The concept of Dragon Ball Z is inherently weird. Characters fly around at high speeds firing energy out of their hands and if someone dies, no problem! Summoning a dragon with seven magic balls will put things right. It’s little surprise then, that some of the many fighters shown throughout the series aren’t your usual ‘martial arts and ki attacks’ types but actually offer something a little stranger.
Some characters also delve deep into author Akira Toriyama’s science fiction influences and end up looking like something straight out of the Mos Eisley Cantina. Unfortunately, these fighters don’t tend to stick around too long and those that do often quickly move away from the front lines of battle. This list will be exploring some of the stranger characters in the Dragon Ball franchise that, for whatever reason, fans don’t get too see in action very often.
Here are 15 Weird Fighters We Barely Get To See.
Goku’s second stint in the afterlife wasn’t anywhere near as memorable or as interesting as the first but it did at least yield a new fan-favorite character in the form of Pikkon. Similar in appearance to a Namekian and with a similar moral stance to Goku, Pikkon is the strongest student of the West Kai and competes with Goku during the Other World Martial Arts Tournament. Surprisingly, Pikkon easily rivals Goku’s Super Saiyan strength, pushing him to ascend to Super Saiyan 3, and his ability is further demonstrated when he easily disposes of Frieza and Cell during their trouble-making spree in the afterlife.
Pikkon’s extremely alien appearance and unique fighting style undoubtedly make him one of the most interesting rarely seen characters in the anime. Although largely a filler creation, Pikkon made a big impression during his fleeting appearances in the franchise and it’s a shame that his presence is so limited.
One of the Dragon Ball series’ newest characters is also one of its most mysterious. Whis is the first true on-screen angel character to appear and despite a demure and unassuming appearance, he is quickly revealed to be even stronger than the God of Destruction himself, Beerus. The aloof aide to the gods rarely gets involved in combat directly and when he does, it’s usually to either restrain Beerus from causing too much damage or to rewind time and give the Z Fighters another chance to sort things out themselves.
More recently, Whis has even been lending his training expertise to Goku and Vegeta, however these sparring sessions aside, fans have yet to see the angel properly enter combat mode and cut loose on an opponent. Given Whis’ origins, he’s likely to have some seriously weird and outrageous abilities, yet as things stand, the character’s fighting style and strength remains a mystery.
Dragon Ball Z-only fans may not believe it but that little clown-like thing with red cheeks that relentlessly follows Tien around was actually a genuine fighter in the early days of the Dragon Ball series. A student of Master Shen, Chiaotzu is capable of using lethal moves such as the Dodon Ray and psychic abilities to boot. He memorably even sacrificed himself in an attempt to stop Nappa. After returning from the afterlife however, Chiaotzu has seemed reluctant to involve himself in battle any further which is unfortunate given the character’s weird and wonderful abilities.
Whilst it’s understandable that being blown to pieces during battle might dampen a person’s enthusiasm for fighting – and most supporting Z Fighters have taken a back seat as the franchise has progressed – Chiaotzu has always offered a different type of combat to the other protagonists and many fans would’ve liked to see him exercise his weirdness a little more often.
Unlike many entries on this list, Yajirobe doesn’t physically look strange, nor does he use an especially weird style of fighting. What makes Yajirobe stand out from the crowd is purely his oddball personality. Although he displayed some fighting spirit during his debut appearance, Yajirobe is mostly painted as a coward who wants nothing more than to let Goku and co. do the hard work, while he sits back and enjoys a large meal and a nap.
When the Z Fighters’ chips are really down however, the character has been seen on several occasions to make critical contributions to important battles such as cutting Vegeta’s tail off after his Oozaru transformation and more recently, helping out Goku and Trunks during their battle against Black and Zamasu. Although incidences of Yajirobe’s usefulness are few and far between, fans wouldn’t want the character any other way and his appearances remain moments of nostalgic glee for long-time Dragon Ball viewers.
With their dangling antennae and ability to spew eggs out of their mouths to reproduce, all Namekians could be considered a little bit weird. Aside from Piccolo, Nail is one of the planet’s most notable fighters, managing to put up a solid effort against Frieza and his henchmen and the character could’ve potentially gone on to become a popular figure in Dragon Ball Z in his own right.
