Son Goku (2015-2018/2021)
Son Goku (born Kakarot) is the main protagonist of the Dragon Ball series. Goku is a Saiyan originally sent to destroy Earth as an infant. However, a head injury at an early age alters his memory, ridding him of his initial destructive nature and allowing him to grow up to become one of Earth's greatest defenders.
While he was well-known and liked in both the original Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, he went downhill after Dragon Ball Super was released, to the point that fans started to hate him.
- Goku is split into two versions of himself in the anime and the manga - and both of them have their fair share of fatal flaws:
- "Anime/Toei Goku" is not only dumber but also doesn't take anything around him seriously. He even forgets things that he learned in the original Dragon Ball series. And many of the problems he had in the original series were dialed up some more, such as his tendency to gauge his opponent's power.
- "Manga/Toyotaro Goku" has the same problems as Toei Goku, but he's more of an unlikeable numbskull than his anime counterpart. He even almost calls Gohan a "little shit" after learning that he can't participate in the Universe 6 tournament. In fact, unlike the Anime/Toei Goku, he doesn't even improve himself at all, making this a character derailment.
- He becomes quite selfish to the point that he openly doesn't want Vegeta to surpass him, and sometimes doesn't allow him to fight a tough opponent.
- His top priority for fighting villains is merely to see how strong they are, in spite of the threat they pose for his friends and family, only becoming enraged when they harm them. Yes, this is unchanged from his general personality, but still, he should know better.
- While Goku is not a perfect father in any means, he does care about Gohan, Goten, and Pan in the old Dragon Ball series. Nowadays, in the manga, he barely acknowledges their existence, even mentioning at one point that he doesn't remember when Gohan was born.
- He's become a spotlight hog, along with Vegeta (though that problem dates back to Dragon Ball GT, he at least had a personality in that series).
- He refuses to learn from his mistakes, even giving the evil sorcerer Moro a senzu bean whilst the latter was near-death, allowing him to fuse with the Earth itself and turn his own body into a galaxy-destroying bomb.
- And to make matters even worse, he barely was guilty for his actions and just brushes everything off like it was fine in the end.
- In contrast to Vegeta, he has little-to-no interest in spending time with his family and friends, having spent most of his time training off-world. In the original Dragon Ball manga, he did have adventures with his friends and family even as an adult and even hung out with them from time to time. Here, he almost completely ignores them and always makes excuses to train in spite of Chi-Chi's protests, in which she leniently lets him go to come back for dinner anyways.
- While his Saiyan mindset compels him to look for a great challenge to further strengthen himself, his urges to fight strong opponents have become an exaggerated obsession to the point where he even gave Lord Zeno the idea to set up the Tournament of Power for that sole purpose. This resulted in Universe 9 putting a bounty on Goku's head when they found out about his involvement in the Tournament of Power.
- His tendency to screw up is still present; for example, he still prefers to fight alone and take turns with Vegeta every time they fight an enemy, even if they are villainous. This resulted often in letting his guard down for sneak attacks, such as his being shot by Sorbet and having the Earth destroyed by Frieza, and later on his aformentioned granting of mercy towards Moro by giving him a senzu.
- He is also still forgetful, which just raises stakes in dumb ways. For example, forgetting the talisman to seal up Zamasu with the Evil Containment Wave.
- He has also become dumb and ignorant to the point that Vegeta, Beerus, King Kai, his wife, Bulma, and even his friends are annoyed with it, and have to constantly reprimand him for his stupidity, with Vegeta and Beerus rightfully calling him an idiot every time.
- While many of these bad qualities are not new, as Akira Toriyama envisioned Goku as being less heroic in the original story, the Super series actually (apparently) managed to crank up his original personality by quite a bit, to the point he is barely tolerable for some audiences.
- "Anime/Toei Goku" thankfully becomes more like himself again in the latter half of Super, with him fully reverting to his DBZ characterization in the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie.
- There is some hope for "Manga/Toyotaro Goku" as in the recent chapters he is acting more serious against the new threat and does not do as bad mixing up when compared to the Moro Arc.
- He still has his share of good moments, like when he saves Goten from falling off the cliff in his tractor and his transformation and action scenes.
- He was a good character back in the DB/DBZ era of the show, even if he still has his moments where he is forgetful.
- Masako and Sean still do good voices for Goku since it hasn't changed much.
- He still has his great and recognizable character design as an adult Saiyan. This is because his character design hasn’t changed much like everyone else.
- Although it does not excuse his exaggerated dumb traits in the series, to be fair, this characterization of Goku is more accurate to the original personality Akira Toriyama envisioned in the original manga than the old anime does, and it really shows.