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Cell (セル, Seru)
"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 (Japanese): Norio Wakamoto
Voiced by (English): Dale Wilson (Z), Ben Jeffery (GT) (Ocean/Blue Water dub); Dameon Clarke (Most media), Travis Willingham (Video Games; 2009-2014), Christopher Sabat (Supersonic Warriors 2), Jim Foronda (Kai: The Final Chapters; ep. 159 only) (Funimation dub); Jonathan David Cook (GT - Final Bout)
Voiced by (Latin American Spanish): Ricardo Brust (Z and GT), Salvador Reyes (Kai)

"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.

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 Cell from Future Trunks' new timeline, see that page. For information about the present-day Cell or Cell Max from Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, see the Red Ribbon Army's page.

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  • Achievements in Ignorance: When he blew himself up, Cell did not expect to survive, much less regenerate From a Single Cell and become even stronger thanks to his Saiyan DNA.
  • Adaptational Badass: While his final Beam-O-War with Gohan ended the same way in the anime as it did in the manga, it took a lot more effort in the former. In the manga, a surprise shot from Vegeta in his base form alone was enough for Gohan to overpower Cell's Kamehameha. In the anime, Piccolo and the human Z Fighters were the first to jump in to attack Cell while he's still in his beam struggle with Gohan, only for him to simply fling them away by flaring up his aura. Afterward, it took Vegeta in his Super Saiyan form to turn the tables.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: In the manga, he knows how capable the Z-Fighters were, and knows Piccolo could regenerate a new arm after drinking his left one. In the anime, he does not realize Piccolo has a Healing Factor to regrow a new limb, since Piccolo was using his shriveled left arm for a I Surrender, Suckers gambit to make Cell talk about himself.
  • 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.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Virtually every video game that adapts Cell's Saga has a final brawl between Super Perfect Cell and Super Saiyan 2 Gohan before they begin their iconic Beam-O-War. This pre-beam brawl never happens in the anime or manga, as Vegeta prevents it from starting by attacking Cell on his own and Gohan gets injured saving Vegeta. Since these games are usually a Fighting Game or some kind of action game, including this fight as a Final Boss of the arc is a case of Pragmatic Adaptation.
  • Adaptive Ability: He possesses the Saiyan’s Zenkai Boost, though his version is straight up broken. His Namekian regeneration allows him to almost instantly recover from injuries that would normally cripple others (with the Zenkai Boost ensuring that he barely loses any energy in the process) and the absurd durability of Frieza means he can survive fatal injuries long enough for said healing to kick in. This lets him bounce back from anything short of complete disintegration stronger than before.
  • Affably Evil: In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, he's affable to the point of being downright chummy, even moreso if he's your mentor.
  • 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.
  • Always Someone Better: Goku freely admits that at the time when Cell attained his perfection, he stood no chance of actually defeating him. The entirety of Goku's gambit during the Cell Saga is realizing that no matter what he does, Cell will have an answer to it - and he thus puts all his eggs in the "Get Gohan to release his explosive anger" basket, hoping to simply have Gohan overpower him by brute strength. It says something that nothing on Earth could get Goku to transcend Cell in power; every single one of Goku's powerups beyond him has roots in the divine.note 
  • And Then What?: He freely admits to Piccolo that once he obtains his Perfect form, he has no idea what he'll do afterward. 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 a metamorphosis.
    • Subtly, Reptiles. Cell has reptilian slits in his Imperfect form, he swallows both Androids 17 and 18 whole by enlarging his stinger tail into a makeshift manner in a similar method to how a snake swallows prey whole, his infamous regeneration traits is based on how lizards grow back their tails- with Cell doing just that at one point, and his Perfect Cell with his imposing winged form is metaphorically a seemingly unstoppable western style dragon- made even more appropriate due to his Namekian DNA with their own strong connection to more orient themed dragons. He also takes on the personality stereotypes of reptiles such as deception, manipulating Vegeta's ego to get what he wants, is very cunning- pragmatically escaping to slowly build up power, and is deceptive- tricking Vegeta into allowing his perfect form and fooling him that his Final Flash did more damage before regenerating it.
  • Antagonist Abilities: Cell possesses all of the most powerful, most useful, and most unfair abilities that every character in the story possesses, such as the Solar Flare, Regeneration, and Saiyan Zenkai. He also possesses several unique powers all on 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 who 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.
    • To Piccolo. After merging with Kami, Piccolo is enraged by Cell absorbing countless innocent people and personally tried to hunt him down. Piccolo would then spend many days cursing Cell but being powerless to stop him. Even after Cell completely surpasses him, Piccolo still wants to fight him. Cell, while initially intrigued by Piccolo in his Imperfect form, eventually ends up viewing 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 takes special pleasure rubbing in Gohan's face how his father died for nothing. FighterZ shows that Cell still holds a massive grudge against Gohan for killing him.
  • Arc Villain: He takes over as the main villain of the Android Saga after Dr. Gero’s death.
  • 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.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Vegeta's Curb-Stomp Battle on Semi-Perfect Cell was more than deserved on his part, considering how he had not long ago absorbed hundreds of thousands of humans, nearly killed Piccolo and 16, and absorbed the unwitting 17, it was a beatdown he more than had coming.
