Dragon Ball: How The Z-Warriors Discovered Every Super Saiyan Transformation

The Z-Warriors have unlocked numerous Super Saiyan transformations in the Dragon Ball franchise. Here’s how each one was discovered.

Here’s how each in-canon Super Saiyan transformation was discovered by the Z-Warriors in Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super. Over the years, the relentless and intense training of Goku, Vegeta, and their allies has led them to unlock numerous levels of the Super Saiyan form. So far, a few are unique to certain characters, while others are so prevalent in the anime that they’re used by several Saiyans.

In the Dragon Ball franchise, the Z-Warriors grow stronger with every saga, but for the Saiyans in particular, it’s in their nature to become more powerful with each defeat; that’s why Goku and Vegeta always come back stronger, no matter how significant the loss. As they grew in power in Dragon Ball Z, they realized that there is more than just one level of the Super Saiyan form. They discovered that if they trained hard enough, they could unlock these higher levels. But, there are some variations that they can never use, such as Super Saiyan Rosé, which can only be accessed by Goku Black, a Kai in a Saiyan body. Similarly, the Legendary Super Saiyan transformation has only been achieved by Broly and Universe 6’s Kale.

Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball Super, and Dragon Ball GT have all introduced at least one Super Saiyan transformation. Possibly the most powerful form, Super Saiyan 4, was used by Goku by Vegeta, but it’s important to note that despite its popularity, it’s no longer in canon, since Dragon Ball Super effectively retconned the series by contradicting the continuity of events. Here’s how Goku and his friends first achieved every level of Super Saiyan that’s in-canon with the story.

Super Saiyan

Arguably Dragon Ball Z’s most important moment is what happened between Goku and Frieza in the midst of their battle on Namek. Goku had fought well against the supposedly unbeatable Frieza, who was both surprised and enraged over Goku’s ability to challenge him. After Goku failed to finish off the villain with a Spirit Bomb, Frieza retaliated by murdering Krillin. Watching Krillin die filled Goku with anger and gave him the extra push he needed. And after a long, dramatic wait, Goku’s hair gained a golden color and his eyes turned green. This scene served as the very first appearance of the Super Saiyan form. Years later, it was finally mastered by Goku and Gohan in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber.

Ascended Super Saiyan

In the Cell Saga, Vegeta and Future Trunks were training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber in preparation for Cell when they accessed a variation of the first Super Saiyan, known as “Ascended Super Saiyan” and “Super Saiyan Second Grade”. It drastically increases the user’s muscle mass and unfortunately takes a toll on their energy.

Ultra Super Saiyan

A second level that’s in-between in Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan 2 is Ultra Super Saiyan, which was first used by Future Trunks when he and Vegeta fought Perfect Cell. Trunks powered up while Vegeta battled Cell. Once Vegeta lost, Trunks’ anger reached a boiling point, and “Ultra Super Saiyan” was born as the pupils of his eyes disappeared. It gave him a tremendous amount of power, but the cost of this bulked-out form was his speed. Unfortunately, his movements became slow. Other characters since Trunks, such as Universe 6’s Caulifla, have tried to utilize this technique, but have all came to the same realization that it’s far too slow to be effective in combat.

Super Saiyan 2

Though only slightly different from the basic transformation in terms of its visual appearance, Super Saiyan 2 is a much greater level of power. This was the form that Gohan famously used to defeat Cell, but this is not when it first appeared. Gohan actually unlocked it for the first time in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber when he was powering up, but he was only able to maintain it for a few seconds. Even so, it was enough to convince Goku that Gohan was their best bet at taking down Cell.

Super Saiyan 3

The Super Saiyan 3 form made its anime debut when Goku surpassed Super Saiyan 2 in his fight against Majin Buu. He later demonstrated it to Goten and Trunks, who were able to transform fusing into Gotenks. This state, which gives the Saiyan long hair and a massive upgrade in power, was actually an ability that Goku learned off-screen during his time in Otherworld. Its biggest flaw was that it used up a great deal of power.

Super Saiyan God

The Super Saiyan 3 transformation lost its relevance once Goku discovered the Super Saiyan God form in the first arc of Dragon Ball Super. Its name was brought up by Beerus, who had a vision that he would be defeated by a so-called Super Saiyan God. When his search for this mysterious warrior was proving to be unfruitful, the Z-Warriors had to find a way to appease him. After gathering six Saiyans, they performed an ancient ritual that gave Goku the power necessary to become a Super Saiyan God. His newfound strength couldn’t get him a victory over Beerus, but it did impress him enough for him to leave Earth alone.

Super Saiyan Blue

During the Golden Frieza Saga, Goku held back his true strength for most of the fight with Frieza. This was noticed by Vegeta, who could easily see that Goku wasn’t hitting Frieza with everything he had. Finally, Goku decided to unleash his full power by charging up and taking his Super Saiyan God power to the next level: Super Saiyan Blue. Within the same fight, Vegeta too was able to achieve this transformation. This became Goku and Vegeta’s favored transformation for most of Dragon Ball Super.

Super Saiyan Rage

No hero wanted to beat Goku Black and Zamasu more than Future Trunks, the character who recruited Goku and Vegeta for the fight to save his timeline. For most of the saga, he had to rely on the two of them, simply because the pair of Saiyans outclassed him in every way. Trunks were frustrated by this, as he believed that stopping the two villains should have been his responsibility. Eventually, Trunks’ determination to win and his anger (some of which being aimed at himself) allowed him to enter the Super Saiyan Rage form, the most powerful level of Super Saiyan that doesn’t depend on divine energy.

Super Saiyan Blue Evolved

A number of factors led to Vegeta becoming the first and only character to reach Super Saiyan Blue Evolved. Vegeta was irritated that Goku had bested him once again by discovering Ultra Instinct during the Tournament of Power. And so, Vegeta decided that, instead of following behind Goku, he would go down a different path. That time came in the fight with Universe 11’s Jiren, who greatly outmatched him. Vegeta, who saw that he couldn’t win with his current power level, remembered that he had told Cabba that he would use the Super Dragon Balls to resurrect Universe 6. Knowing that he couldn’t keep his promise if Jiren won the tournament, Vegeta powered up until he went “beyond” Super Saiyan Blue.

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