There’s a reason why Frieza refers to Goku and Vegeta as “Monkeys”, and it’s not because of their love for Bananas! It’s because of their beautiful long tails, but why does Goku have a tail in the first place?
All Saiyans, including Goku, have a tail. The tail allows Saiyans to tap into their Great Ape Powers on the full moon.
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Why Does Goku Have a Tail?
Like all Saiyans, Goku has a monkey-like tail that allows him to transform into a great ape on the full moon.
The Saiyans who live on planet Vegeta (Paragus, Badrock, Nappa, Vegeta, etc.) wear their tails wrapped around their waist like a belt.
This keeps their tails from being reached or gripped by opponents.
But when they are on their own planet, they keep their tails loose because there’s no danger.
Apparently, when the tail of a Saiyan is squeezed, they experience agonizing pain. Nappa, Vegeta, and Goku became immune to this weakness through training.
What Happened to Goku’s Tail?
Goku ended up burning his tail when he was flying over the burning fire mountain (Saiyan tails can catch fire easily).
Goku had lost his tail three times before it stopped growing back. The first time he lost his tail was when Puar transformed into scissors to cut off Goku’s trail after he transformed into an ape. Fortunately, the tail grows back during a fight with Giran at the world martial arts tournament.
The second time was when Grandpa Gohan grabs Goku his trail during a fight in the palace of the fortuneteller baba and pulls it off accidentally. He manages to grow back his tail again.
Goku’s tail is permanently removed by Kami in the final scenes of Dragon Ball Z.
through the Old Kai’s tail pulling technique; he manages to regrow the tail in GT for increasing his power. This enabled Goku to transform into the Golden Great Ape as well as Super Saiyan 4.
Despite all this, his tail is not seen at the end of the GT series.
The Inspiration for Tail
Dragon Ball series was inspired by an eastern folktale when Akira Toriyama reread a story called Journey To The West, which introduced him to Sun Wukong, a hero who inhabited the body of a monkey.
Toriyama decided to bring selected traits of Wukong to Dragon Ball, and the tail was one of them!
Thanks to the folktale, all Saiyans ended up with tails. However, the Dragon Ball franchise moved away from this history as of late.
Toriyama admitted that it was difficult to draw the tails in the Saiyan characters, so he moved away from this idea.
That’s why Saiyans in Universe 6 don’t have tails. The race evolved from being apes.
Do Half Saiyan’s have tails?
While every single full blooded Saiyan is born with a tail, it’s seems that it’s a genetic lottery as to whether Half Saiyan’s have tails.
Gohan for example does have a tail, which Piccolo ends up removing.
However his brother Goten doesn’t seem to have been born with a tail.
More About the Saiyan Tails
Most Saiyan’s in the anime have had their tails removed. The guide book Daizenshuu explains that the tail often suddenly grows back when a Saiyan is in danger.
This explains why Goku’s tail suddenly popped up during the fight against Giran.
Dragon Ball Z explains that the tail does not grow back if the Saiyan has surpassed the power of Great Ape without transforming into one.
The Saiyans who were native to Universe 6 do not have tails because of the evolutionary process, as explained in the manga, Cabba does not have the knowledge of Saiyan tails.
Although Goku hasn’t had his tail in years we feel like it is due a comeback. Maybe if Goku wishes his tail back, he’ll be able to finally transform into SSJ4, and we’ll be able to settle the debate of what is stronger, SSJ4 or SSB!