Creation and ConceptEdit
"Goku" means "aware of emptiness" (the "Go" syllable means Enlightenment, and the "Ku" syllable means Sky or Emptiness). Goku's full name (Son Goku) is the Japanese name for Sun Wukong, the main protagonist in the Chinese legend Journey to the West. Goku himself started off as more or less a parody of Sun Wukong, and as the manga continued its run he was able to develop differently, eventually turning out to have similar origins.
Goku's design was based on Tanton, of Toriyama's prototype manga Dragon Boy and Tongpoo, from his other manga The Adventures of Tongpoo. When Akira Toriyama started his first draft of Dragon Ball he originally planned on making Goku full monkey to make it faithful to Journey to the West. During Toriyama's second draft he wanted to make Goku a full human dressed in sailor clothes that rode a flight mecha instead of the Flying Nimbus.Toriyama's 3rd and final draft of Goku was to have him human looking with a monkey tail.
Goku is the main character of the entire Dragon Ball series. He has spiky black hair that never changes throughout the franchise. He is most commonly seen wearing his trademark orange/red/golden gi over a dark blue undershirt. The gi has featured Master Roshi's, Kami's, and King Kai's kanji on its left side (over the heart). It is also featured on the back. After the Frieza Saga, no symbols appear and Goku's gi turns a darker orange. He wears dark blue wristbands, along with dark blue boots that are outfitted with yellow/beige laces. As a kid, he has a tail due to his Saiyan heritage and also wields the Power Pole.
At times, Goku has been seen wearing different clothing, such as a grey business suit and tie. Most notably, after training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and in the nine days before the Cell Games, he wears casual Earth clothing consisting of a orange-and-black long-sleeved jacket, a white undershirt, lime green pants, and brown boots.
In Dragon Ball GT, Goku wears a blue gi with ochre pants. He also has a white sash going over his waist and sports pink wristbands. He wears black shoes with white shin coverings. As a Super Saiyan 4, he completely loses his gi and his body is covered with red-pink fur. His tail returns, although it changes from brown to the more reddish color. His trademark hairstyle is gone, making his hair longer and even more wild. His eyes change to golden-yellow and has lining around them. His wristbands and shin covers turn blue, while his sash changes to a stone blue color.
Goku is known for his cheerful, energetic personality and his love of competition (specifically sport fighting and eating). He has remarkable intuition at seeing the good in others in spite of their actions, though his capacity for forgiving his enemies has occasionally been criticized as excessive; Goku, for the most part, only fights to win, and spares his enemies after defeating them only for them to attack him when his back is turned. His staggering power is simultaneously reined in and enhanced by his fierce loyalty and morality. He has a simple, practical view of the world and is somewhat naive to the world around him. Because of this, many characters incorrectly assume him to be somewhat stupid, although once he has a basic understanding of things, he learns very quickly. His most remarkable ability is his will to succeed, pushing himself beyond his limitations, and never giving up even when the odds are stacked against him.
During his childhood, a recurring gag in the series was that Goku was incapable of telling the difference between a man and a woman without physically touching them, which often got him into trouble. The most notable of these occurrences was when he first met Chi-Chi, where she pushed him off of the Flying Nimbus after he patted her genitals with his foot; and in the scene where he removed Bulma's panties while she slept and was horrified to discover that she had no testicles (which was also adapted in the movie Dragon Ball: The Path to Power).He eventually outgrew this once old enough to understand the difference. This trait was also referenced in Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai, where Android 18 attempted to fight Goku due to paranoia that Goku would touch her there, with Goku explaining that he knows better now. In addition, during his youth, he seemed to not understand the concept of pornography, as when Bulma discovered her father's secret stash of porn magazines with Goku nearby, Goku thought the girls were too poor to afford clothes, causing Bulma to angrily tell him that they were not poor.
