It’s that time again. As we look back on the year that was 2018, it’s time we all reflect on how great it was for gaming. But things can get contentious as we finally get down to brass tacks and argue over the most important category of all: the GOTY. That’s right: Goku of the Year.
In a year with so many Gokus competing for the crown, GOTY was a hot topic, as Game Informer editors had at least one conversation about putting this list together. While the heavy-hitters are all accounted for in games like Dragon Ball FighterZ and Xenoverse 2, some Gokus came from places you wouldn’t expect, meaning the category wasn’t the given it is every year. We took every Goku we could think of that technically qualified, then ranked them by how “Goku” they are. Read on and agree with our flawless text justifications of gut reactions.
10. Captain Ginyu (Body-Swapped With Goku) – Dragon Ball FighterZ
Everyone remembers that classic part in Dragon Ball Z where, after nearly damaging his own body to death, Captain Ginyu uses his Body Change ability to swap bodies with Goku, giving him access to all of Goku’s powers. In Dragon Ball FighterZ, Ginyu is able to do this with any character, though it’s important to point out that, when he does this to Goku, Ginyu’s body technically qualifies for this list, because that’s Goku’s mind in there. But this is the absolute minimum of Goku you can have and still qualify. This particular version of Goku doesn’t last all that long, either, making it hard to justify placing him higher.
9. Zamasu (Fused) – Dragon Ball FighterZ
If Goku Black qualifies for this list (he does and I’ll explain why in the next entry), then so does the fused Zamasu, who combines Goku Black and Zamasu from another timeline’s to create one enormously powerful being. That said, the actual Goku here is so diluted by Zamasu that he just can’t hang with the primo Gokus. He’s a fun enough character in FighterZ, though, so he’s got that going for him.
8. Goku Black – Dragon Ball FighterZ
Okay, look. I was hoping you wouldn’t read this far in. But long story short: “Goku Black” is basically a character named Zamasu using Goku’s body for his own ends, and why am I explaining this, anyway? Anyone who cares enough about reading this entry already knows this whole backstory, and people who don’t know it probably aren’t reading this. Ultimately, what puts Goku Black/Zamasu over body-swapped Goku is that they last longer and are more impactful to their respective plotlines. Goku Black would also be able to pass a fingerprint test and use Goku’s ID, which are two of the strongest qualifications you can have as a Goku.
7. Goku & Chao Spirit – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Although the Goku in the “Goku & Chao” Spirit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate isn’t the kind we’re normally used to, you can’t deny it’s a Goku of some kind. That’s more than you can confidently say about everyone below him on this list. We don’t know much about how spirits work, however, when it comes to possession by two people. Do Goku and Chao posses the body they inhabit simultaneously? Do they take turns? The lack of answers here makes it hard to know who strong the Goku we’re getting here is, which makes it hard to move this entry up the list.
6. Gogeta – Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
Gogeta wouldn’t be able to pass that fingerprint/ID test I mentioned earlier. You got me. But I think we all know Goku’s full mind and body rest inside the fusion-being Gogeta, (albeit diluted by Vegeta’s mind and body) so he counts as Goku. His origin via fusion dance hurts his ranking, however, since Gogeta can only exist for about half an hour at a time (less if he takes severe damage), so he’s not going to move up this list no matter how much you liked Fusion Reborn.
5. Vegito (SSGSS) – Dragon Ball FighterZ
Fusion via Potara earrings is more stable than fusion via dance, since the former lasts for at least an hour or could be permanent, depending on
the arbitrary needs of the plot if a Supreme Kai did the fusing. This objectively makes Vegito the more potent Goku of the two fusions. Also, let’s not kid ourselves: Vegito is cooler than Gogeta. He dresses way better.
4. Goku (SSGSS) – Dragon Ball FighterZ
Although Goku’s Blue form is one of his strongest, this version of him technically has a non-zero amount of godly presence in him, which dilutes the overall percent of Goku here. Goku Blue is great if you want a stronger Goku, but poor if you just want pure, uncut Goku.
3. Goku (Super Saiyan) – Dragon Ball FighterZ
While this is undeniably the Goku we all know and love, this is a slightly different flavor of Goku, like Cherry Goku. Otherwise we’d just call him Goku.
2. Goku (Ultra Instinct) – Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
Similar to Super Saiyan Goku, though this is more of a mental state where he’s… really perceptive? Cleared his mind completely? I’m not sure I totally get what’s going on. Still, I’m willing to give this white-haired version the slight edge, since he’s also way more powerful, which counts for something.
1. Goku – Dragon Ball FighterZ
This right here? This is Goku.
So there you have it! Goku is your GOTY. Hopefully next year yields as many great and technically qualified Gokus as 2018 did.
For more on Goku, check out this image.
This article previously referred to Fusion Reborn as Wrath of the Dragon. This article is very sorry about that. It’s taking a time out.