Perfect Cell Saga is the ninth saga in the Dragon Ball Z series. The manga volume that it is made up of is "The Room Of Spirit And Time". The saga is about Semi-Perfect Cell continuing his quest to reach his Perfect Form. It also features the ascension of the four Saiyans (Goku, Vegeta, Gohan and Future Trunks) while they try to come up with ways to defeat the growing android threat. It occurs between the Imperfect Cell Saga and the Cell Games Saga. It aired in Japan in 1992 and in the United States in 2000.
This saga is a part of U.S. season five.
Quest for Perfection
As Androids 16 and 18 make their escape to an island in the distance, Tien Shinhan is determined to hold off Semi-Perfect Cell for as long as he can by firing his Neo Tri-Beam. Tien fires several Neo Tri-Beams in a row, giving all the energy he has until he falls to the ground in a severely weakened condition. Though they were able to buy some precious time, the Neo Tri-Beams had little to no effect on the monstrous Semi-Perfect Cell. Angry that Android 18 was able to escape in the midst of the distraction, Semi-Perfect Cell turns his sights to killing Tien. Meanwhile, at Kami's Lookout, Goku and Gohan sense what is going on below on Earth.
Just as Semi-Perfect Cell is about to deliver the final blow to Tien, Goku appears using Instant Transmission. The sudden appearance of Goku catches Semi-Perfect Cell off guard, and Goku is able to grab Tien and also Piccolo, who washed up to shore, barely clinging to life. Goku teleports back to Kami's Lookout just as Semi-Perfect Cell makes a move to attack him. Piccolo and Tien are then given a Senzu Bean whilst Semi-Perfect Cell searches for Android 18 in the neighboring islands.
The Saiyans Emerge
Just as Tien and Piccolo recover, they, along with Goku and Gohan, learn that Vegeta and Future Trunks have completed their training and are ready to emerge from the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. Meanwhile, Bulma and baby Trunks meet up with Krillin while flying in her aircraft. Bulma gives Krillin a remote control that is capable of shutting down Android 18 within a 10-meter range. She then flies up to Kami's Lookout.
At the Lookout, Future Trunks and Vegeta emerge from the Hyperbolic Time Chamber after a year of intensive training (one day in real time). It is apparent that both of their powers have increased exponentially, and they have reached a whole new level of strength. There is also a physical change in Future Trunks' appearance; his face has matured slightly, he is now taller and more muscular than before, and his hair has grown to be shoulder-length. Bulma is surprised by the new length of Future Trunks' hair and questions why Vegeta's hair did not grow as well. Agitated, Vegeta informs her that a pure-blooded Saiyan's hair does not grow or change once he or she is fully grown.
Just before Vegeta and Future Trunks leave Kami's Lookout, Bulma provides everyone with new Saiyan Battle Armor that is identical to Vegeta's. All of them accept the armor, except for Piccolo, who is proud of his Namekian heritage, and Tien, who refuses to dress like Vegeta. Vegeta then rushes off to test his new power against Semi-Perfect Cell. Before Future Trunks leaves, Goku gives him two Senzu Beans, and Bulma, nervous about their well-being, requests that Future Trunks takes care of himself as well as Vegeta.
After scarfing down a meal prepared by Mr. Popo, Goku and Gohan enter the Hyperbolic Time Chamber with a clear mission: to make Gohan a Super Saiyan and to ascend to a level even greater than that of a Super Saiyan. Gohan is surprised by the vast open space and gravity (10x the gravity of Earth) of the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. Goku instructs him to stay close at all times so that he does not get lost in the infinite space. Goku then tells him that he is a stricter teacher than Piccolo, and that it is important for Gohan to become even stronger than Goku is. Gohan, though slightly overwhelmed and doubtful that he can obtain a power greater than his father's, is eager to begin training.
