TRUE DRAGON BALL (Z) CHARACTER PERSONALITIES
The famous Funimation dub altered the Dragon Ball characters personalities a little bit. Here's a little info on some of the Dragon Ball (Z) characters true personalities.
When Vegeta shows up to help fight the Androids and reveals he's attained SSJ, Krillin expresses bewilderment at how he could have done it since he's so different from Goku. This is handled very differently in the two versions.
Dub: Krillin calls attention to how pure and calm Goku was when he transformed (I don't really know why since Goku was anything BUT calm). Vegeta just talks about how he wanted to be SSJ so badly that in the end he got what he wanted.
Original Japanese Version: Krillin says something to the effect of "Goku was pure of heart and mind when he became SSJ, and you're not pure at all!" Vegeta sneers and counters with something like "Goku was pure in his simpering goodness, yes, but I was pure as well: pure evil."
See, the original really gives us a more complete picture of what the Saiyans are and honestly it makes a lot more sense that such a warlike race's ascended form can be triggered by EVIL as well as good. The dub just confuses the issue because simply WANTING to be SSJ was specifically what wasn't working for Vegeta. It took a mind battered into zen-like purity of hatred and rage by months of torturous and brutal training and a transcendant survival instinct for him to ascend.
Ones that actually affected the characters' personalities. Such as...
Original Goku: An uncultured, simple-minded guy who loves getting stronger and being challenged above all else, but will always use his power to protect his home and loved ones.
Dub-Goku: A verbose and intelligent champion of right who fights for truth, justice, and the American way- Oh wait, that's that other guy. Easy mistake.
Original Vegeta: A proud and noble prince and a genocidal scumbag who hates his boss but loves his job.
Dub-Vegeta: Was taken away from his daddy and forced to do those awful things by Freeza. But he's not really a bad guy, honest! He's just misunderstood.
Original Freeza: A menacing tyrant who's deceptively non-threatening at first appearance. He'll speak elegantly and treat you like a gentleman... right before he shoots you through the heart.
(Old) Dub-Freeza: Decided to become a galactic conqueror after his/her careers as a prostitute and a stand-up comedian failed.
Original Reacoom: An excitable muscle-head who treats his victims like playthings and chats with them as he beats them to death.
- Kaboom (member, Daizex forums)
-Is a Child
He remains a child throughout his entire life and DOES NOT CHANGE AS HE AGES. That is VERY IMPORTANT to the character of Goku. He learns more things but he never acts differently.
-Is Extremely Stupid
He's a retard. His extreme naivete is really his most important feature and while this doesn't often translate to bad tactical decisions, when he makes good tactical decisions there's a good chance he's just operating on instinct and doesn't really understand the reasoning behind anything he does. One of his best defining moments is when he shows Gohan to his friends for the first time and they are all
STUNNED that he (Goku) knows what sex is. In fact, it's not unreasonable to imagine that even after having HAD sex Goku has no idea what sex is. He thought marriage was a food.
-Loves to Fight
Whenever Goku is up against a terrible opponent (unless that opponent just killed one of his friends) Goku is always thinking "wow it'll be fun to fight this guy" before "wow I better defeat the shit out of this guy before he does something really fucked up to the universe". The first time he squares off against Cell and Buu he makes it clear that he considers it a great honour to be able to fight people as dangerous as them. This translates into his teaching style in basically the way you'd expect, he's very gung-ho, plus his unending optimism means he's a great positive motivator. When training Gohan he has to rely on Piccolo for the "tough love" stuff though.
-Loves to Eat
Standard anime hero trope. He can and has eaten enough to feed a large army in one sitting.
-Loves All Life
He only intentionally takes a few lives in the entire run of the manga, only because it's absolutely nescessary. Burakku Sanbou or Staff Officer Black, Piccolo Daimaou and Yakon. He also killed Drum, Tambourine and Piano, but they were all part of Daimaou. He means to kill Freeza, albeit way after ANY other character would have long since gotten tired of Freeza's bullshit and ended his sorry ass, but Freeza survives his final attack. Buu doesn't really count because Goku only kills him when he's utter pure evil and wishes him back in the form of Ubu (Uub) almost immediately. Lives have indeed been lost because of Goku's reluctance to kill and continued insistence that everyone can change, on the other hand, lives that do become worthwhile and instrumental to the survival of the universe have been SPARED this way, such as Piccolo and Vegeta.
