Next to Goku and Vegeta, Gohan is probably the third most important character in the greater Dragon Ball mythos. Gohan, the eldest son of Goku, was introduced at the start of Dragon Ball Z, and has since been a major character in the franchise. In many ways he was the true protagonist of Z up until the Fusion Arc of the Buu Saga. From the Saiyan Saga to the end of the Cell Games, it all seemed as if it was setting up Gohan to surpass his father and become the new protector of Earth. Most of Z followed Gohan’s progression from early adolescents and into early adulthood, having a clearer character arc than what Goku ever had.
However it didn’t appear as if audience took a liking to Gohan becoming the full time lead at the beginning of the Buu Saga, so Goku was brought back to reclaim his title as the main hero of the series. It is a shame really; Gohan probably has one of the more fulfilling character arcs. While Goku will always be the more famous and ostensibly the more popular character in the franchise, Gohan was actually able to do things that even Goku couldn’t do.
So that is why we are going over the 15 Things Gohan Can Do That Goku Can’t. Gohan accomplished a lot during Dragon Ball Z, and he deserves all the credit that fans do not seem to give him. He may never match same popularity as Goku or Vegeta, he did do things that neither were able to do.
15 A Signature Move
Gohan’s signature move as a child, the Masenko, was Gohan’s own energy wave attack that was different from the standard Kamehameha. The attack is done when Gohan places both of his hands above his head, with both his palms facing his opponent. One of his hands is in front of the other, with the fingers going in opposite direction. He then thrusts his hands forward, and a beam of yellow energy is shot from his front palm.
It is never shown how Gohan learns the move. He presumably learned it from Piccolo during his time training for Nappa’s and Vegeta’s arrival on Earth. The Masenko doesn’t appear to be any different from the other energy beams like the Kamehameha or Galick Gun. With that said, it was Gohan’s signature move. It was a technique that Goku never bothered learning. When Gohan went into the Hyperbolic Time Chamber to train with his father for a year, he stops using the Masenko as his main move, and started to primarily use the Kamehameha.
14 Befriending One Of His Dad's Worst Villains
A lot of the cast in Dragon Ball are redemptive villains; however, if you really think about it, Goku is never really the one that redeems them. While he is oftentimes a catalyst for change in several of the main villains in the franchise, it is actually the other characters that help redeem the villains. Vegeta was humanized by his relationship with Trunks and Bulma. Tien saw the error of his ways mostly because of Master Roshi. Android 18 found redemption in her relationship with Krillin. Majin Buu became a good guy because of his bond with Mr. S.
Gohan’s relationship with Piccolo is one of the more important dynamics in the entire franchise. It is their bond that allowed Piccolo to become the hero he would be recognized as during Z, and it gave Gohan a father figure that was not, well, Goku. Even after Gohan and Goku train together at the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Gohan would remain wearing the same purple gi that Piccolo wears; he would wear that same kind of gi up until towards the end of the Buu Saga. Gohan was able to turn one of Goku’s greatest enemies into one of Earth’s greatest ally, and that is something Goku never really did.
13 A Familial Fight
The Legendary Super Saiyan Broly is one of the franchise’s most iconic villains. It is an impressive feat, especially considering he has never been a part of any canon material. All of his acts of villainy have been strictly been stuck within the realm of the non-canon, which includes movies and specials. His bulky design and intimidating appearance have led to him being often treated as one the series' best big bads. Goku gave the impression he was able to finish off Broly for good in Dragon Ball Z movie eight, Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan.
However that proved to be false. As it turned out in movie ten, Broly Second Coming, he survived and crashed landed on Earth. Goku was dead during that time, so it was up to Gohan to finish Broly off. With the help of his younger brother Goten, the brothers were able to combine their Kamehamehas to finish off the Saiyan menace for good this time. The spirit of Goku was with his sons though, adding in his own Kamehameha to create an epic family Kamehameha to defeat Broly. Since Goku wasn’t there in the flesh, and for all we know his contribution at the end of the movie may have been more metaphorical rather than literal, let us just say Broly’s defeat was more of a win for Gohan and Goten.
12 The One True King
The Z Sword is a mythical sword from the Planet of the Kais. Like the sword in the stone myth from Arthurian legends, the Z Sword has been stuck on top of a cliff for centuries, maybe even for thousands of years. When the Supreme Kai decided to bring Gohan to the Planet of the Kais, he wanted the young Saiyan half-breed to pull out the Z Sword. Kibito, Supreme Kai’s assistant, doubted that Gohan had the strength to be able to pull out the sword.
Despite that, Gohan was able to pull out the Z Sword by going Super Saiyan. It is definitely one of Gohan’s most impressive feats, especially considering how long the Z Sword was stuck. Though Goku never had the chance to pull the Z Sword, it doesn’t matter. First come, first serve. Gohan was able to pull out the sword, and Goku didn’t; point goes to Gohan.
