Trunks - トランクス - is the lavender-haired, deep blue-eyed warrior son of the Saiyan Prince Vegeta from the planet that bore his name, and earthwoman Bulma Brief of Capsule Corp. He is perhaps the most dynamic character in all of Dragonball Z, in that he could be considered to actually be at least two separate characters, due to the drastically different worlds in which his two selves, Mirai no Trunks and Chibi Trunks, grow up, and the slices of their lives we are privileged to experience.
Mirai no Trunks - 未来のトランクス - i.e., Future Trunks, 18 years of age, comes from 20 years in the future to the day when Freeza returns to Earth to destroy it and its inhabitants, especially the Super Saiyajin (Saiyan) Son Gokuu (Goku), the bane of his existence. Future Trunks came back in time to give Goku medicine for the heart virus he contracted while on the planet Yardrat, where he trained and learned the Instantaneous Movement (Instant Transmission) technique.
About two hours after SSJ Trunks dices Freeza up and reduces him to ashes and then impales and incinerates his father, King Cold, Goku arrives back on Earth to learn that, without the medicine, which hasn’t been invented at this time, he will die within two years, and with him the hopes of Earth will meet their demise, for...
In three years, Jinzoningen Junana-go and Juhachi-go (Androids 17 and 18) of Dr. Gero's design, members of the infamous Red Ribbon Army, will surface and ravage humanity, killing millions of people and all of the Z Senshi very quickly, except for Gohan, who survives and trains the young Trunks (this is the story of the Trunks Special, a.k.a. History of Trunks) only to finally fall to the Androids 13 years later.
Future Trunks is a very solemn, emotional and honorable man, possessing all of the personality traits that can be expected to develop in a strong person subjected to the pain and suffering of cataclysmic destruction in a post-apocalyptic world. In the episodes "No Match For The Androids" and "Ghosts From Tomorrow," we get to experience the pathos of Trunks and the remainder of civilization’s survivors as they live without hope, struggling to survive in the decimated remains of the formerly grand cities, in constant fear of the insidious capriciousness of the heartless Androids. Trunks' mother, the irrepressible Bulma, the only character besides Goku to be a part of Dragonball/Z/GT from the beginning to the end, is the one who suggests the idea of a time machine so that, even though Trunks has been unable to cleanse his own reality of the menace of the technological sadists, he could travel to the past, creating a parallel reality, in which he could help to save the Earth from Dr. Gero's creations.
Trunks' experiences have caused the machismo and irrationality which he could have inherited from his father Vegeta to not be expressed at all in his personality, and he has become a sensitive and pensive person; his only obvious resemblance to the Prince of the Saiyans comes in the form of his superlative power. He constantly attempts to plead the case of reason with Vegeta, e.g. to wait until Goku has recovered from his illness before confronting the Androids, only to be met with his father's rage and foolish pride.
Trunks fights with a sword for a short time, destroying Freeza with his kick-ass double-edged blade, but he resigns it to oblivion when it is partly shattered by the force of the blonde and blue femme fatale Android 18 in a painful defeat for the Z Senshi.
Trunks is involved in a few of the more memorable fights from the Android and Cell Sagas.
After training for a year that was neatly fit into one Earth day, Vegeta and Trunks emerge from The Room of Spirit and Time
(Hyperbolic Time Chamber
) to confront the second incarnation
of Dr. Gero's final achievement: Cell
. Bulma, who is harboring the approximately 20-month-old Baby Trunks, supplies the Saiyans with her special brand of Saiyan Armor. After the year of training, Trunks' hair has grown from a mushroom cut into a very long and sleek style, and thus is born what is, according to the approximately 0.2 percent of DBZ fans who are female, the sexiest character in all of Dragonball Z. I'm told that something about the lavender hair and the deadly gaze of his burning sapphire eyes really turns girls on. But that's not really the point of this node.
Trunks and Vegeta vs. Imperfect Cell
After Vegeta, in his desire to fight Cell at his full power, stops Trunks from preventing Cell from absorbing Android 18, Cell undergoes a magnificently disturbing transformation, body flashing and morphing while black skies roil. Vegeta vs. Perfect Cell After Cell knocks the Super Saiyan out of Vegeta and renders him unconscious, it is up to Trunks to face Cell, and with his secret knowledge that he can advance to another level of Super Saiyan beyond that which his father had attained, Trunks resolves to not simply stall for time until Goku and Gohan return from The Room of Spirit and Time, but to destroy the fiend himself.
Trunks vs. Perfect Cell
After the battle is declared a defeat for the Ultra Super Saiya-jin Trunks, he informs Cell that there is a way that he can get stronger, if only Cell would give him one more day. Cell, having been born to fight, and being unwilling to destroy existence before challenging himself to the most extreme extent possible, announces that he will create a tournament, called the Cell Games. He expects all of the strongest fighters on Earth to attend, and to do battle with him, one by one, to determine that he is the most powerful warrior on the planet.The Cell Games
Trunks and Vegeta once again train for one day/year in The Room of Spirit and Time, but they do not factor much in the Cell Games, except at one point very late in the saga. Super Saiyan 2 Gohan had forced Cell to regurgitate Android 18 with two immensely powerful punches, thereby causing him to revert to his very much weaker second form. Cell, knowing he has no hope of victory, expands his body greatly, which constitutes the preparation for self-detonation (Jibakusuki). Goku, being the virtuous and innocent man he is, decides to use his Instant Transmission to transport himself and the incipiently incinerative Cell to the only place he can think of - Kaioh-sama's (King Kai's) planet.
