Great Ape (大猿, Ōzaru; lit. "Great Monkey") is a giant, monkey-like creature that Saiyans can transform into at the full moon to increase their already formidable strength tremendously. Dragon Ball GT Perfect Files speculates that Saiyans were originally Great Apes who gained intelligence and took on a humanoid form.
Concept, name, and appearance
The transformation is similar to how werewolves transform at the full moon. Originally in the series, the Great Ape was a transformation for Goku, this character being a parody of a monkey king Sun Wukong from the novel Journey to the West. Later in the series, Great Ape is discovered to be a transformation that is accessible to the characters who possess heritage from the Saiyans.
The original Japanese name literally translates to "great ape", "giant ape", "king ape", or "large monkey". FUNimation Entertainment labels this form "Great Ape", but it is more monkey-like because of its tail.
Great Apes are similar to King Kong, a giant gorilla that first appeared in a 1933 film, but with a tail, a more baboon-like head, razor sharp teeth, and red eyes. Although its muscular build is similar to a gorilla, as the series progresses, the musculature design of the Great Ape form becomes more prominent and defined. Overall, the design of the Great Ape form does not directly resemble a single species of existing primate.
Conditions for transformation
In order for the transformation to take place, the Saiyan needs to have a tail, as the glands responsible for initiating the transformation are located exclusively there. The Saiyan also needs to absorb at least 17 million zeno units of Blutz Waves through the eyes to initiate the transformation. Blutz Waves are found only in sunlight reflected by a moon. If there is no moon, a planetary body will reflect the same amount of rays. The easiest way to achieve this is to gaze at the full moon, making Saiyans similar to werewolves in this aspect. If any clouds covered the moon and/or a planetary body, it would block certain amounts of the radiation. Vegeta once made himself transform by firing Power Ball, which is a "fake moon" reflecting the requisite amount of Blutz Rays into the air, and then staring at it. A device on board Saiyans' Attack Pods also project a hologram of a moon that was realistic enough to allow Blutz Waves to be reflected in the event of their landing on a planet that lacks a moon, as evidenced by an incident where Gohan went Great Ape while training for fighting the Saiyans prior to their invasion due to Goku's attack pod reactivating.
In the movie, Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might, Turles did the same thing to provoke a transformation in Gohan as a joke, for he knew he was powerful enough to handle him. According to Turles in the same film, the Power Ball's residual effect would keep Gohan (and any other transformed Saiyan) in their Great Ape form for a limited amount of time even if the Power Ball is destroyed (which Turles does). It can be assumed that, since it is so close to the planet, weather conditions do not affect the Power Ball's radiation output.
If a natural source of Blutz Waves (a full moon or planet) was destroyed or the tail is amputated, this would cause the Saiyan to instantly transform back to their humanoid form. In Dragon Ball Online, a Saiyan cannot be transformed to this form if the one is using a mask provided by the Time Breakers, since it blocks the Blutz Waves, no matter how much time one spends looking at the moon.
Characteristics of Saiyans in Great Ape form
A Great Ape's power level is equal to the Saiyan's power level prior to the transformation multiplied by ten (though in Dragon Ball Z: Kyōshū! Saiyan it instead multiplies it by four). The color for the Great Ape's fur is usually brown and eyes are red as well. A Saiyan loses the ability to reason in this form, and will typically display berserk and destructive characteristics, even in the cases of protagonists. To quote Yamcha, "When Goku transforms like that, he loses all sense of himself. He's just a big hairy ape with a sweet tooth for ripping people's limbs off." However, they can still seem to regain some sense of friend and foe deep within their subconscious, as has been demonstrated when Goku was able to get Great Ape Gohan to attack Vegeta. Krillin theorized that half-earthling Saiyans that have transformed retain their human mind, enabling their loved ones to break through to them.
