Goku's Greatest Loss to Krillin Came At a Terrible Price

While it seems unfathomable in the current state of Dragon Ball canon that Krillin could defeat Goku given the fact that Krillin has the strength of the strongest human while Goku is on par with literal gods, the nose-less Z Fighter actual pulled off a surprising victory in the early days of Dragon Ball continuity–though that victory came at a terrible price.

Krillin and Goku first met in Dragon Ball Chapter 25 after both aspiring warriors were taken in by Master Roshi and given the opportunity to train with one of the greatest fighters on the planet. During the early days of their training, Krillin was insanely competitive with Goku and wanted to prove that he was a better student than Goku in every regard–from fighting ability to problem-solving skills, and even resorted to trickery to prove his superiority over the Saiyan child.


Related: Dragon Ball: Krillin’s Origin Perfectly Explains his Marriage to Android 18

In Dragon Ball Chapter 29 by Akira Toriyama, Master Roshi presents his students with a challenge as a part of their rigorous training. Roshi picked up a rock from the ground, drew a symbol on it, and threw it into the forest. He then said the first one to find the rock and bring it back to him would be the winner, and the loser wouldn’t be allowed to eat dinner that night. Absolutely terrified at the prospect of not being fed, Goku scrambles to find the rock and actually is successful in finding it before Krillin, but the scheming, hairless fighter wasn’t going to allow himself to be outshined by the likes of Goku. So, Krillin tricks Goku into handing the rock over to him only to run off with it moments later. Feeling betrayed, Goku chases after Krillin to get the rock back, though Krillin had a plan to defend his position as well.

Krillin defeated Goku, but at what cost.

When Goku caught up to Krillin, the two fought hand-to-hand until Krillin pretended to yield to Goku’s strength. At that point, Krillin continued his charade and said that Goku could have the rock, then he seemed to throw it far away from their location to make Goku’s ‘victory’ a little bit more challenging for him. However, Krillin only pretended to throw the rock to make Goku run far away from him while he delivered it to Master Roshi. While Krillin was victorious and therefore was allowed to eat dinner that night while Goku had none, his victory was surely a hollow one as the dinner he was given gave him food poisoning that made the martial arts student bedridden for three days while Goku was absolutely fine. Given that Goku is more like Superman than most realize though, it's possible he would've been fine.

Even back when Krillin and Goku were semi-evenly matched, Krillin still never really stood a chance against him even in the face of victory. While Goku could have defeated Krillin in hand-to-hand combat, Krillin outsmarted Goku, which is just as much a part of martial arts as throwing fists and delivering kicks. Unfortunately, Krillin was not rewarded for his clever win over Goku–proving that his earliest, and potentially his greatest Dragon Ball victory came at a terrible price.