Cell is one of the main villains of Dragon Ball Z and the true main villain of the Android Saga. He is also the final villain in the English dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai. He is an evil, insect-like, humanoid android seeking to gain more power in order to complete his ultimate form. Cell is the most powerful of all Dr. Gero's creations, and was created with the sole purpose of being the "Perfect Warrior." He is the archenemy of Son Gohan, Future Trunks and Android 16. His fighting skills, powers and even his personality traits are derived from the cells of the greatest warriors in the universe; including Son Goku, Son Gohan, Piccolo, Yamcha, Krillin, Tenshinhan, Chiaotzu, Vegeta, Nappa, Frieza, and King Cold.
Cell is arguably the most personal and psychologically inflicting nemesis to Son Gohan and Future Trunks in DBZ, due to him being responsible for the emotional death of Android 16, which triggered Son Gohan's rage transforming into a Super Saiyan 2. He was also the only villain who did not want to destroy earth directly, but instead made a martial arts tournament that would determine the fate of the planet just so he can prove that he is the best and perfect warrior.
Cell's personality has differed between his various forms. At first, the only thing driving him was his desire to attain his perfect form, curious to see its limits and was very cautious, sneaky, and calculating by nature, not going after the Androids, since he knew he could not beat them. After attaining his Semi-Perfect form, Cell became much more brash, impatient, obstreperous, and cunning, as he relied less on strategy, using brute force. However, he still shows some cunning when he plays with Vegeta's love for having a good fight and uses it to make Vegeta back down so that he can absorb #18. He also views himself as attractive in this form. Upon becoming Perfect, his personality became a combination of the people whose cells he possessed. Cell had Piccolo's coolness, knowledge, and cunning, Vegeta's confidence and pride, Goku's laid-back attitude and love of fighting, and Freeza's conceitedness, polite mannerisms, and sheer sadism. He is unique in that he has no desire for conquest, immortality, or power and instead seeks only entertainment and to test the limits of his perfection. As well as prove it to the universe, by destroying it
Cell is actually quite knowledgeable and intelligent, as he (in the manga) compliments his opponents abilities. Later, he wanted only to unleash annihilation upon the universe and on anything he considered imperfect or, to put it bluntly, anything besides himself. In all forms, he retains Freeza's sadism: while created evil, he is still fully conscious of the morality (or lack thereof) of his actions and commits them because he wants to. His stated reason for wanting to destroy humanity is simply to see the looks of terror on their faces before they die.
After his death, he gets along well with Frieza in Hell.
In Cell's Imperfect form, unlike his larval form, he can walk fully upright on two legs. His facial features have not yet fully developed, and he still retains an orifice-like mouth (which generally obscures four sharp teeth, as revealed in "Silent Warrior"), rather than traditional human-like features seen in later forms. The two sections of his head shoot off in a V-shape resembling a boomerang-shape, rather than nearly straight upward, as in the next two forms. Cell is later shown using the power he absorbed from his victims by having a golden aurawith the appearance of wailing souls. Cell has orange color parts near his abdominal area, the back of his head, and even near his groin area. He has two wings which are both emerald green with black spots. He has an emerald green and lime green mix all over his exoskeleton (including head, arms, legs, tail and hands) along with black spots. He has three fingers in the manga, but five fingers and three toes (just as similar as Frieza and King Cold) in the anime. He has a tail like Frieza and King Cold, but has a stinger included at the end of it. He has black sections as well near his abdominal area, in the middle between the two sections on his head, and even the black part of the opposite side of his tail. He even has azure veins in both of his arms, legs, and even some in the joints in his upper body. His eyes are pink (blue in the manga colored pages) with thin reptilian-like slits.
In his Semi-Perfect form after absorbing Android 17, Cell's wings disappear, and he becomes much more humanoid, he also becomes quite a bit more muscular. His exoskeleton is still emerald green and lime green with black spots, but now has black plates on the arms and legs and the black spots on his hands are completely gone. While the nose is not yet fully formed (as it is in the next stage), he now has an actual mouth. The two jutting sections of his head now go straight into the air. In this form, he is at his 2nd largest (next to his Power weighted form) with his height being one and a half times that of Vegeta. His tail is longer and slightly thicker than before, and protrudes from his back, as well as becoming segmented orange and black instead of emerald green and black from his previous form. His voice is deeper than his previous form. The back of his head and the black section on his forehead are now formed together as a ball in between the two sections on his head. His lips are now the color pink, and the black sections above his lips look like a mustache (except it is part of his skin). He now has light blue eyes in this form (a direct result of absorbing Android 17). He even has boot-like feet in this form and metal-like plates all around both of his ankles. He has the same shape of ears as Frieza's, except that his have an orange line that goes down to the chin and to both sides of the ears. His wings regress completely into his back. In his self-destruction form, Semi-Perfect Cell bloats himself, his belly greatly expanding in size. He also claimed that his bloated appearance was unstable, and that a single touch may set him off when dissuading Gohan from trying to stop him.
Cell becomes much more humanoid in his Perfect form after absorbing Android 18, complete with both a fully-formed nose and mouth. His tail is retracted and now used for the creation of Cell Jrs, although it is shown in various media that he can still extend it from his back and absorb other people (as seen in Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai). Along with his previous two forms, Cell can transform into a Super Saiyan. He is also smaller than in his previous form, being roughly about Piccolo's height, although this still means he towers over characters like Goku and Vegeta. His wings have grown back and now are shaded black. His exoskeleton (including the abdominal area and arms) is now colored light-green with dark green spots and has black plates located on his shoulders and chest, and the plates on his ankles as well as the previously orange section near his groin are now shaded black. He also retains the boot-like feet from his previous form. His skin is now pale all in his face, neck and hands, he now has purple lines in both sides of his cheeks, similar to Frieza in his first three forms, and the orange line across his ears and chin is now changed into a yellow color. His eyes are now pink, and his blue veins are now purple. In his Super Perfect state, Cell's appearance is identical to his Perfect form. Nonetheless, his power increases exponentially. His aura crackles with surges of blue electricity, much like a Super Saiyan 2.
This version of Cell that plays a large role in Dragon Ball Z hails from an alternate future timeline where he has already evolved to his Imperfect form. Unfortunately for him, neither Future Android 17 nor Future Android 18 are present, having already been taken out by his version of Future Trunks. In order to complete his evolution, Cell kills Future Trunks and steals his Time Machine, going back in time to the date set by Future Trunks in the "standard" timeline when both Androids are still functional, sometime around four years prior to the Androids' arrival. In order to fit into the machine, Cell has to revert to an egg.
Once in the past, he hides underground for four years until he can grow back to his adult, humanoid self. After emerging in his Imperfect form, Cell still fears that he does not have the power he needs to forcibly absorb the Androids. To increase his strength, his first actions are to exterminate several towns, absorbing the human inhabitants within.