For all of Dragon Ball Z‘s well-developed and long-running villains, there are those who came and went, leaving an air of unfulfilled potential in their wake. The Ginyu Force, Frieza’s elite fighting squadron, is one such group, as they had an array of unique abilities at their disposal that should have made them far more deadly than they were. So why were their powers ultimately wasted with the gang dooming themselves to being the Frieza saga‘s comic relief?
Let’s start with the weakest in strength but possibly most dangerous of all: Guldo. The series largely portrays Guldo as a clown, being weak, out of shape and easily spooked, as he spends most of his battle with Krillin and Gohan running away. However, his time freeze technique stops any opponent in their tracks, leaving them completely defenseless. He can also manipulate inanimate objects into any shape and cast them in any direction. Despite his lack of fighting ability, he would have killed Krillin and Gohan but for Vegeta beheading him with a dirty sneak attack.
Then there’s Captain Ginyu’s body possession technique that, as shown against Goku, can turn the tide of any battle regardless of the opponent’s strength. Both Ginyu and Guldo’s techniques required their opponents to use teamwork to defeat them. Imagine if the Ginyu Force’s teamwork expanded beyond their posing skills — combining, for example, Guldo’s time freeze with Ginyu’s body switch or Burter’s impressive speed. Gohan, Krillin and Vegeta would have been wiped out in seconds. Although Goku prefers to fight alone when possible, he would’ve been doomed to live in Ginyu’s body if Vegeta, Krillin and Gohan hadn’t helped.
What if Captain Ginyu had injured himself and switched bodies with Frieza, leaving one of the other members of his group to finish off Frieza in Ginyu’s body? The Ginyu Force could have conceivably ruled the entire universe. Captain Ginyu may struggle to understand a different body’s powers and abilities, but finish off the opponent and he can take as much time as he needs to figure it out or just switch again with another elite fighter. The possibilities are nearly endless.
The squad’s misplaced priorities and general goofiness also takes away from the fact that, Guldo aside, they took their pre-Namek training seriously. Recoome’s brute strength and endurance helped him outlast all the Z fighters by himself until Goku arrived, while Jeice and Burter showed evidence of at least some training together with their Purple Comet Attack. Of course, when finding new recruits who can pose well and betting chocolate bars are top of the agenda, special techniques can only take them so far.
The Ginyu Force’s arrogance and individualism led to Guldo and Recoome’s deaths, while Jeice and Burter’s combined efforts weren’t enough to overcome Goku’s vastly improved strength and speed. Ginyu’s body switch nearly defeats Goku but, fittingly, the Z fighters’ teamwork and the lucky toss of a frog ends the battle with Frieza’s elite squad. As if that wasn’t enough, their afterlife humiliation at the hands of Yamcha, Tien and Chiaotzu cements their relegation to punching bag status. It’s a wild fall from grace for a group of fighters who could have potentially usurped Frieza if they so desired.
Despite an array of innovative fighting techniques that should have made them unstoppable, Dragon Ball Z's Ginyu Force was largely comic relief.