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Son Goku also known as Kakarot stands as the iconic Saiyan protagonist in the Dragon Ball series. Born on Planet Vegeta, Goku was sent to Earth as an infant by his parents Bardock and Gine. Adopted by Grandpa Gohan, he was renamed Son Goku. A head injury during his early years altered Goku’s disposition, steering him away from his initial destructive nature. As the husband of Chi-Chi and father to Gohan and Goten, Goku has become a cornerstone in Earth’s defense, continually striving and training to be the universe’s greatest warrior.
Goku’s journey and character evolution trace back to his origins in the Dragon Ball prototype, Dragon Boy, where he was known as Tangtong. Influenced by Hong Kong martial arts films, particularly those of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, Toriyama envisioned Goku as a dynamic and skilled martial artist. The Dragon Ball universe began as a loose adaptation of the Chinese epic Journey to the West, with Goku embodying an alternate take on Sun Wukong, the mischievous Monkey King.
Originally, Toriyama considered making Goku a full monkey, aligning more closely with Journey to the West. However, subsequent drafts led to Goku evolving into a human character dressed in sailor clothes, riding a flight mecha instead of the Flying Nimbus. Toriyama’s third and final draft solidified Goku’s design as the Saiyan we know today.
Goku’s full adoptive name, is a blend of the common Chinese/Japanese surname 孫, meaning “grandchild,” and the Buddhist name signifying “perceiving air/awakened to emptiness.” The name is a reflection of both his earthly upbringing and his Saiyan heritage.
Goku’s significance was teased a month before the Dragon Ball manga’s debut through postcards sent to members of the Akira Toriyama Preservation Society. His first appearance, featured on the last page of “Grand Finale,” the concluding chapter of the Dr. Slump manga, served as an early glimpse into the captivating world of Dragon Ball.
Experience Goku’s incredible journey and martial prowess as he defends Earth against formidable foes, with each training session and battle contributing to his legacy as one of the most beloved characters in anime and manga history.