If you thought comic book characters came back from the dead a lot, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve watched Dragon Ball Z. Sometimes the entire cast gets wiped out when an entire planet gets blown up. Main characters die and come back to life on the show multiple times, usually thanks to the legendary Dragon Balls the show is named for. After all, when you can get any wish you want by bringing together the seven Dragon Balls, a lot of the good-hearted characters think to bring back their dead friends.
Several people have also died and come back the same amount of times, so they may be higher on the list even though they are the same. Since Dragon Ball Super is still airing, some of those deaths may be missing in this list. But who has been revived the most of our merry band of fighters? Find out in Dragon Ball Z: 15 Characters Who’ve Died And Come Back The Most.
15. Gohan – 1 time
The oldest son of Goku, Gohan has gotten through the Dragon Ball series relatively unscathed– which, in the Dragon Ball universe, means he’s only died two times. He first died with a lot of other characters on this list when Kid Buu blew up the Earth. However, the Earth was later restored thanks to the Namekian Dragon Balls and many characters on this list were resurrected as a result.
The second time Gohan died was much more permanent. He was killed by Androids 17 and 18 in the Future Trunks’ timeline. They overwhelmed him with energy blasts while he was in his Super Saiyan form. His body was found by Trunk.
Gohan probably would have been higher on this list if Piccolo didn’t keep sacrificing himself to save Gohan. He even saves Gohan from getting his third death count in Dragon Ball Super, sacrificing himself and getting even higher on this list. What a great way to repay your teacher, Gohan!
14. Buu – 2 times
We start off with a lot of very “technical” deaths, which is why Buu is at the bottom of the list. This is because Buu has taken on numerous forms that have interacted with each other: there’s the big ball of joy (unless you try and take his food), there’s his light side Good Buu and his dark side Evil Buu, Super Buu, Kid Buu, and the reincarnated Uub. In a head scratching turn of events, one of Buu’s deaths is thanks to his other form. When Good Buu gets turned into chocolate, he is eaten by Evil Buu, who then turns into Super Buu. It could also be argued later that when Vegeta pulls the Good Buu out of Super Buu, causing him to change, which could mean that Super Buu “dies” in a way.
13. Trunks – 2 times
Trunks wouldn’t be on this list if his future counterpart didn’t come back in time to help, but he did and here we are with Trunks having a death count of two. When Super Perfect Cell returns, he fires a Full Power Death Beam through Trunks’ chest. After vomiting blood, Trunks dies. His death inspires Vegeta to go all-out on Cell (to less-than-successful results). When Cell is defeated, Trunk is taken to Kami’s Lookout and resurrected by Shenron thanks to the Dragon Balls. His relationship to his father grows after this when he finds out how strongly Vegeta reacted to his death. So at least he could make his death a real bonding moment!
Trunks is also one of the many characters who die when Kid Buu blows up the Earth, only to later be revived again by the Dragon Balls. As long as Trunks stays young, he should be relatively safe for awhile. After all, children in Dragon Ball rarely seem to die – usually it’s the adults sacrificing themselves left and right in the show.
12. Master Roshi – 2 times
Master Roshi, the perverted grandpa of the Dragon Ball franchise, is surprisingly resilient for such an old guy. Though he often serves as comic relief, Master Roshi has demonstrated his willingness to sacrifice himself for the great good on two occasions. And he was rewarded by being revived both times!
Master Roshi is very old but will never die of old age or natural causes due to the Immortal Phoenix. However, he dies while trying to take down King Piccolo with the Evil Containment Wave, a technique that traps demons. The technique is very dangerous and difficult and Roshi failed in the process, thereby dying. He is later resurrected thanks to a Dragon Ball wish.
Roshi is another of the good people from the Dragon Ball franchise who was transformed into chocolate and then consumed by Super Buu during the Fusion Saga. Master Roshi, and many of his friends, were brought back to life when the Namekian Dragon Balls were used to revive everyone killed after the martial arts tournament in Kid Buu Saga.
11. Vegeta – 2 times
This arrogant prince has died more times than he’d care to admit. He first died at the hand of Frieza, who beat him up and then gave him a Death Beam through the chest when he wouldn’t shut up about Frieza losing to Goku. But he came back when the Dragon Balls revived him.
Vegeta’s second death was even more noble. He blows himself up when he tries to destroy Majin Buu. However, this sacrifice turned out to be in vain as the bitty Buu simply reformed and went back to his destruction. Vegeta wasn’t as lucky, becoming stone and disintegrating. This time he was brought back by the Namekian Dragon Balls.