Despite the lack of self-awareness, as Saiyans mature, they can potentially be taught how to reign in their instincts and retain normal cognitive functions as Great Apes. This displayed by Vegeta, who unlike Goku and Gohan, did received this training, and was even able to talk. Saiyans still manipulate their energy in this state for feats like flight and shooting beams, most commonly from their mouth in a manner akin to (and possibly an intentional homage to) Godzilla's Atomic Breath.
As the transformation causes the Saiyan to grow to several times their original size, the Saiyans wear special armor which can stretch to fit the Great Ape form and shrink back to fit their normal form, Goku and Gohan don't have this, since they live on Earth, so the transformation rips their clothes apart meaning they revert to their normal forms naked. The transformation process back to normal appears to be very exhausting as even Vegeta, a fully-trained and "Elite" Saiyan was left very winded from the experience, whereas Goku and Gohan were always rendered unconscious.
A Great Ape's size remains mostly inconsistent throughout the Dragon Ball franchise, ranging from at least 50 feet tall to titanic stature. When first shown in Dragon Ball, it was the size of a Toei Kaiju, easily dwarfing Pilaf's entire castle, though later depictions shrank its size. A generalization is that most average humanoid Saiyans can fit into the palm of a Great Ape's hand. As far as Goku's first (shown) transformation goes, he is much larger in the anime than he is in the manga. In the Budokai Tenkaichi series, the Great Ape's size were significantly cut down to likely 25–30 feet tall but they are still the largest characters in the game.
- Goku first transforms when Emperor Pilaf seals him and his friends inside a chamber designed to amplify the sun's rays, effectively cooking them alive when the sun rose but the full moon rose first so Goku proceeded to go on a rampage destroying Pilaf's entire castle. While Yamcha and company decide it would be best to stay away from Goku until morning, Goku suddenly left the castle and attacked them. In the anime, Pilaf tries to fight Great Ape Goku before his plane crashes, machine gun fire only annoyed Goku, while a missile only knocked him out for a short time. Yamcha then decided to try and cut his tail, thinking the pain would cause him to faint. Fortunately, removing his tail causes him to change back to normal. Earlier, Goku also mentions before transforming that his Grandpa Gohan told him never to look at the full moon and that Gohan was killed by a monster that comes out at the full moon, implying that Goku had transformed at least two times.
- Goku transforms again during the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament when his tail grows back, and once again the transformation saves him from being defeated. Although Yamcha is ready to try and cut his tail off again, Jackie Chun comes up with a more permanent solution and uses a Kamehameha to destroy the moon. Interestingly, Goku recovers from this de-transformation and is conscious again before the (delayed) 10 count finishes.
- Although Goku never transforms again due to the lack of a moon, a Great Ape appears as a representation of his hidden power possibly symbolizing that he has become as strong as if he really was in his Great Ape form, most evident when he kills King Piccolo using his Penetrate! technique. By the time Goku is introduced as a young adult during the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, his tail is absent. When asked about this, Goku claimed Kami once offered to restore the moon in exchange for his tail to be removed.
Dragon Ball Z
- As Raditz tells Goku about the Saiyans' power, Bulma, Krillin, and Master Roshiremember Goku's Great Ape transformations.
- Gohan transforms when he is out in the wild. Once again, the transformation proves to be useful in a way as it gets Gohan down from a high peak he was stuck on. Piccolothen destroys the moon, and just in case, removes Gohan's tail. The power Piccolo saw Gohan display in his transformed state caused him to become frightened by the idea of how strong Nappa and Vegeta would be in that state.
- In the anime only, Gohan's tail grew back again, coincidentally during a time when Goku's space pod started projecting an image of the full moon in the night sky. Piccolo tries his best to stop him, but is unable to match the Great Ape Gohan. He eventually finds the source of the moonlight and destroys it, reverting Gohan back to normal. He then removes Gohan's tail once again. Several Homages to Goku's second transformation occur here, including Gohan transforming while being hit with an electrical attack.
