Shows in the Dragon Ball universe have encompassed over 30 years of stories for Goku - and his age in each saga has changed quite a bit. In all this time, the franchise has taken the Saiyan hero and the Z-Warriors to all sorts of different places. The original Dragon Ball focused on the adventures of a young Goku, while Dragon Ball Z centered on a later point in Goku’s life, after the character had started a family of his own with Chi-Chi and Gohan.
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The three Dragon Ball shows have put Goku through a lot. The child who was once beaten up by both Yamcha and Tien is now powerful enough to fight gods. Goku, who defied the odds by going Super Saiyan and beating Frieza in Dragon Ball Z, shattered his limits multiple times since then, and now has access to numerous variations of the Super Saiyan form. Over the years, viewers have seen Goku as a child, a teenager, a young man, and even a grandfather.
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Generally, every saga is followed by a time skip of some sort, with some being bigger than others. For example, Dragon Ball Z had time skips that would go as far as seven years into the future. This happened a lot less, however, in Dragon Ball Super. Most of the events that take place in the latter series are fairly close together. Not much changes between each saga, whereas the status quo would be shaken up on a regular basis in Dragon Ball Z. Goku would of course age with these time jumps, making him older in the later sagas (that exist in Dragon Ball canon).
The first arc in the original Dragon Ball anime was the Emperor Pilaf Saga, the story that saw the young Saiyan cross paths with Bulma, Yamcha, Krillin, and Master Roshi for the first time. When his journey began, it’s said that the character is 14 years old. That being said, Dragon Ball later retconned Goku being 11 years old, with the explanation being that he had trouble counting.
Tournament & Red Ribbon Army Sagas
At the young age of 12 years old, Goku competes in the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament and battles Master Roshi in the final round. In the same year, he engages in a search for the Dragon Balls that brings him and his allies into heated conflicts with the Red Ribbon Army, General Blue, and Mercenary Tao. It was also during this time that he met Fortuneteller Baba.
As years pass, Goku keeps himself busy with his training and his adventures. When Goku is 15, he enters the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament and loses a memorable showdown with Tien (who would later go to be a member of the Z-Warriors). Following his fight with Tien, the teenage Goku goes up against his deadliest adversary yet: Demon King Piccolo.
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Piccolo Jr. Saga
Three years later, a visibly older Goku fights Chi-Chi in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, with their fight ending with the two becoming engaged. Afterward, the 18-year-old Saiyan encounters the reincarnation of Demon King Piccolo, and is barely able to defeat him in battle. Goku has no idea, of course, that his latest enemy will soon become one of his closest allies.
Dragon Ball Z kicks off with the Saiyan Saga, which starts off with a 23-year-old Goku raising his young son, Gohan. After dying in the battle with Raditz, one year passes before he is finally wished back with the Dragon Balls. Once Goku returns, he leads the remaining Z-Warriors’ efforts to defeat Nappa and Vegeta. Following a slow recovery, Goku heads off to planet Namek to help Gohan, Krillin, and Bulma survive a battle with the villain who destroyed his planet: Frieza.
Android & Cell Sagas
Two years after Frieza’s defeat, Goku makes his way back to Earth, where he meets Future Trunks and learns about the impending arrival of Androids 17 and 18. By the time preparations for the androids are completed, Goku is 29 years old. When the androids are absorbed by Cell, Goku and his friends have to train for another year before competing in the Cell Games. Goku is 30 years old when he sacrifices himself (and King Kai) to save the planet from Cell’s self-destruction.
The biggest time skip in Dragon Ball canon happened after Super Saiyan 2 Gohan’s victory over Cell. Seven years pass, with Goku electing to remain dead this entire time just so that he can further his training on Otherworld. After Goku saves the world from Kid Buu with the Spirit Bomb, the character is able to return to his family on Earth, once again among the living. It’s important to point out that since Goku hasn’t technically been alive at all in the last seven years, he hasn’t physically aged a single day. Goku is 37 years old, but when looking at both of Goku’s deaths in the Dragon Ball universe, he hasn’t been alive for eight of those years. So his physical age is closer to 29.
Dragon Ball Super moves Goku’s story forward by four years. At this point in the franchise, his son is married to Videl, Krillin is a cop, Vegeta is still very infested in his training, and Goku is living a simple albeit boring life as a farmer. The 41-year-old Goku’s new conflict-free lifestyle comes to an end when Beerus, the God of Destruction, travels to Earth in search of the legendary Super Saiyan God.
Golden Frieza, Universe 6, & Future Trunks Sagas
Approximately one year goes by between Goku’s fight with Beerus and the return of Frieza in Dragon Ball Super, which would put Goku at around the age of 42 years old. Shortly after saving Earth from the rebuilt Frieza Force, Goku and his friends fight under Beerus against Champa’s team of warriors from Universe 6. Goku and Vegeta aren’t allowed much rest after the tournament, as both characters are enlisted by Future Trunks in the fight to save his timeline from Zamasu and Goku Black.
By now, Goku has become a grandfather, which happened when Videl gave birth to Gohan’s daughter, Pan. It was revealed that Videl was pregnant with Pan during the lead-up to Goku’s transformation into a Super Saiyan God.
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Universal Survival Saga
A small amount of time goes by between the Future Trunks Saga and the Universal Survival Saga. Goku, now 43 years old, faces one of the greatest challenges of his life when he faces off with seven teams of ten fighters from the other universes. Thanks to his brand-new Ultra Instinct form as well as noteworthy contributions from characters like Gohan, Vegeta, and Android 17, Goku is able to help his team secure a hard-fought victory over Universe 11’s Jiren in the Tournament of Power.