Son Goku's Personality

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Son Goku's Personality

Post by Piccolo Daimao » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:57 pm

As many fans may have noticed, Son Goku's personality changes drastically as he gets older.

At first, Son Goku is a childish, naive young boy with little understanding of the outside, modern world. At 12 years old, he has astounding strength for his age, yet at the same time not being very intelligent concerning things other than martial arts. He is constantly fueled by the aim of training to become stronger, exceeding his limits.

Three years later, when Goku is 15/16 years old, he enters the 22nd Tenka'ichi Budokai. As Kuririn or someone else mentioned, he has significantly grown taller, but seems to maintain the naive personality he had 3 years ago. However, I think that with the Piccolo Daimao Saga, Goku became more serious, along with Dragon Ball's story taking a darker tone.

By the time of the 23rd Tenka'ichi Budokai, Son Goku had grown into a young adult and had reached a new level of power. This is where I think Goku's personality takes a shift.

When Goku was a child, he killed enemies without remorse or hesitation to do. But after the 23rd Tenka'ichi Budokai, he seemed to reject killing his opponents and show them mercy, either for the urge to fight them again (like Piccolo or Vegeta), or just out of the good of his heart. Why did Goku's personality change so much? Why did he turn from a relentless killing boy to a soft, merciful young man?
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Post by WhatTheDarn » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:07 pm

I think the usual theory is that his 3 years with Kami taught him the value of human (or animal or alien) life.

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Post by Piccolo Daimao » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:20 pm

WhatTheDarn wrote:I think the usual theory is that his 3 years with Kami taught him the value of human (or animal or alien) life.
That's a good theory. Also, him maturing as he grew into a young adult would be part of that too. Learning not to just rip free and kill enemies, no matter how evil they are. I think it was good how Toriyama did this though. I would've preferred a merciful adult Goku over a Goku who killed and didn't give a crap. I think that personality was beter suited for a young Goku. I think he matured in the 3 years before the 22nd Tenka'ichi Budokai though.
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Post by Herms » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:52 pm

I always personally liked to think that having his friend and mentor killed by Daimao and his demons changed his attitudes towards killing.
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Post by smiley » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:50 pm

When did Goku kill anyone other than Piccolo Daimao's demons? I know he was destroying those aircrafts in the RRA capital, but if he was really killing the soldiers, wouldn't he not be able to ride the Kinto'un?

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Post by B » Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:51 pm

smiley wrote:When did Goku kill anyone other than Piccolo Daimao's demons? I know he was destroying those aircrafts in the RRA capital, but if he was really killing the soldiers, wouldn't he not be able to ride the Kinto'un?
Who says those soldiers weren't evil? They were working for Red Ribbon. I don't really see the difference in killing a human or a demon, or how the Kinto'un would judge them differently.
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Post by Kunzait_83 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:07 pm

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Post by Victator Supreme » Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:57 am

I would not say he killed Tao casually. (edit: Misread what you wrote.) They were in a life and death battle. Tao tossed a grenade at him. He kicked it back at him. He was going to let Tao live when Tao started pleading for mercy. With the Red Ribbon soilders he simply attacked the ones who were attacking them. He was not really in a position to hold back. Everytime he held back against the RRA it lead to trouble. Also I'm not sure he really had a true grasp of his own strength.

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Post by jda95 » Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:56 am

Goku never killed with malice, or even intent to kill, really. He later realized the value of giving his enemies a second chance.

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Post by Tenshinhan-san » Thu Jun 04, 2009 4:01 am

I agree, though I DO think Goku intended to kill Tambourine (and Piccolo Daimaoh).

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Post by jda95 » Thu Jun 04, 2009 4:14 am

Tenshinhan-san wrote:I agree, though I DO think Goku intended to kill Tambourine (and Piccolo Daimaoh).
Oh yeah, Tambourine definitely, but he was in an enormous rage at the time, and his heart was still pure. But I don't think he intended to kill Piccolo.

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Post by The Tori-bot » Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:20 pm

jda95 wrote:
Tenshinhan-san wrote:I agree, though I DO think Goku intended to kill Tambourine (and Piccolo Daimaoh).
Oh yeah, Tambourine definitely, but he was in an enormous rage at the time, and his heart was still pure. But I don't think he intended to kill Piccolo.
I don't think punching a gaping hole through all of Piccolo's vital organs qualifies as "unintended kill"... but hey, that's just me. ;)

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Post by Piccolo Daimao » Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:18 am

Kunzait_83 wrote:
smiley wrote:When did Goku kill anyone other than Piccolo Daimao's demons? I know he was destroying those aircrafts in the RRA capital, but if he was really killing the soldiers, wouldn't he not be able to ride the Kinto'un?
The aircraft he destroyed were all definitely piloted, and the pilots inside were definitely immolated in the blasts (at least in the anime). So those are definite confirmed kills. He also killed Murasaki (intentionally in the manga, unintentionally in the anime).

