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Saiyans (サイヤ人, Saiya-jin) are a naturally aggressive warrior race who strive to get stronger.



Main article: Origins of character names The name is a Japanese anagram of yasai (野菜), which is Japanese for vegetable, followed by the suffix jin (人 or じん) which is a Japanese suffix for person. Saiyajin may also be a play on Yajin, the Japanese word for wildman. Essentially, "Saiyan" is a more direct English translation of the word. In the Japanese, "Saiyan" is pronounced "Sigh-ya-jin", while in the English dubs, it is pronounced "Say-an".

All full-blooded Saiyans (such as Raditz, Kakarot, Vegeta, Nappa, Paragus, Broly, or Bardock) have names that are a pun on various vegetables.


Homing area

From one of Akira Toriyama's memos, shows a bit of Planet Plant and the rocky homing areas used by the Saiyans

The homeworld of the Saiyans is Planet Sadla. In Universe 7, the Saiyans lived here but their planet gets destroyed by internal discord, but in Universe 6, the planet still exists. In Universe 7, Planet Plant is conquered by the Saiyans after the defeat of the Tuffles, and they renamed it "Planet Vegeta" after their most powerful warrior and ruler, King Vegeta.


Saiyans' rocky home as seen in "Goku's Ancestors"

The planet has a natural gravity that is ten times that of Earth, which helps give Saiyans a greater natural strength than most races.[1]

After the warlord Frieza decided that the Saiyan race could potentially pose a threat to his tyranny, the planet was completely obliterated from space, taking most of the Saiyan race with it.

Military force

Main article: Saiyan Army The Saiyans possessed a powerful military, the Saiyan Army (named only in the FUNimation dub). As of Age 737, the Saiyan Army was under the command of Nappa (also stated only in the FUNimation dub), who was its most powerful general.[2] The Saiyan Army was employed under the Galactic Frieza Army, in which the tyrant would use the Saiyan warriors to conquer planets for him. The army employs various ranks based on power levels: the only ranks mentioned in the series are "Elites" and "Low-Class", with the series creator Akira Toriyama confirming in an interview that there are also "Mid-Class" warriors; almost all Saiyans are low-class warriors, there are about ten mid-class warriors, and only King Vegeta and Prince Vegeta are elite warriors.[3] This rank is determined by an innate latent battle power, but naturally, if their battle power rises greatly afterward, they can be promoted.[3] The military force met its final destruction when Frieza committed his Genocide of the Saiyans, with the force's only survivors being Vegeta, Nappa, and Raditz.

In Universe 6, the Saiyans try to protect the universe and get rid of evil doers there. Because of this, they are known as Heroes of Justice.



The Saiyans are a fighting race who, since ancient times, have lived a violent and inhumane lifestyle, where they attack numerous planets to build up wealth and goods.[4] Dragon Ball GT Perfect Files speculates that Saiyans were originally Great Apes who gained intelligence and took on a humanoid form.[5] The Original Super Saiyan appeared approximately 1,000 years (3,000 in the Ocean dub) prior to the Namek Saga, approximately 238 Before Age, and is described by Vegeta as a Super Saiyan who could only retain his status in the transformed state. He appears to have lost control and gave in to his destructive primitive desires and destroyed himself with his own power.[6]


Saiyan's arrival on Planet Plant, as seen in Dragon Ball GT

A small group of Saiyans eventually found their way to Planet Plant in Age 550, and the history of the Saiyans predating their conflict with the Tuffles was revealed in the anime, where it is discussed heavily during the Vegeta Saga, as well as in the OVA Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans. It is also a central theme in the Baby Saga of Dragon Ball GT. GT Perfect Files speculate the launching point of the Saiyan's spaceships as being the Saiyans' true homeland itself.

During the Vegeta Saga of Dragon Ball Z, King Kai describes the Saiyans as a group of barbaric aliens who shared a planet with a race known as the Tuffles. The Saiyans lived in the arid wastelands, while the Tuffles lived in great cities, employing advanced technology. One day however, the Saiyans attacked, vowing to conquer the Tuffle's great cities, and to extinguish the race. This sparked a ten year long war (described in greater detail below).[1]

It is revealed in Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans that when the Saiyans arrived on Planet Plant, they were welcomed by the Tuffles. The Tuffle survivor, Dr. Raichi, then describes the horrors of the war in a similar fashion to the one King Kai tells.[7] However whilst explaining, Vegeta states the Tuffles used the Saiyan race as slaves.

During the Baby Saga of Dragon Ball GT, Baby described the history of the Saiyans war with the Tuffles in a different manner. He states that the Saiyans first arrived in mysterious space-pods, and attacked the Tuffles in cold blood. He states they were led by Vegeta's father, and upon the rising of the full moon, the Saiyans assumed their Great Ape transformations, and completely wiped out the Tuffle race in a single night.[8]

War with the Tuffles

Main article: Saiyan-Tuffle war


A Great Ape levels a Tuffle city

King Kai explained the story of the Saiyan race to Goku during the Vegeta Saga. He explains that around Age 720, a civil war broke out. The Saiyan Army tried many times to overthrow the Tuffles but were unsuccessful, sparking a ten-year conflict on the planet. Although the Saiyans were bigger in size and physically far superior, they were fewer in number compared to the Tuffles. The Tuffles had a trump card in the form of their technology to read the power levels of the Saiyans and advanced weaponry such as blasters to hold them off. Then, around Age 730, the Saiyans were able to transform into Great Apes thanks to the full moon that only appeared once every 8 years on the planet, with this they finally annihilated the Tuffles and had the planet renamed Planet Vegeta after their commanding hero, King Vegeta.

At one point, a Super Saiyan God appeared on Planet Vegeta to stop bad Saiyans, but he failed because of the form's time limit.[9]

Meeting other races


The Saiyans and the "Arcosians" meet

King Kai goes on to explain that after their victory over the Tuffles, the Saiyans were approached by the Arcosians. These aliens had money and technology, but their planet was unsuitable, so they hired a group of Saiyans to take over a planet for them and in return, they would share their technology with them. Over the years, the Saiyans also learned how to use the Tuffles' advanced equipment and became smarter and less barbaric, although they still lusted for fighting and destruction.

