Gohan (Dragon Ball)
Gohan by Akira Toriyama
|First appearance||Saiyan Saga|
|Created by||Akira Toriyama|
|Voiced by||See Voice actors|
|Aliases||The Great Saiyaman
The Gold Fighter
The Chosen One
|Notable relatives||Goku (father)
Bardock (paternal grandfather)
Gohan, known as Son Gohan (孫 悟飯) in the Japanese version, is a character from the Dragon Ball series created by Akira Toriyama as a protagonist for the media franchise, which consists of a series of manga, anime, soundtracks, movies, television specials, video games, and other collectibles. Gohan is introduced as the first son of the primary protagonist, Goku, and his wife, Chi-Chi, in volume #17 of the original manga, or the premiere episode of its animated adaptation, Dragon Ball Z. Gohan is the first Saiyan/Human hybrid in the series.
Creation and conception 
Gohan's name comes from the Japanese word "gohan" (ご飯?, lit. "cooked rice" or "meal of any sort"), is a continuation of the naming scheme of foods by Toriyama. Rice, being a grain, is not normally considered to be a vegetable, even though it is part of a tidy. However, as the word "vegetable" is a culinary term, and not a botanical term, the name can also continue the naming scheme for Saiyan characters, which derives names from puns on vegetables (Saiya being an anagram of the word yasai, meaning "vegetable").
In conceptualizing for Gohan's character, Toriyama originally included glasses or a jacket to his apparel, and commonly, his hair is spiked up as seen in the final design. With the ending of the Cell arc, Gohan was meant to replace his father as the main protagonist; Toriyama later decided against it, though.
At first, Gohan is polite, timid and easily scared. Only after Piccolo's training does Gohan start to acquire his father's love of adventure and freedom. While he loves martial arts, he never quite inherits the love of fighting Goku has; instead he only fights when the need to protect his friends and loved ones arises.
Being the son of Goku, Gohan inherited great powers of his own. Due to his peaceful nature, these powers remain bottled up until he is angered, as is seen in his fights with Garlic Jr, Vegeta and Frieza. Gohan gained the ability to readily access this hidden power during his fight with Cell.
As opposed to full-blooded Saiyans, whose hair stays the same from birth, Gohan's is drawn at varying lengths, and changes markedly in style. Many of Yamcha's hairstyles are used by Gohan at various points in his life.
Initially, Gohan is illustrated garbed in a Hanfu-like surcoat with the Chinese character 孫, fixed on the front and the four-star Dragon Ball fitted on top of his hat. Piccolo later supplies him with a keikogi fashioned after Goku's, but substitutes it with the demon character "魔" as a sign of his admission into the Demon Tribe. Normally thereafter, Gohan is drawn with a keikogi modeled after Piccolo's own, with the anime recoloring his wristbands from blue to red and, during the Cell Games tournament, his obi from red to blue, despite reverting to the original colors for the former. On Namek, Gohan is portrayed in battle armor worn by Frieza's henchmen, having been given it by Vegeta in preparation for their encounter with Frieza. Prior to his second fight with Majin Buu, Gohan asks Kibito for an outfit resembling his father's, and is then drawn in a keikogi identical to Goku's.
Plot overview 
Premiering in the manga chapter #196 Kakarrot (カカロット Kakarotto ) first published in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine on October 24, 1988, Gohan is introduced as the four-year-old son of the series' main protagonist, Goku. Described as well-mannered and reserved, Gohan's story begins following his abduction by the Saiyan named Raditz, Goku's older brother. Later, while Goku is pinned to the ground, Gohan's extreme distress explodes with the release of his dormant power, a level of 1,324, which allows him to injure Raditz. Piccolo, startled by this, then takes Gohan away following the fight and Goku's death, and trains him for the upcoming battle against the two other Saiyans, Vegeta and Nappa, though Piccolo is aware that training the son of his greatest enemy will be a risk. His tutelage under Piccolo forms a deep bond between the two characters, with Piccolo ultimately sacrificing himself to save Gohan during their fight with Nappa.
Frieza Saga 
After the defeat of Vegeta, Gohan, Bulma and Krillin travel to Namek to use the Dragon Balls there, as the Dragon Balls on Earth had turned to stone due to the Earth's guardian Kami's death. After succeeding in gathering the Dragon Balls, Gohan and the others wish Piccolo back to life, causing Kami and the Dragon Balls to be returned. Gohan, along with Krillin and Vegeta, are then forced into an encounter with Frieza, who seeks the Dragon Balls for immortality. Shortly after the fight with Frieza begins, Krillin is impaled by one of Frieza's horns,(Frieza's second form). Frieza stops Gohan as he tries to save Krillin, who has now been thrown into the ocean below, and he mocks him, saying it is pointless to try to save his friend since he and Vegeta are both about to die. Gohan is extremely angered by being unable to save Krillin and attacks Frieza without hesitation. He manages to knock Frieza into a small island below, and then he blasts Frieza with a series of energy blasts before ending the attack with a masenko. Despite the fact that Frieza immediately recovered, it should be noted that Frieza's power level was one million at the time, according to Frieza himself. This means the attack from Gohan, who was only around 5 years old during the fight, was at least enough to force someone with a power level of one million back, a very impressive feat. Later on in the fight, as Piccolo is getting repeatedly blasted from Frieza, who is now in his third form, Gohan blasts Frieza with another Masenko, and once again pushes Frieza back with it. Frieza is able to send it back at Gohan without taking any damage, but he is once again shocked that a child could produce such an attack. Shortly after this, Frieza transformes into his original form (his most powerful form). Once he does this he immediately kills Dende, a young namekian who, up until that point, had been secretely healing Gohan, Krillin, Vegeta, and Piccolo. Gohan is outraged by this and unleashes all of his power against Frieza. However, he is unable to land even a single blow on Frieza, who is now much more powerful. Later, after Goku transforms into a Super Saiyan and defeats Frieza, Gohan is shown to settle back into school life on Earth, waiting for Goku to return home from Namek.
