Dragon Ball Z is what many people think of when they're asked to name a great anime series. It was many people's first foray into the world of anime, and because of that, it's one that a lot of people remember as being one of the greats. They always say that you tend to have "nostalgia goggles" on when talking about something you loved as a kid, but in the case of Dragon Ball Z, it's honestly just a good show no matter how you look at it. There's a reason why there've been so many spinoff/sequel series, video games, merchandise, and all sorts of other things that kind of tie into the series without being 100% canon. People love this show, and with good reason.
When people love a show as much as they love Dragon Ball Z, they'll often try and show their passion for it in various ways. One of the ways to do this that is steadily growing in popularity is through costumes, or cosplay. People from all over have been working hard to try and look like or represent the spirit of their favorite characters, using their talents in costume making, makeup, and even their personalities. Dragon Ball fans are extremely passionate, and they really do put their all into the things that they create to celebrate their favorite show.
But we have to wonder: how do these cosplays really stand up compared to the characters they're based off of? Are they really as faithful of a recreation as we think they are when seen next to the actual character? Well, fear not, because we're about to find out who really wears these outfits better!
25 Just Look At Those Eyes
I'll be darned if Krillin ain't a lucky man. Android 18 is an all-time fan favorite in Dragon Ball Z. Why? She's pretty, she's smart, and she can beat the living daylights out of anyone. Sure, she's an android and not actually a human or Saiyan (or even one of those warm, green, humanoid Namekians). But that ice-cold and calculated android won us over with those big baby blue photo-receptive lenses that vaguely resemble human eyes.
Amouranth does some really amazing cosplays, and this one looks practically identical to the anime. She's right up there with the other notable cosplayers like Jessica Nigri. The only flaw I can find with this cosplay is that I don't think I've ever seen Android 18 smile like that before... or at all, really.
24 Goku's Seen Better Days
We all knew that this one was coming in this article. A Goku cosplay is a given, and Jessica Nigri wouldn't be in all of my cosplay articles if she wasn't so darn good at her job. Battle-damaged Goku is a fan-favorite for cosplays; there's nothing cooler than seeing your favorite Dragon Ball Z hero bloody and bruised from a really awesome fight. Nothing seems cuter than our golden girl, who seems ready to thrown down some spirit bombs. Plus, I mean... we love Chi-Chi and Goku... but I think we all prefer those Chi-Chis as Goku. Wait, what?
23 Watch Out For This One!
The Prince of All Saiyans has never looked so much like... well, the Princess of All Saiyans. The antagonist of Kakrot, turned into one of Goku's closest friends, is almost as popular and just as significant to the Dragon Ball series as Goku himself. Vegeta is one of the strongest Saiyans in the galaxy, and he's able to match Goku on nothing more than willpower and a senzu bean or two. Remember when he could turn into a giant monkey, or remember Dragon Ball GT where he had a monkey form? Man, this show is weird.
Megan Coffey does a great version of Vegeta's signature armor. The distinctive shoulders, color scheme, and scouter are all recreated to perfection to make a stunningly awesome cosplay.
22 A Casual, Future Trunks
Every once in a while I remember my childhood, watching Dragon Ball Z with my brother and acting it out with him in the backyard. One thing is clear with all of the fans of this show; everyone loves Trunks. Is it because he's the son of Vegeta? Maybe, but I think it's probably because he has a sword. That was my logic growing up, anyways, and that holds up into my adulthood. Trunks is one of the coolest Saiyan children out there.
Gina does a great femme version of the son of Vegeta. Trunk's signature hair color, leather jacket, and of course sword are all there. Honestly, the sword really does make the character cooler.
21 Evil Has Never Looked So Good
There's nothing that matches the power of Goku other than the God of Destruction himself. But let's be real; the best part of that movie is Vegeta literally dancing to please the mighty warrior. The proudest Saiyan danced out of fear of Lord Beerus until he hit Bulma. This is still one of my favorite Vegeta moments; the Prince of All Saiyans is a slave to his lady. Aren't we all?
