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Character subpage for Cell, a villain from Dragon Ball Z.


Cell (セル, Seru)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/card_1003760_character.png
"Allow me to show you the terror of perfection."
Click here to see his Imperfect form 
Click here to see his Semi-Perfect form 
Voiced by: Norio Wakamoto (Japanese)
Voiced by: Dale Wilson (Ocean dub)
Voiced by: Dameon Clarke (Funimation dub), Travis Willingham (video games), Jim Foronda (Funimation's Kai: The Final Chapters dub)
Voiced by: Jonathan David Cook (English dub of Final Bout)
Voiced by: Ricardo Brust (Z and GT), Salvador Reyes (Kai) (Latin American Spanish)

"You see, I'm perfect, my strength is perfect, and with that I shall bring equally perfect destruction through the rest of the universe."

The ultimate creation of Dr. Gero. An insectoid-reptilian-humanoid Mix-and-Match Critter being made from the cells and information gathered from most of the Z Fighters (as well as cells from Frieza and Cold) who, unlike the Androids, can regenerate From a Single Cell when damaged, gain more experience and power as he fights (or as he "eats" people with his tail), and can, upon absorbing Androids 17 and 18, transform into increasingly stronger and more "Perfect" forms. After becoming Perfect, he tries to be "fair" by giving Earth a chance with his own martial arts tournament, but eventually just screws the rules and tries to destroy everyone then and there. In the end though, he is destroyed by Gohan.

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It should be noted that the version of Cell that plays a large role in Dragon Ball Z hails from an alternate future timeline similar to Future Trunks' timeline where, unfortunately for him, neither Android 17 nor Android 18 are present, having already been taken out by that timeline's Trunks. In order to complete his evolution, Cell killed that timeline's Trunks and stole his Time Machine, going back in time to the date set by Future Trunks in the standard main timeline when both Androids are still functional. For info about the versions of Cell from the main timeline and Future Trunks' timeline, see the Z Villains page.


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    A-E 
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Cell as your mentor comes across less like a homicidal Jerkass, and more as a Challenge Seeker who's just looking to have fun.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Part of what made him so hard to kill is that they can regenerate From a Single Cell. In all video games, for gameplay reasons, he doesn't need to be that level of dead to die.
  • Adorkable: In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Cell shows shades of this if he's your mentor, with some of his dialogue being hilarious:
    "Splendid! Now THIS was a real fight! I'd totally hug you if that was something I did!"
  • Affably Evil: In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, he's affable to the point of being downright chummy.
  • Alien Blood: His blood is purple.
  • All Your Powers Combined: As a Mix-and-Match Critter of all previous major fighters, Cell has access to all the attacks and natural abilities of the likes of Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Frieza and more.
  • And Then What?: He freely admits to Piccolo that once he obtains his Perfect form, he has no idea what he'll do afterwards. After he does obtain it, when he's asked again, he decides he'll entertain himself by wiping out all life in the universe.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: He invokes this in order to bring out Gohan's hidden power; since Gohan refuses to get angry and unleash his power no matter what Cell does to him, he decides to spawn seven Cell Jrs. and make Gohan watch as he sics them on the Z-Fighters, to see if that will make him angry. The final straw is when he crushes Android 16's head underfoot right in front of Gohan, and Cell gets what he wanted.
  • Animal Motifs: Insects. Aside from looking like a giant bug man, Cell undergoes his transformations much like a caterpillar undergoes metamorphosis.
  • Antagonist Abilities: Cell possesses all of the most powerful, most useful, and most unfair abilities that every character in the story possesses, such as Solar Flare, Regeneration, and Saiyan Zenkai. He also possesses several unique powers all his own, such as the ability to gain or process information on a cellular level (such as his cells being able to copy abilities they encounter).
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Cell is to Future Trunks as Frieza is to Goku, an unrepentantly evil, seemingly unstoppable monster whose existence cannot be allowed to stand. He serves as an Evil Counterpart to Trunks of sorts. He murdered Trunks in an alternative timeline, steals his time machine to achieve perfection, and represents the culmination of everything Trunks traveled through time to stop. Plus, it was Trunks which dispatched the Androids from Cell's timeline, forcing him to go back in the first place. In addition, both have killed different versions of each other twice, with Cell killing the Future Trunks of his timeline and regular Future Trunks in the Cell Games, while Trunks killed Present Cell in larvae form and Future Imperfect Cell of his timeline.
    • After merging with Kami, Piccolo takes offense to Cell absorbing people and personally tried to chase him down. Even after Cell completely surpasses him, Piccolo still wants to fight him. Cell, on the other hand, just sees Piccolo as an annoying roadblock.
    • To Gohan as well, which is a mutual on Cell's side. Similarly to Trunks, Cell is to Gohan as Frieza is to Goku. In addition to seeing Cell murder many innocent people, Gohan lost his father and a close friend who cannot be revived by the Dragon Balls to the genetic monstrosity, and Cell deliberately tortured his friends in front of him to bring out his full power. While from Cell's perspective, he hates the boy for humiliating him and take special pleasure rubbing in Gohan's face how his father died for nothing.
    • Despite being created specifically to kill Goku as Gero's ultimate weapon, Cell and Goku never formed this relationship. In fact, Goku has the least personal connection to Cell out of all the main villains in the series, while Cell just wants to fight Goku for sport. In comparison to Goku and other villains, they have very little hate for each other and seem to have some degree of mutual respect due to their comparative power levels and similar personalities.
  • Arc Villain: Takes over as the main antagonist of the Android saga after Dr. Gero gets killed.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Like the traditional Dragon Ball villain. What makes him stand out among the rest, however, is that he is a very skilled fighter who doesn't have the shortcomings of the Saiyans and Frieza. He can sense energies like the heroes, suppress his power down to almost nonexistent, can think on his feet in the heat of battle, and does not rely on pure brute strength to get ahead. He shows more battle experience and understanding of fighting than Trunks and Gohan and actually rivals Goku and Piccolo in fighting instincts. This is mostly thanks to his genetics which gives him the power and experience of the universe's greatest fighters.
  • Assimilation Backfire: A What If? example in the first Budokai game; Cell accidentally absorbs Krillin instead of Android 18, and the resulting "Cellin" is weakened to the point where he's taken out by Yamcha and Tien.
  • The Assimilator: Cell, unlike most examples of this trope, doesn't gain any specific traits from those he absorbs, though he has to absorb Androids 17 and 18 to reach his perfect form. And he gained a massive power boost from all the innocent civilians he slurped up. It's worth noting that he has two methods for doing this: simply jamming his stinger into them, sucking them up and leaving their clothes behind, or the method used to absorb the Androids (and Goku in GT): opening up the stinger to swallow them whole.
  • Attention Whore: Why else would he announce the Cell Games to the public?
  • Ax-Crazy: Became this in his Super Perfect state. After dealing with Trunks and Vegeta, he declares that he's done playing games, Earth is about to go, and the rest of the universe is soon to follow. He spends most of the struggle with Gohan shouting taunts at him or laughing like a maniac.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Did this a lot.
  • Badass Baritone: His Latin American Spanish dub actor in Z had already a very impressive deep voice, but after Cell's introductory fight with Piccolo, it was altered via filter to be even more ridiculously deep.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Gives one to Future Trunks after the latter becomes an Ultra Super Saiyan.
      Cell: I admit. In terms of raw power you have me bested. My own strength doesn't even begin to compare. However, you still don't have a chance of defeating me. Not a chance in Hell.
    • Gives one to Gohan during their final battle.
      Cell: I AM THE UNIVERSE'S END!!
    • From the first dub when he's charging the Kamehameha that will destroy the solar system.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: He is this to the androids, especially Androids 17 and 18. The heroes didn't know he existed until a third through the saga.
  • Bash Brothers: Forms this with Frieza after his death.
  • Batman Gambit: He pulls an excellent one off against Vegeta after being dominated by him in his semi-perfect form. After knocking Cell around for a while, Vegeta quickly becomes bored and complains about how Cell is so weak that he can't fully test his new power. Cell, knowing of Goku and Vegeta's Blood Knight/Challenge Seeker tendencies, uses this to his advantage, telling Vegeta that if he becomes complete then he will easily beat him. Vegeta falls for the trap and allows Cell to absorb Android 18, after which Cell No Sells everything Vegeta throws at him and beats him senseless, all while rubbing in Vegeta's face how stupid he was to help him to begin with.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Like Frieza, Cell can survive in a vacuum.
  • Beam-O-War: He has two "beam struggles" with Gohan, most famously their final showdown. He loses both of them, fatally the second time, though he would have won that one if not for Vegeta.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: After hearing from Gohan about his hidden power, which only surfaces if he goes into an Unstoppable Rage, Cell, being himself, does everything he can to piss Gohan off, pulling some heavy Kick the Dog moments by siccing his Cell Jrs. on the other Z-Fighters and killing Android 16 right in front of him, all of which pushes Gohan to go Super Saiyan 2 and beat Cell half to death, driving him to a Villainous Breakdown. Gohan even lampshades this in the Funimation dub, reminding Cell that him cutting loose is exactly what he wanted.
    Gohan: I warned you. I told you what would happen if you pushed me too far. But you didn't listen. You forced me to awaken my hidden power, and now that you've seen it, you're afraid... because you know that I'm going to destroy you.
