Goku is one of the most beloved anime characters of all time, but even the most diehard fans don’t know everything there is to know about him.
What are some things you didn’t know about Goku? Whether it’s meta information about his creation or details about his personal life, there’s plenty to choose from. On the meta side, dub voice actor Sean Schemmel once lost consciousness while recording a particularly taxing scream. Regarding Goku as a character, did you know that his entire personality can be traced back to a childhood head injury?
If you want to learn about the Saiyan warrior, keep reading – and vote up the pieces of Goku trivia surprised you the most.
1. He’s Only Won 1 Out Of 9 Martial Arts Tournaments
Goku may be the strongest being in the Dragon Ball universe, but he’s only got one championship under his belt. Throughout the franchise, he has competed in nine different martial arts tournaments. But the only one he’s actually won is his third one when he defeats Piccolo in the final round. When you’re Goku, you don’t need things like trophies or status to prove your strength.
2. He’s Helped To Sell A Wide Variety Of Products
Goku has been in a plethora of advertisements for everything from KFC and Mets soda to eye drops that you use to deal with irritation after swimming in a chlorinated pool. Some of these commercials are pretty basic – the KFC one really just involves Goku running toward KFC to get some chicken – but some are weird. The eye drop commercial, for instance, makes everyone involved look stoned.
3. He’s Only Killed Two Villains In DBZ
As most fans know, Goku isn’t really into taking lives – he’s more into sparing them, as he did with Frieza. That being said, he spends so much time fighting bad guys that it may come as a surprise to learn that during Dragon Ball Z, which aired for 291 episodes, Goku only totally destroyed two villains.
Who are the villains in question? Yakkon, a henchman of Babidi’s who perished after gorging himself on Goku’s energy, and Kid Buu, who later reincarnated as Uub.
4. His Mother Appears In A 2014 Bonus Manga & In Dragon Ball Super: Broly
While the family Goku made for himself on Earth is his primary focus, he does actually have a family of origin. Every DBZ fan knows about his brother Raditz, and most know about his father Bardock – but his mother Gine is sadly pretty easy to overlook, and fans who haven’t actually seen or read the content she appears in might not have heard about her elsewhere.
Gine is a gentle, loving person who dislikes fighting and wants above all to protect her children from harm. While this might seem like stereotypically maternal behavior, Gine is actually quite different from typical Saiyan women, who are warriors without significant maternal feelings.
5. He’s Never Kissed His Wife
Considering the fact that they have two sons, it’s hard to imagine that Goku has never engaged in the basics of intimacy – but in Dragon Ball Super, he admits that not only has he never kissed Chi Chi, but he also doesn’t even understand what kissing is. Since Vegeta reacts to learning this with shock and confusion, this strange knowledge gap definitely isn’t a Saiyan thing – it’s a Goku thing.
6. His Super Saiyan Form Is Blonde For Meta Reasons
Why does Goku’s hair turn blonde when he goes Super Saiyan? While there have been plenty of theories – including one positing that his blonde hair was some kind of Aryan power fantasy – the real reason is far more innocuous. According to Akira Toriyama, it was done to save time. He said:
“I gave him blonde hair so that it wouldn’t be as much work for my assistant. He spent a lot of time blacking in Goku’s hair, and I had to erase over it. It was a real pain…”
Kudos to Toriyama for making his assistant’s life easier, and for creating such an iconic look.
7. He Isn’t Meant To Be Heroic
In the anime, Goku is depicted as a wholly heroic person with few meaningful flaws. That wasn’t what Akira Toriyama – Goku’s original creator – intended. Actually, Toriyama meant for him to have a dark side. Here’s what he had to say in a 1997 interview:
“There’s how, basically, Son Goku from Dragon Ball doesn’t fight for the sake of others, but because he wants to fight against strong guys. So once Dragon Ball got animated, at any rate, I’ve always been dissatisfied with the “righteous hero”-type portrayal they gave him. I guess I couldn’t quite get them to grasp the elements of “poison” that slip in and out of sight among the shadows”
8. His English Voice Actor Passed Out On The Job
One of the things that make Dragon Ball, well, Dragon Ball, is all the screaming that happens when the characters launch their attacks. While they’re easy to joke about, the screams also take some serious vocal chops to pull off – and it can be dangerous.
Sean Schemmel, the voice actor who plays Goku in the English dub, once lost consciousness while recording a scene from Dragon Ball GT. Here’s what he had to say about the ordeal:
“It was during the Super Saiyan 4 transformation, and I was really tired and hadn’t been sleeping well. I just calculated the amount of air you’d need for a Kamehameha or another power-up, but I made my voice lower.”
As it turned out, lowering his voice made his vocal chords wider, which meant he lost air quicker than he expected to. This led to his fainting for 2-3 seconds. Luckily, the room was padded, so Schemmel was unharmed.
9. Goku And Vegeta Have A Final Battle In Dragon Ball Online
Goku and Vegeta’s fierce rivalry is one of the most striking things about the Dragon Ball universe, and it all comes to a head in Dragon Ball Online. Dragon Ball Online features an alternative timeline that does not include the events of Dragon Ball Super, so this climactic battle doesn’t take place in the main Dragon Ball timeline.
When Vegeta and Goku are nearing the ends of their lives, they disappear into outer space, engaging in an epic battle that takes them literal years to resolve. The outcome is never revealed – in fact, the end of the fight is heralded by a supernova explosion, from which neither combatant ever returns.
10. Japan Celebrates Goku Day On May 9th
The Japan Anniversary Association officially declared that May 9th is Goku Day after Toei Animation requested it. While there’s no official way of celebrating Goku Day, it’s still pretty cool that the Saiyan is being commemorated this way. Why May 9th? Because the Japanese characters for the numbers 5 and 9 can be read as “go” and “ku.”