From Dragon Ball Encyclopedia, the ''Dragon Ball'' wiki
Super Saiyan (超 サイヤ人, Chō Saiya-jin; Fansub "Super Saiyan 1 Stage 1") is an advanced transformation assumed by extraordinarily adept members of the Saiyan race in Dragon Ball and Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball parody manga, Neko Majin. Three further transformations succeed Super Saiyan (two in manga canonicity), and the premier Super Saiyan form has three additional branch states. There are also two totally different types of Super Saiyan that appear in the films (the False Super Saiyan and Legendary Super Saiyan).
The ability to become a Super Saiyan, was once considered to be nothing but a legend, because it had not been performed for over one-thousand years (three-thousand in the Ocean Group dub). Vegeta first stated that a Super Saiyan has achieved a level of power so overwhelming that it could only be maintained in a transformed state. However, when this legend was proven to be true when Goku accomplished the feat during his titanic battle against the evil tyrant Frieza, he maintained this state in his human form. Despite only being told through legend, Frieza, considered to be the strongest being of his time, became paranoid over the possibility of truth behind the legend of the Super Saiyan, as evidenced by the constantly growing power of the Saiyan race. Because of this fear, Frieza drew the conclusion to annihilate the Saiyan race by destroying Planet Vegeta (although eight Saiyans were established in the manga and anime to have survived the genocide: Goku, Vegeta, Broly, Paragus, Nappa, Raditz, Tarble and Turles, four of which are non-manga and thus appear in the anime specials or movies only), thus sparking the end of the Super Saiyan legend.
According to Goku (in the FUNimation dub), the Super Saiyan transformation comes in response to a need, not a desire. In all known cases, the form has been initially triggered by either desperation or indignation, or a parent having previously achieved the state (in the case of Trunks and Goten). Any other conditions are unknown, and motivation tends to differ; for example, Goku achieves the form out of anger over the murder of his best-friend, Krillin, and Vegeta achieves the form through sheer frustration at his original inability to achieve it, especially over Goku. Saiyan hybrids are naturally skilled at this, as they have the emotion of Humans (full blooded Saiyans tend to suppress their feelings) with the fighting potential of Saiyans. As the Saiyans train during Dragon Ball Z, they discover uncharted levels beyond the first Super Saiyan level. The appearance of a Super Saiyan is different in each form, more so in the fourth and final form to the point where the original transformation has since been literally reduced to that of a "child's play thing" (says Vegeta after witnessing Trunks transform and harness the power adeptly at such a young age).
In the main series, all living Saiyan-blooded males following the Frieza Saga manage to reach at least the first level of Super Saiyan. No female Super Saiyans are ever seen, however the Dragon Ball GT Perfect Files implies that Pan has the potential to transform and might have become a type of Super Saiyan never seen before.
The first Super Saiyan transformation occurs when a Saiyan who has reached a very high level of power, has a calm, pure heart (good or evil), and loses himself in a fit of rage. However, the transformation must be triggered in response to a great need, example being in Goku's case to defeat Frieza. While physical change is not too drastic, the power output increase is colossal; the form is said to originally multiply the Saiyan's power by fifty times its normal amount, though it can be inferred that the multiplier decreased somewhat as new Super Saiyan levels were introduced. This was made evident by Kibito's inability to even hold the Z Sword (which Gohan in his base form could, and Goku without practice) whilst being far superior to Frieza, normal-form Goku being nearly even with Yakon, an opponent whose power was more than a fourth of Goku's Full-Power Super Saiyan level, amongst other things such as base Future Trunks knocking Imperfect Cell out of West City with a simple kiai. Despite this possible decrease in power augmentation brought on by this form, it is still shown to make the user several times stronger (and much more so in sub-forms such as Ascended Super Saiyan, Ultra Super Saiyan, and Full-Power Super Saiyan).
The most noticeable change is that the Saiyan's hair becomes golden in color and seems to stand on end, giving it a rising, flame-like appearance. This applies to all of the Saiyan's hair, including scalp hair, eyebrows, and (as it was revealed in GT) the fur on their tails and as Golden Great Apes. Natural eye color temporarily changes to a greenish-blue, muscle tone becomes more defined, and the skin tone (and clothing) becomes lighter mainly due to the energy and light output of the golden aura. As the natural floodgates of the body are opened with the transformation, excess energy is radiated from the body in the form of a pulsing, flame-like aura. There is also a marked personality alteration, where the Saiyan becomes unusually aggressive and more prone to acting on impulse. The first character to achieve the Super Saiyan transformation in the series, is Goku, in the midst of engaging Frieza.
