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Gohan's Transformations In Dragon Ball Ranked

A new day of destiny has dawned for Gohan. 2022's "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" gave the half-Saiyan warrior something he hasn't had in more than 25 years: A brand new canonical transformation. The development is a pretty big deal for the "Dragon Ball" universe, especially since Gohan hasn't been as dedicated to the martial arts lifestyle in recent years as he once was.

Given how instrumental Gohan's new form is to the plot of "Super Hero," it's hard not to recall his past transformations and draw comparisons. After all, pretty much every one of Gohan's transformations has been a big deal in the world of "Dragon Ball." Some have been milestones for the character and Saiyans in general, often turning major battles in his favor. So just how does his latest state, "Gohan Beast," rank when compared to the rest? Keep an eye on that full moon and let your power explode, because it's time to rank all of Gohan's "Dragon Ball" transformations. 

5. Great Ape

Any Saiyan in "Dragon Ball Z" with a tail who lays eyes on a full moon (or a Power Ball) transforms into a Great Ape — an enormous cross between a simian and a wolf that amplifies the Saiyan's power tenfold. Thanks to an early bedtime, however, Gohan never changes into a Great Ape until Piccolo forces him to live in the wilderness, where he wakes up in the middle of a full-moon night. Stunned and panicked by Great Ape Gohan's destructive and uncontrolled power, Piccolo zaps the Moon into nothingness and yanks Gohan's tail off, removing the child's means of transforming. Roughly a year later, the tail regrows, and Gohan becomes a Great Ape again thanks to a Power Ball created by Vegeta. Vegeta cuts the tail off again, but Gohan's Great Ape form reappears once more in "The Tree of Might" before the character loses his tail for good.

Gohan gains quite a few advantages in the Great Ape form, but it also has plenty of drawbacks. Because he's never taught how to control his fury in the form, his behavior's completely unpredictable, making him as much a danger to his friends as he is to his foes. Gohan's tail is ironically also a huge liability for the form, as removing it neutralizes the transformation. Applying enough force to it can also temporarily paralyze him or induce drowsiness. Plus once the tail's gone, it's impossible to predict when or if it'll ever grow back. 

4. Super Saiyan

In Vegeta's early mentions of the Super Saiyan, he makes it pretty clear that such a being isn't said to come along very often. Yet mere months after Goku first reaches Super Saiyan, Future Trunks appears, wielding the transformation with ease. About three years later, Vegeta himself becomes a Super Saiyan.

It's not long after that a fourth Super Saiyan debuts: Gohan. While training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Goku makes it a point to have Gohan learn the transformation. Yet in the anime, Goku's savvy son realizes that he'll never become a Super Saiyan as long as his dad keeps treating him with kid gloves. Gohan's instincts prove to be right on the money, as Goku attacking with a lethal Kamehameha is exactly what the half-Saiyan needs to awaken his true power.

Gohan's first Super Saiyan transformation is handled more plainly in the manga. Basically, Goku just coaches Gohan on how to do it until he succeeds. In the anime, however, it's an extremely emotional scene, bolstered by a powerful flashback montage of all the times Gohan feels he's failed. In both versions, it's the first time a kid is shown becoming a Super Saiyan, proving age isn't a prerequisite for transforming. It's not Gohan's strongest transformation, but it's plenty powerful regardless and the easiest for him to use, thanks to him having spent extended periods transformed even outside of battle.

3. Ultimate Gohan

In the seven years that pass after Gohan's victory over Cell, the young man more or less puts martial arts behind him. As a result, he's defeated pretty easily when Majin Buu hits the scene. Luckily, Old Kai, who Gohan accidentally frees when breaking the Z Sword, has an ability that can bring every last drop of power in his body out to the surface. With that, Ultimate Gohan — also known as "Mystic Gohan" — is born. His debut is positively ferocious, as he humiliates Buu's latest stage, Super Buu, with next to no effort. Gohan's cockiness gets the better of him, however, as his deliberate delay in vanquishing Buu allows the evil being to add Gotenks' and Piccolo's powers to his own, dramatically flipping the fight back in Buu's favor.

Regardless, Gohan's "Ultimate" state is undeniably impressive. It's all the power from his two Super Saiyan forms and then some drawn out into his base form, essentially making transforming into a Super Saiyan or Super Saiyan 2 redundant. Better still, as long as he keeps his training up, his Ultimate state remains his default form, meaning he never has to waste energy changing into it. However, Gohan doesn't continue training regularly after Buu is defeated, and he later goes to Piccolo for help in bringing out the transformation again. Visually, it's not as showy as Gohan's other forms, and it mixes poorly with his latent Saiyan ferocity when first used, clouding his judgment. 

2. Gohan Beast

For many years, Ultimate Gohan appeared to be the strongest state Gohan would ever reach. Yet the Red Ribbon Army resurfacing in "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" proves that assumption wrong in a big way. While fighting the monolithic Cell Max, Piccolo comes up with a plan, telling Gohan to charge an energy attack of his choice while Piccolo distracts their opponent. Unfortunately, Cell Max is still quite a handful, even when Piccolo combines his Orange state with his giant form. As a result, Cell Max actually subdues Gohan's mentor, lifting him up while roaring in triumph. That turns out to be the wrong move, as Gohan's fury at seeing Piccolo badly hurt summons a brand new power he didn't even know he had in him.

Gohan Beast is the most visually unique of all of Gohan's transformations. Unlike his Super Saiyan forms, which turn his hair gold and eyes green, Gohan Beast gains gray hair and bright red eyes, and his hair grows more diagonally than straight upward. His aura is a stunning mixture of white, pink and blue, with magenta electricity crackling around him. The Special Beam Cannon he uses on Cell Max is an equally jaw-dropping blend of red and blue ki. Beast is Gohan's most powerful form to date, and the first he undergoes in which he's fully in control of himself from the start — though it does somewhat affect his personality.

1. Super Saiyan 2

Goku's plan to have Gohan win the Cell Games hits a major snag when his firstborn reveals that fighting just doesn't agree with him. As a result, Gohan doesn't know how to act when Cell attacks him and tortures his friends with the Cell Juniors. Unexpected guidance comes from Android 16, but just as the robot finishes imparting his words of wisdom, Cell crushes him. A switch goes off inside Gohan and energy erupts from his being, changing him into a state that previously even eluded his father — Super Saiyan 2. A whirlwind of events follows, culminating in Gohan destroying Cell with a massive Kamehameha. 

Super Saiyan 2 Gohan isn't as strong as Gohan Beast or Ultimate Gohan, nor is it as second-nature to him as his base Super Saiyan form. So why does it top the list? Because of the significance of its debut. It's the first time Gohan ever surpasses Goku in both power and skill, setting the stage for him to assume Goku's place as Earth's main defender when his dad decides to stay in Other World. Super Saiyan 2 Gohan's introduction will forever be viewed as a passing-of-the-torch and coming-of-age moment. Plus, the long, upright gold hair, gold aura, and sparkling blue electricity look mighty cool. It's only real downside is that, like almost all of Gohan's transformations, it brings out a blood thirst in him on first usage, leading him to make some huge mistakes.