One of the biggest tropes of anime is when a villain is given some form of redemption, usually becoming an ally by the end of the arc or series. Dragon Ball is real big on this; in fact, some of the series' greatest villains are now allies to Goku and friends. Characters like Piccolo, Vegeta, Android 18 and Majin Buu all became good guys as the series went on. Suffice it to say, villains in the world of Dragon Ball tend to have a lot of redeeming qualities or have some sort of redemption in the end.
The two villains this didn't apply to were Frieza and Cell, and even Cell was less about killing and more about proving he was the best. Frieza, on the other hand, is one of the only villains that has no redeeming qualities, he's just a psychopathic tyrant who tried to take over the universe. Then again, perhaps there is actually more to Frieza then his villainous ways. With his return in Dragon Ball Super, he's shown he can be more than the villain he was in Z, as he's performed a few good deeds. With that, we decided to gather up his 10 most horrific acts, as well as 10 times he redeemed himself.
20 WORST: ENSLAVED AND DESTROYED THE SAIYANS
Perhaps the worst thing that Frieza ever did was enslaving and destroying the Saiyans. Sure, the Saiyans weren't exactly the nicest group of people, they were ruthless and battle thirsty, but that doesn't make what Frieza did any better. In fact, with how grief-stricken Vegeta was at the loss of his people, we can consider Frieza's destruction of the Saiyans truly one of his most heinous acts.
Before their destruction, Frieza used the Saiyans in his galactic army, their Great Ape forms proving useful in eradicating a planet's population. Freiza took command of the Saiyans by threatening their king, essentially enslaving their race after seizing power. If all that wasn't bad enough, the reason Frieza destroyed the Saiyans was because of the fear of the Super Saiyan legend; he didn't want one to rise up and defeat him.
19 REDEMPTION: LEFT HIS FATHER DEAD
When Frieza was resurrected by his subordinates in both Resurrection F and Dragon Ball Super, his father, King Cold, was left dead. Part of this was because the rest of the dragon ball's wishes were used up by Pilaf's gang, but when he was later asked about resurrecting his father, Frieza thought it was best to leave him dead.
Sure, this was done out of ego and arrogance, but it still spared the universe from King Cold's reign and return to power. Frieza might have done this just so he could be the ruler of his army instead of King Cold, but we're still gonna count it as a redeeming act. If we thought Frieza was powerful, his dad was even more so, and with him still dead, things were less worse then they could have been.
18 WORST: CONQUERED HUNDREDS OF PLANETS
Frieza's main "occupation," for lack of a better term, was a galactic dictator. He led his division of an intergalactic empire that consisted of conquered planets and enslaved alien races. This is, without a doubt, one of Freiza's worst acts of all time. We're not here to argue if this was simply how he was raised or if he just did what his father told him, it doesn't matter, he still did these evil deeds.
In his empire, Frieza had taken over and enslaved hundreds of planets -- 448 to be exact. All of these planets were conquered by destroying all those who opposed him, a good majority being acquired through the help of the Saiyans and their Great Ape forms. The worst part of it all was that the empire never seemed to be freed while Frieza was dead, as Sorbet kept the operation running.
17 REDEMPTION: REUNION WITH GINYU
Frieza might be a ruthless psychopath who doesn't care for most life in the universe, but he still has respect, and perhaps some care for others. Specifically, Frieza was a fan of one of his strongest and most faithful subordinates, Captain Ginyu. Like everybody else, Frieza had assumed that Captain Ginyu died on Namek, but he survived with the help of his body switching technique.
After finding his way to Earth as an alien frog, Ginyu switched places with one of Frieza's soldiers, Tagoma. Upon realizing that Captain Ginyu had returned to him, Frieza showed some signs of delight, as one of his most respected soldiers was still alive. We'd even go so far to say that Frieza was happy to see his loyal elite soldier back in his ranks, showing that he's not an emotionless monster, and he has at least some concern for his most useful soldiers.
