Z Fighters (Ｚ戦士, Zetto Senshi; also known as the Z Warriors or Earth's Special Forces, or even the Gold Fighters by Mr. Satan) are a small group of warriors located on Earth. Through the many battles they have fought in order to test their skills and reach other goals they have become the unofficial defenders of Earth. Due to them just being a group of martial artists who group up from time to time they have no official leader or particular positions and members will act of their own accord at times though most if not all have some sort of sense of justice or eventually devolop one and will make drastic decisions to defend their home. Throughout the years, the group consistently bolstered its ranks through the addition of former enemies and new heroes and routinely overcame seemingly insurmountable opponents, always emerging victorious against progressively more powerful foes.
During the Dragon Ball anime, a similar team existed, but it was called the Dragon Ball Gang. Their original purpose for coming together was not to protect the Dragon Balls, but to use them themselves. Typically, this brought the group into conflict with a host of villainous characters who sought to use the Dragon Balls for power, whereas the Dragon Ball Gang desired the balls for good. This included evils such as Emperor Pilaf and the Red Ribbon Army. The team that could be considered an early rendition of the Z Fighters was formed mainly in response to the threat posed by King Piccolo and later his son in the ultimate story arc of Dragon Ball. Its members consisted of Goku, Krillin, Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu, Yajirobe and their supporters.
The first actual formation of the Z Fighters was out of necessity, brought on when Goku was faced with Raditz, who had kidnapped his young son Gohan and wanted to destroy the Earth. Goku formed an alliance with his arch rival Piccolo in order to fight for a common cause. The team-up is considered the true birth of the Z Fighters.
The term itself is very rarely used in the series by anyone other than the narrator. The first being in the Androids Saga, when Future Trunks explains to Goku that in the future, "the Earth's Special Forces are gone." The Second character to use the term was Gohan when he was training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber to defeat Cell. While sleeping, he had a dream in which his mother Chi-Chi said she did not want Gohan to be in Goku's little gang. Gohan then responds that he is not in a little gang, he is a Z Fighter.
The battle against the Saiyans, Vegeta and Nappa, is commonly considered the first time Earth's Special Forces engaged enemies together. After Goku's death against Raditz, Piccolo trained Gohan to prepare for the arrival of the Saiyan warriors Vegeta and Nappa. Though several of the members expressed distrust of their former enemy Piccolo, this first Z Fighter roster consisted of Goku, his inexperienced son Gohan, Piccolo, Tien Shinhan, Krillin, Yamcha, and Chiaotzu. Yajirobe, though choosing not to join the fight, ended up playing an important role in repelling Vegeta by slicing off the Saiyan's tail, saving Goku's life. Unfortunately, the Z Fighters were decimated in the battle against Nappa, with only Goku, Krillin, Gohan, and Yajirobe surviving the fight. The deceased would train in Other World with King Kai like Goku, while the survivors (sans Yajirobe) headed to Namek to use their Dragon Balls.
During the Battle on Planet Namek, Earth's Special Forces would ally with the Namekian race against Frieza and his Planet trade organization, this part of the series marked a turning point for the group, as Piccolo fully reformed and they began working with Vegeta, if not out of necessity in the fight against Frieza. This is also the first time in the series in which a character actually refers to the group as the Z Fighters, when Gohan pleads with Chi Chi to be allowed to go to Namek with Krillin and Bulma. He informs her that he too is a Z Fighter, and must be there to protect his friends.
It was not until the Android conflicts some four years after the conflict on Namek that the team of the Z Fighters came full circle. Goku returns from space one year after defeating Frieza, while Future Trunks comes from the future to warn everyone about the Androids that have caused apocalyptic mayhem in his time. After his defeat on Earth and then brief allianceon Namek, Vegeta decides to return and remain on Earth in anticipation for Goku's return in the hopes that he would be ready to challenge his rival once again. When Trunks reveals the future, Vegeta decides to stay and train for the upcoming conflict with the androids rather than prepare to battle Goku, though like previously with Piccolo, most of the other Z Fighters do not fully trust him and are unwilling to consider him a true ally. Krillin, Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, and Chiaotzu, who were wished back to life, also begin training for the fight with the androids. It is evidently around this time that the series refers to the group of warriors as the "Z Fighters". When the androids do arrive, Trunks returns as well, bolstering the team's ranks. With Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin, Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu, Vegeta, and Future Trunks, the group fully forms and it is shown through the opening sequence at this time in the series (the final image is of the aforementioned fighters and Goku as he transforms into a Super Saiyan).
