Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years

It’s been 36 years since Dragon Ball first premiered. Since then, our protagonist Goku has achieved some insane forms, most gaining an iconic status worldwide.

As of the Granolah arc, Goku has had 15 official forms till date, excluding his base form. The strongest of them include Mastered Ultra Instinct, Super Saiyan Blue Kaikoken, and Super Saiyan God among others.

The building power of these transformations is testament to how far Goku has come. In this article, I will list down all of Goku’s forms in canon in order of when they first appeared and also track how they have improved (or not) throughout the years.

Let’s go!

1. Great Ape: Goku’s First Transformation

Great Ape is Goku’s first transformation which debuted when Goku fought Emperor Pilaf in chapter 21 of the Dragon Ball manga.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
Great Ape | Source: Fandom

Since Goku was a Saiyan by tail and heritage, he could turn into a giant monkey by gazing at the full moon. In Dragon Ball Z, Great Apes could fire Ki through a move called Mouth Energy Wave.

Goku’s power was multiplied by 10 in Great Ape and could destroy Pilaf’s whole castle. But after his tail was removed permanently, he lost access to this form.

2. Kaioken: A Technique Plus a Form

Kaioken is both a technique and a form, which Goku can combine with other transformations. Goku learned King Kai’s Kaioken technique to boost his power after learning to unlock his potential and detect ki.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
Kaioken | Source: Fandom

In the Saiyan saga, Goku one-shots Nappa using Kaioken x2 where his aura gains a reddish tinge. In his fight with Vegeta, he uses Kaioken x3 and Kaioken x4. Using his Kamehameha, he completely overpowers Vegeta and had Galick Gun.

Later, he goes up to Kaioken x20 against Frieza, but he is unable to defeat him. This is when shit gets real for Goku.

3. Super Saiyan (SS): Goku’s First Major Transformation

Super Saiyan (SS) is Goku’s first major transformation which occurs when Frieza kills Krillin. Enraged by his death, Goku’s hair becomes blonde and turns upward, a transformation many will get nostalgic about.

Super Saiyan Goku is x50 stronger than his base form and after training gets even stronger.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
Super Saiyan | Source: Fandom

Super Saiyan goes through many stages like Super Saiyan Grade 2 and Super Saiyan Grade 3 – not to be confused with Super Saiyan 2 and Super Saiyan 3, which are separate transformations.

Both grade 2 and 3 of Super Saiyan, the ascended states of SS, use too much ki, tiring Goku out, which is why he decides not to use them again, and work on another transformation.

4. Super Saiyan Full Power: 24/7 Super Saiyan

Super Saiyan Full Power or Super Saiyan Grade 4 (SSG4) allows Goku to stay at full power at all times, almost subconsciously.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
Super Saiyan Full Power | Source: Fandom

Goku gained full control over Super Saiyan using the time chamber and increasing his durability and output.

With Super Saiyan Full Power, Goku can fight for as long as he wants without any loss in endurance and efficiency.

5. Super Kaioken: Goku Surpasses Gohan and Vegeta

Super Kaioken is Goku’s combined form of Kaioken and Super Saiyan. He gains control of it during the 7-year time-skip after the Cell Games which allows him to surpass Gohan and Vegeta.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
Super Kaioken | Source: Fandom

During the Other World Tournament, Goku uses SK against Pikkon, punching him straight towards an asteroid.

6. Super Saiyan 2/Super Perfect: Dragon Ball’s Most Useless Form

Super Saiyan 2 is one of Goku’s most negligible forms, seeing as he has never defeated anyone prominent with it.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
Super Saiyan 2 | Source: Fandom

While Super Saiyan 2 Vegeta is at least somewhat strong in this form, SS2 Goku isn’t one of Goku’s best forms, being less favorable than SS3.

7. Super Saiyan 3: Uses a Saiyan’s Full Potential

With Super Saiyan 3, Goku’s aura gains large sparks, his hair grows way longer, his body gets way more muscular, and every drop of power from his Saiyan blood is extracted to push him to his limits.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
Super Saiyan 3 | Source: Fandom

SS3 multiplies his SS power by 8, letting him battle against Majin Buu. He also goes up against Beerus, Caulifla, and Kale in the form, proving that it’s not as useless as SS2.

SS3 is amazing, except it uses way too much energy. He uses its power to the very limit to defeat Kid Buu but loses energy quickly, causing him to revert to his base form.

8. Super Saiyan God: Goku Reaches Divine Status

Goku is finally able to make Beerus fight a little serious with Super Saiyan God, which gives him power much beyond Super Saiyan 3. Super Saiyan God also grants Goku the Aura of a God, letting him use godly ki.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
Super Saiyan God | Source: Fandom

Goku hits a power level of 90 trillion with Super Saiyan God and Beerus compliments him by saying that Goku might just be the strongest person in Universe 7 that he has fought – and this was only Goku at 80% of Super Saiyan God.

But after the fight with Beerus, this form is hardly used again, overshadowed by SSB.