16 WORST: TREATED HIS ARMY AS EXPENDABLE
Though Frieza showed some care for Captain Ginyu, that's about as far as his "circle of friends" extended. As a galactic emperor, Frieza had a huge army under his command, and he did not think highly of them. In fact, he mostly saw them as expendable. Throughout the Namek and Frieza sagas, Frieza sent countless men to do his bidding, knowing full well they could, and most likely would, die.
One of the worst examples of his disregard for his men was in Resurrection F and Dragon Ball Super when he sent all his soldiers to attack the Z-fighters. In a series of great fight sequences, the Z-fighters take out a good chunk of the army with little effort, and even Ginyu in Tagoma's body is obliterated by Vegeta, though this time Frieza didn't seem to care about his death.
15 REDEMPTION: JOINED UNIVERSE 7'S TEAM
All of Frieza's redeeming acts have been in Dragon Ball Super, and most of them come from the Tournament of Power. In fact, his involvement in the tournament is itself one of his most redeeming moments. Sure, Goku promised that a resurrection would be his reward, but Frieza still decided to help in the fight for Universe 7's survival.
After Goku approached him in hell, Frieza was intrigued by his offer to get out of the afterlife for a while, and after some prompting, he joined the team. Fortuneteller Baba then brought Frieza back for 24 hours with her magic, and Goku brought him to the rest of the team to fight alongside them, much to the contempt of his friends. Even if it was for all the wrong reasons, Frieza still filled the slot that Majin Buu left open.
14 WORST: ATTACKED GOKU WITH DESTRUCTION
Just because Frieza agreed to help Universe 7, it didn't mean he stopped being his usual, evil self. In fact, right after Frieza showed up in the land of the living thanks to Fortuneteller Baba, he punched Goku right in the gut, Goku returning the blow at the same time. This wasn't the last time Frieza tried anything on Goku, either.
During an attack by Universe 9, one of the assassins sent to kill Frieza attacked him with the power of destruction, a special energy that only gods of destruction can make. However, Frieza stopped the attack by absorbing and controlling the destruction power. Frieza then proceeded to throw this destruction energy right at Goku, betraying the person who literally just freed him from hell.
13 REDEMPTION: "GATHERED INTEL"
The reason that Frieza attacked Goku was because he was still looking for ways to weasel out of his hell sentence. This time, he was attempting to side with Universe 9, despite the fact that they sent assassins after him. After incapacitating Goku with destruction energy, Frieza took one of the assassin's communicators and contacted their god of destruction, Sidra.
Frieza tried to strike up a deal with Sidra, offering his assistance in the Tournament of Power if they promised to make him a member of Universe 9. So what makes this a redeeming act? Well, even though Frieza may have been trying to betray Universe 7, Whis believed he was doing this to gather intel on the other universes. Though this does not seem true, Whis is almost always right and is one of the smartest beings in the universe, so we'll choose to believe him.
12 WORST: ATTACKED A CHILD
Like we said, in Dragon Ball Z, Frieza was one of the few villains who had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. In fact, Toriyama seemed to overstate this fact in the Frieza saga at nearly every turn. One of the ways he did this was by having Freiza attack Gohan, who was only five years old, without mercy.
Forgot about that fact didn't ya? Gohan was only five years old when he went to Namek, and Frieza didn't seem to care about this fact in the least when he beat the crap out him, drawing blood and enjoying every cry of pain the half-Saiyan let out. Frieza even did that classic DBZ villain move where he grabbed his victim by the head before throwing them to the ground. Seriously, this was one of the most screwed up things Frieza ever did.
11 REDEMPTION: BETRAYED HIMSELF
If you haven't watched Dragon Ball Super, that header and this picture might be a bit confusing. In the Universe 6 saga of Super, we are introduced to Frost, the Universe 6 counterpart of Frieza. Like his doppelganger, Frost was an evil tyrant who conquered planets, though his true intentions were hidden under the guise of being a beloved hero. Frost was recruited into Universe 6's team for the Tournament of Power, and because of this, he ran into Frieza.
