Goku Went Through A LOT of Character Development in the Cell Arc.

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Goku Went Through A LOT of Character Development in the Cell Arc.

Post by TheUltimateVegito » Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:15 am

There's so much to unpack about Goku's character in the Android arc that it amazes me and a shame that no one does:

During the Android arc, Goku learned a single scientist from the RRA army Dr. Gero survived his one man assault on them and created super powered Androids to kill him. When Bulma brought up the idea of stopping the Androids before they're activated, they each gave their reasons for letting them activate. Goku expressed his desire to fight the Androids only after Bulma asked if he agrees with her. This was an important scene that further impacted his decision at the end of the arc, because Goku would allow the Z-Fighters to stop the threat from arriving due to his love for the planet but would not have any hand in doing so because of his pure desire to fight. This showed Goku that even his mere presence can instigate a battle against enemies, despite how passive he tries to be.

He lost to Android #19 because he didn't take the medicine for his heart virus, thinking the timeline changed enough that he didn't need to take it. This was a big mistake that, as well as the Androids existence, made him begin to contemplate his place on earth. From the moment Goku woke up from the heart virus, was the moment he started to think more about the future and calculated whether or not Gohan can go Super Saiyan during their time in the ROSAT. Meaning he decided to focus more on unleashing Gohan's potential so that if he can't do it, Gohan can.

The scene when Goku looked out the window IN THE MANGA was a powerful scene, it showed that he was contemplating a multitude of things about his life up to this point and how deeply concerned he was about them, giving even more depth to his character. Things such as Gohan's potential, his Saiyan nature, the Z-Fighter's leniency and his main reason for his decision at the end of the arc (Which I'll go more in-depth on further down the analysis). Goku also decided to find a way to push past the Super Saiyan barrier after realising that it's the only way to defeat the Androids, despite not being sure if it exists. The fact that powerful Androids on earth were able to surpass Super Saiyan made Goku relieved, as well as worried. Relieved that the Suepr Saiyan really isn't all powerful, meaning there's a chance to break the Super Saiyan wall, but still worried because of the Android threat itself. Hence his response to Krillin asking if he's scared or excited with "Both."


During the Cell Games, Goku gave up against Cell and called out Gohan to take his place. The Cell Games utilized the way Goku's character was built throughout his adventures and turned it on his head. Although Goku was right about Gohan's power he didn't took into account their differing mindsets, a critical error that almost cost him his son's and the planet's life. Gohan's reluctance to fight prevented him from bringing out his potential against Cell, who a reflection of Goku himself, a reflection of Goku's Saiyan nature. Goku's dislike for unfairness in fighting was turned on his head with Piccolo stating that he values a fair fight more than the life of his son Gohan, since Goku gave Cell a senzu bean and watch without showing any concern as his son was getting beaten to death. It showed Goku how bad of a father he was being for misunderstanding the nature of his son, a nature that Piccolo was able to understand better because Gohan had more on his mind than anger, which Goku didn't take into account. Goku was frozen when Piccolo had a go at him for this and not informing Gohan of the situation beforehand because of how certain he was that Gohan would beat Cell and how he thought he was doing the best he can for him psychologically by not telling him. Further emphasizing how much a mistake can ruin everything for Goku.

This was a fantastic showcase of how although Goku is pure of heart, he evolved from a warrior race that didn't evolve to feel compassion but to care more for the fighting aspect of things which drastically altered his way of viewing situations such as these. He thought since Gohan would know that he needed to use his anger then he wouldn't allow any form of human nature to cloud him from doing what he has to do. But then Piccolo, who is from a more compassionate race (Remember that he's a normal Namek now that he merged with Kami), made Goku realize that his son's human nature indeed clouded him. It's why Goku wasn't as compassionate as expected for someone pure of heart, despite comprehending human morals. Because the Saiyans aren't bred for that compassion and his purity mainly derives from his nature as a Saiyan. This furthers the idea of how earth isn't made for Goku.

When Gohan unleashed his potential and was toying around with Cell, Goku was yelling out Gohan to take him out, showing how he's grown more cautious due to his past experiences. But Gohan didn't which led to Cell threatening to self destruct and blow up the earth. Goku then looked at his friends and smiled, knowing that he has great friends who'll protect the earth he loves for years to come and who'll be more united because of his passing. From that moment he made up his mind about his place on earth, that he wasn't meant to live there, and so gave up his life for the sake of the planet by using instant transmission to take himself and the danger he brought away from the planet.

After Cell came back Goku gave Gohan, who giving up his will to fight because of feeling responsible for Goku's death, words of encouragement to revive his fighting spirit, which Gohan takes to heart and gets back in the fight. This, as well as the mistakes Goku himself made, showed Goku what truly makes Gohan a better protector/person than himself, that was foreshadowed during the Saiyan arc, which Goku himself admitted when he announced his decision to stay dead at the of the arc. Gohan was more reliable than Goku because, unlike Goku, He won't spare villains or give them time to be at their fullest for the sake of having a challenge. Also, Gohan did learn from toying around with Cell to never give evils such as Cell the chance to cause a major disaster, something Goku cannot do due to his pure Saiyan desires. In short, Gohan not being a fighter at heart was made him a better protector than Goku, who was a fighter at heart.

