There is only one Son Goku in Dragon Ball, yet throughout the series’ history, he has embodied many different forms. Video games have attempted to keep up with the canon by including different versions of Goku, each with varying levels of “Goku-ness.” Hence the debate: how many Gokus are there, really?
Chris Person, Heather Alexandra, and Eric Van Allen, all prominent experts in the field of Gokuology, have gathered here to nail down exactly how many Gokus there are in the popular fighting game Dragon Ball FighterZ.
Eric Van Allen: Y’all, I’ve been playing a lot of Dragon Ball FighterZ, and I gotta tell you: there are a lot of Gokus in that game.
Heather Alexandra: Goku is pure enough by himself, and I fear that multiple Gokus—three Gokus, two and a half Gokus—might be too much for one game to handle.
Chris Person: Let’s get down to the nitty gritty: How many Gokus are actually in this game? I asked this question on Twitter a while back and was met with a lot of different responses.
Heather: Three and a half Gokus.
Eric: The easy ones to count are Goku (Super Saiyan) and Goku (Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan). But beyond that, I think we have at least 3.5, if not 4.25, Gokus.
Chris: The root of this debate is twofold: Fusion, and the nature of Goku Black.
Eric: Also, whether Bardock can be considered a Goku.
Chris: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves—Bardock is Goku’s dad. He just so happens to look identical to Goku.
Eric: Right, but does that make him the original Goku?
Chris: Barring time travel, no.
Heather: I’ll be frank: Vegito does not count as a Goku. That is half a Goku, with Vegeta as the dominant fusion persona. We don’t say that Gotenks is one Trunks, after all.
Chris: So let me break down my principal concerns: when Goku fuses with Vegeta, creating Vegito, does that mean the game has added a whole Goku to the game, a half a Goku, or no Gokus to the game? This, at its core, is a question of Goku-ness. Is a fused character two whole beings operating in one body, two half characters that create a single whole person (a half Goku by weight), or a totally new, separate entity that cannot be counted as either of its constituent participants? Depending on your answer, Vegito represents a whole Goku, a half a Goku, or no Gokus respectively.
In metaphysics, this is known as the “Ship of Goku paradox”.
Eric: It’s tricky because the Dragon Ball wiki notes, a Potara fusion creates a separate entity from the two beings. But it’s also definitely Goku in there. He’s got the brashness and keenness to fight, and even if you’re making a new compound, it’s still a whole of its composite mixtures. I say it’s a half-Goku.
Chris: I personally believe it is a whole Goku, since a Potara fusion (the fusion created by two Potara earnings) eventually ends with Goku and Vegeta being separated. I admit I am a Goku maximalist by nature though.
Heather: I’m a traditionalist in this regard. Fusions are half a Goku regardless of method. Details matter, and calling Vegito a Goku is like calling something “pizza” because you added cheese to the recipe. It makes no sense.
Chris: Hmm, all different takes. Let’s complicate things further: Goku Black and Fused Zamasu. If you haven’t been watched Dragon Ball Super, this may require some explanation. Spoilers abound, obviously.
Chris: I’m going to simplify this a lot because it involves time travel. Goku Black is a Supreme Kai of a different universe named Zamasu that body swaps with Goku. Some shit involving multiple timelines happens, and he ends up hanging out in the future with a version of himself that is Immortal. So he’s a Kai that is inhabiting the body of a Goku. To make things even more complicated, Goku Black and Zamasu end up fusing, creating fused Zamasu.
Eric: That’s essentially the gist of it. He obtains Goku’s body using the Super Dragon Balls of one universe and then starts wreaking some havoc. I think the distinction here is whether you consider a Goku to be an aesthetic or a person, because it is definitely Goku’s body but not Goku inhabiting it. Still, in my opinion, Goku Black is a Goku.
Heather: So the argument here is that even if that’s initially Goku, enough of the “Gokuness” is diluted when he’s possessed that Goku Black is, shockingly, not a Goku. I find that compelling but ultimately misguided. It’s in the name, people! Goku Black!
Eric: Yeah, despite being not a True Goku, he is still definitely a full-on, chalk-it-up-on-the-board Goku. But Fused Zamasu then gets a little complicated.
Chris: Philosophically, I call this the mind-Goku problem. Like, if you count a whole Goku as Goku’s mind and Goku’s body, then Goku Black is either not a Goku, or half a Goku. Fused Zamasu can represent either no Gokus, 1/4 a Goku, 1/2 a Goku, or a whole Goku depending on your own internal logic. For the sake of being a maximalist, I’m saying it’s a whole Goku.
Eric: I’m going to be hypocritical here and say that while Goku Black is a whole Goku, I think Fused Zamasu only counts as a 1/4 or 1/3 Goku. My reason being that when Goku Black is Goku Black, he is embodying the persona and presence of Goku. But he fuses to become himself, Zamasu, again—just, doubly so. There is very little Goku in Fused Zamasu, as evidenced by his fighting style (very different from Goku’s) and appearance (he just looks like Zamasu). The mixture substantially diluted the Goku.
Chris: I would disagree, mainly because of the sick hair.
Eric: He does get better hair!
Heather: I’ll go further: that’s not a Goku. At that point, Fused Zamasu is so far gone that we might as well ignore him in the Goku count. Don’t piss on my leg and call it a “Goku,” y’know?
Chris: I was contemplating doing that and am thankful for the warning.
Eric: I still, by the way, maintain that Bardock increases the Goku tally. But only to the extent that he started the Goku tally in the first place. I would not be so bold as to call him a “Goku” in front of the rabid Dragon Ball-consuming public.
Chris: Though I am tempted to agree with any point that further increases the Goku tally, I think we need law and order here or else people on the internet will yell at us. Where does that logic end? Broly? Big Goku. Vegeta? Angry Goku. Nappa? Bald Goku. We need boundaries. Anyway, let’s wrap this up. We asked the question: How many Gokus are currently in Dragon Ball FighterZ? Your answer?
Heather: Three and a half. Goku and SSGSS Goku are Gokus. Goku Black is a Goku. Vegito is half a Goku.
Eric: Mine is 3.75, for the same reasons as Heather but also add a 1/4 for Fused Zamasu’s hair.
Chris: On a scale of 2-6 possible Gokus, I’m going to say 5 Gokus.
Eric: Finally, a review score we can all agree on: the Goku scale.
Chris: Ok, that’s it. Please don’t get mad at us.
Update: Since this article’s publication, Dragon Ball FighterZ has added another Goku. Additionally, our friends over at Gizmodo were also nice enough to ask Sean Schemmel, the American voice of Goku, his thoughts on the issue.