By the end of Dragon Ball Z, Akira Toriyama had essentially turned the series into the Saiyan show. The Majin Buu arc’s five main characters were all Saiyans, and not a single other fighter save for the Saiyans fought Buu at any point. Come Dragon Ball Super and the emphasis on Saiyans has only increased with the entire Universe Survival arc heavily focusing on the potential of each individual Saiyan in the series. This is to say nothing of the new movie, Broly, which not only brings back the titular Saiyan, but also expands the Saiyan lore considerably.
At this point in time, there is simply no escaping Dragon Ball’s Saiyan heritage. This is a concept that will follow the series for the rest of its run and the sooner we accept that, the better. With that in mind, what better way to accept Saiyan dominance with a little bit of Saiyan history? One of the most unique races in the series, Saiyan biology and anatomy are both quite interesting. Toriyama is constantly revealing new information in interviews, and each nugget of knowledge serves to infer on the series as a whole. With Broly only a few months away, it’s the perfect time to brush up on your Saiyan knowledge.
25 Everything You Need To Know About S-Cells
The Universe Survival arc at the end of Dragon Ball Super sure did mention “tingly feelings” quite a bit, didn’t they? Specifically, to turn Super Saiyan, all you had to do was feel that tingly feeling and then internalize it. So long as you chased that tingly feeling, you could turn Super Saiyan without needing an emotional trigger.
As absurd as it is in the series, there is an actual explanation: S-Cells. S-Cells are, as expected, cells within any given Saiyan’s body. They are generated specifically via living a peaceful life, having a gentle spirit, and training one’s body. As a result, the Universe 6 Saiyans are actually at an advantage whereas the Universe 7 Saiyans basically made gaining S-Cells as difficult as possible.
24 Tailless Hybrids
It seems almost counterintuitive, but a lot of good can be done from muddying Saiyan genetics. Most notably, Tailless Hybrids wind up with the most potential in the entire series. While Dragon Ball absolutely refuses to allow Goten and Trunks to be anything but props at this point, they unquestionably have the most potential in the entire series.
The less Saiyan you are, the stronger you are.
This is a philosophy that can be seen as far back as the Cell saga, actually. Despite coming from a destroyed timeline with nobody to train with, Future Trunk still managed to reach SSJ Goku levels on his own. Come the Buu arc, it’s no wonder why Goten and Trunks can turn Super Saiyan with next to no trouble. They’re hybrids!
23 Zenkai Boosts
Zenkai Boosts are every Saiyan’s cheat code to getting stronger. Upon taking enough damage in battle, a Saiyan’s Battle Power will boost significantly depending on the quality of their beating and their healing. Even before S-Cells were introduced, the concept of Zenkais did make sense in universe.
Time and time again, we see Goku getting stronger after being defeated. The Freeza arc recontexualizes this idea by making it that EVERY Saiyan gets stronger after being defeated. It’s how Vegeta and Goku get so strong so fast over the course of the Freeza saga. For as great as Zenkais are, though, they don’t last forever.
22 Super Saiyan’s Diminishing Returns
As Zenkais are primarily used to become a Super Saiyan, it’s only natural that some diminishing returns come into play after a certain point. While Goku’s Zenkais only escalate, he’s virtually getting nothing after turning into a Super Saiyan. Not just that, training your Super Saiyan state is actually incredibly hard.
Super Saiyans can and will peak.
The only way to properly train your SSJ state is to master its stamina issues. Once becoming Super Saiyan, you’ve effectively capped yourself at a certain point. It’s why Future Gohan is so weak whereas present-day Gohan is so strong. The latter knew that Super Saiyan wasn’t the limit, the former believed his diminishing returns meant he was at his natural peak.
21 Saiyans Get Stronger As They Fight
In recent years, the series has tried pushing this idea that Saiyans get stronger as they fight independent of the notion of Zenkais. The Tournament of Power promos actually made a huge deal regarding this concept, heavily emphasizing the raw natural talent of the average Saiyan. In many ways, this is almost what the Tournament of Power is about.
In fact, Goku getting Ultra Instinct can be tied to this idea that Saiyans gets stronger as they fight. Throughout his battles with Jiren and Kefla, Goku is clearly getting stronger in a way he never has before. The new Broly film has even been using this idea in its marketing, specifically conveying how Broly keeps getting stronger while battling.