Goku thinking the earth is safter without him, which was the perfect culmination of Goku's adventures up to that point, and passing down the torch to his son who developed into a better protector both physically and mentally than Goku can ever be (Or as it seemed at the time), showed how wise Goku has become. His main reason for staying dead was because how much bad guy's he attracted that put danger to others. From Tao Pai Pai in the RRA arc, Tienshinhan/Shen, Piccolo, Saiyans, Frieza and finally to the Androids with the majority of them being global threats progressing to the Android and by Android saga there was a whole universe of possibilities due to the Saiyans and Frieza. The Androids were key and had the biggest impact on Goku because they were created solely to kill Goku (And did in alternate timelines), they couldn't be sensed, came from a secret lab on earth and spied on Goku for years. Goku's decision also satisfied his love for fighting, as the otherworld is full of powerful opponents who should be around Goku's strength. Although Goku won't see his friends and families grow and live out their lives, and will never return to the planet he loves, he was able to come up with an equilibrium between his desire to fight and his desire to protect the earth which showed a great deal of wisdom.

Another big contribution to Goku's decision to stay dead was the Z-Fighter's leniency, with Vegeta being the biggest contribution. Goku knew that Vegeta's pride was wrapped up in beating him and that staying dead would leave Vegeta as an empty shell of a man. Goku knew it was necessary so he would grow into a stronger ally and family man instead of leading a path that would end in his death and hell. Goku believed that as long as Vegeta's pride remains, he'll always be evil and Goku at that point was the source of his pride. Not only was Vegeta an example of someone Goku prevented from doing evil by staying dead, but he also served as a symbol. If someone like Vegeta can change because of Goku's death, then it's highly likely that someone else out there in the Universe i.e in Frieza's army can change. One person can make all the difference as Dr. Gero showcased. His pure Saiyan nature also held him back from telling his friends to stop him from allowing threats to pass, which was shown to deeply affect him when he began to contemplate on his life. You could say he was trapped by his nature until he found his equilibrium.

The main theme of Dragon Ball which is "There's always someone stronger" relates to Goku's decision to stay dead, because he believes that he could potentially attract a stronger villain. This is genius writing that turns what defines Goku's character on its head.

This character growth even made its way to the Buu Arc:

During the Buu arc, Goku aided the Z-Fighters in stopping Buu from resurrecting further showing how determined he has become to prevent disasters from happened due to the events of the Android arc. He also opt to train Goten and Trunks to learn the fusion technique to prepare them for Buu and to further prepare future generations for future threats. It showed that Goku grew more concerned about the future of earth after the events of the Android arc, he know that he could either destroy Buu or teach Goten and Trunks fusion that and choose the later because of his growth.




I could go on, but as you can see there is a lot to Goku's character in the Android arc. More so than people see. It's sad that nobody, let alone enough people, know that Goku became very deep and complex Goku in the Android arc. Instead I see people say that Goku is basic which is sad to see.
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Re: Goku Went Through A LOT of Character Development in the Cell Arc.

Post by Vijay » Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:09 am

One word: Respect

Just loved the way how you've managed to describe even minute nuances from Goku (such as looking outside the window in the Manga, or looking at his friends thinking they might take care of Earth even after his passing)....

It's even more heart-breaking to think how many years (20 years?) it has took us to realize the wonderful development Goku's had in Android/Cell Arc...and basically his overall character. Despite being a featherweight character, Goku has multiple layers to him which makes him both endearing, enigmatic as well as iconic😊

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Re: Goku Went Through A LOT of Character Development in the Cell Arc.

Post by Tai Lung » Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:08 pm

I agree on almost everything in fact except in the last part

all very well with that gohan is better protector and more human than goku especially he understood this.
but that "Goku attracts the villains" is not the best way to convey the message besides it makes me understand that goku did not planing to change his way to act face the problems
I also feel that he made the same mistake by trusting goten and trunks without knowing both kids as he did with gohan in his time
but usually I mostly agree

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Re: Goku Went Through A LOT of Character Development in the Cell Arc.

Post by TheUltimateVegito » Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:07 pm

Tai Lung wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:08 pm
I agree on almost everything in fact except in the last part

all very well with that gohan is better protector and more human than goku especially he understood this.
but that "Goku attracts the villains" is not the best way to convey the message besides it makes me understand that goku did not planing to change his way to act face the problems
I also feel that he made the same mistake by trusting goten and trunks without knowing both kids as he did with gohan in his time
but usually I mostly agree
Doesn't "Goku attracts villains" mean that he can't stop himself from doing the things that attract baddies? Like how they let Dr. Gero create the Androids or sparing a villain who is a threat just to fight him again? Plus there could be another Frieza or Gero who came to earth or became legit threats because of Goku.

