One of the things that have always been a constant in Dragon Ball is the immense potential that Gohan has as a fighter. As a peaceful person, he isn’t as obsessed with training as Goku and Vegeta are, but he was always one of the strongest characters in the series due to his potential. In that regard, he was the first to achieve Super Saiyan 2 and was, at one point, far stronger than anyone else. But what episode does Gohan go Super Saiyan 2?
Gohan achieved Super Saiyan 2 during episode 184 of the uncut version of Dragon Ball Z. This occurred during the Cell Games when Goku had him fight Cell all on his own so that he could release his potential. He achieved this form after witnessing Cell killing the peaceful Android 16.
The fact that Gohan was able to achieve Super Saiyan 2 before anyone else in the series is one of the testaments to his immense potential as a fighter. In that regard, he was the second Saiyan to achieve a completely new Super Saiyan transformation onscreen, as he used this form to overwhelm and defeat Cell. That said, let’s look at what we know about Gohan and Super Saiyan 2.
How Did Gohan Achieve Super Saiyan 2?
Ever since his introduction as an important character in Dragon Ball, Gohan was always one of the characters that possessed immense potential. This potential was always so vast that it constantly surprised powerful fighters whenever a child Gohan accidentally brought out his inner power. And it was his immense potential that always made people wonder what could have been having he not focused on his scholarly life and focused more on becoming stronger.
However, during the Cell Saga of Dragon Ball Z, Goku made sure to take charge of his son’s training because he realized that he needed all the help he could get against Cell, who had become powerful enough that no other fighter on the planet could match his strength. That was when Goku and Gohan trained in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber long enough for the two to increase power their power levels and for the hybrid Saiyan to learn how to use Super Saiyan at the age of nine—15 years younger than Goku was when he first unlocked that form.
Goku, Vegeta, and Future Trunks all unlocked powerful Super Saiyan forms that they thought could help them defeat Cell. Of course, Goku perfected the Super Saiyan form and was able to teach Gohan how to do the same, and that’s why they were all able to put up a good fight against Cell during the Cell Games. Nevertheless, they couldn’t defeat him, and that was when Goku made the decision to convince Gohan to fight Cell one-on-one.
The simple reason why Goku thought that Gohan had the best chance of defeating Cell was a simple fact that he knew that his son had a hidden potential that was yet to be scratched. It might have been true that Gohan was already a lot more powerful than any character in the series when they were nine or ten years old, but Goku still believed that his son had a lot more room to grow, as Gohan’s massive potential was always one of the key themes that Dragon Ball constantly tried to explore ever since Gohan was just a young toddler.
Gohan, during his full-powered Super Saiyan state, actually contended well enough with Perfect Cell, who wasn’t even trying to kill the boy because he believed that the hybrid Saiyan did indeed have a hidden power that was yet to be shown. Cell wanted Gohan to become stronger so that he could have an interesting fight, and that was why he was pacing himself in that battle and even made things interesting by having his Cell Jr. clones attack Goku and the rest of Gohan’s friends.
It was ultimately when Android 16 tried to sacrifice himself to defeat Cell, as he thought that he still had that self-destruct bomb that was supposedly powerful enough to defeat the bio-android. Nevertheless, Bulma had removed 16’s bomb, and that was what allowed Cell to destroy his body. All that was left was Android 16’s head.
Android 16 was always a peaceful android that loved life, and he was one of the few people that understood Gohan’s peaceful mindset as well. In fact, it was always Gohan’s lack of aggression that held his full potential back. That was when 16 convinced Mr. Satan to throw his head close enough to Gohan, as the android convinced the young Saiyan that it was okay for him to let go of his restraints if it meant protecting everyone he loved.
However, Cell saw what transpired. That was when he came over and crushed Android 16’s head with his feet, killing the peaceful android in the process. This enraged Gohan, who understood 16’s love for life, as the hybrid Saiyan was now convinced that he needed to let his anger and rage loose if it meant protecting everyone on the planet. That was when he began unleashing his power and transformed into Super Saiyan 2.
As such, Gohan was able to achieve Super Saiyan 2 by letting go of his personal reservations. What empowers a Saiyan is their rage and anger, and Gohan’s lack of aggression was what almost always held him back. But the fact that Android 16 told him that it was okay for him to fight was what ultimately made him understand how important it is for him to fight if it meant defending everyone he cared about. And 16’s death was the ultimate catalyst that forced his feelings of anger to the surface so that he could allow his inner power to take over and unlock a new Super Saiyan form.
This was the first time that the second level of Super Saiyan was achieved onscreen, as Gohan was the first to do so. It might be true that Vegeta, Trunks, and Goku were able to achieve several substages of the Super Saiyan transformation. But it was Gohan who was able to unlock the true second level of Super Saiyan, which is now often referred to as Super Saiyan 2. Gohan was only around nine or ten years old when he achieved this form.
What Episode Does Gohan Go Super Saiyan 2?
The entire episode that allowed us to see Cell Jr. attacking Goku and the rest of the other fighters occurred during Dragon Ball Z episode 184. It was also during that episode that Android 16 spoke to Gohan to convince him that it was okay for him to fight. The android was also killed near the end of episode 184 of Dragon Ball Z, as that was when Gohan began to transform into Super Saiyan 2.
Technically speaking, he began the transformation at the end of episode 184, but it was during the early part of episode 185 that Gohan was able to complete the transformation and show off how powerful he was. As such, Gohan achieved Super Saiyan 2 during the end of episode 184 and the early part of episode 185 of Dragon Ball Z. But, timeline-wise, that was not the first time Gohan achieved this form.
The reason why Goku knew that his son had another level that he could use to defeat Cell was the fact that he was the first to see that Gohan could reach Super Saiyan 2. Goku revealed in episode 187 that he and Gohan were training hard in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. During that time, Gohan achieved Super Saiyan 2 for a split second before he passed out due to exhaustion.
As such, Goku was confident enough to know that his son had a hidden power that Gohan could perhaps unveil in that fight against Cell. So, in terms of the timeline, Gohan achieved Super Saiyan 2 while he was training with Goku in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. But, in terms of the anime episodes, he went Super Saiyan 2 in episode 184 before he completed the transformation in episode 185.