Some fans tend to forget just how important the dragon balls are to the world of Dragon Ball. Of course, it sounds obvious when you say it out loud, it's in the freaking name after all, but these magical orbs have somewhat faded into the background as the franchise went on. While the days of adventuring in search of the dragon balls are long gone -- since the series ending up focusing more on martial arts and battles -- the dragon balls are still an integral part of the series, as Akira Toiryama essentially used them to get out of corners he had written himself into, and the constant resurrections and rule rewriting of the dragon balls are some of the most beloved elements of the franchise.
Even in Dragon Ball Super, the dragon balls are used for key story points, as are the recently introduced super dragon balls: the original, planet-sized dragon balls that have no wish limitations. With all the wishes that have been made throughout the franchise, we thought it'd be interesting to take a look back at all of them and rank them from best to worst. We're going to be excluding Dragon Ball GT from this list and our ranking will be based on the impact these wishes had on the story and characters, as well as their overall scale.
30 WORLD-CLASS ICE CREAM
Let's start with some of the funnier, less impactful ones. This first one came out of Dragon Ball Super, as well as Resurrection F. When Pilaf, Mai and Shu were gathering the dragon balls, they were stopped by Sorbet, a minion of Frieza's. Sorbet commandeered the dragon balls from the Pilaf gang and used them to resurrect Frieza, but he didn't know the magical orbs had been modified to include two more wishes.
Sorbet hesitated to think of two other wishes, hesitation that Shu and Mai used to wish for some petty things. Mai wished for ice cream, but not just any ice cream! She got was the world's greatest ice cream, presented by Shenron in an ice box "for no extra charge." That ice cream better be world-class, or else it's kind of a waste of a good wish.
29 ONE-MILLION ZENI
As we just mentioned, Mai and Shu used the dragon balls to make somewhat inconsequential wishes in Dragon Ball Super, risking angering Sorbet by using up the last two wishes. Mai's wish for ice cream wasn't actually the first wish that was made after Frieza's resurrection. Shu jumped at Sorbet's hesitation first, Mai following his lead.
Where Mai wished for ice cream, Shu wished for One-Million Zeni. The only reason this ranks above ice cream is because it would last longer than the frozen dessert and could have actually been useful to the Pilaf gang. That said, we might not know the conversion rate of Zeni to USD, but seeing as the money was a lone stack, we're gonna go ahead and say that Shu needs to dream a little bigger.
28 CURING PAN'S FEVER
This is perhaps the most heartwarming one on the list. In Dragon Ball Super, Goku finally decides to resurrect King Kai after causing his death in the Cell saga. Goku gathers the dragon balls to make the wish, but Shenron only has two wishes left over from a previous summoning (where Beerus wished he would "scram"). This causes various characters to fight over who gets to use the second wish.
The gang decides to let Gohan have the wish, as he wants to cure his infant daughter, Pan, of her fever. The reason he needed a wish for this is because her Saiyan blood made her somewhat immune to human medicine. Gohan makes his wish and Pan is healed, but due to various circumstances Goku is unable to use the second wish to revive King Kai, which he gets yelled at for.
27 YOUNG PILAF GANG
This one wasn't actually ever depicted in Dragon Ball Super, but it is referenced in the first saga of the series. The last time we saw the Pilaf gang was all the way back in Dragon Ball, with no appearances in the sequel series. Toriyama brought them back for Super (and the movies before it), albeit much younger than we last saw them.
While these old-school baddies should have been in their late 50s or 60s, they were now children, appearing to be grade-schoolers. It was revealed that some time before Super, the gang wished for their youth, being turned into children, as they weren't too specific about how young they wanted to be. Though it was a nice way to reintroduce the oldest villains in the series (now as allies in true Dragon Ball fashion), this wish isn't that important.
26 BORA'S REVIVAL
We're gonna start getting into a long list of revivals that, while important, don't have that big of an impact on the franchise as a whole. The first of these is actually the second wish ever made in the series. Way back in the Commander Red saga of Dragon Ball, Goku and the gang came across Upa and his father, Bora, the protectors of Korin tower.
Bora was killed by Mercenary Tao, who was working for the Red Ribbon Army to kill Goku, the final blow coming at the hand of Bora's own spear. Bora died protecting Goku, but it would not be the last time that Upa saw his father. Goku got vengeance against the Red Ribbon Army and eventually located all the dragon balls, using his wish to bring back Bora.
