I have been a Dragon Ball fan since Toonami made its debut in 1997, and like every fan since then, I’ve always rooted for Goku during every battle he had. From the time he went toe-to-toe with Vegeta during the height of the Saiyan Saga, to throwin’ hands with Beerus in Battle of Gods. Goku has been unstoppable throughout the whole franchise; except for that one time he got killed by Piccolo during the Raditz fight, exploded along with Cell during the end of the Cell Games, and ‘died’ in one Hit – get it? XP
Throughout the series the Earth-bound saiyan has had his share of world/universal threats, and regardless of who the worst of the worst villains is (…Frieza), there have been some that seem to resemble the main saiyan. In The Tree of Might we had Turles; the forgotten saiyan warrior who grew 10x stronger every time he ate from that tree. Now in the age of Dragon Ball Super, there is another Goku-like threat in the form of both a god…and a saiyan. He’s everything Goku would’ve been had he not hit his head as a child, but carries with him the old persona of Vegeta during his Saiyan Saga days. He’s…Goku Black.
My first thought upon seeing this character was ‘haven’t we done this already?’, but there was something different about this ‘evil Goku’. First, his appearance was much slender than Goku’s actual appearance, because Goku’s a lot more buff around the shoulders and chest. Second, he wore a Potara earring on his left ear; which is the same ear Goku wore his during the Buu arc. Third, he can travel through time like the son of the saiyan prince; which he’s been hunting down for quite awhile. Fourth…he has a Super Saiyan form called Rose’ (which might be opposite to Goku and Vegeta’s Super Saiyan Blue). Nevertheless fans were quite fond of this new character even though he’s just the body-swap incarnation of the actual villain, Zamasu.
Part 1 – The Origin of Beauty: Enter, Goku Black!
So when and how did Goku get his body stolen? Well it might have something to do with the Super Dragon Balls, a wish, and unaltered timelines. (Yeah, I don’t like them either so lets just get on with it.) Zamasu went to Universe 6 from the unaltered timeline and gathered the seven Super Dragon Balls (actually you can’t “gather” them, they’re planet sized and just happened to be there when he arrived), then summoned Super Shenron and asked to have his body switched with Goku’s (of that timeline), and thus became Goku Black. That’s the story right? Nope.
Goku Black and Zamasu are actually the same entity from the same timeline. Thanks to Trunks not understanding how jumping through timelines HAVE CONSEQUENCES, Goku Black was inevitably born. Zamasu was a Supreme Kai-in-Training under the eye of Gowasu, but because of their passive nature towards mortals and his growing hatred of them due to their sinful desires, Zamasu rejected Gowasu’s teachings and became a rouge Kai. You pretty much know what happens next; he kills (Future) Gowasu, swaps bodies with Goku, became Goku Black, chased down Future Trunks, destroyed West City of his timeline, revealed to Universe 7 Present Goku that he killed his wife and son, got his ass handed and lectured to by Blue Vegeta, fused with Future Zamasu, defeated by SS2 Trunks, and had his timeline erased by Zeno. This FIEND actually went around pretending to be Goku while destroying universes from Trunks’ timeline and making Super Dragon wishes, before finally having his plan; the “Zero Mortals Now with all of that out of the way, let’s get on to his skills and personality.
Part 2: The Essence of Beauty and the Hatred of Mortals!
Before Goku Black was Goku Black, he was Zamasu. Zamasu was a patient student under his master’s teachings, but harbored a hatred for mortals and their wicked ways with the gods (kais) not doing anything about it. Taking the phrase ‘if you want something bad enough, you gotta do it yourself!’ to heart, Zamasu killed his master and went rouge before gathering the Super Dragon Balls and becoming Goku Black. As Goku Black he was an unsympathetic, cruel, sadistic, homicidal, and unhinged bastard! He loves toying with his enemies before brutally killing them; doing is best Seth Rollins maniacal laughter impression while doing so. Even though he’s the extreme opposite of Goku, there are a couple of things that he shares with him; the will to get stronger by doing it naturally (or take a page out of Ginyu’s playbook and injure yourself and get a zenkai boost), he’s goal oriented, and likes to test his power before going all out in battle.
His skill set is pretty much all of Goku’s moves and abilities; except for the Energy Scythe and Energy Blade (Sickle of Sorrow and God Split Cut) – which the latter was actually Vegito’s move. You want a Kamehameha? Black’s got it. You want a new Super Saiyan form? Black’s got it. Basically he’s got the skills of Goku along with the skills of a Kai (or Supreme Kai); Kaio-Ken, Black Kamehameha, Super Black Kamehameha, SS Rose’, Black Spirit Bomb, God Split Cut, Sickle of Sorrow, Mass Replication, and so many other attacks and techniques that I don’t feel like naming because its way too many to name! He can also Potara-fusion with Zamasu to become Fused Zamasu, but we all know what happens when a Saiyan fuses with a Kai…
Part 3: The Legacy of Goku (Black)!
Goku Black is the direct opposite of Goku as Zamasu, but he’s also Goku from Trunks’ unaltered timeline though its Zamasu parading around like he’s Son Goku. At first I never understood why so many people liked this character, but I guess Toriyama-san thought it would be a cool idea to have a mirrored evil version of Goku who had all of his abilities along with the power of a god. Goku Black is basically what Goku would (and could) be had he not hit his head when he was a baby, so perhaps Goku Black’s appearance and overall persona is just a glimpse of what that would look like; a ‘what if Goku never hit his head and stayed evil’ scenario.
I know its been said that by the end of the arc the quality of the writing went downhill. The Dragon Ball fandom will drag the ending of Goku Black’s arc through the mid for years to come. Yes, the final battle between Future Trunks and Fused Zamasu should’ve been it and ended it there, but then Zamasu pulled a last-minute “gotcha”; causing Zeno to come in and finish the job by erasing the timeline. You defeated a god and STILL had to call for help to finish the job! What kind of ending is this?!
On the bright side though, Goku Black is pretty boss in Dragon Ball FighterZ. So, this is gonna wrap up my One-2-One on him. Until next post, stay nerdy my friends! 😉