The strongest characters in Dragon Ball wield god-like powers and can wipe out entire universes with little more than a snap of their fingers.
In the eyes of many, Dragon Ball is one of the best anime series of all time. It not only helped to popularize anime in the West, but also established a variety of tropes that would go on to define countless other shonen anime and manga series. Over the past four decades or so, the franchise has also introduced its fair share of powerful combatants, but the very strongest Dragon Ball characters really are in a league of their own.
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With powers that could rival just about any anime hero or villain, the most powerful Dragon Ball characters have helped to elevate the series high above most of its peers, providing fans with spectacle after spectacle in the process. It should perhaps come as no surprise to learn that Goku ranks among them, nor that many of the strongest characters in Dragon Ball are ones that were introduced since the beginning of Dragon Ball Super.
Although certain events and transformations from the Dragon Ball Super manga will be taken into account when trying to determine the strongest Dragon Ball character, only characters who have been introduced in the anime adaptation will be considered for this list.
Gohan’s Beast transformation was first introduced during Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero and finally saw the young Saiyan beginning to live up to his true potential. Initially, many felt that Beast Gohan was stronger than Ultra Instinct Goku and Ultra Ego Vegeta, or at least on par with them, but the Dragon Ball Super manga would seemingly suggest otherwise.
During the Galactic Patrol Prisoner saga, Gohan, Piccolo, and the Androids struggle to hold their own against Saganbo, who is comfortably beaten by Super Saiyan Blue Goku a little later on. After Saganbo’s death, Goku and Vegeta then go on to become even stronger, while Gohan does little to raise his power level beyond that of his Beast form.
Vegeta’s is perhaps one of the most satisfying character arcs in Dragon Ball, with the Saiyan Prince going through a remarkable transformation over the years. After finding something that’s truly worth fighting for, he becomes one of the series’ most likable and most relatable characters, yet his pride and his desire to someday surpass Goku ensures that he’ll always be a part of the conversation when it comes to the strongest Dragon Ball characters.
It sometimes feels as though Vegeta spends most of his time closing down the gap on his long-time rival. Every time Goku gets a new technique or transformation, Vegeta soon masters it too, or, in more recent times, gets a unique transformation of his own. Some fans may even feel that Ultra Ego Vegeta is stronger than Ultra Instinct Goku, but the latter’s superior fighting skills arguably make up for the slight imbalance in offensive power.
In truth, there’s very little to choose from when it comes to Perfected Ultra Instinct Goku and Ultra Ego Vegeta. Both transformations are immensely powerful, but Goku arguably maintains the edge due to Ultra Instinct’s impressive defensive capabilities. The technique certainly doesn’t make him invincible, but when up against an opponent with similar power levels, it can definitely come in pretty clutch.
For decades now, Goku has generally been seen as the strongest Saiyan, as although there have certainly been times when new characters have come in and outgunned him, he’s always been able to surpass them if given enough time. This is partly down to his body’s ability to grow stronger after recovering from a serious beatdown, but the main reason for his dominance is arguably his love of fighting and his desire to push his body to its absolute limit.
There have been plenty of amazing Dragon Ball villains over the years, but none quite like Frieza. His introduction on Planet Namek all those years ago made a huge impression on series fans and set into motion the events that would lead to the Super Saiyan transformation; which is one of the series’ defining traits. All these years later, Frieza continues to be the universe’s greatest threat.
Unlike characters like Goku and Vegeta who need to train hard or recover from significant damage in order to become stronger, Frieza can raise his power levels significantly with very little training. In more recent years, this has led to both his Golden and Black transformations, the latter of which arguably makes him the strongest mortal in Dragon Ball, allowing him to take down Goku and Vegeta with just a single punch.
Despite Vegeta getting the better of God of Destruction Toppo during the Tournament of Power, the general consensus among the fan base seems to be that the Saiyan race still lags a little behind Beerus and other established Gods of Destruction when it comes to raw power. Of course, without seeing Beerus and Goku go head to head at full tilt, it’s difficult to say who would come out on top.
Those backing the God of Destruction will point to the fact that viewers have never been shown the true extent of Beerus’ might and that Toppo had only just awakened his God of Destruction abilities when he fought Vegeta. Also, in the manga, Frieza continues to fear Beerus even after unlocking his Black Frieza form and surpassing Ultra Instinct Goku and Ultra Ego Vegeta.
Whis may only be an attendant on paper, but his status as a Guide Angel grants him a whole host of otherworldly powers. While training Goku and Vegeta on Beerus’ Planet, he’s shown to be both faster and stronger than the two Saiyans, while his ability to rewind time and undo death and destruction is arguably on par with the powers of the Omni-King himself.
Presumably, the Grand Minister is even stronger than Whis is, with the other twelve Guide Angels likely having powers similar to or maybe even greater than those of Whis. However, although viewers were introduced to the Grand Priest and some of the other Angels during the Tournament of Power arc, Whis is the only one whose powers have come close to being properly explored.
It’s becoming increasingly common to see mortal characters wielding god-like powers in Dragon Ball Super, but none can match the might of the Omni-God Zeno. He may look calm and cute, but the supreme ruler has more power in his little finger than the likes of Goku and Vegeta have in their entire bodies and can erase entire universes with a simple flick of his wrist.
Whichever way one slices it, Zeno is the strongest Dragon Ball character, though the chances of ever seeing him in an actual fight seem incredibly slim. Instead, he’s used more for comedic purposes these days, as evidenced by him and his future self riding around on the backs of Beerus and Shin at the end of the manga’s Galactic Patrol Prisoner saga.