Even though Goku is Dragon Ball’s protagonist, there’s a number of equally interesting and engaging characters. One such individual was Android 18. The brother of Android 17, Dr. Gero created the two. They eventually rebelled and killed their creator, sending the Androids on a path of their own. Initially going about threatening all of mankind, Android 17 (and later her brother) became a force for good. Becoming the de facto femme fatale for the Z-Fighters, she not only proved a valuable ally to have in combat, but demonstrated she could be just as loving and caring as anyone, as seen when she married Krillin. Through her union with Goku’s best friend, the two had a kid, and 18 experienced a major redemptive character arc. These days, she’s become a fan-favorite fixture of the series and it’s hard to imagine the franchise existing without her.
Despite all the good she would come to do, Android 18 would never outrun hardship. Even when she was a villain, things didn’t end up particularly peachy for her. Some of these trials are somewhat benign, but others represent dark and horrific aspects of her life. Today at CBR we’re looking at 15 dark secrets you may or may not know about Android 18.
15 SHE'S BEEN STOPPED THREE TIMES
When you’re a fighter in the Dragon Ball universe, odds are you’re going to die. Heck, you might even die a few times; it comes with the job. Nearly every character, be they good or bad, including the entire world’s population, has died at least once. Android 18, because she’s a real trooper, has kicked the bucket three times.
Thanks to the wonders of time travel, the first time she died was after Trunks returned back to his timeline after helping the Z-Fighters kill Cell. Stronger than ever thanks to the training he received in the past, Trunks hunts down and blows ups Android 18, before killing Android 17. Then she died at the hands of the evil Majin Buu. Super Buu turns Android 18 into a piece of chocolate and eats her. Finally, in the DBZ movie Resurrection F, Frieza destroys the Earth, which 18 happens to be on.
14 SHE WAS FORCIBLY TURNED INTO AN ANDROID
If you only watch the anime, you end up missing a lot of character history. Dragon Ball lore is notorious for having an expanded history that only dedicated fans take time to discover. Many people don’t know it, but Androids 17 and 18 didn’t sign up to get turned into cybernetic monstrosities. Rather, Dr. Gero, being the insane scientist that he was, kidnapped them when they were teenagers.
Gero considered them as a pair of “delinquents” and accidentally stumbled across the twins while he was searching for subjects on whom to experiment on. Deciding they were perfect for his needs, Gero abducted them. The twins rarely speak of their past. 18 doesn’t open up to anyone, except maybe Krillin. Other than that, all we know is they were born to human parents, and 18 is the older of the two.
13 SHE WAS ABSORBED BY CELL
Dr. Gero hated Goku so much that he created a small army of androids in the hopes that one of them would kill the Saiyan. Out of all his creations, the only one that was more than a match for Goku was the bio-mechanical Cell.
Made from the cells of many of the Z-Fighters, along with alien villains like Frieza, Cell was literally born to win. He possessed the techniques of the mightiest warriors in the universe. However, in order to achieve his “perfect” form, Cell needed to absorb Android 17 and 18. This meant effectively killing them. Needless to say, they fought like the dickens to keep from being sucked up into Cell’s tail. Their resistance was futile. After Cell absorbed 17, it was only a short time later until his stinger turned into a funnel-like object and gobbled up 18.
12 SHE WAS THROWN UP BY CELL
Realizing your sole purpose in life is to be someone else’s food can be a harrowing epiphany. Things were nice and dandy for Android 18 and her brother until Cell reared his ugly head. After absorbing both androids, Cell reached his “perfect” form; he decided to hold the Cell Games, a tournament to decide the fate of the Earth. Cell’s strength was so great that only Super Saiyan 2 Gohan could oppose him.
Overwhelmed by the youth, Cell grows extra large, but despite bulking up, he can’t even touch Gohan. The young Saiyan took advantage of Cell’s lack of mobility to deliver a punishing blow to the monster’s stomach. The force was so great Cell regurgitated the previously absorbed Android 18. First getting absorbed and then getting thrown up…there’s no way to make either a pleasurable experience.
11 SHE'S WATCHED HER BROTHER GET BEAT THREE TIMES
Time travel and alternate timelines make up for a surprising amount of Dragon Ball. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, but it seems to affect the Androids more than most. And because this is Dragon Ball, there isn’t a character on the show who’s a stranger to death. Android 18 has died a couple times, but she’s had to watch her brother die three times. The first time was when they first encountered Cell. Though it seemed like they had eluded the creature, Cell snuck up behind 17 and absorbed him.
Later in Dragon Ball GT, Goku was forced to kill Super Android 17, the fusion of Android 17 and another 17 from Hell. Finally, recently in Dragon Ball Super, Android 17 blew himself up to nullify a blast unleashed by Jiren, saving Goku and Vegeta in the process. All three times were pretty dramatic, and all three times 18 had to watch her brother die.
10 SHE (HELPED) STOP FUTURE GOHAN
Trunks comes from a world very much like the one Goku and friends live in, with one exception: practically everyone is dead. In his world, Androids 17 and 18 were more ruthless. What makes the ordeal all the more harrowing, is Trunk’s universe is technically the prime DBZ timeline and the universe he travels to is an alternate timeline. Anyway, in the original world, the Androids delighted in killing Earth’s heroes. Of the two, Android 18 was more calculating, while 17 was like a bull in a china shop. After driving humanity to the verge of extinction, only an adult Gohan and a young Trunks were left.
To everyone’s surprise, 17 and 18 kill Gohan in a dramatic standoff. 18 could have reined in her brother, leaving Gohan to die another day, but it was her agreeing to kill the Saiyan that led to the warrior’s death.
9 SHE'S PSYCHOLOGICALLY WARPED HER ENEMIES
Before they found redemption, Android 17 and 18 were horrifying monsters. Stronger than Super Saiyans, they developed a sadistic pleasure out of tormenting their victims. The altered Dragon Ball Z timeline doesn’t showcase their sadism much, but the History of Trunks world puts it on display. 18 is the leader of the two, though she lets 17 do whatever he wants, including believing that he’s in charge.
In this universe, there’s little they enjoy more than giving their prey brief glimmers of hope and then snatching it away just as suddenly. Even before they got turned into androids, 17 and 18 were already delinquents. After the process was done to them, they became unstable and unhinged, their terrible personalities magnified all the more by the experiments.
8 SHE'S STRONGER THAN A SUPER SAIYAN
Up until, and even beyond, the Frieza Saga, the idea behind the Super Saiyan was that they were supposed to be an unbeatable warrior. It was a legendary status that was thought to be a myth. Should a Saiyan become a Super Saiyan, it was theorized, at least according to Vegeta, that that individual would become the strongest warrior in the universe. Goku and Trunks seemed to prove the legend true when they defeated Frieza. Afterwards, it seemed impossible a Super Saiyan should experience defeat. The Androids, and most notably Android 18, changed that perception dramatically.
Though Vegeta easily bests Android 19 and sends Dr. Gero running for the hills, once Gero unleashes Android 17 and 18, things take a turn for the worse. With little effort, 18 annihilates Vegeta, breaking his arm and giving the Saiyan prince once of his worst defeats ever.
7 HER BROTHER ENDED HER HUSBAND
The Dragon Ball franchise is all about the little engine that could. In this case, against all odds, Krillin was able to woo Android 18 and the two later got married. Despite trying to kill his friends, his die-hard loyalty to her in the face of adversaries like Cell, won her over and reformed her. They even had a daughter who they named Marron. Before Krillin, Android 18’s life was a nightmare. The Z-Fighter showed her what she’d been missing and introduced her to the best parts of life.
In Dragon Ball GT, their beautiful time together came to a short and vicious end. Android 17, having come back from the pits of Hell and is now doing the bidding of Dr. Myuu and Gero, pitilessly kills Krillin in front of Android 18. The blow was absolutely devastating to 18. Krillin had brought her peace and she loved him dearly. The fact that it was her brother who killed him made the incident worse.
6 MAJIN BUU ATE HER
The evil wizard Bibidi created Majin Buu. Upon getting resurrected by Bibidi’s son Babidi, Buu went on a rampage. Buu’s power was unlike anything the Z-Fighters had ever faced before. Buu’s first order of business was to effectively kill Super Saiyan 2 Vegeta. Over the course of the arc, Buu becomes Super Buu.