In the future, like many other characters on this list, Vegeta was killed by Android 17 in the Future Trunks’ timeline. So Vegeta died three times, and was revived twice, but thankfully still lives on in the series, thanks to alternate timelines.
10. Android 17 – 2 times
The twin of Android 18, Android 17 has faced death a lot more times: four specifically, with only two resurrections. The first time he gets killed is when Cell self-destructs on King Kai’s planet. At the time he self-destructs, Android 17 was trapped inside of Cell. But he gets revived, along with everyone on Earth killed who was killed by Cell, due to a wish made on the Dragon Balls.
He also dies when Kid Buu blows up the Earth but gets resurrected by the Namekian Dragon Balls along with the rest of the population.
Android 17 also died two times in alternate realities at the hands of Future Trunks. When Trunks returns, he knocks Android 17 down and blows him up using his energy wave. Then, both him and Android 18 are taken out with a Shut Down Remote used by Trunks, which was created from Dr. Gero’s old plans.
9. Yamcha – 2 times
Remember Yamcha? Yeah, he’s died three times over the course of Dragon Ball and managed to come back twice. Two out of three ain’t bad, right? He first dies when one of the Saibaimen, the creatures created by a Saiyan scientist and released by Nappa, jumps on him and then self-destructs. He is eventually brought back with the Namekian Dragon Balls.
The next time Yamcha dies is on Kami’s Lookout. He is one of several characters there who are turned into chocolate and eaten by Majin Buu. Everyone, including Yamcha, returns later thanks to the Namekian Dragon Balls. Gotta love those.
Future Yamcha apparently died two different ways (thanks to inconsistencies between the anime and the History of Trunks special). In the anime, he gets killed by an energy wave to his stomach from the Androids. However, the History of Trunks special instead shows him dying from a kick to the neck.
8. Tien – 2 times
A skillful fighter, Tien still manages to die three times over the course of the series. He first dies when he tries to avenge his best friend Chiaotzu’s death to Nappa. He uses all his energy in a Tri-Beam attack that he fires at Nappa. This blast unfortunately fails to kill Nappa, just like Chiaotzu’s self-destruction, and even worse, it results in Tien’s death since he has no energy left. He is later revived at the same time as Chiaotzu thanks to the Namekian Dragon Balls. Tien is later killed, along with everyone else on Earth, when Kid Buu blows the planet up. He is again revived because of the Namekian Dragon Balls.
Tien dies two different ways in the future. Both times he dies by the hand of Android 18. The anime shows him getting killed with an energy wave hitting him in the chest. However, the History of Trunks special shows him die by a punch to his stomach.
7. Goku – 2 times
For the #1 guy people usually associate with power in this show, Goku dies a few more times than you would expect– three times, to be exact. He first sacrifices his life by holding Raditz in place so he can be killed by Piccolo with a Special Beam Cannon. Goku is inevitably caught in Piccolo’s attack as well and dies. His friends bring him back with the Dragon Balls.
Later, Goku sacrifices himself again when he is fighting against Cell. He teleports Cell way to King Kai’s planet when he is about to blow up. Goku manages to save everyone, but dies in the explosion. He does not come back until several years later, thanks to Old Kai.
The third time Goku dies he is not resurrected. This happens during the Future Trunks timelines. Goku suffers from a heart virus, which causes him to become extremely tired when doing simple things like flying. It only worsens when he turns Super Saiyan. He dies from the virus, but since his death was by natural causes, Goku could not be brought back by using the Dragon Balls.
6. Cell – 3 times
The ultimate creation of Dr. Gero, a fellow member on this list, Cell has died four times in Dragon Ball at various stages of his life. In one version, he is killed while still in his test tube when Krillin and Future Trunks fire energy waves at him. The poor little thing didn’t even have a chance to turn into the ultimate killing machine. He takes his revenge by breaking out of his test tube and stealing Future Trunks’ time machine however.
Cell also dies (taking Goku with him) when he self-destructs on King Kai’s planet. Cell’s… uh cells can regenerate and reform his destroyed body and he returns to terrorize our heroes again.
At one point, Cell ends up getting killed by Gohan. The two are in a beam fight, with Gohan using a Father-Son Kamehameha that almost gets overwhelmed by Cell’s Solar Kamehameha. However, Vegeta hits Cell with his energy and gives Gohan the chance to kill Cell with his power. But he again regenerates from a single cell.
