It’s honestly kind of amazing just how important Vegeta has become in the context of Dragon Ball’s greater narrative. Introduced as the main villain in the seventh arc of a ten arc manga, Vegeta went on to quickly dominate the story’s screen time, even surpassing Goku in the Cell saga. By the end of the Buu saga, he was the series’ definitive deuteragonist, standing tall next to Goku right to the very end. Naturally, Vegeta’s something of a fan favorite in the franchise, consistently charting popularity polls. Of course, being such a popular character likewise means that few fans actually understand him.
A good chunk of the praise thrown of Vegeta is quite superficial. People want to see him defeat the main bad guys and surpass Goku in terms of power, but those two things never happening is exactly what makes Vegeta a good character. The moment Vegeta defeats a main antagonist or permanently surpasses Goku is the moment Dragon Ball loses its soul and Vegeta loses what makes him compelling. He’s a character with a lot of depth, but he didn’t start that way. As a result, some fans get attached to that early depiction of Vegeta, so bitter and eager to be better. That isn’t really him, though. Vegeta is more than his rivalry.
25 Vegeta Has Never Lost To Goku
Believe it or not, Goku has never actually beaten Vegeta nor has Vegeta ever actually beaten Goku. Both of their original series fights end not exactly with Vegeta as the victor, as he does lose in his own right which we’ll touch upon later, but not exactly the loser either. At least in regards to Goku.
He's 2-2 so far.
In their first fight, Goku wins the beam struggle but doesn’t have any energy left to fight off Vegeta, effectively losing. In their rematch, the fight never actually ends. Vegeta asks Goku to stop and then knocks him out while he’s distracted, choosing to fight on his rival’s behalf. That said, Vegeta never losing to Goku isn’t really a big deal.
24 Which Actually Isn’t The Point Of Their Rivalry
Mainly because their rivalry isn’t built on the idea that Vegeta has ever explicitly lost to Goku. Rather, their whole rivalry revolves around the fact that Vegeta feels like he personally couldn’t keep up with Goku when he, by all accounts, should have defeated him easily. Even if Vegeta won, it wouldn’t be enough.
In Vegeta’s eyes, and for a very long time at that, he saw Goku as inherently lesser. As a low-class warrior, Goku should never have been able to keep up with Vegeta, let alone surpass him. Vegeta sincerely believes that he is entitled to be definitively stronger in every sense, but he can’t seem to keep up. That’s what drives their rivalry.
23 Super Saiyan Evolution Isn’t Stronger Than Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken
One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding the anime’s version of the Tournament of Power is that Vegeta’s Super Saiyan Evolution puts him on the same level as Ultra Instinct -Omen- Goku. While a fine enough idea, in theory, Super Saiyan Evolution has been confirmed equal to Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken.
SSE's got nothing on SSBKK.
Even without direct confirmation, Super Saiyan Evolution’s showing in the Tournament of Power was really no better than Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken. Vegeta arguably did even worse against Jiren than Goku did before he got Ultra Instinct. This is to say nothing of Jiren straight up holding back.
22 Vegeta Gets The Last Word In The Manga
One of the biggest bones Toriyama threw Vegeta was in the manga’s Kanzenban rerelease. Rather than simply ending the series on Goku flying away to train Uub, one lone panel remains at the very end where Vegeta exclaims that he’ll go on to surpass Goku even still, and that marks the very end of the series.
While an interesting final battle, let’s try to imagine what it means. This could be Toriyama’s way of reconciling GT’s existence into the manga continuity by hinting that the series defining rivalry isn’t over yet. Of course, the problem is that GT Vegeta doesn’t care about being Goku’s rival so it could just be Toriyama wanting to end on a less sentimental note.
21 GT Vegeta Is The Most Developed He’s Ever Been
Speaking of Dragon Ball GT, although the series is far from well loved in the community, the anime only sequel actually does a much better job at writing Vegeta than Super does. Mainly because GT isn’t afraid to actually let Vegeta be a developed character. Rather than falling back on his rivalry with Goku, he’s over it.
GT had to do something right.
This results in Vegeta actively teaming up with Goku when necessary, spending more time with his family, and putting his pride on the sidelines at the end of the series to forgo training in favor of artificially pushing himself to Super Saiyan 4. Vegeta’s all grown up and he’s a far better character for it.
