Goku is the main protagonist of the long-running Dragon Ball series and probably the most well-known anime character of all time, thus I really don’t need to give him an introduction.
Goku is depicted as this unstoppable beast of a martial artist. When the going gets tough, the Z-fighters go to Goku to solve their problems. He’s typically the only one who can stand up to the ever more powerful villains that seem to want to kill him all the time. And even when he’s not strong enough to take them down, he pushes himself until that becomes possible.
So in the Dragon Ball universe, Goku is pretty much the top tier ass-kicker. Compared to all his companions, he is leaps and bounds above them in power. Even Vegeta, Goku’s rival Saiyan and second-most powerful fighter, always seems to be miles and miles behind Goku.
But I gotta wonder. Is Goku really as strong as the shows make him out to be? Because for the most part. Goku gets huge advantages over his comrades, mainly because he let’s them do all the hard parts, while he sits back and watches from a safe distance. So despite usually being the hero that comes out on top each story arc, he really isn’t all that deserving of it.
Allow me to explain, by going through a large amount of Goku’s battles.
Goku is captured by him and only breaks loose by turning into a giant ape. Granted he beats Pilaf multiple times in the future, but their first run in he nearly dies by the shrimp.
Goku loses to him in the World Martial Arts Tournament
Goku fails to actually defeat him. The only things that save him from death are Bulma’s advances on Blue and a collapsing cave.
Goku gets obliterated, and only lives by a stroke of luck. Sure he beats him later, but only after some hard training.
Red Ribbon Army:
I’ll give him that one. Though that was like the equivalent of Bruce Lee knocking down a beehive with a bee suit on and armed with bee spray.
Goku loses to him at the World Martial Arts Tournament
Goku gets beaten up by him a few times, and only barely manages to defeat him in the end, even after going through great lengths to gain a lot of strength.
Goku barely manages to win this fight in the World Martial Arts Tournament, so I guess he’s not a total wuss. But Piccolo had to fight Krillin and Kami before taking on Goku. While he was able to defeat them easily, they gave him more trouble than expected, thus he had to use up more energy, especially when reversing the Evil Containment Wave.
Goku had to fight Tien, who he beat easily, but with some effort, and then had a nice break against Chi-Chi, who posed no challenge at all. So Piccolo was clearly the more fatigued fighter going into their match.
Goku flat out loses, and only manages to actually help kill Raditz by holding him down while Piccolo deals out the only attack between them powerful enough to kill Raditz. And Goku dies. So yeah. Weak.
Goku wins this fight easily, but only because Nappa had been fighting for a very long time, taking many attacks from a whole lot of fighters and using up a lot of energy in the process.
He loses spectacularly. Only with the combined powers of himself, Krillin, Gohan, and Yajirobe, and extreme luck, does Vegeta finally go down.
Goku beats Recoome in one shot. Like Nappa, Recoome had taken a lost of abuse and expelled a large amount of energy, so sorry Goku, not that impressive.
Sure he managed to defeat Burter easily enough. But was he really all that strong? They always boasted how fast he was, so he probably wasn’t very strong. So as long as Goku could catch him, knocking him out shouldn’t be too difficult.
Jeice, well, he just seems like a big wuss, and is easily defeated by Vegeta later on, so that just shows Goku’s not so great.
And Captain Ginyu? Goku loses to him without them practically even fighting.
Frieza barely even tries in this fight, and completely obliterates Goku. And this is after Frieza has been fighting for a very long time, getting beat up a whole lot, and transforming three times, something that takes up a whole lot of energy.
Even after turning Super Saiyan, which only happens because the ones who counted on him to protect them die, Goku still barely manages to win, and only does because Frieza’s cut down by his own attack. So his own power could destroy him. Not Goku’s.
And krikey! Goku wasn’t even strong enough to kill him with a final blow. Frieza lived through that, and a planet exploding, while cut in two. So Goku, you don’t impress me.
Goku loses. Blame his heart condition all you want. But he fought first, which he hardly ever does, and just couldn’t win.
Goku fights first and loses. He can’t even beat a Cell Jr.
They tie in Other-World Tournament. Jeez, the guy can’t even legitimately beat some no-name dead guy in a filler episode.
So Goku wins this fight. But that’s because Yakkon isn’t all that strong. Like at all. He just hides in the dark, and uses his opponents blindness against them, which obviously means he’s compensating for his lack of strength.
He loses. Sure he was holding back, but that’s his problem.
This one’s a little complicated, as he fights he so many times in different forms.
He draws against fat Buu but later claims he could have beaten him, but wasn’t trying to. Yeah, keep telling yourself that, Goku.
He beats Buu viciously when fused with Vegeta, so that doesn’t count.
And he gets wrecked against Kid Buu, though again claims he could have beaten him if he had gone all out at the start of the fight.
He eventually does beat Buu, only after Vegeta and fat Buu hold him off for him so he could gather energy. But Goku can’t take credit, because the brilliant stategy to beat Buu was orchestrated by Vegeta, the butt-ton of energy required to destroy Buu did not belong to Goku, and he only managed to successfully overpower Buu with said energy after being healed by the eternal dragon. So yeah, not really Goku’s win.
Goku loses. But he puts up the best fight among all the Z-fighters because he hides in the shadows while he watches all his friends get the hell beat out them so he can develop a strategy that he fails to come up with anyway. He also needs the power from five other Saiyans to become a Super Saiyan God to be able to stand up to Beerus, so not his own doing. And he still loses.
And let’s face it. Beerus was only ever hit by Goku because Vegeta punched him so damn hard that it shook up the Egyptian cat so much that he couldn’t focus when it came time to fighting Goku. Also, Beerus wasn’t even trying.
He loses. The only hope he had of winning was because Frieza ran out of energy. Before that, he was in big trouble. And he still lost. And he would have died had Whis not saved the day, giving Goku another chance to save the world.
The only reason he does well against Hit is because Vegeta is used as a guinea pig. Watching Vegeta fight him allowed him to learn his Time-Skipping technique, but only after Whis explained it to him. Something Vegeta did not have the luxury of. And Goku still loses.
And Hit kills him immediately in their second fight.
He gets repeatedly destroyed by this pair. He actually never even manages to defeat them.
Okay, so Goku wins this one. Big deal. They aren’t even in the same league. It’s like a 20-year-old punching a 10-year-old in the face.
Goku fights and beats a lot of fighters in the Tournament of Power, but we’ll just focus on the main antagonist, Jiren. Long story short, Goku loses to him several times.
So I covered a lot of his fights, but not nearly all of them. These were mostly some of the bigger, more noteable ones.
The fact is, Goku only wins by joining the fight late, to take on fatigued fighters or else watching others fight first, and usually can only win with help of a handful of others.
So you are a great big wuss Goku!