“You can take control of my mind and my body, but there is one thing a Saiyan always keeps… his PRIDE!”
Vegeta, Dragon Ball Z/Kai
As He Faced Death In And Saw All He Left Behind, Vegeta Smiled
Vegeta, the proud Saiyan prince was my favourite character in Dragon Ball Z despite him always playing second fiddle to Goku. Vegeta arrived on the scene as the antagonist of the first series of Dragon Ball Z, he had come to Earth to collect the Dragon Balls to wish for immortality but he was defeated by our heroes and in the process developed a deep hatred for Goku (or Kakarot as Vegeta calls him) because he is a “lower class warrior” while he is the prince and thus the best. After his defeat however, Vegeta didn’t stay gone for long.
Vegeta returns in the next arc as a semi-antagonist, chasing down the Dragon Balls on another planet while our heroes (sans Goku) try to outmaneuver him because they couldn’t beat him on their own. Vegeta eventually is forced to team up with our heroes to help defeat the main antagonist Freeza. This is when Vegeta dies for the first time (Dragon Ball is like that).
Oh his death-bed Vegeta begs Goku to avenge him and their race by killing Freeza (who wiped them out). It is a touching moment and it is one of the few times we see Vegeta show any emotion other than pride. Goku proceeds to defeat Freeza and then Vegeta (along with everyone else killed on the planet) is revived by the Dragon Balls.
Vegeta decides to live on Earth with our heroes and despite them thinking that he is now on their side his true motives are still the same as when he was beaten by Kakarot. He will get stronger, surpass Goku and be back on top once more.
In the next arc Vegeta has attained the level of Super Saiyan just like Goku and helps the heroes fight and defeat the Androids and Cell. During this arc Gohan (Goku’s son) attains the level of Super Saiyan 2 and during the fight Goku sacrifices himself to take a self-destructing Cell away from the Earth and his friends. Vegeta reacts badly to this as he has now been outclassed by father and son alike, and if there was any question of whether Vegeta had truly joined the good guys…
If you are unable to watch the video. Vegeta is disappointed at Goku’s death, but only because he wanted to kill Goku himself.
After this arc, Vegeta swears he shall never fight again and his pride takes a massive hit. Goku decides to stay dead as all of the Earth’s troubles seem to be caused by him and now that Gohan has surpassed him, he can leave the Earth in safe hands.
Cut to the next arc which takes place seven years later. Our heroes are gathering to participate in the Worlds Martial Arts Tournament and Goku (being addicted to fighting) is coming back for a day to take part as well. This gets Vegeta’s blood pumping and maybe now they can finally find out who is strongest.
During the tournament our heroes discover a plot to resurrect Majin Buu, a being of pure chaos and unimaginable strength. The plot is being unfolded by a magician named Babidi (whose father is Bibidi… as in Bibidi, Babidi Buu) who has the power to possess evil hearted people and awaken hidden power within them. While Vegeta originally joins Goku and Gohan in trying to stop the plot so he and Goku can finally have their match. Again it’s pretty clear Vegeta’s motives aren’t necessarily pure.
During the attempt to stop the plot however Babidi notices Vegeta still has evil in his heart and proceeds to try to possess Vegeta. Vegeta accepts the power up from Babidi and his power (and the evil in his heart) increases immensely however Vegeta is no mindless drone and retains his free will through sheer willpower (the willpower to kick Goku’s head more specifically). Vegeta demands he and Goku return to the tournament to finish their fight.
When Goku says that their fight will only hasten the resurrection of Buu, Vegeta’s response is… not that nice.
He attacks the crowd at the tournament and blows up a good chunk of the city for good measure, forcing Goku to fight him before he can do more damage.
The fight goes on for some time (over 20 minutes if you want to watch it) and it comes to an end because Majin Buu has been resurrected and Goku won’t focus on the fight enough and thus Vegeta can’t prove he’s better if he wins because Goku isn’t giving it his all. But to prove he is stronger, Vegeta knocks Goku out when he powers down and declares he shall defeat Buu by himself.
Vegeta puts up a good fight against Buu but Buu’s regenerative abilities are proving to be an issue. Vegeta’s son (Trunks) arrives with Goku’s second son (Goten) in tow and declare that they will help to defeat Buu!
Vegeta, faced with the prospect that his son might die in front of him realises how foolish he has been. The Earth has been his home for over a decade, he helped stop the Androids and Cell destroying it and more importantly, he has a loving partner (Bulma) and a son who is half human. Vegeta then does something he has never done before, he gives his son a hug… and then knocks him out along with Goten. Piccolo arrives on the scene after seeing the events unfold from nearby, Vegeta asks him to take the children to safety. We then see one of the greatest scenes in Anime history (in my opinion).
Piccolo discerns that Vegeta plans to die but before he can leave with the kids, Vegeta has one last question for him. “In this otherworld (the afterlife), will I see Kakarot again?” Piccolo regrettably informs him that since he has taken to much innocent life he will be cleansed of his memories and will be reborn as another creature, he will not keep his body like Goku has.
Vegeta accepts his fate and says goodbye to Bulma, Trunks and even Kakarot. He powers up and uses a self-destruct technique, ending his own life to protect the Earth and bringing his story of accepting his new home to an end.
The Narrator, who normally teases what is to come in the next episode instead goes for this.
“In a brilliant burst of light a great warrior meets his end. The prince of all Saiyans, his name was Vegeta”
Narrator – Dragon Ball Kai, 127
I’m not gonna lie, this broke me as a kid and it still tugs at my heartstrings today. Vegeta isn’t my favourite character because he’s strong, because he’s badass or because he was funny at times. Vegeta was my favourite character because he is quite possibly the most developed character throughout all of Dragon Ball. Goku started out silly and addicted to fighting and hasn’t changed. Gohan has always been someone who struggles between “real” responsibility and fighting. Master Roshi is still a pervert, Freeza is still evil and Beerus still doesn’t do his job properly.
Vegeta has changed so much since his introduction and continues to grow even now through Dragon Ball Super (yeh spoiler alert, he doesn’t stay dead for long), but if you had to pinpoint one moment in all of Dragon Ball that cemented Vegeta as who he is. I think most fans would agree that this is that moment.
Thanks for reading guys and if you want to check out some more things I think are awesome then check out my Awesomeverse page or pop down to the comments to tell me how wrong I am ❤ .
An amazing cover of Dragon Ball Super’s theme during the Tournament of Power.