Before this could happen however, Nail nobly fused with Piccolo in an attempt to form a Namekian capable of beating the tyrant Frieza and since Piccolo’s personality remained the more dominant after the merging, the character of Nail is essentially done away with relatively quickly after his introduction to the franchise. Nail’s abilities are even weirder in the world of Dragon Ball video games, as he is given the power to enlarge his limbs or greatly expand his entire body at will.
10 Fangs The Vampire
A deep cut from the original Dragon Ball series, Fangs comes from an era of the franchise which was less influenced by science fiction and aliens and based its villains more around supernatural and classic horror influences. Fangs works for Master Roshi’s sister, Fortuneteller Baba, and acts as one of her combatants during an impromptu fighting tournament which Goku and his friends must win to gather information about the Dragon Balls.
Fangs’ fighting style is anything but orthodox and the vampire manages to eliminate Krillin by biting his bald head and sucking out most of his blood. Predictably, Fangs can also morph into a bat. Making him even stranger is the fact that after besting Krillin – who was then a more than capable student of Master Roshi – Fangs is eliminated by Yamcha’s pet Puar. As you might expect, Fangs was a one-time-only novelty character and his role in the tournament marks his only significant appearance in the Dragon Ball story.
9 King Yemma
With all the evil-doers the Z Fighters are sending to the Other World on a consistent basis, it would surely take a being of considerable strength to keep all those angry souls in line in the afterlife. Luckily the man tasked with such a responsibility is none other than the formidable ogre King Yemma. After sacrificing himself to defeat Raditz, Goku meets Yemma for the first time and asks whether his evil brother had passed through the checkpoint before him and to the Saiyan's surprise, Yemma tells Goku he’d already taken Raditz down with his famous ‘Yemma Lock’ technique.
Although Kami confirms that Yemma isn’t on the same level as King Kai, his completion of Snake Way demonstrates how capable a fighter Yemma is and as such, it’s a shame he never got to display his power on-screen. Dragon Ball fans would have surely loved to see the Yemma Lock in all its glory.
8 Supreme Kai
Supreme Kai has a significant role in the latter part of Dragon Ball Z but despite his ongoing presence, the Kai rarely gets an opportunity to show what he can do in battle. This is especially odd given Piccolo’s reaction when the character first appears during the World Martial Arts tournament. The normally unflappable Namekian is visibly shaken by the Kai’s presence and even acts uncharacteristically respectfully towards the mysterious figure. Although this introduction sets the Supreme Kai up as a being of great power, he is quickly relegated to a mild-mannered character who rarely gets involved in combat.
This is somewhat disappointing as when Supreme Kai does fight, his style is highly unconventional, able to use invisible blasts of ki and a form of movement similar to Goku's Instant Transmission. Alas, for a long time now, the Kai has been a background figure who relies on Goku and the Z Fighters to do the dirty work, however a recent manga chapter of Dragon Ball Super showed a future version of Supreme Kai fighting alongside Trunks to prevent the resurrection of Buu.
7 King Cold
So strong was the impact of Frieza upon the Dragon Ball fandom, that when the villain’s father was revealed, the excitement was tangible. King Cold looked every bit as weird and alien as his son but his larger frame and more intimidating physique immediately established Frieza’s old man as a being to be feared. Of course, the story arc wasn’t really about King Cold, it was about the arrival of Future Trunks and making him look like an absolute beast by having him cut through the father and son duo like warm butter.
The scene gave Dragon Ball Z one of its most memorable moments and as disappointing as it was to see a potentially amazing villain cut down before he could make any kind of impression, it served the story well and most fans are unlikely to have any complaints over how things played out. Imagine the possible transformations he could have undergone though...
Each and every member of the infamous Ginyu Force can be classified as ‘weird’ with their goofy posing and indomitable team spirit but Guldo stands out as the oddest for several reasons. Whilst his four team-mates visually appear to be capable fighters, Guldo’s squat stature instantly marks him out as an anomaly. It isn’t just his appearance that’s odd however, as instead of using traditional fighting techniques, Guldo is one of the few characters in the franchise capable of manipulating time in order to defeat opponents.
Sadly, Guldo’s tenure on Dragon Ball Z is cut short by the Saiyan Prince Vegeta who swiftly and mercilessly disposes of him. Although not mentioned at the time, time manipulation is highly illegal in the Dragon Ball universe and if used by a powerful being such as Hit, can be devastating. It could have been interesting to find out how Guldo and his unique powers would’ve fared in the series’ later arcs however.
