Dragon Ball Z Wasted Super Saiyan 3:
The Super Saiyans of Dragon Ball lore is not a class of warriors to be taken lightly. Once the stuff of legends in the ancient Saiyan folktales, Goku has started a legacy and an eventual chain reaction that made the Super Saiyans the next level of power in the Dragon Ball Universe! With their blonde hair, golden aura, blue eyes, and Godlike strength and speed, Super Saiyans represent the next stage in combat evolution. But many times in anime, we see a certain element with a lot of potential being completely wasted just because of the fact that the writers have decided to take a different approach to the plot. And for Dragon Ball Z, that was the Super Saiyan 3 transformation. The Dragon Ball writers have failed the fans and Super Saiyan 3.
When in doubt, transform – that has always been the mantra in any Dragon Ball storyline. Over the years, Goku and Vegeta have undergone some major Super Saiyan power boosts. Goku was the first to unlock Super Saiyan 1. He unlocked Super Saiyan 2 as well as Super Saiyan 3. Vegeta unlocked Super Saiyan 1 and 2, trailing behind Goku. Goku and Vegeta then simultaneously unlocked Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan aka Super Saiyan Blue. Goku then unlocked Ultra Instinct, considered the deadliest martial art of all time that was once exclusive only to the Gods. Vegeta unlocked Super Saiyan Blue Evolved, which has the same power level as Goku’s potent Super Saiyan Blue Kaio-Ken form.
And in all this chaos of escalating physical transformations by the lead heroes to change the tides of battle, some of the more noticeable forms were lost to the ages. Super Saiyan 3 is one of its prime examples.
Super Saiyan 3: An Overview
The Super Saiyan 3 form is the third and final form of the Super Saiyan transformation seen in the Dragon Ball Z saga. It is the successor to the second Super Saiyan form and has some noticeable change sin physical appearance as opposed to its predecessor. The Super Saiyan 3 form helps extract each and every drop of potential that is within a Saiyan Warrior. Goku first achieved this form after some really punishing and intense training in Other World. Other than Goku, Goten and Trunks fuse together to form Gotenks, who is able to follow Goku’s example and achieve this form himself.
One peculiar aspect of Super Saiyan 3 was that it seems like a normal mortal Saiyan will have a hard time unlocking this form. For a mere mortal, this form is nigh impossible to achieve because the massive power generated cannot be handled by worldly beings. The two Saiyans, who have achieved the Super Saiyan 3 form, have done it under abnormal circumstances. Goku unlocked Super Saiyan 3 when he was dead. Gotenks was the fusion form of Goten and Trunks and had the power of two Super Saiyans to back him up. That is why they could achieve Super Saiyan 3. That is exactly why it is so special. Not just any Saiyan could achieve it. It takes time and requires some really special and unique criteria to be fulfilled.
Super Saiyan 4, as was seen in Dragon Ball GT, was the form that allowed for a hundred percent usage of all available physical stamina. Super Saiyan 3 has a different method of operation. Super Saiyan 3 works on the principle of maximum Ki Utilization. And that is why the user of a Super Saiyan 3 will face extended periods of fatigue and stress after transforming into this form.
If the user has an other-worldly body like Goku (who was technically dead at the time he transformed into Super Saiyan 3 during the Buu saga), then the drawbacks are somewhat mitigated. The power of the transformation is so supermassive that if the user is not able to handle and contain it, then the transformation can actually make his body explode. The Super Saiyan 3’s aura is strong enough to traverse between dimensions as was seen when Shin was able to sense Goku’s aura when the Saiyan transformed.
All in all, this form has a lot of potentials. It does not just look great but also has some really cool, practical applications and major power upgrades over the other forms.
Goku revealed this form to the viewers for the first time during the Majin Buu saga. As Trunks was getting ready to look for the Dragon Radar to retrieve the Dragon Balls, Goku took it upon himself to stop Majin Buu and buy Trunks some much needed time. To do so, Goku needed to fight Buu on equal terms. And hence, he transformed into Super Saiyan 3. The more he remained in this form, the lesser time he had in the physical world since Goku was radiating so much energy throughout the time that he was in this form that not even his un-dead body could handle it for long. The next few matches Goku had with Majin Buu saw less and less of the forms. Goku became judicious in using Super Saiyan 3 as he fought subsequent transformed forms of Majin Buu like Super Buu and Kid Buu.
If you think a Super Saiyan 1 is powerful, you would be blown away at the level of power Super Saiyan 3 grants. A Super Saiyan 1 multiples a Saiyan’s base power by a factor of 50. Super Saiyan 3 on the other hand multiples a Super Saiyan 2’s power by four times and a Super Saiyan 1’s power by 8 times. This means that Super Saiyan 3 grants power that is around 400 times or more than a Saiyan’s base form. The only flaw that this form has is that it has tremendous energy consumption and if not used sparingly, will be counter-productive to the user him-self.
Even though it has some drawbacks, there is a very loyal fan following for the long lost Super Saiyan 3 form. The form was seen mainly in the Majin Buu saga and as the story progressed from Dragon Ball Z to Dragon Ball Super, Super Saiyan 3 was lost to the pages of time. Newer, better forms like Super Saiyan God and Super Saiyan Blue took center stage. Since Goku is currently the only Saiyan in the entire universe who has the power to use the Super Saiyan 3 form, his Ultra Instinct powers mean that the writers will make his use his Super Saiyan powers less and less and even if he does, he will probably switch between Super Saiyan 1 and Super Saiyan Blue, with all intermediate forms side-tracked forever.
Akira Toriyama’s comment on the Super Saiyan 3 status in Dragon Ball is the final nail in its coffin. In June 2014, Toriyama claimed that the Super Saiyan 3 is nothing but a powered up variant of a Super Saiyan base form. With proper training, Goku can actually achieve more power in his Super Saiyan 1 form and thus would never even need to go Super Saiyan 3. This would mean that Goku will have way more power with none of the side effects that the Super Saiyan 3 form grants. And as a result, that is why we believe that Dragon Ball side-tracking an epic transformation like this is why they have wasted a good chance at exploring something even greater.
The last Dragon Ball arc to have been featured in the Manga is the Galactic Patrol Prisoner Saga. Released in the year 2018, the Manga is still on-going and again sees the Dragon Ball Universe in grave danger from an ancient enemy that has broken free of its prison. The official synopsis for the arc reads:
Galactic Patrol Kidnapping. Following the ordeal surrounding Broly, Goku trains with Vegeta in the Gravity Training Room. … Vegeta asks why he needs Buu and Merus explains that a dangerous criminal has broken free of the Galactic Prison and in order to recapture him they need the assistance of the Grand Supreme Kai.