Son Goku SSJ

This is a Chinese name; the family name is Son ().

Son Goku
Dragon Ball character

Son Goku by Akira Toriyama

First appearance Dragon Ball chapter 1
Created by Akira Toriyama
Voiced by See Voice actors
Aliases Kakarrot (birth name)Zero (Harmony Gold dub)
Notable relatives Bardock (father)Raditz (brother)Chi Chi (wife)

Son Gohan (son) Son Goten (son)

Son Goku (孫 悟空, Son Gokū?, addressed only as Goku in most English adaptations) is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the Dragon Ball franchise created by Akira Toriyama. He first appears in the manga chapter Bulma and Son Goku (ブルマと孫悟空, Buruma to Son Gokū?) first published in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine on December 3, 1984.[1] He is loosely based on Sun Wukong, a central character in Journey to the West. However, Toriyama changed some of his characteristics to be more original. Goku is introduced as an odd, monkey-tailed boy who practices martial arts and possesses superhuman strength.[2] As the story unfolds, he is revealed to be from a fictional race of extraterrestrials called Saiyans, said to be the strongest warriors within the fictional universe.[3]

Goku has starred in most of the episodes, films, and specials of the anime series Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, and Dragon Ball Z Kai, as well as many of the spin-off video games. Outside of the Dragon Ball franchise, Goku has had cameo appearances in Toriyama's self-parody series Neko Majin Z. He has also been the subject of other parodies, and has appeared in various special events and in American pop culture.


[hide]*1 Creation and conception

  • 2 Appearance
  • 3 Abilities
  • 4 Voice actors
  • 5 Appearances in other media
    • 5.1 Film
    • 5.2 Video games
    • 5.3 Music
    • 5.4 Education
    • 5.5 Guest appearances
    • 5.6 Parodies
    • 5.7 Special events
    • 5.8 American pop culture
  • 6 Reception
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Creation and conceptionEdit

Goku was based on one of Toriyama's earlier characters named Tanton, a fictional protagonist who appeared in a one-shot series called Dragon Boy.[4] In this story, Tanton's odd physical characteristic was a pair of wings. When Toriyama decided to create Dragon Ball, he used Chinese author Wu Cheng'en's 16th century classic novel Journey to the West as inspiration for his own series. The name Toriyama adopted for the character is the Japanese romanization of 孫悟空 (Sun Wukong), who is the central character of the novel. To be creative with the character, Toriyama stated that he designed Goku to be a human boy with a monkey tail, instead of being a complete simian like Sun Wukong. He decided to do this because the tail would be visible even when Goku was trying to hide;[4] note that similarly, in Journey to the West, Sun Wukong is able to assume human form except that he retains his tail. Though Goku is treated as a person from another planet, Toriyama initially had the idea to make him an Earthling, but, with the introduction of new fighters from other planets, it was later established that Goku is a Saiyan, originally named Kakarrot (カカロット, Kakarotto?, spelled as Kakarot in the English anime).[5][6] In order to advance the story faster, Toriyama gave Goku the ability to teleport to any planet in just a few seconds.[7]

Toriyama explained that Goku's gi uniform is modeled after the robes worn by the Shaolin monks of China, being that he wanted Dragon Ball to take on a Chinese feel.[8] During early developments of the manga, various readers commented that Goku was rather plain, so the author changed his appearance and added several characters like Master Roshi and Krillin, then created martial arts tournaments to make the manga more fighting based. Since it was commented that Goku would surely win the tournaments, Toriyama made him lose in the first two tournaments that Goku participated in, however made him the victor in the third. With the ending of manga volume 35, Son Gohan was meant to replace his father as the main protagonist; Toriyama later decided that Gohan was unsuitable for that part so he avoided doing that.[4]


