Dragon Ball Z was the first anime series that many people remember watching, which led to it becoming an important part of their upbringing. Dragon Ball Z was similar to Pokémon in that it became popular around the time when the Internet was becoming more commonplace, which led to the show earning a huge fandom online.
The sporadic release date of the original English dub of the Dragon Ball Z anime, combined with some less than trustworthy translations of the material that was available in Japan meant that a lot of false information about the series was released online.
Gohan was one of the characters who has been the subject of many misconceptions over the years, especially when you consider how often scenes involving him were censored in the original English dub of the show, due to the depictions of violence towards a child. Gohan is one of the most popular characters in Dragon Ball and it's about time that the false information and misconceptions about him are finally be put to rest. We are here today to clear up the misinformation about Son Gohan from Dragon Ball - from the name of his ultimate transformation to the truth about his final confrontation with Perfect Cell.
Here are the 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Gohan In Dragon Ball!
There is a scene during the Majin Buu Saga where Goku breaks down the various Super Saiyan forms and gives them all names and numbers. Thankfully Goku did this, as it stopped fans from speculating and coming up with their own names, as was the case with the form that Gohan achieves when his potential is unlocked by Old Kai.
The creators of the Dragon Ball Z video games have given this form several different forms over the years, but the one that the fandom adopted was "Mystic Gohan" which has never been used in any official capacity. The only time the name Mystic Gohan has been used is on merchandise created by companies like Funimation and it has never appeared in any of the Dragon Ball manga or anime series.
The Majin Buu Saga starts out with Gohan as the new protagonist of the series, as he is now a high schooler who takes on the role of a superhero to fight crime. Gohan is quickly sidelined during the Majin Buu Saga and Goku becomes the hero of the series once more, save for some focus being shifted to Goten and Trunks.
There was speculation among fans that Gohan was removed from the protagonist role due to a fan backlash in Japan from those who wanted Goku to be the lead character. The decision to bring Goku back was all down to Akira Toriyama, who admitted that Gohan wasn't suited for the lead role in the Dragon Ball manga.
Those who are fans of Akira Toriyama's work outside of Dragon Ball will quickly realize that he reuses a lot of designs, with video games like Blue Dragon, Chrono Trigger, and the Dragon Quest series filled with copies of Bulma, Goku, Gohan, and Trunks.
Akira Toriyama created a lot of different manga before Dragon Ball, which included a prototype of the series called Dragon Boy. The protagonist of Dragon Boy is a kid named Tanton whose adventure is similar to that of the first Dragon Ball story arc. The design of Tanton is almost identical to that of the young version of Gohan, save for the fact that he has wings instead of a tail.
The Dragon Ball manga wasn't that far ahead of the Dragon Ball Z anime in terms of content, which meant that a considerable amount of filler material was needed to give Akira Toriyama more time to work on the comic. The problem with some of the filler material was that it contradicted information from later storylines, as the writers of the anime didn't know what Akira Toriyama had planned for the future.
One of the Dragon Ball Z filler episodes involved Piccolo removing Gohan's tail for the second time after they stumble across the Space Pod that brought Goku to Earth. Piccolo blew up the Space Pod, as the writers were unaware that it would become important later, since Dr. Brief used it to build Goku's ship for the journey to Namek. The fact that Gohan lost his tail in a filler episode means that he only officially lost it twice (once from Piccolo, the other time by Vegeta) instead of three times.
There are some Dragon Ball fans who are convinced that Akira Toriyama wanted to cancel the story at different points in time but was forced to continue due to how popular the series had become. The most common story point for Toriyama's supposed ending was Goku's fight with Frieza, but there are some fans who believe that Gohan defeating Perfect Cell was another point when Toriyama wanted the Dragon Ball manga to end.
There is no recorded documentation of Akira Toriyama ever saying that he planned for the story to conclude with Gohan destroying Perfect Cell. The only time he threatened to end the series early was if the editors forbade him from allowing Goku to become an adult in the story.
Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks shows the upbringing of Trunks in the timeline where the Androids took down the Z-Fighters and how he became the student of Gohan. One of the most puzzling aspects of The History of Trunks for many fans was why Gohan threw his life away in a pointless battle against the Androids when he had the potential to one day become stronger than them and defeat them once and for all.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 gave a reason for Gohan's last stand in the "A Desperate Future" storyline, where he encounters the older version of Trunks. Gohan knows that Trunks will one day be victorious over the Androids, which explains his line during the final battle where he says that another warrior will take his place. The deities that ruled over time allowed Gohan to keep his knowledge of the future, as he was already destined to fall in battle against the Androids.
Gohan was the first person to ever achieve the Super Saiyan 2 form, but that was as far as his progression went, since he stopped training after Perfect Cell was defeated and his next power up was the one given to him by the Old Kai. Gohan's ultimate form was even stronger than the Super Saiyan 3 transformation without the drawback of having his energy drained. It seems that Gohan would never need to learn new Super Saiyan transformations, but he did achieve them in other forms of Dragon Ball media.
The Japan-exclusive Dragon Ball Heroes video game allowed the player to use the Super Saiyan 3 transformation with Gohan, including the young and future versions of the character. Gohan also transformed into a Super Saiyan 4 in Dragon Ball Heroes, as shown in one of the animated cutscenes used in the game.
Gohan had the bloodline and the potential to become one of the most powerful warriors of the Dragon Ball universe, but he had a gentle heart, which meant that he never had the same lust for battle as his father. Goku always seemed to overshadow Gohan's achievements, as he was the one who was responsible for defeating the Saiyans, Frieza, and Majin Buu. Gohan's victory over Perfect Cell was also overshadowed by his father needing to sacrifice himself to save the world.
Dragon Ball Online (which was the official continuation of the series before the release of Super) proved that Gohan had what it takes to protect the Earth. Goku and Vegeta destroyed each other during their final battle, which left the remaining Z-Fighters to protect the world. Gohan stepped up to the task and ensured that Earth was safe from the return of Frieza's forces and that peace reigned for centuries afterward.
Piccolo's signature attack is the Special Beam Cannon, which is the same move that he used to slay both Goku and Raditz at the start of Dragon Ball Z. Piccolo would use the Special Beam Cannon on different occasions, but it would never be as powerful as it was when it was introduced.
Piccolo taught Gohan a few of his moves during their training together, most notably the Masenko, but he never officially taught him the Special Beam Cannon. The Dragon Ball Z anime shows Gohan using the Special Beam Cannon during the telepathic battle that he has with Krillin on the way to Namek, but this happened in a filler episode and isn't considered to be canon.
Gohan first transformed into a Super Saiyan in a chapter of the Dragon Ball manga called "The Complete Cell", which was first published on July 12th, 1992, in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. It turns out that someone else had already designed the Super Saiyan form of Gohan, but it wouldn't become public for several decades.
The first Dragon Ball video game on the Super Nintendo was called Dragon Ball Z Super Saiya Densetsu, which was released in January of 1992. The people at The Cutting Room Floor discovered that there is a character sprite for Super Saiyan Gohan in the files of the game, even though the story ends with Goku fighting Frieza on Namek. It's possible that the developers of Super Saiya Densetsu wanted to use Super Saiyan Gohan as a secret character (as Super Saiyan Vegeta also appears in the game) and that Akira Toriyama shot it down, as Gohan had yet to transform in the manga.
Akira Toriyama is a notoriously forgetful person, which is why the Dragon Ball series had several inconsistencies and why some characters were abandoned, such as Launch.
The introduction of Gohan in the Dragon Ball manga has one of the quickest retcons in the history of comic books, as he tells Bulma that he is three-years-old while lifting up three fingers. The cover of the next chapter has a picture of Gohan and a text box where he says that he is four-years-old. The reprintings of the Dragon Ball manga changed Gohan's line about his age but kept the three fingers, as that would have meant changing the artwork. It's easy to write off Gohan screwing up the numbers due to him only being four-years-old, but it's really Akira Toriyama who made the mistake and not Gohan.
Gohan missed most of the early battles with the Androids, as he was forced to take his ailing father home in order to give him the medicine for the heart virus that Trunks had left behind. Gohan had yet to meet Cell by the time Goku had taken him to the Lookout to train, yet there is a scene in the episode called "The Doomsday Broadcast" where Gohan has a dream of Perfect Cell massacring his loved ones while he is sleeping in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber.
The scene where Gohan dreams of Perfect Cell was created by the anime staff and never happened in the original Dragon Ball manga. It was just another filler moment that was intended to pad out Gohan and Goku's training storyline.
Gohan is a half-human/half-Saiyan hybrid and was born with the Saiyan tail, as well as the capacity to transform into a Great Ape. Goten and Trunks were both born without tails, which was never explained within the story of Dragon Ball.
Akira Toriyama claimed in an interview for the US version of Shonen Jump that the tail is a recessive gene, which is an answer that fans have used as a canon explanation for years. The truth about the Saiyan tails was revealed in a book called Dragon Ball 30th Anniversary book, where Akira Toriyama revealed that he removed the tails since he was bugged by the logistics of how Saiyans would put on their clothes.
The English dubs of Dragon Ball have always toned down the language for the versions of the show that are intended to be broadcast on television, with characters commonly shouting words like "Darn" when being hit.
There is an instance in the Dragon Ball anime that the fans originally thought was a creation of the dub, as Gohan tells Nappa that he smells, eliciting a laugh from Vegeta. Gohan did insult Nappa in the original dub, but he actually went after Nappa's mother and said that her belly button sticks out, which is the kind of insult that you should expect from an infant.
Gohan was thrust into the starring role at a young age, which meant that the audience of Dragon Ball didn't get a chance to spend much time with him before he was thrown into battle against the Saiyans.
The creators of the Dragon Ball anime made several filler episodes that starred Gohan during the Saiyan Saga, in order to flesh out his character a bit more before he returned to his training. One of the filler episodes was "Plight of the Children", which involved Gohan hanging out with a group of orphans, who are all taken by social workers and police officers at the end of the episode. Gohan actually gets into a fight with a few people who are just trying to do their job and save some kids from destitution. However, it happened in a non-canon filler episode.
The story of the Dragon Ball Z anime added a whole filler arc after the Frieza Saga that involved a character from the movies called Garlic Jr. These episodes were followed by even more filler, including one about Gohan's home life.
The episode called "Frieza's Counterattack" has a storyline where Chi-Chi hires a tutor named Mr. Shu to aid Gohan in his studies. Mr. Shu puts Severus Snape to shame, as he beats Gohan with a whip in order to make him study harder. When Chi-Chi discovers this, she throws him out of the window. The Mr. Shu storyline was an invention of the anime staff as a means to fill out the entire episode that ended with Frieza returning following his defeat on Namek.
Mercenary Tao was one of Goku's earliest villains, as he was both a ruthless assassin and a skilled martial artist who almost took Goku's life using a Dodon Ray. The last time that Mercenary Tao showed up in the Dragon Ball manga was during his fight with Tien in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, which ended with his defeat and with him being carried off by Master Shen.
Gohan encountered Mercenary Tao before the Cell Games were due to begin, which caused Tao to freak out when he discovered that Gohan is the son of Goku. The meeting between Gohan and Mercenary Tao was an invention of the anime staff and never happened in the manga. Akira Toriyama also stated in Dragon Ball Forever that Mercenary Tao and Master Shen perished in a business deal gone wrong, which may have happened before the Cell Games.
The Dragon Ball series took a serious shift in tone during the Great Saiyaman Saga, as the story jumped from Gohan destroying Perfect Cell to him becoming the anime version of Peter Parker, as he juggles his academic career with being a superhero.
The manga mostly dealt with Videl trying to reveal the identity of the Great Saiyaman, but the anime staff took this opportunity to write several episodes about Gohan's life in high school. The episode called "Gohan's First Date" showed his first date with a girl named Angela, after she blackmailed him into going out with her by threatening to reveal his secret. Gohan assumed she meant that he was the Great Saiyaman, but she meant the one about his teddy bear underwear. "Gohan's First Date" and most of his high school adventures were the subject of filler episodes and aren't considered to be canon.
Perfect Cell was able to create small copies of himself, which he referred to as the Cell Juniors. The Cell Juniors were roughly as powerful as Cell himself, which meant that they could overpower most of the Z-Fighters with ease.
The Cell Juniors were easily dispatched by Gohan after he transformed into a Super Saiyan 2, but it seems that he destroyed one too many. Perfect Cell was shown creating seven Cell Juniors, yet Gohan destroys eight of them in the episode called "Awakening", which was due to a production error. Dragon Ball Kai fixed the mistake so that Gohan only destroys seven of the Cell Juniors.
Akira Toriyama should probably have made Gohan a little older at the start of the series, as it's hard to imagine a four-year-old going on violent martial arts adventures while also growing up to be the most well-adjusted member of the Z-Fighters.
It can also be hard to root for Gohan when he spends a lot of his time crying and cowering, which was a mistake repeated with Deku at the beginning of My Hero Academia. Gohan earned a rap for being too soft, yet that didn't stop him from taking down Sui at the start of the Namek Saga, as well as wiping out all of the Spice Boys and massacring several villains in the movies, such as Bojack.
Are there any other misconceptions about Gohan in Dragon Ball? Let us know in the comments!