In this form, Goku has pink hair instead of blonde.

9. Super Saiyan Blue: Goku the God-like Saiyan

Super Saiyan Blue or Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan is the combination of Super Saiyan God and Super Saiyan, letting Goku use godly ki and transforming into Super Saiyan at the same time.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
Super Saiyan Blue | Source: Fandom

SSB Goku can withhold their godly ki from leaking out unlike in SS2 and SS3, and further increase power, speed, and physical might without any drain.

SSB allows Goku to fight Golden Frieza until the latter causes him to lose his stamina. Still, this form is one of Goku’s best ones till date.

In this form, Goku’s hair is cyan/light blue.

10. Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken: Synchronizing Godly Ki and Kaioken

Goku’s Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken (SSBK) combines Super Saiyan Blue, which uses godly ki, and the Kaioken technique, giving him a double aura of blue and red.

He first developed this technique with an aim to use it against Beerus but uses it in battle against Jiren, Hit, Zamasu, and Kefla.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken | Source: Fandom

SSBK is a risky and unstable transformation, which had a 90% failure rate. It is not until the Tournament of Power that Goku masters this form enough to activate it to x20 when needed.

He is able to punch Jiren in the gut, but cannot defeat him with SSBK.

11. Perfected Super Saiyan Blue: A Limitless Use of Super Saiyan Blue

Perfected Super Saiyan Blue is a form where Goku realizes the maximum potential of Super Saiyan Blue and harness the power of his outer aura and maintain the influx of ki within.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
Perfected Super Saiyan Blue | Source: Fandom

This form, again, doesn’t come without the risks – if Goku allows his godly ki to erupt completely, he’ll be crippled or even killed.

This form is powerful enough to match up to Fused Zamasu.

12. Ultra Instinct Sign: Goku’s first Ultra Form

Ultra Instinct Sign/Autonomous Ultra Instinct/Ultra Instinct Omen is Goku’s first Ultra form first attained during the Tournament of Power. It is not just the pinnacle of Goku’s martial arts training, but an advanced mental state, that ranks Goku as one of the most powerful entities in all the multiverse.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
Ultra Instinct Sign | Source: Fandom

By this point in the franchise, fans were a bit overwhelmed with the number of transformations in the series. But Ultra Instinct was too exciting to be dissed.

Goku uses Ultra Instinct Sign to defeat the powerful Kefla, and later, during the Universal Conflict Saga, it is able to eject Oren from Vegeta’s body.

In this form, Goku’s irises become silver, his hair black with silver tips, and an aura that is blue, purple, and silver all at once.

13. Perfected Ultra Instinct: The State of the Angels

Goku is able to master his Ultra Instinct Sign and harness the complete power to go into a divine transformation called Perfected Ultra Instinct. Angels are always in a state of Ultra Instinct, making Goku potentially stronger than any God of Destruction.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
Perfected Ultra Instinct | Source: Fandom

But since Goku cannot stay in this state for too long, he only has limited god-level attacks that he can do. Merus told Goku that if he can master this ability, he can become unbeatable.

In this state, Goku easily outmaneuvers and overwhelms the non-fully-powered Jiren. He is also able to fight the likes of Whis in this state.

He battles Granolah and Gas with this form as well, but because he needs a calm mind to activate the Perfected Ultra Instinct form, he reverts to Ultra Instinct Sign which gives him more freedom to fight in his natural hot-headed state.

14. Giant Form: Goku Gets Susanoo

In his Perfected Ultra Instinct state, Goku is able to create a gigantic avatar of himself which looks a lot like a Susanoo from Naruto.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
Giant Form: Goku | Source: Fandom

He uses this giant form to battle the planet-eating Moro, and later in the Garnolah arc, when he flings Gas away from Granolah.

15. True Ultra Instinct: A Transformation Unique to Goku

When Goku reverts to Ultra Instinct Sign during his battle with Gas, he is able to apply his Saiyan nature to wield Ultra Instinct to a new level of power, i.e., True/Mastered Ultra Instinct, which is one of the rare forms in Dragon Ball that are unique to a single person.

Dragon Ball: Tracking Goku’s Transformations Throughout the Years
True Ultra Instinct Goku | Source: Fandom

True Ultra Instinct is theoretically less powerful than Perfected Ultra Instinct, but since it suits Goku more, for him and him alone, it is his most powerful transformation.

Of course, he isn’t able to last long enough in this form and also realizes that it drains a vast amount of energy in very little time. Due to this, although he is able to almost take down Gas, he is ultimately defeated by Black Frieza in chapter 87 of the DBS manga.

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16. About Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama’s brainchild, came into existence in 1984. It has spawned several manga, anime, films, and other media adaptations.

The initial series follows Son Goku and his adventures when he was a child. It is here that we are first introduced to Goku as he meets Bulma, Yamcha, and others.

He trains in martial arts and participates in the World Martial Arts Championship for the first time in this series.


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