Even though Gohan is a kid, he's still a better protector. He must have felt that way about Goten and Trunks hence why he left earth protection to them.
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Re: Goku Went Through A LOT of Character Development in the Cell Arc.

Post by ABED » Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:20 pm

Goku doesn't become more cautious over the course of the Cell Games - at all. And even if he did, that's damn sure gone by the end of the manga when Goku and Vegeta fight Buu without the Potara or call on Gohan for help. Goku is hungry for battle from beginning to end.
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Re: Goku Went Through A LOT of Character Development in the Cell Arc.

Post by TheUltimateVegito » Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:43 pm

ABED wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:20 pm
Goku doesn't become more cautious over the course of the Cell Games - at all. And even if he did, that's damn sure gone by the end of the manga when Goku and Vegeta fight Buu without the Potara or call on Gohan for help. Goku is hungry for battle from beginning to end.
He's aware of his hunger for battle, but can't control it. That's why he felt it was best to stay dead.
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Re: Goku Went Through A LOT of Character Development in the Cell Arc.

Post by ABED » Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:13 pm

TheUltimateVegito wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:43 pm
ABED wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:20 pm
Goku doesn't become more cautious over the course of the Cell Games - at all. And even if he did, that's damn sure gone by the end of the manga when Goku and Vegeta fight Buu without the Potara or call on Gohan for help. Goku is hungry for battle from beginning to end.
He's aware of his hunger for battle, but can't control it. That's why he felt it was best to stay dead.
But a good part of that reason is because there were strong guys in the afterlife.
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Re: Goku Went Through A LOT of Character Development in the Cell Arc.

Post by Rory » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:44 pm

ABED wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:13 pm
But a good part of that reason is because there were strong guys in the afterlife.
To me that sounded like Gokuu trying to make it easier for everyone to accept that he's gone. I took it as another example of how he's matured, at least emotionally. Like 'hey, I'm not coming back because I'm dangerous, but don't worry about me, I'll be having a blast up here, and even then we'll see each other eventually!', it just sorta sweetens everyone up to accepting that he's not coming back.
Of course that's my own interpretation, however I've felt that way since I saw that scene for the first time, and upon multiple readings I've never really felt differently.

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Re: Goku Went Through A LOT of Character Development in the Cell Arc.

Post by ABED » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:50 pm

Rory wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:44 pm
ABED wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:13 pm
But a good part of that reason is because there were strong guys in the afterlife.
To me that sounded like Gokuu trying to make it easier for everyone to accept that he's gone. I took it as another example of how he's matured, at least emotionally. Like 'hey, I'm not coming back because I'm dangerous, but don't worry about me, I'll be having a blast up here, and even then we'll see each other eventually!', it just sorta sweetens everyone up to accepting that he's not coming back.
Of course that's my own interpretation, however I've felt that way since I saw that scene for the first time, and upon multiple readings I've never really felt differently.
Fair, but I think it's both. He's looking forward to finding more strong guys and he's trying to find a silver lining of his death for his friends so he tells them the world might be safer without him.
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Re: Goku Went Through A LOT of Character Development in the Cell Arc.

Post by SpiritBombTriumphant » Sat Nov 30, 2019 7:39 pm

A LOT of characters went through some good character development.

Vegeta started out as wanting to kill Goku and achieved SSJ. He was itching for a good fight and let Cell absorb #18. He always fought for himself. What happens? Trunks is killed and Vegeta loses it. He lashes out and attacks Cell trying to hurt him for killing his son. It's the first time he ever fought for someone else. Then near the end, he apologized to Gohan because he knows he fucked up by letting Cell absorb #18, then for attacking Cell in a blind rage and causing Gohan to lose the use of his left arm. Afterwards, he vows to never fight again knowing Goku is dead. As he is a human (well, sort of), he contradicts himself by constantly training for any future threats (said in the Boo arc when Gohan visits Bulma for an outfit for Saiyaman).

Gohan becomes the protector of earth. He goes from a shy kid to a fierce warrior (when pissed off).

I don't feel like typing everything out, but in terms of writing, the Android arc is the best arc of Z. Even the plot itself is great with the twists (#19 and #20 not being the threat Trunks warned about), Cell's appearance, #18 and #17 becoming good, etc. I know why those things happened, but regardless, it is a well-written story and my favorite of Z (tied with Freeza arc).

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Re: Goku Went Through A LOT of Character Development in the Cell Arc.

Post by jjgp1112 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:33 am

I think the Buu saga had the best progression for Goku actually. Even his questionable decisions cane from a sound place that for most part subverted his battle maniac tendencies.

He chose to fight Vegeta even though it would revive Buu because it was the only way to stop Vegeta from killing more people. And even then, he held back not to enjoy the fight, but to protect Vegeta's ego and put a stop to things the minute Buu returned.

He refrained from killing Buu because eye felt that as a dead guy it wasn't his place to settle Earth's problems and that the folks who would still be around should be equipped to handle themselves.

Crushing the Potara undermined that but he was alive again. All the perspective was gone :P and besides, he was still urging Vegeta to use it with Super Buu, he just didn't see Kid Buu as that level of threat
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