Great Ape (大猿, Ōzaru; lit. "Great Monkey"), or Oozaru, is a giant, monkey-like creature that Saiyans can transform into to increase their enormous strength. Originally in the series, the Great Ape was a transformation for Goku, being a parody of a monkey king character named Sun Wukong from the novel The Journey to the West; however, the Great Ape is discovered to be a transformation that is only accessible to characters who possess heritage from the Saiyans later in the series.
The original Japanese name literally translates to "great ape", "giant ape", "king ape", or "large monkey", though Akira Toriyama appears to be the first to have applied it to primates of very gigantic proportions. Goku, Gohan, and other Great Ape forms in a flashback voice effects were done by Shane Ray.
Condition of transformationEdit
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. He also needs to absorb at least 17 million zeno units of Bruits ("Fruits") Rays (called "Blutz Waves" in the English dub and Green-spectrum Radiation in the English manga) through his eyes, to initiate a transformation. Bruits 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 a "fake moon" reflecting the requisite amount of Bruits Rays into the air, then staring at it. A device on board the Saiyan 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.
Characteristics of Saiyans in Great Ape formEdit
Great Ape's power level is equal to the Saiyan's power level prior to the transformation multiplied by ten. 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 still seem to retain some sense of friend and foe deep within their subconscious, which can be awoken, as has been demonstrated three times; once in the Vegeta Saga, when Goku was able to tell Great Ape Gohan to attack Vegeta, second in Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might, with a similar situation against Turles, and finally in the Baby Saga). Despite the lack of self-awareness, as Saiyans mature, they are taught how to reign in their instincts and retain normal cognitive functions as Great Apes. This explains why Goku and Gohan lose control in Great Ape form, as they never received this training and are at first unaware of this transformation. Yet Vegeta, who did receive this training, transformed into a Great Ape to fight Goku, and was even able to talk to the Z Fighters. Saiyans in Great Ape form can also shoot an energy beam from their mouth, in a manner akin to (and possibly an intentional homage to) Godzilla's nuclear 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 is also quite exhausting, as Goku and Gohan both pass out after all of them. Yet with trained Saiyans such as Vegeta, they can go back to their original forms exhausted, but not to the point of losing consciousness.
A Great Ape's size remains mostly inconsistent throughout the Dragon Ball anime and manga. A generalization is that most average humanoid Saiyans can almost fit into the palm of a Great Ape's hand. Great Ape's apparent size varied from about 50 feet tall to almost 100. 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. 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 ZEdit
- We see Gohan transform for the first time when he's 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. Piccolo then 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 by Yajirobe, by cutting off his tail.
- 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 is showing a group of Saiyans is shown transforming into Great Apes after one of them creates a Power Ball and destroying 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 colored fur instead of the standard brown.
- While technically not an appearance of a Great Ape per se, Krillin once commented on Future Trunks's Ultra 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 GTEdit
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, Elder Kai decides that the only way he'll 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 get through to Goku and he undergoes the transformation into Super Saiyan 4.
- No match for Super Saiyan 4 Goku, Bulma 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 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 pysch, he transforms into the Golden Great Ape, and then into Super Saiyan 4.