Have you ever wondered which is better, the katana or the broadsword? How about clashes involving fictional characters, like Homer Simpson versus Peter Griffin or Fred Flintstone versus George Jetson? The same could be said of real-life sports clashes of great interest that hasn’t happened, like Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd May weather Junior or a prime Muhammad Ali versus a prime Rocky Marciano.
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or people, like George Bush versus Barack Obama or Super Nintendo versus Sega Genesis. One of the more infamous debates that have fueled playground discussions and even idle college campuses for ages is who would win in a fight, Superman or Goku? Superman is an American icon superhero that started the cape genre of comics, while Son Goku is the “Journey to the West” based hero of manga (Japanese comics) and anime (Japanese cartoon) fame.
Superman versus Goku
• Origin Story: They’re both aliens from another planet. Both their planets exploded. Both are more or less the last of their kind, or only a handful of their race or species remain in the universe. Both adapt to earth life (although Goku’s earth is filled with talking animals while Superman’s earth kind of resembles real-life earth save for the abundance of superheroes and talking animals, but fewer of the latter). Indeed, Kal-El (Superman) and Kakarot (Goku) have many parallels to each other, including the power of flight.
Then again, Goku’s race, the Saiyans, are a warrior race of sorts, while Superman’s race, the Kryptonians, are more human-like and advanced in technology (and this retroactive continuity came about because comic writers’ original idea of a race of Supermen made the idea of their planet being destroyed and everyone dying seem unlikely, although the Saiyans are somewhat a race of Supermen themselves that suffered planet-scale genocide in the hands of universe-wide bad guy Freeza).
• Strength: There are many things to consider when dealing with these titans. The main issue of contention for many a forum goer, whether they’re comics fans or anime fans, is that Superman’s power capabilities are inconsistent, while Son Goku’s powers aren’t scaled at all. Some might even try to scientifically theorize how power levels work, like how an ordinary man with a shotgun is Level 5 on space scouters and how it somehow relates to strength.
Goku impressed Vegeta with a power level of over 9000 that it became memetic. On that note, what would Superman’s power level would be like? Geeks and nerds all over the Internet has debated that, some Dragon Ball aficionados claiming that he’s no more powerful than Krillin or Yamcha, while comic fans argue that silver age Superman would probably beat Goku to a pulp since a sneeze from him could destroy (uninhabited) universes (this varies from issue to issue).
• Speed: In canon so far, Superman can’t outrun Flash because of the speed force, but how would he fair against the speed of a Saiyan? Or even a Super Saiyan? Goku could become faster depending on what Saiyan transformation he takes up (where his power level increases, his hair becomes blond, his eyes become green, and a golden aura surrounds his body) but some levels of Super Saiyan may leave him so over muscled that it sacrifices his speed.
With that said, Goku has a technique known as Instant Transmission, which allows him to travel at the speed of thought. This is certainly far faster than a speeding bullet (which clocks at about three times the speed of sound). Then again, Superman can be way faster than a speeding bullet, and some series have suggested that he could even be faster than light. The question now is Goku faster or slower than Flash, who could beat Superman in a foot race.
• Weaknesses: Goku’s weaknesses are food. He could also be fooled. If you’re afraid of him going Super Saiyan at varying levels before the battle, you can incapacitate him from the beginning so that he couldn’t transform and you’d have the upper hand as long as he doesn’t have a regenerative senzu bean with him. Both showcase a weakness against magic, with Goku being subjected to Dragon Ball magic, while Superman has had trouble dealing with magical beings like Mister Mxyzptlk, whom he could only defeat by making him say his name.
Famously, Superman is weak against the poisonous green kryptonite, so if Goku has that, he could defeat Kal-El easily (but won’t, since Goku always desires an honorable fight against opponents). Then again, common criminals with Kryptonite can basically do the same thing. Also, Superman has become somewhat immune to green kryptonite effects either due to his long-term solar exposure or repeated exposure to the substance.
• Powers and Power Ups: Goku has his Super Saiyan forms, Superman can turn into energy beings, fake death by being in a coma-like death resembling death as a Kryptonian, and he even knows Kryptonian martial arts. Speaking of martial arts, Goku has trained under Master Roshi or Kami Sennin and learned a variety of martial art moves, up until his signature energy projection attack the Kame Hame Ha. Superman, on the other hand, can shoot laser beams with his eyes.
Son Goku can rejuvenate his energy instantly by eating Senzu Beans, a staple of his manga. As for Superman, while green kryptonite is definitely his weakness and most kryptonite hues bring in various harmful effects (red can lead to bizarre behavior and transformations, blue only affects Bizarre Superman, and white can kill all plant life from any world), other colors of kryptonite can serve as his power up. Red-Green-Blue-Gold kryptonite led to Superman Blue and Red’s creation, for instance.
• Why Would They Even Fight in the First Place? Some might even correctly bring up that there’s no reason for Goku or Superman to fight. Clark Kent is only interested in fighting for the sake of protecting the citizens of Metropolis and the Earth, plus he has also faced alien menaces and megalomaniacal beings of destruction (par for the course of Goku’s adventures). Goku would definitely want to spar with Superman, but Superman will only be willing to fight the Saiyan to either humor him when they become friends.
Also, Clark would do it if Goku were to harm civilians and prove him to be a threat, which the goofy innocent would almost never will do on his own free will. Regardless, in the realm of make-believe fights, the ultimate winner between Goku and Superman depends on which Superman is fighting (Silver Age is most powerful) and if Goku’s Super Saiyan transformations even have a limit (is there anything higher than Super Saiyan God?) This debate will continue on, even beyond FunClash.com’s servers.