The proud and mighty race of Saiyans once hailed from the Planet Vegeta. They shared the planet with the more advanced race called the Tufles. Once every eight years Vegeta has a full moon, during the full moon all the Saiyans transformed into Giant Apes and destroyed the Tufles. Stealing their technology (including the Scouter). After the planet's takeover, they began to work for the Galactic Overlord Frieza. Working as Frieza's private mercenaries, the Saiyans would go from one planet to the next and destroy all life to prepare it to be sold off on the interstellar market. Due to a fear that Saiyans were becoming too powerful and an ominous prophecy that a legendary "Super Saiyan" would arise and destroy him, Frieza destroyed Planet Vegeta and all the Saiyans that were on it. Only a handful of Saiyans, most of whom were away from the planet when it was destroyed, survived.
Of those who were born on Planet Vegeta, the surviving Saiyans included:
- Goku (sent to earth as a child to prepare it for sale)
- Vegeta (out on assignment at the time)
- Nappa (out with Vegeta)
- Broly (protected himself and Paragus from Frieza's attack and escaped)
- Paragus (protected by Broly)
Appearance and Attributes
While a true-born Saiyan will have black hair (and in rare cases brown) and black eyes, one of the most distinctive traits would have to be their monkey tail. All Saiyans are born with a tail which lets them transform, under a full moon or sometimes alternative means, into a Great Ape known as an Oozaru. At a young age, the tail will grow back if severed, but at some point in a Saiyan's life his tail may stop regrowing. The tail is also sometimes considered a weakness; if it is squeezed hard enough the Saiyan becomes completely powerless, however the tail can be strengthened to remove this weakness. Saiyans can also fuse with others to combine their strengths. This is not an ability unique to the Saiyan race however, as the methods used to achieve these fusions are borrowed from other races.
A true Saiyan's hair stays exactly the same in both style and length throughout his or her life. This is discovered when Bulma asks Vegeta why his hair hadn't grown during the time he spent in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber to which he answered "For your information a pure Saiyan's hair does not change from the day that he is born."
Saiyans also have the unique ability to become stronger after battles that are particularly tough. The closer a Saiyan comes to death during a battle the stronger he will become when he recovers. This, and a healthy dose of pride, cause Saiyans to constantly seek out tougher and more deadly opponents. A good example of this ability was in a desperate attempt to defeat Frieza; Vegeta asked Krillin to beat him to within an inch of his life, which Krillin eventually agreed to. After being healed by the young Namekian Dende, Vegeta became strong enough to take on Frieza.
Transformations and Forms
Oozaru (Great Ape)
If a Saiyan still has his tail he is able to transform into an enormous ape called an Oozaru at the cost of losing much of his control. Oozarus have dark brown fur which covers their entire bodies apart from their feet, hands, face and ears. They also have completely red eyes. Technically, a Saiyan need only absorb enough "Bruit Waves" (known as "Blutz Waves" in the English dub), which is sunlight reflected off the moon and measured in "Zeno" units, to initiate a transformation. Vegeta was able to simulate the necessary amount of waves by using a "Power Ball" and transform at will. Vegeta was also able to maintain control while in this form, due to his training and "Elite" Saiyan status. Saiyans are said to be 10 times as powerful as their regular forms while in this state.
After transforming into an Oozaru, a Saiyan who has become a Super Saiyan also has the ability to become a Golden Oozaru. Naturally this new form is far stronger than a regular Oozaru as a Super Saiyan is far stronger than a Saiyan in his normal state. This may be the form Vegeta referred to as the "Legendary Super Saiyan" who lived over 1000 years ago and could only maintain his status while in the transformed (Oozaru) state. Because of the primitive nature of the Oozaru form, the Legendary Super Saiyan's rage consumed him, and he was destroyed by his own power. Like the Super Saiyan forms, the hair on the Golden Oozaru's head becomes spikey and stands upright.
False Super Saiyan
Originally depicted as the Super Saiyan form by Toei (Dragonball's animation company). It was called Super Saiyan in Dragonball Z movie 4 but was later changed to "Giji Supa Saiya-jin" which means "False Super Saiyan". It was explained that this is the form a Saiyan can take while on their way to becoming a true Super Saiyan. While the Saiyan's hair doesn't really become spikey and stand upright like in the true Super Saiyan form, it "flows" upright. The irises and pupils seemingly disappear and while no golden hair is present, the Saiyan gains the same golden aura seen in the full transformation.