-Is Extremely Smart
Throughout his young life he's been constantly pushed by his mother to study, study, study, something which has been undermined by Goku, who just wants to teach Gohan how to fight, whenever they both can get away with it. Gohan really does like books more than fighting though, and by the time of the Buu Saga he's trying to put fighting behind him.
-Is Extremely Strong, Especially When Angry
Gohan has absurd potential as a fighter, and experiences LUDICROUS power spikes when he's pissed off, usually at the death or perceived death of someone he loves. This is eventually weaponized in the form of SSJ2, which Gohan is the first in the universe to attain.
-Is Pretty Timid as a Child
He mostly gets this from his mother, and it isn't until he hits SSJ2 that he truly puts fear behind him. From an extremely young age, however, his berserker rage mode completely disregards fear.
-Is a Villain
This is something that's really played down in the American dub of DBZ since we didn't get Dragon Ball first and no one knew he used to be a villain. There he's basically this wise but cranky guy that doesn't like Goku very much. In truth, though, he's the cold blooded reincarnation of a Namekian, Piccolo Daimaou, who is the PURE EVIL HALF of the Namekian Kami, discarded so that Kami could become, well, the Kami of Earth. He is not pure evil as Daimaou was, but he still has the heart of a killer and until he settles down around the Namek Saga would GLADLY kill Goku. And while he has settled down by that point, he gets a great speech during the Android Saga where he makes it very, very clear to Dr. Gero that he is NOT LIKE THE OTHER Z-FIGHTERS, who would probably spare Gero's life if Gero pleaded. Piccolo is a killer and will not hesitate to do so if he feels the situation calls for it.
Piccolo kidnaps Gohan to train him to defeat the Saiyans early in the show. He does this simply for pragmatic reasons since he thinks, rightly, that it will give the world more of a fighting chance if there are more strong fighters for Earth, and he doesn't want the Earth to be destroyed, he just wants to rule it. As time goes on though, he finds himself bonding with Gohan and by the time the Saiyans arrive, Piccolo ends up sacrificing himself to save Gohan. Now, that doesn't mean he's not still very gruff and cranky with Gohan, but it does mean he won't ignore him or try to kill him.
-Is Extremely Intelligent
Piccolo is a master strategist and is by far the most logical of all the Z-Fighters.
Vegeta's probably the most dynamic character in the entire story. He goes through the most changes and really is the most different at the end.
Vegeta is the proud warrior prince of a dead race, which doesn't diminish his sense of entitlement at all. He's pompous, murderous, and he gets to be this because he's the strongest there is. He loses to Goku in the Saiyan Saga only because of the interference of Goku's friends; he is CLEARLY a much stronger fighter than Goku at that point. Overall he is an utter genius at combat, impressing even Piccolo with his capacity for tactics and bluffing.
-Is Obsessed With Being the Best
After Vegeta sees on Namek that Goku has completely outclassed him, he becomes completely obsessed with taking the lead again. He trains like a man posessed to attain SSJ after Goku does it and every time Goku effortlessly surpasses him it infuriates him even more.
-Loves His Family
As he is constantly trying to surpass Goku his time on Earth is changing him, though he doesn't realize it at first and then won't admit it to himself. He truly loves Bulma, his wife, and his son Trunks, but finds himself so completely overwhelmed by how completely this flies in the face of his Saiyan upbringing that during the Buu Saga he allows himself to be powered up by Babidi to match Goku's SSJ2. Babidi thinks that Vegeta is under his control but Vegeta's will is far too strong; he is truly just giving into the animal within. After his actions result in Buu being released, Vegeta realizes what a fool he's been and tells Trunks that he loves him before sacrificing himself in a final explosion he hopes will destroy Buu. After this fails and he's brought back to continue to help the fight against Buu, he swallows his pride and sets his rivalry with Goku aside. He still doesn't like Goku, but he respects him and he's willing to settle for being second best.
