Top 10 Dragon Ball villains

Some of the classic, most well-known Dragon Ball villains. (Image via Twitter)
Some of the classic, most well-known Dragon Ball villains. (Image via Twitter)

One of the benefits of the Dragon Ball franchise being so expansive is that the villains are extremely varied. Nearly all villains have some unique characteristics, and all have their own positives and negatives with their character.

Yet the truly great villains of Dragon Ball aren’t just strong, but have great writing behind them. Most villain motivations in Dragon Ball are fairly weak, but it’s the mannerisms and attitudes of the villains which can make them, and their writing, truly great.

That being said, here are the top 10 Dragon Ball villains, all things considered.


Top 10 Dragon Ball villains that have set themselves apart from the rest

10) Raditz

Raditz seen holding Gohan in Dragon Ball Z's premuiere episode. (Image via Toei Animation)
Raditz seen holding Gohan in Dragon Ball Z's premuiere episode. (Image via Toei Animation)

Considering he was an introductory villain for the then-new Dragon Ball Z, Raditz did a fantastic job at fulfilling his role. His ruthlessness in both speech and action set the tone for future Dragon Ball Z villains, and the series as a whole.

In addition, his writing is genuinely exceptional as far as Dragon Ball villains go. Being Goku’s brother plays a large part in this, but even apart from that, Raditz is still a great villain who shows how high the stakes have been raised.


9) King Piccolo

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Much like Raditz set a new tone for villains in Dragon Ball Z and beyond, King Piccolo certainly broke the mold for the original Dragon Ball villains during his debut.

The backstory regarding his relationship to Mutaito, Roshi, and Crane works beautifully with the overall narrative of the original Dragon Ball. King Piccolo also set a new benchmark for villainous intent, with his overthrow of King Furry in a slow-roll attempt to take over the world.


8) Vegeta

Vegeta seen during his brief villain tenure in the Saiyan arc. (Image via Toei Animation)
Vegeta seen during his brief villain tenure in the Saiyan arc. (Image via Toei Animation)

Vegeta’s writing in his debut as a villain was nothing short of fantastic. He serves as the antithesis to Goku, not only showing no remorse for Nappa’s injuries but finishing Nappa off himself instead of trying to heal him.

Much like Raditz, Vegeta reinforces how much higher the stakes are in Dragon Ball Z, both in plot and overall tone of the series.


7) The Heeters

The Heeters as seen in promotional material for the Dragon Ball Super manga. (Image via Shueisha)
The Heeters as seen in promotional material for the Dragon Ball Super manga. (Image via Shueisha)

While their arc isn’t totally complete as of this writing, the Heeters are shaping up to be some of the more exceptional Dragon Ball villains. Leader Elec has proven himself time and time again to be extremely cunning and meticulous as a planner.

Gas has also shown himself to be a formidable warrior, especially after receiving his wish as seen in recent Dragon Ball Super chapters. While Maki and Oil are somewhat of a letdown, Gas and Elec truly make the Heeters shine.


6) Moro

A fan coloring of Moro. (Image via Twitter)
A fan coloring of Moro. (Image via Twitter)

Moro is a refreshing antagonist for Dragon Ball Super, as he’s arguably the first with truly malicious intent since the Future Trunks arc which starred various Zamasu’s as the antagonists.

While the final moments of the Moro arc are somewhat of a letdown which highlight the flaws in Goku’s character, Moro’s writing is in and of itself fantastic. The ravenous planet-eater with no regard for life served as a great foil for Goku during their arc, as well as giving Goku a good fight in the arc's final chapters.


5) Zamasu (all forms)

Fused Zamasu as seen in the Dragon Ball Super anime. (Image via Toei Animation)
Fused Zamasu as seen in the Dragon Ball Super anime. (Image via Toei Animation)

The various forms of Zamasu served as exceptionally great antagonists during Dragon Ball Super’s Future Trunks arc. The Zamasus were shown to be intelligent, ruthless, and powerful, a trifecta which even evades some antagonists on this list.

Until their introduction, Dragon Ball Super felt like a celebration of the core values of the franchise with no real stakes or plot. The appearance of Zamasu happily shook the status quo up, and left fans with one of the most memorable villains in the entire franchise.


4) Red Ribbon Army

The logo for the Red Ribbon army. (Image via Dragon Ball Wiki) Enter caption Jiren as seen in the Dragon Ball Super anime. (Image via Toei Animation)
The logo for the Red Ribbon army. (Image via Dragon Ball Wiki) Enter caption Jiren as seen in the Dragon Ball Super anime. (Image via Toei Animation)

The Red Ribbon Army as a whole has been such a pervasive force throughout the entire Dragon Ball franchise. From Goku’s childhood battles against the group to the upcoming Dragon Ball Super movie in which they return, the Red Ribbon Army has always served as a well written villainous entity.

While some of the army’s members and creations end up defecting to Goku and the Z Fighters, the core opposition always remains as a mysterious and intriguing force in the Dragon Ball franchise.


3) Jiren

Jiren as seen in the Dragon Ball Super anime. (Image via Toei Animation)
Jiren as seen in the Dragon Ball Super anime. (Image via Toei Animation)

Jiren is such an interesting entity to consider as a villainous antagonist. While not outwardly evil, Jiren certainly does have his villainous moments and undoubtedly stands in the way of Goku and friends during the Tournament of Power. Yet Jiren was, like Goku, just trying to fight to ensure his universe’s survival.

Regardless, Jiren did fall prey to villainy during the tournament’s final moments in an attempt to injure Goku’s friends. This moment of characterization does a great job of cementing him as a foil to Goku, whether he truly is a villain or just someone put into a tough spot.


2) Frieza

Golden Frieza as seen in Dragon Ball Super. (Image via Toei Animation)
Golden Frieza as seen in Dragon Ball Super. (Image via Toei Animation)

Frieza is arguably the first truly malicious Dragon Ball villain. Nearly every aspect of him is villainous, to the point where he thanks Goku for some life-saving energy by turning it into an attack at the retreating Saiyan’s back.

Combined with his genocide of the Saiyan race and self-proclaimed space tyrant status, Frieza stands the test of time as one of the best Dragon Ball villains ever.


1) Cell

From left to right, Cell's Imperfect, Semi-Perfect, and Perfect forms. (Image via Toei Animation)
From left to right, Cell's Imperfect, Semi-Perfect, and Perfect forms. (Image via Toei Animation)

However, Cell is very clearly the Dragon Ball villain who reigns supreme. While Cell’s initial goal was to defeat Goku, his attitudes and objectives changed as did his evolutionary stages. By the time he becomes Perfect Cell, Cell is a sadistic individual who values a good fight and nearly nothing else.

Cell is unique in that he’s arguably the only Dragon Ball villain who has no regard whatsoever for any life. Even Frieza is shown to value his own and the lives of some of his men, but Cell attempts to blow himself up along with the entire planet when his inevitable defeat is clear. As a result, Cell is without a doubt the best Dragon Ball villain.

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