Vegeta is a fictional character in the Dragon Ball franchise created by manga artist Akira Toriyama. Vegeta first appeared in the manga series in volume 17, or Dragon Ball Z, episode 6 of the anime adaptation as the series' primary antagonist. In the series, Vegeta was born on the fictional planet also called Vegeta, and is the prince to a nearly extinct extraterrestrial warrior race called the Saiyans. Being evil at his introduction, Vegeta soon finds refuge on Earth and reluctantly assists the series' protagonists in saving the Earth from threats. Vegeta's role for most of the series is primarily to be a rival of the series' main protagonist Son Goku, however he slowly progresses into one of Goku's allies and friends.
Not intending Vegeta to be a major character, Toriyama introduced Vegeta in the series as very short and slightly stocky, with upright standing hair and a defined widow's peak. Upon his introduction, Vegeta is seen to be arrogant and sadistic, which was intended to contrast Goku's selflessness and kindness. Due to the manga's success after introducing Vegeta, Toriyama continued with Vegeta as a primary character, and changed his appearance; gradually making him more lean like a hero as opposed to a villain.
Following a common name trend that Toriyama developed in Dragon Ball, Vegeta's name is derived from the word for vegetable, being that he is the prince of the Saiyans, who are all named after vegetables. When he first appears in the series, Vegeta was acting arrogant and selfish; having a fierce desire for immortality and galactic rule. He is also vicious and cares for none other than himself, shown when he dispatched of his comrade Nappa when he failed to defeat Goku. Vegeta's plans are thwarted by Goku. Because of Vegeta's overwhelming pride and ego, being defeated by someone who he considered inferior, transforms his character into a jealous and vengeful anti-hero. By the end of the series, Vegeta's bitter rivalry with Goku softens when he comes to respect Goku as an ally and even a friend.
One of Vegeta's distinguishable characteristics was the fact that he was the only living Saiyan who still wore the traditional Saiyan armor on a regular basis. Over the course of the Dragon Ball Z series, he's worn different incarnations of the suit, though later on in the series (and subsequently the Dragon Ball GT series) he abandons the Saiyan armor completely for "Earth-like" clothing. He once memorably wore a pink shirt after he took a shower at Bulma's house, much to his dismay.
Vegeta's priorities can be seen to gradually change as the series progresses, and his rivalry with Goku is fueled by Goku's ability to stay ahead of Vegeta in power. Because of this, Vegeta is seen to pursue an insane desire to surpass Goku in strength, but whenever he seems to train harder than Goku ever does, he can never close the difference between him and Goku. As the series continues, Vegeta develops into a hero instead of a villain.
When Vegeta finds a home on Earth, he is pursued romantically by the character Bulma, where they are suggested to be married later at some time. They have two children together, a son Trunks and a daughter Bra. Vegeta prioritizes his rivalry with Goku over any relationships with his family, at least until the end of the series.