Before the tournament started, Frost and Frieza formed an alliance, scheming for their ensured survival. However, this was all a ruse, and what seemed like an evil act was actually a moment of redemption as Frieza betrayed Frost and knocked him out of the arena, taking out one of Universe 6's strongest fighters. The kicker was that Frieza's final "lesson" to his counterpart was to never trust anyone.
10 WORST: DEATH BEAMED GOHAN
Frieza's time on Namek wouldn't be the only time he encountered and mercilessly attacked Gohan. In Dragon Ball Super, Gohan was one of the Z-fighters that showed up to stop Frieza while they waited for Goku and Vegeta to arrive. Gohan proved to be strong enough to help out, but due to the fact that he had not kept up on his training for quite some time, he wasn't at his strongest.
Because of this, even though he was a Super Saiyan, he didn't stand a chance against Frieza, prompting the villain to beat the tar out of him. However, this time Frieza didn't even need to touch Gohan, he just fired death beams at him like a machine gun, piercing the half-Saiyan until he fell over nearly dead. In fact, the only thing that saved Gohan was Piccolo, who took the final blow for him.
9 REDEMPTION: USEFUL IN THE TOURNAMENT OF POWER
Though he seemed against the idea of fighting alongside Goku and his friends, Frieza still took his role as a member of Universe 7's team seriously. We see this in his betrayal of Frost as well as how much he pulls his weight in the tournament. Frieza took out several enemies on his own, including some of the other teams' strongest fighters, all without breaking much of a sweat.
Frieza is easily one of the strongest fighters in the universe, so it actually made sense to include him on the team, but many were worried he might try something funny during the Tournament. Though Frieza does pull some crazy stunts, all of his funny business was to help Universe 7, and the fact that he is one of the last three fighters left on Universe 7 shows just how useful he is in keeping Universe 7 in existence.
8 WORST: KILLED KRILLIN
Though Frieza might be fighting alongside Krillin and the other Z-fighters in the Tournament of power, he was not as civil in their first encounters. In the Frieza saga, the galactic tyrant attacked Goku and his allies and even killed Krillin, just for the pure enjoyment of it. This act proved to be his downfall as Krillin's death was what triggered Goku's first Super Saiyan transformation.
However, even if Frieza paid for killing Goku's best friend, it still doesn't make things better. Krillin might have been resurrected later on, but his death was still one of the most brutal moments in all of Dragon Ball Z. Frieza will most likely never make up for what he did, as this was truly one of his most horrific acts.
7 REDEMPTION: RETURNED A FAVOR
Even when Goku is angry, even when he wants to kill someone, even when his enemy is an irredeemable psychopath, he still shows mercy. Goku is known for sparing a lot of his enemies, a trait that has led to most of Dragon Ball's villains becoming allies. Goku even showed mercy for Frieza when Namek was about to explode. Even though Frieza was the one who caused the planet's destruction, Goku gave Frieza the chance to get off Namek before his demise.
Goku did this by lending Frieza some of his energy so that he could fly away before Namek blew up. Though this resulted in Frieza arriving on Earth with King Cold, it also led to a moment of redemption for Frieza. When Goku was exhausted after using Ultra Instinct for the first time in the Tournament of Power, Frieza repaid his debt by giving some energy to Goku.
6 WORST: TORTURED VEGETA
Despite the fact that Vegeta was still a bad guy during the Namek and Frieza sagas, we still felt for him when Frieza tortured the crap out of him. This was in part due to the fact that Vegeta had learned that Frieza was responsible for his race's demise, which turned him into a complex character that we could empathize with. Thus, when the person who killed his people proceeded to assault him, we felt for Vegeta.
