Darth Vader is one of the most powerful, talented Jedi/Sith to grace our television screens. Lord Vader has repeatedly demonstrated that he is deserving of the title “greatest movie villain of all time.”
Whether he did this by showing his raw talent or by annihilating anyone who stood against him, Darth Vader has always been a force to be reckoned with.
Naturally, with someone as prominent as Darth Vader, it’s common to compare him to other well-known characters. Especially those outside of the Star Wars realm.
In this case, we will be taking a look at one of, if not the most, popular anime characters in history. Of course, this is none other than the king himself, Goku. So without further ado, let’s dive into this topic.
Table of Contents
Who Is Darth Vader?
Born to Shmi Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker began his life on Tatooine as a slave. Despite beginning life with all the odds stacked against him, Anakin was immensely force-sensitive. So much so that he had the highest midi-chlorian count to date (20,000 per cell).
This prompted the Jedi to snatch the youngster up and bring him into the Jedi Order as a Padawan. Even though he was a bit older than the other Padawans, at age nine, Anakin was oozing with talent.
This ended with him moving up to the rank of Jedi Knight in a mere ten years, while others took twice that amount of time. Additionally, it earned him the moniker of the “Chosen One.”
Having to live with a name like that, it’s only natural that the Jedi would develop an ego.
This was especially true when Emperor Palpatine took a liking to Anakin. With the Sith Lord backing him, Anakin did things no other Knight had the pleasure of doing, such as sitting on the Jedi High Council.
Little did he know, there was a large amount of mistrust towards him on the Jedi Council. To such an extent that the head of the council, Mace Windu, opted out of promoting Anakin to the rank of Jedi Master.
The rejection and blow to his ego worked in conjunction with a plethora of other issues (like the loss of his mother and wife) to push Anakin into becoming the Dark Lord we know today, Darth Vader.
Who Is Goku?
Even if you’re not the biggest fan of anime, there’s a high chance you’ve caught a glimpse of the Saiyan Goku. Whether you’ve seen him on a meme, a t-shirt, or even an advertisement, Goku is one of the most prevalent anime characters of all time.
Goku, the star of the Dragon Ball franchise, was born as Kakarot and raised on Earth. Initially, as an infant, Kakarot was sent to destroy Earth. That was until he was adopted by Grandpa Gohan, who nicknamed him Son Goku.
As a child, Goku suffered a head injury that caused his memories before the injury to be lost. This included his mission to obliterate the Earth and his other destructive tendencies. From that point onward, Goku became one of the Earth’s greatest defenders.
Goku consistently trained as he grew older to become the best warrior he could be. This worked out beautifully in the Earth’s favor as Goku repeatedly kept it, and by extension, the universe, safe from attacks.
Apart from keeping the world safe, it seemed as though Goku’s main goals were to get stronger and collect all the dragon balls. His journey to find the dragon balls was an adventure-filled one. He met both decent and not-so-great people and made many friends along the way.
Goku also learned many beneficial techniques and lessons along the way, but more on that later.
Darth Vader vs. Goku?
Now, we have already established that Darth Vader is one of the most powerful, complex, and ruthless villains there are. He has an arsenal of techniques and powers that make him the Sith with whom fans have a complicated love-hate relationship.
Thus, it’s only fitting for us to compare one of the best villains to one of the best heroes of all time. So let’s dive into an in-depth comparison of the strengths and weaknesses between Goku and Darth Vader. As well as who would win between the pair.
To begin with, Darth Vader was incredibly strong in the Force. Not only does he have an intense connection to the Force, but Darth Vader has proven himself to be an exceptional swordsman.
Darth Vader’s apparent cold-heartedness and unwavering dedication to the dark side made him one of the most powerful and feared individuals in the galaxy.
These things are great and all, but Darth Vader’s greatest strength has to be his durability. The Dark Father sustained an insane amount of injuries during his lifetime.
From all his limbs being amputated to his lungs being obliterated by noxious gas, Darth Vader went through it all.
Because his injuries were potentially fatal, the Galactic Empire created a suit, a pressurized mask, and a hyperbaric chamber to serve as the Sith Lord’s life support system.