- As King Kai tells Goku about the history of the Saiyans, a flashback shows that the Saiyans were able to completely destroy the Tuffles: By transforming into Great Apes due to a Full Moon that happens only once every seven years (eight in the dub versions), the Saiyan race was able to exterminate the Tuffles overnight.
- After Goku's Kamehameha manages to overcome Vegeta's Galick Gun, Vegeta becomes furious and decides that he needs to transform to beat him. He soon takes note at the lack of a moon as he had planned the arrival to coincide with the full moon in case transformation was needed. Unfortunately, he reveals that he is able to create a Power Ball to simulate the full moon's light, though this drains his power significantly. He then promptly transforms, overwhelming Goku completely and nearly kills him. His transformation is halted byYajirobe cutting off his tail. Vegeta's transformation into a Great Ape also causes Goku to finally realize the truth of his own Great Ape transformations in the past were responsible for the death of his Grandpa Gohan and for the damage at the World Martial Arts Tournament.
- During the same battle, Gohan's tail grows back and he uses the Power Ball still in the sky to transform. While Vegeta was able to initially get away from Gohan due to his unfocused rage, Goku was able to help Gohan focus on fighting Vegeta. Vegeta does surprisingly well against the beast, but is ultimately outmatched. He manages to cut Gohan's tail off with an energy disk, but then Gohan falls on him when transforming back, which (coupled with all of the other injuries) forced him to retreat.
- When Dodoria tells Vegeta about how Frieza got concerned about the Saiyans and destroyed them, a flashback shows a group of Saiyans transforming into Great Apes after one of them creates a Power Ball and destroys an entire planet.
- When Goku confronts the Ginyu Force, Vegeta's explanation of the legend of the Super Saiyan is a lot more detailed in the anime as it shows the original Super Saiyan as a Great Ape with yellowish fur instead of the standard brown.
- When Vegeta's spirit tells Goku about the Saiyans' near extinction at Frieza's hands, Vegeta appears in his original form, child form and Great Ape form.
- While technically not an appearance of a Great Ape per se, Krillin once commented on Future Trunks's 3rd Grade Super Saiyan form being similar to the Great Ape. Ironically, an actual Great Ape appeared in a montage told by Krillin mentioning his awe at the Saiyans' evolving powers.
- After this point, there are no Saiyans with tails remaining and the Great Apes are mostly ignored for the rest of the series. It makes one final appearance during Goku's Super Saiyan 3 transformation once again representing his hidden powers.
Dragon Ball GT
In Dragon Ball GT, the design for the Great Ape form is slightly different than in the original, as it is more muscular and appears to have a large round belly.
- When even Super Saiyan 3 Goku proves to be no match for Baby Vegeta, Old Kaidecides that the only way he will stand a chance is to regrow Goku's tail. And while Goku is defeated once again, by looking at the Full Earth, Goku once again transforms into a Great Ape, but becomes Golden Great Ape this time. In this form, he seems to be able to overpower Baby Vegeta, but is too primitive to focus on fighting him. Eventually, Pan is able to make Goku regain his composure and self-awareness long enough to undergoes the transformation into Super Saiyan 4.
- No match for Super Saiyan 4 Goku, Bulma (under Baby's control) creates a Blutz Wave Generator to transform Baby Vegeta into a Great Ape too. The beam is proven successful when Baby Vegeta transforms into a Golden Great Ape instead, increasing his power drastically. He reveals he is able to control his form, even able to use ki based attacks. As the battle progresses, it becomes obvious that Baby Vegeta is slowly becoming more and more out of control. Eventually, Goku stops Baby Vegeta by blasting his tail off.
- Remembering what the Blutz Wave machine did for Baby Vegeta, Bulma deduces that it can be used to help Vegeta reach Super Saiyan 4. The machine transforms Vegeta into a regular Great Ape. In this form, Vegeta attacks Goku. Goku reminds Vegeta of who he is and Vegeta regains his power over his mind. Then, after regaining his psych, he transforms into the Golden Great Ape, and then into Super Saiyan 4.
