Oh, Vegeta…Vegeta. Not only is Vegeta one of the most powerful characters in Dragon Ball Z (second only to Goku that is), he is also a borderline anti-hero who sometimes yearns for causes that are not so noble. He is the Prince of all Saiyans, even though his race died a long time ago! Vegeta is tough, rude, sadistic, and immensely powerful. He is the proud father of Trunks and Bulla, and a faithful husband to Bulma…wait this doesn’t sound so evil now. Let’s set things straight.
At first, Vegeta was evil, but now he’s closer to a father who is still trying to convince his child that he’s still cool. Since Vegeta’s introduction into Akira Toriyama’s masterpiece, he struggles with surpassing Goku in strength and with protecting the Earth from the fiends that threaten to destroy the planet.
This article will discuss Vegeta’s evolution from a horrible villain to a cool hero that we all admire to this day. Hopefully everyone will see that Vegeta may be cruel but is a hero, nonetheless. I just hope he doesn’t read this.
Vegeta’s Tragic Past
Vegeta grew up on the Saiyan homeworld planet of… Planet Vegeta. Yes, he was named after the planet. Actually, the word, ‘vegeta,’ is derived from the English word ‘vegetable”. He is the first-born son (Tarble is the second) of King Vegeta, who is probably more ruthless and arrogant in nature. Vegeta grew up on Planet Vegeta and was raised and trained to be a vicious warrior. Early on, Vegeta met Frieza and hated him for the leash he had over the mighty Saiyan race. One day, Frieza destroyed the entire planet after most Saiyans, including Bardock (Goku’s father), revolted against Frieza’s tyrannical rule.
Frieza was scared of the Saiyans. He feared that the blood-thirsty warrior race will unlock their full potential and become Super Saiyans. In the end, Vegeta survived and became a part of Frieza’s crew. Vegeta grew up to be a cold-hearted warrior whose employer was the very creature who killed his entire race. I believe that is where we got the ruthless Vegeta. He only cared about killing Frieza and becoming the strongest in the Universe. It is amazing that in the end he became a softie.
Vegeta trained to become a formidable warrior and nothing else. His utter disregard for life and those who held it was at the minimum. This guy loved to kill. Now it’s going to be very interesting to see how this cold-hearted man becomes a good Saiyan. You’ll just have to keep reading.
He was Cold in the Saiyan Saga
At the start of Dragon Ball Z, Goku was seemingly relaxing with his first son, Gohan. Everything seemed to have been fine until some alien showed up. This man was Raditz (Yes, he’s named after the vegetable, radish), Goku’s older brother. Always up for a challenge, Goku took the man on and got pummeled, while his son was taken captive. Goku and Piccolo chased Raditz down and defeated him in a Pyrrhic victory that cost Goku his life. Before Raditz died, he mentioned that he sent a message to someone who was much stronger than he was. In the afterlife, Goku trained and mastered the Kai-o-ken technique. He thought he was ready to fight this man, but just like always, he wasn’t.
Vegeta came on to the scene like a boss. He didn’t even get a chance to fight the Z fighters, who all either succumbed to Nappa and the Saiyamen or were too weak to fight. Don’t get me wrong, Goku came back stronger, but Nappa was right, Vegeta was strong! He bested Goku at every turn and it took a full effort from Krillin and Gohan to defeat Vegeta. Although Goku was beaten to a pulp, Vegeta was impressed. He actually met another Saiyan who was just as strong as he was. Goku was impressed too, and probably let him get away because of that, even though Vegeta was responsible for the deaths of his friends. From this moment, Vegeta put Frieza on hold and forged a rivalry with Goku that would span the entire series and the sequel, Dragon Ball Super. He wasn’t a hero yet, but he would have to put his plans of destroying the Earth on hold until he could actually defeat Goku. Basically speaking, if Goku would have bored Vegeta, Earth would have gotten destroyed.
I’m not hyping up Vegeta as if he was much stronger than Goku, but Vegeta would have never seen a reason to side with Goku if Goku was less strong. So, the Earth was saved in the end, and the next time we see Vegeta, we actually get to see a glimpse of his true colors.
Vegeta Starts to Become an Ally
During the Frieza saga, Vegeta betrayed Frieza and started to hunt the Dragon Balls for himself in order to become the most powerful warrior in the universe. Of course, Frieza sent his men after him, and Vegeta defeated them both, but Vegeta’s ultimate test of character came when he had to protect Krillin and Gohan from the Ginyu Force. Say whatever you want, Vegeta could have killed Gohan and Krillin. They were distractions for him. Also, they knew more about the Dragon Balls than he did, so he could’ve set a trap and eliminated them both right then and there, but he didn’t. It was as if he formed a partnership with the Z fighters in order to defeat a common foe, Frieza. Even so, Vegeta was still cold, aloof, and downright cruel at times.