20 Toriyama Actually Does Like Vegeta
For whatever reason, the fandom has latched onto this idea that Toriyama does not like Vegeta when this couldn’t be further from the truth. Toriyama very clearly likes Vegeta a great deal, otherwise, he wouldn’t keep shoving him into the story front and center. Just look at how much Vegeta is used.
He’s the deuteragonist in the Freeza saga; gets the most screen time in the Cell arc; plays a major role in the ultimate defeat of Majin Buu; gets some good hits in against Beerus in Battle of Gods; humiliates Freeza in Resurrection F; fights four out of Universe 6’s five fighters; defeats Goku Black; and gets a new form in the Tournament of Power.
19 Vegeta’s Character Arc In Super Isn’t Original
Although Vegeta does quite a bit of legwork in Dragon Ball Super, it perhaps is not for the best. Mainly due to the fact that his character arc in Super is blatantly a retread of his character arc from the original series. There is nothing original about his arc. In fact, it’s actually a regression for his character.
Not even GT was this derivative.
Rather than moving on from his rivalry with Goku, as the Buu saga implied, Vegeta is back to lusting after his rival’s power and frothing at the mouth from not being stronger than him. All his big moments in the series are just references to the original series, like his final atonement. Vegeta’s arc was done better in the original series.
18 Vegeta Fights More Than Goku
For the main character, Goku doesn’t actually fight all too often after the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai. Toriyama starts saving him for special moments. As a result, pretty much all of Goku’s fights end up being the best in the series, but they don’t happen as frequently as they once did. It perhaps goes without saying that this means Vegeta fights more than Goku.
In every single arc in the series, save for the anime’s version of the Tournament of Power, Vegeta has fought more than Goku. Vegeta fights almost all of Freeza’s men; the most forms of Cell; and 80% of Universe 6. There’s just no way Goku can keep up at this point in terms of sheer fight quantity.
17 Vegeta Almost Never Loses
On that note, despite fighting so much, Vegeta rarely loses. Mind you, there are some fans who insist all Vegeta does is lose, but that’s only ever to the main antagonists. Vegeta has it really good when it comes to lesser villains. He basically gets a free pass to dominate them with next to no consideration for the rest of the cast.
Seriously, Vegeta doesn't lose enough.
If it weren’t for Goku’s amazing track record in the first six-story arc, Vegeta’s win/loss ratio would be much higher than his rival’s at this point. Goku loses at an alarming frequency. If you’re a Vegeta fan and you complain about how much he loses, reevaluate and reconsider just how well he does.
16 Vegeta Does Not Care About The Saiyans
There is not a single moment in the series that even remotely implies some semblance of affection on Vegeta’s part towards the Saiyans. When Nappa wants to revive Raditz, Vegeta simply scoffs at the idea since Raditz was so weak. When Nappa wants to make Saiyan half breeds, Vegeta doesn’t want to see the race revived.
Even in his final moments on Namek, Vegeta specifies to Goku in complete clarity that he doesn’t hate Freeza for what he did to the Saiyans. He hates Freeza for what he did to himself. There is not a single part of Vegeta that cares for the Saiyan race outside of a conceptual sense that fuels his pride.
15 Vegeta Didn’t Love Bulma Until The Buu Saga
While Vegeta and Bulma’s romance is a given at this point considering how long they’ve been together in and out of universe, their love story did not start that way. Vegeta didn’t even love her at first. It’s not until the Buu saga where Vegeta shows Bulma anything even remotely resembling conventional love.
Bulma's a more patient woman than most.
Keep in mind that this isn’t up for debate either. It’s not an implication. Vegeta blatantly did not care about Bulma in the Cell saga. He even nearly lets her blow up from an attack directed by Dr. Gero. Were it not for Future Trunks, Bulma, and baby Trunks would have met their end. Vegeta simply did not care.
14 Vegeta Genuinely Sees Goku As A Friend (In The Manga)
Even though the anime likes to push this idea of an eternal rivalry between Vegeta and Goku, Dragon Ball Super’s manga adaptation actually takes a more realistic approach. After years of trying to one-up him, Vegeta comes to see Goku as a genuine friend in the manga. He’s still crabby, but way more friendly.