Goku is usually recognized by his unique hairstyle, which never changes its length throughout the series except in his Super Saiyan forms (in which his hair changes color and length based on the form he ascends to). This is explained by Vegeta to be a common characteristic of full-blooded Saiyans.[9] Aside from his Super Saiyan 4 form, Goku's hair turns from black to blonde after ascending to a Super Saiyan and his irises turn from black to green. Due to his devotion to Earth, Goku prefers dressing in a gi uniform, and has refused offers to adorn the Saiyan battle fatigues, being that he considers himself an Earthling.[10] However, he is seen donning Saiyan battle fatigues designed by Bulma, during the time he trains with Gohan in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber at Kami's Palace, prior to the Cell Games.[11] In his early childhood, Goku was first introduced wearing a blue gi uniform with red wristbands and a white belt tied in a bow.[1] Throughout Dragon Ball Z, Goku is most commonly seen wearing an orange gi uniform with a blue undershirt, blue wristbands, a blue belt tied in a knot, and striped boots. Goku is also often seen to wear the encircled kanji of his training masters on the front and back of this uniform; the first kanji being Master Roshi's, "kame" (?, meaning "turtle"),[12] the second kanji being King Kai's, "kaio" (?, meaning "world king")[13] and the third being his own kanji "Go" (?, meaning "wisdom" or "enlightenment").[14] Eventually he stops wearing a kanji[15] and also wears a blue obi in place of his belt.[15] In Dragon Ball GT, Goku's entire appearance was revamped, featuring him wearing a blue fold-over shirt, yellow pants, pink wristbands, and white shinguards, as well as a more tan skin complexion.[16] Goku's Saiyan genes lead to a similar appearance and complexion in his many descendants, especially Son Goten and Son Goku Jr. Over time, he has gained larger strength and as a result, developed muscles. Goku is 5'9" (175 cm) tall and weighs 136 pounds (62 kg).[17]


EnlargeGoku in his regular state, and in several of his Super Saiyan forms.Through constant training, Goku has achieved many abilities; aside from his extreme strength and incredible durability, he also possesses super speed,[18] reflexes and can perform energy blasts which are formed from chi. As a child, Goku wielded the Nyoi-bo (如意棒, lit. "Mind Stick"?, renamed "Power Pole" in the English anime), a magic staff that extends and retracts on command, which was given to him by his adoptive grandfather.[1] Originally Goku's main means of conveyance was on a magic cloud called Kinto-un (筋斗雲, lit. "Somersault Cloud"?, renamed "Nimbus" in the English anime), which was given to him as a child by Master Roshi for saving his pet sea turtle.[19] After his training with Kami he learns to fly through the technique Buku-jutsu (舞空術, lit. "Air Dance Technique"?) and uses the cloud less and less as the series progresses.

Goku's signature move is the Kamehameha (かめはめ波?), an energy blast technique, which he learned through simple observation from Master Roshi.[20] Another notable technique of Goku's is the Kaio-ken (界王拳, lit. "World King Fist"?), an attack that multiplies his ki and strength for an instant, but can also put a strain on his body afterwards; this was taught to him by King Kai.[21] However, Goku's most powerful attack is the Genki Dama (元気玉, lit. "Good Spirit Ball"?, renamed "Spirit Bomb" in the English anime), an energy sphere created by gathering ki from surrounding life forms, which he also learned from King Kai.[13] Goku also learns a teleportation skill called Shunkan Ido (瞬間移動, lit. "Instant Teleport"?, renamed "Instant Transmission" in the English anime), which he learned from the inhabitants of a fictional planet called Yardrat.[22]

Goku is also the only Saiyan in the series to achieve all the Saiyan transformations seen in the manga and in the anime. In Dragon Ball, he is able to transform into a gigantic ape called an Oozaru when he stares at a full moon whilst possessing a tail. Goku loses the ability to make this transformation when Yamcha and Puar cut off his tail (in Dragon Ball). Goku is, again, able to make this transformation when he spontaneously grows another tail during his first martial arts tournament,[23] albeit after his tail is later removed permanently by Kami, he loses the capacity to achieve this form again.[24] However, in Dragon Ball GT, Goku is able to use this transformation once more after regrowing his tail using the Elder Kai's help.[25]

During the events of Dragon Ball Z, Goku becomes the first Super Saiyan in a millennium after being overcome with rage by the murder of Krillin at the hands of Frieza during their battle on Planet Namek,[26] and as the series progresses he achieves every single advanced level of Super Saiyan. Each transformation changes Goku's appearance and enhances his abilities by an incredible amount.

Goku can also fuse with Vegeta and thus, creates a warrior who has the combined power and skills of both Saiyans. One method is by using the Potara Earrings presented to Goku by the Elder Kai, which results in a 'perfect fusion', creating Vegito ("Vegerot" in Viz Media's manga translation); his signature move is the Final Kamehameha.[27] The other method is by performing the Metamorese Fusion Dance, which creates Gogeta; his signature move is the Big Bang Kamehameha. If the dance is performed incorrectly, it forms the obese Veku.[28]

Voice actorsEdit

In the Japanese version of the entire Dragon Ball anime (and all subsequent spin-offs in the media franchise), Goku, from beginning to end, has been voiced by Masako Nozawa.[29] In the numerous English productions of the anime, however, the voice actor for Goku has changed as a result of different companies producing the dub, switching ADR companies and recording studios, or due to actors quitting. In most non-Japanese languages, the actors for Goku's child and adult forms have been kept separate.

Child-aged Goku alone has had several different English voice actors. In Harmony Gold's dub of Dragon Ball, Goku (renamed Zero) was voiced by Barbara Goodson.[30] In Funimation's various dubs, child Goku was voiced by Saffron Henderson in the first 13 episodes and first movie of Dragon Ball (produced in association with BLT Productions),[31] Ceyli Delgadillo in the second and third Dragon Ball movies,[31] Stephanie Nadolny in their re-dub of Dragon Ball, as well as all other Dragon Ball media from 2001–2010,[31] and Colleen Clinkenbeard in Dragon Ball Z Kai and in their re-dub of the first Dragon Ball movie.[32] In Westwood Media's dub of Dragon Ball Z (produced in association with Ocean Productions), child Goku was voiced by Peter Kelamis and later Kirby Morrow.[33] In Chinook Animation's dub of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball GT (produced in association with Blue Water Studios), child Goku was voiced by Zoe Slusar.[34] In Bandai's English release of Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout, Brianne Siddall was the voice of child Goku.[35]

As an adult, Goku has another large set of English voice actors. In Creative Products Corporation's dub of Dragon Ball Z (produced in association with Animation International), he was voiced by Nesty Calvo Ramirez.[36] In Funimation's dub of Dragon Ball Z produced in association with Saban and Ocean Productions, adult Goku was voiced by Ian James Corlett in the first 29 episodes (41 in uncut episode numbering) and third movie, and by Peter Kelamis in episodes 30-53 (42-67 uncut).[37] In Geneon's dub of the first three Dragon Ball Z movies, produced in association with Funimation and Ocean Productions, Peter Kelamis again voiced adult Goku.[38] In Westwood Media's dub of Dragon Ball Z (produced in association with Ocean Productions), adult Goku was voiced by Peter Kelamis in episodes 108-158 and by Kirby Morrow in episodes 159-291.[33] In Chinook Animation's dub of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball GT (produced in association with Blue Water Studios), adult Goku was voiced by Jeffrey Watson in Dragon Ball and Jeremiah Yurk in Dragon Ball GT.[34] In Bandai's English version of Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout, Steven Blum provided the voice of adult Goku.[35] In Funimation's in-house dub of the entire Dragon Ball media franchise, adult Goku has been voiced consistently by Sean Schemmel.[39]

