"That's quite a move. I must find out how he does that."
Instant Transmission (瞬間移動 Shunkan Idō "Teleportation", more literally "Instantaneous Movement") is a technique for traveling long distances instantly. This action is usually accompanied by the user placing his index and middle fingers on his forehead to help him concentrate, though if extra time is taken the technique can be performed without this aid. It was taught to Goku when he was on Planet Yardrat after his deadly battle with Frieza.
The Yardrats taught Instant Transmission to Goku during his time on their planet. Instant Transmission allows Goku and anyone that is in physical contact with him to instantly travel great distances (from meters to light-years, or even travel between the living world and Other World) just by concentrating on a particular individual's ki signature, and transmitting or feeling that being's location. Goku can take passengers along with him as long as they are touching him, but in the episode "Piccolo's Decision", it is revealed that this ability has limits, as Goku said he could not move the entire world's population in one trip.
Because Instant Transmission requires a ki signature to lock onto (whereas Instantaneous Movement does not), the successful performance of the technique is dependent on one's ability to detect them. For example, during the Kid Buu Saga, Goku proclaimed to Dende that he could not travel to New Namek because their ki signatures were too far away.
The technique has many practical uses throughout the series. Goku intended to use the technique to get to Earth before the rebuilt Frieza could harm anyone, but found it unnecessary because Future Trunks had already come to finish Frieza and his father off. Instead, Goku simply demonstrated its ability to the fellow Z Fighters after his return by warping to Kame House and stealing Master Roshi's sunglasses in under a few seconds. Throughout the rest of the series, Goku uses the technique often to travel around the universe. Goku can even shift through realms, having no problem teleporting from Earth to King Kai's planet, and from there to New Namek. In the FUNimation Dub, Goku describes the technique as allowing him to move at the speed of light (specifically 186,282.397 miles per second). Goku can also use two of his signature attacks with this technique, the Instant Kamehameha and the Instant Spirit Bomb.
It is revealed in the movie Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler, that this move briefly moves the user into a pocket dimension which then allows them to move to any location instantly. However, the user cannot travel to an area they have never been to unless they can detect someone familiar to them to use as a homing beacon. In the special Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!, Goku uses the Instant Transmission to warp everybody to the radish field without looking for a ki. He uses the technique during his battle against Beerus, while fighting with him in a subterranean cavern.
When Goku became a child in Dragon Ball GT, the ability to use this technique was greatly hindered to the point where he just randomly travels to places a short distance away; however, as a Super Saiyan 4, he is able to use the ability to its full potential.
- Goku: learned the technique from the Yardrats sometime after the destruction of Namek and prior to his return to Earth in the Trunks Saga.
- Yardrats: the inhabitants of Planet Yardrat have invented this technique and they taught it to Goku. They use it in the computer game Dragon Ball Online to teleport people all over the world.
- King Kai: only in the FUNimation Dub, he mentions he could have taught Goku the technique when Goku visits him on his planet to find the location of the New Namek during the Cell Games Saga. In the manga and Japanese versions, King Kai simply asks Goku if he learned it from the Yardrats.
- Meta-Coolers: Cooler's metal clone servants in The Return of Cooler have the knowledge of Instant Transmission. A Meta-Cooler is first seen using the technique during his fight with Goku on New Namek. He revealed it after Goku used it to dodge a Supernova. Meta-Cooler states "that's quite a clever trick", and Goku responds "Yeah, it's called Instant Transmission", only to have Cooler blandly reply "I know... it's of one my favorite techniques" (in the original version, Cooler stated that he was surprised that Goku knew the move as well). After this, there were times when both used it to fight; when used by both at the same moment, it resulted in the two battling in the dimension that makes up Instant Transmission. When this occurred, once, Meta-Cooler won the first skirmish in the Instant Transmission dimension by grabbing Goku by the leg and slamming him through a mountain; later, Goku entered it to save Vegeta from a crushing blow from Meta-Cooler, who had entered the dimension to surprise Vegeta. He also uses this technique occasionally in the story mode of Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai.
- Cell: learns this technique through absorbing Goku's cells after his self-destruction on King Kai's planet (near the end of the Cell Games Saga).
- Frieza: it is revealed in the PSP game Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai (the what-if story around Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn) that Frieza learned the technique during his time in Hell. He uses it once in the game, in order to escape from Gohan.
- Cooler: it is revealed in Shin Budokai that Cooler mastered the technique while in Hell.
- Super Janemba: can use the technique in Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 and Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2.
- Gogeta and Vegito: being two fusions of Goku and Vegeta, can use this technique in video games.
- Kid Buu: uses this technique to teleport to various planets in search of Goku and Vegeta. He learned it from imitating Kibito Kai's Instantaneous Movement.
- Fighters: they learn this technique at level 38 in Dragon Ball Online. The Instant Transmission transports its user to the location of a mutual friend or party member.
- Kami, Mr. Popo, Fortuneteller Baba, Tsururin Tsun, Kibito and later Kibito Kai also know a variation of the technique called Instantaneous Movement. This technique does not require an energy signature to home in on and does not use the typical Goku gesture.
- 瞬 (shun) = moment, second, instant
- 間 (kan) = interval, space, between
- 瞬間(shunkan) = instant, moment, second
- 移 (i) = move, shift, change
- 動 (dō) = move, shift, change
- 移動(idō) = movement, migration, removal
- In the Cell Games Saga, King Kai states in filler that he knew the Instant Transmission technique and that he could have taught it to Goku if he had asked. If King Kai was not kidding, this would conflict with a previous statement he makes in the Vegeta Saga where he specifically says that he couldn't "just zap" Goku back to Earth. Also, in the Frieza Saga King Kai stated that there was nothing he could do to help Goku escape the exploding planet Namek, whereas if he knew Instant Transmission he could have traveled to Namek and rescued Goku (although, this could have been because both cases would have involved going to the living realm, something which only the Eastern Supreme Kai and Old Kai are known to have done).
- The Ocean Dub named the technique the "Instant Translocation" technique. Translocation by definition means "a change of location." Transmit means to send something to another location. Therefore, Instant Translocation means instantly changing location, while Instant Transmission means instantly sending something to another location. Though it can be argued that the users of Instant Transmission send themselves to another location, person, or thing, Instant Translocation technically has a slightly more correct definition despite not being the official name.
- In the 37th episode of Dragon Ball GT, "Old Kai's Last Stand", when Kibito Kai goes back to Kami's Lookout a second time (after he came back to the Sacred World of the Kais to ask where the Sacred Water was), he uses the Instant Transmission gesture of placing the first two fingers of the users' hand to their forehead and he still has his fingers to his forehead when arriving on the lookout. This later happens in the 40th episode of Dragon Ball GT, "Piccolo's Decision", as well: when Kibito Kai comes from New Planet Plant to Earth (after this occurrence, however, Kibito Kai does not use the Instant Transmission gesture when teleporting in the rest of the episode). He also uses the gesture in the Budokai Tenkaichi video game series.