I'm a proud Saiyan who calls Earth home, and I'm here to defeat you. I am the warrior you've heard of in legends, pure of heart, and awakened by fury. That's what I am. I AM THE SUPER SAIYAN, SON GOKU!!!
Dragon Ball has many awesome moments per character, but putting down the crowning ones is a tough job to do.
open/close all folders
Dragon Ball Kai Uncut... oh man, the way Goku's transformation was handled was simply amazing. It made it an even more awesome moment than it was.
Freeza: (eying Gohan) I think the brat should go next... (random electrical storm whips up) Goku: (shaking with rage) You ruthless... heartless... BASTARD... Freeza: (smug chuckle as Goku loses his shit) (Goku's energy starts flaring exponentially) Goku: I WILL... MAKE YOU... SUFFER!!!
There is this scene in the fifth movie (The Incredible Mightiest vs. Mightiest) where Cooler, Frieza's older brother, goes One-Winged Angel and completely beats the life out of Goku. His power is such that the earth trembles and shatters as he boasts his strength. Just then, a small bird lands in front of the badly beaten Goku, flaps it's wings once and becomes still. With great effort, Goku stands up, holds the bird with between his hands and let's out a mighty scream. Suddenly, the earth stops shaking; we see a pair of hands glow with a golden light before releasing a revitalized bird which flies past Cooler, now staring in horror as Goku has transformed into a Super Saiyan and is ready to give him a much deserved beatdown.
The very first Kamehameha. It was in that moment that Kame Sen'nin went from a perverted old rascal living on a tiny island with a sea turtle for company to a full blown Retired Badass. The kooky old geezer who gave Goku his magic cloud up and blew away a mountain THAT WAS ON FIRE. By accident.
Sean Schemmel's ABSOLUTELY EPIC screaming for Goku alone can rank among top of the charts! His contribution to the awesomeness of DBZ's scenes cannot be underestimated.
FUNimation, the most renowned anime dubbing company in America, did a pretty…terrible job of sticking to the original script from the Japanese in their first attempted dub of Dragon Ball Z. Subsequent box set and video game dubs would show a marked interest in improving that. This all culminated when they decided for the Dragon Ball Kai dub to be truer to the original idea than they'd ever been before (the voice actors getting better over a decade doesn't hurt). The point of this spiel? The following scene from Kai vindicated FUNimation forever:.
The first duel between Goku and Vegeta. That battle was memorable as it started out their rivalry in the first place, which served as a basis for the Vegeta And Kakarot trope, and Vegeta reminisced about it while seeing Goku go Super Saiyan 3 to fight Kid Buu ...again. Goku began the duel and learned that Vegeta was still stronger than him, even after going through the Training from Hell in Heaven, so he decides to take it up a notch with the Kaio-ken. And when that doesn't work, he does it further to Kaio-ken x2 simply to escape one of Vegeta's moves. From then on, Goku's newly learned technique turns into a Deadly Upgrade when he goes Kaio-ken x3, complete with massive Dramatic Wind, Power Echoes and Chunky Updraft, right before Goku gives him an ass-kicking that his own father probably didn't give him, showing exactly who is truly the better of the two. Then it turned into a massive beam struggle, which Goku gives extra juice by pushing to Kaio-ken x4, firing him up into the stratosphere.
Both Goku and recently reformed Tien both get one during the 22nd Martial Arts Tournament.
First Tien, realizing that Goku could beat him in a fight, DESTROYS THE RING. He flies up and uses the Tri Beam to destroy the ring so that Goku would be disqualified for landing on the grass since he couldn't fly yet.
Then Goku gets his as well, He jumps up avoiding the Tri Beam yet it looks like it only delayed the inevitable as he falls down to the ground. Tien takes that time to get close and rub it in his face that he won. Goku then at the last moment fires a Kamehame and then reverses it at the last second to slam himself into Tien and knock them both down. If it hadn't been for a passing truck that Goku hit, he would've won.
Trunks. His future self is considered even more Badass then the present, having singlehandly defeated Frieza and his father just after the former was resurrected too.
Really, Trunks' entire "fight" against Frieza and King Kold qualifies. From carving his way through Frieiza's Mooks in style, to going Super Saiyan and terrifying Frieza in the process, to shrugging off everything the tyrant throws at him with a cocky smirk on his face the whole time. At one point, Frieza gets fed up and chucks a planet-destroying super-sized energy ball. Trunks catches it, and slowly walks toward Frieza while holding the gigantic energy sphere over his head with one arm, and says:
Trunks: 'Scuse me; this yours?
Trunks being willing to attack Vegeta to stop Semi-Perfect Cell from absorbing Android 18, he was obviously holding back but he sent Vegeta flying and really surprised him.
The episode when Trunks goes back to his original time and completely ANNIHILATES Androids 17 & 18, saving his world from the over 20 years of suffering. He then destroys Cell with the immortal line "THE NIGHTMARE IS OVER CELL, DIE!"
More than that, he toys with Cell first so he knows just how outmatched he is before he dies.
Taunting him too. "You're so lame, sneaking around like the Boogieman!"
"How do you know all this?!" "I read your palm, big guy! You have a short life line."
Before that, when he departs to fight the androids for the last time. "Nightmares never last, Mom. One day you wake up and they're gone for good."
In the World Tournament Saga (the prequel to the main meat of the Majin Buu Saga), the tournament requires everyone to hit a special machine that will gauge their strength and select the finalists. The Z-Fighters agree to go easy on the machine, so they won't seem suspicious. Even with love taps, they still get huge scores, prompting the officials to declare the machine broken. As they prepare to move the old machine aside, Vegeta (who hasn't gone yet) orders them to stand aside. In his usual uncompromising fashion, he punches the machine with full power, obliterating both it and anyone's belief that the machine was getting false readings.
This may not sound as much, but Goku and Chi-Chi's first fight in the original series qualifies.
Both of the fusions of Goku and Vegeta: Vegetto, the Crazy Awesome result of Potara Fusion, and Gogeta, the result of the Fusion Dance.
I am neither Goku or Vegeta, I am Gogeta! It's over Janemba, I've come for you!
Buu creates a massive ball of energy made from tiny bits of the energy of every planet he's destroyed. He chucks it at Vegetto. How does Vegetto reflect it? Does he counter with a blast of his own? NO! He catches it, then starts running with it like a football, faster and faster before punting it out of Earth's atmosphere! And that's before he even goes Super Saiyan. It's implied that Vegetto could defeat Buu in base form, but he goes Super Saiyan anyway.
Vegetto's plan for dealing with Buu, which could only be thought up by someone as Crazy Awesome as a fusion of Goku and Vegeta: provoking Buu into absorbing Vegetto so he can free his sons and Piccolo before destroying the demon. Gogeta used a similar plan later on during the battle with Omega Shenron.
Goku's defeat of Kid Buu using the Spirit Bomb was an awesome moment for everyone present (except Buu). Vegeta for coming up with the plan in the first place, him and Fat Buu for holding Kid Buu off while Goku prepares, Mr. Satan for also trying to keep Kid Buu busy, him, Vegeta and King Kai for getting everyone on Earth to cooperate, Android 17 for getting two non-cooperating guys to cooperate by threatening them with a shotgun (and then giving his own energy), and the man in orange himself for firing the Spirit Bomb. Even the Namekians contribute by having Porunga restore Earth and it's population, and Goku's energy. And as Goku is making the final push, it's topped off by everyone cheering Goku on.
Piccolo and the other Z-Fighters jumping into the fight between Gohan and Cell. Even though they knew the odds were against them. They blasted Cell in the back, trying to take the heat off of Gohan's back.
The battle between the Z-Fighters and the Ginyu Force on King Kai's planet was filler sure, but it was a shining moment for Yamcha, Tien, and Chioutzu. Proof they are still Earth's Mightiest Warriors.
One moment that is overlooked is in the very first episode of Dragon Ball. After Goku and Bulma first meet and go off to begin their quest, a Pterodactyl kidnaps Bulma. At this point, Goku does not know how to fly, and he even doesn't have the Nimbus yet. So what does he do? He uses Bulma's motorcycle to launch himself off a hill like a ramp in a similar way we saw a few minutes before, bashes the Pterodactyl's head with the Power Pole, and throws the Pole like a Javelin to pin Bulma safely on a cliff. This was just an early example of Goku's Determinator skill. No matter what happens, he will give it his all to keep his friends safe. (And pray to Kami if you get in his way as most of the examples on this page show.)
The clash of the Kamehamehas in the Goku vs. Jackie Chun match. While it's far from the best Beam-O-War in the series, what makes it stands out is how it shows how much Goku improved in the last eight months. When Goku first learned the Kamehameha he could barely wreck a car while Master Roshi blew up a flaming mountain. Now, Goku can create a Kamehameha that's equal to Master Roshi's. This is when Goku truly became the Kamehameha's master.
Goku decimated the entire Red Ribbon ARMY at age 12.
The most badass part of that is how casually he did it. He was just looking for the Dragon Balls and just happened to stumble across various RR leaders on his search. Colonel Silver, General White, General Blue and Captain Yellow, along with all of their men, were taken down as a means to an end. Once he was determined to actually confront the army he simply stormed their base, killed everyone in his way and killed their leader.
Also, none of the commanders, save for Blue, stood a chance against Goku. He pretty much curb stomp the Red Ribbon Army the entire time. Mercenary Tao was their last chance to take Goku down and all that did was incur Goku's wrath and doom the Red Ribbon Army when he decided he had enough of them.
