Son Goku (Masako Nozawa/Sean Schemmel), the main protagonist of the Dragon Ball franchise from Akira Toriyama, is best known for his immense powers and Super Saiyan form. As revealed in Dragon Ball Z, Goku is part of the Saiyan race. This warrior civilization has monkey tails that give them the ability to become giant ape-like creatures known as Great Apes.
Part of Saiyan legend is an ascended state called “Super Saiyan.” This state gives any Saiyan a surge in power, speed, and abilities. To reach this level, a Saiyan must experience intense emotion, typically sadness and/or rage. Goku is the first character to unlock this capability, and many other characters subsequently follow suit, with all of them, including Goku, reaching even stronger levels. But the Super Saiyan form that stands out above the rest is severely underrated.
How Many Super Saiyan Forms Are There in Dragon Ball?
Making its debut in Dragon Ball Z, Super Saiyan 1 sees the Saiyan’s hair turn gold and stand on end, while their eyes become green or blue. A golden aura envelops the body. Super Saiyan 2 is similar to the previous level but adds lightning charges around the user’s body to display their power. The character’s hair is more rigid and has higher spikes, while their muscles are much more pronounced. Dragon Ball’s Super Saiyan 3 sees the character with hair that reaches almost down to their legs. Their eyebrows disappear to provide a more intense expression. However, the next level completely changes the look of these three Super Saiyan transformations.
Although Dragon Ball GT is the outlier of the Dragon Ball franchise, what is generally agreed upon is how it introduced fans to Goku’s Super Saiyan 4 transformation — the most unique Super Saiyan form. In Super Saiyan 4, the character has flowing black hair with a red aura surrounding their body. They also have red fur as a reminder of their primal Saiyan roots.
Introduced in Dragon Ball Super is Super Saiyan God, a divine form accessible through a ritual involving six Saiyans, or with rigorous training by a godly being. The user’s hair and eyes turn a red-magenta color, with a similar aura surrounding them. Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan sees the character’s hair and eyes turn blue, which is why the characters address it as Super Saiyan Blue, for short. The physique is reminiscent of Super Saiyan 1.
Forms like Beast and Super Saiyan Rosé are not considered typical Super Saiyan forms because they are strictly limited to only one character each. Ultra Instinct is also not included as it is implied by the Gods of the different universes in Dragon Ball Super that this form can be attained by other beings.
Goku Possesses More Than Just Raw Power in Super Saiyan 4
Goku has immense physical capabilities in Super Saiyan 4. His strength, agility, and endurance reach unprecedented heights compared to any other Saiyan. Unlike previous Super Saiyan forms that tend to amplify the user’s rage while reducing their logical thinking, this transformation allows Goku to keep his composure while channeling such devastating energy. When battling enemies, Goku strategically makes decisions that help him outsmart his foes and come out on top.
Super Saiyan 4 also allows the user to absorb energy without it taking a toll on them. In his fight with Baby Vegeta (Yūsuke Numata/Mike McFarland), Goku takes the energy from Baby’s Revenge Death Ball and summons a 10x Kamehameha blast right back at him. Additionally, he can absorb energy from other Saiyans as a power boost.
Dragon Ball’s Super Saiyan 4 Should Not Be Underestimated
What makes this Super Saiyan 4 special is its tie to the character’s heritage. In Dragon Ball GT, Goku taps into his primal Saiyan instincts to turn into a Golden Great Ape. It’s not until his granddaughter Pan (Yuko Minaguchi/Elise Baughman) calms him down in that form that Goku controls his energy to transform into Super Saiyan 4.
Initially, Goku needed to become a Golden Great Ape to access this form. However, he can transform to this level at will. By harnessing the power of a Golden Great Ape in humanoid form with rational thinking and enhanced abilities, Super Saiyan 4 is a formidable level in the Dragon Ball universe.
In the first episode of Super Dragon Ball Heroes, Goku Super Saiyan Blue and a variant of Goku Super Saiyan 4 come to blows with one another but reveal an equal power level. Although Super Saiyan 4 is not canon, it is still an unforgettable transformation that some fans still enjoy seeing in the animated series or while playing in the various Dragon Ball video games.
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