Goku is a lot of things: a courageous warrior who never backs down, a kind-hearted hero who is as compassionate as they come, and the ultimate protector of the universe. All that being said however, he isn't all too bright. If Goku truly has one weakness above all else — aside from his unhealthy obsession with fighting, perhaps — it's that he has remarkably awful decision-making skills, which often range from moments where he's being too nice, and others when he's just not thinking at all.
Usually, Goku's dull-witted moments are played for comedy, since naivety and innocence has been a big part of his character ever since the original Dragon Ball. More often than many fans may realize however, these moments of pure stupidity have led to some of the most dangerous consequences in the show. To tell the truth, Goku's various blunders throughout the years have caused so many problems, it almost cancels out the fact that he's saved the world (and others) more times than anyone can keep track of.
Let's just face it, the universe would probably be in safer hands if his power and abilities were in possession of another Z Fighter. Don't believe us? Well that's why we've put together a comprehensive list on why that's true, with the 15 Worst Decisions Goku Ever Made.
15 Letting Vegeta Live
Okay, we know what you're thinking. The once antagonistic Vegeta does eventually end up redeeming himself, and becomes a strong ally of the Z Fighters, making his survival worth it in the end. That being said, Goku's initial decision to let Vegeta escape with his life after their first encounter was just plain moronic.
Goku has a history of showing mercy towards villains he's faced over the years that later become his good friends, with notable examples being Tien and Piccolo. Vegeta however, is on an entirely different level. While Tien and Piccolo — not to be confused with his much more evil father, King Piccolo — may have been enemies of the Saiyan, Vegeta not only tried to kill Goku, and successfully killed a few of his friends, but he also planned on wiping out the entire planet as well.
Goku's main reason for letting the bloodthirsty Saiyan prince live? He just wanted to fight him again. Nice.
14 Mercy For Raditz
As we've seen with Vegeta, Goku has a terrible habit of giving totally undeserving people another chance at life. One of the most blatant examples of this would have to be the first major villain of Dragon Ball Z, Goku's own demented older brother, Raditz. Goku had the evil Saiyan right where he wanted him when he had a hold of his tail, and just needed to wait for Piccolo to hit him with his Special Beam Cannon.
But of course, all it took was some insincere pleading, and Goku let Raditz go. Because of this, Goku ended up in a much worse position, where the only solution was for Piccolo to hit both Goku and Raditz with his cannon at the same time. While Raditz was finally defeated, Goku ended up losing his own life, due to his easily avoidable blunder.
13 Almost Killing Gohan With a Kamehameha
Goku may not be the brightest person on the planet, and he's also extremely exploitable when it comes to his kindness, but if there's one thing that he excels in like no other, it's his training. It seems like no matter how big of an obstacle lies ahead of him, Goku merely has to train enough to reach that next level, or formulate a plan, and he's good to go. Because of this, you'd think that he'd be a great person to train with, right?
Well, if you ask Gohan during his training with his dad during the Cell Games, he might tell you something different. Goku saw potential in his son, and was desperate to find a way to unlock it before their big battle to save the Earth. When nothing else seemed to work, Goku had the bright idea of firing a powerfully-charged kamehameha wave towards his own flesh and blood. Sure, it ended up working, and Gohan overcame the blast by transforming into a Super Saiyan for the first time— but things easily could have went another way. (Good luck trying to explain that one to Chi-Chi.)
12 Poor use of the Instant Transmission technique
Goku has obtained a plethora of different attacks and techniques over the years, but perhaps none are as useful and potentially overpowered as the Instant Transmission. Rather than just being another type of energy blast, the Instant Transmission allows Goku to instantly teleport to any possible location, as long as he has an energy source to lock on to. But he doesn't use it nearly as well as he should.
The first example of this comes right when Goku first introduces his ability. After planet Namek blows up, Goku and a regenerated Frieza are both on their way to Earth in space pods. Instead of simply teleporting, Goku purposely decides to let Frieza arrive first, simply because he sensed the powerful presence of a "good person" (Trunks). If leaving the planet's safety in the hands of a complete stranger wasn't bad enough, then consider how he wasted precious time by explaining his plan to teleport a time-bomb Cell away from Earth. With his last remaining seconds, Goku blows up King Kai's planet (along with Gregory and Bubbles), when he had plenty of time to leave Cell there and bring everyone else back to safety.
11 Heart Virus Vaccine? Not a Priority
If there's one advantage to having a time-traveling friend from the future, it's that they're able to warn or even prepare you for any unfortunate events that haven't occurred yet. Goku was lucky enough to have this when Trunks, Vegeta's grown-up son from the future, warned Goku not only about an incoming threat, but also gave him the vaccine for a heart virus destined to kill him. Goku of course accepted the medicine and then, apparently, forgot about it.
A few years pass when the Z Fighters come up against the sinister Dr. Gero, and his deadly Android 19, and something immediately appears to be wrong, as Goku is winded soon after beginning his fight with the killer machine. Of course, wouldn't you know it— it's the heart virus Trunks warned him about! This leads to Goku nearly getting killed, and taking 10 days to recover while he fights for his life, leaving Vegeta to take over for him. Considering the fact that Goku trains non-stop, it's very unlikely he would have noticed the effects of the virus slowly damaging his heart, and simply forgot about the virus altogether. Good thing Gohan remembered for him.
10 Giving Cell a Senzu Bean
It's bad enough when Goku decides to have mercy on dangerous baddies who would turn around and stab him in the back the first chance they get, but who knew he could take it even farther than that? During the Cell Games, Goku trained with Gohan extensively, and realized that his son had more potential to beat Cell than anyone else. So, after he tries sparring the genetically created fiend to confirm this himself, he decides to let Gohan finish the job— but not before giving the poor, tuckered out monster an energy boost.
Anyone who's watched Dragon Ball knows that Senzu Beans are the ultimate pick-me-up, capable of restoring the stamina and energy of whoever consumes them. While these are usually reserved for Z Fighters that are struggling during battle, Goku thought it would be nice to make the battle between Cell and the inexperienced Gohan a "fair" fight by giving worn-down Cell one of these miraculous beans. This would have been fine and dandy, if the fate of the entire world wasn't on the line...and his son wasn't set to catch a beating because of it.
9 Deciding Not to Be Revived
Despite Goku's numerous goof-ups during the Cell Games (read the last four entries for reference), it concluded with Cell's defeat, and any of his casualties were brought back to life thanks to the Dragon Balls. Goku however, informs his friends that he'd rather not be revived, much to everyone's shock. His reasoning for this being he believes that he attracts evil people, and that the world would be much safer without him.
It doesn't take much brainstorming to realize that this line of reasoning is absolutely ridiculous. Many times throughout the series, Goku has been incapacitated (or even dead already) and kept away from a major fight, which only led to unnecessary deaths and destruction. Even his claim that Gohan is there to protect the world in his place has already been a disproved solution, since it was Goku that teleported the self-destruction Cell away from Earth, saving everyone. It's safe to say the world would be doomed without him, even if he makes dumb decisions at every turn.
8 Go ahead and build those Androids, Dr. Gero
Out of all the big disasters that the Z Fighters have faced throughout the series, the events of the Cell Saga were arguably the most preventable of all. The main reason for this being that Future Trunks came back in time and warned them about Dr. Gero and the androids long before they even had to worry about it. The first thing a rational person might think to do is to track down the mad doctor and stop him before he even has a chance to create these machines, but remember, we're talking about Goku here.
Bulma actually suggests that they do this, but Goku declines, insisting that he'd rather train and fight the androids himself. The fact that he'd purposely put the lives of everyone he cares about (all of whom are already dead in Trunks' future timeline) just so he can have another fight, is downright awful. Even if it was a matter of wondering where to look, they could have easily wished to know his location using the Dragon Balls. Instead, Goku got what he wanted, and ended up dying for it.
7 Letting Chi-Chi Corrupt Gohan
Goku may have not been thinking very clearly when he decided not to be resurrected, but he was right when he said that Gohan had a much higher potential than his own. The end of the Cell Games, and even the Dragon Ball Z series as a whole, had seemed to be leading up to a moment when Gohan would surpass his father, and take up the torch as the Earth's new greatest defender. Funny how things turn out.
Unfortunately for Gohan, his mother Chi-Chi had other plans for him. Instead of encouraging her son to train and keep up his abilities, she forced him to study, telling him that education was more important than anything. While this may be more true in the real world, when it comes to Dragon Ball Z, depriving the Earth of its most powerful hero is just plain dumb. Goku of course just sat back and let this all happen, not offering much resistance. Gohan grew up to be more of a scholar than a warrior, with his sights set on becoming a professor. As Vegeta would say, it's a shame.
6 Being an Awful Husband/Father
While Chi-Chi may have played a big part in softening Gohan up over the years, Goku has even more to blame in his (very limited) role as a husband and father. We say "limited", because the fact is that he just hasn't been there for his family most of the time. This not only applies to Chi-Chi and Gohan, but Goku's second-born son Goten as well.
While it's true that Goku has some form of an alibi when it comes to him training for an upcoming threat, this isn't always the case. When Goku learns the Instant Transmission on an alien world for instance, he's in no rush to return home, and instead takes a slow spaceship. And then there's the fact that he purposely stayed out of the first 7 years of Goten's life by choosing to stay dead after the Cell Games. When it comes down to it, Piccolo has been more of a father-figure to Gohan than his flesh and blood. He may be a nice guy, but Goku sure is one deadbeat dad.
5 Abandoning His Family and Friends for a Complete Stranger
Okay, so we've already confirmed that Goku has a compulsion to leave his family and friends behind in order to train (or chill in heaven), but the absolute worst example of this would have to be at the very end of the Dragon Ball Z series. 10 years after the defeat of Kid Buu, the world is at peace, and Goku ends up meeting a young boy named Uub, who turns out to be the good-natured reincarnation of the pink-skinned villain. After Goku realizes this, he immediately offers to train the boy, and flies off with him to some unknown location, leaving everyone behind just like that.
Since this is the final episode of DBZ, we don't get to see what happens next, but based on Goku's excitement, it's likely that he spends many years training Uub until he becomes strong enough to put up an entertaining match. The fact that Goku decided to ditch everyone for a complete stranger makes about as much sense as telling your girlfriend you'll be visiting a girl in another country for a few years. It just doesn't make sense. Oh, Goku.
4 Not Going All-Out During the Buu Saga
Now here's one choice in particular that we still can't wrap our heads around. It all starts with Goku facing off against an evil-influenced Majin Vegeta, while racing against the clock to prevent Majin Buu from being reborn. We find out later that Goku was holding back during this fight, dragging it out unnecessarily, and leading to Vegeta sacrificing his own life in a unsuccessful attempt to destroy Majin Buu.
Later on, Goku would face off against Buu himself, in one of the most epic transformation sequences in the entire series. The first SSJ transformation led to the awesome defeat of Frieza, and the SSJ2 (by Gohan) resulted in Cell's demise. But Goku's SSJ3? He just fights with Majin Buu for a while before calling it quits, and claiming there's a stronger warrior on the way. This "warrior" is actually the fusion between the half-Saiyan kids, Goten and Trunks, which was far from ready at that point. What Goku failed to mention is that he wasn't using his full power, again, and even claims later that he may have been able to defeat Buu if he had really tried. Yeah, we're shaking our heads too.
3 Instigating Zamasu
To be fair, this is one of those rare instances where it wasn't really Goku's fault that one of his decisions lead to disaster, but the consequences of it were so significant, it had to be included on the list. So, what happens when you take one super self-righteous and mortal-hating god and put them in a "friendly" sparring match with the overenthusiastic Goku? How does the destruction of all mankind sound?
You see, Zamasu has always hated mortals, thinking of them as lowly cockroaches that don't hold any value. But after meeting Goku, and being easily beaten by him, he began to think of them as dangerous as well. So what happens when your house is full of harmful bugs? You call the exterminator. And exterminate Zamasu did, as he stole Goku's body in another timeline, killed his family, and then jumped forward in time to terrorize Future Trunk's Earth. He eventually grew so powerful that every single universe in Future Trunks' timeline was destroyed in order to erase him from existence. Talk about overkill.
2 Giving Frieza WAY Too Many Chances
We all saw this one coming. Goku may be known for taking it a bit too easy on the villains of the series, but there is no other baddie that's been given as much undeserved slack as Frieza. Regarded by many as being one of the greatest villains in the entire series, destroying planets and eradicating entire races are only a couple of his favorite hobbies. Apparently, Goku is able to look over these questionable traits.
During their initial battle on Namek, Goku manages to beat Frieza into submission. But even though he killed his best friend, and ravished an entire planet of innocent people, Goku decides to give him a chance to escape. Not a moment later, Frieza attempts to attack him from behind, and Frieza's own attack ends up cutting himself in half. What does Goku do then? He gives Frieza some of his energy, and tells the genocidal tyrant to be on his way yet again.
It gets worse. In Dragon Ball Super, Frieza comes back from the dead, gains a much more powerful form, and attempts to kill Goku again. After defeating him once more, did Goku finally learn his lesson? Take a wild guess.
1 Not Convincing Zeno to Spare the Universes (Or at Least His)
This last one takes place in the latest series, Dragon Ball Super, and it's number one for a reason. There's been a running joke between Dragon Ball fans who have pointed out that Goku seems to be more idiotic than ever in the new series, but even this somehow goes far beyond any mistake he's ever made before.
Zeno is the most powerful thing in the multiverse, able to create or destroy entire universes on a whim. He also happens to be very childlike, and although most fear him, he becomes Goku's friend thanks to his goofy nature. Everything seems fine until Zeno decides to have a tournament involving warriors from every universe, fighting to be the only one spared from destruction. Yikes.
So where does Goku come in with all of this? That's the problem, he doesn't. He's the only person that can possibly try to convince Zeno to spare any or all of the universes, and he doesn't even try, instead focusing all of his excitement and attention on the tournament itself. That's right, Goku decided to prioritize having some good fights over the safety of his entire universe. Why is he the anointed savior again?
It's hard to believe Goku got as far as he did with such poor decision-making skills. What's your favorite Goku goof-up? Let us know in the comments!