The are the primary fictional humanoid extraterrestrial race
in the manga
series Dragon Ball
by Akira Toriyama
. In the series, the Saiyans are a naturally aggressive warrior race who were, purportedly, the strongest warriors in the fictional universe. The main protagonist Son Goku
(originally named Kakarrot) is revealed to be a Saiyan upon the race's introduction. Most of the race was exterminated by the galactic overlord Frieza
after Goku was born.
In addition to the name Saiya being an anagram of the Japanese word yasai (lit. "vegetable"), full-blooded Saiyan characters in the series are also given names based on vegetable puns.
The history of the Saiyan race prior to their service to Frieza is not covered by the original manga. It is, however, a central theme of the Baby Saga in Dragon Ball GT. Although the manga does not tell of the origins the Saiya-jin race, the complete history of the Saiyans was revealed in the Dragonball Z OVA. The Saiyans were a group of barbaric aliens who came to the Tuffle planet seeking refuge from the destruction of their original home world by the hands of an out of control Legendary Super Saiyan. When the Saiyans first arrived they met the friendly Tuffles, an advanced scientific race who had sympathy for them and allowed them to stay, not knowing the Saiyans had plans to give them the boot and take the planet for themselves to repopulate their race. One day a civil war broke out and the Saiyans tried many times to overthrow the Tuffles but were unsuccessful, although the Saiyans were bigger in size and much stronger, they were fewer in number compared to the Tuffles. What also gave the Tuffles a upper hand was that they had technology to read the power levels of the Saiyans and advanced weaponry to hold them off. Then one day a Saiyan was born with an intellect that rivaled that of a Tuffle, this Saiyans lead a revolt agency the Tuffles and was victorious, he was then crowned and had the planet renamed after his name (Planet Vegeta).
After their victory the Saiyans built a rocket ship and traveled to a nearby planet called Arcose were they meet the Arcosians (little is know about this race as they are only mentioned once in the series by King Kai), now the Arcosians had money and technology but the planet Arcose was a dump, so they hired a group of Saiyans to take over a planet for them and in return they would share their technology with them. Over the years the Saiyans also learned how to use the Tsufuru's advanced equipment and become somewhat smarter and less barbaric, although they still lusted for fighting and destruction. Through unexplained circumstances, the Saiyans joined a new partnership with Frieza, a powerful galactic dictator whose dominion stretched over seventy-nine or more planets. The Saiyans were used by Frieza to exterminate the populations of other planets, preparing them for sale. Although both Raditz and King Kai state that the Saiyan home was destroyed by a meteorite collision, Dodoria reveals to Vegeta, when trying to bargain for his life, that Frieza destroyed the planet out of fear of the Super Saiyan legend.
Another inconsistency stated by Raditz is that Planet Vegeta was destroyed three years before his arrival on Earth, but later on the destruction of Planet Vegeta is said to have taken place more than 20 years before, on the very day that the newly born Goku was sent to Earth. The reason for this time change is never explained in the series.The Saiyan race was eventually avenged when Goku defeated Frieza on the planet Namek. Frieza survived the battle, but was slain soon after by Future Trunks.Only four Saiyans were known to escape the destruction of Planet Vegeta: The main protagonist Goku, his older brother Raditz, the Saiyan prince Vegeta, and his right hand man Nappa. Fortunately for them, they were all off the planet at the time, thus evading death, though Raditz would later meet his death at the hands of Piccolo and Nappa would be betrayed and executed by Vegeta, as punishment for being defeated by Goku. In Toei Animation's Dragon Ball Z films, three more survivors are revealed, exclusive to the animated universe: a middle-class Saiyan named Turles, the "Legendary Super Saiyan" Broly and his father Paragus, though later Turles would be killed by Goku, Paragus would die at the hands of his own son and Broly would be defeated after several encounters with the Z Fighters.
Personality and Behavior
Saiyans are typically aggressive and stubborn with explosive short tempers. They also lack sympathetic emotions towards each other or their offspring, though they appear to be close to their team members since most likely they grew up together. Their behavior seems to rather be by choice rather than instinct either to hide their true emotions or maybe due to the fact of them being under the rule of Frieza over the years had corrupted their system and way of thinking. Some anime theoreticians have postulated that this could be an extra-terrestrial form of autism
. Some examples of this is Bardock
's care-free attitude towards his son Goku when he is born until he discovered that Goku would defeat Frieza in the future, when Raditz isn't hesitant to kill his long lost brother Goku or his nephew Son Gohan
but shows genuine grief upon realizing that Goku will die, and Vegeta's attitude toward his son Trunks
and wife Bulma
even though deep down he cares deeply for them. On the other hand, King Vegeta was killed by Frieza in an attempt overthrow him and to get his son back.
With the exception of their monkey
-like tails, Saiyans have an outward appearance identical to humans
but with a much larger muscular build. Akira Toriyama, in helping to design characters for the first television special
, noted that originally he conceived Saiyans to have only dark hair. A Saiyan's hair never changes length or style once it has fully grown, (which would make it more like fur
than hair) although this is not the case with hybrid Saiyans like Gohan, Trunks, Future Trunks
, Son Goten
When questioned by Bulma following the ten year time gap at the end of Dragon Ball Z as to why their appearance hadn't changed at all, Vegeta responds that Saiyans maintain their physical prime for a far longer period than that compared to humans. Vegeta says that the reason for their slowed aging is due to the fact that as Saiyans continued to evolve their warrior blood began to keep them younger so that they can fight longer, so it can also be assumed that the stronger a Saiyan becomes the slower he/she will age.