  • Beta Test Baddie: His entire schtick is that he's "incomplete" and needs to absorb Androids 17 and 18 to become perfect.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: When Gohan kicks his ass, Cell flips out and decides to self-destruct, taking the entire Earth down with him; unlike Frieza, who held back in order to delay Namek's explosion out of fear for his life, Cell fully intended to die in said explosion as long as it meant Gohan wouldn't win. It was sheer dumb luck that he regenerated From a Single Cell and came back stronger than ever.
  • Beware the Superman: He has the combined powers of the Z-Fighters, the world's protectors, and Frieza... and like Frieza, he chooses to use his great talents and power to terrify and kill innocent people For the Evulz; he openly admits that the extent of his Evil Plan after winning the Cell Games is to hunt down every last human on Earth, savor their fear and terror as he kills them, and then go to other planets and repeat the process.
  • Beyond the Impossible:
    • Cell was struck directly in the back of his neck by a Destructro Disc, just after attaining his perfection. The Destructo Disc shattered. To give an idea of how big that is; while other fighters learned to No-Sell Destructo discs by using their Ki to disintegrate or redirect them, actually being capable of physically touching them without injury would not be repeated until Jiren in Super.
    • Surviving his own self-destruction was such a shock that even Cell himself didn't see it coming.
  • Bishōnen Line: A definitive example. Goes from being an insect-themed Monstrous Humanoid to a gray skinned human like being whose shell seems like a costume. In fact, he provides the image for the trope.
  • Blinded by Rage: During his fight with Gohan. He ends up so insane with rage that he resorts to Hulking Out in an attempt to even the odds, despite having mocked Trunks for doing the exact same thing previously. Trunks even lampshades it, remarking that Cell's so pissed off that he's getting careless and making the same mistake.
    Trunks: He's so focused on power, he's not paying attention to his speed! Cell's getting careless the same way I did. He's gone totally berserk!
  • Blood Knight: Once he becomes perfect, he deliberately sets up the Cell Games and gives the Z-Fighters ten days to prepare, purely because he wants to push his body to its limits and test his strength.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: After becoming perfect, he becomes the most powerful being in the universe. Rather than simply killing everyone, he decides to set up the Cell Games and gives the Z-Fighters ten days to prepare. This is justified, in that Cell wanted to test out his perfect body and be pushed to his limits, especially since Vegeta and Trunks failed to challenge him.
  • Break Them by Talking: He breaks Trunks' spirit by revealing the flaw in the Ultra Super Saiyan form. It's too slow to hit him and all Trunks had been doing was pumping himself up, something that he can do too. And to rub salt in the wound, he tells Trunks that Vegeta figured that out, which is why he didn't use that form against him.
  • Break the Haughty: After his journey to become perfect, he declared himself the strongest in the universe and held a tournament just for the sake of pounding all the strongest fighters on Earth before he destroys it. After pushing Gohan to release his hidden power, by beating and torturing his friends, Cell gets his ass handed to him causing him to have both a physical and mental breakdown over being beaten by a kid. He breaks so much that he decides to blow himself up along with the planet.
  • Brutal Honesty: Displays this if he's your mentor in Dragon Ball Xenoverse - he sees the whole role as a game (wherein the goal is to improve an "imperfect" being - i.e. you), openly refers to you as his personal chess piece and isn't afraid to tell you what he thinks of you if you fail a mission:
    Cell: You're not even worth evaluating, scum.
  • Bullying a Dragon: What he does to Gohan during the Cell Games. In an odd variation on the trope, Gohan at the time was hardly a match for Cell. Cell kept pressing his buttons and trying to anger him so he'd unleash his hidden power and be a Worthy Opponent. Cell underestimated just how worthy he'd be.
  • Came Back Strong: Villainous example. After regenerating from a single cell, he gains enough strength to stand on equal footing with SSJ2 Gohan when before he was laughably outclassed.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: He can absorb others into his body to add their power to his own. Doing this to Android 17 and 18 allows him to reach his Perfect form.
  • Cavalier Competitor: The second kind. Perfect Cell starts off like this, mainly because all he wants is to fight and be entertained. When fighting Gohan, he does everything he can to awaken his hidden power, and finally does so by crushing Android 16's head beneath his heel. However, once he pisses off Gohan enough to push him to Super Saiyan 2 and becomes sorely outclassed by a child, Perfect Cell's ego can't handle it (then again, he does have the cells of Frieza and Vegeta in him). He drops his facade of civility, gets a little angry and, had it not been for Goku providing spiritual help (and Vegeta an unexpected assist), Cell would have ultimately annihilated the entire solar system in one shot.
  • Catchphrase:
    • A variant, but in the Kai dub, he tends to make references to Hell.
    Cell: (To Vegeta) When I'm done with you, you'll be begging for Hell!
    Cell: (To Future Trunks) However, you still don't have a chance of defeating me. Not a chance in Hell.
    Cell: (To Gohan) See You in Hell!
  • Challenge Seeker: He deliberately spares the protagonists after becoming perfect and sets up the Cell Games just because he wants to have fun and test his newfound perfection. He admits it's probably due to the Saiyan DNA. This turns out, much like Vegeta, to be a Fatal Flaw. Because he's so desperate for a challenging fight, he pushes Gohan to his Rage Breaking Point so he can give him a better challenge. Let's just say that he came to regret this decision.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Becomes a bulkier and larger version of himself with less speed, which he doesn't realize during his fight with SSJ2 Gohan despite scolding Trunks for doing the same thing.
  • Combat Compliment: Cell spends most of his fight with Goku singing his praise, saying that he's even greater than he has heard.
  • The Comically Serious: During all of Mr. Satan and his student's attempts to fight him, Cell simply stands expressionless with his arms folded, which just the makes their antics much more hilarious.
  • Conflict Killer: Once he appears, the Androids effectively cease being the Arc Villains as the heroes focus their efforts on stopping him from reaching his full power. His means of doing so also outright removes the Androids from the arc.
  • Confusion Fu: Before anyone knows who he is, Cell pulls a couple of these on Piccolo, Trunks and the others. Since he has the cells of all of the strongest fighters, he knows almost all of their attacks, many of which are unique to them. He abuses this to get the upper hand on Piccolo whilst in his Imperfect Form. Piccolo at this point is considerably stronger than Cell, but Cell then performs a Kamehameha, which shocks Piccolo enough to allow Cell to grab him. When Trunks and Krillin show up, he then uses Solar Flare to escape. He also tries this against Goku, using several techniques from both his allies and past enemies. They don't work, since Goku has seen them before and knows how to counter them.
  • Conqueror from the Future: Though he doesn't want to rule so much as he wants to flaunt his power and "perfection" over everyone else.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • The databooks mention that he comes from an alternate future where Goku kills Frieza and King Cold, yet dies from a heart disease, much like in Future Trunks' timeline, implying that his world is the future that was supposed to happen, or at least the closest to it seen. However, in the anime and manga, Cell clearly states his origin is tied to when Future Trunks first time traveled, implying that he's simply from Future Trunks' own future (or an alternate one, as the two met each other in the past) and worse, that it's Trunks' fault that he even exists. It's so bad that Toriyama himself regrets making so many timelines.
    • In the original and Kai dubs, after surviving his own self-destruction and regenerating From a Single Cell, Cell explains that an organ inside his head allows him to regenerate, so long as that organ is not destroyed. However, he was able to regenerate after Goku vaporized his entire upper body, head included, with a point-blank Kamehameha wave. The original Funimation dub fixes this by stating that every cell in Cell's body has a life of its own, thus enabling him to regenerate.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Compare Cell to Frieza. Frieza is an ages old alien, Cell is a genetically engineered being from the future. Frieza refused the idea of someone stronger than him (especially Super Saiyans) while Cell actively seeks out powerful opponents. Aside from Vegeta and eventually Goku, Frieza never bothered to learn anyone's names while Cell knew who they were before he met them. Frieza was born with his power while Cell actively sought it out. Finally, Frieza learned about the Dragon Balls and wanted to wish for immortality, Cell already knew of them but had no interest in a wish.
  • Crown-Shaped Head: Cell's semi-perfect and perfect forms each have two protruding 'spires' surrounding his black chitin-like dome of a scalp.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Dished them out to Piccolo, Androids 17 and 18, Android 16, Vegeta, and Trunks. The latter two were defeated with one hit each after Cell became Super Perfect.
    • And he got curb stomped himself by Vegeta in his Semi-Perfect form and Gohan's Super Saiyan 2 in his Perfect form. Super Perfect Cell, on the other hand, nearly kills SSJ2 Gohan in their final Beam-O-War, albeit after Gohan loses the use of one arm, if it weren't for Vegeta shooting him In the Back.
  • Curb-Stomp Cushion:
    • After absorbing Android 17 and becoming Semi-Perfect, he's hit with this when Tien shows up and uses his Tri-Beam attack to keep him at bay long enough for 18 to get away. It's made all the more astonishing because Cell's previous form had been shown effortlessly taking down a Kami-fused Piccolo and Android 17, and the Semi-Perfect form made quick work out of Android 16.
    • He gets hit with it again after becoming perfect and effortlessly slaps Vegeta, who easily outmatched his previous form, around. Vegeta breaks out the Final Flash, which blows off one of Cell's arms and a good chunk of his torso, and had he not dodged at the last second, it would have killed him.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Surprisingly, he has them in his Imperfect form, but you don't see them that often.
  • Deadline News: Cell's rampant bioextraction of the humans (including reporters and cameramen covering the scene in the town he's in) makes him the talk of the media. And that's before he takes a cue from King Piccolo and declares his challenge for the fate of the world on global television.
