Dragon Ball: Vegeta’s Best Friends, Ranked

Highlights

  • Vegeta, the Prince of Saiyans, earns respect through his self-made achievements and fierce rivalry with Goku.
  • Despite his harsh exterior, Vegeta forms friendships with characters like Tien, Tarble, Raditz, Nappa, Krillin, Whis, and Gohan.
  • Vegeta’s relationships show growth, from begrudging respect to genuine care, with companions like Cabba, Piccolo, Goku, and Bulma.

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Given his status as the Prince of Saiyans, Vegeta of Dragon Ball fame must keep an air of honor and independence to maintain his honor as one of the last pure members of the warrior race. In turn, his self-made achievements in his pursuit of greater power have earned the respect of his various companions. Despite his rocky start with Earth’s Z-Fighters, Vegeta slowly managed to earn the respect of his peers, with his hate for Goku growing into a fierce—and eventually friendly—rivalry.

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However, aside from his common association with Goku, Vegeta has earned himself quite a lot of friends over the years, some of whom fans could deservedly call the Prince’s best friends. Despite Vegeta’s rather harsh exterior, which Dragon Ball characters earned the title of being his friend?

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While it’s true that Vegeta has been introduced as a cold and indifferent character throughout most of his appearances, it’s undeniable that his interactions with other characters in the series have softened his hard exterior. Among the people to be considered his closest friends would be Goku’s older brother, one of Earth’s strongest with a third eye, and perhaps even his own younger brother.

13 Tien Shinhan

Tried To Save Him Despite Being Antagonistic

Tien Shinhan

First Appearance

Dragon Ball: Episode 82, Chapter 113

Status

Alive

Impact To Vegeta

One of the more antagonistic humans towards him, but may be respected enough as a peer

Among Earthlings of the Z-Warriors who encountered Vegeta, it’s no surprise that Tien Shinhan remains reluctant to be truly his “friend” considering the destruction the Saiyan has brought to Earth. It didn’t help that Tien is a recluse by nature, making his emotions hardly evident save for when he’s caring for his best friend Chiaotzu. In fact, such was Tien’s hostility and distrust towards Vegeta that he only considered him an ally after the defeat of Majin Buu. Given Tien’s lack of interactions with Vegeta, it’s safe to put him in the ranks of those Vegeta “could care less about,” like Yamcha.

However, what sets Tien’s relationship with Vegeta apart is one instance in the Android Saga. When the Z-Warriors rush in to help Vegeta fight the Androids, the then-enemy Android 18 knocks out Krillin and Piccolo in front of the helpless Saiyan. Interestingly enough, when Android 17 engages Tien in a headlock, Vegeta rushes to try and help him. This is quite out of character for the warrior Saiyan, as it’s implied that Android 18 is the more immediate threat in front of him but he still rushes in to save perhaps the one Earthling who is the most vocal about his dislike towards him.

12 Tarble

Makes Vegeta Show A Unique Caring Side

Tarble

First Appearance

Dragon Ball: The Return of Son Goku and Friends! Movie, Chapter 1

Status

Alive

Impact To Vegeta

Estranged younger brother, seen by King Vegeta as weak, and Vegeta recognizes but doesn’t seem to wonder much about him

Among characters in the Dragon Ball franchise, Tarble was a surprise reveal even to Goku and his friends. It’s rare enough that Tarble arrived via Attack Ball and revealed that he was a Saiyan, but it was a much more surprising thing to hear from Vegeta that this stranger was his brother. After all, Vegeta never mentioned anything about having a younger brother – something the story explained as Tarble being considered as “weak” and was therefore sent away to a remote planet before Planet Vegeta’s destruction.

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Due to his lack of an aggressive personality, Tarble seemed to be the gentler contrast to Vegeta. He spoke highly of Vegeta, convinced that he was the one who defeated Frieza. Tarble hasn’t been shown much after his appearance, although his presence has revealed Vegeta’s growth as a person. Throughout Tarble’s stay on Earth, he witnessed Vegeta’s short temper but friendly (?) banter towards his peers, his pride towards his son, and even not being embarrassed about his connection to Earth.

