How Dragon Ball FighterZ’s Android 21 Could Fit Within the Dragon Ball Canon

Lucas DeRuyter
Dragon Ball Anime
Dragon Ball Anime

With Dragon Ball FighterZ rapidly approaching, fans will not only experience the first truly technical Dragon Ball fighting game, but will also be treated to a brand-new character in the mysterious Android 21.

Designed by series creator Akira Toriyama, Android 21 is one of the few female characters to appear in FighterZ. She seems to be the main antagonist of the game’s story mode. Information about this new character is still pretty scarce. But considering her background, design, and her appearance in promotional material, it’s not too difficult to speculate how she might fit into the broader Dragon Ball series.

A Scientist First and Foremost

Another brilliant scientist joins the Dragon Ball roster.

Android 21 is a member of and researcher for the Red Ribbon Army. This militaristic criminal organization first appeared in the original Dragon Ball series. The group strove to collect the Dragon Balls to obtain world domination. But not really, as the leader of the Red Ribbon Army – Commander Red – secretly wanted to use the wish to become taller. The Red Ribbon Army Saga helped Dragon Ball develop into the series it is today by introducing more sci-fi elements and making it less focused on mystical adventures or martial arts.

As a scientist for the Red Ribbon Army, Android 21 more than likely played a role in developing the organization’s iconic Androids or some of the other super weapons found in the organization. As the story mode features corrupted versions of characters from the series, she may have spent her time working for RR developing the means to create these copies.

A Wife and a Mother?

There’s a lot of smoke for there to be no fire.

There’s also a very good chance that Android 21 is the mother of Android 16 and the wife of Android 20 – Dr Gero. The evil Dr. Gero created the majority of the Red Ribbon Androids and even turned himself into one, so he could exact his revenge on Goku for destroying the Army. Android 16 is the android version of Gero’s son, who died in a battle; though some fans theorize he may have died when Goku attacked the Army’s headquarters (Muscle Tower).

It’s clear from the promotional material that 21 has some kind of relationship with 16, and it would make sense if she were his mother becausethe other half of 16’s parentage is still unknown. 21 being the wife of Dr. Gero could also be a great chance to give Gero a bit more background and motivation, as he never had much time to establish himself in Dragon Ball Z.

A Murderous Machine

Revenge may be her motivation.

Even if she isn’t related to Androids 16 and 20, it’s clear that she has some kind of close relationship with them. It seems like she rebuilt Android 16 and may have tried to do the same for Dr. Gero before realizing it is impossible with his brain destroyed. Her attempts at killing Goku and company in the game might be revenge against them for letting 16 die to Cell, and her husband’s death at the hands of Androids 17 and 18.

Alternatively, she could have had a less than pleasant relationship with Dr. Gero and these attacks against the Z Fighters could be her attempting to surpass him. While the motivations behind her villainy are sure to remain a mystery right up until the game’s launch, it’s safe to say that it will almost certainly tie back into her relationship with Gero and 16.

The Most Compelling Questions

What will hopefully be revealed, but may never.

Outside of the plot of Dragon Ball FighterZ and her role in it, Android 21 inspires a lot of questions. Is she really an android, or is she a cyborg like Androids 17 and 18? Was she made by Dr. Gero, did he turn her into an android, or did she turn herself into one? Can she also absorb energy like Gero or does she have her own unique powers?

At least some of these questions may be answered in Dragon Ball FighterZ, while others may remain a mystery forever. Android 21 has quickly become a hotly debated character, and hopefully, she’ll receive a satisfying story and background within the game. Maybe we’ll get lucky and she’ll even become a playable character! FighterZ, and Dragon Ball as a whole, could really use a few more lady fighters.

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Lucas DeRuyter
University of Wisconsin Madison graduate with a deep interest in media, writing, and storytelling.