  • Death by Irony: He loses his Beam-O-War with Gohan because he was distracted by an attack from Vegeta, the same person who helped him achieve his Perfect Form.
  • Defiant to the End: "I AM PERRRRRRRFECTTTTTTT!" note 
  • De-Power: After achieving his Perfect form, he's actually brought back down to Semi-Perfect by Gohan punching him hard enough to knock 18 right out of him. He got to upgrade again after his suicide attack, since the power boost was enough to get him back to Perfect form despite losing 18. It's noted by Cell that he got his Perfect Form back because his body kept the memory of it when he regenerated.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: He becomes a minor example after reaching his perfect form; he candidly tells Trunks that now that he has attained ultimate power, even killing Goku, the purpose for which he was created, has lost all meaning to him. The Cell Games are basically his way of figuring out what to do next. He finally discovers it through an epiphany caused by his near-death and rebirth from self-destruction: that Dr. Gero hadn't created him just to kill Goku or destroy the Earth, but to be the end of all living beings in the entire universe, a role Cell embraces wholeheartedly with joy.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: Everything he does throughout the Cell Saga, which includes eating 600,000 innocent people and killing hundreds of others in cold blood, is solely so he can attain ultimate power. Once he does obtain his power and becomes perfect, his endgame is solely to use it to hunt down and kill every last human on Earth one at a time, savoring their fear and terror as he does so, and then go to other planets and repeat the process until everything's dead.
  • Determinator: His single-minded pursuit of Androids 17 and 18 makes him this. There is nothing he won't do to hunt them down, whether it's absorbing thousands of innocent people or travelling through time itself.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: His return as Super Perfect Cell: The real kicker is that Cell himself thought he'd die from his self-detonation. He returns stronger than ever before.
  • Did Not See That Coming:
    • He didn't see his timeline's version of Trunks taking out his timeline's Androids 17 and 18.
    • He is caught flatfooted by Piccolo's new power since he never suspected that Piccolo and Kami will fuse.
    • He is just as surprised as everyone else when he learns how powerful Android 16 is and he doesn't have the same weaknesses as the other androids.
    • Cell gets the crud beating out of him by Vegeta who has surpassed Super Saiyan. As far as he knew, Vegeta was supposed to be weaker than Androids 17 and 18.
    • Goku quitting the Cell Games and sending Gohan to fight. He's just as shocked as the heroes. It also never once occurs to him that Gohan's hidden power will surpass his own perfect power.
    • Cell didn't know he would survive his own self-destruction and certainly didn't know he would become stronger than ever from it. It's all a happy surprise for him.
    • Judging by his reactions, he wasn't surprised by Krillin, Piccolo, Yamcha and Tien Shinhan trying to help Gohan by attacking Cell during his Beam-O-War with Gohan; as Cell could simply swat them away just by raising his ki, what really surprised him was that later Vegeta also attacked him, which threw Cell off enough for Gohan deliver the fatal blow.
  • Didn't Think This Through: He goes out of his way to see Gohan's hidden power firsthand, and gets his wish; obviously, Cell was so sure of his own might that he never once considered the possibility that he would actually lose.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Got bumped down to this when Kai was un-cancelled.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: In the first half of the Cell Saga to the deceased Dr. Gero before becoming a Big Bad in his own right upon achieving "perfection". Prior to becoming "complete", almost all of his decisions are shaped around Dr. Gero's programming, which he follows in order to obtain absolute power that can subsequently be wielded in pursuit of his own desires.
  • The Dreaded: After the Do Not Adjust Your Set threat, he becomes big enough of a threat to warrant a fear of him that lasts 7 years after his demise. Although, not so much for the universe at large since he died before ever leaving Earth.
  • Driven to Suicide: A decidedly spiteful variation. Upon being bested by Super Saiyan 2 Gohan, Cell attempted to self-destruct—a move that would've destroyed the entire Earth. He failed due to Goku's intervention, only to unexpectedly revive himself from a single surviving cell.
  • Eating Machine: In his Imperfect form he grows stronger from literally sucking the life out of others and what has to be one of the most disturbing scenes in the series.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: Sneaks up on Android 17 this way when 17 thinks 16 killed him. Say goodbye, 17.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: Android 16 outright calls him as such, realizing he's a threat to all living beings on the planet and will wipe them out just because he can. Being a Friend to All Living Things, the thought of Cell doing so is what drives 16, who had spent several chapters/episodes refusing to fight anyone but Goku due to his programming, to step in and fight him. He definitely proves as such after becoming perfect, since his endgame once he wins the Cell Games is to wipe out all life across the entire universe.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When we see Cell for the first time, he is holding a helpless human. When Piccolo asks him to release the human, he does…and then sticks his needle like tail into the man's leg and sucks him until only his clothes remains.
  • Evil Brit: He's given a posh semi-British accent in the English dub.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: When Gohan takes the attack Cell meant for Vegeta, Cell is unable to understand why Gohan would do it:
    Cell: Why would Gohan sacrifice himself to save Vegeta? Hm...I will never understand the ways of these Saiyans.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • To the Z Fighters he faces, not just by knowing all their techniques and having their abilities, but he also tends to take on their personality traits when he fights them. In his imperfect form he is cold and calculating like Piccolo. In his semi-perfect he is loud and arrogant like Vegeta. In his perfect form he is laid-back and sporting like Goku. And in his super perfect form he is angry and sadistic like SSJ2 Gohan.
    • Specifically Cell is the antithesis to Gohan. Gohan is a peaceful soul who hates fighting and only does so as a last resort. He also has trouble tapping into his hidden power because he dislikes conflict so much. Cell on the other lives for fighting and spends the entire Android arc hunting his "siblings" in order to gain strength.
    • Also to Future Trunks, as they both are time travelers from a Bad Future who were born from scientists. The only difference is that Trunks wants to save the world, while Cell very nearly destroys it.
  • Evil Gloating:
    • In his first form, Cell takes the time to tell a wounded Piccolo about his origins and goals after attempting to absorb him. It bites him in the ass when Piccolo reveals he was faking the injury to get him to talk and promptly regenerates his arm. Which Cell should have known Piccolo could do, since he has the exact same power, inherited from Piccolo.
    • After successfully manipulating Vegeta into helping him absorb Android 18 and become perfect, he takes the time while curb-stomping Vegeta to rub it in his face, mockingly thanking him and outright stating that he never would have been able to reach his perfect form were it not for Vegeta's arrogance and stupidity.
    Cell: Pitiful, really. For all of your talk, you're not even going to make it to the end of my warm-up. Before we're finished, though, I suppose I should thank you. If not for your sheer foolishness, I never would have been able to reach my perfect form. [chuckles evilly]
    • After returning from his near death experience and killing Trunks, he spends several minutes detailing how he returned, took Goku's teleportation, and is back stronger than ever. To rub more salt in the wound, he mockingly thanks Goku while rubbing in the Z-Fighters' faces that Goku sacrificed himself for nothing.
  • Evil Mentor: In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Cell is an optional mentor for the hero to train with and learn new techniques from.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Initially averted in the dub: in his imperfect form, Cell had a raspy, high pitched voice. Upon attaining his semi-perfect, his voice drops all the way down to his gut. His perfect form is a bit of a middle ground between the two, but still reasonably deep. Enforced all the way through in the Japanese version, where his voice goes from monstrous to refined throughout his transformations, yet remains that patented Norio Wakamoto-deep.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: In both dubs, Imperfect Cell has an unnaturally raspy voice to match his insect-monster look.
  • Evil Plan: He frankly tells Piccolo that he doesn't have a plan beyond attaining his perfect form. "I want to get stronger because I want to get stronger". He blames his programing and his Saiyan blood.
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: He has a really bad habit of doing this, mostly because of his arrogance. Once he thought he had Piccolo cornered after disabling his arm, he grants Piccolo's request of knowing everything about his origins. He spared no details, telling Piccolo about his birth, program, powers, and desire to be perfect by absorbing the androids. After a brutal beat down by Super Saiyan 2 Gohan in which he loses his perfect form, Cell decides to self-destruct and take the planet with him. The process takes about 60 seconds, in which Cell uses that time to explain exactly what he is doing and helpfully adds that attacking him will make him explode faster. This gives Goku enough time to figure out what to do with Cell and even say a few goodbyes before teleporting Cell and himself off planet. Finally, after surviving his near-death experience, he goes into detail about how he survived, became more powerful, and how he took Goku's Instant Transmission.

    F-J 
  • Facial Markings: Once achieving his Perfect form.
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride, differing from Frieza who has a habit of not taking things seriously and playing around too much, Cell is overconfident and underestimates his enemies, shown in all of his forms:
  • Faux Affably Evil: Cell is perfectly civil and a good sport as long as he knows that he has the upper-hand in a fight. All grace goes out the window as soon as he's losing.
  • Final Boss: Got promoted to this in Kai.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: Very much so in his Perfect Form. Part of it may be due to his programming; Vegeta and Frieza's cells within him, or a combination of the two. Either way, he believes he is the ultimate warrior and a "perfect being".
  • Flaw Exploitation:
    • Cell exploits Vegeta's pride by appealing to his desire to fight the most powerful opponent possible. This leads to Vegeta allowing Cell to absorb Android 18 in order to achieve his "perfect" form instead of just killing him when he had the chance. Bonus points for getting away with it despite Vegeta knowing exactly what he was doing, but letting it happen regardless. Needless to say, Perfect Cell was a little much for him.