11 Raditz

Implied To Have Been A Companion At Some Point

Raditz

First Appearance

Dragon Ball Z: Episode 1, Chapter 1

Status

Dead, killed by Piccolo

Impact To Vegeta

Among his earliest companions alongside Nappa

It’s the appearance of Raditz donning a futuristic scouter that transitions Dragon Ball away from its martial arts trappings and into the more intense Dragon Ball Z. It’s through Raditz that it’s revealed Goku is his alien brother and that he was sent to Earth to conquer it eventually. He was revealed to be among the few survivors of their planet’s destruction when Vegeta refused to follow Frieza’s directive to return to their home world.

While Raditz dies alongside Goku by an attack from Piccolo, he spends his last moments believing Vegeta would resurrect him with the Dragon Balls. His hopes were crushed post-mortem when Vegeta told Nappa that Raditz’s weakness made him undeserving of his resurrection. Regardless of this mismatch of expectations, Raditz is implied to have some level of relationship with Vegeta. This was expanded in later material, where it’s revealed that Raditz was assigned to the same upper-level group as Nappa and Vegeta, making them comrades-in-arms. Such a past makes Raditz among the few to have known Vegeta as he’s growing up alongside Nappa.

10 Nappa

Former Subordinate, Father’s Soldier

Nappa

First Appearance

Dragon Ball Z: Episode 5, Chapter 10

Status

Dead, defeated by Goku but killed by Vegeta

Impact To Vegeta

Father’s soldier who got assigned to him, loyal to him even after Planet Vegeta’s destruction

Nappa serves as Vegeta’s second-in-command during the Vegeta Saga of Dragon Ball Z, being the more sadistic and destructive half of Vegeta’s cool but merciless nature. While Nappa’s story is cut short when Vegeta kills him after Goku breaks his back, flashbacks demonstrate a closer relationship between Vegeta and Nappa than their initial dynamic. Nappa’s grudge against Vegeta for killing him aside, Nappa may have genuinely cared for the young prince.

An immediate precedence for his looking after the Prince is the fact that Nappa served under King Vegeta’s Saiyan Warriors and maintained his status as Vegeta’s subordinate even after the planet’s destruction. While Vegeta killing Nappa after his defeat at the hands of Goku may imply Vegeta not having any use for his ally, it may have been his version of mercy-killing a disgraced Saiyan.

9 Krillin

Fellow Z-Fighter, Comrade On Namek

Krillin

First Appearance

Dragon Ball: Chapter 25, Episode 14

Status

Alive

Impact To Vegeta

Perhaps the only one among the Z-Fighters he treats more than an acquaintance due to their experience in the Frieza Saga

Among the human members of the Z-Fighters in Dragon Ball Z, it seems Krillin has had the closest interactions with Vegeta throughout the series. A majority of these moments happen in the Frieza Saga, where Vegeta forms a temporary alliance with Krillin and Gohan to stop Freeza from gathering the Dragon Balls. Vegeta even at some point presents Krillin with the opportunity to kill him as vengeance for what he’s done on Earth, only for Krillin to refuse.

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While their interactions are barely enough to constitute a “friendship,” Vegeta seems to have a decent amount of respect for Krillin. After all, Krillin’s antics in front of Vegeta did demonstrate the Earthling as a capable fighter, such as fooling Nappa and Freeza in their encounters. Vegeta even considers Krillin as a formidable ally.

8 Whis

Teacher, Assistant To The God Of Destruction

Whis

First Appearance

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (Movie)

Status

Alive

Impact To Vegeta

Insisted on becoming his student to be able to reach Goku’s heights until he and Goku became Whis’s students

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Despite Whis paying more attention to his liege Beerus as a Guide Angel to the God of Destruction, the angel has grown particularly fond of Earth for its cuisine. Among Dragon Ball’s Z-Fighters, however, Vegeta is the first to approach Whis to become his student before Goku eventually tags along.