Movies and specials
- Goku transforms into a Great Ape near the end of Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle. Interestingly, even though the movie is set after Goku's first transformation, the scene plays out almost exactly like Goku's first transformation. Goku's transformation frees Yamcha and co from a dire situation, though, instead of destroying everything around him, he immediately chases after his friends. Yamcha once again grabs onto Goku's tail and although Goku isn't completely immobilized like last time, Puar is still able to cut Goku's tail off by transforming into scissors. A complete transformation and reversion sequence is lacking from this movie.
- In the movie Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might, Gohan's tail grows in the middle of a battle with Turles. Deciding to have a little fun, Turles creates a Power Ball and makes Gohan look at it. Interestingly, he destroys the Power Ball while Gohan is transforming without having an effect on the transformation. Goku fights Gohan with little luck against the beast, but Icarus appears and is able to calm Gohan down. Turles, annoyed at what is happening, blasts away Icarus, causing Gohan to attack Turles. Turles is ready to take down Gohan with one attack, but Goku uses an energy disk to cut Gohan's tail off saving him from Turles' attack.
- The TV Special Dragon Ball Z: Bardock - The Father of Goku starts off with Bardockand his team (Tora, Borgos, Shugesh and Fasha) destroying an entire civilization as Great Apes. The morning after, they have a conversation about how much they remember of the night prior and it is revealed that Bardock can apparently remember everything he does as a Great Ape, whether or not he has control of what he is doing is not said. Although technically they should be berserk, the entire team seem to be able to work together in Great Ape form, and refrain from attacking each other (which could be a reference to the fact that Saiyans are trained to control their Great Ape forms, like Vegeta in the Vegeta Saga).
- In Dragon Ball: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans, the Saiyans transforming into Great Ape during the final stage of theSaiyan-Tuffle war is shown in Dr. Raichi's flashback. Dr. Raichi is also shown being originally killed by a kick from a Great Ape, though is later brought back by Hatchiyack as a Ghost Warrior.
- The film Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! features a Great Ape during the opening animation, as it is an updated version of the original intro sequence. Also Tarble has a tail but he does not transform in the special.
- In the movie Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, a flashback shows Great Ape Goku destroying Pilaf's Castle when Pilaf sees Goten's hair is similar to that of Goku. An evil Saiyan is shown in this state during the flashback of his battle with the original Super Saiyan God.
- The remade Dr. Slump TV show features a crossover with Goku, during his time there, he transforms into a Great Ape and starts destroying Penguin Village, although Arale Norimaki does not find him threatening. Several attempts are made to bring him down, but it is only when Arale grabs onto his tail and throws him into an open area that Goku transforms back to his base form, presumably from exhaustion.
- Although Broly was not known to transform into the Great Ape in either his movies, he was confirmed to possess one in the Collectibles series and in the Dragon Ball Heroes arcade game, where he was shown in Great Ape and the latter game as a Golden Great Ape form.
In Dragon Ball, Great Apes were just large and powerful, without any special abilities; they just rampaged about destroying anything in their way. They did, however, share the same weakness as a regular Saiyan in that they can be rendered powerless if their tail was squeezed tightly enough.
In Dragon Ball Z, however, Great Apes became much more destructive with the ability to fire overwhelmingly powerful Ki blasts from their mouths. Additionally, Vegeta has shown that certain Saiyans of "Elite" status can control their Great Ape forms, even being able to speak while transformed. Vegeta's speed was not affected by the transformation and he could still fly, despite his massive size. It is also said that a Saiyan's power is multiplied tenfold when transformed into the Great Ape.
In Dragon Ball GT, Great Apes gain the ability to breath fire, which is further shown when Baby Vegeta uses the ability as well as the same ki based attacks he could use while not transformed.
The Great Ape transformation appears in the film Dragonball Evolution, where it is revised so that it is not a Saiyan transformation, but instead a god called Oozaru who works together with Piccolo to destroy the world before the latter is imprisoned. What happened to Oozaru after Piccolo's incarceration is never revealed. However he somehow bonds with Goku and after his eighteenth birthday during an eclipse Goku transforms into Oozaru. After transforming he sides with Piccolo once again by attempting to destroy Goku's friends, but it is not until he begins to fight Roshi that Goku then manages to stop himself. Afterward he transforms back to his regular form and accepts that Oozaru is within him and then proceeds to battle Piccolo. The transformation that causes Goku to morph into Oozaru is during a solar eclipse rather than staring into a full moon, and Goku does not need a Saiyan tail to transform. It should also be noted that he is smaller than the Great Ape being that Goku's clothes still fit on him.
Goku transforms in cutscenes in the Famicom game Dragon Ball 3: Gokuden and in the smartphone game Dragon Ball RPG: Shōnen-hen. In Dragon Ball Z: Kyōshū! Saiyan, Vegeta's Great Ape form is the final boss. Earlier in the game, Onion is able to transform into a Great Ape, which is a palette swap of Vegeta's form. Also, using a combination of "Tail" and "Moon" cards will allow Son Gohan to transform into a Great Ape, which gives a massive boost of power. Great Ape Gohan and Great Ape Vegeta appear in cutscenes in Dragon Ball Z: Idainaru Son Goku Densetsu.
In Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22, Kid Goku temporarily transforms into an Great Ape and thrash the opponent during his meteor attack. Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout features Baby Vegeta's Golden Great Ape as the final boss. He was taller than the screen, usually only visible from his waist down. His mouth blast, death ball, and other Ki attacks only hit if his opponent was in the air. This character was only playable with the use of an external cheat device.
Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku features the Great Ape forms of Vegeta and Gohan in cutscenes. The Game Boy Color game Dragon Ball Z: Legendary Super Warriors features Great Apes in cutscenes and, after completing the game, it is possible to acquire a card called "Tail" that allows the character to transform into a Great Ape temporarily for a single attack. Players are given a very brief time to control Goku's Golden Great Ape form in Dragon Ball GT: Transformation, and the final boss is Baby Vegeta's own Golden Great Ape form.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai features a Great Ape in the opening, as it is a 3-D revision of the anime's opening. Vegeta's Great Ape form also appears in a cutscene. Great Apes are featured in the ultimate attacks of Bardock and Kid Goku in Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3. Vegeta transforms into his Great Ape form for his Level 3 Super Attack in Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu (only his arm is seen).
While scaled down considerably, Great Apes are still the largest characters in the Budokai Tenkaichi series. Although Great Apes in the anime are depicted as being moderately fast despite their size, the Budokai Tenkaichi games depict them as very slow, presumably to balance out the incredible level of damage the Great Ape characters can give. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi is the first fighting game to feature Great Apes as playable characters: the generic Great Ape (which is used as a form for both Kid Goku and Gohan) and Great Ape Vegeta are playable. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 features the generic Great Ape (serving as Gohan's transformation in Dragon Adventure mode, although only Kid Goku can transform into it in other modes) and Great Ape Vegeta once more, while other Great Ape forms included are Great Ape Bardock and Golden Great Ape Baby Vegeta, as well as three Great Ape forms never seen in the Dragon Ball manga or the animes: Great Ape Raditz, Great Ape Nappa, and Great Ape Turles. Raditz retains his long hair while in his Great Ape form, which helps distinguish him from the others. Like Vegeta, Nappa has the ability to speak normally while in his Great Ape form, being a Saiyan elite and thus having control of his power when in Great Ape. Being a low-class soldiers, the other Saiyans in Budokai Tenkaichi 2 are unable to speak clearly as Great Apes. In addition to all the Great Apes from Budokai Tenkaichi 2, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 features the Great Ape forms of King Vegeta and Fasha. King Vegeta retains his beard and has the ability to talk in Great Ape form, like the other Saiyan elites Vegeta and Nappa. Fasha's Great Ape form marks the first appearance of a female Great Ape in a video game.