Garlic Saga 
After Garlic Jr. escaped from the Dead Zone and enslaved most of humanity with the Black Water Mist, Gohan, who was unaffected due to hiding in a cave, is forced to travel to the lookout point to save his mother and friends, together with Krillin and Piccolo. He had to do battle with Garlic Jr.'s henchmen, the Spice Boys, and after taking them down, he had to face his friends: Krillin and Piccolo. Luckily it turned out that these two were only pretending to be evil so they could free Kami and Mr. Popo. While outmatched at first, after a reunion with his friends Gohan eventually manages to overcome and send Garlic Jr. back to the Dead Zone by blowing up the Makyo Star that was powering the villain. This would be the first time Gohan had saved the world without his father's help.
Cell Saga 
After Trunks defeats Frieza and King Cold, and tells Goku about the androids, Gohan, Piccolo, and Goku go into the wilderness to train for the upcoming threat. He is witness to Androids 19 and 20, and searches for Dr. Gero (Android 20) before he can activate androids 17 and 18. They are too late and the androids kill Gero. After Cell is discovered, Gohan and Goku enter the hyperbolic time chamber where they train for 1 year, or rather 1 day on earth. Gohan makes the jump to super saiyan while he is in the chamber and after they emerge, both Goku and Gohan retain the physical characteristics of a super saiyan without any of the drawbacks of its form (increased aggression, energy loss,etc). For the next week they relax until the cell games. Goku initially fights Cell, but realizes later that he cannot defeat him. He then calls on Gohan to fight, to the surprise of the Z fighters and Cell. During the fight, Gohan asks Cell to stop the tournament and then he tells him about his power. Cell, instead of heeding Gohan's warning, attack him in an effort to force Gohan to show his true power. Gohan holds his own for a while until Cell becomes impatient and bored. He releases Cell Jrs on the Z fighters to provoke Gohan. Finally, after Android 16 sacrifices himself and is murdered by Cell, Gohan unleashes his rage and transforms into a Super Saiyan 2. Gohan easily defeats the Cell Jrs. and proceeds to toy with Cell, now that he has a much greater power level. This backfires, however; he waits too long to finish Cell, who decides to self-destruct as a last ditch effort to destroy Gohan and the Earth. Goku, in an act of self-sacrifice, uses instant transmission to take Cell to king Kai's planet. Thinking Cell dead, the Z fighters lower their guard only to be surprised by a blast that kills Trunks. Cell returns, regenerated from a single Cell that survived the blast. He has also adopted the instant transmission technique. Vegeta goes berserk at the sight of his son's body and unleashes a ferocious attack on Cell, only to be easily knocked to the ground. Right before Cell is about to finish Vegeta, Gohan intercedes which costs him the use of his left arm. As Cell charges up one final kamehameha wave to finish the Earth, Gohan hears the voice of his father who gives him the resolve he needs to defeat Cell. They both launch large kamehameha waves at each other, which initiates a power struggle. Cell is about to overcome Gohan when Vegeta uses his remaining energy to blast Cell, which distracts him for a moment. Gohan uses this moment to unleash all his fury into his kamehameha, which causes it to overpower Cell's. The attack hits Cell full-force which disintegrates all his cells, finally killing him.
Buu Saga 
Gohan, during the consequent peace that follows, is said to have continued his studies, and later, an eighteen-year-old Gohan is shown enrolling at Orange Star High School in Satan City. On his first day, he foils a bank robbery as a Super Saiyan, and, with help from Bulma, adopts a superhero identity that he dubs the "Great Saiyaman". Participating in the 25th World Martial Arts Tournament, Gohan is depicted as having grown weaker, which the Daizenshū World Guide book explains as due to a lack of training and anger in transforming. Gohan, after having his chi absorbed by Spopovich and Yamu, pursues the two and enters Babidi's spaceship with the Supreme Kai, Goku and Vegeta, where Gohan later fights with Dabura. Following Buu's release and Gohan's defeat at his hands, Gohan is taken to the Planet of the Kai by the Supreme Kai and Kibito. After pulling out the Z Sword and accidentally breaking it in a training session, Gohan unwittingly releases the Elder Kai, who then performs a prolonged ceremony to unlock Gohan's latent powers. Gohan then returns to Earth and confronts Buu for a second time, and defeats him. However, he, along with Gotenks and Piccolo, are later absorbed by Buu. Once revived, Gohan is able to aid Goku's Super Spirit Bomb by lending his chi. Following Buu's defeat and a ten-year gap at the end of Dragon Ball Z, Gohan has finally become a scholar and is depicted with a wife, Videl, and a daughter, Pan.