Annexation by Frieza

Main articles: Kanassan war, Invasion of Planet Meat, and Genocide of the Saiyans


A Saiyan attacking a planet

In Universe 7, around Age 731, about a year following the Saiyan victory over the Tuffles, the planet was conquered or annexed by Frieza's empire and the Saiyans (like many other races) were drafted to serve as soldiers in Frieza's military under the Frieza Force.[10] Due to the Saiyans' innate strength and penchant for violence, they were considered to be useful mercenaries and assisted in the conquering of many planets, or if assignment called for, eradication of the planet's population (even Saiyan children were considered powerful enough to conquer some of the weaker planets, such as Earth).[11]


A young Vegeta and his father watch Saiyan space pods leave for other planets

Eventually, seeing how quickly some of the more gifted Saiyan warriors were gaining power through battle, around Age 735, Frieza grew concerned with the potential of the Saiyan race and thought that they would grow strong enough to face him or even become the fabled Super Saiyans, able to defeat him in battle. In Age 737, a Saiyan scientist develops the Saibamen using biotechnology[12] and those creatures make their way into Frieza's Galactic Frieza Army through the Saiyans.[13] Soon, in Age 737 as well, the maniacal warlord Frieza destroyed Planet Vegeta, nearly eradicating the Saiyan race.[14] There were only a few thousand Saiyans on the planet. As a warrior race, it would be difficult to increase their numbers (presumably, though left unsaid, because they would war with each other).[15] The manga reveals only four pure-blood Saiyans who have survived the destruction: Kakarot (Goku), Vegeta, Nappa, and Raditz as they were not on the planet at the time. Once the latter three discovered that their planet was destroyed, Frieza lied to them that an asteroid had hit their world, and offered them continued employment in return for eventual wealth.

Over two decades later, the Saiyans were finally avenged when Goku defeated Frieza on planet Namek.[16] Frieza later met his final end on Earth a year later, when Future Trunks killed him.[17] In the anime movies only, three more Saiyans survived the catastrophe: Turles, Broly, Paragus. In the manga and special Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!, Vegeta's brother Tarble is shown an another survivor. In the manga Nekomajin Z Onio appears.

Survival through Earthlings

Main article: Human Several Saiyan survivors were still around during Age 850, as shown in Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, these Saiyans had become members of the Time Patrol.

By the time of the events of Dragon Ball Online, pure blooded Saiyans had become extinct. However, Goku and Vegeta's families had spread and so many Earthlings possessed hidden Saiyan genes, and thus the traits of the Saiyans, such as the potential to become Super Saiyan, and also to receive Zenkais. Many of these Earthlings with Saiyan traits joined the Time Patrol and soon awakened their hidden Saiyan powers.


Physical Appearance

Saiyans are outwardly very similar to that of Humans, with the exception of their monkey-like tails and have larger muscular builds. They are commonly seen to have deep black hair although there have been rare occasions when they have also been shown to have brown, blue and blonde hair (in the anime). In addition, they seem to possess large hearts, as evidenced by portions of Bio-Broly's heart shortly after he was drenched in the Culture Fluid.

Vegeta states that the hair of a pure-blooded Saiyan does not deviate from its appearance from the day the Saiyan is born.[18] However, it is apparent that their hair can fall off, as this is why Nappa is bald (he is shown with hair in the TV special Dragon Ball Z: Bardock - The Father of Goku; somewhat contradicted by the fact that young Vegeta is shown with strands of hair hanging in front of his forehead, but later has his characteristic widow's peak). This is not the case with half-Saiyans such as Gohan, Trunks, and Goten who are shown to have several different lengths of hair, and wear their hair in different styles throughout the series.


Goku uses his tail to wash his back

Facial hair of pure-blooded Saiyan males can grow. Some examples are Nappa, Vegeta, and Paragus who have all been seen with mustaches, while King Vegeta himself had a beard. While Saiyans can grow beards it apparently takes them a long time, as seen when Goku and Vegeta spent three years in the Room of Spirit and Time yet only grew enough facial hair to cover their faces.

Saiyans also all appear to have dark eyes, though half-breeds do not always share this trait as Vegeta's son, Trunks, and daughter, Bulla, inherited blue irises.

Saiyans, at least as adults, are resistant to extreme temperatures, far more so than humans, as evidenced by Bardock going into outer space to face Frieza for the last time, Broly surviving being frozen in a glacier, and Goku training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and facing Lord Slug's minions when they and Lord Slug used a machine to cause the Earth's climate to get very, very cold.



Chi-Chi pulling Goku's tail (his weakness at the time)

All pure-blooded Saiyans are born with tails, monkey-like in appearance and covered in brownish fur. The tail is a particularly sensitive area for Saiyans who had not trained it. When grabbed or injured, it causes great pain to the owner, and temporarily immobilizes the whole body. However, the Saiyans can train themselves to overcome this weakness, like Goku did when he was preparing for the upcoming 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament or Vegeta and Nappa before coming to Earth. After training, the tail is unaffected if grabbed.[19] The tail is very prehensile, and can be used to grasp things, much like certain primates do. The tail also serves to help young Saiyans with balance, as when Goku and Gohan's tails were first removed, they had trouble standing, let alone walking or running, at first. When Vegeta's tail was cut off, his balance was unaffected (possibly due to the Saiyan soldier's tails being wrapped around their hip, enabling them to adjust to their balance should they ever lose their tails).


Goku holds Raditz's tail

The tail also provides a unique gift in that it allows a Saiyan to transform into a Great Ape if exposed to the Blutz Waves of a full moon. If the tail is removed, this power is lost. All Saiyans have the ability for their tail to grow back, unless it is permanently removed. Goku once stated that he feels stronger than before when his tail grows back.[20] Gohan's tail grows back during the fight with Vegeta, notably when the artificial moon was present.[21] Vegeta once stated that his tail will grow back after it was cut off by Yajirobe, however, it does not grow back until his Super Saiyan 4 transformation in Dragon Ball GT. The Daizenshuu description is that the tail will often suddenly grow back if the Saiyan is in danger. Tails also provide a boost in Super Saiyan transformations, as during the time when Goku was shrunk into a child in Dragon Ball GT, during the Baby Saga, he had trouble maintaining his transformations until his tail reformed, to the point where he was able to activate Super Saiyan 3 for a decent amount of time (along with his tail glowing gold).