5. Frieza – 3 times
The villainous Frieza never seems to truly die, coming back again and again to try and defeat Goku and ultimately failing every time, despite causing a lot of destruction and mayhem in his wake. The first times he dies is thanks to Future Trunks, who chops him to pieces with his sword and then reduces him to ash with an energy blast. He comes back, but also gets killed in the movie Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn, Frieza returns to Earth only to get killed by Gohan, who punches him in the stomach and makes him explode.
Frieza returns to annoy our heroes in the Dragon Ball: Resurrection ‘F’ movie. He is resurrected at the beginning of the film thanks to a wish made to Shenron by his minion Sorbet. He is brought back in the pieces Trunks chopped him into, but is completely reassembled thanks to Sorbet’s own minions. Frieza may have finally been able to beat Goku if Whis did not go back into the past three minutes, which allowed Goku to use a God Kamehameha to send him back to Hell.
4. Chiaotzu – 3 times
This oft-forgotten little guy has died four times in the history of Dragon Ball and came back for three of them. His first death happened when Chiaotzu attempted to kill King Piccolo. He tried to stop him by wishing on the Dragon Balls for Piccolo to die, but he was unable to finish his wish before King Piccolo killed him with a powerful blast. Then the Dragon Balls brought him back.
He later sacrificed himself by self-destructing on Nappa to try and kill him, but ultimately failed to take him out and only got killed in the process (two for two, huh Chiaotzu?). This time he came back thanks to the Namekian Dragon Balls. The final time Chiaoztzu died (and came back) was when Kid Buu blew up the Earth and killed everyone on it. Once again, the Namekian Dragon Balls brought him back.
3. Piccolo – 3 times
It’s not easy being green. Piccolo has died five times over the Dragon Ball series, however he was brought back three times. He really does know how to go out with a bang!
He was first killed by an Impact Bomb from Nappa in order to save Gohan from being killed. He then came back to life thanks to the Namekian Dragon Balls. Later, he was killed when Majin Buu blew up the Earth, but Piccolo (and the rest of the planet) were restored by the Namekian dragon Porunga. The third time Piccolo died was when he was (again) protecting Gohan from Freiza’s Death Beam blasts.
There are two deaths Piccolo did not come back from (thanks to good ol’ alternate timelines). First, he was killed in Future Trunks’ timeline by androids. Second, he sacrificed himself as the Earth blew up. He could have been brought back, but Piccolo refused in order to keep the Earth safe without the side effects of the Black Star Dragon Balls destroying it again. So, he went to Heaven thanks to King Yemma.
2. Krillin – 3 times
Krillin has been the butt of most jokes, in large part because he’s been killed by just about every villain in Dragon Ball. OK, not every villain, but enough villains to have died five times. He is first killed by Tambourine, King Piccolo’s son, who kicks him in the head and crushes his frontal lobe. Krillin was brought back by the Dragon Balls. He was then blown up by Frieza, only to later be resurrected by the Namekian Dragon Balls. Later, Krillin would be turned into chocolate and eaten by Majin Buu. Once again, he was saved by the the Namekian Dragon Balls.
In the Dragon Ball GT, Krillin is killed by a brainwashed Android 17. He shoots a Photon Flash through Krillin’s chest. He’s not even safe in alternate timelines! In Future Trunks’ timeline, Krillin is murdered by the androids (Android 17 in the anime and by Androids 17 and 18 using finger beams in the History of Trunks special).
1. The Entire Population Of The Earth Of Universe 7 – 4 times
The Earth of Universe 7 sure does seem to suffer a lot throughout the Dragon Ball series. It has been destroyed four different times (with surely more to come). The first time was in Dragon Ball Z by Kid Buu. It was restored thanks to a wish made to Porunga. The second time was by Frieza in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ & Dragon Ball Super. But Earth ended up being saved by Whis, who used a Temporal Do-Over, an ability that allowed him to travel back in time three minutes into the past to stop Earth from being destroyed.
The third time it was destroyed, along with all of existence, by Future Zen-Oh in Dragon Ball Super. Whis once again saves the day when he travels into the future and stops the Future Supreme Kai and Future Beerus from being killed. This in turn stopped Zamasu and Goku Black’s destruction of Earth. The fourth and final time Universe 7 was destroyed happened due to a side effect of the Black Star Dragon Balls, which were used in Dragon Ball GT. Just like the first time, this was reversed with a wish to Porunga.