Gohan (Dragon Ball)
|Dragon Ball character|
Four different appearances of Gohan, drawn by Akira Toriyama.
|First appearance||Dragon Ball chapter #196: Kakarrot (1988)|
|Created by||Akira Toriyama|
See Voice actors
|Aliases||The Great Saiyaman
The Golden Warrior
|Relatives||Grandpa Gohan (adoptive great-grandfather)
Son Gohan (Japanese: 孫 悟飯?) is a fictional character in the Dragon Ball manga series created by Akira Toriyama. Gohan is introduced as the first son of the protagonist Goku, and his wife Chi-Chi, in chapter #196 Kakarrot (カカロット Kakarotto?), first published in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine on October 24, 1988. Chi-Chi is a strict and protective mother to Gohan, forcing him to focus on his studies and forbidding him from practicing martial arts. However, due to the various threats to the Earth, she reluctantly allows him to fight, with him ultimately becoming one of the strongest characters in the series. Gohan has been well received by both fans and critics, the latter usually citing the character's growth from his initial appearance to his defeat of Cell.
Creation and design
Gohan's name comes from the Japanese word "gohan" (ご飯?, lit. "cooked rice" or "meal of any sort"), 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 a common food. 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.
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 protagonist. However, Toriyama later decided against it, finding the character unsuited for the role in comparison to his father.
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. Initially, Gohan is illustrated garbed in a surcoat with kanji 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 the symbol with his own demon character "魔". Normally thereafter, Gohan is drawn with a keikogi modeled after Piccolo's own. On Namek, Gohan is portrayed in battle armor worn by Freeza's henchmen, having been given it by Vegeta in preparation for their encounter with Freeza. Prior to his second fight with Majin Boo, Gohan asks Kibito for an outfit resembling his father's, and is then drawn in a keikogi identical to Goku's. Gohan, from the alternate future, is dressed in a keikogi similar to that of his father's, and has a long scar across his left eye.
In Dragon Ball
Gohan is introduced as the four-year-old son of the series protagonist Goku. Described as well-mannered and reserved, Gohan's story begins following his abduction by the extraterrestrial Saiyan named Raditz, who is also his uncle. While Goku is pinned to the ground, Gohan's extreme distress explodes with the release of his dormant power, which allows him to injure Raditz. Piccolo 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. After Vegeta's defeat, Gohan travels with Bulma and Kuririn to planet Namek to use the Dragon Balls there, as the Dragon Balls on Earth had turned to stone due to the Earth's god 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 Kuririn and Vegeta, are then forced into an encounter with Freeza, who seeks the Dragon Balls for immortality. Shortly after the fight with Freeza begins, Kuririn is impaled by one of Freeza's horns. Freeza stops Gohan as he tries to save Kuririn, 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 Kuririn and attacks Freeza without hesitation. He manages to knock Freeza into a small island below, and then he blasts him with a series of energy blasts before ending the attack with a Masenko. Later on in the fight, as Piccolo is getting repeatedly blasted from Freeza, who is now in his third form, Gohan blasts Freeza with another Masenko, and once again pushes him back with it. Freeza 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, Freeza transforms into his original and most powerful form. Once he does this he immediately kills Dende, a young Namekian who had been secretly healing Gohan, Kuririn, Piccolo and Vegeta. Gohan is outraged by this and unleashes all of his power against Freeza. However, he is unable to land even a single blow. After Goku transforms into a Super Saiyan and defeats Freeza, the planet Namek explodes and Goku escapes while Freeza is left with serious injuries, Freeza is found in space by his father (King Cold) and is turned into a cyborg. Gohan is shown to settle back into school life on Earth, waiting for Goku to return home from Namek.
