Since 1984, the many decades since Akira Toriyama first began writing his Dragon Ball manga have seen the rise and fall of multiple series, movies, videogames, and, of course, powerful characters. From godlike heroes to seemingly unbeatable villains, the vast Dragon Ball franchise and its offshoots have produced some of fandoms most gifted warriors. There have been humans like Tien and Chiaotzu, Saiyans like Trunks and Vegeta, and a number of bizarre warriors in between.
Each new story, however, seems to bring with it a threat the seems far more insurmountable than any previous foes our heroes have faced. One of the newest characters to the Dragon Ball series may just be one of the most powerful beings to yet exist in the franchise’s universe: Goku Black. For those unfamiliar, there’s quite a bit now known about this once mysterious figure. Here are 15 Things You Need To Know About Goku Black.
15 He Stole Goku’s Body
The long, strange story of Goku Black can be a difficult thing to follow. The key thing to know, however, is that he’s not truly Goku. In a separate reality from ours, Goku Black was once Zamasu. While originally a serene warrior and diligent student of Gowasu, he slowly became disenfranchised and full of rage. Upon reaching his breaking point, he killed his master and began down the path that would make him Goku Black.
After learning of the supreme power of the Super Dragon Balls, he went about collecting them all to grant his wish. He had heard of Goku’s great might, and so asked the Dragon to swap his body with Goku’s. The result made Zamasu a near clone of Goku, though with a few slight physical differences. Once he’d transformed, he went about wiping out a number of people before finally deciding to travel to a reality where his ultimate plan for destruction could be carried out unabated.
14 There Were A Lot Of Wild Theories About His Identity
Like many mysterious aspects of fandom, there were a lot of theories about Goku Black’s identity. He originally dubbed himself Son Goku and was given his main name by Bulma. With the information presented on him, message boards across the Internet went wild after his introduction trying to suss out who the character could truly be. A leading theory was that he was one of the many androids created by Dr. Gero.
There was also the simple idea that he was a clone. Most interesting was the theory that he was a Goku from an alternate reality or timeline. While this wasn’t too far off, the idea was that in this other world, Goku had actually gone through with his mission to eradicate Earthlings and take the planet for the Saiyans. While all of these theories proved to ultimately be off the mark, they let fans flex their theory-crafting muscles.
13 Goku Black Was Once A Shinjin
Back before his body was transmuted into that of a Saiyan, Goku Black was a Shinjin known as Zamasu. The Shinjin are one of the universe's most ancient and powerful races, which births all Kais known to exist. Their planet, which is essentially a larger version King Kai’s home, is full of massive trees which bear magical fruit. The fruit then births the Shinjin, who can live for nearly a million years at a time. Those born from special golden fruit can live even longer, and are granted even more fantastical powers.
All Shinjin live on Kaishin, their home planet, for many thousands of years, studying at a leisurely pace at a massive school that provides them with all the knowledge they’ll need to someday become Kais. It was this position of privilege and power that Zamasu was born into, as he trained to be a Kai under his teacher Gowasu.
12 He Became A Supreme Kai
Once a Shinjin becomes a Kai, they are tasked with governing a particular area of the universe. Based on the the Buddhist guardians that each oversee a cardinal direction, there are four Kais, such as King Kai, that attend to Earthly matters. Above these already powerful beings sit the Supreme Kai.
Though still dwarfed in power by the Grand Supreme Kai and the Gods of Destruction, Supreme Kai have untold strength. Not only are they powerful warriors, but they are capable of telepathy, telekinesis, and have excellent healing factors. They can also generate matter, which they use on occasion to create planets, divide them up, and even generate new life.
Mostly, they’re watchers, but some, such as Zamasu, use their great power for evil. Generally, those such as Zamasu cannot become Supreme Kais. While training to be a Kai, however, Zamasu killed his teacher, Supreme Kai Gowasu, and stole his Potara in order to elevate himself.
11 Goku Black Has Some Interesting Accessories
Two of Goku’s most recognizable attributes are his powerful accessories: his Potara earring and his Time Ring. The Potaras are powerful items worn by all Supreme Kai. Not only do they grant them great power, but they also allow them to fuse with other Kais who are wearing corresponding Potara. Aside from that, owning a Potara allows an individual to use another powerful artifact: the Time Ring.
Time Rings are another item held by Supreme Kai. With them, Supreme Kai can travel naturally through time without affecting things. While this ability is typically used to observe time, Goku Black uses it to enact his evil plans and kill his foes. The protection it offers him also allows him to survive the destruction of his past self by God of Destruction Beerus.
All told, the Potara and Time Ring together are not only killer accessories, but powerful weapons that only increase the threat posed by Goku Black.
10 He Has A Plan To Destroy All Mortals
Back when Zamasu was still under the tutelage of Gowasu, he began developing the idea that mortals were the cause for all the injustice and war in the world. Believing that a world without mortals would be a utopia, he concocted the bluntly named Zero Mortals Plan. Once devised, Zamasu pitches the idea to Gowasu, who naturally rejects the sadistic plan. As a result, Zamasu reaches the breaking point that causes him to kill Gowasu and take his power.
As part of the plan, Zamasu not only transforms into Goku, but destroys the Super Dragon Balls. He also sets about killing everyone in Future Trunks’ timeline, succeeding in exterminating almost all life on the planet. He’s also able to kill all Supreme Kai and Gods in the reality. It’s the plan’s ultimate failure that causes him to seek out Universe 7, where the God of Destruction, the only being that can rival his power, is already dead. This then allows him to begin destroying planets. Eventually he sets his sights on Earth and confronts the Z Fighters we know.
9 Super Saiyan Rosé
For some, it may be hard to believe that there’s a power beyond Super Saiyan. For those who grew up watching Dragon Ball Z on Toonami, it was a revelation when Goku and Future Trunks lit up with golden fire and grew spiky, blond hair. It marked a new level in power and left many other fighters in the dust. Since then, however, many levels beyond Super Saiyan have been discovered. There’s both Super Saiyan 2 and 3, and then comes a special ritual involving 5 Saiyans channeling their power into one. Introduced for the film Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Super Saiyan God mode grants untold power. But it can go even further.
For many, the next level is Super Saiyan Blue, something Vegeta regularly ascends to. Goku Black, however, has his own unique form. Though possessing the same power level as Blue, his special form is Super Saiyan Rosé, which grants him cotton candy pink hair. Goku Black is the only known Saiyan to reach this form. It’s theorized that mortals who have reached God form can go Blue, but only a true God can reach Super Saiyan Rosé.
8 Dragon Ball Super
If all of this talk about new Super Saiyan forms is throwing you for a loop, it’s probably worth noting that much of it is relatively new to the Dragon Ball franchise. Even Goku Black himself didn’t appear in anime or manga form until last year. Much of the story and build-up to it comes from the latest anime in the series, Dragon Ball Super. Made in conjunction with a new manga and overseen by series creator Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball Super premiered in 2015. It marks the first time since Dragon Ball GT’s end in 1997 that a new anime arrived.
Several of its arcs are comprised of the movies Battle of Gods and Resurrection ‘F’ which introduced many of the new Super Saiyan forms and the concept of Gods of Destruction. After fleshing out the lore around Supreme Kais and other powerful beings, the show and manga debuted Goku Black in the summer of 2016. Not only did it introduce his new Saiyan form, but many of his godlike powers as well.
7 Violent Fierce God Slicer
One of Goku Black’s most intense moves is also his signature. Creating a blade of violet-colored energy from his hand, the Violent Fierce God Slicer is a powerful attack of concentrated ki. What’s even more incredible is that Goku Black is able to increase its potency by pushing it into his hand and generating an energy scythe.
This upgraded version of the move is so strong that it opens a rift in space and time. As such, an outpouring of clones of Goku Black can gather. While their fragile nature causes them to dissipate upon being struck, they bear all the power of Black and can even reform. He can also use the God Slicer to fire bolts of ki that are capable of penetrating an opponent and detonating. All of these moves are among some of Goku Black’s most powerful abilities, but they’re really just the tip of the iceberg.
6 Black Kamehameha
As a powerful Saiyan and all-around godlike warrior, Goku Black is capable of some incredible feats of strength. He can not only generate all sorts of ki energy blasts and energy bullets, but can even mimic moves he’s witnessed others perform. Along with his Violent Fierce God Slicer, Goku's set of skills make him a nearly unstoppable opponent.
On top of all those moves, he has his Black Power Ball. His most devastating energy blast is his variation of the Kamehameha, though. As one of the core attacks employed by the Z Fighters, Goku Black’s version is naturally called the Black Kamehameha. Even more devastating is his Super Black Kamehameha. Aside from simply looking cool, with their glowing black-light energy, they are some of the most powerful moves this already godly warrior possesses. Even worse, Goku Black can use telekinesis and survive the Devilmite Beam thanks to his pure (evil) heart.
5 Goku Black Has a Longstanding Grudge Against Trunks
Goku Black has a special vendetta against Trunks. Though he hates the real Goku and Vegeta for the threat they pose, he’s traveled across time and space hunting Future Trunks and attempting to hill him. Despite their first encounter resulting in Trunks being savagely beaten and having his arm broken, he’s able to escape. By tracking his ki, Goku Black is able to once again find him after he travels through time. He’s again prevented from finishing him off, however, allowing Trunks and Bulma to work on a plan to travel to the past and save everyone from Goku Black’s destruction.
After a year of preparation, the plan fails when Goku Black appears and kills Bulma. Trunks again escapes, and the two continue chasing each other throughout time. This leads to Goku Black encountering many of his other rivals, but try as he might, he can never stop Trunks. Trunks, even after transforming to Super Trunks, is also incapable of defeating Goku Black, thus perpetually leaving both fighters in a stalemate.
4 Evil Containment Wave
For a long time, the Evil Containment Wave, or Mafūba, was used to help defeat some of the most powerful forces of evil. A way of sealing away demons in a containment device, Master Roshi’s teacher Master Mutaito once used the technique to trap the evil King Piccolo in an Electric Rice Cooker (because this is still anime, after all). Sadly, the technique usually kills the user after it’s performed. It’s actually this death that causes Mutaito’s other student, Master Shen, to turn to the ways of evil, as he viewed his old master as weak.
Years later, upon Piccolo’s escape, Roshi attempted the move, but failed in the execution and died. Tien, mimicking the Evil Containment Wave, tried it himself but was also unsuccessful. He was powerful enough to survive, however, and most Z Fighters since have been able to use it without dying.
Ultimately, the knowledge was passed along to Goku and Future Trunks. Goku practiced it on poor Turtle, but it was Trunks who finally tried it on Goku Black and a future version of Zamasu. Unfortunately, the urn he contained them within wasn’t sealed and the two escaped.
3 Fusion with Future Zamasu
While normal Fusions create a super powerful version of two characters, Goku Black’s Fusion with Future Zamasu proves to be his undoing. Before that happens, however, it presents quite the threat. By using the Potara, the two versions of each other are able to merge and create Fusion Zamasu. This creates an extraordinarily powerful being that is easily able to defeat Vegito Blue, the powered-up Fusion of Goku and Vegeta. The fact that Goku Black is a mortal, though, starts the unraveling of Fusion Zamasu.
Zamasu chose the mortal form to remind himself of what he was fighting against, but the bonding with his future immortal self makes his Fusion unstable and he begins falling apart during battle. Ultimately, Future Trunks is able to slice Fusion Zamasu in half and destroy his body. Far from being a victory, however, this releases Zamasu’s spirit and it begins taking over the planet.
In a final hail mary, Goku summons the future version of the powerful Zen-Oh, who unleashes an energy so powerful that it wipes out Zamasu and erases him from the timeline. It’s this final act that brings Goku Black’s short but destructive reign of terror to an end.
2 Fusion With Broly
Though the story of Zamasu and Goku Black ends with their destruction, Goku Black has one other fun Fusion form thanks to the game Dragon Ball: Fusions. The game is responsible for a whole slew of awesome Fusions and is something we’d love to see adapted into an anime at some point. While it’s not canon, it does produce the exciting Fusion of Goku Black with Broly.
Introduced in 1993’s Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan, Broly is one of the most powerful Saiyan warriors. Using the Metamo-Ring, named after the Metamoran race that invented Fusion, Broly and Goku Black are able to combine into Karoly Black. It mixes Goku Black’s Super Saiyan Rosé form with Broly’s Super Saiyan form to create a sweet pink-and-blond hairdo. While we’re unlikely to ever see this in the anime or manga, it’s a neat bit of side continuity in the world of Dragon Ball.
1 Lettuce Explain
Our final entry is another fun one wrapped up in all sorts of Easter eggs. Akira Toriyama is famous for using food puns to name his characters, and those ideas often manifest in the anime and manga. For example, Broly is based on "broccoli," which Master Roshi actually calls the Saiyan. Krillin’s name meanwhile comes from "chestnut," referencing his head, while Chiaotzu and Tien both get their name from Asian dishes.
Back when Goku Black’s identity was unknown, fans were trolled thanks to the regular appearance of lettuce. Showing up multiple times in Battle of Gods through Dragon Ball Super, the vegetable was used to represent Turles. Also known as Tullece, his name literally means "lettuce." Given his similar appearance to Goku Black, it led many fans to believe the two characters had some sort of connection. It was all a ploy, however, as Turles ultimately had nothing to do with Goku Black, but it’s too good a bit of trivia to ignore.
What are your favorite things about Goku Black from the Dragon Ball franchise? Let us know in the comments!