Despite its appearance, the tails of Saiyans are just as strong and as coordinated as any other limb, giving them in a sense an extra hand to fight with.

Gohan is the only half-breed Saiyan seen with a tail in the series. Other half-breeds like Future Trunks, Trunks, Goten, and Bulla are not seen with tails. The reason behind this is never explained in the series, but it is possible they were simply removed at birth in such a way that is rendered permanent.

Strangely, despite the fact that most deceased warriors who keep possession of their bodies are healed from any injuries or dismemberments (for example, Tien Shinhan severed arm, Frieza's severed legs and Guldo's decapitated head), neither Goku nor Vegeta are shown to have regrown their tails upon being resurrected. This may however be explainable to an extent: Vegeta did not keep his body the first time he died, and the second time he was hastily restored to his body by King Yemma, who may have simply restored him to the body he had upon his death. As for Goku, it is possible that since his body had been taken by Kami upon his death in the Vegeta Saga, his tail was not restored due to Kami having removed it. Upon his second death in the Cell Games Saga, there is less of a possible explanation; however, since Goku had never actually had a tail during his second stint in the world of the living, it is possible that none in the afterlife saw fit to restore it.

In Universe 6, Saiyans naturally no longer have tails. This is because of the evolution process they underwent in their universe.



From top to bottom: Vegeta, Raditz, and Nappa

Saiyans tend to share common personality traits, even at young ages. Being war-like people, they share an innate enjoyment for conflict and fighting, choosing violence over peace with other races. Even Goku retained his love to fight after his amnesia, but satisfied that love through competitive sport, rather than barbaric slaughter. Saiyans are typically very aggressive and hard-headed, with short explosive tempers. Saiyans appear inclined to be arrogant at times, leading them to allow enemies to gain advantages in battle just for fun. It appears they have a tendency to let their emotions get the better of them when roused in stimulating situations (as demonstrated by Vegeta, Goku, Nappa, and Bardock), resulting in them at times making rash decisions. Normally, Saiyans do not have much of a notion of romance or marriage, and apart from the royal family of Vegeta, they are not particular about blood-relationships.[3] They appear to lack sympathetic emotions as though by choice rather than by nature, as shown by their relative lack of fear of death and uncaring attitude towards family members (example being Raditz's brutal beating of his long-lost brother Goku, and Vegeta's seeming indifference to his father's death). Clearly, neither Vegeta nor Nappa showed any signs of sympathy for their fallen comrade Raditz when he was killed. They merely laughed and stated that he was only a "weakling", although Nappa did suggest bringing Raditz back to life with the Dragon Balls. Vegeta and Nappa themselves had a good degree of camaraderie between them, but Vegeta did not hesitate to kill Nappa later on when he displayed weakness after being crippled by Goku. Most Saiyans also possess a keen fighting sense and understanding of battle, which allows them to acquire many new skills, such as overcoming the weakness of their tails, learning to detect ki, and achieving new fighting forms and transformations.

Bardock appears to be the exception to the uncaring attitude of Saiyans: he shows some care for his wife Gine and his youngest son Kakarot in Dragon Ball Minus, and he is shocked and saddened at seeing his crew, with his best friend Tora among them, slaughtered by Dodoria in the television special Bardock - The Father of Goku. This also shows that perhaps the uncaring attitude of Saiyans is a choice, rather than natural. Bardock's last words while facing Frieza are "This is for all the people we killed in your name" (he only states this in the FUNimation dub, it is never present in the Japanese version), he also states that he was not all evil (also FUNimation dub only). After the destruction of Planet Vegeta, Bardock talks to Goku from the other side, saying "I wish I could have held you in my own two arms" (also FUNimation dub only). Even Vegeta himself later has been shown to express emotion, such as when he was dying from his wounds inflicted by Frieza, when Future Trunks was killed by Cell, and when he sacrifices himself to destroy Majin Buu. Also, Vegeta's brother Tarble lacks the characteristic aggression of Saiyans, which also served as the reason why King Vegeta sent him to another planet. The existence of the original Super Saiyan God who got his power from five other pure hearted Saiyans in the past also implies that the barbaric and uncaring attitude had been a choice at some point in their history, rather than being an inborn character to all Saiyans.

The Saiyans also seem to believe that death is preferable compared to living with the shame of losing against someone inferior to them in level, which is especially evident with Vegeta and his primary motivation for his rivalry with Goku.

In Dragon Ball Super, Vegeta reveals that Saiyan females have strong willed personalities which causes Piccolo to surmise that this is why Saiyan males like Goku and Vegeta chose strong willed human females like Chi-Chi and Bulma as their respective wives.

Cabba, a Saiyan from Universe 6, explains to Vegeta that the Saiyans from his universe are not as brutal as compared to their Universe 7 counterparts. The Saiyans from Universe 6 are not planet sharks and they are employed to stop evil beings. However, they are still a warrior race.

Energy Manipulation

Saiyans have a natural affinity to control Ki energy, allowing them to generate very powerful energy blasts even at young ages. An average Saiyan energy blast is powerful enough to completely wipe out a big city, while the most powerful Saiyans can easily destroy entire planets with just one blast.

Also, any energy lost during a battle, will be completely restored, and, in some cases, multiplied, after a short time of resting.


Due to their natural ability to control their energy, and the massively increased gravity of their home planet, Saiyans possess the innate ability to fly at supersonic speeds, with little, to no effort at all, unlike humans, like Krillin or Tien, who use the Flight technique, which uses their own Ki energy to propel themselves to the air, and as a consequence, if they run out of energy or become extremely tired, they are unable to fly, till they recharge their energies.

Gohan, a hybrid, is shown to use the flying technique, which means that unlike pure-bloods, hybrid Saiyans can't naturally fly. However, due to their superior Ki control, they're able to fly much more faster than normal humans, proven by Goten, when he completely outclassed Videl in their first day of flying training.