Their two most friendly moments come when they fight Merged Zamasu together and later Jiren. In the former, Vegeta is ready to lose his life to keep Trunks alive. Goku sees this and follows suit, deciding to fall next to his comrade which Vegeta meets with a smile. In the Tournament of Power, Vegeta saves Goku from a ring out and then propositions the two work together in earnest.
13 Why Vegeta Should Never Beat A Main Villain
Vegeta isn’t the main character. That’s seriously the best reason as to why he shouldn’t defeat a main villain. Gohan was the main character once so it made sense, but Dragon Ball is ultimately Goku’s story and that means the series’ antagonists should naturally be linked more to Goku than Vegeta.
It would be horrible, that's why.
On top of that, Vegeta’s arc simply does not work if he can defeat who Goku cannot. That’s not the crux of their relationship. Vegeta needs to be second fiddle and he needs to accept that. Otherwise, he has no meaningful arc. Any instance of Vegeta defeating a main villain would lessen the series’ greater narrative.
12 Vegeta Defeating Buu Would Have Been A Disaster
Which is exactly what would have happened had Vegeta managed to somehow obliterate Majin Buu with his final atonement not even a third into the Buu arc. It would have been the most anticlimactic finale to the story arc with next to no build up. The Buu saga is blatantly not Vegeta’s story.
Vegeta failing to defeat Buu doesn’t diminish the moment either. The point is that Vegeta chose to sacrifice himself, not that the sacrifice did anything. Wanting Vegeta to defeat Buu shows a distinct lack of understanding in regards to how a story should proceed narratively and thematically.
11 Immortality Would Not Have Helped Vegeta Beat Freeza
Had Vegeta managed to wish for immortality during the Namek saga, he would have found himself stuck in servitude to Freeza for the rest of his life for one key reason: no more Zenkais. Zenkais require one to be on the brink of life, but immortality means Vegeta would never come close to perishing.
Bet you wish you weren't immortal now, Vegeta.
As is, Vegeta would be permanently weaker than Freeza’s second form and would never be able to get enough Zenkais to become a Super Saiyan. Freeza would dominate him and keep him enslaved. It’s actually quite morbid when you think about it. Good thing the wish got interrupted.
10 Vegeta’s Arlia Episode Is All Filler
Vegeta and Nappa’s violent trip to Planet Arlia is all filler, and the series is honestly better off for not having it in canon. At the time, it may have seemed like a good idea on Toei’s part to earlier characterize the arc’s two main villains, but it has some very unfortunate implications in hindsight, especially since Vegeta becomes a main character.
In the context of Vegeta’s later development, Planet Arlia comes off very, very bad. It’s one thing to know that Vegeta was a monster before his redemption, but it’s another to see it outright in vivid detail. There’s a reason we never see Vegeta do anything too awful in the manga. The anime doesn’t have that luxury, however.
9 Vegeta Was Stronger Than Goku At The Start Of The Cell Saga
There is one specific moment other than the Saiyan saga where Vegeta was definitively stronger than Goku: the start of the Cell arc. More specifically, the start of the Cell arc after the three year time skip. For the only time in the series, Vegeta surpasses Goku through sheer training once he becomes a Super Saiyan.
It doesn't last long.
As Vegeta naturally has a higher Battle Power than Goku, this is actually a natural outcome, but keep in mind that Goku was always training with fighters far weaker than him. His only training partners where Piccolo and Gohan, and he likely was making sure to train both himself. There was no way Goku was going to match Vegeta.
8 Vegeta Defeating Freeza Would Have Ruined Resurrection F
There is no scenario in Resurrection F where Vegeta getting the finishing blow on Freeza doesn’t utterly ruin the movie. When it comes down to it, this is a film entirely about failure and for its thematic backbone to shine clearly, Vegeta needs to fail in defeating Freeza thanks to his fatal flaw.
An overthinker, Vegeta waits a second too long when staring down Freeza. While contemplating what to do to him, Freeza destroys the Earth and Vegeta with it. In rewinding time, Whis gives Goku a brief moment to swoop in and take out Freeza before Vegeta can let him destroy the entire planet, tying the film up thematically.
7 Vegeta Could Not Have Defeated Hit
Both the anime and manga posit different reasons as to why Vegeta failed so spectacularly against Hit during the Universe 6 Tournament arc. In the former, it’s because he simply couldn’t catch Hit’s time skip soon enough. In the latter, it’s due to him wasting all his energy with Super Saiyan Blue. Is there a scenario where he could have won?
