Cell (セ-ル, Seru) was a humanoid bio-organism created from the cells of Son Gokû, Vegeta, Piccolo, Freezer and King Cold. Dr. Gero's masterpiece, his goal was to become the ultimate fighter and he had to absorb N°17 and N°18 to reach his perfect form. But the two artificial humans having been destroyed in his timeline, his only solution was to travel back in time to the timeline of our heroes in order to achieve his goal. He is a major antagonist of Dragon Ball, being one of the 3 main antagonists of Dragon Ball Z.🐛
You see, I am perfect, my strength is perfect, and with that, I will bring equally perfect destruction throughout the rest of the universe.
- Cell in episode 096 of Dragon Ball Kai
Cell was a hybrid being created successively by Gero, then taken over by his computer after the latter abandoned his creation. His goal was very different from the Artificial Humans. Indeed, his goal was to be the ultimate fighter. In order to do so, Cell inherited cell samples taken from Son Goku's key battles (except for the events on planet Namek). Thus, Cell's personality was very much based on the Saiyans' adoration of fighting. He also inherited Piccolo's ability to regenerate indefinitely, as well as Freezer and Cold's cells, which allowed him to take over their ability to survive in space.👾
His personality has evolved a lot. Facing Piccolo, he was then no match for his enemies, and he stalked the earthlings in order to gain a higher level than the Artificial Humans and Piccolo. It is important to note that his power never evolved by itself. On the level of his character, his fight against Vegeta shows how much he knew how to understand the Saiyans and their love of fighting. On the level of personality, he was not necessarily superior to them, since he usually made the same mistakes. For example, like Vegeta, he intentionally let Son Gohan awaken to his highest level, or he favored his muscular strength when he lost his temper like Trunks did.
When he reached his ultimate form, Cell was in full possession of his abilities, all the techniques he inherited are pushed to the ultimate stages. It's funny that he used a Freezer technique to kill Trunks during his resurrection.
He was not called "Cell from the future" or "Cell from another future" because of the absence of his present alter-ego, Cell (present), being destroyed by Kuririn and Trunks.
It should be noted that when Akira Toriyama was working on his manga, he had a lot of difficulties to create the adequate enemies of this saga. His editor (tanto) Torishima at that time, was not interested in N°19 and N°20, which he found respectively "too big and too old". After Torishima's phone call, Toriyama was forced to change his plans by creating N°17 and N°18, which also did not completely convince Torishima, because of their "fragile teenagers" look.
So he created Cell hoping that this time would be the right one. It should be noted that the author did not plan to transform Cell, and that he liked his initial form, as he appeared in front of Piccolo. Torishima asked him if he could transform himself, and it is from there that the transformations around N°17 and N°18 were created, which became the targets of the monster. It should also be pointed out that Torishima didn't like Cell's second appearance at all, who, according to him, "looked like an idiot like that". Toriyama wanted him to have a bigger role in this form. For the elaboration of his villains, the author is cheerfully inspired by his editors, so his last appearance is an obvious nod to Yû Kondô.
Many drafts have been revealed publicly concerning the creation of Cell. Some of the results are unexpected and may as well evoke the character of Majin Ozotto or Ī Shinron.
Saga of Cell
Cell is a genetically modified organism formed thanks to the cells of Son Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Freezer and King Cold which were collected by a spy micro-robot. It was not in fact directly created by Doctor Gero, but by his computer, the scientist having abandoned his project. Located under the main laboratory, his incubator survived the destruction of this one by N°17 and N°18 in the world of Mirai Trunks, giving Cell all the time to develop. When he reached maturity, fifteen years after the arrival of the cyborgs in Trunks' future, he discovers that N°17 and N°18 were destroyed by Trunks. Cell then kills the latter and takes his time machine. His goal is to go back in the past in order to absorb N°17 and N°18 to reach the stage of a perfect body. But for that, he has to regress to the larva stage because the time machine is too narrow for him, that's why he stays in the ground for 3 years to complete his development.👑
Trunks, Son Gohan and Bulma discover a strange egg and a large exuvia next to a time machine. Piccolo, who has merged with Kami-Sama, tracks down Cell and discovers him after a carnage perpetrated in a city. Piccolo fights him and gets the upper hand, but he is caught by Cell, which allows him to understand that he is looking for the cyborgs to absorb them. He also discovers that Cell increases his power by absorbing humans with his stinger. Cell remains vulnerable for now, and cowardly runs away using Taiyôken. Knowing that he is not strong enough to face the cyborgs, he continues to absorb large amounts of humans to increase his power.
Finally, he finds the trace of the cyborgs thanks to Piccolo who started to fight against N°17 to prevent him from absorbing them. He then deploys the power he acquired at the expense of the humans. Piccolo tries to stop him, but he is too tired from his fight and is quickly defeated. N°16 then enters the scene and decides to fight Cell to save the inhabitants of the Earth, he then reveals a really extraordinary power, superior to Cell's. But taking advantage of N°17's inattention, Cell absorbs him by surprise and reaches the second stage of his ultimate transformation.
Cell gets a new appearance after absorbing N°17, his strength increases considerably. He looks more and more like a human. While he imitates N°17's voice to destabilize N°18 and absorb him, Ten Shin Han intervenes by throwing the Neo kikoho to let N°18 run away.
Cell catches N°18 who was hidden on an island with N°16 damaged. Cell then starts to destroy all the islands one after the other to force N°18 to discover himself but is interrupted by Vegeta.
A violent fight ensues but Cell finds himself greatly outmatched by the Saiyan. Knowing Vegeta's fighting and proud nature, Cell tells him that if he could absorb No.18 he would reach his "perfect form" and his strength would be so great that no one could compete with him. Vegeta, both outraged by Cell's arrogance and excited at the idea of fighting a truly powerful opponent, decides to help him reach his perfect form. Trunks tries to intervene but he has to face his father against whom he does not want to deploy his full power in order not to hurt his pride, thus letting Cell absorb N°18.
Cell reaches his perfect form, now totally serene and confident in his new powers. He fights Vegeta in order to warm up and test himself. Vegeta is quickly overwhelmed by the situation and bitterly regrets to have allowed Cell to absorb N°18, and Cell thanks him for it.
The prince of Saiyan then tries an ultimate attack, the Final Flash and provokes Cell to see him take his technique. Finally, a part of Cell's body is swept away by this devastating attack. But he is immediately self-regenerated thanks to Piccolo's cells.🦠
He quickly confronts Vegeta but quickly puts him out of action. Trunks then reveals his true power, and uses the Super Saiyan Dai 3 Dankai transformation. His power is such that he surprises Cell himself. Trunks manages to get the creature's attention and allows Kuririn to get Vegeta to safety.
Despite Trunks' new powers and prodigious physical strength, Cell remains unreachable. Trunks' muscles make him slow down and make the Saiyan of the future regret undertaking this transformation. On the verge of being finished by Cell, the latter has a surprising idea, that of organizing a tournament, the Cell Game! This will allow him to test his abilities, and to give his opponents time to train, now that he knows that Vegeta and Trunks were able to progress in no time in a spectacular way.
Cell appears on the televisions and reveals to the human beings the existence of his tournament which will take place 7 days later. All the best warriors are invited to fight. The right to "kill" is allowed and the participants must not fall out of the ring or they will be eliminated.
Son Gokû comes out of the time room to meet Cell to measure his power. He knows now that his training is not enough to exterminate the new threat, but he remains mysteriously confident. Cell remains impassive during the 7 days, except that he destroys by himself an entire army that came to try in vain to eradicate him.
The tournament finally takes place, Cell is surprised to see N°16 again and is surprised to see him functional again. His first opponent is none other than Mr. Satan, a boastful human being who is quickly swept away. Cell doesn't even allow himself to kill him because he is so insignificant.
Son Goku finally arrives on the ring and a very difficult fight is fought. Both fighters use their best techniques. Son Goku's teleportation manages to annoy Cell, once again baffled by this unique technique which makes Son Goku avoid a very powerful Kamehameha. The creature reveals that he knew that Goku would jump to avoid ravaging the Earth.
The fight continues violently, Cell's speed seems to be superior to Goku's. Amused by this exciting fight, Cell explodes the ring, the planet itself becoming his ring from now on. Son Goku then combines his teleportation with his Kamehameha! He teleports at the last moment in front of Cell to unleash his powerful attack. Nevertheless, Cell comes back in one piece thanks to Piccolo's precious cells. Trunks and Kuririn could only guess the outcome of this attack.
Cell then takes the lead in this fight, and Son Goku sends an avalanche of Kikoha. The biological creature is forced to use a gigantic barrier that was once used by No.17 to protect himself from Piccolo's techniques. Cell congratulates Son Goku and considers his techniques to be of a very high level.
