Dragon Ball Z’s Android 19 Was Weaker Than the Z Fighters Thought
One of the fearfully anticipated Androids turned out to be a pushover, but was there something keeping them from reaching their full potential?
When Future Trunks first arrived to warn Goku and the Z Fighters about the oncoming Android threat, he set expectations high for the ensuing struggle that lay three years ahead of them. When they first appeared, Android 19 and 20 seemed to meet these predictions, causing mass destruction across Amenbo Island. Shortly after, the cybernetic menaces left the heroes shocked by beating Goku, who at the time was the only known living Super Saiyan. However, once the main fighting commenced, Android 19 in particular proved to be much weaker than originally believed, despite being the one to beat Goku. Still, this may not simply be a case of misplaced assumptions.
In terms of track record, Android 19 is a special case. Though he technically managed to defeat Goku, a feat which very few in the Dragon Ball universe can claim, the two were not on even ground. Goku was initially able to hold an advantage over the battle, thanks to Dr. Gero’s data leaving out the important fact that he was now a Super Saiyan. Yet the tide of battle quickly turned, as the heart disease which killed Goku in Future Trunks’s timeline started to affect him. Luckily, Vegeta soon arrived on the scene in his newly acquired Super Saiyan form and made quick work of 19.
In spite of Android 19 recognizing Android 20 as their superior in strength, Piccolo was able to deal with 20 just as swiftly. Had it not been for Vegeta allowing 20 to lead them to Androids 17 and 18, it may have been possible to end the conflict then and there. The situation seems to have gotten worse only because the team became lax about their opponents’ relative weakness going forward.
Nevertheless, it is important to remember the impact that Trunks’s foreknowledge left them. Trunks preempted the Androids’ arrival by three years, giving the Z Fighters plenty of time to prepare themselves through training. Vegeta in particular took to duking it out with dying planets, which may have ultimately been what finally allowed him to unlock Super Saiyan at all. Without this opportunity, the power differential against these Androids would have been far wider. While 19 and 20 may or may not have existed in Future Trunks’ time, he only knew about the far stronger Androids 17 and 18, to begin with. Accordingly, the group was set on high alert from the beginning. Regardless of any discrepancies in his report, it’s hard to blame Trunks for these as he was just a baby when the others were killed.
Since Goku and crew knew the exact time and place the Androids would first appear, they were able to mobilize to meet them head-on. Without this information, the Z Fighters would have never sensed the pair to unite against them, as the Androids have no ki to be sensed. Though Yamcha fell victim to their energy-draining abilities, the presence and alertness of the others not only kept him from becoming a casualty but allowed them to receive information about the Androids’ parasitic tactics.
This would prove instrumental when actually taking on the pair. Vegeta took advantage of 19’s attempt to sap his power by severing the latter’s hands from their body. While Vegeta did not know at the time, Android 20 soon demonstrated that the nodes on their hands were the key to their absorption skills, even allowing them to drain energy blast attacks. Since the typical Dragon Ball Z fight usually involves a much higher volume of energy blasts, a more ad-libbed response to the Androids might have turned in their favor.
Notwithstanding their own internal squabbles, the Z Fighters’ unified front was definitely their greatest asset in combatting the first two Androids. Had it not been for Trunks’ prescience in the matter, they would not have had their quick information relay, Vegeta’s Super Saiyan form, or Goku’s attendance in the battle at all. Though gaps in Trunks’ account may have given them a skewed perception of the events to come, it is impossible to say what the fight against Android 19 and 20 would have looked like without his contributions. Though it did not prevent the awakening of Androids 17 and 18, it is clear his intelligence helped to reduce the threat that 19 and 20 posed on their own.
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