A lot of people learned to draw from watching Dragon Ball Z, and because of the impact the show had on '90s kids, the franchise has become an integral part of pop culture. Artists all over the world have created some amazing Dragon Ball fan art, dedicating pieces to the show that defined a large part of their childhood. Some of them have even tried their hand at reimagining their favorite characters, mixing up Akira Toriyama's style with some of their own ideas and designs. As a result, we've gotten some truly awesome fan redesigns of all our favorite Dragon Ball characters.
With everything from making the character's more realistic to making the art style more American-influenced, Dragon Ball has garnered some pretty cool redesigns from fans. For this reason, we decided to go through some of the coolest redesigns and collect them for you here.
Akira Toriyama's art style and designs are without a doubt, masterful and brilliant, but that doesn't mean that Dragon Ball fans don't have a few great designs up their sleeves. In fact, we'd go so far as to say that these redesigns might very well be better than the originals!
Here are 15 Crazy Fan Redesigns Better Than Dragon Ball.
15 MICHAEL LEE LUNSFORD'S REDESIGNS
Starting off, we have the redesigns of webcomic artist, Michael Lee Lunsford. A while back, Lunsford did Dragon Ball redesign project where he reimagined nearly every character that has appeared in the franchise. Unfortunately, Lunsford has since removed the designs from his Deviantart page for unknown reasons, but some copies can still be found.
Above are just the Saiyan saga designs Lunsford did, but from them you can grasp how he took elements of the originals and gave them his own unique spin. Goku's hair is a bit more realistic, the Saiyan armor is a bit more practical, and everything just has a great cartoonish feel to it, as though this is how the show would have looked had it been an American production.
14 3D GOKU
Next up is a 3D model redesign of Goku by Bruno Câmara, a 3D artist from Brazil. Câmara's design seems to take some elements from Goku's outfit in Dragon Ball Heroes with some some personal touches added in, creating a Goku that harkens back to his adventuring days in Dragon Ball. .
He looks like a wandering warrior, ready for anything and looking for excitement.
We particularlly like how Câmara modeled Goku's face. It still appears to draw from Akira Toriyama's art style, but has some added detail that makes it seem more real, though it still has that signature Goku hair.
The detail on the fabric of his clothes and the definition of his muscles is also a nice touch, making the whole model feel like it could be a real person. For more of Bruno Câmara's work, you can check out his Deviantart gallery.
13 CYBERPUNK BULMA
Bulma is a scientific genius. She's made countless inventions for her family's company, several of which have been key to the Z-fighters' victories and adventures. With all this technological knowhow, it's a surprise there isn't more art like Massa Axel's redesign of Bulma, which depicts the blue-haired inventor as a late-'90s cyberpunk motorcyclist.
There are hints of Tron, Ghost in the Shell, and Akira thrown into this depiction of Bulma.
Her upgraded motorcycle is a step up from the one originally seen in Dragon Ball. There are even some nice touches on the stickers, which appear to be based on real decals from websites like Red Bubble. We also really dig Bulma's new outfit and metallic headgear.
For more cool stuff from Massa Axel, check out his Deviantart gallery.
12 CARTOONY CELL
Cell's appearance has always had a bug-like quality to it, especially in his first form, and Jesus Blones has captured that idea in his redesign of Perfect Cell. Blones has given Cell a cartoonish makeover that also incorporates plant and insect imagery into a makeover for the fan-favorite villain.
Cell's exoskeleton armor now has a more insect-like appearance, with spikes on his forearms and legs and less space between the plating. His wings also appear to be translucent like a bug's, as though they actually help him fly.
We also like how Blones has further incorporated purple into the color scheme, more so than the original, and the green patterns of his armor look like a leaf under a microscope, putting a different twist on Cell's origins.
For more of Blones' work, check out his Deviantart gallery.
