Who Is Goku 101: Everything You Wanted To Know

By Matteo Drelli. Updated Aug 23, 2023

Goku picture

Before explaining who Goku is, it is only fair to tell how this character was created and his background. Akira Toriyama, the creator of the Dragon Ball series, is the same creator of the character Goku. A mystical figure inspires son Goku in Chinese folklore called Sun Wukong (Monkey King). Sun Wukong is a monkey with a fighting stick, which is why Kid Goku has a tail and a similar fighting stick (nyoi-bo). Of course, we have many other inspirations for the Goku character, such as Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. Initially, Goku was not supposed to be an alien (a Saiyan), but to make the story better and more intriguing, Akira Toriyama decided to make him an alien.

Son Goku is the main character in the animated series Dragon Ball. He appears in Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super.

Dragon Ball

Goku in Dragon Ball

The character Goku takes the name 'Goku' after being adopted by his grandfather Gohan. He found him outside a spaceship.

Later in the Dragon Ball series story, we discover he is not actually from planet Earth. Goku was born on planet Vegeta, a planet populated by the Saiyan race, an aggressive and arrogant race. Son Goku is the son of Bardock and Gine. Bardock, the father, sent his son away from his home planet because a threat named Frieza wanted to destroy the planet Vegeta. So Bardock sacrificed himself to save his race, but his death was in vain, and the planet Vegeta, with most of the Saiyans (or Saiyajins), was destroyed.

Returning to the kid Goku, Grandpa Gohan discovers that from early on, he is an aggressive and bullying child until an accident leads Goku to hit his head, and from there on, he will become the silly and funny Goku we all know. Meanwhile, his grandfather decides to train kid Goku in martial arts and teaches him how to survive in the wild. One day Grandpa Gohan will disappear, and Goku will meet Bulma and tell him about the potential of the dragon balls. Thanks to the Dragon Balls, it is possible to summon Dragon Shenron and grant any wish. This moment is where Dragon Ball and Goku's Journey will start.

After many adventures, Goku learns about the Kame House, and Master Roshi decides to train Goku in a timely training together with Goku's first friend and best friend, Krilin. Krilin is initially a very presumptuous Dragon Ball character but will become very sweet as the series progresses. He will become Goku's first rival, and together they will go through many adventures, beating dinosaurs, evil monsters and enemies (such as the Red Ribbons). In addition, thanks to Master Roshi, Goku will discover the Kamehameha. Goku's adventures will be so many. He will meet many rivals, such as Yamcha, Tenshinhan, and Piccolo, who will soon become his friends and help him defeat formidable enemies. He will also become a giant ape thanks to his tail. Also, amid many adversities, he will meet the beautiful Chi-chi, who will become his bride, although Goku appears to be interested only in fighting and martial arts. The first series of Dragon Ball thus sees many exciting fights, brutal deaths such as Krilin's, and touching moments such as the marriage between Goku and Chi-chi. But with Dragon Ball Z, we move on to even more compelling clashes, such as the one against Frieza or Majin Buu.

Dragon Ball Z

Goku in Dragon Ball Z

The Dragon Ball Z series is the centrepiece of the entire Dragon Ball franchise. Who is Goku now? Goku is now a big boy with his first child named Son Gohan. The first adversity in Dragon Ball Z is a man named Raditz, who kidnaps Son Gohan and claims to be Goku's brother. He also says that Goku is a Saiyan and must return to conquer planets with him. Goku is not strong enough on his own with his martial arts and needs Piccolo's help. Together they manage to defeat Raditz, but Goku dies. However, two other strong enemies, Nappa and Vegeta, are approaching Earth to destroy it. At this point on Earth, the strong fighters gather together with Gohan to train, and meanwhile, Goku trains with King Kai in hell learning new monstrously strong techniques. Nappa and Vegeta are too strong for the Z warriors (Earth fighters), and only with Goku's help and Gohan's transformation into a great ape, thanks to the full moon, will they be able to defeat them. Nappa dies, Vegeta remains dying, and Goku decides to spare him by considering him a strong rival for the first time.

