5 Essential Alien Races in the Dragon Ball Universe

These Dragon Ball Aliens are Super Important

It’s been nearly 20 years since the Dragon Ball anime series closed its doors back in the ‘90s and became something of a pop culture phenomenon. Now the newest installment, Dragon Ball Super, is beckoning fans back into a world of ambitious fighters and battles of epic proportions.

With the original Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z anime running from 1986 to 1997, there’s over a decade of countless alien races who have drifted in and out of the storyline as friends and foes, sometimes even both. Here are the five most important.

01
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Androids

Android 18 and Trunks Dragon Ball Season Four on Blu-ray
Android 18 and Trunks Dragon Ball Season Four on Blu-ray. ©Bird Studio/Shueisha, Toei Animation. Film©1989 Toei Animation Co., Ltd. Licensed by FUNimation® Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT and all logos, character names and distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks of SHUEISHA, INC.

The androids have a complex history within the Dragon Ball series. Originally made for the sole purpose of killing main protagonist Goku, the androids were created by malicious genius Dr. Gero (who even turns himself into an android, but that’s a story for another day).

Lucky for Goku, most of the androids eventually change for the better and ditch their murderous intent for more noble causes. Although, there is an alternate future timeline where they actual succeed in destroying the Earth.

Categorized by their functional and material makeup, there are three known types of androids that exist, including cyborgs, bio-androids and total-artificial androids. No matter the type, their mechanical enhancements give them some serious knock-out fighting abilities.

02
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Namekians

Dragon Ball Season One
Dragon Ball Season One. Piccolo attacks. ©Bird Studio/Shueisha, Toei Animation. Film©1989 Toei Animation Co., Ltd. Licensed by FUNimation® Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT and all logos, character names and distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks of SHUEISHA, INC.

One of the most prominent alien races to appear, Namekians (or Nameks) are generally good-natured. While their current lifestyles don’t necessarily reflect it, the Nameks used to be a technologically advanced civilization before a natural disaster on their planet very nearly caused their extinction.

Other than being the alien race of two major characters, Namekians Kami and King Piccolo, the green-skinned creatures contribute to the series in a big way.

You know those orange marble-looking spheres with the stars in them? Well, they’re called Dragon Balls and the Nameks are responsible for creating them. The magical orbs are what the series derives its name from and they have the ability to summon a wish-granting dragon.

03
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Ogres

With all of the fights that break out in the Dragon Ball anime series, death is pretty much unavoidable. What happens to all of those fated spirits when they die? They head over to the afterlife to a place called Other World, where all of the divine beings live.

The Ogres are the ones who look after Other World, while the boss of bosses King Yemma casts judgment on which souls go to Heaven and Hell. A colorful and hardworking bunch, Ogres are the workforce that complete the everyday chores of the afterlife, doing everything from standing guard as gatekeepers to escorting spirits.

04
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Frieza's Race

Dragon Ball Z's Frieza
Frieza Stands on Planet Namek.

Arguably the most well-known villain in Dragon Ball, Frieza is that purple-and-white alien fella who always has a chip on his shoulder.

Very little is revealed about his clan’s origins, thus it is unknown exactly what Frieza’s race is other than they are a mutated species. Frieza’s family in particular, which includes major antagonists like King Cold and Cooler, are infamous for their high-level brutality.

They’re your typical bad guys with a knack for violence and get into plenty of punching matches with Goku and his friends. Dying isn’t much of a concern since they have extraordinary healing abilities so they don’t hesitate to get into heavy blows with their rivals.

05
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Saiyans

Dragon Ball Z Season One
Dragon Ball Z Season One. The Saiyans, Nappa and Vegeta. ©Bird Studio/Shueisha, Toei Animation. Film©1989 Toei Animation Co., Ltd. Licensed by FUNimation® Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT and all logos, character names and distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks of SHUEISHA, INC.

Dragon Ball’s main hero Goku may be “the hope of the universe,” but things didn’t start out that way. Coming from a warrior race known as Saiyans, Goku was actually sent to destroy the Earth when he was a baby. (Not to worry, he loses his memory after an accident and grows up to be the hero we all know and love.)

Described as a barbaric race, Saiyans were known for their vicious and confrontational lifestyle before being almost entirely wiped out by Frieza.

Hands down the coolest thing about Saiyans is the unique abilities they possess, like transforming into a Great Ape or achieving Super Saiyan form and more recently even powering up to Super Saiyan God Form. All of which are very useful when it comes time for Goku to lay down a beating.