Son Goku, smiling at the situation, gives up the fight. He invites Son Gohan to take over. Cell is at first surprised by this choice, which is incongruous to say the least. His former opponent even gives him a senzu, Cell is back in top form! Despite Son Gohan's new potential and a certain speed that allows him to dodge the first blows of the creature, Cell takes the upper hand on the young boy and orders Son Gokû to take a senzu and come back on the field.
Coming back to the charge, Son Gohan reveals that his potential comes from anger and that several times, it allowed him to turn the situation around especially against Freezer. Seeing the opportunity to have a powerful opponent, Cell does everything to make him angry and plays Son Goku's game without knowing it. Not getting this, and despite Piccolo's injunctions urging Son Goku to come to his son's aid, N°16 intervenes and tries to sacrifice himself by blowing up Cell but he fails, because Dr Brief has removed the bomb from his mechanical body. His body is immediately destroyed by Cell.
Determined to make Son Gohan angry, he creates Cell-Jr who will take care of Goku and his companions. Even Trunks and Vegeta have trouble against them, while Son Goku is too weakened by his previous fight.⚔️
Satan sends the head of N°16 (at his request) near Son Gohan. The robot gives him advices before being trampled by Cell, which finally makes Son Gohan's anger explode. The golden Saiyan exterminates without warning all the Cell Jr in a few moments. Cell realizes too late that the danger is there, and indeed Son Gohan puts him down in only three shots. Cell then unleashes a gigantic Kamehameha, which is countered and returned by Gohan with a similar attack but on a different level.
Increasingly frustrated at the idea of losing to Gohan, Cell concentrates all his energy into his physical strength, thus inflating his muscles. But in doing so he loses a lot of speed and Gohan kicks him twice, the second one in the stomach making him spit out N°18.
The defeat is total, and the creature, cornered, has no other solution than to blow himself up by blowing up the planet with him. Son Goku sacrifices himself by teleporting with Cell to Kaio's house. All of them perish in the explosion, except Cell whose vital core has not been destroyed, which allowed him to regenerate. Moreover, thanks to the Saiyan cells, he became more powerful after his near death. He quickly reappeared in front of Gohan and the others and killed Trunks ironically by a technique of Freezer.
Vegeta, mad with rage to have seen his son being killed by Cell, intervenes by attacking Cell, but he is defeated in an instant by the latter. Gohan is injured while saving him in-extremis. Delighted that the situation has turned against Gohan, Cell unleashes a powerful Kamehameha capable of destroying the solar system. Gohan counters him, despite his shoulder injury, and thanks to Son Goku's encouragement, Gohan manages to match Cell's strength. Vegeta manages to briefly divert Cell's attention with a short attack, allowing Gohan to defeat the creature forever, with Cell being pulverized by the explosion of the Kamehameha.
Afterlife Tournament Saga
In this anime exclusive saga, Cell makes a brief appearance, when Son Goku and Paikuhan are sent to Hell to calm down Freezer and Cell who are causing terror.
Cell tries to fight against Paikuhan, but he is defeated in only 2 moves.
Saga of Majin Boo
This is an exclusive scene in the anime, we can see him in Hell with Freezer, the Cold King, Doctor Gero, Babidi and the Ginyû Toku Sentai. Thus, he observes the fierce fight between Majin Boo and Son Gokû.
Saga of Trunks of the Future
Cell is briefly mentioned in this saga. After Trunks' time machine was destroyed by Goku Black, Bulma remembers having kept with her the machine that Cell used to come in their time, she then goes to repair it thanks to the notes left by her double of the future.
Shortly after the defeat of Zamasu, Son Gokû and Kuririn are sent to a strange forest by Kame Sennin to search for the "Heavenly Grass".
In this forest, they are confronted with almost all their former enemies, including Cell, in the form of an illusion. Son Gokû tries to defeat him several times, but the illusion reintegrates itself infinitely. Thus, he disappears with the illusions of the other enemies when Son Goku and Kuririn concentrate their Ki to overcome their fears.
Super Saga N°17
In this saga, he joins Freezer to try to kill Son Gokû, but Son Gokû dominates them without difficulty. However, thanks to the energy of hell, they can't die.
During the battle, Cell tries to absorb Son Goku through his tail, although he gains more power, it is a short-lived victory because Son Goku quickly manages to escape from Cell's body. Cell and Freezer quickly understand that Goku has become stronger than before and decide to defeat him with their common technique, the Hell Buster, and send him into the deepest part of hell.
