From Dragon Ball Encyclopedia, the ''Dragon Ball'' wiki
Immortality (不死, Fushi) is the concept of living in physical or spiritual form for an infinite length of time. As in reality, fame itself appears to be the only biological method of "achieving immortality" in the Dragon Ball franchise, however there a several outside methods in the series which can be sought after in order to become immortal, the most common being to make such a wish to the Eternal Dragon, Shenron, using the seven Dragon Balls.
Methods of gaining immortality
- Collecting the seven Dragon Balls (or alternatively the Namek Dragon Balls or Black Star Dragon Balls) and having a wish for immortality granted by an Eternal Dragon.
- Drinking the immortality elixir alluded to in the Dragon Ball manga.
- Having Master Roshi's pet, the Immortal Phoenix, bestow immortality. This method is rendered unavailable some time before the beginning of Dragon Ball, due to the irony that the Immortal Phoenix died from being fed "tainted bird seed".
- The grueling process of converting a human into a cyborg entails them freedom from a death by natural causes.
Characters who are immortal
- Master Roshi: When Roshi quips Goku to grant "a dying old man his last wish" (referring to having Bulma allow him to feel her breasts) in exchange for the Bancho, Turtle rebuts that "'This dying old man' drank the immortality elixir." This is contradicted by the special A Hero's Legacy, where it is narrated that Pan is the only character remaining from the generation of the original Z Fighters. However it should be noted that despite being immortal, Master Roshi has died of unnatural causes on two different occasions, the first being during the King Piccolo Saga when he attempts to sacrifice himself to stop King Piccolo's dominion over Earth, and the second being during the Fusion Saga when he is eaten by Majin Buu.
- Garlic Jr.: In Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone, Garlic Jr. is successful in his campaign to wish for eternal life from Shenron. As such, he is abnormally defeated not by being slain but by being victimized by his own ploy, the Dead Zone, wherein he is trapped for several years until his escape in the filler Garlic Jr. Saga of Dragon Ball Z. It should be noted that Garlic Jr. is the only character in the series to have complete and unhindered immortality. Whereas characters such as Master Roshi and the androids are free from death by natural causes but are still susceptible to such acts as murder, Garlic Jr. is virtually incapable of dying.
- While not completely immortal, it is explained by Dr. Gero shortly after activating androids 17 and 18 that the process of configuring humans into cyborgs essentially grants them "eternal life". With the exception of instances where androids are murdered (thus implying that immortality among androids restricts them from dying of natural causes only), this is contradicted by the special A Hero's Legacy, where it is narrated that Pan is the only character remaining from the generation of the original Z Fighters.
- Mr. Popo: Being a Genie, and the servant to the Earth's Guardian, Popo somehow gained immortality, or it is possible all Genies possess this.
Characters who have pursued immortality
- Vegeta: The proud Saiyan warrior seeks the Dragon Balls of Earth, where he is encountered and defeated by Goku. After recovering, Vegeta searches Namek for the Dragon Balls of that planet, which he is successful in stealing from Frieza (with the exception of one he locates himself). He loses the artifacts to the Ginyu Force, before coming to gain possession of them again once again with the arrival of Goku. He nearly loses the opportunity to become immortal when Krillin, Gohan and Dende summon the Eternal Dragon of Namek, Porunga, in his absence, but he realizes with enough time to track the group down and force Dende to make the wish (as Porunga requires his summoner to speak in Namek dialect when making a request). The wish ultimately fails however, when Guru dies, thus killing the Eternal Dragon and crippling Vegeta's conquest for immortality.
- Nappa: A Saiyan who travels to Earth with Vegeta to seek out the Dragon Balls. Their plan ultimately fails when Goku arrives and pummels Nappa, who ends up being killed by Vegeta.
- Frieza: The self-proclaimed "lord of the universe" seeks the Dragon Balls in an effort to solidify his terrifying influence by gaining true immortality. Frieza becomes increasingly desperate to fulfill this desire as more threats to his campaign begin to surface on Namek, such as Vegeta, the Earthlings Krillin and Gohan, a Namek victim's curious last words that Frieza could never make a wish even with the Dragon Balls gathered, and finally the arrival of Goku. Ultimately, Frieza loses his opportunity to wish for immortality to Vegeta, who in turn also fails to have this request granted when Porunga, the Eternal Dragon of Namek, prematurely dies. After Porunga is revived, Frieza makes a desperate attempt to wish for immortality, but is rejected due to his failure to speak the wish in the Namek language. Dende seizes this opportunity to wish for all living beings on Namek except for Goku and Frieza to be transported to Earth.
- Vodka: A mob leader employing Mercenary Tao during the Cell Games Saga, who desires immortality so that he may escape Cell's path of destruction.
- Dragon Ball manga. Vol. 2, #2 ("Fanning the Flame")
- Dragon Ball manga. Vol. 1, #4 ("They Call Him... the Turtle Hermit")
- Dragon Ball manga. Vol. 29, #349 ("The Androids Awake!")