Character Issues: Animated Goku

The Stats:

Name:  Goku, Son Goku, Kakarot
Height: 5’9
Weight: 137 lbs
Powers: Super Strength, Super Speed, Flight, Ki Manipulation, Teleportation, Flight
Type:  Flying Brick, Martial Arts Superman
Excels at:  Glowing, Straining and Yelling
Fails at:  Protecting his family or friends, Saving the Planet.


The Character:

Any discussion about Goku starts a firestorm of fanboy debates.   He is physical embodiment of the Manga/Anime vs Comic Book fandoms.   Goku is a Superman archetype.   He is the most powerful being on the planet and his power rises to match stronger foes.  He exists at the intersection of the Everyman and the Superman.  Goku is honest,  honorable and selfless to a fault.   He leaps headlong into battles that he has no chance at winning and is successful at a pretty baffling rate.  As virtuous as Goku is there is one constant about Goku’s DBZ era rogues gallery, the majority aren’t living anymore.   Goku does not play around with his villains, if you are an ongoing threat, Goku ends you.  Goku entered most of his well known scrapes as a heavy underdog and managed to overcome his limitations through force of will.  Goku is always looking for a far fight and often takes huge risks just to get one (more on that later). Goku is a free spirit and he has an innocence to his character that is unique considering the tone of the show.

The Issues:


Goku is a wise fighter, but kind of a dim bulb in all other aspects of life and is a huge flake when it comes to things like raising his kids or providing for his family.  For a guy who has faced the most evil beings in the universe, he often underestimates how “bad” his badguys can be and his allies often pay the price.  Hell, the planet has paid the price on a few occasions because Goku couldn’t predict that a guy with a reputation for blowing up planets, might blow up the planet.  It’s baffling considering how well this guy knows the art of fighting, this guy takes terrible risks and miscalculates all the time.  He is the defender of the planet, but he can’t get his life together.  He can’t hold a job down and he doesn’t really help with raising his kids. To be honest, he’s kind of a deadbeat. He often drags his children and their friends into fights with galactic destoryers.  When he does have his opponent at a disadvantage, he starts toying with them instead of finishing them off.  He normally doesn’t get serious about fighting until one of his friends dies, which is a pretty terrible way to go about protecting life.

The Fix:

The fix for Goku is pretty straight forward.   It’s time for Goku to grow up and get serious about his role as defender of the planet.  He can still keep the same quirks that makes him recognizable but add some other aspects that make him seem like an adult raising children.  Give him an actual job that entails monitoring and addressing threats to the planet PROACTIVELY.  Have him stop toying with guys who are threatening to destroy the planet and make him face opponents at full strength out of the gate.    Give some structure to what the Z-Fighters do and have Goku as their clear leader.

It’s also time for him to grow into being a father.

He was dead in this picture...That wacky Goku
He was dead in this picture…That wacky Goku

Right now, Goku is more like a flaky Uncle with bad judgement.   He’s really fun to hang out with and he teaches you a bunch of really cool things, but midway through your time with him, you realize that the only life he values less than yours…is his.  Sure… he will feel horrible if something bad happens to you, but he won’t do much on the front end to prevent it from happening.   Goku needs to take some kind of interest in providing for his kids outside of taking them away to train.   Strangely enough, doing the boring things that parents have to do will make him a much more interesting character by adding another layer of depth to him.

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4 thoughts on “Character Issues: Animated Goku

  1. Man, Goku is a deadbeat dad. He’d rather die than raise his kids. Then when he comes back it’s just for training. Training and fighting are the only things he does with his kids. Goten was even afraid of him at one point. That tends to happen when you miss a decade worth of birthdays because being a strong fighter is more important than raising your kids. Meanwhile the psuedo-black man Piccolo is out there raising Goku’s kids with no issue. Chi-Chi chose the wrong man. Even Vegeta is a better dad than Goku. But, at least he isn’t Ging Freecss.

  2. Goku doesn’t manipulate chi… He manipulates Ki. Though they are technically the same thing… Chi is Chinese.. While Ki is Japanese. Akira T. uses the term Ki when referring to the energy in question.

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