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Dragon Ball is a long-running franchise with four series, several spin-offs, and 19 movies, resulting in Loads and Loads of Characters. Many went on to become fan favorites, some popular enough to become Breakout Characters. Expect a lot of Saiyans and action girls in here.

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     Dragon Ball 

  • The announcer for the World Martial Arts Tournament, so much so that when he didn't appear in the Cell Games Saga, with bumbling reporter Jimmy Firecracker taking his role, some fans got quite irate. Fortunately, he makes his return in the Buu Saga.
  • General Blue, for being pretty much the only competent member of the Red Ribbon Army - starting at the point where he strangles an electric eel to death while it's still electrocuting him. There is also the fact that he is the first villain to almost kill Goku in a straight fight. Pity he’s also a paedophile.
  • Similarly, the villain who follows Blue - Mercenary Tao Pai Pai, who kills Blue with his tongue and is the first villain to flat-out defeat Goku, not to mention the first legitimate Knight of Cerebus the series has ever had, before even Piccolo.
  • Demon King Piccolo for being the Knight of Cerebus that turned Dragon Ball from a lighthearted adventure series, to the action-pack drama we know it today. He is also one of the most cunning villains in the show who outwitted the heroes and never succumb to holding the Villain Ball like many later enemies. Even Toriyama himself says that Piccolo is still his favorite villain.
  • Akkuman/Devilman for having what could be considered the most powerful attack in all of Dragon Ball/Z. Hell he was even a playable character in Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (where he even gets his own what-if story), Dragon Ball: Advanced Adventure, and Dragon Ball: The Revenge of King Piccolo.
  • Yamcha. Ironically, the more he seems to fade away, the larger, or at least more vocal, his fanbase becomes. For whatever reason, Yamcha is easily among the more popular human characters in Dragon Ball, getting his own spin-off manga, having an entire, long-running fan manga dedicated to him (Dragon Ball Z Elsewhere) and is a prominent player in a large number of fanworks (Like his Android 17 analogue in Dragon Ball Multiverse or The Chew Toy from Dragon Ball Z Abridged). People were even disappointed when Yamcha wasn't chosen as a warrior to join the Tournament of Power in Super. According to a poll done by a Japanese magazine, Yamcha was the most requested character who people wanted to see helping Universe 7 (By comparison, Gotenks, Pikkon, Future Trunks, or Cell didn't even reach that high). Dragon Ball Fighter Z also caused a massive boost in Yamcha's popularity, where he sees lots of use as an effect support character, making the once-Memetic Loser a Memetic Badass in the FGC.
    • Fans particularly found the spin off manga "Reborn as Yamcha" particularly gratifying as by having someone else in Yamcha’s body the desert bandit can go though the needed Training from Hell. So when it jump cuts to his embarrassing death by exploding Saibaman, it’s that more awesome to see Yamcha proudly standing unharmed.

