I’m pretty sure everyone ended up doing this at least once: Go on youtube and somehow end up watching retro anime openings from your childhood. What in the world did I watch when I was young? I’m impressed I had time to do anything besides watching TV. I eventually ended up with Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z.
I still love the second Z opening that focusses on Gohan. Reason? Gohan is my favorite Dragn Ball character. I love that awkward, freakishly strong and good hearted guy. That description actually fits Goku as well, but I always liked Gohan much more as a character. Even though Goku is really good natured and has strong morals to live by, Gohan is much more… human-like. He is bought up to be a human and was raised as a human, ChiChi really did her best to accomplish that and actually succeeded.
I really like his relationship with Piccolo, though. More or less hating eath other, Gohan ended up as Piccolo’s first real friend and ended up forming a lifelong friendship with his former teacher. He actually did learn how to fight from Piccolo and was only taught by Goku later. He always had great repect for Piccolo and while Goku was gone, he might even have seen him as something like a father substitude.
From how I see it, Gohan is more emotional than Goku and experiences emotions stronger. He’s a child of two worlds and finds himself in conflict between his human mother and his alien father, who doesn’t really care about that at all. He’s a contrast to Goten, who’s initially much more like Goku, but ends up totally human and even dislikes fighting to the point of being forced to participate in the World Tournament in the last episode, simply because it’s too much of a hassle. I’m not too quick to judge Goten, though, he wasn’t nearly as well developed as Gohan and was only shown as a noisy brat during the series and eventually as a lazy womanizer in the last episode. Nothing in between was shown. Gohan found a balance and ended up doing what he wanted to do the most, but never forgot his heritage and entrusted his fighting loving daughter to Goku to train.
We literally see Gohan him grow up, like his father, but while Goku always strays true to who he is and never thought too much about anything remotely deep, Gohan went through a much greater emotional rollercoaster and found himself between two worlds: the human world of his mother and his beloved studies and on the other hand the saiyan world of his father where he can live out his strong sense of justice to rescue his loved ones. Especially during the time when Gohan trains with Goku he oftens conflicts with his monther’s wishes and feels guilty.
He inherted his father’s strong sense of justice and morals, but not his love for fighting and therefore stopped every time he didn’t had to – successfully wasting probably the greatest potential of the entire cast. He found his own happy ending, though. That’s… something, but it’s sad to know none of Goku’s sons ended up following his footsteps after peace settled in again.
How about a few facts about Gohan? Because there’s quite a bit fun trivia about him.
- Toriyama originally wanted Gohan to inhert Goku’s place as the main character after Cell, but decided against it later. This could explain his well developed character.
- In a Shounen Jump character popularity poll in 1993 Gohan was first place.
- Gohan is the only partical saiyan to have a tail. According to Toriyama, the tail is a recessive trait. Goten, Trunks and Pan never had one.
- Many think Ultimate Gohan can’t transform into Super Saiyan. In Chapter 502 it is stated by Goku that he can. However, since he never does it, it’s questionable if it’s of any benefit.
- There are conflicting informations regarding his power-level: In Daizenshuu 2, Ultimate Gohan is described as the strongest non-fused character of the entire cast.The data book “Dragon Ball: The Ultimate Battle Collection” refers to Ultimate Gohan as stronger than SSJ3 and is actually proven stronger than SSJ3 Gotenks in the manga and anime alike. DBZ movie 13 conflicts with these evidence, because SSJ3 Goku is portayed stronger than Ultimate Gohan. It is debateble how canon the movies whithout Toriyamas influence actually are, though.
- Gohan is the first to transform into Super Saiyan 2 and the only unfused half-saiyan to achieve this. Mirai Trunks tried, but didn’t succeed and ended up with a weird in-between-stage.
Considering the evidence, Gohan is probably the fighter with the highest potential and likely the strongest (unfused) in the series, even outclassing Goku. It’s a shame he never won a real fight after Cell and decided against a life that involves martial arts. How strong would be have been able to become, if he didn’t stop training? We’ll never know.