The Super Saiyan transformation also has an interesting, unique effect on Goku's family. In addition to its normal effects: the way their eyes are drawn changes slightly. Normally, the outline around the eye is not fully drawn (it circles around about 3/4 of the way the eyeball). When in Super Saiyan, their eyes are fully surrounded by an outline (the same way that all villains are drawn; this is mainly due to Akira Toriyama wanting to show the anger and hatred that must be present for a Super Saiyan transformation).
It was theorized in the film Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13! that these Super Saiyan transformations prevented Goku from performing his Spirit Bomb technique. One must be pure of heart to perform the technique, and as a Super Saiyan, Goku's heart is full of rage, although not necessarily contaminated by evil. In the film, when Goku becomes a Super Saiyan after gathering power for his Spirit Bomb, he loses control of the energy and instead absorbs it into his own body. During the Kid Buu Saga, Goku assumes the transformation only after successfully creating and throwing the Spirit Bomb, although since this took place after he mastered the Super Saiyan form during the Cell Games Saga, it could just be that anger no longer filled his heart when he transformed.
 Usage and power
The Super Saiyan form was first achieved by Goku after witnessing his best friend Krillin's death at the hands of Frieza. In this form, Goku's power grossly outclasses the evil tyrant's, a feat made more impressive by the fact that, prior to the transformation, Goku was no match for him, even with the Kaio-ken multiplying his power 20-fold. In order to combat Goku's sudden burst of strength and power, Frieza released all natural bodily inhibitions and utilized 100% of his power, only half of which he used to stop Goku's Kaio-ken x20 Kamehameha attack. Though he seemed to gain the upper hand, he loses faith when he realizes that his attacks are no longer debilitating, with Goku merely shrugging off his most forceful blows. This was evidently because in his 100% final state, Frieza had gained power and speed, but also gained increased energy consumption to the point where his damaged body could no longer handle the amount of power he was controlling.
Two years following the titanic battle on Namek, Future Trunks would later arrive from the future along with the ability to transform, much to the astonishment of Vegeta and other present company, and dispose of the synthetically restored Frieza, and his father, King Cold with great ease (even taking Cold's full-force sword swipe to the palm without injury).
Some time later, Vegeta also achieves the Super Saiyan transformation, mainly due to his belief that he had pushed himself to his utmost limits without actually transforming. By his own admission, it was anger at himself that triggered the intense emotion required to transform. He also noted, that he too possessed a pure heart, only one of pure evil as opposed to Goku's good, although Vegeta was not actually fully evil at the time. With this new power under his belt, Vegeta confronts and overcomes Android 19 and Dr. Gero, blithely killing #19 with the powerful Big Bang Attack. However, when the true Androids of Future Trunks' grim prediction, Android 17 and 18, arrive, they easily defeat both Vegeta and Future Trunks' Super Saiyan forms, Trunks in particular being felled in a single blow from #17, as opposed to the trained Vegeta who withstood a much longer and abashing beating, signifying his superior strength. This power is noted by Kami as he brings up the topic of how Vegeta is now more powerful than Trunks, who "killed Frieza and his father in an instant."
The limits of the Super Saiyan transformation were pushed even further with the introduction of Cell. With the basic Super Saiyan form now unable to combat the power of the Androids, Goku advises training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber because he believes that there is a way to ascend past the normal limitations of an untrained Super Saiyan, and in doing so would make them strong enough to take down the Androids. By the time Cell had reached his Perfect Form after absorbing both the Androids, Vegeta, Future Trunks, Goku, and Gohan had all spent time in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, advancing to new Super Saiyan forms. The Super Saiyan's standard output of power would be outclassed by the Ascended and Ultra Super Saiyan stages. Unlike Vegeta and Future Trunks who make use of these stages (which either consumes one's energy rapidly and produce an increasingly higher level of strain, or reduce the Saiyan's speed to nil, with the latter doing both), Goku and Gohan work to perfect the initial transformation after deciding that it was the best form to use overall, prompting their transition into Full-Power Super Saiyan, the concept of making the Super Saiyan form no different in energy output and strain than the basic form of the user's body. The initial transformation and its advanced grades are later rendered obsolete by the introduction of a far more powerful level, Super Saiyan 2 (which is the form used by Gohan to defeat Cell), followed by Goku's introduction of Super Saiyan 3 during the Majin Buu Saga, and finally, Super Saiyan 4, introduced during Dragon Ball GT.