At this point, we pass into the Namek arc. Here a fierce warrior, Frieza, who destroyed the planet Vegeta, shows up. Even the Spirit Bomb, Goku's ultimate trump card, was not enough to defeat this enemy. Frieza once survived bitterly kills Krilin and brings Goku to a fierce rage that allows him to transform into Super Saiyan. This moment is the first time we see a Super Saiyan in the Dragon Ball franchise. Goku wins against Frieza very quickly but once again decides to spare his enemy. We can see that Goku's character is very good in spirit, which is one of the essential elements of becoming a Super Saiyan (I recommend watching the Japanese version of the episode where he transforms because it is beautiful in many aspects).

The next arc is the android arc and the Cell games arc. These episodes will feature a mysterious figure, future Trunks. This boy is from the future and is the son of Vegeta and Bulma, but he obviously cannot tell them, or it would change the flow of the story, so he only tells Goku, who has returned from the planet Namek and learned a new technique, instant transmission. Future Trunks tries to warn the Z warriors of the arrival of androids who want to kill Goku's friends and Goku himself. He also states that Goku will have heart disease and needs medicine not to die permanently. But an even more significant threat will soon present: his name is Cell. This android is from the future, so Future Trunks had no idea about him. Cell can absorb androids and transform into an increasingly perfect being. He decides to organize a fighting tournament where he must be defeated, and the role of the hero now comes to Gohan. Gohan defeats him by transforming into Super Saiyan 2, an advanced form of the transformation, more powerful. However, Goku died together with King Kai after sacrificing himself so Cell would not explode.

The next arc, and the last in Dragon Ball Z, is the Majin Buu saga. Son Goku is dead but has a chance to meet his old friends and his new son Goten thanks to Baba, who brings him back to life for a few days. Akira Toriyama wanted Goku to die for good so that Gohan could take over as the new hero. Still, the figure of Goku was now too popular in the world, so he decided to use him again as the main character. In this part of the Dragon Ball story, the enemy is more powerful than usual. Babidi has brought back Majin Buu, an evil being who has absorbed almost all the Supreme Kais. He is a highly evil Dragon Ball character who turns anything he wants into chocolate and has no good whatsoever. He will be defeated by Goku thanks to the Spirit Bomb, but only by collecting the energy of all the inhabitants of Earth, which is only possible through the intervention of Mr Satan. Mr Satan will become the hero of Earth. This final arc concludes the story of Dragon Ball Z. Later, Dragon Ball GT will be created, although it is not canonical to the series. Only many years later, with Dragon Ball Super, would we have the true sequel to Dragon Ball Z.

Dragon Ball GT (Non-Canonical)

Goku in Dragon Ball GT

Dragon Ball GT is a non-canonical Dragon Ball series. In this series, Son Goku is brought back as a child with dragon balls under the wish of Pilaf, an old enemy of Son Goku. However, although they are not the Namekian dragon balls but the enhanced Earth balls, the only way to collect the seven dragon balls again is to travel throughout the universe. Thus begins the journey of Goku, Trunks and Pan, Goku's niece and Gohan's daughter. The journey is filled with adversity, but the greatest of these is a being called Baby. Baby is an alien parasite who wishes to exterminate the Saiyans. He can infect other people and command them. In a short time, he comes to Earth and infects all of Goku's friends and relatives. Once the three of them return to Earth, they are poorly treated and soon realize the situation. Vegeta is also infected, and Baby is inside it. Goku must take a potion that allows a cure from the Baby parasite, and once cured most of the Earthlings, Goku will defeat Baby with his Kamehameha while he is Super Saiyan 4, a non-canonical transformation.

