As the protagonist of Dragon Ball, Goku is obviously going to have something about him that's one of a kind. There is not much point in caring about the main character if they are not special in some way. The most immediate way to interpret this would be powers that Goku has that nobody else does, which definitely do exist. But not everything that Goku can do is going to be a compliment to him, either. He certainly has some pretty unique flaws that are exclusive to him as well-- and sometimes they're as remarkable as his strengths.
With new characters still being introduced into the franchise, and Dragon Ball continuing to add new episodes to its list of hundreds that have already aired, Goku's claim on being the only one to do some of these things might not last forever. But as of right now, even with as long as Dragon Ball has been around, only Goku can lay claim to these traits.
These are 15 Things Goku Can Do That Nobody Else Can.
15 BOAST THAT HE ONLY DIES WHEN HE WANTS TO
Pretty much every major character has died at this point in the franchise. During the Buu saga, the entire Earth finally got blown up, so anyone who was there at the time died. The Z Fighters are no strangers to death, though. Guys like Yamcha and Krillin have died plenty of times. Even Goku has died twice. So there’s no shame in someone getting killed off in the show. What sets Goku apart, though, is he’s really the only person who has ever only died by his own choice.
Even powerhouses like Piccolo, Gohan, and Vegeta have been killed against their will. But with Goku, he never died in all of the original Dragon Ball, and didn’t even know death until the beginning of Dragon Ball Z, in his fight against Raditz. Goku wasn’t overcome by Raditz, though, and instead sacrificed himself to restrain Raditz long enough for Piccolo to kill them both. A similar thing happened against Cell, where Goku sacrificed himself to teleport a self-destructing Cell off of the Earth.
So even though Goku has definitely been beaten, he’s never been beaten to the point of being helpless while someone took his life.
14 HOVER USING HIS TAIL
At this point we have seen lots of Saiyans with tails, but Goku was something of an anomaly in the original Dragon Ball. The Saiyan race hadn't even been planned out at the time, so whatever Goku did wasn’t meant to be some long-term reflection of what his race was capable of; it was just what he personally could do. So that explains why there are a few inconsistenceis in what he is able to do compared to other Saiyans later on.
One such inconsistency comes when Goku is competing in the World Martial Arts Tournament as a child and is in the middle of his fight against Jackie Chun (better known as Master Roshi). Goku quickly gets kicked out of the arena and off into the horizon, looking like it’ll be inevitable for him to be eliminated by hitting the ground. But moments later Goku reappears in the sky, coming back to the arena. By twirling his tail like helicopter blades, he was able to keep himself in the air and steer himself back to the tournament.
If other Saiyans had this ability, they certainly never showed it, and with tails seemingly gone from the franchise, they’ll likely never have the chance again.
13 REVERSE BEING ABSORBED BY CELL
Fans take a lot of issue with Dragon Ball GT, and part of that is because of how characters who were introduced earlier in the franchise are treated. In Dragon Ball Z, we saw that Cell was an incredibly powerful antagonist, in no small part due to his tail. He absorbed tons of people through his tail to make himself more and more powerful, and no one was able to resist it.
Piccolo survived thanks to tearing off his withered arm, while Android 16 survived thanks to Cell misjudging where 16’s deactivation point was. But after being taken into Cell’s body, none of the characters were able to escape through their own will. That quickly changed in GT, though.
Goku encounters Frieza and Cell after going to Hell, and the two villains want a rematch against him. Eventually Goku gets blinded by a solar flare and while he can’t see, Cell widens his tail and absorbs him the same way he did Androids 17 and 18. Cell then boasted of what incredible power he felt, and it looked like Goku might have actually lost. But then the Saiyan inexplicably squirmed his way back out of the tail all on his own.
No one else had done this before, but then Cell had never tried absorbing someone stronger than him before, so maybe Goku just proved Cell’s tail only works on weaker characters.
12 HAVE HIS MERCY REWARDED
There are so many fights throughout Dragon Ball where we can’t help but think of one of the warriors as rather stupid because they decide to hold back rather than finish off their opponent. Vegeta does this when fighting Semi-Perfect Cell because he just can’t resist seeing what Perfect Cell looks like-- this results in Vegeta getting badly beaten.
The same thing happens between Perfect Cell and Gohan, where Cell keeps provoking Gohan to unleash his power rather than finishing the fight while he can. And then Gohan reciprocates in that overconfidence by taking his time finishing off Cell because he wants the villain to suffer for what he did.
So looking at that track record, you might assume sparing an opponent is a terrible idea. But if Goku had never shown such mercy, the franchise wouldn’t currently have characters like Piccolo, Vegeta, and Buu to help out. Goku had the opportunity to permanently get rid of all of them, but he let them all live in the hope that there was some good in them.
Sure, it’s also backfired on him sometimes, like when Goku tried to spare Frieza. But considering how many powerful Z Fighters Goku has recruited through his mercy, there’s definitely a case to be made for not making every fight a battle to the death.
