How Old is Goku in Dragon Ball?

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Summary

  • Goku ages from 11 to 18 in Dragon Ball, becoming an 18-year-old by the end of the series.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Goku chronologically ages from 23 to 44, but physically ends as a 37-year-old.
  • In Dragon Ball GT, Goku goes from his 40s back to his 11-year-old body and ends as both 13 physically and 151 spiritually.


Created by Akira Toriyama in 1984, Dragon Ball remains one of the all-time most beloved anime and media franchises. Inspired by the 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West, the overarching mythos of the franchise revolves around Son Goku, a.k.a. The Monkey King. Defined by his superhuman strength and martial arts skills, Goku enters various fighting tournaments en route to becoming one of the fiercest and most formidable warriors in Japan.

Yet, given the confusing timelines, jump skips, and nonlinear chronology of events depicted throughout the Dragon Ball series, even the most hardcore fans of the popular anime are often left wondering how old Goku is at any given point during his character arc. To help clarify Goku’s age, it’s worth analyzing how Toriyama has managed to reinvent Son Goku by making the character simultaneously old and young in Dragon Ball and its sequels.


We Meet Goku as a Child In Dragon Ball

Goku Ages from 11 to 18

Goku smiles in the sky in Dragon Ball
Cartoon Network

Goku is introduced in Dragon Ball after being sent to Earth as an infant. When Bulma discovers the young boy while out searching for Dragon Balls, Goku reveals that he is 11 years old. Goku spends the rest of his 11th year training with Krillin under Master Roshi to fight in the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament. After turning 12 years old and competing in the tournament, a three-year time skip takes place in the series. The next time fans see Goku, he is 15 years old and preparing to compete in the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, indicating a 3-year gap between the fighting competitions.

Before competing as a 15-year-old in the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, Goku utilizes his newfound skills to handily defeat the Red Ribbon Army. However, he is beaten by Tien in the tournament soon after in the intense fighting anime. Following his tournament defeat, Goku and his allies take down King Piccolo. Three years later, Goku is 18 years old and fights King Piccolo’s son, Piccolo, in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. Adding insult to injury, Goku defeats Piccolo in the tournament and marries Piccolo’s high school love, Chi-Chi. By the time Dragon Ball concludes, Son Goku is an 18-year-old entering adulthood for the first time. Stream Dragon Ball on Crunchyroll or Hulu.

dragon ball
Dragon Ball

Release Date
February 26, 1986

Cast
Stephanie Nadolny , Mike McFarland

Seasons
5

Goku’s age gets confusing in Dragon Ball Z

Goku Chronologically Ages From 23 to 44, But Physically, He Ends as 37

Goku has a blue beard in Dragon Ball Z
Fuji TV

The events of Dragon Ball Z begin five years after Dragon Ball concludes. Therefore, when Dragon Ball Z kicks off, Son Goku is a 23-year-old man. During the Saiyan Saga, Goku sacrifices his life in order for Piccolo to kill Goku’s evil brother Raditz. When Goku is revived one year later, he should be 24 years old. However, since his body never aged while deceased for one year, Goku is revealed to be 23 following his resurrection.

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Following the Freiza Saga (which takes place after the Saiyan Saga), Goku spends three years training for the arrival of the Androids along with his son Gohan and the other fighters. By this time, Goku is 26 years old physically and 27 years old chronologically. With the Cell Games fast approaching, Goku and Gohan hone their skills inside The Hyperbolic Time Chamber for one year. When Goku emerges, he is aligned physically and chronologically and is revealed to be 27 years old.

If that wasn’t confusing enough, Goku’s age alters again before Dragon Ball Z concludes. Once Goku gives his life to Cell in the battle, he remains deceased for seven years. By the time Goku is resuscitated by Elder Kai to fight Majin Buu, Goku is chronologically revealed to be 34 years old. However, since death does not account for aging, Goku retains the physical appearance of a 27-year-old when he’s revived to take on Majin Buu. Once Goku finally defeats Majin Buu, a 10-year time-skip takes place at the end of the series. By the time Dragon Ball Z eventually wraps up, Goku is 44 years old in spirit, but his body is only 37 years old. Stream Dragon Ball Z on Crunchyroll.