In a desperate gamble, Piccolo traps Buu, along with himself and Goten and Trunks, in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. Enraged, Super Buu created a rift in space and time and escapes. When he makes it back to the world, the remaining Z-Fighters, including Android 18, confront him. With a sinister smile spread across his face, Super Buu turns them all into food and eats them with zero remorse. Say what you will about Android 17 getting sucked up into Cell’s tail, at least he wasn’t turned into candy.
5 SHE'S LAID SIEGE TO MULTIPLE TIMELINES
Android 18 shares a healthy love for humanity, but that wasn’t always the case. Similar to Cell, and even her own brother, the androids as a whole are known for laying siege to not just one, but a whole litany of timelines. The Androids are terrifying villains. They are remarkably strong, have an endless supply of energy, and unless they find redemption early on, are engines of chaos. Android 18 and 17 have both existed in two different points in history.
They’ve laid siege to the prime Dragon Ball Z timeline, otherwise known as the History of Trunks universe. Here, they killed all the Z-Fighters and murdered nearly every remaining human. They appeared again, stronger than ever before, when Trunks accidentally altered time and space by going back in time to warn Goku and the others about the impending android threat.
4 SHE FUSED WITH HER BROTHER
While Android 18 certainly loves her brother, Android 17’s infantile personality often drove her bonkers. She’d like nothing more than for him to take things seriously, which makes it all the more horrible that she’d have to fuse with him. See, when you fuse, your personality also fuses with whomever you’re fusing with. You’re trapped as one being. Though this might give you increased power, it’s probably liable to stir up some serious internal debates. Even though it wasn’t and isn’t considered canon by any stretch of the imagination, the 3DS Dragon Ball Fusions game allowed for wild android fusions that could be made though the game’s fusion system.
To no one’s surprise Android 17 and 18 becoming a fused fighter was included and they go by the name Android 1718. Considering the properties of fusions, it’s generally assumed that they became pretty powerful.
3 SHE LOST TO HERCULE
Hercule Satan is Dragon Ball Z’s version of Hulk Hogan. One of the series’ funniest characters, everything he stands for is all based on the lie that he saved the world from Cell. If he lets the lie slip, he’ll lose all credibility and be shunned by Earth’s people. Though infinitely weaker when compared to Goku, by normal people standards, Hercule is an excellent martial artist.
At the start of the Majin Buu Saga, the World Tournament starts anew and the Z-Fighters sign up. When the threat of Babidi becomes too great to ignore, heavy hitters like Goku and Vegeta resign in order to fight the threat. Android 18 remains. She gets to the finals where she encounters Mr. Satan. Hercule, realizing he needs to maintain appearances and also that he can’t beat her, begs her to let him win. She agrees, sacrificing her pride for double the prize money.
2 SHE WAS FORCED TO FIGHT HER BROTHER
Android 17 and 18 are brother sister, and like most siblings, they don’t always get along. Still, whatever familial animosity they shared for one another never got out of hand and lead to fisticuffs. That was until Dragon Ball GT. In one of the show’s arcs, Android 17 was brought back to the story. Dr. Gero and Dr. Myuu however, created this 17 in the bowels of Hell. The two scientists, though dead, still yearned for revenge against Goku and the rest of the Z-Fighters.
Upon arriving on Earth, the hellish 17 fused with the Earth 17, turning into Super 17. He was the most powerful android ever seen. From there, he kills Krillin, and annihilates Vegeta and the rest of the planet’s defenders. 18 and Goku, the last two standing, teamed up and take on the former’s evil brother. To be forced to fight her blood was a painful experience.
1 SHE HAS TO DEAL WITH GOKU
As an audience, we all generally like Goku. After all, he is the central protagonist. Yet just because we like him, doesn’t mean everyone he surrounds himself with on the show does. Android 18 is such a person. Though she is redeemed by the conclusion of the Cell Saga and even marries Krillin and has a child, it’s easy to forget that she was programmed with one goal in mind: kill Goku. Though she’s obviously never strayed from the righteous path, it can be difficult to fully get over old habits.
Because of this, Android 18 has little patience for Goku and his shenanigans. Not only does she think he’s an idiot, but he was (and might still be) her target; though she’d never try to hurt him. Still, that doesn’t mean she won’t give him disapproving scowls whenever she can.