Dragon Ball: Why did Goku never revive Grandpa Gohan?

Goku and Grandpa Gohan reunite
Goku and Grandpa Gohan (Image via Toei Animation)

When Dragon Ball first introduced us to the mystical wishing orbs, fans of the series were amazed by its capabilities. Dragon Balls could grant any wish, even including reviving someone back to life. Thus, many fans were led to ask the question, why did Goku never revive Grandpa Gohan?

Goku had multiple opportunities to wish his grandpa back. However, he never made such a wish. A condition for Dragon Balls stated that a person could not be revived if they had died due to natural causes. This was certainly not the case for Gohan, who was mistakenly killed by Goku himself in his ape form, which leads us back to the question at hand.

Why did Goku never use Dragon Balls to resurrect Grandpa Gohan?

Goku never used Dragon Balls to revive Grandpa Gohan because Grandpa Gohan himself chose not to be brought back to life. He was content with his time in the afterlife, and it was known that Shenron could not bring a person back to life if they did not wish to be revived.

Goku met with Grandpa Gohan after his death during the Fortune Teller Baba Saga, where Goku, Krillin, Yamcha, Puar, and Upa were to face Fortuneteller Baba's fighters, one of which was Grandpa Gohan, wearing a fox mask.

When Goku and Grandpa Gohan fought, they were evenly matched until Grandpa Gohan decided to grab Goku's weakness, his tail. This was followed by Goku getting bashed around by his Grandpa.

Goku and Grandpa Gohan reunite (Image via Toei Animation)
Goku and Grandpa Gohan reunite (Image via Toei Animation)

Before he went too far, Grandpa Gohan apologized to Goku as he told him how he wanted Goku to train harder. He revealed himself to Goku, causing a touching reunion between the two.

Fortuneteller Baba and Gohan explained to Goku how Baba had the power to revive a person for a single day. Following this, Bulma told Gohan about Dragon Balls' existence and powers. This was when Grandpa Gohan relayed his wish not to be revived.

Why couldn't Grandpa Gohan be revived?

Dragon Balls had a condition that many fans seem to keep forgetting. At that time, Dragon Balls of Earth could only revive someone if they were wished back within a year of the person's death.

Goku and Bulma meeting for the first time (Image via Toei Animation)
Goku and Bulma meeting for the first time (Image via Toei Animation)

At first, Goku had no idea about Dragon Balls' powers. After Grandpa Gohan's death, he only kept the four-star one as a keepsake. As time passed, Goku came to terms with his Grandpa's death long before he first met Bulma.

It was only after they both met that Goku found out about Shenron and his powers. But by then, it had already been quite some time, making it seem logical that over a year must have passed since Grandpa Gohan's death.

Also, at that point of the franchise, people were quite respectful of the dead, unlike the number of revivals we saw during the sequel.

Why didn't Goku meet Grandpa Gohan in Dragon Ball Z?

Goku passed away twice during DBZ. This led many fans to wonder if Goku met Grandpa Gohan during either of his times in the afterlife. After his first death, Goku intended to come back stronger to face the Saiyans approaching Earth. Thus he was focused on reaching King Kai's planet and began training.

Meanwhile, during his second death, there was a time skip of about seven years. While it wasn't shown to us either in the manga or the anime, we can presume that Goku must have met Grandpa Gohan then.