The Best Dragon Ball Transformations (That Aren't Super Saiyan) (2024)

Table of Contents
10 Super Buu Is The Majin Menace’s Most Frightening Transformation Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Episode 255, "Buu Against Buu"; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Chapter 291 (Dragon Ball Chapter 485), "Two Boos?!" 9 Perfect Cell Boasts Unprecedented Power As The Ultimate Life Form Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Episode 160, "Cell Is Complete"; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Chapter 188 (Dragon Ball Chapter 382), "The Complete Cell" 8 Planet Moro Combines Himself With Earth To Withstand His Radical Power Boost Anime Debut: N/A; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Super, Chapter 65, "Son Goku, Earthling" 7 Inner Nature Unleashed Gas Channels Endless Pent-Up Power & Hostility Anime Debut: N/A; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Super, Chapter 80, "Gas Vs. Granolah, Part 2" Anime Debut: Dragon Ball GT, Episode 20, "The Source Of Rilldo's Power"; Manga Debut: N/A 5 Super Janemba Is A Terrifying Transformation Worthy Of This Evil Entity Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn; Manga Debut: Super Dragon Ball Heroes: Big Bang Mission!!!, Chapter 3, "Limit Break" 4 Orange Piccolo Turns Dragon Ball’s Signature Namekian Into A Deadly Destroyer Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Super, Chapter 95, "The Ultimate Teacher And Pupil" 3 Cooler’s Fifth Form Offers An Intimidating Increase In Power Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Heroes: Victory Mission, Chapter 3, "The Mightiest Heroine, 'Note'!!" 2 Gohan Beast Finally Lets Gohan Embrace His True Potential Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Super, Chapter 99, "Son Gohan's Ultimate Awakening!" 1 Ultra Ego Elevates Vegeta To New Levels Of Godly Destruction Anime Debut: N/A; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Super, Chapter 74, "Vegeta Vs. Granolah"

Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball has made a name for itself through its captivating characters, intense battle sequences, and deadly techniques. Dragon Ball’s suspenseful Super Saiyan transformations have become the series’ biggest claim to fame and one of the easiest ways for the franchise to generate excitement. Super Saiyan forms have evolved from a singular spectacle into the new normal for basically any Saiyan character.

Multiple Super Saiyan upgrades have been explored over the course of the franchise, whether it’s Super Saiyan 3 and Super Saiyan 4’s radical designs or the godly strength that accompanies Super Saiyan God and Super Saiyan Blue in Dragon Ball Super. Super Saiyans understandably dominate Dragon Ball’s marketing and merchandise, but there are other transformations in the franchise that deserve just as much attention. These transformations, while not as mainstream or prevalent as new Super Saiyan forms, are still valuable metamorphoses that have aided heroes and villains in battle.

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10 Super Buu Is The Majin Menace’s Most Frightening Transformation

Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Episode 255, "Buu Against Buu"; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Chapter 291 (Dragon Ball Chapter 485), "Two Boos?!"

Dragon Ball Z’s final villain, Majin Buu, showcases some diverse transformations before he’s ultimately defeated by Goku. Each form – Innocent Buu, Evil Buu, Super Buu, and Kid Buu – is uniquely dangerous and demonstrates the heights of Buu’s absorption ability. Kid Buu may be Buu’s final, and supposedly most dangerous, transformation, but Super Buu's the most memorable of the bunch and feels like the villain’s apex. Super Buu is a slimmed down version of Innocent Buu who looks properly wicked, unlike his predecessor’s child-like demeanor.

Super Buu brings the most to the table in battle and his height facilitates a more creative roster of battles. Super Buu also benefits from several slight revisions that reflect the various people he’s absorbed. Super Buu’s transformation adopts several aesthetic changes after he consumes Piccolo, Gotenks, and Gohan, all of which are more interesting than Kid Buu’s simplified and feral design.

9 Perfect Cell Boasts Unprecedented Power As The Ultimate Life Form

Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Episode 160, "Cell Is Complete"; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Z, Chapter 188 (Dragon Ball Chapter 382), "The Complete Cell"

The Best Dragon Ball Transformations (That Aren't Super Saiyan) (2)

Cell is an important Dragon Ball Z villain who’s responsible for triggering Gohan’s inaugural Super Saiyan 2 transformation and he even successfully kills Goku. That said, Cell often doesn’t get the respect that he deserves as Frieza and Buu typically receive more attention. Like DBZ’s other central villains, Cell undergoes multiple transformations before he attains peak power. Imperfect Cell is the most insectile and extraterrestrial-like in nature. This helps Dragon Ball Z embrace many horror genre elements through the start of the Androids Saga.

Semi-Perfect Cell is a little sturdier in his design and was, curiously, Akira Toriyama’s original vision for the character’s final form. It was at his editor’s behest that Cell experiences one more transformation – through Android 18’s absorption – which elevates him to Perfect Cell status. Perfect Cell builds upon Semi-Perfect Cell’s design, but feels considerably more regal. It almost feels like some of Frieza’s final form helps influence Perfect Cell’s smooth and polished appearance. Perfect Cell’s voice also perfectly matches the villain’s new transformation, all of which works together and feels like a threat worthy of the heroes’ time.

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10 Dragon Ball Transformations That Came Out of Nowhere

From Vegeta's Super Sayain Blue to Orange Piccolo, many Dragon Ball transformations appeared out of thin air.

8 Planet Moro Combines Himself With Earth To Withstand His Radical Power Boost

Anime Debut: N/A; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Super, Chapter 65, "Son Goku, Earthling"

The Best Dragon Ball Transformations (That Aren't Super Saiyan) (4)

Planet-Eater Moro is the Dragon Ball Super manga's first original villain following the anime's Tournament of Power. Moro is a malevolent wizard who's spent over ten million years in the Galactic Patrol's prison as he patiently concocts the perfect revenge. Moro is responsible for the destruction & consumption of over 300 planets and his extreme magic allows him to propel comets as weapons. Moro uses the Dragon Balls to restore his youth, just like Demon King Piccolo, but undergoes several other attractive upgrades through his energy absorption abilities.

Moro transforms after he steals power from Seven-Three – an Android – and Merus – an Angel – which evens the playing field between him and Perfected Ultra Instinct. Moro's most extreme transformation involves him absorbing himself into the Earth itself so that he has a more stable body that's capable of processing Merus' stolen Angel power. The end result is Planet Moro, who wields the entire planet against Goku, yet he progressively loses control of his sanity and grows increasingly unstable as the fight progresses.

7 Inner Nature Unleashed Gas Channels Endless Pent-Up Power & Hostility

Anime Debut: N/A; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Super, Chapter 80, "Gas Vs. Granolah, Part 2"

The Best Dragon Ball Transformations (That Aren't Super Saiyan) (5)

The Dragon Ball Super manga's Granolah the Survivor Saga takes a curious pivot that puts Goku, Vegeta, and Granolah up against the Heeter Force's Gas. Gas makes the same volatile Dragon Ball wish Granolah does in order to become Universe 7's strongest fighter. This means that even the standard version of Gas is extremely dangerous. Gas can reach even greater heights when Elec removes his power inhibitor restraint that seals away his true power.

This results in Inner Nature Unleashed Gas, who's a more reckless and wild character. It's a transformation akin to the berserker nature of Legendary Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan Rage, albeit with an extreme increase in muscle mass that's reminiscent of Master Roshi's Max Power transformation. Gas is dangerous and intimidating in all his forms -- even his frail Aged Form -- but Inner Nature Unleashed Gas is the most overtly terrifying and unpredictable.

Anime Debut: Dragon Ball GT, Episode 20, "The Source Of Rilldo's Power"; Manga Debut: N/A

Dragon Ball GT still receives a lot of criticism as the franchise’s black sheep. There are admittedly some questionable storytelling decisions in the sequel series, but GT still features some creative villains, many of whom benefit from impressive transformations. Machine Mutants are a consistent threat during Dragon Ball GT’s introductory Black Star Dragon Ball Saga, especially after Goku and company land on their homeworld, M-2. General Rilldo is M-2’s muscle and his Metal Breath attack even allows him to turn his targets into metallic statues. Rilldo first transforms into Hyper Meta-Rilldo when he absorbs the scattered pieces of the Sigma Force.

Hyper Meta-Rilldo is the character’s most distinct transformation and he even gains a deadly drill-arm attachment. However, Meta-Rilldo is his final form and it turns him into a T-1000-esque terror. Meta-Rilldo can liquefy himself, but also combine and manipulate any nearby metal, which is copious in a place like M-2. Meta-Rilldo takes on many unique forms while in this state and he’s able to erect multiple versions of himself as he wages war against Goku. Meta-Rilldo even merges together with M-2 itself so that he weaponizes the entire planet against the heroes. It’s one of Dragon Ball GT’s most extreme spectacles.

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5 Super Janemba Is A Terrifying Transformation Worthy Of This Evil Entity

Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn; Manga Debut: Super Dragon Ball Heroes: Big Bang Mission!!!, Chapter 3, "Limit Break"

The Best Dragon Ball Transformations (That Aren't Super Saiyan) (7)

Dragon Ball has occasionally dipped its toe in demonic territory with characters like Dabura, Shula, and Spike the Devil Man. Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn introduces Janemba, the living embodiment of evil who comes into existence through the combination of multiple uncleansed souls. Janemba’s base state is more rotund in nature and even comes across as silly and unassuming. The large entity bears a lot in common with Buu and he takes advantage of dimensional rifts that help him launch surprise attacks. Janemba is an effective fighter, but his transformation into Super Janemba turns him into a genuinely frightening foe.

Super Janemba looks like a proper demonic ruler who would even intimidate the likes of Dabura. Super Janemba also brandishes a dangerous blade known as the Dimension Sword, which makes him an even more dangerous threat. The upgrade from Janemba’s Saike Demon form into his Super Janemba state is one of Dragon Ball’s most extreme changes. Super Dragon Ball Heroes has even introduced a Black Janemba upgrade to the equation, but it’s really just more of a perfunctory palette swap than a true transformation that significantly mixes things up.

4 Orange Piccolo Turns Dragon Ball’s Signature Namekian Into A Deadly Destroyer

Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Super, Chapter 95, "The Ultimate Teacher And Pupil"

The Best Dragon Ball Transformations (That Aren't Super Saiyan) (8)

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is a revelatory Dragon Ball movie for its decision to take Goku and Vegeta out of the spotlight and tell a story that instead focuses on Gohan and Piccolo. Gohan’s Beast transformation has become the movie’s biggest talking point, but Piccolo experiences an equally exciting metamorphosis that has major implications for Dragon Ball’s future. In order to hold his own against Red Ribbon’s new state-of-the-art Androids Gamma 1 and Gamma 2, as well as Cell Max, Piccolo makes a wish to Shenron for a crucial power upgrade. Shenron rewards Piccolo with a new Power Awakening state, but he proceeds to throw in “a little something extra,” which results in his Orange Piccolo transformation.

Orange Piccolo gives the Namekian a brutish look that more closely resembles King Piccolo’s demonic origins. Orange Piccolo looks rougher around the edges, with a new coloration for his skin and aura. Piccolo wisely combines his Orange Piccolo transformation with his Great Namekian ability so that he becomes a colossal hero who’s able to challenge Cell Max with someone his own size. Orange Piccolo has only appeared during this climactic Super Hero Saga clash, but it’s a rich development that indicates a very bright future for Piccolo. He’ll hopefully be able to confidently fight alongside Goku, Vegeta, and Gohan from now on.

3 Cooler’s Fifth Form Offers An Intimidating Increase In Power

Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Heroes: Victory Mission, Chapter 3, "The Mightiest Heroine, 'Note'!!"

The Best Dragon Ball Transformations (That Aren't Super Saiyan) (9)

Frieza is a vital Dragon Ball villain who kickstarts the series' fascination with enemies who cycle through multiple transformations before they reach peak power. Frieza showcases four intimidating forms -- which has since been expanded into a Golden and Black transformation -- but Frieza's brother manages to top him. Dragon Ball Z's fifth feature film, Cooler's Revenge, brings Frieza's brother, Cooler, into the fray. The series' constant heightening means that an additional transformation for Cooler makes a lot of sense. Cooler and Frieza's fourth form is quite sleek in its design.

