Every great hero in manga and/or anime needs a rival; someone who stands by them and elevates them to new heights, pushing them beyond imaginable limits to better prove themselves to one another. Despite the fact they often play second fiddle to their rival, no two characters embody the role of a purpose for elevation than Vegeta from Dragon Ball and Sasuke from Naruto.
Goku and Naruto wouldn’t be anywhere near as powerful as they are today if it wasn’t for their respective Number 2’s, as they have been the sole reason for working so hard to get stronger across both series and their sequels. So the real question is, which number 2 is the strongest and better rival? Is it Vegeta or Sasuke? Find out below!
10 STRENGTH: Vegeta
As Dragon Ball has grown and moved into Dragon Ball Z and Super, the level of strength shown by its main cast has reached levels of absurdity that couldn’t’ have been expected by even hardcore fans of the original series.
As of now, both Vegeta and Goku have powers that rival that of the Gods of Destruction, massively powerful beings that are about as complex as their description implies. Even way back in the Namek and Frieza Saga, Vegeta had world-ending potential in the palm of his hands, although he wasn’t quite at the “with-one-finger” stage that Frieza was. Compared to the feats of strength we’ve seen in Naruto so far, there’s no comparison.
9 SPEED: Vegeta
This one is slightly harder to pin down, as Vegeta and Sasuke’s respective speed levels have varied wildly over their shows runs. In terms of how their respective powers function, this point has to go to the Saiyan prince.
While it can be argued that Sasuke is at least as fast as Naruto, who is faster than lightning, in the Dragon Ball Super manga, Vegeta has recently learned the Instant Transmission technique, which is, well, instant.
8 RESILLIENCE: Vegeta
Again, Vegeta wins out on his physical abilities. His Saiyan armor aside, Vegeta has shown to be able to take a ridiculous pounding before being put down, outright refusing to die against both Frieza and Perfect Cell. While Sasuke is no pushover himself, his feats of resilience are significantly less impressive.
While he has survived explosions that should have otherwise killed him, as well as the curse mark placed on him by Orochimaru, his real strengths lie in his ninjutsu and Sharingan powers rather than his taijutsu and physical abilities.
7 INTELLIGENCE: Sasuke
When it comes to being a tactical fighter, Vegeta knows his stuff. He knew the limits of his imperfect Ascended Saiyan form intuitively, where Trunks powered through it regardless to find its glaring weakness too little too late but there’s one aspect of his brainpower that is severely lacking: knowing when to quit to fight another day.
On multiple occasions, largely due to his ridiculous pride, Vegeta has remained in a fight that he knows he can’t win, rather than taking the smarter option of running and coming back to finish the job later. He had to be dragged to Kami’s Lookout after being destroyed by Cell, where Sasuke has shown many times that, despite how highly he thinks of himself, he’s not suicidal when it comes to fighting.
6 SKILLS: Sasuke
Over the years, Sasuke has shown his skill as a ninja to be second to none. He took the base level Chidori from Kakashi and turned it into a completely unique skill of his own, showing much more skill in using the jutsu than its creator ever did. His combat skills aside, he is also well versed in stealth, espionage, camouflage, and wielding various weapons.
Vegeta has a wide range of Ki based abilities, but they are limited to flight, Ki blasts, and the one time he tied down Goku using shackles made of energy. There’s also the fake moon power he once used, which is largely useless now that no living Saiyan has a tail anymore.
5 ALLIES: Vegeta
Even as a child, Sasuke was adamant about working alone, to the point that Kakashi frequently pointed out that he was part of a team, and should act like it. While Vegeta started out in very much the same boat, he has changed over the years to be more accepting of people’s help and is one of the strongest fighters currently protecting Earth.
Sasuke, however, has stayed as a lone wolf well into adulthood. While he hides in the shadows and offers help to Naruto whenever he needs it, he still struggles with making personal connections and working as a team.
4 EQUIPMENT: Sasuke
The Dragon Ball universe has a wide range of useful gear that characters use, from the various capsules that the Brief family possesses to senzu beans and the variety of training garments worn, there’s no shortage of equipment for Vegeta to use.
The problem is that he never uses them, and only takes senzu beans when they are forced on him or in desperate situations. Even his Saiyan armor basically for show, as even Yajirobe was able to cut through it. Sasuke, unlike Naruto, has used basically every kind of ninja tool and weapon that has been shown in the series, and is very proficient at using them as well.
3 PRIOR VICTORIES: Sasuke
Vegeta may be a physically imposing force to be reckoned with, but his wins in the series are pretty lackluster. He failed to defeat a single person when he and Nappa invaded Earth, although he made up for it by killing almost all of Frieza’s goons, before falling to the boss himself. During the Android and Cell Saga, he only defeated Android 19 before becoming irrelevant very quickly.
While Sasuke has as many TKO’s under his belt as wins, he has done something that Vegeta never has: stalemated his rival. In their final fight, both Naruto and Sasuke were unable to continue the battle simultaneously, while Vegeta has always been one step behind Goku, although that looks to change in upcoming chapters of the Dragon Ball Super manga.
2 BEST RIVAL: Sasuke
Over the course of Naruto, Sasuke and Naruto seem to be a relative match for each other throughout the story, and neither one is able to keep their edge over the other for very long. It’s this dynamic of constantly one-upping each other that makes them such good rivals, and allows them to punch through their limits to reach even greater heights.
Vegeta and Goku’s rivalry has always been about Vegeta’s chase after Goku, being unable to accept that a low-born commoner is able to overpower him. There has only been one time when Vegeta was actually more powerful, after his stint inside the Hyperbolic Time Chamber pre-Cell, but that lead was quickly taken away not only by Goku, but Gohan as well.
1 WINNER: Sasuke
Coming from behind to take the win is the rogue ninja himself. While he may lack in the physical strengths department, he more than makes up for it in his skill, intelligence and past wins.
Vegeta is well on his way to proving he has what it takes to earn the crown, as is typical of his character to be constantly chasing after someone with more power, but as it stands right now, he falls short of winning the “Best Number 2” award!
Vegeta and Sasuke are their respective mangas' rivals and secondary heroes, but who is the superior rival and number two?