Son Goku has always been one of the most iconic anime characters of all time because of how he helped in shaping shonen anime. Of course, throughout the decades of his existence, he has seen his fair share of transformations and forms that have become staples in the entire Dragon Ball story. So, with that said, let’s look at all of the forms that Goku has achieved in his life and how these strongest forms are ranked.
17. Great Ape
The first transformation that Son Goku ever achieved was Great Ape. Owing to the fact that he is of Saiyan blood, he becomes a gigantic ape of destruction that mindlessly destroys everything in his path, and its mindlessness is actually its biggest weakness. This happens when Goku and all of the other Saiyans are exposed to a full moon. However, they will only transform if they still have their tails intact, as Saiyans without tails will not transform when exposed to the moon.
Goku first achieved this form when he was still a child. The power multiplier of Great Ape is said to be x20, and that means that it is powerful enough to destroy anything in its path. However, it was through Grandpa Gohan’s efforts of cutting Goku’s tail off later on that he could no longer achieve this form. Goku, as far as the canon is concerned, never grew his tail back and was never able to achieve the Great Ape form during his adult years.
16. Kid Goku
Not necessarily a transformation, Kid Goku is the main character of the Dragon Ball GT series, which is the non-canon continuation of Dragon Ball Z. This is simply Goku who turned back into a child when Emperor Pilaf, a rival of his back in his childhood years, used the Dragon Balls to wish Goku back to his childhood. As such, Goku stayed a child throughout the GT storyline and was only able to revert back to his adult form whenever he transformed into Super Saiyan 4.
The reason why Kid Goku is ranked this low is the fact that Goku’s powers were basically cut when he became a child. Even though he kept up with his training, he lacked the muscle strength and sheer power that his adult form had because his kid form had its limitations. In fact, he could only maintain the Super Saiyan 3 transformation for around a minute because his body does not have enough energy to maintain the powerful form for a long time. So, even though Kid Goku was still strong, having the body of a child limited his powers.
Kaio-Ken is the second transformation that Goku achieved in his life. This isn’t necessarily a transformation but is more of a technique that allows him to overload his body so that he can become several times stronger than his base form. In fact, he originally used this technique during his base form and before he achieved Super Saiyan. He learned this technique after training with King Kai during the Saiyan Arc of the Dragon Ball Z anime.
While in Kaio-Ken, Goku can overload his body so that he can surpass his normal limits, depending on how far he wants to push himself in this transformation. In the fight against Vegeta, Goku was able to trim the power level gap between him and the Saiyan prince using this technique as he reached Kaio-Ken x3 to overpower Vegeta. In the fight against Frieza, he was able to reach the maximum Kaio-Ken output to x20 to find a way to bridge the gap between him and the tyrant.
14. Super Saiyan
The Super Saiyan form is the very first time we saw Goku completely transforming into a non-Great Ape form. He was able to achieve this form in the fight against Frieza on planet Namek as Krillin’s death enraged him and gave him the power to achieve this legendary form for the first time in his life. This transformation into Super Saiyan is one of the most iconic moments in Dragon Ball history.
As a Super Saiyan, Goku was said to be 100 times stronger than his base form, and that was more than enough for him to completely overpower Frieza’s final form. This forced the tyrant to go to his 100% final form but was eventually overpowered due to the fact that Frieza could not maintain that form for a long time. For the longest time possible, Super Saiyan was Goku’s trademark transformation as it took until the Buu Saga for him to debut a completely new form.
13. Saiyan Third Grade
The Super Saiyan Third Grade is a derivative of the Super Saiyan form. This form overloads the muscles of a Super Saiyan and allows him to reach an extremely powerful state that allows him to physically dominate an opponent. Goku never used this form in battle but only showed it while explaining its weakness. In fact, Trunks was the only one who used it in the battle against Perfect Cell.
While in this form, Trunks was able to surpass Perfect Cell in strength alone but was too slow to keep up with him because his muscle bulk slowed him down. On top of that, this form drains a person’s energy levels rather quickly, and that is why Goku never used it in battle, as it is a very inefficient and impractical form. Nevertheless, in this form, a Saiyan is ten times stronger than a regular Super Saiyan.
