Immortality (不死, Fushi), also called Eternal Life (永遠の命, Eien no Inochi), is the concept of living in physical or spiritual form for an infinite length of time without dying. A subset of this is Eternal Youth, which allows for exemption from natural death such as from old age or disease. There are several outside methods in the series which can be sought after in order to become immortal, the most common being to make such a wish to the Eternal Dragon, Shenron, using the seven Dragon Balls.
Methods of gaining immortality
- Collecting the seven Dragon Balls (or, alternatively, the Namekian Dragon Balls, Super Dragon Balls, or Black Star Dragon Balls) and having a wish for immortality granted by an Eternal Dragon. This method also extend immortality even to unnatural taking of life, such as murder or suicide.
- Drinking the immortality elixir alluded to in the Dragon Ball manga.
- Having Master Roshi's pet, the Immortal Phoenix, bestow immortality. This method is rendered unavailable some time before the beginning of Dragon Ball, due to the irony that the Immortal Phoenix died from being fed "tainted bird seed".
- The grueling process of converting a human into a cyborg entails them freedom from a death by natural causes.
- Wishing for Eternal Youth, which halts aging and thus leaves them unable to die of natural causes. However, they can still be killed during battle, with suicide, and/or being caught in a lethal event.
- Eating Paradise Grass obtained from the Forest of Terror allows the consumer to gain many additional years of life. Roshi uses this method to retain his eternal life.
Characters who are immortal
- Mr. Popo: Mr. Popo is the eternal caretaker and gardener of Kami's Lookout, having long outlived all of Earth's Guardians, being essentially ageless, as he cannot die of natural causes like aging or disease; however, he can die of unnatural causes, like Buu's magic Chocolate Beam, or complete disintegration.
- Darkness: The mysterious entity which guards the Ultra Divine Water in the Cave of Darkness. Darkness tells Goku that the two of them could live together forever while fooling him with illusions, suggesting that he is immortal.
- Garlic Jr.: In the film Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone, Garlic Jr. is successful in his campaign to wish for eternal life from Shenron. As such, he is abnormally defeated not by being slain but by being victimized by his own ploy, the Dead Zone, wherein he is trapped for several years until his escape in the filler Garlic Jr. Saga of Dragon Ball Z. It should be noted that, until Future Zamasu's debut in Dragon Ball Super, Garlic Jr. was the only character in the series to have complete and unhindered immortality. Whereas characters such as Master Roshi and the Androids are free from death by natural causes but are still susceptible to such acts as murder or suicide, Garlic Jr. seems to be literally incapable of dying.
- While not completely immortal, it is explained by Dr. Gero shortly after activating Android 17 and Android 18 that the process of configuring humans into cyborgs essentially grants them "eternal life". This only applies to aging and death by natural causes, as while their energy never drains, they are still capable of being killed in battle, as shown with Future Trunks destroying the future androids in his timeline, Super Buu turrning Android 18 into chocolate along with Marron, and eating them, and then lastly, Android 17, though offscreen, when Buu's pure form, Kid Buu, blows up the Earth with his Planet Burst.
- Cell states that he will live forever as long as he isn't completely annihilated.
- Majin Buu: After Garlic Jr. and Future Zamasu, Majin Buu is the closest to completely immortal as he is not only immune to aging and disease, but his body is almost indestructible. The only way to kill Majin Buu is to use an incredibly powerful force to completely destroy his body with not even a trace left behind, as he can regenerate from even the smallest particles, such as the Super Spirit Bomb or Earth Breaker.
- King Piccolo: King Piccolo gained "Eternal Youth" (永遠の若さ Eien no Wakasa), after wishing it from the Dragon Balls. This made him immune to aging, allowing him to stay on his physical prime for eternity, however, he could die or be killed by unnatural causes, such as being obliterated or pierced through the chest.
- Piccolo: Piccolo inherited his late father's eternal youth, giving him ageless immortality after reaching his physical prime, which has been proved in several video game stories, such as the Hero Mode story from Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi, which takes place long after Dragon Ball GT's ending, and shows Piccolo, still alive and looking physically young. It is also stated in Daizenshuu 2 that Piccolo inherited all of his father's techniques and abilities, including "Eternal Youth". It was due to his eternal youth that Kami, when both he and Piccolo decided to fuse back to their original self, made the latter the dominant host, as the latter's eternal youth made him much stronger than Kami.
- Lord Slug: Slug wished for "eternal youth on his prime" from the Dragon Balls. This made him return to his physical prime, and he became ageless immortal. However, he could still be killed, such as being obliterated.
- Future Zamasu: Future Zamasu wished for immortality using the Super Dragon Balls. Like Garlic Jr., he seems truly incapable of dying.
- Fusion Zamasu: As the fusion of Future Zamasu and his alternate self Goku Black, Fusion Zamasu inherited this immortality. However, as Goku Black's body is that of a mortal the fusion's body was thrown into chaos and as such Fusion Zamasu's body wasn't immortal and just had an extreme tolerance to pain and was able to regenerate although his soul was immortal and unable to die, and was instead erased by Future Zen-Oh.
Characters who have pursued immortality
- King Piccolo: Wished for Eternal Youth to regain his physical prime. Was ultimately killed by Goku via the latter plowing through his chest.
- Vegeta: The proud Saiyan warrior seeks the Dragon Balls of Earth, where he is encountered and defeated by Goku. After recovering, Vegeta searches Namek for the Dragon Balls of that planet, which he is successful in stealing from Frieza (with the exception of one he locates himself). He loses the artifacts to the Ginyu Force, before coming to gain possession of them once again with the arrival of Goku. He nearly loses the opportunity to become immortal when Krillin, Gohan and Dende summon the Eternal Dragon of Namek, Porunga, in his absence, but he realizes with enough time to track the group down and force Dende to make the wish (as Porunga requires his summoner to speak in Namek dialect when making a request). The wish ultimately fails however, when Grand Elder Guru dies, thus killing the Eternal Dragon and crippling Vegeta's conquest for immortality. After being resurrected, he gave up on immortality despite the Earth's Dragon Balls being revived.
- Gogeta: In his ending in the PSP game Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai, Gogeta considers wishing for immortality but eventually decides that a lot of delicious food would be better. It is likely that his wanting for immortality is due to Vegeta's influence inside him, and his wanting for delicious food comes from Goku.
- Nappa: A Saiyan who travels to Earth with Vegeta to seek out the Dragon Balls. Their plan ultimately fails when Goku arrives and pummels Nappa, who ends up being betrayed and killed by Vegeta.
- Zarbon: Wished for Eternal Youth in the what-if saga Beautiful Treachery in order to suppress his beast form. However, as Frieza pointed out, it was a wasted wish since such a wish won't protect him from being killed, which rang true when Planet Namek was destroyed before Zarbon could escape it.
- Frieza: The self-proclaimed "Lord of The Universe" seeks the Dragon Balls in an effort to solidify his terrifying influence by gaining true immortality. Frieza becomes increasingly desperate to fulfill this desire as more threats to his campaign begin to surface on Namek, such as Vegeta, the Earthlings Krillin and Gohan, a Namek victim's curious last words that Frieza could never make a wish even with the Dragon Balls gathered, and finally the arrival of Goku. Ultimately, Frieza loses his opportunity to wish for immortality to Vegeta, who in turn also fails to have this request granted when Porunga, the Eternal Dragon of Namek, prematurely dies. After Porunga is revived, Frieza makes a desperate attempt to wish for immortality, but it is rejected due to him not knowing he has to speak the wish in the Namekian language. Dende seizes this opportunity to wish for all living beings on Namek except for Goku and Frieza to be transported to Earth. Frieza does gain immortality in several video game what-if scenarios, such as "The True Ruler" in Dragon Ball Z: Budokai and his story in Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors. When he gains immortality in the Another Age scenario "Spirit Bomb" in Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, Frieza also gains the ability to create non-immortal clones of his forms and becomes completely invulnerable to everything but the Universal Spirit Bomb.
- Vodka: An Earthling mob leader employing Mercenary Tao during the Cell Games Saga, who desires immortality so that he may escape Cell's path of destruction.
- Zamasu: In his plan to assume "justice" to the universes, Zamasu was going to wish for immortality as well as to switch bodies with Goku right after killing his master. However, his dream never came, as he was annihilated by Beerus. His alternate counterpart, however, had successfully achieved it.
- Cooler: In Piccolo's scenario in the Nintendo DS game Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors 2, Cooler and his armored squadron go to New Namek in order to gather the Namekian Dragon Balls so that Cooler can be immortal. They are stopped and defeated by Gohan and Piccolo.
