- This article is about the ability to become stronger. For the energy, see Saiya Power.
Saiyan Power is a Saiyan genetic trait that allows their performance to continually increase against adversity, either by recovering from a near death experience, or by fighting a strong opponent.
The Saiyan ability to power up by recovering from a near death experience is erroneously called Zenkai (全開 Zenkai, lit. "Full Release" or "Full Throttle") by the fandom.
This is done by the Saiyan imprinting on struggles and instantly learning from it. As it does, their minds and body adapt to the said struggles, allowing their instinctual methods and natural resistance to noticeably improve, which also increases their physical might as they recover, thereby lessening the chances of the problem happening again. The more severe the damage they recover from, the more significant the improvements will be.
"Around and around he goes...working his body and Ki almost to death and then refreshing himself by eating the Senzu... Whether he realizes it or not, Goku is living and reliving one of the primal cycles of the Saiyans... Gaining strength by facing and overcoming death!"
— Narrator - Premonitions of War
After drinking the Ultra Divine Water and almost dying, Goku presumably got a power boost from not just the water's powers, but also from his Saiyan Power, as seen from the silhouette of his Great Ape form. During the Namek and Frieza Sagas, Saiyan Power is an extremely important element, which allows Goku, Gohan, and Vegeta's powers to increase in order to "catch up" to Frieza and his men. In the Cell Games Saga, when Cell returned from his botched self-destruction on King Kai's Planet, his power amplified to the point that high amounts of energy surrounded his body to mimic the aura of a Super Saiyan 2.
Saiyan Power seems to increase exponentially after each use. When Vegeta recovers from his first fight with Goku, his power level went from 18,000 to 24,000, enough to overwhelm Dodoria and base form Zarbon's power levels of 22,000 and 23,000. Another increase was received after healing from being nearly killed by Zarbon, with Vegeta reaching a power level of 30,000, which was strong enough to match and hold an advantage over Zarbon's second form. After Vegeta was severely injured by fighting Recoome, his strength skyrockets to match First Form Frieza's (power level 530,000) in a power struggle. Another usage allowed Vegeta to be able to see Fourth Form Frieza's movements and Death Beams at first, before he begins to put in even more effort. Goku's usage of Saiyan Power during his gravity training in 100 times earth's gravity increased his power level from over 8,000 to 90,000, and again after recovering from his battle with Captain Ginyu (power level 3,000,000).
In the Dragon Ball Super anime, Goku's repeated healing from Super Saiyan God's power allowed Goku to constantly increase his power in that form. This enabled him to quickly adjust to the godly form's capacities and hold his own against the God of Destruction Beerus.
In the Dragon Ball Super manga, Goku Black possess Saiyan Power as per normal, however in the anime, Goku Black's usage of Saiyan Power is shown to be noticeably more potent than normal Saiyans as recovering from mere moments of pain caused a noticeable increase in power and efficiency. From this, it ultimately allowed him to obtain his Super Saiyan Rosé form and likewise enhance his techniques. While in the manga version Black required Future Zamasu's aid to recover fast enough to boost his might, in the anime, Black's Saiyan Power also allowed him to recover in short periods of time unaided. This was seen from being heavily damaged by Goku in only a Super Saiyan 2 state, but upon recovering, he was able to fight on par with Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta in his base state while remaining virtually unfazed by the latter's attacks.
During the Tournament of Power, originally Super Saiyan Blue Goku was unable to repel the assault from Legendary Super Saiyan Kale. As he began recovering from his fight against Jiren, Goku was able to calmly overpower Super Saiyan 2 Kale and Super Saiyan 2 Caulifla simultaneously. Also, Caulifla, who was a crude brawler with little tactical skill, began quickly adjusting to Goku's more experienced maneuvers, learning more efficiency in her combat skills methods as Goku continued to pressure her. During the second fight against Jiren, despite Goku's previous injuries from Jiren, Goku seemingly fully recovered hold his own with only Super Saiyan Blue, whereas before Goku couldn't even compete with X20 Super Saiyan Blue Kaio-ken. At the same time, as Vegeta continued to take Jiren's assaults, he gradually saw through the foe's attack patterns, eventually able to evade them to begin landing blows of his own.
While in the Ultra Instinct -Sign- state, Goku's Saiyan Power was greatly enhanced, allowing his power and efficiency to increase at an alarming rate as he continues to fight against a foe of comparable or greater power to himself. The gods of Universe 11 are astounded that Goku is able to gain on Jiren so quickly as he gradually begins to overwhelm Jiren before his untimely regression to base form. This eventually resulted in him completing Ultra Instinct.
In Dragon Ball GT, During Goku's battle against Eis Shenron he was frozen solid by the Shadow Dragon. Originally, Goku required Nuova Shenron's aid to escape. Afterwards however, Goku became completely unaffected by the foe's attacks next usage as he instantly broke free while completely unfazed from the event. While Eis was left stupefied, Goku noting firmly that the same technique does not work twice on him.
As noted by Vegeta, a Saiyan cannot increase their power from self-inflicted wounds. Although, this is disputed by Goku's power increase while healing from his extreme gravity training and by Cell powering up after his self-destruction. However, it is possible that Goku's boost came from a blast he didn't control. Another possibility is that the extreme gravity training took its toll on Goku. In the case of Cell's self-destruction, it is possible that his Saiyan attributes were improved akin to his Namekian attributes allowing him to regenerate well-beyond a true Namekian.
