|"And this... is to go even further beyond!"
— Goku ("Super Saiyan 3?!")
Super Saiyan 3 (超サイヤ人 スリー, Sūpā Saiya-jin Surī) is the third form of Super Saiyan and the successor to the second transformation. Goku was the first to achieve the form, and was able to do so after several years of vigorous training in Other World. Gotenks later achieves this form through the power of Trunks and Goten's fusion and Goku's example. In video games, Vegeta reaches the form through a combination of extreme rage and rigorous training, and Broly achieves his version of the form through a large Zenkai.
This form was once referred to as Ultra Super Saiyan (ウルトラ超サイヤ人; Urutora Sūpā Saiya-jin) by Trunks.
This form of Super Saiyan is achievable by a Saiyan who has already obtained the Super Saiyan 2 form, and then trains intensely. Notably, it appears that this form can only be achieved under out-of-the-norm circumstances, as Goku achieved the form while dead, and while Goten and Trunks could not attain the form, their fusion Gotenks was able to.
The form uses a Saiyan's full potential with power extracted from every drop of their blood. Where the third stage of Super Saiyan's purpose was 100% utilization of physical stamina, the purpose of the Super Saiyan 3 transformation is to increase the utilization of ki, and as a result, the transformation consumes far more energy than even Super Saiyan 2. This notably leads to extended levels of fatigue, even long after powering down. If the user has died and is not encumbered by a living body, this strain is reduced somewhat, and additional energy depletion is minimized (such as in Goku's case during his first fight with Majin Buu). The difference between Super Saiyan 3 and Super Saiyan 2, its predecessor, is immediately noticeable as speed, strength and endurance are all pushed far beyond the normal limits. The sudden awakening of Super Saiyan 3 is such a violent explosion of power that the user could potentially obliterate themself. A Super Saiyan 3 can easily beat opponents that a Super Saiyan 2 couldn't handle.
The first time that Goku used this form on Earth, its power caused massive tidal waves and hurricanes and nearly shook the planet apart. During subsequent transformations, Goku seemingly controlled it enough to prevent such dangerous side-effects. In addition, this power could be sensed even as far as the distance between Earth and Sacred World of the Kai, something that not only shocked Supreme Kai, Kibito, and Gohan, but worried them as well.
However, with the enormous power, there are some very serious setbacks stemming from the rapid use of ki energy. When the temporally revived Goku showed Babidi and Majin Buu the form, he cut his remaining temporal revival energy in half, and in the anime when he shows his power to the excited Trunks and Goten, his energy was completely dissipated, forcing him to return to the Other World. It was stated by Piccolo, however, that Dende's healing ability would've made Goku's revival energy return back to normal.
Likewise, when the now fully living Super Saiyan 3 Goku attempted to regain energy while Vegeta and Mr. Satan distracted Kid Buu, he was unable to do so, draining his power completely and leaving him in a weakened, normal state where he could not even control the Spirit Bomb. Goku acknowledged that he had little experience with the transformation, with his fight with Kid Buu being the first time he used it in a full fight with a living body. Performing it twice in a short time brought him to his knees and expended all of his remaining energy (in the manga, he does not revert to his original form until after Vegeta intervenes to buy him the minute that he needed, however). The fused Gotenks was not able to maintain the transformation for very long either, reverting to his base form after substantially less than thirty minutes transformed.
In Dragon Ball Super these energy-sapping issues appear to be circumvented by Goku , through the utilisation of Super Saiyan 3 in an extremely sporadic fashion for quick power boosts to overwhelm enemies. E.g. during his sparring bout with Future Trunks. Using the form in this way does not appear to have the same exhaustive effect on the user that it does have when used for prolonged periods of time.
The energy drain issues are exacerbated even further when Goku is turned back into a child in Dragon Ball GT, where he can only hold the transformation for a couple of seconds and struggles to utilize the power against Baby Vegeta. This limit was somewhat lifted after Goku's tail was restored with the help of Elder Kai, allowing him to sustain the form for a longer duration, though he was still no match for Super Baby Vegeta in this state.
