Dragon Ball: 10 Early Signs Gohan Would Surpass Goku

With one of the most powerful anime characters of all time for a dad, Gohan is destined to be powerful.

There are many iconic shonen anime series that have come around, but Dragon Ball remains one of the most successful and influential from the genre. For over 35 years, Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball series has been at the forefront of the medium and it’s still one of the best places to experience incredible battles between warriors with exaggerated levels of strength.

Goku is Dragon Ball’s main character and the strongest character in the universe, but right from his first appearance, it’s very clear that Goku’s son, Gohan, is also destined for greatness. Goku never completely leaves the limelight, but there’s plenty of early evidence that Gohan will soon surpass his father.

  1. Goku Eventually Passes Away And Gohan Is Left Behind

Gohan grows stronger from the very first moment that he’s introduced to Dragon Ball Z, but it’s often difficult for him to steal the spotlight when he shares the screen with his powerful father. A significant turning point in the series is when Goku doesn’t just pass on but refuses the opportunity to return to Earth. At this point, Goku is confident that Gohan can pick up the slack and can protect the Earth just as well as he ever did. Goku does eventually return, but up until that point it feels as if Gohan has officially replaced his father.

2. He’s The First To Turn Super Saiyan 2

It’s a big deal when Goku turns Super Saiyan for the first time against Frieza and at that point, it’s unclear if other Saiyans can also achieve such a thing, or if he’s the only one. Super Saiyans soon become the norm, but that shouldn’t discard the fact that Gohan achieves this milestone when he’s just an adolescent. This puts him significantly ahead of both Goku and Vegeta. This development continues when Gohan becomes the first to transform into a Super Saiyan 2, still in his early teens.

3. He Gets His Potential Unlocked By The Namekian Elder Guru

There’s an exciting stretch of Dragon Ball Z during the earlier episodes on Planet Namek where Goku is en route to the planet and a lot of the heavy lifting needs to get done by Gohan, Piccolo, and Krillin. Goku undergoes strenuous training to improve his power level, but it’s unclear if he’ll arrive in time. Meanwhile, Gohan receives a power boost when the Grand Elder Namekian Guru helps him unlock some of his potentials. This is a perk that Goku does not experience and it feels like it could trigger even greater growth in Gohan in his future.

4. The Advancing Timeline Implies Dragon Ball Z Is Gohan’s Story

The original Dragon Ball chronicles Goku’s growth from a young child into a grown adult. Dragon Ball Z keeps this progress going and Goku begins a family. If the trajectory of the original Dragon Ball is to be followed, it’s easy to predict that Dragon Ball Z is supposed to be Gohan’s story as he grows from child to adult. His arc in Dragon Ball Z mirrors Goku’s in many ways.

5. He’s The Product Of Both Goku And Piccolo’s Training

Inherent strength and instinct are crucial in Dragon Ball, but the series also emphasizes the significance of training and the fact that the right mentor can truly change someone’s life for the better. Goku studies under some legendary masters in the original Dragon Ball and he’s able to pass these lessons down to his own son, Gohan. However, Gohan also benefits from training under Piccolo, who reinforces very different battle tactics. Goku and Piccolo are the biggest hero and villain from the original Dragon Ball and a pupil that’s learned the best from both sides is destined to be someone special.

6. He Can Ride The Flying Nimbus

Dragon Ball reaches a certain point where the majority of characters, Gohan included, can simply fly around at high velocities, while others can basically teleport to wherever they want. Before all of this, young Goku gets around on the Flying Nimbus, which only the noble can ride.

It’s treated like a big deal that Goku is worthy to command this mode of transportation and so it’s equally significant that a young Gohan also qualifies to ride the special cloud. It’s another early sign that Gohan is directly his father’s successor.

7. He Retains His Tail During Dragon Ball Z’s Infancy

A tail is a trademark of the Saiyan throughout the entirety of the original Dragon Ball, but Dragon Ball Z slowly moves beyond this trait and develops more powerful transformations for the Saiyans to utilize.

Early on in Dragon Ball Z, there are several occasions where Gohan’s tail is able to save the day because he can turn into a Great Ape during a time when Goku himself is unable to transform. Gohan eventually loses his tail too, but it’s significant that he retains this piece of Saiyan anatomy long after his father loses it.

8. His Growing Strength Plays A Key Role In The First Three DBZ Movies

Much popular anime series receive a number of supplementary movies, which act as fun excuses to throw new obstacles at the heroes in a relatively contained setting. There’s definitely a pattern that the Dragon Ball Z movies fall into and the first three films definitely repeat the idea that Gohan’s latent strength presents itself to unexpectedly help out the heroes. These unexpected bursts of strength play vital roles in these movies, particularly The Dead Zone, and it feels like they’re clearly setting up Gohan’s role as a future protector.

9. His Latent Power As An Infant Shocks Raditz

One of Gohan’s biggest moments happens in Dragon Ball Z’s first few episodes after Raditz lands on Earth and offers Goku an impossible ultimatum. Audiences don’t have much of a frame of reference for Gohan at this point and the series makes him look less of a threat with his juvenile outfit and shy nature. It, therefore, comes as a major shock when a young Gohan snaps and unleashes an unprecedented burst of power that actually manages to hurt Raditz. Everyone views Gohan’s burst in power to be a fluke, but it’s the first sign of the power that’s inside of him.

10. He’s Able To Survive Against Nappa And Vegeta’s Attack

Dragon Ball reaches some incredible heights by the end of its run and although the Saiyan Saga marks the start of Dragon Ball Z, it still contains some of the most exciting material from the whole series. The threat that Nappa and Vegeta pose feels, unlike anything these heroes have previously experienced, especially without Goku’s help. These enemies are so dangerous that they eliminate the majority of Dragon Ball’s supporting characters and thin the herd. Only a handful of individuals survive, but Gohan makes the cut, which speaks to not only his incredible strength but also his important role.

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