Although the technique worked and Son Goku was imprisoned in ice, he freed himself and froze Cell and Freezer, before accidentally breaking them. Regenerated afterwards, they will both be stopped and immobilized by the Ogres.🧊
This form is the embryonic form of Cell, as he is before the egg is formed. It was conceived with the cells of Son Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Freezer and King Cold thanks to Gero's spy robot. After finalizing the creation of N°19.
In the main timeline, Cell dies destroyed by Trunks (future) and Kuririn in his embryonic form, he is destroyed at the same time as the underground laboratory.
In Trunks' alternate timeline, he is born after 24 years of refinement, and the same for Cell's alternate timeline.
This is the second stage of Cell's evolution, he appears in larval form after having perfected and left Doctor Gero's underground laboratory. In this form, he buries himself underground to hibernate and continue his natural process of slow evolution. He will come out of the ground only 4 years later.
Once ready, Cell comes out of the ground and molts. His shell splits in two and he comes out in an anthropomorphic form.
In the anime, this form appears when Cell remembers his birth and his mutations.
First form / Imperfect form
The First Form (第1形態, Dai Ichi Keitai) or Imperfect Form (不完全体セル, Fukanzentai) is the form Cell takes after evolving underground for 4 years and emerging from his shell. The face is very similar to that of his larval form, except that in this form, Cell is much taller and can finally stand upright, and he has much more developed wings and a tail to absorb.
In this form, his face is not fully developed, he has a shell-shaped opening as a mouth. In the paper manga, his teeth are not shown, but in episode 151 of Dragon Ball Z, we can see that Cell has 4 sharp teeth.
It should be noted that Cell was forced to regress into an egg to enter Bulma's Time Machine.
Second form / Semi-perfect form
The 第二形態セル (Dai Ni Keitai Seru) or the Semi-Perfect Form (半完全体セル, Hankanzentai) is the form he takes after absorbing N°17. It is an evolutionary form of the first form, he needs to assimilate N°18 to reach his perfect form.
In this form, Cell's wings disappear and Cell takes on a much more humanoid shape, he is also more muscular and his face is closer to that of his perfect form. His skull is now divided into two parts that stand straight up. In the middle of the skull, he has a sort of black object, of the same composition as those of Freezer's Race. In this much larger form, he is twice the size of Vegeta, and his tail is also longer and thicker than before, it protrudes directly from his back and takes on an orange color and the same streaks that cover it.
He still doesn't have a nose, but he now has purple lips, just below the black mask that is in place of his nose. He also has a complete set of teeth.
He also has feet, instead of the legs he had in his previous forms. He now has pupils (red in the manga and blue in the anime), whereas he had a reptile look in his previous form.
In Dragon Ball Z, Cell has a much less monstrous voice than in his previous form, Norio Wakamoto gives him a deep voice, but it doesn't scrape like his previous form.
In Dragon Ball Kai, Norio Wakamoto gives him the lowest voice of his forms, while his previous form has a higher and less regular voice.
The Perfect Form (完全体セル, Kanzentai) is Cell's ultimate form, it is the form he takes after absorbing No. 18. This form undergoes a great physical and moral change.
In this form, Cell has wings again and his upper torso and shoulders become black. His face and hands turn gray and his feet turn yellow.🟡
Cell is much more intelligent and now has a nose. His tail now shrinks and the tip stays below his wings, as he doesn't need it anymore in this form.
His abdomen turns purple and the underside of his skin is covered by his green shells.
Even if Cell is in his perfect form, it does not prevent him from regressing to a previous form if he spits out N°17 or N°18. The proof is that Son Gohan managed to regress Cell after spitting out N°18, after receiving a violent punch. But by coming back stronger, his absorption was no longer necessary.
Cell (Krillin absorbed)
Cell (Krillin absorbed) or Cellin (セルリン, Serurin) is a form that appears in an alternate storyline of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai, it is the form that Cell takes after he accidentally absorbs Krillin instead of No. 18.
In this state, he looks like a Cell.Jr with textures reminding the characteristics of Krilin. Moreover, he loses a lot of power, so much so that he hardly beats Yamcha and is easily killed by a Shin Kikoho of Ten shin han.
Dragon Ball Z
Saga of the Tournament of the Beyond
Dragon Ball GT
Saga of Super N°17
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