12. Super Saiyan Second Grade
Like Super Saiyan Third Grade, Goku never actually used Super Saiyan Second Grade but only transformed into it to showcase the differences between the Super Saiyan derivatives. It is a more powerful version of the regular Super Saiyan transformation as it allows him to inflate his muscles to the point that it increases the ki and power of a Saiyan. Again, Goku never used this form in a battle as it was primarily used by Vegeta.
Vegeta used Super Saiyan Second Grade against Semi-Perfect Cell, which had already absorbed Android 17. In this form, he was a lot stronger than Semi-Perfect Cell and was able to beat him within an inch of his life. But because of his hubris, Vegeta allowed Cell to absorb Android 18 so that he could fight Perfect Cell, who completely dominated him. It is suggested that Goku would have been just as strong as Vegeta in this form.
11. Full Power Super Saiyan
The Full Power Super Saiyan state is simply Goku mastering the Super Saiyan form to minimize its drawbacks. While in Super Saiyan, he was rapidly depleting his energy and was not in the best mindset because his rage and Saiyan instincts often got the best of him. But in the Full Power Super Saiyan state, he is able to minimize the energy drain of the form while being in full control over his power and emotions.
In this state, Goku is able to exceed the normal limits of the Super Saiyan transformation, as seen from the fact that he was able to hold his own against Perfect Cell but not to the point that he gave him trouble. He does not have the power of Super Saiyan Third Grade but has enough strength and speed that allowed him to keep up with Perfect Cell, which was something that neither the Second Grade nor Third Grade could do. Nevertheless, this form still wasn’t powerful enough to defeat Cell.
10. Super Saiyan 3
Super Saiyan 3 is Goku’s most powerful non-god Super Saiyan form in the Dragon Ball canon and is incredibly powerful such that it allowed him to bend time and space while he was transforming. Goku was the only one that was able to achieve this form as an individual, although Gotenks, the fusion between Goten and Trunks, was able to copy this transformation from Goku without too much effort.
In this form, Goku is able to completely draw out the power of his Saiyan blood and is able to overpower Fat Buu, and was said to be strong enough to contend with Kid Buu. This form is said to be four times stronger than Super Saiyan 2. But the reason why Goku never used this form as much as he did in his other transformations was the fact that it is incredibly inefficient in terms of the energy that is used. The only times that he accessed this transformation was when he needed to fight at his full power.
9. Super Saiyan 2
For the longest time possible, Super Saiyan 2 was Goku’s go-to transformation because this was the perfect transformation that allowed him to have the perfect balance of power and energy consumption. In fact, he used Super Saiyan 2 more than Super Saiyan 3 because it doesn’t consume as much energy but is still very much effective in battle against incredibly powerful enemies.
The first one to achieve this form was Gohan while he was training with Goku in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. Goku achieved this form during the gap between the Cell Saga and the Buu Saga and was able to perfect it to the point that he was able to match Majin Vegeta in power using his Super Saiyan 2 state. Super Saiyan 2 allows Goku to have the power increase of Super Saiyan Third Grade without the drawbacks that the form comes with.
8. Golden Great Ape
The Golden Great Ape transformation is another one of the transformations that aren’t part of the canon but still have a special place in the hearts of Dragon Ball GT fans. This is basically the Super Saiyan form of a Great Ape, as anyone who has achieved Super Saiyan can transform into this form as long as they still have their tails intact. Goku achieved this form when he grew his tail back and used the Earth as his moon during his battle with Baby Vegeta.
In this transformation, Goku was able to completely overpower Baby Vegeta and was incredibly powerful because of the fact that he combined the powers of the Great Ape and the Super Saiyan transformations into one. However, the biggest knock on this transformation is the fact that it is like the regular Great Ape form in the sense that the person becomes a mindless beast of destruction.
7. Super Saiyan God
The Super Saiyan God transformation broke limits when Goku first achieved it. This happened during the debut of Beerus, the God of Destruction, as he was looking for a fight that could allow him to enjoy the thrill of battle once more. Goku achieved this form by obtaining the energies of five righteous Saiyans in a ritual that granted him godly ki. In this form, Goku retains his normal hair, but it becomes magenta.
Due to the fact that this state imbues Goku with godly ki, he is capable of fighting godlike entities on par. His divine energy has become so powerful that he was able to completely surpass the limits of Super Saiyan 3, which could not even make Beerus put an effort into the fight. However, as a Super Saiyan God, Goku was able to allow Beerus to exert a small percentage of his power into the fight as they were able to cause time and space to distort in this battle.
6. Super Saiyan 4
The Super Saiyan 4 form is Goku’s strongest state in the Dragon Ball GT storyline. This form was achieved when he was able to take control over his Golden Great Ape transformation, as being able to do so allowed a Saiyan to completely tap into his full potential. This is also an incredibly unique form in the sense that it covers Goku’s entire body with hair. And the form is so powerful that it was able to break Shenron’s wish as Goku is in his adult state in this form.
While in Super Saiyan 4, Goku was able to completely overcome Baby Vegeta and was able to fight Baby Vegeta in his Golden Great Ape form on par. Meanwhile, this state is so powerful that it could allow Goku to fight a Shadow Dragon on par. It is unknown whether or not Super Saiyan 4 is stronger than Super Saiyan God.
5. Super Saiyan Blue
Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan, otherwise known as Super Saiyan Blue, was Goku’s newest go-to transformation the moment he achieved it in Dragon Ball Super. He and Vegeta were able to unlock this form by mastering Super Saiyan God and by blending that state with the regular Super Saiyan form to combine the two transformations. As such, Goku is able to retain his godly ki while increasing his power using the regular Super Saiyan state. In this form, he resembles the regular Super Saiyan transformation but with blue hair.
In this state, Goku was able to increase his power up to the point that he and Vegeta could force Beerus to put some effort into their fight. While not as strong as Golden Frieza, it was still strong enough to annihilate Golden Frieza with one blow after the tyrant had depleted his stamina. Goku was also able to match the strongest fighters of the other universes while in this state.
4. Perfected Super Saiyan Blue
The Perfected Super Saiyan Blue transformation is a manga-only transformation that both Goku and Vegeta achieved. This transformation is similar to the Full Power Super Saiyan state in the sense that Goku is able to maximize the power of Super Saiyan Blue without necessarily suffering too much from the effects of its drawbacks.
In that sense, Goku had to thoroughly train in his Super Saiyan Blue form to achieve this state so that he could always fight at peak levels while transformed. That is why he was able to completely master Super Saiyan Blue by perfecting it, as he could fight extended battles without getting too tired from the energy demands of the regular Super Saiyan Blue form.
3. Super Saiyan Blue Kaio-Ken
Super Saiyan Blue Kaio-Ken became Goku’s ace in the hole throughout much of the Dragon Ball Super anime because he was able to pull out the maximum power of Super Saiyan Blue by pushing his body to its very limits using Kaio-Ken. This is the first time Goku has ever used Kaio-Ken in conjunction with a transformation.
Goku can increase his power up to 20 times using Kaio-Ken while in Super Saiyan Blue, but it drains his ki massively and puts a huge strain on his body. Even after mastering the state, he couldn’t maintain it for a long time and would only use it when there was a need for him to do so. The power was strong enough for him to defeat Hit. Meanwhile, it allowed Jiren to put a bit of effort into the fight.
2. Ultra Instinct -Sign-
Ultra Instinct -Sign- is the unrefined state of the Ultra Instinct form that Goku was able to unlock during the Tournament of Power arc. He achieved it when Jiren effortlessly deflected the Universe 7 Spirit Bomb back at Goku as the energy of the blast and his will to survive allowed him to enter this state. Goku forced Jiren on the defensive in this state and was even able to defeat Kefla in her Legendary Super Saiyan form.
While in this state, Goku is able to instinctively dodge all incoming attacks and is able to mount a counter-offensive of his own. His power levels are also increased to the degree that allowed him to hurt Jiren. It is said that this is the form that the Whis wanted Beerus to master because it is the secret weapon of the Angels and the reason why Goku is never able to land a punch on him.
1. Mastered Ultra Instinct
Goku’s most powerful form is the Mastered Ultra Instinct, which was the form that he used to match Jiren’s strongest form. He was able to put Jiren on the brink of defeat in this form because it not only allowed Goku to instinctively dodge all of his attacks but also increased his power levels to an even greater degree than before.
Mastered Ultra Instinct is still Goku’s strongest form in the manga, as it allowed him to defeat powerful opponents like Moro, Granolah, and Gas. It is unknown whether or not there is another state beyond Master Ultra Instinct, but Goku has only been improving this state ever since he unlocked it. In the past, he couldn’t access it at will and was not always able to keep up with its massive demands. However, in the latest manga arc, he could use it at will while also minimizing the energy demands of the state.