Super Saiyan is an advanced transformation assumed by extraordinarily powerful members of the Saiyan race in Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, and Dragon Ball AF. Several further transformations succeed Super Saiyan, and the premier Super Saiyan form has three additional branch states. There are also two totally different types of Super Saiyan that appear (the False Super Saiyan and Legendary Super Saiyan). As well a pre-transformation Demi-Super Saiyan.
The ability to become a Super Saiyan was once considered to be nothing but a legend, because it had not been performed for over one-thousand years (three-thousand in the Ocean dub). Vegeta the bastard on crack stated that a Super Saiyan has achieved a level of power so overwhelming that it could only be maintained in a transformed state. Despite only being told through legend, Frieza (who was considered to be the strongest being of his time) became paranoid over the possibility of truth behind the legend of the Super Saiyan because of the constantly growing power of the Saiyan race. Because of this fear, Frieza drew the conclusion to annihilate the Saiyan race by destroying Planet Vegeta (with nearly every Saiyan), thus sparking the end of the Super Saiyan legend. Over two decades later, this legend was proven to be true when Goku accomplished the feat while maintaining this state in his original form during his titanic battle against the evil tyrant Frieza.
The Super Saiyan transformation comes in response to a need, not a desire. In all known cases, the form has been initially triggered by either desperation or indignation and the power of my Sackboy. Any other conditions are unknown, and motivation tends to differ; for example, Goku achieves the form out of anger over the murder of his best-friend Krillin and Vegeta achieves the form through sheer frustration at his original inability to achieve it especially over Goku. While training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Goku tells Gohan that becoming a Super Saiyan is powered by rage and told him to imagine Cell and then Frieza when Gohan said he had never seen Cell, killing all his friends to transform into a Super Sayian. Saiyan hybrids are naturally skilled at this, as they have the emotion of Humans (full blooded Saiyans tend to suppress their feelings) with the fighting potential of Saiyans. As the Saiyans train during Dragon Ball Z, they discover uncharted levels beyond the first Super Saiyan level. The appearance of a Super Saiyan is different in each form to the point where the original transformation has since been literally reduced to that of a "child's play thing" (as stated by Vegeta; as both Goten and Trunks can transform and harness the power adeptly at such a young age).
In the main series, all living Saiyan-blooded males after the Frieza Saga (Frieza's a weak peice of shit buy the way) manage to reach at least the first level of Super Saiyan. No female Super Saiyans are ever seen in the anime/manga, however the Dragon Ball GT Perfect Files implies that Pan has the potential to transform and might have become a type of Super Saiyan never seen before.
The first Super Saiyan transformation occurs when a Saiyan who has reached a very high level of power, has a calm, pure heart (good or evil), and loses himself in a fit of rage. However, the transformation must be triggered in response to a great need, an example being in Goku's case to defeat Frieza. While physical change is not too drastic, the power output increase is colossal; the form is said to originally multiply the Saiyan's power by fifty times its normal amount, though it can be inferred that the multiplier decreased somewhat as new Super Saiyan levels were introduced. This was made evident by Kibito's inability to even hold the Z Sword (which Gohan in his base form could, and Goku without practice) whilst being far superior to Frieza, normal-form Goku being nearly even with Yakon, an opponent whose power was more than a fourth of Goku's Full-Power Super Saiyan level, amongst other things such as base Future Trunks knocking Imperfect Cell out of West City with a simple kiai. Despite this possible decrease in power augmentation brought on by this form, it is still shown to make the user several times stronger (and much more so in sub-forms such as Ascended Super Saiyan, Ultra Super Saiyan, and Full-Power Super Saiyan). The fact that super saiyan power decreased for each further level does not make sense. As goku, when turned into a child again, defeated Cell and Frieza without transforming to any form which previously, the second level was needed to defeat Cell. So gokus base power must have increased exponentially, which also increases the power of the transformation.
