A Guide to Super Saiyan Red
Achieving Super Saiyan Red is no small task, but you might need a guide to Super Saiyan Red to really understand why it's such a big deal.
It seemed like Goku had reached his peak with his firsttransformation into a Super Saiyan in his battle with Frieza after Krillin's death—but he just kept pushing. Forever striving to get stronger and to fine tune his skills, Goku starts by defeating Frieza in glorious battle; his most admirable trait prevailing again. It seems like, with every new challenge comes a new power level, and since Dragon Ball Z is such a long running series, they've certainly added up. Understandably, with all these levels, it can become difficult to differentiate between each Super Saiyan transformation, especially when Goku becomes so strong he can be considered a deity. With this massive range though, it's easy to forget which level is stronger than which, how each level is attained, and even how it affects the individual's ability to fight.
So, from one Dragon Ball Z fan to another, here is a guide to Super Saiyan Red.
Super Saiyan Red is far more powerful than that of the first level of Super Saiyan. The first time in the show that such a high degree of power is needed is when Lord Beerus, the God of Destruction, visits Earth in search of someone strong enough to fight him—namely, a Super Saiyan God. He'd already absent-mindedly pummeled both Goku and Vegeta—and slapped Vegeta's wife—so in a desperate moment, they summoned the Eternal Dragon, Shenron.
When you wish upon a super Shenron, all will be revealed if you are deemed worthy. As he explains, the Super Saiyan Red form is attainable when one absorbs the energy of five pure-of-heart Saiyans. For the ritual in Dragon Ball Super: Battle of Gods, Vegeta, Gohan, Trunks, Goten, and Videl (who is pregnant with Gohan's child) all hold hands and focus their energy. Their auras erupt into yellow and blue, the clouds part, and the ocean boils. As Goku floats into the air, a series of images flash before him, including a strange silhouette.
Super Saiyan Red is also known as the Super Saiyan God form—and for good reason. The silhouette that flashes before Goku is supposedly the spirit of Yamoshi, the original Super Saiyan God. Yamoshi lived long before Goku was born, before the Saiyan race was killed off and Planet Vegeta destroyed. On the Saiyan race's native planet of Sadala, he was one of a group of six righteous Saiyans fighting against the more savage, brutal faction. They were up against overwhelming forces, and with their backs against the wall, Yamoshi and his friends combined their energy for him to become powerful and ferocious.
Yamoshi fought ruthlessly, but even at full power, he was overwhelmed and his power, as well as the efforts of the righteous Saiyans, drained away. The evil Saiyans won the battle and Yamoshi became a myth, known as the Super Saiyan God or the Legendary Super Saiyan.
According to the creator of Dragon Ball Z, Akira Toriyama, his ghost lived on:
Yamoshi’s spirit wandered in continuous search of six righteous-hearted Saiyans, seeking a new savior: Super Saiyan God.
The New God
After Goku's transformation, he floats back down to the others in a red haze, with his hair and eyes both now red. When he begins the battle with Beerus, instead of his usual yellow, electricity-like aura, he is surrounded by flames.
Leveling up to Super Saiyan Red, the character has upgraded from mortal ki to god ki. Though god form doesn't seem to grant its subject new abilities, it supercharges its current ones to an astronomical degree. In one of the top Dragon Bull Super fights, Goku is fast enough to dodge Beerus's punches, hitting him squarely and lightning fast, and strong enough to counter his ki blasts with his own—none of which was the case before he absorbed the other Saiyans' energies. Goku is able to crush a Sphere of Destruction between his hands and, in a display of impressive resiliency after being knocked back to Earth, Goku remains conscious and able to get back up. Shockwaves rocked the universe when their fists collided.
Granted, he ultimately lost the battle, but that's more of a testament to the power of Beerus than the impressive abilities Super Saiyan Red offer a character like Goku.
Building on Red
Super Saiyan Red is known to have a time limit following the initial ritual, but Goku was able to hang onto the power after the fight. By continuing to train and eventually mastering the form, Goku is able to reach Super Saiyan Red without needing to gather five Saiyans again. He uses this form again in the "Tournament of Power" arc of Dragon Ball Super, against Kale and Caulifla, Dispo and Kunshi, as well as against Jiren, though he later powers up to Super Saiyan Blue as a result of that fight. In Super Dragon Ball Heroes, Goku uses the form to defeat the Saiyan Cunber.
Goku, as alluded to, isn't the only one able to reach Super Saiyan Red. Vegeta uses the form against Broly in the movie Dragon Ball Super: Broly. By leveling up, Goku dominates Broly, who is in his base state at the time. He evades Broly's strikes without blinking, and tops it off by punching him through a mountain. Much like Goku in his fight against Jiren, however, Vegeta must transform further into Super Saiyan Blue once Broly goes into a Wrath state.
First called Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan, this transformation was shortened to Super Saiyan Blue for obvious reasons.
More to Come
The first occurrence of Super Saiyan Red seemed like a showstopper, but since then, we've been introduced to better and better transformations, including Super Saiyan Blue and Ultra Instinct. Goku and Vegeta even combined and went Super Saiyan Blue to form Super Saiyan Blue Vegito, proving more and more Dragon Ball Super future fusions will make their debut. And as each of these iterations and abilities develop for Dragon Ball's protagonists, it seems pretty safe to say that there will have to be even tougher challenges out in the universes to face off against.
Whether you feel this is getting too confusing or that much cooler by the minute, hopefully, this guide to Super Saiyan Red will help you understand where this transformation fits into the hierarchy of power.