11 CREATE AND LAUNCH A SPIRIT BOMB
Goku has been able to lay claim to this move as exclusive for him ever since he debuted it in his first fight against Vegeta, but his hold on this unique ability looks to be slipping. In DBZ, he was the only one who could create the Spirit Bomb at all, but now thanks to Super we’ve seen Future Trunks is capable of creating one as well. The difference is, Goku actually launches his like a projectile, whereas Trunks channeled the energy into his sword to deliver a killing blow to Zamasu.
Goku is still the only character who has shown the capacity to launch the Spirit Bomb at his opponent, but it looks like other characters might soon change that. Initially, characters like Gohan and Krillin were shown to be so pure-hearted that they could at least deflect the Spirit Bomb like a volley ball. But with Future Trunks calling into question who can create one, it looks like it might just be a matter of time before we see someone else with a lot of patience create this devastating attack and launch one just like Goku has done.
10 BOAST OF SURVIVING AN EXPLODING PLANET SIX TIMES
A lot of people have noted the similarity Goku has to Superman; they were both initially the sole survivors of a destroyed planet. But unlike Clark Kent, Goku has actually made a bit of a habit of getting off of planets with little time to spare. In fact, he’s kind of set a bit of a record for it at this point, by being involved in more planetary explosions than anyone else in Dragon Ball. Though, admittedly, that’s not exactly the easiest Guinness Record to try to break.
Thanks to being sent away from Planet Vegeta as a baby, Goku was one of the only Saiyans to survive Frieza’s destruction of that world. Then Goku once again defied the odds by getting off Namek just before Frieza’s plan to destroy that world succeeded. Goku also made it off the Earth with Vegeta just before Buu detonated it, and he escaped the Earth again when Baby’s wish on the Black Star Dragon Balls destroyed it in GT. Vegeta would almost be able to tie Goku’s record for planet escapes, but then in Resurrection ‘F’ Vegeta perished when Frieza blew up the Earth, while Whis was able to save Goku and a handful of others.
But if it’s any consolation, even Goku doesn’t have a flawless escape record, since he did die in the destruction of King Kai’s planet when he transported Cell there. Although, he did go on to escape another planet when Zen-Oh destroyed the timeline where Zamasu had taken over.
9 DRAGON FIST
In terms of special fighting moves, Goku really doesn’t have as many that are unique to him as you might think. His signature is the Kamehameha wave, but he’s far from the only one to perform that, with the likes of Master Roshi, Cell, Gohan, Goten, and Trunks being just some of the others to have used it as well. Goku’s really unique moves are actually ones that he uses much more rarely, often as a last resort.
One such technique is Goku’s Dragon Fist, where he channels his energy into one super-powered punch that he uses to pierce his opponent while simultaneously manifesting his energy in the form of a huge golden dragon. It’s not a move he busts out often, by any means. He's done it less than ten times in the entire franchise, but when he does use the Dragon Fist, it’s either almost a mortal blow, or else signals that the end is around the corner for Goku’s opponent.
8 TURN INTO A FALSE SUPER SAIYAN
Goku has had a lot of different transformations. Understandably, most of them have been left behind, since each subsequent one tends to be stronger than the last. There have even been a few that he's barely used at all which could make you question what was even the point of him even having those forms. If you watched the Lord Slug movie, the form Goku accesses at the end in the final fight kind of comes out of nowhere and never really shows up again either. For this occasion, though, there might actually be an explanation for the short-lived form.
The actual Super Saiyan form hadn't been revealed in the manga yet at this point, but one theory says the team behind the anime wanted to get the scoop on debuting the new form, so they made their own version in the Lord Slug movie. We might not know if that's true, but it certainly explains why the form is never seen again.
Fans have now dubbed it the False Super Saiyan form, and at this point in the franchise, the form would be so outclassed that, even if it was canon, it seems like a safe bet nobody else will be using it.
7 ACCESS HIS SUPER SAIYAN POWER STATE
Yet another form born out of animation issues surrounding the Super Saiyan form in the anime is Goku's Super Saiyan Power state. Basically, this form surrounds Goku in the aura of a Super Saiyan and even sees his hair become spikier like in his typical Super Saiyan form. The difference is that Goku’s hair doesn’t turn golden, indicating this is not his full-fledged Super Saiyan transformation.
If it sounds kind of silly, that’s because it really wasn’t an intentional form. During a filler episode of DBZ, Goku and Pikkon were fighting off past villains in Hell, and the animators initially had Goku transform to take them on. It wasn’t until after they already drew the scene that they realized they wanted Goku to surprise Pikkon with the Super Saiyan form when they fought later, so they hastily recolored Goku’s hair back to black. They couldn’t get rid of the aura or spiky hair at this point, though, so they were kind of stuck with it.
It eventually got worked into the franchise’s canon as a lesser form that he’s busted out a few more times, but understandably he’s really the only one to use it since the actual Super Saiyan form is just superior.
Before Super Saiyans were a thing, Goku’s Kaio-ken was the next best thing. The technique provides an immediate rush of strength and speed, and it can be amplified by different multiples. The only downside is that its toll on a fighter’s body is so extreme, it could kill them if they push it too far, so it can only be used in short bursts. Becoming a Super Saiyan is obviously preferable since it provides a power boost that lasts pretty much however long the user desires.