The transformation has a noticeable effect on the Saiyan's personality. Any Saiyan that has turned to the side of good initially becomes ruthless and overcome with rage, and any Saiyan that was already ruthless to begin with has his ruthlessness amplified. This is first demonstrated when Goku turned Super Saiyan, when he went from a calm, collected fighter to becoming a vengeful warrior, hell bent on avenging his fallen friend, Krillin, even at his own peril. Later on, when Vegeta became a Super Saiyan, he became even more rash and belligerent, and became obsessed with defeating the Androids by himself, a drastic change from his smart, covert style he demonstrated in the Vegeta and Namek Sagas. Gohan also became a Super Saiyan, in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, but managed to regain control of his emotions prior to leaving the Chamber. However, the amplified anger that a Super Saiyan experiences was still on display when he became a Super Saiyan 2. The personality alterations are also on display in Dragon Ball GT: A Hero's Legacy when Goku Jr., a timid boy with no will to fight even in self-defense, saw Lord Yao terrorize the forest and became a Super Saiyan. His personality came full circle, accordingly.
The most noticeable change is that the Saiyan's hair becomes golden in color and seems to stand on end, giving it a rising, flame-like appearance. This applies to all of the Saiyan's hair, including scalp hair, eyebrows, and (as it was revealed in GT) the fur on their tails and as Golden Great Apes. Natural eye color temporarily changes to a greenish-blue, muscle tone becomes more defined, and the skin tone (and clothing) becomes lighter mainly due to the energy and light output of the golden aura. As the natural floodgates of the body are opened with the transformation, excess energy is radiated from the body in the form of a pulsing, flame-like aura. There is also a marked personality alteration, where the Saiyan becomes unusually aggressive and more prone to acting on impulse. The first character to achieve the Super Saiyan transformation in the series, is Goku, in the midst of engaging Frieza.
Usage and power
The Super Saiyan form was first achieved by Goku after witnessing his best friend Krillin's death at the hands of Frieza. In this form, Goku's power grossly outclasses the evil tyrant's, a feat made more impressive by the fact that, prior to the transformation, Goku was no match for him, even with the Kaio-ken multiplying his power 20-fold. In order to combat Goku's sudden burst of strength and power, Frieza released all natural bodily inhibitions and utilized 100% of his power, only half of which he used to stop Goku's Kaio-ken x20 Kamehameha attack. Though he seemed to gain the upper hand while Goku holds back, he loses faith when he realizes that his attacks are no longer debilitating, with Goku merely shrugging off his most forceful blows. This was evidently because in his 100% final state, Frieza had gained power and speed, but also gained increased energy consumption to the point where his damaged body could no longer handle the amount of power he was controlling.
Two years following the titanic battle on Namek, Future Trunks would later arrive from the future along with the ability to transform, much to the astonishment of Vegeta and other present company, and dispose of the synthetically restored Frieza, and his father, King Cold with great ease (even taking Cold's full-force sword swipe to the palm without injury).
Some time later, Vegeta also achieves the Super Saiyan transformation, mainly due to his belief that he had pushed himself to his utmost limits without actually transforming. By his own admission, it was anger at himself that triggered the intense emotion required to transform. He also noted, that he too possessed a pure heart, only one of pure evil as opposed to Goku's good, although Vegeta was not actually fully evil at the time. With this new power under his belt, Vegeta confronts and overcomes Android 19 and Dr. Gero, blithely killing #19 with the powerful Big Bang Attack. However, when the true Androids of Future Trunks' grim prediction, Android 17 and Android 18, arrive, they easily defeat both Vegeta and Future Trunks' Super Saiyan forms, Trunks in particular being felled in a single blow from #17, as opposed to the trained Vegeta, who withstood a much longer and abashing beating, signifying his superior strength. This power is noted by Kami as he brings up the topic of how Vegeta is now more powerful than Trunks, who "killed Frieza and his father in an instant."