    • After Cell becomes perfect, he get to be on the other end of the trope: 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."
    • Gohan toys with him, tortures him, and finally kills him during their Beam-O-War, with it being shown that Cell was slowly atomized by the blast while screaming in agony. After all the atrocities Cell has committed, to say he completely deserved everything Gohan dished out to him and more would be a massive understatement.
  • 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.
  • Atrocious Arthropods: Cell is Dr. Gero's ultimate creation, made from the DNA of the galaxy's most powerful warriors. He is an insect-like creature who seeks to achieve his perfect form and is willing to wipe out entire cities to reach his goal.
  • Attention Whore: Why else would he announce the Cell Games to the public?
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • While significantly more level-headed and cautious than Frieza during his early transformation stages, Cell does have a bloodthirsty streak in his villainy. While his main form of gaining power is to slowly dissolve his prey by using his tail to "drink" them, Cell also blatantly admits that he enjoys killing others in that fashion.
    • While his Perfect Form is more narcissistic than outright insane, he decides to become an Omnicidal Maniac after coming back from a Suicide Attack. After dealing with Gohan in his Super Saiyan 2 form, 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.
  • Bad Boss: He's the creator of the Cell Jrs. and they listen to him without question, but once Gohan starts slaughtering them Cell simply watches as they're finished off.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Cell does this a lot, but it's especially notable in his Perfect form.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Gives one to Future Trunks after the latter becomes a Super Saiyan Grade 3.
      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.
    • 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, although only in anime filler, GT, video games, and the like. They have yet to interact in any of Toriyama's officially supervised storylines but considering their similar personalities, it's not unimaginable that they would get along.
    • Averted in Dragon Ball FighterZ, in which Frieza and Cell are in a permanent Teeth-Clenched Teamwork situation throughout the game's story and refuse to acknowledge each other as equals.
  • Batman Gambit: He pulls an excellent one 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: A filler scene in which Cell punches a meteor as a warm-up for the Cell Games establishes that he can survive in a vacuum thanks to Frieza and King Cold's cells.
  • 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 he wanted him to cut loose in the first place, and now that he's gotten his wish, he's terrified at the realization that Gohan is actually stronger than him.
    Gohan: What are you so afraid of, Cell? Isn't this what you wanted? 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.
  • Beyond Redemption: Despite Cell being a monster who drank 600,000 innocent people, murdered thousands of others 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 finally crosses the line with Gohan; reaching his Rage Breaking Point, Gohan goes Super Saiyan 2 and does everything he can to make Cell suffer as much as possible for what he's done.
  • 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:
    • In the anime, Cell was struck directly in the back of his neck by a Destructo 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.
  • Big Bad: Of the Cell Saga, after several contenders like Mecha Frieza, Dr. Gero being killed off and the Android Twins not being as evil as their alternate future counterparts, his inhuman methods to become Perfect and later test his powers before destroying the Earth make him the main focal point for the heroes to defeat for the arc.
  • 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.
  • Boomerang Bigot: He makes more than a few derogatory remarks about Saiyans, apparently ignoring a good part of his DNA composition is Saiyan as well. He also tends to call the Earth a pathetic/weak planet, despite having been created on a version of Earth.
  • 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.
    • When he learns of Gohan's hidden power and how it can only be unlocked when he goes into an Unstoppable Rage, Cell, craving a challenge and determined to fully test out the power of his Perfect form, goes above and beyond to push Gohan to his Rage Breaking Point and bring out said hidden power, falling right into Goku's Batman Gambit; for extra stupidity points, this is the exact same gambit Cell himself used to manipulate Vegeta into letting him absorb Android 18 and become perfect in the first place.
  • Breakout Villain: Just behind Frieza, typically regarded as the second most iconic Dragon Ball villain, with him being especially popular in the western world. While not getting quite as much coverage as Frieza, Cell is heavily featured in filler material and specials, with virtually no games leaving him out of the roster.
  • 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. Hearing this, Trunks goes into a Heroic BSoD, telling Cell to kill him and be done with it.
  • Break the Haughty: After his journey to becoming 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.
  • But Not Too Challenging: After achieving his perfect form, Cell organizes the Cell Games in hopes of fighting a opponent worthy of his newfound strength, and even gives his enemies a week to prepare for the fight. He maintains a seemingly Affably Evil facade and a show of good sportsmanship in the lead-up to the tournament and during his fight with Goku, but when Super Saiyan 2 Gohan turns out to be vastly stronger than him, he proves to be a Sore Loser and tries to blow himself up and take the whole planet with him.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • His Semi-Perfect form quickly becomes this for Vegeta, Trunks, and Gohan, as they all effortlessly steamroll him and subject him to humiliating beatdowns as he panics and throws a tantrum like a child.
    • Like the Ginyu Force, Frieza, and King Cold before him, he's reduced to little more than a joke when he's sent to Hell.
