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Characters / Dragon Ball Son Goku Tropes P To Z

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Main Character Index | Main Characters | Son Goku (A-C, D-H, I-O, P-Z) | Piccolo | Son Gohan | Vegeta | Future Trunks | Androids 17 and 18 | Major Supporting Cast | Supporting Cast | Z/GT Supporting Cast | Tournament Characters | Other Characters (Saiyans [Bardock]) | Original Series Villains | DBZ Villains (Freeza/Frieza [Frieza's Empire] | Cell | Majin Buu) | DBZ Movie Villains (Broly) | GT Villains | Super | Universe 7 | Universe 2 | Universe 3 | Universe 4 | Universe 6 (Major Characters) | Universe 9 | Universe 10 | Universe 11 (Jiren) | Zen'o | Goku Black | Zamasu | Heroes | DBH Villains | Jaco the Galactic Patrolman | Xenoverse | FighterZ (Android 21) | Legends
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    P 
  • Pacifism Backfire:
    • During the Saiyan Saga, he gives in to Raditz's pleas for mercy and lets go of his tail, only for Raditz to knock him down and mercilessly break his ribs all while openly mocking him for falling for such a trick.
    • Much later, during the Frieza Saga, despite having every right in the world to just kill Frieza and be done with it, he spares Frieza's life not once, but twice, and both times, Frieza just keeps trying to kill him when his back is turned. Of course, to be fair, Goku's attempts to spare him were more out of Cruel Mercy than pacifism, and the very second Frieza betrays his last chance, Goku blows him away.
  • Pals with Jesus: Besides being on casual speaking terms with the Kais, Kami before he merged with Piccolo, and Dende (the current God/Guardian of the Earth that he hand chose), Goku and company also befriends Beerus, the God of Destruction, after the Battle of Gods. Goku and Vegeta regularly train on his planet, and he and Whis regularly stop by Earth to hang out and eat delicious food. Goku then one-ups that by becoming pals with Zen-O, King of the Multiverse — much to the shock of all the other gods he's already friends with, who are all terrified into abject formality when around Zen-O and for good reason.
  • Painful Transformation: Goku going Super Saiyan for the first time is this mentally for him, mostly in the anime. In the manga, Goku transforms almost instantly after Krillin is killed. In the anime, however, Goku suffers for several minutes of slowing losing control of his mind and flashing in and out of Super Saiyan. He finally can't hold it in any longer and he gives one last scream in rage before transforming.
  • Papa Wolf: Messing with Gohan is a sure way to anger the normally cheerful Goku. When Raditz kidnaps Gohan, Goku loses his fear of his brother and is ready to fly after him despite being barely able to move after Raditz kneed him. He also sacrifice himself to stop Raditz because he was about to kill Gohan. He beats up Nappa and Recoome after they both hurt Gohan (along with the rest of his friends) and, while it's remembered that Freeza killing Krillin triggers Goku to ascend to Super Saiyan, what really set him off was Freeza threatening to kill Gohan too. He also goes into an Unstoppable Rage and tries in earnest to kill Goku Black after Zamasu tells him that his other self killed Goku's family along with him while acquiring his body, and even after that incident, was still fixated on killing him.
  • The Paragon: He tries to become this after he recovers from his heart virus. Instead of directly handling threats himself, he tries to act as a beacon of encouragement and wisdom towards his sons to make them become guardians who can protect the Earth. Unfortunately, Gohan, Goten, nor Trunks have the drive to continue to grow stronger if there is no immediate threat, so Goku is forced back into active hero duty by the end of the Buu Saga.
  • Parental Neglect:
    • Downplayed. Some fans tend to interpret his parenting as neglectful, but in Goku's defense, he never really had a clue as to how to be a parent in the first place. Part of this is actually Saiyan heritage — Akira Toriyama has stated that Saiyans lack an inborn nesting instinct and Saiyan culture never had much of a concept of family, abandoning their youth shortly after birth — with Goku and Vegeta's own parents being ironic exceptions, but they weren't around very long on account of being dead. Another part is that Grandpa Gohan died early, leaving him on his own to be psuedo-Raised by Wolves, so he certainly doesn't have the knowledge to parent children on principle. Also, he's been absent for large swathes of his two sons' lives, but that was on account of being killed and certainly wasn't intentional on his part regarding Goten, who hadn't been born yet. In the end, he's simply more of a Parents as People (read below) type than anything.
    • His specific moments are also a mixed big. At first he was ignorant of why Gohan wasn't going all-out against Cell even as he was being beaten badly, and had to get a What the Hell, Hero? from Piccolo that Gohan doesn't think of battle the same way as him. Then in the Buu Saga, Vegeta, a Saiyan himself who actually grew up in their culture, calls him out for instinctively saving Mr. Satan and Dende from the destruction of Earth, rather than his own children, to which Goku has no defense. But on the other hand, training his children personally makes him almost overbearing by his race's standards, and overall he's never been anything but nice and encouraging to his sons when he's around. This is reflected in that both Gohan and Goten look up to their father in different ways, admiring his strength and certainly wishing to get stronger in their own ways. In Super, Goku is supportive of Gohan's decision to pursue his career rather than fight, and a loving grandfather to Pan, while he and Goten have several nice bonding moments as well.
    • Lampshaded in the Super manga, when Goku mentioned not being around when either of his sons were born and not seeing a problem with that, to which Vegeta responds by saying that for all of his goodness, Goku is a terrible family man.
  • Parents as People: There is no denying Goku loves and cares for his family and in times of peace he does make a genuine effort to be a breadwinner... but at the end of the day, Goku is simply not really wired to be a family man, not having an inborn nesting instinct nor having ever really had a long-term parental figure himself.
  • Passed in Their Sleep: How Future Goku is depicted to have died to the heart virus. He dies in his bed and was most likely comatose given how main timeline Goku remained in a coma while he was ill.
  • Passing the Torch: Constantly trying to do this after the Cell Saga. Realizing that he wouldn't always be around to protect the Earth, he tries to make Gohan his successor, though it doesn't pan out too well because Gohan doesn't have the same drive to fight or become stronger like he does. In the Buu Saga, he even deliberately passes up a chance to destroy Buu so that Goten and Trunks will be the saviors of Earth, but eventually he realizes as they grow up that they don't have any interest in fighting either, which is why he seeks a new successor in Uub as he trains his granddaughter Pan.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil:
    • This is Goku's mindset as a child. If you harmed or even tried to harm his friends or someone he likes, he pays it back with violent retribution, not caring if he kills the person. If he's mad enough, he will go out of his way to murder the responsible person, like he did against King Piccolo and all of his children save for Piccolo Jr.
    • Frieza's entire fighting style is basically torturing people to death by physically overwhelming them with his power and pushing them to utter despair by making them die knowing that they never stood a chance against him. After Goku becomes a Super Saiyan, he spends almost the entire fight toying and brutalizing Frieza just as he has done to all of his victims. Goku wants Frieza to lose knowing that he never stood a chance. The only reason why Goku tries to spare Frieza is because he sees letting Frieza live with his pride in shambles as being a worse punishment than killing him.
    • A Lighter and Softer version, Beerus notes that Goku is like him in that they will get payback on those who slight them, no matter how petty the slight is. This is seen in Dragon Ball Super where Goku flicks Beerus on the forehead and karate chops him on the back on the neck because Beerus defeated him that way in their first bout.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Like almost every character in Z, Goku is this trope. Just him transforming into a Super Saiyan 3 nearly shakes the Earth apart and he isn't even touching the ground. However, Super takes this to a whole new level when Goku becomes a Super Saiyan God. His fight with Beerus nearly destroys the universe.
  • Physical God:
    • Not counting the fact that nearly every Saiyan is now this, Goku becomes a literal Saiyan God in the movie Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods. And he still can't beat Beerus forcing him to admit defeat!
    • And then, Goku transcends the power of the Gods by acquiring the Legendary Ultra Instinct. All of the Gods of Destruction present at the Tournament stand up in respect at the sight of this.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: As a kid, Goku is the third shortest character in the series. However, he is also one of the strongest in the world, easily beating people who tower over him.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: A common theme since Goku is a country bumpkin with No Social Skills and is often Brutally Honest. Most of the primary villains such as King Piccolo, Piccolo Jr, Vegeta, Frieza, Perfect Cell, Super Buu after he absorbed Piccolo, Beerus, and Black are all Faux Affably Evil who have polite mannerisms and often compliment their opponents, before mercilessly torturing and killing them.
  • The Pollyanna: Goku is an unrelentingly optimistic and happy person. At the start of the series, he tells Bulma that his parents abandon him in the woods where his grandfather found him. His grandfather died years ago, stomp to death by a giant monster, and he was left alone in the mountains with no human contact the entire time. He says all this with a huge grin on his face and never shown any visible signs of trauma. Bulma outright ask him how can he be so happy. Even during the most hopeless of times, he can be seen smiling, despite saying he's afraid.
  • Poor Communication Kills: During the Cell Saga, he fails to explain his plan for defeating Cell to anyone, not wanting to put undue pressure on Gohan or worry his friends. Had he taken the time to explain that he intended for Gohan to fight Cell, someone - Piccolo or Gohan - could have told him the flaw in his plan. Gohan may have been the only one strong enough to beat Cell, but he isn't mentally ready for the responsibility. If Goku had known this, he could have better prepared Gohan for what was going to happen. Instead, Gohan gets cocky after ascending to Super Saiyan 2, and takes a long time to get there in the first place due to not wanting to fight, which results in 16's, Future Trunks', and Goku's own deaths.
  • Power Copying: Ironically, despite being The Ace, Goku never really creates his own original technique in the series. note  All of his signature techniques are moves he adapted from his friends, or learned from his masters. The technique he uses to kill King Piccolo (called either the Monkey Fist or the Fist of Son Goku) was his only original technique for a long time, along with possibly the Dragon Fist note . In Super, he also used an unnamed, one-off 'ki landmine' move against Jiren, but it's debatable how original it is.
  • Power Floats: In the game Battle of Z, as a Super Saiyan God, Goku is constantly floating just inches above the ground, unlike other forms which are usually standing unless prompted to fly.
  • Power High: In Super, when Goku becomes a Super Saiyan God, he's all but giddy with delight and proclaims that he has been reborn and he has never felt anything like this.
  • Power Incontinence
    • Goku some times have this problem after gaining a lot of power. He break things around him and hurts his friends by accident. He tends to controls himself better when he's in battle, however.
    • In Dragon Ball Super Goku takes some time to get used to being a Super Saiyan God. He flies past Beerus, nearly harms his friends with a stray Kamehameha, and nearly destroys the universe from the sheer force of hitting Beerus. This being Goku, he quickly gets the hang of his new power. This problem pops up again after using his Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken combo, as while amazing, the results really did a number on his body, to the point of 'Delayed Onset Ki Syndrome' - ie major-but-temporary loss of control over his strength, flying, and all techniques requiring ki. Though he's still fine enough to gently play with his grand-daughter.
      • Later on, Goku is close to knocking off Jiren after defeating him full in his Mastered Ultra Instinct form. However, before he could, his power backfires and causes him hideous pain, paralyzing him long enough for a demoralized Jiren to try to return the favor. It's only Frieza's last minute save that saves Goku from ring out.
  • Power Limiter: From reaching the lookout of Earth's god until he leaves North Kai's planet, he wears a heavily weighted undershirt, wristbands, and boots. In his fights with Tien, Piccolo Jr., and Raditz, he took them off to have a better chance; afterwards, Clothing Damage did that for him.
  • Power Makes Your Hair Grow: When Goku transforms into Super Saiyan 3 and 4, his hair gets longer, especially Super Saiyan 3 where his hair goes down to his knees.
  • Power Makes Your Voice Deep: In the dub, Goku's voice drops when he becomes a Super Saiyan 3 and 4 to the point of becoming a Badass Baritone. In the Kai dub, his voice becomes deeper as a Super Saiyan, although nowhere near the extent of Super Saiyan 3 or 4.
  • The Power of Friendship:
    • Averted throughout Toriyama's original Dragon Ball manga. This is what Vegeta initially thought was the reason for Goku being a superior fighter, but after having found loved ones of his own, nothing changed. Turns out, Goku is a superior fighter because he's flat-out more talented; having someone to fight for being a secondary motivation, although it can make you more powerful in short bursts as shown in Battle of Gods.
    • Toei's adaptations and original works are much more likely to play it straight:
      • Played Straight and Lampshaded in Battle of Gods. Goku was able to reach Super Saiyan God by using the combined power of his sons, his unborn grandchild, his rival and his son (this was in the original script, before Toriyama was brought in for touch-ups and ended up rewriting half of it). When Beerus asked how Goku enjoyed godhood, he said he was disappointed that it was a power he couldn't reach by himself. Beerus gets on Goku for not appreciating the power he gained from his friends. By the end of the movie, Goku was able to regain his Super Saiyan God form when he thought about all the people depending on him to defeat Beerus (it's unknown if that part was in the script or if it came from Toriyama, but it's not in the Super manga).
      • Played Straight in all 15 of the DBZ movies. Most notably in the climax of the first Broly movie, where being gifted energy by his friends, son, and rival allows Goku to beat Broly in one blow.
