Raditz, Goku's younger brother, appeared in the first few episodes of Dragon Ball Z before abruptly exiting the franchise. Although Raditz made a brief appearance in his child form in the Dragon Ball Super: Broly film, as a character in the modern Dragon Ball franchise, he has been long forgotten and doomed to obscurity.

Many characters from the Dragon Ball Z era, however, have been given new life in Dragon Ball Super. For instance, Frieza has returned as a recurring antagonist, Future Trunks has received a brand-new storyline, and Cell has once again received some attention as a villain in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. Should Raditz be the next character to be given a new role and use in Dragon Ball, given how much Super has borrowed from its past? What might a Raditz comeback entail, and what contribution might a character who hasn't had anything to do with the plot in almost two decades possibly make?


Raditz and His Relationship with Goku in Dragon Ball Z

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When Raditz first appeared in Dragon Ball Z, his sole purpose was to broaden the scope of the Dragon Ball universe to an interplanetary level. Raditz being Goku's biological brother was a major revelation on paper, but this relationship was never explored in reality. The bigger revelation, however, was that Goku was not a human at all, but rather a member of a warlike race of aliens sent to conquer weak planets. Raditz appeared, kidnapped Gohan, fought Goku and Piccolo, died, and was then the catalyst for the arrival of two more Saiyans on Earth in the future. That was the extent of his character, and after his death, neither his brother nor his comrades Vegeta and Nappa really acknowledged his death or existence, despite having lost one of the last remaining Saiyans.

Raditz had little depth to his personality beyond being a weaker version of Vegeta, and he was given little motivation beyond the generic Frieza soldier mentality of stomping on weaker opponents and trying to conquer the planet. The most interesting part of his character -- his biological relationship with Goku -- was unexplored and forgotten. His Saiyan heritage as one of the last of his race was glossed over by the people he fought alongside his entire life. While all these reasons make bringing back Raditz seem pointless, they are also reasons why he has so much potential to be explored further. His design is interesting, his connection to Goku can give both characters greater depth and as one of the few named Saiyans from Universe 7, Super can take a number of directions to expand his character if it chooses to bring him back.


How Raditz Might Be Used in Future Dragon Ball Franchise Iterations

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It's one thing to say Raditz should be brought back in Dragon Ball Super, and it's another to actually find an explanation for his return. It's been roughly 20 years in-universe from Raditz's death to the current events of the Dragon Ball Super manga. In the Dragon Ball universe, souls are reincarnated after they die unless they were particularly bad, in which case they have to spend some time in Hell for rehabilitation, as seen with Frieza. While Raditz, as one of Frieza's soldiers, likely committed numerous murders and atrocities that would've landed him in Hell, it theoretically shouldn't be possible for him to even be brought back using Dragon Balls.

However, Frieza somehow caught up in power within four months of training to Goku and Vegeta, who had gotten exponentially stronger over a decade since Frieza's death. If the writers wanted to bring Raditz back to life, there could be an explanation. Perhaps he refused reincarnation much like Frieza, or maybe he could be brought back as part of a larger-scale wish to revive the entire Saiyan race. A future villain could take an interest in the Saiyans or Goku and decide to bring back Raditz to use his familial connection to Goku for data. Alternatively, maybe Goku himself could decide to take a deeper interest in his heritage and bring back Raditz to learn from him more about his parents. Goku only recently learned his father's name and personality in the Dragon Ball Super manga's "Granolah the Survivor" arc, so perhaps learning a bit about his old family might inspire Goku to reconnect with his Saiyan roots and have an actual relationship with his brother.


How Raditz Can Be Utilized in Future Iterations of the Dragon Ball Franchise

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During a flashback in the Dragon Ball Super manga, Bardock, the father of Goku, is shown to wish on the Dragon Balls for his sons to grow up and thrive. While this wish certainly came true for Goku, for Raditz, who was one of the weaker fighters in Frieza's army and who died unceremoniously on Earth, this wish seems to have brought somewhat less fortune. However, the wish could foreshadow the return of Goku's brother for a larger role in Super's story. The Dragon Ball Super manga has brought new focus to the Saiyan characters of the past, from making Broly canon to giving Bardock more character depth. This, along with Vegeta's interest in the Universe 6 Saiyans, could lead to a future Saiyan arc in the story where Raditz could be brought back as a link between the past and present.

At the time of his death, Raditz was a villain who despised the weak and wanted to dominate the planets. Before his character arc, Vegeta, however, was largely the same. If the Saiyan race were to be resurrected again, Raditz's redemption could serve as a useful example for how to rid it of its warlike culture. There would be no use in bringing Raditz back as a villain to be defeated because he would be far too weak to represent a serious threat to the world. Instead, by providing Goku with a direct connection to his past and the opportunity to learn more about his family, he could give the character fresh depth.

Meanwhile, having Raditz back could provide Vegeta with a former comrade who can see how far he's grown, and the two could form a new bond as Vegeta assists Raditz in his transition to becoming a better person. Raditz's status as a Saiyan and Goku's brother would allow Super to delve deeper into a storyline about heritage and family, which could serve as the centerpiece of a new arc unlike any seen in the franchise to date.