    • And comes full circle with Gohan, who Goku wanted to fight Cell since he knew Gohan's rage could defeat him. Gohan warned Cell what would happen if he was pushed, and Cell kept pushing Gohan's Berserk Button until he exploded. The results were exactly what Goku wanted. Just like Vegeta before him, Gohan was a little much for him.
  • Foil: For Son Goku himself. Like Goku, Cell loves a good fight, loves growing stronger, and is a great deal more clever than he initially appears. However, while Goku is a lower-class Saiyan who trains hard to become stronger the good old fashioned way, Cell is literally optimized at a genetic level and cheats, consuming others to steal their hard-earned strength for himself. Most importantly, while Goku ultimately rejects his malevolent Saiyan instincts and chooses to live a (somewhat) peaceful life like a human, Cell embraces his evil nature and eventually seeks to fulfill what he believes to be his creator's will by destroying all life in the universe.
    • Also one for Gohan. Both are naturally gifted fighters who have gained skills and experience from the most powerful warriors in the galaxy, and both have the ability to increase their power level at a startlingly rapid pace. The difference is that Cell steals all of these things, while Gohan earned them through long years of training and brutal battles. Cell also very much enjoys being so powerful, while Gohan is wary of the destruction he could cause if he lets loose.
  • For the Evulz: After achieving his Perfect Form, he explains to Trunks that unlike Frieza, he has no interest in ruling the universe and doesn't really care about Dr. Gero's vendetta against Goku. He just wants to have fun and test out his full power against Worthy Opponents. And the greatest fun according to him is to see the looks of fear on people's faces as he kills them. In fact, his original plan upon winning the Cell Games was to slowly hunt down every single person on Earth one at a time and savor their terror and despair as he killed them instead of just blowing everything away in one shot. Then go to other planets and repeat the process.
  • From a Single Cell: The Trope Namer. He inherits Piccolo's ability to regenerate from any wound as long as the vital organ in his head remains intact. The Funimation dub of Z altered this so that he can regenerate as long as any of his cells remain intact (presumably to fix the plot hole of his head getting blown up during his fight with Goku), making his regeneration more potent than it originally was.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Starts out as a simple bug from an egg, then becomes this mass-murdering man-eater, to a brute capable of destroying islands with one blast and finally a Physical God that the whole world knows about, and even given a film about it 7 years later.
    • This is subverted as far as the rest of the universe is concerned. Since Cell was killed before leaving the Earth most people, including the gods, never heard of him and still use Frieza as a point of reference for The Dreaded.
  • Gag Lips: In his Semi-Perfect form, as a intermediary between Imperfect's insectoid beak mouth and Perfect's fully-formed human face.
  • Genetic Memory/Lamarck Was Right: Inherits all the learned techniques known to the characters from whose DNA he is made, as of the time when their cells were collected. He recognises each of the Z Fighters on sight and knows more about them, and their personalities, than Gero ever did (on the other hand, he doesn't know everything they can do — for instance, he didn't know that Namekians have a Healing Factor, though he is happy to find out).
  • Genius Bruiser: It isn't just Cell's powers that make him dangerous. It's his intelligence as well. Cell pretty much rivals Goku Black as one of the most cunning and pragmatic opponents in the franchise. The fact that he is not so Ax-Crazy like Frieza and Buu makes him even more dangerous. It was not just his strength and speed that was increased, as he changed forms. His intelligence was increased as well. He uses an incredible amount of strategy, cunning and manipulation to achieve his perfect form. In his Imperfect form he was able to not only escape from the Z-Fighters when they had him cornered but to also to stay completely off the radar when the Z-Fighters were frantically searching for him. Then he became extremely pragmatic and savvy and absorbed thousands upon thousands of humans to boost his power level so that he was more than capable of taking on the Z-Fighters and the Androids, but not when they were ready to find him but when he was ready to find them. And the results were just as he planned out as he curbstomped Piccolo, was strong enough to No-Sell Android 16's strongest attack and beat the hell out of Android 17 and absorb him. Then in his Semi Perfect form, he manipulated Vegeta into actively helping him achieve his Perfect form knowing Vegeta's Fatal Flaw is his pride, as his genetic composition contains Saiyan DNA. Ironically, while in his final more intelligent form he becomes hampered by his ever-increasing ego his Perfect from provides.
  • Glamour Failure: Cell looks vaguely humanoid, but his biology fails him several times. Notably, the original English dub for Cell's first form has his voice drop into an extremely deep register when he nearly kills Piccolo.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • On both the giving and receiving end of this. Cell manipulates Vegeta into helping the android reach his perfect form, by exploiting Vegeta's ego and the Saiyans' natural desire to fight opponents at their strongest. Once Cell's achieved that goal, he whoops Vegeta's ass without even trying. Then later on, during the Cell Games, Cell is driven by the very same egotism and desire to push Gohan into turning Super Saiyan 2, after which Gohan very much outclasses Cell, even taking the time to rub his newfound power in Cell's face:
      Gohan: What are you so afraid of, Cell? Isn't this what you wanted?
    • He nearly fell victim to this earlier, when fighting Vegeta. Cell is so confident in his perfect form that he allows Vegeta to charge up his Final Flash for several minutes, intending to show off his new power by taking it head-on. The blast proves to be more powerful than expected; if Vegeta hadn't aimed it away from the Earth, or if Cell didn't try to dodge it at the last second, Cell would've been dead.
  • Green and Mean: His color scheme features a lot of green, and he's easily one of the more evil DBZ villains.
  • Healing Factor: Thanks to his Namekian DNA, though his is a lot more powerful than a Namekian's.
  • Hermaphrodite: Though Cell adopts and behaves in a generically "male" persona, the fact that it can spontaneously give birth to offspring without having to mate means it is technically both male and female, much like Piccolo is.
  • Hero Killer: Killed Goku, Trunks (twice, in different timelines), and Android 16. This is notable for two reasons: One, he was the only villain to directly kill Goku (even if it was willing on Goku's part). Two, he has permanently killed two heroes, the Future Trunks of his timeline and Android 16.
  • He's Back: Villainous example as Super Perfect Cell.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • An actually borrowed petard, at that. Cell had a knack for using the Kamehameha, the signature technique of the Earth's hero, Goku, for potentially Earth-destroying attacks, or sometimes seemingly just to mess with Goku's frends (the first time he's seen using it was seemingly more for the sake of shocking Piccolo). What eventually did him for good was losing a Kamehameha Beam-O-War against Goku's son Gohan.
    • In Dragon Ball Heroes, Cell can be absorbed... by Super 17.
  • Homage: His hunt of Androids 17 and 18 is one to the T-1000's hunt of John and Sarah Conner in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Likewise his fight with the 16 to T-1000's with T-800.
  • Hope Crusher: Cell strives to become this. He holds the Cell Games not only to fight strong opponents, but to crush the hope of everyone on Earth by defeating their strongest fighters before he mercilessly hunts them down and murders them. He nearly achieves this status after he came back from his near-death experience which killed Goku. After his return, he kills Trunks and badly injured Gohan and Vegeta, which broke the Z-Fighter's spirit. It takes Goku talking to Gohan from the afterlife to will him to keep fighting.
  • Humiliation Conga:
    • His entire fight with Super Vegeta in his Semi-Perfect form is basically Vegeta making an absolute fool out of him, leaving him a whining, pitiful mess. It's only when he convinces Vegeta to let him absorb 18 and become Perfect does he turn the tables on Vegeta.
    • His entire fight with Gohan once he pushes too many of the kid's buttons. It rivals Goku's epic beat down on Frieza.
  • Hypocrite:
  • Imposter Forgot One Detail: He attempts to lure Android 18 into letting him absorb her by mimicking 17's voice. It nearly works, but he gives himself away when he praises Dr. Gero, unaware that both 17 and 18 hate him.
  • In the Blood: Being created from the DNA of the Saiyans, Namekians, and Frieza's race, Cell shares many of their traits. He has Goku's love for a good fight, Piccolo's strategic smarts, and Vegeta and Frieza's massive egos and sociopathic tendencies.
  • Irony:
    • Cell manipulating Vegeta to help him reach his perfect form, which works because, thanks to his Saiyan heritage, Cell knows that Vegeta, like all Saiyans, craves strong opponents to fight. The same Saiyan heritage drives Cell to make Gohan go Super Saiyan 2 for the exact same reason.
    • He takes the time to mock Future Trunks for going Ascended Super Saiyan, pointing out that in Hulking Out, Trunks lost too much speed for the form to be effective. Later, during his Villainous Breakdown, he himself tries Hulking Out against Gohan, and it fails miserably; Trunks even lampshades this, remarking that Cell is so Blinded by Rage that he's making the same mistake.
    • Cell tries to invoke this by destroying the Earth and Gohan with a giant Kamehameha, the signature technique of the Earth's hero, Goku, who recently died trying to stop Cell from blowing up the Earth.
  • It Amused Me: Pretty much the basis behind any of his actions once he attains perfection. He says he would destroy the Earth without batting an eye, but it would mean he would lose a chance of entertainment.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: In the English manga, the Z Fighters constantly refer to Cell as an "it." Averted in the anime, where they use masculine pronouns.
  • It's What I Do: How Cell ultimately explains his motive.
    Cell: "Why do I seek ultimate power? Such a pointless question. It was the goal of the computer to create the Ultimate Warrior. Or perhaps its the blood of Saiyans, Frieza and Piccolo flowing through my veins that drives me thus."
  • Jerkass: An inherited trait of Vegeta and Frieza. He has their cells, after all. He is extremely proud, arrogant, only cares about himself as a perfect creation, and has a tendency to insult his opponents.