20 Tails Are A Crutch
No good can come from tails. Besides turning into a Oozaru that is. Even then, though, being an Oozaru only brings you to a natural state of power. Once their Battle Power has progressed far enough, Saiyans lose their tails altogether. This happens to Vegeta as soon as he gets his first Zenkai after fighting Goku.
Tails stink, get rid of them.
From there, he only gets stronger and with no need for an Oozaru form. On top of that, tails, if not trained, can be used to dominate a Saiyan entirely, as seen with Raditz. To push this idea even further, Universe 6 Saiyans evolved not to have tails, being strong enough to never need an Oozaru transformation.
19 Staying Sane As An Oozaru
As we only see three canon Oozarus over the course of the series, it can be difficult to determine what the natural Oozaru state is. On one hand, it can be inferred that the average Saiyan, like Goku, cannot stay sane while in their Oozaru form while only the Elite, like Vegeta, can.
At the same time, Goku did not have a Saiyan background. It is entirely possible, given that they are a militarized group and systematically use their Oozaru forms to take over planets, that every basic Saiyan can stay sane in their Oozaru form. Worth noting, the Bardock TV Special implies that most Saiyans have very limited sanity, just enough to not destroy one another.
18 The Saiyan Hierarchy Is Based Off Of Battle Power
Although the series goes rather light in regards to the specifics of the Saiyan hierarchy, we can deduce one key detail: Planet Vegeta is class based. Vegeta consistently refers to himself as an Elite while lambasting Goku for being lower class. Given Vegeta’s astronomical Power Level compared to Goku’s base, the Saiyan hierarchy is clearly power based.
Where's Planet Broly?
Vegeta doesn’t have a high Power Level because he’s the prince, he’s the prince because he has a high Power Level. This can be seen clearly in the planet’s name- Vegeta- named after his father. As the two strongest warriors, it’s only natural they lead this barbaric tribe. Of course, in doing so, they perhaps limit themselves immensely.
17 Peaceful Saiyans Are Stronger
When it comes down to it, peaceful Saiyans are just stronger since they’re able to breed more S-Cells. In a monarchy like the one found on Vegeta, where the lower class is actively deemed worthless by the Elite, there really isn’t much room for S-Cells to grow. Just look at the Universe 6 Saiyans for a clear example.
The Universe 6 Saiyans do not persecute their own. Their strongest fighters are all gentle by nature. In Planet Vegeta’s culture, peaceful Saiyans are exiled as was the case with Tarble during the once canon JSAT special. The culture on Planet Vegeta prevented Saiyans from reaching their true potential.
16 Pureblood Saiyans Aren’t That Impressive
Gohan, Trunks, and Goten all have significantly more potential than their fathers. This is a feat that ties right into the original series’ overarching theme of the next generation, where the younger characters would always use the example laid by the older ones to surpass their elders. When it comes to the Saiyans, however, it’s all genetic.
Goku and Vegeta are nothing compared to their sons.
Pureblood Saiyans just aren’t all that impressive, especially not the Universe 7 ones. Goku and Vegeta are the exception, not the rule. They’re the only two Saiyans in the series who we see train, and Vegeta never bothers training until the Cell saga. Otherwise, Vegeta would be unable to defeat anyone in Freeza’s army and Goku would have never beaten Jackie Chun.
15 Early Saiyans Would Never Be Able To Get Zenkais
Despite working directly for Freeza, it’s quite clear that early Saiyans were not given the tools they needed to active thrive. Specifically, it’s unlikely that any early Saiyan would have been able to get a proper Zenkai. Since they were always sent to dangerous planets, most Saiyans would get eliminated before ever getting the chance.
There’s also the fact that Vegeta never once felt challenged in his life, implying that not enough warriors even fought Saiyans to give them the chance to gain Zenkais. On top of that, not every Saiyan would have the luxury of using a healing pod. Freeza kept the Saiyans exactly where he wanted them.
14 The First Super Saiyan Exhausted Himself
The series’ backstory tells tale of the first Super Saiyan, a legendary warrior who tapped into raw, uncontrollable power to defeat his opponents. Interestingly, said backstory also reveals that the first Super Saiyan did not actually succeed in his goals. In fact, he ended up getting overtaken by his opponents.
What good is power if you don't know how to use it?
In triggering his Super Saiyan state, the first Super Saiyan exhausted himself to the point where he ran out of energy entirely. From there, he was thoroughly torn apart by his opponents, unable to transform into the state that saved his life. It’s actually a bit morbid when you think about. Could the same have happened to Goku on Namek if he were careless?