  • Came Back Strong: Villainous example, thanks to Saiyan Zenkai. 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.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Like Frieza, he openly gloats about his cruelty and relishes causing pain and mass destruction, to the extent that he openly admits that his greatest joy is seeing his victims die in terror and despair. When he has an epiphany that Dr. Gero created him to destroy all living things in the universe, Cell wholeheartedly and joyfully embraces the role of an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • 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. It's even pointed out in-universe.
  • 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 the 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 fixed 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.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Inflicting this is his main way of gaining power, at least when he's in his imperfect and semi-perfect state. Specifically, Cell uses his stinger tail to impale his victims and initiate a sucking phase that causes said victim to scream in agony as their body is liquefied slowly into nothingness. And the worst part about all this? Cell enjoys killing his victims that way.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Cell's evolving power and that of the characters as they all attempt to surpass one another mean that most of the battles Cell engages in are this trope on his or his opponent's parts. The only exceptions were his battles with Android 16 in his Imperfect form, and his battle with Goku.
    • After absorbing 600,000 humans in his Imperfect form, he becomes powerful enough to dish these out to Piccolo and Android 17, who had previously outclassed him.
    • When he becomes Semi-Perfect, he easily curb-stomps Androids 16 and 18, despite the former having been equal in strength to him at his most powerful while Imperfect.
    • Upon becoming Perfect, he immediately dishes out a brutal one to Vegeta, who had until that point been giving Cell one.
    • Super Perfect Cell is so powerful it takes a single beam to kill Trunks and would have killed Vegeta the same way had Gohan not took the bullet for him.
    • On the receiving end, he's no match for Piccolo initially, only doing as well as he does through cunning.
    • Vegeta wiped the floor with Cell in his Semi-Perfect form.
    • Gohan's Super Saiyan 2 form easily did this to Cell in his Perfect form, hitting him so hard it barely took a few punches to make Cell regurgitate Android 18.
  • 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: Whereas the original Japanese script has Cell's last words be of the This Cannot Be! variety, the Funimation dub version falls squarely into this category.
  • 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 (and 17 for that matter, who was also killed by the explosion as he was still inside of him). 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 traveling 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 would 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.
  • Dirty Coward: Downplayed and Zigzagged, especially in comparison to Frieza.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Got bumped down to this when Kai was un-canceled.
  • 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 in order to make sure he was the ultimate victor even through underhanded methods. He failed due to Goku's intervention, only to unexpectedly revive himself from a single surviving cell.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: After his first fight with Piccolo, Piccolo notes that Cell's Kamehameha wasn't very impressive because Goku's cells were picked during Saiyan Saga, meaning that Cell's ability to do other characters' techniques would be outdated versions if the characters were that much weaker back then. This is the only time something like this comes up, as later Cell in his perfect form uses Kamehameha that are just as strong as the ones Goku and Gohan have. Although this could be justified, since Cell tells Vegeta that becoming perfect would improve his skills, maybe that includes the capacity of improving ki based attacks.
  • Eating Machine: In his Imperfect form, he grows stronger from literally sucking the life out of others in 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 up until only his clothes remains.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He's as equally horrified as the rest of the Z-Fighters when he sees that Goku is seemingly willing to fire the Kamehameha Wave at him from a distance that would destroy the entire planet along with him. Though in Cell's case, it's less out of any concern for Earth and more just shock over the idea of Goku being willing to go that far just to kill him.
  • 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 form, 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 hand 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 and carry Saiyan genetics. The difference is that Trunks is a Humble Hero that wants to save the world, while Cell is an egomaniac who very nearly destroys it.
  • Evil Gloating:
    • In his Imperfect 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. Piccolo himself is surprised Cell didn't catch on.
    • 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 Is Bigger: In direct comparison to Freeza in his true form, as well as Kid/Pure Buu who both are shorter than their opponents yet, are incredibly powerful regardless, Cell is an above-average height being who consistently towers over the heroes in height in all of his forms, with only Android 16, a late ally to the group, being taller than his final form- while being relatively close to his first and second form in height. This height comparison is emphasized when he fights Son Gohan who is smaller than most of Cell's previous opponents excluding Vegeta.
  • Evil Mentor: In both Dragon Ball Xenoverse and its sequel, 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 form, 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.
  • Expy: Following his transformation into Perfect Cell, he goes through many of the same narrative beats that King Piccolo went through before him, beginning with a Do Not Adjust Your Set situation, although he merely using the broadcast to announce the Cell Games as opposed to declaring himself ruler of the world. During the final battle of his arc, Cell disables one of Gohan's arms when the latter attempts to protect Vegeta, in a similar manner to King Piccolo crippling Goku while using Tien as a hostage, only for the villain to be defeated by a one-armed Kamehameha technique. His design even shifts to the same green and purple motifs as King Piccolo, abandoning the orange highlights of his previous forms, and his feet strangely resemble Namekian footwear in shape and colour.

  • 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. Best cemented when he announces the Cell Games: he plows through the ZTV building, and in the process of destroying it, stops just long enough to politely ask two terrified employees to direct him to the top floor.
