Last updated on January 6th, 2023 at 10:29 pm
In this article, we will take a look at all transformations of Goku throughout his journey from Dragon Ball all the way to Dragon Ball Super throughout all Dragon Ball-verses.
The most popular character and the main protagonist of the Dragon Ball series, Goku, has been a favorite fan character for over three decades, starting from Dragon Ball the way up to Dragon Ball Super with further subplots.
Through his journey, the fans have seen Goku not only as a character but also as a fighter with the iconic powerup throughout the series.
And so here, we rank all transformations of Goku from weakest to strongest till the end of Granolah the Survivor Saga in the Dragon Ball Super manga.
Goku All Tranformations (From Weakest to Strongest)
1) Base form
This is the normal base state in which we see Goku most of the time. This is also how Goku prefers to train, as he believes that training without help from power boosters like Super Saiyan transformations will give him more benefits and better training while raising his original capabilities as a fighter.
His base form is not to be considered a transformation but instead how his bodily growth has been. Young Goku’s adventures with Bulma, Krillin and Yamacha passed with his various encounters with the Red Ribbon Army, World Martial Arts Tournament and Demon King Piccolo and so forth.
Goku’s power already passed the standards of a normal human when he was a kid, not only due to his Saiyan genes which helped him grow as a fighter but also through Grandpa Gohan’s training, who helped him in learning various skillsets of martial arts with and without a pole as a weapon.
Young Goku also has name credits, such as collecting numerous Dragon Balls with Bulma, defeating Yamcha, Oolong, and Ox-King, and even making it into the 21st World Martial Arts final Tournament at the age of 12.
He also defeated the Red Ribbon Army and Emperor Pilaf in the process of collecting Dragon Balls.
As Goku grows up and matures, his base power level continues to rise due to his regular training. At the age of 15, Goku is seen participating in the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament and coming up as a runner-up in the Tournament. He also defeats King Piccolo.
At the age of 18, Goku won the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament by defeating Piccolo Jr. and thus was crowned the World Martial Arts champion for the first time.
With the events moving onto Dragon Ball Z from Dragon Ball, the 24-year-old Goku is now even more powerful in his base form while fighting Raditz and Nappa after learning the Kaioken technique.
Even after the events of the Freeza saga, where Goku first transforms into a Super Saiyan and later on into Super Saiyan 2 and Super Saiyan 3 in the Other World and against Buu, Goku still trains in his base form without any powerups as always.
In the recent events of Dragon Ball Super, after attaining the state of Mastered Ultra Instinct, Goku still trains in his base while training with Vegeta on Beerus’ Planet.
2) Great Ape
The ace card of the Saiyan race and the secret behind the brute force power of the Saiyans, which helped them conquer many planets under Freeza, The Great Ape is the transformation attained by a Saiyan with a tail when he gazes over a full moon or a certain amount of Blutz waves which can only be found via reflected sunlight.
The first appearance of Goku’s Great Ape transformation is hinted at when his adoptive parent, Gohan, tells him never to look towards the full moon, which shows that Gohan had known about his Great Ape transformation before he died of it accidentally.
Goku is shown to use this transformation against Emperor Pilaf and a few times later in his journey, but by the time young adult Goku is introduced as a young adult during the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, his tail is absent, which he claims was traded to restore the moon by Kami.
In their Great Ape form, the Saiyans lose most of their senses of sanity, while highly trained warriors such as Raditz and Vegeta have been shown to retain their focus even in their Great Ape forms.
In exchange, the transformation provides them a huge bonus in power which is even claimed to be so powerful that one Saiyan’s Great Ape transformation can easily conquer planets such as Earth, which had near-zero power fighting back in the face of such immense strength.
3) Kaioken (up to times 20)
Kaioken is a technique invented by King Kai that multiplies both power and speed. Goku learned on King Kai’s planet after traversing through the Snake Way in the Other World to prepare for the arrival of the Saiyans and defeat them. This was also when Goku learned how to use Spirit Bomb.
Enveloping himself in a crimson aura, this technique is first used by Goku against Nappa when Nappa targets Krillin and Gohan in the midst of their fight, which resulted in Goku overpowering Nappa very easily, who was a very tough opponent to go against in his base form.
Later on, this technique is used by Goku against various foes at various levels –
- Kaioken against Vegeta when Vegeta transformed into his Ape form.
- Kaioken times 3 and Kaioken times 4 against Vegeta.
- Kaioken times 10 against Freeza since the beginning of their fight, and later on, Kaioken times 20 when Goku realizes that Freeza is far stronger than he had anticipated.
Goku achieves the Super Saiyan transformation in his battle against Freeza on Planet Namek, which far surpasses the Kaioken technique.
After achieving Super Saiyan and further ascended transformations, Goku stops using Kaioken until Dragon Ball Super, where Goku brings it back in his fight against Hit in the form of Super Saiyan Blue + Kaioken times 10.
Stacking Kaioken on top of other transformations requires precise ki control, which, when performed without enough practice, may lead to ki disorder. And so Goku is shown suffering from Delayed Onset Ki Disorder after his time in the battle between Universes.
Later on, Goku perfects the mastery up to Kaioken times 20 without any physical strain on his body by the time of Tournament of Power in the events of Dragon Ball Super.
4) Super Saiyan
Even after Freeza had the Saiyan race under his command, he always feared their latent potential and the supposed “Legendary Super Saiyan,” which birthed once every thousand years and displayed the peak of powers of Saiyan Bloodline which is mentioned by Vegeta during his interaction with Nappa.
Freeza then destroyed Planet Vegeta under Beerus’s orders, but unfortunately for him, 6 Saiyans survived the aftermath of the destruction of their planet, which included the three strongest warriors – Goku, Vegeta and Broly. Although we get to meet Broly quite later in the series
In the pre-climax of Freeza Arc, where Goku finally manages to use Spirit Bomb against Freeza while the warriors are celebrating their victory over their plant destroyer, Freeza surprisingly comes back even angrier whilst injured.
Freeza then goes on to kill Piccolo and Krillin, which finally leads to Goku snapping, giving into his anger, and transforming into a Super Saiyan while commanding Gohan to take the dead with them and leave while he still has control over his anger.
This is where we first get to see the appearance of the Super Saiyan transformation. The Super Saiyan transformation gave Goku a huge edge over the then, max power Freeza which is shown during their final battle on planet Namek.
As a Super Saiyan, Goku’s power gets an incredible boost while also strengthening his body. This is seen when he returns to Earth and has a show of display against future trunks when he stops his sword with just a finger.
“Power comes in response to a need, not a desire,” as said by Goku when teaching Young Gohan how to transform into a Super Saiyan while in the Chamber of Spirit and Time, Goku recalls how the need to defeat the portrayal of evil, Freeza and the necessary rage with an intention to protect is required to transform into a Super Saiyan.
5) Super Saiyan 2
“A Super Saiyan that has ascended past the Super Saiyan, or you can call this a Super Saiyan 2,” as said by Goku, Super Saiyan 2 is the next in line of transformations for the Super Saiyan series.
The Super Saiyan 2 transformation is twice as powerful in comparison to the Super Saiyan state, according to Super Perfect Guide. As an ascended transformation, it gives a straight-up boost in all departments, including strength, speed, aura, and defense capabilities.
To achieve the Super Saiyan 2 transformation, a Saiyan must first achieve the full strength of the Super Saiyan transformation, after which immense training and intense emotion are required.
Although not a highly noticeable difference but the distinguishing factor between Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan 2 is the appearance of sparks which are accompanied by a high aura boost, this is shown when Goku fights one on one against Majin Vegeta, and he’s surprised by how far Vegeta had come.
Even though Super Saiyan 2 provides nearly twice as much power as the regular Super Saiyan transformation, Goku doesn’t use Super Saiyan 2 often since he figured out how to ascend even higher, that is, reaching Super Saiyan 3, which in turn, dwarfs the Super Saiyan 2 in all areas.
As shown in his sparring against Beerus, Goku immediately jumps from Super Saiyan to Super Saiyan 3 on King Kai’s planet, to which both Whiz mentions how incredible the leap of power from the transformation is, suggesting that Super Saiyan 3 is much more powerful than its predecessors.
Notable uses of Super Saiyan 2 transformations by Goku are in his battles against Majin Vegeta and his display of power against Majin Boo.
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6) Super Saiyan 3
Accompanied by a complete transformation in both power and appearance, Goku goes Super Saiyan 3 for the first time against Majin Boo as a show of power and stalling him while the others collect Dragon Balls.
In Super Saiyan 3 transformation, Goku’s hair grows longer, which is the signature look different in the Super Saiyan transformation series. His face also shows more rigid eyes with no eyebrows and with an overall sharpened face.
Super Saiyan 3 also gives the pseudo effect of Goku having more muscle while it doesn’t reduce his agility. In fact, Super Saiyan 3 is faster than Super Saiyan 2 and 1.
Unlike Super Saiyan 1 transformation, which helped achieve the peak potential of Saiyan rage, and Super Saiyan 2, which shows the peak potential of Saiyan physical capabilities, Super Saiyan 3 is centered around mastering ki control, and hence it is very exhausting.
Since Goku achieved the transformation to the Other World while he was dead, he didn’t feel much of its strain, but while fighting Boo in the Sacred World of Kai, Goku feels the “burning out” after he realizes that he cannot power up into Super Saiyan 3 transformation twice and it is very difficult to maintain the ki.
Notable uses of Super Saiyan 3 are against Boo and Janemba in Dragon Ball Z and against Beerus in Dragon Ball Super.
7) Super Saiyan 4
The Super Saiyan 4 transformation is unique to the Dragon Ball GT series, with no further mention in the main timeline of Dragon Ball- Dragon Ball Z- Dragon Ball Super timeline.
Even with its limited appearance, the Super Saiyan 4 transformation is widely popular among the Dragon Ball fandom, with it being considered a power different from the previous Super Saiyan transformations.
The Super Saiyan 4 transformation is supposed to be the peak of the Great Ape transformation series, which utilizes the base Ape transformations that the Saiyan race uses characterized by their tails which help them transform into their Great Ape versions when looking at full moon.
While in the Super Saiyan 4 state, the power of Great Ape transformation compressed and increased many times while still accessible in a humanoid state.
8) Super Saiyan God
As prophesied by the Oracle Fish that a strong warrior named the “Super Saiyan God” will appear and give Beerus a challenge – when Beerus and Whiz try to find out if such a being exists, they are met with disappointment from first Goku and later Vegeta, but after using the Dragon Balls, they learn how to make a Super Saiyan God.
When five righteous Saiyans pool their power into a single member of their race (sixth Saiyan), a new warrior is born who is known as the Super Saiyan God.
Goku was the first one to experience the power of Super Saiyan God through the collective decision and combining powers of Vegeta, Gohan, Trunks, Goten and Videl, who was pregnant with 1/4th Saiyan child of Gohan.
With the combined power of Saiyan, Goku’s power was temporarily boosted to a level higher than Super Saiyan 3. With Super Saiyan God, Goku’s aura changed to red while also giving him a youthful appearance as compared to the previous Super Saiyan transformation, which made his facial features sharper.
After the events of the battle with Beerus, Goku is seen to be able to transform into Super Saiyan God level at will, which proves that once a Saiyan has reached the Super Saiyan God level, a remnant of power is left behind in them, allowing them to transform into the higher-level other times at will with no time limit.
9) Super Saiyan Blue
Attained after intense training under Whiz on Beerus’ planet and making its first appearance against golden Freeza by Goku, Super Saiyan Blue is the first step taken by the Saiyan into the realm of divine power.
“Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan” or Super Saiyan Blue transformation changes Goku’s aura to blue while maintaining the hairstyle of the original Super Saiyan. This is mentioned by Toriyama as him being both strong and tranquil, to able to keep his composure in a fight.
Super Saiyan transformation is only achievable through intense godly ki training, and its power far surpasses the Super Saiyan God. Continuous and subsequent usage of Super Saiyan Blue transformation results in less output of power each time the user transforms.
Although accompanied by intense stamina drain, unlike other Super Saiyan transformations that either drain ki or maximize physical strength, the drawback can be subdued through experience in Super Saiyan Blue for further training.
Notable battles involving Super Saiyan Blue transformation of Goku are his battles against Golden Freeza and the Saiyan duo from Universe 6 – Kale and Caulifla and Show of power in Zen Exhibition Match.
10) Super Saiyan Blue + Kaioken (stacked)
Stacking the effects of the Kaioken technique, which Goku learned from King Kai over Super Saiyan Blue transformation, helped Goku increase its power even further multiple times.
Powerful as is, the Super Saiyan Blue transformation was not enough for Goku as he realized that its power could be multiplied by the Kaioken technique, which was originally used by him as a multiplier on his base form, which increased his power, agility and defense, manyfold.
Making its first appearance as an extremely risky option with high payoffs against Hit in the Tournament of Destroyers tournament.
Goku mentions the high risk of the transformation, which could have left him unable to use his ki or have other effects on his body, but he takes his chances and succeeds in attaining the Super Saiyan Blue Kaio-ken form.
The Crimson-Red aura, which comes with the Kaioken technique, is seen enveloping and “Stacking” over the blue aura, which is given off by Goku while using divine ki in Super Saiyan Blue transformation.
This technique is later further honed by Goku following the events of the Tournament of Destroyers against Hit, in The Zen Exhibition against Bergamo and in the Tournament of Power against Jiren and other participants.
Goku improves his technique by increasing the stacks of Kaioken like he did overtime against Nappa, Vegeta, Freeza and other past nemeses. Up till now, Goku has been able to go to Super Saiyan Blue Kaio-ken times 20.
11) Ultra Instinct Sign
Gaining a mixture of Silver and fluid Blue aura, the Ultra Instinct Sign is the prerequisite state reached by Goku during the Tournament of Power and makes its first appearance against Jiren, where he supposedly died after he couldn’t handle his Spirit Bomb.
The Ultra Instinct Sign transformation is a cut above the rest of the transformations through which Goku has gone before as it steps into the line of the power of the Angels, who all use Autonomous Ultra Instinct with perfection.
When first used, the Ultra Instinct Sign transformation’s energy was provided by the Spirit Bomb, which broke the shell of Goku’s inner limits. However, Goku wasn’t able to maintain this transformation for long as his body crumbled under exhaustion.
Later during the Tournament of Power, we once get to see Goku ascend to this state while being pushed to the brim by Kefla – the result of potara fusion between Kale and Caulifla and one last time in the Universe Survival Saga against Jiren before ascending even higher to Mastered Ultra Instinct.
After the events of Tournament of Power, Goku is seen sparring with Vegeta when he tells him that he hasn’t been able to transform into the Ultra Instinct state even once, which shows that Goku didn’t have enough training and specific conditions to maintain that state.
In and before the Galactic Patrol Prisoner Saga is shown training with Whiz further to achieve the Ultra Instinct Sign state, and during the events of the arc, Meerus helps Goku train in a chamber similar to the Room of Spirit and Time to help him maintain the state for longer battles and ascend further.
12) Mastered Ultra Instinct
The power of Angels and the current peak of Goku’s powers in the Dragon Ball series, Mastered Ultra Instinct which makes it such that the user attacks and defends without thinking while also giving the highest boost in both terms of power and body strengthening.
We first got a look at this form in the Tournament of Power in Goku vs. Jiren when Jiren pushed back Goku in his Ultra Instinct Sign state. As mentioned by Whiz, in addition to the immense strain the Ultra Instinct follows with, the Mastered Ultra Instinct increases that even further.
As seen in the final of MUI Goku vs. Jiren, Goku’s body was not able to handle the immense strain and pushed it into a state of exhaustion which resulted in victory in Jiren’s favor as Goku was not able to deliver the finishing blow.
The Mastered Ultra Instinct form helps its user dodge all incoming attacks without thinking and also increases the power, as seen in Goku vs. Jiren, where Goku was finally able to push back and defeat Jiren after reaching the Mastered form.
To achieve the Mastered Ultra Instinct state, the user must have both body and mind at peace and tranquility, which is a stark contrast to the previous Super Saiyan transformations where Goku used his emotions, especially rage, to transform and ascend higher.
After the events of the Universe Survival Saga, in the Galactic Patrol Prisoner Saga, with the help of Meerus, Goku is able to sustain the Ultra Instinct Sign for longer than he could before.
But it was only after the sacrifice of Meerus that Goku realized how to attain the Mastered Ultra Instinct form and sustain it.
Whiz mentions that Ultra Instinct is a technique that can be honed higher and higher, which only improves how its user is able to sustain, use and develop it. With Mastered Ultra Instinct being the peak of power, it’ll be interesting to see if Goku continues to hone this technique or will the fans get to see another creative variation.
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