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  Daizenshuu EX - Guides - Transformations Guide - Saiyan  

Saiyan transformations are most notable in the major changes to the character's hair. Spikey, golden hair is hard to miss! Many of the Saiyan characters throughout the series reach various levels of "Super" Saiyan, which results in even longer hair, loss of eyebrows... and eventually red fur on the body! These Saiyan levels pretty much define DragonBall Z as a series, but there are a few that even the most hardcore fans have a little bit of confusion about. What about those "in-between" stages? Who actually reaches SSJ2? We must know!

While we use the word "Saiyan," the original Japanese term is Saiya-jin (the suffix "jin" meaning a "being" or "person"; for example, a Nihon-jin is a person from Japan!). When using abbreviations, we will be using the traditional "SSJ" instead of, for example, "SS" (despite our conventions of using the spelling "Saiyan" on the site). "SS" sounds (to us, anyway) far too much like the name of a ship and/or the Nazi secret police.. and well... that's just not appropriate. Note also that the "ai" diphthong in the word should be pronounced as a long "i" as in "eye," and not a long "a" as in "day." Hope that helps!

[ Normal ] [ Giant Ape (Ôzaru) ] [ Quasi-Super Saiyan ] [ Super Saiyan ]
[ Beyond / Ultra SSJ ] [ Full-Power SSJ ] [ Legendary SSJ ] [ Super Saiyan 2 ]
[ Super Saiyan 3 ] [ Golden Giant Monkey (Ôgon Ôzaru) ] [ Super Saiyan 4 ]


For an entire 153 episodes (the original DragonBall TV series), we don't even know that we're watching a member of the Saiyan race! We first discover that Goku is indeed a Saiyan with the arrival of Raditz, Goku's older brother. Raditz explains that Goku is one of four remaining Saiyans (Goku, Raditz, Nappa, and Vegeta). The "Saiya" are a fighting race that eventually took over their home planet ("Planet Vegeta") from the technologically advanced but physically weak Tsufuru race. The Saiyans were later employed by Freeza to take over planets, exterminating any life forms on them. Hired mercenaries, you could call them.

In their "regular" state, a Saiyan is characterized by black hair and a desire to fight, fight, fight! They appear to be human, with possibly the only telling factor being their tail. However, at a certain point, a Saiyan's hair stops growing; playing into this, at yet another undetermined point, the tail will stop re-growing if removed.

It seems, though, that Saiyans can cut their hair and have it regrow; it simply will not exceed a certain length. Half-breeds (or less, as seen later on) do not seem to have this same feature of the hair; their hair is not necessarily black, either (as seen with Trunks).

Every Saiyan has the ability to transform (especially Ôzaru), but this does not necessarily mean that they all transform at all, never mind to all stages!


Saiyans that still have their tails have the ability to transform into "giant monkeys," a form called Ôzaru. However, a full moon is needed to begin the process (or an equal substitute, such as Vegeta's "Power Ball" technique, which mixes with the planet's oxygen). Sunlight that is reflected off of the moon contains "Bruits Waves," and is measured in units called "Zeno."

When a Saiyan absorbs at least 17,000,000 Zeno of moon-reflected sunlight, a reaction occurs in their tails which begins the transformation! The Ôzaru form is said to increase the power of the Saiyan by ten. However, the transformation can be easily reversed by simply removing the tail (by cutting or pulling it off), or destroying the source of the "Zeno" (being the moon).

In this stage, both Goku and Gohan are completely mindless in their aggression and attacks; Kuririn theorizes that perhaps they don't lose their minds, but possibly regain some of their "Saiyan savagery." Vegeta, however, always seems to be in complete control of himself and his power while in the form (we assume this is due to excessive training).