We pretty much didn’t see the Kaio-ken anymore after Goku became a Super Saiyan in Dragon Ball Z, and it looked like the move might have simply been retired for good. Then Super Goku revealed combining the technique with being a Super Saiyan could kill the user, which was why Goku had never tried it before. But he finally gave it a shot and managed to effectively utilize both.
Still, not many fighters are as reckless with their bodies, so it’s understandable why no one but Goku has been brave enough to tinker with this technique.
5 RESIST THE DEVILMITE BEAM
Goku’s naïve nature is rarely a benefit to him, and has in fact caused a lot of trouble for him. It’s led to awkward situations where Goku couldn’t tell the difference between men and woman, and also him accidentally proposing to Chi-Chi because he thought getting married meant having something to eat. There are definite drawbacks to being as sheltered from the world as Goku used to be, but his humble upbringing had a few perks for him as well.
Goku is always encountering evil characters, and apparently some of these villains believe everyone is as bad as they are. One such person was Spike the Devil Man, whose specialty was turning somebody’s own evil intentions into a fatal attack against them. Spike attempted this Devilmite Beam attack against Goku, but the problem was Goku was so pure hearted that it had absolutely no effect on him. So yeah, Goku can be a bit slow, but it does have occasional uses.
4 TRY TO KILL AN ALTERNATE TIMELINE VERSION OF HIMSELF
It’s not exactly something that Goku would put on his resume, but a cool story that he can tell is how he’s the only fighter who knows what it’s like to fight an alternate timeline version of himself. Even with all the time travel going on during the Cell saga, two versions of Future Trunks, Cell, or the androids never challenged one another.
In fact, it wasn’t until Super that Kid Trunks and Future Trunks really got to have a conversation together, and they were both too peaceful to want to hurt the other. Kid Trunks did try to motivate his future self by punching him when he was moping, but that was hardly a fight to the death or anything.
Goku, on the other hand, not only met his future self in the form of Goku Black, but had some of the toughest battles of his entire life against him. Admittedly, Goku Black was really Zamasu in Future Goku’s body, so this wasn’t quite a version of Goku that had turned evil or anything. Still, Goku Black had most of the powers of the Goku of the main timeline, including being able to turn Super Saiyan Rose (a counterpart to Super Saiyan Blue). So all this time Goku was looking for the mightiest opponent possible to test his strength against, and all he had to do was challenge himself.
3 KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE A SUPER SAIYAN GOD
It was a difficult process for Goku to become a Super Saiyan God when he challenged Beerus. Finding enough good-hearted Saiyans to lend their energy is not a very convenient requirement, no matter how you look at it. If those were going to be the conditions needed to access this form every time, it's no wonder it got phased out so quickly. But even though it didn't defeat Beerus, it was still impressive to behold and was something we wouldn't have minded seeing more of.
However, contrary to what some people believe, a Super Saiyan God is not more powerful than Super Saiyan Blue. Thus, at this point in the series, there's really no reason for someone like Vegeta to become a Super Saiyan God, since he's already skipped right past that state. Still, there are other Saiyans on the show who have room to grow in their power, so we certainly wouldn't complain if one of them got strong enough to access this form. As it is now, Goku is the only one who used this form and it may never be seen again.
2 SUMMON ZEN-OH
Of everything Goku can currently do, this is by far the most valuable skill he can lay claim to. Zen-Oh is without a doubt the most powerful character in the entire franchise, capable of erasing entire universes from existence if he so chooses. And lucky for Goku, Zen-Oh considers Goku a friend. So not long after they met, Zen-Oh gave Goku a button to carry with him, and told Goku that if the Saiyan ever needed him, to just press the button and Zen-Oh would come to him immediately.
As the most recent saga of Dragon Ball Super demonstrates, Zen-Oh isn’t necessarily a total good guy, what with his willingness to wipe out multiple universes from existence. Still, if Goku ever encounters anymore evil characters threatening to kill his friends, he can always fall back on calling Zen-Oh to save them, as seen in the Zamasu situation.
As far as we know, Goku is the only person with a button to call Zen-Oh, so Goku is basically walking around with the world’s most valuable pager.
1 BE POOR DESPITE BEING THE MOST POWERFUL PERSON ON EARTH
We said not everything that’s unique about Goku would be flattering, and this one certainly isn’t. As much as we like Goku, he’s definitely naïve to the point of being rather dumb at times. His loves in life include food, family, fun, and training. The idea of having a job or working doesn’t really fit in there. So as incredible as it is, usually whenever we see Goku at home, he lives in a rather small house and his family definitely has to worry about money.
Goku can destroy the planet whenever he wants, has fought literal gods, and is the most powerful person residing on Earth—and he’s also probably on food stamps. At least Vegeta had the good sense to marry Bulma so he could have the fortune of Capsule Corp to support his lifestyle. And Goku loves to eat, so his grocery bills can’t be cheap either. Yeah, Chi-Chi seems like a nag for constantly pestering Gohan to be a scholar, but looking at how little wealth there is in being the world’s strongest person, maybe she has a good point.
Is there anything else Goku can do that no other Dragon Ball character has done? Feel free to share any other specialties he has in the comments!