  • Final Boss:
  • Final-Exam Boss: Fittingly, since he was initially intended to be Goku's final opponent before Gohan became the Main Character, he is this for every major opponent Goku faced as an adult. He's got the Multi-Form technique and Solar Flare Tien had, the regeneration of Piccolo to a greater extent (and can make children like King Piccolo), the Zenkais and lust for combat of the Saiyans, and Frieza's survivability.
  • 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 angering Gohan until he exploded. The results were exactly what Goku wanted. Just like Vegeta before him, Gohan was a little much for him.
  • Forgot About His Powers: A weird case where he forgot someone else has the same powers as him. When he uses his tail on Piccolo's arm to drain Piccolo, once Piccolo frees himself, Cell falls for Piccolo's I Surrender, Suckers and is completely flabbergasted when Piccolo shows that he can regenerate his own arm. This despite regeneration being one of Cell's powers that he got from Piccolo.
    Cell: This... Was a trick...?! Just to make me talk?!!
  • 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 upper torso, head included, getting blown up during his fight with Goku and him proceeding to regenerate from the waist-up without any problem) and making his regeneration more potent than it originally was.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Starts out as a simple bug from an egg, then becomes a mass-murdering man-eater, to a brute capable of destroying islands with one blast and finally a massive powerhouse 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.
  • Future Badass: This Cell hails from an alternate version of Future Trunks' timeline and becomes a world-ending threat. The Cell from the main timeline, on the other hand, is killed by Trunks and Krillin before he could even pose any danger.
  • Gag Lips: In his Semi-Perfect form, as an intermediary between Imperfect's insectoid beak mouth and Perfect's fully-formed human face.
  • Genetic Abomination: Downplayed - Cell is no abomination for the setting he is in aside from two traits:
    • As a result of being a bio-engineered life-form created from the DNA of the strongest fighters in the setting, his energy signature when sensed by the other characters feels like it swaps between each of his components' being. This leaves the Z-fighters incredibly weirded out when they start, for example, feeling two 'Piccolos' fighting each other, or even feel themselves in a different part of the world when they are obviously right where they are. Eventually, the Z-fighters figure out how to use this weirdness to identify Cell at a distance and refer to it as 'Cell's energy' - but it's never stated that this weird energy-signature-swap ceases, even when he achieves his Perfect form.
    • In all of his forms, Cell possesses a tail with a syringe-like apparatus. Before he becomes perfect, this tail is long enough to inject victims with enzymes and literally drink them whole to gain even more power, doing so to hundreds of thousands of humans. When he powers up afterward, his Battle Aura shows the souls of the people he has drunk, screaming in agony - hinting that they are suffering a Fate Worse than Death and haven't gone to the afterlife.note 
  • Genetic Memory: 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 recognizes 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 curb-stomped 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 form 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.
    • And in his Perfect Cell, he passes while enough as an extremely pale-skinned humanoid in a bug suit until he's forced to regenerate from the lower torso upwards, later grow large enough in his pseudo-Ultra Super Saiyan Form beyond the bulky muscles of Trunks and he demonstrated- to become a huge brute physically large enough to conceivably vomit 18 from his mouth, and later grotesquely regenerate from his core as Super Perfect Cell, which give a reminder that he's an artificial biological horror that only resembles a human externally.
  • 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 hadn'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.
  • Hellish Pupils: He has slitted pupils in his Imperfect form, indicating how sinister he is at a glance.
  • Hermaphrodite: Though Cell adopts and behaves in a generically "male" persona, the fact that he can spontaneously give birth to offspring without having to mate means he 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 friends (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 Android 16 is one 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 comes back from his near-death experience which killed Goku. After his return, he kills Trunks and badly injures 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 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 turns 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:
    • When Goku insists that he's not strong enough to beat him when they first meet but will be the next day, Cell completely scoffs at the idea that a single day could make that much of a difference. This took place as Cell was directly in the middle of executing the plan of his design to increase his strength exponentially simply by eating a couple of semi-robotic twin punks through his giant expansive tail.
    • He dips into it again during his fight with Super Saiyan 2 Gohan; he comments on Gohan's Sanity Slippage and outright calls him a monster when he gets his ass beat. Because he's a brutal sadist who "drank" 600,000 innocent people, killed thousands of others in cold blood For the Evulz, and freely admitted that the extent of his plan after winning the Cell Games is to personally hunt down every last human on Earth and kill them one at a time while savoring their fear and despair, Cell has no business calling anyone a monster.