Goten and Trunks, sons of Goku and Vegeta respectively, attain the ability to transform at a remarkably young age, again to widespread surprise from the main cast. (Goten, who was about a year younger than Trunks' age of eight, stated that his transformation was so long ago that he was unable even remember it occurring.) Though their reasons for so easily transforming are never officially stated, the common theory is that it could have been the DNA inherited from their fathers' ability to transform already during their conception, supported by the fact that it took Gohan, who was also a child when he made his transformation, unbearable hardship to achieve (Gohan was born prior to the start of Dragon Ball Z, thus before his father's transformation). Their fusion form, Gotenks, seen late in Dragon Ball Z, easily gained the ability to transform into all three levels of Super Saiyan in the series within no more than a half-hour of training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber (although he has only ever been seen assuming the first and third forms, since he bypassed the second form to ascend to the third level), with the combined energies of Goten and Trunks balancing out the high Ki consumption of the final transformation. In Future Trunks case, he would have been conceived in the alternate timeline under very similar circumstances, although it is possible he was not conceived after Future Vegeta became a Super Saiyan, as the alternate counterparts transformation was never shown. However, despite a younger Future Trunks being weaker than his child alternate counterpart, he was still able to transform at the age of 14 (making him either the youngest or second youngest Super Saiyan in the alternate timeline, depending on when Future Gohan transformed), although he was considerably weaker due to lack of training.
InThe History of Trunks and within the manga, Future Gohan is shown to have gained the Super Saiyan transformation long ago, most likely after witnessing the Z Fighters being slaughtered by the Androids. Therefore, Future Gohan may have assumed his transformation before his present timeline counterpart (by technically a matter of days), although he was far weaker because he was never trained by his father in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, and never mastered the Super Saiyan form. After he is killed, we see Future Trunks transform for the first time (only in the anime, for Trunks seemed to already have attained the transformation rather recently in the original manga), thus showing his original transformation.
In the last episode of Dragon Ball GT, Goku and Vegeta's descendants, Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr., are shown to be able to transform into Super Saiyans from a young age, as well. Goku Jr.'s first transformation in particular was shown in the Dragon Ball GT special, A Hero's Legacy, aired at around the time that episode 40 was broadcast. This heavily contradicts the Daizenshuu's explanation that Pan could not transform due to the minuscule percentage of Saiyan blood in her, as being a grandson of the already-1/4 Saiyan Pan would reduce his to no more than one sixteenth, making him almost completely human.
Super Saiyan made its first movie debut in the film Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge, Goku uses his Super Saiyan power to defeat Cooler, Frieza's older and stronger brother, thus finishing off the family.
The Super Saiyan form is also used in the next two films Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler by Goku and Vegeta to combat and finally kill Cooler, and in the film Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13! by Goku, Vegeta, and Future Trunks to take down Android 14, Android 15, and Android 13.
In Dragon Ball Z: Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan, Broly is also shown to harness the original Super Saiyan transformation, which is what he uses to battle Goku for a few moments when attacking him in the dead of night. He also uses it against Goten and Trunks in Broly: Second Coming, until he was forced to unveil his Legendary Super Saiyan form once again when fighting Gohan in his Super Saiyan 2 form.
At this point, the movies move into a time period when the original Super Saiyan form has since been outclassed by the more powerful variants, the only users of the basic transformation seen from this point on are Goten, Trunks, and their fusion of Gotenks.
 Video games
 Dragon Ball Online
Although Saiyans are not a playable race in the upcoming computer game Dragon Ball Online, players of the Human race can acquire the transformation through obtaining the Dragon Balls and having the wish granted by Shenron; a term loosely referred to as Super Human by players during the game's beta phase since Saiyans were officially stated not to be an appearing race and Super Saiyans being Earthlings in 1000 Age. What this means has not been confirmed as of yet — whether a mocked transformation is granted to them or if Shenron is awakening the latent Super Saiyan powers of their origins, as they are officially listed as Humans. The game's other two race-exclusive transformations (the Namekians' Great Namek and the Majin's Pure Majin forms) must also be acquired through summoning Shenron, as well.
Like in the original series, those under the influence of the Super Saiyan transformation discharge golden aura that surrounds their bodies and acquire the trademark green eyes and golden, altered hairstyles; in the game, each Human hairstyle (male and female) has a Super Saiyan counterpart. Players that choose not to allow their avatars age may acquire the Super Saiyan transformation as children and or other pre-adult stages. Also, unlike the game's other two transformations, techniques acquired in a Human's base form are still accessible, however, Super Saiyans do not obtain transformation-exclusive skills as the other races do.
 Premature and advanced levels
In Dragon Ball Z, the possibility of a power greater than that of a Super Saiyan is first theorized in the episode "Laboratory Basement", when Krillin and Future Trunks contemplate how Vegeta plans on retaining his dominance in power among the Z Fighters. The first of these new heights in power is the Ascended Super Saiyan stage obtained by Vegeta, Future Trunks and later, Goku. This technique (as well as the Ultra Super Saiyan technique that follows) is essentially a method of enhancing the abilities of a Super Saiyan, rather than a complete departure from it in favor of newer and more unique power. It is not until the Cell Games that this uncharted level of power makes its debut, in the form of Super Saiyan 2. Saiyan characters continue pushing their limits during the series, ultimately discovering a third, and in anime incarnations, fourth level of Super Saiyan. Two exclusive Super Saiyan stages are also featured in the Dragon Ball films.