In a way, this can also reflect his Saiyan nature - as a child, he was much more willing to kill if he thought it would protect the people he loved. It was only after drinking the special water that Korin gave him that he became more pacifistic (to quote the original dub: "I feel power and at peace"). And slaughtering the Red Ribbon Army is definitely something that a Saiyan would do, also showing us that he isn't as different from the rest of his race as he believes.
Also from the Red Ribbon Army Arc, Goku saves his friends from the Pirate Cave by using a Kamehameha to jet propeller their stall submarine. Made even better by the fact that Bulma attempted to leave Goku behind because he was taking too long to get the Dragon Ball and the cave was collapsing, and Krillin and Bulma were both in panic mode while he remained perfectly calm.
From the 22nd tournament, Goku defeated Krillin by basically disappearing before his eyes and was invisible to everyone, except Tien. He then suddenly reappeared and it seemed he scared Krillin out of the ring with a scary face. Really, he punched Krillin eight times and kicked him into a ring out before he knew what had happened.
In the Tien vs. Goku fight, Tien attempted to blind Goku with a Solar Flare. Goku countered by stealing Master Roshi's sunglasses and using them to protect his eyes. What makes this so awesome is that Goku took the sunglasses so fast that Tien didn't see it and was blindsided when Goku caught his punch and nailed him in the gut.
In his rematch fight with King Piccolo, Goku's first action is to kick King Piccolo's son, Drum, in the back of the head so hard that Drum's eyes fall out of their sockets in a bloody mess. GOKU KICKED A GUY'S EYES OUT.
Even better when you consider that Tien, at that time Badass #2, had been getting whooped by Drum only a few minutes prior.
Before then, Goku confronted King Piccolo's second son, Tambourine, the monster who killed Krillin and dozens of marital artists. He also curb stomped Goku in their first encounter and left him for dead since Goku was hungry and tired from his fight with Tien. When Tambourine mocks about how he kicked Goku's butt the first time, Goku gives Tambourine one of the most brutal beatdowns in the original series. When Tambourine tries to escape, Goku gets on his Power Pole, charges up a Kamehameha, and blasts Tambourine into atoms in mid-air. It was even suggested that Goku prolong Tambourine's suffering when he rather mockingly said, "Oops, looks like I stopped too soon." Goku's revenge indeed.
Just before the rematch of Goku and King Piccolo begins Piccolo tells Goku that he will die in five seconds, and charges at him. However, Goku blocks his strike, leaving Piccolo, Tien, and Piano stunned. Piccolo punches again, and Goku grabs his hand and throws him through one of the buildings in the castle complex. The building is destroyed, but Piccolo emerges from the rubble, and Goku tells him that the five seconds are up.
Goku's epic defeat of King Piccolo. Something about that moment, with so little left to lose, being all but broken, with one final gamble left... and bursting straight through the Demon King with quite possibly the most EPIC ki-powered punch ever. What seals the moment? The honest joy the young Goku expressed as he somehow succeeded in felling what was at that time, the single most powerful foe he had ever faced.
Keep in mind, he won literally with one hand. Both his left arm and legs were broken and he was at Piccolo's mercy before he flew up to give the killing blow. And to be even more awesome, he beat Piccolo Jr with all of his limbs disabled and weak from blood loss.
Goku Vs Ma Junior/Piccolo. Goku using the Super Kamehameha against Piccolo's Bagenkimaha and returning it to him. Piccolo had a Oh Crap moment for about 3 seconds and it was enough to make him rage.
Much later in the fight, he actually goads Piccolo into increasing his size, allowing him to use a Kamehameha to fly into Piccolo's mouth and rescue Kami, who he trapped and swallowed before the match. Yes, Goku outsmarted one of the smartest characters in the series.
Near the end of the fight, Piccolo uses a move that literally nukes the island, reducing the entire tournament ground and the city to rubble and would have killed everyone in the area if Tien did not create a hole for everyone to duck in. Goku chose to tank the blast and not only did he survive, he was nearly completely unharmed. He even mocks Piccolo for wasting so much energy.
In the same tournament, Goku revealed during his rematch with Tien that he has been fighting with weighed clothes the entire time. He demonstrated his increase speed by removing Tien's belt, without him knowing it until his pants fell off. Also doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
When Tien revealed his trump card to Goku, his multi-form technique which split him into fours, it appeared he has the advantage, until Goku casually reveals that he already found two weaknesses to Tien's technique. He demonstrates the first weakness by using Tien's own Solar Flare against him and then showed why using the multi-form was a terrible mistake by knocking all the Tiens out of the ring so fast that he did not have the chance to save himself by flying. When Krillin and Yamcha tried to congratulate Tien on having such a close match, he says point-blank that he was not even to Goku since he never once fired a Kamehameha or was even winded, showing how much Goku surpassed Tien since their first match.
In the Saiyan Saga, Nappa was pretty much unstoppable. He survived two suicide attacks and personally killed Piccolo, the second strongest warrior on the planet. He also nearly killed Krillin with one blast and was able to deflect Gohan's strongest energy blast, which was powered by the anger of watching Piccolo sacrifice himself. Then comes Goku who completely curb stomps Nappa. Then when Nappa tries to attack Krillin and Gohan after Vegeta calls him off, Goku effortlessly breaks his back.
Goku's "I am truth" speech:
Goku: You can destroy whole planets, but you can never destroy what I am...friend. Frieza: (stunned) Y-you... what are you? Goku: I am the hope of the universe. I am the answer to all living things that cry out for peace. I am protector of the innocent. I am the light in the darkness. I am truth. Ally to good! Nightmare to YOU!
The Burst Limit version is enough to give one goosebumps at how amazing it was.
Interesting enough, the Burst Limit version is the exact dialogue straight from the original manga.
Jeice: We've had enough of this, you coward! Now make a move—(gets decked by Goku) OWWW! Burter: What? Is it bleeding?! Jeice: You... cheap shot! Goku: ...you said to make a move. I thought you meant you were ready to go at it.
As a shining example of how outclassed Frieza was, Goku's dodging a myriad of Frieza's trademark Death Beams, and Frieza calls him out on it, saying that only because he's dodging them, he's staying alive. Goku's response? He stays still and takes one in the face. After emerging unscathed, he says this gem.
Goku:You can destroy whole planets, but you can't destroy one man.
Goku's entire verbalbeatdown of Frieza at the end of their fight on Namek was ALMOST better than the entire fight. This is after Frieza has thrown EVERYTHING he has at Goku, verbally and physically.
Goku: "Your energy level is decreasing with every blow. In fact, you're not even a challenge to me anymore. It wouldn't be fair for me to keep fighting you. I'm satisfied now. Your pride has been torn to shreds. You've challenged and lost to a fighter who is superior to you and to make it worse, he's just a monkey, right? It would be meaningless to fight you now, you're too scared and ashamed. Live with the shock. Keep it bottled up inside you. Silently. Goodbye, Frieza, never do mischief again. May you live the rest of your life in peace."
Typically, when a hero goes berserk and begins to decimate a villain, something happens that makes them stop. An ally calls out to them to stop, or some external factor helps the hero comes to a realization that breaks their rage. What makes Goku's battle with Frieza as a Super Saiyan all the more amazing is that this doesn't happen. Everything until this point suggests that Goku's then new-found power, rage, and battle lust has eclipsed his common sense, there's no one on Namek aside from him and Frieza, and the planet's impending destruction makes an all-out battle to the death seemingly the only option. But once the fight gets the point where Frieza is struggling, Goku realizes he doesn't have to kill him, as the tyrant's ego has been shot to pieces. He breaks himself out of his rage.
Adding to that is just the complete reversal of Goku and Frieza's behavior: at the start of the fight, Frieza was seen as the more formal and reserved of the two. Once the fight got to the above moment, it's Goku who realizes there's no more point and stops fighting. Frieza is the one who becomes obsessed with the fight; he became the battle crazed monster that he always believed the Saiyans to be.
More impressive, Goku let Frieza power up to 100% of his power for the expressed purpose of proving he never had a chance against him. And succeeds. Even though Frieza is able to keep up with him for a short while, it becomes obvious towards the end of the fight that Frieza had no chance at all against him.
Don't forget the original version during the airing in the 80's in Japan. While the US version makes it awesome, the Japanese version makes it almost a Nightmare Fuel moment. The music is a dead hint that nobody, even Goku himself knows what the hell is happening to him. All of a sudden, Son Goku transforms from one of the sweetest people there is to a violent warrior. The dreadful music playing is the one you hear when an Oh Crap moment is coming.
Both the English and Japanese versions of Dragon Ball Kai do a pretty good job emulating that feeling.
Goku's Super Kamehameha in Path To Power. Sure, it doesn't exactly compare to the other awesome moments, but it's still a fairly cool moment.
Watching Goku destroy the Red Ribbon Army with all their planes and tanks with nothing but his Power Pole to awesome music deserved to be mentioned. Also, in the movie, Goku fires his first Kamehameha and took out the Red Ribbon Army navy.
Earlier in the series, Goku's transformation into a Great Ape is mostly seen asa scary moment. But it's more of awesome than scary when he transformed into a Golden Great Ape.
Not related to fighting, Goku hand-picked the new Guardian of the Earth, god in the Japanese version, after Piccolo and Kami merged who brought the Dragon Balls back to life. Although he wasn't the one to beat Cell, at least not directly, he ensured that the main timeline won't end up like Future Trunks' timeline did.
