Dragon Ball‘s antagonists frequently represent the most malevolent of forces from across the universe. Similar agendas that revolve around power, conquest, or destruction fuel these villains’ feuds, but there’s a good deal of variety that’s present among these tyrants.
Some Dragon Ball villains are absolutely wicked and beyond redemption. However, there are also several Dragon Ball foes who are hard not to love or at least root for subconsciously on some level.
Updated on February 23rd, 2023 by Daniel Kurland:Dragon Ball works hard to deliver creative and layered villains who have far more to offer than pure brute strength. Dragon Ball’s villains cover a broad spectrum and some of these enemies are undeniable nightmare fuel, while others could actually be considered fun in the right circumstances. It’s hard to consider anyone likable when galactic destruction is on their agenda, but these are the Dragon Ball villains who are the hardest to hate.
15 Gamma 1 & 2 (Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero)
Androids have remained a constant throughout the Dragon Ball franchise, and the latest feature film adventure, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero introduces Androids of unprecedented power, Gamma 1 and Gamma 2. Created by Red Ribbon’s Dr. Hedo, these two proficient Androids operate under the auspices of being superheroes.
This entitled sense of justice turns them into complicated threats who powerfully put both Gohan and Piccolo in a difficult spot. Gamma 2 makes the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good, but Gamma 1 and Dr. Hedo both defect to Capsule Corps. They likely have a bright future ahead of themselves, this time truly as heroes.
14 Jiren (Dragon Ball Super)
Dangerous martial art competitions are regular occurrences in Dragon Ball, but Dragon Ball Super considerably increases the stakes with its multiversal battle royale, the Tournament of Power. Each universe assembles its strongest fighters to compete for its continued existence. Goku and the rest of Universe 7 largely dominate the proceedings, but Jiren from Universe 11 quickly emerges as their biggest competition.
Jiren is an honorable member of the Pride Troopers, and his desire to win is built on a foundation of protection rather than hatred. Jiren is a stoic warrior who remains a cryptic character, but his pure motivations make him a juggernaut who’s easy to like.
13 Pikkon (Dragon Ball Z)
Pikkon emerges as the strongest fighter from the west quadrant of the galaxy who fights against Goku in the Other World Tournament, a competition between the universe’s fallen fighters. Pikkon is far from evil, but he does take up the role of a villain during Goku’s mission to win this competition and make King Kai proud.
Pikkon originates from anime-exclusive filler, but he’s found enough popularity as a powerful adversary that he returns in the feature film, Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn as well as multiple video game appearances. Fans were even disappointed when Pikkon didn’t get recruited for Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power.
12 The Para Para Brothers (Dragon Ball GT)
Dragon Ball GT was initially viewed as a controversial sequel series, but more audiences have recently come round to it and reappraised its weirdness. Dragon Ball GT‘s earliest episodes recreate the light-hearted silliness of the original Dragon Ball, and the Para Para Brothers certainly fit the bill. Bon Para, Don Para, and Son Para are three devout members of the cult of Luud who weaponize a hypnotic rhythm.
Goku, Pan, and Trunks underestimate this trio and get captivated by their Para Para Boogie. That being said, these are small-scale villains, and their desire to be seen and celebrated, much like the Ginyu Force, turns them into strangely sympathetic figures.
11 Ninja Murasaki (Dragon Ball)
The Red Ribbon Army releases relentless forces in their pursuit of the Dragon Balls and Goku’s defeat. Ninja Murasaki is a sword-wielding samurai who watches over Muscle Tower. Ninja Murasaki is deadly, but Dragon Ball frequently presents him as the clumsy brunt of many jokes.
Ninja Murasaki may come across as intimidating to an outsider, but he meets his end at the hands of a young Goku and is the more terrified one during their altercations. Ninja Murasaki is hardly a victim, and he deserves the punishment that he receives, but he definitely gets in over his head and he feels more like an overwhelmed mischiefmaker than a villain.
10 Monster Carrot (Dragon Ball)
Monster Carrot is an early Dragon Ball antagonist who better represents the more comedic impulses that were present when Toriyama’s shonen series started. Monster Carrot’s appearance in Dragon Ball is quite minimal in the grander scheme of things, but he’s still a villain who remains popular to this day.
Monster Carrot is a giant anthropomorphic rabbit who can turn individuals into carrots, courtesy of his Magic Touch. Monster Carrot and his Rabbit Gang have strength in numbers and any transformation power is reasonable cause for concern. However, there’s an adorable charm to Monster Carrot and his evil ways come across more like mischief than felonies.
9 The Ginyu Force (Dragon Ball Z)
Frieza has slowly learned that if he wants something done right then he needs to take care of it himself. But for years, the evil tyrant has used a prestigious mercenary team called the Ginyu Force to solve his problems. Made up of five members, the Ginyu Force nearly executes Gohan, Krillin, and Vegeta on Planet Namek before Goku arrives.
The Ginyu Force’s strength and unique skills make them intimidating. However, this top-tier team has a passion for stylish poses and silly battle theatrics. It’s hard to not fall in love with the Ginyu Force’s performative aspects and recognize that they might want to be performers more than they do mercenaries.