     Dragon Ball Z 

  • Raditz, who many thought was wasted potential and was killed off after just one arc. Especially considering his single appearance had huge ramifications for Dragon Ball. He is the first character to have blood-ties to Goku, introducing the concept of Saiyans. He also has a very interesting design, even non-Raditz fans are curious what he looks like as a Super Saiyan or Super Saiyan 3. He is never mentioned again outside of brief filler-exclusive cameos, movies, and games. Speaking of which, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 straight up makes him an instructor you can learn from. Like Yamcha, he is a popular character in fanfiction, with MasakoX's Dragon Ball R&R fan series being a destacable mention.
  • Bardock is beloved despite his briefs appearances since the special about his conflict with his race's predestined end at Freeza's hands (or rather finger), earned him status as a Canon Immigrant. Like Vegeta, he also went on to become a Breakout Character, enough to gain a What-If movie and manga where he turned Super Saiyan and defeated Frieza's ancestor Chilled, and to become a rather important character in the Xenoverse and Heroes lore. To the series canon, however, he is still a minor character.
  • There's also Seripa/Fasha, who despite only appearing briefly in the Bardock Special before her death has quite a fan following, due to being the only named full-blooded female Saiyan in the series for over two decades. She's often featured in a lot of fanart and fanfiction, and even managed to be popular enough to be featured as a playable fighter in the 3rd Budokai Tenkaichi game.
  • Appule. A weak minion of Frieza who was killed by Vegeta without a fight has nevertheless gained some popularity in the English-speaking fandom. He is almost in every video game as the de facto mook of the Frieza empire.
  • The Ginyu Force, what with their Super Sentai parodying, has also become this. Ginyu even makes a brief return in Super.
  • Future Gohan is popular, perhaps even more so than his main timeline counterpart at the same age, and is seen as a highlight of the Trunks special. Future Gohan is seen as more badass with a tearjerking backstory, as opposed to main timeline Gohan who while popular in his own right, is often chided for abandoning his combat prowess on many an occasion.
  • Android 18 is a well-loved character, thanks to being one of the very few Action Girl characters in the series prior to Super and having a dry Manipulative Bitch personality that's a lot of fun to watch.
  • While Vegeta is not an example of this nowadays (being an Arc Villain who went full Breakout Character), a specific transformation of his does: his Majin transformation, where he sold his spirit to Babidi to obtain more power to fight Goku. His temporary transformation into Majin Vegeta in the Buu Saga is beloved to bringing one of the most heartbreaking moments in the series.
  • Pikkon, a Filler character from the Otherworld Martial Arts Tournament. He is well known by fans for beating Frieza, King Cold, the Ginyu Force, and Cell, all at the same time. He is also one of the few fighters who overpowered Goku when they fought. He became so popular that he's a major secondary character in the movie Fusion Reborn and has gained a transformation in Dragon Ball Heroes.
  • Despite being a minor villain who was overshadowed by Majin Buu, Dabura. He is liked for his design, his magical abilities, and being a Affably Evil Dragon to Babidi. The fact his sister never tries to revive him in Dragon Ball Xenoverse is considered by many to be a wasted potential, though Dragon Ball Heroes treats him better, making him go again as a villain along Towa and gaining new forms, and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 finally did right by him with a DLC scenario where he is the Big Bad.
  • The Supreme Kai of the West, the only female Supreme Kai ever shown in the franchise before Super, is quite popular with some fans. She was popular enough that Toyotarō, before working on the Dragon Ball Super manga, used her on his Dragon Ball AF doujinshi as a main villain. This is quite funny considering that, while she is mentioned in the manga, her design is entirely made by Toei. She doesn't even have more lines than Appule!
  • Much like Android 17, Pan was such a minor character in Z, only appearing at the very end, that most fans were either apathetic towards her or they outright hated her due to her depiction in GT. However, her depiction in Super quickly made her beloved in the fanbase, thanks to being one-year-old and already knowing how to fly and use Ki-attacks.

     Dragon Ball GT 

  • General Rildo is a Benevolent Boss of which there are few of in Dragon Ball. He also has unique metallic metamorphoses powers that make him stand out and shows a professional air of competence throughout all of his appearances.
  • Sixinglong/Nuova Shenron. Unlike the other Shadow Dragons who are pure evil and somewhat one-dimensional, Nuova is a Noble Demon who was born from the only truly selfish wish from the Dragon Balls (King Piccolo wishing for youth). He is also one of the few Shadow Dragons with fighting skills, he is as hot as the sun, and he is the Four-Star Ball, giving him a personal connection to Goku. He is one of the few Shadow Dragons to appear in video games besides Omega Shenron.
    • Similarly, Sanxinglong/Eis Shenron, despite being a blue re-skin of Nuova, is also well-liked for his Pragmatic Villainy, his perfect foil to Nuova, and being on the receiving end of one of the best-looking Dragon Fists in the anime. He, too, is often playable in games where Nuova is.
    • The Shadow Dragons as a whole, conceptually. Like Super Saiyan 4 below, one of the things that people really found to be an interesting idea for GT, taking what had long become relegated to a Reset Button and giving it consequences. Though that said, while the concept was deemed interesting, the execution was not, with most of the Shadow Dragons being gimmicky, one-note villains of the week, with only Nuova, Omega, and Eis winning fans over.
  • For the series as a whole, Super Saiyan 4 was one of the few things that was well-received from GT. This transformation gained a lot of popularity because of how unique it is compared to other Saiyan transformations.