25 YAMCHA'S REVIVAL
Though Yamcha was an integral part of the original Dragon Ball series, as time went on, he started to become less and less important. Sure, he is still one of the strongest humans on Earth, and he kept pace with other Dragon Ball characters, but he eventually faded into the background, fans and even Toriyama himself making fun of how useless he is.
It is both because of this and because Yamcha doesn't do much after coming back to life that his revival is somewhat pointless. The guy barely helps in any of the sagas that he's around for after his revival. Heck, even his revival was a consolation prize after Dende couldn't bring Goku back to Earth. No wonder he retired to a life of playing baseball.
24 CHIAOTZU'S REVIVAL
Perhaps we should place this one below Yamcha, but we're gonna leave it here, if only for the sake of continuing to make him the butt of every joke. Regardless, another revival wish that has very little effect on the larger scale of things is the revival of Chiaotzu. After the Namekian dragon balls were used, Dende waited 130 days (a Namekian year) to revive Chiaotzu from his death.
The adorable warrior died protecting the other Z-fighters from Nappa, using his body to self destruct while holding onto Nappa, an attack that barely left a scratch on the Saiyan. Though this revival had about the same effect as Yamcha's, Chiaotzu didn't contribute much afterwards, but he's at least more-liked than Yamcha, earning him a higher spot.
23 TIEN'S REVIVAL
One of the three wishes that Prounga could grant was used on Chiaotzu, but his best friend wasn't left out of the picture. Tien was also revived from his death in the Saiyan saga using the Namekian dragon balls. Tien was originally going to be revived during the first usage of the Namekian dragon balls as part of a group revival, but Porunga was not able to revive more than one person at a time.
Tien died while fighting Nappa and Vegeta, but not by either of their hands. After Chiaotzu sacrificed himself to attack Nappa, Tien was enraged and attacked with everything he had. Literally, everything, his final Tri-Beam attack used up so much of his energy that he died from fatigue. Luckily, his resurrection came after the Frieza saga and he got to get some training done with King Kai in the meantime.
22 RESTORING KING KAI'S PLANET
This is another one that was never officially shown in the franchise, but there was a brief depiction of it in the Dragon Ball Super manga adaptation. In a special chapter of the manga, King Kai gets the chance to restore his planet. Back in the Cell Saga, his planet was destroyed when Goku brought an explosive Cell to it. The planet was obliterated and was not seen again until Dragon Ball Super.
In fact, at the beginning of Super, Goku is seen rebuilding King Kai's house, but how the planet was restored was never explained. In the manga, however, we learn that King Kai used Porunga to ask for his planet to be rebuilt. He attempted to get a bigger planet with less gravity, but Goku interrupted and asked for it to be exactly the same, since he liked the gravity for training.
Ah yes, we've finally come to the very first wish made in Dragon Ball, and perhaps the most infamous one as well. In the Emperor Pilaf saga of Dragon Ball, everyone wanted a wish from Shenron. Bulma wanted a boyfriend, Yamcha wanted to be less afraid of women, and Emperor Pilaf wanted to be king of the world. The last one almost happened, too, as Pilaf was the first to summon Shenron in the series.
Fortunately, Pilaf never actually got to make his wish as Oolong, in the comedic nature of the series, interrupted him and wished for a pair of women's underwear. Though they are insignificant on their own, their existence meant that Pilaf didn't get his wish, which earned this wish a high ranking on our list.
20 PICCOLO'S SECOND REVIVAL
Piccolo officially died twice over the course of the Dragon Ball franchise. The first time was during the Saiyan saga, and the second was in Dragon Ball Super. Both times were protecting Gohan, as the two share a close bond. Piccolo's second death came at the hands of Frieza, who had recently been revived and arrived on Earth to take his revenge.
Gohan, weak from not keeping up his training, was no match for Frieza, and Piccolo saved him from a killing blow. Luckily, Piccolo was revived by Porunga with the help of Goku after Frieza is defeated once and for all. This death actually ends up being the catalyst for Gohan to take up training again so he can protect his family the next time a threat comes around.
19 SUPREME KAI AND KIBITO'S SEPARATION
There are two main types of fusion in the world of Dragon Ball. The first is the fusion dance which only lasts a short amount of time. The other form of fusion is achieved with the potara, special earrings only given to the supreme kai. When two people wear the earrings on opposite ears, they're fused into a powerful warrior.
