The Saiyans are a central part of Dragon Ball Z. The reveal that Goku was actually an alien from a race of monkey-tailed warriors shook up the very foundation of the series and it's been an integral part of the franchise ever since. Vegeta has, over the course of Dragon Ball Z and even Dragon Ball Super, revealed various facts about the Saiyans, but some fans might not know, or might have even forgotten about some of the darker parts of Saiyan history, culture and biology. But fear not, since we've got some of the darkest facts about Saiyans for you right here.
Everything from the eradication of their species to strange and dangerous aspects of their biology, Saiyans are truly one of the most frightening and fascinating aliens in all of pop culture. Aside from their various power ups that keep getting more ridiculous, the Saiyans are one of the most surprisingly well-thought out aspects of Dragon Ball, especially since Akira Toriyama tends to forget about and rewrite his own universe rules. Regardless, with their well-written history and culture, we thought it would be interesting to take a look through all we know about the Saiyans and pick out the darkest facts among them.
15 SAIYAN CIVIL WAR
The Saiyans are a ruthless warrior race, something that is expected and encouraged in their people. However, they weren't always like this, or... at least some of them weren't. Turn back the clock of Saiyan history to before they lived on planet Vegeta, and we find ourselves on planet Sadala, the original Saiyan homeworld. What happened to this world, you might ask? A civil war between the good and bad Saiyans.
There was apparently two factions of the Saiyan race, both were warriors who valued strength, but the good Saiyans didn't wish harm on others while the bad Saiyans thought that ruthlessness was the only way to get strong. The two factions fought, resulting in the summoning of a Super Saiyan God at some point, but the bad Saiyans eventually won. However, Planet Sadala had become uninhabitable as a result, thus the Saiyans had to find a new home world.
14 PLANET VEGETA
The Saiyans eventually found a new home world in the form of Planet Vegeta. However, it wasn't always named that, and it wasn't just some empty inhabitable planet. No, this planet was originally called planet Plant, home of the Tuffles, and the Saiyans took it from them. Now, the details of how this happened are kind of foggy since most facts came from the now non-canon Dragon Ball GT. However, a few facts are still present in the main canon of the franchise.
We do know that the Saiyans originated from Planet Sadala, confirmed by Vegeta in Dragon Ball Super, and that they stole planet Plant from its inhabitants, renaming it Planet Vegeta. We also know that their ability to take over planets, with the help of their great ape forms, was what lead Frieza to enlist them in his galactic empire.
13 KILLED OUT OF FEAR
This "deal" between Frieza and the Saiyans, which was actually more of an enslavement, would eventually come to an end. As Frieza continued to witness the power of the Saiyans, he grew fearful of the species, anticipating that they might be able to revolt against him. This fear was only further increased when Frieza became aware of the legend of the Super Saiyan. This legend was enough to push Frieza's fear over the edge and he planned to eradicate the Saiyans.
Frieza destroyed Planet Vegeta and all the Saiyans on it, as well as a few that were in the atmosphere. There were only a few Saiyans left alive -- those who were off conquering planets -- but the Saiyan race was effectively extinct. This genocide is sometimes glossed over in the franchise, but the effects were very real, as Vegeta still feels the loss of his people years after it happened.
12 BEERUS AND THE SAIYANS
Though Frieza was the one who destroyed Planet Vegeta and killed the Saiyans, he's not the only person to blame. Frieza was partially influenced by the God of Destruction, Lord Beerus. See, Beerus is sort of petty, he once enlisted the help of the Saiyans to find the universe's comfiest pillow. However, King Vegeta was only able to find the universe's second most comfortable pillow.
When Beerus found out, he also found a way to get his "revenge." Beerus told Frieza, who had been acting as an agent of Beerus' agenda (sort of), that he should destroy the Saiyans, which only furthered the idea in his head to destroy the warrior race. However, it should be noted that Beerus' job as a destruction god is to rid the universe of dangerous beings, so he might have just been doing his godly duty.