Through a series of powerful energy blasts, Semi-Perfect Cell has depleted nearly every island in sight in his efforts to find Android 18. Only one island remains, the very island that Androids 16 and 18 are hiding upon, and Semi-Perfect Cell raises his hand to blow it up as well. However, Vegeta arrives just in time to stop him, with Future Trunks following closely behind. Semi-Perfect Cell, unaware of their intensive training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, is unimpressed by the arrival of Vegeta and Future Trunks, believing that they will not present much of a challenge. Vegeta proudly proclaims that he is now the strongest warrior in the universe, and exhibits his new strength by transforming into an Super Saiyan Second Grade. Semi-Perfect Cell is still not impressed, as he believes that he is superior to Vegeta no matter what transformation he goes through. He soon learns that he is no match for the Saiyan Prince.
The battle begins with the newly ascended Vegeta commanding complete control of the upper hand. Whatever attacks Semi-Perfect Cell throws at him, Vegeta counters them all, dominating in both strength and speed. As Future Trunks watches the battle, he recalls the struggles he faced in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. While in the Chamber, Vegeta refused any help from Future Trunks, insisting that he only trains alone, which made his feelings of indifference towards his son even more apparent. However, in spite of Vegeta's lack of caring, Future Trunks still greatly yearns for his father's approval, expressing that, "I honored my father's wishes to be left alone, but I watched him from afar when I could, and I learned. I knew that my father would achieve the greatness he desired, he would climb any mountain that stood in his path, and I vowed that I would follow in his footsteps. I would make my own ascension, so that one day I might face my father as his equal, and he will know that I am his son... Father, one day I will prove myself to you. Maybe then you'll understand that all of these dangers you're so eager to face...You don't have to face them alone."
While Vegeta battles Semi-Perfect Cell, Krillin arrives on the island with the remote control that Bulma gave him and soon locates the Androids. Even though he knows the importance of carrying out his mission to destroy Android 18, he hides behind a mountain, conflicted. Ever since Android 18 kissed Krillin on the mountainside road, he has developed strong feelings of affection for her, and struggles internally against causing her any harm. Much to Android 18's surprise, Krillin smashes the remote. Back at the Lookout, Piccolo and Tien watch the fight. Piccolo mentions that Vegeta is toying with Semi-Perfect Cell and he had the strength to defeat him a long time ago. He believes that decision may come back to haunt him. In the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Gohan's chances of becoming Super Saiyan looks bleak. Goku then informs him that the transformation to Super Saiyan comes in response to a need, not a desire.
After dominating in battle, the ascended Vegeta has clearly proven himself superior to Semi-Perfect Cell. Vegeta then tells Cell that he has no chance of winning, because even if by some miracle Cell managed to defeat him, Future Trunks would have finished him off. For the first time, Vegeta vocally acknowledges Trunks as his son, claiming that although Future Trunks is not as strong as Vegeta, it would be difficult to tell them apart because of Future Trunks' incredible fighting power. While listening to these words, Future Trunks has a pained look on his face, as if he is hiding something. At this point, Vegeta expresses his disappointment that Semi-Perfect Cell did not present enough of a challenge for Vegeta to test his new strength against. Semi-Perfect Cell, now more desperate than ever to absorb Android 18, conjures a plan to reach perfection. Because he is made up of the cells of Vegeta, he knows that Vegeta's greatest weakness is his pride. Semi-Perfect Cell then uses that weakness to manipulate Vegeta. Cell tells him that if he had the chance to reach his perfect form he would become a worthy adversary, and he claims that Vegeta would be no match for him. Vegeta, who hungers for a challenge and any chance to prove that he is the best, falls for Cell's trap. He steps back from battle, allowing Semi-Perfect Cell an open opportunity to absorb Android 18, so that he will become a worthy opponent.
However, Future Trunks knows that his father is blinded by his pride; If Cell reaches his perfect form, his power will greatly surpass Vegeta's, although Vegeta does not believe it is possible. Semi-Perfect Cell soon finds the Androids on the island, but Future Trunks blocks his path, stopping him before he can act. This angers Vegeta, who is eager to prove himself against Perfect Cell. Vegeta then steps in and attacks Future Trunks, hindering his efforts to stop Cell. Future Trunks, however, is determined to stop Cell from transforming at all costs, even if it means standing up to Vegeta. Vegeta laughs at Trunks, claiming that he does not have the guts to challenge his own father, because he is weakened by his feelings. Future Trunks then proves him wrong, conjuring a powerful energy wave and blasting it at Vegeta. Because of this, Vegeta realizes that Trunks is stronger-willed than he thought, and his determination earns Vegeta's respect. With Vegeta temporarily out of the way, Future Trunks, Krillin, and Android 16 work to keep Cell away from Android 18 in an all-out attack. However, Cell eventually uses Solar Flare, blinding everyone so that he can absorb Android 18 at long last. To prevent any interference, Semi-Perfect Cell creates a powerful barrier around himself as he transforms.
Meanwhile, in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Gohan has realized that the only way for him to become a Super Saiyan is for his father to fight him at full power. Reluctant, Goku turns into a Super Saiyan, and prepares to fire a Kamehameha wave at Gohan. He does so and Gohan is able to hold it off. While blocking it, Gohan expresses his determination to follow in his father's footsteps. He recalls the many times when he was in danger and his friends helped him, although he was not able to help them in return due to his lack of strength. This rage proves to be the incentive that Gohan needed, for he feeds off of his rage and transforms into a Super Saiyan, firing the blast back at Goku.
Back at the battlefield, an enraged Krillin attacks Perfect Cell along with Future Trunks, but the attack has no effect. Perfect Cell then knocks Krillin unconscious with a mere kick. Future Trunks gives him a Senzu Bean, and Krillin tells him that he has never felt such strength and power before. Krillin also tells Future Trunks that he can sense the massive power that Trunks is holding back, and he asks why he has not unleashed that power to put a stop to Cell. Future Trunks then recalls his training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, stating that at one point, Vegeta reached a plateau, and Trunks was able to surpass him. However, Trunks does not want his father to know that he surpassed him, because he fears that Vegeta would then hate him because of it. Even though Trunks has worked hard to gain his father's approval, he knows that Vegeta would rather lose than to accept someone's help because of his extreme pride. Therefore, Future Trunks refuses to step in and reveal his true power until the moment Vegeta loses consciousness. Perfect Cell then resumes his fight with an unimpressed Vegeta.
Battle for the Future
At the start of the battle, Perfect Cell toys with Vegeta, allowing Vegeta to believe he actually has a chance to win, just as Vegeta did to Semi-Perfect Cell. Perfect Cell hides his true power and appears to have only gained speed by dodging all of Vegeta's attacks. Vegeta becomes frustrated, which affects his fighting for the worse, as he is too blinded by anger to fully concentrate. At one point, Vegeta charges at Cell and kicks him in the neck. This does not faze Cell at all, which utterly shocks Vegeta as he reveals that he put all of his energy into the kick. With only one kick, Cell sends Vegeta flying across the island, through several rock formations, and into the water. It takes a moment for Vegeta to resurface and stand back up. While he is down, Cell laughs at his apparent weakness, and thanks Vegeta for being a good warm-up, as well as allowing Cell to reach perfection, however foolish a mistake it was. Outraged, Vegeta flies into the sky and challenges Cell to take his next attack head-on. He concentrates nearly every ounce of energy he has left into a blast, and launches it at Cell. Perfect Cell senses the massive energy Vegeta put into his Final Flash, attempting to dodge it at the last second but it destroys his right arm. However he regenerates and then, with a short series of attacks, knocks Vegeta unconscious.
