Dragon Ball: The Cell Games Saga, Explained

Perfect Cell and the Cell Games introduces Dragon Ball Z fans to a great threat, with the fate of Earth in the hands of Goku and the cast of fighters.


  • Cell Games Arc marks a turning point in Dragon Ball Z, with Perfect Cell announcing a tournament that puts Earth’s fate at stake.
  • Characters undergo intense training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, showcasing growth and increasing power levels.
  • Gohan’s rise to Super Saiyan 2 leads to defeating Perfect Cell but results in negative fallout, as Goku regains the spotlight.

The Cell Games Arc is the eleventh saga in Dragon Ball Z and is the culmination of the Android saga. Following Cell achieving his perfect form, it was time to put his true power to the test. With his final form unlocked, Perfect Cell unveiled the Cell Games to the world, a Martial Arts tournament pitting Earth’s greatest fighters against himself, with the fate of the planet on the line.

The Cell Games took up chapters 388 to 420 in the manga, along with episodes 166 to 194 in the anime. Released in late 1992 and early 1993, the United States would not receive the official dub until the turn of the millennium in late 2000. The Cell Games Arc is heralded as one of the best sagas in Dragon Ball Z and a turning point in the anime series adaptation.

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The Cell Games Are Announced


After absorbing Android 18, Perfect Cell was born and the greatest threat to Earth had arrived. The very threat that Future Trunks had warned everyone about was significantly magnified, and it truly felt like nobody could stop him. The only thing scarier than his intimidating presence and shocking power was the confidence he exuded, which was on full display during his television broadcast. Perfect Cell announced that in ten days following the broadcast, the Cell Games would begin. In the style of the World Martial Arts Tournament, Perfect Cell would take on the world’s greatest fighters in one-on-one combat.

Instead of the winner earning a special prize for defeating all of their opponents, Perfect Cell promised the world that if nobody could beat him, he would destroy the world as punishment. The newly-created Perfect Cell believed he had harnessed the necessary power to eliminate anyone in his way, and his matter-of-fact way of speaking could send shivers down the spine of the mightiest fighter. Norio Wakamoto, who voiced Perfect Cell and is also known for his work as M. Bison in the Street Fighter franchise, does tremendous work in bringing a cool and calm demeanor to an otherwise terrifying character.

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The fate of the world in the hands of Goku and the rest of the group leaves little time to train, just under two weeks. They had all come up short in individual battles during their encounters with Cell in a lesser form, and his increased strength only made things worse. To add insult to injury, Vegeta’s tilt with Perfect Cell ended in disaster when a Final Flash attack appeared to have destroyed Perfect Cell, only to face the reality that his regeneration ability meant the damage was only temporary. After Perfect Cell beat the Super Saiyan out of Vegeta, it became increasingly clear that their present power level was not nearly enough.

Two Epic Tales Of Father And Son


As much as the Z Fighters and Mr. Satan hoped to assist in the battle to stop Perfect Cell, but only a handful of warriors could really stand a chance. Goku and Vegeta, and their sons Gohan and Trunks, knew it would be up to them, and the only way they could increase their power levels in a short time would be to use the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. The Hyperbolic Time Chamber is a dimension that exists outside of Universe 7, and can be accessed through the Lookout. Once inside, the gravity is ten times that of Earth’s gravity, and the air thickness is also reduced. If that wasn’t bad enough on its own, one year spent inside the Hyperbolic Time Chamber is equivalent to one day on Earth, placing extensive strain on the human body if too much time is spent inside.

Vegeta and Trunks are the first to enter, and their reactions are a stark contrast to one another. While Vegeta seems happy about the idea of increasing his power level, Trunks is apprehensive and somewhat frightened of the Hyperbolic Time Chamber’s mechanics. Unfortunately, the audience doesn’t get to watch every moment of greatness that follows the training of Vegeta and Trunks, though the result appears to have worked in their favor. As Vegeta and Trunks exit the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Vegeta showcases even more confidence than when he walked in, while Trunks appears more muscular and has longer hair. Thanks to Trunks’ hybrid Saiyan genes, his potential growth exceeds pure Saiyans, which includes hair growth.