DB Episode 12; Manga Chapter 021
With everyone trapped by Pilaf in an escape-proof room, and scheduled to bake to death in just a few hours by the heat of the sun, Goku catches sight of the moon. Blasting apart the metal prison, he showcases the first ever Ôzaru transformation of the series, long before it was known that he was a Saiyan. (He apparently also did this several times around the elder Gohan, eventually killing him, but Goku does not realize this until much, much later).
DBZ Episode 8; Manga Chapter 208
Gohan, once again, shows that a Saiyan child with a tail will transform into a giant monkey! Piccolo is forced to blow up the moon after realizing it was the source of Gohan's power.
DBZ Episode 31, Manga Chapter 233
Vegeta introduces the "Power Ball" that can mix with the planet's oxygen to crease a "false moon," allowing him to transform without actually needing the planet's (missing) moon.
(Giji Sûpâ Saiyajin)

One of the most interesting stages to appear is actually one that stems from a single movie, placing it outside of the normal, canon continuity. This "Quasi-Super Saiyan" is actually never named in the movie; instead, it comes from daizenshuu # 7. ("Giji" means "false" or "pseudo-" or "quasi-".) This is more-or-less an instance of Toei covering its own mistake by calling it a "new form," but it is different enough from any of the other Saiyan forms to warrant its own entry.

While fighting Slug (and nearly beaten to a pulp), Goku suddenly throws a hand forward and catches Slug's punch. As Goku looks up, we see the Super Saiyan power manifest itself as a golden aura surrounding Goku. It is obviously more than just Goku using Kaiô-Ken; besides the golden aura, his (black) hair stands on end, his pupils disappear, and (similar to his actual first SSJ transformation), he does not seem to exercise complete control, with the brute force and anger pulling through.


DBZ Movie 4
When Slug's power becomes too much to overcome, the Super Saiyan power within Goku manifests itself as a surrounding golden aura. His hair stands on end (while still black), and his pupils disappear.
(Sûpâ Saiyajin; commonly "SSJ" or "SSJ1")

Goku is the first to go through the transformation into a Super Saiyan. It is widely speculated that the Sentô Ryoku ("combat strength," or if you must, "power level") of the character must be around 180,000, which Goku reaches on Namek; this cannot be confirmed or denied, however (it's merely speculation). The transformation into a Super Saiyan is generally caused by an overwhelming sense of rage and hatred.

In Goku's case, when Freeza shoots Piccolo through the chest (nearly killing him), murders Kuririn by causing him to explode from the inside, and declares he will be going after Gohan next... well... yeah, that just about does it.

The stage is characterized by giant spikey golden hair. The pupils also turn a bluish green color. The power of the character is exponentially increased. Control over this power, however, is not always the easiest thing at first. The Super Saiyan stage has an interesting effect on the Son family, in addition to its normal effects: the way their eyes are drawn changes slightly. Normally, the outline around the eye is not fully drawn (it circles around about 3/4 of the way the eyeball). When in Super Saiyan, their eyes are fully surrounded by an outline (the same way that all villains are drawn; this is due to Toriyama wanting to show the anger and hatred that must be present for a Super Saiyan transformation).

The Super Saiyan transformations of the two children, Goten and Trunks, come under great debate. Goten and Trunks were able to transform around the same time; Goten at 7 years of age, and Trunks at 8 years of age. Many people believe that Goku and Vegeta passed on a different kind of DNA to these children, since both of them had achieved SSJ by the time of conception. Perhaps their tail removal, at birth, also had some kind of play in unleashing their dormant power ahead of other characters (who did not have their tails removed until much later). Regardless, their feats remain amazing to all.