8 Champa (Dragon Ball Super)
Dragon Ball continues to gradually expand its boundaries, and it’s reached a point where there’s now a whole multiverse of deities to take into consideration. Understandably, most Gods of Destruction look like terrifying tyrants even before they step into the battlefield and show off what they can do.
Universe 6’s God of Destruction, Champa, is Beerus’ twin brother. The biggest difference between the two of them is Champa’s rotund size. Beerus and Champa both love to squabble, indulge in junk food and sleep, and try to claim praise for their work without actually doing anything. The imposter syndrome that surrounds Champa makes him strangely relatable and the audience.
7 Pilaf (Dragon Ball)
Pilaf and his support team of Shu and Mai are some of the first true villains that Goku goes up against in the original Dragon Ball. Since they’re seen so consistently across different Dragon Ball series, they’ve become an unexpected constant across the franchise.
Pilaf’s failed attempt to become king of the world with the Dragon Balls begins his clumsy descent into becoming a supporting player. Pilaf was oddly entertaining and endearing, even during his villainous days, but he’s even easier to commiserate with once he’s made a kid once more and decides to help out the heroes instead of antagonizing them.
6 Android 16 (Dragon Ball Z)
Androids have been a problem ever since Goku’s initial takedown of the Red Ribbon Army in the original Dragon Ball. Dragon Ball‘s Androids continue to grow more impressive, and Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero brings forward Gamma 1 and 2 as peak mechanical perfection.
Gamma 1 redeems himself by the end of the movie, but the character’s whole arc feels reminiscent of Dragon Ball Z‘s Android 16’s. Android 16 lacks the killer instinct that’s present in Dr. Gero’s other Androids. Not only does Android 16 help Gohan appreciate the beauty of life’s simple pleasures, but it’s 16’s tragic destruction that pushes him to Super Saiyan 2 status.
5 Hit (Dragon Ball Super)
Dragon Ball loves to cast characters in shades of gray rather than individuals who are purely good or evil. Hit, a prolific assassin from Universe 6, is introduced as an opponent for Universe 7 during the multiversal Tournament of Destroyers. Hit fights against Goku and Vegeta because it’s what’s dictated to him, but he has no actual animosity for these Saiyans or their universe.
Hit has been faced on several occasions and there’s plenty of respect that’s directed toward the time-skipping mercenary. Hit has quickly become a fan-favorite character because of his strict code of ethics, his cool stoic demeanor, and the powerful techniques that he wields.
4 Lucifer (Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess In Devil’s Castle)
The Dragon Ball movie, Sleeping Princess in Devil’s Castle, puts Goku and company up against a demon with vampiric qualities known as Lucifer. Lucifer’s goal is to harness a powerful jewel that will help him cast the world in perpetual moonlight and allow demons to freely roam the land.
A terrifying side of Lucifer presents itself by the movie’s end, and he’s ironically taken out by his own powerful laser cannon. However, there’s also a suave and softer side to Lucifer that’s present during the first half of the film. He’s even able to stoke the flames of Bulma’s heart and drive her smitten over his demure appearance.
3 Broly (Dragon Ball Super: Broly)
Broly, Dragon Ball‘s Legendary Super Saiyan, was a fan-favorite character for years thanks to his trilogy of movie appearances and heavyweight status in many Dragon Ball fighting games. Broly is strong, but there’s not much of a character there, which is why his canonical revision in Dragon Ball Super: Broly makes for such a satisfying improvement.
Broly makes subtle changes to Broly’s character, but they quickly turn him into an empathetic figure who’s more a victim of circumstance than an evil enemy. Fans were pleased when Broly survives the events of the film and finds himself on a path to redemption.
2 Granolah (Dragon Ball Super)
Granolah, the last surviving member of the Cerealian race, is currently exclusive to Dragon Ball Super‘s manga. Granolah has a score to settle with the Saiyans, and he’s so committed to his cause that he makes a volatile wish to become the strongest in the universe, but at the price of a significantly shorter lifespan.
Granolah represents unprecedented power that brings out Ultra Ego Vegeta, but he soon realizes that he’s been manipulated by the Heeter Force and chooses to help Goku and Vegeta out in their fight against Gas. There’s still more on the way for Granolah, and he’ll hopefully be involved in the takedown of Black Frieza.
1 Majin Buu (Dragon Ball Z)
The rehabilitation of major villains has become a comforting tradition in Dragon Ball, and some of the series’ strongest characters like Piccolo, Vegeta, and Androids 17 and 18 initially started off as enemies. Majin Buu is an ancient evil who nearly destroys the universe before he’s ultimately defeated by Goku.
Kid Buu is Majin Buu’s strongest, final state, but the villain cycles through multiple transformations that manifest as independent characters. “Good Buu” helps the heroes fight against his wicked counterparts, and he becomes a sweet friend for Mr. Satan. Buu’s temper still occasionally gets the better of him, but his sweet shenanigans are a consistent source of levity.