    • This quality of his personality is frequently exaggerated in the video game adaptations, especially in Dragon Ball FighterZ, where a large chunk of his story mode dialogue consists of him roasting everyone he meets.

    K-O 
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Stomping on 16's head leading to his demise and calling him a worthless can of trash. Or in the English dub mocking Gohan for not saving him. It backfires.
    • He creates the Cell Jrs. purely to torture the other Z-Fighters while telling Gohan that his friends are suffering and going to die because he won't get angry and unleash his hidden power.
    • After regenerating from his explosion, he proceeds to mockingly thank Goku for allowing him to come back stronger than ever and rubs in the Z-Fighters' faces how Goku died for nothing.
    • Upon achieving his Perfect Form, he appears before Krillin and instantly delivers a kick breaking his neck. He was of no personal threat even in his Imperfect Form - he apparently just felt like doing it, and wasn't much concerned as to whether he survived or not. Even Vegeta took note of this, and (in his own way) asked him how he found this particularly amusing.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • It was terrifying and sad to see innocent, sweet Gohan go completely mad with rage and start to torture Cell. Although, Gohan was right about Cell deserving it given that he drank 600,000 people and killed hundreds of others in his quest to become perfect. Not to mention he tortured his friends and family just to get Gohan mad and killed Android 16 right in front of him.
    • After Cell becomes perfect, it's hard not to cheer for him as he beats the stuffing out of Vegeta, considering the fact that Vegeta sold out his allies and own son and put the entire world at risk by deliberately letting Cell absorb 18 purely for the sake of a good fight and to stroke his own ego; Krillin himself states outright that as far as he's concerned, Vegeta deserves to be killed for his idiocy. In fact, the Funimation dub of the episode where Cell beats up Vegeta is specifically titled "Vegeta Must Pay."
    • In the Z-Fighters' view, Cell's "match" with Mr. Satan is this. Given Satan's arrogant, braggart attitude and constant underestimation of Cell's power, the Z-Fighters all find themselves rooting for Cell during the fight; Piccolo in particular is vocally disappointed that Cell didn't kill him.
  • Killer Robot: Technically a bio-clone, but he makes it his purpose to kill people.
  • Knight of Cerebus: He is a man-eating bio-android whose hunt of the androids is played very dark compared to the other androids. He is lethally more competent and cruel.
  • Lack of Empathy: Like Frieza, he has no empathy for anyone. To him, all other living beings are either food to get stronger, entertainment to fight and kill, or both. Most notably, after surviving his failed self-destruction, he openly mocks Goku's death to the faces of his loved ones and friends, including Goku's son.
  • Large Ham: One of the hammiest villains in the entire series, being quite creepy in his imperfect forms, and extremely full of himself in his perfect form.
  • Laughably Evil: In his later appearances, especially when he's with Frieza.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • He took advantage of Vegeta's pride in order to achieve his Perfect form. His own pride pushed Gohan over the edge, allowing him to become stronger than him.
    • He gets a particularly ironic dose of karma in Dragon Ball Heroes and Dragon Ball Fighter Z; just as he absorbed others to power up, Super 17 in Heroes and Android 21 in FighterZ end up absorbing him to power up. He can also get absorbed by Super Buu in Budokai 2, as seen here
  • LEGO Genetics:
  • Leitmotif: The Funimation dub gives his Perfect form a leitmotif with several variations ("Perfect Cell", "Perfect Cell Runs", "Cell Returns").
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: The entire point of the Cell Games; Cell intends to destroy the world unless he can be beaten in a tournament, fair and square. He gives Goku and the Z-Fighters ten days to prepare, and even sets boundaries, just like in the World Martial Arts Tournament, such as the possibility of losing by ring-out. Ultimately subverted; Cell chooses to destroy the ring after a while because he doesn't want his fight with Goku to be ended by something so trivial, and discards the rules altogether the very minute he realizes he's losing.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Able to keep up and surpass Full-Power Super Saiyan 1 Goku in their fight.
  • Logical Weakness: His bio-extraction doesn't work on fully mechanical beings; Android 16 takes advantage of it during their fight, since Cell can't just absorb him for an easy win.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: He freely admits to Trunks that his greatest joy is seeing the look of terror on his victims' faces, and the extent of his Evil Plan after winning the Cell Games is simply to hunt down every last person on Earth, one at a time, and savor their fear and despair as he kills them, then repeat the process on other planets.
    Cell: I just can't wait to see that look of panic and fear. [Trunks gets an Oh, Crap! expression] That's it! That's the look!
  • Manipulative Bastard: See Batman Gambit.
  • Meaningful Name: As noted above, he can regenerate from a single cell. He's also a genetic construct made from combining and cloning the cells of various superpowered characters.
  • Meteor Move: The way he ends his fight with Vegeta is a definitive type A. After regenerating from a Final Flash and strolling through a last-ditch ki barrage, he kicks Vegeta into the sky and elbow-slams him in the back.
  • Mind over Matter: He lift a mountain off the ground, breaks it up and carves the pieces into tiles to use for his cell games arena with but a few gestures.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Of every main character and villain in Z, with Piccolo's traits being most prominent in his first form, Vegeta in his second, Goku in his final, and Super Saiyan 2 Gohan in his Super Perfect from. Frieza's personality is present in all his forms.
  • Mix-and-Match Man:
    • Made of the DNA of those above mentioned characters. This also really confuses the main characters when he first appears, since even his Ki aura is a mixture of all the people he's made of. They swear they can sense Piccolo, Goku, and Frieza all in the same place (despite knowing that one of those is dead, and another is bedridden due to sickness).
    • He is also a composite of several characters' personalities. When his arrogance doesn't get the best of him, he is cunning and calculating like King Piccolo and can create children like him. He has the Blood Knight tendencies, the brutality, and a constant desire to grow stronger like the Saiyans. He is vicious, cold-blooded, loves to torment people both physically and emotionally, has a set of transformations, and acts very polite and complimentary when calm, all of which call Frieza and his family to mind. When he is in control, he is laid back and somewhat lazy like Goku, but will Rage Quit like Vegeta and Frieza when he loses his advantage. After his near death experience he gains a Super Mode and has the same Sanity Slippage as Goku and Gohan when they first transformed, though his is less Unstoppable Rage and more being Drunk with Power.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: He's an insect-like bio-clone with a very twisted ego. At his most humanoid, he's still got a lot of visible physical divergences from the basic human form.
  • Mook Maker: He's able to spawn seven "Cell Jrs" after achieving his Perfect form. Each one is one-quarter his size and blue, yet individually possess enough power that only Gohan was able to beat them, and then only once he reached Super Saiyan 2.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe - Despite Cell being a monster who drank 600,000, murdered thousands on his quest for perfection, killed an alternative version of Future Trunks, and nearly killed Piccolo, Gohan is still unwilling to kill him and begs Cell to repent for his crimes. It's not until Cell crushes 16's head underfoot that he crosses the line with Gohan.
  • Moral Myopia: He flies into a batshit insane rage over the fact that Super Saiyan 2 Gohan is overpowering and torturing him. Of course, Cell's committed far worse atrocities; he drank 600,000 innocent people, killed thousands of others in cold blood, and made Gohan watch as he sicced his Cell Jrs. on his loved ones and friends before crushing Android 16's head underfoot right in front of him.
  • Motive Decay: Subverted, as unlike most villains it happens because he actually achieves his original goal. He spends most of his arc trying to absorb Androids 17 and 18 so he can reach his perfect form and is ultimately successful. What does he do after that? Hold a martial arts tournament where he'll kill everyone on Earth if no one defeats him, with the intention of doing the same to other planets. Why? No real reason, he just thinks it'd be entertaining. Given that he has the cells of several Saiyans and Frieza making up his personality, this shouldn't be much of a surprise.
  • Narcissist: When he reaches his Perfect form.
  • Near-Villain Victory: When he Came Back Strong, there was almost no one left who could stop him. Goku had died teleporting him away from the planet, Trunks was immediately killed by Cell the moment he arrived back, Vegeta could barely make him flinch despite being fueled by Unstoppable Rage, and Gohan, the only other person left who could beat him, ended up with a broken arm from saving Vegeta's life, cutting his power down and suffering from a minor Heroic BSoD from his father's death. He was seconds away from overpowering Gohan in their Beam-O-War and destroying the Earth when Vegeta caught him off guard with a blast In the Back, giving Gohan the chance to overpower him.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: In his Perfect Form. Just think Frieza cranked to eleven to get the idea. He easily defeated Vegeta and Trunks, even though both previously outclassed his semi-Perfect form by leagues. He fought Goku and narrowly came out on top, largely thanks to the fact that he can regenerate from having his entire torso vaporized. Hell, he blew himself up and still regenerated from the single cell that survived, and in fact came back even stronger thanks to the Saiyan DNA in his makeup. Gohan had to vaporize him completely to put him down.
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: After becoming perfect, Cell quickly becomes bored after stomping Vegeta into the ground and Trunks' Ultra Super Saiyan form proves to be too slow to give him a proper challenge. So, he decides to create the Cell Games so Goku and his friends can become stronger to challenge him and test his perfect power. He never once considers the possibility that any of the Z-Fighters could become strong enough to defeat him, only expecting them to be able to give him a good fight. This eventually leads Cell to pushing Gohan to his breaking point so he can unleash his hidden power after Goku declares Gohan to be the strongest fighter in the Cell Games. He gets his wish, and promptly get his ass kicked, resulting in an epic Villainous Breakdown.