Appearances in other mediaEdit


Goku has made several appearances in other media including, but not limited to, an unofficial Chinese live-action film, produced by Tai Seng video entertainment in 1989. The main character, Monkey Boy, played by Chan Chi-Keung, is based on Goku.[40] He is also featured in a unofficial Korean live-action film where he was portrayed by child actor Heo Seong-Tae.[41] Goku also appears in the 2009 20th Century Fox feature Dragonball Evolution, portrayed by actor Justin Chatwin.[42] Goku has also appeared in a few unauthorized pornographic films. In Sailor and the 7 Ballz and its sequel Return of the Ballz Goku and several other Dragon Ball characters engage in promiscuous acts with the girls from Sailor Moon.[43][44] He was also featured in the Star Wars parody Star Ballz where he was put in the role of the Han Solo parody, Wank Solo.[45]

Video gamesEdit

Goku appears in virtually every Dragon Ball licensed electronic game to date. He is also featured in various crossover games. He appears in the Famicom games Famicom Jump: Hero Retsuden and Famicon Jump II: Saikyō no Shichinin, including the Nintendo DS games Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars. In 1992, Goku would be featured in the interactive Videkko game Dragon Ball Z: Get Together! Goku World.[46] Here, Goku and gang would travel back in time to review events in the Dragon Ball timeline, even interacting with his younger self. In 2006, he is featured in the Dragon Ball Z/One Piece/Naruto crossover game Battle Stadium D.O.N. In December 2007, Goku, along with Naruto Uzumaki and Monkey D. Luffy, would make guest appearances in avatar form in the MMORPG Second Life for a Jump Festa promotion titled Jumpland@Second Life.[47] Goku also makes an appearance in the Dr. Slump and Arale-chan video game for the Nintendo DS.[48]


Over the years Goku has been featured and mentioned in various songs. "Son Goku Song"[49] and "Gokū no Gokigen Jānī"[50] feature Goku as a child singing happily about himself. During his adult years the song "Aitsu wa Son Gokū" by Hironobu Kageyama, where Kageyama praises everything about Goku,[51] and the duet "Ore-tachi no Energy"[52] feature spoken words by the character.


Goku has often been deemed a positive role model for children throughout Japan. In June 1988, Goku and other Dragon Ball characters were featured in two PSA shorts. The first short was entitled The Goku Traffic Safety (悟空の交通安全, Gokū no Kōtsū Anzen?) where Goku is taught the importance of obeying traffic safety by others.[53] The second was called The Goku Fire Fighting Regiment (悟空の消防隊, Gokū no Shōbō-tai?) where he teaches two children the importance of fire safety.[53]

Guest appearancesEdit

EnlargeGoku's appearance on Yamada Katsute-nai Wink.Goku has made guest appearances in various Japanese television shows and manga. He is a recurring character in another series by Toriyama, Dr. Slump. In 1990, Goku, in anime form, made a surprise appearance on Yamada Katsute-nai Wink (やまだかつてないWink?). Here, he uses the Dragon Balls to help J-Pop star and hostess Kuniko Yamada gain his abilities including the ability to execute a Kamehameha, which she playfully uses on him. In 2005, Goku appears in the Toriyama parody manga Neko Majin Z where he is the sensei of the main character Z.[54] On September 15, 2006, Goku, Vegeta, and Frieza would make a guest appearance in a chapter of the Kochikame manga Super Kochikame entitled Kochira Namek-Sei Dragon Kōen-mae Hashutsujo (こちらナメック星ドラゴン公園前派出所?). Here Ryotsu Kankichi travels to Namek and tries to issue Frieza a citation and later scolds Goku for parking their ships illegally.[55] Goku with the other Dragon Ball characters would teamup with the cast of One Piece in a crossover manga titled Cross Epoch.[56]