After Trunks kills Freeza and his father King Cold then tells Goku about the Androids, Gohan goes into the wilderness with Goku and Piccolo to train for the upcoming threat. After Vegeta kills Android #19, Dr. Gero (Android #20) activate Androids #17 and #18, and Cell is discovered, Gohan enters the Room of Spirit and Time with Goku where they train for 1 year (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.). After Goku initially fights Cell but realizes later that he cannot defeat him, Gohan is called to fight to the surprise of everyone else and Cell. During the fight, Gohan asks Cell to stop the Cell Games tournament and then he tells him about his power. Cell, instead of heeding Gohan's warning, attacks 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 Juniors on the other fighters to provoke Gohan from attacking. After Android #16 is murdered by Cell, Gohan unleashes his rage and transforms into a Super Saiyan 2. Gohan easily defeats the Cell Juniors 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 teleportation to take Cell to Kaio-sama's planet. Thinking Cell dead, the fighters lower their guard only to be surprised by a blast that kills Trunks. Cell returns, having regenerated from a single Cell that survived the blast, and also adopted the teleportation technique. 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 attack, which causes it to overpower Cell's. It hits Cell full-force which disintegrates all his cells, finally killing him.
The Gohan of the alternate timeline is 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 (sans Goku due to having died from a heart virus prior to androids' arrival). Gohan is shown training 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 is mentioned that he bears a striking resemblance to Goku when donning it. He eventually loses his left arm fighting Androids #17 and #18. He is ultimately killed by the two androids during a battle where they ganged up on Gohan, killing him with machine gun-like ki blasts.
In the present-timeline, Gohan is shown enrolled at Orange Star High School in Satan City. After foiling crimes as a Super Saiyan he earns the alias the "Golden Warrior" (金色の戦士 Kiniro no Senshi?) from the public. In order to hide his identity, and with help from Bulma, he adopts a superhero persona that he dubs the "Great Saiyaman" (グレートサイヤマン Gurēto Saiyaman?). He is also in a relationship with Videl. Participating in the 25th Tenkaichi Budōkai, 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 Bobbidi's spaceship with the Kaiō-shin, Goku and Vegeta, where Gohan later fights with Dabura. Following Majin Boo's release and Gohan's defeat at his hands, Gohan is taken to the home planet of the Kaiō-shin. After pulling out the Zeta Sword (Known in the English Funimation Dub as the Z Sword) and accidentally breaking it in a training session, Gohan unwittingly releases the Old Kaiō-shin, who then performs a prolonged ceremony to unlock Gohan's latent powers. Gohan then returns to Earth and confronts Boo for a second time, and easily defeats him. However, his victory is temporary, as he is overpowered when Boo absorbs Gotenks and Piccolo. He is later absorbed by Boo. Though Goku and Vegeta manage to rescue him along with Goten, Trunks, and Piccolo, he is killed when Boo (now in his pure form) destroys the Earth. Once revived, Gohan is able to aid Goku's Genki-dama by lending his chi. Following Boo's defeat and a ten-year gap, Gohan has finally become a scholar, is married with Videl and they have a daughter Pan.
In Toriyama's films and Dragon Ball Super
Gohan appears in fourteen of the fifteen Dragon Ball Z films; in the first movie, Gohan is kidnapped by Garlic Jr. due to his hat having a Dragon Ball on it and causes the villain's plan to fail when he uses his dormant power against him; in the second, Gohan participates in the fight against Dr. Wheelo and frees Piccolo from further mind control; in the third, Gohan unintentionally brings Turles to Earth and is forcibly made to combat his father as an Oozaru before having his tail removed; in the fourth, Gohan attempts to fight Lord Slug's men only to be defeated; in the fifth, Gohan watches over his father's body after Goku shields him from a blast from Cooler; in the sixth, Gohan travels to New Namek and fights Cooler's henchmen; in the seventh, Gohan intervenes in the battle against Android 13 by attacking him and then defending his father against the android when he tries to power the Genki-Dama; in the eighth, Gohan tries fighting Broly but is defeated and later aids in the Saiyan's defeat by providing his energy; in the ninth, Gohan faces Bojack and his henchmen, struggling initially before transforming into a Super Saiyan 2 and successfully terminating the invaders; in the tenth, Gohan comes to the aid of Goten and Trunks after they are confronted by Broly, who he seemingly kills alongside his father and brother in a family Kamehameha wave; in the twelfth, Gohan combats the villains that have escaped from Other World; in the thirteenth, Gohan battles Hirudegarn following his appearance; in the fourteenth, Gohan is defeated by Beerus and provides his aid in transforming his father into a Super Saiyan God; and lastly, in the fifteenth, Gohan confronts the resurrected Freeza and avoids being killed with the majority of the Earth's population thanks to a save by Whis.
