Cell Returns! (白昼の悪夢!!恐怖はより完璧に, Hakuchū no Akuma!! Kyofu wa yori Kanpeki ni) is the twenty-fourth episode of the Cell Games Saga and the one hundred eighty-ninth overall episode in the uncut Dragon Ball Z series. The episode first aired on June 16, 1993. Its original American air date was December 20, 2000.
After killing Future Trunks, Cell explains how he survived after the explosion of King Kai's planet. Cell explains that his central nucleus had survived, allowing him to regenerate, and that his cells had retained the knowledge of his perfect power. Being of Saiyan genetics, Cell also reveals to have received a massive Zenkai from being as close to death as biologically possible. After hearing about how Cell survived, Gohan powers up to his maximum, and is ready to avenge his father's death.
After watching Future Trunks twitch to stay alive, Vegeta screams with rage and attacks Cell out of rage by firing a Maximum Flasher followed up with multiple ki blasts. After this giant barrage of energy blasts, Vegeta is knocked down by the powerful android and is almost killed by a Ki Wave. However, Gohan jumps in front of Vegeta and takes the blast, which breaks his left arm, rendering it useless. Knowing that he has been dealt a heavy blow, Gohan realizes that it will take a miracle to defeat Cell once and for all as the latter proudly states that he will live forever.
- Vegeta (Super Saiyan) vs. Super Perfect Cell
"You thought you'd never see me again, didn't you? Well, too bad, I'm alive! But I'm afraid I cannot say the same thing for Goku. Want to know how I survived the blast? Well, it's actually quite simple. It is all in here, it's part of my design. Every cell I have a has a life of its own. I can't die, it's impossible. Even if I self-destruct, I will always come back."
"Sorry, this is the only place I can bring him King Kai."
" I don't remember much after explosion, but somewhere amongst the planetary debris, the core of my being still existed. One living cell survived, and that is all I needed for my regeneration. Soon, that single living cell began to multiply into many. It wasn't long before I became conscious of my transformation. I could feel every part of my body growing. Crackling with new life and energy. My shapeless mass began to sprout new limbs. First my legs, then my arms... and in no time, my whole body was restored! At first, I could hardly believe that I had brought myself back from the brink of extinction. That is when I realized that each of my cells must hold memories of my former self, each one programmed to make me whole again! And, to my great delight,...I had returned with my complete power in tact! Causing my own self-destruction was the best thing to happen to me! I was reborn!"
"Trunks... my son... Kakarot, this is all your fault! How could I let this happen to my son?! He had sacrificed everything for me... but I did nothing but ignore him! No... I won't give up on him! There is still time to change things! Cell has crossed me for the last time! He had tricked me in battle, mocked my Saiyan ancestry, but this, this time he's gone too far! He will pay the ultimate price, for what he has done to my son!"
"He has beaten me completely. First through his actions, then through his son's and what has he left for me here? How, how could you die like that, how Kakarot? I'll never have the chance to prove my strength against you! You died without fear, what does that make of me? I'm no warrior, and I'll never fight again."
"Gohan... this is it! It ends here! First I'll destroy you, then your friends and then this worthless planet! But before I do, I want you to remember something: I will live FOREVER!"
- Maximum Flasher - Used by Vegeta out of anger of his son's death.
- Risking it all for a friend - Used by Gohan to save Vegeta from Cell's Time to Die blast.
- Super Energy Wave Volley - Used by Vegeta to attack Super Perfect Cell.
- Time to Die - Used by Super Perfect Cell against Vegeta.
- In the English versions, there is an inconsistency with Cell's dialogue: upon finishing telling how he survived and returned, he says "Goku failed, and so will all of you, but I'm willing to give you another chance if you want!" However, when Vegeta is remembering Future Trunks' death, Cell's quote is changed to "Goku tried to destroy me but failed! Thanks to him, I am stronger than I have ever been!" The second quote is more accurate to what he says in the Japanese version.
- This is the first episode that Vegeta shows love for his family, both in his mental dialogue about Future Trunks dying and becoming enraged that Super Perfect Cell killed his son, thus continuously attacking Cell in revenge until Cell stops Vegeta.