  • Non-Indicative Name: His "perfect" form. There is nothing perfect about it. He is not invincible, and he can still be beaten just like he could in his previous forms. He's just a lot stronger. Some versions translate "完全" as "complete" instead, which makes more sense.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis:
    • In his Imperfect form; as he knows he is too weak to win against his stronger foes without gaining power, he instead deliberately and mercilessly kills to gain power. When fighting those he knows he can defeat, he methodically goes after anyone who makes themselves a threat — once he is struck by anyone entering the fight he immediately makes sure they can't return later to screw up his plans before continuing his main goal. He loses this quality upon becoming perfect, as his ego gets the better of him.
    • He regains some of it in his "Super Perfect" form. After teleporting to Earth, he kills Trunks before the dust has even cleared, then takes Vegeta out of the fight and gets Gohan's left arm into the bargain. Then he declares that the games are over, and anything less than universal extermination is a waste of his talents.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Has Hellish Pupils instead of the traditional black dots, and later the blue, then pink irises; in fact Cell is far more detailed in design than any villain, or for that matter character, in the series. Word of God even stated that he regretted making Cell so detailed. He kept forgetting to draw Cell's spots.
  • Not so Fast, Bucko!: After getting his arm blown off by Vegeta's Final Flash, he fakes a Villainous Breakdown while Vegeta laughs his head off... and then promptly admits he was just goofing around and reminds Vegeta that he has Piccolo's Healing Factor before regenerating his arm; that shuts Vegeta up in a hurry.
  • Not Worth Killing: Ironically, despite literally living on the slaughter of humans, and committing more acts of mass murder even when it wasn't necessary, he considered Mr. Satan to be this. What makes this even funnier is that according to the rules of the Cell Games, death is disqualification. Cell couldn't even be bothered to get him "disqualified" and was content with smacking him into a mountain which he barely survived. Piccolo believed that even Cell didn't want to waste an ounce of energy to kill him when he should've been fighting Goku.
  • Not Quite Dead: Thanks to his regeneration powers, he survives many things that would instantly kill many characters like having his head and his sides blown off and his own self-destruction. They had to evaporate him to be certain that he was dead.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Unlike Majin Buu, it's never revealed exactly what Androids 17 and 18 went through when Cell absorbed them, though we do know that they were alive inside of his body the whole time.
  • Oh, Crap!: While he's generally pretty methodical and managed to mostly keep his cool (before Gohan's Super Saiyan 2 transformation), he did elicit a handful of these, many of which actually involved Vegeta. Of particular note are his look of surprise when Vegeta blasts him from behind in the climax of the saga (allowing Gohan to deliver the killing blow with his Kamehameha) and the genuine shock he managed when forced to confront Vegeta's Final Flash in combat. He even says "What's this?" in the English dub and "Oh, shit!" in the German dub. He also said "Oh, Crap!" when Goku used his Warp Kamehameha to blow half his body away.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Fully attains this status after reaching his "Super Perfect" state. This near-death (essentially actual death, since he was stripped to a single cell) experience convinced Cell that — as "the perfect being" — his true purpose in life was to bring about the destruction of all things.
  • One-Winged Angel: Not as much as Frieza and Buu, but it's more of an evolution theme.
  • Organic Technology: Compared to the other androids, which ranged from Cyborgs to completely mechanical, Cell is wholly organic.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: When he tries to absorb Android 18, he tries to persuade her to do so by mimicking 17's voice. As he's talking about how amazing the power feels, 18 looks uncertain... until Cell refers to Dr. Gero a little too glowingly. 18 catches on at that, pointing out that she and 17 hated Gero for turning them into cyborgs and 17 would never care about his plans.
  • Out of Focus: Meta-example, but out of Zs four primary Big Bads, he gets by far the least attention in modern Dragon Ball media. Case in point: In Super, Frieza is a recurring villain in two arcs and a movie, being a Token Evil Teammate in one, Buu is a secondary character with a few focus episodes (and his evil form is referenced constantly), and Vegeta is, of course, the Deuteragonist after his Heel–Face Turn. Cell? He's barely lucky enough to get name-dropped a few times — and by the end of Super, he's the only Z villain who isn't still alive in one form or another. Even in the Xenoverse Video games, his arcs are fairly short compared to the ones featuring Frieza and even Buu, and he doesn't have any interaction with the God of Destruction, Beerus. The reason for this is actually a bit complex: His design has been noted by both Toriyama and Toei animators to be too complex for them, mostly for those spots of his, and they prefer to not bother since both Frieza and Buu have less detailed designs. While Cell is popular in the West, he is the least liked of the main villains in his native Japan (even while his own arc was running, a one-shot joke character was handily beating him in reader popularity polls), making him not that profitable, and lastly, Cell is the villain with least involvement with the series lore, with Frieza's galactic empire and personal relations to Goku and Vegeta, and the original evil Buu reincarnated as Goku's future successor Uub, and unlike Frieza, he doesn't have anyone that wants him back in-universe. FighterZ finally moves away from this, with Cell playing a major role in the story.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Not as much as the other major villains, but he still has some of these traits. For one, he's from the future like Trunks and no one knew he even existed until cities started to disappear. He is also the first big villain to be as skillful as the heroes; being able to suppress his power, sense energy, and know a number of advanced techniques. The heroes were caught flatfooted several times because they underestimated Cell's intelligence and skill level.

    P-T 
  • Pet the Dog: Only in Dragon Ball Xenoverse. But should you have befriended Cell as your mentor and your health become very low in a Parallel Quest, he'll come in and rescue you, giving you an edge in battle.
  • Physical God: In his Super Perfect form he's stronger than the Supreme Kai (although the weakest of the bunch) and is on even footing with Dabura (the Dragon Ball equivalents of God and Satan respectively) and can regenerate From a Single Cell, spawn miniature versions of himself (who themselves are about as strong as the Supreme Kai), absorb people, teleport anywhere instantly, and more. So it's hard to call him anything else.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: After becoming perfect, Cell's mannerisms becomes noticeably more polite and laid-back, making him a mixed of Frieza and Goku. He even gives his opponents sporting chances to beat him and offers Goku a Senzu in the middle of their match. The heroes, especially Goku who is a country bumpkin, are ruder and more blunt compared to him. However, the moment things don't go his way, Cell reverts into a Psychopathic Manchild who's willing to kill himself and blow up the Earth out of spite.
  • Post-Final Boss: Future Imperfect Cell serves as the last antagonist of the Cell Saga, but he's leagues behind his primary self and he only exists for Trunks to show off how far he's come and clean up some loose ends.
  • Power Copying: Can use all of the main characters and villains' signature moves, although this is not what he's famous for. And he can do this without absorbing people as his ability to process information on a cellular level allows him to copy techniques after seeing them once. Through this method he has copied Tien's Tri-Beam and multiform, Krillin's Destructo Disc, and Goku's Instant Transmission.
  • Pride: Given where his cells come from, it only makes sense that this will be his Fatal Flaw. Holding the Cell Games and letting the heroes become stronger for the sake of stroking his ego became one of his major downfalls. Him pushing Gohan to his Rage Breaking Point for the sake of a better fight was the final nail to his coffin.
  • Psychopathic Manchild:
    • His second form literally whines and throws a temper-tantrum because Vegeta won't let him absorb Android 18 and reach his Perfect Form. After he is forcibly reverted to this form after Gohan makes him spit out 18 he attempts a spiteful Taking You with Me, the basic equivalent of a brat's Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum on a much smaller scale involving the Earth since he doesn't have his way. In the former case, Vegeta calls him on it:
      Vegeta: You're the one who started this game, and now that you're losing, it's no fun anymore? You're just a big baby!
    • Even in his perfect form, he had a giant Villainous Breakdown when Gohan completely surpasses him after reaching Super Saiyan 2. He tries to destroy the Earth with a giant Kamehameha. When that fails, he actually screams like a child.
    Cell: You wretched child! How dare you?! HOW DARE YOUUUUUUUUUU?!
  • Precision F-Strike: In one of the versions of the dub, when Vegeta fires his Final Flash, Cell takes a second to process the power of the oncoming strike and says "Oh shit!".
  • Psychotic Smirk: A proud villain tradition in this series.
  • Pure Is Not Good: He's able to use the Spirit Bomb, stated to require a pure heart, by being pure evil. He never uses it in either the anime or manga, but does so in the video games.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: Before Pikkon curbstomps the combined forces of him, Frieza, King Cold, and most of the Ginyu Force, Cell reminded Frieza that he was the one who killed Goku.
  • Rage Quit: Has the genes of both Vegeta and Frieza, so naturally, he inevitably decides to blow up the planet rather than lose gracefully. Goku himself suspected this may be the case, which was why he wanted Gohan to kill Cell quickly.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • After becoming perfect and slapping Vegeta around for a bit, Cell proceeds to openly mock Vegeta, pointing out how arrogant and foolish he was to help him absorb 18 and he never would have been able to reach his perfect form were it not for Vegeta's idiocy. And he's completely right.
    • After running circles around Ultra Super Saiyan Trunks, he tells Trunks why he can't win no matter how much he powers up. Cell tells Trunks that all he's been doing is pumping himself up and he can do that too, which he does to prove his point. He then tells Trunks the Fatal Flaw in the Ultra Super Saiyan form. Although very powerful, Ultra Super Saiyan lacks speed, making it impossible to hit someone like Cell who is both fast and strong. He also tells Trunks that since Vegeta figured that out, why couldn't he.