    • And a third time during the Super Saiyan 2 Gohan fight. After previously mocking Trunks for using a worthless transformation that buffs your power but makes you too slow to hit your opponents, Cell does just that out of desperation when clearly outmatched by Gohan. Trunks himself even comments on Cell's hypocrisy, noting he made the same mistake he did.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: After witnessing Super Saiyan 2 Gohan obliterate the Cell Juniors, all of whom completely outclassed the Z-Fighters, with one hit each, Cell is still confident he's stronger than Gohan and powers up to maximum, a Power Level the Z-Fighters deem "unfathomable." Gohan, however, was also holding back, and he promptly unleashed his full power to show Cell how outclassed he really is.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: He didn't debut until midway through Z, but is regarded as one of the most iconic Shonen Jump villains, just behind Frieza.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: In his Semi-Perfect form, he foregoes the pinkish-magenta slit eyes of his Imperfect form, in favor of the Androids' trademark blue eyes in the anime- to indicate he's absorbed 17, he's now in an intermediary point that's he's more humanoid yet not to the point of his Perfect form and gives an initial eeriness of combined with his Gag Lips of a Humanoid Abomination that looks inherently wrong to look at before he gets humiliated, becoming more of a Gonk as the further he stays in this form. He then regains his magenta eyes in Perfect. Interestingly, the initial colored covers of the manga invert this with Imperfect Cell having the bluish eyes while Semi-Perfect Cell gains the reddish eyes that are later possessed by Perfect Cell.
  • 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.
  • Inflating Body Gag: To somewhat darker extremes via his Unforgivable technique, where Cell in his Semi-Perfect form enraged at Gohan for being stronger than him, decides to take out Gohan by inflating himself into a mountain size balloon to charge up an explosion that would have destroyed the Earth which forces Gohan to stop his assault as any attack from him would have caused Cell to detonate destroying the Earth, Goku decides to pull a Heroic Sacrifice by teleporting himself and the blimped size Cell to King Kai's planet in which the resulting explosion kills Goku, King Kai, Bubbles, (anime only) Gregory, and Android 17 (who was still trapped inside the monster). This technique was also passed to his successor Cell MAX, who's resulting explosion is far far weaker in comparison.
  • Informed Ability:
    • After his first fight with Piccolo, Cell casually claims he can actually use the Spirit Bomb if wants to; that never goes anywhere as Cell never conjures a Spirit Bomb, however, some video games actually make use of this to make it so Cell can do it, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 and 3 alongside Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 1, 2, and 3 on the PS2.
    • Him knowing the techniques of everyone whose cells he's made of logically should include Kaioken, but he never uses it even in situations where it'd be very helpful (Against Piccolo on their first fight, against Vegeta when Cell is Semi-Perfect, against Gohan after he goes Super Saiyan 2). Kai's english dub makes this even more noticeable as Cell explicitly says he can use the Kaioken on the same scene he can use Spirit Bomb, which's a very odd detail to include when the manga had been over for years by the time Kai came out, and Cell never touched the Kaioken (Even in video games).
  • Informed Attribute: In his Semi-Perfect form, Cell says to Vegeta "Power! Speed! Skill! Mental strength! I'll be perfect in every way! That's what the computer told me!" once he absorbs 18. While most of these are true, "mental strength" is not, because once Cell is outmatched by Super Saiyan 2 Gohan, he got angry, desperate, and made foolish mistakes, even making the same mistake as Trunks by focusing on power at the cost of speed, and this is very much unlike say, Goku, who generally manages to keep a cool mind when outmatched.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Semi-Perfect Cell is a very strange case of this. While he's initially presented as a legitimate threat to 16, Krillin, 18 and are helpless against him; and yet, this is the form Cell suffers the most indignities in. He's essentially trapped by Tien for several minutes and unable to do anything to defend himself, he's treated like a punching bag by Vegeta, and then given the same treatment by Trunks. He then proceeds to throw a fit, not once but twice in this form at two different pointsnote , getting mockery from many fighters as a result.
  • Ironic Echo: In the original Japanese version, during his fight with Gohan. After beating down Cell so hard that he spit out Android 18, Gohan prepares to finish Cell off and says "Omae wa mou owari da." (お前はもう終わりだ), meaning "You're done for." Immediately after this, Cell bloats up to tremendous size and prepares to self-destruct to take the entire Earth with him and says with a grin "Kisamara wa mou owari da!" (貴様らはもう終わりだ), meaning "You guys are done for!"
  • Irony:
    • Cell manipulates 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.
    • Despite being created to kill Goku and fighting him in the Cell Games, not to mention indirectly managing to carry out his mission to kill him, he has the least personal relationship with him out of all the main villains in the series; Vegeta sticks around as his primary rival, Frieza plays a huge role in his backstory and becomes his Arch-Enemy, and Buu is eventually reincarnated as his pupil.
    • 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.
    • Despite being called "Super" Perfect Cell in the games, this form of Cell is technically not Perfect as he lacks 17 (who was killed during Cell's self-destruction) and 18- making him still imperfect if he still cared.
  • 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." (though occasionally someone will slip up and use male pronouns) 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 it's 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, and 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.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • He's actually completely correct in his statement that Trunks would never beat him in his new form, though he remains vague about the reason why until both demonstrating and spelling out the flaws to make sure the message is really clear.
    • He's correct when he says Gohan holding back to defeat him isn't the sign of a good warrior, even if he's intentionally pushing his buttons so that he can get a good fight.
  • Just Toying with Them:
    • The first thing he does after becoming Perfect is to toy with Vegeta and slap him around. It gets to the point that when he gets his arm blasted off by the Final Flash, he feigns a Villainous Breakdown just so he can wipe the smile off Vegeta's face by reminding him he has Piccolo's Healing Factor.
      Vegeta: Freak! Are you not taking this seriously?!
      Cell: Should I be? I'm sorry, I thought we were still warming up.
    • He does the same in the fight with Trunks soon after. When Trunks goes Super Saiyan Third Grade and manages to lay a decent breakdown on him, Cell reveals the Mighty Glacier weakness of the technique and dodges every subsequent attack before tearing him down verbally.

  • 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.
  • 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, managing to kill three heroic characters- one being a permanent death due to the nature of the being, the second being Goku's 2nd Heroic Sacrifice, and the last being an indicator of how much deadlier Cell had become after getting a near-death experience.
    • On a broader scale, out of the four major villains of Z, Cell is the one portrayed with the most consistent seriousness and not played intentionally for laughs through his initial arc. Frieza, in spite of being a sadistic tyrant, would react comedically to some situations, Vegeta would have his moments of Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor and the tail end of his fight is Vegeta being subjected to punishment after punishment (including getting crushed by a naked Gohan) and Buu has consistent Laughably Evil elements in all forms. Cell's introduction is amongst the darkest of the series- something that wouldn't be contested again until Goku Black- with all of his succeeding actions/behaviors played darkly straight in comparison to the usual quirky cast, and any comedy involving him- is more centered around being the Straight Man to Hercule/Mr. Satan while acting like his usual serious self.
  • 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.
    • His appearances in video games have him getting progressively hammier, best exemplified in Dragon Ball Xenoverse.
    Cell: "Splendid! Now, this was a real fight! I'd totally hug you right now if that was something I did!"
  • 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, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2, and Dragon Ball Fighter Z; just as he absorbed others to power up, Super 17 in Heroes, Super Buu in Budokai 2, and Android 21 in FighterZ can and/or do absorb him to do the same.
  • 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 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.
    • Being a fully organic being, Cell does not have the unlimited energy and stamina that Androids 17 and 18 have; he eventually tires just like any other organic lifeform.
  • 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: Cell is able to 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.
  • Mini-Me: The "Cell Juniors", seven miniature versions of himself which he spawns some time after becoming Perfect Cell. The main differences between them are that the miniatures are colored blue instead of green and lack Cell's stinger but otherwise have all of his powers.
  • 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 of 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 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. After he comes back From a Single Cell, he comes to the conclusion that Dr. Gero actually intended him to end all life, being the Ultimate Lifeform and all.
  • Narcissist: While this is more pronounced in his Perfect Form, Cell has no problems proclaiming himself as Dr. Gero's greatest creation even in his imperfect stage. By the time he attains his Perfect Form, Cell cannot go through most of his statements without boasting about how he is "perfect", making it clear that his narcissism has become his defining character trait from that point on. Also, anything that challenges or even threatens his "perfection" is enough to make Cell go through panic and rage. It makes sense in context, given that he has the DNA template of Vegeta and Frieza, both of whom were infamous for their arrogant and "I'm superior to everyone else" mentality.
  • 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.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands:
    • There's nothing that even remotely implies he can reproduce, yet he just suddenly is able to create Cell Juniors during the Cell Games. The closest equivalent to his various donors would be how Namekians asexually reproduce, but they do it via expelling eggs from their mouths, compared to Cell expelling the Cell Juniors straight from his tail.
    • Him learning Instant Transmission is also this. Despite seeing Goku teleport a bunch of times, it's only after self destructing that he suddenly learns it, all so he can teleport back to Earth and not be stuck on the Other World.
  • 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' Super Saiyan Third Grade 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 push 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, though some of it remains; when Goku finally realizes the flaws in his plan to pit Gohan against Cell and is about to get a Senzu Bean to heal up so he can intervene, Cell instantly darts over and steals the bag right out of Krillin's hands to prevent that.
    • 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. Toriyama 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 So Invincible After All: Upon achieving his Perfect form, nothing seems to hurt him; he even takes a direct hit from a Destructo Disc, which, mind you, is established to cut through anything like a hot knife through butter, without a scratch. Then Vegeta charges up his Final Flash, daring him to take it head-on if he truly believed he was invulnerable; Cell obliges and only survives because he dodged at the last second. He still gets his right arm and a sizable chunk of his torso blown off, proving that, even if Cell's Healing Factor rendered the injury moot in short order, he's not all-powerful and can be hurt.
  • 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 a 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.
    • Beforehand, upon reaching his Perfect form, he lays an effortless beatdown on Vegeta, who was way too powerful for him in his previous form and then defeats Trunks by humiliating him, then abashing him about his poor judgment in powering up too much to move fast. He then claims that both Super Saiyans have disappointed him and that none of the heroes are a threat to him now. This is part of why he lets Vegeta and Trunks live— the other part is his desire to fight powerful opponents, giving them more time to become stronger.
  • 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 not initially 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. The Super manga eventually reveals that the two were in fact fully conscious, aware, and could see and hear everything that was going on the entire 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 is 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 form. 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 Free Hit: After reaching his perfect form, he invites Vegeta to hit him with his best shot, intending to show how utterly outmatched Vegeta is by Cell. Subverted when, after minutes of Vegeta charging up a massive energy attack, Cell realizes at the last second that it is actually powerful enough to kill him and dodges enough so that it only lands a glancing blow.
