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"I'm the Saiyan who came all the way from Earth for the sole purpose of beating you. I am the warrior you've heard of in legends, pure of heart, and awakened by fury. That's what I am. I AM THE SUPER SAIYAN, SON GOKU!"
— Goku confronts Frieza on Planet Namek

Son Goku (birth name: Kakarot) is a male Saiyan and the main protagonist of the Dragon Ball meta-series created by Akira Toriyama. Originally sent to Earth as an infant with the mission to destroy it, until a childhood accident alters his memory and allows him to grow up to become Earth's greatest defender, as well as the informal leader of the Z-Fighters. Throughout his life, he constantly strives and trains to be the greatest warrior possible and to fight stronger opponents, which has kept the Earth and the universe safe from destruction many times.

Why He Rocks

  1. Goku is a happy-go-lucky person, the kind of person who is friendly to everyone and everything (unless you're a villain, in which case you're as good as dead).
  2. He is one of the most powerful characters in all of fiction.
  3. Since Goku is the main character of the series, we've seen lots of him.
  4. He is one the few characters we've seen grow from a boy into a man.
  5. He is incredibly voiced by Sean Schemmel for the English dub and Masako Nozawa for the Japanese dub, becoming the staple voices for Goku.
  6. He always finds a way to surpass his limits, from a new super transformation to a new ki move.
  7. He is well-noted for his love of any food, which can be comical at times.
  8. He is not perfect, he makes mistakes like every human. An example of this is his inability to drive a car.
  9. His strength and ability is enough to rival that of Superman.
  10. His brotherly relationship with the prince of all saiyans, Vegeta.
  11. He can adapt to any environment and train as long as he needs to.
  12. Like most Saiyans, Goku loves combat and loves to challenge strong opponents.
  13. He rarely shows nervousness or fear when fighting.
  14. He is pure of heart, possessing no negative feelings or thoughts.
  15. He is highly loyal to his friends and family, even willing to sacrifice himself to save others as he did against Raditz and Cell.
  16. He also strongly believes in repaying debts, as he gave the then-evil Vegeta a senzu bean for saving Gohan and Krillin from the Ginyu Force. 
  17. He is remarkably effective at applying himself once properly motivated, able to quickly comprehend the situation and likewise learn the basics of anything presented to him, if not master it.

Bad Qualities

  1. Goku is kind of dumb in book smarts. This may be due to the lack of a proper education and the head injury he suffered as a child.
  2. Due to wanting to fight everyone at his fullest, he inadvertently helps villains that literally want to destroy the planet.
  3. His lack of nervousness or fear when fighting might get him in trouble or on the brink of death.
  4. He has a tendency to be too relaxed and recklessly challenge anyone he views as strong to a fight.
  5. When Chi-Chi forces Goku to take up a job as a radish farmer, he is regularly shown to have little interest in it, often looking for excuses to get out of work to train instead.
  6. He has little modesty and is not at all concerned about public nudity (though he later comes to have a better appreciation for it).
  7. Goku screws up a lot much to the point where it ends having dire consequences for his family and friends.

