Son Goku is not only the protagonist of the Dragon Ball and its breakout character, he is undoubtedly one of the most popular anime and manga characters in history. But, despite being the protagonist, Son Goku has also died more than once in the Dragon Ball franchise. Due to the number of times he has died and been resurrected over the years, in this article, we are going to tell you just how many times Son Goku has died in Dragon Ball and in what episodes these deaths occurred.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated on October 10, 2023 to reflect the latest information from the Dragon Ball manga and anime series.
How many time did Goku die?
Son Goku has died a total of eight times in the franchise, and we are going to tell you about each of them here:
1. King Piccolo stops his heart
This event happened in Episode 109 of the anime, titled “Goku vs. King Piccolo,” and an adaptation of Chapter 143 of the manga titled “Goku vs. The Demon King.” What happened? Shortly after Piccolo appears and is furious because of the deaths of his children, he quickly defeats Goku with his Masenko attack. Due to the ferocity of the attack, Goku’s heart stopped for a short while, but he survived. Yajirobe then leads Goku to Korin Tower to help him recover.
Meanwhile, Master Roshi and Chiaotzu try to stop Piccolo from obtaining the Dragon Balls, but they make a mistake and die in the attempt. Piccolo then destroys Shenron and takes the Kaiou out of the Palace in an attempt to dominate the world. Son Goku, of course, recovered, and he could defeat King Piccolo, but this wasn’t the end.
2. Killed by Piccolo alongside Raditz so that the latter coulf be killed for good
This event happened in Episode 5 of Dragon Ball Z, titled “Gohan’s Rage,” and was an adaptation of Chapter 203, titled “Sayonara, Goku,” when the manga came out. What happened here, then? To overpower Raditz and save the Earth, Krillin, and Kame-Sen’nin offer to help confront him, but Goku refuses to accept their help. Piccolo offers Goku to make a temporary alliance to fight the Saiyan. When Piccolo and Goku appear before Raditz with Gohan locked in his spaceship, Goku gives Raditz one last chance to free his son, but Raditz refuses.
Even with his combined forces, Raditz still maintains the advantage. With the help of Gohan unleashing his hidden power to attack Raditz and weaken him, Goku and Piccolo can complete a plan to win. Goku makes the final sacrifice by holding Raditz so that Piccolo can off both of them with his powerful Makankosappo attack, piercing them both. However, before dying, Raditz reveals Vegeta and Nappa are on their way to Earth. Goku was, of course, once again revived.
3. Killed by the heart virus
This actually refers to Future Goku, whose death occurred in Episode 164 of Dragon Ball Z, titled “Ghosts from Tomorrow,” and which adapted Chapter 387 of the manga, titled “The Balance of Power.” Future Goku’s life is exactly the same as that of his present counterpart until the arrival of Frieza and his father on Earth. He used Teleportation to be able to arrive in time to confront them and defeat them without difficulty.
Shortly afterward, he fell ill with a heart virus, which, despite his strength, he could not overcome, dying. All the Z Fighters, including Vegeta, gathered at his house. Goku could not be revived because Shenrong cannot revive people who have died of natural causes.
4. Sacrifices himself to defeat Cell
Goku again died in Episode 188 of the Dragon Ball Z anime titled “A Hero’s Farewell.” This episode adapted Chapter 412 of the manga titled “The End of the Cell Game.” When Cell decides to destroy himself along with the Earth, as a last resort, Goku has to sacrifice his own life to avoid it. He thus teleports to North Kaio’s planet, where he dies from the explosion caused, along with Kaio, Bubbles, and Gregory. However, Cell regenerates into a Super Perfect form and uses his newly learned teleportation to return to Earth.
In the clash between Cell and Gohan’s Kamehameha, Goku motivates his son from the Other World, who manages to completely eliminate the android after a long fight. After Cell’s defeat, Goku insists that he will remain dead, even though he could be resurrected, because he thinks he brings trouble to Earth, such as Frieza and the Red Patrol androids. Goku then decides that his absence from Earth would assure more safety for the planet, and Earth would still have Gohan to defend it if necessary, saying goodbye to his friends.
5. Dies in space while fighting Vegeta
This death occurred in a video game, Dragon Ball Online, which is why it stands out among the other deaths on this list more so as Akira Toriyama wrote the story of Online, which was actually an MMORPG discontinued in 2019. So, what happens here?
The game itself doesn’t have such a player-driven story, but we know that some of the story still happens in the background. As far as Goku is concerned, we see him when he is very old, much like Vegeta, and with a new generation of heroes present, the two of them decide to have one last clash in space, so they leave there and are never heard from again, implying that they both died in this future timeline.
6. Killed by Goku Black
This was a strange moment in the series that actually has to do with an alternative timeline version of Goku. Namely, Zamasu’s original wish was to learn as much as he could about Goku, so, at one point, he decides to switch bodies with him, and soon after, he simply kills him off, which is one brutal way of defeating Goku. In that iteration, Goku Black also killed Goten and Chichi.
7. Killed by Hit
Hit was a very powerful opponent from the Dragon Ball Super series, and he definitely caused many problems for Goku and his allies, with Goku having to face him more than once in the series. During one of these fights, Hit was even able to kill Goku with one quick attack, but Goku was soon revived by a powerful ki blast that kickstarted his heart once again.
8. The transcendence of Dragon Ball GT
Whatever happened to Goku in Dragon Ball GT may not be canon, but it is one of the character’s most tranquil and well-deserved send-offs. Namely, he is seemingly killed right in front of our eyes but soon reappears while holding the universal Genki Dama, which implies that he actually transcended to another plain of existence and became a deity of sorts. Seeing how GT was supposed to be a final farewell to the series before it was continued, such an ending actually made a lot of sense.
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