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Who is the greatest villain in Dragon Ball Franchise and why?

Don’t be glum. You should actually be flattered. I’ve never had to summon this much of my power to defeat someone. Fifty percent of my maximum. That’s all that’s required for this.

Ever since this character was introduced in chapter 247 of the Dragon Ball manga, he has revolutionized the face of the franchise.

Whether or not you’re a fan of this Saiyan-hating mutant, you’re definitely going to agree that if there’s anyone that does villainy right, it’s Emperor Frieza.

Frieza is the greatest villain in the Dragon Ball franchise. He is the arch-nemesis of Goku and Vegeta. Frieza is super strong and always brings the best in both protagonists.

Dragon Ball has been great at creating villains with a memorable presence like Dr. Gero, the Ginyu Force, Demon King Piccolo, Cell, and Majin Buu, among others. But Frieza is quite certainly the most iconic villain in Dragon Ball, and in this article, I’ll tell you why.

What makes Frieza the best DB villain ever?

The fact that Frieza is not just a bad guy and is a fully rounded character makes him one of the most memorable entities in not just Dragon Ball but in all of manga and anime.

Frieza has a purpose, a personality, which just happens to clash with those of our protagonists.

Who is the greatest villain in the Dragon Ball franchise and why?
Frieza | Source: Fandom

This is what attributes to Frieza’s personal relationship with Goku and Vegeta, which in turn gives depth not just to Frieza as a villain, but brings perspective to the protagonists.

Frieza has time and again upped the stakes for our main characters, the best case in point being the latest chapter 87 of the Dragon Ball Super manga, “The Universe’s Strongest Appears.”

Frieza defeats the former mightiest character, Gas, and one-shots Goku in Mastered Ultra Instinct and Vegeta in Ultra Ego, their most powerful forms till date.

But what is interesting is that although it appeared that Frieza, in his Black Frieza form, could easily have killed Goku and Vegeta, he didn’t.

This reveals a few things about his character, whatever his true intention might have been behind not killing them.

Since the beginning, Frieza has meant to be the one that wreaks ultimate havoc on the world; he’s by no means the strongest character – we have Whis and Beerus for that – but he is the one who has caused the most chaos in the larger picture.

Who is the greatest villain in the Dragon Ball franchise and why?
Frieza | Source: IMDb

For starters, he’s the one that destroyed the Saiyan’s planet – Planet Vegeta.

This, along with being the direct motivation for antagonism for our protagonists, is also the perfect set up for his character arc.

The makers made sure that Frieza, an exception to even his own race, was someone the in-universe characters as well the audience was wary of.

The character of Frieza was originally based on real estate speculators or brokers during the time of the Japanese economic bubble. The creator of Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama, called them “the worst kind of people.”

Frieza, a cosmic broker who seized planets and either destroyed or sold them, was meant to be a cruel, heartless, and literally a cold-blooded murderer who loved what he did and did what he loved, no matter the consequences.

Death and destruction are his specialty, torture his indulgence.

When he impaled and tortured Krillin, a beloved character to all, the audience saw exactly what kind of monster Frieza was.

Of course, looking at it narratively, Frieza’s personality is an exact counter to Goku, but if this was all there was to him, he wouldn’t really be the greatest villain.

Frieza, like all the best villains, is civilized, polite, eloquent, and insane.

Who is the greatest villain in the Dragon Ball franchise and why?
Vegeta And Goku | Source: Fandom

He is much more refined than Goku and Vegeta, wittier, cleverer, and cooler. He’s a tyrant, but he does it with style. Since his first appearance, he took our expectations and threw them out the window.

Without putting in any kind of effort, Frieza simply busted Goku and Vegeta – and this happened time and again: he pushes them to their limits, has them surpassing him, and then himself emerges stronger – after which the whole cycle starts again.

The most memorable one was when Frieza trained for a mere 4 months and showed such a leap in power that he pushed Goku into Super Saiyan God. Goku gets the upper hand and pushes Frieza into Golden Frieza. Frieza gets the upper hand and pushes Goku into Super Saiyan Blue.

