Dragon Ball: Here’s Why Goku Can’t Breathe in Space

Can goku breathe in space

For many fans, the Dragon Ball franchise is a beloved staple of anime and manga. But what makes these fights so iconic? It’s not just the incredible martial arts moves our heroes pull off — it’s also where these epic battles occur: in the vast expanse of outer space. From the Namek Saga to Dragon Ball Super: Broly, countless iconic moments from these space-set battles have gone down in anime history. But it’s well-established that Saiyans can’t breathe in space, so how can Goku survive in space for so long?

  • Article Breakdown:
  • Goku can’t breathe in space but can hold his breath for long periods. As a result, he cannot spend a lot of time in space because Saiyans still need air to survive.
  •  This is well-established in the Dragon Ball canon, but some notable exceptions exist.

Goku’s battles in space

Gokus battles in space

Given the seemingly unbelievable power feats that characterize the world of Dragon Ball, it makes sense that Goku could survive in space. The hottest Dragon Ball debates nowadays have more to do with what extreme feats of strength Goku can achieve. By comparison, asking whether he can even breathe in space seems basic.

Goku and other Dragon Ball characters are depicted as having the ability to spend brief periods in space. You might have seen Goku wearing a spacesuit while flying around Namek, meaning he can’t breathe in space. This can only mean that Goku can hold his breath for a long time, or that they’re still fighting within the atmosphere.

This makes sense, as there’s no oxygen in space. Saiyans may be an extraterrestrial race of warriors, but they need oxygen as much as humans do. Goku’s large build and muscle mass may even necessitate more oxygen than the average human needs!

Goku and other characters are propelled by ki, which enables them to transcend the laws of physics. Physics doesn’t have much importance in Dragon Ball, but some of its laws still apply to this fantasy world.


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Because of this, even if Goku and other characters can live in space for a brief time, they cannot breathe in the vacuum of space because there’s no oxygen to breathe in. It’s true that in space, there are congregated clouds of oxygen, but almost none of it is dioxygen or O2, which is what we breathe in.

Saiyan biology and their oxygen needs

goku fight

Goku is seen partaking in space travel and fights in space repeatedly. Most of these fights are easily explained by the fact that when we see Goku partake in crazy fights in space, he isn’t actually in space. In many of these fights, he’s still well above their planet’s atmosphere. You can even see this because the sky is still blue!

Even so, this argument could be countered by the fact that the air that high up is very thin. The higher up you go, the thinner the concentration of oxygen. This is why people find it so difficult to breathe on Mount Everest and even bring supplemental oxygen tanks.

It’s true that as human as he might look, Goku is still an alien. Although it’s canon that Saiyans need oxygen to survive, maybe they don’t need as much oxygen as humans do. This is just a fan theory, and no such thing has been confirmed in the Dragon Ball canon, but it’s still something to consider.

goku space travel

Goku’s inability to breathe in oxygen is also backed up by this panel of Vegeta warning him against it. He calls Goku by his Saiyan name, Kakarot, and tells him that Saiyans can’t survive in outer space.

This also explains why Broly and Paragus, Broly’s father, were imprisoned in Vampa. They were left there, isolated for a long time, and only discovered by one of Frieza’s goons. They are both Saiyans, and neither could escape, as they knew they would die if they ventured into outer space.

Ascending to Godhood

Super Saiyan Blue Goku

If Goku wants to survive in space, he may only be able to do so by achieving godhood. Beerus and Whis are divine immortal beings, and they’re seen traveling in outer space unaffected by the lack of oxygen. Their biology must be completely different, so Goku must reach their level to brave outer space. He still wouldn’t be able to “breathe” in space as there’s nothing to breathe in, but he could exist without dying.

Beerus and Whis may endure the vacuum of space for a while by using their tremendous Ki control. Goku’s Ki control is already impressive, and he’s only getting better at it with every new Dragon Ball installation, but he’s far from perfect.


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Apart from becoming a god, Goku may survive in space by activating one of his powerful transformations, notably Super Saiyan Blue. This would allow him to survive in space for much longer, but his biology still necessitates that he eventually find an oxygen source. Until then, Goku’s Saiyan biology prevents him from venturing outside Earth’s atmosphere or other oxygen-rich environments. 

In conclusion, Goku cannot breathe in space, as demonstrated repeatedly throughout the Dragon Ball franchise. We see proof of this with the existence of his spacesuit, the fact that almost all the fights occur within the atmosphere, and Vegeta warning Goku that he can’t breathe in space. For all his abilities, Saiyans just aren’t built to be able to live without oxygen.

This makes sense because no organic being can breathe in nothingness. Exceptions are made for divine beings because they’re not affected by the same physics and biological laws as everyone else. This is why godhood is Goku’s only chance of overcoming his need for oxygen.

We cannot know if Goku can breathe in space in the future. There are very few occasions when this has been an issue for him, so he may not even need to breathe in space. For now, as strong as he is, Goku still needs to breathe. If anything, that just makes him the slightest bit more relatable to us.

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