“There’s no choice”: Akira Toriyama Never Intended to Give Goku the Super Saiyan Transformation in Dragon Ball

The legendary Super Saiyan mode would not have existed if Akira Toriyama could have his time and way with Dragon Ball!

"There's no choice": Akira Toriyama Never Intended to Give Goku the Super Saiyan Transformation in Dragon Ball


  • Akira Toriyama talks about how he never intended to create the Super Saiyan mode in Dragon Ball.
  • He hesitated to create the evil and blonde look that matched Goku's rage.
  • Next, a joke with his friend resulted in the Saiyan fusion mode.
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Episode 95 of Dragon Ball Z was a historical episode of the franchise. Why? Because it was the first time that Goku transformed into Super Saiyan. Yes, the same legendary move that opened the door to more powerful transformations in the future.


In this episode, Goku is pushed to intense rage after Frieza murders Krillin. For the first time, Goku gained a golden aura, with blonde hair and the determination to end Frieza. The transformation not only shocked the antagonist, but also every impressionable child who saw it, and later tried to act it out themselves.

Yet, Akira Toriyama admits to never actually wanting to debut the Super Saiyan mode. For him, it was the last door to knock on.


Why did Akira Toriyama hesitate to create Super Saiyan in Dragon Ball?

The first Super Saiyan transformation _ Dragon Ball Fandom
The first Super Saiyan transformation | Dragon Ball Fandom

As you all know, Goku has faced numerous enemies even before his Super Saiyan transformation; each was stronger than the last. Naturally, Akira Toriyama struggled to make Goku stronger and stronger in each fight. In an interview, Toriyama admitted that he felt there were limits on strength so he was struggling to come up with a new idea.

I actually hadn’t planned Goku’s Super Saiyan transformation at all. Then, when I came up with the idea of the Super Saiyan in order to show that Goku had gained a massive power-up all at once, I thought, “There’s no choice but to change his form, too.”

Thus, Goku’s physical transformation into a glowing, blonde man was inevitable in order to reflect that he is stronger. In the Frieza Saga, Goku’s power level was at 3 million, which was strong but not enough to defeat Frieza whose final form was at 120 million. The Super Saiyan mode gave Goku an incredible boost and his stats jumped to 150 million.


Toriyama also made further changes in the facial design and gave him a more sinister and villain-like look. However, the author also worried about whether fans will accept this new Goku who looked evil.

Super Saiyan Goku Vs Frieza _ Dragon Ball Fandom
Super Saiyan Goku Vs Frieza | Dragon Ball Fandom

“I wonder if it’s really OK for him to be like this.” Granted, since his transformation is accompanied by rage, I also thought, “I suppose that part’s fine.”

Thankfully, the Super Saiyan mode was widely accepted and celebrated among fans. Before long, the transformations became a norm whenever Goku faced an extremely strong enemy, and Toriyama began to think of it as a pain.


Did Toriyama have any other option in Dragon Ball other than Super Saiyan?

Akira Toriyama admitted that, at the time, he didn’t have the time to come up with multiple ideas. Which is understandable given the strict deadlines per chapter as well as a tight schedule.

The mangaka went through the same struggle once again when he was stuck with the idea that nothing could be stronger than a Super Saiyan. That’s when his friend, Masakazu Katsura, the original character designer of Tiger & Bunny helped him.

Goku and Vegeta Fuse to form Gogeta _ Dragon Ball Fandom
Goku and Vegeta fuse to form Gogeta | Dragon Ball Fandom

Katsura sensei jokingly suggested that if there’s nothing stronger, then there’s no choice but to fuse them. Toriyama thought of this as a revelation and immediately implemented it into the manga. It resulted in the fusion of Goku and Vegeta, which created Gogeta, an incredible warrior born to destroy Janemba.


Thus, while Super Saiyan was life-changing for the rest of us, it probably caused the author himself a bit of discomfort, especially due to its repetitive use.

You can read Dragon Ball manga 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.