DBZ Episode 95; Manga Chapter 317
Freeza's attempt to kill Piccolo, murder of Kuririn, and threats of going after Gohan next, were more than enough to set off Goku's transformation into a Super Saiyan, the first in the series.
Trunks (Future)
DBZ Episode 120; Manga Chapter 331
DBZ TV Special 2; Manga Chapter "Trunks - The Story"
The first time we see Trunks transform into a Super Saiyan is during his challenging of Freeza. By this point, however, Trunks has perfected his transformation. The original cause, however, was Gohan's death (by the Jinzôningen) in his future timeline. Note that in the special manga chapter, Trunks is already able to transform into SSJ when Gohan is killed.
DBZ Episode 129, Manga Chapter 343
Another character whose first transformation is not actually his first! Vegeta returns to the battlefield to defeat Jinzôningen #19 for Goku, whose heart disease is affecting him. Vegeta transforms into a Super Saiyan, astounding everyone. However, his first transformation was actually while out training in Goku's absence. The fact that Goku had surpassed him, and the anger at himself for not being able to accomplish the same, nearly ate him alive, bringing his transformation into a Super Saiyan.
DBZ Episode 160, Manga Chapter 382
Discovering that a half-Saiyan can reach SSJ (as seen with Trunks), Goku pushes his son to his limits while training in the Room of Spirit and Time. While trying to repel one of his father's attacks, Gohan becomes so frustrated by his weakness and inability to protect his friends that he finally transforms into a Super Saiyan.
DBZ Episode 206, Manga Chapter 427
The original reason for Goten's transformation is unknown, but when he shows his mother that he is able to transform into a Super Saiyan, she is not very happy... !
Trunks (Chibi)
DBZ Episode 207, Manga Chapter 429
The original reason for Chibi Trunks's transformation is unknown, but when Vegeta finds out, he wonders if there's a "Super Saiyan Bargain Sale" going on!
(Goten + Trunks)
DBZ Episode 253, Manga Chapter 482
Goten and Trunks were individually already able to reach Super Saiyan, and the fusion of the two proved no different.
(Goku + Vegeta)
DBZ Episode 269, Manga Chapter 504
Goku and Vegeta were both well above Super Saiyan in strength, and the fusion of the two proved no different. Although the two fused while in their normal states, Vegetto turns into Super Saiyan with no problem. The second daizenshuu notes that Vegetto, as a Super Saiyan, has a power greater than that of a Super Saiyan 3.
(Goku + Vegeta)
DBZ Movie 12
When Goku and Vegeta finally perform the Fusion Dance correctly to form Gogeta, he appears immediately in SSJ.
DBZ Movies 8, 10, 11
While he spends most of his fighting time in DBZ movie 8 in his "Legendary" form (see below), Broli starts out in regular Super Saiyan form (with the strange blue/green hair), and later fighting against the kids and Gohan in DBZ movie 10 before he uses the "Legendary" form again.
Episode of Bardock
More than twenty years later after his original debut, Naho Ooishi's spin-off manga, "Episode of Bardock", sees the character transform into a Super Saiyan during his battle in the past against Chilled.
The Evidence...
Since Cell is comprised from the cells of warriors including Goku and Vegeta, he is indeed partially Saiyan, at least in terms of "blood." Many times we see Cell "power-up" with the golden aura attributed with going Super Saiyan. Does he actually attain this level? It makes sense, but ultimately, it's left up to the reader/viewer to decide...! For more information, check out Cell's own transformations page.
Goku Jr.
Vegeta Jr.
DBGT TV Special; DBGT Episode 64
Daizenshuu # 7 states that Pan cannot go SSJ due to the Saiyan blood in her being too diluted. However, we blatantly see both Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr. able to go SSJ (almost with no problem) in the end of DBGT. The daizenshuu was written long before GT was nearing this part of the series; they had no way of knowing just what direction the show would take. GT's showing Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr. going SSJ kills off the "diluted" blood theory, but still does not answer if Pan ever could / ever did go SSJ (especially in that "100 years" time between events in the last DBGT episode).
("ichi-dankai no henshin;" transformations of the first stage)

The first note to make would be that "USSJ" is nothing more than a fan term. However, it's extremely convenient to type out, so for this reason we will use it as an abbreviation. The actual Japanese wording is explained shortly below.

For a bit of extra history, the phrase "USSJ" was coined by a man named Curtis Hoffman in 1993. Back before FUNimation even owned the license to distribute the series in North America, Hoffman (just a fan of the series looking to share his love) wrote out extensive summaries of the DB tankôbon and even DBGT episodes as they aired in Japan. In the introduction to these summaries, Hoffman would list new characters and forms that make their first appearance. In order to differentiate forms that may not have an official name yet (not being named by characters, and there not yet being any official information guides), Hoffman decided to name the power-ups within the standard SSJ stage as "Ultra Saiya-jin". As Hoffman shared his summaries on his own website (Three Steps Over The Edge) and then later as a part of the website, these types of phrases became slightly adapted and treated as standard verbiage among English-speaking fans. This naming convention has obviously held true to this very day.

