Kamehameha. The name evokes strength, power and nobility. A fitting description of the man who united the islands of Hawaii and became its first king. It’s a great way to describe the signature attack of martial artist Son Goku, hero from the anime Dragon Ball. In honor of Kamehameha Day, I share with you my Top 5 kamehamehas, as performed by Son Goku.
Why the name Kamehamaha? The attack is a wave or beam of energy that Goku projects from the palms of his outstretched hands. He learns this attack from a martial arts master known as the Turtle Elder. In Japanese, turtle is “kame” and wave is “ha.” According to the Internet, at first Toriyama couldn’t name Goku’s signature attack. Toriyama spoke with his wife, who suggested naming the attack after Hawaiian King Kamehameha. She believed it would be easy to remember and thus, the legendary Kamehamameha was born.
Dragon Ball started as a manga from Akira Toriyama, based on the Chinese novel Journey to the West. It then evolved into a blockbuster franchise spreading across anime, movies, and video games.
5. First Kamehameha
This is where the legend begins, earning this kamehameha the number five spot in my ranking. A young Goku witnesses the Turtle Elder perform the kamehameha for the first time and is eager to learn the attack himself. Although he’s disheartened to discover that it takes at least 50 years to learn the attack, that doesn’t stop him from succeeding on his first try and demolishing a car in the process. The joy from this scene comes from wondering if he’ll be able to pull off the kamehameha for the first time and getting the pay off when he does.
4. Super Kamehameha
A teenage Goku prepares to unleash his super kamehameha for the first time against the villainous Demon Lord Picolo. The excitement builds as any attack with “super” in its name must be awesome. Before we can see it, Goku hesitates as he worries his attack will destroy not only Picolo, but his friend Kami, whom Picolo swallowed. However, he learns with the magic of the dragon balls, Kami can be brought back to life, so Goku is free to send the demon lord to another plan of existence.
3. Instant Transmission Kamehameha
Goku is powered up into a super saiyan to battle big bad Perfect Cell. Cell plans to destroy the world unless Goku and his friends can stop him. Just replace Cell’s name with any other villain from Dragon Ball and you’ll have Dragon Ball’s winning formula. After a barrage of attacks, Goku gets a strategic position in the air and decides to shoot a kamehameha at Cell. However, with Goku being in the air and Cell being on the ground, the kamehameha would strike earth as well and end up destroying it. The kamehameha has become that powerful. Everyone doubts he’ll do it, but then we hear Goku utter the first “ka.” The tension builds as we expect to see Goku blow up Cell, the Earth, and his friends. Then at the last second, Goku teleports right next to Cell with his Instant Transmission technique to deliver a devastating blow to Cell’s face, putting this kamehameha in the number three spot.
2. Gohan and Goku Kamehameha
Although this kamehameha is number two, it could’ve easily been number one. Goku’s son Gohan has taken up fighting Cell. Gohan has become stronger than Goku, but the odds aren’t in his favor. Gohan has a broken arm and Goku was killed earlier when Cell self-destructed. Perfect Cell has the ability to regenerate, so after self-destructing, he came back to life and resumed his fight with Gohan. In response, Gohan shot a one-armed kamehameha but found his power waning. Watching from the afterlife, Goku comes back as a ghost and lends his power to Gohan’s kamehameha. Which still isn’t enough. Until an attack from their ally Vegeta gives them the opening they need to power up and to finish off Cell. The drama is intense, but due to the kamehameha being performed by Gohan, with an assist from Vegeta, this kamehameha just misses being the number one spot.
1. Kaio Ken Kamehameha
Speaking of Vegeta, his rivalry with Goku is the stuff of legends, which is the kind of kamehameha Goku pulls off against Vegeta in their first battle. Goku hasn’t learned how to transform into a super saiyan yet. Instead, he relies on the kaio-ken technique, which results in a great increase to his speed, power, and stamina, but for a short period of time. The technique can be multiplied, with greater increases, but the toll on the body could be lethal. Vegeta, in bad guy mode, is about to destroy earth and an exhausted Goku is left with no choice but to use kaio-ken multiplied.
He’s only used kaio-Ken multiplied up to three times so far. Vegeta charges up his attack and we watch an exhausted Goku multiply his kaio-ken times three. Goku’s kamehameha collides with Vegeta’s attack. The intensity is fierce as the attacks are evenly matched until Goku screams out an unexpected kaio-ken times four, blowing Vegeta out of the sky, and taking the number one spot on my Top 5 Dragon Ball Kamehamehas.