BrittanyChaos' cosplay is a great homage to the character, from his signature ears to the Egyptian-style outfit that's fit for a god. The makeup is simple, but this is a great example of how to do a lot with a cosplay without going overboard and losing the original concept.
20 Brotherly Love
Raditz is a huge part of the Dragon Ball series. Not only does he mark the beginning of Goku's battles with the Saiyans that occur throughout the rest of the series, but he also marks the moment where you can start watching the show without dealing with filler. While Raditz is about to get a gut full of Piccolo's energy blast (which is capable of killing two Saiyans with a single blast), this cosplay by Mizao Asura makes us want Raditz to... I don't know... dodge to the side and miss the blast? All she really needs to add to this cosplay is some of that good ol' fashioned 90s Saiyan hair.
19 Battle-Damaged But Ready To Fight
Goku and Frieza's battle on Namek brought us one of the biggest moments in Dragon Ball Z history: people caring about Krillin. Goku was finally able to achieve the legendary Super Saiyan form in order to mess up Frieza in the way only he can. As the two of them work out their artistic differences with a few episodes where they just charge their super moves, Goku gets a lot of his clothing blown off. In the show, this helped to show the brutality of the fight, but in this cosplay by Jannet, it shows that she's been hitting the gym like a good Saiyan. The hair is masterfully recreated from the signature style showin in the anime, and she's covered in a classy yet enticing way.
18 There's A Girl Under There
Buu is an all-time fan-favorite from Dragon Ball Z, being one of Goku's hardest fights, and what helped Goku reach his Super Saiyan 3 form to try and defeat the many different forms this guy takes. Sosenka does one of the coolest cosplays of any character I've ever seen. The makeup is flawless, amazingly realistic, and downright jaw-dropping. Genderbending cosplays is one thing, but a complete transformation from female to make with a great prosthetics job is amazing. Every detail has been tended to to create one of the highest quality representations of this character that's ever been done.
17 She's A Lady
Sure, Piccolo has tried to destroy Earth in the original Dragon Ball series, but hey... who hasn't at this point? Gohan's mentor looks as heated as the energy from her Special Beam Cannon. Piccolo is one of the best trainers in the show, and if he can turn Gohan into a formidable foe, the Namekian has to be a force to be reckoned with. This cosplay by Alice features precise and accurate makeup, which makes this cosplay top notch. From the perfectly applied body paint to the claws for nails, this girl looks ready for some good old fashioned Namekian a-wreckin-ning.
16 These Sisters Are A Little Close
Frieza and Vegeta look just as uncomfortable as I imagine they would look given the situation. This cosplay makes waves for their commitment to the series. Frieza is a hard look to get down, and it's hard to do a cosplay that isn't really flattering. Sisters-Tamagochi made a great group cosplay. Hopefully their voices aren't as bad as the English voice actor for Frieza... or actress, I guess? Is Frieza a guy or a girl? Does it even matter? Regardless, that's a really annoying voice.
15 A True Bodybuilding Cosplay
If anyone has gone full Saiyan, it's Taichi Shimizu. The bodybuilder does the beastly Broly justice with his enormous physique and (I'm assuming) stunning war cry. I'm sure he'll be charging his attack for the next 15 episodes, but this cosplayer raises the bar here regardless. Broly is one of the legendary Super Saiyans that appear every few thousand years to kick some major butt, and Broly gives Goku a run for his money. The only improvement this cosplay needs is the radioactively-glowing green blood that Broly's Ki leaves in the bloodstream as a side effect, I assume.
14 Everything About This Is Perfect
Now THAT'S my Bulma! The wife of the Prince of All Saiyans and the creator of the Dragon Ball-finding radar is every Dragon Ball Z fan's dream girl. AlineChan does the character justice with one of the most adorable versions of her, one that's able to strike fear into the guy who's willing to fight the God of Destruction for laying hands on his lady. I'm right there with ya, Vegeta; someone hits my girl, and I'd go full Super Saiyan too. Now all I need is the ability to go Super Saiyan, and, ya know... a girl... to defend her honor in the biggest "white knight" display possible.
