Heart Purity (also known as purity of the heart) is the personality trait of some of the characters in the Dragon Ball franchise. It effectively means that the person is either pure good or pure evil, without any mixtures between the two, whatsoever. A character with this trait is said to be "pure of heart." This personality trait is a prerequisite to being able to use - and being resistant to - some techniques and abilities in the franchise.
There are two ways to be pure of heart: to be either pure good, or pure evil. It is significantly more difficult to be pure good than it is to be pure evil, as sinful pleasures (such as lust and greed) can surface in even relatively altruistic people.
It appears as if it is possible for sinful desires to be present and latent inside people, and those people will still be considered pure of heart, so long as they repress those sinful desires. This is suggested when Krillin could not ride the Flying Nimbus (which, as we will see below, is one way of testing for heart purity), but later in the manga, was able to throw a Spirit Bomb (another means of testing for heart purity). Babidi has seen to control Demons, Earthlings, and Saiyans if they are evil. It is possible for a once pure hearted soul to become impure if they develop sinful desires such as a once pure hearted young boy becoming a lecherous man as a result of simply developing an interest in women as they age as exemplified by Master Roshi who was able to ride a Flying Nimbus when he was young and pure of heart but eventually grew more lustful as he aged eventually becoming a lecherous old man who was incapable of riding one due to his perverted desires. This applies to other negative feelings as well. Additionally people can become tainted by sinful desires through being exposed to the evils of the world as it is surmised that the Nameless Namekian became corrupted due to being exposed to the evils of humanity causing his heart to become impure which prevented him from achieving the position of Guardian of Earth as candidates must be pure of heart to prevent them from abusing their position. Some beings can remove the impurity through fission which splits the people into two halves one pure good and one pure evil however this creates the problem of unleashing a pure evil counterpart into the world and in the case of Namekians results in the two entities becoming Life Linked.
It should be noted that while Goku possesses a pure heart, he has killed people, though most were villains who gave Goku little choice but to kill them (such as Frieza and Kid Buu), with the exception of Grandpa Gohan whom Goku killed unintentionally while in his Great Ape form (Goku was shown to be remorseful after realizing he was responsible for his adoptive grandfather's death during his battle with Great Ape Vegeta during the Saiyan conflict), due to his inability to control himself in that form. This shows that one can commit potentially evil actions (such as killing) yet still be considered Pure Good as long as their intentions for doing so are good or lack any negative intent (such as in Goku's accidental killing of Grandpa Gohan).
Additionally both Goku and Good Buu can be selfish at and even inconsiderate at times though this is mainly due to their child-like ignorance as shown by Majin Buu in the pudding incident and Goku questionable decision in the anime to promise a kiss from Bulma (in the original Japanese version it was even worse as he agreed that Elder Kai could grope her breasts) without considering or even consulting Bulma or her husband Vegeta, the latter of which was understandably outraged and Goku knew better than suggest his own wife because of his fear of her temper. He originally suggested Videl though backed down when his son angrily objected due to his feelings for Videl making him more considerate and due to him being less ignorant than his father when it comes to girls and recognizing Elder Kai's perversion is morally wrong, which Goku himself likely doesn't as he has grown up around perverted individuals such as Master Roshi, Oolong, and to a lesser extent Krillin, Yamcha, and even Bulma (when it comes to attractive men), thus is more accepting of such behavior as he knows from experience that perverted individuals can still be good well-meaning people deep down.
It should be noted that Goku is aware of Bulma's willingness to use her looks to get what she wants as a teenager she attempted to bribe him to hand over the Four-Star Dragon Ball by showing him her panties though he was uninterested due to his innocence and lack of perversion and was aware of the deal she made with Master Roshi to put out Fire Mountain, thus he may have wrongly assumed she would be fine with it if it was to save the Earth as she had a history of using similar bribes herself in the past thus he may have simply assumed she would be far more willing to do it than Chi-Chi whom Goku knew well enough to know that she would not agree to it under any circumstance due to her stubbornness even if it was for Gohan's and the Earth's benefit. Thus while Goku can be inconsiderate it mainly unintentional as Goku's selflessness tends to cause him to occasionally put the greater good before his and other people's interests. However Goku can also be selfish when it comes to fighting, training, and like Good Buu gluttonous when it comes to food though again this is mainly due to Goku and Good Buu's child-like personalities.