      • Played Straight in the anime version of Super. During the Tournament of Power, Goku obtains Mastered Ultra Instinct and is pitted in a fight of ideals against Jiren, who subscribes to the ideal that trust and friendship is meaningless and that strength is all that matters. Goku finally understands that what he has is the power of his friends and their hopes and dreams on his back. It gets to the point where Jiren, furious over Goku's constant remarks, attempts to kill Goku's friends to prove a point, only to have Goku make the save and literally beat him into the ground. None of this happens in the manga version; Jiren doesn't try to murder anyone and never gets knocked down by Goku, instead he just beats down Goku no matter how motivated the latter gets, progressively adapting to keep up with Ultra Instinct and punching Goku out of it. Also, in the manga, Goku draws his motivation from proving himself as a martial artist against a Worthy Opponent, not from protecting his friends.
  • The Power of Hate: His hatred of Freeza for killing Krillin is what causes him to turn Super Saiyan.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • In Kai, when Frieza kills Krillin:
      Goku: You ruthless, heartless... BASTARD!
    • Also in Kai, in the English dub, when people of Earth refuse to give him energy for the Spirit Bomb:
      Goku: Hey! What are you waiting for?! Or do you not care what happens to the entire universe?! Dumbasses!
    • In the Latin American Spanish dub, Goku's voice actor Mario Castañeda noted that the only time Goku said something ever remotely close to a curse was during his fight with Frieza in Planet Namek, when he called Frieza "Estúpido!" ("Stupid!") twice: Once when Frieza unveiled his ultimate technique, a Deadly Disc that, to add insult to injury, resembled Krillin's (who Frieza had just killed) Destructo Disc, and later when Frieza uses the energy Goku gave him to escape Namek's destruction to attack Goku while he's back is turned and Goku fires back. While that's the kind of word that other characters probably used normally in the dub, the way he said it (and the fact that such word came from Goku at all) was a clear indication that Frieza pushed him into a whole new level of Unstoppable Rage.
  • Prehensile Tail: When he had a tail, Goku used it like a fifth limb, using it both to grab stuff and in combat. He knocks Colonel Silver out with just a tail slap and he hits Tien with it during their match at 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament after Tien successfully restrains his arms and legs.
  • Precognition: At least in the anime, Goku have a mild form of precognition. He felt Krillin was in danger after he left to retrieve his Dragon Ball and Power Pole, to the point that he couldn't eat, and ran to help him once he had a vision of Krillin calling for him. He also have dreams about enemies he has no knowledge of, like him seeing Vegeta, Nappa, Androids 17, and 18, before he even meets them. In Super, he physically jolts when he feels Frieza being revive, despite being far away.
  • Present Absence:
    • From the TV Special History of Trunks, Goku's absence is greatly felt. He dies within the first minute of the special leaving a gaping wound as the other heroes are mercilessly slaughtered by the androids. Gohan wears a replica of his father's gi in his memory and Bulma often talks about him, saying how he could have changed things if he had lived. A big part of the special is Bulma making the time machine to give Goku the medicine that will save his life.
    • His second death have long-term consequences for some of the cast. Gohan gives up fighting to study, Chi-Chi mellows out and trains Goten, and Bulma and Vegeta gets married. It's also Vegeta lacking a rival for seven years that makes him go to such extremes to have one last battle with Goku that he willingly sells his soul for power.
  • Pride: Unlike Vegeta and most villains it's quite subtle, but it is there:
    • Goku becomes very upset when Mr. Popo calls him weak and beats him effortlessly. Mr. Popo gets on Goku for underestimating him because he thought since he beat King Piccolo that he is the strongest in the world.
    • When he is fighting Android 19 and losing because he's sick, he never once asks for help from his teammates, even when he is literally getting the life sucked out of him. This is most likely a mixture of Goku's pride not allowing him to ask for help and losing to an opponent who is inferior to him because his body betrays him. Even Vegeta calls him an idiot for fighting in his current health. In this case, Goku is too prideful to ask for assistance, but not to the point where he will reject help when given, unless it's a tournament.
    • His Saiyan pride refuses to allow him to eat a senzu bean to restore himself when he's fighting against Cell, even when Cell suggests it.
    • Goku despises how he became a Super Saiyan God since it's a level that he can't reach on his own. Beerus reprimands him on his pride keeping him from being happy that he has friends who can support him.
    • In Resurrection 'F', a similar case to that with Android 19 happens when Frieza has Goku at his mercy and is torturing him, and he never once calls for help, even when Frieza is about to kill him. When Vegeta is standing in front of him, he didn't ask to be saved. He only laughs mirthlessly and says he messed up. With that said, he did thank Vegeta for the rescue.
    • He and Vegeta take turns fighting Frieza in Resurrection 'F' because they're confident one of them can take him down and their pride won't let them work together. This leads to him getting shot in the chest and Frieza blowing up the planet. Despite this, Goku agrees wholeheartedly with Vegeta when saying that he doesn't want to team up, even though Goku and Vegeta fighting together would probably be a near invincible team. He cites his own pride as the reason. Whis is inclined to condemn this, but seems aware that he won't be changing Goku's mind on this.
  • Primal Stance: As a kid, Goku took this stance a few times, mostly before Running on All Fours. Fitting since Goku is both based on and named after Sun Wukong.
  • Primary-Color Champion: His primary outfit is red-orange with hints of blue, while the vast majority of his transformations are yellow, red, and blue.
  • Protagonist Power-Up Privileges: He is usually always the first to train at a new training ground or method of training, then moves on to a new one when the rest of the heroes make it there. Next to Master Roshi, he was one of the few characters with an energy range attack. He's also the first to reach Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan 3, Super Saiyan God, Super Saiyan Blue, and Ultra Instinct as a transformation (outside of Gods of Destruction and Angels, who attain it as more of a mental state). Before Cell took it and the Supreme Kai's appearance, he was also the only character able to teleport. However, Vegeta was the first Super Saiyan 2nd grade and the first to train with Whis, along with his exclusive Beyond Super Saiyan Blue, and Gohan was the first Super Saiyan 2.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Zig-zagged. When Goku first learns that he's a Saiyan, he disowns his race since they were a bunch of murderous Space Pirates who regularly committed planetary genocide. After learning about Frieza's genocide of the Saiyans and Vegeta's backstory, he makes peace with his race and embraces some of their philosophies. At the same time, he's quick to tell anyone that he's a Saiyan raised on Earth. However, despite not being raised in Saiyan society, he still have many of their ingrained attitudes like their love for fighting, their pride, and honor. Vegeta hints that a Saiyan sense of honor is inherent in pure-blooded Saiyans since Goku knows nothing of Saiyan culture, and still would've rather died (or gave up the fight) than achieve victory over an opponent by eating a senzu in a middle of a match.
  • Psychic Powers: Demonstrates every now and then. Through telepathy, he tells Gohan to deflect the Spirit Bomb after Vegeta dodges it, mentally guides his son to attack Vegeta after he transforms into a Great Ape, asks Krillin to spare Vegeta's life specifically because it's more painful to use his voice, and he gets up to speed with everything that happened on Namek by touching Krillin's head and reading his mind. He only shows telekinesis in Filler when he tries levitating the water in the glass with his mind, and once did this to a massive pyramid. Also the Spirit Bomb works by mentally connecting with everything on the planet/solar system, up to and including potentially the sun itself, and politely asking them to give him some energy to smack the current villain in the face with it.
  • Psychological Projection: During the Cell Saga, he ends up doing this to Gohan, automatically assuming that Gohan, in addition to his potential as a fighter, wants a good and challenging fight with Cell purely because it's what he would do in such a situation, going so far as to give Cell a Senzu Bean before the fight. It takes getting a major What the Hell, Hero? from Piccolo (who by this point understands Gohan more than his own father), and seeing the danger he's put Gohan in firsthand, for Goku to realize that this is not the case.
  • Public-Domain Character: Son Goku from Journey to the West is probably the most frequently used Public Domain Character in East Asia. In the West, there's massive Adaptation Displacement as the Dragon Ball version of Goku is much better known than the original.
  • Pure Is Not Good: Beerus holds this opinion of Goku, seeing his naive, trusting nature as a danger to the universe after he refuses to see how dangerous Zen'o is. He goes as far as to threaten to kill Goku on the spot. Toriyama even discussed this trope at length in regards to Goku:
    "At any rate, I wanted him to have the sense of being that rare guy who seeks only 'to become stronger than before', so much so that it feels like 'there's no one as pure as this person'. And while he does end up saving everyone as a result of that, he himself at least has a very pure sincerity about 'wanting to become stronger'. What I wanted to depict the most was the sense that he might not be a good guy at all, although he does do good things as a result."

    R 
  • Rage Breaking Point: Goku has a very long temper. He's hard to truly anger and tends to go into Tranquil Fury when mad. However, when he snaps, he snaps. His rage is noticeably different from Gohan's in that Gohan tends to go off like an explosion, while Goku is more like an out of control wildfire that someone dumped gasoline on.
  • Raised by Dudes: He was raised by an old hermit in the woods, which is frequently brought up when Chi-Chi gets frustrated with him.
  • Raised by Humans: For most of his life Goku was raised by humans and even thought he was one of them. It isn't until he's an adult that he learns that he's a Human Alien from a warrior race. Outside his love for fighting and physical training, he's closer to being a human than a Saiyan.
  • Raised by Wolves: He lives out in the wilderness for an untold number of years after his grandfather dies.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: One of the most badass characters in the show, and a huge meat eater.
  • Really Gets Around: Implied in Dragon Ball Online; Vegeta or Goku or both may have taken at the very least a second wife at the death of their first, as much of the Human race now has Saiyan ancestry and the potential to become a Super Saiyan. Vegeta and Goku are the prime candidates to be the ancestors in question, if not their children or grandchildren.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Being a Physical God might make you close to invincible, but unless you're from a species like Frieza, Cell, or Buu who can survive without oxygen, you still need to breathe. Goku nearly died from Frieza drowning him and if Namek exploding didn't kill Goku, him suffocating in space would have.
    • No matter how powerful you become, you can still succumb to illnesses. In the future timeline, Goku dies of a heart virus and in the main timeline, Goku is laid flat for over ten days.
    • While training to stay in his Super Saiyan form, he wrecks his house since he had trouble controlling his strength. He also sent Chi-Chi flying after playfully patting her on the back because he's been away from over a year and forgotten how fragile regular people are.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • After he turns Super Saiyan, he gives a lot of these to Frieza:
      Goku: It's done. Your power is decreasing with every blow, in fact, you're not even a challenge to me anymore. It wouldn't be fair for me to keep fighting you. I'm satisfied now, your pride has been torn to shreds. You challenged and lost to a fighter who is superior to you and to make it worse, he was just a monkey, right? It would be meaningless to fight you now, you're too scared and ashamed. Live with the shock, keep it bottled up inside you, silently.
      Goku: Although you brought this all on yourself, it;s a shame that your life has to end in such a miserable way. I wanted to save you, Frieza, but you wouldn't let me. Now share the fate of the Planet Namek, which you yourself destroyed.
    • Goku gives Frieza a short, but sweet response after Frieza mocks him for showing him mercy and how the legendary Super Saiyan can't even beat a dead planet:
  • Red Baron: After he defeats Frieza on Namek he becomes known as the Super Saiyan or just the Saiyan within Frieza's empire.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Downplayed with Super Saiyan God, which is a reference to when the original Sun Wukong/Son Goku had red eyes in some adaptations. Goku doesn't looks more fierce, especially compared to the other Super Saiyan forms and Super Saiyan God is only attainable to righteous Saiyans.
  • Red Is Heroic: He typically wears clothing in shades of red or dark orange, the Kaioken and Super Saiyan God transformations are both red, and he's The Hero of the series.
  • Relative Button: Threatening Goku's family, especially his sons, is a surefire way to get your ass kicked:
    Goku: You took my body. You took my life! Then you even killed Chi-Chi and Goten! You're gonna regret telling me that, Zamasu. 'Cause now I'm mad. I'm really, really mad. ''And now it's time... to PAAAAAYYYY!!!
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?:
    • In the original series, his friends often reference how he demolished the Red Ribbon Army all by himself and it later becomes a plot point since Dr. Gero created the androids to get revenge on Goku for destroying the army. At the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, his friends, along with Tien and the Crane Hermit, finds out that he 'killed' Mercenary Tao, something that Master Roshi didn't believe at first. He then becomes known as the boy who killed King Piccolo among his friends, Kami, Mr. Popo, and a few outsiders like the King of the World. Three years later, he defeats the Demon King reborn, Piccolo Jr, who often references his defeat to Goku.
    • Later, he becomes known throughout the universe as the person who defeated Frieza. It is brought up a few times by his friends and even the Kais. The reason why Beerus even wanted to see Goku is because he heard that he defeated Frieza as a Super Saiyan. He is also well-known for killing Majin Buu, which is one of the many reasons why Frieza's empire stood away from him. Even Frieza is greatly impressed when he hears that Goku killed Buu. After fighting Beerus, the battle is often used as a point of reference by Beerus to tell people how awesome Goku is, despite the fact that Goku didn't win.
  • Renowned Selective Mentor: He is one of the few primary characters to take in students to be his successor. So far he has only trained Gohan, Pan, and Uub.
  • Required Secondary Powers: He has a powerful sense of smell that is as sharp as a dog according to Goku, yet he isn't bothered by strong smells any more than a normal person outside of Bacterian, who had never bathe a day in his life and can cause even a normal person to nearly faint, showing that Goku can filter out what he's smelling. He also has sensitive hearing, given that he can hear people whispering behind his back and through walls, but loud noises don't get to him.