The limits of the Super Saiyan transformation were pushed even further with the introduction of Cell. With the basic Super Saiyan form now unable to combat the power of the Androids, Goku advises training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, because he believes that there is a way to ascend past the normal limitations of an untrained Super Saiyan, and in doing so would make them strong enough to take down the Androids. By the time Cell had reached his Perfect Form after absorbing both the Androids, Vegeta, Future Trunks, Goku, and Gohan had all spent time in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, advancing to new Super Saiyan forms. The Super Saiyan's standard output of power would be outclassed by the Ascended and Ultra Super Saiyan stages. Unlike Vegeta and Future Trunks who make use of these stages (which either consumes one's energy rapidly and produce an increasingly higher level of strain, or reduce the Saiyan's speed to nil, with the latter doing both), Goku and Gohan work to perfect the initial transformation after deciding that it was the best form to use overall, prompting their transition into Full-Power Super Saiyan, the concept of making the Super Saiyan form no different in energy output and strain than the basic form of the user's body. The initial transformation and its advanced grades are later rendered obsolete by the introduction of a far more powerful level, Super Saiyan 2 (which is the form used by Gohan to defeat Cell), followed by Goku's introduction of Super Saiyan 3 during the Majin Buu Saga, and finally, Super Saiyan 4, introduced during Dragon Ball GT.
Goten and Trunks, sons of Goku and Vegeta respectively, attain the ability to transform at a remarkably young age, again to widespread surprise from the main cast. (Goten, who was about a year younger than Trunks' age of eight, stated that his transformation was so long ago that he was unable even remember it occurring.) Though their reasons for so easily transforming are never officially stated, the common theory is that it could have been the DNA inherited from their fathers' ability to transform already during their conception, supported by the fact that it took Gohan, who was 11 when he made his transformation, unbearable hardship to achieve (Gohan was born prior to the start of Dragon Ball Z, thus before his father's transformation), while Trunks and Goten were able to transform at ages 7 and 8 (they were both conceived after their fathers' transformation). Their fusion form, Gotenks, seen late in Dragon Ball Z, easily gained the ability to transform into all three levels of Super Saiyan in the series within no more than a half-hour of training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber (although he has only ever been seen assuming the first and third forms, since he bypassed the second form to ascend to the third level), with the combined energies of Goten and Trunks balancing out the high ki consumption of the final transformation. In Future Trunks case, he would have been conceived in the Alternate Timeline under very similar circumstances, although it is possible he was not conceived after Future Vegeta became a Super Saiyan, as the alternate counterparts transformation was never shown. However, despite a younger Future Trunks being weaker than his child alternate counterpart, he was still able to transform at the age of 14 (making him either the youngest or second youngest Super Saiyan in the alternate timeline, depending on when Future Gohan transformed), although he was considerably weaker due to lack of training.
Pan (Goku's granddaughter) and Bulla (Vegeta's daughter) are the only female Saiyans and the only ones who do not transform. The reasons for this are never explained. A theory is that they lacked motivation and emotion to make the transformation, which is supported to the fact that they grew up in a peaceful time. Another theory is that Pan is a quarter-breed and therefore lacks the ability; this can be disputed due to that Bulla is a half-breed (therefore has a stronger Saiyan heritage) and the decsendents of Goku and Vegeta are able to transform at a young age. However, Toriyama said that Pan certainly had the potential to transform due to her training with Goku since a young age. Although Toriyama admitted that he could've made Pan a Super Saiyan if he wanted to but saw no reason to. Bulla never transforms due to her lack of training and her father saw no reason to train her, making her no stronger than Pan.
In the television special The History of Trunks and within the manga, Future Gohan is shown to have gained the Super Saiyan transformation long ago, most likely after witnessing the Z Fighters being slaughtered by the Androids. Therefore, Future Gohan may have assumed his transformation before his present timeline counterpart (by technically a matter of days), although he was far weaker because he was never trained by his father in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, and never mastered the Super Saiyan form. After he is killed, we see Future Trunks transform for the first time (only in the anime, for Trunks seemed to already have attained the transformation rather recently in the original manga), thus showing his original transformation.
In the last episode of Dragon Ball GT, Goku and Vegeta's descendants, Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr., are shown to be able to transform into Super Saiyans from a young age, as well. Goku Jr.'s first transformation in particular was shown in the Dragon Ball GT special, A Hero's Legacy.
Super Saiyan made its first movie debut in the film Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge, Goku uses his Super Saiyan power to defeat Cooler, Frieza's older and stronger brother, thus finishing off the family.