Akira Toriyama himself has noted that Goku does possess some "poisonous" personality traits which is in itself a reference to negative aspects of Goku's pure hearted personality such as his tendency to be too forgiving at times, child-like ignorance of the trouble he unintentionally causes for others, and failing to take other people's feelings into consideration at times, in addition to his Saiyan love of fighting and battle (which even the Saiyan Prince finds to be excessive in Dragon Ball Super). Thus being pure of heart does not necessarily mean that a person is incapable of making errors in judgment (as Goku has demonstrated at various points throughout the series) and that they still have character flaws that can be detrimental to others and themselves as they fail to understand the full scoop of the effect of their actions due to seeing things more simplistically which while giving them a sense of clarity (as Goku notes to Android 17 that he is a person who simply seeks to test himself against strong opponents and only protects innocent people and animals due to the sense of mortality he learned from his Grandpa Gohan, refuting the latter's assertion that he is Earth's savor as he was simply following his grandfather and by extension Master Roshi's teachings) it can also make them blissfully ignorant unless they learn from their mistakes. However as shown by Gohan and Goten, who are both far less ignorant than their father is due to Chi-Chi's influence pure hearted people can be more considerate of others, though even can still be oblivious at times as shown by Gohan early in his relationship with Videl.
Additionally while a pure hearted person like Goku, Gohan, Goten, or Good Buu may not be perverted, they can still find women attractive (both in appearance as well as personality) as all of them are known to have had romantic relationships (Chi-Chi, Videl, Valese, and Miss Buu) and/or find women attractive (in Dragon Ball Fusions a young Goten agrees with Trunks' opinion that Towa was physically attractive, while Goku notes he is attracted to his wife's personality in Dragon Ball Super), however they tend to care for the women they genuinely love and are faithful to them as they are unlikely to be tempted to be unfaithful (however it does not prevent them from being put into compromising positions as with Gohan and Cocoa Amaguri, though fortunately for Gohan, Videl was fully aware of his character and saw through Barry Kahn's attempts to ruin their marriage by trying to convince her that Gohan was having an affair with the famous pop idol).
Interestingly, Goku Black and Zamasu also possess Pure Heart as one of their passive skills in Dragon Ball Fusions, despite their evil actions. However should be noted that while their actions and methods are evil (from killing his master in cold blood, stealing Goku's body and murdering Goku's family, to genocide of both gods and mortals as part of the Project Zero Mortals) their motives are the result of Zamasu's strongly held belief that mortals are evil and thus from Zamasu’s point of view his actions are completely justified. In addition, Gowasu noted that Zamasu was so well-balanced when he would brew tea, implying that Zamasu (and by extension Goku Black) is a pure hearted and just man, driven to extremes by his beliefs concerning mortals whom he views as the gods' greatest mistake.
Examples of negative feelings that can cause a person to not be pure good are:
- Lust. The desire for sex. This is the first negative thought seen in the franchise, as it is shown as the reason Master Roshi is unable to ride the Flying Nimbus. Bulma is also known to possesses this trait around attractive men, such as General Blue, Zarbon, and Oolong when he shapeshifted into a handsome man. Even divine beings such as Core Person (despite their genderless nature) are not immune to this as shown by Old Kai who like Master Roshi is known for being a lecherous old man. However it is possible for one to be attracted to another person and still be pure of heart as Goku is shown to be attracted to his wife Chi-Chi and has fathered two children with her though can still ride a Nimbus Cloud though this is due to him being attracted to her strong willed personality and due to genuinely loving her, which is shown in the anime as he is unaffected by Princess Snake's attempts to seduce him and in Dragon Ball Super he carelessly states he is not attracted to Bulma's breasts after accidentally seeing her naked (though it should be pointed out that Bulma's breasts have sagged due to aging and Goku had seen her naked in his youth) indicating that he is faithful to his wife and is uninterested in other women. Gohan similarly is shown to be faithful to his wife Videl, as he had no interest in Cocoa as he was surprised when she kissed him (which was an innocent gesture thanking him for his kindness), though his wife saw through Barry Kahn's attempts to use a picture of the incident to convince her that Gohan was having an affair as she knew it was completely out of character for him (as she had dealt with Gohan's well meaning yet pure hearted obliviousness early in their relationship which made her correctly surmise Gohan was innocent of wrong doing as Cocoa had kissed him unexpectedly). In Dragon Ball Fusions, the young Goten and Trunks are shown to find Towa a physically attractive woman (both awestruck by her beauty which Pan perceived as somewhat perverted) upon first encountering her in the Timespace Rift (both were unaware of her history and evil personality).