The Great Apes in Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi are Great Ape Vegeta, a random Great Ape shown in the Hero Mode of the game as a boss, and Baby Vegeta in Golden Great Ape form. Like other giant characters in the game, Great Apes are only included in boss fights and cinematics. It is also the case in Dragon Ball Z × One Piece: Battle Taikan Gomu Gomu no Kamehameha, Dragon Ball Z For Kinect, and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z.
Great Ape Vegeta is a boss in the Nintendo DS games Dragon Ball Z: Harukanaru Densetsu and Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans (as the final boss in the latter). Gohan also appears in this form in the game. Great Apes mind-controlled by Miira are enemies in the computer game Dragon Ball Online. Great Ape Goku, Great Ape Vegeta, Great Ape Gohan, Great Ape Bardock, Great Ape Evil Bardock, Great Ape King Vegeta, Golden Great Ape Goku and Golden Great Ape Baby Vegeta are bosses and playable characters in the arcade gameDragon Ball Heroes.
Broly takes on the Great Ape form in the JM7 trailer for Dragon Ball Heroes, and Evil Bardock can also transform into a mind-controlled Great Ape in the arcade game as well, as he has the Time Breakers' crystal symbol in his head while in this form.
In Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, the Great Ape makes a return as a boss character, with Great Ape Vegeta, Great Ape Nappa, and Great Ape Bardock being featured in the games as enemies, and, once in the case of the latter, an ally. In battle, Great Apes are unique in terms of how they are fought; attacks initially reduce their stamina bar, and when it is worn down to zero, attacks will deplete the health of the Great Ape while the stamina bar makes a quick recovery. Attacks to the tail when the Saiyan is in this state do particularly large amounts of damage, especially when a throw attack is performed.
Though Great Apes primarily serve as the game's Giant Bosses, in the Legendary Super Saiyan Saga, Great Ape Bardock briefly appears as a story support character to aid the Future Warrior against Dark Broly. After being accidentally transported off Dying Namek with the Future Warrior and Dark Broly by Dende's wish to transport everyone save for Goku and Frieza (as the events take place during the latter part of the Frieza Saga) an injured Bardock is found by Vegeta who after mistaking him for Goku, is asked by Bardock to create a Power Ball so he can transform into his Great Ape state in order to fight against Dark Broly. After transforming Great Ape Bardock destroys the Power Ball to prevent Broly from transforming into a Great Ape as well. Together Great Ape Bardock, the Future Warrior, and Vegeta are able to defeat Dark Broly and an exhausted Great Ape Bardock falls to ground and reverts to his base Saiyan form.
- Japanese version: Yasuhiko Kawazu
- FUNimation dub: Shane Ray (generic Great Ape), Justin Cook (Raditz), Phil Parsons (Nappa), Christopher Sabat (Vegeta and King Vegeta), Sonny Strait (Bardock), Linda Young (Fasha)
- One oddity about Great Apes is that they all seem to be about the same size, regardless of the person's age or size in base form. For example, Kid Gohan is much shorter than Vegeta, but when the two are in Great Ape form, they are roughly the same height.
- In the Arabic dub of the series, Saiyans "summon" their Great Apes instead of transforming into them.
- When Goku transforms into a Great Ape in the 1997 Dr. Slump remake, Goku is briefly seen as a Super Saiyan / Great Ape hybrid during the transformation.
- While the form is referred to as "Great Ape", apes are distinctive from monkeys due to a lack of tail. Technically then, the form should be referred to as "Great Monkey", due to the tail. It is interesting to note that the one time an Oozaru is shown without a tail, it is in the live action movie, Dragon Ball: Evolution.
- In the manga, Cabba revealed that the Universe 6 Saiyans have evolved to naturally no longer have tails, resulting in not being able to transform into Great Apes. However in the anime, the saiyans apparently lost their tails a long time ago, as Cabba has no knowledge that the Saiyans have tails.