If you think about it, Goku is the only character who is never outright killed in the series. Both times he was killed, he died on his own terms by sacrificing himself. It literally shows that Goku does not die unless he wants to.
Gohan. He was most definitely the epitome of epic and everything about DBZ. Let's list his awesome feats shall we?
In the hopeless battle against Nappa he charges the bald headed brute and fells him with a single kick. Even though he still rises up again it's amazing nonetheless.
Vegeta impulsively presses Gohan's Berserk Button when he knees Goku in the gut while he's down. Gohan enraged kicks him in the face then engages Vegeta in a short battle while Krillin prepares to nail him with the Spriit Bomb. When Krillin sees the opportunity to strike Vegeta (which is ruined by Yajirobe's outburst and Krillin's bad timing) with the Spirit Bomb who jumps in the air dodging it. The Spirit Bomb then heads in the direction of a fatigued Gohan. Everyone looks on in fear as Gohan is about to be struck by it but Goku telepathically communicates with Gohan and tells him to bounce the Spirit Bomb at Vegeta who is unable to avoid it and is shot up to sky. How badass is that?
Arriving on Planet Namek Gohan and Krillin watch as Frieza terrorizes a Namekian village's villagers for the location of the Dragon Balls. After ordering henchmen Dodoria to kill the Namek soldiers that come to the villagers aid Frieza backs out on his deal to leave him alone and kills the village elder's son and then him. Now eyeing the village elders other son who is petrified with fear, Frieza tells Dodoria to dispose of him as well. Let's say Gohan wasn't too pleased with this and springs into action and kicks Dodoria's fat ass through a house. Even when Dodoria gets back up Gohan stands his ground and tells him to bring it on.
Frieza pushes another one of Gohan's buttons and impales Krillin and sadistically tortures him. After tossing Krillin into the sea Gohan goes berserk and beats the everliving fuck out of Frieza while the theme song plays, then Masenkos Frieza's ass.
When Piccolo is losing to Frieza's third transformation Gohan interferes in the battle and does a gigantic Masenko and nearly becomes the one who puts an end to him.
Although filler, after Frieza buries Goku under a hundred feet of lava he presumes that he wins. Gohan, sensing his dad's defeat, heads back to the battlefield and attempts to pull a Taking You with Me. However, Frieza realizes this when Gohan keeps on trying to run away and explains to him how he's able to survive anywhere. Gohan frustrated lashes out at Frieza and punches him a dozen times and finishes his Meteor Move with a Masenko. This attack doesn't work but it does push Frieza to use his powered up final form he used against Goku as a Super Saiyan.
In the Cell Games, Super Saiyan 2 Gohan. He embarrasses Cell by copying his fighting style and matching him move for move. Preceding that he effortlessly destroys the Cell Juniors. He's the reason Krillin got Android 18 back.
Embarrasses? By the time the final clash comes about, Cell is afraid of Gohan. His attacks become less provocation and more desperation.
And *drum roll* There's the final climatic battle between Gohan and Cell who injures him after covering for Vegeta after Cell knocks him out. It's Kamehameha vs Kamehameha. Gohan is somewhat reluctant to unleash his full power on Cell because he thinks he'll destroy the world and is doubting himself. In the anime everyone helps him out until he finds the power to destroy Cell. Cell tosses aside the rest of Z-fighters like ragdolls and is nearly about to win until Vegeta steps in, badass, and strikes Cell from behind giving Gohan the chance to kill Cell. The Slasher Smile on Gohan's face as he's blasting cell away with a ONE HANDED Kamehameha is simply orgasmically satsifying.
What makes Gohan so awesome in general is that most of his Moments of Awesome happen BEFORE he turns 10. While Goku was frolicking in the forest at that age, Gohan was going up against the likes of Vegeta, Frieza, and Cell.
This is best summarized by what the Narrator says at the end of the scene when Gohan goes Super Saiyan 2:
Narrator:"It is a secret we have known before Gohan could even form words in his mouth. Through fights with Raditz, Garlic Junior, the Ginyu Force, and even Frieza, we've caught glimpses of the child's explosive power. But like an explosion, it always vanished with the moment; it couldn't be controlled... until now. At last, the beastly power has been harnessed. Gohan has awoken. Now Cell will battle a warrior eleven years in the making, on the next Dragon Ball Z!"
Movie 9 (Bojack Unbound) stands as one of Gohan's highlights in and of itself. Gohan's about a year (maybe 2) older than he was when he fought Cell (he's subtly taller and also noticeably more muscular, even in his untransformed state). Along with Garlic Jr. and Cell, this is the third and probably last occasion where Gohan comes off like the main protagonist. First off, some of the main supporting characters (Krillin and Piccolo) don't want any part of fighting him in a tournament - in his base form. It's one thing for Goku to get that sort of treatment, but Gohan, at this point, is probably about 13 at most. First, his initial power-up after transforming causes an earthquake and nearly rips the planet in two. Then he pours on the Badass in spades. He starts an EPICUnflinching Walk right through the middle of Bojack's minions, who gave Piccolo and Future Trunks (who has already curbstomped Future Cell and BOTH Future Androids and is no slouch himself) no end of trouble. In true, SSJ2 Gohan fashion, he makes one explode with a single punch... and then kicks the other so hard that it cuts him in half. Then, he puts his fist right through Bojack's stomach and punches him to bits, too.
There's this line:
Bojack: Any last words before you die? Gohan: Actually, Bojack, there is one word that comes to mind: KA-ME-HA-ME-HA!
A runner-up would have to be in Movie 12, when final form Frieza emerges from Hell leading an army of warriors Goku and his crew have defeated over the course of the series. Gohan, now an adult, confronts Frieza, flies right at him, circumventing the entire army, and punches Frieza one time. The force of the blow is enough to make Frieza explode into a million pieces, and send his army running in fear.
Another one would have to be when he comes back to confront Super Buu. Buu asks if he really wants to fight him, and Gohan comes back with "Fight you? No; I wanna kill you." That was so badass, considering Gohan's usually nice nature.
This one is even more badass when you consider Gohan beat Super Buu without even trying.
During the arc, no, series, The Z-Fighters used Ki Attacks to fight their enemies. In Gohan's fight against Super Buu, he didn't fire one. That alone cements his growth from Dogged Nice Guy to BADASS.
Forcing Super Buu to eat his own mouth beam by clamping his mouth and pushing the ki blast back into Buu's throat when Buu tried to surprise him with a point-blank shot also deserves a mention. All of this after Buu boasts about how he nearly killed Gohan back when he was Majin Buu. Now, the shoe is on the other foot and Gohan's most certainly giving Buu quite the asskicking with it.
Gohan gets another one in the Buu Arc as the Saiyaman. While Videl hops on a bus and beats up the hijackers, she celebrates instead of taking the wheel. While the bus is about to fall over a cliff, Gohan catches the bus with one hand.
He gets another one who he turns SSJ at the tournament & attempts to save Videl from Spopovitch (but Yamu interrupts). Gohan then tells Spopovitch that the next time they meet, it's gonna be "you and me."
Even Krillin has moments of awesome. In both the Vegeta and Frieza fights, there's a point where he keeps the villain busy (holding out absurdly long given the difference in power) and buys desperately-needed time for the big guns.
When one thinks about it, he was actually pretty badass on Namek. With all of the conventionally heroic/badass characters either dead or on another planet somewhere, the fate of the universe was left in the hands of Those Two Guys. He and Gohan manage to survive for an absurdly long time on this planet surrounded by bad guys, outsmarting Vegeta, and Frieza until help arrived.
You also have to give Krillin credit since he was more or less the de facto leader until Goku arrived. Despite his weaknesses, it was largely his planning and thinking ahead that kept everyone alive, and got Gohan powered up by the Grand Elder. He was almost an action survivor until Frieza came back and killed him, and even that wasn't in vain since his death allowed Goku to become a Super Saiyan.
The scene where he stomps Recoome's mouth shut, interrupting his Recoome Eraser Gun attack (a powerful mouth beam). This knocked nearly all of his teeth out, giving Gohan valuable time to save a badly battered Vegeta's skin in the nick of time.
In the Cell Saga, he even manages to keep the much more powerful Cell from killing a girl and her brother. He holds him off long enough for Piccolo and Tien to arrive, and the kids to escape. He even pounds Cell with an awesome headbutt that gives the Android visible pain.
Krillin's best moment however, is probably the entirety of the Saiyan fight:
He singlehandedly defeats almost all of the saibamen with a single attack.
He gives NAPPA a run for his money, nearly killing him with the Destructo Disc.
He nearly finished off Vegeta in the end (Goku talked him out of it).
He (with Gohan's help) nailed Vegeta with a Spirit Bomb.
After the end of the fight, he was the only surviving Z fighter who could still walk.
He's also inexplicably popular with the ladies. He dated Maron and eventually marries Android 18. Pretty smooth for a little guy.
His Heroic Sacrifice against Buu qualifies. When Buu shows up at Kami's lookout, Krillin tries to fight him anyway just to give everyone else a chance to escape, even though he KNOWS he doesn't stand a chance. Everyone ends up dying anyhow, but you gotta give Krillin credit for at least trying.
In another scene later on, Krillin risks his very existence to protect denizens of Otherworld and takes on Kid Buu. He is already dead at this point, so if had died here, he would have completely ceased to exist. No resurrection, no reincarnation, nothing. HE ACTUALLY HITS Kid Buu with the destructo disc. Sadly, Kid Buu can regenerate, nulling his efforts. The sad thing is, that would have worked on almost anyone else.