11 MENACING MAJIN BUU
The great Majin Buu, who was feared by the gods themselves, looked nowhere near as intimidating as his reputation implied when he first appeared. We do, however, eventually see Buu get scarier as the saga went on, but for those who want a more frightening take on the Majin, look no further than Bulat Iraliyev's redesign of the villain.
What really shines in this redesign is just how frightening Buu looks.
Though there's not as much variety between the forms, Kid Buu looks sickly and demonic, the fat Buu looks like an alien clown version of Oogie Boogie, and Super Buu looks like a killing machine. Each of these menacing forms is complete with clawed feet, which is a unique addition to the design, as are the Majin "M" symbols all over their outfits.
For more of Bulat Iraliyev's work, including more Dragon Ball redesigns, check out his Deviantart gallery.
10 BARDOCK AND BABY GOKU
The canon status of Bardock is sort of up in the air, yet the character is still a bit of a fan favorite. Regardless, everyone can enjoy this delightful drawing of Bardock by Moize Opel, especially since he's holding an adorable baby Goku in his arms. The drawing is also a redesign of Bardock's outfit that gives him an updated suit of armor and a cool ragged cloak/scarf.
This design almost implies a tragic and interesting story behind it.
It's as though Bardock is on the run from something, his clothes slightly ragged as he protects his infant son from some harsh threat. Of course, that's just our interpretation. For more of Moize Opel's work (including more Dragon Ball redesigns), check out her tumblr here.
9 REALISTIC WHIS
Whis might not technically be a god, but his intricate outfit sure makes him look like one. The angel's appearance emits a feeling of power and grace, and Diego Cunha's version dials these elements up to 11. Cunha has added an impressive amount of detail to Whis' design in this digital painting, redesigning some aspects of his outfit along the way.
Some of the coolest parts of this design are the glowing halo (which is just a flat blue in the anime), the ornate gold jewelry and the changes to the sleeves, which are cut to reveal part of Whis' arms. Overall, the way that Cunah paints Whis makes him look like the deity that he actually is, a fitting update to the design.
For more of Diego Cunha's work, click here.
8 SPORTY GOKU
Why is it that Goku never changes his orange gi? It doesn't provide any extra protection and falls apart in nearly every battle. Even stranger is the fact that Bulma, who's made advanced armor and clothing for Vegeta, hasn't given Goku's outfit a much-needed upgrade. This is where Anirudh Shekhawat's redesign comes in.
Though we're not sure how to feel about the realistic face, the sporty redesign of Goku's outfit is incredibly interesting.
On top of the MMA gloves, this uniform has what appears to be a mix of durable fabrics and comfortable maneuverability, all of which were clearly designed by Bulma. To top it all off, this outfit appears to have a pocket specifically for Senzu beans and can even store some emergency capsules, both of which are nice touches to this unique redesign.
For more of Shekhawat's work, check out his Deviantart gallery.
7 SILVER AGE DRAGON BALL
Fans of both American comics and Dragon Ball have long argued over which of the two super-powered warriors would win in a battle. While the result of this fictional battle is up to the internet, Chilean artist Adolfo Nuñez has found a different way to bring the two characters together. Above is a piece that combines Goku and Superman's origins into a single character, the Super Saiyan.
Comparisons between Goku and Superman are constantly being made.
This is one of Nuñez's mashups between Dragon Ball Z and silver age comic book. Plenty of other silver-age mash-ups can be found in his gallery, including an American comic book panel version of Vegeta's arrival, as well as other strange mash-ups between American comics and Dragon Ball Z.
6 REALISTIC VEGETA
As terrible as the hated Dragon Ball: Evolution was, there's no doubt that fans would still love to see a live-action Dragon Ball Z film. However, what works in 2D animation and the original manga might not work as well on camera, meaning a lot of the anime's designs would have to undergo heavy revisions. One design in particular would have to be heavily reworked, Vegeta's Saiyan armor.
Rafael De Guzman has provided a more realistic take on Vegeta's first appearance.
Not only does his digital painting style make for a great realistic version of the Saiyan prince, but the overall design is an interesting take on Vegeta's outfit, especially with how the armor appears to have teeth on the torso, making for an intimidating design.
