Vegeta is the Prince of the Saiyan race, a proud warrior, elite Saiyan soldier, and unrivaled pioneer of the meme industry. Originally an enemy of Goku’s, who himself was a low-class warrior, Vegeta’s desire to surpass Goku drives the series onwards even to this day. A straight-up villain in the Saiyan arc, Vegeta shows his depth in the Frieza saga, becoming an instant fan favorite, while his development would only continue thereafter. As Goku continues to leave Vegeta in the dust, the Saiyan Prince gains a begrudging respect for his long-time foe over the rest of the series, and the pair now maintain a healthy rivalry as dual protectors of Earth.
But this is all common knowledge to any Dragon Ball Z fan. As to what you might not know, stand by for hidden siblings, behind the scenes information, and a music video you won’t want to miss, as we count down 15 Things You Never Knew About Vegeta.
15 He is the Oldest Z Fighter
Whether Vegeta is indeed a Z Fighter is a debate for another day; the bottom line is that he is older than the recurring cast, with only a few exceptions. Majin Buu and the Kais have lived for many thousands of years, while Master Roshi is a good 300 years older than Vegeta. But Roshi is more or less out of the picture by the time Dragon Ball Z swings around, and none of the other returning characters are as old as the Saiyan Prince.
Vegeta was five when Goku was born, which makes him four years older than Krillin, while Piccolo is only four years older than Gohan. Yamcha, Tien, and Bulma come the closest – all three were born in Age 733, making them just a year younger than Vegeta. Due to his training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, the gap between Vegeta and the rest actually increases over time. By the end of the Buu saga, Vegeta is physically four years older than any other Z Fighter.
14 He Retained His Majin Power
Besides unleashing the evil in a person’s heart, and brandishing a sinister-looking M on their forehead, the Majin power-up also unlocks the victim’s hidden potential. Spopovich is living proof of this, having lost several times to Mr. Satan over the course of a long World Tournament rivalry, but changing in appearance and almost killing Videl after his Majin powers were awakened by Babidi. Majin Vegeta, otherwise known as Demon Prince, is no exception.
Vegeta lets Babidi take control of his mind so as to free him of his “petty attachments” (ironically, the first time Vegeta shows any outward affection towards Trunks and Bulma is when he is under Babidi’s influence). Demon Prince Vegeta is more than a match for Super Saiyan 2 Goku, at times dominating their rematch. When Vegeta sacrifices himself for his family and loses the Majin form, he is able to retain its power through continued training. The result is similar to how Goku maintains his Godly power despite losing the Super Saiyan God form, while Gohan, whose potential is unlocked by Elder Kai, is unable to reach his Ultimate state after neglecting his training.
13 He Kills the Entire Ginyu Force
Vegeta makes his way through just about every member of the Ginyu Force during his time on Namek, thanks to repeated Zenkai boosts and a couple of sneak attacks. He first decapitates Guldo, who is distracted battling Gohan and Krillin, with an energy blast to the neck. After Goku defeats Recoome and Burter, Vegeta kills the former with another energy wave, and the latter by snapping his neck. He later defeats Jeice in straight combat.
Despite overpowering Captain Ginyu, however, Vegeta is unable to kill him on Namek, as Ginyu is instead tricked into swapping bodies with a frog. The same frog returns in the Resurrection ‘F’ arc of Dragon Ball Super, swapping bodies with Frieza’s most powerful soldier Tagoma. Ginyu returns only to be swiftly defeated by Gohan, who lets him live. When Vegeta arrives however, he is not so lenient: destroying Ginyu with a blast and rounding out the set.
12 He Can Survive in Space
Throughout Dragon Ball Z, and in the Frieza saga specifically, it’s made abundantly clear to us that a Saiyan can’t breathe in the vacuum of space, but Vegeta had already disproved this theory in the Saiyan saga. In a particularly slow run of filler episodes, he and Nappa hover outside of their Saiyan pods as Vegeta destroys planet Arlia. Bardock also appears in space in a brief Frieza arc flashback. So what gives?
As it turns out, a Saiyan cannot breathe in space, but they can survive in space for a good while. Goku battles Beerus in Earth’s stratosphere, while both he and Vegeta have survived underwater for extended lengths of time. This can be credited to their enlarged lung capacity, which is far beyond an average human’s. So it makes sense that Vegeta can breathe in space long enough to blow up a planet, which was for so long considered a plot hole, but it also explains why Goku was unable to survive Namek’s destruction.
11 His Brother is Canon
You’d be forgiven for not knowing that Vegeta had a brother in the first place. Tarble (because Vegeta plus Tarble equals vegetable and that’s Toriyama) made his only anime appearance in the 2008 OVA Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return. The half-hour special opens with Tarble landing on Earth to ask his older brother for help. A pair of Frieza’s minions – Abo and Kado (there’s Toriyama again) – are terrorizing the universe, and Tarble himself proved no match for them, though he supposedly gave the evil duo a tough time.