The transformation causes some stark changes in physical appearance. The trademark characteristic of the transformation is the user's hair: the rigid hair of the Super Saiyan 2 state becomes flowing and smooth again, and grows down to or sometimes passes the user's waist (unless the user in question is bald, in which case the user is still bald.). In the case of users who already had waist-length hair in base form, the hair also reaches below the feet. The hair color of Super Saiyan 3 is still golden blonde, but takes on a darker and more yellower shade of gold compared to the previous Super Saiyan forms, which had a paler shade of gold when not surrounded by an aura. The eyebrows vanish completely, making the forehead and eye ridges appear larger and revealing a more prominent brow ridge; these traits do not apply to female Super Saiyan 3 in either Dragon Ball Heroes or Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2. A small increase in muscle mass is evident, and muscle tone is sharply defined. Energy radiation is so great that the aura pulses at an extremely high frequency, almost to the point where it seems static; the sound of the aura is also pitched even higher than that of Super Saiyan 2. Bio-electricity, like in the Super Saiyan 2 form, is again constant, and may reach further outward from the body than before. The Saiyan's voice may become slightly deeper, though this is obviously a feature only found in the anime. If the user of the Super Saiyan 3 form has a tail, it turns yellowish gold. There is no personality change, as no emotion is required to initiate the transformation (Goku acted stoic to intimidate Babidi and Majin Buu, and Gotenks acted as he normally would). Another notable change is that the user seems to "glow" while in this state, more so than before, where the skin and clothes color were lightened, but not as much as the color change of this form (this mostly applies to training gi; when Goku transforms into Super Saiyan 3, his training gi appears to be rather gold and blue instead of orange and blue, however, in most recent animations, and Dragon Ball Super, this glowing effect does not appear, when Goku is in Super Saiyan 3 without his aura in the series, particularly during his fight with Beerus, his skin and clothes do not glow, and always remain in their normal color as his base form).
In Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, it is revealed that if a Saiyan is bald, their hair will grow out when using the Super Saiyan 3 transformation. However in Super Dragon Ball Heroes, humorously Nappa remains bald after transforming into a his Super Saiyan 3 form and instead his beard hair grows out. Presumably these differences can be explained as being due to Nappa having gone bald due to his age which would prevent any hair from growing while transformed, while Saiyans in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 may only have shaved heads allowing their SSJ3 hair to grow out.
Usage and power
The Super Saiyan 3 form gives the user four times the strength of a Super Saiyan 2, so it multiplies a Super Saiyan's power by 8x times and the Saiyan's base power by 400x times its normal amount. Goku uses the Super Saiyan 3 transformation in a brief battle against Majin Buu in order to stall him long enough for Trunks to find the Dragon Radar. He was able to overtake the monster, almost matching him blow for blow. He eventually retreated from the fight, as he wanted Goten and Trunks to defeat Buu with their fusion technique, as he "wouldn't be around forever." Goku later stated he believed he could have killed Buu if he had actually tried, but held complete faith in Gotenks' ability to destroy him if they were to try the Fusion Dance.
This form was next seen used by Gotenks, the fusion between Goten and Trunks, the form, was first tested by the duo as Gotenks briefly before defusing (although we can only see them as brief silhouettes appearing and reappearing and surrounded by a large aura explosion), with Trunks calling it their "secret weapon" and "Ultra Super Saiyan", he stated that everyone would be stunned by their results, intending to use the form to surprise their opponent, and everyone. Later, during his fight with the new, more powerful version of Majin Buu. While in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Piccolo destroyed the only entrance in or out of the dimension, in hopes of trapping Super Buu inside, when he believed that Gotenks had lost and that the universe would be destroyed. Unfortunately, Super Buu was able to escape by ripping the dimensions open using intense sound waves from his own voice when he became angry at the thought of not having anymore food to eat. Learning from the things that Goku taught him about being Super Saiyan 3, Gotenks transforms into Super Saiyan 3 and rips up a hole in a similar fashion, shocking Piccolo. Once outside, Gotenks battled Super Buu in earnest. The two appeared to be an even match, with Gotenks appearing to gain the upper hand before the transformation wore off.
The Super Saiyan 3 state was truly pushed to the breaking point in the final battle against Kid Buu. Despite using his full power as a Super Saiyan 3, Goku had difficulty competing with the seemingly endless power supply of the Majin. Though he appeared to have the advantage for most of the fight before the ki drain became evident, his attacks seemed to be useless against Buu, and the transformation eventually caused his collapse from exhaustion. He later revealed that he might have been able to destroy Kid Buu when at full power, but let the fight drag on to give Vegeta a shot. Vegeta then powered up to a Super Saiyan 2 in order to buy him the time that Goku needed to get back up to full strength, but the immense stress of trying to gather his power forced him to revert to his normal state before reaching his maximum potential, leaving him heavily drained and unable to transform. It took a Super Spirit Bomb gathered from all the energies of Earth, the Ogres in Yemma's office, and the Namekian villagers that resided with Moori on New Namek, to finish off Kid Buu, and the Super Saiyan 3 form is never seen in the main manga storyline again.
