Vegeta is the Best DBZ Character – Yeah, I’m Going There
I am going to stand by this statement, Vegeta is the best DBZ character. He has had the most development as a Dragon Ball Z character and has gone through the most radical changes. I am not going to be discussing the original Dragon Ball series, except where characters introduced there still exist in Dragon Ball Z. I am also not going to be discussing Dragon Ball GT (arguably a crappy sequel, thankfully not canon) or Dragon Ball Super (a worthy successor to DBZ).
Vegeta, oh man, what a character. He begins his story as a villain and is easily the most powerful character that we get to see Goku go up against at that time. Vegeta is the superior fighter of the two Saiyans, but is eventually defeated due to Goku’s keen fighting instinct and his willingness to take chances to win the fight.
Due to his defeat at the hands of Goku, Vegeta becomes obsessed with him. Vegeta realizes that although he is powerful and has the latent ability to ascend to new heights, he has become complacent. He uses his loss as fuel to reach new power levels and learn new techniques.
He’s a Prince!
Vegeta is one of the few characters in the DBZ story that can lay claim to a royal bloodline. He was destined to rule the planet Vegeta once his father, King Vegeta gave up the throne. He claims the title, “Prince of all Saiyans,” multiple times throughout the Dragon Ball Z anime and movies. It is a bit of an empty title due to the small amount of Saiyans that survived Frieza’s wrath and the destruction of Planet Vegeta.
Despite this title being a bit empty, it is taken seriously by Vegeta. Other characters do tend to casually throw it around in jest, but at times there is a real level of respect given.
Vegeta uses his title as a way to boost his power level during battles. He is deeply angered when he feels disrespected, especially when his heritage is being attacked. This creates a need in him to show just how serious this title is and how powerful he can be.
Vegeta Has Unlimited Latent Potential
Due to his bloodline, Vegeta has unlimited potential for power. His father, King Vegeta, was one of the strongest Saiyans in existence at the time, ruling Planet Vegeta with and iron fist. Along with his bloodline, he is a skilled fighter and tactician. He has learned and mastered fighting techniques that are unequaled.
Being a Saiyan, his body gets stronger with every fight. When he is near death and survives and heals, his power level increases dramatically. This ability is a trait of the Saiyan race called Zenkai. It is responsible for unleashing a larger power level in Goku and other Saiyans and half-Saiyans along with Vegeta.
Vegeta’s body also learns his opponents techniques as well. So, Vegeta can strategize against a technique once he understands it and his body will help him by automatically reacting in a way that nullifies the attack.
Anger is a key component for a Saiyan to increase their power. Vegeta is an extremely angry individual. He has a lot of reasons to be angry. Everything in his life has turned out drastically different than what he thought it was going to be when Frieza recruited him and sent him on missions to conquer planets. Vegeta holds on to his rage and uses it as a well of unlimited rejuvenation for his fighting power. At times, his anger pushes him to be stronger than Goku.
Attitude is Everything
Vegeta is an extremely confident person. He is so confident that even when he knows that he may be outmatched, he still pursues the fight. This may be considered brash and arrogant behavior, and it is, but it also shows the resolve of a man who is unwilling to give up.
He is unwilling to forget the wrongs that have been done against him. So, throughout the series, he acts like a jerk to just about everyone. Some people are able to see through this facade and appreciate the real Vegeta. In the end, the only person that he is really holding a grudge against is Goku. His defeat at Goku’s hands keeps him in a bittersweet rivalry that pushes both fighters to new heights.
Because Vegeta holds a level of contempt for everyone else, he is able to separate his feelings from his duty. He has a duty to uphold his Saiyan Pride and restore the honor of his family. He feels that to do this, he must prove himself in combat and be victorious against every enemy. If he can defeat his enemies, then he can hold his head high and feel the pride that he needs to validate his life.
He’s a Family Man
This is the truth. Vegeta is a family man. It is a bit hard to believe because of his past crimes against the populations of many planets, but Vegeta cares deeply about his family. Some of this may be because of the pride involved in being the head of his household, thus vicariously retaining some glory of his title.
Vegeta is a hard man, like his father. He has a softer side, one we do not see much of in the anime. It has to be there because he made an equally difficult woman his wife. Bulma, Goku’s oldest friend, is an unstoppable force in her own right. She is not only outspoken, critical, easily angered and quick to violence in her own right, she is a brilliant scientist, well-spoken, intelligent to a near immeasurable degree and determined to achieve her goals. It is hard to believe that two equally dominating personalities can find a path that leads to a strong partnership, but this is what happens.
When Vegeta is about to fight Majin Buu, we get to see a side that has not been shown in the anime before. Vegeta had been partially taken over by the sorcerer Babidi. He was freed from the sorcerer’s mind control when Majin Buu killed Babidi and he realized the errors of his recent actions. He had a heart-to-heart scene with his young son, Trunks, where he admits that he is proud of him before knocking him out so that he could fight Majin Buu alone. Vegeta tells Trunks to take care of his mother. Vegeta then goes on to sacrifice himself in an attempt to destroy Majin Buu.
In The End, Vegeta is a Good Guy
As the Z Fighters encounter new and more powerful enemies, Vegeta becomes more involved with the team. At first, it is merely a way to test his strength and compare it to Goku. As time progresses and he becomes a full-time member. He is eventually accepted into Goku’s inner circle of friends, despite the fact that he was directly responsible for the deaths of four of them on their first encounter.
Vegeta is also called upon by the gods of the universe to help in defeating the most evil threats to the stability of not only the earth, but the whole universe.
Ultimately, Vegeta is a character with many flaws, but also a level of greatness that few characters can balance out. He did not have the loving upbringing that Goku had, he was manipulated to be a weapon of destruction from birth. This is the legacy of the Saiyan race under Frieza’s reign. When Goku spared Vegeta, this caused him to question everything that he had believed. It unraveled his entire reality. This forced Vegeta to look into himself and redefine his reality. When Vegeta did this, he made a choice to change.
At first, this change was one of selfish intent. But, Vegeta was slowly worn down by his constant interaction with the Z Fighters. Vegeta found it within himself to change and become good.