Comic Legends: Why Did Goku's Hair Turn Blonde?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and sixtieth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week's legends. Click here for Part 2 of this week's legends.


Goku's hair turned blonde out of some nefarious Aryan-worship-type deal.


I'm Going With False

The other day, I did a list about memes involving Goku fighting against the Marvel Universe (for a guy like Goku, whose whole deal is that he likes to fight AND he is super powerful, it's only natural that he would attract people to creating memes that show him fighting against the Marvel Universe).


However, while reading about Goku for the list, I found some surprising legends about the character's change from the manga for Dragon Ball to the manga for Dragon Ball Z (both by his creator, Akira Toriyama). The changes, of course, also translated into the famous anime based on the acclaimed manga.

That change? Well, in the original Dragon Ball, Goku has black hair...

In Dragon Ball Z, Goku still has black hair in general, but when he transforms into his Super Saiyan form (which he does a lot, because, well, why WOULDN'T you transform into a more powerful version of yourself?), his hair suddenly turns blonde...


There's never an explanation within the actual series. It's just something that happens. The thing is, for years, Toriyama never really addressed WHY he made the change. When you're silent on a major change like this, then, well, people will fill in that stuff for you. And some of the reasons for WHY the change happened have not been very complimentary to Toriyama (to be fair, some of the reasons people have come up with have been normal enough, like a popular theory was that this was how angels were typically depicted, so Toriyama is trying to evoke iconic angel imagery), namely that Toriyama is tapping into the sort of pro-Aryana mentality that became so popular under the Nazis during the 1930s.


Finally, though, for Dragon Ball's 30th anniversary, Toriyama gave a wide-ranging interview about all things Dragon Ball and Goku and he set the record straight about WHY Goku turned Blonde...

After that Goku changed even further, becoming a Super Saiyan. How did you come up with that design?

I gave him blonde hair so that it wouldn’t be as much work for my assistant. He spent a lot of time blacking in Goku’s hair, and I had to erase over it. It was a real pain… (laughs)

His eyes change shape as well.

With the usual design for his eyes, it was hard to have him look off to one side. It made it hard to tell exactly where he was looking, so I wanted to give him eyes that would make this more clear. His eyes from right after he transforms for the first time and looks up at Freeza… I based those off of Bruce Lee. Since that look of his where he glares right at you is paralyzing! That’s what I wanted to do in the Freeza arc… Once Goku gave that look, as far as I was concerned the story arc was over. I was like, “They have to start fighting now? What a pain!” My goal was just to get to that look. But when it actually came time to draw it, it turned out a bit different than how I had imagined it. I still thought Bruce Lee looked a lot cooler. (laughs)

So, I dunno, I guess I can't read into Toriyama's mind or whatever, but his explanation sounds logical enough to me, so I'm willing to go with it.

Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed - How Did ‘Auld Lang Syne’ Become a New Year’s Tradition?

OK, that's it for this week!

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