Goku transforms into Super Saiyan 3 form after having battled Beerus as Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan 2 but none of them were causing effect. Even though his power and speed were increased by a huge amount in this form, it was not enough to even match with Beerus' skills. Super Saiyan 3 was also soon defeated when Beerus gently touched Goku's shoulder, causing him to go unconscious for a brief moment. In the Super Manga, Gotenks transforms into a Super Saiyan 3 while battling Beerus but is beaten just as easily as he was in the anime. This form is surpassed afterwards by the Super Saiyan God form, whom Goku utilizes against Beerus, followed by the Super Saiyan Blue form, achieved after gaining the power of Super Saiyan God, against the resurrected Frieza. It is from this moment on that Goku discontinued the usage of Super Saiyans 2 and 3 (Coincidentally, just like in GT), in favor of the more powerful god ki Super Saiyan Blue form, and during subsequent battles, Goku immediately goes regular Super Saiyan, or Blue, for tougher opponents, or initially Super Saiyan and then evolve directly to Super Saiyan Blue, avoiding the last two forms, due to already mastering the initial form, just like Goku switching from Super Saiyan straight to Super Saiyan 4 in GT, however, unlike GT, Goku does use the SSJ2 and SSJ3 forms during battle, albeit extremely sporadically.
In the Dragon Ball Super anime, Gotenks does not use his Super Saiyan 3 form until the battle with Cloned Vegeta, realizing that his regular form will not be sufficient to defeat him. After using several attacks, such as Grand Special Rolling Kick, Super Special Crash Hammer, and Finish Special Flash Strong Bomber, all proved to be futile. Cloned Vegeta then began to easily land a barrage of blows on Gotenks, defeating him with ease due to having power on par with Vegeta himself.
Goku reveals that he can still use the form during his sparring session against Future Trunks. Although the form was no longer overwhelmingly stronger than Goku's Super Saiyan 2 form, due to Goku's mastery of the basic Super Saiyan transformation, its quick power boost was enough to allow Goku to defeat Future Trunks and shatter the barrier surrounding their battle. In the Super manga, Goku also assumes the form, but is shocked to see Future Trunks, as a Super Saiyan 2, power himself up so much that his power matches Goku's as a Super Saiyan 3.
Goku once again uses this form while battling with the illusions of Nappa, Cell, Buu and Frieza, but this transformation is shown briefly. As the illusions get larger in size, Goku does not put up a fight in his Super Saiyan 3 form, and soon reverts back into his base form.
In Dragon Ball GT, Goku's small body caused him to have trouble using Super Saiyan 3. It could not handle the energy output of the transformation, and he could only hold the form for around one minute. When he attempted to fight Baby Vegeta, he was easily beaten down. After having his tail restored, he becomes able to freely use the transformation, but the gap between Baby Vegeta's Super form achieved after receiving all the energies of the half-Saiyans and the Earthlings that he possessed was far too big for him to even land any damage, and he reverted to his normal state, only to transform into a Golden Great Ape, and then into Super Saiyan 4, defeating Baby after a prolonged fight. It was after this fight that Goku discontinued the usage of Super Saiyan 3, as it was heavily outclassed by the raw power and minimal setbacks of Super Saiyan 4.
While possessed by Baby, Vegeta transforms into a form where his hair lengthens, he has a single prominent bang that curved across his face and loses his eyebrows: all of those traits of the Super Saiyan 3 form. This has caused the authors of the Dragon Ball GT Perfect Files to theorize that the additional power that Baby drew from his followers may have caused Vegeta to reach a mutated version of the state.
In the spin-off manga Dragon Ball Heroes: Victory Mission, the Saiyan Hero Beat manages to tap into Super Saiyan 3 power in-game during his battle with Black Smoke Shenron. He later achieves the form during his in-game battle with Oceanus Shenron.
- Strongest Form 2 - The Saiyan-Tuffle hybrid's equivalent of the Super Saiyan 3 form. Introduced in Dragon Ball GT.
- Legendary Super Saiyan 3 - The Legendary Super Saiyan equivalent of Super Saiyan 3. Introduced in Dragon Ball: Raging Blast and appears in several video games.