  • Resurrected for a Job: Both times he's brought back to life, it's to fight off threats to Earth; first the Saiyans (where technically his death was a part of that job), and then Buu. This last one is noticeably since it was the gods that brought him back.
  • Revenge: His motive for killing Tambourine, after Tambourine killed Krillin. This was definitely justified as Goku was riding Nimbus (which takes a pure heart to do) while he finished off Tambourine in the appropriately titled Dragon Ball episode "Goku's Revenge". It was also his motive during the last part of the Freeza fight after Freeza murdered Krillin. Super has him falling into this hard after learning that alternate timeline version of Zamasu use his body to kill Chi-Chi and Goten.
  • Revenge Before Reason: He falls into this after becoming a Super Saiyan the first time. He wanted to make Frieza pay for killing Krillin. To that end, he lets Frieza power-up to his max level for the sole purpose of humiliating him with the knowledge that even at his best he couldn't beat a "mere monkey". This was around the time when the planet was going to blow up in a few minutes so defeating Frieza as fast as possible would have been reasonable. He also refused to leave when King Kai planned to wish everyone to Earth, because he wanted to finish the fight. By that point, King Kai considered Goku a lost cause.
  • Revision: It was initially stated in-universe that Goku was sent to Earth to wipe out humanity so Frieza's empire could sell the planet, but forgot that mission when he fell down a ravine and hit his head. In the short story Dragon Ball Minus, released in 2013, it's revealed that Goku's parents actually sent him away to save him from Frieza's impending genocide of the Saiyans. It doesn't contradict anything within the story. Raditz was the only one who actually said that Goku was sent to Earth to kill the humans, and he could've easily misinterpreted why Goku was sent out, since Saiyans regularly sent their children out to conquer worlds anyway; the only ones who know the truth, Bardock and Gine, are long dead.
  • The Rival: Goku has a lot of rivals over the years. Some stay more relevant than others:
    • Yamcha is Goku's first official rival and is one of the few people able to hurt Goku in the first story arc. He eventually shares this role with Krillin who also wants to surpass Goku, although by the time of Z they've both accepted that Goku will always be better than them.
    • Tien gives Goku one of his toughest challenges and actually beats Goku when they fought at the 22nd tournament, even if it's more luck than skill. Despite Goku surpassing him in every way possible by Z, Tien still tries to compete with him, although he knows where he stands.
    • Piccolo, especially after their epic clash at the 23rd Martial Arts Tournament. Goku outright calls Piccolo his rival and is part of the reason why he spared him. They kept their rivalry up until the end of the Cell Saga where Piccolo accepts that he can no longer compete against the Saiyans. Doesn't stop him from training and wanting to put up a good fight against Goku when they do spar.
    • Vegeta, Goku's longest running rival and the only one able to keep pace with him, at least in the canon movies. In Z Vegeta never truly caught up with Goku again after the events of the Namek Saga and the gap between them got wider in the Buu Saga. In the movies, however, Vegeta is within striking distance, although he remains one step behind, and Goku greatly surpasses him again in Super since he can combine the Kaioken with Super Saiyan Blue. The dynamic of their rivalry also changed over the years from being very toxic, especially for Vegeta, to being one of Vitriolic Best Buds.
    • Frieza is a particularly dark and villainous version. Goku and Frieza despise each other, even if there is a lingering sentiment of the other being a Worthy Opponent. After his loss to Goku on Namek, Frieza devotes his life and even his afterlife to trying to end Goku. He even improves in hell by fantasizing about killing Goku in revenge. He has fought Goku thrice so far and gives him trouble each time, making him the only purely villainous character to consistently stay competitive with Goku. Goku for his part often is curious about Frieza's potential for further growth, but unlike his other rivals Frieza never becomes a better person from his rivalry with Goku; if anything, the closest thing to an improvement Frieza has had is accepting that he isn't totally invincible and respecting someone else as an equal warrior, and even those sentiments hardly stick.
    • Looking across universes, Goku has developed an enduring friendly rivalry with Hit, to the extent he hired Hit to kill him, just so they could fight at his best. Hit returns the mutual respect, but it doesn't make Hit any less inclined to fulfill his contract.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Despite Goku's kind and gentle nature, he has a lot of these:
    • During the last part of the Red Ribbon Army Saga the army hires Mercenary Tao to kill Goku and take his Dragon Balls. During his mission, Tao murders the father of Goku's new friend. Goku eventually kills Tao, or so he thought, and decides to find the remaining Dragon Balls so he could wish his friend's father back to life. So he storms the Red Ribbon Army base, kills pretty much everyone there, takes out the newly-made leader (Commander Red was executed by Officer Black after he learned about the true nature of Red's goal), gets the Dragon Balls, and destroys the terrorist army in one fell swoop.
    • The entire King Piccolo Saga is one long Roaring Rampage of Revenge for Goku. He wants to kill Piccolo and all his sons to avenge Krillin and later Master Roshi.
    • He has a Tranquil Fury version of this trope after he discovers that most of his friends were killed by the Saiyans.
    • Near the end of the Frieza Saga, Goku goes full roaring rampage after Frieza murders Krillin, triggering his Super Saiyan transformation.
    • His battle against Goku Black and Future Zamasu in the Future Trunks Saga of Super blows all previous rampages straight out of the water. Then again, finding out that an alternate timeline version of your wife and youngest child have been slaughtered by a guy using your own body will do that for you. It pushes him into actually trying to kill the ones responsible, consequences and injuries be damned. It also becomes a secondary motivation for Goku for the remainder of the arc.
  • Rousing Speech: Goku gives a surprisingly potent Rousing Speech to Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z episode 253, Union of Rivals, when Vegeta is reluctant to fuse with him.
    "Wake up! Majin Buu's eaten everyone we care about! Everyone is gone, even Bulma! They've become part of Buu, they can't even die! I just thought the least we could do is put our old differences aside, just this once, and really work together. We owe that to our teammates, our families Vegeta, our friends! Look, you've always talked about our Saiyan race, how we're the last of a mighty people. Well it's time to accept we're starting a new race, one that can be just as strong, just as proud! But not if we're caught up in so much of our old birthrights to see what we have right in front of us! We've lost our old race Vegeta... let's not lose this one, too!"
    • Even through this is Dub Text. The original has Goku telling that everyone they knew were absorbed by Buu, and that's the reasons he's so ridiculously strong. Still, even in the original text, he asked Vegeta if he was going to allow Buu to get away with killing everyone and absorbing their sons.
  • Running Gag: His fear of his wife's temper, which is Played for Laughs. Also, his understandable fear of needles (anime only). Also, his inability to keep his shirt intact during an intense fight. He has a habit of biting his enemies during a fight as well, which works surprisingly well.
  • Running on All Fours: As a child he occasionally ran on all fours, usually when he's after food or using a type of stance like his Crazy Monkey style.

    S 
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: It wasn't intentional but Goku being raised almost totally in the wild made his natural fighting instincts stronger but left him with No Social Skills whatsoever.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • Boss Rabbit threatened to eat Bulma, who got turned into a carrot, if he tries to fight back against his henchmen. Goku surrenders and is beaten up. Yamcha and Puar are forced to intervene.
    • General White tries to force Goku into one by taking the Mayor hostage and force his surrender. The Mayor implores Goku to kill White for the good of the village. Goku is willing to oblige, shocking both White and the Mayor who were probably expecting a more heroic response.
    • Once King Piccolo got desperate, he takes Tien hostage, threatening to kill him if Goku moves. Tien urges Goku to kill Piccolo, but he chooses not to fight as Piccolo blows a rock at him, breaking Goku's left arm. Goku then resolves to kill Piccolo, saying that he will wish Tien back with the Dragon Balls, only to learn that Piccolo killed Shenron. While he's stunned by this revelation, Piccolo blows another rock, breaking Goku's good knee, putting him at Piccolo's mercy.
    • After becoming a Majin, Vegeta forces him into one. Either fight him and risk awakening Majin Buu who has the power to destroy the universe, or let Vegeta keep killing people at the World Martial Arts Tournament, which can possibly kill both of their families. He chooses to fight Vegeta and beat him before they can awakening Buu. He fails.
  • Sanity Slippage: When Goku went Super Saiyan the first time, he is notably not completely sane. He is nearly consumed by hatred and rage that puts defeating and humiliating Frieza above escaping an exploding planet. His shifts from his normal Tranquil Fury self to him screaming in anger also shows how unhinged he is. Goku is fully aware of his mental state during this time, and even warns Gohan to get away from him before he completely loses it.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: As a child, he doesn't understand when someone is being sarcastic. Krillin often insults him this way and Goku takes what he says seriously or as playful banter, like calling Goku 'smart' during his more dim moments. As an adult, he not only understands sarcasm, he will engage in it himself, seen more specifically in the English dub.
  • Saying Too Much:
    • When confronted with Super Buu inside Buu's own body, Goku proceeds to chew Vegeta out on destroying the Potara earrings and ensuring that they can never fuse again... while Buu is standing right in front of them. Vegeta even lampshades how stupid that was.
    • After the fight with Beerus in Battle of Gods, Goku playfully teases Vegeta about how he lost it when Beerus slapped Bulma, which allows the group to deduce that Goku had been watching Beerus put the smackdown on the Z-Fighters from a distance the whole time.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Not only can he sense energy from across several galaxies and even the afterlife, making him the most outstanding in energy sensing, but he can find people and objects by their scents.
  • Scars Are Forever: Goku mentioned in the second episode of Z that he still has a scar on his head from when he fell down the cliff as an infant, and this is some 20 years after the fact.
  • The Scapegoat: Thanks in part to Bergamo's words, Goku's own attitude and friendship with Zen'o, and the fact that no one can outright defy/protest Zen'o's decision(s) on the matter, Goku has become a target for all the participating universes for the upcoming tournament. Despite giving at least one universe the chance to save itself from destruction when there was none before, Goku takes all the blame for the Tournament of Power's universal destruction rule.
  • Screw Destiny: When Gohan asked if him becoming a Super Saiyan will make a difference against Cell and the androids since his future counterpart was easily killed despite being a Super Saiyan, Goku answered that the future has already changed since he was supposed to die to the heart virus. This is Subverted somewhat since Goku does ends up dying anyway, although it was on his terms.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Goku honestly hadn't meant to kill Grandpa Gohan. The poor guy simply had his Superpowered Evil Side activated by the full moon and went berserk, crushing Grandpa Gohan underfoot.
  • Second Place Is for Winners: At the 21st and 22nd World Martial Arts Tournaments. He lost both, but still managed to do so well that everyone was proud of his efforts. In the first tournament he fought Jackie Chun for four hours and had a technical tie with him, forcing the officials to use a tie-breaker. The second, he would had won if he wasn't hit by a truck at the last possible second. Additionally after the first tournament, it's Lampshaded how even though Goku lost the tournament he still ultimately got to used the prize money, as he was so exhausted from fighting that he ate everything at a restaurant during the group's celebratory dinner. The bill was so high that Roshi had to pay with all his winnings.
  • Secret Keeper: He along with Piccolo were the only ones who knew Future Trunks was Bulma and Vegeta's son during the three years time-skip before the Android Saga.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man:
    • The Sensitive Guy to Vegeta's Manly Man. Goku is cheerful and childish, while Vegeta is aggressive and stoic. Ironically, Vegeta is more emotional than Goku. Vegeta cries more times on-screen and loses his temper easily, while Goku is usually calm and almost never cries. In the case of appearances, the characters are inverted, with Goku being taller and more physically imposing than Vegeta, who's roughly the same height as his wife.
    • In the Universe Survival Arc, he's the Sensitive Guy to Frieza's Manly Man. Goku is cheerful and childish, and Frieza is ruthless, callous and violent.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Zigzag. He warped Cell away from Earth to King Kai's planet (it was the only place he could think of at the time) before Cell could pull off his Taking You with Me Earth-Shattering Kaboom, and soon after died in the explosion... only for Cell to regenerate From a Single Cell, emerge stronger than ever thanks to his Saiyan "Zenkai" genes, and go right back to Earth to menace it again. It wasn't completely senseless, though... he did save Earth either way.
  • Sensory Overload: Goku nearly passes out when he gets a whiff of Bacterian, a fighter that has never taken a bath in his life and causes people with a normal sense of smell to cover their nose and cry in disgust. Since Goku has a heightened sense of smell, Bacterian's stink hits him even harder.
  • Serial Escalation: Goku started off as a weak Saiyan who could be beaten by a moderately-skilled Earthling martial artists. Through a lifetime of hard work, determination, and his own natural talent, he'd end up attaining legitimate godhood and beyond. Not a bad run.
  • Series Mascot: Goku along with Luffy from One Piece are the mascots for Shonen Jump.
  • Shaping Your Attacks: His Dragon Fist from the non serial movies and GT, where he shapes his ki into a massive Shenron-esque dragon. It's based of off the original Dragon Ball adaptation, where he kills King Piccolo with an attack that took the form of a Great Ape.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Everyone's in Goku's family shares his shares his love for food, nature, helping others, and pure heart. Gohan is more mature and serious, while Goten is like Goku as a child except with some social skills. They all also have powerful tempers that flare up when their love ones are in danger.
  • Shirtless Scene: Of everyone, Goku takes the most clothing damage in the series.
  • Shonen Hair: Incredibly spiky, rendering it in 3D is near impossible, but it had to be done somehow (how else would he get all those action figures on shelves?).
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • Vegeta tries to demean Goku by telling him that was cast out and sent to Earth because he's weak. Goku just tells him that he's grateful to be raise on Earth since he grew stronger being away from the Saiyans.
