Akira Toriyama Actually Reduced Goku’s Super Saiyan Power Levels as the Original Plan Was Too “Extravagant”

Akira Toriyama slashed Goku's Super Saiyan power level to less than half in a ruthless but necessary decision.

akira toriyama goku


  • Super Saiyan was initially supposed to make Goku 50x stronger but Akira Toriyama realized it would have been too much and gave a more moderate powerup.
  • This led to a more believable Super Saiyan mode that could be improved upon by training.
  • The author also gave Goku blonde hair just to reduce inking time.
Show More
Featured Video

The first time Goku turned Super Saiyan was a legendary moment in Dragon Ball‘s history. Every pair of eyes that saw the transformation, regardless of age, has the moment stamped in their brain. It turns out that Akira Toriyama had actually muted the transformation from what it could have been.


Turning Super Saiyan made Goku several times as powerful as his natural state, and the mode was triggered by an extreme mix of emotions. Who can forget Frieza’s face when he realized he had the bad luck of facing a legendary Saiyan who emerged once every 1000 years?

In an interview, Toriyama revealed why he decided Goku’s power level during Super Saiyan should not increase too much.


Akira Toriyama Reduced Goku’s Super Saiyan Power Level in Dragon Ball

goku super saiyan in dragon ball by akira toriyama
Goku transforming into Super Saiyan for the first time (Credit: Toei Animation)

During the planning of the Super Saiyan transformation, Akira Toriyama and his assistants had discussed that Super Saiyan would make Goku fifty times stronger. However, the author later realized that it was “a little extravagant.”

“At the time, it was made out that he was fifty times as strong when he became Super Saiyan, but that’s a little extravagant. As far as my feelings as an author go, I think I drew it with the sense of it being a change of about ten times what he had been up until then.”

Thus, Goku ended up receiving only a 10x powerup rather than a 50x one. If Toriyama had indeed given such an extreme transformation to Goku, it would have demanded even stronger villains in the future. Otherwise, the series would have resembled One Punch Man.

Goku in Dragon Ball
Goku in Dragon Ball | Crunchyroll

The current Dragon Ball villains can already destroy planets in a snap (sorry, Thanos). But can you imagine how powerful they would have to be to take on a 50x Goku, who would also increase his power even more by training?


An overpowered protagonist would get too boring over time, especially given the plot of Dragon Ball, where the exhilarating battles are the show’s main attraction.

How did Akira Toriyama Decide Upon the Super Saiyan Design?

The design of Super Saiyan was decided upon such a simple reasoning that even Akira Toriyama admits that it could puzzle fans and make them go “eh?”. Essentially, the design was created to decrease the drawing load of Toriyama and his assistants.

“My assistant always had to spend a lot of time blacking in Goku’s hair (note 4), so the biggest reason was to save time, since if Goku became a Super Saiyan, his hair wouldn’t have to be blacked in.”

Goku Super Saiyan in Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama
Super Saiyan | Dragon Ball Z Crunchyroll

It turns out that the first Super Saiyan form could have been any color, but it was blonde, especially because Toriyama and Co. wanted to save time on manuscripts. Additionally, the design exudes power, so much so that anyone could take one look and admit that Goku has become stronger.


In the words of the genius author,

“it was killing two birds with one stone.”

So now you know why the blonde hair was imminent for Goku, and how he was cheated out from attaining 50x power with a single move.

You can read Dragon Ball on Viz Media and watch the anime on Crunchyroll.


Written by Aaheli Pradhan

Articles Published: 173

Aaheli is an anime content writer at FandomeWire. With four years of experience under her belt, she is a living, breathing encyclopedia for anime and manga. She believes in living a slow life, surrounded by incomplete art projects and her beloved cat.