Anyone who has watched Dragon Ball Z knows that a huge part of the show is the transformations. Once Goku became a Super Saiyan, it was like the opening of the floodgates for transformationsto appear in every handful of episodes. You could definitely argue that this actually devalued a lot of new forms, and that it became over the top eventually. But at the same time, it’s hard not to get excited when you know a new form is coming.
The trend of new transformations is continuing quite readily in Dragon Ball Super, but the original Dragon Ball wasn’t devoid of powered up forms either. Across the entire franchise, we’ve seen a lot of different characters change, with some evolving faster than a teenager’s body during puberty. Get ready to hear about a lot of different hairstyles and lots of screaming, because we’re covering who has racked up the most new forms in Dragon Ball: 15 Characters With The Most Transformations.
Trunks is an unusual character to lead things off with because there is his character in the present timeline, as well as his character in the future timeline, and they each have different transformations. Both versions of Trunks have access to becoming a Super Saiyan, though their methods of going about it are quite different. Kid Trunks just effortlessly transforms one day, much to the shock of Vegeta. Meanwhile, Future Trunks has to lose nearly everyone he loves to the destruction of Android 17 and 18 before his anger awakens enough to change forms.
Kid Trunks also has the ability to become Gotenks, and within that fused form he can even become a Super Saiyan 3. While Future Trunks has less dramatic changes in his appearance through many of his forms, he clearly becomes even stronger than his alternate self. He’s one of the few Saiyans to attempt to utilize the Ascended Saiyan form while in battle, though Perfect Cell quickly reveals that the increased muscle mass of the form isn’t worth the tradeoff in speed. Future Trunks also becomes a Super Saiyan 2 in Dragon Ball Super, and even unveils a form simply known as Super Trunks that makes him more powerful than even a Super Saiyan God Blue.
14. ANDROID 17
A character who was ultimately a minor villain like Android 17 might not seem like someone who would have a lot of different forms, but he actually does have more than you might realize. His first few are shared with his sister, 18, since they both initially started out as humans. They were then transformed into robotic warriors by Dr. Gero, likely greatly increasing their power beyond what it was before. And though they were unwilling participants in the transformation, they did also join with Cell to become part of his subsequent transformations as well, almost like a fusion.
What really sets 17 over the edge as someone worth mentioning here is his return in Dragon Ball GT. Dr. Gero and Dr. Myuu build a second version of 17 while in Hell, and eventually the two versions of the android find each other on Earth and join together to unveil yet another new form: Super Android 17. This new form is even stronger than Super Saiyan 4 Goku, and is only able to be defeated after 18 implores her brother not to kill anyone else.
For someone whose entire story arc was about transforming into his perfect state, Cell doesn’t chalk up nearly as many forms as most characters on this list. Maybe you could say it’s more impressive to reach your pinnacle in less forms, but obviously it didn’t do Cell much good in the end.
Regardless, Cell really only has three main forms to his name. Many people’s favorite is actually his weakest form, Imperfect Cell, where his behavior is extremely predatory. Then there is Semi-Perfect Cell, the obvious in-between form where Cell almost comes off as desperate and vulnerable in how single-minded he is to get to his final form. Which brings us finally to Perfect Cell. the moment everyone was waiting for where the completed product was unveiled at last.
Though once Perfect Cell fought Gohan, his arrogance led to Android 18 literally being knocked out of him and causing him to transform back to his Semi-Perfect form. And apparently it’s actually possible to become even more perfect, because after self-destructing, Cell reformed with even more powerful DNA than before, resulting in Super Perfect Cell.
Even though he’s a fairly new character for the franchise, Zamasu already proved to be a powerful villain full of lots of surprises. He was already quite powerful to begin with, but then began working with another timeline’s version of himself. This alternate Zamasu who was creating destruction in the timeline of Future Trunks was eventually revealed to be the true identity of Goku Black. The alternate Zamasu had used the Super Dragon Balls to swap bodies with Goku, and transform himself into the Saiyan.
Black continued to unleash new powers when he eventually revealed his Super Saiyan Rose transformation, a form comparable in power to a Super Saiyan God Blue. Together, Black and Zamasu appeared unstoppable. But just as Goku, Vegeta, and Future Trunks looked to be gaining the upper hand, the two versions of Zamasu had one more transformation in store; fusing themselves together with their Potara Earrings. Zamasu repeatedly referred to himself as a god, and it was hard to argue with him when he wound up having that much power in his hands.
This will probably be the only time that a character like Oolong will ever be mentioned among Saiyans and super villains. Even in the original Dragon Ball, Oolong wasn’t exactly a pivotal character, but he did have the cool ability to transform into different people. And because Oolong is a conniving person, he used this power for his own benefit quite often.