In the lead up to Buu’s resurrection, both Babidi and the Supreme Kai were shocked to discover that none of the wizard’s supposedly powerful fighters were a match for the likes of Goku, Vegeta and Gohan. Even the fearsome Dabura paled when faced with the Super Saiyan onslaught. One enemy that offered a more unique threat however, was Goku’s opponent Yakon.
Hailing from Dark Star, Yakon is said to be one of the most renowned beings in the galaxy and he surprises Goku with his ability to consume light. This quickly becomes a problem for the hero as Yakon is able to eat Goku’s Super Saiyan energy, reverting him back to his base form. This could have been an extremely useful power in the hands of a more intelligent villain but Yakon is overcome by greed and eventually explodes after munching more than his stomach could handle and the villain is never seen in canon form again.
4 Bandages The Mummy
Much like Fangs The Vampire, Bandages forms part of Fortuneteller Baba’s team of supernatural fighters in her martial arts tournament in Dragon Ball. Somewhat confusingly, Bandages muddles his classic horror history by sleeping in a coffin rather than a sarcophagus but, nevertheless, is a capable fighter. The mummy manages to beat Yamcha with relative ease and Roshi even doubts Goku’s ability to take the creature down.
Of course Goku does manage to pick up the win and Bandages is revealed to be one of those classic anime villains so unfamiliar with pain due to usually facing weak opponents, they crumble when they actually do take a punch. Some of the weird techniques Bandages employs during the tournament include using his wrappings to ensnare opponents and a Torture Rack-style wrestling technique. Bandages The Mummy does at least get two opportunities to demonstrate his fighting skill but remains restricted to a few episodes, although both he and Fangs are shown later in the series contributing to Goku’s Spirit Bomb.
Nam may not be strange in appearance but in terms of fighting style, the World Martial Arts Tournament Competitor is certainly a step outside of the norm. With a finishing technique that involves leaping into the air and landing on an opponent in a manner similar to an Olympic diver, Nam isn’t your standard Dragon Ball fighter and his back story reveals he is fighting in order to afford water for his poor village, showing an emotional core to the stoic warrior.
Although Nam certainly had the potential to become a recurring character, he only reappeared in filler segments and did so right up until the Dragon Ball GT era. Whilst his own appearances in the franchise are limited, Nam’s touching back story is recycled more or less wholesale when Uub emerges, proving that Akira Toriyama clearly had faith in the concept of Nam’s character, even if the man himself wasn’t give much screen time.
2 Android 19
Out of all the various android characters that rear their heads in Dragon Ball Z, Android 19 is perhaps the weirdest and the most under-utilized. A creepy and high-pitched robotic voice in the English dub partnered with a cold and emotionless stare made Android 19 immediately odd and its ability to sap the energy out of opponents via its hands – the technique Dr. Gero uses to leave Yamcha a sorry mess on the floor – helped 19 live up to the androids’ fearsome reputation.
Comments made by Akira Toriyama in previous interviews have suggested that Android 19 was originally intended to be one of the arc’s main antagonists but was eventually swapped out during the development process for the more conventional looking Androids 17 and 18. As such, this older model was swiftly decimated at the hands of Vegeta, never to be seen again and given how well received 17 and 18 would go on to be, this was probably a wise decision.
The Red Ribbon Army Saga in Dragon Ball featured plenty of enemies who came and went without much fuss but most of them were gun-toting humans rather than weird-looking alien types. The exception comes in the form of Buyon, a bright pink pet belonging to General White that helps guard Muscle Tower – the Red Ribbon stronghold that Goku infiltrates. The creature is shown to be incredibly resilient, resisting all of the young Saiyan’s physical attacks as well as his trademark Kamehameha technique and striking back with electrical based moves.
In a rare occurrence, Goku manages to use his intelligence to defeat an enemy. He uses the cold outside air to freeze the creature and proceeds to shatter the frozen Buyon with one swift kick. Much like Yakon, Buyon is as close to a typical one-fight-only enemy as you could find in the Dragon Ball series but there’s no doubt he’s one of the weirdest fighters the franchise has to offer.
Dragon Ball Super continues February 4th on Adult Swim.