    • Goku didn't even wait for Jeice to finish his Badass Boast before punching him in the face.
    • Frieza calls him a hypocrite for being mad about him murdering Krillin when the Saiyans were an entire race of killers. Goku's response:
    Goku: They paid for their mistakes.
    • He gives Frieza a short, but sweet response after Frieza mocks him for showing him mercy and how the Legendary Super Saiyan can't even beat a dead planet:
    Goku: Maybe not. But it was enough to beat you, Frieza.
    • After listening to Vegeta's Motive Rant about why he sold out his friends and family for power, Goku punches him in the face while calling him a fool.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: With Raditz. Goku is a selfless, sweet-natured Nice Guy, while Raditz is an evil jerkass.
  • Signature Laugh: Has one for both the Japanese and English dubs. Masako Nozawa gives him a low, 'He, He, He' laugh, while Sean Schemmel gives him a fast and happy 'Ha, Ha, Ha' laugh.
  • Signature Move: Like many martial artists in his 'verse, over his lifetime Goku has accrued a number of fairly unique abilities.
    • The Kamehameha is something he learned as a child and it remains his go-to attack.
    • He also learned Kaio-Ken and Spirit Bomb from King Kai. Though the limitations of Kaio-Ken meant that it was obsoleted by the Super Saiyan transformation until he learned a compatible variation later in life; and the Spirit Bomb was incredibly powerful but had a long wind up time which left Goku vulnerable, and even then it was successful only once if you don't count the movies.
    • He was also the only Super Saiyan for quite a time if you discount Future Trunks's time travelling shenanigans, and he's usually the one paving the way for new Super Saiyan forms.
    • He's the only character we see who learned Instant Transmission which he uses mostly for traveling.
    • He also gains the Dragon Fist from supplemental material.
    • On a more simple level, Goku favors a devastating shot to the solar plexus as an opening or finishing move. It landing almost invariably leaves his opponent doubled over and coughing up blood, if not KO'ed entirely.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Opposing Jiren's Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!, Goku is quick to tell Jiren that his friends are the ones that got him to where his is now and to call Jiren out on his Ineffectual Loner stance. This gets Jiren angry very quickly.
  • Simple Staff: The Power Pole/Nyoi-Bo, which can also extend to extraordinary lengths, even reaching the moon.
  • Single-Episode Handicap: In Super, Goku temporarily loses control of his ki because he's sick with Delayed Onset Ki Syndrome. He can't even fly or teleport properly, making him useless when Pan goes missing. He gets over it by the next episode.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • Sometimes, Goku believes that "fair fights" are more important than saving the world. Examples of this include refusing Kami's help to defeat Piccolo in the 23rd Tenka'ichi Budokai when no-one probably not even the announcer would have cared about disqualification when Piccolo threatened the world, and gave Cell a Senzu Bean in order to make things "fair" with his fight with Gohan.
    • Because of his anger and hatred towards Frieza after becoming a Super Saiyan, he prioritized beating him over escaping an exploding planet and making sure his remaining friends escaped alive.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: In the beginning, he's a powerhouse of brute strength, agility and endurance AND a genius in all things related to martial arts. However, he lacks even the most normal skills, such as personal hygiene, math, social skills and the like. He gets better along the story but remains naive enough to fall for the oldest and dumbest tricks in the book. Case in point: he falls for Raditz's pleas for mercy and claims he'll leave Earth peacefully, and is genuinely shocked that Raditz was lying.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Even when he starts wearing weighted training clothes, the sleeves never come past his triceps. The only exception is when he briefly wore Saiyan armor.
  • Small Steps Hero: Goku will NOT sacrifice anyone, not even villains, unless he's sure that they can come back from the dead, unless it's their own choice, or unless he's tried everything else. Seeing as he's a classic example of an Idiot Hero, he falls back on this trope a lot.
  • Smiting Evil Feels Good: In his youth, Goku really enjoyed beating and even killing people he deemed bad. This can be seen where he mercilessly beats up Mercenary Tao for murdering Bora, chased down Officer Black when he tried to retreat, plummets Tambourine within an inch of his life and stops short of outright killing him just to drag out his suffering, and smiles as beats on King Piccolo. In the dub, King Piccolo lampshades how they both delight in causing pain to their enemies. He gets over this trait as he grows up, and he shows mercy and even sympathy towards his enemies.
  • Smug Smiler: At his cockiest, he will give these kind of smiles. He gives one to King Piccolo after he throws him into a building and to his son, Piccolo Jr, after he waste a bunch of energy on a blast that barely harmed him. After he went Super Saiyan, this becomes his default smile to Frieza when he did smile. When he tells Vegeta up front that he is way stronger than him and he will need an entire year in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber just to keep up, he gives Vegeta this smile.
  • Smug Super:
    • Goku when he was a kid, especially after beating Mercenary Tao and later King Piccolo. He played around during battle, let his opponents hit him, and often gloats about how powerful he was. He got away scott-free with Tao and it took Mr. Popo handing him his tail to deflate his ego after killing Piccolo.
    • He never truly got over it as an adult, either. In his fight against the Ginyu Force Goku is (rightfully) so confident in his abilities that he spent more of the fight trash talking than actually fighting. This comes back to bite him when he has his fight against Ginyu, since he can steal bodies.
    • After becoming a Super Saiyan, Goku could have beating Frieza in minutes, but he allows Frieza to power-up and score free hits just to show Frieza that he never had a chance at winning.
    • Possibly his sickest burn was when he told Vegeta, the king of ego, that he (Goku) was far above Vegeta in terms of strength. This has been the only time Goku has openly acknowledged his superiority to Vegeta verbally and Vegeta needed a whole bag of Senzu after that.
    • Averted throughout the Buu Saga where Goku went out of his way to hide how powerful he is. He purposely didn't fight Vegeta as a Super Saiyan 3 to save energy and Vegeta's feelings, and didn't go all out against Buu because he didn't want to be the one to save the day. He also holds back against Kid Buu because he wants Vegeta to have a turn (he was showing off in the original Japanese anime, though the manga had Goku trying to finish off kid Buu from the start with Buu simply not holding still long enough, tiring him out). In all cases, things would have been better if Goku had acted like a smug super.
    • He falls into this again in Battle of Gods during his first fight with Beerus, going Super Saiyan 3 right off the bat, smugly gloating that he could "dial it back to 2" if Beerus wanted, and getting annoyed when Beerus told him to "just try his best." He gets one hell of a wake-up call when Beerus takes him down with just two hits. This gets expanded on in Dragon Ball Super where Goku tries to fight Beerus as a basic Super Saiyan before powering up to Super Saiyan 2. When Beerus tells him to use his full power, Goku initially refuse, saying that he didn't want to hurt Beerus.
    • Turns out being a Smug Super is one of Goku's Fatal Flaws. Whis berates Goku for being over-confident and relaxing his guard, leaving even his powerful body vulnerable to attack. Frieza takes full advantage of this in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, getting Sorbet to shoot Goku in the heart while his guard is down.
    • Takes this up to John Cena levels in the Universe Survival Saga. After deciding he's gotten rusty thanks to a gunshot from some muggers making him bleed, he just casually goes up to both Zen'os and reminds the present Zen'o of the Universal Tournament promise, completely overestimating the virtue of the childish Top God of the multiverse and resulting in all the Universes now being on the chopping block for deletion. Sure, it turns out the four strongest universes are strong enough to be exempt from the Tournament and the survival stakes, and that the rest of the Universes were just given a chance to fight for survival whereas Zen'o was already considering wiping them all out point blank…but Universe 7 is not only not one of those four strong universes, it's the second weakest. Despite all this, and even after learning of the stakes, his reaction quickly recedes from total shock to mild discomfort and never includes a moment of outrage against Zen'o. Furthermore, he continues to be unpleasantly nonchalant towards all the gods even after his exhibition opponent has talked them all into hating his guts, as he eggs on all their strongest warriors to come at him and saying he'll beat them all, while frequently wearing the type of smug grin that would be more at home on Vegeta, Raditz, or Goku Black. It's to the point where a superhero is stepping up to oppose him and declaring him evil yet his primary care is still about getting a challenging fight.
  • So Last Season:
    • After unlocking the Super Saiyan transformation, he never uses the Kaioken again, except for a filler episode where he fights Pikkon. This become Subverted in Dragon Ball Super where Goku manages to successfully combine Super Saiyan Blue with the Kaioken, taking it all the way to 10X. It is still a work in progress since the combo has a 90% failure rate and can severely hurt or even kill Goku.
    • Played With with the regular Super Saiyan form. In Z, Super Saiyan was obsolete by the end of the Cell Games with Gohan becoming a Super Saiyan 2. It becomes even more useless (outside of taking out Elite Mooks) after Super Saiyan 3, Fusion, and Gohan's Ultimate state are revealed. However, thanks to Goku absorbing the power of godhood into his body, his normal Super Saiyan form is now more powerful than Super Saiyan 3 or Gohan at full power. According to Toriyama, Goku will never use Super Saiyan 2 or 3 again, choosing to instead to improve him normal form and his regular Super Saiyan state since Super Saiyan 2 and 3 are nothing more than extensions to Super Saiyan that drains more energy in the long run. Goku can also make his normal Super Saiyan forms stronger by merging his god energy with it, creating Super Saiyan Blue. At the Universal Tournament, Goku is able to easily overwhelm Frost, who's much stronger than Frieza even after his four months of Training from Hell (bar not having a Super Mode), just by using his gold Super Saiyan form. Although, he does uses Super Saiyan 2 and 3 again in the Future Trunks Saga, he uses Super Saiyan 3 to show Trunks the next level of Super Saiyan, and Super Saiyan 2 is used as an in-between transformation to test opponents who are stronger than a normal Super Saiyan.
  • So Proud of You: For all of the debates on his effectiveness as a parent, he truly does love his sons, and quotes this trope verbatim after Gohan defeats Cell and Old Kai unlocks his full hidden power. He also expresses this to Goten before heading back to the afterlife.
  • Sparing the Aces:
    • This is the reason why Goku spared Vegeta in the original manga and Kai. He thought it was a waste to let such a brilliant fighter die and wanted to fight him again. With that said, Goku stated several times that he would kill Vegeta in their rematch. He only lost the desire after Vegeta was brutally murdered by Frieza and he stopped seeing Vegeta as an enemy.
    • In Resurrection 'F' Goku offers to spare Frieza so he can come back and challenge him again. He even laments that if Frieza wasn't evil he would make a good rival. Unlike the above with Vegeta, this decision did not end well for Goku.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Pronounced "Son Gokū" (with a long vowel "o" and a long vowel "u"), but usually it's spelled "Son Goku" (without any indication of a long vowel), while Toriyama himself writes it as "Son Gokuh". Bandai actually spells it "Son Gokou" in most of their toys and games in what seems to be an attempt to anglicize his name (think of the "cou" in "cougar"), but it only makes thing more confusing since "Gokou" can be mistaken for an entirely different Japanese name ("Gokō"). (Also, in one episode Pilaf reads a sign that says "Welcome back, Goku!", but mispronounces Goku's name as "Go-cow".)
    • However, a very rare way to write his name is "Son Gokuu" with two u's to style after the circumflex, which is arguably a lot closer than the "Gokuh" or "Gokou" writings.
    • His Saiyan birth name is also subject to variations, with most English adaptations using "Kakarot". However, the fact that his fused form with Vegeta is called "Vegetto" (the spelling used by Bandai) and not "Vegerot" seems to suggest that "Kakarotto" is the preferred spelling. Funimation uses the spelling "Vegito", despite them using the Kakarot convention otherwise, while Viz actually changed it to "Vegerot", only to changed it back to Vegetto in later reprints (while oddly enough keeping the "Kakarot" spelling).
    • The Dragon Ball Z Deformation figurine of the infant Goku actually spells his birthname as "Kacarrot", which is inconsistent with the way Bandai spells "Vegetto".
  • Spider-Sense: All the major characters eventually learn how to sense energy, but Goku is the most proficient at it since Kami specifically trained him to use his sixth sense. Not only can he sense an enemy's location and 'see' how events are unfolding, but he can also sense a person's morality aliment, something that is limited to the Namekian race, and can even feel if the person has any killing intent, which is why he didn't move when Trunks first attacked him.
  • Spirited Competitor:
    • He loves finding new opponents to fight, especially if they're really powerful and a good challenge, and even when is on the brink of death from a ruthless and monstrous opponent, he goes out of his way to say "I'm having fun with this." He also only fights people who are willing (most of the villains), and rarely ever kills anyone unless it's a last resort. Contrary to what the first dub states, this is his primary motive in sparing Vegeta's life at the end of the Saiyan Saga. He also expresses a wish (later granted by Yemma) to see Majin Buu reincarnated as a good guy just so he can fight him again.
    • Along with protecting his friends, he agrees to become a Super Saiyan God, despite hating how he achieved it, so he can finally fight Beerus on equal grounds.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, he offers mercy to Frieza, yet again, because he sees him as a Worthy Opponent for becoming so strong within such a short amount of time. This being Frieza, he's beyond any redemption and is killed by Goku's hand.
  • Stern Teacher: Not to Gohan (at least at first) who he trains with kid gloves until Gohan get on him. He is, however, much harsher on Goten and Trunks when he is trying to teach them the Fusion Dance. He yells at them for crying, despite them just learning that Vegeta and Gohan were killed. His time is limited and he didn't have time to fool around.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: He continues to wear modified versions of his old Turtle School gi for years after surpassing Master Roshi. It's not until the final episodes of Z that he does away with it. Ironically, he trades it in for his even older blue outfit from way back in the first story arc.