Goku’s age varies drastically in Dragon Ball GT

Goku Goes From His 40s to His 11-Year-Old Body, Ending as Both 13 and 151

Goku has black hair in Dragon Ball GT
Fuji TV

While not part of Dragon Ball canon, Dragon Ball GT is a popular anime series on Crunchyroll that takes place five years after Goku defeats Majin Buu in Dragon Ball Z. Afterward, Goku joins forces with the benevolent Kid Buu and begins training at the Lookout. Chronologically, this makes Goku 42 years old and 49 years old spiritually. However, these figures had little bearing when Emperor Pilaf inadvertently wielded the Black Star Dragon Balls and reverted Goku back to his original age of 11 years old.

Goku spends the next two years of the series in his 11-year-old body, turning 13 by the time the show ends. Although he resembles an adolescent at this time, spiritually speaking, Goku is 51 years old before the time-jumping epilogue takes place. Eventually, Goku regains his original form in the epilogue when he morphs into the Eternal Dragon, which takes place one century in the future. Therefore, by the time Dragon Ball GT ends its arc, Goku is 13 years old physically and 151 years old spiritually. Stream Dragon Ball GT on Crunchyroll or Hulu.

Goku changes ages again in Dragon Ball Super

Physically, Goku Ages From 31 to 32, Spiritually It’s 38 to 39

Goku powers up Dragon Ball Super
Fuji TV

Dragon Ball Super takes place over a 10-year time period between Goku’s defeat of Majin Buu and the final chapter of the series epilogue. The action begins roughly four years into the decade-long time jump, making Goku 31 physically and 38 chronologically when Dragon Ball Super begins. Goku spends the following year with Vegeta training under Beerus and Whis, chronologically tying into the big and small screen sequels, including Dragon Ball Super: Broly.

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By the end of Dragon Ball Super, Goku is physically 32 and chronologically 39. Since the events of Dragon Ball: Broly take place roughly one year after the events of Dragon Ball Super, Goku’s age remains more or less the same. Unlike the wildly confounding timeline of events that alter Goku’s age several times in Dragon Ball GT, Dragon Ball Super is relatively straightforward. Physically, Goku begins the series as a 31-year-old who turns 32. Spiritually, Goku turns from 38 to 39. Stream Dragon Ball Super on Crunchyroll or Hulu.

Dragon Ball Super
Dragon Ball Super

Release Date
2015-07-00

Cast
Masako Nozawa , Takeshi Kusao , Ryô Horikawa , Hiromi Tsuru , Yûko Minaguchi , Naoko Watanabe , Kôzô Shioya , Mayumi Tanaka

Seasons
5

Dragon Ball Daima Could Send Goku Back to Childhood

In the Trailer, Goku Appears to be 11 Years Old Again

Goku and Vegeta are tiny in Dragon Ball Daima
Fuji TV

Directed by Aya Komaki, Dragon Ball Daima is an animated sequel slated for release in October 2024. The premise involves Goku and Vegeta taking on a dangerous new threat that has turned their physical forms into diminutive childlike beings. By all accounts, the story could bring the mythology of Son Goku full circle by reverting the character’s age back to its original 11-year-old version.

Although Goku and Vegeta are seen in small, childlike forms in the Dragon Ball Daima trailer, there is no current way of confirming how the physical stature of the characters will relate to their ages in the show. It appears as if the series will be along similar lines as Dragon Ball GT, but until more details are divulged, Goku’s official age in the upcoming series is only speculative at this point. Regardless of how old Goku is revealed to be in Dragon Ball Daima, part of the character’s makeup is an ever-changing physicality related to his time on Earth. In other words, Goku is an ageless wonder whose timeline will continue to evolve as the franchise advances. Stream Dragon Ball Daima on Crunchyroll in the fall of 2024.

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