Our Picks for the Top 10 Transformations in Dragon Ball Z

Red, blue or gold? Which comes out on top?

An English dub of Dragon Ball Super is set for later this year, and we thought we’d prematurely mark the occasion with a reminder of why we all watched Dragon Ball Z in the first place.

This list is also in part a response to the Top 10 Dragon Ball Z Transformations video Watchmojo released yesterday – not to discredit their picks, but to make a case for ours.

To clarify, these are Dragon Ball Z transformations. Transformations from the films (Dead Zone to Resurrection F) will be considered, but Super and GT are off the table.

10) Super Saiyan Gohan


When Goku fires a deadly Kamehameha at his son, Gohan launches into a series of traumatic flashbacks to times when others were there to save him. He finally realises, as he is about to be squashed by Goku’s blast, that no one is there to save him this time, and this becomes the ‘need’ that allows him to transform.

9) Final Form Frieza


Each of Frieza’s previous transformations had been bigger and bulkier than the last, but he drops a size for his final form, becoming more compact and agile, and somehow even more terrifying than his previous forms combined.

8) Blue Vegeta


We all knew Goku was a Super Saiyan Blue, but when Vegeta, who bypassed the original God transformation, steps up to face Golden Frieza, he puts an end to months of speculation, and proves he is finally ready to face the man who destroyed his race.

7) Perfect Cell


I can’t think of a time before this that a simple transformation had darkened the skies and been felt across the entire planet.

Only a few episodes back, Androids 17 and 18 had seemed unstoppable. Cell absorbs them both, reaching his ‘perfect’ form in a blinding flash of pure energy, and you honestly can’t see how the Z-Fighters are going to win this one.

6) Super Saiyan God


Goku’s transformation into Super Saiyan God is the quietest on this list, but that makes it wholly unique. There’s only so much screaming and Earth-shaking you can do before it gets out of hand.

And Goku emerges with red hair and eyes, as well as a smaller physique, which actually makes him look more God-like than if he’d bulked up even more.

5) Super Saiyan 3


I said before that there’s only so much Earth-shaking you can do. That’s because it’s all in this episode-long scene, where Goku shows Majin Buu the newest level of Super Saiyan.

Super Saiyan 3 might be a little over the top. The hair is a bit much (where does it even come from?), and the distinct lack of eyebrows is just unnecessary, but the initial transformation is right up there with the best of them, in terms of scale and suspense.

4) Super Saiyan Vegeta


Vegeta’s transformation isn’t entirely unexpected, nor is it drawn out like some of the others. Instead, Vegeta rocks up as arrogant as ever and immediately shows off his new look, which is both fitting of the character, and worrying when you consider the consequences of a Super Saiyan Vegeta.

3) History of Trunks


History of Trunks is considered canon by most, because it’s one of the few movies to add to the main plot, rather than confuse it, and that’s down to this scene.

When a one-armed Future Gohan flies in to fight the Androids alone, knowing almost that it certainly meant his own death, he puts the fate of the world in Trunks’s hands, sensing in him what he couldn’t in himself.

When Trunks discovers his teacher’s body lying undignified on the ground, Trunks proves Gohan right, unleashing the Super Saiyan that we meet in the present, up against a rainy city backdrop and one of the best scores in Dragon Ball history. It’s put together beautifully.

2) Goku Transforms


The first ever Super Saiyan transformation and the single most iconic moment in the series launches Dragon Ball Z into whole new territory. We all remember where we were when we watched Goku become the legendary Super Saiyan, hinted at throughout the Namek arc as the thing Frieza feared above all.

There have been so many transformations since this one, but in comparison, they all have something missing.

1) Super Saiyan 2


Except this one. Goku’s transformation is a part of all of our childhoods. It’s remembered for reasons of nostalgia and awesomeness, but Gohan’s awakening is a better transformation in itself. The build-up is drawn out and tense, but not until it actually happens do you realise that this was what Dragon Ball Z had been leading to the whole time.

We had seen glimpses of Gohan’s hidden powers, but we hadn’t seen it at its fullest extent. It’s brutal and emotional and rounded, the score is brilliant in whichever version you watch, and everything that happens to Gohan thereafter doesn’t make this moment any less special.

Which transformation did we miss? Let us know!

Fighter of the Nightman.