Krillin’s appearance stays relatively the same for the majority of the series. He is first introduced at the age of thirteen, with a shaved head and still dressed in the clothing worn at the monastery he had been training at. He does not possess a nose, and has six spots of incense burns on his forehead, a reference to the practice of Shaolin monks. After the end of the Cell Games Saga Krillin stops shaving his head, and grows his hair out.[6] His outfit also changes as the series progress. When he first appears in Dragon Ball, he wears the yellow-and-orange garb of a monk. Later, he wears the orange gi uniform that is presented to both himself and Goku by Master Roshi in honor of their first martial arts competition.[7] Occasionally he is seen in casual clothes, but for the most part continues to dress for training or fighting at all times.[8] During the Frieza Saga, he wears Saiyan armor provided by Vegeta,[9] but during the Cell Saga he returns to wearing the orange gi, accompanied by a blue short-sleeved undershirt and boots.[10] Prior to the Great Saiyaman Saga, Krillin opted to settle down with his new family, and allows his black hair to finally grow out. From this point on he is shown wearing a workout outfit consisting of a red short-sleeved shirt and brown drawstring pants.[11] Finally, he is shown in DBGT sporting a moustache, wearing grey pants, shirt and tie with a cardigan in his few appearances.

Krillin makes his very first appearance in chapter #25 Rival? Participating!! (ライバル?参上!!, Raibaru? Sanjō!!?) first published in Weekly Shonen Jump on June 3, 1985.[12] Here, he arrives at Master Roshi’s island to become his apprentice.[13] After finishing their training, Roshi has Krillin and his other student Goku compete in the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament.[7] Krillin makes it to the semi-finals, but is defeated by Jackie Chun, who is really Roshi in disguise, preventing his students from becoming arrogant with too many victories. Krillin continues to train with Roshi and helps Goku to collect the Dragon Balls by fighting against General Blue participating in Baba‘s tournament. Three years later, Krillin enters the 22nd World Tournament.[14] Again, he makes it to the semi-finals by defeating Chiaotzu, but loses to Goku. Soon after, Krillin is killed by a henchman of Piccolo Daimao, who wanted to steal Goku’s Dragon Ball.[15] After Goku defeats Piccolo, Krillin is revived by the Dragon Balls. Another 3 years later, Krillin enters the 23rd World Tournament.[16] This time however, he only makes it to the quarter-finals, losing to Piccolo Junior.

Several years later, Krillin confronts the Saiyan invaders Vegeta and Nappa along with his friends and is one of the few survivors from the fight. He then travels with Gohan and Bulma to Planet Namek to use the Namekian Dragon Balls to revive their dead friends, since the Earth’s Dragon Balls vanished due to Piccolo’s death.[17] Once there, they save a young Namekian called Dende from death at the hands of Frieza’s henchmen. After a few close encounters with Vegeta, Krillin and Gohan are forced to team up with him in order to fight Frieza’s strongest warriors, the Ginyu Force. They are overpowered by them until Goku arrives and defeats the Force.[18] After Krillin and Gohan collect the seven Dragon Balls, Frieza battles them until Goku appears. After a long fight between Goku and Frieza, the latter detonates Krillin from the inside, killing him instantly. After Frieza’s defeat Krillin is revived by the Namekian Dragon Balls.

Krillin trains for the three years to confront Dr. Gero who wanted to use his androids to kill Goku. When the Androids, #16, #17 and #18 are released, he becomes infatuated with the female #18 which causes him to resist deactivating her with a controller Bulma created. Because of this, regardless of his efforts, the android Cell absorbs her and achieves his perfect form.[19] He later participates in the Cell Games, a martial arts tournament created by Cell for entertainment, and fights one of the Cell Juniors who attack him and his friends, but is saved by Gohan.[20] After Cell’s death, Krillin uses the second wish from the Dragon Balls to remove the bomb from #17 and #18.

Various years later, Krillin has quit fighting, married #18, and has a daughter named Marron.[11] However, after learning of Goku’s return from the Afterlife to compete in the 25th World Tournament, he decides to also participate. After the Supreme Kai enlists them to help him defeat the wizard Babidi, Krillin joins them, but he later evacuates Earth after the demon Majin Buu’s awakening. When Buu has transformed, he finds Krillin’s groups and kills them. During Goku and Vegeta’s fight against Buu, Krillin is brought back to life by the Namekian Dragon Balls and gives his energy to Goku’s Super Spirit Bomb, which is used to destroy Buu.[21] In Dragon Ball GT , he is killed by Android #17. He is revived by Shenron after the defeat of Omega Shenron and has a match with Goku, who decided to leave Earth.