When we first meet Oolong, he’s posing as a monster to scare locals for his own profit. Of course we quickly realize he’s just a pretty unintimidating pig, but he’s so good at misleading people that he often didn’t have to worry about being dangerous in a fight. He misled Bulma by posing as a handsome gentleman, he misled Master Roshi by posing as Bulma, and he seemed poised to be a very useful character to have around. But apparently Oolong eventually just accepted his true form, and lost interest in impersonating others.
Goten is the best friend of Kid Trunks, and as such their power levels and abilities are quite similar to each other. The biggest difference between the two young Saiyans is that Trunks racks up more transformations thanks to his future self, while Goten’s future self simply doesn’t exist, giving him less forms to list overall.
Still, Goten is quite impressive for his age, and looks like he could have become a great warrior if he had the inclination. He proved to be the youngest Saiyan to ever become a Super Saiyan, much to the astonishment of Gohan and Chi-Chi. He never really advances beyond that state on his own, but with Trunks he ascends to several more powerful forms. Together the two kids can become Gotenks, significantly increasing their power (or lowering it if they accidently fail the fusion and become the fat or skinny version of Gotenks instead). While fighting as Gotenks, Goten also is capable of become a Super Saiyan 2, as well as Super Saiyan 3. So as long as he has Trunks at his side, Goten has quite a few forms at his disposal.
Puar and Oolong are really quite similar characters, despite both of them being introduced in the same series. In fact, they initially view each other as rivals since Puar remembers how Oolong could be a cruel person when they were in transformation school together. As you might guess since they went to the same school, Puar has just as much diversity in being able to transform as Oolong does, if not more. Being a good student, Puar is able to stay in alternate forms seemingly indefinitely.
Another difference from Oolong is that while Puar can transform into other people, like when he spent some time spent as Goku, Puar also shows off the ability to change into objects. Throughout the original Dragon Ball, Puar becomes things like a flyswatter or a giant pair of scissors while still retaining the ability to float and talk. Like Oolong, Puar’s talents never really get showcased as much once power levels became the focal point of the adventure.
8. CAPTAIN GINYU
To this day many fans still believe Captain Ginyu had the capacity to maybe be the strongest character in the franchise thanks to his body swapping technique. It’s a great move that not only debilitates his opponent by locking them in a less powerful form, but also allows Ginyu to get an upgrade in strength thanks to his new form. It’s unfortunate he wasn’t able to use it to better effect during his existence, but Ginyu still acquired a nice little collection of transformations during this period.
Presumably Ginyu has transformed in the past since he uses the body swap technique with such confidence, but the first time we see him use it is against Goku. Unfortunately for Ginyu, he gets a major downgrade from there when he is swapped back into his injured body, and the gets trapped inside a frog’s body. He looks like he’s on the way to improving when he takes over Bulma, but soon winds up back inside the frog again. Captain Ginyu then spends years as a frog– to the point that fans doubted they would ever see him again. But in Dragon Ball Super he finally attained a decent body again when he took over Frieza’s right hand man, Tagoma. Of course that was short-lived, since Vegeta killed him shortly thereafter, but at least he died in a body worth respecting.
We all know the disappointment of Gohan no longer actively training. Fans everywhere wanted him to continue growing in power, and maybe even become the main character of the franchise. Unfortunately, his ascent to power mostly petered out after the Cell saga, and his greatest moments came before then. As such, you can date the majority of his new forms to early on, like when he was still capable of becoming a Great Ape. Then later he would not only become a Super Saiyan like his dad, but also the first ever Super Saiyan 2.
After Cell’s defeat, Gohan received a transformation that no one really wanted, this time in the form of his Great Saiyaman alternate personality. It was a big step down for someone so promising, but Gohan did eventually get one more brief moment in the spotlight with another new form: Mystic Gohan. For one short fight, Gohan was once again the most powerful character in the franchise. Too bad he soon got absorbed and then just reverted back to being a dorky dad.
It might not seem like it, but Saiyans aren’t the only Z Fighters who get to have fun with transformations. Everyone’s favorite Namekian has also had quite a few changes over the course of the franchise, enabling him to often stay on par with some of the show’s most powerful characters. In fact, Piccolo was even something of an innovator for transformations, since King Piccolo transforming into his younger form was one of the earliest times a character unveiled a new form.
Piccolo soon transformed once again, reincarnating as his own son in the form of Piccolo Jr. And when fighting Goku at the World Martial Arts Tournament, the Namekian showed off one of his more impressive forms by morphing into his Giant Namek form. But it was in DBZ that Piccolo’s most significant boosts of power came about. The first came on Namek, when he fused with a dying Nail to significantly upgrade his abilities. Then his last and most impressive new form was when he eventually fused with Kami to gain power greater even than that of a Super Saiayan. Interestingly enough, King Piccolo was actually a transformed version of Kami, with the older Namekian dispelling the evil within himself and inadvertently creating Piccolo. So in a way, all of these transformations are really offshoots of Kami.
