Could Goku Have Beaten Cell if He Tried? Here’s Why He Couldn’t!

Could Goku Have Beaten Cell If He Tried? Here’s Why He Couldn’t!
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Son Goku has, over the years, had many complex fights. Some of them he won the first time around, some others he managed to win later, but there are some he never managed to win. Goku’s fight against Cell during the Cell Games is one such fight, and it was a truly epic clash between two great fighters. Now, we know that Goku ultimately lost, but could he have won that battle had he actually tried? Keep reading to find out.

Goku couldn’t have beaten Cell, at the time, Goku was simply too weak to defeat Cell, and Gohan was the only one who could defeat him. Even in his Super Saiyan 2, he would not have been able to defeat Cell at the time. Theories suggest that an extremely angry Super Saiyan 2 Goku would have been able to defeat Cell (e.g., had Cell killed Gohan and made Goku angry), but these theories stretch the facts too much and are too hypothetical in that aspect. From an objective standpoint, there was no way Goku would’ve been able to defeat Cell at that time.

The rest of this article will, of course, elaborate on what we have said above. We will recap the battle between Goku and Cell as it happened in the Dragon Ball series to tell you how and why Goku lost. We will then analyze the whole situation and tell you, as we have said above, why we think there was no way for Goku at the time to defeat Cell and why Gohan had to do it. Although this is a fairly old battle from the series, we still have to warn you that the article is going to contain many spoilers from the plot, so be careful if you don’t know all the details.

Goku lost against Cell during the Cell Games, and from an objective standpoint, that was the only possible outcome

As we have said, the first thing we will do here is recap the actual battle between Goku and Cell as it happened during the Cell Games. The battle lasted for a total of four episodes, so it wasn’t a very long one, but there is still enough material for us to analyze the battle for you.

Son Goku has entered the ring and is ready to start the tournament, and the two challengers fight with blows executed at extreme speed, but, for now, neither of them manages to prevail much over the other. Goku tries to hit Cell, who easily defends himself. The Saiyan punches the android to the end of the ring and kicks him out of the arena, but Cell doesn’t touch the ground remaining in the game, floating in the air. The two continue the fight by rising from the ring and hitting each other in the air, making themselves difficult to see due to the enormous speed of their movements.

The two return to the ring but both Gohan and Vegeta understand that they are not serious and are just having fun. Goku almost falls from the ring but immediately teleports to the center of the play area before Cell can throw him out.

The Saiyan tries to throw a Kamehameha against the green monster, who manages to deflect the wave in another direction but not to dodge the blow of Goku, who had appeared behind him. Cell says he wants to stop warming up, and the two have yet to show their true power. Now Goku decides to get serious and begins to increase his aura by astounding even his friends.

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Goku starts hitting Cell several times, throwing him here and there. The monster smiles and understands Goku’s true strength. Cell continues the fight using Piccolo’s Makankosappo as well. However, Goku manages to defend himself, flying away and putting the four copies of the opponent on the ground, which subsequently reassembles into a single being. Goku tries to run away from these attacks, but Cell hits him by surprise.

Soon, the clash between Cell and Goku reached a crucial moment. Given the high level of the duel, Cell decides to eliminate the ring by making the entire planet the playing space. Goku rises to the sky and prepares to hurl a very strong Kamehameha toward the Earth, but it is a bluff, as the Saiyan teleports in front of Cell and hits him. The body of the monster remains on the ground without arms and without a head. However, he does not remember that Cell has the ability to regenerate his own cells; in fact, in a short time, Cell also reassembles the upper part.

The two look a little more tired but still fight relentlessly at a high level as before. Cell creates a giant spherical protective barrier surrounding him and blasts away all of the Saiyan’s attacks. Cell seems impenetrable, and Goku seems to have lost his strength. Master Roshi also noticed that Cell’s level was higher than that of the Saiyan.

Cell offers him the chance to eat a Senzu, but his Saiyan pride is too strong. On the other hand, Goku doesn’t seem to want to continue the meeting: he drops his aura and announces his surrender, concluding that he is unable to win and that another hero is needed.

So, what exactly happened here? It cannot be denied that both Cell and Goku were exhausted and that their energy levels were dropping, but due to Cell’s special physiology, Goku’s energy was dropping at a faster rate, and the Saiyan warrior was aware that he did not have enough energy to defeat his opponents.

Now, some fans might argue that this was only a plot element to give Gohan a better development arc, which is not completely untrue, we have to admit, but it was also the only objective thing that could have happened based on the levels the two of them were on at the time.

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Namely, Goku was, and that has to be said outrightly, not strong enough at the time to defeat Cell. Cell was a new type of opponent, someone who had managed to surpass Goku’s abilities at the time, and while Goku had the infinite potential to grow (which is why he has, in the meantime, surpassed Cell’s level of power), he was simply not on Cell’s level at the time, and that is a fact that has to be stated. We know that fans of Goku tend to portray him as invincible, and sure, he has surpassed Cell’s level of power later, but at the time – it simply wasn’t enough. Even Super Saiyan 2 wouldn’t have been able to defeat Cell at that point in time.

The argument that Goku in Super Saiyan 2, had he been angry enough, would have defeated Cell is a bit far-fetched if you ask us, to be honest. Namely, that would have involved stretching the plot too thin (e.g., it would have demanded that Cell kill Gohan or some of Goku’s friends), which is never good, and we don’t think Toriyama would ever craft his story in such a manner.

This is why this situation is, from our perspective, too hypothetical, and we cannot really consider it as a realistic one, although, as we’ve said, we don’t think that he would have been able to defeat Cell, even under such circumstances.

And that is the gist of it. Goku’s loss to Cell made sense from several points of view. It allowed Gohan to get his own arc and to evolve as a character, but it also was an objective evaluation of the situation and the balance of power between the two of them at the time, so we have to praise Toriyama for not going overboard in portraying his protagonist here.

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