Krillin also gets one in the movie "Broly: Second Coming" when he saves Gohan from the lava (dressed as Piccolo). Too bad, the movie end with him stuck on some rocks. Poor guy.
There's a little moment near the end of the original Dragon Ball that people tend to forget. That moment is his tournament fight with Piccolo, who at the time was the single most powerful villain in the series. Let's make a long story short: after putting up a hell of a fight, Krillin not only gets back up after an attack that Piccolo was certain had killed him, he also gives up very gracefully, which in itself is kind of awesome. But what really makes this awesome is that Piccolo admits to himself after this fight that "conquering the Earth may be more difficult than I thought." That's right: Krillin kicked so much ass that, even for a second, Piccolo was thinking he could be in trouble!
Krillin has plenty of awesome to offer in the games. In his story mode from Supersonic Warriors, Krillin takes Goku's torch for Earth's protector after he dies from the heart virus, and after sparing #18, defeats Super Saiyan Vegeta to stop him from destroying #18, and after some training from Goku, who had been granted one day among the living thanks to Baba, learns the Spirit Bomb and Kaioken, which he puts to good use to single-handedly defeat Perfect Cell. And he tops that by taking on Majin Buu by himself and obliterating the Majin to nothing with a well-placed Kamehameha. Earth's strongest earthling indeed!
Krillin's fight with Chiaotzu in the Tournament often gets overlooked but the two put up a pretty good fight with Krillin using The Kamehameha for the first time against Chiaotzu's Dodonpa and at the end when Chiaotzu traps him with his psychic powers Krillin interrupts his train of thought by shouting out math problems to get loose and knock him out of the ring.
Vegeta fighting Frieza, all the way from his first punch to histearful death speech when he's dying at the hands of Frieza. First of only two time he cries, and the only time we get a glimpse at what made him what he is today. And they said DBZ couldn't get dramatic. Watch it here, partway through. (The original dub, so while there is plenty of Narm what with the inexperience of the voice actors at the time, it's still a Tear Jerker.), attracted most of his fans to the character.
His fight with Cui on Namek, revealing he discovered how to hide his energy and also how that he has surpassed him, when Cui tries a Sneak Attack he reveals he's gotten faster as well and intercepts him when he tries to run and blows him up. His Pre-Mortem One-Liner in the Original Dub is awesome as well. "See ya, (Blows Cui up) If I cross you in the next dimension."
Vegeta saving Krillin and Gohan from Guldo was pretty awesome. Nothing like a good decapitation for a warm-up.
There was also his fight with Recoome. He knew from the very beginning that he was completely outclassed, yet he still beat the shit out of him various times by using every trick in the book. Recoome seemingly won the battle at various points, yet Vegeta would pop right back up and lay the smackdown some more.
What really makes this scene is Vegeta's awesome power-up in the anime. No one screams better than Vegeta. After the screaming, he kneels the way football players kneel at the line of scrimmage... and THEN takes off.
Vegeta blowing Jeice to bits is certainly a Crowning Moment of Bad Ass. Or a crowning moment of Kick the Dog, because at that point, Jeice was not fighting back. He also delivered a Coup de Grâce to every member of the Ginyu Force sans Ginyu himself.
Made even more awesome when you think about the fact that Vegeta is responsible for the deaths of Frieza's army on Namek sans Frieza and Captain Ginyu. Yes, that's right. Vegeta kills everyone. Cui, Zarbon, and Dodoria? All done in by Vegeta. Gohan and Krillin owe him their lives.
His sadistic and stunning I Am Not Left-Handed execution of Android 19 was pretty spectacular too. After Goku is incapacitated for a good chunk of the arc by a heart virus, Vegeta steps in to finish the job. After revealing he can go Super Saiyan himself, he thrashes 19, and tosses off some awesome lines in the process:
"So tell me...does a machine like you experience fear?" "Fresh out of the factory with no warranty, and already broken. What a pity." "My, my. What do we have here? Oh yes, the ultimate tub of LARD BUCKET OF BOLTS!"
At one point, #19 tries to absorb Vegeta's energy. Vegeta anticipates this, and grabs the android's wrists, shoves his boots in its face and starts pulling. What follows is an exchange that averts and lampshades Never Say "Die".
Vegeta: Still think you can hang on long enough to steal my energy? #19: I, will, never, let, you, go! Vegeta: Yes! That's the spirit, android! NEVER SAY DIE!
This is followed by Vegeta ripping off #19's arms.
Admittedly, for a character that doesn't have as many victories as the main characters, his Crowning Moment Of Awesome tends to be the insane amount of damage he can take and still be up like in the one minute of beatings he took that Goku then proceeded to waste. But his being a tank with attitude is probably what makes this character a Bad Ass. But he does have his moments such as his owning Imperfect Cell and then his FINAL FLASH against Perfect Cell. It didn't work, but it was one of the most epic and ridiculously over-the-top attacks in the series (that is saying something).
Besides, this is the attack that makes Cell scream out "OH SHIT!" in every language but English.
Fun fact: Cell actually says that if the attack had hit him dead-center (he sidestepped at the last moment upon sensing how powerful it was), it would've killed him. Vegeta almost took out the Big Bad.
And his actions at the end of the Cell saga, despite being a Hope Spot, were incredibly awesome especially given what it meant for Vegeta's Character Development. Goku had attempted to stop Cell with a Heroic Sacrifice, but failed. And Cell's first action after coming Back from the Dead was to blast a hole in Trunks's heart. Vegeta goes ballistic, and attacks Cell head on. This is a guy who, just ten days before, utterly beat the crap out of Vegeta without even trying. But what really makes this noteworthy is that this is the first time that Vegeta has ever lost his temper for the sake of another person.
And following that, during Gohan's Beam-O-War with Cell, the other Z Fighters leap in and try to distract Cell. Vegeta stays behind. The other warriors are overwhelmed, and it looks like Cell's about to win... then a blast out of nowhere hits Cell from behind. Cue shot to Vegeta, hovering in midair, palm outstretched. That one action gave Gohan the opportunity he needed to overwhelm Cell.
Let's talk about his fight with Pui Pui. Conditions arise where he and Vegeta were transferred to Pui Pui's home world (briefly as it was), where he feels the planet's higher gravity — ten times that of Earth's — will incapacitate Vegeta. Vegeta, who had spent the entire length of the time skip — 7 years — training in progressively stronger gravity simply remarks, "Perhaps if your planet had five hundred times gravity, you'd have a slight advantage. But ten? I don't even feel it!" He then hops around in a boxing stance before annihilating Pui Pui.
Mentioned early on during Z: planet Vegeta also had ten times Earth's normal gravity. So Pui Pui's choice to fight on his homesoil thinking he had an advantage was an error of judgement.
Breaking Babidi's mind control through sheer force of will. No-one had ever done that. No, even before that, no-one had ever shown any sign that resisting was even possible! His speech about pride when he refuses Babidi's order to kill the Supreme Kai anyone? Enough to make the Supreme Kai, Babidi, and Dabura go "WTF?" (and to demolish the surrounding mountains with beamspam while standing still). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ulihqwxtb-c
And his final thoughts after that, showing how far he's come: "Trunks... Bulma... I do this for you. And yes, even for you... Kakarot."
How much of a beating can he take and keep fighting? In the fight against Kid Buu, he gets pounded into the ground not once, not twice, but three times. Buu thinks he's won, when Vegeta stands up, covered in blood, slowly walks toward him, and starts making a speech about how he can't be defeated by such measly attacks. Buu is frozen with a look of utter shock on his face, and then he takes a step back in fear. When you scare the fight out of Majin Buu, you know you're Bad Ass.
It's a small moment among all these big ones, but as everyone's freaking out over Goku not having enough energy to push the Spirit Bomb towards Buu, Vegeta's the one that reminds them they still have a wish from Porunga left.
Vegeta's theme music, if it wasn't for the fact that it was used all the time, because everytime it plays, you know Vegeta's either gonna do something insane, or give an equally insane speech.
Vegeta doing the impossible and for a brief moment surpassing Goku after Beers hits Bulma. Vegeta goes in an Unstoppable Rage and gives a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to the God of Destruction. Sure he got taken out instantly after, but, he lasted longer then Goku or any of the Z-fighters, who all got Curbstomped in less than half a minute.
The best part about this moment is that, if you look closely, you can see that Beers actually bleeds from Vegeta's attacks. In the words of a random Youtube commenter:
Vegeta punched the primal force of entropy in the face and drew blood. What a badass.
Piccolo exudes so much awesome:
Callously killing Sancho in the movie Dead Zone, then double-teaming Garlic Jr. with Goku.
Blasting a hole through both Goku and Raditz.
When Gohan turned into a Oozaru and started rampaging, Piccolo casually decided to BLOW UP THE MOON!!!
His first act of Papa Wolf: effortlessly killing the last Saibaman that came after Gohan.
Fighting Frieza in his second form and putting on a fight. Also, his booting Frieza into a lake to buy Goku enough time to form a Spirit Bomb was pretty badass as well. He came out of nowhere.
In Cooler's Revenge, shooting the last surviving minion with the Special Beam Cannon just as he was about to attack the exhausted Z-Fighters... from so far away nobody could see him.
Also from Cooler's Revenge, Goku blasts Cooler into the sun. Having Deftones' "Change (In the House of Flies)" on the Funimation dub's background makes the ass-kicking twice as awesome.