"Now! Finally comes the one you've been waiting for! The legendary Super Saiyan 3." — Goku showing off his Super Saiyan transformations to Beerus
In the movie Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn, Goku uses the Super Saiyan 3 transformation to defeat Janemba, only to have his foe transform into an even more powerful state, "Super" Janemba. Despite holding his own for a good while, Goku is eventually defeated when Super Janemba creates a sword from a discarded Ogre club and begins firing energy blades from it, an attack that Goku has no defense against. It takes the combined efforts of Goku and Vegeta, fused into Gogeta, to take down the demon.
In the movie Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon, Goku battles the evil monster Hirudegarn in his Super Saiyan 3 form. He is able to kill the monster by using his Dragon Fist technique. Goten and Trunks also fused into Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks during the fight with Hirudegarn, and used his Continuous Die Die Missile attack on Hirudegarn's first stage, followed by a ki blast which seemed successful in destroying the monster. However, Hirudegarn was still alive and transformed into his second form and swatted Gotenks into the ground, hitting him so heavily that he defused and reverted to Goten and Trunks. Between the Buu Saga and the movie, it is worth noting that Goku's Super Saiyan 3 transformation appeared to have increased in power to the point that Gohan and Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks appeared to be weaker than him; Hirudegarn had no difficulty whatsoever in overpowering Gohan, but Super Saiyan 3 Goku was able to take multiple hits from the monster and continue fighting, albeit in bad condition.
In Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Goku battles Beerus the Destroyer in his Super Saiyan 3 form. During the subsequent fight, Goku is completely dominated by Beerus, who effortlessly blocks and dodges his attacks. Goku is even smashed hard into the ground by merely a flick of Beerus' finger. Goku continues to engage Beerus, and unleashes a mighty punch that blows right through King Kai's planet. However, it misses, and Beerus' incredible speed allows him to come up behind Goku and knock him unconscious with a chop to the neck. The Super Saiyan 3 form is later succeeded in power by the Super Saiyan God form during the events of the film.
Video game appearances
The Super Saiyan 3 form appears in the Butōden series, the Budokai series, Dragon Ball Z: Buu's Fury, the Budokai Tenkaichi series, and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z. Super Saiyan 3 Goku is a playable character, while Gotenks transforms briefly into a Super Saiyan 3 during his meteor attack in Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22. Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks is a playable character, while Goku transforms briefly into a Super Saiyan 3 during his meteor attack/ultimate in Dragon Ball Z: Hyper Dimension and Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors 2. Gotenks transforms into a Super Saiyan 3 only for his super attacks in Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu, and he has the form under the name Ultra Super Saiyan in Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors and Super 3 in Supersonic Warriors 2.
In 2009, Super Saiyan 3 Vegeta became available in the arcade video game Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Battlers, an arcade video game released only in Japan. On August 19, 2009, a scan of V-Jump was released showcasing and revealing one of the two exclusive characters announced for Dragon Ball: Raging Blast. This character is a Super Saiyan 3 version of Broly, as part of a what-if scenario for the story mode. On October 8, 2009, a scan of V-Jump magazine was released showcasing a Super Saiyan 3 Vegeta to appear in Raging Blast as part of a what-if scenario. Both Super Saiyan 3 versions of Broly and Vegeta return in Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2. In Raging Blast 2, Broly's Super Saiyan 3 hair color is slightly made darker. Also in Raging Blast 2, there are two images of Super Saiyan 3 Broly and Vegeta that seem to be taken from either an anime or movie, despite the two never appearing in the anime series. Though this is officially a Super Saiyan 3 form, Broly's form is referred to as Legendary Super Saiyan 3 in one of the early trailers for Raging Blast (in which Goku exclaims "Densetsu Supa Saiya-jin Suri!").
The arcade game Dragon Ball Heroes introduces many characters with the capability to transform into Super Saiyan 3. Beginning in March 2011, Super Saiyan 3 adolescent version of Future Trunks debuted, while in May of the same year, Super Saiyan 3 Vegeta also appeared. In January 2012, Super Saiyan 3 Broly was added. Super Saiyan 3 GT Trunks was made for the game in March 2012, while Super Saiyan 3 Gogeta was revealed in July 2012. In March 2013, the Super Saiyan 3 was given to GT Vegeta and in July of the same year, Super Saiyan 3 Future Gohan along with another Super Saiyan 3 teenage clothing version of Future Trunks were added. In January 2014, adult Gotenks appears as Super Saiyan 3 and was followed by Vegito in March of the same year. In July 2015, Super Saiyan 3 Xeno Bardock debuted, while in September of the same year, Super Saiyan 3 Xeno Trunks and Super Saiyan 3 adolescent Gohan were also announced. In March 2016, Xeno Gotenks attained the form. The game also features female Super Saiyan 3, with the three Female Saiyan avatars. Additionally, Vegeta possess a second version of the form named Destruction Prince Super Saiyan 3 (Hakaioji Super Saiyan 3) separate from his normal Super Saiyan 3 form in-game, this is not inherently a different form from Super Saiyan 3 but is rather the result of Demon Prince Vegeta turning into a Super Saiyan 3 and as such is treated separate in-game.
In Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, the Future Warrior can access this form through the Super Saiyan Awoken Skill (which give the Warrior access to their Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan 2, and Super Saiyan 3 forms). It requires 5 or more Ki Bars in order to access the Super Saiyan 3 form. When using their Super Saiyan 3 form, certain headgear accessories (such as hats and wigs) will be removed while transformed. Additionally, if the Future Warrior is bald, their hair will grow out during their Super Saiyan 3 transformation. A male Future Warrior will lose their eyebrows during this transformation, while females retain their eyebrows during this transformation.
- Akira Toriyama had originally designed the Super Saiyan 3 transformation to have a tail, although the tail was scrapped and saved for Super Saiyan 4. It was, however, later used for Dragon Ball GT.
- There appear to be six slightly different appearances for Super Saiyan 3:
- 1. When Goku, Vegeta (from the Raging Blast series) and Gogeta (from Dragon Ball Heroes) transform into Super Saiyans 3, their green eyes acquires dark green pupils.
- 2. When Gotenks, Goku (GT), Vegeta (from Dragon Battlers), and Trunks (from Dragon Ball Heroes) transform into Super Saiyan 3's, they do not have dark green pupils. Broly has no pupils or irises while in this form, a common feature of his Legendary Super Saiyan forms.
- 3. Broly's Super Saiyan 3 transformation retains some Legendary Super Saiyan traits such as the greenish tint in his hair and his massive size. Though this is officially a Super Saiyan 3 form, Broly's form is referred to as Legendary Super Saiyan 3 in one of the early trailers for Raging Blast in which Goku exclaims "Densetsu Supa Saiya-jin Suri!" (which translates to "Legendary Super Saiyan 3!").
- 4. Gohan/Future Gohan possesses the 4th variant seen, having 2 bangs in front of their head instead of the usual 0 or 1.
- 5. Raditz possesses the 5th variant seen, which has his hair reaching down to his feet (owing to his base form already having waist-length hair).
- 6. Nappa possesses the 6th variant seen, which completely lacks hair (owing to Nappa being bald), yet compensates for this by giving Nappa a spiky gold lengthy goatee.
- In a panel of Dragon Ball SD dedicated to congratulating Saikyo Jump on its third anniversary, Kid Goku, Yamcha, Puar, Krillin, and Master Roshi all appear as Super Saiyan 3. Humorously, due to Krillin and Roshi being bald there are very little changes on them, though Roshi's beard becomes golden. However, Yamcha and Goku should have one string of hair falling, instead Goku looks like Gotenks while Yamcha, like Vegetto, without the hair falling.
- In the FUNimation dub, after Goku's energy is depleted from his battle as a Super Saiyan 3 against Kid Buu, he stated that his Super Saiyan 3 form was easy to maintain in his non-living state in Other World, but his living body uses twice as much energy in comparison.
- In the game Dragon Ball Heroes, Future Trunks and young Future Trunks have different Super Saiyan 3 hair styles. One has one long hair bang on the right and the other has two short hair bangs on both sides.
- In the game Dragon Ball Heroes, Vegito and Xeno Vegito have different Super Saiyan 3 hair styles. One has one short hair bang on the left and the other has two short hair bangs on both sides.
- In the game Super Dragon Ball Heroes, it is shown that Saiyans with facial hair (in this case Nappa) will also grow it longer while in this form.
- As a Super Saiyan 3, Goku's voice sounds a lot deeper and rougher (similar to his Super Saiyan 4 form) in the FUNimation dub.
- Users of the Super Saiyan 3 use a stoic-like stance to intimidate their opponents, the same thing applies to users of the Super Saiyan 4, Super Saiyan God, and Super Saiyan Blue forms, whom the users of those forms take on an intimidating stance upon initially transforming, possibly to show off how strong those users are.