Goku has often been the subject of various parodies over the years. In the episode Career Day of Takeshi's Castle, known in the United States as MXC, the hosts Beat Takeshi and Sonomanma Higashi were dressed as popular anime characters one was Kid Goku and the other was Doraemon. In the MXC dub of that episode, when asked about his Goku costume, the host replied "Who me, I'm dressed as a crackhead".[57] The Shonen Jump's Gag Special 2005 issue released on November 12, 2004, featured a Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo one-shot Dragon Ball parody manga. The manga was a humorous retelling of the battle between Goku and Vegeta in the Saiyan Saga. Jelly Jiggler was Goku and Don Patch was Vegeta.[58] In the episode Fire It Up! Abenobashi Hong Kong Combat Shopping Arcade of the Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi anime, character Sasshi Imamiya goes Super Saiyan much like Goku and fires a Kamehameha.[59] In the episode of the series Yakitate!! Japan titled Awaken!! Super Kuroyanagi! character Ryou Kuroyanagi eats some Super Toro Aburi bread causing him to transform into Super Kuroyanagi like Goku and a non-sequitur to take place where he fights character Kyousuke Kawachi as Frieza whose torso is in the form of a refrigerator freezer. Kuroyanagi would finish Kawachi with a parody of the Kamehameha. Later in the episode after eating some Urchin-roe Chawanmushi bread, Kuroyanagi ascends to Super Kuroyanagi 2 and Super Kuroyanagi 3.[60] In chapter #179 of the Yakitate!! Japan manga Kawachi would execute a Genki Dama parody called a Shinrai Dama (信頼玉, lit. "Trust Ball"?) on the character Katsuo.[61] For the release of single to the Dragonball Evolution international theme song "Rule" Toriyama supplied CD artwork of singer Ayumi Hamasaki dressed as Goku.[62]

Special eventsEdit

Goku can also be considered a regular commodity for Fuji TV. In 2003, Goku would appear in the interactive feature entitled Kyutai Panic Adventure! (球体パニックアドベンチャー!, Kyūtai Panikku Adobenchā!?, Orb Panic Adventure!) which was featured exclusively at the Fuji TV headquarters in the Kyutai or orb section. This features teamups of Goku, Luffy, and Astro Boy. Here Frieza attacks the visiting tourist by blasting the orb section free it from the rest of the Fuji TV building. Thus prompting Goku to do battle with Frieza over the real life aqua city of Odaiba.[63][64] This would be followed up with 2004's Kyūtai Panic Adventure Returns! (球体パニックアドベンチャーリターンズ!, Kyūtai Panikku Adobenchā Ritānzu!?, Orb Panic Adventure Returns!), and features team-ups with Goku, Luffy, and Kochikame's Ryotsu Kankichi. This time One Piece villain Enel appears and attacks not only the orb section but also Odaiba, forcing Goku to do battle with Enel while forming a tag-team with Luffy.[65]

On March 25, 2006, Goku and Frieza would both appear in an original animated short in the IQ Mirror Mistake 7 (IQミラーまちがい7, Aikyū Mirā Machigai Nana?) segment of the Japanese games show IQ Supplement (IQサプリ, IQ Sapuri, or IQ Supli?). In the short, Goku stops Frieza from using the Namekian Dragon Balls. For the segment, contestants had to identify seven mistakes within the footage.[66] EnlargeGoku's appearance as a commentator at the 2007 Nippon Ijin Taishō.On April 7, 2007, Goku and Fuji TV announcer Masaharu Miyake would be commentators to the anime segment in Nippon Ijin Taishō (日本偉人大賞, Japan Great Man Awards?) titled Saikyō no Ijin ha Dare? (最強の偉人は誰?, Who is the Strongest Hero??). The segment featured a special tournament that was to decide who was the greatest person in Japanese history. During the intermission, Goku managed to plug the then soon be released copies of the R2 Dragon Ball DVDs.[67]