- Future Babidi: In the PSP game Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road, Future Babidi planned to have eternal life as one of his wishes with the Namekian Dragon Balls. He is eventually absorbed by Buu and never gets his wishes.
- Turles: In Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Turles attempts to use the Namekian Dragon Balls to obtain immortality, however his cohort Lord Slug interferes as he desires the same wish. Turles hoped to gain immortality in order to defeat Goku and eventually become stronger than Frieza and Mira using the Fruit of the Tree of Might. Both he and Slug after forced to call a truce when the Future Warrior shows up to help Gohan and Krillin reclaim the Dragon Balls. He is later killed alongside Lord Slug by a combined attack from Future Trunks and the Future Warrior.
- Lord Slug: In Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 like his cohort Turles, Lord Slug desired to use Namekian Dragon Balls to obtain immortality. He and Turles are forced to call a truce when the Future Warrior shows up and is later killed alongside Turles by a combined attack from Future Trunks and the Future Warrior. Lord Slug mentions wishing for Eternal Youth was a mistake while training the Future Warrior and believes he should have wished for complete immortality. On a related note, he also pursued Eternal Youth in Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug.
Even if one is immortal, there is one crucial flaw, which is that, even though they are immortal, they are still susceptible to being trapped in a place where they cannot escape, be it a different time era, dimension, etc. They are also susceptible when fusing with a mortal being, spiraling the fused body out of control, causing the fusion to be granted with semi-immortality, susceptible to being killed. They're also susceptible to being erased from existence by Zeno and other potential entities like him. In the case of gaining eternal youth, they also are still susceptible to the unnatural taking of life such as murder or suicide. There are examples of these such as:
- The Hyperbolic Time Chamber, with the exit being destroyed. This was almost possible to trap Super Buu, but he was able to escape with his Vice Shout.
- The Dead Zone, which Garlic Jr. had been sealed in himself by means of Gohan's overwhelming power.
- An object that has been marked with a sealing ofuda, and in proper conjunction with the Evil Containment Wave. Piccolo had advised this to Goku after his second battle with Future Zamasu.
- When Goku Black and Future Zamasu fused, there was an additional flaw with their fusion: Black was mortal while Future Zamasu wasn't. This caused their fusion to fall apart, mutating him into a deformed being as well as making his body able to die. This ultimately lead to their defeat against Future Trunks, who had gained enough light energy to nullify the fusion's semi-immortality, although Zamasu himself managed to survive in a non-corporeal form and proceeded to remake everything in existence to be in his own image, thus forcing Future Zen-Oh to destroy all of existence within that timeline in order to stop him.
- Daizenshuu 2 states that Majin Buu has an immortal body because he can regenerate it. It is shown however that he can be killed when he is obliterated by Goku's Super Spirit Bomb.
- While in Hell, Frieza and Cell appear to be immortal as they are immune to any and all harm, coming back every time they are defeated, however this is due to the fact that they are already dead and lack true living bodies. Throughout the series it is often mentioned that even if a strong deceased individual is allowed to keep their body, they cannot be killed again, as mentioned during the Other World Tournament, when the announcer lists the rules, he mentions that the fighters shouldn't worry about being killed because they are already dead. King Kai stated something similar during the Namek Saga, when he tells Chiaotzu after the latter's failed suicide attack on Piccolo while training on Other World, that he can't die anyways due to his being already dead. Although, this point is countered during the Buu Saga, when Goku states that when fighters that are already dead are killed, they are wiped from existence completely; however, this statement only occurs within anime filler.
- While it is never actually stated, it is likely that Fortuneteller Baba possesses some form of immortality as she is the elder sister of Master Roshi and is shown to be still alive in Age 1000 in Dragon Ball Online. Given that she is a witch, she may have obtained immortality via means of witchcraft, the Immortal Phoenix (possible when it was still alive) or via drinking the same immortality elixir that granted her brother his immortality. Interestingly, Baba is never depicted being killed during the entire series, which can be attributed to both her ability to see the future and her ability to freely travel from the living world to Other World. This would potentially allow her to foresee events (like when Kid Buu or Frieza destroyed the Earth) that could lead to her death (should her immortality be limited to natural causes like her brother's) and flee to Other World (where she could remain alive until the danger had passed, like she did during the Fusion and Kid Buu Sagas).
- In the manga, Piccolo compares Magetta's great durability to immortality, due to the Metal Man being able to shrug off Super Saiyan Vegeta's strongest attacks - despite Vegeta being stronger than Magetta.