Utterly crushing Dr. Gero and then severing his arm.
The fact that Piccolo was able to increase his strength to the extent that he did leading up to the android confrontation is a CMOA itself. The last time Piccolo was in combat he was only able to match second form Freeza. The next time he fought he was more than capable of taking down Androids 19 and 20. Considering he had no Super Saiyan transformations or even increased gravity (he trained with Goku and Gohan at their house) it was an incredible leap to make, even if he wasn't on par with the Super Saiyans.
Reuniting with Kami to become the Namek that he once was.
Any movie where he shows up to make the save for Gohan and beat up the henchmen of the Big Bad.
How about the first Broly movie? While Vegeta was completely frozen in fear due to Broly's strength while everyone else desperately fought the losing battle, Piccolo yanked him up by the hair and told him to either man up or stand back and let the real warriors fight. Though it didn't take right away, it's quite possibly due to this pep talk that Vegeta remembered his Saiyan pride in time to help Goku save the day.** This (mixed with a Crowning Moment of Funny) is seen in the second Broly movie. Gohan looked like he was done for, and then someone saves him from Broly's attack. He looks up and sees Piccolo in his blurred vision, but what he actually saw was Krillin dressed as Piccolo.
Also, him putting up a damn good fight against Broly himself.
Going after Super Perfect Cell when Cell and Gohan were locked in a Kamehameha Wave clash, even though Piccolo was nowhere near Cell's power. Until he acted, everyone still able to fight was just watching as Cell began to beat Gohan down.
Going from the above, Piccolo, Tenshinhan, Yamucha, and Krillin's struggle to hold out against Cell's energy as they blasted him in an attempt to give Gohan some help.
Before that, calling out Goku for just sitting there watching as his eleven-year-old son got squeezed to death by a monster, even going so far as to cuss him out in the Kai dub.
Slicing Babidi in half.
His very first one, back in Dragonball. King Piccolo had been deathly afraid of the Evil Containment wave, considering it the only thing that could defeat him. When Kami tries this in the World Martial Arts Tournement, Piccolo reveals that he can reverse it.
He exudes awesome even in the games. In Supersonic Warriors, in his story mode Piccolo is the one that ends Frieza after fusing with Nail, and then, in the Buu saga, where Goku is dead and Piccolo is protecting the earth in Goku's place. Piccolo, after realizing he's no match for Buu, showing amazing genius in gathering the Namek Dragon Balls, wishing for King Piccolo's revival and merging with him after they fight, truly becoming the original Namek. The power boost Piccolo gets was enough for him to beat Super Buu. Then, after besting Buu, Piccolo, realizing Buu will endlessly regenerate and lacking a particularly destructive technique like Vegeta or Goku, decided to seal Buu using the Evil Containment Wave.
Chichi may be an overprotectiveeducation mama, but she's definitely one of the strongest characters in the series. Sure, she's a normal human, except for the fact she can
Bully both Goku AND Piccolo into taking driver's ed in a filler episode (all for the sole purpose of driving her around).
Terrorize both her husband and son (and by extension Yamucha, Tenshinhan, Piccolo, AND Vegeta) into obedience by threatening to not feed them.
Trained Goten to the point where he went Super Saiyan... without teaching him how to fly. In the anime, she even took a punch from him in that form when he first transformed.
She could stand up toSuper Buu (granted it didn't end well for her, but it was still pretty awesome.)
Shame most of that didn't happen in canon storyline though. Chichi's greatest moment of the series actually happens offscreen: How she managed to get innocent, naive Goku to have sex with her (atleast) twice, we will never know!
How she managed to SURVIVE that is a different story. At several points Goku shows difficulties in controlling his ever growing strength. She's a walking crowning of awesome just for that.
When Gohan was conceived, Goku was stronger than any human, but not by that much, and Chi Chi was fairly strong in her own right. The Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex does apply to Goten's conception, but not Gohan's.
Even Frieza acknowledges how Crazy Awesome this act of a lone lower cast soldier charging through his, by always remembering him as his instant thought upon seeing Goku is recalling possibly the only person that made a impact among the billions he he had killed, through uncanny resemblance. Yes, Bardock is so awesome that the Big Bad remembers you.
Speaking of Bardock, Burst Limit has a Moment of Awesome (yes, the game has a Moment of Awesome) with the first of its post game arcs which finishes in a dream match between Bardock and Goku with the theme song playing in the background.
The trigger to become a Super Saiyan is anger, and Bardock's rebellion is initiated by the discovery that Frieza's men have killed his fellow Saiyans, and under orders from Frieza himself. Sure they were as a race raised to be ruthless, but having clearly fought alongside them for a long time, they were probably the closest thing Bardock ever had to friends. When you consider this, and then his anger when finally face-to-face with Frieza, suddenly Bardock going Super Saiyan seems to have actually been very close to happening.....
All he was lacking was a high enough power level at the time (Toriyama outlined that Saiyans over 100,000 have enough strength to become Super Saiyans, and the Saiyan average goes between 1200 (Raditz) to 8000 (Bardock's level at the start of his special), thus how rare it is and why there hadn't been any Super Saiyans in millennium). In the special below, Bardock recovers from a near death experience that claimed the life of his planet and its moon...and that pushed his power level up to 100,000 possibly, making him able to access Super Saiyan abilities through righteous anger.
A 2011 spinoff manga showed that Bardock didn't die, but instead went back in time somehow. He then proceeds to become the ruler of what becomes planet Vegeta, defeats Chilled (Frieza's ancestor) and begins the Super Saiyan legend. As an added bonus, he uses the same technique that got him killed in the movie to take Chilled down.
The way Bardock becomes a Super Saiyan in the anime is quite awesome too. After being knocked about by Chilled and seeing him supposedly kill a young native, he kneels in the dirt, feeling pathetic to the point where he is implied to be crying, remembering what happened to his friends and his race, and blaming himself for being too weak to save them. Then his sadness turns to anger, and you get that moment where his shadow flashes yellow. Then, after repeatedly glowing yellow, he turns around to face Chilled, seeing both him and Frieza at the same time. Chilled laughs, Bardock screams to the heavens, and finally becomes a Super Saiyan. He then proves that Goku inherited his badass gene from him by doing to Chilled what Goku did to Frieza: completely thrash him.
After he becomes a Super Saiyan, watch the background. Notice how he seems to pulse energy that shifts the color spectrum repeatedly? Yeah, that's a thing that, up until that point, was reserved for showing off how ungodly powerful Broly is. This means Bardock's transformation was reminiscent of Broly's.
Where is Mr. Satan on this list? The true Moment of Awesome for Mr. Satan has got to be his first appearance during the Cell Games Saga. Mr. Satan is played up as a complete Bad Ass (by normal human standards), who unfortunately is probably weaker than Kamesennin's pet turtle. Despite all of this, he takes a punch from Cell, flies a good distance before being slammed into a mountain hard enough to leave a good sized crater, and SURVIVES. Full Stop.
In the Cell Saga, Mr. Satan is ready to leave the place with his students, his arm candy and the TV crew when suddenly they hear a voice. They turn and see 16's head who pleads to them to take him to Gohan so he can talk to him. Everyone is convinced that this is a bad idea, yet 16 keeps asking this of Mr. Satan. Everyone says to Mr. Satan that he should not do it, since Cell is standing next to Gohan and can kill him, and that no one will think less of him if he decides to walk away. His response? "Leave me alone. All these nobodies out there and even now a kid is fighting Cell, it would be shameful of a World Champion to run away." He then proceeds to cross hell to get 16 close to Gohan. Awesome. To be fair to Cell, he probably wasn't trying his best, but still, Mr. Satan did manage to survive that and the carnage wrought by the battle.
During the Buu saga, he commands the whole world to send their energy to Goku for his Spirit Bomb. Which they do. Said moment is then followed by a high point of the series: See, it seems Goku doesn't have enough energy to throw the Spirit Bomb, right? Well, his buddies, who have one Dragon Ball-related wish left, ask the Dragon to restore his energy. The Dragon states that in light of all their other ridiculous wishes, that one is child's play, and fulfills it. Goku launches the Spirit Bomb. Goodbye, Buu.
In that fight, he got a load of them, even just for being there. When Vegeta was about to be double-killed in a way that would subvert Death Is Cheap, he steps in against the being who can make war on the gods with reasonable impunity to buy Goku some time to power back up.
Similarly, in the Buu saga, after he has finally convinced everyone to lend Goku their power for the Spirit Bomb, Buu manages to beat down and trap Vegeta underfoot, knowing that Goku would not let off his ultimate attack and kill Vegeta once again. Fat Buu tackles Kid Buu and Mr. Satan sprints in to get Vegeta out of range so Goku can finally let 'er rip.
Even Piccolo admits to the greatness of this. When explaining to Videl about what her father did, he calls him a "true champion of Earth". Later, when Gohan, Piccolo, Goten, and Trunks find Mr. Satan wandering on the desolate Earth, Trunks says to just ignore him, to which Piccolo says "No, we should take him with us. He really does have the beginnings of a hero in him."
The moment when Mr. Satan curbstomps the two gunmen who shot Buu's dog is the only time he's really shown kicking ass, and it is awesome.
It is also worth knowing that aside from those of the Z-Warriors and his own daughter, Mr. Satan is the strongest and most skilled human on Earth. So to take down a pair of gunmen without the evident fear in his eyes when faced with such greater threats like Cell and Majin Buu? That may seem trivial compared to everything else in this show, but consider this from a simple human's point of view. This was truly an inspiring moment for him.