Super Saiyan (SSJ)
Once thought only possible by The Legendary Super Saiyan, transforming into a Super Saiyan is only the first link in the Saiyan power chain. When transformed a Saiyan's hair becomes gold and stands on end, and both the pupils and irises of their eyes become green. In this form a Saiyan's power level is substantially increased at the expense of an incredible amount of stress on his body. While the Super Saiyan transformation is initially a reaction to intense anger and stress, training and discipline can allow a Saiyan to transform at will. Goku was the first character in the series to achieve this transformation.
Super Saiyan 2nd Grade
This is a powered up form of the original Super Saiyan. The most noticable change is in the Saiyan's physique; the muscles are much larger than those of a normal Super Saiyan. The hair also becomes slightly longer. This form offers much more power without losing any speed. Vegeta liked to call himself "Super Vegeta" while in this form and created a new attack called the "Final Flash".
Super Saiyan 3rd Grade (Ultra Super Saiyan)
A Super Saiyan can power up even further to become a Super Saiyan 3rd Grade, or as fans sometimes like to call it, an "Ultra Super Saiyan". The level of power achieved in this form is close to that of a Super Saiyan 2, however it has a severe weakness: it's too slow. The muscle mass of the Saiyan increases to such a point that the Saiyan loses a considerable amount of speed and the form becomes practically useless. Goku and Vegeta immediately noticed this problem and decided not to use the form, while Trunks tried to fight Cell with it, and quickly lost. The Saiyan's hair becomes very large and spikey compared to previous Super Saiyan forms.
Full-Power Super Saiyan (Mastered Super Saiyan)
After discovering the weaknesses of forcefully increasing his power level, Goku decided that simply mastering the Super Saiyan form would be a better way to become more powerful. Inside the Hyperbolic Time Chamber Goku and Gohan stayed in their Super Saiyan forms until it felt completely normal and the form could be sustained indefinitely. This stopped all of the negative effects of the form including energy consumption, stress on the body and increased aggression. It also meant that by staying as Super Saiyans constantly, they could generate more power later and become stronger and faster. It is believed that after the Cell saga, all of the Super Saiyans achieved this level.
Super Saiyan 2 (SSJ2)
The next full stage of transformation for a Saiyan is Super Saiyan 2. The noticeable differences in appearance are the in the rendering of lighting that surrounds the body and even more upright, spikier golden hair. It should be noted that in the Super Saiyan 2 form there is usually one lock of hair that falls in front of the face. In this form a Saiyan's power level, speed and bodily stress greatly increase. Gohan was the first one to achieve this form during his fight with Cell. Goku had previously seen a glimpse of the transformation during their training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, which is what made him confident Gohan was the one to defeat Cell. This was the only full Super Saiyan level that was not first achieved by Goku.
Super Saiyan 3 (SSJ3)
In this rare form the classic Super Saiyan's golden spikey hair becomes incredibly long like a mane and he also completely loses his eyebrows. The lightning from the Super Saiyan 2 form is also still present. Though the power levels are extremely high, the toll on a Saiyan's body is extreme and his energy drains rapidly. As a result the form can only be maintained for short periods of time. However it had a different effect on Gotenks. When he used the Super Saiyan 3 form, instead of it having a negative effect on his body and energy consumption, it shortened the time he could stay in his fused form from 30 minutes to 10. The Super Saiyan 3 form was the highest transformation achievable in the manga.
Super Saiyan 4 (SSJ4)
This is the ultimate Saiyan transformation which only full Saiyans (as opposed to Half-Breeds like Gohan) can achieve. To achieve this form a Saiyan must first become a Golden Oozaru and then gain control over that form to be able to start the transformation. After the first transformation the Saiyan can become a Super Saiyan 4 at any time at will. Goku had his tail pulled out to full length again so he could become an Oozaru, while Vegeta didn't have time to do this, so Bulma used a machine to focus large amounts of Bruit/Blutz waves onto his body, removing the need for his tail. He then transformed into an Oozaru, pretended to go berserk to frighten Goku, and finally transformed into a Golden Oozaru and then a Super Saiyan 4.
Drastically different in appearance from other Super Saiyan forms, this transformation is characterized by long, wild spikey hair and fur that covers most of the body. The color of the hair, fur and eyes differ for each Saiyan. In addition, a Saiyan will also keep the tail from the Oozaru form. This form is extremely powerful, as illustrated by the appearance of a new set of snazzy pants.
The Legendary Super Saiyan
While all of the transformations above can be achieved by any Saiyan, "The Legendary Super Saiyan" is a transformation unique to the Saiyan Broly. To see information about this unique transformation and Broly himself, check out the Broly page.