The Freeza Saga was originally meant to be the end of the manga, and it's still my second-favorite fight in the show. As I understand it, King Cold, Freeza's father, wasn't invented until after Toriyama knew the manga would be continuing, and even if you INCLUDE Cell and Buu, they're not active at this time, so Freeza was, as written, the ultimate power in the universe until Goku went SSJ after Freeza pushed him too far.
I'm not entirely sure if Freeza's race is meant to be reptilian or not, but there is obviously a "cold" motif at play with the names of all three characters of his race. While the Saiyans are hot-blooded and full of fury, Freeza is the ultimate contrast in viciousness: He's already won. He's already the most powerful being in the universe. He's already got the finest warriors of the universe COMPLETELY under his heel. He doesn't NEED to be angry, he just needs to sit and watch and ENJOY as everyone does EXACTLY the fuck what he says. When someone defies him, it's just one of the simple pleasures of life for him to extend the TINIEST FRACTION of his might and crush the offender utterly. The sequence where he brutalizes and savages Vegeta's entire body before killing him is probably the most chilling part of the entire series, mostly because while it's not romanticizing the violence at all, Freeza is simply smiling the entire time, wider and wider with each bone that breaks.
-Is Completely And Utterly Arrogant
Freeza is more arrogant than Vegeta. That means he has a much longer way to fall when someone puts him in his place. Even when he still has Goku completely outmatched, when Goku manages to actually cause him pain, he flies into a frightening rage. And then, when Goku overtakes him with SSJ and he's suddenly faced with entirely new emotions like fear and desperation, he has no idea how to process things and regresses to utterly child-like behavior.
-Probably the most despicable villain!
Freeza is probably the "worst" of the villains in DBZ. Let me explain: It would be difficult to argue that people like Piccolo Daimaou and Buu aren't more EVIL than Freeza, since they're both incarnations of the entire concept of evil. Also, there are other villains that are STRONGER than Freeza However, Freeza is the only character that sinks to the depths he does while having no EXCUSE for it. The Androids and Cell were programmed to kill. Buu isn't even really a person, he's a demon, an idea, and the only real intellect he has is that he absorbs from other people; in his purest form he's completely mindless. Freeza is just despicable. He is completely without honor, completely without compassion of any kind, and he casually destroys worlds for fun, or because someone looked at him wrong. And it's not just genocide, he relishes causing pain on a personal scale as well; he tortures people, kills people they love in front of them, and enslaves them. Just to be a dick.
-Likes the Ladies
When Goku and Krillin found themselves training together under Kamesennin, Krillin found in Kamesennin a kindred spirit. While not nearly as "dirty" as Muten Roshi, he is by no means "pure of heart", and is frequently Roshi's partner in, well, not CRIME as such, but they do tend to share magazines a lot.
-Is Brave and Loyal
As the "sidekick" character of a good deal of the series, Krillin can't possibly be as strong as Goku. They're rivals at first, yes, but Goku quickly outpaces Krillin both in fighting skill and heroism. Krillin starts out somewhat cowardly, but his loyalty to his friends, and especially to Goku, causes him to fight even when he is horribly outmatched if there is any chance at ALL that he can make a difference. Even in the Cell Saga, when he is so insignificant power-wise that he might as well be an insect, he sneaks onto the battlefield for the defining moment of his character:
When Bulma figures out a way to destroy #17 and #18 so Cell can't use them to reach his ultimate form, Krillin undertakes the role of getting close enough to pull the trigger. However, even building off of his first horrifying encounter with the Android twins, he is smitten with #18, and is forced to choose between definitely saving the universe from Cell's ultimate form or definitely killing someone who is, in all honesty, fairly innocent. Goku's influence is certainly present in him, but he makes the decision entirely himself to say fuck it and damn the world if he must, but he won't kill #18. And good for him, because he totally taps that later.