For more of Guzman's work, click here.
5 PULP COMIC ANDROIDS
Ástor Alexander depicts Androids 17 and 18 as the villains in a series of pulp-fiction-era comic books, the above image being the first in a four part digital painting series. Everything about this depiction is wonderful, from the artwork itself to the '50s-styled redesigns of the Android siblings.
The way the Androids' clothing is re-worked into their robotic designs is particularly interesting, especially how 18's striped sleeves work into the seams of her arms. If you check out the rest of Alexander's gallery, you can find the other three comic book covers, one of which depicts a Flash-Gordon-like Future Trunks and another that depicts Cell as "Dr. Gero's Monster."
This vintage comic book take on the android saga is a unique reimagining that we'd love to read in real life.
4 GREAT SUPER SAIYAMAN
We're big fans of The Great Saiyaman saga. Gohan's goofy superhero persona was a wonderful way to explore classic superhero tropes in the world of Dragon Ball, and the Saiyaman costume is incredibly fun and pleasing to look at.
We really love Jaime R. Quiano Jr.'s update to the costume, the Great Super Saiyaman.
The art itself is wonderful, the colors pop and the action lines are wonderfully classic, but the design is easily the best part. The Saiyman helmet is given an open top so Gohan's Super Saiyan hair can pop out, plus it seems to have an added scouter-like device in the visor. The green gi has been replaced with a Saiyan-armor-like chest-piece and the gloves and boots have been given a slight update.
For more of Jaime R. Quiano Jr.'s work, check out his Deviantart gallery.
3 ROBERT SCHILLING'S PICCOLO
Piccolo already has such a cool design that it's hard to top, but Robert Schilling managed to bring something new and creative to the character. He starts with a few slight, but interesting tweaks to the Namekian himself, adding more detail to his muscle segments and giving him more defining facial features.
Where this design really shines is in the clothing.
Piccolo's simple, but effective clothing is given much more detail in Schilling's design. His base clothing now has a much more detailed fabric design, as do his shoes, which now look to be more than just leather bags. We also like the details in the sash and how Schilling replaced Piccolo's pink wrist muscles with red beads. Lastly, Piccolo's weighted clothing and cape are given some very interesting, slight changes that bring the whole redesign together.
For more of Schilling's work, check out his Deviantart gallery.
2 KASAI'S Z-FIGHTERS
It's always cool when Dragon Ball fans incorporate a bit more of Japanese mythology, culture, and clothing into their redesigns, like with RéJean DuBois' versions of the Z-fighters. The changes to these characters are somewhat subtle, but incredibly affective in giving them some cool updates.
The details of the sashes and gi on Goku, Piccolo, and Gohan make for some great martial arts imagery.
We also like how DuBois added a headband to Goku to make him appear more like Sun Wukong, the character on whom he was based. Even Vegeta's shoulder armor looks more like a gi top, fitting with the rest of the designs. Future Trunks also get subtle update, receiving come cool kneepads and gloves.
For more of DuBois' work, check out his Deviantart gallery.
1 HIPSTER ANDROIDS
Androids 17 and 18 already dress like hipsters, but Vince Aparo's redesign of the cybernetic siblings takes things to a whole new level. Aparo has provided 17 and 18 with some modern fashion, updating both their clothes and thier hairstyles.
Android 17's kerchief has been turned into an infinity scarf and he's been given a samurai-styled manbun. His shirt has been exchanged for a bulky letterman jacket and he's been given some new fasionable hiking boots and poofy cargo pants. Android 18 has gone full punk, her denim vest now acting as home to various pins. Her hairstyle is much more modern and she now sports a striped croptop, ripped punk jeans, and Doc Martens.
These Androids might destroy the world, but they'll sure as heck look good doing it. For more of Vince Aparo's art, including more fashionable Dragon Ball redesigns, check out his website.
Do you have any favorite Dragon Ball redesigns? Share them in the comments!