After the latter two films' events, Gohan decides to resume his training with Piccolo. Following a short time of civilian life, he is reunited with Trunks, being unaware of his reason to return to the past until after Goku, Trunks and Vegeta have had multiple encounters with Goku Black and he goes in search of his father. After Pan gets sick, Gohan has Shenlong to cure her.
In other media
In filler episodes of Dragon Ball Z, while training for the Saiyans, Gohan makes friends with C-6 and a dinosaur. During the Namek arc, Gohan also encounters the Mirror spaceship and a fake version of Namek. In the Garlic Jr. arc, entirely composed of filler, Gohan is one of only a few unaffected by the Black Water Mist and after fighting his allies, he travels to the lookout where he kills the henchmen of Garlic Jr., who he sends back into the Dead Zone by destroying his power through shooting out the Makyo Star after being attacked by Piccolo and Kuririn as they pretend to be under the effects of the Black Water Mist. Leading up to the Cell Games, Gohan encounters Taopaipai, his father's old enemy, who flees from a potential battle once recognizing Gohan as Goku's son and celebrates his 11th birthday, it being shown in flashbacks how he acquires his name and how he had hidden potential within infancy. Prior to the Boo arc beginning, Gohan's high school antics are explored such as his masquerading as Great Saiyaman and his first date. After Boo is defeated, Gohan attends a party with his family. He is featured in other Dragon Ball Z animations; in Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans, Gohan uses a Super Masenko to destroy Hatchiyack, who is killed by his combined efforts alongside Goku, Vegeta and Trunks and in Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!, Gohan meets Vegeta's younger brother Tarble after Tarble arrives on Earth, also advising Goten and Trunks in their fight against Abo and Kado.
Gohan appears in the anime-only sequel, Dragon Ball GT in a reduced role. He is the second Saiyan on Earth to be taken control of by Baby, who previously controlled his younger brother Goten and moved to possessing Gohan during their battle. After Vegeta becomes Baby's permanent host, Gohan remains under his influence due to Baby having implanted Tuffle parasite inside of him while he was originally possessed. After regaining his will, he assists his father in defeating Baby and tearfully bids farewell to his former mentor Piccolo as the latter dies alongside the Earth. He then participates in the fights against Super 17 and Omega Shenron.
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. Gohan is referenced in the song "Goku" by Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, where he brags that he looks and feels like Gohan and a few other Dragon Ball related characters.
Gohan has been the subject of parody. Gohan, along with Goku, is parodied in the Robot Chicken episode "Easter Basket". In "The Move", an episode of The Amazing World of Gumball, Gumball transforms into a Super Saiyan, gaining hair identical to Super Saiyan 2 Gohan. In the episode "Sworn to the Sword" of Steven Universe, Connie wears one of Gohan's outfits.
Gohan is a playable character in most Dragon Ball Z games. The 1990 Japanese exclusive Nintendo Famicom game Dragon Ball Z: Kyōshū! Saigon was Gohan's first appearance in a video game. In the 1992 Videkko game Dragon Ball: Get Together! Goku World, Gohan along with Goku, Trunks, Bulma, and Kuririn travels back in time to examine event in the past. In the 2006 game Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai, influence by Janemba allows Gohan to kill Cell with ease and nearly become consumed with evil energy before Goku's intervention. In the 2010 arcade game Dragon Ball Heroes, Gohan attains both the Super Saiyan 3, the result of continued training with Piccolo after the Cell Games, and Super Saiyan 4 forms. In the 2015 video game Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, Gohan serves as a mentor with Videl, teaching the player moves. Within the story mode, he faces the player character and Goku when overtaken by Villainous Mode, being freed of the condition upon his defeat. Gohan has also appeared in crossover games such as Battle Stadium D.O.N, Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars as a playable character.