  • Robotic Psychopath: Technically, a bio-android, but he's got the psychopath part down pat.
  • Run the Gauntlet: Due to being created with the cells of almost everyone Goku has met, Cell is essentially a one-man version of this when Goku fights him. The anime does much more with this than the manga; he spends a whole episode throwing other peoples' moves at Goku.
  • Sadist:
    • He is not satisfied with just physical suffering as he deals in psychological torture like having his Cell Juniors brutally beat the Z fighters just to torment Gohan into unleashing his powers and his intended plan to hunt down every human one by one specifically to make them more and more terrified.
    • He gets even worse after his near-death experience. He mocks Gohan about how Goku died for nothing and how his sacrifice made him even more powerful and rubs in the face of the other Z-fighters about how he was going to terrorize the universe after destroying the solar system and live forever.
  • Sadistic Choice: While searching for Android 18, he subjects her to one of these: either she comes out of hiding and lets him absorb her, or he'll destroy every single island until she does. However, he also states that, since he's already the most powerful being in the universe even while Semi-Perfect, he's willing to risk destroying her as well. Of course, Vegeta shows up just as he's about to blow up the island 18 is hiding on.
  • Sanity Slippage: After becoming Super Perfect, he is noticeably more unhinged than he already was. His Psychotic Smirk is now replaced with a permanent Slasher Smile, he constantly shouts his lines, makes weird facial tics, and goes on bizarre tangents about how perfect he is.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Midway through his battle with Goku, he decides that the Ring out-rule stands in the way of his pleasure and immediately nukes the ring.
  • Secondary Color Nemesis: His first two forms are mostly green with orange highlights. His Perfect form turns the orange to pale yellow, but adds purple to the mix.
  • Shadow Archetype: He serves as this to different characters in his evolutionary line:
    • In his Imperfect form, he represents what Piccolo would be like if he never met Gohan and became like his father.
    • In his Semi-Perfect form, he is Vegeta if he never settled down on Earth and became completely ruled by his pride and arrogance.
    • In his Perfect form, he is what Goku would be like if he chose only to live for fighting and used his natural talent to terrorize people instead of protecting them.
    • When he reaches his Super Perfect form, he is Gohan if he embraced the rage of a Super Saiyan and becomes an uncaring monster who only lives to destroy.
    • As all the above, he serves as this to Future Trunks, as they're both time travelers who are, in some sense, "related" to the main cast. Whereas Trunks wants hope for the future, Cell wants the despair of his victims and, ultimately, the end of everything.
  • Slasher Smile: Sports a rather horrific one right before engaging in a Kamehameha wave clash with Gohan.
  • Smug Smiler: He does this mostly in his Perfect form, but it's done a lot in his Semi-Perfect form.
  • Smug Super:
    • His position as this is shown clearly in the Cell Games when he gets curious about Gohan's full power and deliberately provokes him into going Super Saiyan 2. He gets exactly what he wanted, yet still gets enraged when "a mere child" starts beating him. And the kicker: when he gets so desperate to kill Gohan that he powers up into a very slow, bulky muscled form; the very thing he mocked Trunks for way back in their fight!
    • Also showed during his fight with Vegeta to the point he let Vegeta charge his Final Flash for nearly four minutes and was going to take it head on. The attack blows off his arm and a good chunk of his upper torso, and if he hadn't dodged at the last second, it would have killed him.
    • Him having the Cell Games is a testament to his smugness. He wants the entire world to behold his power and is willing to allow Goku and the others to become stronger so he can have more fun fighting them. It never once occurs to him that he could lose until SS2 Gohan enters the picture and beats him senseless.
  • The Snark Knight: In FighterZ. Almost no one in the entire roster is safe from Cell's snarky remarks, even if said person is stronger then him.
  • The Sociopath: He only cares for people that he can absorb, manipulate, or fight, and he loves to see faces contorted in despair. Although he shows a lot of admiration towards Dr. Gero, it's more of an ego stroke towards himself since he sees Gero as being brilliance for creating him, the perfect being. He also takes delight given detail about how he returned to life after his failed self-destruction and mocks Goku's death, in front of his family and friends.
  • Sophisticated as Hell:
    • When he reaches his Perfect Form. He generally speaks with an elegant British-sounding accent in the English dub. When he's about to get hit by Vegeta's Final Flash in the German dub, he screams, "Oh, SHIT!"
    • In the Kai dub, Cell is normally elegant and mostly clean of tongue, but when frustrated, he tends to throw out swear words more often.
  • Sore Loser: Despite acting like a Spirited Competitor, he freaks out when Gohan beats him at Super Saiyan 2, and like Frieza before him tries to blow up the Earth rather than admit defeat. In fact, Cell is arguably even more of a Sore Loser than Frieza; while Frieza deliberately held back to delay Namek's explosion out of fear for his own life, Cell fully intended to die in his own explosion as long as it meant Gohan wouldn't win.
  • Spirited Competitor: Acts like this during his Cell Games until he starts losing...
  • So Last Season:
    • Played With. At the beginning of the Buu Saga (plus in the Non Serial Movies that occur between the Buu and Cell sagas), the villains and heroes are all actually weaker than Super Perfect Cell, with the sole exception of Goku (Gohan had gotten rusty from not training) and maybe the M10 incarnation of Broly. This covers a surprisingly long period for this series, with 40 manga chapters, 38 anime episodes, and three movies passing before a villain is confirmed as stronger than Cell (Majin Vegeta, when he transforms and powers up). Even then, it's implied to not be by a lot (Piccolo had trouble telling if he was stronger than Gohan was at the Cell Games at all, and Cell wasn't that much weaker than Gohan once he Came Back Strong). But then Buu shows up and takes out Dabura (explicitly said to be around as strong as Cell) with one hit in his weakest form at less than full power, and he only gets more insane from there. Then the heroes start finding ridiculously overpowered methods to fight him (fusion, Super Saiyan 3, Mystic power-ups...) and this trope was once again played straight.
    • Vegeta may have gotten as strong as Super Perfect Cell, but he did not show his full power until he became a Majin. According to Vegeta, as Super Saiyan 2, Goku and he both surpassed Gohan from seven years ago (at least after the Majin power-up) who was still a little stronger than Cell even after he came back to life.
    • Dabura was said to be about even with Super Perfect Cell, although he is a little weaker. He makes up for it by having magical abilities.
    • Cell's maximum level of power (i.e. mid SS2 tier) is still considered somewhat relevant well into Super (at least the manga; the anime scale tends to fluctuate). Zamasu is weaker than SS1 Goku who should still weaker than Cell at this point; ditto with four of the five Universe 6 competitors and the vast majority of the competitors at the Tournament of Power.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Can regenerate endlessly From a Single Cell thanks to inheriting Frieza's extreme survivability, and like the Saiyans grow stronger after suffering severe damage. Under the right conditions, Cell could surpass every being ever depicted in the series. Which is why he needed to go after surviving his own self-destruction.
  • Strong and Skilled: Out of all the Big Bads, he fits this the best. Not only does he possess all of the powers of his genetic materialnote , but also all of the techniques that they knew as well. On top of that, he can continue adding onto his raw power by absorbing the life force of others, which allowed Imperfect Cell to go from being overwhelmed by Piccolo to stomping both Piccolo and Android 17 simultaneously. Had Cell not been put down, he could have become the most powerful villain period, given how far the Saiyans and Frieza have gotten.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: A smaller version of this. When faced with the prospect of losing in his Semi-perfect form, Cell throws a massive fit and elects to kill himself...by blowing himself up, taking the Earth with him.
  • Super Mode: According to the manga, Cell's Super Perfect form is more akin to a Super Saiyan form (specifically Super Saiyan 2) rather than a permanent transformation like his previous forms.
  • Superpower Lottery: He possessed all the abilities of all the major protagonists and villains up to that point (many of which already had New Powers as the Plot Demands), with the worst being his combo of Frieza's power of extreme survival, Piccolo's regeneration, and Goku's ability to power up after recovering from serious injuries - all of which were amped up considerably. This was a guy who could literally come back From a Single Cell, even in space, and come back even stronger than ever. Not only that, but he had the ability to absorb life energy, which made it extremely easy for him to get stronger quickly, and he was a Mook Maker... though his Cell Juniors were hardly mooks, being individually almost as strong as him.
  • Taking You with Me: When he realizes he can't beat Gohan, he tries to blow himself up, taking the Earth with him.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Declares himself an immortal just minutes before Gohan kills him.
    • Before that, in his semi-perfect form he completely disbelieved Goku's claims that a single day of training would make the difference necessary to beat him, only to find himself sorely outclassed by Vegeta and Trunks.
  • Terminator Twosome: Both he and Trunks, although they come from different timelines. Trunks had no idea who Cell was, and Cell killed the Trunks of his timeline before going to the past. Oddly, due to the Timey-Wimey Ball, between the two of them, they've killed two versions of the other each.
  • Terms of Endangerment:
    • Refers to Android 18 as "Little Peach", while trying to absorb her.
    • Does this again in Dragon Ball Xenoverse, referring to his children as his "Precious Babies" when he orders the Hero, if they train under him, to kill them as a training exercise.
