The Dragon Ball series is arguably one of the most beloved franchises in fiction and since it’s pretty hard to keep track of how old Goku is, we’ve done the work for you. After all, fans do love knowing the minute details of their favorite anime characters such as their age, stats and special skills.
The DB or Dragon Ball universe needs no introduction. Even if you haven’t watched anime before, you may still have heard of the Dragon Ball franchise. It has a very simple plot that mainly consists of interesting, overpowered characters facing off against each other with whole planets at stake. It’s loved by a wide audience due to the fact that many 90s and 2000s kids grew up watching DB on TV.
DBZ or Dragon Ball Z, part of the Dragon Ball media franchise, is a direct sequel to the 1986 Dragon Ball anime series and it adapts the next 325 chapters of the manga created by Akira Toriyama. The studio licensed to animate the show is Toei Animation, the same company behind One Piece. On TV outside Japan, it ran on Cartoon Network in India, the US, the UK and Australia. It was featured on YTV in Canada and Network Ten in other parts of the world.
The DB series has raked in well over 30 billion dollars, making it one of the highest grossing media franchises in history. It has a wide reach, being broadcast in over 80 countries worldwide, apart from being available via on-demand anime streaming services.
Who Is Goku?
Goku’s character is inspired by Sun Wukong, the protagonist of the Chinese novel titled “Journey to the West”. He was initially not planned on having alien origins and it was only after the introduction of the fighters from other planets that Toriyama made him into a Saiyan.
Son Goku, along with the entire Dragon Ball franchise, evolved from a one-shot series called Dragon Boy. This manga dating back to 1983, was also written by Akira Toriyama.
Our central protagonist has a wide range of abilities. The key ones he uses frequently are shapeshifting, telepathy, flight and teleportation. One of the main techniques he performs in the series is the iconic Kamehameha.
Son Goku is a young boy when he first enters planet Earth after escaping from planet Vegeta just before it was destroyed. Bulma, a teenager on Earth looking for the dragon balls, discovers our protagonist as soon as he touches down on earth.
Over the course of the franchise, which includes multiple sequels and other standalone stories, Goku engages various foes and creatures. He defeats many of them on the way to gaining experience and power. Towards the end of his story, he becomes one of the strongest characters in Dragon Ball.
Goku’s character is voiced by Masako Nozawa. Interestingly, she has voiced Bardock, Gohan and Goten too. In the English dub of the franchise, our hero is voiced by multiple voice actors hired by different licensed distributors like Funimation and Toonami.
Tracking Goku’s age get murky when you factor in the amount of time skips and time-traveling arcs in the show. We’ll do our best to paint the clearest picture of Goku’s timeline for you though.
In Dragon Ball
Son Goku is first introduced in Dragon Ball. He is 11 when he meets Bulma. He is 12 when he competes in the 21st edition of the World Martial Arts Tournament (WMAT). We know that WMAT takes place every 3 years. In the series, he trains with Kami and Mister Popo to participate in the 23rd edition of the WMAT.
When he competes in the tournament after the rigorous training, using the info discussed above, he should be 18 years of age. He defeats King Piccolo in the tournament and marries Chi Chi in the end.
In Dragon Ball Z
After the events of the original Dragon Ball comes Dragon Ball Z. We are introduced to Gohan, Goku’s son. From the dialogue interaction between the characters, we establish that Gohan is five years old. This would make Goku a 23-year-old man. In the events of the Saiyan Saga, he sacrifices his life so that Raditz, the brother of King Piccolo, can be defeated.
The timeline gets a bit blurry since in Dragon Ball Z, Goku gets resurrected a year later. When he comes back to life, he should be 24 years old, chronologically anyway. But it is said in the series that his body remains the same as when he died a year ago. This means he would be 23 years old, going by the story’s context.
Following the events of the next major arc, a training phase commences which involves Goku, Vegeta, Gohan and the other characters. The chronological duration of this arc is said to be three years, which makes our hero 27 years old. Goku and Gohan enter the hyperbolic time chamber as part of their preparation for the Cell Games. In the hyperbolic chamber, time-space works differently as compared to that on Earth. They spend one year in the chamber training for the games.