13 He's Just... Perfect
The Cell Games were one of the crowning moments of the Dragon Ball Z series. From tying to take down Cell in his many forms to introducing fusions in everyone's vocabulary, it was just a good time. This cosplay photographed by David Ngo looks meticulously made, with really great armor. Each piece of it looks identical to Cell in the anime. The makeup is done perfectly with a nice, clean, white base layer to really bring out the purple and green in the costume. Hopefully he's not running around whatever convention he's at absorbing other cosplayers to make his cosplay even cooler! I still feel bad that Android 18 got absorbed, but let's be real, Solar Flare and Barrier are OP abilities to begin with.
12 He's A Little Less Whiny And A Little More Cool
Look, guys! It's Gohan when he was actually useful! We all like to forget the first season of Dragon Ball Z, where it's pretty much just hours of Gohan yelling "Daddy?" and Goku yelling back at him. And while the cosplay is spot-on, why is Gohan wearing Piccolo's clothes? Does no one else find that extremely awkward that instead of wearing his dad's clothes (or, you know, his own), there's a decent period of time where Gohan took his fashion advice from a Namekian warlord? Just me? Word. This cosplay by IsabellaCosplaysky is a great representation of Gohan. I'm even slightly annoyed just looking at it, which is... well, isn't that what Gohan as a kid is all about?
11 Saving The World, One Cosplay At A Time
This is by far the most confused I was in the Dragon Ball Z series. If y'all don't remember, apparently Gohan becomes a psuedo-superhero after the Cell Games. After kicking some butt in the streets, Gohan gets Videl's attention and has Bulma make him this costume so he can basically become Batman. Except, y'know, more flamboyant, and more like what it'd look like if Robin designed his own costume. Trunks was right: he looks like a geek. This cosplay really brings this to life. The helmet is probably the focal point of this piece, and can't have been easy to replicate. The pose is perfect, and regardless of what Edna Mode said in The Incredibles, the cape is necessary. I like this cosplay so much; it almost explains why a 17-year-old Saiyan child stops using most of his abilities.
10 Goku cosplay #Alex Gaiati
Super Saiyan Goku is by far one of the most popular cosplays out there. Every Dragon Ball Z geek likes to think they can throw on the orange outfit, put on some spray hair dye, and apply more gel than is required and call themselves Super Saiyan. Unfortunately for most of you fools out there, you're not built like Goku, and no amount of hair gel will turn that combover into Saiyan hair. AlexCloudSquall's cosplay is what most of you want to look like, and fail to do. This battle-damaged costume is perfectly... well, battle-damaged. It goes to show that a well-timed photo or some good Photoshop can really pull a cosplay together. The added addition of the energy crackle helps bring the source material to life.
9 Another Day, Another Raditz
Raditz is and always will be one of my favorite Dragon Ball Z characters. Sure, he kinda got his butt handed to him by Piccolo and Goku (even though it took a risky pact to end up being able to kill him), but if you think of the people who've defeated Goku over the years, it's amazing that Raditz makes the list. He's nowhere near as powerful as 99.9% of the people Goku whoops easily, yet this pretty insignificant Saiyan gave Goku quite the beating. This cosplay is stunning. The detail on the armor is almost as good as the detail in the tail. Get it? De-tail.
8 What're You Doing With That Doll, Bulma?
Vegeta's baby mama looks absolutely stunning in LivingDeadGeisha's cosplay. It looks like she's so hooked on her prince that she even carries around a little doll of the fearsome Saiyan. I wouldn't put it past her to have a voodoo doll to make him behave! Actually, that might explain a lot of their relationship. Bulma is the leash to the pit bull that is the Prince of All Saiyans, and in that outfit we can see why. Bulma is one of the most important characters to represent in a cosplay, since in the testosterone-filled world of Dragon Ball it's refreshing and well-overdue to have a strong female lead who kicks more butt than Krillin. But let's be real: Krillin kicks minor butt at best.