Goku is shown to suffer from severe trypanophobia, or the fear of medical needles, but this only occurs in the anime.He showed his fear for them twice in Dragon Ball Z, and three times during Dragon Ball GT. The first time was after his battle with Vegeta, and when he was taken to Wukong Hospital. The second time he showed his fear of needles was after the fight with Captain Ginyu on Namek, while he was on his way to recover in a Medical Machine. In Dragon Ball GT, it was shown when Goku, Pan, and Trunks brought an injured boy to planet Pital. The second time, during his first battle against Baby Vegeta, he was blasted into Sogorugo Space, where he witnessed a hologram of Chi-Chi that threw a gigantic needle at him. Lastly, Goku showed his fear after learning from Pan that the four-star Dragon Ball was coming out of his forehead, worrying that he would need a shot.
Even in combat, Goku is shown to not be invincible, as he has two major weaknesses. The first weakness is his tail; before he conditioned himself prior to the Tien Shinhan Saga, Goku lost all his power when someone grabbed his tail (a trait that all Saiyans share at birth). The second is his unfathomable appetite; not only does he eat at a rate that would be nearly impossible for a normal Human, but if he does not get any food, he becomes too weak to do almost anything. This weakness was never overcome, and almost got him killed against several enemies, like Tambourine and Nuova Shenron.On the flipside, however, Goku's love for food has gotten him out of trouble several times; for example, in the Tournament Saga, when put to sleep by Jackie Chun, Bulma was able to save his match by screaming to him that dinner was ready, to which Goku immediately woke up to break the count.
Goku seems to think very little of his brother Raditz and late father, Bardock, believing them to be vicious, selfish beings like most other Saiyans; however, he never knew of his father's change of heart. Indeed, when he first learned of his Saiyan heritage, he rejected it out of horror and disgust at being from a race of vicious killers, though he ultimately embraced his heritage after hearing Vegeta's last words during the battle with Frieza on Namek, fighting him to avenge the loss of his race as well as all of the other innocents whom Frieza had killed.
From his mid-teens to early thirties, Goku became a famous celebrity on Earth for his defeat of King Piccolo, with several reporters being amazed that Yajirobe was a friend of his during Vegeta and Nappa's attack on Earth. Proceeding the events of the Androids Saga, Goku appears to have been largely forgotten in favor of the following World Martial Arts champion, Hercule. Nonetheless, some time between the defeat of the Shadow Dragons and one hundred years after, Goku is once again revered as a hero; a giant statue of him is displayed in the World Martial Arts Tournament stadium.
Kakarot was born sometime in Age 737 on Planet Vegeta, during a time of great turmoil. Following a Saiyan custom, Kakarot was sent as a baby to planet Earth, in order to destroy its inhabitants and clear the planet for its future sale.As Earth's inhabitants were thought to be weak, a baby Saiyan was seen as enough for the task, especially after transforming into a Great Ape by Earth's full moon. Kakarot's father, a low-class Saiyan warrior named Bardock, perished in his home planet's destruction shortly after Goku's departure, and his older brother Raditz was nowhere to be seen.It is unknown what happened to Goku's mother.
After crash-landing on Earth, the baby was found in the woods by an old man named Gohan and became his adopted grandson. He was then given his Earthling name, Goku. At first, Goku was extremely violent and ill-tempered, not obeying Gohan at all, but one day he fell down a deep ravine and hit his head, suffering severe head trauma that sent him into a coma and very nearly killed him. After he woke up, he had lost all of his Saiyan aggression, becoming a kind and mild-mannered young boy. His Grandpa Gohan taught him martial arts and told him about such things as the city and people, as they lived in a very remote place in Mount Paozu, with no communication with other people.
Gohan one day discovered Goku's full moon transformation, and thus told him to never look at the full moon. However, one night Goku did, and he transformed into a Great Ape, causing him to unknowingly kill Gohan. After his grandpa's death, Goku stayed at his home, carrying out his daily life of survival. From a young age, Goku developed the impression that his birth parents abandoned him in the mountains as a baby, leaving him for Grandpa Gohan to discover.