Real Name: Son Gokou

Identity/Class: Magical being (Saiyajin)

Occupation: Adventurer

Affiliations: Bulma, Oolong, Kame Sennin, Piccolo (rival, but ally against Raditz), Kaiousama, Karinsama, Kami, Prince Vegeta (rival and reluctant ally, willing to help Goku so that he can become stronger than Kakarot)

Enemies: Freisa, Kid Buu, Raditz, Brolly, Cell, Coola/Cooler, Baby, Super Android 17 , formerly Piccolo, Prince Vegeta

Known Relatives: Bardock (father), Son Gohan (adopted grandfather), Gohan (son), Goten (second son), Chi Chi (wife), Raditz (brother)

Aliases: Kakarotto

Base of Operations: Japan

First Appearance: Dragon Ball (computer game)

Powers/Abilities: As a Saiyajin, Goku is superhumanly strong, loves to fight, and possesses a tail. This is a weak point, because until a Saiyajin works on strengthening that tail (as Goku eventually did), they can be paralysed by placing pressure on it. It is also vital for their transformations into Oozaru (see below).

Goku, like all Saiyajin, can transform under certain circumstances, into a series of more powerful forms. At first he had little control over these changes, but as time passed, training granted him greater mastery of them. The first stage of change is termed an Oozaru (literally "big monkey"), usually caused by looking at the moon for more than a few seconds, which releases chemicals from a gland in their tail. The Oozaru is a giant ape with fangs and claws, and is a vicious beast with immense strength and little self-control (unless the Saiyajin practices to overcome this). Normally the only way to stop an Oozaru is to cut off its tail, which turns it back into the Saiyajin. A Saiyajin can also transform into a "Super-Saiyajin" when a pure-hearted (good or evil) one experiences extreme emotion - their hair turns gold and their eyes green, and their powers are exponentially increased. This Super-Saiyajin form has several "grades" (at least three), each with increasing strength levels due to extra muscle mass, but also with a corresponding decrease in speed and agility as the extra mass gets in the way. Beyond this is the "Super-Saiyajin 2", when the body increases in speed again (as well as power), and becomes surrounded by lightning bolts. Goku (and a tiny handful of others) eventually reached "Super-Saiyajin 3", even more powerful but only attainable for brief periods. Next is the Golden Oozaru, another bestial form which requires extra energy from the moon; mastery of this form is required to attain "Super-Saiyajin 4", when the body returns to looking more human, but is covered by red fur. As always, this form comes with another power up.

Kaiousama taught Goku a couple of martial techniques: Kaio-ken, to double his strength, speed and senses, and Genkidama, Spirit Bomb, which involves generating a ball of energy with deadly affect.

Goku is also able to teleport by using a technique called Instant Transmission which he does by placing his two fingers on his head and teleporting.

He is also able to employ a special technique called the fusion dance which enables him to fuse with another person, such as when he fused with Vegeta to become Gogeta. There is another way they fuse by putting on special earring on their ear to become Vegito, but this transformation was permanent until they were absorbed by Fat Buu.

History: Goku was a magical being who, as a child, was sent to Earth by his father, who wished him to destroy the planet. A blow to the head on arrival gave Goku amnesia, and he was raised by Son Gohan, whom he considered his grandfather. Unfortunately, as he entered his teenage years, Goku accidentally slew Son Gohan while transformed into his monstrous Oozaru form. Soon after this he encountered Bulma, a young girl seeking the seven magical Dragonballs, and decided to assist her on her quest.

He encountered Kame Sennin, who in his youth had been the world's strongest man, and to whom Goku turned to for training. When he reached adulthood, Goku married and fathered a son, but his brother Raditz eventually came looking for him. Angered that Goku had not yet destroyed the Earth, Raditz took his nephew hostage, trying to force Goku to murder people and become evil. Working alongside his old rival Piccolo, Goku managed to defeat Raditz. Later he trained under Kaiousama, who taught him to use the power of Kai to increase his abilities.

Comments: Created by Akira Toriyama. Voiced by Nozawa Masako in the anime.

Kane Turley informs me "DragonballZ" is based on the Monkey King, or at least the Original cartoon series "Dragonball" is much more heavily based upon the legend. The central character Goku has a tail, and is the monkey king. His full name (from the original Japanese version) is Son Gokou (the name "Son" is obviously derived from the surname "Sun" in the Monkey King Legend). Creator Akira Toriyama has openly admitted using the legend as the basis for his work. Other characters which demonstrate this are Oolong (a shapeshifting pig). Dennis Corzier has a slightly different opinion - I think Kane Turley's comment would be more correct if it said, "The character Goku in the Anime series Dragonball is loosely based on the legend of the Monkey King." Dragonball Z is as similar to the legend of the Monkey King as Rambo 2 is to the story of a Vietnom vet trying to fit into society.

Thanks to Lukas van de Wiel for images.


Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

Back to Japanese heroes main page


All images and characters depicted on this site are copyright their respective holders, and are used for informational purposes only. No infringement is intended and copyrights remain at source.