13 Saiyans Aren’t Naturally Barbaric
The introduction of Universe 6 is important not only because it expands Dragon Ball’s world, but because it also shows just how much Saiyans were influenced by Freeza. In meeting Cabba, it is made abundantly clear that Saiyans are not meant to be barbarians. They were only as violent as they were because of Freeza.
This is not to say that the Universe 6 Saiyans don’t love fighting, but that they fight for better reasons. They do not dominate planets and they have no interest in subduing races. In fact, they protect the peace with their power. In a world without Freeza, the Saiyans could truly thrive as a race.
12 Most Saiyans Know To Train Their Tail
Goku’s tail is introduced as his fatal flaw during the original Dragon Ball, completely freezing him up whenever pulled. Grandpa Gohan even uses it against him in the Red Ribbon Army arc, telling him to train his tail. Come the 22nd Budokai, and Goku’s mastered it, allowing him to trick Krillin when his rival tries to subdue him.
Leave it to Raditz to screw up this bad.
Here’s the thing: this isn’t that impressive. Even though Raditz didn’t train his tail, Nappa and Vegeta both did, implying that most Saiyans do actually figure out how to train their own tails. Raditz was simply lazy and proud, believing he’d never need to train his. The average Saiyan warriors figures our their weaknesses in an attempt to cover them up.
11 Overtraining Gets A Saiyan Nowhere
There’s a big difference between Vegeta and Goku: the former trains hard while the latter trains smart. Vegeta will push his body to its absolute limits, destroying him in the process, whereas Goku takes his time crafting his own abilities, making sure to rest inbetween training sessions. It’s this philosophy that ultimately allows Goku to surpass Vegeta for good.
In the Cell saga, Vegeta spends more than a year in the Room of Spirit and Time training as hard as he can, but he never even gets close to matching a Goku who only trained for nine months. The body needs rest and Goku understands that. Saiyans are not unique in this regard, and overworking oneself will naturally lead to stunting.
10 Saiyan DNA Is Best When Mixed
Saiyan DNA is great, but it’s even better when you mix it with some human DNA. Gohan, Trunks, and Goten are so far above their fathers in terms of power that it’s almost ridiculous. While S-Cells certainly play a role, this is mostly due to the fact that Saiyan DNA simply resonates well with human DNA.
Imagine an army of Gohans if you will.
In mixing DNA, a child gets the best of both worlds. They get the limitless potential of a human while also having the battle adaptability of a Saiyan. Nappa even comments how it wouldn’t be a bad idea to raise an army of Saiyan half breeds before Vegeta shoots the idea down in fear of being usurped by his offspring.
9 Even A Little Bit Of Saiyan DNA Can Turn You Super Saiyan
As seen in Dragon Ball Z’s last arc, the end of Dragon Ball GT, and even at the end of the Cell saga, it actually doesn’t take much Saiyan DNA to turn someone into a Super Saiyan. By the end of DBZ, Gohan, Trunks, and Goten have all become Super Saiyans despite being half Saiyan. GT likewise gives Super Saiyan forms to both Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr. despite being barely Saiyan.
At the end of the Cell Games, after Cell blows himself up, he comes back not only with a Zenkai, but the exact same aura Toriyama uses to draw Super Saiyan. Cell, having Saiyan DNA, manages to trigger some form of Super Saiyan despite not being an actual Saiyan. So long as you’ve got the cells, you’re good to go.
8 Super Saiyan 2 Is A Saiyan’s Natural Peak
Even though there are forms that surpass Super Saiyan 2, SSJ2 is clearly meant to be the natural peak for any given Saiyan. Natural in this sense means that Super Saiyan 2 should reflect the power they’re capable of attaining without straining their power or dipping into God Ki. This is best seen in the Cell arc.
Trilogies always end poorly.
The entire last third of the Cell saga is dedicated to the Saiyans all trying to surpass Super Saiyan in their own way. Only Gohan, who taps into SSJ2, is able to find a form so flawless that it trumps all other forms. Even in light of Super Saiyan 3, SSJ2 is a safer form to master as it has absolutely no drawbacks.
7 Super Saiyan 3 Takes The Transformation Too Far
Speaking of Super Saiyan 3, it is an extremely flawed form. It raises both power and speed to ludicrous degrees, but it falls flat for one key reason: stamina. Goku was only able to use the form as well as he did because he no longer had a mortal body. Upon regaining life, the form eats into Goku’s stamina like a truck.