It is also worth noting that while this version of the Z Fighters is a prominent one during the series history, it is the only period of time in which the team consists of these certain members, the largest roster of the Z Fighters. By the end of the Cell Games, Goku is dead and Gohan has become Earth's primary defender. Trunks returns to his timeline more powerful than ever, thanks to his training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber with Vegeta, and proceeds to finally destroy the evil versions of Androids 17 and 18 in his world, as well as his timeline's Cell a while later.
Meanwhile, Tien Shinhan bids farewell to the Z Fighters and plans to live in seclusion with his best friend Chiaotzu, realizing he can no longer compete with the powers of the Super Saiyans. Yamcha retires from fighting for the same reasons as Tien. Krillin continues to live with Master Roshi, and after a few years, eventually reunites with and later marries Android 18. They soon have a daughter named Marron, and thus Krillin stops training as well. Piccolo decides to live with Dende and Mr. Popo on Kami's Lookout, partly because there is no longer a reason to train, partly because his pupil Gohan has finally surpassed him, and partly because part of him is still Kami and wishes to continue to reside over the Earth. Vegeta however, continues to train hard, hoping to become a Super Saiyan 2 like Gohan, but declares that he will never fight again with his only rival, Goku, dead. Finally, Gohan keeps his promise to his mother Chi-Chi and gives up fighting to study and become a scholar.
Call to arms once again
By the beginning of the Majin Buu Saga seven years later, the Z Fighters consists of many "next-gen" type of characters. Gohan is eighteen and is the primary hero of Earth, both as a Super Saiyan and his alter ego "Great Saiyaman". The Z-Team is not really continued, per se, based on the fact that their opponent Majin Buu was so powerful, it mainly called upon one single person to fight him. However, considering the fighters in this time period, it can be said that the "New Z Fighters" consist of the following: Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, Vegeta, Trunks, and Goten.
Also worth noting is that unlike the Android Saga, the Majin Buu Saga is when Vegeta voluntarily became a hero. He fought for his family and to save the Earth, even sacrificing himself in an attempt to kill Majin Buu. He also later came up with the idea of Goku using a Super Spirit Bomb that defeated Kid Buu at the very end. A short while later, in the film Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon, what could be considered a "final" version of the Z Fighters fight against the monster Hirudegarn. The group consists of Goku, Vegeta, Goten, Trunks, and Gohan. Ten years following Buu's defeat, Goku leaves to train the monster's reincarnate, a young boy named Uub, whom he hopes will become Earth's protector.
During Dragon Ball GT, the main fighters for the most part tend to be Goku, Trunks and Gohan's daughter, Pan. Uub does fight in the first major arc, the Baby Saga. However, the "Z Fighters" (Or "GT Fighters") do come together in the Super 17 Saga. While Goku's trapped in Hell, Android 17 kills Krillin. This forces the hand of the last major, briefly retired fighters from the end of Dragon Ball Z. The following are the fighters who fought against Super 17: Vegeta, Trunks, Goten, Android 18, Gohan, and Uub. When the Shadow Dragons appear, Goku defeats the majority, only to finally be outmatched by Syn Shenron, who later becomes "Omega" Shenron. Vegeta arrives and with Bulma's help transforms into a Super Saiyan 4 himself, allowing him and Goku to fuse into Gogeta. Their fusion eventually wears off, and Goku is nearly killed. The final effort of the warrior team is against Omega, in which Vegeta, Gohan, Trunks, and Goten attempt to fight him, despite all failing miserably. Goku eventually returns and kills Omega with a Universal Spirit Bomb. Goku later leaves with Shenron, thus ending the team forever.
100 years later
The computer game Dragon Ball Online, Goku left Earth for different reason than in GT, and Majin Buu created the Majin race. Much of the final activity of the Z Fighters is fleshed out: Gohan wrote a book about ki manipulation titled "Groundbreaking Science", Krillin founded the New Turtle School, Tien Shinhan founded the New Crane School, and Trunks and Goten created the Kikoukenjutsu Sword School.
100 years after the Baby Saga, only Pan has survived. The other Z Fighters have died of unknown causes, while two new warriors, Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr. (the great-great grandsons of the original Z Fighters of the same names), now exist.
