Goku will never make it into Super Smash Bros. That’s what I always told myself around the time Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out and the pleas from Dragon Ball Z fans became relevant upon the addition of Snake as a guest character. Why the hell would they add Goku? He’s not even a video game character. On top of that, Super Smash Bros. is a celebration of Nintendo characters. Snake is only a one-time guest. You stupid idiots. Goku will never be in the game. Ever. Ever.
Fast forward ten-plus years. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has opened the floodgates to inviting a seemingly endless list of participants through their DLC additions. Their most recent addition is Joker from Persona 5, who became playable two days ago. Joker from Persona 5? Well… that’s interesting.
Before making my own argument, I’ll indulge in the counterargument one would make upon seeing the title of this post. Goku is not a video-game character. Every character that has made the Smash Bros. roster thus far originally debuted in a video game. Goku’s inclusion would break that chain, which could cause a number of people to cry foul, and would open the floodgates even more to an even bigger pool of potential candidates for inclusion. For that, there is a foundation of hope for those who would loathe even the thought of the kamehameha wave being shown onscreen during a fight.
But how strong is that foundation? Super Smash Bros. also used to only include Nintendo characters, and since Brawl, there have been at least two guest characters per game. With Ultimate, there are a substantial number of non-Nintendo characters, such as Snake, Bayonetta, Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man, Cloud, and the newly unveiled Joker. While Goku wasn’t originally a video game character, he has still appeared in more video games than most of the Super Smash Bros. roster combined. Perhaps the inclusion of Goku—one of the most recognizable faces in action-based Shounen to this day—in Super Smash Bros.—one of the most recognized fighting game franchises of this generation—could be something of a permissible cheat.
What prompted this post was seeing Joker and his exclusive stage finally unveiled in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I thought back to the Persona franchise and what I know of it, and have since deduced that it is the closest a video game could ever come to full-on anime to be included in Super Smash Bros. (Cloud comes in a close second.) From what I’ve played, Fire Emblem has also taken to incorporating various anime themes and tropes into their games at this point, too, which only makes Super Smash Bros., almost by default, more inclusive of that anime identity that I used to shun vehemently. With seven-hundred Fire Emblem characters, Bayonetta, Cloud, and now Joker, is Goku really that much of foreign face?
In what may be just as much of a joke as a genuine desire to see Goku in the game, various Super Smash Bros. mods have made him playable by basing his general moveset around other fighters, while also incorporating an exclusive special moveset. If one were to look up “goku smash bros mod” into Google, they are likely to find hundreds of results containing news stories, shady download links, and various tutorials on how to play different mods featuring the popular fighting symbol. And the more I see this, the more I think the official Smash Bros. development team could make some great work out of his capabilities. Goku is, based in his own story, one of the most powerful beings in the known universe, with many years of training and special moves to his name. I think the biggest problem developers would have is deciding what to leave out.
On a final note, Goku is currently as popular as he’s ever been, perhaps even more so. Dragon Ball continues to thrive with the end of Dragon Ball Super, a movie involving the return of Broly that was just released months ago, which made $111 million globally (according to Box Office Mojo); and Dragon Ball FighterZ is one of the highest-rated Dragon Ball fighting games in many years. Sheer popularity could influence Nintendo to put him in there for further reach of potential players. With the evidence listed before, I genuinely don’t think it’d be too huge of an issue… except with getting the licensing to put him in the game, of course.
If one were to ask me whether I’d want Goku in Smash Bros. or not, I wouldn’t be able to give them an answer. My past self was a very prominent supporter in never giving him even the thought of making it in, proclaiming that he was “too anime” for the roster. Now-a-days, as a 25-year-old dude who has only just got back into the franchise after finding Super Smash Bros. U lackluster, it doesn’t really matter to me who they put in the game. They could put Sans from Undertale into the game—I wouldn’t care. They could put Master Chief from Halo in there—I wouldn’t care. They could Glover in there—I would shit my pants from hype. Whatever the case, Super Smash Bros. has become, in others’ words, “a celebration of video games” in general. I don’t think it’s any longer about who doesn’t belong as much as it is who does. They could put anyone in there, even characters I once thought would never make it. Goku has as much of a shot as anyone else, if not more.
What do you think of Goku being in Smash Bros.? Do you think my reasoning is off-base?
For more posts like this, feel free to check out my full list of video game opinion pieces!
Thank you for your time. Have a great day.