Super Saiyan Vs Kaio-Ken:
For long, Dragon Ball has revealed that the key to true power is hidden secret martial arts techniques. Whether through rage, or fatigue, or sheer will, you can achieve these power-ups and they will act like a Deus Ex Machina in case the hero is pinned down too hard by the enemy. One of the greatest such Deus Ex Machina power boosts came in the form of a Ki Amplification technique called the Kaio-Ken, taught to Goku be King Kai himself. In his subsequent fight with Frieza over Namek, Goku unlocked the Super Saiyan power. Both techniques of historical significance in the history of Dragon Ball but which one is more important and has proven to be decisive in latter storylines is the question we need to answer today.
Superiority is a very complicated game. It does not require one technique to give the user more power over the other technique. Superiority has other forms too. It depends on which technique helped save Goku’s neck at the nick of time. It also depends upon which technique proved to be more devastating in a fight. To do that, we need to measure and analyze every technique for its entire roster of strengths and weaknesses. Let us talk about each technique in detail first.
Technically meaning the Realm King Fist, the Kaio-Ken technique was developed by King Kai and Goku is the first-ever person to have mastered it outside the Realm of Gods. The technique allows a user to increase his or her Ki output for a heart-beat. This allows a person to increase his speed and strength momentarily which accounts for increased damage delivered to the opponent. The Technique forms the epitome of Ki Control and when used, it transforms a warrior’s aura into crimson red. Kaio-Ken has also been shown to have a combinational effect with the Super Saiyan Blue transformation as shown in the Tournament of Power in Dragon Ball Super.
Although termed to be a technique that only momentarily increases the power levels, Goku has shown that training more and more will allow a user to use it for prolonged periods. When Goku fought Vegeta, he could only use the technique for mere seconds. When he lands on Namek to face Frieza, Goku revealed that he could use Kaio-Ken for extensive periods and the multiplication value is now a thousand times more than what he had achieved previously.
Kaio-Ken has several drawbacks, the chief of which is that it puts tremendous strain and stress on one’s body. If a user does not have a calm aura and excellent Ki control, the massive Aura generated by Kaio-Ken is enough to thrash a person’s body, pop his veins out and lead to cardiac arrest if used not too sparingly.
The Super Saiyan transformation was also first unlocked by Goku in the Dragon Ball Z series. It is an advanced transformation that can only be unlocked by adept fighters of Saiyan heritage – pure-blooded or hybrids. The Super Saiyan Transformation has proven to give Goku a power boost of at least 50 times his base power. That power boost alone was capable of handling the whims of Frieza, an intergalactic dictator who was so powerful that he possessed the power to destroy a planet if need be.
When transformed, a Super Saiyan has a golden aura, blue eyes, and blonde hair. A Saiyan can become a Super Saiyan if he or she has a sufficient amount of S-Cells, which is the trigger required for the transformation. S-Cells can be accumulated by training or if the Saiyan is a pure-hearted soul. Super Saiyans once used to be the stuff of legends in the Saiyan race.
There might and prowess were so legendary that the Saiyans became some of the most feared species in the entire universe. A Super Saiyan’s power barely has any counter apart from a select few chosen warriors. The biggest drawback of a Super Saiyan is a user loses Ki control and most of his or her energy starts leaking out of their body because their bodies cannot adjust to the massive amounts of aura generated by a Super Saiyan and thus cannot control it.
Crucial Moments in Dragon Ball:
Way before Super Saiyans came into the fold, the Kaio-Ken technique helped Goku save his tail many times in the past. It was pivotal in helping Goku defeat Vegeta. When Nappa tried beating him into a pulp, Kaio-Ken helped save the day. Frieza’s elite Ginyu Force also lost to the might of Kaio-Ken. Even while fighting Frieza, Goku has used the Kaio-Ken technique. That was exactly the reason why Frieza had to transform multiple times up to his final form to make Goku bite dust. In more ways than one, it was Kaio-Ken that helped push Goku to the brink and unlock the Super Saiyan form.
The Super Saiyan form is what helped Goku defeat Frieza in the end. But it does have its ‘low’ moments. For instance, a glaring chink in the Super Saiyan Armour was seen when Future Trunks underwent the Ultra Super Saiyan form. By using up all his Super Saiyan energy to increase his body mass, Future Trunks ended up increasing his strength but at the expense of his speed and agility. The Super Saiyan 3 form that Goku achieved also had some incredible flaws. It burned too much aura that Goku could not maintain it lest he is pulled back to the afterlife. Super Saiyan 3 also proved ineffective against Majin Buu. For the fused heroes, the Super Saiyan transformations ended up reducing their fusion times since their fused forms could not maintain the upper Super Saiyan levels for long.
The Kaio-Ken and the Super Saiyan transformation both proved vital in Goku’s journey. They helped Goku reach unbelievable levels of power. It was Kaio-Ken that led to Goku unlocking Super Saiyan power. It as the Super Saiyan power that helped Goku master God Ki and ultimately led to Goku mastering Ultra Instinct Sign. But Kaio-Ken made a return in Dragon Ball Super. After a long time, Goku used Kaio-Ken along with his Super Saiyan Blue form.
The Super Saiyan Transformation has shown multiple stages over the years. There is the Super Saiyan 1, Super Saiyan 2 and Super Saiyan 3 form. We also saw Super Saiyan God and Super Saiyan Blue in action. Each form is responsible for multiplying the power of a Saiyan by a factor of 50 or more. A Super Saiyan transformation requires a Siyan to embrace an emotion – be it rage or sorrow, grief, or any other. After going Super Saiyan once, the user can voluntarily switch from his base form to the SS form as required.
Kaio-Ken, on the other hand, is a technique that can be taught to anyone. Goku was able to learn it because of his impossibly driven focus. And here’s the catch – even after years of mastering the technique, using Kaio-Ken still puts Goku under some tremendous amount of strain. When he used it again in conjunction with Super Saiyan Blue in the Tournament of Power, it still took a massive toll on his body. The Super Saiyan transformation, which can be sustained for far longer periods, and takes a very little toll on the body, clearly has proven to be a more resourceful and handy technique for Goku.
So in the end, we have to admit that it is the Super Saiyan transformation that takes the cake here. And not, the Kaio-ken technique! That settles it!!
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 to recapture him they need the assistance of the Grand Supreme Kai.