Dragon Ball Z remains one of the most impactful shows in my life and for good reason. Besides being the best and most important anime of all time, I began watching it at the perfect age. I was at the peak of impressionability and I needed a new set of heroes to obsess over. Goku became my standard of goodness. A fun-seeking man-child, who was also the strongest fighter in the universe. It was hard not to gravitate towards. During the shows “Saiyan Saga” we were introduced to Goku’s greatest nemesis, and ultimately best partner, Vegeta.
One of the flaws in most anime are the villains. They’re typically one-note characters with terrible plans and weak motivations. This was what made Vegeta so interesting throughout the Dragon Ball Z series. A warrior, who’s entire race and home was destroyed by Frieza. He was used as a mercenary for years growing to hate the warlord for killing his people and ruining his destiny. Vegeta was the Prince of All Saiyans on the planet bearing his name. He would’ve eventually been king if it wasn’t for Frieza. The pride he had for his race and royal blood fueled his motivation to grow stronger. His ultimate goal was to kill Frizea and avenge his people. When he heard of the Dragon Balls he saw the perfect opportunity. He came to earth expecting no challenge and found the opposite. Not only was he beat within inches of his life, he was defeated by a lower class Sayian, who lacked training to the pedigree of Vegeta’s. Then Goku became a Super Saiyan before him and defeated Frieza. The revenge Vegeta was after was achieved by Goku. This “common peasant” had become the strongest fighter in the universe and Vegeta could barely keep up. At the beginning of the “Majin Buu Saga,” Goku and Vegeta had one of the best battles in all of Dragon Ball Z. We realized how much Goku’s strength hurt Vegeta’s Saiyan pride, and despite settling down and starting a family, he was still not satisfied being weaker than Goku. Majin Vegeta Vs. Goku was the last fight they had against one another and they were evenly matched (at least Vegeta thought so, unbeknownst to him Goku reached Super Saiyan 3 by then). The Saiyan who adopted earth as his home, and the Prince who was forced to do so.
While Goku is fighting Kid Buu Vegeta comes to accept Goku as the best and I believe that is his ultimate victory and the proper end to his story. One of the greatest rivalries I’ve ever had a chance to witness. A Villain-turned Anti-Hero. Vegeta’s character arc throughout Dragon Ball Z is easily the best of any character is the Dragon Ball Universe.