‘Dragon Ball Z’s Android Family Tree Explained

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Dragon Ball Z stands as a trailblazer in the realm of shōnen battle anime, laying the groundwork and inspiring future iconic series such as Naruto, Jujutsu Kaisen, and many others. Among its many strengths, the diverse and inventive array of villains remains a standout, particularly the Red Ribbon Army Androids, central to the Android Saga. These androids, created by Akira Toriyama, possess unique appearances, abilities, and distinct personalities, intriguing and menacing audiences alike.

In the vast landscape of Androids introduced in Dragon Ball Z, keeping track of each character can be challenging due to unconventional naming conventions. Here’s an overview of the most notable androids in the series:

1. Dr. Gero (Android 20): As the mastermind scientist behind the androids’ creation, Dr. Gero seeks vengeance against Goku for dismantling the Red Ribbon Army. He collects DNA from Earth’s greatest fighters to design fearsome androids. Turning himself into Android 20, he initiates the vendetta but meets his end at the hands of Androids 17 and 18, unable to control his own creations.

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2. Android 8: An early android from the original Dragon Ball series, Android 8, was a Red Ribbon Army member who defected due to his gentle nature, befriending Goku and leading a peaceful life.

3. Android 16: Modeled after Dr. Gero’s deceased son, Android 16, deviated from the original intent as a nonviolent being. His death at the hands of Cell significantly impacts Gohan, catalyzing his transformation into Super Saiyan 2.

4. Android 17: Initially human, Lapis, Android 17, becomes a thrill-seeking android with a rebellious streak. He and his sister, Android 18, play crucial roles in different timelines, wreaking havoc and later contributing their power to Cell.

5. Android 18: Android 18, formerly Lazuli, shares her brother’s confident demeanor. Despite her initial ruthlessness, she undergoes significant character development, marrying Krillin and becoming an integral member of the Z-fighters.

6. Android 19: With an appearance based on a doll, Android 19 has the ability to absorb energy from opponents. He faithfully serves Dr. Gero but faces a swift defeat at the hands of Vegeta.

7. Cell: A culmination of Dr. Gero’s work, Cell, born in an alternate timeline, evolves through absorbing Androids 17 and 18 to achieve perfection. Cunning and narcissistic, he becomes one of the series’ most formidable adversaries.

8. Gamma 1 and Gamma 2 (from Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero): These canon androids, created by Dr. Hedo, possess immense power and a strong sense of justice, though their motivations are initially misguided.

Dragon Ball Z’s legacy extends beyond its exhilarating battles and captivating storylines, influencing an entire genre of anime and leaving an indelible mark on popular culture.