     Dragon Ball Super 

Once Dragon Ball Super got into its new material, it introduced several characters who are shaping up to become quite popular:

  • Universe 6 has a fair share of fan-favorite characters.
    • Vados is well-liked by the fandom, despite mostly being a Distaff Counterpart to her brother. She gets a lot of positive reception for being a classy, polite Beleaguered Assistant and Servile Snarker to Champa, as well as being one of the franchises strongest female character.
    • Magetta wasn't liked at first, mainly because many thought his design was a bit wonky or at least inferior to the other members of Universe 6. However, when they saw him fight, he quickly became a pretty popular character, in no small part because his fighting style is very unique and tactical in a series that mostly relies on Ki Attacks and Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs. When the Funimation dub changed the Metal Man's vocals to a text-to-speech format, rather than keeping a human VA, a surprising amount of Super fans were outraged. They argued the decision ruined Magetta's charm and wordplay, despite being a minor mini-boss character among Universe 6's team.
    • Hit. He has the status of a legendary hitman in Universe 6 and displays an intriguing fighting style that allows him to defeat Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta, who defeated three contestants in a row, then proceeded to have what is widely agreed to be one of the best fights in the series against Goku in what, for all intents and purposes, is the decisive bout of the tournament. Hit's development throughout his match also won over many people who thought he was just a typical, aloof badass. He eventually returned in his own two-part mini-arc featuring a rematch with Goku, reappeared in the Tournament of Power a prominent role, and has become a stable of being one of the first representatives of Super-era characters in video games and other tie-ins.
    • Frost: Although he lost his initial appeal of being a Good Counterpart of Frieza after the reveal, Frost garnered a decent fanbase for his own brand of underhanded tactics and charismatic conviction. This is greatly highlighted in his spotlight episode, Episode 107, during the Tournament of Power arc where he temporarily outwitted both Roshi and Vegeta, nearly costing Universe 7 a major setback. Since then, his fanbase has grown in numbers and appreciation for the execution of his character. Not to mention, his chemistry with Frieza during the arc itself.
    • Caulifla: She was an instant hit for being the first canon female Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan 2 to appear in the anime and manga. There's also the fact she acts more like the savage Saiyans of Universe 7, rather than the more civil, noble Saiyans like Cabba, essentially making her a Distaff Counterpart to Goku since they are both opposites in their races. She also gained quite a fan following for being the one of strongest Saiyans in Universe 6. According to some fan polls, she won over more fans than Cabba and Kale themselves, despite Kale being the most awaited character before the saga even started!
    • Kale: First shown in the initial trailer for the Universal Survival Saga as a competing Saiyan with a similar legendary Super Saiyan form, she was already this before the saga even started. In the story proper, her reserved demeanor reacting to Caulifla's vivacious type sparked a plethora of positive fan reception, according to arc director Ryōta Nakamura. Depending on the medium, fans have latched on to her personality extending to Character Arc about reigning in her power and self-worth, or a bodyguard to Caulifla in secret to happily make her boss look good. Her controlled/Super Saiyan Two form is often cited as the ideal body type for female (Super) Saiyan, much like the primal Saiyan from Z's filler.
    • Kefla: To wrap up the female Saiyans is the unexpected fusion of the two, which brought about a fan-favorite battle between her and Ultra Instinct -Omen- Goku. In some cases, this cocky fusion can eclipse the appeal and popularity of her fusses, often requested to be put in future Dragon Ball games for the sake of a relevant female fighter and moveset potential (such as the competitively-driven Dragon Ball Fighter Z). Being DLC for Xenoverse 2 months down the road is a start.
