It is nearly impossible to imagine Dragon Ball Z without Goku. The lovable Super Saiyan has become a bonafide icon in the anime world, and the hero has millions of loyal fans. Shortly after Dragon Ball Z reached peak popularity in the U.S. back in the 1990s, audiences felt convinced no one could ever replace the martial artist - but that doesn’t mean he can’t be.
In the past, the creator of Dragon Ball has shared dozens of fun-facts about the anime, and one of them will make Goku fanatics balk. Years ago, Akira Toriyama sat down for an interview that was included in the second Daizenshuu. It was there that the artist confessed Goku was not always meant to head-up Dragon Ball Z for its entire run.
After the Cell Saga ended, it seems that Goku was meant to be usurped as a lead by one of his sons. Originally, it seems that Toriyama wanted Gohan to become the anime’s hero.
“I intended to put Gohan into the leading role,” the creator said. “It didn’t work out. I felt that compared to Goku, he was ultimately not suited for the part.”
Of course, there are some signs littered through the Cell Saga which point to Gohan’s emerging role. In the anime, audiences first met Gohan when he was little more than a child who often studied under his mother’s eye. However, after Goku was killed in a battle with his older brother Raditz, Gohan was forced to train in martial arts by Piccolo. The half-Saiyan was then able to test his skills against the likes of Freeza and Vegeta before Cell ultimately made his entrance. And, by the time the humanoid creature landed on Earth, the Z-Fighters were well-aware of Gohan’s potential.
During the Cell Saga, the older warriors often commented on Gohan’s potential. As a half-Saiyan, the boy had the power within him to level up over Goku, but Gohan struggled to find the motivation to do so. Goku knew his eldest son was the only one powerful enough to take down Cell when the baddie arrived, so the Saiyan did the unthinkable. The hero sacrificed himself to save his friends and to give Gohan something to fight for. Enraged with grief, the young boy then leveled up into Super Saiyan 2 for the first time and absolutely destroyed Cell after the alien mercilessly killed Android 16.
Dragon Ball Super recently kicked off the ‘Universal Survival’ saga. You can check out the brief synopsis for it below:
“At Goku’s request, the Omni-Kings’ “Tournament of Power” martial arts tournament between universes now begins! …But this also proves to be the beginning of universal destruction. What awaits the victors of this tournament, and the vanquished…?! How will these intense team battles between the elites of each universe turn out…?!”
Dragon Ball Super's “Universal Survival” saga is part of the recent simulcast agreement that sites like Crunchyroll and Funimation have scored. Dragon Ball Super airs on Crunchyroll Saturdays at 7:15 p.m. CST. Toonami will begin airing the English dub on Adult Swim Saturdays at 11:30 p.m.