There are actually two stages within the "USSJ" stage, really just varying levels of the same exact thing. In the first stage, the muscles increase in size, while power rises. In the second stage, the muscles increase in size even more, the power rises even more, speed falls, and with some characters, the pupils disappear. In each of the those stages, more energy is consumed, as well. Three characters reach these stages; you'll find special information, by character, a little further down.

The USSJ stages (two of them) would each be considered, as Goku puts it in the original Japanese dialogue, "ichi-dankai no henshin" ("transformations of the first stage"). However, these two USSJ stages are thought of by Vegeta and Trunks as "Sûpâ Saiya-jin dai ni-dankai" and "Sûpâ Saiya-jin dai san-dankai" ("stage 2 / stage 3 of Super Saiyan," with "ni" and "san" meaning "two" and "three," respectively) Technically, these descriptions would probably better fit the actual SSJ2 and SSJ3, but we'll use them here as Vegeta & Trunks would.

  • Sûpâ Saiya-jin dai ichi-dankai (the normal Super Saiyan, or SSJ1)
  • Sûpâ Saiya-jin dai ni-dankai (USSJ 1; the second stage of SSJ1)
  • Sûpâ Saiya-jin dai san-dankai (USSJ 2; the third stage of SSJ1)

It can be very difficult to tell the difference between "USSJ1" and USSJ2" (and quite frankly, even we can't tell all the time). Here's a close-up comparison of Goku's head and hair in both stages:

Obviously, USSJ1 is on the left, while USSJ2 is on the right. Note the slight increase in body mass (look around the top of the shoulders, and how they fill more of the screen). Also note the hair slightly growing in length, and standing much more up on end. The hair is straighter on end in USSJ2 than in USSJ1; you can see the back hairs more clearly in USSJ2 than in USSJ1, even from a straight-on, frontal view.

Throw in some phrases that are only used a couple times in the series, together with some numbers... and you've got some confusion going on! Let's take it character by character, and see exactly how it all goes down.


Vegeta is the first character to show off a stage that exceeds the power of the normal Super Saiyan. Vegeta's original intent in training in the Room of Spirit and Time was not only to surpass Goku's power, but to also surpass the limitations of Super Saiyan... and in a way, he did so. In this stage, Vegeta's body mass increases greatly (creating an almost awkward looking character; so short, yet so buff!). Vegeta only showcases the first level of USSJ, which Trunks notes that Vegeta achieved in the first two months of training.

While training with Trunks in the Room of Spirit and Time, he seems to be completely unaware that Trunks is able to surpass him (as seen by Trunks hiding this stage until Vegeta is unconscious). How he was able to MISS it during the training will remain a mystery forever! Interestingly, it would seem that Vegeta may have been able to reach USSJ2, himself. Mysteriously, after conceding to Cell, Trunks notes, "So that's why dad chose not to transform this way... He knew this would happen...." So did Vegeta actually reach USSJ2? He certainly never showed it to us, if he did!


While obvious that Trunks is able to reach USSJ1, he takes it one step further to USSJ2 (note: this is not SSJ2, which is explained below. Trunks never reaches SSJ2). His body mass increases along with his raw power, but his speed unfortunately decreases, as well. The energy consumption is also increased. Trunks also introduces the idea of losing the pupils during the transformation, which would surface once again with Broli in DBZ movie eight with the "Legendary" stage (see below). Trunks' raw power is actually greater than Vegeta's, in this form. Trunks holds off showcasing his new power until Vegeta is knocked unconscious, fearful of not only surpassing his father, but seeing the reaction from his father. Due to his lack of speed, while Trunks may have had the power to do battle with Perfect Cell, he simply was not able to keep up, and thus conceded.


One would assume that if both Vegeta and Trunks could achieve this stage simply by training in the Room of Spirit and Time, Goku would be able to, as well... and he did. Goku is apparently able to reach both USSJ1 and USSJ2. However, Goku very quickly realizes the limitations of the stage (most notably the drop in speed and increased energy consumption). Other than simply showing it off to Gohan while training, Goku never actually uses this stage in fighting. Rather, he and Gohan develop the unique idea to realize Super Saiyan as their "natural" form, going about their daily activities (even sleeping!) as Super Saiyans. This was all in an attempt to become as comfortable with the form as possible, which would (in turn) allow them to conserve their energy while fighting, rather than having to worry about which stage they are in. See "Full Power Super Saiyan," below.


USSJ1 only
DBZ Episode 155; Manga Chapter 377
In an incredible desire to surpass not only Goku, but the limitations of Super Saiyan, Vegeta's own training led him to surpass Super Saiyan while training with Trunks in the Room of Spirit and Time. Trunks hints that Vegeta may have been able to reach USSJ2, though we are never shown.
Trunks (Future)
DBZ Episode 162; Manga Chapter 386
Training with his father in the Room of Spirit and Time, Trunks is also able to surpass Super Saiyan at an even stronger level than his father. Rather than embarrass his father, though, Trunks holds his "hidden powers" a secret until absolutely necessary; he holds onto USSJ until Vegeta passes out, and finally goes through the full "snap" into USSJ2.
DBZ Episode 165, Manga Chapter 387
Training with Gohan in the Room of Spirit and Time after Vegeta and Trunks emerge, Goku comes across the stage, but quickly realizes that its disadvantages far outweigh the advantages, and instead turns his efforts towards training his son to reach a stage quite possibly even stronger than this...
The Evidence...
Cell twice showcases a form very similar to this. Very shortly after Trunks transforms into USSJ2 after Vegeta is defeated, Cell mocks him and his reliance on "brute force," and bulks up, himself. Later on, after SSJ2 Gohan pushes back Cell's giant Kamehameha with ease, Cell makes the exact same mistake that Vegeta and Trunks earlier made; he gets incredibly bulky in muscle size, which increases his strength... but drastically reduces his speed. Does Cell actually go USSJ? It makes sense, but ultimately, it's left up to the reader/viewer to decide...! For more information, check out Cell's own transformations page.
(Sûpâ Saiyajin Furu Pawâ)

Debatably, this is not even an actual transformation; it's simply an advancement of an earlier form. However, as the user takes his previous form and does something "new" with it, we'll catalogue it for completeness' sake.

In the Room of Spirit and Time, Goku comes to the conclusion that the extra two stages of regular Super Saiyan (see "Ultra SSJ," above) indeed give strength... but kill speed and consume too much energy. Instead of relying on them, Goku decides they must, "... work on getting rid of that instability... that restless feeling." Regular ol' Super Saiyan must become their "norm."

The next time we see Goku and Gohan is when they emerge from the Room of Spirit and Time... as Super Saiyans. Vegeta notes, "They look like Super Saiyans... but I don't feel the energy...! It's like... it's their natural state...".

Next chapter, the characters converse among themselves regarding this "new" Goku and Gohan. Tenshinhan is astonished, since it is supposed to take a great deal of effort just to stay in SSJ, yet they are so relaxed. Ultimately, Vegeta retorts that they have indeed made SSJ their "best combat state"; when used to it, they'll "... minimize the strain on their bodies during battle!"

Amazingly, this is really all that is so much as hinted at over the remaining course of the manga and anime. We do see Goku and Gohan as SSJ seemingly much more "relaxed" or "natural," so the training must have indeed paid off.

The anime provides some extra exposition, with Goku and Gohan during those finals few days before the Cell Game parading around, relaxing, all while Super Saiyan.

NOTES: The term "Super Saiyan Full Power" is coined in the second daizenshuu (it appears nowhere in the manga). It also notes that Goku's aura, while his Super Saiyan power is drawn out to its limits, is "different." There is no indication that either Goku and/or Gohan have reached their "maximum power" while in this stage; in fact, that's quite an outlandish claim to make. There is always room for improvement. Goku and Gohan do indeed grow stronger with time, pushing the Super Saiyan stage to its limits time and time again.