  • 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, and Super Hero gives him, or at least a bio android based on him, a role as one of the antagonists.
    • His Semi-Perfect form gets less focus than his Imperfect and Perfect forms, mostly existing as a mid-way to his Perfect form. This is thanks to the Executive Meddling revolving around him and the Androids; his editor thought his Semi-Perfect form "looked like a moron" and wanted Toriyama to just get to his Perfect form already. Ironically, Cell's Semi-Perfect design was Toriyama's favorite. Much later on down the line, Semi-Perfect Cell would serve as the basis of Cell MAX's design, ironically being much more powerful than the original Cell ever was due to being a relevant threat to the heroes that warrants Ultra Instinct level power ups to stop.
  • 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.

  • Pay Evil unto Evil: 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.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Downplayed with his relationship with Doctor Gero. While Cell frequently heaps praise on the man, this respect is largely self-aggrandizing, rather than genuinely affectionate. Cell does not admire Gero like a child might admire their father, he admires him because he was brilliant enough to create a being as perfect as Cell. In spin-offs, his opinion of Gero varies from indifferent, like in FighterZ, to outright hostile, like in Supersonic Warriors, with the only piece of media where he expresses a desire to avenge Gero (and the Red Ribbon Army) being Atsumare! Gokū Wārudo.
    • In Dragon Ball Xenoverse and its sequel, if Cell is your mentor and you run low on health in a Parallel Quest, he'll pull a Big Damn Heroes and join the fight to save your sorry rear.
  • Pitiful Worms: He compares Vegeta and Trunks to roaches after becoming Perfect.
    Cell: You Saiyans are like cockroaches. Squash one, and another crawls out from the wall.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: After becoming perfect, Cell's mannerisms become noticeably more polite and laid-back, making him a mix 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.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the German dub, when Vegeta fires his Final Flash, Cell takes a second to process the power of the oncoming strike and says "Oh, shit!".
  • 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:
    • This is what Cell is really, underneath the polite and sophisticaed facade he puts on. All he really wants aside from becoming Perfect and killing Goku is to spend time torturing weak humans before he absorbs them or destroys them. This is because he sees humans as toys and is very rough with his playthings. In addition, Cell is actually shown to be very immature as whenever he's outclassed in a fight he throws a temper tantrum and pulls out all the stops to ensure his opponent won't win, no matter how self-destructive or undignified it may be.
      • 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 when Gohan makes him spit out 18 he attempts a spiteful Taking You with Me on the entire Earth, which is equivalent to a bratty child Flipping the Table after losing a board game. 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.
  • Psychotic Smirk: A proud villain tradition in this series.
  • Punny Name:
  • 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 video games.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: Before Pikkon curb stomps 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 Super Saiyan Third Grade 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 Super Saiyan Third Grade form: although very powerful, it 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.
  • Redemption Rejection: During the Cell Games, Gohan makes it clear that despite everything Cell has done, he doesn't want to kill him and begs him to repent and end things without violence. Cell just mocks him to his face for thinking he could actually talk him down, and upon hearing of Gohan's hidden power, he deliberately drives Gohan to his Rage Breaking Point for the sake of drawing it out and having a challenge; upon this, Gohan switches gears from not wanting to hurt Cell at all to wanting nothing more than to spill his blood and make it as painful and humiliating as possible.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Says he can regenerate from anything as long as some core cells in his brain are intact. He was earlier shown regrowing his head so the English dub says he regenerates From a Single Cell as long as any of them are intact.
  • Retcon: A few details about Cell from before his introduction are retconned once he's introduced, likely because a bunch of plans around him were changed. Such as, when Trunks, Bulma and Gohan were investigating his time machine, Trunks says that the time machine arrived four years ago, and he even explicitly says it's one year before Trunks himself arrived, implying there was a reason for such a change, with Trunks wondering if this is the reason why there were a bunch of changes in the past. When Cell tells Piccolo his past, he says he arrived three years ago and was merely using the same coordinates his own Trunks counterpart had used, with Cell himself not being the reason why the past of Trunks' and Goku's timeline not lining up, as he's just as surprised as Trunks with the changes that happened.
  • 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, and the subsequent Curb-Stomp Battle convinces him that yes, he does still need to become Perfect.
  • 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.
  • Serial Killer: Imperfect Cell is depicted like this: staying in the shadows to stalk his prey, only going after people weaker than him, and running when things get complicated, and discarded clothes are similar to a calling card of his victims. Of course, this is dropped when he doesn't need to hide anymore once he reaches his Semi-Perfect form where he becomes more direct, blunt, and egotistical- even more so in his Perfect form where he becomes very public to the masses.
  • 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 than 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 brilliant for creating him, the perfect being. He also takes delight explaining 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 Super Saiyan 2 Gohan proves to be stronger than him, 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.
