Originaly, I didnt want to include villians, but then i realized that if I ddint include them there would only be 3 people on my list, so I decided to add villians into the Mix. IMO these are the top 5 best characters of DBZ:
5. Hercule (AKA Mr. Satan) :
I feel the need to explain this one. Hercule is, what I like to call, the DAN of this series (if you know Street Fighter, you know what im talking about) He does do some useful stuff when it comes to saving the world when the Z fighters battle it out (throwing 16s head so he can tell Gohan to let go, Moving Vegeta out of the way and helping him (somewhat) when hes getting massacred by Kid Buu, and he was able to make the Fat Buu nice and not kill people(for a limited time though)) but oeverall, hes pretty useless in a real fight. though hes had some use, hes constantly getting knocked out (usually with one punch), and hes really a showboating liar. But, I will be a liar if I didnt say I get some chuckles out of him, and he does kinda add something to the show. And honestly, for a regular dude, he is quite impressive. Able to break 19 bricks in a single blow, win all those Martial arts tournaments without the need of crazy super like powers, hes jsut a regular old dude that happens to be very good at martial arts, as far as regular people are concerned.
4. Majin Buu: Personaly, this guy might be the scariest of the villians. When hes in his fat infant like first form, hes very scarey because of his Infant like wimsy while he pounds your head in. Its creppy. Then, when he becomes Evil Buu, hes scarier more in the serial killer kinda way. Super buu isnt really taht scarey so much as he is intellegent and more refined then the other two, but hes still crazy. He really had no motive, he just kills because thats what he does. Atleast with Frieza, Frieza had an over arching scheme for Power and Rule. And Cell was jsut fullfiling Dr. Geros grand design for him. But nope, Buu killed because its what he did. although, one could argue that atleast Fat Buu was innocently naive enough where he didnt know any better, and was never told taht it was a bad thing. Plus, Super Buu has, IMO, THE best DBZ Bruce Falcouner song. Oh, and speaking of Frieza...
3. Frieza: this dude was the big build up to the Sayain Saga. A being that the might King Kai even trembled before. He was the first villian that made you think "ZOMG theres no way Goku can kill thsi guy" Hes pretty much Satan. He kills for the sheer joy and sick pleasuer he gets out of it, but hes also the only villian in DBZ to have his own Army and intergalactic rule. Again, what made him so great was his build up. King kai told Goku to not face him because he had no chance and everyone feared even speaking his name (actually come to think of it, hes more like Voldemort more then anything). but when you first saw him, he didnt look that intimidating. But we soon learned that looks can indeed be deceving. Plus, he can blow upa planet with realtive ease. He also marked the the first of the multiple transformations trend we would see with every major villian there on out. Before we only had the sayains transforming to the great apes, but this was the first time wed seen multiple consecutive transformation where the being got stronger after every one. However, Cell and Buu only transformed after they absorbed somebody, another trend that Toriyama did with the two later villains. While he wasnt teh strongest villain wwe would see in teh series, he gets props for being the first (supposed) unclimable mountain Goku and the gang had to face.
2. Goku: hes the classic protaginest. Pure of heart, uncorruptable, gentle souled, Goku was the poster boy for a Hero. Always rising to the occasion and doing the impossible. Whenever you saw a new threat upon the earth, you didnt worry that much because you knew Goku would somehow find a way to win. To the point where it got kinda tedious, because you knew he was going to win. So maybe the villians didnt have that much of a "OMG no one can beat this dude" vibe. this isnt DBZs fault, its a fault of pretty much any story with Good and Evil. Rarely do we see the hero fail or die or let the bad guy win. One way or another, theyll find a way. But, Goku really is the model person for those wanting to be a hero. Selfless and self sacraficing.
Now your probaly think: "Wha!? our shows Hero number 2? Who the hell could be number 1 then? well, our Number 1 is someone that didnt start out as a hero. In fact, he was once one of the greatest threats against the earth...
1. Vegeta: IMO, this is THE best character in DBZ. Hes funny (in his own way), He has charisma, a never say die attitude and hes really one of the only characters in DBZ to be a multidimensional character. Lets face it, while Goku maybe our hero, he is B O R I N G Boring! He has realy no internal struggle, no inner demons, hes just good. Every way possible, boringly good. Vegeta is really one of the only characters to have a major character change through the series (way more so then Piccolo) He went from a War hungry, blood lusting conquering warrior to a caring family man (but hell kill you if you said that, lol) Its kinda hard to explain the great character progression he had. And you kinda symptahized with him. He trains like twice as hard as Goku does, yet Goku will always be stronger. Now, imagine how you would feel if you were always the best at what you did and strived to be the peak of your race, and some nobody came by and totally made you look like a chump adn killed the person who enslaved and ruined your life and reached the fabled peak of your race, a Super Sayain, a right which, to you, was your birthright?
However, Vegeta finally excepted that Goku will always be better and he learned to move on. My favorite Episodes of Vegeta, and one that I think speak to his character progression, are the episodes where Vegeta tells Goku about his childhood under friezas rule and the episode where Perfect Cell "kills" trunks. In the frieza episode, you learn that Vegeta was created to be the person he is today by Frieza and how he taken whatever childhood he would have had away. And in the trunks/Cell episode, you finally see Vegeta go ballistic as he realzies his only son is dead (well, to him he seemed dead) this was a big turnaround for him, as later episodes showed his cold way he treated his son. Again, im not that great in explaining things like this, but I truely believe that he was the ebst character in this show, because of his multidimensional personality. Plus, lets be honest, hes just so BAD ASS!