    • Dr. Rota, despite being a glorified fodder, is well-liked by fans due to his hilarious Joke Character status who always gets interrupted before he can show his ability which led fans to jokingly suggest that he is actually strong enough to defeat everyone with his ability.
    • Saonel and Pirina: Not much was seen or known about this pair, as the initial line-up for Universe 6's representatives only showed eight of out of ten necessary members. Only the midway point of the Tournament of Power suddenly revealed to be Universe 6's Namekians. Namekians, besides Piccolo, are rarely involved in modern Dragon Ball stories, so the eagerness to see new ones in the middle of a battle royale peaked fan interest at the chance of them meeting and fighting Piccolo. Not only did they get a focal battle between Gohan and Piccolo, which borrowed new lore about being super Namekians fusions, but they managed to be Universe 6's last stand.
  • Gowasu, for being a Godtuber and the source of a good tonne of memes from the "Future Trunks" Saga. His Memetic Loser status of always receiving the short end of the stick is the source of many jokes, especially him being killed three times onscreen in the space of one saga, with one of them being undone (giving Krillin a run for his money). Fans also felt a lot of pity for him at the end of the Future Trunks Saga, where he considered everything his fault and sin. There is a lot of fan art of him, with either Zamasu, God of Destruction Rumsshi, or Cus the angel. The fanbase was very saddened when he was erased with the rest of Universe 10—and were subsequently overjoyed to see him revived after the tournament.
  • For the Universal Survival arc, out of all the Gods of Destruction and angels involved in the Tournament of Power the most popular ones are:
    • Universe 11 clown God of Destruction resembling Pennywise, Vermoud, and Marcarita his angel attendant. The two of them are constantly compared to The Joker and Harley Quinn among western fans and were among the first characters to receive fanart.
    • Universe 10 Elephant God, Rumsshi and his angel Cus. There's a lot of fanart of these two often with Gowasu or Zamasu. Cus' excited reactions at seeing the fights also became memetic.
    • The Robot God Mosco from Universe 3. Many fans like him for being a creative concept in the form of a robotic god, but also quite silly as he talks through beeps similar to R2D2 from Star Wars.
    • The Goddess of Destruction from Universe 2, Jerez, is also well-liked for being the strongest non-angel Action Girl and her Egyptian theme design. It helps she is a Benevolent Boss to her team during the Tournament of Power, while her habit of referring to everything as "beautiful" (including Goku) provides humorous moments.
    • Sidra, the God of Destruction of Universe 9 didn't have much attention at first, but gained popularity once he was shown to be one of the few kind Gods of Destructions, who doesn't take joy in destroying things and only carries out judgement on evildoers. He's also stuck with the weakest universe despite his benevolence. But what really won supporters over is his Face Death with Dignity, not panicking or crying in fear like everyone else as Universe 9 got erased.
    • Likewise, the Gods of Destruction of the 8th and 12th universe, Liquiir and Geene, have attracted the attention of the fanbase for either having the best design for a god (Liquiir, who is also quite Popular with Furries), or having an interesting backstory (Geene, who after obtaining the second best universe, has grown bored and is interested in watching the Tournament of Power.) Fans were disappointed they, and neither Iwne and Arack, weren't going to be involved in the Universal Survival arc other than commentators but were pleased when they saw Liquiir have a friendly fight with two fellow GoDs.
  • Some of the fighters from the Tournament of Power managed to gather a lot of popularity. In order of universe:
    • Universe 2:
      • Vikal, the Harpy Fighter, has gathered a group of fans. What with her appearance and implying to be a Dark Action Girl in contrast to the Magical Girl counterparts The Maiden Squadron.
      • Su Roas or Rozie when she's transformed, has proven popular with her Adorkable and cute characteristics as well being a capable fighter holding her own against Goku for a while and possessing a unique fighting style as well.
    • Universe 3:
      • Maji Kayo, the blob creature. He is most frequently brought up when listing off favorite characters from the Tournament of Power, due to having both creative Blob Monster powers that puts Buu to shame, and being one of the few Team Universe 3 members who can give Goku of all people a challenge.
      • Katopesla, the Police officer, has by far the most personality out of his entire universe, is a parody of Kamen Rider, and resembles Pepsiman. What's not to love?
      • Doctor Paparoni, while he caught the attention of the viewers by being a very singular character (Being a very archetypical mad scientist in design), wasn't given much of a thought until episode 120 and 121, where he fused with his machines to turn into a giant monster named Anilaza. Said creature had enough power and skill to challenge the remaining half of Universe 7, and then some, making him one of the most enjoyable opponents in the Tournament of Power.
      • The aforementioned Anilaza for the reasons above as well as for being a Homage to several OVA/movie villains.
    • Universe 4:
      • Ganos of all people is starting to become this as well. A lot of fans really like how he's turning out to be The Ace of Universe 4 (he was able to put up a fight with Base Form Goku) plus they like how handsome he looks and how he smiles, especially in his godPad portrait.
      • Shantsa, for having a goofy design as well as being a Memetic Badass in the Japanese community.
      • In 4chan, at least, Majora, the blind wolf/dog/fox fighter, some translators and generals taking him as an avatar and calling himself Smug Pup. The character managed to win some popularity polls, and has his fair share of fan art. It was eventually revealed that "Smug Pup" is actually a member of Universe 4. The fact that his name is indeed "Majora" hits hard, as a there's already a very popular Zelda game that has to do with masks ...
      • Cawey for have a really cute design, an interesting fighting style of using Hard Light weapons, and for being an Expy of Ranfan
    • Universe 9:
    • Universe 10:
      • Obuni. He was the only notable Universe 10 fighter in battle as he held his own against Gohan, and showcased a technique that allowed him to cast echoes of his energy around himself. He also had a sense of respect in battle and saw Gohan as a Worthy Opponent, in contrast to many other Tournament of Power warriors who are rogues and have it against Universe 7. Like Gohan, he was also fighting in order to protect his own family.
    • Universe 11:
      • Top/Toppo is well regarded by the Dragon Ball fandom for his awesome introductory fight with Goku, where Goku did pressure him, but Top managed to go even with a Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken Goku. His character focus during the recruitment episodes (Where he shows a more human side to him behind the superheroic persona) his small fights in the tournament, him being able to back up his silly posing and shouting of justice with powernote , and his design, made him stand out heavily amongst the Pride Troopers. Episode 125 made his popularity skyrocket, when it's revealed he can become a literal God of Destruction. His epic and well-deserved beatdown on Golden Frieza, and his fight with Android 17, made many call him one of the best characters in Super period.
      • Dyspo. Personality aside, he received a lot of attention from fans for being one of Dragon Ball's true speedsters. He also received points for giving Frieza a well-deserved and humiliating beatdown.
      • Out of all the Pride Troopers of Universe 11 that is not the top 3 members, Cocotte is stated to be their favorite among them due not only being the only female member among them but also having a great design and possessing one of the most unique and interesting powers, aka the ability to conjure dimension barriers that allow her to either protect her teammates or trap other fighters in her zone.
  • A hilarious case, but a lot of fans fell in love with the designs of some Supreme Kai and Angels doodles Toyotarō posted on his twitter account. Despite just being concept art and not actual designs for new characters with the series, many fans like to speculate these are how the 6 destroyed universes gods and angels looked like.
  • Cheelai the Green-Skinned Space Babe from Dragon Ball Super: Broly rivals Android 21 when it comes to the fans’s favourite new sexy female character. Her Tomboy attitude, curvaceous bod and touching Ship Tease with Broly is just makes Cheelai more lovable to the fans.

