[Top 10] Dragon Ball Best Gohan Fights

Gohan's Top Fights
Gohan and his past, embodied in the ghostly image of his younger self. Copyright 2015, Toei Animation.

With his hidden yet limitless power, Gohan's attacks always pack a wallop!

The half-Saiyan Gohan is really coming into his own as a fighter lately. For instance, he most recently fought Seven-Three, one of the evil Moro’s top subordinates in the ongoing Dragon Ball Super manga. Goku’s elder son wasn’t always this way, though, as fans will know he's had many ups and downs in past conflicts. So as to better understand Gohan’s renewed commitment to the warrior path, then, here’s some of his top fights in the Dragon Ball anime franchise.

10. Gohan vs. Freiza (Army), Dragon Ball Super

Frieza in his best impression of a Western gunslinger, trying to get his victim to dance.

Context of the Fight: 

Freiza’s been resurrected by the Dragon Balls, attained a frightening boost to his power, and plans to destroy Earth! But with Goku and Vegeta off-world, it’s up to the other members of the Dragon Gang — Gohan among them — to stop him. But since the latter has power beyond Super Saiyan, everything should be fine…right?

What Makes the Gohan vs. Frieza (Army) Fight Awesome: 

•    Gohan hasn’t trained since becoming a scholar, but he still manages to make the revived army of Freiza look pathetic. (While wearing a lame tracksuit, no less!)
•    Even when Ginyuu shows up, Gohan takes it in stride and beats him regardless, even offering to show mercy and spare his life.
•    Apparently base-form Freiza is now so strong he can beat Super Saiyan Gohan while (literally) barely lifting a finger. That, or Gohan’s really let himself go since hanging up his gi. (…probably both.)

9. Gohan vs. Lavender, Dragon Ball Super

"Man, your breath reeks!"

Context of the Fight:

In preparation for the ‘universe-shattering’ Tournament of Power (thanks for that, Goku), the Omni Kings host an exhibition bout between the 7th Universe and the 9th Universe as a demonstration. First was Buu vs. Basil, and now Gohan steps up to the plate to face Lavender. He’s especially eager for the bout, having been training since his rather pathetic loss against the revived Frieza, but will that be enough?

What Makes the Gohan vs. Lavender Fight Awesome:

•    Gohan takes the fight so seriously that he won’t even take a Senzu Bean after being blinded by a poison gas attack.
•    He also takes the fight so seriously that he’s willing to damage himself and force a tie during an exhibition match.
•    It shows just how determined Gohan is to get back to his old strength, and even beyond.

8. Gohan vs. Dabura, Dragon Ball Z/DBZ:Kai

Fighting a Demon King? Eh, just a walk in the park, no biggy.

Context of the Fight:

In the race against time to stop Majin Buu’s revival, Goku and Vegeta have each dispatched a subordinate of the evil wizard Babidi. Now it’s Gohan’s turn, and he must battle against Babidi’s right-hand man himself, Dabura the King of the Demon World. Unfortunately, Gohan’s a bit out of practice (seeing a pattern yet?), so who knows how this fight will end?

What makes the Gohan vs. Dabura Fight Awesome:

•    This is Gohan’s first serious fight since the Cell Games years ago, meaning the audience gets to see what Gohan can do now. (Which is…disappointing.)
•    Goku and Vegeta’s asides about how Gohan is just whiffing the whole thing, while Supreme Kai maintains his ‘What the hell?!’ face, are pretty funny.
•    He’s fighting the literal King of Demons, poorly at that, and yet still amusingly treats it as something of a warm-up.

7. Gohan vs. Super Buu, Dragon Ball Z/DBZ:Kai

Mystic Gohan > Saiyaman.

Context of the Fight: 

So then: Super Buu’s killed almost everyone on the planet, escaped from the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, and literally eaten the majority of the Dragon Gang. (So cannibalism is ok as long as you turn people into candy first?) When even a Lookout-destroying fight with Gotenks isn’t enough to beat him, all seems lost! (Sorry Piccolo). However, a new challenger arrives — Gohan, with the entirety of his hidden strength awoken by the Old Kai!

What Makes the Gohan vs. Super Buu Fight Awesome:

•    Gohan gets a chance to act out his Vegeta impression and utterly dominate Super Buu with almost no effort.
•    Unlike Vegeta, though, he shows mercy and offers to simply let Buu go when the power-gap between them becomes apparent.
•    Buu gets the drop on Gohan even when the latter’s become so powerful, as their fight takes a turn for the worse when Buu absorbs Gotenks.

6. Gohan vs. Obuni, Dragon Ball Super

No one's gonna get the drop on Gohan anymore.

Context of the Fight: 

The Tournament of Power rages on, and Gohan encounters the last-surviving participant from the 10th Universe, Obuni. Will Gohan’s recent training to reawaken his mystic strength pay off, or will Obuni’s startling sensory technique be the key to the half-Saiyan’s defeat?

What Makes the Gohan vs. Obuni Fight Awesome:

•    The technique that Obuni uses to corner Gohan is quite clever, and adds to the plausibility that Gohan could really lose the fight.
•    Gohan demonstrates that he has indeed reawakened his power, as well as overcome his previous, reckless tendency to let down his guard.
•    The fight emphasizes the tournament’s stakes. With Universe 10 erased, we see Gohan will do what it takes to protect his own. (Still, that locket!)