This type of fusion is demonstrated by Supreme Kai Shin and his attendant Kibito, who are told after their fusion that the process is permanent. This is actually only true when kais are involved, thus Kibito and Shin were stuck this way forever, that is until Dragon Ball Super, in which they reveal they asked to be separated by Porunga, returning to their normal selves.
18 REMOVAL OF THE ANDROID BOMBS
When Androids 17 and 18, originally named Lapis and Lazuli, were turned into cyborgs by Dr. Gero, he put a failsafe in them that the Z-fighters tried to exploit. In order to keep the androids under his control, Gero put a remote-controlled bomb inside the twins, ensuring they couldn't disobey him.
Of course, this didn't work out in the end, as 17 and 18 killed the doctor before he could use it. These bombs remained in the Androids even after the two were removed from Cell. When Krillin was making wishes after the Cell saga, he asked for the two of them to be turned back into humans, but when Shenron couldn't do that, he settled for having the bombs removed from their bodies, stating the reason to be that he had a crush on Android 18.
17 TRANSPORTING NAMEKIANS TO NEW NAMEK
During the Namek and Frieza Sagas, a large number of the Namekians were killed. After they were revived, they were sent to Earth to get away from the battle between Frieza and Goku. Their fight resulted in the destruction of Namek, thanks to Frieza, who blew up the planet's core. Because of this destruction, the Namekians had nowhere to go. For the time being they stayed at Capsule Corp, which was big enough to house them all.
However, eventually a new home for them was found, an empty planet with similar accommodations to Namek. The planet was dubbed New Namek and the Namekians planned to move there using their dragon balls, wishing for Porunga to transport them all there. It might not have had a big effect on the story, but this wish definitely had a lot of meaning as it ensured the survival of the Namekian race.
16 RELOCATING KRILLIN'S SOUL
When Krillin died in the Frieza Saga, it was on planet Namek. This posed a problem in wishing him back to life for two reasons. One, Porunga, who was being used to revive Krillin, only had the power to revive someone at the place of their death, and two, Namek had been destroyed by Frieza, so wishing him back would put him in the vacuum of space.
Thus, the first wish made using the Namekian dragon balls on Earth was to find a loophole in this system. Dende wished for Krillin's soul to be transported to Earth's otherworld check-in station so that their next wish, to revive him, could bring him back to Earth. The wish was also made for Goku's soul, but it could not be done as Goku was, to everyone's surprise, still alive.
15 KRILLIN'S REVIVAL
Krillin is easily the strongest human character in all of Dragon Ball. Countless videos and articles have delved into this claim and proven it using Krillin's many victories, his creation of the Destructo Disk attack and his overall stats. Why do we bring this up, you ask? Well, because he's the strongest human character, he's contributed a lot to the series and to the protection of the human race. Thus, his revival is one of the most important wishes ever made in Dragon Ball.
This isn't the first time that Krillin dies, and he has actually died the most of anyone in the series, but it is the only time he is wished back to life by himself. Other times, he'd been wished back as part of a mass revival, but this time he was brought back, after having his soul relocated of course.
14 PICCOLO'S FIRST REVIVAL
Piccolo is just as important to the series as Krillin, if not more so, which is why his resurrection, specifically his first return from death, is so important to the series. Piccolo first died protecting Gohan from Nappa, an act that solidified him as an official good guy and was one of the greatest points of the Saiyan Saga. It wasn't until the Frieza Saga that Piccolo got to return to life. However, he was the first of the Z-fighters to be revived, the first wish ever granted by Porunga in the series.
Piccolo demanded that he be resurrected first so that Kami and the dragon balls of Earth could be used again. But, this wasn't his only demand. Since he would be returned to his place of death, Piccolo would need a way of getting to Namek to join the fight. This is where the next wish comes in...
13 BRINGING PICCOLO TO NAMEK
The second wish to be granted by Porunga in the series was the second request of Piccolo, to be transported to Namek to help take on Frieza. This was a smart move on Piccolo's part, since Porunga would transport Piccolo back to the place of his death, somewhere on Earth, far from where he was needed.