-Is Kind of a Dick
Now, this is a case where it's not that the dub changed anything, but the original Dragonball anime changed things a little bit. In the anime, an episode was added to introduce Tenshinhan and Chiaotzu which had them conning villages of unsuspecting people for money, faking an external threat so they could pretend to defeat the threat and save the village. This really wasn't necessary and makes them look like total assholes. In the original manga, they're really basically just like the students of the rival school in The Karate Kid, taught by a heartless and ruthless master (Tsurusennin) that power is everything. After fighting dirty and causing unecessary injuries at the Tenkaichi Budokai, he realizes, through the actions and words of Goku and Kamesennin, that his master is wrong, and he lightens up, and is even reluctant to accept a victory over Goku in the finals that was due to luck.
-Has Some Unbelievable Balls
Tenshinhan's ultimate attack, the Kikohou, is actually pretty dangerous to use as it drains the life force of the user. After (well, even during) the Saiyan Saga he's pretty well outclassed by the villains of the series, even declining to face the Androids at all to no dishonor because it would just be a complete joke for him to try to match their power. However, during the Cell Saga, he shoots onto the battlefield in a complete and total batshit insane move, blinds Cell with the Taiyoken, and then proceeds to REPEATEDLY blast Cell with the Kikohou, almost killing himself in a desperate attempt to prevent Cell from attaining perfection. Fucking brass balls. I love this guy.
So far we have seen Goku's character and how it doesn't change much throughout the entirety of the series. Now we can take a look at his slight personality changes.
If one looks close enough, one can see that Goku changes quite a lot.
As a kid, Goku was pretty wild and ruthless with his opponents. He was uncomplicated character with an uncomplicated, black and white mind set regarding good and bad. He showed no mercy towards "bad guys" and had no remorse what so ever about killing them.
This trait disappears almost completely once he grows up and he becomes a more gentle person, ironically though, around the same time his love for battle becomes more preeminent, something which often makes him look selfish.
The way I see it , kid Goku would have never felt remorse for killing Freeza, nor tried to spare the Ginyu force, yet we clearly see him being bothered by their death as an adult.
Often times I find Goku hard to figure out and his "growth" as a character isn't easy to describe mostly because it doesn't really feel like it was appropriately thought trough by the author. In other words, it just happened. There where times where he took my surprise with things that I could have previously sworn he wouldn't have done or understood. Take for instance how he immediately assumed Gohan was dating when he sees him with Videl. While it stands to reason that after 2 kids he'd at least have basic knowledge about how boys and girls work, it still somehow seemed a bit strange to see him pick up on that so fast and comment on it, even though they were not actually dating.
While he essentially remains the same social awkward simple minded goofball, there is no way one can deny that even by the beginning of the Buu saga he had matured greatly compared to even his persona in the Saiyan Saga.
He begins to develop a sixth sense regarding certain things and often times seems to know and understand more than he lets on which actually makes his outward appearance a bit unsettling.
As an adult Goku becomes slightly more selfish and a whole lot more care free. He chooses to spare Piccolo, the man who was the biggest and fiercest threat up until that point just for sport. He gave him a senzu bean just so that they could face each other later. He also spares Vegeta the same way by asking Kuririn not to kill him, but to let him go just so that Goku can face him again. He also gives Vegeta the senzu bean on Namek just because he wants to have a rematch with him after he fights Freeza. Not because Vegeta sided with Gohan and Kuririn.
This soon changes though and he realizes the error of his ways and hence decides to not come back to the world of the living after the Cell saga.
In the last tournament, Goku didn't even so much as think of the possibility of fighting Vegeta, despite, like it's been pointed out above, he had been bored to death the past 10 years, and despite that Vegeta was probably a far more capable fighter than Uub at that point.
That's just how he is. He moves on to the next best thing , leaving his one time rivals a pitiful mess of broken dreams and neglect.
Kuririn, Tenshinhan, Vegeta and Piccolo should form a club. :D