At long last, the twentieth Dragon Ball film is here! And you can certainly expect a full review of the film coming later today! But for now, let’s talk about one of the messiest topics in all of Dragon Ball: the movie villains.
When people think about Dragon Ball, the first thing that comes up is often the villains. Freeza, Cell, Vegeta, Majin Buu, Beerus, King Piccolo, the Red Ribbon Army, and so many others are some of the most iconic characters in the entire series. Their personalities and motivations are each well fleshed out and understandable, even if they’re as simple as “I’m pure evil, so I’m gonna say the n-word and slaughter everything!”
Looking at you, Goku Black.
The movie villains, on the other hand, are not nearly as iconic as the main series. If they’re not simply carbon copies of the villains from the show, then they’re terribly written and forgettable blocks of evil. At best, they have interesting designs that stick with you. But when they’re drawn in such a memorable and iconic style as Akira Toriyama’s, it’s not hard to do that.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love Toriyama’s style? Because god damn I love that shit!
Today, in celebration of getting a brand new and improved Broly movie, we’re gonna go over the main villains of every Dragon Ball film ever made with the only exclusion being the new one. This includes the four original series films and all the Z movies. I would include the single GT movie, but… well, there really wasn’t a villain in there. I could just be forgetting, but I refuse to watch that garbage again to find out.
With all that in mind, let’s get started with our first movie villain of the first original Dragon Ball movie: King Gurumes from Curse of the Blood Rubies.
This character, while not bad, is hardly anything memorable. This cursed king is consumed by his hunger, and his gluttony is rapidly destroying his kingdom. In an attempt to break the curse, he further tears the lands apart in search of the Dragon Balls, all while the titular Blood Rubies are tearing him apart.
This guy has a unique and horrifying design that sells you on his monstrous starvation. But in terms of threat and personality, he is sorely lacking in both. Hell, he himself doesn’t do anything until the end of the film, relying instead on Not-Shu and Not-Mai to do everything. Still, he is a serviceable enough villain for a serviceable enough Dragon Ball movie.
The same cannot be said about the next villain: Lucifer from Sleeping Princess in Devil’s Castle. A boring villain for a suitably boring movie.
Remember how I said everyone had a memorable design thanks to Toriyama’s god tier art style? Yeah, this is the exception. This guy is generic, boring and completely forgettable. I almost forgot to even put him on the list until I looked at my collection of the original series four movies.
Whereas Gurumes has a horrifying design that perfectly communicates his monstrous gluttony, Lucifer doesn’t have this. He just looks like a generic vampire without personality. Which I guess is fitting, since he doesn’t have any personality. Nor does he have any compelling motivation aside from “Conquer world.”
Though his method of doing so, blowing up the sun with a giant cannon, should have been awesome. But in the end, much like the villain and the movie, it was a disappointing bore.
Luckily, as the next two movies straight up re-use villains from the series (those being Mercenary Toa and the Red Ribbon Army for Mystical Adventures and The Path to Power respectively), we can quickly move on to the Z movie villains. And our first one is actually a decently strong contender: Garlic Jr.
Aside from an incredibly stupid name, Garlic Jr. is actually a pretty cool villain. He has a backstory steeped in the series lore, as he is the son of a banished would-be Guardian of Earth. Thus, he has a clear and simple goal: gain immortality and defeat Kami to avenge his father. Plus, even better still, he was the first villain in Dragon Ball history to actually achieve the immortality part, with the only other one to do so being Zamasu in Super!
His design is oddly reminiscent of Pilaf. Though unlike his goofy counterpart, it’s clear that Garlic Jr. is a real threat. Though I’m not a fan of his transformed state, and his personality is incredibly by the numbers for a Dragon Ball villain. Still, he has an few very fun fights, including one against Kami himself!
It’s just a shame he was mostly ruined in that terrible filler arc of the show.
After this, we get a villain from one of the best Z movies: Dr. Wheelo.
Wait a minute… A giant brain in a jar and his robot companion… did I accidentally put Androids 19 and 20 on here? Nope! In fact, this guy came before his counterparts in the show!
Wheelo has a pretty interesting goal: steal Goku’s body in order to be both the smartest and strongest man in the world! Why he wants to do this is unknown, but the goal itself is something incredibly different from anything else the series has ever given us! On top of that, he also has an incredibly distinct design.
Though with a brain that large, I’m not sure how the fuck it’s supposed to fit in Goku’s body. Would he just run around with a gigantic bulge in his skull? I’d kind of want to see that, honestly.
Still, while he is unique, he is far from interesting. His personality is completely lacking, and his final confrontation with Goku and friends is hardly interesting. Nevertheless, he is a fine villain for a fun movie.
Unlike the next one, which is likely the first character you’ll be familiar with: Turles from Tree of Might.
Did you guys want an evil Goku?! Because we’ve got him right here! And we’ll never see something like it again! Never at all, we swear!