- Greed. The desire for wealth and/or power. Bulma is shown to have this trait. Yamcha is later shown to possess this trait. Many villains have wanted immortality such as Vegeta and Frieza, and others such as Cell greedily wanted more and more power, thus gorging himself on thousands of humans and the androids. Android 21 also possesses this trait as a result of her insatiable hunger which causes her to develop a glutinous appetite. Android 18 has also shown to have a desire for material wealth. Even Chi-Chi is shown to be somewhat fixated on money though this mainly due to her family's financial situation and the fact she herself was raised by a wealthy father who financially supported her family through most of her marriage to Goku until after the Kid Buu Saga forcing the Son family to take up farming in order to make ends meet and it should be noted despite her financial situation she has never thought to use the Dragon Balls wish for wealth indicating her this fixation is not out of greed, but simply due to her being financially responsible as her husband is mostly ignorant when it comes to money or financial matters.
- Selfishness. The tendency of being self-centered and think of only one's self, often to the determent of others. This is another trait that Bulma has, which is presumably the result of her wealthy upbringing. However it is possible to be selfish and still be pure hearted as both Good Buu and Goku can be somewhat selfish when it comes to food (as shown by the infamous Pudding Incident) or training/fighting (due to Goku's love of pushing his limits and fighting strong opponents), though they are not completely selfish as they will selflessly risk their own lives to protect others (such as Good Buu protecting Mr. Satan from Kid Buu and Goku's willingness to sacrificing his life to save the Earth on several occasions) as well as showing kindness to perfect strangers.
- Aggression. The tendency to be easily provoked into violence, often beyond what the situation calls for. Many reformed villains (especially Piccolo and Vegeta) are shown to have this trait. This trait is notable among untrained Super Saiyans, as their aggression is known to be present and/or amplified while transformed. The Saiyans of Universe 7 even lived in a culture that valued aggression and ruthlessness which caused most Saiyans to be evil and destructive. However it is possible to be pure hearted and still have a temper as both Goku and Gohan can be provoked into violence against those who have harmed their friends or loved ones though Gohan's took the form of a berserker like rage when he was younger causing him violently attack his enemies until they were defeated, dead, or he himself was defeated/exhausted, while Goku rage tends to be more quiet and focused.
- Sadism. Possibly the most evil trait of all, the one demonstrated by most of the villains of the franchise. This is the desire to inflict pain and suffering on innocents, simply for the sake of inflicting pain and suffering. Those in the franchise believed to be pure evil almost always demonstrate this trait, and it appears to be their most prevalent one. They often prefer to drag their victims’ deaths out as slowly and painfully as possible, and also seem to enjoy inflicting mental torture prior to their victims' demise (as seen when King Piccolo said he would only destroy one sector at a time so the world would live in fear, or Cell wanting to give the people of Earth ten days to live in fear while they await the Cell Games). It should also be noted that Gohan's Super Saiyan 2 form caused him to develop a desire to see Cell suffer during the Cell Games as punishment for all those he had hurt instead of simply finishing him off, due in part to his power making him overconfidence and the emotional upheaval caused by the transformation and the fact that while unnecessary and dangerous it was a punishment the evil Android truly deserved. Additionally Super Saiyan Goku also wanted Frieza to suffer for his murder of Krillin, though he ultimately chose to spare Frieza's life after he begged for mercy after being accidentally injured by his own technique, despite noting that Frieza had probably murdered countless people as they begged for their lives indicating that his forgiving nature won out over his desire to see Frieza punished (and presumably out of respect for Frieza as a warrior). It should be noted that this trait doesn't necessarily negate purity of heart, as evidenced by Zamasu and Goku Black having sadism yet still retaining enough purity of heart to be immune to the Devilmite Beam. Similarly, both Zenos are mentioned to be pure and innocent yet are explicitly shown taking joy in erasing Universe 9 and even saying "squish!" in a joking tone afterward.
Things that are affected by Heart Purity
The following things require either the user to be pure of heart to use the technique, or require the opponent to be pure of heart to resist it. These are listed in the order they are discovered in the manga.
Various Flying Nimbus clouds exist in the Dragon Ball universe, most of which are owned by Korin. These are quasi-sentient beings who come to their masters simply by their masters calling for them, and are used as personal aviation for their masters. However, they only allow masters who are pure of heart to ride them.
Korin has the ability to read minds. Although purity of heart is not necessary for this power to work, he exposits, the first time he is seen using it, that purity of heart certainly makes the task easier (comparing it to looking through transparent glass).
The Devilmite Beam (the signature technique of Spike the Devil Man) amplifies an opponent's negative thoughts until the victim's heart literally explodes. However, this requires a person to have at least a single negative thought, so only those who are pure good can resist it. As the power of the technique is based on the evil within the victim's heart, this technique is implied to be extremely lethal when used on those who are pure evil.
In Dragon Ball Fusions, this immunity is represented by a passive Skill called Pure Heart which nullifies the effects of both the Devilmite Beam and Psidevilmite Beam. It appears as one of Kid Goku's Skills, referencing his immunity to the Devilmite Beam in the main series.
As the Devilmite Beam causes evil thoughts to explode, it is possible that one must be aware that such thoughts are evil or negative (similar to how Innocent Buu was unaware that killing people was wrong before befriending Mr. Satan) for them to be effected, thus explaining Goku Black/Zamasu's immunity as Goku Black/Zamasu believes his extreme methods are completely justified.
Mortals who seek the divine position of Guardian must be pure of heart presumably to ensure the divine role is not abused for selfish motivations or evil. Both Garlic and the Nameless Namekian were denied the position due to the previous Guardian recognizing the evil in their hearts though the Nameless Namekian's pure hearted fission was ultimately selected due to his pure heart allowing him to qualify despite unwittingly unleashing the demonic Namekian King Piccolo into the Earth who was born when the Nameless Namekian purged the evil from his heart, though this was unintentional. Due to Goku's pure heart, Kami saw him as a potential successor though Goku refused the position as he had no desire to take the job. Ultimately the pure hearted Namekian Dende succeeded Kami after he fused with Piccolo due to his pure heart and the fact that he was Dragon Clansman like Kami who could restore the Earth's Dragon Balls.
Spirit Bombs can only be created by those who are pure of heart. Anyone who is tainted by any negative thoughts would instead have the gathered energy absorbed into their body (which can in fact be used to the warrior's advantage, as seen Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13!).
Furthermore, a spirit bomb created by one of the two types of pure-hearted warriors (either pure good or pure evil) will not hurt anyone else of similar alignment. This means that a spirit bomb created by a pure good warrior (such as Goku) will not harm a pure good warrior (such as Gohan).
In several video games, evil characters such as Cell & Mira are shown to be capable of using the Spirit Bomb, however this is due to the fact that both of these characters are pure evil. In fact Mira uses a Spirit Bomb created from the energy of his soldiers to destroy New Namek, an act which confirms that pure evil characters are capable of using the Spirit Bomb. However most games ignore character alignment (save for certain techniques like the Fusion Spirit Bomb where it plays an important role) allow the technique to damage opponents regardless of their alignment.
It is theorized by Tien Shinhan that one can only become a Super Saiyan if they are pure of heart. This, however, is refuted when various non-pure characters (including Vegeta) are shown being able to achieve the form. However it should be noted that Vegeta himself theorized that a Saiyan could be pure evil in order to attain the form (and even believed that he himself was pure evil when he obtained this form).
It should be noted that pure hearted Saiyans may have an easier time becoming Super Saiyans, as gentle-natured Saiyans generally have more S-Cells, which are required to attain the transformation, though S-Cells can also be acquired by increasing one's battle power, even if they lack a gentle nature thus proving that Tien Shinhan and Vegeta were wrong about heart purity being a requirement due to being unaware of the role S-Cells play as it was Goku's gentle nature and increased power that gave him enough S-Cells to transform when Frieza killed Krillin while Vegeta's intense training and possibly due to the fact that he was slowly starting to let go of his ruthlessness and uncaring nature as shown by him forming a relationship with Bulma while living on Earth, indicating that his gradual changes in character around the time of his transformation may have played a role in generating more S-Cells in addition to those gained by his increase in power through intense training which allowed him to transform due to anger at himself for being unable to achieve it despite his intense training.
Thus being pure of heart itself is not a requirement though it can make the process of gaining S-Cells easier though it is not necessary as impure or evil Saiyans can simply acquire S-Cells through increasing their battle power through training (or theoretically through other means such as the Fruit of the Tree of Might which increases its consumer's battle power) or Saiyan Power though they are still required to unlock the transformation through intense emotions or by focus their energy into their upper back as Caulifla did once they possesses the right number of S-Cells.
