, Tien Shinhan was a great fighter during Dragon Ball, even being able to defeat Goku during their first fight. But as Goku started to become stronger, and more serious threats attacked the Earth, Tien’s contributions to the team became scarcer.

However, even that never made him back down from a fight, as was proven during the Saiyan’s invasion, where he was one of the bravest warriors.

Mention must also be made here of his incredible display of power against Cell’s Semi-perfect form. He may not be the most powerful, but one can count on him to be there when needed.


3) Master Roshi

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Master Roshi used to be the most powerful human alive, for centuries. His strength was legendary, and his training methods, while unconventional, were effective in turning Goku and Krillin into strong and powerful warriors. But after a while he was left behind.

He rarely participated in fights and was often just a spectator of the action. But Master Roshi never shied away when it came to reminding us why he was one of the best martial artists in the world. He was even able to gain the respect of Beerus during the Tournament of Power.


4) Piccolo

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Piccolo was the strongest opponent Goku had to face during Dragon Ball. His incredible strength and other-worldly abilities were enough to overwhelm the Saiyan during their first fight.

He was one of the fiercest warriors, even during Dragon Ball Z’s beginnings. Unfortunately, he was also a victim of the power crept that Goku’s new villains created. But Piccolo has never been one to stop fighting for the world.

Even when he is not as strong as the Saiyans, he is always training to get better. He may not be one of the top fighters on Earth, but he is surely one of the fighters with the most spirit.


5) Vegeta

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There is no bigger underdog in Dragon Ball than Vegeta, who is always considered second best, living under Goku’s shadow. After his fight with the Z warriors on Earth, Vegeta was not able to keep up with Goku’s constant increase in power, relegating him to a secondary position on the team.

However, Vegeta is one of the most dedicated fighters of them all, and his conviction to become stronger and protect the people he loves, makes him a powerful and fierce warrior.


5 characters who have been overhyped in Dragon Ball history?

1) Broly

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Broly was one of the most popular characters inside Dragon Ball’s universe before we were introduced to his new version in Dragon Ball Super. His massive power and cocky attitude made him an instant hit with the fans.

But he was not really that great. His sequel movies were not good, and after his first time fighting the Z warriors, he became increasingly weaker with every new appearance. The implication that his hatred for Goku came from the child’s cries, made his motivation a little underwhelming.


2) Beerus

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The God of Destruction of universe 7, Beerus was hyped by fans since his introduction during Dragon Ball Super. Beerus has always been implied to be one of the most powerful beings in the universe, but we have not seen enough of him yet.

He is held in such high regard that most fans consider him to be an invincible adversary for Goku and Vegeta at the moment. While that may be true as of now, it can be argued, that despite his strength, he is one of those opponents that Goku and Vegeta will surpass in future.


3) Perfect Cell

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Cell was an interesting villain with an origin that left viewers intrigued. His first and second forms were so strong that our heroes needed to train for years inside the Hyperbolic Time Chamber to be able to defeat him.

But after he became perfect, his character started to become a little dull. His motivation went from trying to become perfect, to simply showing the world how perfect and powerful he was. And in the end, it was this hubris that led to his downfall.


4) Gohan

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Despite being a great character, Gohan was unfortunately a victim of overhyping. After his transformation into a Super Saiyan 2 during the Cell Games, and his Ultimate form during the fight with Buu, he became the character with the most expectations pinned on him.

Fans expected him to be the next Goku, to defeat any opponent, and train day and night to become the strongest. But Gohan never really took to that life.

When he was introduced back in Dragon Ball Super, fans were enraged by his lack of power. Gohan, however, was just trying to be happy, and it was the fans' own expectations that left them disappointed.


5) Vegito

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Goku and Vegeta's most powerful fusion, Vegito is able to maintain his power level to the maximum, thanks to the Potara earrings. He has always been hyped to be one of the unbeatable fighters in the series.

But even with that kind of power at his disposal, he has never been able to defeat an enemy. Against Buu, his own plan backfired, making him defuse into Goku and Vegeta again. And during Dragon Ball Super, his overconfidence made him miss the perfect opportunity to defeat Zamasu.


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