Dragon Ball: Goku’s Super Saiyan Levels Explained

By Douglas Helm | Updated

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No anime fan forgets the moment when Goku transforms into a Super Saiyan during the early episodes of Dragon Ball Z. It would become one of the most iconic anime transformations and would also lead to a lot of parents getting annoyed as kids clenched their fists and screamed in an attempt to go Super Sayain themselves. However, now that iconic form is, funnily enough, one of Goku’s weakest as the series has introduced much more powerful transformations since then — so let’s go over them!

Since there are a ton of different power-ups in Dragon Ball Z, let’s just focus specifically on Goku’s Super Saiyan forms. The first is the aforementioned base, Super Saiyan, which Goku achieved in anger after Frieza killed his friend Krillin. The iconic transformation turns Goku’s hair blonde and covers him in a golden aura, although it was partially drawn this way because creator Akira Toriyama was tired of coloring in Goku’s hair in every panel.

A Kaleidoscope Of Super Saiyan

After Goku achieved Super Saiyan, Dragon Ball Z would then introduce several variations on the base form that included Ascended Super Saiyan, Ultra Super Saiyan, and Super Saiyan Full Power. Each form would see progressive increases in power, though Ultra Super Saiyan came with the downside of greatly reducing the user’s speed. The Full Power transformation would, as the name implies, be the most powerful and balanced of the base form transformations.

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Super Saiyan 2 And 3

Goku would eventually achieve the Super Saiyan 2 form in Dragon Ball Z, but he actually wasn’t the first to reach this level. Instead, the form was first reached by his son, Gohan, who ascended to Super Saiyan 2 after being pushed to his limits and witnessing his friends suffer at the hands of Cell.

The power-up included an immense increase in speed and strength, though it didn’t differ much visually from the base Super Saiyan form other than lightning in the aura and slightly longer blonde hair.

The first Super Saiyan form that would be distinctly visually different from the base Super Saiyan form would be Super Saiyan 3, which Goku achieved while fighting Buu. Super Saiyan 3 is characterized by the much longer hair and bigger eyebrows that came with the transformation, along with the typical massive increase in speed and power.

However, Super Saiyan 3 has the big downside of draining large amounts of stamina from the user, so it wasn’t used as often as other Super Saiyan forms in Dragon Ball Z.

Super Saiyan God And Beyond

It wasn’t until Dragon Ball Super that we saw Goku achieve the next level of power over Super Saiyan 3 — Super Saiyan God. Goku first reached this form through a ritual with other Saiyans that allowed him to access divine Ki, though Vegeta would later achieve this form through training alone.

Super Saiyan God is characterized by red-hued hair and aura and gives Goku enough power to briefly keep up with the God of Destruction, Beerus.

Goku in Super Saiyan God

Finally, Goku would achieve the power of Super Saiyan Blue, which is when a Super Saiyan God form uses the Super Saiyan power-up. This, of course, gives the user an immense speed and power boost and also tints their hair and eyebrows blue.

There would also be variations on this form in Dragon Ball Super, such as Super Saiyan Blue Kaio-ken and Perfected Super Saiyan Blue.

Ultimately, Perfected Super Saiyan Blue and Super Saiyan Blue Kaio-ken would be Goku’s most powerful Super Saiyan forms in Dragon Ball. Although Goku would reach an all-new level of power with Ultra Instinct and its variations, this form isn’t unique to Saiyans. But who knows, there could always be a more powerful form for Goku in the future.