The remaining Z Senshi are shocked, confused and saddened by the turn of events, but they quickly come to understand and appreciate the valor and noble spirit of Goku's sacrifice.
In a flash of whirling black tornado winds and fierce energy, Cell reappears on Earth, again in Perfect form, having completely regenerated from the single cell that survived his near self-destruction, and having learned Instant Transmission in the process. His first action is to fire a beam of pure ki directly through the chest of the unsuspecting Trunks. A gaze of pure shock and dismay registers on the faces of the Z Senshi, as the energy-impaled Trunks sinks into a state near death, lavender hair cascading tragically, viciously framing his terrorized and disbelieving features.
As Vegeta comes to realize what has happened, that Cell has apparently murdered his suddenly precious only son, he explodes with Saiyan rage and, hellbent on revenge, sets free a savage torrent of golden ki blasts, in which Cell is quickly submerged. However, despite the power of Vegeta's relentless anger, the reborn Cell, complete with the extra energy gained by Saiyans after nearly fatal injuries (check the Saiyan and Cell nodes if you don't understand; but if you don't understand, there's probably no way you got this far at all.), far outstraps Vegeta's capacities, and he swiftly puts Vegeta out of commission. Finally, SSJ2 Gohan takes over, having exiled his young desire for punishment and revenge, and you should know the rest.
The saga of Future Trunks ends happily; he doesn't die, and is given a Sensu Bean upon the arrival of the Z Fighters at Kami's Lookout (Kami-sama no Shinden, or God's Temple). He then bids farewell to his dear friends, and returns to his own reality and time, and with his strength gained from his training and battles in the main DBZ timeline, he easily dispatches Android 17, Android 18, and Imperfect Cell himself.
All is well, until...
Seven years after Gohan defeats Perfect Cell and Future Trunks restores peace to his own parallel existence, a new threat to the Earth and the universe is reawakened, and by this plot device we get to meet and experience a completely different Trunks - this time it's the 8-year-old Chibi Trunks (Little, or Runt Trunks), who has grown quite a bit since we last saw Bulma cradling him in her arms right after the Cell Games.
Little Trunks grew up living the life of a complete brat, excessively spoiled by the facts that his mother is heir to the most powerful corporation on the planet and that he believes his father to be the most powerful warrior in the entire universe. Conversely, before he meets him in his past, Future Trunks has no firsthand memory of his father, but merely knows him as a strong and proud man who died in a valiant fight against the Androids.
We first see the new version of Trunks as he's training with his father in one of the special rooms either Bulma or her father. He astonishes Vegeta by transforming into a Super Saiyan and bashing his father in the nose at provocation. Vegeta rewards him by taking him to the park, or giving him more fruit juice, or something...
At the Tenkaichi Budoukai (World's Greatest Martial Arts Tournament), Trunks and his pal, Goku and Chichi's second and final child, the six-year-old Goten, have a wild battle in the championship of the Junior Division, with Trunks barely winning when he forces Goten to fly out of the ring and slightly touch the bleachers with his feet, thereby earning disqualification. Trunks and Goten also join forces in the costume of the ill-fated Mighty Mask, and end up losing in the final match of the Adult Division against Android 18, who has now married Krillin and settled down into a comfortable life devoid from wanton destruction. All of the other Z Fighters have at this point followed Supreme Kai (Dai Kaioshin) and his retainer, Kibito, to the spaceship of Babidi and Majin Buu.
After Vegeta fails to defeat Buu by detonating himself in an amazing expanding flashing dome of energy, Piccolo takes Trunks and Goten to Kami's, where Goku meets up with them and teaches them the rudiments of two important techniques - Fusion explicitly, and Super Saiyan 3 implicitly.
The fused incarnation of Trunks and Goten, Gotenks (or Trunten, as Piccolo first calls him, and which I incidentally happen to like better ;) ) fights Buu on a few separate occasions. The first time, he's not a Super Saiyan, and doesn't really do too much to bother old Fat Buu, but the next few times, they have interesting fights.
Super Gotenks vs. Majin Buu
Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks vs. Majin Buu
After DBZ was finished, some people from Bird Studio decided that people hadn't had enough of the Dragonball universe, and so they created Dragonball Grand Touring, or DBGT for short. In this, I estimate Trunks is now about 22 years old, but, from what I've seen, he hasn't become much more mature, and he'll never measure up to the man Future Trunks is (was? will be?).
Look for the nodes for Trunks' various fights to be filled sometime soon, or at least within this century...