11 ONLY TWO PURE-BLOODED SAIYANS LEFT
This one might be pretty obvious to all Dragon Ball fans, but it's still kind of dark when you think about it. After the deaths of Nappa and Raditz, Goku and Vegeta are currently the only full-blooded Saiyans left alive in the universe. You could even throw Tarble in there if you want, but it still doesn't make much of a difference. It's kinda sad to think that an entire planet of people was dwindled down such a small number.
Yes, the Saiyans live on the half-human kids, but when Goku and Vegeta die, and they have both done so twice, then the Saiyan race as Vegeta knew it will be completely gone. It actually makes a lot of sense why Vegeta is so adamant about his proud Saiyan heritage and teaching Goku, albeit frustratingly, about their people, since he's the only person who remembers the Saiyans' culture and history.
Speaking of half-Saiyans, Gohan, Goten, Trunks and even Bulla bring up some dark facts about the Saiyans. For one thing, we know that half-breeds are looked down upon, When Vegeta hears about Goku's half-human son, he is disgusted, but his reason for hating half-breeds is actually super dark and interesting. Vegeta stated that Saiyans breeding with humans could result in a dangerous offspring, since their power would be unpredictable.
This coincides with the theory that half-Saiyans are stronger than full-blooded Saiyans, a theory that has been all but confirmed in-franchise. Evidence of this includes the fact that Gohan was the first to achieve Super Saiyan 2, the fact that Goten and Trunks could go Super Saiyan as kids and by the introduction of S-Cells into the lore, which states that those with more human emotions are more likely to go Super Saiyan.
9 GREAT APE FORMS
One of the Saiyans' greatest abilities, before the introduction of Super Saiyan, was their power to transform into a great ape. At the sight of a full moon, or with an influx of blutz waves, the glands in a Saiyan's tail will activate the great ape transformation. Most fans already know this, but some forget the dangers of the great ape form.
First of all, even though they used artificial moons to trigger the transformation, they are still at the mercy of whatever moon they are near. So, when planet Vegeta's moon is full every eight years, does their society crumble to the ground? And another thing, do Saiyans turn into great apes when they are in their space ships and fly by a moon? Also, most Saiyans are not trained to keep their composure in this form, making it even more dangerous.
8 PLANET CONQUERERS
This is another fact that fans might know, but they might not think of the ramifications. The Saiyans were enlisted by Frieza's army to conquer planets for his empire. They were pretty dang good at it too, since a lone Saiyan could completely waste a planet and the people who lived on it, though it was often done in teams. Their great ape forms were most often used when conquering planets, but in the case of Vegeta and Nappa, it wasn't always necessary.
It's kind of obvious what makes this fact so dark, since it means the Saiyans were responsible for the deaths of thousands of alien races. Heck, they even had a hand in their own demise when you think about it, since they helped Frieza acquire planets, giving him more and more troops in his army to aid him in ending the Saiyans.
7 THAT WHICH DOESN'T KILL THEM...
One of the Saiyans' greatest abilities is their recovery. It's more than just fast healing, they also have the ability to gain strength from their losses. Whenever a Saiyan is near death, or at least faces a trial that leaves them beaten and bruised, they come back even stronger. This was once referred to as a Zenkai by Vegeta, who knew of the Saiyans' ability to become stronger from experience.
In other words, that which doesn't kill a Saiyan literally makes them stronger. We've seen evidence of this with both Goku and Vegeta, and even some of the Universe 6 Saiyans. One notable example is when Goku drinks the Ultra Divine water, he almost dies from it, but his Saiyan biology helps him recover and come back even stronger. This is a frightening ability since it means you have to kill a Saiyan right away, lest they come back stronger.
6 RUTHLESSNESS ≠ POWER
We've already covered the fact that Saiyan society grew to favor ruthlessness in their people, as they saw it was the only way to become powerful. But as it turns out, this isn't true in the least. Goku is a gentle-natured person and he is arguably the strongest Saiyan in history, and Vegeta became stronger as he became more caring and empathetic. Another factor that confirms this is the introduction of S-Cells into the lore.