11 A Superhero Disguise
A majority of the heroes in Dragon Ball are shown facing off against threats that would destroy the Earth. However, they are rarely shown stopping smaller crimes like robbery. So when Gohan decided he needed to help the little people, he chose to do it with a disguise. He knew if he didn’t have a disguise he wouldn’t be able to have a normal life and go to school, so he created the Great Saiyaman persona.
Goku is not above helping the small folk; he is a man who stayed with a newly hatched dinosaur until their mother returned. It's just Goku didn’t help people while doing other stuff like Gohan. Not only did Gohan invent a totally awesome new superhero identity (with Bulma’s help), he always seems to have a speech in hand about justice. All the Z Warriors in Dragon Ball are pretty much superheroes; Gohan, however, was the only character who truly embodies the nature of what it means to be a superhero. He took the superhero approach and raised it to eleven, and we all love him for that.
10 Singlehandedly Fighting Them Off
Every time a traveller from the future comes to the present, it's never good news. When Future Trunks comes from the future to warn them about killer Androids, the news turns from bad to worse when he also reveals that every warrior on Earth was killed by the Androids. Gohan was the only survivor, and was essentially the Earth’s only protector for years. How long was Gohan facing against the Androids all by himself? Well, Trunks was about fourteen when he was finally killed, so Gohan faced the Androids solo for FOURTEEN YEARS!
While the Gohan in Trunks’ future isn’t the same as our Gohan, they were apparently the same person up until the Android Saga. If Trunks didn’t come to the past to warn the Z Warriors, our Gohan would have probably went the same path as Future Gohan. It is never known if Goku would have fared better against the Androids than Gohan. Goku died of a heart virus in Trunks’ timeline right before the Androids showed up. Still, Future Gohan’s dedication in his losing fight against the Androids is not only noble, but also tragic. It is a nuance story that is often missing in Dragon Ball; you rarely see this kind of depth within Goku.
9 Cell Isn't As Unbeatable As You Think
Beating Cell at the end of the Cell’s Game arc is without a question Gohan’s biggest achievement in the entire Dragon Ball mega-franchise. His potential was finally realized at the climax of the Cell’s Game arc when Cell threatens all his friends and kills Android 16. Gohan unlocking Super Saiyan 2 was a long time coming, first foreshadowed when he burst open Raditz’s space pod at the beginning of Z. It was an epic payoff in a very satisfying arc, and it finally showcased why Gohan deserved to be the true hero of the franchise.
Gohan’s win against Cell at the end not only serves to bring Gohan’s character arc full circle, it also allows Goku to pass the torch of Earth’s protector to his son. Goku couldn’t beat Cell, yet he knew Gohan would. He had faith that his son would be able to finish off the big bad, and when Goku had to make the ultimate sacrifice for the Earth, Gohan was left as the world’s main savior. Gohan’s ascension to Super Saiyan 2, and his heart-pounding win against Cell was where the character peaked, and he arguably never had that same level of accomplishment ever again.
8 Bye, Bye, Bojack
If defeating Cell was Gohan’s peak, then vanquishing Bojack is a close second in terms of Gohan’s biggest accomplishment. The main antagonist of Dragon Ball Z movie nine, titled Bojack Unbound, Bojack was an intergalactic pirate who sought after universal domination. He goes to Earth to kill the planet’s strongest warriors. The movie takes place after the Android saga, which meant that Goku was dead and chillaxing in the afterlife with King Kai. So it was up to Gohan and the remaining Z Warriors to face off against Bojack and his crew.
When all hope seemed lost in the film’s climax, Goku’s spirit teleports to Gohan to remind him that he is the Earth’s savior now. Inspired by his ghost Dad’s help, he turns into Super Saiyan 2 and annihilates Bojack and his remaining crew. It's a pretty awesome moment for Gohan, and it gave fans one last really cool moment with Super Saiyan 2 before it becomes overshadowed by stronger Saiyan forms in future installments. Bojack Unbound further established Gohan as the new protagonist and asserts that Gohan has surpassed his father.
7 Like Taking Candy From A Baby
Cell Juniors are offspring created by Cell in order to push Gohan to unleash his full potential during the Cell Games. Despite their small stature, Cell Juniors were very powerful. They attacked every Z Warrior except Gohan and were able to easily overwhelm all of them. Only Vegeta and Trunks were able to properly push back against the mini-Cells; even Goku couldn’t beat the Cell Juniors.
To be fair for Goku, he hadn’t recovered from his earlier battle with Cell. He was in a weakened state which is how a single Cell Jr. was able to overpower him. Fortunately for him, and the other Z Warriors, Gohan eventually got angry enough and transformed into Super Saiyan 2. He then very easily destroyed all the Cell Juniors and saved everyone. It is doubtful that Goku would have been able to defeat EVERY SINGLE CELL JR. like Gohan did.
