mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Super Saiyan 3 Cinematographic Masterpiece

Everyone remembers the day they saw Goku go Super Saiyan 3 for the first time. If you somehow have not yet seen Goku go Super Saiyan 3 (commonly abbreviated SSJ3), strap yourself in and prepare to have your life changed forever.

This scene is a life motivator. Need a boost to get through a hard day? Need to take anything to the next level? You watch this and then you take it there. Because if Goku can go SSJ3, you can also do whatever you want.

Watching this scene again today I realized that not only is it amazing, it is a cinematographic masterpiece! Why? Jump to around 4:20 to see Goku wrapping up his transformation. At 4:34 we see various shots panning on the now SSJ3 Goku. What’s missing in all those shots? Goku’s halo.

Remember that Goku sacrificed himself during the Cell saga, but during the events leading up to the Buu saga he is allowed to return to Earth for a single day to participate in the World Martial Arts Tournament. A bunch of stuff happens during the tournament and eventually it leads to Goku having to turn SSJ3 to fight Buu. But Goku is still dead and he’s still on a clock. During the SSJ3 transformation scene we are even reminded of this fact when King Kai warns Goku that going SSJ3 will use up the time he has left on Earth even faster.

Looking at all the shots after Goku’s transformation finishes we are shown Goku in his entirety but never the halo. We get a slow pan up his new, and longer, golden mane but as we approach his head we get a direct horizontal pan to his face. The next shot (see photo above) of Goku shows his upper body but the halo is (presumably) just off-screen. It’s perfect. It’s beautiful.

Is this deliberate? Of course it is. Goku going SSJ3 buys even the dedicated Dragonball Z viewer a reprieve from the sad reality that Goku cannot stay on Earth forever. Bravo!