One of the biggest anime franchises of all time is Akira Toriyama‘s Dragon Ball series. It’s full of action, great character development, and dynamic relationships of all kinds–platonic, romantic, familial, etc. These relationships are part of what’s so compelling about the series. They tug at our heartstrings and give us something to root for outside of the ring and battlefield.
While there are many different types of relationships in the series (platonic and otherwise), we decided to rank the top 5 romantic relationships in the Dragon Ball series (focusing primarily on Dragon Ball Z). Check it out and see where your favorites make it on the list.
#5: Launch and Tien
One of the lesser talked about relationships in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z is the one between Tien and Launch. This may be because there wasn’t really any closure or tied ends with their relationship. However, it was still heart-warming and noteworthy nonetheless. Starting in the original Dragon Ball series, Launch and Tien had obvious feelings for one another–so much so that Launch in her “bad” form still wants to take care of Tien and desires to be with him. They both blush at each other and get twitterpated in the series; however, ultimately, Tien tends to choose training over romance every time, much to Launch’s dismay. The two of them spend time together off and on towards the end of the series, with Launch helping out here and there on Tien’s farm, but other than that there isn’t a solid conclusion shows for the pair. Regardless of what happened, they were still a cute and interesting match and fun to watch.
#4: Android 18 and Krillin
Something that is quite common in anime that appears over and over again in Dragon Ball Z is the theme of redemption. A lot of villains turn their lives around when finding love in various forms throughout the series. One such case is that of Android 18. She was once human but became an android by Dr. Gero of the Red Ribbon army. She was tasked with killing Goku and was going to wreak havoc across Earth with her brother, Android 17 and their companion, Android 16. None of this goes as planned, or as the first future went (according to Future Trunks). In a big turn of events, Krillin and Android 18 hit it off. Android 18 gives Krillin a kiss, and he’s smitten. He makes a wish for her with the Dragon Balls so she can be free, and things develop further from there and Android 18 turns away from her evil ways. The two of them became a cute, quiet domestic couple and live in peace with their daughter, Marron.
#3: Goku and Chi-Chi
Although they’re not the most physically affectionate couple (as Goku mentions in Dragon Ball Super that he doesn’t kiss Chi-Chi), they have a lot going for them. They have a lot of sweet moments in Dragon Ball, including Goku’s proposal, their quests to save Chi-Chi’s father (and wedding dress), and their wedding. They also set up a quiet little life in the woods together until it’s changed forever by Raditz’s unwelcome visit to Earth. After that point, they still have plenty of sweet moments together, though, and Goku seems to value what Chi-Chi wants. He even has nightmares about something happening to her and Gohan when he’s on Snake Way, preparing to fight Nappa and Vegeta. Although they are at odds sometimes with Goku wanting to head off and train and Chi-Chi wanting him to settle down and have a real job, it’s clear that the two love each other (despite their issues).
#2: Videl and Gohan
The number two spot on this list goes to Gohan and Videl. The two are by far the most well adjusted couple in the series and love each other completely. They met in high school, fell in love, grew together as fighters and people, and established a good, healthy life together. They help each other grow and are always a team (and made a really cute superhero team as the Great Saiyaman and Great Saiyawoman). The progression of their story was also given the most air time in Dragon Ball Z and was arguably the most well developed on-screen. We see them grow in every stage of their relationship, while we don’t really get that in the other couples. Most of the others grow together primarily off-screen.
#1: Bulma and Vegeta
The top spot for the best romantic relationship in the series goes to Bulma and Vegeta. While Videl and Gohan may fight a whole lot less, Bulma and Vegeta are in a league all their own. Despite their imperfections, they are perfect for each other. They have created a logic-defying bond and life together that goes beyond anything else in Dragon Ball. If we were to crown a king (or prince) in the series to win “most changed for love” it would have to be Vegeta (and probably Piccolo). Vegeta went from a soulless killer who would destroy anyone for any and no reason at all to an upstanding family man who is by far a better father and husband than Goku. In Dragon Ball Super, Goku tries to get Vegeta to leave and train when Bulma’s about to give birth, but he refuses because he wants to be there for Bulma when she has their baby. It’s a slow progression from the point where Vegeta and Bulma have Trunks to where they are when they have their daughter, but it happened and it was beautiful.
There are multiple instances showing Vegeta’s high regard for his wife throughout Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super, but there are two tender and telling moments that truly take the cake in showing his true colors as a husband. The first is when Vegeta admits to Goku in Dragon Ball Z that he actually liked becoming someone with a family and opening himself up in that way, and ultimately softening up from the ruthless killer he once was (and although he seemed terrified by it and resisted it at first, he ends up accepting his love of it by the end of the Buu saga and grows substantially from there).
The second is at the beginning of Dragon Ball Super when Beerus hits Bulma, causing her to fall to the ground. Vegeta goes into a blind rage and yells, “That’s my Bulma!” He then proceeds to attack Beerus with everything he’s got, and even becomes more powerful than Goku in that moment. Who knew that the Prince of all Saiyans’ power would be most greatly tapped by the love he has for his wife? This intense transformation is ultimately why they ranked #1 on this list. They are definitely the most dynamic couple in the entire franchise.
These are just some of many relationships in the Dragon Ball series that are worth talking about. There are countless non-romantic relationships in the series that warm our hearts as well, especially the uncle/nephew-type relationship between Piccolo and Gohan. Once a demon king bent on destroying the Earth, Piccolo became “Uncle Piccolo,” learning to love Gohan and eventually babysit his kid.
Did your favorites make the list? Tell us on Twitter or in the comments below!