To be fair, neither could Goku.
Not really, no. Even if Vegeta caught Hit’s time skip technique, he would have no way of overpowering it. He’s not as strategic a fighter as Goku nor does he have Kaioken to help him out. In the manga, it’s more or less the same case. Goku is simply more skilled in dealing with Hit’s time skip. Vegeta loses either way.
6 Vegeta Is Naturally More Skilled Than Goku
Goku is not a prodigy. While he is the strongest mortal in Universe 7, he is only the strongest due to how competently he trains himself. He is a savant when it comes to fighting, but all his skill was built up gradually over time. Vegeta, on the other hand, is a legitimate fighting prodigy from birth.
Vegeta is skilled enough where he managed to fight on par with a Kaioken x 3 Goku after never having a trained a day in his life. Even without a Zenkai, Vegeta was ferociously powerful. He’s the one with the natural talent, not Goku. With that in mind, why does Vegeta keep falling behind? It’s actually quite simple.
5 Vegeta Trains Hard, Not Smart
Many fans believe that because Vegeta trains so much and so hard, he should naturally be far stronger than Goku at this point. These fans need to either reread or rewatch the Cell saga which actually comments on this concept directly. Although Vegeta trains hard, he consistently refuses to train smart.
All work and no play makes Vegeta a bad rival.
Not only does Goku train with others, he allows himself to take breaks from training. Goku rests his body and his training sessions always involve someone else to help push him. Vegeta trains alone and constantly. He almost never takes breaks and he outright refuses to train with Trunks leading up to the Cell Games. It’s no wonder he struggles to keep up.
4 We Don't’ Actually Know How Vegeta Turns Super Saiyan
All instances of Vegeta turning Super Saiyan for the first time are 100% filler. Not once in the manga does Vegeta explain how he managed to turn into a Super Saiyan. Interestingly, this is actually the case for all of Vegeta’s forms save for Super Saiyan Evolution. He almost always gets his forms off screen.
We don’t know if he had Super Saiyan 2 before or after becoming Majin; we never saw him get Super Saiyan God, and many fans even theorized that he straight up skipped it; and Super Saiyan Blue happened entirely off-screen in every single continuity. Canonically, we have no clue how Vegeta keeps getting forms.
3 Vegeta Was Still Evil In Trunks’ Timeline
Vegeta did not perish a good man in Future Trunks’ timeline. By the time Androids 17 and 18 arrive on the scene, it’s simply too early for Vegeta to actually have redeemed himself. Keep in mind that Vegeta was still pure evil in the main timeline when he fought Android 19 which means his Future counterpart wasn’t a good man either.
It's honestly surprising how long Vegeta was actually a villain for.
This is best seen when Future Trunks tells Bulma that he’s excited to meet his father. Bulma quickly shoots the idea down by telling him not to get his hopes up, and the conversation changes trajectory. Vegeta didn’t even love Bulma by this point. It’s only through meeting Future Trunks that Vegeta begins to defrost.
2 Vegeta Won’t Keep His Body In The Afterlife
Given how the afterlife is depicted in filler, fans have gotten the idea that characters always keep their body when they pass away. After all, Goku kept his both times he met his end. This is a misconception, though. The manga clearly states that most people become souls when they pass on, and Piccolo specifically says that this will be Vegeta’s fate.
When it comes down to it, for as good as Vegeta may now be, he was simply too evil for most of his life to be granted a body. Even sacrificing his life in the Buu saga isn’t enough to gain him a body. When he passes on, that’ll be it for him. His eternal rival will continue training for all eternity while Vegeta goes through the reincarnation process.
1 Vegeta Would Not Care About Beerus Ordering Planet Vegeta’s Destruction
In light of the new movie, the fandom has become more or less obsessed with the idea of Vegeta finding out that Beerus ordered Planet Vegeta’s destruction and getting mad enough to challenge him to a fight. Nobody should need to be told how absurd this scenario is, yet here we are.
Neither should you.
Never in a million years would Vegeta care enough about Beerus destroying Planet Vegeta because Vegeta straight up does not care about the Saiyans. Especially at this point in the story where he’s developed so much. Plus, Vegeta fighting Beerus does nothing good for the story. Vegeta realistically would not win so the status quo is left untouched after a pointless and meaningless fight.