Even though it seems as though Goku has more or less mastered Super Saiyan 3 by the time Battle of Gods rolls around, it’s just too unwieldy to realistically use in combat. Goku doesn’t even bother using it to test Jiren, skipping straight from Super Saiyan 2 to Super Saiyan God. SSJ3 takes the transformation too far, offering huge benefits with even huger drawbacks.
6 Saiyans Stay In Their Prime Until Their 80s
If there’s one race worth being in Dragon Ball, it’s the Saiyan race. Not only are Saiyans naturally inclined to fight well, they also stay in their prime for an extremely long time. Taking a look at Goku, it seems Saiyans enter their prime at 18 and stay in their prime all the way through their 80s.
Old age doesn't suit Goku.
While Goku has yet to hit 80, Vegeta has commented on the fact that Saiyans stay in tip top shape for decades. Once they hit those 80s, though, we can assume that biology catches up with them fast. In fact, Dragon Ball Online actually has Goku and Vegeta leave Earth to fight one last time once they get old enough, realizing they won’t be in their prime much longer.
5 A Saiyan’s Hair Always Grows Back To Its “Base” State
In the Cell saga, Vegeta makes an interesting statement in response to Bulma commenting on Trunks’ hair growing after training in the Room of Spirit and Time and Vegeta’s staying the same. Specifically, he says that a Saiyan’s hair never changes after birth which made fans believe that Saiyan hair doesn’t grow at all.
On the contrary, Vegeta never says that Saiyan hair doesn’t grow, just that it never changes. It’s quite clear, in hindsight, that Vegeta is referring to Saiyan hairstyles. Goku was born with his signature hair and it not once changed over the course of his life. Should he cut it, it’ll simply grow back to how it once was.
4 Saiyans Can Grow Facial Hair
Ever since Vegeta commented how a Saiyan’s hair never grows in the Cell saga, fans have debated whether or not they can actually grow facial hair. Obviously, they can, given that King Vegeta and Nappa both have facial hair, but it took until Super for most fans just to accept that Saiyans can grow facial hair and Vegeta’s comment wasn't’ a retcon.
There's something deeply unsettling about Goku with a beard.
After training in the Room of Spirit and Time for a few years, Goku and Vegeta come out with full beards, showing, in-canon, that Saiyans CAN grow facial hair. Of course, this was actually proven all the way back in GT. Even though it’s derided as non-canon, Toriyama did design Vegeta with a mustache himself.
3 All Saiyans Have Black Hair
Even though Vegeta is occasionally drawn with brown hair in the anime, and Vegetto occasionally has brown highlights, Toriyama’s vision for the Saiyans exclusively involves black hair. This is why, in the Tournament of Power, Goku, Vegeta, Kale, Caulifla, Cabba, and Kefla all have black hair.
The anime giving Vegeta brown hair is mainly to differentiate him from Goku with a hue of color. The same cannot be said for non-purebloods, however. While Gohan and Goten both have black hair, Trunks and Bra take after Bulma with either blue or purple hair depending on which version of the story you’re reading or watching.
2 Super Saiyan 4 Brings A Saiyan To His Roots
Despite the general dislike against Dragon Ball GT within the fandom, Super Saiyan 4 is still widely regarded as one of the best forms in the series. Not only does its unique design stand out from other transformations, it brings Goku back to his roots, mixing his original Oozaru transformation with Super Saiyan.
It's all about the basics when it comes to SSJ4.
Goku has to actually become an Oozaru before he can even access Super Saiyan 4, marking the form’s first appearance since the end of the Saiyan arc. When he finally does transform, Super Saiyan 4 has fur and greatly resembles Goku’s base form with black hair, moving away from Super Saiyan’s gold aura.
1 Saiyans Should Easily Be Able To Tap Into God Ki
Given that Saiyans are naturally kind hearted, should live in environments naturally designed to breed S-Cells, and have enough history that at least someone should know about the legendary Super Saiyan God, just about any Saiyan should be able to tape into God Ki. All the ritual requires is six Saiyans with pure hearts.
Pure, in this sense, doesn’t even necessarily mean good. All it means is that they need to have pure intentions in what they are pursuing in life. Said Saiyans don’t even need to be Super Saiyan as evidenced by an unborn Pan working as a fifth Saiyan. All Saiyans should realistically be able to gain God Ki with ease.