Vegeta (Japanese: ベジータ, Hepburn: Bejīta) (/vəˈdʒiːtə/ və-JEE-tə), also known as Prince Vegeta (ベジータ王子, Bejīta-ōji) or Vegeta IV (ベジータ四世, Bejīta Yon-sei) is a fictional character in the Dragon Ball franchise created by Akira Toriyama. Vegeta first appears in chapter #204 Sayonara, Son Goku (さようなら孫悟空, Sayōnara Son Gokū), published in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine on November 7, 1988,seeking the wish-granting Dragon Balls to gain immortality.
Vegeta is the Prince of an extraterrestrial warrior race known as the Saiyans. He is extremely arrogant, proud and hardworking; constantly referring to his heritage and royal status throughout the series. He believed he should be regarded as the strongest fighter in the Universe and becomes obsessed with surpassing Goku after losing his first battle with him. Nevertheless, he is a man of principles and a true believer of the Saiyans religion (if it can be called as such). Indeed, Vegeta believes in the “Legendary Saiyan”, nowadays known as the “Super Saiyan”. However, the term of “Legendary Saiyan” is not clear and his identity is disputable . As shown in the Namek Arc, powerless in front of Frieza, Vegeta swallowed his pride and begged Goku for help. This shows us that besides being proud and arrogant, he bears in his heart an impregnable belief for his clan’s legacy. At this point, the Super Saiyan was shown for the first time after Goku’s transformation, and it ended with Frieza’s death, Vegeta later unites with the heroes to thwart greater threats to the universe, such as Cell and Majin Buu. Vegeta’s religious aspect was also shown in a Dragon Ball movie, introducing for the first time Broly, nicknamed as the “Legendary Saiyan”. During the battle between the Z warriors and Broly, Vegeta did not fight and a rare scene of a scared Vegeta was shown. This is related to his religious heart, he was not afraid of Broly’s power, but scared of the “Legendary Saiyan” name. Henceforth, fans have been arguing about the true identity of the “Legendary Saiyan” whether it was Broly or the Super Saiyan transformation. Dragon Ball Super did not help in this debate, it rather brought more discord with the new Super Saiyans God transformations. Throughout the series, Vegeta’s role changes from villain to antihero and later as one of the heroes, while remaining a rival to Goku.
The character received mixed reactions. Vegeta’s traits including his recurring rage over his inferiorty over Goku and his forced relationship with Bulma were the subject of criticism. However, the character’s arc and his battles across the narrative were well received by the media. He has also enjoyed popularity within Dragon Ball fans and anime in general.