There also appears to be a lack of consistency on how potent the increase in power will be. Notably, after Gohan is healed by Dende in his battle with Super Buu, Buu notes that Gohan did not appear any stronger than before, albeit he possibly didn't get the chance to power-up first. In the Dragon Ball Super manga, Future Trunks theorizes that Saiyans can only increase their power from this ability up to a certain point. This theory came from the fact Vegeta already reached well-beyond normal Saiyan limits and faired no better in a second round against Goku Black after healing from his previous beating against the latter.
In Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge, Goku experiences another boost after recovering from Cooler's Darkness Eye Beam, able to overwhelm the foe who previously grievously injured him with a single attack.
In Dragon Ball Z: Broly - Second Coming, it was noted by Gohan that Broly grew significantly stronger after recovering from his loss against Goku. The fact that Broly appeared stronger in only Super Saiyan than his previous usage of Legendary Super Saiyan implies that Broly tapped into Saiyan Power.
In Bardock - Father of Goku, it was noted by doctors that which each mission he returned from, especially when needing medical attention, he was showing a considerable increase in power. His power level was reaching 10,000. It was even noted prior to the Genocide of the Saiyans that Bardock's power has come to rival King Vegeta.
In The History of Trunks, originally Super Saiyan Future Gohan struggled against even 1 of the evil androids (Future Android 17 even noted that he used less than half of his power). By the battle at the Super World amusement park, Future Gohan was able to fight on par with Future 17 and gradually overwhelm him, shocking the foe and forcing him to team up with Future Android 18 to defeat him. Later after recovering, despite having lost his left arm, Future Gohan proved able to overpower both androids simultaneously at their full power, ultimately forcing the tireless androids to instead exhaust Future Gohan to defeat him. These improvements for Future Gohan seemingly came from accessing Saiyan Power.
Video Game Appearances
In Dragon Ball Z: Super Saiya Densetsu, when a Saiyan reaches less than 5 HP, using a full heal item on him (like a card of Kami) will result in him receiving a Saiyan Power and raise his level by 1. This can be used early on against Raditz, to boost Goku's level extremely high. Also in the game, there is a glitch with Saiyan Power: if a player chooses to level Dende to level 3 (9999 exp earned twice), Dende can heal a character as well. Should he heal a Saiyan that is at 5 HP or below, the Saiyan receives the Saiyan Power, but not the level up. This allows certain characters like Gohan or Vegeta to be boosted to higher-than-usual power levels. Using the Moon Card on Gohan, however, restores his power level to the level it should be.
In Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, a customize card named "Saiyan Power" can be equipped onto a character and raises their attack power every time they are knocked out. This card is based on Saiyan Power.
In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Saiyan Power is one of the Saiyan race's unique traits. When a Saiyan falls in battle, and is revived, either through teammate assistance or a Battle Item, they gain a large power boost that lasts for the duration of that battle. A Saiyan Power effect can be applied to non-Saiyans through Z-Souls such as Vegeta's "Saiyans are a Warrior race!" or through Super Perfect Cell's "That was a handy miscalculation".
"How many life-or-death battles have you been through? After all, Saiyans get stronger when they're on the verge of death. You keep getting stronger, too, so you must've nearly kicked the bucket any number of times, right? I've also nearly died... or should I say, actually died a number of times, heh heh heh."
— Goku talking about Saiyan Power with the Saiyan Future Warrior in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
During the Unknown History Saga, as Super Saiyan Xeno Bardock fights with Mira inside the time rift he had trapped himself and Mira within, Mira notices that Bardock is growing stronger as he fights and combined with the alterations Towa had done to his body while he was brainwashed as the Masked Saiyan, it is implied that it allows him to ascend first into Super Saiyan 2 and before finally transforming into his Super Saiyan 3 form, allowing him to defeat Mira before he mysteriously disappears from the time rift, leaving the defeated Mira behind but alive.
As part of the Super Pack 1 DLC, Cabba grows stronger like other Saiyan characters do in Xenoverse 2. Interestingly, he will reference this after being revived by saying "I feel great!". This indicates the Saiyans of Universe 6 also possess the ability to receive a Saiyan Power boost like their Universe 7 counterparts.
- The term Zenkai is used in the first Dragon Ball Z ending theme, "Detekoi Tobikiri Zenkai Power!"
- The Meta-Coolers' Rebirth also corrects any flaw that allowed the unit to take damage, similar to a Saiyan Power boost.
- Fused Zamasu's immortality in the manga is very similar to this, as when Fused Zamasu's time fused was up, Fused Zamasu's cells were breaking apart into Goku Black and Future Zamasu inside his body, akin to severe cellular damage. When Future Trunks sliced the half defused Fused Zamasu in half, Goku Black and Future Zamasu individually transformed into Fused Zamasu, unable to separate due to Goku Black and Future Zamasu both being the same being (Zamasu) from different timelines. And when Vegeta tried to split the two Fused Zamases in pieces, they instead formed into clones, becoming Infinite Zamasu. Fused Zamasu and Infinite Zamasu are both half-Saiyans.
- Pure Progress is a similar ability used by non-Saiyans.
- While the dub incorrectly implies that Saiyan Powers only occur with Elite Saiyans, Goku a Low-Level Saiyan, receives them many times. This is confirmed by how Krillin states how Goku always grew ever stronger after recovering from fighting devastating battles.