Post that, Goku gains Ultra Instinct while Frieza gains Black Frieza – and we all know how that ended up.

Goku and Vegeta can use god-like power and it took them years of training to reach that kind of level. Frieza innately seems to possess the kind of potential Goku and Vegeta could only dream of.

Who is the greatest villain in the Dragon Ball franchise and why?
Frieza and Goku | Source: Fandom

When he actually takes a piece out of their book and decides to train, all hell breaks loose.

So, what is stopping him from murdering these bratty Saiyans? Frieza’s own motivations.

In the Namek saga, he was much more aggressive – not because that’s who he was, but who he needed to be.

Frieza’s motivation at the time was obtaining the 7 Dragon Balls and immortality. He became increasingly desperate to fulfill this ambition and aimed to eliminate, in the worst possible manner, anyone who stood in his way – including Vegeta, whose spine he repeatedly broke.

When Frieza failed his quest and the added opportunity of making his immortality wish in the Namekian language, Frieza seemingly gave up on his aim of achieving immortality – maybe because he thought it was impossible, or maybe because he realized it was actually a trap.

After that, Frieza kind of eased up. Some fans believed that Frieza had actually become nicer or more tolerant, but the main reason was that his motivation had changed.

He arrived on Planet Cereal for something, and Goku and Vegeta weren’t it.

Frieza has always enjoyed the feeling of authority and power over not just Saiyans but any living creature; he loves showing Goku and Vegeta their place by frequently defeating them, calling them things like “little bug”, “mighty midget”, “miserable Saiyan monkey”, “puny pests”, among other delightful insults.

This makes him not just entertaining as a villain, but someone powerful enough to actually get away calling our protagonists such names.

Frieza controls Sidra's Hakai energy

While all this is what makes Frieza unique, it’s what’s happening unconsciously inside his heart and mind that are what make Frieza himself.

Take for example his initial denial at believing in the existence of a Super Saiyan. Frieza is afraid of true power, and a Super Saiyan is someone who directly threatens his own existence, much like Beerus, the God of Destruction – the only person he is afraid of.

He destroyed Planet Vegeta afraid of the legendary Super Saiyan, whom he apparently didn’t even believe in anyway.

Although Frieza says he refuses to tolerate cowardice (among bad haircuts and military insurrection), he does seem to have a trait of fear running directly beneath his ego and gallantry.  

Frieza is an evolving character: he doesn’t really change his inner traits, but he does develop. This means that Frieza will always add conflict to the narrative, wherever it’s going.

He’s the most competent and effective villain in the series, with a distinct personality that demands the attention of readers and characters alike. He’s never easy to fight or win over, and he always has something to say.

Frieza scores extra for actually coming quite close to solving some of his problems and achieving his goals – something that can’t be said for most other Dragon Ball villains.

Frieza has never failed to add some kind of dynamic to current events and character intentions.

He has his own problems apart from Goku and Vegeta – his life is separate from theirs and doesn’t revolve around them.

Who is the greatest villain in the Dragon Ball franchise and why?
Frieza | Source: Fandom

Frieza also shares a few heroic qualities, like giving respect when respect is due – to Goku and Frost, and never giving up. He also has his fair share of weaknesses, like overconfidence, underestimating his enemies, and narcissism – which, ironically humanizes him.

The best part is, Frieza directly links to the past, present, and future of the main characters, as well as lives completely outside of it, resulting in him having a kind of omnipresence in the series.

All these qualities make Frieza, truly, the greatest Dragon Ball villain of all time.

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About Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama’s brainchild, came into existence in 1984. It has spawned several manga, anime, films, and other media adaptations.

The initial series follows Son Goku and his adventures when he was a child. It is here that we are first introduced to Goku as he meets Bulma, Yamcha, and others.

He trains in martial arts and participates in the World Martial Arts Championship for the first time in this series.

Originally Written By Epic Dope

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Vansh Gulati

Vansh Gulati

Meet our very own Hinata Shoyo! - There is no anime or manga that he’s not aware of. Also the go-to guy for all things Epic at EML. He’s on a journey to discover life one bottle of sake at a time!
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