The wish succeeds... sort of. Piccolo is brought to Namek, rejoicing in finally seeing his home planet for the first time. However, asking Porunga to transport Piccolo to Namek wasn't specific enough and he ends up at some random place on the planet, forcing him to find Gohan and the others. Luckily, this doesn't stop him, and Piccolo, now much stronger from training with King Kai, was able to help in the effort to stop Frieza.
12 KING PICCOLO'S YOUTH
As many fans know, Piccolo is actually "Piccolo Jr.," the son of one of the original Dragon Ball's biggest villains, King Piccolo. King Piccolo, also known as the Demon King, was an Evil Namekian who turned the world into a living hell. But, he wasn't always evil. In fact, he was once part of Kami, the guardian of the Earth. Kami split his personality in half so that his good half could be pure of heart enough to act as Earth's protector.
The evil half, however, went on to have a life of his own, bent on committing acts of great evil. But, as time went on, King Piccolo grew old, so he sought his youth with the help of the dragon balls. King Piccolo wished for his youth and then preceded to kill Shenron, marking one of the most striking wishes in the franchise.
11 TRANSPORTING BYSTANDERS OFF OF NAMEK
Any wish that saves, or even resurrects lives is always a good one, which is why this one ranks so high. The first two wishes from Porunga were used to get Piccolo to Namek alive, and the last wish was left up to Gohan. Vegeta tried to use it for immortality, but Grand Elder Guru, the creator of the Namekian dragon balls, dies just before the wish is granted, and Porunga disappears as a result.
However, all the victims of Frieza and his army are wished back to life using the Earth dragon balls, including Grand Elder Guru. With his life restored, Porunga returns and the final wish is used to get everyone except Frieza and Goku off of Namek to keep them safe from the battle and the planet's eventual destruction.
10 ERASING MEMORIES OF BUU
This one might belong at a lower rank, but we still think it's a fun and interesting wish. It also helped Buu to continue the trend of villains becoming allies in the Dragon Ball franchise, and for that, it earns some extra points. See, the only reason that Majin Buu created Evil Buu, which eventually turned them both into Super Buu, was because his dog, Bee, was shot.
Other than that, Majin Buu was actually somewhat innocent. Sure, he destroyed cities, but that was under the orders/influence of Babidi, who was able to convince Buu that killing was fun. Without these dark influences and with the help of Mr. Satan, Buu is actually a pretty nice guy, which is why he was given a second chance by the Z-fighters, thus they used the dragon balls to wish away the memories of Buu's villainous acts from the general populace.
9 SUPER SAIYAN GOD RITUAL
One of the coolest elements introduced into the world of Dragon Ball is the idea of the Super Saiyan God form. Some might see it as a bit of a cop-out of sorts, but there's actually a lot of good that came out of it. Not only did the scale of the franchise get amped up once again by the introduction of godly ki and the power it holds, but Super Saiyan god eventually led to Super Saiyan Blue, both transformations helping to reinvigorate the series and keep things from getting stale.
These transformations also helped Goku and Vegeta to defeat numerous enemies in the Tournament of Power, ensuring that Universe 7 was one of the last two left in the fight. For these reasons, the wish to learn how to summon a Super Saiyan God ranks as one of the greatest in the series.
8 RESTORATION OF EARTH
The Earth has been threatened numerous times in the world of Dragon Ball, but it has only been completely destroyed twice. The second time was in Dragon Ball Super when Frieza destroyed it; luckily, Whis reversed time to prevent this from ever happening. The first time the Earth was destroyed was at the hands of Kid Buu in Dragon Ball Z.
After Buu killed all the humans on Earth, he didn't stop there, he eventually moved on to the Earth itself. Buu destroyed the planet completely, but it was eventually wished back using the Namekian dragon balls. This wish would allow the people of Earth to be wished back to life, thus not restored in empty space, which would lead Goku to get the energy he needed to create the spirit bomb that defeated Buu.
7 CREATION OF GOKU BLACK
The Future Trunks and Goku Black sagas of Dragon Ball Super are perhaps some of the best so far, partially because the villain is so great. Goku Black is first introduced as a villain who looks just like Goku, but is out to kill every human on Earth. Eventually, we learn that Goku Black is actually Zamasu, the mortal-hating Supreme-Kai-in-training of universe 10.