However if the Super Saiyan form is acquired through emotional upheaval such as anger or sadness the user's Super Saiyan form will intensify certain negative emotions such as aggression and sadism (though they may see it as a justified form of punishment such as Goku's desire to see Frieza suffer for his murder of Krillin) even in pure hearted Saiyans such as Goku and Gohan. However it is possible for Saiyans to reign in these emotions/desires as Goku eventually chose to spare Frieza after he begged for mercy as he was no threat and Goku is known to be a forgiving person. Additionally as shown by SJ2 Gohan, he later realized his mistaken in drawing out the battle with Cell simply to punish him for his evil actions after his father died to prevent Cell's self-destruction from destroying the Earth and resolved to finish Cell off for good when he returned after regenerating. Additionally mastery of the untrained Super Saiyan form apparently removes most of the emotional upheaval allow the user to retain the form more easily while remaining calm and in control as shown by Goku and Gohan who maintained their normal personalities after mastering the form such as Goku's laid back nature and Gohan's pacifism as he refused to kill Cell even while transformed. However this emotional upheaval can still occur if they transform into a higher state as Gohan's pacifism disappeared Super Saiyan 2 form though it caused him to become vengeful towards Cell and his offspring. If the form is obtained in the manner Caulifla did, the emotional upheaval is not present.
Gowasu considered tea brewed by a pure hearted person to be delicious and free of imperfections. Like telepathy, while being pure-hearted is not necessary in order to brew tea, the tea produced by a pure hearted being is implied to be of a higher quality than that brewed by an impure entity. Gowasu considered Zamasu to be pure of heart due to his ability to brew tea free of imperfections. Tea can also be a telltale sign if one is pure-hearted or not, as when Zamasu starts expressing his darker thoughts, the tea starts to swirl around, causing ripples. This can be implied to be that tea made by a pure-hearted being is completely pure; however, when one is not pure-hearted, the tea contains ripples, symbolizing imperfections in oneself. Just prior to Zamasu's Hideout being destroyed by Future Trunks' Super Galick Gun, Future Zamasu and Goku Black were seen making tea, implying that they may have retained their heart purity.
- In the parody manga Dragon Ball SD, Otoko Suki was implied to be pure, as he was able to ride the Flying Nimbus during the sequence where Goku was trying to get a girl for Roshi to be trained by the latter. This is despite him lusting after young Trunks and Goten in the main series.
- Future Zamasu and Goku Black's case of being pure of heart is very confusing because both have been shown exhibiting extremely sinful emotions, somewhat shifting what it means to have a pure heart:
- Believing themselves to be the embodiment of justice for the entire universe, showing the trait of arrogance.
- Becoming increasingly aggressive by resorting to killing all the Supreme Kai's as his first option of ridding the world of mortals instead of attempting to find a more peaceful solution. When Future Zamasu fuses with Goku Black, he becomes increasingly violent, eventually becoming unhinged to the point of being only capable of laughing maliciously.
- Though admittingly, Fused Zamasu and Infinite Zamasu both do not possess a pure heart.
- However it is likely that Zamasu was once a pure hearted individual but his contempt for mortals whom he began to see as a blight on creation ended up corrupting him.
- In Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, the Earthling Future Warrior is shown to be pure of heart as they are capable of riding a Nimbus Cloud while using the Power Pole Pro Awoken Skill. It is unknown if the Future Warrior being pure of heart applies to all of their selectable races or just Earthlings.
- However it is implied in the Namekian Future Warrior's prologue that they have a pure heart as Guru foresees a pure hearted warrior which is implied to be the Namekian Future Warrior.
- While the Future Warrior can use the Spirit Bomb and Super Spirit Bomb it should be noted that the video games like Xenoverse series tend to ignore heart purity when it comes to the Spirit Bomb as Perfect Cell can use the Spirit Bomb in Xenoverse and Super Spirit Bomb in Xenoverse 2 (unless Cell being Pure Evil allows him to use those techniques).
- Interestingly, Elder Kai states that Turles' heart is pure evil when he tells the warrior not to listen to his attempts to persuade the warrior to join him. Note Turles having a pure evil heart makes sense given that he is an evil analog to Goku who is well known for being pure good.