|“||...The time is past for mincing words, so I'll be blunt. No. You have killed too many innocents. You will lose your body, and your soul will be banished to a place quite different from Gokū's. There, it will be reincarnated into a new form, but only after it is cleansed of memories.||”|
—Piccolo to Vegeta in "Farewell, Proud Warrior"
Death is a common element in Dragon Ball. It refers to the end of a mortal's lifespan. When one dies, the soul typically leaves the body, and passes on into the Afterworld. When the soul reaches Serpent Road, it makes its way to the Enma Realm, where Enma judges whether the soul goes above, to Heaven, or below, to Hell.
There is also a cycle of reincarnation, which is apparently attributed only to those beings who go to Hell. It is possible, however, for those who die to refuse to pass on — Freeza, much to Enma's frustration, refuses to be cleansed and reincarnate.
However, death is not the same for all individuals. Certain individuals, such as Son Gokū, are privileged enough to keep their body while in death — even if it was destroyed before the event of their death — so that they can keep training in the netherworld. Other members of the Dragon Team, namely Yamcha, Tenshinhan, Chaozu, and Piccolo, all received a similar reward.
According to Gokū, however, should one die again while dead — presumably only possible should they possess their body, as Vegeta did during the battle with Majin Boo — they are erased from existence completely.
- In the anime only Dragon Ball GT, Freeza and Cell state that they are immortal while dead, contradicting the earlier statement that dying while dead erases one from existence.
- Dragon Ball has been inconsistent with the notion of death and what occurs; it has been stated by Piccolo that when someone who has committed atrocities dies, they are reincarnated into a new form; this has held true only for Majin Boo, who was reincarnated as Oob. Freeza, who should have reincarnated, is staunchly stated to have refused the process. It has also been stated in the manga that keeping one's body is a privilege in the netherworld, but beyond nearly everyone keeping a body in the anime when they die, in the manga, a dog with a halo was shown in the netherworld with Son Gokū and Kaiō of the North.