God this guy is boring. Personality wise, he’s just Vegeta again, but now he looks like Goku and he’s not nearly as interesting or charming. He has no motivations or goals whatsoever, unlike the Saiyan Prince that he’s ripping off. Put him in a boring movie with a boring fight, and you get a villain that people only remember because he looks like Goku.
Much like how people only remember the next guy as Not-King Piccolo: Lord Slug from the film of the same name.
In terms of personality, goals and motivations, this guy is literally a carbon copy of King Piccolo. Is that a bad thing? Well… kind of. One on hand, it would’ve been far better to see a new and interesting villain. On the other, it says something strong in regards to how well written King Piccolo’s character was.
Luckily for Slug, he does have a pretty cool and memorable design. On top of that, he has a pretty cool fight with Goku and Piccolo, and he even brings back the Giant Namekian technique! And the way the heroes defeat him is also pretty interesting and unique, with Gohan utilizing the new Namekian weakness of whistling (I guess super hearing isn’t always great, huh?) and Goku taking Piccolo’s power to take him down. However, those are positives of the movie itself, not Slug’s character.
Speaking of rip offs, let’s talk about the villain of both Cooler’s Revenge and The Return of Cooler: Cooler.
Who’d have guessed?
If you read my post on Z-Villains (link for that right here) then you’d know that I fucking love Freeza. And I know that I’m not the only one who feels that way. So of course they’d make two movies starring a total rip off in Cooler. Still, while his personality is just like Freeza’s, what he does have is a cool design.
While his later film had the Meta Cooler form (which I find rather sleek but boring), it’s his final form in the first film that everyone remembers. Or as I like to call it: Super Shredder Cooler! It’s such a great design that it single handedly earned him a place in Dragon Ball Fighterz! Which is more than enough to earn him my love and respect. He’s flawed, but he’s fun.
Much like the next guy: the titular Android 13 from Super Android 13.
LOOK AT MA TRUCKER HAT!!
I really shouldn’t like this guy as much as I do. Both of his designs are garbage, especially so with his super form. I mean, just look at that! It’s fucking hideous! On top of that, he has no motivations to speak of at all! But you know what he does have?
A ridiculous and hilarious southern accent. That’s enough for me.
Ugh… Okay. Now it’s time to talk about him. The most popular Dragon Ball movie villain of all time (not counting Beerus). The star of the brand new film in his less than stellar form. Broly. Star of Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan, Broly – Second Coming, and Bio-Broly.
This ridiculous mother fucker has a unique and intimidating design, as well as a cool and fun move set. His extreme power makes him one of the most brutal enemies Goku and friends have ever faced. But his motivations behind hating Goku are painfully weak, and his personality is completely garbage. Even worse, his first movie is only mediocre, and his next two are straight up terrible! The only reason he’s the star of the new film is because he’s had such a huge impact on the fans of the franchise.
And that’s it. I’m done talking about him. Let’s move on to Bojack from Bojack Unbound.
I have so little to say about this guy. His personality is so forgettable that I legit cannot remember a damn thing about it. The only thing he really has going for him is his design. He looks like a big blue pirate man, and I kind of love it. It’s just a damn shame I can’t even remember what he was after or why I should care.
Then, we got yet another rip off villain in Fusion Reborn: Janemba.
This guy has no personality whatsoever. Hell, his vocabulary is smaller than most Pokemon! He is an uninteresting copy-paste of Majin Buu through and through.
Which is what I would say if this guy didn’t have such amazing powers!
Janemba’s abilities are fucking awesome! He can turn random items into deadly powers or turn into Legos and teleport! It’s super fucking cool, which can also be said for his design! If this guy had an actual personality, he could’ve been one of the best villains in the whole series!
Which also goes for the villain of Wrath of the Dragon: Hirudegarn!
If you know me, then you know I love Kaiju! I also love Dragon Ball, as you’ve probably picked up by reading this. Put the two together, and what do you get? A villain that I thought I’d love.
In terms of personality and motivations, he doesn’t have any. But you know what he does have? An incredibly unique design and premise! And that’s it. The only thing he really has going for him is the fact that he’s a gigantic monster. It’s a shame too, since Wrath of the Dragon is such a great movie overall.
Now, I would talk about Beerus next but… I already have. A lot. I also talked a lot about Freeza, so talking about him again for Resurrection F would just be a waste of time. And if I talked about the villains of the shorter specials, like Hatchyak from Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans or Chilled from Episode of Bardock, I’d be repeating myself even more. So for the sake of sanity, I’ll leave it off here.
I can’t say that I care a lot about any of these characters. While I do have a soft spot for them due to their designs and abilities, I can’t get over their lack of personality. They’re weak and forgettable, and only really served as power walls for the heroes to overcome in each film.
Hopefully the new Broly will break that curse and prove to be something so much more.