Why not in thousands of years, none of Saiyan population went super when suddenly Goku did?
We all know that the Saiyans draw power from anger. But why didn’t King Vegeta or his subjects go super when they were enslaved by Frieza and his henchmen? Or the countless times Vegeta’s pride (which we love so much) is hurt?
I think compassion or the lack of it is the answer. The entirely history of the Saiyan race can be explained consistently with the exception of kid Goten and Trunks (maybe Goku and Vegeta were both in super mode when they conceived the boys lol).
Let’s go way back to before Goku was born and back to planet Vegeta. As explained in the movie Bardock, the entire Saiyan race are fighters who are ruthless and cold. They have power level (PL) of a couple of thousands up to 5,000 or so, according to variously sources (Goku’s PL was 8,000 when he fought Vegeta the first time). Given such PL and personality, they can easily subdues many planets such as Earth, especially in Greate Ape or Oozaru form. At the same time, the Saiyans simply submitted to Frieza due to his godly power. Heck , Frieza’ elite soldiers like the Ginyu force, Dodoria and Zarbon were north of 30,000. As a result, it makes a lot of sense that the Saiyans continued to take orders from Frieza to conquer planet and epxand the empire without any disruption for centuries.
So what changed for Goku and Vegeta? How were they able to catch up with Frieza’s men and Frieza himself in such a short time?
Of course, you Dragon Ball Z (DBZ) fans will be able to point out Zenkai boost which multiply a Saiyan’s power upon a recovery from a near death experience. From the start of DBZ or the Saiyan saga, Goku had exactly 2 Zenkai boost and Vegeta 3.
Going back in time, it was said the power of Bardock and his crew increased to fast, thus alarmed Frieza to the point he decided to destroy the Saiyans. The numbers were never specified but Bardock was a low class Saiyan. Let’s imagine his PL were 1,000 (similar to Raditz). In a short of time the movie covered, let’s say his PL increased to 2,500 or 3,000 which is still nothing to Frieza’s elite fighters. Bardock wasn’t even a remote threat to King Vegeta who could be around 5,000. However, it was a 250%-300% in just a few months, from a low class Saiyan, Bardock was now near Saiyan’ elite level. Imagine his run continues for a couple more years, Bardock’s PL could be in the tens of thousands or even 100,000! Factor in the Oozaru form which is said to have multiplier of 10! There are 5 members in Bardock’s crew. Holy cow, what if dozens or hundreds of Saiyans achieve transformation like Bardock?
That’s the worry that made Frieza snap!
However, Frieza was overthinking IMO. Zenkai boosts don’t come by easily and Bardock’s team was the exception. As mentioned early, the Saiyan race was a in a comfortable spot where they were far stronger than their victims and yet far weaker than Frieza’s close circle. Therefore, a near death experience never happened! At least till Bardock’s time.
Perhaps by that time Frieza’s empire has expanded too far and they have ran out of “easy targets”. The Saiyans ran out of luck. Bardock’s team of five were the first (and last) unlucky, forced to fight till they were almost death. Thanks to the healing technology, they recovered quickly and went on other missions (they were Frieza’ slaves after all). Again, the near-death struggles happened who knows how many times. 2 Zenkai boost is enough for Frieza’s men to notice the alarming difference since the Saiyans did not know how to hide their power like Goku and friends.
Come to think of it, the Saiyan elite like King Vegeta probably never had to go on a dangerous mission without enough manpower or weaponry. Therefore, they would definitely miss out on Zenkai boosts!
But Zenkai was only 1 of the 2 reason why Goku and Vegeta go so strong and eventually achieved Super Saiyan status. The other reason is probably more important and you already know it: anger.
Anger made Goku turned Super Saiyan the first time. Anger made Gohan turn Super Saiyan 2 the first time. Anger allowed Vegeta, a mere Super Saiyan 2, to land some serious blows on the God of Destruction Beerus.
However, it wasn’t just any kind of anger.
Goku was so angry at Frieza killing his childhood friend Krillin in a gruesome and cold-blooded fashion. Gohan was so angry at Cell because Cell killed a loving Android 16 and the near-future projection of Cell killing everyone else Android 16 pointed out. Last but not least, Vegeta snapped because Beerus slapped “my Bulma”!
Notice the pattern yet?
The three monumental events mentioned demonstrated what I call “compassionate anger”. Our beloved Saiyans were not angry for themselves but for others whom they care deeply about.
This is also the reason why generations of Saiyans before Bardock made no progress. They had no compassion or love for one another. Bardock and his team cared for each other. How else would their low fighting power crew persevere through impossible missions?
Compassion or the lack thereof is the reason why Goku became a Super Saiyan before Vegeta. When first introduced on Earth, Vegeta had a power of 18,000 which is already 3–4 times of a normal Saiyan. Therefore he is obviously gifted and extraordinary Saiyan. On top of that, he figured out the Zenkai trick (asked Krillin to blast him and Dende to heal him). He had every elements required to become the strongest Saiyan, except for compassion!
Vegeta works hard and tried various tactics to surpass Goku (again; he’s too obsessed he forgot that he won the first battle). He sold his sold to Babidi to take a shortcut (how much did he gain in terms of power from that trade? I guess not much, maybe 20% increase?). He was a heartless jerk to Bulma and their son at time never knowing the power of love is the the most powerful. It is compassion that made catch up with and even surpass Goku several times during Dragon Ball Super.
There you have it Dragon Ball fans. The recipe for success is: training and compassion (lots of them; they takes time; you can never stop)!
In the key moments in the key battles, compassion-fueled anger transform the Saiyans to the next level warriors.
Let me know what you think about my theory in a comment ;)
P.S.: Another exceptions are the Saiyans of universe 6 Cabba, Kale and Caulifla. I have no idea how to explain their rapid rise to Goku and Vegeta’s levels