10 times Goku should have died in Dragon Ball but survived

Goku has had many close calls throughout the franchise (Image via Toei Animation)
Goku has had many close calls throughout the franchise (Image via Toei Animation)

Dragon Ball’s Saiyan race is an incredibly durable bunch, able to take nearly any amount of punishment. The protagonist, Goku, is a living testament to this, having been beaten down to almost nothing and able to come back.

While still an amazing feat, there are plenty of times throughout Dragon Ball’s various incarnations where Goku should have, logically, died. Whether as a child or as an adult, he has made many escapes and survived injuries that he really shouldn’t have.

Golden Frieza fight and nine other times Goku should’ve died but survived in Dragon Ball

1) Vs Broly (DBZ)


When fighting Dragon Ball Z’s Broly, the berserker had knocked everyone entirely out of battle. Even Goku was lodged into a boulder at one point and was seemingly one blow away from being killed.

However, in classic franchise fashion, the other Z-Fighters give Goku the rest of their Ki, and he overpowered Broly with it shortly after. While it is the right and necessary ending, Goku and his friends were almost certainly finished here.

2) Vs Hit


After Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Destroyers, Hit is hired (unknowingly) by Goku to kill Goku. He even succeeds in doing so, landing a punch that stops the Saiyan’s heart in one hit. However, Goku seemingly fires a stray Ki blast just before having his heart stopped.

It’s later revealed, as his friends mourn his death, that the Ki blast was meant to hit him and restart his heart. Fans watch as this successfully happens, marking yet another time Goku should have died but survived.

3) Vs King Piccolo


Original Dragon Ball’s King Piccolo is yet another enemy who stops Goku’s heart, only for him to survive. When the two fight for the first time, King Piccolo beats Goku so badly that he’s convinced the child is dead when taking the Dragon Ball from his body.

After what seems like a few minutes go by, Yajirobe comes to Goku’s side and realizes his heart has been stopped. Yajirobe does successfully revive Goku, but with how much time had passed with Goku’s heart stopped, it seems unlikely the Saiyan would’ve been able to survive.

4) Heart disease


In Dragon Ball Z’s Androids saga, Goku is told by Future Trunks that he’s meant to die of heart disease when the Androids first appear. In fact, he’s only able to live because of Future Bulma’s invention of a medicine for the disease.

While Goku’s survival was necessary, it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t meant to die here when Trunks’ intervention prevented a natural course from happening.

5) Vs Golden Frieza


When fighting Golden Frieza, Goku lets his guard down at one point and is shot by one of Frieza’s henchmen through the heart. Vegeta subsequently takes over but allows Frieza to blow up Earth, with the planet and protagonist group only surviving due to Whis’ intervention.

Like Future Trunks’ omniscient intervention, Whis’ divine intervention marks another time Goku should have died but survived.

6) Vs Yamcha


Throughout the series, Saiyans have been shown to be somewhat vulnerable to surprise attacks, such as when Krillin hurt an unaware Super Saiyan Goku with a thrown rock. This is also seen when Goku was a child, specifically when fighting Yamcha.

Midfight, he suddenly becomes distracted by his hunger, allowing Yamcha to kick Goku into a nearby cliff face. Considering what a lack of awareness does to an adult Super Saiyan Goku, unaware child Goku should’ve been dead from such a heavy, unprepared-for impact.

7) Frieza’s Death Beam


When first fighting Frieza during Dragon Ball Z’s Namek saga, it seems Goku and friends win with the Spirit Bomb before Frieza gets back up. The protagonist is completely drained at this point, and despite seeing Frieza and the attack clearly, doesn’t move.

Piccolo instead shoves Goku out of the way, taking the fatal hit for him and marking yet another time the latter should’ve died but lived.

8) Vs Captain Ginyu


Fighting Captain Ginyu is also when Goku should’ve died but lived. Midway through the fight, he is tricked into having his body taken by Ginyu while he is placed in a mortally-wounded Ginyu’s body.

Goku only gets back into his body by timing out a body-swap interception correctly, which is somewhat based on luck and timing.

9) Vs Vegeta


When Vegeta first arrives on Earth and fights Goku, there’s a point in the battle where Great Ape Vegeta is crushing Goku in his hands. This happens several times, with the latter audibly screaming out in pain. To be crushed with that level of force would be certain doom, even if it is a Saiyan warrior.

Despite barely being able to move after, Goku somehow survives the attack and lives on to fight many more days.

10) Vs Beerus


Finally, when fighting Beerus in Dragon Ball Super, the stipulations of the fight are apparent; a loss for Goku means the destruction of Earth and its people. He does end up losing, and Beerus prepares to destroy the planet. However, the Destroyer suddenly misses his attack, appearing to have fallen asleep at the last moment.

In reality, Beerus chose to spare the Earth and its people at the last second but didn’t want to appear soft by going back on his word. Considering the stakes of the fight and how clear they were, this Dragon Ball Super fight is certainly one that should’ve ended in Goku’s death.

Note: This article reflects the author’s views.

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Edited by Ravi Iyer
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