After Perfect Cell deals his devastating blows to Vegeta, Future Trunks becomes enraged, and he transforms into an Super Saiyan Second Grade. He then instructs Krillin to take Vegeta away from the battlefield so that he can recover. Because he does not want his father to know that he has surpassed his power, Future Trunks allows Cell to take the upper hand as a distraction, and does not fight back in defense until Vegeta is gone. Cell and Trunks then begin to fight on practically equal terms, as Cell has the advantage of speed, and Trunks has the advantage of strength. Perfect Cell then encourages Future Trunks to demonstrate more of his strength, leading Trunks to transform into a Super Saiyan Third Grade. As he gathers his energy, Piccolo observes him from above in amazement, stating that Trunks is now even stronger than Vegeta, and possibly Cell as well. Future Trunks, now thought to be the strongest warrior in the universe, attempts to attack Cell, but Cell easily dodges every blow. This confuses Trunks, as he believed his Super Saiyan Third Grade powers would be enough to defeat Cell. However, Perfect Cell eventually finds the flaw in Future Trunks' transformation, explaining that although the form grants him superior strength, it heavily incapacitates him in terms of speed. Cell knows that he is faster and taunts Trunks to charge up his strength even more, knowing that it will only debilitate him further.
Back in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Goku has discovered the Super Saiyan Second and Third Grades forms and immediately discovers its weakness: the bulk of their muscles greatly affects their speed, and it would be useless to be so strong if you can not catch your opponent. Goku then comes up with a plan to stay in Super Saiyan form for so long that it feels natural so they will not have to waste the energy of transforming and sustaining the transformation during battle. That way, they can increase their stamina with the energy they saved, and balance their strength and speed while preserving their ki.
Future Trunks resumes his fight with Perfect Cell. Perfect Cell decides to exploit Future Trunks' weakness. He uses his speed advantage to defeat Future Trunks who is still wondering why he can not touch Perfect Cell. Cell tells him why and explains that he could have increased his own strength if he wanted to. Realizing his foolish mistake, Trunks quits the battle, and tells Perfect Cell that he can kill him. However, Perfect Cell lets him live and is curious of how Future Trunks and Vegeta gained so much power in so little time. This leads him to come up with an idea of having a tournament, the Cell Games, which will occur in ten days.
Anime and Manga differences
- In the anime, Bulma takes Trunks along with her to The Lookout where he makes numerous appearances in the saga. In the manga, Trunks is never brought along at all and is left at Capsule Corporation.
- The Hyperbolic Time Chamber is shown to have drastic changes in temperature in the anime, becoming so hot that it can be set a flame and so cold that ice forms. In the manga it was never shown to be like that.
- The anime has scenes at Kame House with Master Roshi, Chiaotzu, Yamcha, Chi-Chi and Oolong reacting to current events that did not take place in the manga.
- The anime has several additional scenes involving Goku and Gohan in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber that were not in the manga, the most notable of these show exactly what pushes Gohan into becoming a Super Saiyan and later him sparring with his father while both as Super Saiyan.
- Unlike the anime, in the manga Trunks does not actually fight Semi-Perfect Cell - although he does try and attack him, Vegeta stops him from thwarting Cell's plans to attain perfection. Additionally, Krillin, Android 16 nor Android 18 attack Cell in the manga either.
- The anime has a scene where Dende and Moori on Namek react to the terrifying power they can feel from Cell. In the manga, this does not happen and they are not seen again until Goku attempts to find a new guardian.
- In the anime, Future Trunks joins Krillin in attacking Perfect Cell and Krillin uses the Destructo Disc against Cell. Neither happened in the manga and Krillin just attacked alone with physical attacks.
- The fight between Future Trunks and Cell is expanded on greatly. A key difference is that in the manga, Future Trunks with his Super Saiyan Third Grade never once hit Cell whereas in the anime, he hits him many times.
- Tien Shinhan vs. Cell (Semi-Perfect Form)
- Vegeta (Super Saiyan Second Grade) vs. Cell (Semi-Perfect Form)
- Future Trunks (Super Saiyan/Super Saiyan Second Grade) vs. Cell (Semi-Perfect)
- Future Trunks (Super Saiyan Second Grade) vs. Vegeta (Super Saiyan Second Grade)
- Krillin, Android 16 and Android 18 vs. Cell (Semi-Perfect Form)
- Future Trunks (Super Saiyan Second Grade) vs. Cell (Semi-Perfect Form)
- Android 18 vs. Cell (Semi-Perfect Form)
- Krillin vs. Cell (Semi-Perfect Form)
- Goku (Base/Super Saiyan) vs. Gohan (Base/Super Saiyan) (anime only)
- Krillin and Future Trunks (Super Saiyan Second Grade) vs. Cell (Perfect Form)
- Vegeta (Super Saiyan Second Grade) vs. Cell (Perfect Form)
- Goku (Super Saiyan) vs. Gohan (Super Saiyan) (anime only)
- Future Trunks (Super Saiyan Third Grade) vs. Cell (Perfect Form)
- Goku (Super Saiyan) vs. Gohan (Super Saiyan) (anime only)
- Future Vegeta (Super Saiyan) vs. Future Android 17 (flashback; anime only)
- Future Piccolo vs. Future Android 18 (flashback; anime only)
- Future Krillin vs. Future Android 17 (flashback; anime only)
- Future Tien vs. Future Android 17 (flashback; anime only)
- Future Yamcha vs. Future Android 17 (flashback; anime only)
- Future Yajirobe vs. Future Android 18 (flashback; anime only)
- Future Trunks and Future Gohan (Super Saiyan) vs. Future Android 17 and Future Android 18 (flashback; anime only)
FUNimation VHS/DVD Volumes
- Perfect Cell Saga - Hunt For 18 (138-140)
- Perfect Cell Saga - Temptation (141-143)
- Perfect Cell Saga - Perfection (144-146)
- Perfect Cell Saga - Unstoppable (147-150)
Note: FUNimation released both edited and uncut VHS volumes, while the DVDs are uncut only.
FUNimation Remastered DVD Sets
- Dragon Ball Z Season Five (140-165) (only episodes 153-165 are part of the Perfect Cell Saga)
FUNimation Dragon Box Sets
- Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Vol. 4 (127-168) (only episodes 153-165 are part of the Perfect Cell Saga)
FUNimation Season Blu-ray Sets
- Dragon Ball Z Season Five (140-165) (only episodes 153-165 are part of the Perfect Cell Saga)
|374 (180)||"Goku Meets Cell"|
|375 (181)||"Vegeta and Trunks Emerge"|
|376 (182)||"Vegeta's Confidence"|
|377 (183)||"Beyond the Super Saiyan"|
|378 (184)||"Super Vegeta"|
|379 (185)||"Cell's Last Chance"|
|380 (186)||"The Evil Truce"|
|381 (187)||"Vegeta vs. Trunks?"|
|382 (188)||"The Complete Cell"|
|383 (189)||"A Reversal"|
|384 (190)||"The Final Flash"|
|385 (191)||"Trunks Steps In"|
|386 (192)||"Trunks Surpasses His Father!"|
|387 (193)||"The Balance of Power"|
|388 (194)||"Cell's Idea"|
Dragon Ball Z (13 episodes)
|156||"Bow to the Prince"|
|157||"Hour of Temptation"|
|159||"The Last Defense"|
|160||"Cell is Complete"|
|161||"Vegeta Must Pay"|
|164||"Ghosts from Tomorrow"|
|165||"The Cell Games"|
Dragon Ball Z Kai (7 episodes)
The Android saga has been covered in many Dragon Ball Z video games such as Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi series, Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World, Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast series, and Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II.
- In the anime, in a filler sequence, Future Trunks remembers his life from his own timeline and fighting alongside Future Gohan. This happened prior to Trunks The History - The Lone Warrior being made which the anime then later adapted into the TV movie Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks.