In this study I’ll talk about the speed of DBZ characters, mostly about the speed of characters from saiyan saga. I know there probably are some other threads similar to this one, but I’ve put some effort into this, and I hope it will not be locked.
First I’ll start by exposing a common misunderstanding:
What most people don't understand is that speed of DBZ characters isn't the same as the speed of marvel or DC characters.
When Marvel/DC characters are flying, the longer they fly the faster they'll go, until they reach their top speed, for which it usually takes them at least few seconds,
When DBZ characters are flying, they reach their top speed almost instantly, and then they are losing it the longer they fly.
Take a look at those scans, Goku starts flying extremely fast, but he couldn't hold that same speed for too long
- With Superman for example is opposite, the longer he flies the faster he goes, until he reaches his top speed.
Basically it looks like the speed of DBZ char.=energy/distance
so if a character has energy 100, and the distance is 50, his speed will be 2. But if distance is 2 his speed will be 50. .
This became clear when it took 6 months for Goku to cross 1 000 000 km, which would mean his speed is 64 m/s. And I think we all know for certain, that his combat speed is much better than that. This same Goku whose long distance travel speed was 64 m/s, was so fast during the fight with Piccolo that not even Kami was able to see him. His combat speed was certainly far above the speed of sound.
Here I will talk about their top speed, which means I’ll be talking about their fighting speed, reaction time and short distance travel.
I have researched dbz universe and came to a conclusion that they have most likely reached light speed somewhere during the saiyan or namek saga.
I based my conclusion on 3 types of evidence: Power scaling, statements, and feats.
Power scaling (or perhaps I should have called it speed scaling…)
Obviously power scaling is not the most precise method for determining someone’s speed, and is very subjective, however if we use it the right way, it can show us, approximately, how fast they should be.
For example if someone is moving in front of you, and you can’t even see him, I think it is clear that he must be more than 10 times faster than you.
I’ll start from master Roshi.
He was fast enough to have entire fight scene within one second, he exchanged punches and kicks, they were spiting on each other, then they spent some time thinking, than they had a short conversation, then they played a game etc. and Roshi did all this while he was still holding back. Normal people were unable to see their movements.
After being shot at, Roshi was able to turn around and catch 9 bullets.
Roshi was able to create many after images
Roshi moved his hand so fast it created a wind so strong it blowed away a 70-80kg heavy superhuman and smashed him into a wall.
Kid Goku (21. budokai) , and Namu who were both slower then Roshi were able to jump several km high in the air, a feat which requires a movement of legs much faster than the speed of sound.
Bora who was slower than Roshi was able to trow goku and yacharobe above clouds, which means he can move his hand faster than sound.
Tao Pai Pai was on pair with Roshi, or slightly faster, and he throw a stone pillar 2300 km away, a feat which proves massively hypersonic movement . (more precisely, the initial speed of that pillar must have been around mach 14, and he was faster than a pillar, so his speed must have been around mach 20. link and link , 2 links for you to check my words)
From all of this I think it is safe to assume that Roshi is much faster than the sound.
Goku 22nd budokai
Kid Goku on 22 budokai was so much faster than Roshi, that Roshi was unable to see him
Goku after mystic water
Then Goku drank mystic water and became many times faster than before.
Tien, who was on pair with Goku before he drank the water, was so slow he was unable to kick Drum, and Goku, after water, was so fast he speed blitzed him. He also became as fast as young king Piccolo, while before he was slower than even the old Piccolo.
And Tien was unable to see his movements.
Yet even this Goku, who speed-blitzed Drum, and was moving so fast Tien couldn't even see him, was still too slow to even touch mr Popo, and mr Popo was so fast Goku was unable to see his movements.
Goku 23rd budokai
23rd budokai Goku was so fast that even Kami, who was vastly superior both to Mr Popo and kid Goku, was unable to see him or Piccolo while they were fighting at top speed.
And Raditz was much faster than both Goku and Piccolo at the beginning of DBZ.
Goku after King Kai training
Nappa was much faster than Raditz, he was even referring to him as a weakling, yet Nappa was unable to land a single punch on Goku, and this was before Goku even started using Kaio Ken.
Normal Kaio Ken doubles your strength, speed, energy durability et cetera and Goku was able to use KK x 4
Now when we calculate all this it becomes clear that we should expect saiyan saga characters to be between 10 000- 100 000 times faster than master Roshi. I can’t give more precise answer than this due to inaccuracy of power scaling method.
So if it is reasonable to say “if someone is moving in front of you, and you can’t even see him, I think it is clear that he must be more than 10 times faster than you”, then approximately this is what power scaling is telling us:
If master Roshi is around mach 10, then Goku 22nd budokai should have been around Mach 100, Goku after water mach 1 000, mr. Popo mach 10 000, Goku 23th budokai mach 100 000 and saiyan saga characters around mach 1 000 000.
Mr Popo stated how he can move faster than lightning.
I have heard people calling this a lie or a hyperbole, but when someone who is massively faster than a character who is massively faster than a massively hypersonic character states he is faster than lightning, why would we assume he is lying or hyperbolizing?
If I say I’m so hungry I could eat a horse, that’s clearly a hyperbole, but if someone bigger than Hulk says the same thing, even without providing a feat, I would believe him, the same way I believe Mr. Popo when he says he is faster than lightning.
Speed of lightning:
And finnaly the most important way of reasoning, by showing feats.
First I’ll show the speed of their beams
Akira was once asked, how long Gokus power pole can get, and he aswered, since it reached the moon, it can strech at least 380 000 km. This clearly shows that in Akira's mind dragon ball earth has the same or the simmilar relative position to it's moon as our planet does to our moon.
It took only few moments for a simple beam from Piccolo to reach the moon.
The Moon is 1.3 light seconds away, and it would take additional 1.3 seconds for a light from the explosion to return back to the earth, which means this beam from Piccolo was at very least close to the speed of light.
Master Roshi did the same thing, it only took him slightly longer.
There are many other scans on which you can see beams leaving the earths atmosphere right after they were fired such is this one, but these are less important for our current discussion
After you have seen how their beams are most likely near light speed fast, I’ll compare the speed of their bodies with the speed of their beams
Raditz dodged a beam, and he started to move after the beam was only few meters away from him.
We have seen Piccolo destroying a moon in matter of seconds, now we see Raditz dodging an attack from piccolo which was even called LIGHT of death. So if a guy who most likely can fire a beam as fast as light fires his best beam, which even has the word light in it's name, why would we assume that beam wasn't as fast as light?
The beam was 2-3m away from him before he started to move, and he moved 20-30 cm, which puts him at minimum 0.1c speed, if that beam was as fast as light.
And there are countless similar feats
From this scan you can clearly see how Raditz is almost as fast as Gokus beam.
Take a look at right panel of a first scan, Goku has fired his beam and the beam is around 5-6 m away from the ground. on the next panel you can see the beam is around 0.5 m from the ground and Raditz has moved 4-5 m from the place where he used to be. this proves they are nearly as fast as their beams. on the second scan you can see Raditz is running from a beam, but he can't maintain the speed for to long so he stops and tanks the beam.
Goku was running away from a beam, and Guldo stopped the time and you can clearly see how Krillin and Gohan are at least as fast as their beams.
There are countless feats like these in dbz
Now, is it possible that it took several minutes or hours for Piccolos beam to reach the moon?
Sure, but is that what most likely happened? Just by looking at scan anyone can see it is absolutely unlikely that it took a long time, why would piccolo be standing there with his hand up for few hours after fireng the beam, while Gohan is rampaging behind him?
Is it possible that they slow down their beams when they fight?
Sure, but why the hell would they do that?
These three lines of reasoning are all pointing at the same conclusion, power scaling statements and feats, and just the way it takes three legs to support the stool these three arguments taken together support the theory that dbz characters most likely reached light speed somewhere during the saiyan or namek saga.
We all know that the power of the impact depends on the speed and mass.
(Force = mass x acceleration)
And kinetic energy (E = 1/2mv^2)
Tien has more than enough power to destroy the moon, we know this because he is more powerful then proven moon busters. And Tien used his full powered attack against Nappa, he released his entire energy at Nappa and we know that because Tien died after using this attack.
Nappa was directly hit by his beam and he was undamaged.
Nappa was also able to endure attacks from Piccolo who actually destroyed the Moon.
Roshi who destroyed the moon, said he can’t do anything against him but pray, and Piccolo also had similar statements.
- Conclusion: Nappa has Moon+ durability.
And yet KK Goku one shoted him.
So if goku is only hypersonic as most of you think, how can he build enough force to take down someone who has moon+ durability? Obviously he would need much more speed than mach 5- 25, incomparably more, to take down someone like Nappa.
Vegeta was over 100 times more powerful then moon busters, and he was most likely able to destroy the Earth, yet he was unable to hurt Recome, and Goku one shoted him to.
Also it should be noted that during the fight they can't see each other by looking at them normally, they have to look for the ki energy their bodies are emiting, which is also indicating that they have reached levels close to the speed of light.
Also it should be noted that the same energy they use to vaporize moons, they also use to boost their speed, which clearly proves that they had more than enough energy to move near the speed of light , even before the saiyan saga.