  • Stock Shōnen Hero: The Trope Codifier, as most of the traits in the trope description are about him. As a kid, he's simpleminded Kid Hero who is naive to the point of stupidity at times, and a Big Eater that can put away 40+ full course meals in one sitting. As an adult, he shows mercy to his enemies, gets excited at almost any challenge, and masters techniques after one glance that took other people years to develop. Even after becoming a master he still trains, believing there's no upper limit to self improvement, and is soon on par with literal gods (and on a first name basis with them). He fights first for the thrill of it, but if his friends (or the world) are threatened he'll surpass any and all limitations to pull out a win. He also becomes very Hot-Blooded when he sees the opportunity to get into a fight.
  • The Stoic: He gains this trait by design in order to tap into Ultra Instinct, which is described as a state in which the user focuses on nothing but the battle and his opponent. The reasons for fighting, what's at stake from the outcome, and other emotions such as fear, uncertainty or anger all become irrelevant; everything is put into attacking and countering the opponent.
  • Story-Breaker Power:
    • Goku was already powerful, being the only unfused character to reach Super Saiyan 3, but his strength went up to literal god levels after he became a Super Saiyan God. Normally, Super Saiyan God is a temporary form that burns out after a set amount of time. However, Goku absorbs the power of godhood into his body making his base form stronger than he ever was as a Super Saiyan. After training with Whis, he learns to fuse his god powers with his normal Super Saiyan form, creating Super Saiyan Blue. By the start of the Champa Saga in Super, only people within Beerus' level of power can challenge him. He manages to get even further by being able to combine Super Saiyan Blue with the Kaioken, something that was thought to be impossible.
    • His Instant Transmission. As long as he can sense someone's energy he can teleport anywhere in the universe and even the afterlife. He can even go the Supreme Kai's planet that is supposed to be impossible for mortals. He can also use Instant Transmission to move around opponents who are faster than him like Beerus, escape lethal attacks like Cell's Kamehameha, or move dangerous objects or people to another location. Only the Kais themselves have a better version of the Instant Transmission and even Beerus must rely on Whis to ferry him across the universe.
    • The aforementioned Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken makes Goku so inhumanely powerful that he can No-Sell Hit's ability to stop time. That said, the fact that it caused his ki to get temporarily stunted rendered it Awesome, yet Impractical.
    • Then there comes Ultra Instinct, which is pretty much the ability to react to any attack without even needing to be aware of it. And this is before he achieves the Mastered variant, which heightens his dull (by Ultra Instinct standards) attacks to the max.
  • Strong and Skilled: Goku is probably the Trope Codifier for anime characters. He possesses both advanced skill in martial arts and the natural fighting power from his Saiyan physiology. He would continuously ascend the power hierarchy until he was the World's Best Warrior of his universe.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Looks just like Bardock (his father) and Goten looks exactly like a young Goku. That changes when Goten gets into his teenage years (and cuts his hair a bit), and there's only a strong resemblance as with Gohan. Goku points it out when he meets Goten for the first time (during his one day on Earth):
    Goku: Hey, I think there's a little me hiding behind your legs, Chichi.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: When Cell freaks out and tries to self-destruct, Goku teleports him away to King Kai's planet and dies when Cell blows up, despite the fact that he could have just teleported back to Earth before that happened (at least in the anime where it takes Cell several seconds to blow up where it was instant in the manga). However, it's heavily implied that Goku allowed himself to be killed, seeing his death as an overall good thing since he was responsible for many of the threats to Earth and it was only luck that Cell survived his self-destruction. Which then brings up the point that Goku's sacrifice, while well-meaning, was pointless in that regard too. Frieza and the Saiyans were always a wide scale threats that could someday come to Earth even if Goku wasn't there and all the other villains who were just doing their own thing in the original series before Goku ever showed up. The point is driven home when the following threat of Majin Buu has nothing to do with Goku at all, as well as the reveal in Resurrection 'F' that his presence on Earth, as well as his status as The Dreaded, was the only thing keeping Frieza's army from returning to Earth.
  • Superior Successor: Goku to all his masters not named Whis. He mastered all of his teachers' techniques and did them better such as the Kamehameha, After Image, Kaioken, and the Spirit Bomb. He is also far superior to his father, who was outstanding for a lower class warrior.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: One of the best known examples. Through intense training, Goku has achieved countless superpower abilities. See Combo Platter Powers for the full list.
  • Super Hero: Goku is often seen as the Japanese's Superman thanks to their similar backstories and heroic qualities, especially in the English dub. He also fits since Goku is both based on and named after Sun Wukong, one of the original classical super heroes in the East.
  • Super Mode: His Kaioken technique, and later the Super Saiyan transformations serve as this. In Super, he can combine the Kaioken with Super Saiyan Blue to create a whole new super mode.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: When he transforms into a Great Ape since he loses all sense of himself and becomes a real monster. Also, when he first becomes a Super Saiyan he is nearly overcome with Unstoppable Rage.
  • Superpower Lottery: Even for a Saiyan, who are an entire race of lottery winners, Goku comes out ahead. He can learn and copy techniques just from seeing them once or twice and his uncanny adaptability gives him immunity to techniques he'd seen before because he knows how to counter them. On top of that, he's one of the handful of characters in the series who can teleport. He is also a genius when it comes to fighting, able to outsmart people who are many times more intelligent than him. He becomes an even bigger winner after he absorbs the power of Super Saiyan God, pushing his ability to new levels and later being able to combine Super Saiyan Blue with the Kaioken.
  • Supporting Protagonist: During Dragon Ball Z. If one looks closely, Z chronicled Gohan's life, despite Goku being The Hero. This has echoes of the relationship between the protagonist and his son in Dragon Quest V; notable because of how much they look like Goku and Gohan, for good reason.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: By the end of the original series, Goku surpasses all his teachers, becoming the strongest thing on the planet; Master Roshi, Master Korin, and Kami. He explicitly has to surpass King Kai in order to have even a remote chance against the Saiyans since they're stronger than him. This is Subverted, however, with Whis. He remains far more powerful than Goku ever after all his training and Word of God states that it will remain that way for a long time.
  • Super Reflexes: The primary benefit of his Ultra Instinct transformation is, along with a massive power boost, Goku's subconscious ability to see, move, and dodge faster than he ever has before. He went from being ganked by Jiren's ki pressure alone, even as a Kaioken x20 Super Saiyan Blue, to dodging him at close range and returning the favor.
  • Super Senses: Goku has a very keen sense of smell, being able to find people or objects by their scents. He says his sense of smell is as sharp as a dog's. He also has very good eyesight, being able to see people from great distances. In Super, it seems Saiyans have better hearing than humans since Goku heard Bulma talking through a wall when she wasn't talking that loud.
  • Super Toughness: Goku's body, in and on itself, is bulletproof, can get hit by a speeding car, and survive at least in Earth's upper atmosphere among other feats. For the big, planet-busting stuff he endures during battles, however, he has to charge his body with his Ki, which is a martial arts discipline. When caught by surprise while he was relaxed, a common ray gun once pierced his chest.
  • Sympathy for the Devil:
    • During the Frieza Saga, Goku ends up feeling this way towards Vegeta after the latter dies tearfully begging him to defeat Frieza and avenge the Saiyan race, to the extent that he takes time out before fighting Frieza to make a grave for Vegeta.
    • After Buu goes on a rampage after killing Babidi, Goku states sadly that this may be the only thing Buu knows how to do. Piccolo is quick to rebuke this, saying that one's background doesn't excuse an act of evil.

    T - U 
  • Take a Third Option:
    • At the very beginning of Z, he's given a Sadistic Choice by Raditz; either he kills 100 humans within the next 24 hours and joins Frieza's army, or Raditz kills Gohan. Instead, Goku forms an Enemy Mine with Piccolo and goes after Raditz directly.
    • When Majin Vegeta threatened to kill everyone at the World Martial Arts Tournament if he didn't fight him and the Supreme Kai warning him that such a battle would revived Majin Buu, Goku decides to fight Vegeta and beat him quickly before Buu can awakening. It didn't work out.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Frieza's entire fighting style consists of torturing and toying with his opponents, and ensuring that they die in pain and despair, knowing they never stood a chance against him. After Goku goes Super Saiyan, he spends the entire fight toying with and brutalizing Frieza just as Frieza had done to all of his victims, wanting to ensure that Frieza realized that even at full power, he never stood a chance against a Super Saiyan. In the end, the only reason Goku tries to spare Frieza is because he felt that letting Frieza live with his pride ripped to shreds was a far worse punishment.
  • Tears of Joy: One of the few times Goku cries is when he sees his grandfather again. The other time is when he avenges Krillin and Master Roshi by killing King Piccolo.
  • Technical Pacifist: After Character Development, while he loves fighting and training to become stronger, he doesn't kill his opponent if he can help it, giving even his worst enemies a Last-Second Chance.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Although Goku is a well-trained martial artist who put in decades worth of hard work to become the best fighter in the universe, his technical skills are below Piccolo, Tien, and even Vegeta. He never invents his own techniques outside the move he used to kill King Piccolo and the canon questionable Dragon Fist. Instead, he relies heavily on learning or copying techniques from his enemies, friends, and teachers and improving upon them or creating variations to make them his own. He is also very playful when fighting and coming up with creative ways to outmaneuver his opponent. When he's not training, he's often relaxing with his family. He tends to be too relaxed even in battle, a weakness that Whis says will be his undoing.
  • Telepathy: He has shown the ability to communicate with his friends through talking to them with his mind. This is how he is able to tell Gohan to redirect the Spirit Bomb, get Gohan attack Vegeta when he's a Great Ape, and get Krillin to spare Vegeta. He even listens in to King Kai and Gura's conversation when he is fighting Frieza, which shocks King Kai since he's able to take to them and fight at the same time. Also on Namek, he shows that he can read minds by physically touching Krillin.
  • Teleportation Rescue:
    • After Tien busts Cell's attempt to absorb Android 18, Cell retaliates and knocks Tien unconscious. Fortunately, Goku uses his Instant Transmission technique to teleport there, grab Tien (and Piccolo, who was also there) and (since Goku knows he isn't powerful enough to fight Cell yet) quickly teleport back to the Lookout.
    • In his second Heroic Sacrifice, Goku saves everyone by teleporting Cell to another planet before he self-destructed.
    • Goku attempts to escape this way when Kid Buu released an energy ball strong enough to destroy the Earth ten times. He couldn't get a signal lock onto, however, and the Supreme Kai had to saved Goku, Vegeta, Mr. Satan, and Dende by using his teleportation technique.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: His Instant Transmission/Shunkan Idou technique. He can teleport to any person he can sense the ki of and take people touching him at the time with him.
  • Terms of Endangerment: In the dub, Buu calls Goku 'dad' after he absorbs Gohan. Goku isn't amused by this at all.
  • Think Nothing of It:
    • Goku did a version of this when he arrives on Planet Namek looking for a new Guardian of the Earth to revive the Dragon Balls. The Namekians recognizes him as the Super Saiyan that defeated Frieza and saved their race. Goku's response is more-or-less, 'don't thank me, your planet still blew up'.
    • When Mr. Satan tries to give Goku the prize money he received for killing Majin Buu, Goku initially turns it down, saying that he didn't beat Buu alone. He only changes his mind after Goten points out that if he takes the money he can quit his farming job to train.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Goku has a few of these across the franchise:
    • He has a version of this trope when he realizes that the only way to match Vegeta who greatly outclass him is to use a Kaioken X3. He was explicitly told by King Kai to never go past a double since his body couldn't handle it and he could explode. Having no choice, Goku braces himself for the pain.
    • In the Buu Saga, he has a visible 'this is gonna to suck' reaction when he comes to the conclusion that he had to merge with Mr. Satan, permanently, in order to have even a slight chance against Buu after he absorbed Gohan, Goten, Trunks, and Piccolo. In the Japanese version, he wonders if he will become weaker from the fusion.
    • Although not said in words, Goku expresses this sentiment to Future Trunks when they're cornered by Goku Black and Future Zamasu, both who are able to beat him up as a Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan, and Trunks only being a Super Saiyan 2. Goku can only tell Trunks to give it all they have and hopefully live long enough to come up with a plan. Also, when Goku Black fires his Kamehameha at them and Future Zamasu holds them in place, Trunks gives a classic Oh, Crap! expression, while Goku only grunts in resignation.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: It takes a lot for Goku to decide someone's crossed the line given how forgiving he is and is a firm believer in second chances. The named characters who successfully crossed this line are: King Piccolo for his murder of Krillin and Master Roshi, Raditz when he tries to kill Gohan, Frieza when he killed Krillin and threatened Gohan, Goku Black when he reveals that he took his body and murdered his family in another timeline, and a space poacher when he brags about stealing animals and selling them on the black market.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Zigzag. When he was a young boy, Goku had no problem killing his opponents, even when they were retreating. He only really restrained himself during tournaments where killing isn't allowed. After training with Kami, he refuses to kill even the most evil opponents. Some of this is because he wants to fight them again like Piccolo and Vegeta (although he swears to kill Vegeta the next time they fight), and Frieza is a case of Cruel Mercy. Although most are a cases of real mercy like him trying to spare Raditz, Nappa, the Ginyu Force, and Mr. Buu. After the Frieza Saga, he becomes more willing to kill like him actively trying to destroy Cell and encourages Gohan to do the same, to him atomizing Majin Buu, even if he did wish for him to be reborn as a good person. He takes no pleasure in killing and will try to spare opponents if possible, like him given Frieza mercy again after he returns to life.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential:
    • After his defeat to Mercenary Tao, Goku climbs Korin Tower, hoping to drink the water that will increase his power. It's not until he gets the water from Korin that he learns that the suppose divine water is just tap water and the skills he gains trying to obtain the water is what really increases his strength,
    • When he is defeated by King Piccolo, he returns to Korin Tower, hoping that he can train again to become stronger. He already surpassed Korin and he can't teach him anything. So, Korin sends him to get the Ultra Divine Water, which is real and will increase his power once he drinks it. Turns out that the Ultra Divine Water is just a really powerful poison that pushes one to the edge of death and if you survive you will become stronger, in theory since no one has actually survived the process. Given the Saiyans' ability to become stronger from being close to death, surviving the ordeal makes Goku extremely strong.