This is why, when Frieza tortured his former subordinate, it was one of his worst acts. The worst part being that it wasn't to get information out of Vegeta, it was just his punishment for betrayal and arrogance. Frieza strangled Vegeta with his tail while punching him in the spine, mercilessly injuring him just for the fun of it.
5 REDEMPTION: INFORMED GOKU
This is kind of a small one, but we're still gonna count it. In the Tournament of Power, after Goku used Ultra Instinct, he was left drained of energy and without any memory of his actions in this new form. After Frieza helped him recover with some of his energy, repaying his debt, he also helped catch him up to speed on what was going on in the tournament.
Frieza informed Goku of what happened to him after he got hit by his own spirit bomb, telling him that the state he was in was called "Ultra Instinct" and that the gods in the rafters seemed impressed by it. Again, not the biggest gesture, but since information is a big factor in the Tournament of Power, we think Frieza was being a good team player in this moment.
4 WORST: BEAT HIS TRAINING PARTNER
Before Tagoma switched bodies with Captain Ginyu, he was a loyal member of Frieza's army. So loyal, in fact, that he served as his lord's sparring partner while he was training to take his revenge. Well, "punching bag" might be a more accurate term, since Frieza's training mainly consisted of beating Tagoma within an inch of his life every day for four months.
This was a horrible act on two levels, the first being that Frieza didn't care in the least about his subordinate and beat him as though he enjoyed it, which he probably did. The second reason this was so terrible was because Tagoma would heal after this "training" every day in the healing tanks, only to receive the same beating the next day, both making his life a living hell and making his body incredibly durable. This, of course, made him more dangerous when facing the Z-fighters.
3 REDEMPTION: HELPED DEFEAT ANILAZA
As a member of Universe 7's team, Frieza took out a good number of powerful enemies in the Tournament of Power, including a Saiyan from Universe 6 as well as his alternate counterpart. However, Frieza didn't just help the team by acting on his own, he also helped to take down a huge threat to his universe, Anilaza.
Anilaza was a the monstrous secret weapon of Universe 3's team, the fusion between three robot aliens and a scientist named Paparoni. This warrior towered over the other fighters and had tremendous strength and power. It took the united efforts of Universe 7's warriors to take him down, including Frieza, who shot death beam blasts to help parry the monster's attack. It was one of the few times Frieza used teamwork in the tournament.
2 WORST: AGENT OF DESTRUCTION
One of the reasons that Frieza destroyed the Saiyans and other planets in general was because he was in league with Lord Beerus... sort of. Beerus allowed Frieza to maintain his galactic empire despite the fact that his job as a destroyer is to eliminate potential threats to mortal life. Beerus even went so far as to allow Frieza to act as an agent of destruction, though this might have been out of laziness.
Supposedly, this means that Frieza destroyed various alien races under the orders of Beerus, though we're not sure how many. However, we do know that the destruction of the Saiyans was partially due to Beerus' orders. After being angered by the Saiyans, Beerus suggested Frieza should destroy them, which was all the support Frieza needed to follow through on his fear of a Super Saiyan rising up.
1 REDEMPTION: HELPED DEFEAT DYSPO
Very recently in Dragon Ball Super, Frieza had one of his toughest fights in the Tournament of Power. This fight was against one of the Pride Troopers of Universe 11, Dyspo. Dyspo was a particularly tricky enemy to fight, as he was incredibly fast. We're not just talking about hard to hit either, Dyspo's speed was actually so impressive that he was know as The Sonic Warrior.
So, how did Frieza combat this speedy warrior? On his own, he managed to hold his own, using his tail to get the better of Dyspo. But, Dyspo's speed eventually turned out to be too much for Frieza, and help was needed. Enter Gohan, who formulated a plan with Frieza to take out Dyspo by limiting his movement. Frieza made a cage of sorts out of rapid-fire death-beams that made Dyspo's speed work against him, which helped Gohan knock him out of the ring.