American pop cultureEdit

Since the U.S. debut of Dragon Ball Z in 1996, Goku has also struck a chord in American pop culture. He was featured in an issue of Wizard magazine which he was matched up in a hypothetical battle against Superman; Goku defeated Superman by transforming into a Super Saiyan and overpowering him with the Kamehameha.[68] The episode "Chicken Ball Z" from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy is a parody of Dragon Ball Z. Mandy shares a striking resemblance to Super Saiyan 2 Goku in this episode.[69] In the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: R.E.P.O.R.T", Numbuh Four's version of the story is a spoof of the Goku and Frieza battle from Dragon Ball Z. Goku's Super Saiyan 3 form is also parodied.[70] Goku made a spoof appearance in Robot Chicken. In the sketch entitled A Very Dragon Ball Z Christmas, Goku and Gohan fight an evil Mrs. Claus alongside Santa's reindeer, in an attempt to save Christmas.[71] The SNL sketch TV Funhouse titled Kobayashi depicts real life hot dog eating champion Takeru Kobayashi with ability to transform into a Super Saiyan parody as he prepares to eat hot dogs. Goku even makes a brief cameo near the end.[72] Goku is referenced in the song "Goku" by Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, where he brags that he looks and feels like Goku and a few other Dragon Ball related characters also including unrelated Pikachu.[73]


Goku's character has been very well received by publications for manga, anime and other media. Anime News Network noted Goku to be a good part of the comedy of the series and remarked that after all events that happen to him he is still the same naive character.[74] THEM Anime Reviews noted that Goku is not the omnipowerful one in the first series unlike Dragon Ball Z, nor does he randomly disappear for long stretches of time between sagas. They also liked how the series tell all his adventures, making him a good main character.[75] praised Goku's innocence as one of the funniest parts of the series.[76] His journey and ever growing strength resulted in the character winning "the admiration of young boys everywhere."[77] Goku was even featured as #1 in IGN's Top 25 Anime Characters of All Time.[78] He also had the same place in Mania Entertainment's 10 Most Iconic Anime Heroes written by Thomas Zoth who commented that "Goku and Dragon Ball completely revolutionized the shonen genre."[79] In a Newtype poll from March 2010, Goku was voted as the fourth most popular male character from the 1980s.[80]

Several pieces of merchandising based on Goku has also been released including action figures,[81][82] plushes,[83][84] and keychains.[85] In 2005, The Daily Reader printed an article entitled "The Greatest Geek Movie Heroes of All Time". Goku is the only animated character on the list, coming in nine places after the winner.[86] Goku has also been featured various time in the Animage's Anime Grand Prix polls taking ranking once as the second most popular male anime character in 1989.[87][88] Other manga artists, One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda and Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto, have stated that Goku inspired their series' main protagonists.[89][90] In 2000, Goku placed third in an Animax poll of favorite anime characters.[91] In a survey conducted by Oricon in 2007 between 1,000 people, Goku ranked first place as the "Strongest Manga character of all time."[92] In the survey "friendship" developed by in which people had to choose what anime character they would like to have as a friend, Goku ranked fifth.[93] Masako Nozawa, the Japanese voice actor of Goku, has commented she liked when he lost his tail because that made him more normal but liked that the character was still the same in the end of the series.[94] Jackie Chan has gone on record stating that Goku is his favorite Dragon Ball character.[95]

The German rock band Son Goku takes their name from Goku. The band's front man Thomas D specifically chose the name as Goku embodies the band's philosophy. Stating he was "fascinated by Goku's naïveté and cheerfulness, yet, at the same time, a great warrior saving the world."[96]

In 2010, a fiberglass statue of Goku was created by Chinese artist Edison Chen as a part of his "I Hate You For Looking!" collection that was displayed at the "Treacherous Treis" exhibition. This statue features Chen's facial features instead of Goku's.[97]


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  29. ^ Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, and Dragon Ball Kai Japanese credits
  30. ^ Dragon Ball Harmony Gold dub's credits
  31. ^ a b c Dragon Ball Funimation dub's credits
  32. ^ Dragon Ball Z Kai Funimation dub's credits, and Funimation's Facebook page
  33. ^ a b Dragon Ball Z Westwood dub's credits
  34. ^ a b Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball GT Chinook dub's credits
  35. ^ a b Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout credits
  36. ^ Dragon Ball Z Creative Products dub's credits
  37. ^
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