The Super Saiyan form is also used in the film Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler by Goku and Vegeta to combat and finally kill Cooler.
In the next film Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan, the Saiyan Broly is also shown to harness the original Super Saiyan transformation, which is what he uses to battle Goku for a few moments when attacking him in the dead of night. He also uses it against Goten and Trunks in Dragon Ball Z: Broly - Second Coming, until he was forced to unveil his Legendary Super Saiyan form once again when fighting Gohan in his Super Saiyan 2 form.
At this point, the movies move into a time period when the original Super Saiyan form has since been outclassed by the more powerful variants, the only users of the basic transformation seen from this point on are Goten, Trunks, and their fusion of Gotenks.
Premature and advanced levels
In Dragon Ball Z, the possibility of a power greater than that of a Super Saiyan is first theorized in the episode "Laboratory Basement", when Krillin and Future Trunks contemplate how Vegeta plans on retaining his dominance in power among the Z Fighters. The first of these new heights in power is the Ascended Super Saiyan stage obtained by Vegeta, Future Trunks and later, Goku. This technique (as well as the Ultra Super Saiyan technique that follows) is essentially a method of enhancing the abilities of a Super Saiyan, rather than a complete departure from it in favor of newer and more unique power. It is not until the Cell Games that this uncharted level of power makes its debut, in the form of Super Saiyan 2. Saiyan characters continue pushing their limits during the series, ultimately discovering a third, and in anime incarnations, fourth level of Super Saiyan. Two exclusive Super Saiyan stages are also featured in the Dragon Ball films.
There are many variations of the Super Saiyan form. The following is a summarized list of the standard, premature, and advanced levels of the Super Saiyan transformation.
- Pseudo Super Saiyan , a pseudo-Super Saiyan form resembling a glorified Kaio-ken, with a orange-yellowish surge of aura.
- Restrained Super Saiyan, the form of Super Saiyan that Broly transforms into due to the use of a Mind Control Device.
- Super Saiyan, the standard Super Saiyan transformation.
- Super Saiyan Second Grade, an advancement in the power of the original Super Saiyan state.
- Super Saiyan Third Grade , an even stronger advancement in the power of the original Super Saiyan state.
- Full-Power Super Saiyan, the state of mental and physical perfection of the Super Saiyan transformation itself, rather than an advanced stage.
- Unleashed Super Saiyan, A similar transformation of Super Saiyan 2 but without the physical attributes or drawbacks.
- Super Saiyan 2, the second Super Saiyan transformation.
- Super Saiyan Berserker, a Super Saiyan transformation achieved by Rigor through pure, primal rage. It is stronger than Super Saiyan 2
- Super Saiyan 3, the third Super Saiyan transformation.
- Super Saiyan Rage , a Super Saiyan transformation achievable through fits of extreme rage, allow the user to fight on par with gods.
- Super Saiyan God, a Saiyan form that grants the user enough power to fight on par with a god, but only for a limited time. It occurs when five pure-hearted Saiyans hold hands and transfer energy to the host.
- Super Saiyan Devil, a Saiyan form of which a Saiyan assumes if they have proper demon status.
- Super Kaioken, the combined power of the Kaio-ken and Super Saiyan transformation.
- Spirit Bomb Super Saiyan, the result of the combination of the Spirit Bomb and Super Saiyan.
- Super Saiyan Blue, the result of a mortal Saiyan absorbing god ki from the Super Saiyan God form and ascending into a Super Saiyan.
- Super Saiyan Rosé, the result of a mortal Saiyan absorbing god ki from the Super Saiyan God form and ascending into a Super Saiyan, all the while achieving god status.
- Golden Great Ape , the result of transforming into a Super Saiyan while being a Great Ape.
- Super Saiyan 4, the result of a Saiyan harnessing the primal power of the Great Ape form.
- Saiyan Rage 4, a level of Super Saiyan 4 which utilizes the energy of Super Saiyan Rage and the primal power of Super Saiyan 4, magnifying its user's strength capacity without drawbacks.
- Dark Super Saiyan 4, the result of a Saiyan evolving into a Super Saiyan 4 with the assistance of evil ki.
