Death is cheap for the heroes of Dragon Ball Z. All it takes is a wish from the Dragon Balls to bring you back from Another Dimension. As time went on it, death became even less effective. The Earth’s Dragon Balls’ restriction of only being able to wish someone back to life once was overcome by the addition of the Dragon Balls of Namek. Dende just needs to make a quick call home in order to bring back the repeat offenders (like Krillin or Chiaotzu). In Dragon Ball Super, death is practically no problem at all for the good guys. Due to the gods (like Whis) taking a larger role in the story, time can be rewound at any point.
When it comes to the villains of Dragon Ball Z, death is a bit more effective. Outside of the occasional prison break from the Home for Infinite Losers, they are usually forced to remain in the afterlife. It may come as a surprise to learn that most of the villains were sent there by Goku, the happy-go-lucky hero of Dragon Ball Z. Despite his nice personality, Goku has no problem straight up murdering his enemies.
We are here today to list the bad guys that were killed by Son Goku over the course of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and their movies. From the King who deserved to die to the old man who did not, here are the 15 People Goku Has Killed!
15. King Piccolo
To be fair to Goku, this guy totally deserved it.
In the distant past of the world of Dragon Ball, Kami was forced to expel all of the evil within his body in order to become the Guardian of Earth. This evil became a sentient entity, who called himself King Piccolo. After he massacred most of humankind, Master Roshi’s old teacher sacrificed his life to seal King Piccolo within an electric rice cooker. King Piccolo is freed by Emperor Pilaf in the present day and begins his demonic takeover of the Earth once more. He orchestrated the deaths of Krillin, Master Roshi and Chiaotzu, before his final confrontation with Goku.
The combined might of Goku and Tien was not enough to stop King Piccolo. With most of his limbs broken, Goku is forced to fire a Kamehameha out of his one good hand and use its power to launch himself at King Piccolo. With the silhouette of the Great Ape behind him, Goku is able to punch a hole right through King Piccolo.
One of the main antagonists of the Majin Buu Saga was a wizard named Babidi. He had gathered some of the most powerful fighters in the universe to serve under him. Babidi did this by offering to increase their powers through the use of his magic. What the fighters didn’t realise is that the spell also put them under Babidi’s control. It is through this deception that he managed to acquire Yakon, one of the most feared beings in the universe.
Yakon was an insect-like alien that came from the planet Dark Star. This was a planet that was shrouded in darkness. Yakon could devour light itself in order to gain sustenance.
When the Z-Fighters launched their attack on Babidi’s ship, they each drew lots to determine who would fight first. After Vegeta destroyed Babidi’s first solider, Pui Pui, it was Goku’s turn. Goku faced Yakon in the second round. When he discovered that Yakon ate light, Goku transformed into his Super Saiyan 2 form. This gave Yakon too much light, causing him to explode.
The original battle between Goku and Frieza is one of the longest fights in anime history. It took 19 episodes for the fight to finally end. Even then, Goku still did not kill Frieza. After Frieza accidentally cuts himself to pieces with his Destructo Disk, Goku just leaves him to float endlessly in the vacuum of space.
When Frieza returned, he was killed by Future Trunks (though technically, Goku did kill Frieza in the original timeline). He would attempt to escape from the Afterlife on several occasions, before being thwarted by one of the Z-Fighters (who had mostly become way stronger than him in the intervening years).
In 2015, a movie called Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ was released. In this film, Frieza is wished back to life by his followers and he decides to train for the first time in his life. He achieves a new golden form that is strong enough to challenge the Super Saiyans. The problem is, both Goku and Vegeta have achieved a new power-up, known as the “Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan” form. Goku finally kills Frieza for the last time, with a God-powered Kamehameha.
12. Most Of The Soldiers In The Red Ribbon Army
During the Fortuneteller Baba Saga, Goku battles against Spike the Devil Man. Spike is a literal Devil from Hell. His signature attack is called the Devilmite Beam. This allows him to fire a beam of energy that will destroy anyone who harbours evil feelings within them. The Devilmite Beam does not work on Goku, as it has established that he carries no negative emotions in his heart.
This might have been an interesting look into Goku’s personality… if it didn’t happen after a story arc where Goku murdered hundreds of people.
When Goku attacks the Red Ribbon Army base, he kills many of their soldiers in battle. He does this with a mixture of martial arts attacks, his Power Pole and with the Kamehameha. While the conclusion of some of the fights might be ambiguous, there were also cases where Goku blew up vehicles with people still inside them. This isn’t even counting the officers (who we will discuss later). Goku murders the population of a military base.
11. Lord Slug
In 1991, the fourth Dragon Ball Z movie was released in Japan. It would take another decade for it to see a release in the West. The film was called Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug. It featured an evil Namekian coming to Earth to use the power of the Dragon Balls. In a lot of ways, the film is just a rehash of the King Piccolo Saga from Dragon Ball. Both stories involve an evil Namekian using the Dragon Balls to wish for eternal youth and both end with Goku punching a hole through the villain.