One year after Baby's defeat, a portal is created between hell and Earth, and from there, all of humanity's greatest enemies emerge. One of the most dangerous adversities is that of Android 17, the old Android from the Cell saga. The Android has been duplicated and merged with the existing one to create Super 17, a formidable enemy that absorbs the energy of all ki blasts. Goku is forced to fight perfectly to beat him, and he succeeds in winning. However, Super 17 has killed so many earthlings, including Krilin.

The latest arc of Dragon Ball GT is the Shadow Dragons Saga. Once all earthlings are resurrected after the killings of Super 17, an evil black dragon emerges and divides into seven shadow dragons, who must punish humanity for the constant use of dragon balls. The most terrifying of all seems to be Syn Shenron, who once beaten by Goku and Pan, absorbs the remaining orbs and transforms into Omega Shenron. Omega Shenron is a formidable enemy that puts Goku and his friends to the test. Vegeta must transform into Super Saiyan 4 to defeat Omega Shenron together with Goku. However, only Goku's Spirit Bomb can annihilate Omega Shenron and restore peace throughout the universe. Thus ends Dragon Ball GT.

Dragon Ball Super

Goku in Dragon Ball Super

Dragon Ball Super is the true sequel of Dragon Ball Z. The story begins after Buu's arc, and a formidable new enemy, Beerus, the God of Destruction, shows up. Beerus had a dream where he met a certain Super Saiyan God, and because he thinks it is a premonitory dream, he really wants to meet him. So he goes to Earth in search of answers. However, thanks to Shenron it turns out that in order to get the Super Saiyan God, you have to concentrate the energy of 6 saiyans in one of the people. So Goku becomes it. This transformation is divine and red in color, and it allows Goku to fight against Beerus. Although Goku loses, Beerus is satisfied, and Vegeta and Goku begin training with Whis, Beerus' master.

Here the new arc begins. As our two heroes train, Frieza is resurrected by his worshippers and decides to train to avenge the humiliation he received from Goku so long ago. Once training is over, he goes to earth and begins to strike terror. At this point Goku and Vegeta show up, presenting a new transformation, Super Saiyan Blue. This transformation is divine and extremely powerful, so strong that they are able to overpower Frieza's new transformation, which has become Golden Frieza. But Frieza succeeds in destroying the world, and only with the help of Whis who goes back in time 3 minutes does Goku succeed in defeating him.

Shortly after Frieza's intervention, it was decided to create a tournament between universe 6 and universe 7 (7 being that of Goku and our heroes). They are two similar universes but in 6 there is no Earth, a planet wanted by the God of Destruction of the Sixth Universe, Champa. The clash between the warriors is very good and exciting, and Goku and his friends win. After the tournament Goku learns about Zeno, the deity who comes above all other deities and who can make a universe disappear with a finger. Zeno decides that he would create a tournament where all universes would participate, and Goku is excited just hearing about it.

As Goku continues to train, a new danger arrives, but this time it is from the future. In fact, Trunks returns to the present announcing a new enemy, Goku Black. Goku Black (or Black Goku) is the same as Goku but is totally evil and aggressive. Together with Zamasu, a Kaioshin from another universe, he plans to destroy all of humanity as they are deemed unfaithful and inappropriate. Goku Black was able to become Goku because of the super dragon balls, which allowed him to make any wish. Then the only way to beat the two is for Vegeta and Goku to merge into Vegith. With the intervention of Zeno, the sovereign deity of the universes, this new adversity was beaten.

Here comes the arc of the Tournament of Power. Zeno has finally finished creating the arena and the 11 fighters from each universe are ready to take the field in a Battle Royale to see who is the strongest fighter in the universe. The battle lasts 45 minutes and gets more and more complicated as the fighters are really strong. Goku during this tournament develops a new form, Ultra Instinct. In the final fight, Goku against Jiren, a fighter from the 11th universe, Goku uses Mastered Ultra Instinct (MUI), winning against Jiren. The dragon ball anime series ends here for now, but already the manga continues, so we will see more exciting stories soon!