    • After waking from being comatose for ten days, Goku knows he isn't a match for any of the androids. He decides to spend a year in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber to surpass the level of Super Saiyan. He also decides to unlock Gohan's full potential as well, making him stronger than him.
    • Goku tries this when he briefly trains to become a Super Saiyan God. He can't do it since he has no clue how to reach it. He isn't happy when he learns that he has to go through a ritual to obtain godhood and it isn't something he can gain on his own.
    • This is actually hilariously lampshaded by Present Zen'o in Chapter 29. When Future Zen'o asked how many times he'll transform, Present Zen'o started counting on his fingers.
  • To Be a Master: At the start of the series Goku wants to become the strongest fighter on Earth and fight powerful opponents. He achieves this goal when he's a teenager. After learning that he's an alien and is pitiful weak compared to the true monsters in the universe, he refocuses his goal to becoming the strongest in the universe.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Discussed by Frieza in Resurrection 'F'. Goku gives Frieza the chance to walk away a second time instead of just killing him, and gets near-fatally shot by Frieza's henchman Sorbet for his trouble; while he's badly wounded and helpless, Frieza proceeds to literally kick him around like a football, all while rubbing in Goku's face how stupid he was to show him mercy again.
  • Too Hungry to Be Polite: A combination of a childhood spent isolated from society and Saiyan instincts results in Goku having no table manners whatsoever: he wolfs down any food he can get his hands on with such speed and savagery that, no matter how many times his friends bear witness to his voracious eating, they always end up staring silently at his ghastly eating etiquette.
    Piccolo: "Ugh...y'know, I don't think I'll ever get used to this..."
  • Took a Level in Badass: This can easily define the entire Dragon Ball series, to be honest, as nearly every time Goku has to take on a major villain, and gets his Saiyan tail handed to him on a silver platter, he has to undergo some form of training to boost his power levels beyond what was previously thought possible.
    • In the first saga of the series, Goku's Kamehameha can barely wreck a car or put a hole in a steel enforced wall. After training with Master Roshi for eight months, he can produced a Kamehameha equal to him. He can also fight Roshi as an equal when before, Roshi was laughably above him.
    • Goku climbs Korin Tower to drink the Sacred Water that is suppose to make him stronger so he can fight Mercenary Tao, who stomped him effortlessly, and take back the Dragon Balls. Once he descends, he goes from being utterly outmatched against Tao to being his superior.
    • King Piccolo. Goku went from being unable to match the Namekian Demon King to being equal to him in power (even if he isn't equal to him in pragmatism).
    • In the Saiyan Saga, Goku effortlessly beat down Nappa who's about three times stronger than Raditz. The same Raditz that Goku and Piccolo barely beat together, and Goku had to sacrifice his life to win.
    • On Namek, Goku takes out the entire Ginyu Force like they're fodder. This is the same group that terrifies Vegeta and beat him like a little kid. Keep in mind, Goku couldn't beat Vegeta on Earth whose power level was 18,000. The Ginyu Force in comparison is around 40 to 50,000 with Ginyu being a whopping 120,000.
    • In the Android/Cell Saga, Goku was much weaker than the Androids and Cell even in his Imperfect state. By the time he faces Perfect Cell, he is able to fight the bio-android as an equal and pushed Cell harder than anyone outside of Gohan.
    • Every time Goku gained a new Super Saiyan transformation he naturally gained a new level in badass to follow to the point that listing them all here would be pointless. The most notable, beyond Goku's original Super Saiyan form, which allowed him to handle Freeza as if he were Raditz, is the Super Saiyan God form. This form has given Goku the biggest power increase to date, taking him from the threshold of the mortal realm into the realm of the gods.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, he fights Frieza's true form, who has been through Training from Hell for four months, without going Super Saiyan and still overpowers him. Even when Frieza transforms to Golden Frieza, Goku whips out his new transformation which is a step up from Super Saiyan God. Even through Frieza has the upper hand for a time, Goku's greater mastery of his transformation wins out and he curb stomps the tyrant once again.
    • In Dragon Ball Super Goku shows that in his three years of training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber that he leaned how to combine the Kaioken with Super Saiyan Blue. This combination allows to out-speed Hit, who has the ability to freeze time.
    • After finding out that Goku Black murdered alternate versions of Chi-Chi and Goten after stealing his body, Goku becomes so mad that he powers up and beats the crap out of Black and Future Zamasu.
    • In their rematch, Goku is able to counter Hit's advanced Time-Skip techniques without the Kaioken.
    • In the Champa Saga, just activating the the Kaioken with Super Saiyan Blue had a 10% success rate and failure meant Goku would severely hurt his body or even kill him. By the Universal Survival Saga, Goku can activate the base-level Kaioken as much as he wants, multiple times without any distress.
    • In the Universal Survival Saga, he challenges Golden Frieza to a spar. Keep in mind that Golden Frieza not only overpowered Goku in the Resurrection 'F' Saga, but he has gotten even stronger from mental training in Hell. Goku and Frieza both knock each other out in one punch, showing that Goku is Golden Frieza's equal even if he has gotten stronger.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • It happened before the beginning of the original Dragon Ball, but Goku was once a terrible toddler who terrorized Gohan Sr. despite the latter's best efforts to raise him. It is not complete clear thanks to additional information if it was the head-injury alone, Gohan's kindness along with inheriting his mother's gentle heart, or a little bit of both that causes Goku to become the good-hearted boy we know and love.
    • He also becomes more merciful to his opponents, willing to spare their lives and offer them Last Second Chances instead of outright killing them like he did with Officer Black, King Piccolo, and all Piccolo's children outside Piccolo Jr.
  • Tough Love:
    • Gohan gets on Goku for not doing this to him while they are training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. He wants his father to push him to the point of death so he can become a Super Saiyan and surpass him. Although Goku isn't happy about this, he does oblige.
    • He orders Goten and Trunks to stop crying after he informs them of Gohan and Vegeta's deaths to Majin Buu. While harsh, Goku's time is limited and he needs to teach them the Fusion Dance before he returns to Otherworld for good.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The Four-Star Dragon Ball, one of the mementos his grandpa left him before he died. Goku's exploits during the Red Ribbon Army Saga centers around tracking down the ball. He later retrieves the ball for his son's hat, saying he wants Gohan to have it. His Power Pole is also a keepsake from his grandfather. Ox-King immediately recognizes it as belonging to his old friend.
  • Training from Hell: Although born with nearly endless potential, Goku had a very low battle power for a Saiyan and was classified as a lower class warrior. It's through years of hard and dedicated work that he has become so powerful. Goku even cites this as the reason why he, a lower class warrior, can surpass Vegeta, the Saiyan Prince, during their first battle. He also disliked Super Saiyan God because it's a level giving to him and not something he earned himself.
  • Tranquil Fury: When he's pissed, this is what you'll expect from him aside from the occasional Unstoppable Rage. Moments where this is most apparent is when he comes back from training on King Kai's planet and beat the shit out of Nappa for murdering his friends and when he goes Super Saiyan for the first time and decimates Frieza, which is a mixture of this and Unstoppable Rage. In Super where, unlike the movie where Goku is rather uncaring about Frieza, he shows more emotions given that Frieza murdered Piccolo, badly wounded Gohan, and keeps trying to kill his friends during their fight. Although he never raises his voice except once, he tells Frieza that he feels nothing but contempt and anger towards him, and doesn't even feel his normal excitement at facing a strong opponent to boot. There's also his Unstoppable Rage against Goku Black after he admitted with glee that he had murdered his family, which manifests as a quiet wrath that made him single-minded in his new goal of slaughtering him in retribution. This is his default state when he taps into Ultra Instinct, as he becomes perfectly calm, composed and mostly taciturn, while his opponents bear the brunt of one of the most savage beatdowns that they will ever get.
  • Trauma Conga Line: The King Piccolo Saga was this for Goku. First, he loses the tournament because he's hit by a pick-up trunk at the worst possible moment, and then his best friend and training partner is murdered because he forgot his Dragon Ball and Power Pole at the stadium. When he tries to avenge his murder, he's beating to a pulp because he's tired and hungry from the tournament. When he does avenge Krillin, he's beating closed to death by King Piccolo and has the Dragon Ball that he was protecting stolen. He later learns that his master and father figure is also killed by Piccolo (although indirectly). By the time Goku is lying on the ground because Piccolo disable both of is legs, you can tell that he reached his breaking point.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening:
    • He achieved Super Saiyan after watching Krillin die a second time and Freeza threatening to kill his son Gohan next.
    • Something similar happens in Battle of Gods, where he reactivates the Super Saiyan God form after remembering that he isn't just fighting to prove himself against Beerus; everyone needs him and if he dies, his family and friends will all die as well.
    • Happens again during his fight with Jiren in the Tournament of Power. After his own Spirit Bomb is reflected back at him, desperate to survive against it, Goku awakens Ultra Instinct to combat Jiren's immense power. After this moment, he reawakens the power to use Ultra Instinct when pushed to his limit and at the edge of losing, as seen with his fight against Kefla, and when he awakened it for real in the final battle with Jiren.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Before his head injury, Goku was a violent toddler who attacked Grandpa Gohan and tried to kill him upon meeting him. While these traits are normal for Saiyan children, who are normally sent to wipe planets, Goku's behavior is outright terrifying for a human.
  • True Companions: Tends to form them with his former enemies and hurting his friends is a sure-fire way of pissing him off.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Is willing to forgive anybody and give them a second chance: Yamcha for trying to rob him blind, Krillin for starting out as a bully, Piccolo Jr. for being the son of a demon who attempted to Take Over the World, Vegeta for commanding the murder of almost everyone he loved, and Majin Buu for destroying the human race. All of them eventually became noble heroes and protectors of life. The only people he has never forgiven in his adult years are Frieza, Cell, and Super Buu. In Super, when Frieza is brought back to life, Goku still clearly hates him and personally notes that it's rare for him to feel that way. And even then, he expresses disappointment that Frieza isn't a good person.
  • Tyke-Bomb: As an toddler, he was sent to Earth with the intention that he would wipe out the inhabitants as he grew up, which was standard practice for all weak Saiyan babies. However, hitting his head as a kid caused him to lose his memory along with the Saiyan race's characteristic bloodlust. In Dragon Ball Minus, it's revealed that Goku was actually sent to Earth for his protection since Bardock suspected Frieza was up to no good when he recalled all the Saiyans back to Planet Vegeta. Even then, he was still horribly violent and often attacked the senior Gohan. Part of the reason why Goku was sent to Earth was because no one would care if he wiped the planet.
  • The Unchosen One:
    • He more or less calls himself this when Vegeta dismisses him as lower class trash who was thrown away because he was born a weakling. As Goku puts it, being raised on Earth allowed him to grow up and surpass an elite through hard work. Ironically, it later turns out that despite his birth, he's a more talented warrior than Vegeta, which actually causes them to switch roles with Goku being The Chosen One and Vegeta being The Unchosen One.
    • If you count Broly's existence, Goku becomes this since Broly is the true Legendary Super Saiyan. Doesn't stop Goku from beating him, although he needed the help of his friends to do it.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Despite Goku's sportsman-like nature, he does underestimate his opponents at times:
    • When he first meets King Piccolo, he dismisses him as not being particularly strong. He gets a rude wake-up call after Piccolo beats him so brutally that his heart temporarily stops.
    • He thought he would have an easy time with Mr. Popo after he beat King Piccolo, becoming the strongest in the world. He's left stunned and angry that Mr. Popo made an utter fool out of him.
    • Goku acknowledge that he underestimated Nappa after he takes several powerful hits from him and is still able to fight.
    • Like everyone else in the cast save for King Kai, Goku didn't realize how powerful Frieza was until he revealed that half of his max power could crush him.
    • Goku truly believes that Super Saiyan 3 will be too much for Beerus, offering to turn it down to Super Saiyan 2. Goku can't even touch Beerus and goes down in two hits.
    • Goku and Vegeta badly underestimated Goku Black since they were told that he was only as strong as Super Saiyan 3 Goku at his maximum power. They didn't expect Black to become strong enough to beat back a Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan, have his own Super Saiyan form, or to have an energy sword that could pierce though Vegeta like he's made of cardboard. He also underestimated Future Zamasu since the last time they fought, he was far weaker than Goku and wasn't an immortal.
