The Top 10 Most Popular Dragon Ball & Dragon Ball Z Characters, Ranked By MyAnimeList

With news that the movie, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero will release in the U.S. on August 19th, 2022, series fans are itching to see what new and exciting adventures their favorite characters will embark upon in the newest movie installment.

With Piccolo leaked to be gaining another form, his popularity and fan outreach are expected to skyrocket higher than ever before, however, the myriad of other popular characters throughout Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z will not be easily outdone as they sport an impressive fan following themselves.

10 Android 18

A former human named Lazuli, Android 18, as well as her twin brother Android 17, were created by Dr. Gero the head scientist of the former Red Ribbon Army, to find and kill Goku who defeated Gero during the events of Dragon Ball. After being shown kindness by Krillin and the eventual destruction of the android Cell, Android 18 married Krillin and the two went on to have a daughter, Marron.

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When Android 18 was first introduced, she quickly took the Dragon Ball fandom by storm with her quick and brutal defeat of many of the Z-Fighters and causing a permanent injury to Vegeta. After the Cell Saga, though 18 takes a backseat to more mainline characters, she occasionally resurfaces to remind enemies why she was such a feared fighter, even defeating a formidable enemy in the Universal Fighting tournament in Dragon Ball Super.

9 Krillin

Introduced in the Dragon Ball manga, Krillin was originally a martial arts rival of Goku with the two constantly butting heads. However, after Krillin and Goku both begin their training under Master Roshi, Krillin and Goku became fast friends. Though Krillin often acts lecherously, Krillin has always been someone Goku could depend on.

Though Krillin is often quickly defeated by most villains after the Freeza saga, he has shown on multiple occasions that he is more than willing to take a beating, and even face death to protect his friends and those he cares for. Though misguided, Krillin even chose to not kill Android 18 as he had fallen in love with her, even when it meant almost certain death for Earth.

8 Master Roshi

Master Roshi, also known as the Turtle Hermit, is the martial arts master of Goku and Krillin. While his fighting skills are exceptional when compared to most humans, Roshi quickly becomes outclassed by most of Dragon Ball Z’s enemies and instead serves as a comical pop-up character whenever Goku and the Z-Fighters gather to discuss present threats.

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Master Roshi’s main contribution to the Dragon Ball series is his early martial arts training of Goku, and teaching Goku the most memorable attack in Dragon Ball and potentially all of anime, The Kamehameha Wave. Roshi teaching Goku this legendary attack has also led him to become regarded as one of the most famous and popular Sensei’s in all of anime.

7 Bulma

Bulma, introduced in Dragon Ball, travels alongside a Young Goku as the best duo in Dragon Ball in their search for the mythical Dragon Balls so that Bulma could wish for her perfect boyfriend. Bulma is a genius inventor and the heiress to Capsule Corp., a world-renowned tech and invention company, who often reveals inventions to solve crises she and her companions find themselves in.

During Dragon Ball, as the first person Goku encounters, the interactions between Bulma and the hilariously naïve Goku went on to become some of the funniest moments in the Dragon Ball franchise. While Bulma focuses primarily on raising her son Trunks during Dragon Ball Z, without the aid of her inventions, the Z-Fighters would never have formed, to begin with. There is no Dragon Ball without Bulma.

6 Freeza

Freeza is an alien overlord who conquered and destroyed many planets through his subjugation and usage of the powerful alien race, the Saiyans. Freeza encounters Goku and the Z-Fighters on Planet Namek when Freeza intended to locate and use Namek’s Dragon Balls to grant him more power, as the Dragon Balls of Earth would not suffice.

Freeza is one of the best villains in all of Dragon Ball as all previous villains, such as Vegeta and Raditz, were under his command. Freeza also left his mark on anime history with his fight against Goku after the Freeza Saga which stands decades later as the longest fight in anime history at 4 hours and 13 minutes long.

5 Piccolo


In the reincarnation of Demon King Piccolo, Piccolo harbors hatred against Goku for his previous defeat and death in Dragon Ball, vowing to kill Goku once he is reincarnated. However, when faced with the threat of the Saiyans traveling to earth revealed by Goku’s older brother Raditz, Piccolo begrudgingly allies with Goku and the Z Fighters in their attempt to fight the Saiyans.

Though Piccolo had no obligation to protect Gohan, and even less to train him, Piccolo still takes a significant amount of time to watch over Gohan’s growth in place of the dead Goku. Though his training was rough, Piccolo has become a well-respected character in Dragon Ball for becoming more of a father to Gohan than Goku ever was, which continued long after Goku was revived and returned to his family.

4 Future Trunks

Coming from a future where Goku dies from heart disease and the world is subsequently destroyed by Androids 17 and 18, Trunks uses a time machine developed by Capsule Corp. to travel into the past to cure Goku’s disease and save the world. However, Trunks soon learns that his meddling with time can have drastic unforeseen circumstances.

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Future Trunk’s introduction into the series, with his flawless and near-instantaneous destruction of the revived Freeza and his father, King Cold, instantly elevated Trunks to the heights of the series’ popularity. Revealed to be the son of Vegeta, Trunks also sports an impressive drive to become stronger which leads him to participate in many large and exciting battles against the Androids and Cell.

3 Son Gohan

Son Gohan is the son of Son Goku, the main character of the Dragon Ball Franchise. Gohan, as a half Human-half Saiyan, has a childhood that constantly switches between the wishes of his mother Chichi, and his father. Though initially a delicate child, after Goku’s death Gohan trains under Piccolo and soon becomes exceptionally strong due to his Saiyan heritage.

As Gohan at one point was meant to take over as the series lead, during the Cell Saga, Gohan is shown to have exceptional growth potential, becoming the youngest to achieve Super Saiyan at age 9, and the first character to achieve Super Saiyan 2 even before Goku and Vegeta. Teen Gohan’s utter shutdown of Perfect Cell has become known as one of the best fights in the Dragon Ball Franchise.

2 Vegeta

The Crowned Prince of Saiyans, Vegeta is an extremely proud and even more arrogant Saiyan whose confidence is only matched by his strength. Though initially a deadly antagonist to Goku, after the defeat of Freeza, Vegeta decides to stay on Earth where he openly mocks Goku (Kakarot) in one of anime’s best rivalries but just as often puts his life on the line fighting alongside the Z-Fighters.

While Vegeta is highly arrogant and egotistical, he is arguably a more relatable character than Goku. Unlike Goku, who seems to unlock a new power whenever he is in a pinch, Vegeta has shown himself to be an unimaginably hard-working character. He gained sympathy for his unrelenting work ethic and pushed his body to the brink of death in his single-minded pursuit of strength.

1 Son Goku

The protagonist of the Dragon Ball Universe, Son Goku is a kind-hearted and simple-minded guy who enjoys a good fight but enjoys a large meal even more. With his incredible strength and sense of duty to protect his family, friends, and the weak, Goku constantly puts himself at the forefront of the fighting in the hopes he can deal with any threat that comes his way.

Goku has been a household name for decades and the often asked question of what heroes could potentially defeat Goku and vice-versa has been a popular topic among anime and cartoon lovers alike. Goku’s popularity has become so great he is instantly recognizable by even those who have never watched the series, and his popularity has carried the Dragon ball series for literal decades.

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Author: Jose Munoz