- Super Saiyan God 4, the result of a Saiyan combining god ki with the Super Saiyan 4 transformation.
- Super Saiyan 5, the result of a Saiyan furthering the Super Saiyan 4 form by transforming into a Super Saiyan.
- Super Saiyan 4, the result of a Saiyan harnessing the primal power of the Great Ape form.
- Legendary Great Ape, the result of transforming into a Legendary Super Saiyan while being a Great Ape.
- Legendary Super Saiyan 4, the advanced version of Super Saiyan 4, similar to Legendary Super Saiyan.
- Before the Super Saiyan concept debuted in the dub, the term is used in "Stop Vegeta Now!!" by Vegeta, who describes Gohan as "Kakarot's son, the little Super Saiyan." However, the concept of the Super Saiyan already existed in the original version. In the original version, the term is first brought by Vegeta after Raditz was killed by Piccolo. While waiting with Nappa on a conquered planet, the two Saiyans talk about getting all seven Dragon Balls and wishing for eternal life. Before taking off on a year long journey to Earth, Vegeta tells Nappa that only after they have become immortals they will be able to become Super Saiyans. However, in the uncut FUNimation Dub, the term is introduced at the same situation as the original version.
- Throughout the original manga and the anime series based on it (Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z), no Saiyans ever used the Super Saiyan transformation while at the same time possessing a tail. However, in Dragon Ball GT, Goku's tail was restored partway through the series, and just like the hair on his head and eyebrows, the hair on his tail turned a golden color when he accessed his Super Saiyan forms (this golden tail is also shown in the cover of the first GT guidebook Perfect Files).
- All of Goku and Vegeta's known male descendants have been able to transform into Super Saiyans.
- The terms "Ascended Super Saiyan" and "Ultra Super Saiyan" are actually just common fan terms to differentiate between the two bulked up forms, as they are never named in the manga or anime. However, they are named in the Daizenshuu as Types or Grades 2 and 3.
- Goku and Vegeta are the only full-blooded Saiyans that can transform into Super Saiyans in canon series. Broly is the other, but only in the films. (Onio is a full-blooded Saiyan that can also turn Super Saiyan, but he only appears in Toriyama's self-parody of Dragon Ball called Neko Majin, and also interestingly lacks a tail)
- In the Budokai Tenkaichi series, as well as the first Broly Movie, Broly's base Super Saiyan Form (before he turns into his Legendary Form) has Blue hair instead of the usual Gold. This is presumably due to the controlling device his father put on him, as in "Second Coming", his Super Saiyan form had gold hair. This "Second Coming" appearance was made available as a secondary costume in the sequel games, as well as the Legendary Super Saiyan variation, which features whiter skin and torn clothing to match.
- In Dragon Ball GT when Goku goes Super Saiyan whilst having the tail sometimes his tail does not change color to gold, when both the tailed Super Saiyan 3 appearance and the first Perfect Files cover seem to indicate that the tail should have turned gold. In Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit, when a player uses Vegeta in his Saiyan saga outfit, the tail will not turn gold when Super Saiyan, just as it did not in Budokai 3 or Infinite World.
- Since its first appearance, the Super Saiyan has become one of Dragon Ball Z's most recognizable images.
- In Cooler's Revenge, when Goku goes Super Saiyan, a bird that was killed when Cooler prepared to tear the planet apart was revived by Goku's transformation, which implies that Super Saiyans have a degree of healing abilities, although this only appeared in the film and he may of just transferred energy to the dying bird, like when Goku transferred energy to Frieza.
- In "Saiyans Emerge" and Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound, a Human is seen with a shirt that says The Super Saiyan.
- Goku has the first transformation into Super Saiyan form in the manga since the Original Super Saiyan. However, in the film Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan, it is revealed Broly may have transformed before him, although Broly does not exist in the original story.
- In Dragon Ball Online, Humans have the ability to become Super Saiyans. In order to do it, they have to make a wish from Shenron.
- Dragon Ball Online also features the introduction of female Super Saiyans.
- Highlights from Toriyama's Saiyan Q&A. twitter (November 29, 2017).