5 Highly Memorable Dragon Ball Moments

With the release of the two newest movies in the Dragon Ball series—Battle of Gods and Resurrection ‘F’—you could say the franchise has now officially been revitalized. A  brand-new series, Dragon Ball Super, is also airing in Japan, alongside a fresh manga, telling the same story. With new adventures on the horizon, let’s take a look back at the show we grew up with, and highlight some of its most memorable moments.

1. Goku becomes a great ape

Goku Great Ape

Part of Goku’s backstory is that his Grandpa was crushed by a Great Ape monster. Goku had been warned never to go outside during a full moon, since that is when the monster always appeared. When Goku and his friends were captured by Emperor Pilaf, the full moon was out and he couldn’t help but stare at it. This triggered his transformation into the feral Great Ape. He tore apart Pilaf’s castle, with no regard for the safety of his friends. After Goku reverted back to normal, his friends vowed never to tell him that he was the Great Ape monster that killed his grandfather.

2. Master Roshi Destroys the Moon

Missing Moon

At the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament, Goku faced his martial arts teacher, Master Roshi, in the finals. Disguised as “Jackie Chun,” Roshi had the advantage, until Goku saw the full moon and once again transformed into a rampaging Great Ape. Knowing the cause of the transformation, Roshi blew up the MOON, causing Goku to change back to his normal form. Afterwards, he was able to squeak out the victory over Goku in a surprising end to the tournament.

3. Kamehameha vs. Galick Gun

When Goku fought Vegeta, the techniques he learned from King Kai allowed him to hold the advantage. Furious about being surpassed by a low-class Saiyan, Vegeta flew into the sky, and unleashed a powerful energy wave capable of destroying the Earth. Goku fired off his Kamehameha in an attempt to protect the planet, and with every last bit of energy managed to overpower Vegeta. This was far from the end of the bloody battle, which later saw Goku crushed by Vegeta’s Great Ape form, but this is one of the most iconic moments in the series.

4. Cell Kills a Man 

Dragon Ball had always been a little on the bloody side, and never shied away from violence, but when Cell made his debut, he made a huge impact on the audience. A biological android, he gained his early strength by absorbing energy from human beings, which was demonstrated when he first encountered Piccolo. Using his tail, he stabbed his victim, a helpless man on the street, then started absorbing his biomass until there was nothing left. As a kid watching this, I was shocked by the gruesome (and awesome!) scene, and it is one moment I’ll never forget. Not only were the sights more graphic than any I had seen in the show before, but the music added so much to the moment. This one’s not for the squeamish!

5. Goku turns into a Super Saiyan

Super Saiyan

The Galactic Overlord Frieza was the toughest opponent Goku had fought up to this point. No matter what he did, he was absolutely no match for him. Frieza was eventually caught off guard by Goku’s ultimate attack, the spirit bomb, but to everyone’s shock, he survived, and decided to punish Goku by murdering his friends. When he killed Krillin, Goku was consumed with rage, and pushed to such a level that he could not contain it any longer. He released his anger, and in doing so, transformed into the legendary Super Saiyan. After this, the all-but invincible Frieza was brought to his knees, and Goku made quick work of his enemy.