When it comes to Dragon Ball, Son Goku is many things. He is a husband and a father, but fans know him best as a fighter. Over the years, the hero has become famous for his tenacious desire to grow stronger, and many have come to view Goku as a hero for such. However, the fandom has often warred over whether the guy is a full-blown hero, and Dragon Ball Super just got the debate rolling once again.
After all, its latest episode did see Goku bat away any idea of him being a hero.
After a short hiatus, Dragon Ball Super returned to TV this weekend with its 130th episode. The action-packed update followed up with Goku as the fighter took on Jiren, and their truly epic clash was a treat to watch. Both of the fighters gave their all against one another, but Jiren couldn’t understand why Goku was so strong.
“Android 17 and Vegeta and everyone else are trusting me. I swear on that faith I can never back down,” Goku explained, nodding to the strength he gains from his comrades. “I’ll show you that it ain’t meaningless!”
As the battle continued, Jiren grew more frustrated with the power Goku sourced from his friends. The Saiyan may not have been making a Spirit Bomb, but their faith in Goku spurred the fighter onwards. So, Jiren did the only thing he could think of and that was to send a huge attack at Universe 7 in the stands. Goku managed to intercept the blast, but the damage was done. Jiren finally managed to truly anger Goku, and it was then the Saiyan opened up about his hero status.
“You! I don’t think I’m a hero or justice or anything,” Goku gritted out. “But those who’d hurt my friends, I won’t forgive!”
The note which Goku made has already prompted new debates within the fandom, but his comment isn’t without basis. In the past, the creator of Dragon Ball has talked about Goku’s heroic reputation, and Akira Toriyama said that was never intended.
“There’s how, basically, Son Goku from Dragon Ball doesn’t fight for the sake of others, but because he wants to fight against strong guys,” Toriyama told WIRED in a previous interview. “So once Dragon Ball got animated, at any rate, I’ve always been dissatisfied with the “righteous hero”-type portrayal they gave him. I guess I couldn’t quite get them to grasp the elements of “poison” that slip in and out of sight among the shadows.”
Of course, fans have their own interpretations of Goku's heroic nature, and those varying positions have been known to prompt the occasional fan-war. So, it comes down to the fans to decide which side of the debate they land on.
Dragon Ball Super airs on Crunchyroll Saturday evenings at 7:15 p.m. CST. Adult Swim airs the English dub during its Toonami block Saturday evenings at 9:30 p.m, and is now available to stream on FunimationNOW and Amazon Video.
Do you think Goku is a true hero in Dragon Ball? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime!