• Anime Underground

15 Dragon Ball Universe Heroes Who Were Introduced As Villains

Vegeta is one of the most well-known of the anime villains who redeem themselves and become heroes, but he actually isn't the only character from the Dragon Ball universe to make such a transition. In fact, the majority of Goku's friends were once people who directly opposed him in some way. 

Some Dragon Ball heroes who started as villains, like Vegeta and Piccolo, have well-known arcs with memorable transitions from villainy to heroism. Their motives for bad deeds are understandable, and their reasons for changing make sense too. Others, like Oolong or the Pilaf Gang, have motivations that aren't as well explored but are still entertaining. 

Which bad guy turned good is your favorite?

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  • Out of all of the characters on this list, Vegeta is probably the most famous for his about-face. He came to Earth with the intention of not only defeating Goku but also annihilating anyone who got in his way as a display of power. 

    The full story of his shift from evil to good is too complex to discuss in full here, but the short version is that going from a situation where his choices were either take lives or grapple with his own substantial losses to one where he could develop genuine emotional bonds led him to give up on villainy.  By the end of the series, he's still gruff and competitive, but he's also a caring father and husband 

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  • When Piccolo first appeared, his primary goal was to destroy Goku - and he had a darn good reason for it. Goku not only defeated Piccolo's father in a tournament, he also ended his life. But when the two of them fight and Picollo loses, Goku decides to spare Piccolo's life, leading him to change up his loyalties and become not just an ally, but Gohan's mentor.

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  • 3

    Android 17 & 18

    Both Android 17 & 18 were kidnapped by Dr. Gero and scientifically modified against their will. For a while, they do Dr. Gero's bidding, even going so far as to destroy entire cities in the name of taking out Goku. Neither show any real remorse for a while, but they slowly rediscover their own free will and give up on villainy.

    The two eventually renounce their evil ways and move onto more satisfying lives. Android 18 marries Krillin and has a daughter named Marron, while Android 17 adopts two kids and becomes a park ranger. 

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  • Majin Buu first appears as Kid Buu, an evil demon of immense power who is willing and able to destroy everything in his path. After consuming the Grand Supreme Kai, he splits off into multiple forms, including "Innocent Buu" who is destructive because he doesn't know any better, not because he wants to cause harm. With guidance from Mr. Satan on how to exist in society - as well as some help from the Dragon Balls in forgetting his past sins - Buu becomes one of the good guys. 

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