Zamasu gained Goku's body by using the super dragon balls to switch places with him, killing his family directly after. As horrible as that sounds, this wish still ranks high for creating one of the franchise's best villains, as well as making for some interesting storytelling. Goku Black was a frightening and interesting baddie, and we have Zamasu's maniacal wish to thank for him.
6 FUTURE ZAMASU'S IMMORTALITY
Zamasu made two other wishes when he was enacting his zero mortals plan. The first was made by the main timeline Zamasu, the wish to switch bodies with Goku. The second was made by the Zamasu of the timeline that Future Trunks comes from. This Future Zamasu worked with the other Zamasu to enact their plans, part of which involved a second wish from the super dragon balls.
After using his time ring to move forward to a time when the super dragon balls were active again, Zamasu summoned the dragon god Zalama. Future Zamasu wished for an immortal body, one that couldn't die no matter what injury he sustained. The plan worked and Zamasu became even deadlier with his new and improved godly body.
5 DESTRUCTION OF THE SUPER DRAGON BALLS
The third and final wish made on the super dragon balls in the Goku Black saga was a devastating one. In this future timeline, the dragon balls had been turned to stone because Piccolo, and thus Kami, had died. Without the use of the dragon balls, Future Trunks' timeline had no chances of defeating the androids until Trunks himself returned to the future with enough power to beat them.
This wouldn't be the first time that dragon balls were destroyed in this alternate timeline. As the final wish of his plan, Zamasu asked for one final request from the dragon god, the destruction of the super dragon balls. This wish made it so that no one, not even other gods, had a chance of stopping Zamasu's zero mortals plan.
4 FRIEZA'S RESSURECTION
The Frieza saga is seen as a favorite amongst most Dragon Ball fans, since it was the first time Goku went Super Saiyan. Fans also love the saga because Frieza is such a great villain, powerful and sadistic with plenty of tricks up his sleeve. Frieza was eventually killed by Future Trunks, but it wouldn't be the last time we saw him. In both Resurrection F and the Dragon Ball Super adaptation of the film, Frieza returned to the world of the living.
The wish was made by Frieza's subordinate/follower, Sorbet. Sorbet wished to have Freiza returned to life, but Shenron warned him he would still be in pieces from when Future Trunks cut him up. Sorbet agreed to this, since their advanced healing technology could restore Freiza to his former glory, and thus the wish was made, resulting in one of the best villain comebacks in the series.
3 RESTORING GOKU'S ENERGY
This wish is small out of context, but without it, Goku would not have been able to defeat the final villain of Dragon Ball Z. After restoring Earth and all its inhabitants, Vegeta has one final wish for Porunga. When Goku was preparing the spirit bomb, which was possible now that the people of Earth were alive again, he was somewhat low on energy.
In fact, Goku had reverted to his base form, which was apparently too weak to effectively shoot the spirit bomb at Kid buu. Thus, Vegeta used the final wish to restore Goku's energy, giving him just the boost he needed. Goku used his restored energy to go Super Saiyan 2 and give the spirit bomb the final push it needed to completely vaporize Kid Buu.
2 GOKU'S REVIVAL
The number two spot goes to none other than Goku's resurrection. This was the first wish ever made in Dragon Ball Z, and it's what led to the greatest showdown in the Saiyan saga. Goku's first death in the series came when he was fighting Raditz. In order to give Piccolo the chance to fire his special beam cannon at Raditz, Goku held down his brother and let Piccolo fire through both of them.
But, he wasn't revived right away, he had to train to get stronger so he could defeat the other Saiyans that would be coming to Earth. Goku trained with King Kai and passed his trials, getting stronger and preparing for the fight with the Saiyans. When the time came, Master Roshi wished Goku back to life, though he had to traverse the snake way to get back to Earth.
1 ALL LARGE-SCALE RESURRECTIONS
There are a lot of wishes over the course of the Dragon Ball franchise, and we had to find a way to cut down the full count by a bit. Thus, we have combined all mass resurrections into one entry and ranked them as number one. By this, we mean any time a large group of victims has been brought back after being killed by a villain.
The first large-scale resurrection came in Dragon Ball when all the victims of King Piccolo and his sons were brought back to life. From there, this became a staple of the series, the go-to way to return things to the status quo. The dragon balls would be used to bring back the victims of Frieza, the androids, Cell, Buu and everyone in between. These wishes have done the most good, and thus, take the number one spot in our book.