Goku's abilities and skills

Goku faces enemies with Kamehameha

Super Saiyan, Kaio-Ken and Ultra Instinct

The Super Saiyan is the peculiar transformation of Saiyans. There are many forms of this transformation. Super Saiyan 1, 2 and 3 are the most classic ones, and they multiply the physical power of the transformer disproportionately. There is also 4, but it is not canonical. After that, there is the Super Saiyan God and the Super Saiyan Blue. There are many variations besides the typical ones known through Goku, such as the Super Saiyan Rose and Mirai Trunks' transformation. One must focus on a particular emotion and vent as much as possible while concentrating simultaneously to achieve this transformation. In addition, S-Cells intervene in the transformation. These are cells that are distributed according to a pure heart. The more pure one has, the easier it is to transform into Super Saiyajin.

Kaio-Ken, on the other hand, is a skill that Goku learns when he is in hell. This skill allows Goku to multiply his power. There is Kaio-Ken x2, x4, x6, x8, x10, x20. In Dragon Ball Super, he uses Kaio-Ken with Super Saiyan Blue, becoming extremely strong and able to fight anyone.

The Ultra Instinct is the final form Goku has achieved in the series. To complete such a form, one must act on instinct without thinking. Acting without thinking is the key to this transformation. Still, Goku is unable to perfect this form. The counterpart of this transformation is Ultra Ego, Vegeta's transformation. Instead of using instinct as the key to his abilities, he uses ego.

Goku's signature skill: Kamehameha

Goku's signature move is by far the Kamehameha. This move allows Goku to launch a wave of energy (ki blasts) that sweeps away whatever comes in contact with it. This skill has become so famous that it has influenced millions and millions of children and young people. Although he is not the only one to use it, Goku is the one who knows how to make the best use of it. Kamehameha was taught to Goku by Master Roshi, his master, telling him that it is a complicated technique to do and perfect. Goku learned it in 1 minute, and to this day, by training, he perfects it.

Goku's family

Goku Kamehameha with family

The family of Goku

The father of Goku is Bardock. There is not much information about him, but he is the one who tried hard to defend his planet from the threat of Frieza. Unfortunately, he failed to protect his home planet, but he managed to save Goku by sending him away from the planet in a spaceship. He will arrive on Earth.

The mother of Goku is Gine. Unlike his father, Bardock, about whom we have some information, we have no information about his mother. As far as we know, she is a very sunny and happy woman like Goku and faithful to her husband. She also dies in the Frieza affair when they destroy the home planet.

Goku's family consists of him, Chi-chi, Gohan and Goten. He met his wife when she and Goku were young. From early on, they joked together, and she began to have feelings for him. A few years later, they get married. Gohan is Goku's first son and one of Earth's strongest fighters. He loves to study and dreams of becoming a scholar, but at the same time, he wants to train to protect his family, which consists of Videl, his wife, and Pan, his little daughter. Goten, on the other hand, is Gohan's little brother. He is very lively with people he knows but very shy with new people. He is Trunks' best friend, and they play together a lot. From the two of them, the Gotenks fusion is born.

Frequently Asked Questions

What God is Goku?

Goku reaches the God Form with the Super Saiyajin God and the Super Saiyajin God Super Saiyajin (Super Saiyajin Blue).

Who is Goku and How old is Goku in Dragon Ball?

Goku is the Dragon Ball series main character. Goku is 44 at the end of Dragon Ball.

Where is Goku from?

Goku is from Vegeta's world, but he considers himself to be terrestrial because he has spent his entire life on Earth.

What is Goku's real name?

The real name of Goku is Kakarot. He is called this by the surviving saiyans.

Goku Quotes

Here are some of Goku's most famous quotes.

  • It looks like they only want me, and that’s exactly who they’ll get.
  • Power comes in response to a need, not a desire.
  • Sometimes life is too uncertain to have regrets.

To see more Goku quotes, we recommend visiting the Goku Quote section in Quotes Analysis.

We hope we have been helpful to you in this "Who is Goku" article, and we hope you have a better understanding of who this amazing character of the anime world is!