It’s revealed that Vegeta and Goku constantly bribe Whis with Earth delicacies to maintain their training, and it’s implied the two mastered Super Saiyan Blue with his assistance. While Vegeta and Whis are mostly shown to have a student-master relationship, it’s implied that Whis is proud of the two’s achievements. Although they haven’t been directly referenced as friends, their time spent training is still more than what Vegeta has spent with his other comrades.

7 Beerus

Teacher, Feared God Of Destruction

Beerus in Dragon Ball

First Appearance

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (Movie)

Status

Alive

Impact To Vegeta

Feared due to his reputation but would eventually earn his respect as a teacher

Vegeta knew of Beerus’ reputation and was visibly afraid when meeting the God of Destruction for the first time, eventually becoming an errand boy. Vegeta and Goku eventually get Beerus’s permission to train under Whis on his planet, hinting that Beerus is excited to see the pair reach new heights. This was visibly seen when Beerus got excited that the duo mastered Super Saiyan Blue against Jiren in the Tournament of Power.

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However, one defining moment of Beerus’s “affection” for Vegeta is personally handling his training when Vegeta admits wanting to learn Ultra Instinct. As an alternative, Beerus personally trains Vegeta in using his innate Power of Destruction, allowing him to access the equally powerful Ultra Ego. While Beerus remains indifferent to Earth’s fate, he “cares” for Vegeta to such an extent that Beerus wants him to become an exciting enough threat for Beerus to fight.

6 Cabba

Apprentice

Cabba in Dragon Ball

First Appearance

Dragon Ball Super: Chapter 7, Episode 32

Status

Alive

Impact To Vegeta

Wanted to teach him not just how to become a Saiyan but a better warrior than the Prince

Vegeta first meets Cabba in the Universe 6 Saga of Super, where the young Saiyan proclaims Vegeta as his master after seeing his strength. At first, Vegeta is seen as detested by Cabba’s unnecessary humility, lecturing him about not asking opponents to “teach” him in battle. While Cabba does achieve Super Saiyan, Vegeta’s Super Saiyan Blue easily bests him, earning Cabba’s admiration even more.

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Their eventual interactions resulted in Vegeta giving Future Trunks the “tough love” treatment, refusing to acknowledge him. This demeanor seems to change after training with Future Trunks in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, when Vegeta starts calling Future Trunks his “son,” being proud that Future Trunks managed to injure him, and even showing visible anguish upon his death.

Despite their few interactions, Vegeta’s treatment of Cabba may be Vegeta trying to compensate for his indifference towards his younger brother Tarble. Vegeta also shows demonstrable care for Cabba, even with his prideful exterior. Aside from goading Cabba into achieving Super Saiyan all on his own, he takes time lecturing Cabba about Saiyan Pride. When Cabba says he wants to be as strong as Vegeta, the Prince remarks that he should surpass him instead, though he won’t let Cabba do it easily.

5 Gohan

Goku’s Son, Potential Most Powerful Warrior

Gohan

First Appearance

Dragon Ball Z: Chapter 2, Episode 1

Status

Alive

Impact To Vegeta

Initial hostility as Goku’s son but eventually respected him as a warrior

Since Gohan’s rampage in their first meeting, it’s implied that Vegeta grew to respect Goku’s son as he became older. Despite being half-Saiyan, Gohan’s demonstrable strength in his fight against Cell easily earned Vegeta’s admiration. Such was Vegeta’s respect for the Dragon Ball Saiyan that Gohan was one of the Prince of Saiyan’s first suggestions when Goku was thinking of fighters to bring in the Tournament of Power.

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In fact, it’s revealed Vegeta holds Gohan to a high standard when he lectures him during the Buu Saga. Not only did Gohan bring “shame” to the Saiyan race by sparing Dabura, but he seemed slacking off as a protector. When Vegeta fights Buu, he apologizes to Gohan for letting the villain kill him, as though intent on avenging Goku’s son.