Having the major handicap of having to always wear a mask would slow down any warrior, but not Darth Vader. He proved that he was stronger than most, and he could still annihilate his enemies with ease.
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Goku. One of his most prominent character perks is his insane strength. He is capable of lifting 40 tonnes (over 80,000 pounds) as well as small mountains.
Of course, we can’t talk about Goku without touching on his Saiyan powers. Under those powers, there is God Bind, Instant Transmission, Dragon Fist, and arguably the most famous technique of all, Kamehameha.
Kamehameha is Goku’s most iconic move, which most people around the world have heard about in some capacity. Goku’s signature technique, Kamehameha, was the first energy attack shown in Dragon Ball.
Despite being widely used as a finishing attack, Kamehameha remains the most well-known attack in anime communities.
Now, neither of these men was infallible. They had their weaknesses that could have ended detrimentally for them both if their enemies knew about them.
To begin with, Darth Vader’s most pressing weakness was that he eventually became more machine than man. Namely, Darth Vader’s life support system, ironically, could be seen as a burden to him.
Due to all his injuries, the Sith Lord was completely dependent on his support system for survival. This suit was not only painful but it was powered by electricity, which doesn’t exactly bode well for the Sith.
For example, if Darth Vader is to use Force Lightning, which requires an intense surge of electricity, he runs the risk of shutting his entire lifeline down.
This is why he opted out of using this technique. Using Force Lighting would take so much electricity out of Darth Vader’s suit that it could leave him in a critical condition or worse.
Alternatively, Goku’s most prominent weaknesses would be his tendency to hold back and his kind heart. Firstly, it may be because of his Saiyan ego, but Goku had a propensity to hold back during battles to see exactly what his opponents were capable of.
Sometimes it can even be argued that it seems as though Goku enjoys those fights where he can push his rivals to their limit.
Then there is his kind-hearted nature. As mentioned earlier, Goku’s more destructive side had been suppressed. Since then, he has become more kind-hearted and compassionate towards others.
What this means is that, at the end of a battle, Goku would, more often than not, hold himself back from finishing off his rival. This often results in him letting his guard down, which is a situation that can be taken advantage of, hence putting Goku in a dangerous position.
Who Would Win?
Sorry to say, but I strongly believe Goku has the Dark Lord beat. Darth Vader is talented in his own right as a Force user and swordsman. However, there is a caveat to this.
For starters, Darth Vader’s suit and injuries place some limitations on what he can do, as we have already established. Ergo, he would already be put at a disadvantage.
Sure, Lord Vader has proven himself to be more than capable of causing destruction despite what he’s been through, but that was against other Star Wars characters. Once we step outside of the galaxy, a different story may take place.
While it can be argued that Darth Vader could simply use his powers such as Force Choke on the Saiyan, Goku already has experience dealing with skills such as these.
Specifically, Goku has more practice dealing with telekinetic beings than one might expect. So much so, Goku beat the telekinetic being, Frieza.
Next, there is the topic of Goku’s strength and speed. Even though Darth Vader can amplify his strength and speed with the help of the Force (and his suit), he is still no match for Goku’s raw ability.
The mountain Frieza threw at Goku appears to be far bigger than anything Darth Vader could lift throughout the galaxy.
In addition, Goku can move at speeds faster than the human eye can detect. At speeds like this, Darth Vader may not have a quick enough reaction time to block Goku’s attacks.
Impressively powerful, and skilled in his craft, are all ways to describe the dark father, Darth Vader. Naturally, this meant that the Star Wars communities would pit Lord Vader against other characters from other genres and worlds.
Here we compared the Sith Lord to Saiyan Goku and determined that if they were to hypothetically fight each other, Darth Vader would probably lose.
Although Lord Vader has proved himself on multiple occasions, he still had a major hindrance, and that was his dependence on his life support systems.
Not only that, but Goku had him bested in strength and speed, so chances are Darth Vader would not have been able to keep up with the Saiyan. Nevertheless, these two would certainly be worthy adversaries of each other, and the resulting fight would be one for the ages.