Viltrumites from ‘Invincible’ are essentially Saiyans, so let’s pit them against their ‘DBZ’ counterparts

Omni-Man from 'Invincible' and Bardock from 'Dragon Ball Z'
Invincible/Amazon Prime Dragon Ball Z

Amazon Prime is putting a new twist on the classic superhero formula.

The popular streamer currently boasts two of the genre’s current heavy-hitters, with both The Boys and Invincible offering up grittier, bloodier takes on the superhero premise in entirely different ways.

Invincible’s focus might seem familiar to some of its viewers, but it’s not due to its similarity to The Boys—at least not entirely. The violent animated series does center itself around superheroes, and its lead antagonist serves as the mega-powered Superman stand-in, but that’s where the shows’ similarities end. The Boys puts politics and a war for revenge at its core, while Invincible’s focus — thus far at least — is far more oriented around a coming-of-age story for Mark, and family dynamics.

For the most part, at least. The story in Invincible is a touch more complicated than your typical coming-of-age tale, of course, and puts a major emphasis on his continued ignorance regarding his father’s true role on Earth. As the first season progresses, however, elements of the series reveal a number of similarities to a very different superpowered show: Dragon Ball Z

The mega-popular anime doesn’t share many story elements with Invincible, but Amazon Prime’s superhero show does echo Akira Toriyama’s hit series in several ways. The majority of these come down to the Viltrumites, a race of super-powerful aliens intent on conquering the galaxy.

What are Viltrumites?

Viltrumites
Image via Amazon Prime

The primary villain in Invincible is a seemingly displaced member of the Viltrumite race. The alien race boasts massively powerful warriors, similar to Kryptonians, but their purpose on our planet — and every other planet — is where the show’s similarities to Superman ends. Viltrumites are conquerors at their core, and Invincible’s Omni-Man is no different. He’s been on Earth for decades, built a life and started a family, but his purpose never wavered. He’s here to make Earth yet another addition to the Viltrumite empire, and no silly human connections are going to stop him.

The Viltrumites’ war-heavy nature shares quite a few similarities with that of Dragon Ball Z’s Saiyans. The similarly super-powered alien race likewise has a focus on expansion and subjugation, and sends its members off to various planets to force them into submission. One of the primary Saiyans in the Dragon Ball Z story is a conqueror who shares a shocking amount in common with Omni-Man, and we suspect many of the show’s other characters also echo beloved additions to the broad DBZ universe.

Omni-Man/Vegeta

Omni-Man and Vegeta
Invincible/Amazon Prime Dragon Ball Super

You had to have seen this coming. Invincible’s Omni-Man is a vicious, heartless alien conqueror sent to Earth to force its weak-minded denizens into submission. His unnaturally long life allows Omni-Man to settle into society prior to Earth’s eventual invasion, worming his way into a position of power and, unintentionally, starting a family.

After finding and falling in love with a human woman, Omni-Man also welcomes a half-Viltromite, half-human child into the world. This child eventually proves himself to be uniquely powerful, and is overall a hugely better person than the man who helped shape him.

There’s no denying the similarities between Omni-Man’s arc and Vegeta’s arc from DBZ. The former Saiyan prince is sent to Earth as one of his race’s most capable conquerors, but is halted by the arrival of Goku – a far kinder, displaced member of his race. Following his defeat, Vegeta falls for a human woman, welcomes a few half-Saiyan children into the world, and — eventually — switches sides and bats for the good guys. While Omni-Man doesn’t seem poised to join Mark and his fellow heroes in their quest to protect the planet, his origins — and several aspects of his shitty personality — feel like prime Vegeta material.

In a fight between Omni-Man and Vegeta, it’s genuinely a toss up. Omni-Man appears to have more inherent power than the former Saiyan prince, but he’s missing a vital Saiyan quality. See, each time a Saiyan is defeated, they come back stronger than before. This is a massive factor behind Goku’s continued dominance, and it would give Vegeta a similar boost. So, while the pointy-haired Saiyan would likely lose to Omni-Man at least once or twice, we think he’d eventually use that Saiyan blood to come out on top.

Mark/Trunks

Mark and Trunks
Image via Amazon Prime/ Dragon Ball Z

Unsurprisingly, Omni-Man’s son, Mark, and Vegeta’s son Trunks also share a good amount in common. Both are born to massive jerkwads, sport a devastating power level (likely over 9,000, oh my!), and are far better versions of the men who spawned them. Both are constantly disappointed by their fathers’ actions, and both share close bonds with the human women who taught them to be better than their powerful blood. 

Were Mark and Trunks to face-off against one another, I think viewers would be faced with a similar issue to that in a Vegeta/Omni-Man battle. While Mark’s Viltrumite blood certainly gives him a solid advantage, and could even see him get the upper hand initially, Trunks’ Saiyan blood would likely see him win in the end. If Mark sported the same ability, he’d probably be able to take his dad down within the first season of the show, after facing a number of brutal beat-downs. Unfortunately, Mark emerges from his lost battles with nothing more than injuries and a bruised ego, rather than the classic Saiyan power-up.

Also, let’s not forget that Trunks is actually a well-trained warrior. He spent years drilling and fighting in the war-torn future, whereas Mark’s only training included taking out the trash and teenage sass 101, leaving him woefully underprepared to face-off against the carefully-trained dystopian warrior.

Debbie/Bulma

Debbie and Bulma
Images via Invincible/Amazon Prime Dragon Ball Z

Once again, this feels pretty obvious, but it’s too relevant to pass by. Bulma very much serves as the Debbie to Vegeta’s Omni-Man, grounding the egotistical alien prince and providing him with the elements of humanity that eventually lead him to depart his conquering ways. While Debbie is less successful in this particular element, both woman are strong-headed, capable, and intelligent matches for their spouses, neither of whom wield any superpowers of their own.

That being said, a match between Bulma and Debbie seems far more certain than one between the other entries on this list. Bulma may not be a fighter, but she grew up around them, and her skill with tech is near-unmatched. They likely wouldn’t exchange blows, but Debbie’s skill in real estate can’t match up to Bulma’s legitimate genius. 

Other similarities

None of the other Invincible characters have the same clear parallels as Vegeta’s family, but there are some amusing links that a fan of both franchises could certainly lean on. Once more Viltrumites are introduced, we may see a Gohan, Goku, or Broly crop up, but for now fans are restricted to one full-blooded Viltrumite and his child. Other characters — like Allen the Alien — share similarities with characters like Piccolo, who arrived with the intent to conquer Earth only to quickly be trounced by its official protector. 

This is true for a few other characters as well, though their similarities are sometimes better linked to other franchises. Rex Splode has some very Yamcha-ish traits, the Immortal only needs to die five or six more times to echo Goku’s journey, and the genius Mauler Twins could probably have made a far better attempt at rekindling the Red Ribbon Army than Dr. Gero. 

Despite the easy comparisons between Invincible and a number of other popular shows and comics, the story in Amazon Prime’s animated hit remains unique. It might feature some familiar archetypes, and even plot-points, but it’s telling a story all its own. The show is already confirmed for a second season, which will surely introduce even more Saiyan comparisons, but fans aren’t showing up to track the parallels between Invincible and other shows. They’re showing up because the series is genuinely stellar, all on its own. What more can you ask for?