Even more impressive is during this time we see the one legit superpower Mr. Satan has, the ability to perform a Flash Step. That might not seem like much, but the fact he can do it with no superhuman training is.
Mr. Satan even gets an amazing moment in GT during the Baby Saga. Giant Golden Ape Baby has just supposedly wiped out every big hero... including his granddaughter Pan. What is Mr. Satan's first and only reaction? He stands his ground, takes up a fighting stance and threatens to kill Baby; no joking, no running away. He's dead serious and Goku himself even says that Mr. Satan has impressed him.
He may not be all that strong (although to be fair, he's still one of the more powerful pure-humans in the series, but he's waaaay outclassed by all of the aliens and androids and whatnot...), but he definitely has the heart of a hero. Even Goku has said he deserves to be called the Champ, both in the aforementioned GT moment above and in the aftermath of the Kid Buu battle with its various Hercule moments at the top of the list.
It may not seem like much, but he pulled four buses across a stadium to prove his strength to the world.
He follows this up by ripping three phonebooks in half. Most strong men in Real Life struggle with just one.
One we don't get to see, but on the one occasion where the Z-fighters didn't show up for the World Martial Arts Tournament, he apparently won the whole thing. He may not be much next to the Z-fighters, but by human standards, he's every bit the Badass that he claims to be.
In a later episode, the Red Ribbon Army descends on a small island, inhabited by an old man and a girl. Unfortunately for them, that old man is Master Roshi, who beats the shit out of the whole crew in short order, only stopping when the remaining soldier takes Launch as a hostage. (Although Launch then sneezes, transforms, and kicks his ass too.)
When Roshi fights the Demon King Piccolo, the old master actually makes himshow fear for the first time by revealing to King Piccolo the name of his master, Mutaito, the one man who created the Mafuba which he doesn't hesitate to use the Mafuba in an attempt to seal him away. Even though it didn't work, and Roshi died from using the technique, the fact that he terrified the series' equivalent of the devil is certainly worth a spot on this page.
The very first Kamehameha. So Awesome it blew away a mountain that was on FIRE.
On the subject of the Goku-Jackie Chun match, in one issue of the US Shonen Jump, it was voted the best battle in the series. Both Goku and Chun pull out every move they had up until then, Chun coming very close to winning twice before the end; the first time he hypnotized Goku into falling asleep (foiled by Bulma shouting "Dinner time!") and then trapping Goku in a cage of lightning (more or less), which Goku could only escape from by seeing the moon and transforming. Chun stops Oozaru-Goku by wiping out the moon, and in the end the match is decided by a Cross Counter in which Chun prevails by having a slightly deeper kick than Goku.
Believe it or not, Puar and Oolong, Yamcha's and Bulma's shapeshifting sidekicks, got theirs, too.
Oolong's is the very first on-screen wish ever made on the Dragon Balls, when he interrupts Pilaf's wish for world domination by asking for a pair of girls' panties.
Puar's is when she transforms into a giant pair of scissors to lop off Oozaru Goku's tail (she was also the one who drew his attention to the moon and made him transform in the first place...).
"King Kai" and "Awesome" are usually not said in the same breath, but oddly enough, he gets one. After the deaths of the Ginyu force, they arrive at Kai's place unexpectedly and start wreaking havoc, but are soon dispatched in a fun little match between them and Tien, Yamcha, and Chaotzu, something even Vegeta couldn't do at first. Watch it here.. We then find out that Kai invited these terrors of the universe in order to test his students' abilities.
Tenshinhan got an even better one during the Cell saga, just after Cell absorbed 17. To sneak up on the android, Cell had traveled underground...so Tenshinhan blasted him back into that hole, and every time Cell tried to fly out, Tenshinhan just knocked him right back in. No, he wasn't doing any lasting damage, but he managed to stall for a good amount of time so 16 and 18 could escape and Goku could arrive to rescue Piccolo — and, by that point, Tenshinhan, who had used up most of his energy.
When Super Buu unleashes his Human Extinction Attack, Tien and Chiaotzu are the only humans skilled enough to dodge the blasts and survive (Mr. Satan also survived, but that was because he simply wasn't targeted, possibly due to Good Buu still having some influence over Super Buu).
Tenshinhan comes out of nowhere with a moment of awesome in the final fight with Buu. (Alas, this didn't make it into the video game retelling Legacy of Goku: Buu's Fury.)
Come to think of it, Tenshinhan did the very same thing with Semi-perfect Cell, showed up out of nowhere and blasted him into a hole in the ground over and over and over again. "There you go, Cell. A little greeting from the no-count."
Especially since that blast is supposed to kill whoever uses it once and using it twice is supposedly near impossible.
Perhaps Tien's greatest moment comes at the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. After years of atonement for his sins while working under Master Shen and General Tao, Tien shows up at the tournament and comes face to face with Cyborg!Tao, eager to get revenge on Shen's behalf. Tao unleashes every attack in his arsenal, and Tien proceeds to conquer him with ONE.
In the first arc, when Oozaru Goku goes on a rampage, Yamcha immediately grab Puar, Oolong, and Bulma under his arm and runs them all to safety without even thinking. When Oozaru Goku starts to get aggressive, Yamcha remembers Goku's tail weakness from earlier, single-handedly runs up grabs his tail paralyzing him, and then orders Puar to cut off the tail while he pulls it.
His fight against Tenshinhan is seen by many as one of the finest examples of more serious hand-to-hand combat in the series. It doesn´t work quite well for him, but the fight is very nice to look at and it shows that he is no pushover even for future champions.
In the initial battle with the Saiyans, Krillin initially volunteers to fight the Saibamen first, but Yamcha stops him, saying that if Krillin dies, he can't be wished back by the Dragon Balls. Yamcha was the Butt Monkey before Krillin made it cool, so die he does... but it was still awesome, and it's no wonder Krillin is upset enough to obliterate nearly every other Saibaman around.
To be fair to Yamcha, he gave a pretty good performance against the Saibaman, boasted to be as strong as Raditz, the Starter Villain who gave Goku and Piccolo a hard time. Yamcha technically won, and easily: its just that he let his guard down and the Saibaman was a Sore Loser so it decided not to play fair. Sure that scene epitomizes his Butt Monkey status, but it had nothing to do with Yamucha being exceptionally weak in comparison, and it's unlikely any of the Z-Fighters present would have survived if a Saibaman did that to him.
It in the anime, Yamcha fighting Olibu, one of the North Galaxy's greatest warriors, on equal footing in the Afterlife, proves that while he may be far from the Universe's strongest being, he is still a serious contender, albeit a retired one.
After getting blown up and getting a hand put through his chest Yamcha lost his confidence as a fighter hence why he was so weak while Tien was able to hold Semi Perfect Cell off for a while. When he fought Recoome and Olibu he had nothing to lose there so he was able to fight with confidence and bring out his fighting power without worrying about something going wrong and him screwing up. Just goes to show what a little confidence can do for a person. Because of his dismal win loss record that he is the third most powerful human alive after Tien and Krillin.
Yajirobe. In that battle, he comes out of nowhere and cuts off Vegeta's tail after he becomes an Oozaru at the (huge) risk of his own life, after being portrayed as a coward who doesn't want to fight Vegeta. And earlier in Dragon Ball, when he kills and eats Cymbal, one of Piccolo Daimaou's kids.
On the topic of Cymbal, Yajirobe finishes him off with a single stroke. This is one of the henchmen that were able to rival the winners of the World Martial Arts Tournament. Yajirobe wasn't always just comic relief — at that point he was near Goku's level.
In that same battle with Vegeta, when the Saiyan noticed that Gohan's tail had grown back, he made to finish him off quickly so he wouldn't transform. But before he can kill Gohan, Yajirobe leaps at him from behind again, slicing through Vegeta's armor and actually coming very close to killing him.
Of all people, Kami gets one — and of all times, in the Garlic Jr. saga. He has to journey into the underground depths of his home, where he is apparently absolutely not allowed, in order to save earth. While there, he encounters the deranged souls of the former guardians, who attempt to kill him for going there, despite his intentions. He is tortured for several episodes in a row, barely clinging to life. Finally, realizing the danger at hand, the former guardians heal him of the damage done to him. The peaceable Popo, with great relief, realizes that they're going to be let go, but Kami stands up screaming insults at the people who had just barely decided to let him live. That's pretty epic, and the cheesy mildness of his words somehow only makes it all that much cooler.
Popo: You've been pardoned for coming here. They've forgiven you! Kami: (looks winded for a moment, then stands up scowling) Oh, yeah? Well, I haven't forgiven them. GET A LIFE, YOU STUBBORN OLD FOOLS!
Android 18. It's a toss up between her utter mauling of Vegeta in the Android Saga, and her hilarious extortion of Mr. Satan in the Buu Saga (and the Non-Serial Movie's expansion on it, when she goes and tries to collect her prize...).
Also, in GT, when she is confronted by 17, she tells him that the people he is hurting are innocent, and he kills Krillin, she attacks 17 in a fit of rage, and stands in the way of 17's attack when he tried to kill her daughter. This shows that she is truly redeemed, and shuns her former, murderous ways.
