He’s one of the most famous faces in anime, and whether you’re a fan of the original Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Super, or anything in between, chances are you’ve worked out the very basics of Son Goku. When he’s not eating, he’s training, and when he’s not training, he’s eating. Sometimes he’s eating and training. But there is more to everyone’s favourite Saiyan than maybe you realized. I mean, you don’t literally go through hell and back without learning a few things.
Goku’s Super Saiyan transformations, instant transmission, and Kamehameha technique are the stuff of legend, but those who paid enough attention to the Dragon Ball franchise will have noticed that Goku has plenty more tricks up his sleeve. So many, in fact, that it’s a wonder he doesn’t use them more often. Of course, a lot depends on whether or not they are actually canon, but we’re including all instances where Goku has shown an ability of which we didn’t know he was capable. So, starting with Dragon Ball and reaching as far as Dragon Ball GT, here are 15 Superpowers You Didn’t Know Goku Had.
15 Flight (Without Ki)
Goku’s ability to fly is one his best known superpowers, and probably the one he uses the most, as well he might, because flight comes fairly naturally to anyone within the Dragon Ball universe. Gohan even teaches Videl to fly, proving that all it takes is access to and complete control over your ki. Not your ki, specifically. You don’t have ki. Screen Rant will not be held responsible for any injuries that occur due to attempted flight.
The point is that Goku is one of the few characters in Dragon Ball lore to master flight without the use of ki. All full-blooded Saiyans are born with the innate ability to fly, but this clearly isn’t enough for Goku, who has found other ways to fly without all the effort of using his ki.
At the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament, Goku spins his tail around so quickly that he is able to fly as freely as if he were using his ki, while his powerful Saiyan lungs give him the ability to float in mid-air simply by exhaling at the ground, which brings us on to another superpower…
14 Increased Lung Capacity
Goku’s Saiyan heritage gives him an extremely powerful lung capacity, and he uses this to do things far beyond the limits of an average human. Besides summoning his lung power to perform the Mid-Air Stop-- an alternative to flight which allows the user to suspend himself in mid-air long enough to dodge an attack-- Goku’s lungs have come in handy on several occasions over the years.
Goku battles Beerus in the stratosphere, and while he can’t survive long without air, he is able to fight at full power against the God of Destruction for a short time. This would also explain why Vegeta was able to float in outer space long enough to destroy Planet Arlia-- which, until recently, had been considered a plot hole.
Additionally, Goku has been known to hold his breath underwater for extended periods. During his battle with Frieza, Goku is blasted underwater, but rather than come up for air, he uses the time to plan his next move, eventually launching an underwater Kamehameha at his opponent. It also goes without saying that you need some serious lung power to perform an episode-long Super Saiyan 3 transformation.
Namekian regeneration is one thing, but Goku in Super Saiyan God form has been shown to have the ability to regenerate his own wounds. During his battle with Beerus in Dragon Ball Super’s extended adaptation of Battle of Gods, the God of Destruction seemingly kills Goku by planting his palm through the Saiyan’s chest.
Goku falls into the ocean, but his chest remains aflame under the water thanks to his godly aura. His ki eventually manifests itself over the wound, healing him instantly, and Goku returns to the fight at full power.
The Super Saiyan God form, incidentally, is shown to be far superior to Super Saiyan Blue in the manga, in which he defeats both Hit and Future Trunks at full power (the latter with a single blow). Thus, we’re not likely to see much of Goku’s ability to regenerate, nor is it a technique he can count on.
12 Immunity to Hair Growth
Don’t you just hate it when you’re fighting a battle that will determine the fate of the universe, and your hair gets all in your eyes? Well, luckily for Goku, that’s not something he ever has to worry about.
According to Vegeta after his year in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber with Trunks (whose hair, incidentally, grew down to his shoulders): “a pure Saiyan’s hair does not change from the day he is born.”
As demonstrated by Nappa in the Saiyan Saga, a Saiyan is capable of balding, but only at a specific age. A Saiyan’s lifespan is similar to an Earthling’s life expectancy, but as a warrior race, they maintain their youth for a longer time, allowing them to fight at the same level well into adulthood and aging rapidly once when they reach a certain age. So while Vegeta’s statement is true in the sense that a Saiyan’s hairstyle never changes, nor does he never need a haircut (imagine the money you’d save), that’s not all there is to it.
