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Recap / DEATH BATTLE! S02E25 - Goku VS Superman 2

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Previously on Death Battle...

Goku. Superman. Titans of power, champions of unimaginable might, endlessly requested to fight each other... again!

The fiftieth episode is a rematch that has gotten countless requests ever since the results of the first one. Now they're back for a rematch in Death Battle!

Details about the character's feats and abilities have already been covered in the first Goku vs. Superman, so Wiz and Boomstick decide to talk about origins of the characters, and the origin of the debate itself. Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, where the Man of Steel made his first appearance in 1938 on the cover of Action Comics #1. His successful story was what paved the way for other superhero stories. He is courageous, selfless, honorable, just an all around perfect boy scout. The two creators of Superman were the sons of American immigrants, and knew what it was like firsthand how it felt to be alien, so they based Superman's origin story off of their experience. Everyone knows the story, his genius father Jor-El finds out that the planet Krypton is doomed to explode, so he sends his only son Kal-El to space to preserve the Kryptonian race and save him. Superman can fly, is super fast, super strong, has super senses, has super breath, arctic breath, psychic barriers, and more. His cells absorb solar radiation, which is the source of his super powers. His heat vision can be large enough to destroy planets, or small and precise enough to destroy brain cells. Over 75 years, Superman has been on countless adventures, including a retcon in 1986 due to the Crisis on Infinite Earths events. However, he has been through a few reboots, too, which hindered his power, but not by altering his abilities. They simply changed Superman's outlook on his powers. In his youth, upon discovering his Kryptonian side, he rejected them, giving himself mental barriers which he would have to surpass as he developed through his life.


Then, in 1996, a life-changing event happened: Dragon Ball Z came to the United States of America. In 1984, a mangaka (author of a Japanese comic) named Akira Toriyama created the world of Dragon Ball, and the story of Son Goku and his quest to be the best martial artist in the universe. Similar to Superman, Son Goku, or Kakarot, was sent to Earth from a doomed alien planet, and had incredible superhuman abilities, like flight, ki blasts and barriers, instant transmission, the Kamehameha, the Spirit Bomb, and most importantly, the Super Saiyan transformations. Goku was inspired by the Monkey King Sun Wukong from Journey to the West. Quickly, Dragon Ball became a smashing success in Japan, raking in tons of viewers until it finally made its own journey to the west when it was translated for the United States, where it changed lives forever. Dragon Ball Z was many westerner's introduction to anime. Since many anime did not gain many viewers in America due to clashing cultural differences, the companies responsible for translating thought Goku would seem selfish to American viewers. So naturally, they did what they thought was right: turn Goku into Superman. This led to many mistranslations such as making Goku's father a brilliant scientist like Jor-El, and his famous "Ally to good" speech, which some argue conflicts with his actual character.


These similarities are what sparked an endless debate of East vs. West, about which super alien could beat the other in a fight to the death. In 2002, Wizard magazine stated that Goku would win, and Superman would die from a fall from the moon to the Earth. Ten years later Outskirts Battledome, a website dedicated to answering matches of who would win, launched, and concluded that Superman would win. The debate spiraled out of control to the point that talking about it would be banned forever. The debate grew and grew, no one satisfied until there was an answer, until ScrewAttack decided to end the debate with a Death Battle. Still, that did not stop the argument at all, only created more. Superman and Goku still had many more adventures they went on, and gained new powers.

Superman gained the ability known as the Super Flare, where is expels all his solar energy inside of his body out at once, turning him into a giant solar bomb. However, after using this, he is powerless for twenty-four hours, so he will only use it as an ultimate last resort. Goku had gained a new Super Saiyan form: Super Saiyan God. Despite being a temporary increase in power, Goku absorbed the divine power, essentially making it his base form. Then, combined with his Super Saiyan ability, he attained another more powerfull form: Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan.


Is Goku's godly form and divine ki enough to take down Superman once and for all? Or will history repeat itself and we find Goku falls once again? Let's not wait any longer! It's the ultimate requested rematch. It's time for a DEATH BATTLE!

We see Superman in the cold, empty vacuum of space. Earth has been completely destroyed due to his fight with Goku. However, there is a solution to this. With the seven Dragon Balls collected, Kal-El summons Shenron. After a wordless exchange, Shenron's eyes glow, and the Earth is put back in its place as if nothing happened. Superman returns to Earth, back to his Fortress of Solitude. Suddenly, the ground starts to shake, and out of the snow, pops out a familiar Super Saiyan. The two exchange words before Goku transforms into his Super Saiyan God form, his body pulsing with energy, both poised for a rematch.


The two heroes dash forward, locking themselves in a struggle at the middle. Superman breaks the clash by using his heat vision, causing Goku to duck. He then teleports away, and ambushes Superman while he looks around. He gives Superman several well placed kicks and punches to keep him stunned, before unleashing a Kamehameha, knocking him into an icy cave. Superman gets up, giving Goku a pummeling of his own, in an effort to end this as quick as possible, before knocking Goku against the ceiling, then kicking him into a wall. The Man of Steel uses his heat vision again, but Goku's ki barrier protects him this time. However, this leaves him open for Superman to do a flying punch, knocking the Saiyan out of the mountain and over the ocean. Superman quickly follows, delivering punch after punch to make sure Goku doesn't recover. Superman lands a series of blows while cautioning Goku about the extent of his powers, before punching him to the ground in the middle of a canyon.

Goku gets up, flexing his wrist, then after some words and a loud scream, reaches his latest transformation: Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan. The two begin to trade blows, Goku getting the upper hand occasionally and delivering multiple hits thanks to his Instant Transmission. But Superman begins to hold back less and less, flying forward and delivering a series of punches to Goku across the world into the United States of America. Eventually, Superman knocks Goku against a building before plowing him through several more.

Superman really wants to end this conflict, warning the Saiyan to desist as the two of them face each other atop a skyscraper. However, Goku stubbornly refuses to back down then and there, charging up the ultimate Kamehameha and blasting tons of divine ki energy at his opponent. However, Superman isn't phased, as he begins to walk forward, the attack seeming to do nothing but create a gust of wind for him to walk against. Goku gives it his all, but Superman reaches and grabs Goku by the wrist and punches his stomach, ending this attack. He then grabs Goku by the throat and holds him up against a building. As Goku struggles, Superman's eyes begin to glow red, and Superman apologetically lets out a final, precise heat ray through Goku's eyes. Almost instantly, Goku's entire brain is incinerated, and his lifeless body falls down. But rather than hitting the pavement, Superman flies and gently carries his body back down, potentially to lay him to rest.

The screen fades to white, and then a voice emerges, telling Goku that he told him so. It's King Kai, and the two of them are now on Snake Way as Kai lectures Goku that no matter how much training is applied, there is no way to beat Superman, and assuming that he can do that, there would then be nothing to aspire to in life next, with no opponent getting even close afterwards. Goku finds himself agreeing with the Kai, before declaring himself hungry.


Before you get angry, listen. Goku is incredibly strong and skilled, but Superman is an entirely different level of strength. SSGSS has no defined limit, and it's entirely possible that Goku will get another form, possibly even stronger than that. Yet, it doesn't matter; Goku will always have limits, and Superman's maximum potential is limitless.

For example, Superman was flying near Vega, the brightest star in the Lyra constellation. That's 25.05 light years from Earth, or 147 trillion miles. A crisis occurred on Earth, and Jimmy Olsen signaled Superman to come help. Superman arrived in a matter of minutes. Even assuming it took ten minutes for Superman to get from there to Earth, he would have had to have traveled somewhere over 800,000,000,000,000 miles per hour. That's over one million times the speed of light. Also, the signal Jimmy used to call Superman emits a frequency sound only he can hear. Not only did Superman hear this signal 25 light years away, he also heard it through the vacuum of space. He also was able to lift Spectre, a man made out of eternity, and lifted up a book with infinity pages. Superman lifted eternity and infinity. He has done so many feats that would be considered impossible, except for Superman. And yes, he did fall from the moon to the Earth, and made a shockwave that caused a nuclear winter. He got up moments later. These are all feats that took place after Crisis.

Superman and Goku are more than drawings on paper, they're ideals, the people you want to strive to be more like. They bring out the best of man. Goku is the epitome of a self-made man, who teaches us that there is no struggle that cannot be overcome. With the right amount of work, all dreams can come true. Dragon Ball's world fits this idea. Every enemy is an obstacle with limits for Goku to overcome. Even gods themselves can be surpassed.

However, Superman's world is different. Superman is an all-powerful alien who is only weak to supernatural magic and Kryptonite. He is not meant to lose. He is trying to fit in on Earth and do good.

Goku's story is about a man trying to be the best fighter he can be. Superman's story is about a physical god living among man. The story of Superman is not about whether he wins or loses a physical fight, it's whether he's doing the right thing or not. It's why he stands for truth, justice, and freedom. It's why he doesn't wear a mask. It's why he's Superman.

Even if Goku could channel the energy of the multiverse into a Spirit Bomb to match Superman's limitless powers, it wouldn't work for two reasons: it would take too much time to charge up, and the Spirit Bomb doesn't have any effect on those pure of heart, like Superman.

Superman has been defeated before, yes, but only when he was learning about his powers, just like Goku. Death Battle pits two characters in their prime and maximum potential. Even with SSGSS Goku's divine ki, it's still ki, not magic.

The debate comes down to limits and purpose. What happens when you pit a man with the power to break any limits against a being with no limits in the first place? Well, only one has the limits to give everything that they have.

Boomstick: Think about it, if you had a Goku who was as powerful as Superman, would you even want him?
Wizard: The winner is Superman.
Boomstick: Fucking Superman.

Next time on Death Battle...

Goku vs. Superman 2 contains examples of:

  • Always Someone Better: As the post-match analysis dictates, Superman is this to Goku. No matter how powerful Goku is, Superman is in an entirely different league of his own.
  • Anti-Climax: The fight overall is much shorter than their previous encounter. Justified in that Superman knows the potential consequence if they drag out the fight too long, so he decides to put an end to it quicker. Also justified by how lopsided the match is, with Superman easily overshadowing Goku... still.
  • Continuity Nod: This battle picks up directly after their first fight, with Superman gathering the Dragonballs to restore the Earth and bringing everybody back to life.
    • Wiz and Boomstick make identical closing statements to the first match-up.
  • Cradling Your Kill: Superman is fully in character this go around. He understands Goku and knows that, no matter what, Goku, will never give up...which makes it all the more sadder for Kal-El in having to put him down once again, for the good of the Earth. Their last shot before Goku's lecture in Otherworld is of Superman carefully carrying Goku's body back to the ground, not allowing it be harmed any more than he'd already done.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Similar to the previous fight between the two, Superman comes out many leagues above Goku. This time, the fight animation itself even shows how one-sided the fight really is: Superman takes a couple of hits from SSGSS Goku, even commenting that he felt a couple of them... and then walks through a full-power Super-Saiyan God Super-Saiyan Kamehameha without flinching, grabs Goku and kills him instantly with heat vision to the brain to end the fight.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The overall theme of the episode; no matter what new powerup Goku achieves he still won't be strong enough to beat Superman.
  • The Gloves Come Off: After Goku vows to keep fighting no matter what, Superman finally goes all out. He effortlessly ends the fight in two moves.
  • History Repeats: Goku's a far cry from where he was back in their first match — but all that did was force Superman to put some actual effort in. Goku's unconquerable odds are the exact same as before; no matter how many grades he ascends, you just can't contend with infinity.
  • Mythology Gag: Superman hammers Goku through the sky, just like he did to General Zod.
  • No-Sell: In the final act of the fight, Superman decides to show once and for all what Goku's really up against in perhaps the greatest display of power the show has ever seen. Goku unleashes his Super Kamehameha in Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan —to wit, that's enough focused ki to wipe out a solar system's worth of planets a good few times over— and Superman? He just steels his nerves and walks through it.
  • Shoot the Dog: Unlike any of the other Death Battles, Superman actually attempts to talk Goku out of the fight. Since Goku refuses, Superman euthanizes him by essentially turning his brain to ashes.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Twice, first with Superman not letting Goku's body fall to the ground and then with Goku getting a pep talk from King Kai in the afterlife. This has been the first and only time a character has gotten resolution after a battle.
  • Worthy Opponent: Superman's stance on Goku has clearly changed since the planet went boom. He seems to understand him now, and offers Goku several genuine respects through their fight without any backhanded meanings or insults.


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