Gohan is voiced in the original Japanese anime and all other media by Masako Nozawa. Nozawa, who also voices Goku, revealed that she did not know she would be playing Gohan until receiving the script on the day of recording his debut episode. Despite having to voice Gohan, Goku, Goten and Burdock, Nozawa claims she is able to instantly get into the respective character simply upon seeing their image.
In Funimation and Saban Entertainment's initial 1996 English dub of Dragon Ball Z, Gohan is voiced by Saffron Henderson. Henderson reprised her role in AB Group and Westwood Media's alternate dub for the UK and Canadian markets in 2000. Jillian Michaels replaced Henderson in the later part of the Cell arc, while his adult version is voiced by Brad Swaile. In Funimation's in-house dub, Gohan's child incarnation is voiced by Stephanie Nadolny for various media until 2010 and Colleen Clinkenbeard for Dragon Ball Kai and later media while his adult incarnation is voiced by Kyle Hebert for almost all various media and Dameon Clarke as "Future Gohan" for some episodes and the History of Trunks TV special. Nadolny was called in to audition in 1999, when the English dub of Dragon Ball Z was recast. She said her most challenging time voicing the character was during his fight against Cell where she had to make him sound as "deep, tough and as much like a man as possible." Nadolny's voice was strained during the recordings, causing her to sometimes leave the studio in pain. Hebert said that his roles as Gohan and the narrator of Dragon Ball Z are close to him as they kickstarted his career. He also found Battle of Gods to be "genuinely touching" outside of its fighting, citing Gohan finding out that he was going to be a father among the moments he found sentimental and was happy to return to the franchise when reprising his role in Resurrection 'F', also expressing interest in redoing his lines in Dragon Ball Kai as he had more experience. In the English dub of the video game Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout, Gohan is voiced by Lex Lang. In the English dub of Dragon Ball GT produced by Blue Water Studios distributed in Canada, he was voiced by Scott Roberts. In the English dub of movies distributed in Europe by AB Groupe, Gohan was voiced by Jodi Forrest, with David Gasman voicing Gohan as an adult in The History of Trunks.
Gohan possesses superhuman strength and durability, as well as superhuman speed and reflexes, as seen during his training with his younger brother Goten. 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, the earliest example was during his short fight with Raditz. Gohan's potential was unlocked twice in the series: first by the Namekian Grand Elder, and then fully unlocked by Old Kaiō-shin, which sees his power level rise to new heights, capable of easily overwhelming the seemingly invincible Majin Boo.
As a Half-Saiyan, he has the ability to become an Oozaru, a gigantic ape-like creature, by absorbing waves from a full moon. He lost this ability after his tail was cut by Piccolo, and later Vegeta. He was the third youngest Saiyan to achieve the Super Saiyan transformation at the age of nine by training with his father Goku in the Room of Spirit and Time and as a display of his hidden potential which he unlocked during his training with his father, Gohan becomes the first Saiyan in the series to become a Super Saiyan 2 during his battle against Cell. Though Gohan had gotten much weaker due to not training after the Cell Games, he became stronger that he ever has after his potential was unlocked from Old Kaiō-shin. Gohan with this power up was even stronger than Super Saiyan 3 Goku and Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks since he was able to dominate Super Boo with ease without transforming. Ever since this fight, Gohan has given up on fighting and has continually gotten weaker to the point that he can't use his Super Saiyan transformations without straining himself. Gohan can still hold his own against Freeza's soldiers, Shisami, and Tagoma in his base form and overpower them when he transforms into a Super Saiyan. After Freeza's attack on Earth, currently Gohan returns to training with Piccolo.
