Vegeta, the Saiyan prince and maybe the most beloved antagonist turned deuteragonist across all of anime, has experienced the cycle of life and death on multiple occasions, though far less than some of the allies in Dragon Ball. Throughout the various sagas, Vegeta’s character undergoes significant development for the better, and his confrontations with powerful adversaries often lead to life-threatening situations. But how many times has Vegeta not eaten enough vegetables and ended up dying?
Vegeta has died 5 times across Dragon Ball, though one occurred in Dragon Ball GT, which isn’t considered properly canon, and another happened in the Future Trunks scenario, which takes place in an alternate timeline.
Let’s break down each of Vegeta’s deaths in Dragon Ball over the years:
1. Dragon Ball Z – Frieza Saga: Shortly after Goku’s return, Frieza kills a battered Vegeta with a Death Beam, who tells Goku to get revenge for Frieza wiping out most Saiyans. Vegeta is later resurrected with Dragon Balls.
2. Dragon Ball Z – Future Trunks Timeline: Vegeta is ruthlessly killed by Android 17 with very little effort in the timeline that Future Trunks originates from. (alternate timeline)
3. Dragon Ball Z – Majin Buu Saga: The now Super Saiyan Vegeta is still quite no match for Majin Buu. In a moment of self-sacrifice that cements his face turn, Vegeta sacrifices himself by releasing all of the energy stored within his body in a giant blast that initially seems to destroy Buu, but the pink blob unfortunately regenerates. Vegeta is later resurrected with Dragon Balls.
4. Dragon Ball Z Resurrection ‘F’*: After being soundly defeated in battle, Frieza once again kills Vegeta by destroying the Earth in a more than underhanded move. Whis undoes Frieza’s actions by turning back time, then Goku immediately finishes off Frieza, much to Vegeta’s annoyance. (*Later adapted into Dragon Ball Super)
5. Dragon Ball GT: In the widely derided Dragon Ball GT, Vegeta along with basically every other character dies of old age with no battles left to fight. (non-canon)
The first instance of Vegeta’s demise occurs during the Frieza Saga. Frieza, the tyrannical overlord, delivers the fatal blow to Vegeta after an intense battle shortly after Goku’s return. This marked the first time the Saiyan prince faced death in the series. However, death is not the end for Vegeta, as he is later revived by the Dragon Balls, a recurring theme in the Dragon Ball universe.
The Majin Buu Saga brings another critical moment in Vegeta’s life. Faced with the seemingly insurmountable power of Frieza, Vegeta chooses self-sacrifice as a desperate attempt to defeat the powerful antagonist. This act leads to his demise, and for a brief period, it appears that Vegeta’s journey has reached its conclusion. However, the Dragon Balls come into play once again, and Vegeta is resurrected, highlighting the resilience of the Saiyan prince, who is powered mostly by spite and eventually just friendly competition to become more powerful than Goku.
The emotional depth of Vegeta’s character is further explored in the subsequent sagas, including the Android Saga and the Cell Saga, where he grapples with the complexities of his identity as a Saiyan warrior. Despite facing formidable foes, Vegeta manages to survive without succumbing to death (in the main timeline), showcasing his evolution from a ruthless antagonist to a more nuanced and multidimensional character with the kind of receding hairline that gives us all hope.
His most recent death came in Dragon Ball Z Resurrection ‘F’ (later adapted into Dragon Ball Super), again at the hands of Frieza, who rather cowardly destroyed Earth after being defeated. However, Whis turns back time by three minutes, undoing Vegeta’s death.
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