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"I must give Dr. Gero credit for his brilliant design! My complete power had been restored, even though I had lost Android 18! My cells had tasted the power and stored it away, reawakening it after the explosion while my new body grew!"

"Cell Returns!" (はくちゅうあく!! きょうはよりかんぺき Hakuchū no Akumu!! Kyōfu wa yori Kanpeki ni, lit. "The Nightmare is Reborn!! An Absolute and Perfect Terror") is the twenty-fourth episode of the Cell Games Saga and the one hundred eighty-ninth overall episode in the uncut Dragon Ball Z series. This episode first aired in Japan on June 16, 1993. Its original American airdate was December 20, 2000.


Gohan prepares to avenge his father and Future Trunks

After mortally wounding Future Trunks, Cell mockingly asks the horrified Z-Fighters if they're surprised to see him again, only for Gohan to denounce the bio-android as a heartless monster. Cell then explains how he survived his self-destruction on King Kai's Planet, revealing that part of him had managed to survive the blast, allowing him to fully regenerate. In addition, his cells have retained the knowledge of his perfect power and, being of Saiyan genetics, Cell has received a massive Zenkai boost, allowing him to unlock his own version of Super Saiyan 2: Super Perfect Cell. After hearing Cell mock his father's death, Gohan powers up to his maximum and is ready to destroy the bio-android for good. Vegeta, Yamcha, and Tien then notice Future Trunks stir slightly, causing them to realize he was still alive, with Trunks then vomiting up blood to his side. Yamcha and the other Z Fighters save for Vegeta then race to resuscitate Trunks, only to realize just after arriving that he had just died.

Cell tries to kill Vegeta

After seeing Future Trunks' lifeless corpse on the ground, Vegeta screams in rage and, blinded by rage, attacks Cell by firing a Maximum Flasher, followed up with multiple ki blasts. After this giant barrage of energy blasts, Vegeta is slapped away by the powerful android and is almost killed by a ki wave. However, Gohan jumps in front of Vegeta and takes the blast, which mangles his left arm, rendering it useless. Knowing that he has been dealt a crippling blow, Gohan realizes that it will take a miracle to defeat Cell once and for all, as the latter proclaims that he will never die.

Major Events

  • Vegeta attacks Cell in a fury after his son is killed.
  • Cell severely damages Gohan's arm when trying to kill Vegeta.


  • Vegeta (Super Saiyan) vs. Cell (Super Perfect)







Bruce Faulconer tracks

Differences from the manga

  • Due to Caroni, Pirozhki and Miss Piiza being created for the anime, all scenes involving them are exclusive to the anime.
  • Mr. Popo asking Dende what they can do after Cell returns and Dende's uncertain reply is exclusive to the anime.


  • In the English versions, there is an inconsistency with Cell's dialogue: after Cell recounts how he survived and returned, he says "Goku failed, and so will all of you, but I'm willing to give you another chance if you want!" However, when Vegeta is remembering Future Trunks' death, Cell's quote is changed to "Goku tried to destroy me, but failed! Thanks to him, I am stronger than I have ever been!" The second quote is more accurate to what he says in the Japanese version.
  • This is the first episode in which Vegeta shows love for his family, both in his mental dialogue about Future Trunks dying and in becoming enraged that Super Perfect Cell killed his son.
    • The English version tones down the fact that Future Trunks died after vomiting up blood by having Yamcha simply saying "I don't think he's going to make it," suggesting that Future Trunks died off-screen a short while after.
  • In the English dub during the recap for the previous episode, when covering Cell's abrupt return, the narrator while commenting on the sudden dust storm says "Forget the weatherman, even I know when trouble blows through", which is a paraphrase of a lyric from one of Bob Dylan's songs, Subterranean Homesick Blues.


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