You are on page 1of 5


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the Dragon Ball character. For other uses, see Goku (disambiguation).
In this Japanese name, the family name is Son.

Son Goku

Dragon Ball character

First Dragon Ball chapter #1: Bulma and Son

appearance Goku (Weekly Shnen Jump No. 51, 1984)

Created by Akira Toriyama

Voiced by Japanese
Masako Nozawa

Stephanie Nadolny (child)

Sean Schemmel (teen/adult)

Portrayed by Charles Chen (Magic Begins)

Justin Chatwin (Evolution)

Aliases Kakarrot (birth name)

Species Saiyan

Grandpa Gohan (adopted grandfather)

Burdock (father)

Gine (mother)

Raditz (brother)

Chi-Chi (wife)

Gohan (son)

Goten (son)

Pan (granddaughter)

Videl (daughter-in-law)

Mr. Satan (brother-in-law)

Son Goku (Japanese: Hepburn: Son Gok) is a fictional character and

main protagonist of the Dragon Ball manga series created by Akira Toriyama. He is based
on Sun Wukong, a main character in the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. Goku
first made his debut in Dragon Ball chapter #1 Bulma and Son Goku (
Buruma to Son Gok), originally published in Japan's Weekly Shnen Jump magazine
on December 3, 1984,[1] as an eccentric, monkey-tailed boy who practices martial arts and
possesses superhuman strength. He meets Bulma and joins her on a journey to find the
wish-granting Dragon Balls.
Initially believed to have been born on Earth, Goku later learns that he is a member of an
extraterrestrial warrior race called the Saiyans, which is also the reason for his superhuman
strength, and his birth name is Kakarrot ( Kakarotto). As Goku grows up, he
becomes the Earth's mightiest warrior and protects his adopted home planet from those
who seek to harm it. Goku is depicted as carefree, cheerful and friendly when at ease, but
quickly serious and strategic-minded when in battle. He is able to concentrate his Kiand
use it for devastatingly powerful energy-based attacks; the most prominent being his
signature Kamehameha (, lit. "Turtle Destruction Wave"), in which Goku
launches a blue energy blast from his palms. Also pure of heart, Goku has frequently
granted mercy to his enemies, which has often earned him additional allies in the process
(though has also resulted in others taking advantage of his kindness), and he is one of the
few who can ride the magic cloud called Kinto'un (, lit. "Somersault Cloud", renamed
"Flying Nimbus" in Funimation's dub); which was another element adapted from Journey to
the West.[2]
As the protagonist, Goku appears in most of the episodes, films, television specials
and OVAs of the manga's anime adaptations (Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball
GT and Dragon Ball Super), as well as many of the franchise's video games. Due to the
series' international popularity, Goku has become one of the most recognizable and iconic
anime characters in the world. Outside the Dragon Ball franchise, Goku has made cameo
appearances in Toriyama's self-parody series Neko Majin Z, has been the subject of other
parodies, and has appeared in special events. Most Western audiences were introduced to
the adult version of Goku appearing in the Dragon Ball Z anime, itself an adaptation
of Dragon Ball manga volumes 17-42, as opposed to his initial child form, due to the limited
success of the first series overseas.[3] Goku's critical reception has been largely positive
and he is often considered to be one of the greatest manga and anime characters of all


1Conception and creation

o 1.1Design
o 1.2Voice actors
o 2.1In Dragon Ball
o 2.2In Dragon Ball Super, Dragon Ball GT and films
o 2.3In other media
3Reception and legacy
5Further reading
6External links

Conception and creation

Goku, and Dragon Ball in general, evolved from one of Akira Toriyama's earlier one-
shot series called Dragon Boy. In this story, the protagonist looks a lot like Goku but has a
pair of wings.[4] When Toriyama created Dragon Ball, he was inspired by Journey to the
West.[5] To be creative with the idea of Sun Wukong, Toriyama designed Goku as a human
boy with a monkey's tail, rather than a complete simian, because the tail would give the
character a distinguishing feature.[6] He later stated that the tail was a pain to draw, hence
why he had it get cut off early on.[7] Toriyama did not initially plan to make Goku an alien, it
was not until the introduction of fighters from other planets that he established him as a
Saiyan ( Saiya-jin).[8] Goku was given the ability to teleport to any planet in
seconds, so that Toriyama could increase the pace of the story.[9]
Wanting Dragon Ball to have a Chinese appearance, Toriyama used the color of the robes
worn by Buddhist monks for Goku's dgi.[10] During the early chapters of the manga,
Toriyama's editor, Kazuhiko Torishima, commented that Goku looked rather plain.
Toriyama had given him simple clothes on purpose because it was a fighting manga, so to
combat this he added several characters like Kame-Sen'nin and Kuririn, and created the
Tenkaichi Budkai (, lit. "Strongest Under the Heavens Martial Arts
Tournament") to focus the storyline on fighting. To defy the assumption that Goku would
win the tournaments, Toriyama made him lose the first and second but win the
third.[6] Toriyama also mentioned Torishima wanted Goku to form a relationship with Bulma
but this was never applied to the series.[11]
Toriyama's editor was initially against having Goku grow up, saying it was uncommon to
have the protagonist drastically change in manga, however, he gave in when Toriyama
threatened that he would not be able to continue the series if the character did
not.[12] Toriyama later stated he had him grow up as a means to make drawing the fight

scenes easier.[13] When Toriyama thought up the Super Saiyan ( Sp
Saiya-jin) concept during the Freeza arc, he felt the only way to show Goku's massive
power up was to have him transform. Initially he was concerned that the facial expression
looked like that of a villain, but felt that since the transformation was brought about by
anger it was acceptable.[14] With the conclusion of the Cell arc, Gohan was intended to
replace his father as protagonist, but Toriyama decided that Gohan was unsuitable for the
Dragon Ball GT chief character designer Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru said he agonized over
designing Goku's Super Saiyan 4 appearance, which was the idea of the show's producers,
questioning whether it was necessary to go further with the transformations. Because
Super Saiyan 4 is brought about while in a Saiyan's zaru (, lit. "Great Ape") form, he
made the hair more "wild" and covered Goku's body in red fur. There was only a single final
draft of the character, although Nakatsuru did consider making the hair blonde, he ended
up choosing black as it provides more contrast with the red fur.[15]

From left to right: Goku in his base form, and in his Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan 2 and Super Saiyan
3 forms.

Goku is usually recognized by his unique hairstyle, which does not change in length except
in his Super Saiyan forms, where his hair changes in color and length according to the form
he takes. This is explained by Vegeta to be a common characteristic of full-blooded
Saiyans.[16] Goku's hair color changes from black to golden after ascending to a Super
Saiyan, and his irises change from black to turquoise. In his Super Saiyan God form, both
his hair color and irises change to a deep red. In his Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan form,
both his hair color and irises change to blue (hence its nickname "Super Saiyan Blue").
In Dragon Ball GT, he has a noticeably darker skin complexion in his regular form. Goku
prefers dressing in a dgi uniform to show his devotion to Earth, instead of the standard
battle fatigues of his race;[17] the only time he actually does wear these garments is during
his training with Gohan before the Cell Games.[18]
In his early childhood, Goku is introduced wearing a dark colored dgi uniform with red
wristbands and a white obi tied in a bow over the waist. Throughout the majority of the
series, however, Goku is commonly seen wearing an orange dgi uniform with a blue short-
sleeved undershirt, blue wristbands, a blue obi tied in a knot over the waist, and dark boots
with yellow or red stripes. Goku also often wears the encircled kanji of his training masters
on the front and back of this uniform; the first being Kame-Sen'nin's, "kame" (, meaning
"turtle");[19] the second being Kai-sama's, "kaio"(, meaning "world king");[20] and the
third being his own, "Go" (, meaning "wisdom" or "enlightenment").[21] Eventually, Goku
stops wearing a kanji[22] and replaces his obi with a blue sash for a belt.[22] In Dragon Ball
GT, he is seen wearing a multi-colored dgi that consists of a blue fold-over shirt, yellow
pants, pink wristbands, a white obi tied in a knot over the waist, and black shoes with white
stockings.[23] In Dragon Ball Super, Goku wears his signature orange and blue dgi with
his "Go" kanji again, though during the Golden Freeza arc and Universe 6 arc he wears a
new dgi uniform consisting of an orange fold-over shirt and matching pants with blue
wristbands, blue boots and a blue obi tied in a knot at the side of his waist (which debuted
in the film Resurrection 'F').
Voice actors
In the Japanese version of every Dragon Ball anime series and subsequent related media,
Goku has been voiced by Masako Nozawa. Toriyama selected Nozawa upon hearing her
audition sample, remarking that only Goku could sound like that.[24] Nozawa stated that she
was ecstatic when she got the role because she had always wanted to be in one of
Toriyama's works. She said she had to be mindful of the fact that Goku grew up in the
mountains and did not know much of the world. Despite having to voice Goku,
Gohan, Gotenand Burdock, Nozawa claims she is able to instantly get into the respective
character simply upon seeing their image.[25] Nozawa explained that she did not read the
manga so that she would not know what was coming in the story until recording, making
her reactions the same as Goku's.[26]
In the numerous English versions, Goku has been played by different actors because
different companies produced the dubs, by reason of changes of ADR companies and
recording studios, or due to actors quitting.
As a child, Goku had been voiced by Saffron Henderson in Funimation's original dub of the
first 13 episodes of Dragon Ball and the movie Curse of the Blood Rubies (produced in
association with BLT Productions).[27]
As an adult, Goku has been voiced by Ian James Corlett and Peter Kelamis in Funimation's
original dub of the first 67 episodes of Dragon Ball Z (edited into 53 episodes; produced in
association with Saban and Ocean Productions).[28][29]
In Funimation's in-house English dub, Goku has been voiced by Stephanie Nadolny as a
child in the original Dragon Ball series in the United States[30][31] and consistently by Sean
Schemmel as an adult in Funimation's in-house dub of the entire Dragon Ball franchi