Goku pushes

Using his incredible Super Saiyan strength, Goku pushes apart an entire mountain

Saiyans naturally possess exceptional strength, far greater than that of humans and other alien races, and are quintessentially built for fighting; the average Saiyan is said to have a power of 400 to 660 by Dragon Ball Z: The Anime Adventure Game (though, in their base form, warriors can have a power level of 1,200 to 18,000). They are capable of easily lifting ten times their own weight (before receiving Master Roshi's training, Goku was already able to lift Bulma's car at the mere age of twelve). The naturally high gravity of Planet Vegeta (10x that of Earth) develops their strength, further making them incredibly strong at young ages. Even weaker Saiyans are capable of conquering most planets alone. Due to their insane levels of strength, they are easily able to destroy mountains, islands, and potentially entire planets just with pure physical strength, especially in the Super Saiyan states. For example, during Goku's battle with Kid Buu, the planet they were fighting on was warping and contracting with each blow and would have destroyed it if not for the Sacred World of the Kais indestructible nature. God-like Saiyans, possess an astronomical level of physical strength, capable of crumbling apart the entire universe when clashing with another God.

Through tough training, Saiyans are able to reach new levels of power, and the more intense training and fights they go through, the stronger they become. If a Saiyan survives a near-death experience through extreme injury to the body, then, when the body recuperates, the Saiyan grows much stronger than they were previously, their body adapting to compensate for the damage dealt. The duration of recovery does not seem to hinder this ability as Saiyans have healed through natural, technological and mystical means and still gained substantial increases in strength. Saiyans also appear able to heal from injuries at a faster rate than normal humans and possess a greater deal of durability to damage.[22]

Saiyans put a heavy emphasis on strength and fighting ability when it comes to importance in their society. In fact, they will excommunicate Saiyans who do not show potential to assist in their violent ways, even alleged "royalty," such as Tarble.[23]



Goku using his speed to block Frieza's Barrage Death Beam

The Saiyans also have great speed and agility. They also have much faster reflexes than an average Human; reflexes so fast that they can avoid a bullet without much of a problem. Super speed can easily be seen in their fighting skills; their movements occur in fractions of seconds which are not visible to average Human eyes. Their agility is also substantial in their battles and training. These movements can be improved by training, transformations, and other methods. These natural powers of speed and reflex make nearly all Saiyan hand-to-hand combat very fast. The strongest Saiyans can move so quickly that even King Kai, who can easily track Attack Ball's traveling at Faster-than-Light speeds, can't keep up with them. Gotenks also showed the ability to travel the entire Earth several times over before stopping to take a nap, showing an ability to go faster than light if the situation shows it.


Saiyans are a remarkably resilient species, they refuse to be physically broken. Vegeta walked away from a powerful explosion that rocked his Capsule corp training pod with relatively minor injuries, and survived a head on collision with Goku's Spirit Bomb, Goku survived bullet shots, falling off a cliff and hitting his head, Piccolo's devastating attacks, Frieza's Death Beam to the face as a Super Saiyan and a whole host of other injuries.


Saiyans are considered for the most part to be of comparable intelligence to humans. Goku's head trauma and sheltered childhood left him unenlightened about anything not concerning martial arts, though he gradually outgrows this as his teachers all stressed the values of brains over brawn. Due to a Saiyan's strength, their level of cunning is generally downplayed, unless their strength is below average, like Raditz. Perhaps as a byproduct of their speed and reflexes, Saiyans are also abnormally quick learners, able to process large amounts of information within a limited amount of time. This can be seen when Goku was able to use the Kamehameha after seeing it just once and Vegeta taught himself how to sense energy despite being reliant on scouters for most of his career. Despite being a race of barbarians, Saiyans have no trouble adapting to new technology. It is unknown if Saiyan aptitudes carry onto their hybrid children, as the intelligence of all Saiyan hybrids has been shown to be products of their upbringing (Gohan was privately tutored, Trunks grew up in a family of scientists etc.).

Saiyans also have very good memory, even from the time they were babies. This was evident when Raditz meets Goku and expects him to remember his brother and his mission only to discover Goku suffered from amnesia due to a severe concussion as an infant. Broly as well was able to remember Goku's Saiyan name and appearance despite them both being newborns the last time they met.



Saiyans usually eat 30-40 meals a day to maintain their metabolism. Goku, shown here eats many meals prior to his battle with Broly.

Saiyans are noted for having ravenous, and seemingly insatiable appetites. Due to their enormous strength and intense aura, the Saiyans' energy and nutritional intake requirements are a great deal higher than Humans. They are often shown eating plate after plate of food, resulting in many dishes piling up (a recurring gag throughout the series), often eating more food than the average person could muster. Their physical anatomy also requires a much higher metabolism than humans, allowing them to consume mass quantities of food while still maintaining their muscular physique. At the end of the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament, when he was only 12 years old, Goku hastily consumed a 50 course meal (57 full-course meals in the dub) in one sitting, and still had room for dessert. In Daizenshuu 4, it is stated that they have no preferences when it comes to food, although they appear to prefer meat over anything else; this is hinted with Vegeta munching on the flesh of an alien creature on the planet he and Nappa were on before departing for Earth. Note that this is not restricted only to full-blooded Saiyans, as even the normally polite Gohan has been seen eating large quantities of food.[24]


Like humans, Saiyans often eat as a group. Here, Gohan and Goku are eating on Kami's Lookout.

At times, their appetite seems to work against them: in his childhood, when Goku went for too long without something to eat, he became too weak to do much of anything. It is unknown if other Saiyans, such as Vegeta, suffer from this weakness and suffered from it in their childhood. Saiyans tend to eat large quantities of food immediately before a big fight. They do not seem to suffer the cramps that a Humans would; in fact, it seems to improve their overall performance.[24]

Aging, lifespan, and growth

According to the Daizenshuu, Saiyan's lifespan is about the same as an average Human (70 to 90 years, with exceptions, of course), but keep in their peak longer. However, according to Akira Toriyama, their natural lifespan itself is longer than humans', but as a warrior race many of them die in battle, and their average lifespan is not all that long.[3] In Dragon Ball Super, Saiyans are still considered young at the age of 80.[25] Unlike Humans, Saiyans remain in their youth and prime much longer. As explained by Vegeta near the end of Dragon Ball Z, they stay young longer because they live for and are built for battle.[26] This is seen when Nappa, who was Vegeta's attendant when Vegeta was a child, is in his prime still long after Vegeta has become an adult, but in actuality, Nappa is roughly 50 years old during his arrival on Earth.[27] Chi-Chi complained of this in Dragon Ball GT when Goku was reduced to a child, thus making the fact that she was getting older faster that much more apparent.[28] This is again demonstrated in the GT finale when Pan is seen one hundred years later still strong, but with gray hair despite being only a quarter Saiyan.[29][30]

Goku comparison

Goku, a full-blooded Saiyan, at the physical ages of 12, 24, and 30; a comparison of the physical spurts experienced. Notable differences in muscularity are seen in this course of 18 years

As far as growing is concerned, this differs by Saiyan as it does with Humans. Most full-blooded Saiyans appear to grow in spurt phases, as seen through Goku, the only full-blood ever entirely shown progressing to adult-hood.[31] While slow growth does occur, it is just that—slow. Saiyans appear identical to that of a human baby in their early years, although they are born with a full head of hair more often than humans, and appear to grow at similar rates. At the age of 12, Goku takes the appearance of what a Human would look like at the age of 7 or 8. This is most notably showcased when Bulma clearly believes Goku to be that young, but is shocked to find out he was actually 12 years old.[32] However, when a 5-year-old Vegeta is showcased in Bardock - The Father of Goku, he looks around the same age as a 12-year-old Goku, clearly showing the difference in growth patterns of Saiyans. Goku however, even at the age of 15, has still hardly grown at all; the only differences are he has become a bit taller and more muscular, and his limbs have grown a small portion. By the age of 18, Goku had undergone his largest spurt phase. He became significantly taller, leaner, and more muscular, taking the appearance of the average human at his age. As an example, the 15-year-old Goku had gone from being half the size of the 19-year-old human Yamcha, to nearly matching him in size three years later.[33] As stated before, this differs from Saiyan to Saiyan. Vegeta, who is five years older than Goku, is shorter and smaller overall, while Raditz, Goku's older brother, is far more muscular and taller.

Saiyans appear to undergo one final growth spurt between the ages of roughly twenty to thirty, when the body seems to finalize its physical maturity. Growth in muscle mass can clearly be seen, with even some height gained. Goku and Vegeta are clear examples of this. Goku appears to have greater depth to the chest, neck, shoulders, and thighs, with other muscles increasing in size and definition after that. This can clearly be seen during the Frieza and Android Sagas: Goku appears more muscularly built than he did during the Saiyan Saga, as well as taller. Vegeta also makes a transition, appearing to even grow in height a bit, which can be seen when comparing him in the Saiyan Saga to him in the Majin Buu Saga.


Saiyans have a sexual reproduction system compatible with that of normal Humans, as they are able to produce fertile offspring together. The mothers of the full-blooded Saiyans were never in the original manga, though there have been some mentions of them. When Raditz tells Goku about the destruction of their home planet in the manga/anime, he mentions that "their parents" died along with it. Their mother Gine was later revealed in Dragon Ball Minus. Also, at least in the anime, Nappa clearly states that he had a mother. Female Saiyans have been seen, including a female Saiyan holding a knife in her mouth shown in a trio of Saiyans when King Kai tells Goku about his ancestry,[1] Bardock's comrade Fasha is a female, and a number of female Saiyans in a bar are shown in Bardock - The Father of Goku.[14]

Due to being a warrior race, Saiyans prefer to artificially incubate their offspring. Even non-warriors like Gine kept baby Kakarot in an incubation chamber due to its convenience. Full-blooded Saiyans apparently require a gestational period of about three years, while hybrids are fully developed within the gestational period of their non-Saiyan mothers (though it's possible that Planet Vegeta just had shorter years than Earth's).


Saiyan families appear to be far different to that of a traditional human family; apart from the royal family of Vegeta, they are not particular about blood-relationships.[3] Of the few (pure-blooded) Saiyan families seen, only Vegeta and his father have had close relationships, as well Broly and Paragus to some extent. Children are kept in pods as infants and monitored by doctors whilst their parents are usually occupied on mercenary missions.[14] Even as infants, their natural strength and their Gre​at Ape transformation means that they are capable of conquering planets like Earth single-handedly[14] and so it is unlikely they spend much, if any time, with their parents or siblings.[3] Notably, when Bardock is asked by his comrade Tora if he remembers what day his newborn son was born, he replies "No, but that was a long time ago." Fasha then goes on to say that it was the day before, and that he should go see him.[14]

Saiyans do not have much of a concept of family,[3] but they do tend to have close relationships with their friends and comrades however, with whom they do spend a great deal of time in battle. Bardock has a close relationship with his wife Gine however, which is apparently rare among Saiyans.

In contrast to the Saiyans of the Universe 7, the Saiyans of the Universe 6 seem to care for their families more, as shown by Cabba, wanting to protect his planet because Vegeta threatened to destroy their planet (though Vegeta was not being serious).



Gohan, the half-Saiyan and half-Human warrior in his Super Saiyan 2 state

Due to their similar physiology, Saiyans and Humans are capable of interbreeding. While this was always possible, it became necessary for the survival of the Saiyan race when all the female Saiyans were exterminated. The resulting offspring generally possess the same enhanced strengths of the Saiyans, developing their abilities far more easily than Humans, but lack the same drive and instinct for combat.[31] Gohan is the only Saiyan-hybrid in the manga/anime that is shown with a Saiyan tail. Hybrid Saiyans possess the potential to become Super Saiyans, but it is unclear how many generations removed from their Saiyan ancestor a hybrid can be before the transformation becomes unavailable to them. This is principally called into question because of Pan's supposed inability to transform as she is only quarter Saiyan, yet in the TV special Dragon Ball GT: A Hero's Legacy, descendants of Goku and Vegeta are able to turn Super Saiyan, despite their Saiyan heritage being even more diluted than Pan's.