Akira Toriyama stated that S-Cells are what help trigger the Super Saiyan transformation, and they are tied to emotion and personality. A Saiyan like Goku, who is good-natured and has a gentle soul, produces more S-Cells than evil Saiyans. What makes this dark? Well it means that Saiyans doomed their own race by eradicating good-natured Saiyans, the only ones who would be capable of turning Super Saiyan and stopping Frieza from destroying them.
5 CLASSIST SOCIETY
The society of the Saiyans on Planet Vegeta is based on the power level of a person and their family, forming a classist society To make matters worse, a Saiyan's power is judged at birth, and they are classified as babies without a second thought or chance. This is already a dark fact, but it's made darker by the fact than none of it holds up.
King Vegeta and his bloodline are thought to be the strongest Saiyans of all, but as we all know, this isn't true. King Vegeta was actually pretty weak, dying easily at the hands of Frieza, and he was surpassed by Goku, who was of a low-class family and had a low power level at birth. This means that the Saiyan's entire societal structure is a lie and that King Vegeta was merely trying to secure his family's place on the throne.
4 STOLEN TECH
The Tuffles were not a particularly strong race. They were smaller than Saiyans and didn't have naturally high power levels. Thus, they relied on technology to defend themselves, especially against the Saiyans. Again, some of this might not be canon, but we know for a fact that Saiyans were much less technologically advanced than Tuffles.
In fact, most Saiyan technology was most likely stolen from them, as seen in the above image, where Tuffles are using scouter-like technology. Other technology that Saiyans used was most likely given to them by Frieza and his army, like their armor and ship transportation. This is kind of messed up because it means that Saiyans were made even more dangerous by technology that was never theirs to begin with.
3 INFILTRATION BABIES
This is by far one of the most screwed up aspects of Saiyan culture. Saiyans are enlisted as planet conquerers, we know this much. We also know that, depending on the strength of a Saiyan, they were sent in groups or by themselves to do this job. What most fans might not remember is that they also sent babies to conquer planets. In fact, they'd send low-power-level infants so they could prove themselves as warriors.
If that wasn't bad enough, Saiyan babies like Goku were not simply meant to take over the planet they were sent to, they were also meant infiltrate the native species. After accomplishing this, their Saiyan instincts would kick in and they'd destroy the people of the world and leave it open for invasion. The only reason Goku didn't do this was because he suffered a head injury that made him much more docile and empathetic.
2 TAILS AND NERVES
Saiyan tails were sort of a big part of Dragon Ball before they, and the great ape form, were eventually left behind for bigger and better things. Because of this, fans might not think too hard about Saiyans' tails, and if they did, they'd find some disturbing facts. Think about what a tail is for a second: an extension of an animal's spine, and thus their spinal chord, a bundle of sensitive nerves.
We've already seen just how sensitive Saiyan's tails can be, but what about the other ramifications? With Saiyans who have had their tails cut off, think about what kind of phantom limb that causes, and just how painful it was to have it cut off in the first place. Even more painful would be when/if it grows back! Can you imagine what growing more spine would feel like?!
1 UNIVERSE 6 SAIYANS
Goku, Vegeta and their respective kids might be the only Saiyans left in the universe, but that's just one universe, and as we learned in Dragon Ball Super there is more than one universe. The main Dragon Ball universe is Universe 7, and its twin universe is Universe 6. This universe also has Saiyans, and they're different from Universe 7's.
First of all, they don't have tails. This means that they don't have the power to turn into great apes, but it doesn't mean that they're weaker. In fact, it's kind of hard to get a grasp on the power of Universe 6 Saiyans. They've been shown to learn how to go Super Saiyan incredibly fast, in less than a few minutes, but they have also been shown to suffer permanent injury. The latter was seen in Cabba's mentor, Renso, who could not fight because of a long-standing leg injury.