Contrasting the previous episode is “Vegeta’s Respect,” which mostly focuses on Vegeta as he watches Goku fight Buu. This is where Vegeta thinks back on his path, the internal monologue closing the chapter on Vegeta’s character arc. In his monologue, Vegeta realizes that he only wanted to be powerful to beat down others, and the reason that Goku beat him and surpassed him time and time again was because he fought for himself — he fought to be better than he was before, not to be better than others. Vegeta realizes it’s this that made Goku better than him, not his power, not his skill, but his desire to always be better for himself and no one else.
The monologue also sees Vegeta reflect on his family, on calling Earth his home and how Goku changed him for the better. The speech ends with Vegeta admitting that Goku is the best, admitting he is no longer bitter about it and having confidence that Goku is going to defeat Buu. Vegeta’s character arc is one of the greatest in all of anime, and this episode is what brings it all home.
There you have it, the best 10 episodes that Dragon Ball Z has to offer, taking into the series’ best aspects. I dare not put them in a ranked order, because these are all great for different reasons, different combinations of DBZ’s greatest traits, from the greatest fights to the most impactful character moments and the highest highs of its storytelling.
Sean is a writer/researcher who lives in LA and loves Sonic, Dragon Ball and his dog. You can follow him on Twitter and find his work on his website. He also co-hosts Sonic Podcast Adventure and streams frequently on Twitch.