Saiyan saga characters were most likely able to fight at relativistic speed because:
1. They are almost as fast as their beams were, which were approximately as fast as light.
2. They are much faster than Popo who was stated to be faster than lightning.
3. Roshi is mach 10+, yet he was too slow even to see 22nd budokai Goku, Tien who was on pair with 22nd budokai Goku was too slow to even see Goku's movement after he drank mystic water, Goku (after water) was too slow to see or touch mr Popo, who is inferior to Kami. Piccolo and Goku (23rd budokai) were fighting so fast they were invisible even to Kami, yet Raditz was faster than both of them combined.
Raditz would be a low tier saiyan saga character.
In other words saiyan saga characters are massively faster than characters which are massively faster than characters which are massively faster than massively hypersonic characters.
4. Saiyan saga characters are moon+ busters, and to destroy the moon you would need 600 billion strongest nuclear bombs. They use that same energy to boost their speed, so it should be obvious that they have enough energy to reach relativistic speeds.
5. They have moon+ level durability, yet they can hurt each other with their fists, again indicating their relativistic speed, because how powerful the punch will be mostly depends on how fast their fists are moving.. <even taking into account the possible difference between kinetic energy and ki energy>
Personally I don't know for any other character, out of any other comic book, who's relativistic speed is backed up by so much evidence, yet still rejected by so many people.
And for the end one cool feat, This is a feat of Goku and Vegeta having whole fight scene in one heart beat.As we all know kaioken lasts for heartbeat.
After saiyan saga
During the saiyan saga, Goku had to use KKx3 to surpass Vegeta's speed, and on Namek Vegeta was much faster than he was on Earth. Vegeta also recieved another power up after he recovered from the wounds caused by Zarbon, but he was still massively slower than Burter, who was able to fly faster than Vegeta can throw a ball.
However, Goku who was training under 100G gravity became so fast, that even without kaioken, Burter and Jeice were unable to touch him.
After recovery, Goku received another power up, but even with KKx20 he was still much slower than Frieza was, at 70% of his power.
This Goku was able to escape from a paralyzing light, the moment it exploded.
I personally don't think this feat undoubtedly proves that he was FTL as some like to claim, but it certainly indicates so, and it is perfectly consistent with my theory.
After Goku went SSJ, he became faster than Frieza at 100 % of power.
So the story goes on, pretty much in the same direction, each new villain was massively faster, stronger, more powerful and more durable than the previous one, and heroes would surpass and beat all of them.
SSJ Goku ( on namek)<Mecha Frieza<<< SSJ Trunks<<<SSJ Goku(pre android saga)<<<<<SSJ Goku (android saga)<SSJVegeta android saga<<Android 18<Android 17<<<<Cell (after absorbing people)</=Android 16<<<<Cell (after absorbing 17)<<<<Vegeta (after training in time chamber)<<<<Perfect Cell<<<<Super Perfect Cell<<SSJ2 Gohan<<<<<SSJ2 Goku</=SSJ2 Majin Vegeta<<<Fat Majin Buu<<SSJ3 Goku<<Mystic Gohan<<<<Buuhan<<<<<<<<SSJ Vegeto<<<<<SSJ3 Vegeto
One thing I often hear is that it takes long time for DBZ characters to charge up their energy beams, which is actually only true when they're going all out.
When Cell fired his full powered kamehameha at SSJ2 Gohan, Gohan waited for the beam to come close to him before he even started charging his kamehameha.
We have seen that their energy beams were almost as fast as light even before the namek saga, and it is very likely that the speed of their beams increased over time. We know for a fact that the speed of their bodies has been increasing exponentially, and we also know that the speed of their energy beams relatively to the speed of their body remained more or less the same, which makes it very likely that the speed of their energy beams increased over time. But even if their beams remained as slow as they were during the saiyan saga, that would still mean they are near light speed fast, and Gohan charged up his planet+ level kamehameha in a time it took for a beam to travel couple of meters, which would be around 1 nanosecond.
One more misconception is that DBZ characters somehow become immovable while they are charging their energy beams, which is also not true
Here Goku used KKx20 to fight against Frieza, and he charged up his kamehameha while simultaneously punching , kicking and dodging. And KK lasts for a heart beat, so all of this happened within a time frame a single heart beat.
In recent DBZ movie they showed some new feats which I'll list here.
Bills was flying form planet to planet in a fraction of a second, destroying them upon the impact
Compared to Bills, SSJ3 Goku appeared to be moving in slow motion
Bills and Whis traveled from far away Solar System in under 30 minutes.
Vegeta was dodging lasers after they were already only few inches from him, in his base form, in a room with extremely high gravity.