Saiyans have a wide array of special abilities. Incredible natural strength, use of chi
energy, super speed, amazing reflexes, extremely sensitive sense of smell, great hearing, incredible vision, and are naturally born to fight and destroy. Goku has demonstrated all of these traits throughout Dragon Ball
, Dragon Ball Z
, and Dragon Ball GT
.Their most visually impressive trait of course is the ability to transform into an Oozaru
, a giant ape like creature with tremendous power, somewhere around 10 times that of a Saiyan's normal state. This form however, has a number of draw backs, namely the loss of rational thought, although with enough practice, a Saiyan can keep his or her mind intact. This is a trait not usually seen outside the elite Saiyan warriors. Secondly, this form is only accessible in the presence of a full moon, or some other "Blutz" wave emitter. The largest drawback of this form is that it can be reversed by removing the Oozaru's tail, which is usually easy since most Saiyans are reduced to rampaging mindless monsters once they take this form.The pinnacle of Saiyan power however is without a doubt the Super Saiyan transformation, and its subsequent levels, which all grant increasingly enormous power to the Saiyan who achieved the ability to transform. See Super Saiyan
for further information.
Fighting is a huge part in the Saiyan race. Every Saiyan has the blood of a warrior in him, and they know how to use it. Most Saiyans will spend most of their life training to become stronger so that they can prove themselves in battle. When Frieza hired the Saiyans as his planet brokers, he knew of their amazing fighting skills and used that to his advantage. However, Frieza began to notice how powerful the Saiyans were becoming and began to fear that one day one of them would overwhelm him as the most powerful being in the universe. This is why he destroyed Planet Vegeta and all the Saiyans on it. Saiyans like Goku and Vegeta are constantly seen training and improving their fighting skills to keep up with each other's skills and the appearance of new, more powerful foes.
When a Saiyan/Human hybrid is born, it is very common for them to posess extreme fighting potential. Generally the male hybrids are the most powerful, far exceeding the powers of their full Saiyan parent. It is also very common for them to develop the ability to transform into Super Saiyans at childhood. Due to their Human emotions and Saiyan abilities these hybrids have almost limitless potential, but with the exception of Future Trunks, don't tend to share the interest in fighting and becoming stronger that pure Saiyans like Goku and Vegeta do. Saiyan Hybrids tend to become easily distracted from training.
Other partial Saiyans like Pan seem to lack the qualities hybrids have, and age much more like Humans do, and have weaker power levels.
Saiyans are incredibly strong, even at young ages. They can easily lift things that are thousands of tons. Their strength is explained by their physiology and the gravity on their planet, ten times the Earth's normal gravity, thus granting them correspondingly much greater strength in normal Earth gravity and similar environments. Their power also increases by fighting longer.
Without any form of training, a Saiyan can outrun a normal human and even a car without much trouble. They also have much faster reflexes than an average human; reflexes so fast that they can avoid a bullet or energy beam without much problem. Super speed can easily be seen in their fighting skills their movements occur in fraction of seconds which are not visible to human eyes.
Saiyans have developed their chi usage to the point they are naturally more adept at manipulating it than most races, including humans. They can fly, and use different types of energy blasts, waves, and bombs. They can increase their chi by fighting longer or by training intensively.
All pure-blood and 1/2 hybrid Saiyans possess a tail, monkey-like in appearance and covored in brownish fur. The tail is a particularly sensitive area for Saiyans when grabbed or injured, it causes great pain to the owner, and temporarily immobilizes the whole body. However elite class Saiyans can train themselves to overcome this weakness - as did Nappa, Vegeta and also Goku (when he was preparing for the upcoming boudokai on Papaya Island, after being reminded by his grandfather at Baba's), and the tail becomes no more fragile than any other limb. The tail is very prehensile, and can be used to grasp things like many other primates. It has been mentioned in Dragon Ball that a Saiyan with a tail gains more power than one without a tail.The tail also provides a unique gift in that it allows a Saiyan to transform into an Oozaru
and potentially a Golden Oozaru
. If the tail is removed, this power is lost. Some Saiyans have the ability to grow back their tails at various times, but at some point in life this regenerative ability is lost. Gohan for instance, who is not even a pure blooded Saiyan, grows his tail back numerous times after having it removed. Vegeta has his tail cut off during battle, but it is important to note that he is an adult and it never grows back, except through artificial means in Dragon Ball GT. Goku is similar, his tail is cut off many times in Dragon Ball (anime)
(mostly to stop him from being an Great Ape and wrecking the city), that he also never gets his tail back while an adult. The exception to this rule is when Goku is transformed into a child in GT; it required the training of the Elder Kai to regrow his tail. This is presumably due to the influence of the dragon balls artificially suppressing his age. It is reasonable to conclude that Goku at that time was in fact a child only in appearance, hence explaining why his tail could not be re-grown naturally and required the Kai’s assistance. This is also supported by the fact that the magic of the dragon balls could be temporarily overcome by transforming into Super Saiyan 4, clearly showing Goku in his adult form.Gohan is the only half breed Saiyan seen with a tail in the series. Other half breeds like Trunks
, Son Goten
, Bra and full-blooded Saiyans like Broly are not seen with tails, presumably because they were cut off at child birth to prevent them from transforming into Giant Apes.
Just like humans, after an intensive training, they increase their strength and energy, just at a much more accelerated rate and greater magnitude than humans. As an additional evolutionary survival trait of Saiyans, once a Saiyan recovers from physical injuries incurred from a battle, especially those that are life-threatening, that Saiyan will get a power increase; sort of like how a human body develops anti-bodies after the body recovers from a viral infection. This form of recovery is what appears to be a dominant Saiyan gene, as even Saiyan-Human hybrids inherit this ability. It is this one trait that makes Saiyans so dangerous, their power never stops increasing (more so with a Saiyan-Human hybrid as this hybrid removes some of the limits of a Saiyan). The more they fight, the stronger they become.