Three half-Saiyans

It is unclear if these hybrids possess a naturally greater potential than their Saiyan parents. Gohan repeatedly demonstrated a hidden power that, when harnessed, made him more powerful than even Goku or Vegeta. When he and Goku trained to battle Cell, Gohan not only caught up to his father, but surpassed him even before making his Super Saiyan 2 transformation; he is also noted to be the youngest Saiyan to reach that form, at the age of 11 (9 in the manga).[34] Also, he, Trunks, and Goten were able to make the transformation to Super Saiyan at a far younger age than their fathers, with Trunks and Goten showing such ease at obtaining the first form that they treated it almost like a "child's play thing" (as stated by Vegeta in the FUNimation dub). Goten and Trunks' fusion as Gotenks shows much, much more ease in obtaining even the final form, entering the Hyperbolic Time Chamber whilst being unable to make the first transformation. In no more than about a week in the room, they emerged as a fused Super Saiyan 3.

A Hybrid Saiyan's potential may be held in check by the fact they lack the same desire for combat as pure Saiyans, and thus tend not to train as much, in times of peace, as a pure Saiyan would. For example, Gohan actually became less powerful during the seven years between his battle with Cell and the emergence of Buu, allowing Goku and Vegeta to catch up to and then surpass him, due to him having not trained enough.[35] It is also during this time that both Goku and Vegeta make the transformation to Super Saiyan 2 as Gohan did, with Goku surpassing it to ascend to Super Saiyan 3, the last form displayed in the manga and in the Dragon Ball Z anime.

Further, it is unknown if quarter Saiyans, such as Pan, have a lesser potential than half Saiyans or pure-blooded Saiyans due to their further diluted heritage or if their comparative weakness, exhibited by Pan, is simply the result of lacking the Saiyan drive to train coupled with growing up in peaceful times.


As evidenced in Dragon Ball, Saiyans have a very keen sense of smell. When Goku and Krillin are looking for the rock that Roshi had thrown into the jungle, Goku is able to smell the rock which had Roshi's scent. Goku even claims his sense of smell is similar to that of a dog's (which is far superior to that of a human).[36] This later worked against him when he met Bacterian; because Bacterian had never bathed or brushed his teeth in his life, the smell was so horrible that Goku nearly passed out. Another instance is when he is able to smell Roshi when Goku and his friends are searching for him at the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament. Goku also uses this ability to track down the thief that steals his belongings in the episode Pilaf and the Mystery Force.

Saiyans also seem to have keen eyesight. When Goku and Bulma see Turtle returning with Master Roshi on his back, Goku is able to clearly make them out at a distance when Bulma could not, with Bulma even remarking, "It's like you've got super vision or something."[37]


Great Ape

Main article: Great Ape


Gohan as a Great Ape

Their tail also grants a Saiyan special transformations. Though a painful weak-spot for lower-class Saiyans (most upper-class Saiyans appear to have trained to eliminate the weakness), the tail allows a Saiyan to transform into a giant Great Ape beast with tremendous power when looking at a full moon. The Saiyan grows incredibly in size and tenfold in strength while drastically changing in appearance. If the tail is removed, this ability is lost. In this state, some Saiyans have limited control, but their aggressiveness is at its peak and they often become mindless animals fueled by destructive rage.

The newer form of Great Ape that appears in Dragon Ball GT, Golden Great Ape, is the far stronger transformation of the Great Ape. Their offensive capacities have become much greater, and their rage is even more intense than the Great Ape's. While in the Golden Great Ape state, the power and strength of a Saiyan increase extraordinarily.

Super Saiyan

Main article: Super Saiyan


Goku is the first shown to achieve the Super Saiyan transformation after witnessing Krillin's death at the hands of Frieza

The most powerful ability of a normal Saiyan, however, is the ability to drastically augment their speed, strength and energy by transforming into a Super Saiyan. The ability is rare and difficult to achieve normally, but gives the Saiyan unbelievable enhancements to their normal abilities. Saiyans possess several Super Saiyan transformations, each different in appearance and the power they provide. For the majority of the Super Saiyan forms, the Saiyans muscle mass increases slightly, their irises turn bluish-green and their hair turns golden in color. There are additional transformations beyond Super Saiyan, and variations thereon.

The Super Saiyan form has several powered up variations, most notably including the Super Saiyan 2 and Super Saiyan 3 forms.

Legendary Super Saiyan

Main article: Legendary Super Saiyan A movie-only separate evolution of forms only usable by the "Legendary Super Saiyan" who appears once every 1,000 years. Thanks to being a separate evolution, the Legendary Super Saiyan's Super Saiyan 2, Super Saiyan 3, and Super Saiyan 4 forms are quite different from the normal versions.

Super Saiyan God

Main article: Super Saiyan God

SSG Goku 1

Goku temporarily became a Super Saiyan God via the special ritual

Through several different methods a Saiyan can ascend to godhood and achieve the Super Saiyan God form and it's even more powerful succesor, the Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan form. Attaining these forms is quite difficult and only three Saiyans are known to have ever accomplished it - with only two retaining the power. These forms possess godly ki.

Retaining the godly power also causes the user's base and Super Saiyan forms to become greatly improved from before.

Super Saiyan 4

Main article: Super Saiyan 4


Despite it's name, Super Saiyan 4 does not follow the same transformation line as the other forms

The Super Saiyan 4 form is a unique transformation attained through mastery of the Golden Great Ape form. Despite being called a "Super Saiyan" it is not part of the Super Saiyan line of transformations.


Saiyans have an inborn need to fight. Most Saiyans will spend their lives training to become stronger so that they can prove themselves in battle. When Frieza hired the Saiyans as his planet pirates, he knew of their amazing fighting skills and used that to his advantage. However, Frieza began to notice how powerful the Saiyans were becoming and began to fear that one day one of them would overwhelm him as the most powerful being in the universe. This eventually lead to Frieza's destruction of Planet Vegeta and all the Saiyans on it. Saiyans like Goku and Vegeta are frequently seen training and improving their fighting skills to keep up with each other's skills and the appearance of new, more powerful foes.