    • This also applies to himself, as a lot of his enemies underestimate just how powerful he really is. Notable cases include the Ginyu Force, opponents from his first Tenkaichi Budokai debut since he's just a kid, and Champa, who is shocked when Goku easily beat Botamo and would have crushed Frost if he hadn't cheated.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Downplayed In his youth: Goku did have formal training, but his Grandpa died before it was completed. Because of that, Goku relied heavily on his brute strength, speed, and his natural ability to mimic the skills and moves of his opponents. Master Roshi actually called him wild and strong during the 21st Tournament. His skills were refined under Master Roshi and Korin respectively, who taught him how to predict his opponent's movements, but he still remained fairly undisciplined as Mr. Popo notes when he calls Goku out on his wasteful movements and energy. By the time he rejoins his friends during the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, he's not only stronger and faster, but he learns how not to waste energy and used minimal force to take down weaker opponents.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When he is truly pissed off. He is closed to foaming at the mouth in anger when Tambourine murders Krillin and didn't calm down until he killed the monster. After turning Super Saiyan the first time, he switches between this and Tranquil Fury. Also, there was his rage-fueled rampage after Goku Black and Future Zamasu decided to twist the knife and admit to to him that Black had murdered his other self's family. When Jiren tries to murder his friends and family in the stands all because he didn’t like what Goku had to say about his habits as a cold loner, Goku loses all patience with him and proceeds to soundly crush Jiren in one of the most brutal and one-sided fights in Dragon Ball history.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Him letting Vegeta train first in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. When Vegeta left the chamber to fight Cell, he is so arrogant in his new power that he allows Cell to become complete to stroke his own ego, which leads to the deaths of Goku, Trunks, and Android 16.
    • While Goku, by his own admission, could have killed the Fat Majin Buu at Super Saiyan 3, he deliberately chose not to because he wanted to give Trunks and Goten the chance to do so and because he didn't want the next generation to think they could just depend on him all the time, especially since he was dead at the time and only had a one day pass. Goku's inaction leads to the birth of Super Buu, resulting in things getting much worse before they get any better.
    • On another level, him holding back during the fight against Vegeta to save his pride causes Vegeta to believe that he can defeat Buu and leads to his Senseless Sacrifice. Vegeta makes sure to chew Goku out over this when he's semi-revived near the end of the Buu Saga.
    • During the Future Trunks Saga of Super, his meeting and subsequent sparring match with Zamasu ends up triggering his Start of Darkness. After seeing how Goku, a mere mortal, could become powerful enough to challenge the gods, Zamasu begins a downward spiral, going from simply distrusting mortals and seeing them as foolish to a full-blown Jerkass God who seeks to wipe out all mortal life.
    • He reminds Zen'o of the multiversal tournament promise he made back in the Champa Saga. Zen'o decides that the losing universes will be destroyed, putting the multiverse in danger of destruction. And then it's revealed he was already planning to do this anyway, and Goku's tournament simply gave him a convenient excuse and a reason to spare one of the eight universes he was targeting, subverting this trope.
  • Upbringing Makes the Hero: Along with his head injury and inheriting his mother's gentle heart, being raised by the kind-hearted Grandpa Gohan makes him into a hero.
  • Use Your Head: As in a headbutt. In his younger years it's practically his finishing move. Goku uses this to finish off Staff Officer Black and ring out Piccolo. He does it again in Super when Vegeta tells him to "use his head" to beat Botamo.
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    V - Z 
  • Victory by Endurance: Although he is stronger than Frieza after becoming a Super Saiyan, he mostly beats Frieza because his power began to rapidly drop after he uses his full strength. As Goku surmises, Frieza can't control his full power since he never had to fight seriously before, which is why he burns himself out in such a short amount of time. His victory over Frieza in Resurrection 'F'. While Frieza's new Golden Super Mode is initially stronger than even Goku's Super Saiyan Blue transformation, because Frieza rushed right to Earth after unlocking the form without bothering to master it, he's plagued with the same stamina issues that he had with his original 100% form; all Goku has to do is stall for a few minutes, and Frieza burns himself out to the point where his attacks can't even hurt Goku. In the retelling in Dragon Ball Super, the endurance part is played up more because Frieza has better control over his power and smacks Goku around in his golden form longer, flooring him more than a couple of times. Then Frieza gets serious and fights at his full power, and not even a minute later his power drops like a rock. It's so bad that Goku is in better condition while Frieza is literally panting on the ground without Goku even touching him.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: During the Saiyan and Frieza Sagas, Goku repeatedly refuses to kill even the most evil of opponents and often spares them, something Vegeta calls him out on after Goku subdues the Ginyu Force only for Vegeta himself to kill them. It comes back to bite him more than once; for example, during the battle with Frieza, despite all of the horrible things Frieza has done, including personally killing Goku's best friend Krillin, Goku spares his life twice, which only prompts Frieza to try to stab him in the back both times. From that point onwards, Goku becomes more willing to kill his opponents, actively trying to kill Cell and openly encouraging Gohan to do the same.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Bulma and Goku starts with this kind of relationship. Goku is quick to point-out how weak and useless Bulma is, while Bulma often yells about how naive Goku is. This is especially apparent in the first story arc where they both show little respect for one another. Despite that, they do care for each other with Bulma worrying about Goku's safety and Goku rescuing Bulma when she's in trouble, even if he sometimes complain about it. By the time of Z the vitriolic part is all but gone, although it does pop up every blue moon, such as the ending to Battle of Gods.
    • Goku and Krillin also started as this, although it's mostly on Krillin's part. He was jealous of Goku's natural fighting talent, often annoyed by how naive he was, and often embarrassed with Goku's antics like him stripping in public. By the introduction of Piccolo Jr, the vitriolic with Krillin was all gone, never to return.
    • With Vegeta after the events of the Buu Saga. The two fight and bicker Like an Old Married Couple.
  • Vocal Dissonance:
    • In the Japanese version as an adult, he has the exact same voice actor as he did as a child. While Masako Nozawa does deepen her voice as adult Goku, he still has a high-pitch voice. This is averted in almost all foreign dubs (including English) where the grown-up Goku has a more mature sounding voice since he's voiced by a man, although Peter Kelamis (his second Ocean voice actor) and MasakoX (his voice actor in the abridged series) replicate Nozawa's performance fairly faithfully. This has the side-effect of casting Goku in a different light depending on the version, even when faithfully translated; while Japanese Goku is essentially his old 12-year-old self trapped in a man's body, English (and international) Goku comes across as more of an adult man who happens to be amusingly childish.
    • The infamous AB Groupe dub, on the other hand, goes in the exact opposite direction by giving Goku a very gruff, manly voice that completely ignores his boyishness and sounds more similar to Sonny Strait's Bardock.
  • Voice of the Legion: When in his incomplete Ultra Instinct form, Goku has this, in all languages. Whenever he's not outright speaking, his voice is accompanied by his Oozaru voice.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: The Wacky Parent to Gohan's Serious Child. Goku is quite childish, immature, and goofy, while Gohan is more down-to-earth and serious to the point that he acts more mature than his dad, when he's only five years old. Unlike most, however, Gohan is rarely embarrassed by his dad, except when he freaks out over seeing a needle.
  • Walking the Earth: After the events of the Red Ribbon Army Saga he was told to travel around the world and experience life by Master Roshi. The catch, he had to travel the world by foot because he couldn't use the Flying Nimbus. He walked the Earth for three years.
  • We Do the Impossible: The primary reason why he is seen as The Ace and the Hope Bringer. He is known for doing the impossible from single-handedly destroying an entire army, defeating the Demon King and all his children, doing it again three years later, thwarting an alien invasion from members of his own race, taking down the most elite fighting force in the universe, regularly defeats those called the strongest in the universe, and escaped an exploding planet, twice. At times his friends truly believe that he is invincible. This is taken Up to Eleven after Battle of Gods since Goku can be considered a deity of Saiyan origin with his mastery of Super Saiyan God, therefor making his actions a case of Divine Intervention.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Compared to the Saiyans at the beginning of Z Goku is this. Since he was raised on Earth which have weak fighters compared to the rest of the universe and low gravity, Goku lacks any real strength when Raditz comes looking for him. However, Goku has actual martial arts training, which allows him to sense energy, hide his power, and have great control of his ki, something that surprises Raditz when Goku bends his Kamehameha and raises his battle strength at various points.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: In the Otherworld Tournament filler, Goku shows that he's exceptionally vulnerable to being tickled given that Caterpy is able to hold Goku in place and torture him for several minutes despite Goku being many times stronger than him without becoming a Super Saiyan. In GT, he loses to a weak child by being distracted by Vegeta and tickled out of the ring.
  • Weaponized Teleportation: Goku's Instant Transmission and Kamehameha combo.
  • What the Hell Are You?:
    • Happens quite a bit in Goku's childhood. He would do something so over the top or extraordinary that people, including his own friends, would question what the hell was he and question if he was human.
    • King Piccolo has this reaction after Goku survived a blast that nuked an entire city:
      King Piccolo: This can't be happening! This isn't supposed to happen! There's no way a mere human can stand on equal ground with King Piccolo!
    • Frieza has a moment after he realizes what a Super Saiyan is capable of. Frieza blasts Goku square in the face with his Death Beam (the same technique that killed Vegeta), sending his head reeling backwards. But Goku just slowly lowers his gaze back to normal like nothing happened. It's at that moment Frieza realizes just what he's dealing with:
      Frieza: You...you...what are you?!
      Goku: I am the hope of the universe. I am the answer to all living things that cry out for peace. I am protector of the innocent, I am the light in the darkness. I am truth. ALLY TO GOOD! NIGHTMARE TO YOU!
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: When Chi-Chi says that she loves him, he asks what did that mean. She responds by kissing him.
  • What's Up, King Dude?: Goku rarely treats kings or even gods with any greater respect than he would show to anyone unless told to do so by someone else. This gets him in trouble in Dragon Ball Super where his treatment of Zen'o the King of All is typically casual. While Zen'o likes his approach, everyone else is horrified by it, and Beerus warns that treating Zen'o so lightly when he has the power to destroy entire universes in an instant is a disaster waiting to happen.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Chi-Chi calls Goku out all the time for putting Gohan in danger by taking him into battle, although most of those situations were out of Goku's hands.
    • King Kai yells at Goku to finish off Frieza before he reached his max power so he can leave the planet with his friends. Goku completely disregards his warnings even when he's told to think of his son, Piccolo, and Bulma. He gets another when King Kai tells him it's better to escape the exploding Namek with the Dragon Balls instead of fighting to the death against Frieza and is once again ignored. By that point, King Kai considers Goku a lost cause.
    • Vegeta of all people scolds him for fighting Android 19 despite knowing something was wrong with his body and going Super Saiyan on top of that, which made his sickness worse.
    • Piccolo does not take well to Goku's Xanatos Gambit to beating Cell (throwing Gohan out to fight, hoping that he will attain a power beyond Super Saiyan) and calls him out on it. Goku reacts with a My God, What Have I Done? moment when it finally sinks in that Gohan is probably going to die, and now it's too late to do anything about it. Fortunately, Gohan doesn't die, but Piccolo is quite angry at the fact that Goku has basically thrown his own son into a death match against an incredibly powerful sadist. Which is interesting on Piccolo's part given that this is the same person who kidnapped Gohan when he was four to train to fight against two super-powered aliens who were known for their cruelty and wondered why Gohan was so ineffective despite Krillin pointed out that Gohan was five and never been in a live battle.
    • Before then, everyone went 'what the hell' when Goku quit the fight against Cell, including Cell himself.
    • Vegeta also gives Goku quite a few during the latter sections of the Buu saga. First, when Vegeta is called back to Earth to help fight Buu, he gives Goku the cold shoulder, having found out that Goku deliberately held back the usage of his Super Saiyan 3 form during their previous fight. This caused Vegeta to believe that he could win and ultimately lead to his Senseless Sacrifice against Buu. Later, Vegeta delivers another scathing reproach of Goku after they escape the destruction of Earth, calling out Goku for saving Dende and Hercule while leaving their children (and Piccolo) to die in the planet's ensuing explosion. Immediately after, he yells at Goku for promising the Elder Kai a chance to gain acquaintance with Bulma. Finally, he's startled when Goku reveals that he had the chance to kill Buu in his Super Saiyan 3 form, but chose not to.
    • After the people of Earth refused to give any of their energy to help with the Spirit Bomb after Vegeta and he begged them and Vegeta was slowly being beaten to death by Buu along with the good version of Majin Buu being mortally wounded, Goku snaps and calls the people of Earth morons.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods Goku got an earful from Piccolo, Vegeta, Bulma, and Oolong when they learned he was watching the fight with Beerus from a safe distance instead of rushing to help them when they were getting their butts beaten.
    • In Dragon Ball Super King Kai asked what Goku was thinking fighting Beerus. He says to the effect, 'what were you even fighting for?'.
    • Also from Super, Piccolo gets on Goku for being careless with his Kamehameha after he achieved godhood. Goku is so giddy about his new power that he forgot that his friends were there.
    • And again from Super, he gets one from Beerus of all people for reminding Zen'o and of the multiverse martial arts tournament he promised, because he was bored. Beerus' warnings turn out to be correcting since Zen'o declared that any losing universe will be destroyed. Gohan also isn't happy when he learns about this rule and yells at his father for not having a plan if their universe ends up on the chopping block.
    • No one is happy when they learned that Goku lied about there being prized money for the winner of the Tournament of Power. Krillin is especially hurt since his best friend lied to him.