DBZ Episode 168; Manga Chapter 390
While characters such as Vegeta and Trunks acknowledge the effort and idea behind the so-called "Full-Power Super Saiyan" put forth by Goku and Gohan, the original father/son duo are the only ones that seem to do anything with the concept.
(Densetsu no Sûpâ Saiyajin)

DBZ movie eight takes a few liberties with the canon transformations sequence and adds its own, new stage: densetsu no sûpâ saiya-jin, or "Legendary Super Saiyan." Only Broli is able to use this form (it being the basis for the entire movie, and all).

"Legendary" form seems most similar to USSJ2, with disappearing pupils and ridiculously large muscle bulk. The benefits of this stage are much different from the USSJ stages, however... that being there aren't any drawbacks! Broli's speed and strength seem to only increase as he powers up through the "Legendary" stage.

Broli's appetite for destruction also seems to increase with this stage; he greatly enjoys all of the pain he causes.

NOTES: This special form (attributed only to Broli) is literally named "densetsu no sûpâ saiyajin," as labeled in the sixth daizenshuu ("MOVIES & TV SPECIALS"). For more information on Broli's various stages, please read the "Movie Characters" page.


"Legendary Super Saiyan"
DBZ Movie 8
The "Legendary Super Saiyan" had an almost natural talent at slaughter, and quickly came into this form upon meeting "Kakarrot" again after so many years, yearning for revenge. In his USSJ-type "Legendary" form, Broli seems to not lose any speed, while still increasing in power.
(Sûpâ Saiyajin Tsû)

While training with Gohan in the Room of Spirit and Time, Goku becomes almost obsessed with having his son take over the reins as Earth's protector. Realizing the incredible, but dormant, power lying within his son, Goku pushes Gohan to his absolute limits (and in the anime even sees a quick glimpse of this power, which quickly disappears just as fast as it came).

Ultimately, the destruction wrought by Cell leads to Gohan's actual transformation into Super Saiyan 2. After destroying Jinzôningen #16, Cell unleashes seven "Cell Jrs." on the fighters. As Gohan watches in horror, too weak to do anything, as his friends are attacked, Mr. Satan tosses #16's decapitated head over to Gohan. #16 tells Gohan that he understands how he is feeling, but he needs to let it all out. It is time to protect the nature that he loved so much, and to protect his family and friends that he loved even more. When Cell crushes #16's head, Gohan's vision becomes completely clear. Belting out a scream from the depths of Hell, Gohan literally explodes into Super Saiyan 2 with tears in his eyes, determined to kill Cell.

Super Saiyan 2's most defining characteristic is the lightning that constantly surrounds and crackles around the character. The hair also stands much more on end (growing a little bit, as well). For Gohan and Goku, a single strand of hair falls over the eyes (since Vegeta's hair all stands up straight, anyway, this doesn't happen).