The first villain to truly normalize transformations was none other than the first major villain Dragon Ball Z had. There had obviously been previous characters who would show off a secondary form once in a blue moon, but Frieza took that concept to another level. His fight on Namek showed off four distinct forms in succession. Not even any of the heroes have displayed that many different transformations that quickly. It made the Z Fighters look helpless against him since he just kept displaying greater and greater depths to his power.
And then even after Namek, Frieza still wasn’t done transforming. He quickly returned with the intriguing, yet short-lived form of Mecha Frieza. For a long time, it looked like Frieza had been consigned to the list of villains who just weren’t a threat anymore. Then Resurrection ‘F’ happened, and Frieza learned from his opponents by deciding to train up for his next fight. This led to Frieza’s most impressive form yet, the self-explanatory Golden Frieza. At this point, Frieza may be the only villain from the past who could still have more forms left.
As a Saiyan, as well as being one of the main characters of the franchise, Vegeta obviously is someone who has changed a lot. But unless you’re counting the video games, Vegeta actually misses out on a few forms that Goku has, meaning Vegeta doesn’t quite match up to his rival/friend in this regard. In the anime, Vegeta never acquires the Super Saiyan 3 form, instead skipping right over it in GT to go right into becoming a Super Saiyan 4. Vegeta also never shows off the red-haired Super Saiyan God form, instead only being seen in the more advanced Super Saiyan God Blue form.
Unfortunately for Vegeta, all of his Saiyan power-ups are ones he has to watch other Saiyans acquire before himself (except for fused forms like Vegito, Gogeta, and Veku). So while Vegeta’s ascent to power is still exciting, it also lacks originality for much of it. But Vegeta can lay claim to one unique form that no other Saiayan has had, and likely never will have again. This is of course when he is taken over by Babidi and becomes Majin Vegeta. Besides an M tattooed on his forehead and some eyeliner, the form doesn’t look much different, but it’s still one of Vegeta’s coolest moments in the franchise.
At this point we’re reaching characters with so many different forms that it’s easy to lose track of them all. Goku has had new transformations in every Dragon Ball TV series, and even in some of the movies.
In the original Dragon Ball, he had his Great Ape form. In DBZ, he had Super Saiyan 1, 2, and 3, plus Vegito (not to mention getting turned into Captain Ginyu). GT gave us Goku transformed back into a child, Super Saiyan 4, and the TV debut of Gogeta. And now finally in Super we have seen Super Saiyan God, Super Saiyan God Blue, and Goku Black who is an alternate timeline version of the hero who has been taken over by Zamasu (which kind of means Super Saiyan Rose could also count as a Goku transformation). Yeesh. And you just know Goku isn’t done showing off new forms yet.
This is the point where you could really argue that this many forms devalues a character transforming. Like Goku’s Super Saiyan 3 form was a cool surprise, but was surpassed so quickly that he’s never even done anything useful with that form. It’s quality, not quantity, and a few of these forms have definitely just made us wonder what the point of Goku even having them was.
How many characters can lay claim to transforming into almost every single person on the planet? As far as we know, it’s just one, and his name is Baby. The bio-engineered villain transforms by infecting his opponents and taking over their bodies. This allowed him to take over Saiyans like Trunks and Goten initially, before finally settling on Vegeta as his primary host. But Baby didn’t stop there, and wound up infecting every living person possible so that he could control the entire world.
Baby Vegeta’s appearance continued to evolve the further Baby’s influence took hold of the Saiyan, but Baby didn’t stop there. Baby isn’t just some body snatcher like Captain Ginyu– he actually unveiled his own unique transformations. This led to Goku facing off against the very surprising form of the Golden Great Ape Baby. It seemed like Dragon Ball had long forgotten about Great Apes, so seeing GT bring them back with this new twist was a great new form for a villain.
1. MAJIN BUU
Majin Buu might not have the most transformations, but he does have the greatest potential to acquire new forms. He changes appearance almost every time he absorbs someone powerful. This has led to him changing so often that, even if he doesn’t have the most forms in the franchise, he definitely has the most new forms in all of DBZ. There’s Fat Buu, Evil Buu, Super Buu, Buu in Piccolo’s cape after absorbing the Namekian, Buu in Gotenks’ vest after absorbing the fused Goten and Trunks, Buu in Gohan’s gi after absorbing him as well, and finally Kid Buu. Oh, and don’t forget, Uub is a reincarnation of Buu, so Uub could be counted as a redeemed transformation of Buu.
That’s just counting DBZ, though. If we’re talking Buu in the non-canon world of the games, that’s a whole new ball game. Buu literally rips off part of his body to make a female Buu, thus making her a transformed version of the original. Then the two of them have kids together by mixing pieces of their bodies like clay, transforming parts of their own bodies into offspring. So in the games, any child, spouse, or friend that Buu makes is just yet another piece of himself, making the entire Majin race a transformed version of the original.
Who do you think has had the best new forms in the franchise? Tell us about your favorite transformation scene in the comment section!