In Future Trunks' Alternate Timeline, Future Goku died of a deadly heart virus six months before the arrival of the androids. He could not be wished back, since the Dragon cannot revive anyone who died of natural causes. When the androids did arrive, they proceeded to slaughter Future Piccolo, Future Vegeta, Future Tien Shinhan, Future Yamcha, Future Krillin, Future Chiaotzu, and Future Yajirobe in a horrible battle. Future Gohan somehow managed to survive, only to be killed thirteen years later. The only surviving fighter was Trunks, who traveled back in time in an attempt, not to change history (as the manipulation of the past would only cause that timeline to take a different path, creating an alternate, separate future), but to see if Goku could help him find a weakness in the Androids; that way, although he could do nothing for those already dead (with Piccolo gone, so were the Dragon Balls), he could still save those who were still alive. After the defeat of Cell, Trunks returned to his own time and was successful in killing both of the androids and Future Cell, thus finally ending the nightmare.
These characters are established members of the Z Fighters during Dragon Ball Z and/or Dragon Ball GTwho actively fought against the team's enemies.
- Goku – The main character who is a co-founder of the Z Team. Goku is a Saiyan.
- Gohan – The eldest son of Goku. He is the first Saiyan/Human hybrid.
- Piccolo – A Namekian. Once Goku's arch rival, he becomes one of his greatest allies. He co-founded the team with Goku.
- Krillin – A human, he is Goku's best friend and former schoolmate and rival. He retired in GT. He is the brain of the group (just under Piccolo) as he is often left to figure things out.
- Yamcha – A human, once a fearsome desert bandit. Chronologically, he is Goku's first fighting ally. Also retired in GT, and one of the first to be in the group.
- Tien Shinhan – A human with a third eye who has hit a peak of enlightenment. He is a former assassin and Goku's former rival. He also retires in GT, although he continues to train, unlike Krillin and Yamcha.
- Chiaotzu – A human who excels in psychic abilities. He is Tien's best friend and former schoolmate. His last fight on the team is against Nappa (and against the Ginyu Force on King Kai's planet in the anime), as Tien says that Chiaotzu "just can't keep up".
- Yajirobe – A human samurai who never really wants to help Goku and the rest of the Z Fighters unless there is food involved. Though, he does help the Z Warriors by delivering Senzu Beans from Korin. He also played a big part in defeating Vegeta by cutting off his tail.
- Vegeta – The Saiyan Prince. Goku's arch rival.
- Trunks – Vegeta's only son. He is a Saiyan/Human hybrid.
- Goten – The second and last son of Goku, whose appearance closely resembles his father's. He is a Saiyan/Human hybrid.
- Pan – The granddaughter of Goku and the latest member of the Z Fighters. She helps defeat all the villains who escape from Hell in Dragon Ball GT and gather the Black Star Dragon Balls. One hundred years later, she likely finds the new generation of Z fighters (Goku Jr., Vegeta Jr.).
- Uub – A human reincarnation of the enemy Kid Buu, he becomes Goku's pupil at the end of the Dragon Ball Z series.
- Future Trunks – The time-traveling version of Trunks from a devastated future. He is a Saiyan/Human hybrid.
- Future Gohan – The bleak future version of Gohan who is the sole survivor of the original Z Team. He is a Saiyan/Human hybrid.
These characters are fusions formed by one or more primary members of the Z Fighters during Dragon Ball Z and/or Dragon Ball GT who actively fought against the team's enemies.
- Gotenks – A warrior made by Goten and Trunks through a special technique called The Fusion Dance.
- Vegito – A warrior made by Goku and Vegeta when they use two magical earrings called Potara.
- Gogeta – A warrior made by Goku and Vegeta through a special technique called The Fusion Dance.
- Veku – He is formed when Goku and Vegeta do the Fusion Dance incorrectly.
- Tiencha – Though existing hypothetically only, this warrior is made through a fusion between Tien Shinhan and Yamcha after they perform the Fusion Dance.
- Majuub – A warrior made by Uub and Majin Buu fusing permanently to fight Baby.
- Gokule – Though existing hypothetically only, this warrior is made through a fusion between Goku and Mr. Satan when they use the Potara earrings.
- Nameless Namek – When Piccolo and Kami remerge, their combined power is an enormous asset to the Z Fighter team.
These characters knowingly side with the Z Fighters to a limited extent (usually conditionally or briefly) during Dragon Ball Z and/or Dragon Ball GT to fight against the team's enemies.
- Android 18 – Once an android built only for evil, she marries Krillin and changes her ways.
- Mr. Buu – Once an evil magical being, he betrayed Babidi, befriended Hercule, and battled his evil incarnation, Evil Buu, as well as aided Goku and Vegeta in the conflict against his evil counterpart, Kid Buu. Later assimilated with Uub to form Majuub.
- Nail – A powerful Namekian warrior who serves the Great Elder, he helps the Z Fighters by delaying Frieza and fusing with Piccolo.
- Master Roshi – A turtle hermit, he was Goku's second official mentor (after Grandpa Gohan). His fights are limited to movies and Dragon Ball.
- Kami – A Namekian, but The Guardian of Earth and creator of the Dragon Balls, his fights are limited to movies and the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai under the guise of Hero. He ultimately fuses with Piccolo during the Cell saga.
- Pikkon – A deceased warrior of an unknown species from the West Quadrant, he helps Goku and Vegeta by holding off Janemba and helps Goku in the Great Saiyaman saga to stop the villains in Hell.
- Android 17 – Traitorous android who malfunctioned. Was regarded a failure by Gero. He tries to help Piccolo, 16, and 18 fight against Cell before being absorbed. He maintains a solitary life but eventually helps Goku later so he can summon energy for the Spirit Bomb against Buu.
- Android 16 – An android who was originally created to destroy Goku. After his first battle with Cell, he turns to the side of good and offers to fight alongside the Z Fighters at the Cell Games.
- Nuova Shenron – One of the seven Shadow Dragons that appears in Dragon Ball GT, and is the dragon of the Four-Star Dragon Ball. He teams up with Goku and Vegeta in an attempt to defeat Omega Shenron, by surrounding himself and Omega Shenron in a Nova Sphere.
- Tapion – A Konatsian hero who fights with the Z Fighters against Hirudegarn in the movie Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon.
These characters are established allies of the Z Fighters during Dragon Ball Z and/or Dragon Ball GTwho did not actively fight against the team's enemies.
- Bulma – The human wife of Vegeta and Goku's long time friend, she is a brilliant scientist and is also the daughter of the richest couple in the world.
- Chi-Chi – The human wife of Goku and mother of Gohan and Goten.
- Dr. Brief and Mrs. Brief - Parents of Bulma, and owners of Capsule Corporation.
- Ox-King – Chi-Chi's father, who lives on top of Fire Mountain.
- Korin – An 800 year old cat that lives below Kami's Lookout at the top of Korin Tower. He supplies the Z Fighters with Senzu Beans whenever he is able to.
- King Kai – The king of the North Quadrant of the universe, he teaches Goku techniques such as the Kaioken and Spirit Bomb.
- Kibito – Supreme Kai's personal bodyguard. He can heal people and materialize new clothes for them, and eventually fuses with Supreme Kai, creating Kibito Kai.
- Supreme Kai – An even higher division than King Kai, he was the ruler of the east quadrant of the universe. He eventually fuses with his bodyguard Kibito, creating Kibito Kai.
- Kibito Kai – The result of the fusion of Supreme Kai and his bodyguard Kibito. He can use an enhanced version of the Instant Transmission ability called Instantaneous Movement.
- Old Kai – An ancient ancestor of the Kaioshin who was trapped inside the Z Sword for eons by a powerful enemy. He performs a ritual that awakens Gohan's full power.
- Fortuneteller Baba – The human sister of Master Roshi and a median between Other World and Earth.
- Dende – A Namekian with healing powers, he becomes Kami's replacement as Earth's Guardian.
- Mr. Popo – A genie with eternal life, who is The Kami's assistant and also the caretaker and gardener of Kami's Lookout.
- Oolong – Goku's shapeshifting pig friend.
- Puar – A shapeshifting cat who is Yamcha's best friend.
- Turtle – Master Roshi's tortoise friend.
- Giru – A small Machine Mutant that appears in Dragon Ball GT. He accompanies Goku, Pan and Trunks on their quest to locate the Black Star Dragon Balls after consuming the Dragon Radar for energy, and the radar integrates into his software.
- Bulla – Vegeta and Bulma's daughter and second child.
- Marron – Krillin and Android 18's daughter.
- World Tournament Announcer – The man who hosts every World Martial Arts Tournament, he becomes an acquaintance with the Z Fighters over the years.
- Mr. Satan – The champion of the World Martial Arts Tournament and Videl's father. He is made a member after helping complete the Spirit Bomb by telling all the people to give their energy to Goku in order to defeat Kid Buu.
- Videl – The human wife of Gohan and daughter of Mr. Satan/Hercule.
- Tarble – The younger brother of Vegeta.
- Gure – The wife of Tarble and Vegeta's sister-in-law.
- Olibu – An incredibly powerful famed human from the North Quadrant who has many legends based on him. He, too, is seen taunting Kid Buu in the final episodes.
- Launch – A longtime friend of Z Fighters Goku, Krillin, Yamcha, Tien, and Chiaotzu. She has few appearances after the end of Dragon Ball.
