Dragon Ball Z enthusiasts have long pondered the enigma of Goku's black-haired Super Saiyan form, which appeared as a one-time occurrence in the series. Initially dismissed as a mere animation error, this unusual transformation holds a deeper significance that warrants exploration.
The Origin of Black-Haired Super Saiyan Goku in Episode 195 of DBZ
Dragon Ball Z is notorious for its filler content, often disregarding its own established continuity. During the "Other World Tournament" arc, which bridges the gap between the "Cell Games" saga and the "Majin Buu" storyline, an intriguing incident takes place in Episode 195. Goku is summoned to hell to confront a host of past villains, including Cell, Frieza, and the Ginyu Force.
Is Goku's Black Hair in Episode 195 an Animation Mistake or Something More?
As the Ginyu Force launches an assault on Goku, he retaliates by undergoing a transformation. His hair stands on end, the outlines of his eyes become pronounced, and his aura radiates a golden hue akin to that of a Super Saiyan. However, unlike the traditional Super Saiyan form, his hair, eyebrows, and irises remain black, seemingly defying logic. While it may appear as a random animation error, Goku continues to appear in subsequent scenes sporting this unusual black-haired Super Saiyan look. The repetition of this anomaly throughout the scene raises questions about its true nature.
Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the original sequence, as shown in Dragon Ball Z's 'next time' teaser at the end of Episode 194, depicted Goku with his regular golden Super Saiyan hair. This suggests that the shots in question were hastily altered less than a week before the episode's broadcast.
Why Did Toei Animation Change Goku's Hair Back to Black?
The deliberate decision to depict Goku with a black-haired Super Saiyan form, after having it correctly portrayed earlier, implies a conscious choice on the part of the animators. The prevalent theory among Dragon Ball fans is that in Episode 199, four episodes later, Goku engages in a match against Pikkon during the Other World Tournament. When Goku unexpectedly transforms into a Super Saiyan during this fight, Pikkon and the onlookers are astonished.
Since Pikkon had already witnessed Goku's Super Saiyan form against the Ginyu Force in Episode 195, fans propose that Toei Animation altered Goku's hair color back to its base form to preserve the element of surprise in the later battle. Alternatively, Pikkon's reaction in Episode 195 might have been a mistake that the editing team attempted to conceal. Episode 199 may have already been completed at the time of Episode 195's imminent airing, causing the inconsistency of Pikkon reacting to the Super Saiyan form for the first time, despite having witnessed it earlier. However, considering the limited timeframe available, recoloring Goku's hair would have required more effort than redubbing Pikkon's dialogue.
Regardless of the motive, the alteration fails to achieve its intended purpose. While Toei tried to maintain Goku's base form during his confrontation with the Ginyu Force by coloring his hair black, his distinct power increase and altered appearance clearly indicate a transformation. While production issues might explain the out-of-universe perspective, within the Dragon Ball universe, this black-haired Super Saiyan form remains unexplained and essentially represents a new transformation for Goku.
Explaining Goku's Black-Haired Super Saiyan Form Within the Series
Due to this discrepancy, fans have developed various theories to account for Goku's black-haired Super Saiyan form within the Dragon Ball universe. One prevailing theory suggests that Goku had managed to tap into a partial manifestation of his Super Saiyan power. This partial transformation would grant him the necessary strength to swiftly defeat the Ginyu Force without fully accessing the complete Super Saiyan state. Referred to as "Super Saiyan Partial Manifestation," this explanation has gained popularity among fans and even has its own dedicated page on the Dragon Ball Wiki. However, it should be noted that the name of this form remains conjecture.
Interestingly, the design of a black-haired Super Saiyan would later be officially used to depict Gohan's Ultimate transformation. In a manner similar to Goku's black-haired form, Gohan's hair would spike up, and his eye outlines would become more prominent, while his hair and irises retained their black color. Although the resemblance between the two forms is likely coincidental, it amuses fans to consider this filler sequence as a glimpse of what a hypothetical "Ultimate Goku" might look like.
While it is unlikely that this partially manifested Super Saiyan form will resurface in future Dragon Ball content, as Toei Animation likely wishes to leave it as a one-time mistake, the series has taught fans that nothing from its past is entirely off the table. With the return of numerous obscure forms in Dragon Ball Heroes, there is always a possibility that this black-haired Super Saiyan form could make a surprising comeback. Perhaps one day, it will receive an in-universe explanation, but for now, it remains one of Dragon Ball Z's most intriguing filler curiosities.
In conclusion, Goku's black-haired Super Saiyan form in Dragon Ball Z's Episode 195 transcends the realm of a simple animation mistake. Whether it was a deliberate choice to conceal future plot developments or an attempt to rectify an editing error, the true explanation remains elusive. Fans continue to theorize and speculate, keeping the mystery alive and reminding us that even in a world of superhuman warriors, some secrets are destined to remain unanswered.