     Dragon Ball Movies 

  • Cooler, Frieza's older more competent brother from Cooler's Revenge, was the first Non-Serial Movie villain to really hit a cord with the fanbase. It helps that, in terms of characterization, he was also one of the more "complex" movie villains. Which admittedly isn't saying much, but Coolers' degrees of A Lighter Shade of Black, Benevolent Boss, and savvyness certainly made him memorable. So memorably in fact Cooler got a sequel straight away, was given golden form like Frieza in Dragon Ball Heroes and when he was debuted in Dragon Ball Fighter Z the audience went nuts.
  • Salza, the Pretty Boy of Cooler's elite squad has a minor fan-following and has managed to nag appearances on multiple videogames. It helps that he was the first fighter in the Dragon Ball franchise that thought about doing something else than shooting blasts with his energy manipulation skills - he made a ki energy blade, something that, besides being used briefly by Vegitto, other characters like Goku Black and Zamasu wouldn't do 20 years later.
  • Turles from Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might is not as popular as Broly, but he probably ties with Cooler for being the second most popular DBZ movie villain, at least at this late date due to showing what an evil Goku would look be like. A lot of people even mostly remember the movie (which a lot of people have fondness off for being the first movie to be released outside Japan, even though is nothing special by many in the community) because of him. He never got a sequel film, but he has become a Breakout Villain in many of the videogames, having a relevant role in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (which incorporates his backstory, fleshing him out considerably) and Dragon Ball Legends.
  • While he may fall behind Cooler and Broly in popularity, Lord Slug has a special place in longtime fans’s heart as one of the more unique movie villains. Since it turns out he’s the first evil Namekian seen since King Piccolo in early Dragon Ball which doubly serves as a nostalgic throwback and to show how far Dragon Ball has come when it came to beating crap out of giant green slug aliens. Slug is so popular he stands with Frieza, Cooler and Turles in Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans and has been in almost as many videos games as Broly has.
  • Zangya from Bojack Unbound. She's a henchman of Bojack who is extremely popular despite her small role, mostly because she's one of the few fighters in the franchise who is a female and extremely powerful. Her boss, Bojack, is also quite popular on his own, but not as much as his female underling.
  • Hatchiyak, a villain exclusive to the OVA Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans, like Broly, proved popular enough to be given a rough canon analog during the Tournament of Power in Aniraza, and to an extent, inspire Baby from Dragon Ball GT, which in turn is considered the best villain from that series.
  • Janemba, mostly for his design and unique power set, and coming from one of the most well-received movies in the franchise.
  • Tapion from Wrath of the Dragon. He is a Bishōnen like Future Trunks and even uses a sword. He is beloved for his friendship with Kid Trunks and gives him his sword at the end the movie, hinting it's the same sword as Future Trunks. Like Janemba, he also comes from one of the most well-received movies in the franchise, which is ironic considering how minor the main cast is compared to him.

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     Spin-Offs 

  • Kuriza, Frieza’s son from the Nekomajin Z manga. Just how canon he is is in question, since it’s a gag manga, but that hasn't stopped the fans from making neverending fanart featuring him.
  • Jaco, the star of the Dragon Ball manga prequel, Jaco the Galactic Patrolman. Despite the manga being somewhat obscure to the Dragon Ball fandom, he stole the show when he appeared in Resurrection 'F' and quickly became a beloved character in Super, thanks to his interesting design, Deadpan Snarker tendencies, and being a Badass Normal.
  • Mira and Towa from Dragon Ball Online, Dragon Ball Xenoverse and so on. Thanks in no small part to their cool designs, evil couple dynamic and evil time travel antics. Towa in particular is the only pure female Big Bad in Dragon Ball to this date and their Mira and Towa’s son Fu gained traction in Dragon Ball Heroes and Xenoverse 2. Sadly Dragon Ball Super doesn’t make use of Time Breakers despite a whole goddamn saga based around time travel.
  • Gine from Dragon Ball Minus, despite coming from a controversial story to the fandom, has been well received mostly for the fact she is Goku's mother. Gine got new admiration for her appearance in the Broly Movie since she’s just so freaking adorable in the new artstyle.
  • Tiencha, the What If? fusion of Yamcha and Tien introduced in Budokai 2 is fairly popular amongst those who know of him, possibly because of how simultaneously awesome and goofy he is.
    • Gokule is in the same vein in Budokai 2 and thanks Fridge Brilliance has the strongest Spirit Bomb thanks to Hercule gaining more energy from the public as the Fake Ultimate Hero.
  • Chronoa, the Supreme Kai of Time, from the brilliance Dragon Ball Xenoverse games has quite a following, due to her cute design and mannerisms. Many aren't happy with her being Exiled from Continuity and desire for her to get introduced into the canon series.
  • Similarly, the Big Bad of Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Demon God Demigra, who is popular for similar reasons as Dabura in that he is a fighter with a dark magic-based style.
  • Android 21, when revealed for Dragon Ball FighterZ, instantly became popular with fans for being a new Android, a female one at that and apparently having a connection with 16. When it was revealed she had a Majin form, her popularity among the fanbase skyrocketed up even higher. However, while her design is praised, the evil side of 21 has been considered lackluster or quite annoying, while the Good side of her has been considered quite tragic and downright adorable.
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