7 The Real Android Would Never Smile So Much
Maybe we'd see less Android 18 cosplays if she wasn't such an awesome character to cosplay as! Hikaru-Ryuu doesn't need those after-effect sparks to turn on the heat. There's something about this android cosplay that makes all of us feel the perfect mixture of intimidated and devoted to the robot overlord that is 18. Plus, I mean, if she's crazy about Krillin, I think that means that we all have a decent chance at winning her heart. The cosplay is perfect, as she matches 18's deadliness in a perfect storm. We can give her some lessons on the Android 18 dead-eyed stare, maybe, but other than that she kicks all of our hearts in the butt.
6 He's Grizzled And Ready To Fight
Future Trunks is by far a fan favorite. Could the child of Vegeta and Bulma be anything other than totally awesome? The answer is of course not! Even if we get rid of the weird Dragon Ball Xenoverse time traveler or the time patrol timeline, we still end up with Trunks being by far one of the coolest characters of all time. Like I said before, have you seen that sword? Half of Trunks' appeal is the sword. Leon kicks as much butt as Trunks does in the series! He understands Trunks' angst and general displeasure with everything. The grungy/dystopian look in this cosplay is what really makes it stand out against other cosplays.
5 Gohan's A Lucky Guy
Gohan sure is one lucky dude, getting to be with the daughter of Hercule and all-around awesome street fighter and vigilante Videl. She's got a classic, relaxed look to her, and she really kicks butt as a tough tomboy. She falls in love with our Gohan after he teaches her to fly for a tournament. This cosplay by Caydance is done in a really great way and has Videl's vibe all over it. From the casual, chill demeanor that she has to her tough-looking exterior, this cosplayer truly understands what makes Videl Gohan's go-to lady. She definitely packs more punch than her father, with the ability to actually compete with legendary Z-fighters.
4 The Cowboy Android
Android 17 lived a great robot life before being absorbed into Cell. They're Android 18's twin, and one of the first human test subjects to serve Gero and the Red Ribbon Army that Goku overpowered. Dragon Ball Z fans might also know him as "that android who looks like a cowboy" or "a train robber from the 1920s." In my childhood, I called him "Android Bandanna." To each their own, really. This cosplayer, silverharmony, kicks major butt! Hopefully they come back as the Park Ranger version that we see in Dragon Ball Super. Still think that's a weird choice for the character, but hey, I guess that's what the writers wanted?
3 Would Chi-Chi Have Ever Let The Real Gohan Get Those?
Look at that graceful animal! There's something inherently amazing about a man with such long, flowing hair, and a beard that somehow makes this Super Saiyan somehow even more graceful and wise. Is it the super-infused hair? Or the Super Saiyan beard? It's probably the beard! I might just be biased to the tattoos, but the ink really does add some extra depth to the Saiyan image. Also, take a look: Kacey Wolfe's about to pounce onto what I can only assume is a threat to Earth. He's doing it from a conceivably decent hight, or at least just a foot off the ground. Regardless, this cosplay would be number one, if number one wasn't so darn perfect.
2 One Vegeta To Rule Them All
Jessica Nigri is just too darn good at cosplay. She makes everything look good; her quality in craftsmanship is unparalleled, and I'll be darned if she doesn't make sure all of her photos are shot beautifully and always on location with a sweet backdrop. Vegeta has never looked so beautiful, and I don't think his tail has ever looked this adorable! The armor is one of the best replicas to those on the show that I've ever seen. The attention to detail on this one makes it not only look realistically battle-worn, but also perfectly taken care of by one of the cockiest Saiyans to ever exist.
1 This Android Looks So Real
As we've said before, Android 18 cosplays really are something special. It's not even that there's something inherently hard about them; in fact, they're made up of pieces that many people would probably already have lying around, and I think that's why you see so many more of these cosplays. VampyBitMe is an incredibly talented cosplayer, and honestly, everything that she touches turns to gold. The Vietnamese cosplayer just knows what she's doing, and she's more than pulling off this simple cosplay. The only thing we really have to say against this one is that she's maybe more happy than she should be for the character; but hey, maybe this is just a happy moment between her and Vegeta?