Dragon Ball: How Many Times Has Goku Died?

Goku deaths
Goku deaths

Goku, the iconic protagonist of the Dragon Ball series, created by Akira Toriyama, is a Saiyan, an extraterrestrial warrior race in the Dragon Ball universe known for their incredible strength and ability to transform into more powerful forms. But he isn’t entirely invincible. In fact, he’s died multiple times throughout the course of Dragon Ball.

In total, Goku has died six times across the entirety of Dragon Ball. However, there are a lot of technicalities with this. He has officially been pronounced dead twice during Dragon Ball Z, had his heart stopped in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Super respectively, and also died of heart disease and been brutally assassinated in other timelines.

Let’s break down each Goku death across Dragon Ball:

1. Dragon Ball – King Piccolo Arc: During Goku vs. King Piccolo, King Piccolo stops Goku’s heart with Makosen, but he doesn’t out and out die. (unconfirmed death)

2. Dragon Ball Z – Raditz Saga: Goku died during the battle against Raditz. He sacrificed himself by holding Raditz in place, allowing Piccolo to use his Special Beam Cannon technique that ultimately killed both Goku and Raditz. Resurrected by Dragon Balls.

3. Dragon Ball Z – Cell Games Saga: Goku sacrificed himself again during the battle against Cell. He used Instant Transmission to transport himself and Cell to King Kai’s planet just before Cell self-destructed, resulting in Goku’s death. Resurrected by Dragon Balls.

4. Dragon Ball Z: In a very different death to the rest, Goku dies of a heart virus in an alternate timeline that allows the Androids to basically wipe out everyone on Earth. Goku is cured in the proper timeline. (alternate timeline)

5. Dragon Ball Super: In Dragon Ball Super, Goku has not died permanently, but he has come pretty dang close. During the Universe 6 Saga, Goku suffered a heart attack due to Hit deflecting Goku’s own attack, killing him. Goku revived himself with a ki blast.

6. Dragon Ball Super – “Future” Trunks Saga: Similarly, in an alternate timeline, Goku Black (Zamasu) kills an alternate Goku after swapping bodies with him by using Super Dragon Balls. (alternate timeline)

There is one very disputed death in Goku’s deathlist, however. In the battle with Frieza in Episode 100 of Dragon Ball Z, it’s often believed that Frieza kills Goku at one point on Namek due to a moment where Gohan cannot detect Goku’s ki after he’s blasted into the ground, seemingly into lava. At the same time, a wish is made to Shenlon to resurrect everyone, with Goku reappearing shortly therafter. However, as Shenlon cannot revive the same person twice (they work around this later for his Fusion Saga resurrection, though), he cannot have actually died.

Goku’s selflessness and willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good have become defining traits. Whether facing cosmic threats, intergalactic tyrants, or trying to avoid Bulma’s wrath, Goku’s indomitable spirit and determination make him probably the single most beloved anime and character to come out of Japan.

Despite facing numerous challenges and confronting the inevitability of death on several occasions, Goku’s enduring legacy lies not only in his impressive combat abilities but also in the friendships he forms and the lessons he imparts to those around him. As the Dragon Ball series progresses through its various arcs and iterations, Goku’s character evolves (though he never shakes his appetite) and he becomes stronger, which is why he never seems to properly die in the main timeline anymore — he’s almost too overpowered now.

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