I'm also pretty sure (but don't quote me on this) that at least a few of the soldiers that he took down hand to hand were confirmed dead by others (again at least in the Japanese version of the anime, but again don't quote me on that, as I haven't looked at the RR arc in a good year or so).

And considering the physical state of the vast majority of the others (completely unmoving, unbreathing, blank eyes), it's pretty safe to assume they're not in a state where they're gonna be getting back up, ever (and in the Japanese version, there's not a single "breathing noise" to be heard from just about any of them). Either way, the body count he racks up in the Red Ribbon arc in general is nothing to sneeze at. Plus, it’s made a bit more explicit in the anime that he killed that bear bandit in the Pilaf arc.

Also there's the fact that Goku was under the impression that he'd killed Tao Pai Pai, and wasn't the least bit phased about it (at least until he later found out the consequences of his actions, i.e. pissing off Tsuru Senin and Tenshinhan).

As far as the Kinto'un goes, one could chalk it up to either a plot hole, or just the simple fact that it's not counted against him killing a group of cold blooded killers out of both self defense as well as in the name of innocent victims of theirs, as well as the simple fact that Goku in all likelihood simply did not grasp the morality behind taking a life at that juncture of his life (I think it's fair to say the the Kinto'un wouldn't count it against somebody doing something that they honestly weren't in a position to fully comprehend the morality behind).

Which brings me to the larger topic at hand; I think it makes perfect sense that Goku begins the story with no feelings one way or the other towards killing and has to basically learn the morality behind such actions for himself. He's a Saiya-jin first of all, so when taking that into consideration all the natural urges that come with that bloodline will factor into it. Secondly, he grew up essentially out in the wild as a feral mountain boy, with absolutely NO contact with any form of civilization ever. Kill or be killed, law of the jungle, and all that jazz would obviously be a large part of his mentality throughout his early life.

Grandpa Gohan may or may not have touched on killing people generally being a bad thing in the brief time he had with Goku, but for someone with that kind of upbringing (being from a naturally bloodthirsty race, living out in the wild all one's life completely away from any trace of society, etc.), it makes a lot of sense for Goku to not really understand or grasp the full ramifications of killing another person and the true value of human (alien, animal, etc.) life until going out into the world and learning all these things via firsthand experience, regardless of what Gohan might've taught him.

I think a combination of experiencing negative consequences from his casually taking a life (or at least believing he did) via the Tao Pai Pai incident, Kuririn and Muten Roshi’s death at the hands of Daimao and his demons, as well as his time spent with Kami and Popo would all contribute towards his forging his own personal sense of morality on killing, as we see by the time he grows up at the start of the Ma Junior arc, and throughout the rest of the series in the “Z” era.
I agree with this completely. Also, I think the Kinto'un takes into account the general purity of a person, so it's not a plot-hole in my opinion. Like you said, Goku didn't really understand the full ramifications of taking another person's life. And all the people he killed were bad guys. In a life or death situation, the only thing to do is attack.

@ jda95 - I do think he did intended to kill Piccolo Daimao. Like I've mentioned before, it was a life-or-death situation, and Piccolo was about to kill him. He had to kill Piccolo.
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Post by Cold Skin » Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:03 pm

Very good remarks and analysis by everyone!

I just wanted to add that I always felt Goku's personnality made a leap towards what it is when he's an adult for the 22nd Tenka Ichi Budokai, the one involving Ten Shin Han.

After his years training in wilderness, he starts to have that calm and classy feel he can have sometimes, instead of being all jumpy and all. Compare his first Tenka Ichi Budokai, and then moments like when he faces Krilin on that one, put his hand forward and say "stop, it won't work on me" and when Krilin shoots he doesn't move and then calmly says "see? Useless". That's the kind of thing adult Goku later does, calmly stating when the enemy can't win.

Just to point out that at this point it already foreshadows what adult Goku will be like.
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Post by RoarkVegeta » Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:09 pm

Tenshinhan-san wrote:I agree, though I DO think Goku intended to kill Tambourine (and Piccolo Daimaoh).
Yeah. Goku was pissed and wanted him dead.

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