Tarble is not a warrior; his lack of power and aggression meant that he was banished from planet Vegeta at a young age. This explains why he was absent through DBZ, and why Vegeta is so ambivalent toward him when they are reunited, because Tarble has been mentioned in recent canon. In Battle of Gods, Bulma wonders whether they can summon Tarble as the sixth pure-hearted Saiyan required to perform the Super Saiyan God transformation. Vegeta doesn’t know where his brother is, and so Tarble has yet to show up in the main series.
10 He’s Technically the King of all Saiyans
If it hasn’t been made clear already, Vegeta loves to refer to himself as the Prince of all Saiyans. If it wasn’t for a certain meme, it might even have been his catchphrase. The son of the King, Vegeta was next in line to the Saiyan throne, but then Frieza went and blew up the planet, and there was no one left for Vegeta to rule over. However, King Vegeta wasn’t killed in the explosion, but died moments before, falling from a single punch at Frieza’s hands. This meant that Vegeta, who was on a distant planet at this point, was the King of all Saiyans for all of a few minutes.
Why he doesn’t refer to himself as such is a mystery. The idea that he describes himself as the Prince out of respect for his father goes against everything we know about the Saiyans, as Vegeta would most likely have disregarded his father for being so easily defeated. It might be that a Saiyan King must be officially sworn it, and that Vegeta is simply upholding the traditions of his race. All we know for sure is that Vegeta surprisngly doesn’t take every possible chance to call himself a King.
9 A Japanese Comedian Impersonates Vegeta
Dragon Ball Z has fans all across the world, but there’s no place quite like home. The series is so engrained in Japanese pop culture that even the country’s comedians have managed to make a living off its success. The trend all started with R Fujimoto, who is best introduced by this music video, titled “Battleful Days”, which is absolutely one of the strangest things on the Internet, but also far catchier than you’re willing to admit.
The stars of the video are known as the Dragon Ball Comedians. The collective began when R Fujimoto donned the Saiyan armor and took to the stage as Vegeta, impersonating the Saiyan Prince and impressing Dragon Ball fans with his material and expertise. Since then, comedians dressed as Frieza, Cell, Piccolo, and Yamcha have followed suit, and the group regularly get together, led by Fujimoto, to hold live comedy shows which are making waves in Japan to this day.
8 He Doesn’t Know Anything About His Own Hair
Vegeta himself says “a pure Saiyan’s hair does not change from the day he is born,” following his year in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, but this is inconsistent with the series canon. While it is true that Goku’s hair has never changed, Vegeta is shown with strands of hair hanging from his forehead in the TV special Bardock – The Father of Goku, which would later recede into his infamous widow’s peak.
In the same special, Nappa is seen with a full head of hair, despite being completely bald through the events of the Saiyan saga. So while it is true that a Saiyan’s hair doesn’t grow beyond childhood, it is perfectly capable of falling out. This generally happens a lot later in life than when the average human male begins to lose their hair. The Saiyans maintain their youth for a longer period of time, allowing them to fight at the same level well into adulthood, but begin aging rapidly around the 50 year mark.
7 He Was Only Supposed to be Around for One Arc
Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama has a strange relationship with the Vegeta. The character is supposedly one of Toriyama’s least favorites (his favorite character being Piccolo), but Toriyama found Vegeta “extremely helpful” in developing storylines, and so kept bringing him back into the mix. Vegeta was initially a one-arc villain, but fans demanded his return, and Toriyama obliged, only to kill him off in the Frieza saga.
His death was due to the sheer number of fan letters begging for Vegeta not to be killed. Toriyama thought that by killing him, it would reverse expectations, but rumor has it that the death was intended to be permanent. Vegeta returned again when Dende used the Namekian Dragon Balls to wish back everyone Frieza had killed, and now it seems Toriyama has changed his mind entirely. Immediately after Battle of Gods was released, Toriyama stated that he would like Vegeta to take the lead role in an upcoming movie. Goku did eventually take the win in Resurrection ‘F’, but Vegeta was equally responsible for Frieza’s defeat.
6 Super Saiyan 3 Vegeta?
Vegeta has surpassed Super Saiyan 3 in just about every format; he reaches God-level in Resurrection ‘F’ and Dragon Ball Super and Super Saiyan 4 in Dragon Ball GT, while his only appearances as a Super Saiyan 3 have been in the video games. Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks is easily defeated even by Copy Vegeta in Dragon Ball Super, rendering the transformation more or less useless, so is it possible that Vegeta simply chooses not to use the form?
He has more than enough power for the transformation, but Vegeta, knowing how much energy the form drains from the user, may have no use for Super Saiyan 3. While under Baby’s control in GT, it is strongly suggested that Vegeta becomes a Super Saiyan 3, as the Tuffle/Saiyan hybrid lacks eyebrows and enlarges the browline in its strongest state. The theory is that Vegeta does have access to the form, but knows better than to use it. As to why it wasn’t available to him in the Buu saga, Goku had trained in Other World, where the form would have no effect on his body, while Gotenks was far more powerful than Vegeta at the time.
5 He Has a Sister-in-Law
It turns out Vegeta wasn’t the only one hiding a sibling from his other half. Bulma recently shocked her husband (assuming that the couple are actually married, as no wedding is mentioned in any form of Japanese canon) with the news that she has a sister. Tights, who of course follows the rest of the Brief family in being named after various types of underwear, is Bulma’s older sibling, and she currently resides on an island outside of the city.
Tights is a renowned science-fiction novelist, basing most of her work on her off-screen encounters with Jaco the Galactic Patrolman. As explained in the manga, the pair first meet when Jaco saves Tights from a group of muggers, and she has been talking Jaco into taking her to visit several planets ever since. Tights’ appearance in episode 29 of DBS is her first in live-action, and it would certainly be interesting to see how she would react to her little sister’s choice of companion.
4 He Appears in a Toriyama Gag Manga
Nekomajin is Toriyama’s self-parodic manga series, which stars all of your favorite characters reimagined as cat-like creatures. The story is most definitely non-canon, but the Z Fighters do supposedly exist in the same world, with Vegeta being the only one to actually make an appearance. Frieza also cameos, requesting that Vegeta find his son Kuriza, who has been missing for months.
Vegeta arrives on the scene as Kuriza plays soccer with another surviving Saiyan, Lord Onio, and the incredibly overpowered main character, Neko Majin Z. After Kuriza describes Neko Majin Z’s immense power, Vegeta calls him out for a fight, and the pair are evenly matched. Z transforms into Super Neko Majin, while Vegeta turns Super Saiyan, but before the battle can resume, Vegeta gets an important phone call and has to return home. Annoyed that the fight has been put on hold, Vegeta vows to “never appear in a gag manga ever again.”
3 His Most Famous Line Was a Dubbing Error
Just about anyone with access to the Internet has come across Vegeta’s “It’s over 9000!” meme; in fact, the quote is many people’s introduction to Dragon Ball Z, and in some cases, the only thing they know about the series. The phrase stems from the original Ocean dub, but it turns out that the line was somehow lost in translation. In both the manga and the Japanese version of the anime, the line actually reads “It’s over 8000!”
It may be that Ocean Group considered “9000” to be a better fit for the character’s animation, or that it more accurately portrayed Goku’s power level, but the general consensus is that the dub simply mistranslated the Japanese script. The line quickly became a pop culture catchphrase, to the point that the FUNimation dub was happy to roll with the mistake. That is until the recent Dragon Ball Z Kai dub atoned for the error, changing the line back to “8000” and confusing the hell out of first-time watchers.
2 English Attack Names
The Z Fighters’ signature techniques are well-known to DBZ fans, but those who have only seen the English dubs may be unaware that their English titles are only loose (and sometimes hilarious) translations of the original Japanese names. Piccolo’s Special Beam Cannon derives from the Japanese attack name, Makankosappo, which translates as something similar to “Demonic Piercing Light Murder Gun”, for example. The Spirit Bomb was originally the Genki Dama, the Destructo Disc was translated from Kienzan, and Tien Shinhan’s Tri-Beam was the Kikoho. The Kamehameha, incidentally, translates as “Turtle Devastation Wave”, so it makes sense that the name remained unchanged in the dub.
If you have seen the Japanese anime, then you might have noticed that Vegeta’s special moves are the same in both versions. The Galick Gun, Final Flash and Big Bang techniques are named as such in the original dub, making Vegeta the only character whose attacks have English names. This is supposedly because Toriyama wanted Vegeta to seem foreign and alien, and so his signature moves should be as out of place as he is.
1 Goku Has Never Beaten Him
Goku and Vegeta’s rivalry is the very heart of Dragon Ball Z, and their battles are considered some of the most memorable moments in the franchise. Their first encounter ends with Goku pretty comprehensively beaten by Vegeta. Though the pair were even in close combat, Vegeta was able to transform into his Great Ape state and overpower his rival. Their long-awaited rematch in the Buu saga also saw Vegeta come out the victor, this time after tricking Goku into letting his guard down and knocking him out with a cheap shot (although Vegeta would tell you he was dominating the fight even before that).
The pair are often seen sparring together, while Goku faces off against Copy Vegeta in the recent Universe 6 saga, but never is there a clear winner. Now in Dragon Ball Super, Vegeta has definitively surpassed Goku more than once, having achieved God status all on his own. While it may feel like Vegeta is always a step behind Goku (partly because he doesn’t stop moaning about it), he has proved consistently that he is more than a match for his lower-class frenemy.
What did we miss? Hit us with your Vegeta trivia in the comments!