Since Goku stepped onto the scene of Dragon Ball as a scrappy, naive warrior eager to learn, he has been one of anime’s most enduring icons. Over the years, his strength and power have only grown, and today he stands head-and-shoulders above other popular characters in terms of sheer combat prowess. Goku has achieved a level of martial arts ability that is nothing short of phenomenal, capable of obliterating armies with a single punch and even taking on an entire universe without breaking a sweat. It’s no wonder why people worldwide still marvel at just how strong Goku is! We know Goku can easily annihilate planets, but can he destroy an entire universe?
Considering the evidence in the anime and manga, Goku isn’t a universe-buster. Characters imply that he is, but it’s unclear whether they’re exaggerating or serious about their statements. Based on what we’ve been shown, Goku isn’t at the level yet, but the power scaling in Dragon Ball makes this difficult to tell, so we don’t definitively know the answer.
We’ll start our article with a short description of Goku’s abilities. We will then examine these abilities in light of our question. We’ll end with the answer to our initial question. Also, big thanks to the Reddit user LSSJPrime for a better understanding of the topic!
What it takes to be a universal-level threat
A Dragon Ball character can have several levels of strength, depending on what they can destroy with relative ease. Let’s take a look at what it means to be a universal threat in the Dragon Ball universe. A character who can reliably produce enough energy or force to instantly destroy, create, or alter an entire universe in one shot is called a “universal threat”, meaning they have command over an entire universe. Even with Dragon Ball’s less-than-stellar power scaling, very few characters are generally considered a universal threat. Some will even argue that nobody in Dragon Ball is a universal threat.
The character mustn’t have to try very hard to achieve this goal, usually only having to try once. If they try for years and years or have the help of other characters, they’re not considered a universal threat by themselves. The same definition applies to the numerous other power levels used in fictional fights, such as planetary, stellar, solar system-level, galactic, universal, and multiversal. Each term means that the character can effortlessly destroy a planet, star, solar system, galaxy, universe, and several universes.
If a character can perform two of the three outlined feats, there’s a decent chance they’re a universal threat. If that character can perform all three, it’s almost factual that they are a universal threat. However, most fan discussions are about whether the character can perform these feats in the first place, as Dragon ball tends to tell, not show.
In Dragon Ball, “destroy” denotes irreparable harm or devastation, not just smashing something to pieces. For instance, a planet is greatly damaged if only the most extreme microorganisms can live there. However, this planet isn’t considered destroyed.
If “destroy” means that the character must annihilate a planet to pieces, Grand Zeno is the only global character in Dragon Ball. He can casually wipe out or destroy a world in a single shot and do it repeatedly, demonstrating his consistency. He does is effortlessly enough to be firmly in the “universal threat” category.
Why is there so much debate about whether Goku is a universe-buster?
Dragon Ball fans hold to assertions and claims as the main source in battle boarding even though characters like Goku, Vegeta, Beerus, and others have never been able to destroy the universe independently.
This is an unjust double standard when one verse’s assertions are taken at face value without any attempt to analyze or verify them. Those of every other verse are taken with a grain of salt and carefully examined to confirm their accuracy.
This breeds hatred between Dragon Ball fans and fans of other shows in battle-boarding discussions because characters in Dragon Ball tell rather than show their power. This is different from most other shows.
Dragon Ball fans usually butt heads with fans of western superheroes, such as Superman or Thor. The usual argument is that if other characters exclaim that the hero can do a universal feat, it doesn’t mean they can. It may just be that the characters are exaggerating the hero’s power.
These claims are exaggerated and false in relation to the power levels of these characters, as Superman has never demonstrated having the strength to lift a plate, the Infinity Stones are only as powerful as the moon or a small country, and Thor could only withstand a tiny fraction of the heat that was focused on them. These are all feats that other characters said the heroes would be able to perform, but they aren’t considered factual because they’ve never been shown performing them.
It is necessary to apply the same logic and consistency to Dragon Ball. We simply cannot accept the assertions of characters and narrators as true. This is the reasoning used in this article.
Goku vs. Beerus
This is the fight that most cite as the battle that proves Goku is a universe-buster. Let’s take a look at how both of these warriors fought at the point when they were executing their strongest attacks. This is around the middle of their fight.
Goku and Beerus resume their conflict above the Earth and begin trading punches. When one punches the other, the other punches back with equal force. Their clashing fists create shock waves that radiate outward from the point of contact between their knuckles. Even the Kais are worried about what’s happening, despite not being in the same location.
The Old Kai adds that the cosmos can only withstand Goku and Beerus punching each other two or three more times since the destructive power of these shock waves rises the further they are from their point of origin. These punches are what fans quote when they say that Goku is a universal threat.
First of all, the force from their punches colliding is what created the shockwaves. Neither Goku nor Beerus created those shockwaves themselves, so we can’t attribute the strength of the shockwaves to just Goku. It was a combination of both their strength.
For the argument’s sake, we may ignore that fact. Even so, considering what truly transpired during Goku and Beerus’s combat, how powerful are they and their shockwaves really? The shockwaves Goku and Beerus created are not at all universal.
Even if they were, as they were said to gain energy over time, they would not originate from the source and, as a result, could not have been brought on by the striking might of Goku or Beerus. Although the shockwaves could not destroy Earth directly in their line of sight, they are below planet level at the epicenter.
Only as the waves continued were faraway planets and asteroids shown to be destroyed. Even a star passing past is displayed, sustaining no damage at all. This means the damage level isn’t even at the stellar level, let alone universal.
Solar flares from the star are neutralized, but as soon as the waves have passed, they begin again. That’s an unimaginable amount of force to make solar flares stop for a moment, but we’re looking for the kind of force that could snuff out an infinite number of stars. Even the Kaioshin planet, which is the farthest from the collision and would have the biggest waves, is in perfect condition. We can’t say that Goku is a universal threat in good conscience.
In conclusion, the universe and its creatures are seriously threatened by planet-level shockwaves expanding outward and accumulating energy. That energy wasn’t there when Goku and Beerus fought originally but accumulated as it traveled throughout space and time. Waves on the scale of planets would undoubtedly destroy the universe. The waves weren’t ubiquitous but would have annihilated the universe by wiping out numerous planets and living forms.
This brings into question Beerus’ strength too, but Goku being a universal threat is out of the question because Goku is repeatedly shown to be weaker than Beerus. That Goku isn’t a universal threat now doesn’t mean he won’t be one as Dragon Ball progresses.
With Dragon Ball’s pacing and power scaling, as well as Goku’s determination and discipline, he’s sure to be a universal threat in the future. He might reach that point sooner than later with his awakened Ultra Instinct Mode, so keep an eye out!