However, this fifth transformation sports a much more evil appearance. Cooler gains a spikier design that's added to his arms and head, plus a striking mouth plate covers his face. Curiously, the sixth Dragon Ball Z movie, The Return of Cooler, features Meta-Cooler, who is even more powerful than his predecessor, but it's ultimately a less effective design. Super Dragon Ball Heroes has pushed all of this even further with a Golden version of Cooler's fifth form as well as a Golden Meta-Cooler.

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Best Dragon Ball Super Transformations, Ranked

Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball is known for its grandiose transformations, but Dragon Ball Super pushes this concept to even greater heights.

2 Gohan Beast Finally Lets Gohan Embrace His True Potential

Anime Debut: Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Super, Chapter 99, "Son Gohan's Ultimate Awakening!"

The Best Dragon Ball Transformations (That Aren't Super Saiyan) (11)

Gohan fans haven’t had the easiest time during Dragon Ball’s later years. Gohan’s incredible potential is teased right from Dragon Ball Z’s start and the series seems to continually reinforce the idea that he’s destined to surpass Goku & become Earth’s strongest hero. This promotion comes to pass when Gohan becomes the first Super Saiyan 2 during his battle against Cell. Unfortunately, Gohan largely regresses after this accomplishment and Dragon Ball Z increasingly backpedals on its decision to make him the protagonist. Gohan struggles to stand out and regain his fighting spirit throughout Dragon Ball Super, but this thankfully comes to an end in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. Dragon Ball elevates Gohan to unprecedented heights with his new Beast mode transformation, which proves essential in Cell Max’s defeat.

Gohan Beast borrows a lot from the standard Super Saiyan transformation, yet it still manages to top it in every regard. Gohan Beast has tall silver hair, red pupils, and a purple and pink aura that crackles with electricity. The conclusion of Dragon Ball Super’s Super Hero Saga tests Gohan Beast’s strength against Ultra Instinct Goku, along with Broly, Gotenks, and Vegeta, all of whom fail to match his superior power. This is the type of power and transformation design that audiences were hoping for after Gohan experienced his lackluster Ultimate upgrade during Dragon Ball Z’s Buu Saga.

1 Ultra Ego Elevates Vegeta To New Levels Of Godly Destruction

Anime Debut: N/A; Manga Debut: Dragon Ball Super, Chapter 74, "Vegeta Vs. Granolah"

Vegeta enters an exciting period of reflection during Dragon Ball Super when he accepts the fact that he doesn’t just have to blindly copy Goku’s powerful milestones. Vegeta briefly attempts to unlock Ultra Instinct himself before he accepts that it doesn’t fit his personality or fighting style. Vegeta instead develops his own deadly alternative that properly plays to his strength and maximizes his abilities. Ultra Ego Vegeta makes its debut during the battle against Granolah, which in turn becomes a tag team fight against the Heeter Force’s Gas. Ultra Ego exerts a fiery purple aura, purple hair, and a more pronounced brow that’s reminiscent of a Super Saiyan 3 transformation.

Vegeta seems truly crazed while he’s in this state, which only further strengthens Ultra Ego’s abilities and seemingly limitless nature. Ultra Instinct requires constant focus and the right mindset in order for it to be maintained, while Ultra Ego feeds on the degree of punishment that the user accrues. Vegeta grows stronger based upon the amount of damage that he takes on. It’s an extremely exciting development for the character and the inevitable showdown between Ultra Ego Vegeta and Black Frieza will be truly legendary.

The Best Dragon Ball Transformations (That Aren't Super Saiyan) (12)
Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball tells the tale of a young warrior by the name of Son Goku, a young peculiar boy with a tail who embarks on a quest to become stronger and learns of the Dragon Balls, when, once all 7 are gathered, grant any wish of choice.

Created by
Akira Toriyama

First Film
Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies

Latest Film
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

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Dragon Ball (1986)
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Dragon Ball Super

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First Episode Air Date
April 26, 1989

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Sean Schemmel , Laura Bailey , Brian Drummond , Christopher Sabat , Scott McNeil
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