Many of the Saiyan and Saiyan/Human hybrids that appear throughout the series possess extreme fighting potential. It is also very common for them to develop the ability to transform into Super Saiyans at childhood, thought to be particularly likely when the hybrid's Saiyan parent had achieved the transformation prior to conception.

A Saiyan who achieves a level of power at the level of gods becomes a "Saiyan beyond God".


Main article: Battle Armor


Nappa in full Battle Armor

Like most members of the Galactic Frieza Army, the Saiyan Army wears special Battle Armors to protect them in battle. This armor is shown to be extremely flexible, as it stretched so far out that it fit the Saiyan when they turn into a Great Ape. It is also light and supposedly strong, but it seems extremely flimsy in strength, as it is broken, punched, and blasted through easily throughout the series. It sometimes has large shoulder cups on the sides, although the older model does not.



Vegeta and Nappa in their space-pods

Saiyans have small space-pods that are only big enough for one person sitting down.[38] When more than one person is sent to a planet, each warrior has a pod to themselves, who fly alongside each other in a group. It is unknown what fuel the space pods use, and there is no visible exhaust area for the fuel's waste to be expelled from (though when they fly they have an energy aura around them). However, the computers operating the pods seem to be very sophisticated, and can even change course in space, despite there being no visible means of doing so (in the real world, spaceships must either slingshot around a large gravity source, such as the Moon, or must have some object to push themselves away from, per the Third Law of Motion, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction"). The passenger appears to be in stasis during travel, but upon reaching a destination air is pumped into the pod, reviving the occupant.

In the Namek Saga, Dr. Brief was able to obtain the space pod that Goku arrived at the planet in as a baby, and was able to use reverse-engineering to build a bigger spaceship, so that Goku would have room to train in on his way to Namek.[39] In an interview, Akira Toriyama said that the Space Pods are uncomfortable. In Dragon Ball Minus, it is shown Bardock and a comrade flying in an unusually large Space Pod, enough for both to be inside of it.


After battles, injured Saiyans are placed inside Medical Machines by doctors of the Galactic Frieza Army. It has high-caliber performance, being able to completely heal even a gravely injured person on the brink of death in 30 to 40 minutes' time. After a Saiyan is healed from a great injury, it has been said by Vegeta numerous times that they will become stronger. This power increase is known as Zenkai. The healed soldier can then immediately return to the battlefield.[40]


While the Saiyans from the seventh universe never naturally evolved further thanks to being enslaved and eventually destroyed by Frieza, the Saiyans from the sixth universe evolved further than their counterparts, losing their tails as a genetic trait.

List of Saiyans

In addition to the name "Saiyan" being an anagram of the Japanese word for vegetable, most pure-blooded Saiyans in the series also have names with vegetable puns, either in English or Japanese. Furthermore, the Saiyan Royals are keeping in line with this, simply named Vegeta(ble) and (Vege)Tarble.

Saiyajin family trees-small

Toei's family tree of full-blooded Saiyans (1993)

Full-blooded Saiyans

  • Bardock: Father of Raditz and Goku, he was killed by Frieza and sent to the past.
  • Borgos: A large balding member of Bardock's team, he is killed by Dodoria's Elite.
  • Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan, main villain of Dragon Ball Z Movies #8, #10. In movie #11, he is not the villain, but a mutated clone is, and flashbacks are shown.
  • Cabba: A Saiyan from the sixth universe.
  • Fasha: The only female member of Bardock's team, she is killed by Dodoria's Elite.
  • Gine: Mother of Raditz and Goku, and former member of Bardock's team.[3]
  • Goku: The main protagonist whose original Saiyan name is Kakarot. He is killed by sacrificing himself to kill Raditz, and years later to defeat Cell.
  • Honey: Onio's wife in Nekomajin.
  • King Vegeta: King of the Saiyans and father of Vegeta and Tarble, he is killed by Frieza.
  • Nappa: A large bald Saiyan who was Vegeta's partner and General of the Saiyan army, he is killed twice by Vegeta.
  • Onio: A fat Saiyan that appears in the self-parody manga, Nekomajin.
  • Original Super Saiyan: The first ever Super Saiyan who died because he was unable to control his power.
  • Original Super Saiyan God: The first known Super Saiyan God. He fought to stop evil from controlling his planet.
  • Paragus: Father of Broly, he is killed by Broly in movie #8.
  • Raditz: Brother of Goku, he is killed by Piccolo.
  • Scarface: A short balding Saiyan seen only in the pendulum room during filler of the DBZ anime.
  • Shorty: A large muscular Saiyan seen only in the pendulum room during filler of the DBZ anime.
  • Shugesh: A big overweight member of Bardock's team, he is killed by Dodoria's Elite.
  • Tarble: Vegeta's younger brother who has a lack of fighting spirit.[23]
  • Tora: A tall masculine member of Bardock's team, he is killed by Dodoria.
  • Turles: Main villain of Dragon Ball Z Movie #3. Looks just like Goku, and was killed by Goku.
  • Vegeta: Goku's greatest rival and the prince of all Saiyans, he is killed once by Frieza and once by sacrificing himself against Majin Buu.
  • Zorn: One of King Vegeta's subjects.
  • Saiyan Army: The military force employed by the Saiyans.
  • Ultimate Tenkaichi hero: The main protagonist in Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi's Hero mode.