DBZ Episode 184; Manga Chapter 409
Helpless to protect his friends, Gohan listens to #16 tell him to unleash that hidden power and protect the nature and friends that he loves so much. When Cell crushes #16's head, that's it... Gohan's ready.
(Majin) Vegeta
DBZ Episode 229; Manga Chapter 456
Vegeta allows Babidi to halfway take over his mind. Normally, Babidi would completely control the character; however, Vegeta retains control over his free will, yet also obtains the massive "power-up" from the "Majin" form. Vegeta's excuse is that he wants to return to his past, pure evil ways... in order to defeat "Kakarrot" once and for all. There are hints that Vegeta may have been able to transform into SSJ2 before the "Majin" charm, but there is absolutely nothing explicity said in either the anime or the manga.
DBZ Episode 229, Manga Chapter 458
Apparently having reached the stage while training in the afterlife, Goku is forced to also transform into Super Saiyan 2 when Majin Vegeta reaches the stage (without any hassle) during their climactic fight during the Buu arc.
The Evidence...
We see Gotenks reach both SSJ1 and SSJ3; we have to assume that if he's able to reach SSJ3, there was an SSJ2 in there, somewhere! Daizenshuu # 7 states that Gotenks is indeed able to go SSJ2. So, while we never actually see Gotenks in SSJ2, it's safe to assume he can reach it.
The Evidence...
By this point in the series, both Goku and Vegeta were able to reach SSJ2 (although, previously, Vegeta only went SSJ2 while under the "Majin" power-up). After Vegetto goes SSJ, he tends to have electricity surrounding him, a tip-off to SSJ2. Unfortunately, Vegetto never actually notes which stage he is in (beyond referring to himself as "Super Vegetto"); having two different stages of golden hair would help, but we just can't be sure. The second daizenshuu confirms that Vegetto is only in SSJ1, though he has a power greater than that of an SSJ3. Perhaps due to the magic of the fusion, his SSJ1 stage and its raw power takes on extra (later-stage) characteristics? It's quite possible he would be able to go SSJ2, though.
The Evidence...
By this point in the series (when the movie would take place), both Goku and Vegeta were able to reach SSJ2 (although, previously, Vegeta only went SSJ2 while under the "Majin" power-up). Gogeta appears immediately in Super Saiyan, with no extra electricity surrounding him. It's quite possible he would be able to go SSJ2, though.
(Sûpâ Saiyajin Surî)

Super Saiyan 3 is, by far, the strangest transformation of the canon Toriyama storyline. Original concept designs show SSJ3 as having a tail, but the final design came to be as seen on the left.

Yet another stage that Goku apparently reaches in the afterlife while training, SSJ3 is an incredible strain on the dead and living body, alike (which is why when Goku uses the form, it reduces the 24-hour period he would normally be allowed to spend on Earth). Realizing the incredible power of the resurrected Majin Buu, and needing to stall for time, Goku shows Majin Buu SSJ1 and SSJ2... but notes there's more to show. Concentrating all of his energy, Goku lets loose a great scream. His hair begins to grown down his back and his eyebrows disappear. Lightning, similar to SSJ2, begins to surround his body. Just as SSJ1 and SSJ2, SSJ3 increases the raw power and speed of the character in exponential numbers. As noted, though, it is an incredible strain on the user (reducing Goku's time on Earth and reducing the fusion length of Gotenks).

Interestingly, Goku has black pupils with blue-green irises, while Gotenks only has the standard blue-green pupils; in fact, SSJ3 Goku is the only SSJ form (non-GT, fused or not) that has irises and pupils! In the manga, Toriyama makes heavy use of light screentone in areas that would otherwise be completely dark or shadowed; it's almost as if Goku is glowing all over!

The reasons for achieving SSJ3 are not actually noted, but seem to be attained by either incredible training for extended periods of time (Goku), or a combination of training and natural "magical" strength (Gotenks).


DB Episode 245; Manga Chapter 474
Apparently Goku's training in the afterlife for seven years brought him past SSJ1 & SSJ2 to a strange new level... SSJ3!
DBZ Episode 260; Manga Chapter 493
After sensing the incredible power of Goku while fighting as SSJ3, Goten and Trunks vow to reach that same level of awesome power. While training in the Room of Spirit and Time waiting for Majin Buu, the two achieve the level... but want to show it off at the last second for a grand finale!
(Ôgon Ôzaru)

DragonBall GT comes into play with even more transformations! When Goku fights Bebi on New Planet Tsufuru, Goku has reversed into a child and Kaiôshin has even pulled out his tail, once again! We have Goku, a child in body, but the same adult in strength. When Goku sees a "Full Earth" (instead of a "Full Moon") from New Planet Tsufuru, the waves set off a strange new reaction in Goku, resulting in a Golden Ôzaru form! Similar to regular Ôzaru, the transformation increases the strength of the character, but also clouds their ability to think properly. Eventually, upon controlling this power, Goku is able to transform into Super Saiyan 4 (see below).

Golden Ôzaru looks identical to regular Ôzaru except for the golden fur, rather than brown / black.


