“His head/body ratio made fighting hard”: Goku May Have Never Achieved Super Saiyan Had Toriyama Agreed Not to Do One Major Change in Dragon Ball

Akira Toriyama forcefully made Goku an adult, and it led to long term benefits.

goku super saiyan, dragon ball


  • Akira Toriyama explained how it was hard to make child Goku's battle scenes.
  • Thus, as Dragon Ball focused on action, he changed the character design to adult Goku.
  • Due to this decision, Toriyama could later introduce the Frieza Saga and Super Saiyan form.
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Goku wasn’t always the muscled hunk of a protagonist. Back when Dragon Ball first began serialization, Goku debuted in his child form. He was an extremely cute chibi character, and fans loved him for it.


However, the manga began to become popular once the Tournament of Power arc was introduced. This meant an increase in battle scenes compared to its previous comedy genre. Suddenly, chibi Goku became a hindrance to battle scenes.

Why did Akira Toriyama Change Goku’s Character Design in Dragon Ball?

Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball
Kid Goku | Toei

The very first Goku was a cute chibi kid with an adorable tail which set him apart from any other character. While this setup worked for the comedy manga that Dragon Ball was intended to be, once it began to transition into the action genre, it became hard to modulate the body in different battle poses. In an interview, Akira Toriyama confessed:


His head/body ratio made fighting hard, so I said that if the series was going to start focusing more on battles, then I needed to make him an adult.

However, the decision was not implemented without severe pushback. Changing the protagonist’s character design was already a big no-no in the industry, but Toriyama was adamant. Everyone doubted that the change would do any good.

The series has finally gotten popular, and now you want to go and change everything!

Still, the author powered through the decision, and look where the franchise is now. In fact, the author even used a sneaky tactic to get the design approved.

Super Saiyan Might Have Never Existed Unless Goku Grew Up

Kid Goku
Kid Goku Vs Popo | Dragon Ball Toei

If Goku never received a glow up with an adult character design, the manga might have failed to implement the action side so well. After Tenkaichi Budokai was introduced, many other arcs brought bigger and stronger enemies.


The most famous of them is bound to be Frieza. He could be called the Team Rocket of Dragon Ball, given how many times he has returned with new tactics under his sleeve. But would Frieza have existed if Toriyama was still having trouble trying to make chibi Goku fight?

Akira Toriyama is famous for changing elements in Dragon Ball whenever something doesn’t suit his purpose, and he has proven it on multiple occasions. Hard to think around a tail? Remove it. Want to make Goku more action-savvy? Give him puberty. Hard to ink in dark hair? Make Super Saiyan Goku blonde.

Goku transfomring into Super Saiyan for the first time (Credit: Toei Animation)

There is a high chance that if Goku always remained a child, then Toriyama would have never introduced the Frieza Saga and, in turn, the Super Saiyan form. After all, how could you expect a child to battle against an alien monster?


Toriyama gave Goku villainous facial features in Super Saiyan which worked for Goku Jr. In the end, the mangaka did what he thought was best, and it worked for Dragon Ball.

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


Written by Aaheli Pradhan

Articles Published: 252

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.