Given what was going on in the rest of the Cell Games arc, it’s easy to discount this one—particularly given the fact that its, technically, filler—but someone has to give the Ox King some serious credit. During Gohan’s fight with Cell, Chichi is, predictably, going off on one of her “My little boy shouldn’t be fighting” tangents. By this point, the Ox King has gotten fed up with it, and tells her exactly what she’s been ignoring for the rest of the series: that Gohan and Goku are fighting for a better cause, and that the former isn’t a child anymore. The cherry on top is that he still manages to be the loving grandpa we've seen thus far (“Oh, sure, I wish it was me instead of him”) while doing so. This doesn’t take, but it’s the thought that counts, right?
Videl has one in the anime when she lands in a bus and beats the shit out of the hijackers. Too bad nobody was driving the bus, and the bus drove over a cliff. Thankfully, Gohan catches the bus.
Videl's first and only major fight in the main series against Spopovich counts as one. Despite being beaten and broken against an enemy with infinite energy, she refuses to give up and personifies the human spirit in the Saiyan-dominated series. Bonus points for the fact she essentially killed him by breaking his neck (which would've disqualified her), but he was able to recover indefinitely since he was being powered by Babidi's magic.
She also gets one in the tenth movie, where she hurls a crystal at Broly. Does it hurt him? No, he breaks it without breaking a sweat, and it wouldn't have done anything had it hit anyway. But that wasn't the point. Prior to that, Broly was squeezing the life out of Gohan and stopping to break the crystal distracts Broly enough for Gohan to kick him in the chest, wrench himself free of his grasp, and then proceed to begin the Kamehameha Wave that ends the battle.
The fact that she was, only a short while after being healed from the above, willing to fight someone that had overpowered Gohan might not be a crowning moment of awesome, but having the guts to do that (particularly since this is DBZ) when all you can do with ki is flight, and immediately after getting the crap kicked out of you, is pretty damn awesome.
Piccolo and Android 17 get a series of these when the two go head to head. This fight alone is a Moment Of Awesome because this comparatively insignificant battle, two episodes in the anime, frequently makes the top five DBZ fights and is something of a fan favorite and butts heads with Gohan vs. Perfect Cell and Goku vs. Frieza.
A moment that often gets overlooked is during the Cell Games, Gohan has just turned SSJ2 and is beating the crap out of Cell. Meanwhile, Mr. Hercule Satan having run his mouth all this time throughout the arc and proclaiming everything that happens to be nothing but tricks says that Gohan is skilled but he needs training and will take him under his wing to be a truly great fighter. At this point the Commentator for the Cell Games tells him who is he trying to fool? Gohan and the others are clearly more powerful than he is. Even his own pupils realized he was a phony. (Except for the Brainless Beauty Valet) It doesn't last but it was nice for somebody to realize that Satan was full of it.
Way before that, Android 16 gets one when he enters the fight with Imperfect Cell. Until that point, he didn't do anything but peacefully interact with the local wildlife and frequently get mocked by Android 17 for, as 17 believes, being an Obvious Beta. Yet when Imperfect Cell almost kills Piccolo and just as easily defeats 17, Android 16 steps in... and is able to fight the tens of thousands souls strong Imperfect Cell to a standstill. Badass.
Pan gets one in the episode "Granddaughter Pan." On her way to the stadium when she attempts to win a teddy bear, she picks up the hammer and breaks the freaking machine. Cue a WTF face that the bystanders have, while Goku smiles unsurprisingly.
Also, when she beats up Wild Tiger with only two blows.
Bra, Bulma and Vegeta's daughter, is a Living Prop. She's the only Saiyan-related character who doesn't fight, and she was probably created as a visual cue to manga readers that, yes, Bulma and Vegeta were still together after all these years. There is no possible arguing whatsoever that the main thing that endeared fans to her was her epicCalling the Old Man Out... because she thought his mustache was stupid. Vegeta shaving the stupid thing off was a major Author's Saving Throw and arguably the point where GT grew what little stubble it was going to get.
There is another GT moment related to Bra, but this one is enacted by Vegeta. He is driving her somewhere along a mountain road, and a car full of guys drives alongside the car and start flirting with Bra. They tell her to ditch the "old guy" and ride with them. Vegeta gets a surly look, and he reaches over and pulls their steeling wheel off. Then he rams their car and drives away. The guys can no longer steer and thus drive off the mountain (with Bra amusingly not seeming to mind.) Don't call Vegeta old, and do NOT flirt with his daughter.
While GT had its issues, it had some good moments. One is when Omega Shenron is about to attack a defenseless Goku, until a brick comes out of nowhere, hitting him square in the head. Cut to Vegeta, bouncing another brick idly in his hand.
Also in that saga, Vegeta says that if the press hassles him he will kill them. His wife, Bulma, simply tells him to behave.
Bulma is also a walking CMOA because she was very useful without having to fight. She was responsible for constructing various gadgets, including the Dragon Radar, which set the entire series into motion!
When Vegeta lands on Earth again at the start of the Android saga, everyone gets ready for a fight. Bulma tells him that he reeks and drags him off to shower.
Pikkon. When Goku and Pikkon travel to Hell to fight Cell and the other villains, Pikkon is able to defeat Cell with only two hits, then knocks out both Freeza and King Cold with a single blow.
While Piccolo Jr. gets a lot of moments, serious props have to go to Demon King Piccolo in the original Dragon Ball. After he gathers all the Dragon Balls and has Shenron restore his youthful strength, he decides to fix it so that nobody can ever use the Dragon Balls against him, so he shoots a Ki blast that blows Shenron, the Eternal Dragon into meaty chunks! At that point in the story, that was roughly equivalent to killing God! And he did it with one attack. He actually gets a lot of moments, such as...
His "fight" with Vegeta. Vegeta is always smug, arrogant, and overconfident. Even when it's clear he's outmatched, he still always stands up from a beating and spits in his opponent's face. But not against Frieza. Frieza gives him possibly the most brutal beating in the entire series, pummeling him to the point where he couldn't even move from the pain, and actually makes him cry Tears of Fear. As mentioned above, Vegeta is so persistent and fearless that he actually frightened a god-killing monster. And Frieza terrifies him.
At one point, just to make Vegeta feel extra helpless before killing him, he stands still and let's Vegeta shoot him with his most powerful attack. And then, without even using 4% of his power, he casually kicks the blast away. After that, all Vegeta could do was just stare in disbelief. King Kai said that was the first time Vegeta truly felt fear.
Also awesome is the fact that, before he resorts to Beam Spam, he actually showcases the widest variety of attacks & techniques of anyone in the series, besides maybe Goku. Especially cool is his Crimson Sphere attack, which freezes an opponent in a ball of ki that will blow up if it touches anything but Frieza himself, which he then kicks around until he's bored, then detonates it.
His fight with Goku, before the latter became a Super Saiyan; at first it's a balanced out, but interesting match, but then Frieza goes 70% power and proceeds to annihilate him, then claiming he's not even using a third.
His infamously long battle with Super Saiyan Goku note anime at least, Goku pretty much was dominating the fight in the manga, when he swallows his fear, goes 100% and gives Goku the toughest fight in his life.
Also, he's got Ryusei Nakao as his Japanese seiyuu. That voice alone is a Crowning Moment Of Sexy.
In his imperfect form, he pulls out extreme amounts of savvy to compensate for the fact that, for the moment, our heroes could still defeat him before he obtained the power he needed, something that sets him apart from many of the other villains in the show (or even himself, come Perfect Form). He rarely gloats and Knows When To Fold 'Em, never brashly fighting in a situation where it would be more cost effective to run instead. He takes advantage of the fact that the heroes can only react to his actions by striking quickly and then leaving before they have time to arrive. He bides his time and acts very patiently, only taking action when he is absolutely sure he can succeed, and when he does fight, he is ruthlessly efficient. Should anyone stand in his way or attack him, he always makes sure to take care of them immediately if he can and do so quickly, rather than let them escape to continue to thwart him later. This becomes especially evident during his initial attempt to absorb 17 and 18: as 16 and Piccolo interrupt him, he stops pursuing his grand goal and takes care of them first, knowing that while he could take the others at his leisure he couldn't allow the only beings nearly as powerful as him to continue to act against him. It's safe to say that Cell was certainly a Magnificent Bastard in his imperfect form.
Cell's awesome speech to Future Trunks when he's asked by him why he's so obsessed with achieving his "perfect" form:
"Why do I seek ultimate power? Such a pointless question. It was the goal of the computer to create the Ultimate Warrior. Or perhaps it's the blood of Saiyans, Frieza, and Piccolo flowing through my veins that drives me thus."
Cell, after achieving his perfect form, nearly killing Krillin with a single kick.
Cell "training exercise" after achieving perfection. It includes, among other things, taking out a football team without breaking a sweat.
Every moment of his "fight" with Vegeta when achieves his perfect form. Seriously, it's fantastic.
There's also him destroying Android 16 in front of Gohan, and killing Trunks after narrowly escaping his own self-destruction and returning to Earth
Super Buu is a walking moment of awesome.
The very first thing he does is kill a psychopathic gunman by pouring himself down the gunmen's throat until he explodes, while laughing. A pretty Crazy Awesome way of going about things, rather than just executing him with a blast like most others would've.
When he first arrives at Kami's Lookout, he demands to see Gotenks. Piccolo asks him to wait, and to bide his time by killing some humans. He hopes this will keep Buu distracted long enough for Goten and Trunks to train and get stronger in the time chamber. Super Buu stares at him for a bit before raising his hand into the air and firing out billions of blasts that find and kill every single person on Earth in under a minute. The whole time, he never takes his eyes off of Piccolo, who has the best Oh Crap expression. Then he kills Chi Chi without even looking at her or changing his expression when she tries to stand up to him. By transforming her into an egg and stepping on it.