The film has become notable for the final confrontation between Goku and Lord Slug. At one point during their fight, Goku achieves a form that no one had ever seen before. Goku became a “Pseudo Super Saiyan” (occasionally referred to as a False Super Saiyan by fans). He gained a golden aura and his pupils disappeared, but his hair remained black. The energy gained from this form allowed him to gain the upper hand on Lord Slug. Goku used the Kaio-ken to punch a hole through Lord Slug, before finishing him off with the Spirit Bomb.
10. Staff Officer Black
When Goku carved his way through the Red Ribbon Army, the extent of the injuries he inflicted was unknown. While blowing people up while they were trapped inside tanks and helicopters most likely resulted in a fatality, there were other people that he just whacked over the head. The exact body count among the Red Ribbon Army soldiers is unknown.
As far as the Red Ribbon Army officers are concerned, Goku killed all of the ones who opposed him. They later showed up during Dragon Ball GT, when the gates of Hell were opened, so we know for a fact that it stuck.
One of the high-ranking members of the Red Ribbon Army was Staff Officer Black. After trying (and failing) to defeat Goku in hand-to-hand combat, he resorts to using a Mech outfit. Staff Officer Black uses his “Battle Jacket”, which was essentially a huge robot suit, to fight Goku. Even this was not enough to overcome the young Saiyan, as Goku was able to punch his way through the Battle Jacket. This caused the suit to explode, with Staff Officer Black still inside.
9. Android 13
The first of Dr. Gero’s Androids we met was listed as #8, and the fate of the first seven Androids was unknown. Goku encountered it during the Red Ribbon Army Saga and actually befriended him. After Future Trunks warns the Z-Fighters of Dr. Gero’s return, the next two Androids we see are numbers #19 and #20 (one of whom was Gero himself). Once he realised that he was outmatched, Dr. Gero returned to his lab and awakened Androids #16, #17, and #18.
This left a significant gap in the number of Androids. This was addressed in the film Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13!, where we saw most of the other remaining Androids. The most powerful of these new Androids is number #13. Towards the end of the film, he installs parts left by the destroyed Androids #14 and #15 and receives a huge power boost. In order to destroy Super Android #13, Goku prepares a Spirit Bomb. Instead of throwing it, Goku absorbs the power of the Bomb and becomes strong enough to punch Super Android #13 through the chest. This forces the Android to shatter into pieces.
8. Captain Yellow
Usually, when Goku kills someone, it is based around some sort of energy attack. For the most part, the enemy does not suffer for long (or at all, really). Despite the fact that people like Frieza and King Piccolo deserved far worse than what they got, their deaths were relatively quick and painless.
It is odd that one of the most gruesome deaths in the series went to a character that didn’t really deserve it. Captain Yellow was a high-ranking pilot of the Red Ribbon Army. After his men are killed by Bora, Captain Yellow takes Bora’s son, Upa, as a hostage. He flies off in his fighter plane, just as Goku arrives on his Nimbus cloud. Upon seeing the situation, Goku attempts to save Upa. He flies up to Captain Yellow’s plan and literally punches him out of it, leaving him to fall to his death. Goku saves Upa, but makes no attempt to save Captain Yellow.
When Frieza came to Earth to get revenge on Goku, he brought his father, King Cold, with him. This established that Frieza not only had relatives but that they shared his naming scheme. Since then, we have seen a few other members of Frieza’s unnamed race (who are sometimes referred to as the “Frost Demons” in Dragon Ball Z media). The most prominent of these was Cooler, who was Frieza’s brother. Cooler was an original character that was created by Akira Toriyama and was the antagonist in two Dragon Ball Z movies. In both films, Cooler was killed by Goku.
In Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge, Cooler arrives on Earth to avenge the death of his father and brother. He is killed when Goku uses a Super Kamehameha to send Cooler flying into the sun. This causes Cooler to disintegrate… or so everyone thinks.
The next film in the series was Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler. A planet-sized creature made of liquid metal (called the “Big Gete Star”) discovered Cooler’s charred remains. The Gete Star returned him to life and transformed Cooler into a creature of liquid metal. Cooler attempted to take over the new planet Namek. At the end of the film, Goku discovers Cooler’s original remains within the Gete Star and uses a ball of energy to destroy him.
Compared to its sequel series, the original Dragon Ball did not have that many movies. Dragon Ball only had four films, with most of them being retellings or reimaginings of plots from the TV show. The fifteen Dragon Ball Z movies generally consisted of new material (that was approved by Akira Toriyama) and they created concepts that became popular with the fans.
One of the few original Dragon Ball movies was called Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil’s Castle. It followed the story of Goku and Krillin as they attempt to save the life of a princess. The villain of the movie is a demon named Lucifer, who bears a lot of similarities to a vampire. Lucifer’s plan is to shroud the Earth in darkness so that he can rule over the race of monsters as they emerge into the open. He attempts to do this with the aid of an energy weapon, called the Devil Castle Cannon. Lucifer’s plan is to use this Cannon to destroy the sun. Near the end of the film, Goku manages to change the target of the Cannon by hitting it with a Kamehameha. Instead of the sun, the Devil Castle Cannon fires a beam of energy at Lucifer, killing him instantly.