DBGT Episode 33
Goku is the first to reach this stage, but he, unfortunately, is just as uncontrollable and destructive as he was in his regular, brown-furred Ôzaru state as a child in the original DragonBall series! Smashing and rampaging, it is only after continued attempts by Pan to reach his soft-hearted consciousness that he is able to focus his power, and become a SSJ4. (see below)
(Bebi) Vegeta
DBGT Episode 35
Unable to match strength with Goku's new SSJ4 form, Bebi Vegeta believes his death is near, until Bulma (currently evil) intervenes with her Bruits Waves machine! Shooting out a crazy amount of Bruits Waves at him, Bebi Vegeta is able to transform into a Golden Ôzaru, even without his Saiyan tail! At first, Golden Ôzaru Bebi rampages the planet in an identical fashion to Golden Ôzaru Goku, but it is quickly revealed that he was only pretending to be mindless, allowing him to surprise Goku with a few attacks! He chalks this up to Vegeta being the one who transformed into an Ôzaru, while Bebi is only the possessor! (not that it would matter, in this case, since Vegeta keeps his wits in that form anyway).
DBGT Episode 59
After using Bulma's Bruits Waves machine a second time (on the non-possessed Vegeta, this time), Vegeta transforms into a brown-furred Ôzaru, rampages for a brief time, and then grabs Goku! No one understands what is going on, until Vegeta informs them that he would never lose control in this form (it was a joke, basically!... and a possible reference to when Ôzaru Vegeta grabbed Goku on Earth, in the original Goku vs. Vegeta battle in DBZ; seemingly "for old time's sake," if you will). He then releases Goku, and begins glowing with a yellow fire around him. He becomes a Golden Ôzaru, and then immediately transforms into SSJ4. (see below)
(Sûpâ Saiyajin Fô)

DragonBall GT brings in the next level of Super Saiyan transformations with Super Saiyan 4!

The result of controlling the power within the Golden Ôzaru form, the power and speed Super Saiyan 4 brings forth is incredible, even to our Z-Senshi. Instead of turning gold, the hair returns to a black color, but still grows a bit (a length in between SSJ2 and SSJ3; not quite all the way down the back). Red fur covers the body, and the tail from the Ôzaru form is retained. Interestingly, pants are magically grown, and in the case of Goku, the character is returned to full adult form if otherwise (such as being wished back into a child ^_~). It seems to be very similar to the dance-type fusion, in this respect.

Goku is able to reach Super Saiyan 4 on New Planet Tsufuru by finally controlling himself and his power while in Golden Ôzaru. Vegeta, on the other hand, somewhat cheats to reach this level. Bulma creates a machine that shoots Bruits Waves, and uses it on Vegeta. Vegeta turns into Golden Ôzaru and appears to lose control until he grabs "Kakarrot"... controls his power, and turns into Super Saiyan 4.

In this sense, it can be assumed that Super Saiyan 4 is the evolved form of Ôzaru (which many have speculated means it is the true "Legendary Super Saiyan," a level that takes the original, classic Saiyan transformation and evolves it into incredible powers).

You may also see this stage written out as "Super (Character) 4." This can even be seen in games such as Final Bout on the PlayStation. Rest assured, however, that the original Japanese dialogue does indeed refer to the stage, flat out, as "Sûpâ Saiya-jin 4." You may also see "Super (Character) 3," referring to Super Saiyan 3. Note that earlier on in DBZ, "Super (Character)" and "Super (Character) 2" were meant to refer to the USSJ stage, and not Super Saiyan 2; it all gets extremely confusing!


DBGT Episode 34
Finally able to control himself and his power in Golden Ôzaru, Goku reaches a completely new stage... Super Saiyan 4! He is returned to adult-size, and keeps his tail, growing red fur.
DBGT Episode 59
Flooded with Bruits Waves by Bulma's new machine, Golden Ôzaru is only the first step for Vegeta... upon grabbing "Kakarrot," Vegeta controls his power and reaches the full Super Saiyan 4, ready to fight at full power alongside Goku.
(Goku + Vegeta)
DBGT Episode 60
The fusion of Super Saiyan 4 Goku and Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta appears directly in Super Saiyan 4 from the start.

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