Piccolo attempts to outsmart Buu by blowing up the entrance to the time chamber, locking him in the pocket dimension. Buu's response is to tear a hole between the dimensions and escape. Who needs a door?
Later, it appears that they've got Buu on the ropes, as Gohan comes back and starts pounding the daylights out of him. But then he reveals that he's planning for this all along: he not only sensed Gohan's immense power while he was fighting Gotenks and was waiting for him to come but he decided not to kill Gotenks after he defused in their battle in case the immense power he sensed were to come to Earth so that he could absorb Gotenks and become stronger than the power he had sensed. Buu then blows himself up and an hour later Goten, Trunks, Gohan and Piccolo arrive back at the scene and knowing how arrogant and prideful Goten and Trunks are, he tricks them into fusing by stating he wanted to fight them again and calling them cowards. Super Buu then surprises and absorbs Gotenks and Piccolo (who weren't expecting him to pull any tricks, and therefore off-guard and able to be absorbed), and deduces that even with the time limit on the fusion, this new power he gained should be more than enough to take down Gohan. He was right.
After seeing this, Goku shows up with the Potara earrings and attempts to fuse with Gohan so they can beat Buu. Buu, Genre Savvy as he is, immediately goes to put a stop to this, greatly surprising Goku, who expected him to succumb to Bond Villain Stupidity.
When Gotenks' fusion expires and Buu reverts to a weaker form, Goku is finally relieved that Gohan can handle him... only for Buu to reveal that he had planned for THIS too. Cue a piece of him surprising and absorbing Gohan. Double points for the fact that Gohan actually would've been able to foil the attempt and beat Buu if Goku hadn't come there to distract him- but if Goku hadn't done that, Buu would've killed Gohan anyway. So he was going to win either way.
In the anime only, Super Saiyan 3 Goku attempts to stall him after he absorbed Gotenks, to give Gohan time to find the fusion earring (in the manga, Goku just cowered in fear, then Buu lost Gotenks due to the de-fusion before he could do anything, leading to the scene with Gohan). Goku catches him off guard while he's busy with Gohan, blasts him into a mountain, and hits him with dozens of ki blasts. When the smoke clears, Buu doesn't even have a scratch on him. He floats up, smirks, and simply says "My turn". He proceeds to hand Goku his ass in much less time than it took him to beat Gohan.
He even gets one during his "fight" with Vegetto by fooling him and turning him into candy. That was NOT part of Vegetto's plan, judging by his surprise at it. Unfortunately for the demon, Vegetto puts a damper on it by revealing he can still move... and can still beat up Buu even as candy.
In the anime, he also manages to force himself down Vegetto's throat in a similar manner to the gunman earlier. It doesn't kill him, since Vegetto is strong enough to expel Buu from his body, but Vegetto clearly uses effort and is in a lot of pain while doing so. The fact that Buu managed to do this despite being heavily outmatched is pretty impressive and inventive. More than he ever managed in the manga.
Also in the anime: Super Buuhan nearly tearing the universe down in a rage.
There's also the fact that Goku is terrified of Super Buu, and does everything possible to avoid fighting him, even shooting down Vegeta's suggestion of a Super Saiyan 3 + Super Saiyan 2 team-up after they remove Buu's absorptions, because "even though he's gotten a lot weaker, we're still bugs to him! He'll easily slaughter us if we go out there!". Considering how much of a Blood Knight Goku is, and how willing he is to fight even enemies that outmatch him, Super Buu scaring the fight out of him (the only villain to ever do so) is awesome indeed.
While not as intelligent as Super Buu, Kid Buu is no less Crazy Awesome.
He turns his arm into a guided missile to beat up Mr. Buu.
He actually beats Super Saiyan 3 Goku. During the fight, Goku was struggling to keep up with Buu, and eventually he just ran out of energy and could no longer stand up to him. At the end of the fight, even Goku admits that Kid Buu was simply the better fighter, and was so impressed that he actually wished for him to be reincarnated as a good guy so they could fight again, and have a proper epic rematch.
Kid Buu is also the only villain to ever succeed in blowing up the Earth. He only succeeded in doing so because Gohan was knocked out and Gotenks was defused, but still.
It should be mentioned just how he did it; first, he launched a small blast with enough power to blow up the planet. Vegeta and Goku deflected it. Then, he raised his hand above his head and summoned a big and powerful ball of energy that Goku and Vegeta couldn't deflect. Goku begs him not to blow up the planet, but Kid Buu just responds with a Slasher Smile before throwing it.
In his back story, Buu took on the five highest gods of the universe and defeated all of them. We actually get to see him do this in the anime:
West Kaioshin is easily curbstomped and killed with Buu not even trying.
North Kaioshin attempts to cut Buu in half... only for Buu to remind him that doesn't work and then kill him in one hit, while looking bored.
South Kaioshin, the strongest among them by far, actually is able to put up a fight, get in a few painful hits on Buu, and last more than a minute. But Buu still takes him down fairly easily, heavily damaging him with just one kick to the neck. He then absorbs him to become even more powerful.
Grand Kaioshin attempted to fight the newly improved Buu by blowing him apart with a Breath Weapon cutting attack... only for Buu to again remind these guys that cutting him doesn't do anything. He proceeds to absorb the Grand Kaioshin too, though this results in him becoming the more docile and less savage (but more intelligent) Fat Buu.
East Kaioshin isn't even really fought; Buu just bats him into a rock and goes to one-shot him with a weak blast until Grand Kaioshin intervenes and deflects it. Buu could've easily killed him, but just wandered off after absorbing the Grand Kaioshin.
Credit needs to be given to pre-Z Dragon Ball here, considering it gave us Tao Pai Pai. The man killed General Blue withhistongue.
When Tao Pai Pai says "Who needs a jet when when we've got a perfectly good pillar." He taps the pillar and breaks it out, while leaving the building completely intact then throws the pillar and jumps onto it while it's moving.
In one episode, Tao is walking down a street, and someone attempts to shoot him from behind. Tao, still walking and appearing to not realize that he is being targeted, just lifts his foot in such a way that his shoe flies off and deflects the bullet. He then continues walking as the shoe comes back down and lands perfectly back onto his foot.
Props must also be given to Piccolo's son, Tambourine. After beating Krillin to death (a notable feat in and of itself), he proceeds to assassinate every martial artist he can find under the orders of King Piccolo, killing them all, usually with just a single hit. Highlights include snapping Krillin's neck with a kick, countering King Chappa's Eight Arm technique with his own Hundred Arm technique, and ramming his fist straight through Giran.
Nappa put the Z Fighters through Hell until Goku arrived. He managed to kill Tien Shinhan (and ripped off his arm early on), Chiaotzu (by being too tough for his suicide attack to effect), and Piccolo (although he was trying to kill Gohan instead). He also managed to avoid, parry, or shrug off some powerful moves such as Krillin's Destructo Disk (which probably would've killed him if it did connect). He even had some moments in filler, such as when he demolished a gargantuan bug creature and entire military fleets without even trying.
Captain Ginyu deserves mention for the reveal of his Grand Theft Me power. The moment when you realize he'd actually been letting Goku beat the crap out of him so he'd be stuck in a weakened body after the switch is quite the Oh Crap feeling.
Cooler might have had the most awesome villain moment in the movies. After showing Goku his fourth transformation, Goku tries to hit him with a Kamehameha. Cue Cooler flying into the blast and popping out of the beam to punch Goku.
Right before that was Cooler's beatdown of Goku. Even when Goku uses a kaio-ken x20, he's completely unable to hurt Cooler, who proceeds to destroy him with ONE PUNCH. After that, he flies through the Kamehameha as mentioned, and KO's Goku with another punch.
Cooler: Hah! So this is the mighty Super Saiyan who defeated my brother? How ridiculous.... Freeza deserved to die for getting beaten by a weakling like you.
His suitably epic return as Metal Cooler. Not only does he completely destroy two Super Saiyans and a Super Namek, he toys with them the whole time. And just when it looks like our heroes might've beaten him, he spawns an army of clones.
Broly's epic beatdown on Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Trunks, and Piccolo deserves special mention; not only were the Z-Fighters at full power, Broly WASN'T EVEN TRYING, and merely toys with them the entire movie.
Broly taking a Kamehameha wave point blank and not even so much as a scratch from it.
Broly: (grabs Goku's head and lifts him up) What the hell was that?!
Broly scaring the crap out of Vegeta just by showing his Legendary Super Sayian form. For Vegeta, seeing this legend face to face and having him attack them is like having God show up and start obliterating everybody.
He also punched Vegeta so hard that he left a double-dip impact crater in the wall that Vegeta hit. Vegeta was NOT amused.
He goes a bit further and defeats Super Saiyan God Goku while only using 70% of his power. Super Saiyan God Goku was able to wound Beers, something nobody else could do.
Having the latest villain curb-stomping most of the cast is hardly unusual for this series, but Beers does it with class. He incapacitates most of the cast who tries to take him on with quick, efficient strikes, including striking Piccolo's pressure points with chopsticks, which he was carrying for most of the fight.
Garlic Jr. literally being the only villain to obtain immortality in the Dragon Ball series. Yes, you heard right: Garlic Jr. obtained immortality before Vegeta or Frieza even got the chance. Granted,it didn't go the way he wanted it to, but it's still pretty damn cool.