The one thing that the Dragon Ball Z movies liked to do was reuse the plots from the show. The Lord Slug movie was essentially the King Piccolo Saga. The two Cooler movies were similar to the Frieza Saga. The Androids from their movie were just an extension of the Android Saga.
This brings us to Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might. The movie borrowed heavily from the two Saiyan Sagas from the beginning of Dragon Ball Z. A team of alien mercenaries arrives on Earth, led by a Saiyan, named Turles, who looks almost identical to Goku. Their plan is to plant a tree that will transform into the Tree of Might by infusing it with life energy. The Tree of Might will then grow fruit, which will empower those who eat it.
Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might is one of the few Dragon Ball Z movies where all of the Z-Fighters get a chance to fight. In the end, it comes down to Goku and Turles. After eating the fruit of the Tree, Turles is able to overpower Goku (even while he was using Kaio-ken times ten). Goku is finally able to defeat Turles with a Spirit Bomb, that not only kills him but destroys the Tree of Might in the process.
4. Ninja Murasaki
While Akira Toriyama (the creator of Dragon Ball Z) is considered by many to be the father of the battle manga genre, he was more into writing comedy. His biggest series outside of Dragon Ball Z was Dr. Slump, a gag series about a robot girl named Arale (who made several cameos in Dragon Ball, including a recent appearance in Dragon Ball Super). After Dragon Ball Z ended, Toriyama created a new series called Neko Majin Z, which was a parody series about the tropes he created in Dragon Ball.
It should come as no surprise then, that Toriyama liked to include the occasional comedy fight into his work. In Dragon Ball, Goku battles a member of the Red Ribbon Army called Ninja Murasaki. The whole fight is one big joke, with Murasaki using comedy ninja gimmicks that Goku easily defeats.
Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon is one of the most popular Dragon Ball Z movies. It happens near the end of the series, so it managed to include popular elements, like Super Saiyan 3 Goku and Gotenks. The movie also offered an origin for Trunks’ sword (which only confused things more).
The villain of Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon was a living statue named Hirudegarn. Through its tail, Hirudegarn can drain the life force of its opponents, in order to make itself stronger. After defeating most of the Z-Fighters, it is up to Super Saiyan 3 Goku and Trunks to stop Hirudegarn. After Trunks manages to cut off Hirudegarn’s tail with his sword, it is up to Goku to finish the job.
In order to kill Hirudegarn, Goku uses a move called the “Dragon Fist”. This move is kind of like a Final Fantasy summon. Goku transforms part of his ki into a large golden dragon, and uses the power of this dragon to punch a hole through his enemy. The first time he successfully used this move to kill someone was against Hirudegarn.
2. Kid Buu
The Spirit Bomb isn’t exactly the best finishing move of all time. If you judge it on its success rate in the original Dragon Ball manga series – Goku had to give it to Krillin in order to beat Vegeta. It didn’t work against Frieza. Goku never even tried to use it on the Androids & Cell. Finally, the Spirit Bomb got a chance to shine when Goku killed Kid Buu with it.
At the end of the Majin Buu Saga, Vegeta distracts Kid Buu while Goku powers up the Spirit Bomb. The Namekian Dragon Balls are used to revive everyone on Earth so that their power can be added to the Spirit Bomb. Once Hercule manages to convince everyone to give their energy, the Spirit Bomb finally becomes strong enough to finish the job. The final Namekian Dragon Ball wish is used to restore Goku’s strength, so he can turn into a Super Saiyan and make Spirit Bomb powerful enough to destroy Kid Buu for good.
1. Grandpa Gohan
Of all of the people on this list, Grandpa Gohan is the only one that did not deserve to die.
When Goku’s spaceship landed on Earth, he was found by an old hermit, named Gohan. Despite Goku’s initially violent nature, Gohan took him in and raised him as a son. When Goku’s personality changed for the better after he banged his head, Gohan started to teach him the basics of martial arts.
Though Gohan was wise, he did not know the secret of Goku’s alien parentage. Thus, when Goku saw the full moon for the first time, he transformed into his Great Ape form. Gohan survived the first encounter and managed to warn Goku about not looking at the moon. When Goku did it for a second time by accident, he turned into the Great Ape and killed Grandpa Gohan.
Goku and Gohan were reunited during the Fortuneteller Baba Saga, where he was allowed to return to life for one day. The reunion between the two was happy and Gohan didn’t seem sore about the whole “accidentally killing me” thing. In fact, he never even brought it up (Goku finally worked it out during his first meeting with Vegeta). Before returning to Heaven, Gohan warned Goku about the weakness in his tail. In honour of his adopted father, Goku would go on to name his son Gohan.