Gohan has the ability to freely manipulate a life-force energy known as ki to fly using Bukū-jutsu (舞空術?, "Air Dance Technique"),. He can also concentrate his ki to fire blasts of energy, such as the Kamehameha (かめはめ波?, lit. "Turtle Destruction Wave") or the Masenko (魔閃光 Masenkō?, lit. "Demon Flash"). Gohan has displayed the use of his ki in a defensive manner, such as generating protective energy shields. Both as a child and an adult, Gohan is known to be a capable swordsman, as well as an adept teacher.
In 1993, Gohan placed first in a Dragon Ball character popularity poll voted on by Weekly Shōnen Jump readers, and was also voted the third most popular character by fans of the series for the 2004 book Dragon Ball Forever. 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". Saffron Henderson, Gohan's original English 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. C.J. A. Glover of Moviepilot ranked Gohan his third favorite comic character, admitting Gohan "has always been somewhat of an idol to me" as he related to bottling up his anger and being a gentle person that, when snapping, "would let loose and it would be hard to bottle it back up again." In conclusion, Glover wrote that Gohan was definitely "one of my favorite anime and manga characters ever." Gohan's relationship with mentor Piccolo during the Saiyan arc was praised, being seen as "complex" and "culminating in a truly emotional and inspiring moment that one doesn't often expect from your average animated series."
Most of Gohan's praise is derived from his role in the Cell arc of Dragon Ball Z. IGN writer D. F. Smith liked how during the Cell Games, Gohan has more screentime than Goku, and praised his scenes as one of the biggest moments from said story arc. Theron Martin from Anime News Network celebrated Gohan's development in the Cell Games as he had grown up and become stronger. The character's battles against Cell during the arc and his transformation into a Super Saiyan 2 were positively received as some of the best in the entire series, the fight additionally being praised for its animation. Both Anime Focus and John Begley believed Dragon Ball Z could have ended with Gohan's defeat of Cell, the latter reasoning concluding it there would have "provided it a sense of poignancy and closure that retroactively would have provided a greater sense of depth and purpose." Luke Ryan Baldock of The Hollywood News felt Gohan's progression was the focus of the Cell Games and that he had begun to match his father Goku in ability, calling their relationship "a fascinating one to watch unfold." Reviewer Nick Hartel expressed that the "continuing elevation of Gohan" pleased him and the last episodes of the Cell storyline "properly sees this is paid off from a narrative standpoint." Reviewer Todd Douglass Jr. wrote that the series split its focus between Goku and Gohan during the start of the series as they grew on their own, finding it to be "an interesting way to handle the flow of story but also important because it shows Gohan's growth as a person and warrior."
Gohan's role and character in the latter part of the series was met with more mixed reviews. Reviewer Michael Zupan wrote of his disappointment with the character, "Gohan was once the most promising warrior in the galaxy, with the potential to even best his father, Goku… and this is where he's at seven years later? Dressing up in a green dress, black tights and a Lost in Space helmet to put the beat down on robbers?" Anime Focus found humor in his Great Saiyaman guise and his "clumsy but earnest" relationship with Videl, but thought it "mostly uninspired and draggy and feels very flat after the high flying antics of previous arcs." Reviewer Brad Stephenson argued that the character growing older and becoming more "emotionally complex" provided Dragon Ball Z "with a true sense of progression and meaning." Josh Begley enjoyed Gohan trying to find his place in high school and his role as big brother to Goten, but thought his Great Saiyaman guise was not comedic and became embarrassed on the character's behalf. Anime Focus was impressed with his fight against Majin Boo after he was powered up, calling it a "rare chance for him to flex his muscles" by giving Majin Boo "an impressive beatdown". Gohan ranked first on The Artifice writer Santiago Rashad's list "Top Ten Misused Dragon Ball Characters". Rashad argued that the character's role in the series had suffered from the backlash by fans not wanting him to become the protagonist following his defeat of Cell as he expressed: "He was never accepted by the fans, and thus the show that was meant to be his never became his. His story became the b-plot and he was relegated to being a relief pitcher after being the clutch closer for Cell."
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