The Androids served as main villains during the Android Saga and the Imperfect Cell Saga, each serving a purpose of their own. Originally, all of the androids were plans used to kill Goku, however, most of the androids turned to the good side or were killed. However, in the Future Trunks timeline, the androids succeeded in their plans for world destruction, managing to kill all of the main Z Fighters (except for Goku, who died of a heart virus and Gohan, who survived but was killed 13 years later) until finally being killed by Trunks almost 20 years later.
There are three types of Androids seen in the series, according to their power supplies:
- The kind which requires constant intake of energy, usually sapped from victims, to keep their power reservoir from draining, which would cause the android to malfunction (such as #19 and #20). Curiously, Dr. Gero oversees his configuration into the latter, rather than the type with no apparent limitations (though it's implied by Android 18 that this was because the energy-absorbing model was easier to control).
- Cell. See below.*
There are also three types of androids seen in the series, according to their "base" or materials:
- "Total artificial construct types", androids which were made up completely from mechanical parts (such as #13, #14, #15, #16, and #19). For some reason, the totally artificial ones have a blood-like liquid crimson substance, presumably a kind of power oil.
- Cell (See below)
Cell is the only example of the third kind of android depicted in the series known to exist, both based on base material and power supply. He is a bio-mechanical android, constructed bio-artificially rather than from machine parts and/or a human base. Also, his power runs on some form of cross-organic ki based on cells from different humans, Saiyans and other species, which makes it generally circulate the same way as that of organic warriors.
His cells also possess elements of the first two power supply types as well. For one, he is able to absorb the energy of others and integrate them into his being through his tail, either by sucking them up or swallowing them whole. The latter method actually transforms him into a stronger state, and if he absorbs both #17 and #18 this way, he enters a form of evolution he describes as "perfection" (hence the name, "Perfect Cell"). Also, his cells can store memory of any form of power they ever taste, allowing him to return to that form if he should ever nearly become vaporized after losing it. Thanks to this and combined with the Zenkai healing factor of his Saiyan cell properties, he can in fact return from near death even stronger than ever before no matter how severely he should be weakened beforehand.
Red Ribbon Army Series
- Major Metallitron-Created by the Red Ribbon Army, destroyed by Goku and again by Pan, and may have not been made by Dr. Gero.
- Unnamed blue Android-A huge blue android with red eyes that appears in the flashback that Trunks tells Goku about in the episode "Mystery Revealed" and in a flashback told by Master Roshi in "Double Trouble for Goku". He is seen attacking Dr. Gero when he came out.
- Androids 1-7-Considered failures and destroyed.
- Android 8-Created by Dr. Gero (and Dr. Flappe in the anime), considered failure, living in peace with Suno
- Android 9-Considered failure and destroyed; in Dragon Ball Online Android 9 is Commander Red revived as a Cyborg.
- Androids 10-12-Considered failures and destroyed
- Android 13-Created by Dr. Gero's Super Computer, considered failure and destroyed in manga, although the Androids ABCs section implies that they were nearing completion
- Super Android 13 (Fused with Androids 14 and 15, killed by Goku in Movie 7)
- Android 14 (Created by Dr. Gero's Super Computer, considered failure and destroyed in manga, although the Androids ABCs section implies that they were nearing completion; killed by Future Trunks in Movie 7)
- Android 15 (Created by Dr. Gero's Super Computer, considered failure and destroyed in manga, although the Androids ABCs section implies that they were nearing completion; killed by Vegeta in Movie 7)
- Android 16 (Pure robotic, considered failure, killed by Perfect Cell, possibly resurrected)
- Android 17 (Half-human and half-android (cyborg), considered failure, fused with Hell Fighter 17, resurrected, living in peace by himself)
- Future Android 17 (Half-human and half-android (cyborg), considered failure, reigned terror on Earth for nearly 20 years, eventually killed by Future Trunks)
- Hell Fighter 17 (Machine mutant, fused with Android 17)
- Super 17 (Fusion of Android and Hell Fighter 17, half-cyborg and half-machine mutant, killed by Goku and Android 18)
- Android 18 (Half-human and half-android (cyborg), considered failure, living in peace with Krillin)
- Android 19 (Considered a sucess. Destroyed by Vegeta)
- Android 20 (Robotic body of Dr. Gero, killed by Android 17 and again by Super 17)
- Cell (Bio-mechanical, killed by Gohan, or Krillin and Future Trunks, depending on timeline)
- Arale Norimaki (Created by Senbei Norimaki in Dr. Slump)
- Obotchaman (Created by Dr. Mashirito in Dr. Slump and is based off of the same design plans that made Arale)
- Dr. Kochin (Movie character, accidentally killed by Dr. Wheelo. (knocked him into a chasm where he exploded))
- Dr. Wheelo (Movie character, killed by Goku in The World's Strongest)
- Android 8000 (In the computer game Dragon Ball Online, based off Android 8)
- Android 19000 (In Dragon Ball Online, based off Android 19)
- Pirate Robot is a powerful robot created by pirates to guard their treasure.
- To date, no single video game has featured all of the Androids that appear in the Dragon Ball series and the movies based on it. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 comes close, but still does not include Androids 14 and 15, or Dr. Kochin. Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 marked the debut of Androids 14 and 15. This leaves Dr. Kochin to be the only Android not to appear in a video game thus far.
- The 17 and 18 of the main timeline and the 17 and 18 of Future Trunks' ruined timeline seem to have differing morals: In Future Trunks' timeline, the duo enjoy destroying everyone and everything in sight, not caring who they hurt, while looking for a good time in the process. However, in the main timeline, 18 impatiently wants 16 to fight Goku where as 17 just wants to have fun driving around. While the main timeline's trio scare and surprise many people, none of them ever actually kill anyone, excluding Dr. Gero.
- Although they are all called Androids, 17, 18 and Dr. Gero are cyborgs. Cell, on the other hand, is completely bio-mechanical.
- All, or nearly all of the Androids that are featured, have been capable of keeping up and even surpassing the intensity of Super Saiyan level, but would be easily defeated by anything beyond that level. A possible exception would be Cell's Super Perfect form, which could possibly match that of the Super Saiyan 2 level.
- Despite being mechanical, thus having no soul or inner essence, even the full Androids still manage to make it to other world after their destruction (As Android 19, and Kochin's Bio-men are seen in Fusion Reborn). Android 16, on the other hand, seems to be an exception, never being seen anywhere in Other World since his destruction at the hands of Cell.
- Some Dragon Ball Z Video Games that use aura to show ones level of ki, (such as Budokai 3) do not show aura for Androids, a possible reference to their artificial ki.