How to Create Your Own Dragon Ball Z Character
By Dan Ketchum
Updated September 29, 2017
Whether you're a '90s kid who grew up watching "Dragon Ball Z" on Cartoon Network's Toonami or you're just dipping your toes into streaming "Dragon Ball Super" on Crunchyroll, the Dragon Ball series has captured imaginations – and fighting spirits – all across the world and enjoyed longtime fandom more powerful than a Super Spirit Bomb. Much of the show's success is owed to character designs bearing the distinctive stamp of creator Akira Toriyama, so it's little wonder that budding Super Saiyans want to get in on the character-creating action. Unless you've got mad manga skills (or want to resort to sketchy, unlicensed character creators online), the best way to realize your Dragon Ball dreams is with a slate of customizable video games, from semi-vintage to cutting-edge.
Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi
If you're still rocking a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 but you've got that creative anime itch, don't fret – in the West, your first chance to officially create a detailed, 3D "Dragon Ball Z" character arrived with "Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi" in 2011. Created by Namco Bandai Games and Spike Co., Ultimate Tenkaichi was also the ultimate Dragon Ball game when it hit the scene, highly regarded among fans for its faithful visual style and fast, fluid combat with wide-open, destructible environments.
In addition to its detailed Story Mode and roster of 28 DBZ characters, Ultimate Tenkaichi 's Hero Mode finally allowed players to get creative. Though limited in scope compared to later releases, this feature lets you choose your custom Saiyan's name, hair style, skin color and voice, as well as offering detailed costume options, including logos and Scouters. The best part, though, is probably the huge variety of color options; you can re-color just about every part of your character using the full color spectrum, plus hue and saturation options.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse
For aspiring Toriyamas, 2015's "Dragon Ball Xenoverse" was a digital dream come true. Though released in 2015, the game hit a ton of platforms, including Windows PCs and the nearly-vintage Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms (which were 10 and 9 years old at the time, respectively). The big shakeup here is that instead of offering character creation as a mere option, Xenoverse centers the entire game around the concept; this time around, you don't play as Goku, Krillian or Piccolo – you play as your very own, highly-customized Z Warrior as Trunks leads you through an alternate Dragon Ball timeline that turns iconic series events on their head.
The term "customized" means really, really customized. Xenoverse lets you create five different DBZ-inspired races – human, Saiyan, Majin, Namekian and the Freiza race – each with their own game play characteristics, like improved defense for Majin. But the aesthetic choices are where the game really shines, with enough options to make the character creator alone worth the price of admission. Just on the first screen, you've got dozens upon dozens of options for height, body type, hair, eyes, pupils, nose, jawline and ears, all with customizable colors. As you unlock gear via completing in-game missions, you'll be able to further customize your warrior with head-to-toe wardrobe and accessory options. Oh, and if you're a more up-to-date gamer, Xenoverse is also available on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
Consider "Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2" the final form of DBZ games (until the next one comes out, that is). Published by Namco Bandai and developed by Dimps, 2016's Xenoverse 2 takes everything from the first game and amps it up considerably, including an even more comprehensive character creation system. Now, characters of certain races have exclusive access to certain locations, while race and gender still have an effect on your fighting style – Namekians have high stamina and regenerate health when it's low and Saiyans are known for their attack power, for instance. But if you're more concerned with how your character looks, Xenoverse 2 has your back. By the numbers, the character creation system includes over 60 hairdos, more than 20 noses, nearly 40 types of eyes, eight different ear choices and 35 jawline options. Oh, and that's just for earthling males and females – other races have their very own options, too, and in similar quantity.
Originally released on the PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox One, Xenoverse 2 also landed on the Nintendo Switch in 2017, so your options for finally realizing that DBZ character you've always imagined – and beating the snot out of Gotenks with said character – are now more accessible and diverse than ever.
- Crunchyroll: Dragon Ball Super
- Adult Swim: Toonami
- Forbes: Kazuhiko Torishima on Shaping the Success of 'Dragon Ball' and the Origins of 'Dragon Quest'
- Moby Games: Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi
- IGN: Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi Review
- YouTube: Dragon Ball Z Ultimate Tenkaichi: Hero Mode Character Creation (Part 1) by DBZanto Z
- Destructoid: Review: Dragon Ball Xenoverse
- YouTube: Dragon Ball Xenoverse - Character Creation Playlist by TheGamingInc
- Gamespot: E3 2016: What's New and Improved in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
- Siliconera: Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2's Character Creation System Is Comprehensive
Dan's tech experience includes work in the promotional and creative side of video gaming (with companies like 2K, Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive), as well as feature film post-production and graphic design. As a writer, he's contributed to Techwalla, Verizon, Samsung, Asus, Sharp, GeeksOn, Canon, Panasonic, Linksys and more.