Logically, Goku should be 28 when he comes out from the chamber. However, on Earth, a year has yet to pass. This puts him right back at 27, the same age he was when he first entered the chamber.
In the next arc, Goku dies in the fight against Cell. He gets resurrected 8 years later by King Kai when the Earth is threatened by a formidable foe. Chronologically, he should be 34. But since he died and time hadn’t passed for him, he still remains at 27.
After defeating Majin Buu, the series pulls a 10-year time skip to the epilogue of the anime. Factoring in all we’ve said, we can conclude two things — At the end of Dragon Ball Z, Goku’s chronological age is 44, but his physical body is only 37.
In Dragon Ball Super
The events of Dragon Ball Super take place in the 10-year time skip between the Buu saga and the epilogue of DBZ. The story of DB Super starts 4 years after Kid Buu’s defeat. At this particular point in the plot, when we meet Goku, he is chronologically 38, while his body is at the physical age of 31.
In Dragon Ball Super: Broly
DBS: Broly is a direct movie sequel to Dragon Ball Super. The movie, which was released back in 2018, was well received by fans and critics alike. It was directed by Tatsuya Nagamine, animated by Toei Animation, and made almost 125 million dollars worldwide. As such, it was a massive hit considering the budget was only about 8.5 million dollars.
Putting the budget aside, the animation used in the movie was very good. Toei Animation went all out in spending cash to hire the top animators in the industry. As most of the team who work on special productions like these were freelancers, they had a very diverse group of people who undertook the project – unlike the regulars who do Toei-esque animation for DB and One Piece.
The events of the movie take place five years after Majin Buu’s defeat, which is also one year after the start of Dragon Ball Super. This makes Goku’s physical age 31 and his chronological age comes to about 39.
Dragon Ball GT
Dragon Ball GT is non-canon. This means that this show does not align with any of the events or the timeline of the original series. Anything that happens in this series, like character deaths and progression, will not be counted as part of the original lore. This show was released prior to Dragon Ball Super. The events of the anime take place five years after the epilogue shown in DBZ.
Goku’s age at the beginning of the show is chronologically 49, but his physical body has only aged to 42. In the anime, Emperor Pilaf accidentally uses the Black Star Dragon Balls, leading to Goku reverting back to his 11-year-old self. So now he’s essentially a 49-year-old man in an 11-year-old body. The remainder of the show takes place in a two-year period. Hence, the show concludes at a time when he is in a 13-year-old body, while having chronologically aged 51 years.
In the epilogue of the show where events are taking place 100 years into the future, Goku merges with the eternal dragon and gets back his original form. Thus, after the epilogue, Goku is 151 years old. However, it seems as if he is in his physical prime and does not look like a person who’s over a century old.
In Super Dragon Ball Heroes
Super Dragon Ball Heroes or SDBH has been airing since 2018. Unlike most other anime though, the release schedule for it is a little bit uneven. In a span of 4 years, there have only been 39 episodes. The series is basically promotional material for the game Dragon Ball Heroes that was released back in 2018. It does not air on TV.
The storyline of Super Dragon Ball Heroes takes place after the events of Dragon Ball Super occur. Goku is 43 years of age at the start of SDBH. Since this show hasn’t ended and is still being aired, we cannot speculate on how old our protagonist will be when the series inevitably concludes.
The Dragon Ball franchise is massive and has many twists and turns which make the series appealing not just to the younger audience, but also to the generation who grew up watching the show. The proof of its ever-lasting popularity among older fans is the success of the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie that came out in 2018. Adults aged 21-35 were seen flocking to the theaters to watch the movie, which contributed to its immense box office success.
Some of us may want to get back to watching the series again after a decade or two of not seeing a single episode. After all the timeline-morphing events and time skips that the show goes through, it’s rather hard to keep track of what Goku’s chronological age is in the series. This guide should be helpful to fans who are curious about Goku’s age in every sequel that the show offers.