 Canon transformations
- Super Saiyan, the standard Super Saiyan transformation.
- Ascended Super Saiyan, an advancement in the power of the original Super Saiyan state.
- Ultra Super Saiyan, an even stronger advancement in the power of the original Super Saiyan state.
- Full Power Super Saiyan, the state of mental and physical perfection of the Super Saiyan transformation itself, rather than an advanced stage.
- Legendary Super Saiyan, a level of Super Saiyan which magnifies its user's strength capacity, without drawbacks. Broly is the only known user of this Super Saiyan variant, and it did not appear in the manga.
- Super Saiyan God
- Super Saiyan 2, the second Super Saiyan transformation.
- Super Saiyan 3, the third (and final in the manga) Super Saiyan transformation.
- Golden Great Ape, a transformation required before achieving Super Saiyan 4. Appeared only in Dragon Ball GT.
- Super Saiyan 4, the last, quintessential Super Saiyan transformation. Appeared only in Dragon Ball GT.
- Before the Super Saiyan concept debuted in the dub, the term is used in "Stop Vegeta Now!!" by Vegeta who describes Gohan as "Kakarrot's son, the little Super Saiyan." The concept of the Super Saiyan, however, already existed in the original version. In the original version, the term is first brought by Vegeta after Raditz was killed by Piccolo. While waiting with Nappa on a conquered planet, the two Saiyans talk about getting all seven Dragon Balls and wishing for eternal life. Before taking off on a year long journey to Earth, Vegeta tells Nappa that only after they have become immortals they will be able to become Super Saiyans. However, in the uncut FUNimation dub, the term is introduced at the same situation as the original version.
- Throughout the original manga and the anime series based on it (Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z), no Saiyans ever used the Super Saiyan transformation while at the same time possessing a tail. However, in Dragon Ball GT, Goku's tail was restored partway through the series, and just like the hair on his head and eyebrows, the hair on his tail turned a golden color when he accessed his Super Saiyan forms (this golden tail is also shown in the cover of the first GT guidebook, Perfect Files). This has since been contradicted in Dragon Ball Heroes where Bardock is shown with a brown tail whilst a Super Saiyan.
- All of Goku and Vegeta's known male descendants have been able to transform into Super Saiyans.
- The terms "Ascended Super Saiyan" and "Ultra Super Saiyan" are actually just common fan terms to differentiate between the two bulked up forms as they are never named in the manga or anime. They are named in the Daizenshuu, however, as Type or Grade 2 and 3.
- Goku and Vegeta are the only full-blooded Saiyans that can transform into Super Saiyans in canon series. Broly is the other, but only in the films. (Onio is a full-blooded Saiyan that can also turn Super Saiyan, but he only appears in Toriyama's self-parody of Dragon Ball called Neko Majin, and also interestingly lacks a tail)
- In the Budokai Tenkaichi series, as well as the first Broly Movie, Broly's base Super Saiyan Form (before he turns into his Legendary Form) has Blue hair instead of the usual Gold. This is presumably due to the controlling device his father put on him, as in "Second Coming", his Super Saiyan form had gold hair. This "Second Coming" appearance was made available as a secondary costume in the sequel games, as well as the Legendary Super Saiyan variation, which features whiter skin and torn clothing to match.
- In Dragon Ball GT, when Goku goes Super Saiyan whilst having the tail, sometimes his tail does not change color to gold when both the tailed Super Saiyan 3 appearance and the first Perfect Files cover seem to indicate that the tail should have turned gold. In Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit, when a player uses Vegeta in his Saiyan Saga outfit, the tail will not turn gold when a Super Saiyan just as it did not in Budokai 3 or Infinite World.
- Since its first appearance, the Super Saiyan has become one of Dragon Ball Z's most recognizable images.
- In Cooler's Revenge, when Goku goes Super Saiyan, a bird that was killed when Cooler prepared to tear the planet apart was revived by Goku's transformation, which implies that Super Saiyans have a degree of healing abilities, although this only appeared in the film and he may of just transferred energy to the dying bird, like when Goku transferred energy to Frieza.
- In Bojack Unbound and Dragon Ball Z Episode 139, a Human is seen with a shirt that has 'The Super Saiyan' written on it.
- Goku has the first canon transformation into Super Saiyan form since the Original Super Saiyan. However in the film Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan, it is revealed that Broly may have transformed before him, however, Broly does not exist in the original story.
- In Dragon Ball Online, Humans have the ability to become Super Saiyans. In order to do it, Humans have to make a wish from Shenron.
- Dragon Ball Online has the introduction of the first female Super Saiyans.