  • White Sheep: To the entire Saiyan race after his head injury. All Saiyans, except for a named few, are violent, ruthless, cold-blooded murderers. Goku is kind, good-natured, and only takes a life when he has no other choice (or someone killed Krillin, wherein he will be out for blood).
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: A rare non-villainous example. For most of Z, Goku avoids killing his enemies as much as possible, which comes back to bite him more than once, most notably when he stupidly falls for Raditz's pleas for mercy. It's taken to ludicrous extremes in Resurrection 'F', in which, despite his previous attempt at giving Frieza mercy having backfired spectacularly, he gives Frieza the chance to walk away and master his new Golden Super Mode so they can fight again.
  • Wild Child: He was raised by his grandfather, but he died when Goku was still young. So, Goku spent a lot of his early childhood in the mountains, picking up traits and instincts of the animals around him. Because of this, he has No Social Skills by the time Bulma finds him.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: As a child, he was extremely naive and innocent to the point of not being able to sense bad intentions in people and thinking of the best of everyone he meets, even when they have shown themselves to be shady and untrustworthy. For example, he considers Bulma his friend, while at the same time telling her that she isn't a good person. He happy to see Yamcha when he was fighting Boss Rabbit and figures he's here to help, despite Yamcha trying to rob and murder him just days before. He also calls Krillin his friend, after he constantly tricks him and cost him dinner. As an adult, he's still idealist to the point of being The Pollyanna, but he's usually aware of ill-intentions, mostly because he can sense ki and feel hostility.
  • Willfully Weak: Goku always holds back his full power even when he's in the middle of a tough fight. He does this either to conserve energy, or to keep from killing or seriously hurting his opponents. Unless pushed, he won't go beyond a basic Super Saiyan. Goku tells Pikkon during their match in the Otherworld Tournament that his skill in combat is directly proportional to the seriousness of the threat he's facing. This can also be seen in Super during the Champa arc, where he fights Botamo and Frost, and didn't use his god power-up. This is deconstructed during the Buu Saga, where his holding back and hiding Super Saiyan 3 led not only to Vegeta's Senseless Sacrifice against Buu, but the birth of Super Buu.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: When Goku went Super Saiyan the first time, he is not completely sane. He is so overtaken by rage that he prefers torturing Frieza rather than escaping the exploding Namek.
  • The Worf Barrage:
    • The Kamehameha Wave, once considered one of the most powerful energy attacks in the series, gets hit with this over time; Mercenary Tao suffers nothing but Clothing Damage, and King Piccolo doesn't even suffer that much from a direct hit.
    • The Spirit Bomb. Despite being hyped up as all-powerful, last minute countermeasure, Goku has only succeeded in killing one opponent with it: Kid Buu. That being said, in the movies, it has a much higher success rate.
  • The Worf Effect: The best way to let everyone know that the cast is in really deep trouble, Goku will be beaten badly by the latest threat. This doesn't happen too often, at least compared to other characters, so the impact is still quite powerful:
    • In the first story arc, Goku was nearly invincible with Yamcha only coming close to beating him because he was hungry. Then he met the Ox-King. His attacks didn't even make the guy flinch. He was only saved because Ox-King recognizes the Flying Nimbus as belonging to his former master.
    • While training, Master Roshi demonstrates to both Krillin and Goku that he is much faster than them.
    • While searching for the Four-Star Dragon Ball, Goku has a fairly easy time fighting the Red Ribbon Army with only General Blue proving any real challenge. When Mercenary Tao came, he easily beats Goku and nearly kills him with a well placed Dodon Ray.
    • After easily handling Tambourine, the monster who murdered Krillin and dozens of other renowned martial artists, Goku gets beaten so badly by King Piccolo that his heart stops.
    • At the beginning of Z Goku gets owned by his older brother, Raditz. This is after he becomes the strongest thing on Earth with only Piccolo being close to his equal. To add further to the worf, Raditz is a weakling compared to his companions.
    • After he easily mops the floor with Nappa, Goku struggles against Vegeta, who he can barely touch with a X2 Kaioken. He is forced to use a Kaioken X3 to overwhelm Vegeta and that badly damages his body.
    • Goku is able to fight almost evenly with Frieza in his final form. Before then, even Vegeta at his absolute best couldn't touch him. Then, Frieza powers up to half of his maximum power and beats the crud out of Goku. To add further insult, Frieza claims that he's barely pushing a third of his power and half is simply overkill. Even using a Kaioken X20 and a Spirit Bomb the size of a small moon didn't slow Frieza down. Things only turn around after Goku ascends to Super Saiyan.
    • The first sign of just how powerful Beerus is in Battle of Gods? Goku can't land a single hit on him at Super Saiyan 3, and Beerus takes him down with just a flick of the finger and a karate chop.
  • Worf Had the Flu:
    • Played for Laughs in the first story arc. When Goku is in the middle of his fight with Yamcha, he loses energy because he's hunger, which greatly weakens him. Before Yamcha can take advantage of this, however, he gets interrupted by Bulma. Yamcha freaks out when he sees her and runs away.
    • Played for Drama when Tambourine nearly kills a tired Goku after the 22nd World Tournament.
    • He gets his heart virus in the middle of his fight against Android 19, which causes him to rapidly lose energy and is nearly killed. Before then, he dominated the fight.
    • When Cell releases the Cell Juniors, only Vegeta and Trunks manage to hold their own against them. Goku is beaten badly by his Cell Junior due to being exhausted from his own fight with Cell and having not taken a Senzu Bean.
    • Goku says that the reason he had so much trouble with Super Saiyan 3 after coming back to life is because he isn't use to having a living body after being dead for seven years. His dead body was much more durable and had nearly endless energy.
    • Actually subverted in his fight with Future Zamasu in the Super manga. His failed attempt at using the Evil Containment Wave was explicitly stated to have drained most of his power, on top of eliminating his ability to transform into Super Saiyan Blue. Despite this, Zamasu is so weak compared to him that Goku is still able to smack him around easily.
  • World's Best Warrior: Despite being surpassed by various people at different points, most of the characters agree that Goku is this, including Vegeta who outright calls him the best near the end of the series. Gohan calls him the 'Greatest Fighter Ever' and the 'Strongest in the Universe', even during the times he surpasses his father in power. Perhaps his nearly perfect success rate when fighting an opponent, even ones stronger than him, has something to do with this. Shown in Battle of Gods where he is chosen to become a Super Saiyan God over the equally qualified Vegeta and Gohan, and he performs better against Hit during the Universal Tournament in his base form than Vegeta did when he was going at full power. The manga version justifies this by stating that Vegeta actually wasn't at full power, having stupidly wasted 90% of his strength just by transforming twice, but the fact Goku knew not to make that mistake just makes it an even stronger example of this trope.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Goku's famous line to Frieza after he'd transformed into a Super Saiyan for the first time, according to the first English Z dub:
    Goku: "I am the hope of the universe! I am the answer to all living things that cry out for peace! I am protector of the innocent! I am the light in the darkness! I am Truth! Ally to good, nightmare to you!"
    • The Dragon Ball Kai version, which far more closely mirrors the original Japanese and video game versions:
    Goku: "I'm a proud Saiyan who calls Earth home, and I'm here to defeat you. I am the warrior you've heard of in legend, pure of heart and awakened by fury, that's what I am. I AM THE SUPER SAIYAN, SON GOKU!"
  • The World Is Just Awesome: After going on his first adventure for the Dragon Balls, Goku is enthralled by everything on Earth and will often sightsee on the Flying Nimbus. This trait is Downplayed when he grows up, but he still become wide-eyed when he sees something interesting.
  • World's Strongest Man: He holds this title at various points throughout the series although he has been upstaged several times. note  By Battle of Gods, it's strongly hinted that Goku regains this status, which is why Vegeta freaks out when he hears that Goku lost to Beerus in only two hits and Beerus still outclasses Goku even after he gains several major power-ups. In Dragon Ball Super, after the revelation that Monaka isn't the powerful fighter that Beerus makes him out to be, Goku becomes the strongest mortal fighter in Universe 7, especially after he manages to combine the Kaioken with Super Saiyan Blue.
    • During the tournament of power, Goku takes this trope to new heights when he gains and masters the power of Ultra Instinct allowing him to become faster, more skilled and stronger than any other fighter there. Unfortunately, it's still not enough to beat Jiren who either outlasts him (in the anime) or punches him out of Ultra Instinct (manga). But as he masters it and finally beats Jiren to the ground he regains this title.
    • He loses his title of strongest mortal fighter of Universe 7 in Dragon Ball Super: Broly to the titular saiyan since not only was he unable to defeat him, but Vegeta and Frieza, two of the other strongest fighters of Universe 7, also weren't able to even when he teamed up with the former.
  • Worthy Opponent: Goku has a lot of rivals and few do fit this trope:
    • At the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, Tien proves to be his perfect equal and gives Goku his toughest match since Mercenary Tao. During the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, Goku removes his weighed clothes to fight Tien, something that impressed Kami since Goku only removes his cloths when he's being serious.
    • Piccolo. After Goku beats him at the 23rd Martial Arts Tournament, he lets Piccolo live not only for Kami and the Dragon Balls' sake, but also because he gave him such a good match on top of not being as evil as his father. Even after he greatly surpassed Piccolo, he still sees him as a sparring partner.
    • Vegeta. In original manga/anime and the dub of Kai, this is the reason why he begs Krillin to spar his life. He wants to fight Vegeta again since he proves to be the better fighter at the time. Goku still uses Vegeta as a measuring bar for himself, even after he greatly surpasses him.
    • Frieza. Goku hates this guy, but acknowledges him as a powerful fighter who pushed him to his limits. Goku was actually saddened as he witnessed Frieza's spectacular fall from grace. In Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, Goku offers Frieza the chance to leave peacefully and fight again once he mastered his new transformation. This is Downplayed in Dragon Ball Super, where Goku purely despises Frieza and only spares him because he sees Frieza as too pathetic to kill. Even when forced to work with Frieza during the Universal Survival Saga, he makes it clear that he doesn't like the guy and if he steps out of place, he will stop him.
    • He doesn't like Cell since he's a mass-murdering android, but he respects his strength and bows out gracefully from the Cell Games, calling Cell the better fighter.
    • Majin Buu, specifically his final, pure form. Goku had so much fun fighting him that he wished that King Yemma would bring him back as a good person so they can fight again. He gets his wish in Uub, who he takes in as his student.
    • The God of Destruction Beerus. He remains one of the few people to beat Goku in a straight fight and he did it twice. Goku respects him as the strongest in the universe and the bar to surpass.
    • In Super, Goku views Frost as this, since he is a Good Counterpart to Frieza who fights for a noble cause on top of being very powerful. This is before he learns that Frost is a dirty cheater who is just as bad if not worse than Frieza.
    • At the same tournament, Goku begins to see Hit as this to the point that he shows Hit the technique he has been perfecting for his rematch against Beerus. It is the combination of Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan and the Kaio-Ken, a combo so unstable that it has a 90% failure rate and is incomplete, but Goku feels Hit deserves nothing less. When their fight gets interrupted mid match, and Goku realizes that Hit couldn't go all out during their match due to the no kill rule the tournament dictates, Goku puts a hit out on himself so that he and Hit can both have the rematch they want.
  • Would Hit a Girl: If she attacks him first, she's capable/strong enough to give him problems, and she's not Chichi, he will fight back. The most prominent example being him knocking out Lunch (in her violent "Kushami" personality. Inverted when he does fight Chichi in the world tournament, though; he only dodges her attacks and refuses to lay a hand on her, so he defeats her by using his fist to create a wave that knocks her out of the ring. Then again, considering she claimed that he promised to marry her, he might just have not wanted to hit his potential fiancee (and immediately did propose after learning it's the truth).
    • This is most evident during the Tournament of Power, whereupon Goku has no issues whatsoever with fighting Califla, Kale, or any of the other female fighters with no hesitation.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Initially, he refuses to fight Arale since she's a child, even if she's strong enough to knock base form Vegeta through a wall. It's not until he remembers her after she headbutts Vegeta over the horizon that he changes his mind and goes all out.
  • Wowing Cthulhu: Goku lost to Beerus in the end despite his best efforts, but he left a noticeable impression on the God of Destruction, which gets him to spare the Earth and see Goku as a Worthy Opponent.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: An anime filler has him use a Boston Crab. He also uses the giant swing, though he uses more as a hammer throw than as a dizzying technique.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good:
    • During the Namek Saga, he tried to convince Captain Ginyu to switch sides after seeing that he had a sense of honor, but Ginyu blatantly refused on the grounds that hurting and lording over other people was what made him happy.
    • In Resurrection 'F', upon seeing how strong Frieza had become in such a short amount of time, Goku remarks that Frieza could have been a perfect sparring partner for him if he wasn't pure evil, and outright declares his newfound power a "waste of talent." In response, Frieza states that that kind of attitude is just one of many reasons he can't tolerate Goku's mere existence.
  • You Didn't Ask: During the Red Ribbon Army Saga, this is his response to Bulma and Krillin realizing that the Red Ribbon Army was after him:
    Goku: No one ever asked me about the Red Ribbon Army.
  • You Fool!:
    • When Frieza shoots Goku when his back was turn, Goku screams this before mercilessly blasting Frieza, nearly killing the tyrant. Given that this was Frieza's second Backstab Backfire after Goku gave him enough energy to escape the dying Namek, you can understand why Goku lost his patience.
    • He calls Vegeta a fool once he realizes that Vegeta purposely let himself fall under Babidi's control for power.
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