4 Future Trunks

Son From Another Timeline

Future Trunks

First Appearance

Dragon Ball Z: Chapter 136, Episode 119

Status

Alive

Impact To Vegeta

Initially skeptical of his abilities but eventually grows fond of him, the representation of a powerful Saiyan who didn’t need Vegeta’s pride

Since the original Future Trunks in Dragon Ball comes from a timeline where Gohan trains him after the Androids kill everyone, Future Trunks is both Vegeta’s “son” and a friend-like figure due to their temporal disassociation. Vegeta’s learning of Future Trunk’s identity gives him mixed feelings, where the Prince is left in awe witnessing Future Trunks achieving Super Saiyan and defeating Mecha Freeza but upset that he’s done so without a Saiyan’s characteristic pride and mercilessness.​​​​​​​

3 Piccolo

Fellow Z-Fighter, Hardened Warrior

Piccolo

First Appearance

Dragon Ball: Chapter 161, Episode 123

Status

Alive

Impact To Vegeta

Starts with hostilities that develop into mutual respect, can be upfront with each other due to their nature as hardened warriors

Although Piccolo doesn’t put up with Vegeta’s arrogance and condescension, he does notice the Dragon Ball character slowly change beginning in the Freeza Saga, courtesy of Bulma. Prior to the stories of Dragon Ball Super, Piccolo is the only one Vegeta managed to talk to before moments of self-sacrifice.

Piccolo is the last of the Z-Fighters to leave when Vegeta instructs them to, prior to his fight with Semi-Perfect Cell. The Namekian also witnessed Majin Vegeta knocking out Goten and Trunks, entrusting them to Piccolo before he fights Majin Buu. Vegeta and Piccolo respect each other enough that Piccolo admits to Vegeta he’d likely still go to Hell even after dying at the hands of Majin Buu. If anything, Piccolo likely acknowledges Vegeta as Earth’s next best savior after Goku.

2 Goku

Rival, Fellow Pure Saiyan

Goku

First Appearance

Dragon Ball: Chapter 1, Episode 1

Status

Alive

Impact To Vegeta

Starts with hostilities that develop into a deep rivalry

It’s not enough that Goku refuses to subjugate the planet despite being a powerful Saiyan, but somehow this Saiyan of a lower status defeated the Prince of All Saiyans. To add insult to injury, Vegeta saw how the Earth-raised fighter surpassed him—be it in defeating universal threats, or achieving new Saiyan forms. This initial disdain over Goku’s unnecessary kindness and unrelenting dedication has irritated Vegeta to no end, but his “desire” to surpass Goku turned to respect and, eventually, a reluctant friendship.

Across their adventures, Vegeta looked to Goku as the closest person he’s got to an “equal.” Such is Vegeta’s inclination towards Goku that he chooses to accompany him on training with Whis and even accepts to undergo Fusion Transformation should the fight deem it as necessary.

1 Bulma

Wife, Confidant

Bulma in Dragon Ball

First Appearance

Dragon Ball: Chapter 1, Episode 1

Status

Alive

Impact To Vegeta

Gets acquainted with hostility but eventually falls in love with him, can call him out on bad behavior, trusts his capabilities

While technically Vegeta’s wife, Bulma and Vegeta did have quite a rocky start. Any semblance of attraction could be seen after the Freeza Saga when Bulma allows Vegeta to stay at Capsule Corporation. Upon his stay on Earth, Bulma being able to stand up to his rude attitude allows her to put Vegeta in line, much to the surprise of everyone.

Although Vegeta and Bulma eventually conceived Trunks, Vegeta only really started caring for his wife and son after the Cell Games. However, love aside, Bulma seems to be Vegeta’s greatest friend as he actually listens when she calls him out on his behavior. Bulma also believes in Vegeta, creating a Blutz Waves Generator to help him become Super Saiyan 4, and convincing Tien that Vegeta would never side with Freeza during the Resurrection F Saga.

Dragon Ball Z Dragon Ball Z (1989) ActionAdventureComedy

Release Date April 26, 1989 Studio Toei Animation Number of Episodes 291

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