- Charging Rush
- Rush Blast
- Hyper Rush
- Hyper Blast
- Saiyan Attack (Goku & Gohan)
- Demon Fusion Wave (Goku & Piccolo)
- Double Attack (Goku & Piccolo, or Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta)
- Full-Nelson Special Beam Cannon (Goku & Piccolo)
- Demon Cannon (Gohan & Piccolo)
- Evil Shot (Gohan & Piccolo)
- Heavenly Sunlight (Krillin & Tien)
- Crane Wolf Strike (Yamcha & Tien)
- Energy Unleashed (Gohan & Krillin)
- Seismic Energy Ray (Krillin & Gohan)
- Spirit Saucer (Krillin & Yamcha)
- Quad Siege (Tien & Piccolo)
- Earthling Strike (Krillin, Yamcha, Tien)
- Warriors of Earth (Krillin, Yamcha, Tien, Chiaotzu, Yajirobe)
- Meteor Impact (Gohan, Goku, Piccolo)
- Platonic Energy (Krillin, Goku, Gohan)
- Demon-Wolf-Crane (Piccolo, Yamcha, Tien)
- Risking it all for a friend
- Fusion Spirit Bomb (Goku, Krillin, Gohan)
- Body Change Special (Goku & Ginyu)
- Combined Masenko (Gohan & Future Trunks)
- Garlic Buster (Vegeta & Future Trunks)
- Outsider Shot (Vegeta & Piccolo)
- Multiple Kamehamehas:
- Kamehameha Fever (Goku, Krillin, Yamcha)
- Master-Student Kamehameha (Master Roshi, Goku, Krillin)
- Father-Son Kamehameha (Gohan & Goku, or Gohan, Goku, Bardock)
- Bros. Kamehameha (Gohan & Goten)
- Family Kamehameha (Gohan, Goten, Goku)
- Ultimate Kamehameha (Goku & Gohan, or Goku, Gohan, Goten, or Goku, Gohan, Bardock)
- Friend Kamehameha (Goten & Trunks)
- Grandfather-Granddaughter Kamehameha (Goku & Pan)
- Twin Sword Slash (Gohan & Future Trunks)
- Dual Destructo Disk (Krillin & Android 18)
- Fusion Dance (Goten & Trunks, Goku & Vegeta, Yamcha & Tien [Budokai 2])
- Charging Ultra Buu Buu Volleyball (Gotenks & Piccolo)
- Super Bajit Sword (Goku & Vegeta)
- Justice Judgment (Gohan & Videl)
- Gill Missile (Pan & Giru)
- Portal Opening (Piccolo & Dende)
Video game appearances
The Z Fighters are playable characters in all the fighting video games of the Dragon Ball franchise, including the Butōden series, the Supersonic Warriors series, the Budokai series, the Budokai Tenkaichi series, the Raging Blast series, and Dragon Ball Heroes.
Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin, Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu, and Vegeta are playable in the Gokuden RPG series, with Future Trunks playable in Dragon Ball Z III: Ressen Jinzōningen and Nail playable in Dragon Ball Z II: Gekishin Freeza and Dragon Ball Z: Super Saiya Densetsu. Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, Vegeta, and Future Trunks are playable in the Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans series. Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin, and Vegeta are also playable in Dragon Ball Z: Goku Gekitōden.
Goku, Gohan, Goten, Piccolo, Krillin, Vegeta, Future Trunks, Trunks, Gotenks, Vegito, as well as Android 18, Android 17, and Android 16 are playable in Dragon Ball Z: Legendary Super Warriors. Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, Vegeta, Future Trunks and Mr. Satan are playable in Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II, and Goku, Gohan, Goten, Vegeta, Trunks, Gotenks, Gogeta, Vegito, Videl, and Mr. Satan are playable in Dragon Ball Z: Buu's Fury. Goku, Pan, Trunks, Uub, Vegeta, and Piccolo are playable characters in Dragon Ball GT: Transformation.
Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, and Vegeta are playable in Dragon Ball Z: Harukanaru Densetsu. Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin, Yamcha, and Tien Shinhan are playable in Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans. Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin, Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, Vegeta, Future Trunks, and Future Gohan are playable in Dragon Ball Z: Sagas.
Z Fighters appear during the Time Machine Quests in Dragon Ball Online. Goku appears in the pre-Dragon Ball quest, the Emperor Pilaf Saga, and the Piccolo Jr. Saga. Tien Shinhan, Krillin, Yamcha, Chiaotzu, and Chi-Chi appear in the Piccolo Jr. Saga, and Piccolo, Gohan, Yajirobe, and Vegeta appear in the Saiyan Saga.