Future Gohan 
Future Gohan (未来の悟飯 Mirai no Gohan , Gohan of the Future) appears in the alternate timeline presented in the volume #33 sidestory of the original manga, Trunks the Story, in which he is shown to be the only surviving fighter; the others have all died at the hands of the androids (Goku, having died from a heart virus following the defeat of Frieza and King Cold, being the exception). Gohan is shown training Bulma's half-Saiyan son, Future Trunks, to assist him in battling androids #17 and #18.
In this timeline, Gohan has become a Super Saiyan, and is depicted wearing a uniform similar to his father's, one with his own kanji symbol on the back, Han, 飯. Gohan states he wears it in hopes of becoming as strong as his father one day, and Trunks mentions that his mother, Bulma, finds Gohan bears a striking resemblance to Goku when donning it. In appearance, Gohan's hair is cut much shorter than his present counterpart's, as well as having a scar running down the left side of his face. He eventually loses his left arm fighting #17 and #18.
He is eventually killed by the two androids in a battle trying to defend Pepper Town. #17 boasts that in previous encounters, the most he had ever used was half his strength. Gohan reacts with alarm at this statement, with #18 chuckling before the manga cuts away to an unconscious Trunks, who cannot feel Gohan's chi upon waking. The two androids ganged up on Gohan, and killed him with machine gun-like ki blasts.
Voice actors 
Like his younger brother and Goku, Gohan is voiced in the original Japanese anime by Masako Nozawa in all media. In the video game Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout, Gohan is voiced by Lex Lang. In the Ocean dub of the series he would be voiced by Saffron Henderson and later by Jillian Michaels as a child and Brad Swaile as an adult. In the Funimation dub Gohan would be voiced by Stephanie Nadolny as a child and Kyle Hebert would voice him as an adult throughout the series with the exception of the History of Trunks TV special where he was voiced by Dameon Clarke. In the English dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai, Gohan is voiced by Colleen Clinkenbeard.
As a child, Gohan is depicted with an immense amount of hidden potential, which at first only revealed itself when he experienced fierce rage or distress. The vastness of this potential is shown consistently throughout the series as he ages and learns to master his powers from constant training and battles, such as when he becomes the first Saiyan in the series to become a Super Saiyan 2, the direct successor to the Super Saiyan transformation, during his battle against Cell. Gohan's potential is then fully unlocked by Elder Kai, which sees his power level rise to new heights, capable of easily overwhelming the seemingly invincible Majin Buu.
Gohan can also freely manipulate his chi for the use of abilities such as the Bukû-jutsu (舞空術, lit. "lighter than air skill" or "sky dancing skill"), enabling him to fly, or concentrate it into beams of chi blasts, such as the Kamehameha or the Masenko (魔閃 Masenkō , lit. "Demon Flash"). Gohan also possesses superhuman strength, as well as superhuman speed and reflexes, as seen during his training with his younger brother Goten. Gohan can also use his chi in a defensive manner, such as generating protective energy shields.
In other media 
Gohan is a playable character in various Dragon Ball-related video games. He first appeared in the 1990 Japanese-language game Dragon Ball Z: Kyôshū! Saiyan (with Future Gohan selectable in Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3, Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road and Dragon Ball : Raging Blast 2). Gohan has also appeared in crossover media such as Battle Stadium D.O.N and Jump Super Stars.
Gohan, along with Goku, is parodied in the Robot Chicken episode "Easter Basket". Gohan has been used in promotional merchandising at fast-food chain Burger King, and collectible cards, such as the Dragon Ball Z Collectible Card Game, have featured Gohan frequently.
In 1993, Gohan placed first in an official Shonen Jump character popularity poll, followed by Goku. Due to the popularity of Gohan, other merchandise, such as action figures, video games, and clothing have featured Gohan in Japan and in various countries around the world. In an interview featured in the second Dragon Ball GT Perfect Files, a companion book released in December 1997 by Shueisha's Jump Comics Selection imprint, Masako Nozawa, Gohan's voice actress, stated that her favorite episode voicing Gohan was "Sorry, Robot-san - The Desert of Vanishing Tears", an episode originally cut from the American release of Dragon Ball Z. Saffron Henderson, Gohan's original Ocean Studios voice actor, has stated she felt protective of the role and considers it to be one of her favorites. In addition, Gohan's original Funimation voice actor, Stephanie Nadolny has said that playing Gohan was a unique and much-loved experience.
IGN's writer, D. F. Smith, liked how during the Cell Games Saga, Gohan has more screentime than Goku, and praised his scenes as one the biggest moments from said story arc. Theron Martin from Anime News Network celebrated Gohan's development in the Cell Games as he has grown up and has become stronger.
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