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The next instalment in our character guide for Dragon Ball Z

Yamcha. One of Goku’s oldest friends – even if they did first meet as enemies! A reformed desert bandit and an ex-boyfriend of Bulma, Yamcha is one of the strongest human fighters in the world. Having regularly entered World Martial Arts Tournaments and fought against a multitude of foes, he’s earned his place as one of the core Z-Fighters. However, he was overpowered and killed by one of Nappa’s drones in the Saiyan invasion of Earth. Luckily, death is rarely the end in the world of Dragon Ball, and Yamcha’s path continues as he trains under King Kai in the afterlife, preparing for a return to the living world to help his friends against the threats they’ll face on the distant planet Namek.

Tien and Chiaotzu. Another rival turned friend, Tien is a triclops trained in the Crane school’s more violent style of fighting, before seeing the light and joining Goku at Master Roshi’s academy. Chiaotzu is his best friend, a small human with mental powers. The pair are inseparable, and frequently employ co-ordinated attacks. Both warriors are able to copy others’ moves after seeing them only once, but even such a useful technique couldn’t save them from the Saiyans. Like Yamcha, they are allowed to train even beyond their death, hoping to prove a valuable addition to the team upon their resurrection.

King Kai. Short, dumpy and laidback, it’s hard to believe this blue skinned dwarf is actually a god! Having trained Goku in season one, he now applies his unique brand of tuition to the heroes who perished fighting against Vegeta and Nappa, reforging them into even stronger combatants. His training methods may seem odd and he may spend more time laughing at his own bad jokes than anything else, but he’s the finest teacher in this life or the next!

Frieza. The most terrifying enemy Goku and his allies have ever faced, a despotic alien conqueror who enslaves his subjects into his ever-expanding army. Frieza is so powerful, entire planets have fallen before his might – including the Saiyan homeworld. While he may look frail to begin with, he is capable of shape shifting through numerous battle forms, each one more potent than the last. When he arrives on Namek, the fearsome space emperor is in search of that planet’s Dragon Balls, putting him in direct conflict with our heroes.

Ginyu Force. A team of five brutal mercenaries in Frieza’s employ, and some of the strongest fighters in the Dragon Ball Universe. While each member – body-switching leader Captain Ginyu, energy manipulator Jeice, hulking Burter, matter-erasing Recoome and time-freezing Guldo – is deadly in their own right, they’re actually less effective when working as a team! Akira Toriyama based the group on the colourful Super Sentai heroes that have been part of Japanese pop culture since 1975, working the unusual team poses and combination attacks popular in that series into this villainous quintet’s moveset for comedy value. Laughs aside though, these guys are bad news for the heroes of Dragon Ball Z….

Dragon Ball Z, box 2 is out now on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.

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