Trivia

  • Goku's Saiyan birth name, Kakarot, is a pun on "carrot". Goku's family are all named after root vegetables (burdock, negi (a Japanese variation of the spring onion), radish and carrot). Ironically, in Dragon Ball, Goku says he hates carrots when fighting against Monster Carrot.  
  • The Dragon Ball universe began as a loose adaptation of the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, with Goku himself as an alternate take on Sun Wukong. Similarities between the two include their mischievous nature and possession of the Power Pole and Flying Nimbus (which, in Japanese, have the same name as the source material).  
    • When Toriyama started his first draft of Dragon Ball, he originally planned on making Goku full monkey to make the series more faithful to Journey to the West. During Toriyama's second draft, Goku was instead a full human dressed in sailor clothes that rode a flight mecha instead of the Flying Nimbus.  Toriyama's third draft became the final design.
    • Goku's full name is also based on Sun Wukong. The name "Son Goku" is simply the Japanese on'yomi rendering of Sun Wukong, as Chinese and Japanese share the same characters but with different pronunciations. "Sun/Son" is a common Chinese surname that normally means "grandchild", while "Wukong/Goku" is a common Buddhist name that means "perceiving air/awakened to emptiness". Reading "Sun Wukong" via the first and final characters only through the Japanese kun'yomi rendering system makes it read out as "Mago Gosora", used at some point as a gag in the original manga's run by the World Tournament Announcer.
      • In Japan, Goku is sometimes rendered as "Gokuh" or "Gokou" in promotional material such as toys and figures, mainly as a way to make him stand out from other Japanese adaptations from Sun Wukong. However, the latter spelling would make the pronunciation different from its intended one.
  • Goku was revealed a month before the Dragon Ball manga started, in postcards sent to members of the Akira Toriyama Preservation Society.  
  • In the anime, Goku is shown to suffer from severe trypanophobia, or the fear of needles.  
  • Goku's hobbies include finding and fighting strong opponents.  
  • Goku will eat anything.  
  • Goku's favorite vehicle is the Flying Nimbus.  
  • From his mid-teens to early twenties, Goku was a famous celebrity on Earth for his defeat of King Piccoloand his later victory over Piccolo Jr. at the 23rd World Tournament. Later, Goku appears to have been largely forgotten in favor of the following World Tournament champion, Mr. Satan (most likely due to Mr. Satan using success to become a rich and famous media hound in contrast to Goku living a humble and quiet life away from the public's eye). However sometime after the defeat of the Shadow Dragons and before the 64th World Martial Arts Tournament, Goku is once again a revered hero as a giant statue of him is displayed in the stadium.  Additionally, though the general public may have forgotten his heroics, people like King Furry and World Tournament Announcer do as they have witnessed to his exploits.
  • In the Japanese version, Goku's voice actress, Masako Nozawa, also voices every biological male relative of Goku, with the exception of Raditz.
  • While Goku is an overall good person, Akira Toriyama originally designed him as one who fights mostly for personal joy of challenging strong opponents. To which, Toriyama notes that the anime tends to go overboard in making Goku look heroic, and that his original depiction of Goku in the manga has certain "poisonous" traits.  
    • In the anime version of the Universe Survival Saga Goku is seen as a villain by most of the other Universes due to his role in creating the Tournament of Power (although Goku's actions actually gave the universes with low mortal levels a chance to survive as Zeno was originally going to erase them all immediately).
  • Goku shares similarities with Superman from DC Comics:
    • Both are human-looking aliens who were sent to Earth before their planets were destroyed (Goku from Planet Vegeta and Superman from Planet Krypton) and spent their lives believing they were human until learning the truth as young-adults. The difference was that Goku was sent to Earth to destroy it, while Superman was sent to Earth to live in and help it.
    • Both have alien names (Goku was Kakarot and Superman was Kal-El) they seldom go by.
    • Both are tall and well-muscled men with distinct black hair styles.
    • They both have gained the respect of gods and other such beings, such as Beerus and Whis for Goku and citizens of New Genesis and Themyscira for Superman.
    • They both have an Achilles' Heel: Goku's are his tail and hunger, while Superman's is Kryptonite and yellow sunlight depletion/red sunlight exposure.
    • Both can draw power from the sun: Superman subconsciously being empowered by exposure to its light and Goku to create the Spirit Bomb or (reflected off the moon) enter the Great Ape forms.
    • They both have flight, super speed, super strength, super senses, and can emit powerful blasts from their being.
    • Both have fought members of their race who are evil: Vegeta for Goku, and Zod for Superman.
    • They both have evil counterparts: Turles, Goku Black, and a clone for Goku, and Ultraman, Bizarro, Cyborg Superman, H'El and Superboy-Prime for Superman.
    • They both have a married an Earth woman: Chi-Chi for Goku, and Lois Lane for Superman.
    • Both have half-human sons, Gohan and Goten for Goku, and Jonathan Kent for Superman, who have been implied to have the potential to be more powerful than their respective fathers.
    • Both had contact from their race through a blood relative (Raditz and Kara Zor-El).
    • Both have discovered that their race home planet was not completely wiped from existence (Universe 6 Saiyans and the Citizens of Kandor).
    • Both have fathers who foresaw the end of their home planet and attempted to save it (Bardock and Jor-El).
    • Both have also fought nigh-unstoppable monsters from their home planet (Broly and Doomsday).
    • Both are pacifists by nature who refused to use more power than necessary to face a problem (albeit Goku also does this for the sake of a better challenge while Superman fears hurting others too much in general).
    • Both are considered the greatest champion of good for their people and known for their pure/noble views in life.
  • On one occasion, in an interview with Shonen Jump in 1995, Akira Toriyama stated that Goku is his favorite character from the series.  In previous statements, he claimed that Piccolo was his favorite, and before this, that Tien was his favorite.
  • In the Raging Blast series, Goku is the only character to have three ultimate attacks, which can be changed through customization.
  • In 2004, Goku was voted the top character in the series to the Japanese fans.  
  • In Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, despite his adversarial relationship with Frieza, Goku will state he is jealous that the Future Warrior gets to train with him (if the warrior talks to him without selecting anything).  
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