11 Eight-Arm Fist
A technique first seen in Dragon Ball, the Eight-Arm Fist is a move whereby the user spins his or her arms so fast that the after-image gives them the appearance of having eight arms. King Chappa, the previously undefeated world martial arts champion, develops the Eight-Arm Fist, otherwise known as Hasshu-ken. He uses it in his battle with Goku at the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, allowing him to more efficiently attack and defend himself against the young Saiyan.
After his unlikely victory, Goku faces off against Tien Shinhan, and he combats Tien’s Four Witches technique, for which Tien grows an extra set of arms from beneath his shoulder blades (because apparently two arms just aren’t enough at the World Martial Arts Tournament), with the Eight-Arm Fist, despite never having used it previously. Although never stated as such, this is an example of Goku’s ability to mimic other character’s techniques.
This brings us nicely on to the power of mimicry – the ability to replicate a technique after having only seen it performed once. While it is rarely brought up as any kind of superpower, it has been used in almost every saga of each of the Dragon Ball series.
In Z, Chiaotzu learns the Self Destruction technique from the Saibamen, while Vegeta learns to sense ki from the Z-Fighters. In GT, Frieza once again deploys a variation of Krillin’s Destructo Disk (which Goku even makes a point of commenting on), and Goku Black learns to use mimicry as recently as Dragon Ball Super.
But way back in Dragon Ball, Goku uses mimicry at almost every turn. It’s by way of mimicry that Goku first uses the Kamehameha, after witnessing Master Roshi extinguish Fire Mountain with the technique. Not only does he also pick up Roshi’s Drunken Boxing and Afterimage techniques, he masters them, adapting them to suit his fighting style at the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament.
Dende uses the healing technique at several points throughout Dragon Ball Z, and whether by mimicking Dende or simply by bestowing his own energy, in his Super Saiyan form, Goku has been known to heal and even resurrect other characters.
The most notable example of this is when Goku shares his energy with Frieza, who had been facing death after getting split in two by his own Death Saucer. Goku gives Frieza enough energy to escape the exploding planet Namek, but Frieza foolishly fires Goku’s own energy right back at him.
In the film Cooler’s Revenge, in which Cooler attempts to avenge his brother, Frieza, Goku brings a dead bird back to life. The bird flies away completely healed, although it may be that Goku simply gave it some of his energy, as with Frieza. This also suggests that the rest of the Z-Fighters actually have the potential to heal. They just don’t use it – the selfish little devils.
8 Purity of Heart
Goku having a pure heart comes as a surprise to absolutely no one, but you might not know quite how pure his heart actually is. Simply put: apparently a concussion can rid an alien child of all impurity.
Goku is the only known character to be immune to Spike the Devil Man’s Devilmite Beam. Spike uses the technique to transform his opponent’s negative thoughts, no matter how faint, into unstoppable energy beams, but Goku is twice hit by the beam in Dragon Ball, producing nothing but a light show.
It’s for this reason that Goku is able to ride the Nimbus cloud, while both Roshi and Bulma are thought of as impure and unworthy of its powers. Goku’s pure heart also allows him use of the Spirit Bomb, which both Gohan and Krillin are able to deflect with ease due to the fact that its natural energy is considered pure and therefore ineffective against those with a good heart.
7 Superhuman Smell
Goku’s heightened senses are some of his more obvious superpowers. Used in Dragon Ball to hint at his other-worldly origins, but adapted to play a huge role in his Dragon Ball Z battles, Goku’s super sight gives him incredible reflexes in combat, while his super hearing allows him to fight without using his eyes at all.
Less dangerous is his heightened sense of smell, which has been used throughout the series as comic relief (and as a way for Goku to find food), but has come in handy here and there. During their time training under Master Roshi, Goku and Krillin are tasked with finding a stone thrown deep into the jungle by Roshi, with the loser going without supper. With food on the line, Goku uses all the powers available to him and finds the stone. When Krillin asks him how, he simply replies, “It smells like Master Roshi.”
6 Spirit Bomb Absorption
It only pops up four times through the manga, but the Spirit Bomb has proven to be one of Goku’s most powerful attacks, defeating Kid Buu and Omega Shenron, while even a severely weakened Spirit Bomb wounded Vegeta. Though the Spirit Bomb relies entirely on the user having enough time to charge it, once the energy is gathered, it can be used in several different ways.
One of them, used as recently as episode 66 of Dragon Ball Super-- in which Future Trunks’s sword harnesses the power of Earth’s resistance fighters-- is absorption. Vegeta has also absorbed Spirit Bomb energy in his battle with Janemba, but Goku was the first to absorb a Spirit Bomb, and it was kind of a fluke.
In Super Android 13!, Goku transforms into a Super Saiyan while he is charging the Spirit Bomb,. This causes him to promptly pass out, as the Super Saiyan form exposes the heart to impurity. Goku then unconsciously absorbs the ball of energy, waking up with an immense power and easily destroying Android 13.
5 Invisible Eye Blast
Not satisfied with heightened vision, Goku has found another way to use his eyes in battle. Although Goku has never used it to inflict physical damage on an opponent, the technique has been used effectively by the likes of Majin Buu and the Supreme Kai.
The Supreme Kai initially uses the attack on Majin Buu, which is useful only in temporarily disorientating Buu, but he does use it to save Gohan’s life, destroying one of Buu’s energy blasts. Buu learns it from the Supreme Kai instantly after seeing it performed on him, and he sends the Kai flying with the technique.
Goku, meanwhile, first uses the Invisible Eye Blast on Namek, conjuring up a grave for Vegeta, who had just been killed by Frieza. He later uses the blast on Omega Shenron in Dragon Ball GT, as one half of Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta, showing off his new power by repeatedly halting the charging Omega.
The origins of Goku’s telepathic powers are unknown, but he has mastered several forms of telepathy by the end of the Namek saga.
Goku, Gohan, and Krillin are each able to communicate telepathically at various points during their battle with Vegeta. Goku stopped Krillin from killing Vegeta with telepathy, and even commanded Gohan in his Great Ape state to focus his destruction on Vegeta.
Upon his arrival on Namek, Goku demonstrates the unprecedented ability to read minds, placing a hand on Krillin’s head and telepathically catching up on everything he had missed. Also on Namek, Goku speaks directly to Dende, even while attacking Frieza, informing the Namekian of his decision to remain on the exploding planet.
Both Master Roshi and King Piccolo use telepathy in Dragon Ball, while King Kai is of the most notable telepaths in Dragon Ball Z. Whether Goku picked up the technique through mimicry, King Kai’s training, or simply through his Saiyan physiology, we may never know.
3 Energy Shield Generation
Unlike a lot of the powers on this list, which he was only able to acquire through mimicry, Goku was actually the first character seen to generate an energy shield in the anime. Only ki users can summon force fields, whose strength depends entirely on the user’s mastery of ki and, in some cases, raw power.
Broly, for example, was only a baby when he created a force field strong enough to withstand the destruction of Planet Vegeta. Goku later surpasses Broly, but we’ve yet to see Goku use his full power to project an energy barrier, having only used one twice.
At the back end of Dragon Ball, Goku uses an energy barrier to protect himself from King Piccolo while charging a one-armed Kamehameha wave, and as an adult, he summons one to shield himself from the combined energy waves of minions Daiz and Cacao in the Dragon Ball Z movie: The Tree of Might.
Telekinesis is another superpower used regularly throughout the Dragon Ball saga without ever being mentioned by name. A telekinetic has the ability to manipulate objects with a physical connection, and we see it so often in this age of comic book movies and TV shows that it’s a wonder we don’t connect it to Dragon Ball more often.
Goku’s only experience with telekinesis comes when he is hospitalized following his first battle with Vegeta. He is seen lifting water from a glass before he is distracted by Chi-Chi and ends up spilling said water all over his face. While Goku had never used telekinesis previously, this might be another example of mimicry.
Goku has had many encounters with telekinesis. Each of the main Dragon Ball Z villains (Vegeta, Frieza, Cell, Buu) has demonstrated some form of telekinesis, usually during acts of destruction, while both General Blue and Chiaotzu have used telekinesis directly on Goku in Dragon Ball.
1 Bottomless Stomach
Now, there’s no doubting that Goku gets a lot of exercise. Training at 100 times Earth’s gravity and lifting up to 40 tons in his base form is bound to burn a few calories, but that many calories? Really?
Goku’s daily calorie intake is unknown (the most likely reason for this being that no one has yet learned to count that high), but it’s a fact that he, like his Saiyan comrades, eats an unholy amount of food and never puts on a pound. From this we can deduce two things; first, Goku and the Saiyans have the superpower of bottomless stomachs. Second, of all the powers on this list, this is definitely the one we would all choose.
Goku’s ability to step right on to the battlefield mere minutes after stuffing his face is unrivalled in all the galaxy, and we already said that we don’t know his calorie intake, but we guarantee it’s plenty over 9000...
What's your favorite power in Dragon Ball? Let us know in the comments!