6 How Do You Get Rid Of Garlic?
Garlic Jr. is the first Dragon Ball Z movie villain, first appearing in the Dead Zone. Dead Zone serves as a prelude to Z, during the time when Gohan was still a very little kid. Garlic Jr. gathered the Dragon Balls and wished for immortality, essentially making him indestructible. Though Goku and Piccolo were able to overwhelm him with their combined strength, since he cannot die, he decided to open the Dead Zone to suck the two of them in. Gohan, who was earlier kidnapped by Garlic’s men, went into rage mode and was able push Garlic Jr. into the Dead Zone, trapping him for eternity…
Until the anime realized they ran out of material from the manga, and create a pointless filler arc with Garlic Jr. as the main villain. Garlic Jr. escaped from the Dead Zone, and infested the world with the Water Mist, turning everyone evil. With Goku off planet, it was up to Gohan, Piccolo and Krillin to face against Garlic Jr. Evidently Garlic didn’t learn his lesson from last time, and was pushed back into the Dead Zone by Gohan again after he summoned it once more. Garlic Jr. is one of the few villains that Goku has clearly never beaten, and Gohan was not only able to beat him once, but twice.
5 So Much Potential To Be Unlocked
When the Z Sword broke while Gohan was training on the Planet of the Kais, Elder Kai was released from within the blade. An ancestor of the Supreme Kai, Elder Kai is a gross old man. Despite this, he was able to unlock Gohan’s full potential. While it took around a full day of Gohan just sitting down and doing nothing, the results speak for themselves. With his potential unlocked by Elder Kai, Gohan was able to surpass Buu and be the Earth’s strongest warrior.
Goku has yet to go through the ritual to unlock his potential, even though it would most likely make him stronger. It isn’t as if the opportunity isn't there, as Goku is constantly hanging out with the Kais.
4 No Need To Rely On Fusions
After having his potential fully unlocked by Elder Kai, Gohan was able to return to Earth and face Super Buu by himself. It has been proven that Super Buu is an absolute monster, having singlehandedly wiped the entire human population on Earth. He is completely unmatched by any other warrior... that is, until Gohan arrives in his Ultimate Form and completely dominates the malicious foe. It isn’t as enthralling as Gohan’s fights with Cell or Bojack but is definitely one of his most awesome moments yet.
It is unfortunate that Super Buu had to cheat and absorbs Gotenks and Piccolo to gain a power boost. He then easily defeats Gohan, forcing Elder Kai to bring Goku back to life to help his son. Unfortunately, Goku was still no match for Buu–he had to fuse with Vegeta to become Vegito in order for them to crush the pink threat. The fact that Gohan was able to almost singlehandedly defeat an enemy that even Goku or Vegeta couldn’t defeat highlights how strong Gohan really is. He has potential to be better than either Goku or Vegeta.
Goku was raised by his adopted grandfather and was raised in a small cabin in the middle of the woods. He didn’t get a proper education, and it has been proven time and time again that he is a colossal idiot. If it doesn’t involve fighting or food, Goku knows next to nothing about it. He didn’t even know what marriage was until he was a young adult and was about to get married himself.
This is a stark contrast from Gohan, who was forced to study nonstop by his mother. He grew up with a great education and even wanted to be a scholar. He was homeschooled until high school, which is when he started attending public school. He would eventually graduate, something that Goku would doubtfully have been able to accomplish.
2 Hey You, Get A Job!
Goku is always saving the Earth from one catastrophe after another. He has earned a place to live on Earth. Nonetheless, it doesn’t excuse him from not having a full-time job. With a wife and young son to feed, his lack of motivation to get a stable job to support them is very discerning. He is sort of a farmer in Dragon Ball Super, however he constantly neglects his responsibilities in order to train some more.
Gohan is the opposite–he has found work once he got married and had his first child. To be fair, his job is kind vague; he does some conferences and had an interview with a Professor to be his assistant. It is also suggested that he may be continuing his studies. One job we do know Gohan had is that he was a stunt double for the Great Saiyaman movie. While he wasn’t cast as the lead, he still did all the impossible stunts that the actor couldn’t do.
1 Any Man Can Be A Father, But It Takes Someone Special To Be A Dad
Goku is the gold standard of what hard work and training can accomplish. Kids all over were inspired by Goku’s determination to be stronger, which has lead people in real life to adopt a similar approach to training and becoming tougher. With all that said, Goku is a pretty terrible father and husband. He may never have any bad intentions, but his constant neglect towards his family isn’t very heroic. He was absent in a lot of Gohan and Goten’s life. He often ignores Chi Chi and has never properly looked for a real job. It’s even been proven in Super he never kissed his wife; what kind of married man with two kids never kissed his wife?
Gohan, on the other hand, is a responsible adult. Not only does he find work, he is always thinking about his wife and child. He loves his family so much that he is one of the few Z Warriors who doesn’t train because he likes to fight. He trains because he wants to protect his wife and daughter, and there is hardly anything nobler than that. Goku obviously loves his family, but will never win any Dad of the year rewards. Gohan is the better parent and spouse.