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As Goku and Gohan entered the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, their bond as father and son grew exponentially. First learning to control their Super Saiyan form and perfecting it, both Goku and Gohan then began to control their ki and temper their emotions as they sparred. There were some fantastic family bonding moments where Goku’s parenting took center stage, and Gohan’s development from a small child to a capable fighter served as a refreshing new look. When they exited the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Gohan shocked his friends as he developed more muscle mass and grew in height.

Gohan’s Ascension To Main Stage


Since episode 1 of Dragon Ball Z, fans have watched Gohan grow from an uncertain child afraid of everything to a young boy willing to put on fighting gear and stand with his Saiyan father. Though he is still not as experienced as those around him, and his confidence couldn’t be lower, Gohan’s decision to join the fray, knowing he wasn’t ready, is a testament to how much he had developed as a character. It was also a wake-up call that Gohan wasn’t prepared for, as his father felt it was appropriate to toss him into the battle against Perfect Cell. Gohan fought a losing battle, enraging Perfect Cell enough to unleash an army of mini Cells to take out the rest of the group.

In one of the most beautiful moments in Dragon Ball Z, Gohan’s transformation to Super Saiyan 2 came in a moment where he watched a helpless, body-less android get stomped to pieces. Knowing his fear was his biggest weakness, Gohan snapped and burst out into a fit of rage before turning Super Saiyan 2. It was at this point that the tables were turned, and even Perfect Cell could feel the tremendous power emanating from the young child. Not only was Gohan able to vanquish the Cell Jrs. with one blow, but he also stood up to Perfect Cell and hit him with a strike so hard that he vomited out Android 18, losing his Perfect form.

Though Gohan’s rise to Super Saiyan 2 came at the perfect moment, his arrogance grew tenfold, leading to his father’s demise. To make the situation more dire, Perfect Cell returned after exploding and killed Trunks with a single beam. The final stage was set with Gohan going head-to-head with Perfect Cell, down one arm and one parent. Thanks to some distraction from Vegeta, who re-gained consciousness following an earlier blast, Gohan was able to defeat Perfect Cell, wiping him away with a Kamehameha and destroying the organism of Cell’s body.

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The Fallout From Cell Games Affected Gohan Negatively

Dragon Ball - Gohan Failure

As the saying goes, “What comes up must come down,” and it sure came down fast. The plan set in place by the late Akira Toriyama was to have Goku pass the torch off to Gohan as the main protagonist of Dragon Ball Z. After all, who better to take the mantle than the oldest son of the strongest Saiyan? Unfortunately, Gohan’s moment of defeating Perfect Cell would stand as his best moment, falling back down to grace by turning into the Great Saiyaman and developing a gimmicky superhero persona that many fans didn’t appreciate. Sure, the humor and goofy nature of Toriyama were needed after a battle for Earth’s safety, but coming at the cost of the supposed new main hero set the story back.

This ultimately led to Goku’s return to stardom, taking his place atop the pecking order and allowing Gohan to return to his old form of reluctant fighter who neglects his training. During the 1,000 soldier fight in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, Gohan’s lack of training nearly cost him his life had it not been for the heroics of Piccolo. Fans may never see what Gohan could have become with some more time and patience, but for the time being, they’ll always have one of the greatest moments in Dragon Ball lore.

The Dragon Ball manga is available to read on Viz and the Dragon Ball anime is available to stream on Crunchyroll.



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Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball is a franchise by Akira Toriyama which follows the adventures of Goku, a powerful warrior who protects the earth with his group of  friends. A recent title from the series is Dragon Ball: The Breakers, an action style game where 7 players have to survive being hunted by the Raider.

Fuente: successacademy.edu.vn
Categorías: Anime

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