Partial Saiyans

  • Bulla – 1/2 Saiyan, Daughter of Vegeta
  • Future Gohan – 1/2 Saiyan, Son of Goku (Alternate timeline)
  • Future Trunks – 1/2 Saiyan, Son of Vegeta (Alternate timeline)
  • Gohan – 1/2 Saiyan, Eldest son of Goku
  • Goku Jr. – 1/64[41] or 1/16[42] Saiyan, Grandson of Pan and Great-Great-Grandson of Goku
  • Goten – 1/2 Saiyan, Youngest son of Goku
  • Pan – 1/4 Saiyan, Daughter of Gohan and Granddaughter of Goku
  • Trunks – 1/2 Saiyan, Eldest Son of Vegeta
  • Vegeta Jr.'s mother – Unknown percentage, descendant of Vegeta
  • Vegeta Jr. – Unknown percentage, descendant of Vegeta


Artificially Created Partial Saiyans



An unidentified Saiyan resembling Goku and Turles


  • Frieza stated that Goku could not survive in the vacuum of space, and most of the series has him wearing a spacesuit when venturing into the vacuum of space. King Kai seems to also believe Saiyans cannot breathe in space as he instructs the Z Warriors not to revive Goku with the Dragon Balls, because he would appear in space, where he would have died from lack of oxygen. Whis also states that Saiyans cannot survive in space when noting that Vegeta would not have survived the destruction of Earth. Though, there have been several instances where Saiyans have been in airless environments for a very short time with no ill consequences. A plausible explanation is that Saiyans do, indeed, need air to breathe, but, due to their superior cardiovascular conditioning, are able to hold their breath for long periods of time, but still need a source of air to retreat into, after a few minutes, which Goku would not have, after Planet Namek had exploded. Daizenshuu 7 also states that Saiyans cannot survive in space.
    • Early in the series, Goku takes Monster Carrot to the moon. It is possible that their is somehow Oxygen on the moon in Dragon Ball as Monster Carrot's allies - who are normal Humans - are able to breathe there.
    • In a filler section of the Saiyan Saga, both Vegeta and Nappa are shown outside of their Saiyan pods while Vegeta destroys Arlia.
    • In Bardock - The Father of Goku and a flashback in the Frieza Saga (both in the manga and the anime), Bardock is shown in orbit of Planet Vegeta when confronting Frieza.
    • In a flashback in the movie Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan, both Broly and Paragus are shown in an asteroid field.
    • Broly's bio in Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 implies that Broly survived in space after being sent into the Sun.
    • Goku and Beerus fight in the stratosphere of Earth, where there is very little oxygen.
  • Saiyans are often associated with monkeys due to their "primate" appearance. Goku is called "monkey boy" when he is a kid, and Frieza and his henchmen frequently refer to Saiyans derogatively as monkeys.
  • It is said by Vegeta that powering up in the middle of battle is a trait derived from the saiyans.
  • Vegeta mentions in the episode "Saiyans Emerge" that the hair of a pure-blooded Saiyan will never change after one is born. However, as children, Goku and Vegeta's hair changed. In the movie Bardock - The Father of Goku, Vegeta did not have a widow's peak, and in Dragon Ball, Goku's hair covered half of his forehead.
    • Raditz may be the one true exception, as his hair is the length of his body, both as an adult and as a child.
  • Even though Vegeta states that a full-blooded Saiyan's hair stays the same throughout their life, in GT, his hair seems a bit more leveled. But he also could have just trimmed his hair and made it shorter.
  • The French official name for Saiyans is "Space Warrior", this name is used also in the countries that bought the AB Groupe's version of DBZ from France, so almost every European State except Italy and Germany. This includes the infamous "Big Green dub", who also uses the name of Space Warriors for naming the Saiyans.
  • When abbreviating Super Saiyan people often abbreviate it to SSJ (Super Saiya-Jin) this is actually only correct in japanese as jin is added as a suffix in japanese meaning "Person" and is also used when referring to a person or people something that is not practiced in the english language.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Dragon Ball Z episode 20, "Goku's Ancestors"
  2. Dragon Ball Z episode 29, "Lesson Number One"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Interview with Akira Toriyama - Saikyō Jump #3, 2014
  4. Super Exciting Guide: Character Volume, 2009
  5. "There's also a theory that Saiyans were originally Great Apes, who gained intelligence and became human!!" - Dragon Ball GT Perfect Files, 1997
  6. Dragon Ball Z episode 27, "Goku... Super Saiyan?"
  7. As stated by Dr. Raichi, Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans
  8. Dragon Ball GT episode 27, "The Attack on Vegeta"
  9. Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, 2013
  10. Timeline within Daizenshuu 7, 1996
  11. Dragon Ball Z episode 2, "Reunions"
  12. Saibaman Character profile, Daizenshuu 7, 1996
  13. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi, Saibaman Character biography, 2005
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Dragon Ball Z: Bardock - The Father of Goku, 1990
  15. Dragon Ball Minus, 2014
  16. Dragon Ball Z episode 106, "Namek's Explosion... Goku's End?"
  17. Dragon Ball Z episode 120, "Another Super Saiyan?"
  18. Dragon Ball Z episode 154, "Saiyans Emerge"
  19. Dragon Ball Z episode 27, "Nimbus Speed"
  20. Dragon Ball chapter 40, "The Tail of Goku"
  21. Dragon Ball Z episode 34, "Krillin's Offensive"
  22. Dragon Ball Z episode 55, "Piccolo vs. Everyone"
  23. 23.0 23.1 Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!, 2008
  24. 24.0 24.1 Dragon Ball Z episode 210, "The World Tournament"
  25. Dragon Ball Super, Chapter 7, page 9
  26. Dragon Ball Z episode 289, "Granddaughter Pan"
  27. HUMAN RACIAL DICTIONARY, Daizenshuu 7, 1996
  28. Dragon Ball GT episode 2, "Pan Blasts Off"
  29. Dragon Ball GT: A Hero's Legacy, 1997
  30. Dragon Ball GT episode 64, "Until We Meet Again"
  31. 31.0 31.1 Daizenshuu 2, 1995
  32. Dragon Ball episode 2, "The Emperor's Quest"
  33. Dragon Ball episode 133, "Changes"
  34. Dragon Ball Z episode 186, "The Unstoppable Gohan"
  35. Dragon Ball Z episode 227, "Heart of a Villain"
  36. Dragon Ball episode 16, "Find that Stone!"
  37. Dragon Ball episode 3, "The Nimbus Cloud of Roshi"
  38. Dragon Ball Z episode 37, "Plans for Departure"
  39. Dragon Ball Z episode 50, "Unexpected Problem"
  40. Daizenshuu 4, 1995
  41. Japanese version
  42. FUNimation version

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