  • Spanner in the Works: Is this posthumously in Super. While he is long dead and is never resurrected (unlike Frieza), the fact that he'd come from the future and left his copy of the time machine behind wrecks Goku Black's plan to trap the heroes in the present by destroying Future Trunks' time machine.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the Goku's World Information, an audience-participating OVA, he fights and loses to Goku (who receives an Adaptational Badass treatment whereas he wasn't as strong to defeat him in canon) and retreats when given the chance.
  • 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 (who Goku consider to be maybe as strong as Cell) with one hit in his weaker 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 speculated by Goku to be about even with Cell, though he later notes that Dabura was a stronger than he thought. And he has both magical abilities and a spit that can turn people to stone regardless of power.
      • 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 be 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.
  • Star Killing: As Super Perfect Cell, he boasts that now he has the power to wipe out the entire Solar System with a single Kamehameha, which would naturally include destroying the Sun as well. This has resulted in several video games giving him the move and aptly titling it the "Solar Kamehameha".
  • Story-Breaker Power:
    • Can regenerate endlessly From a Single Cell thanks to inheriting Piccolo's regeneration, Frieza's extreme survivability, and like the Saiyans grows stronger after recovering from a near death experience. 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.
    • His ability to create Cell Juniors is also this. While it's not clear how they measure up to a well rested Goku at the time (As Goku was still tired from fighting Cell), they're far stronger than Semi-Perfect Cell since neither Trunks or Vegeta could do much against them, and this is after they spent another year in the Room of Spirit and Time. Just the fact Cell could make seven of them while not losing even a little of his energy, means he could create a lot more if he wanted to.
  • 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 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 does 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 wordsnote  are absolute disbelief that this is happening to him.
      Cell: No! This can't... be! This can't be, I am perfection!
  • Time-Traveling Jerkass: Not satisfied with his Imperfect form after the destruction of Androids 17 and 18 in an Alternate Timeline, he uses a Capsule time machine to arrive in the main universe and absorb them there.
  • 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 regenerate 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.

  • 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: Much like Frieza, Cell doesn't handle being overpowered very well. When Gohan transformed into a Super Saiyan 2 and began to exceed the android's incredible strength, Cell can't keep up his Smug Super gimmick and begins throwing one tantrum after another. 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. By the time of the final beam struggle with Gohan, Cell is completely gone and just starts yelling nonsense and repeating statements about how perfect he is.
    • 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" ("News of the Cell Games"), 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.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: In the original Funimation dub, Cell tells Trunks point-blank that his familial loyalty to Vegeta is a sign of weakness that will be his downfall.
  • Vocal Evolution: In both the English 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.
  • Voice of the Legion: Does this sometimes in his Imperfect form, such as when he nearly kills Piccolo. It appears to have only been for the creepiness factor in the Funimation dub.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: When Gohan kicks him in the gut and forces him to puke up Android 18, along with lots of white fluid; all unedited versions show him do so on-screen.
  • Volumetric Mouth: Did one against Vegeta and Gohan respectively when they made a fool of him with their newfound 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 halfway 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.
  • Wings Do Nothing: He has a pair of wing-carapace as seen on various species of insects in his Imperfect and Perfect forms, but they're completely useless as not only does he not possess proper wings, but he uses ki to fly just like everyone else. He even loses them in his Semi-Perfect form.
  • 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, and 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.
  • World's Strongest Man: He was already strong enough, but Super Perfect Cell is the one that really qualifies. Cell was designed to be the Ultimate Life Form, and his designer succeeded. Among other abilities, he has: super strength, super speed, and super durability greater than the gods themselves, instant teleportation (just like Goku), the ability to spawn powerful warriors who are extremely strong themselves (the Cell Juniors), regeneration From a Single Cell, the ability to come back stronger after being blown to bits, extremely powerful telekinesis (which he uses to build an arena, among other things), the ability to absorb things and gain their power with his tail, the ability to survive any injury (including half of his body being blown clean off), and energy blasts powerful enough to destroy entire solar systems. It's very telling as he's the strongest entity that could be created from naturally occurring beings- both Earthling and extraterrestrial, with stronger foes beings literal deities, primordial personifications of chaos, warriors from separate universes, a Saiyan mutant that could reach the level of deities over the course of a fight, and those who had to get their powers from unorthodox means to surpass those levels of power and an even more advanced version of Cell to surpass those aforementioned fighters wouldn't be created until years later in-universe, and even that version was incomplete- as it lacked the intellect that made Cell so dangerous.
    • And it's also telling that the heroes had to resort to divine means such as Fusion, training in the Afterlife, gaining God Ki, and even wishing for more potential to surpass this version of Cell as he was the strongest mortal-bound entity until Golden Freeza- who managed to reach the level of Gods without the intent came into the picture.
  • 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.
    • Subverted with Gohan. Cell goes out of his way to unleash Gohan's hidden power so he can become a Worthy Opponent, but actually thinks very little of him and treats him with annoyance for not living up to expectations. And once Gohan truly does reach that level of power, his feelings of being impressed are quickly replaced with frustration and fear of being surpassed so easily, leading to Cell losing what little sanity he had and trying to kill him twice to regain his lost pride, viewing him with contempt.
  • 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 and undoubtedly absorbed children during his rampages.
  • 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 He Looks: 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.