5. (Ape) Gohan vs. Vegeta, Dragon Ball Z/DBZ:Kai

Gohan swats at Vegeta like a fly.

Context of the Fight:

Saiyan invader Vegeta has been battered with the Kaio Ken, blasted with a Kaio-Ken multiplied Kamehameha Wave, and even had the Spirit Bomb thrown at him. Even so, he keeps getting back up! What’ll it take to finally end this Saiyan? We soon find out when Gohan gets a glimpse of Vegeta’s artificial moon…

What Makes the (Ape) Gohan vs. Vegeta Fight Awesome:

•    Gohan has a chance to get revenge for Piccolo’s death. (And what better way than through the poetic justice of using the Ape form against him?)
•    Gohan, with the help of Goku and Krillen, is able to muster what’s left of his reason to direct his ape-rage solely at Vegeta.
•    Vegeta’s final defeat comes from being crushed by a naked child. (Make of that what you will.)

4. Gohan vs. Recoome, Dragon Ball Z/DBZ:Kai

Gohan ignores the odds and blasts Recoome.

Context of the Fight:

Gohan, Krillin and Bulma already had their hands full dealing with Frieza’s normal forces, as well as Vegeta’s own, independent search for the Namekian Dragon Balls. Now they and Vegeta have to make an alliance to survive against the Ginyuu force! Guldo was beaten easily enough, but the same can’t be said for Recoome…

What Makes the Gohan vs. Recoome Fight Awesome:

•    Gohan, tapping into some inner power, has the gall to challenge Recoome when even Vegeta was defeated.
•    Gohan is near despair, yet he manages to overcome it and get a hit or two on a major Ginyuu force member. A far cry from the sniveling child he used to be.
•    Recoome shows himself to be an utterly remorseless monster by seemingly killing a child. (Gohan’s ‘dead-eyes’…good Lord.) 

3. Gohan vs. Frieza (2nd Form), Dragon Ball Z/DBZ:Kai

Afraid that Krillin is dead, Gohan unleashes his rage on Frieza.

Context of the Fight: 

It seems Namek really brings out the power in people! Once again, Gohan unleashes his inner strength, this time on a newly transformed Freiza. It’s not enough to bring him down, obviously, but still…right on, Gohan!

What Makes the Gohan vs. Frieza (2nd Form) Fight Awesome:

•    Vegeta, the arrogant Saiyan, is astonished that a young child could have such power. (He would know, given his own prior battle with Gohan.)
•    Gohan fights a galactic warlord for the sake of friends Krillin and Dende, as well as to buy time for Goku to heal. That’s one hell of a five-year old!
•    The fact that Gohan could even knock Freiza down at all. The guy is a villain who’s been hyped up as the most powerful being in the universe, and yet Gohan still catches him off guard.

2. Gohan vs. Nappa, Dragon Ball Z/DBZ:Kai

"You killed the only father-figure I had who ever gave me attention!"

Context of the Fight:

Yamcha was killed by Saibamen, Chaozu pulled a kamikaze attack, and Tien died from sheer exhaustion. Now with Piccolo dead, Gohan has lost a father-like mentor who helped him become more independent. Enraged at this loss, Gohan lashes out at the hulking Nappa.

What Makes the Gohan vs. Nappa Fight Awesome:

•    It’s the first real fight Gohan has ever had. (The headbutt with Raditz was impressive, sure, but that was more like Gohan’s version of a tantrum.)
•    It’s fueled by rage at the loss of not only Yamcha, Chaozu, and Tien, but also that of loner Piccolo, who considered Gohan his only friend.
•    Nappa admitted Gohan’s final Masenko attack numbed his arm. Given that he was a frightened four-year-old only months earlier, that’s saying something.

1. Gohan vs. Perfect/Super-Perfect Cell, Dragon Ball Z/DBZ:Kai

Gohan lets it all go.

Context of the Fight:

Cell pushed Gohan too far, causing him to awaken the full(ish) extent of his power! Now having reached Super Saiyan 2, Gohan utterly wrecks Cell while exuding a cold anger unlike his usual demeanor. This bites him back later when Cell explodes, kills Goku, and even gets a power-boost. But, not to be deterred, Gohan manages to end the bug-man’s reign of terror nonetheless.

What Makes the Gohan vs. Perfect/Super-Perfect Cell Fight Awesome:

•    This is the fight that truly showed Gohan’s transformation from a frightened child with a hidden temper to a warrior who can hold his own.
•    Gohan’s punches are so strong that Cell actually vomits up Android 18 (One might ask what he’s been eating, but we already know.)
•    Even after attaining the Super Saiyan 2 state, Gohan still has untapped power. When he finally unleashes his full-powered Kamehameha Wave against Cell’s version, the tension is palpable.

Hope you liked the list! The entries are, admittedly, my own top Gohan fights rather than anything official. So, if you want to let me know what you think of my numbering, or what your own top Dragon Ball Gohan fights are, feel free to comment and discuss below!

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