Gohan’s Next Dragon Ball Form May Replace Super Saiyan Forever – and That’s a Good Thing

While Goku is Dragon Ball's long-running protagonist, his eldest son Gohan has become the franchise's strongest warrior on more than one occasion while providing his own super-powered twist on the nature of Saiyan combat transformations. Initially, the youngest character in Dragon Ball Z to achieve the Super Saiyan transformation -- until this record was eventually shattered by his little brother Goten -- Gohan would later unlock a different transformation altogether after having his full potential awakened by the Elder Kai. This resulted in him becoming what fans have since dubbed "Ultimate" or "Mystic" Gohan. And this strange transformation may provide a new, different direction for Dragon Ball's Saiyan characters as the franchise continues.

After rediscovering his fighting spirit during Dragon Ball Super after narrowly surviving an encounter with Frieza at the beginning of the series, Gohan regained the ability to trigger his ultimate transformation in time for the climactic Tournament of Power. It was while preparing for the high stakes, multiversal martial arts tournament with his father, Gohan revealed that while he stood on par with Goku -- even with his father transformed as a Super Saiyan Blue. He also revealed that he intended to forge his own path and find an ultimate form previously unseen by anyone while relying on different methodology than Goku had to achieve his own impressive levels of power.

In a way, Gohan has already achieved what he set out to do, even before participating in the Tournament of Power. Rather than having to take the time to power up to progressively more powerful Super Saiyan transformations, the ultimate transformation Gohan achieved thanks to the Elder Kai lets him tap into his full potential at a moment's notice. And while combat transformations like Ultra Instinct and Ultra Ego have a visible effect on its user's personality, Gohan's ultimate form allows him to maintain complete control over himself as he fights with his full power. He also maintains his normal physical appearance in comparison to Super Saiyan transformations.

Goku would observe that Gohan was capable of nearly limitless potential as he continued to develop and master his ultimate transformation. This observation could inform both Gohan and his daughter Pan's future in the upcoming Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. As Gohan is likely still training and discovering new levels to his power and Pan following in her father's footsteps, further development of the ultimate transformation could lead Gohan to rival or surpass Goku and Vegeta's respective combat transformations. This would restore him as the successor to Goku as Dragon Ball's new protagonist, a direction introduced in the Cell Games Saga and further explored in the subsequent Great Saiyaman Saga.

Gohan's ultimate transformation has both put the young warrior on par with his Super Saiyan father while making it clear that he was very much his own man as he forged his own path to achieve supreme power. While Dragon Ball Super began with Gohan neglecting his training, the aspiring warrior reclaimed his destiny over the course of the series and made his ultimate transformation even stronger than it had been previously seen in DBZ. And with the upcoming Dragon Ball Super anime film hinting at the arrival of a superhero, what better character to lead the charge than a Z Fighter who has actually had a bonafide superhero career in their past and a growing, unique combat transformation.

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