Dragon Ball: 10 weak characters who progressively got stronger

A young Gohan cries during training with Piccolo (Image via Toei Animation)
A young Gohan cries during training with Piccolo (Image via Toei Animation)

Being a fighting series at its core, Dragon Ball is full of characters who become weaker or stronger, or more or less relevant as the series evolves. While the list of those who get weaker seems to be never-ending, there are some characters who regain relevancy and strength as the series goes on.

Certain characters even go through fluctuations of strength and relevancy throughout the franchise. Gohan is one of the best examples of this, having great variety in his strength and relevance throughout the franchise.

Here are 10 weak characters who progressively got stronger in Dragon Ball.


These 10 characters were weak and irrelevant at one point, but become stronger as Dragon Ball went on

1) Gohan

Gohan as seen in Dragon Ball Super's Tournament of Power arc (Image via Toei Animation)
Gohan as seen in Dragon Ball Super's Tournament of Power arc (Image via Toei Animation)

Gohan’s journey of strength and relevancy through Dragon Ball is indeed unique and perplexing. Gohan starts out as a young half-Saiyan child who clearly has tons of potential. As a teenager, Gohan rises to the challenge by becoming the first Super Saiyan 2.

However, after this, Gohan stops training and becomes incredibly weak by the time Dragon Ball Super begins. Thankfully, he somewhat returns to form for the Tournament of Power.


2) Frieza

Frieza seen using his Golden Frieza powerup in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)
Frieza seen using his Golden Frieza powerup in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)

Frieza’s power became irrelevant as the Dragon Ball franchise went on and more and more Super Saiyan transformations and Super Saiyans became known. By giving him the Golden Frieza powerup as seen in Dragon Ball Super, he’s able to regain his strength and relevancy to the point he’s in the Tournament of Power.


3) Cell

Cell's perfect form as seen in Dragon Ball Z (Image via Toei Animation)
Cell's perfect form as seen in Dragon Ball Z (Image via Toei Animation)

Cell’s evolutionary journey is quite literally him starting out weak and becoming one of the strongest organisms in Dragon Ball. As Imperfect Cell, he nearly lost to a Super Namekian Piccolo whereas he was able to beat Goku in his perfect form. Cell is arguably the poster child for weak Dragon Ball characters who have progressively gotten stronger.


4) Android 17 and 18

Androids 17 and 18 as seen in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)
Androids 17 and 18 as seen in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)

Android 17 and 18’s strength is somewhat consistent throughout Dragon Ball, but their relevance certainly fluctuates. Before Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power arc, the two were an afterthought from the Cell saga in terms of how strong they were and their fighting capabilities. The Tournament of Power allowed the two to shine and come right back into the spotlight.


5) Krillin

Krillin as seen in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)
Krillin as seen in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)

Krillin is interesting, as he’s arguably the strongest pure human Dragon Ball has to offer but still falls to the wayside in terms of relevance. Unfortunately, Krillin has no Super Saiyan equivalent as a human and just can’t reach the heights other Z fighters and Dragon Ball characters can. However, his relevance shines in the Tournament of Power arc when he’s able to beat Goku in a sparring match under tournament-style rules.


6) Roshi

Master Roshi as seen in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)
Master Roshi as seen in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)

Like Krillin, Roshi is an exceptionally strong human being who unfortunately just can’t keep up with other Dragon Ball characters. Also similar to Krillin, Roshi does get a chance to show what he’s got in the Tournament of Power arc, where his strengths and relevancy shine. In particular, Roshi’s battle IQ and mastery of technique are prominently displayed in the Tournament of Power.


7) Goku

Goku as seen in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)
Goku as seen in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)

Goku's entire journey from Dragon Ball’s first episode to the latest Dragon Ball Super manga chapter has been all about becoming stronger. As a child, Goku needed to rely on the Flying Nimbus and Power Pole as support items because he didn’t have the strength to fight without them. By the time Dragon Ball Z starts, both items are essentially irrelevant. Goku’s journey is truly emblematic of becoming stronger throughout the franchise.


8) Majin Buu

Majin Buu as seen in Dragon Ball Z (Image via Toei Animation)
Majin Buu as seen in Dragon Ball Z (Image via Toei Animation)

While Majin Buu’s strength seems somewhat irrelevant after Evil Buu defeats him, Majin Buu does become more relevant in Dragon Ball Super. The pink menace does train for the Tournament of Power and receives the seal of approval from other team members. Clearly, he’s strong and relevant enough to be a force in the franchise’s future.


9) Tien Shinhan

Tien Shinhan as seen in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)
Tien Shinhan as seen in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)

Tien Shinhan was shockingly still relevant through the Semi-Perfect Cell saga of Dragon Ball Z. He was able to keep Semi-Perfect Cell held down in place via the Tri-Beam, certainly an accomplishment. While Tien doesn’t make any incredibly relevant contributions after this, he is still an exceptional fighter who trains others once the Tournament of Power rolls around. His contributions to the Tournament of Power solidify his return to relevancy.


10) Granolah

Granolah's colored design (Image via Shueisha Shonen Jump)
Granolah's colored design (Image via Shueisha Shonen Jump)

Granolah’s journey to attaining strength is incredibly interesting and unique, if only for its suddenness. Granolah used the Dragon Balls to wish himself the strongest in Universe 7, granting him access to unique abilities like Instant Transmission as a result. While he took somewhat of a shortcut, Granolah nevertheless had a journey from being weak to incredibly strong.

Note: The article reflects the views of the writer.