  • Third Act Stupidity: Throughout the Cell Saga, Cell is The Chessmaster and a No-Nonsense Nemesis who runs circles around the Z-Fighters and repeatedly outsmarts them since, as he's created from their DNA, he knows how they operate and think; he even manages to achieve his goal of attaining his Perfect form by exploiting Vegeta's ego and desire for a challenging fight to get Vegeta to help him do so. But after defeating both Vegeta and Trunks in his Perfect form, he lets his ego and pride overcome his common sense, setting up a fighting tournament just to test his skills and giving the Z-Fighters ten days to prepare and grow stronger just so he can have more fun fighting them. However, this is somewhat understandable given the nature of the character. What really cements him as this is when he discovers Gohan's hidden power and goes everything he can to piss Gohan off so he can unleash said hidden power and receive a real challenge, just as Goku intended; keep in mind that this is the exact same trick Cell used on Vegeta to get him to help Cell absorb Android 18, and then mocked him to his face for being so stupid as to go for it. Later, in his frustration, he does the exact same thing he mocked Trunks for earlier: buffing up his muscles to crush his opponent with raw power, at the expense of his speed.
  • This Cannot Be!:
    • He milks this trope for all it's worth when Vegeta's Final Flash shears off his arm and part of his torso, even screaming in disgrace about how he was beaten by a Saiyan as Vegeta laughs in triumph... then he drops the act and mocks Vegeta for forgetting that he has Piccolo's Healing Factor.
    • Played straight during the fight with Super Saiyan 2 Gohan. Having deliberately pissed Gohan off enough to cut loose and unleash his hidden power, Cell now realizes what Gohan was talking about, and is shocked that he, the Ultimate Life Form, is being overpowered by a Saiyan, let alone a child.
      Cell: I don't understand... that a mere child's power can utterly eclipse my own! This is inconceivable! And this feeling... is this... is this what it is to know fear?!
    • Then, when he loses the Beam-O-War with Gohan and is being atomized, his final words are absolute disbelief that this is happening to him.
      Cell: No! This can't... BE! THIS CAN'T BE, I AM PERFECTION!
  • Too Powerful to Live: After he shows off his ability to regenerate From a Single Cell and come back stronger from it, Cell has to be put down by Gohan's final attack, or else he would just repeat the process and become too powerful for even SSJ2 Gohan to defeat and win the day.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: In the Cell Games. Before that, he was the The Chessmaster and a No-Nonsense Nemesis who constantly ran circles around the Z-Fighters and outsmarted them on more than one occasion. But in the Cell Games, he is an arrogant, egotistical jackass of a Smug Super who makes the exact same mistakes he had previously mocked Vegeta and Trunks for making. When Goku of all people is able to hit you with a Batman Gambit, you know you've latched onto the Idiot Ball.
  • Troll:
    • After Vegeta blasts off his arm with the Final Flash technique, Cell pretends to have a Villainous Breakdown only to pull a "just kidding" and regenerates his arm after Vegeta was laughing.
    • Really the entire Cell Games arc could be seen as Cell trolling on a global scale.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: In Cell's storymode on Dragonball Z: Supersonic Warriors, he turns on Gero when the latter tries to control him.

    U-Y 
  • Ultimate Lifeform:
    • What Gero created him to be and how Cell views himself. His dying words were proclaiming that he was perfect.
    • He has the genetics to back up his claims of perfection, as well: Namekian DNA from Piccolo allows him to regenerate any lost limbs, DNA from Frieza allows him to survive injuries that would kill a Namekian in addition to surviving in the vacuum of space, and Saiyan DNA from Goku and Vegeta makes him stronger with every fight and near-fatal injury. All these combined together to make him incredibly powerful when he blew himself up and regenerated From a Single Cell.
    • Amusingly, he's rather peeved by Super 17's claims of being the true Ultimate Life Form in the video games. This even became the subject of a What If? battle in Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi as seen here.
      Cell: (upon winning a match with Super 17 after being called a "worthless insect" in the pre-battle banter) This is what happens to "worthless insects!"
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Subverted. Cell does possess all of the skills and techniques of his genetic material. However, his means of getting stronger is through absorbing the life force of others and adding that onto his own power, unlike the Saiyans who got stronger through training alone. The first time he is ever shown training is during filler, where he waited for the Cell Games to start.
  • Viler New Villain: Acts as both a bigger threat and a more straight villain to the androids. While Android 17 and 18 are delinquents out to kill Goku, they aren't cold-blooded murderers like their Bad Future counterparts. By contrast Cell lacks any humanizing traits and gleefully enjoys the destruction he causes, ultimately dying a villain while 17 and 18 have a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Villain Ball: After Cell becomes complete he let his arrogance and pride controls his actions, turning him from the Chess Master who manipulated and outsmarted the heroes at every turn to a full-blown Smug Super who got out-gambitted by Goku who knew Gohan's hidden power far surpassed Cell.
  • Villain Has a Point: When Goku foolishly gives Cell a Senzu Bean, here is his response:
    Cell: "Thank you Goku I will take this bean without hesitation! Your overconfidence has betrayed you! You'll regret this deed soon enough!"
  • Villainous Breakdown: See the Smug Super entry. In the US, the episode in which it happens is actually titled "Cell's Mighty Breakdown". Even after obtaining his Super Perfect form, he's still noticeably more insane than he already was.
    • Has a minor one in his second form after a humiliating Curb-Stomp Battle from Vegeta, which has him basically stomp the ground and throw a tantrum like an immature brat.
  • Villain Respect: Out of all the foes Cell fought, he has the most respect for Goku. He has so much fun fighting Goku that he wanted Goku to eat a Senzu so they can keep fighting. When Goku bowed out of the Cell Games and tells Cell that there was someone stronger than him, Cell didn't believed him, saying how Goku was stronger than Vegeta and Trunks combined.
  • Villain Song: In Kai he has "Cell Game no Oshirase, which — like Frieza's "Only a Chilling Elegy" — is sung in his perspective. Though unlike Frieza's song, it's him singing about the Cell games and how he's looking for the perfect fight.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Cell takes an interest in the Hero enough to take them on as a student. The stronger the Hero grows, the more intrigued Cell becomes of them.
    Cell: That strength... interests me. I, the perfect being, am interested. See it as an honor.
  • Vocal Evolution: In both the dub and later Kai, Cell's voice starts off raspy and slithery, becoming brutish with his first absorption and adopting a faux-British tone in his final form.
  • Voice Changeling: He mimics Android 17's voice in an attempt to convince Android 18 to let him absorb her, and during his Do Not Adjust Your Set threat, uses the voice of his Imperfect form while explaining to the world that he was the creature who attacked Nicky Town.
  • Volumetric Mouth: Did one against Vegeta and Gohan respectively when they made a fool of him with their new-found power. Rare anime, let alone villain, example. He actually weaponized this once to draw out Android 18.
  • Walking Spoiler: Unlike the other Big Bads Cell's existence is a big plot twist not revealed until half way through the Android saga. Of course the twist isn't much of a secret any more.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: His perfect form has brilliant magenta eyes.
  • What Is This Feeling?: He's absolutely shocked when Super Saiyan 2 Gohan beats him up and overpowers him, realizing he's actually feeling fear for the first time. Best displayed in the Kai dub.
    Cell: This feeling... this feeling... is this... is this what it is to know fear?!
  • What the Hell Are You?: Krillin confronted by Cell for the first time makes an exclamation, more or less amounting to this. That he could sense Frieza, King Cold, Vegeta, and even Piccolo and Goku from him makes this reaction understandable.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Does this to Goku after he bows out of the Cell Games. He reminds Goku that if he gives up, he will destroy the Earth.
    • He also does it to Gohan in response to his reluctance to fight, declaring it all meaningless.
      Cell: Let me explain something to you. You have to fight. Unless you beat me here today, I'll destroy the Earth. Now how's that for meaning?
  • Where's the Fun in That?: He freely admits that he could just blow up the Earth and be done with it, but finds slowly hunting down and killing every last living thing on the planet first more entertaining.
  • The Worf Effect: Happens to Cell three times. The first time is, after absorbing cities worth of humans to become stronger and dominating Piccolo and Android 17, he struggles to hold his own against Android 16 when the latter tried to stop him from absorbing Android 17. The second time is when he becomes Semi-Perfect and shows off his power by nearly killing Android 16, who, as mentioned before, gave Cell a really hard time. Then Vegeta comes, shows that he has ascended past Super Saiyan, and beats the crap out of Cell. Finally, after becoming Perfect, he seemingly becomes invincible when he curb stomps Vegeta, humiliates Trunks, and Goku, who fully mastered Super Saiyan, surrenders against him, admitting he can't win. However, once Gohan becomes a Super Saiyan 2, he brings Cell to his knees with just two attacks.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • How Cell views Goku. He has so much fun fighting him that he wants Goku to eat a Senzu so their fight can continue.
    • Cell goes out of his way to unleash Gohan's hidden power so he can become this. It works a little too well.
  • Would Hit a Girl: His Imperfect Form had no problem absorbing them, nor did his Semi-Perfect form have any qualms about hitting and absorbing Android 18.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He had no problem getting into a fight with Gohan.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In an unusual variant, Cell decides it would be anticlimactic for his battle with Goku in the Cell Games to end in a ring-out, so he says this (using the exact term in the Kai dub) about the ring.
  • You Monster!: After witnessing the Cell Juniors being killed and himself being brutally beaten and humiliated by Gohan, Cell rants whilst calling him this. Which comes off as immensely hypocritical considering what kind of character Cell really is.
  • Younger Than They Look: Despite his appearance, Cell's in his twenties (or if you count his "completion" as birth, six).
  • Your Soul Is Mine: Implied; after absorbing 600,000 people in order to fight the Z-Fighters and absorb 17 and 18, his Battle Aura consists of the souls of those he's absorbed, all of them howling in pain.

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