Once he finally got a chance to fight Frieza, he got embarrassed. On his deathbed, he finally let everyone know how he was ‘human’ down on the inside. He actually cried. After getting humiliated and beaten to death by Frieza, he let his feelings pour out about his past and how terrible it was. Of course, Goku goes on to defeat Frieza, and Vegeta even gets to see Goku in his Super Saiyan form, which amazes him. After the whole ordeal, Vegeta starts to actually digress from his evil ways just a bit. He doesn’t seem interested in killing the Z fighters anymore, and he even agrees to stay with Bulma! From here on out, Vegeta joins the Z fighters in protecting the Earth, even if he only does it to surpass Goku.
His character development is going to change drastically in the next saga.
The Married Warrior and Protector
Just in time for the Android saga, Bulma is shown with a baby that I thought was Yamcha’s. Who am I kidding? We all thought it was Yamcha’s. Then, suddenly, future Trunks told us that Vegeta and Bulma were his parents! Nothing else to say here. Vegeta actually got married and had a kid, all while achieving his Super Saiyan form. This was the only hint we needed to understand that Vegeta’s goals for dominating the universe were over and done. He had a family now, and by the looks of it he did get pretty soft, even though he remained distant from Bulma. Still, his relationship with Bulma didn’t seem like a marriage at all. They both looked like they didn’t like each other and only dealt with each other because of Trunks. No matter if they were unhappily married or had some type of one night stand, I knew one thing: Vegeta was starting to come around. He actually became a married man and a father. I see why Goku was surprised. Out of all people, it happened to the cold-hearted Prince of the Saiyans!
Furthermore, in his fight with the Androids, Vegeta actually surpassed Goku for a bit. I expected Vegeta to abstain from building a relationship with the Z fighters, especially women, so he could focus on his strength, but I was wrong. Although Vegeta did not defeat Cell, he became a crucial part of why Cell was defeated. In fact, if it wasn’t for his arrogance, he could have defeated Cell with ease. At this point, Vegeta wasn’t good, but he wasn’t bad either. With a wife and kids at home, Vegeta soon began to feel insecure about himself. Even he knew he was becoming one of the good guys, a hero if you will.
He Rebelled and then Became a Hero Again
During the Buu saga, Trunks is a big kid and Vegeta and Bulma finally look like a couple. Vegeta looks like the typical dad and finally has a wardrobe of his own. Yet, he feels disgusted with himself. Not only did Gohan take the glory from him by defeating Cell but Goku was out getting stronger while Vegeta was at home babysitting. I can imagine it was a bit tough for him to adapt to family life.
Don’t believe me? Well, imagine Madara Uchiha marrying Tsunade and having a few babies. Your mind would be blown. The truth is that Vegeta is ten times more evil than Madara on any given day, so I was very shocked at seeing Vegeta turn into a family man. However, this really didn’t last long. Disappointed in his earthly life, Vegeta gets transformed into Majin Vegeta on purpose in order to become evil again, much to the shock of everyone.
However, in one of the most character defining moments in Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta sacrifices himself to destroy Buu for the sake of Bulma, Trunks, and..excuse me, Kakarot. Definitely, this was a huge moment for Vegeta fans. He died for Bulma and Trunks. How sweet! At that point, Vegeta actually came to terms with his true nature and just left it at that. Although Vegeta would still be a jerk for the rest of the series and beyond, he became the anti-hero that got the Z fighters and Goku’s respect in the end. Just watch how he comes back after defeating Kid Buu. Priceless, just priceless. Now all is left to do is discuss how Vegeta became the cool hero.
In the events after Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta became more and more situated in his life on Earth. He even goes shopping with Bulma from time to time. Although it is a bit refreshing to see Vegeta settle down, I wondered if that would affect his abilities. We all know that Goku is as strong as he is because he is always training and refuses to settle down. All of the Z fighters eventually settle down, get families, and live normal lives. This isn’t the case for Vegeta. He is is still a Saiyan warrior and places nothing above his mission to surpass Goku.
Vegeta even defends his family’s honor on a regular basis, even from Beerus. In any case, none of this made Vegeta any weaker. He still is on par with Goku as the strongest character in the Dragon Ball series. If you don’t believe so, just search for Beerus on YouTube, or you can look at this. In Dragon Ball Super, Vegeta is as docile as it gets. While he is still scary to the Z fighters and bound to go into a deadly rampage at any time, he genuinely cares about his family, friends, and…excuse me, Kakarot. For me, Goku was always cool. Everyone loved him when I was growing up, but Vegeta is definitely my favorite character in the series because of everything I wrote in this article. I already know that Goku and the rest of the Z fighters are very fond of him too, even though he was responsible for most of their gruesome and painful deaths.
Well, that’s about it. Vegeta was introduced as the cruel and menacing Saiyan warrior, and now he is the series’ distinct, cool hero. Way to go, Vegeta. You now graduated from destroying planets to holding babies.
Don’t forget to read Mokugyo’s amazing trivia about the Prince of Saiyans:
Vegeta and Dragon Ball: A Few Trivia About the Prince of Saiyans