|"Super Saiyan Third Grade" is not this article's official English name, it is used as there is currently no official translation.|
"I know I look like I can, Gohan, but these bulky muscles make it hard to move fast, and if I'm going to beat Cell, I can't have anything slowing me down. I may have great power, but what good is it if I can't catch my enemy? It takes more than brute strength to win a fight."
Super Saiyan Third Grade (超サイヤ人第３段階 Sūpā Saiya-jin Dai San-dankai, lit. "Super Saiyan Stage 3"), also called Super Saiyan 1.5, is the second branch of advanced Super Saiyan forms, achieved through intense training in the Super Saiyan form. Like the Super Saiyan Second Grade stage, it is a forced increase in the power output of the initial Super Saiyan transformation. All natural inhibitions of the body are completely removed in this state, resulting in 100% utilization of strength and stamina reserves.
In this stage, the Saiyan is similar in appearance to the Legendary Super Saiyan form though smaller. The skin of the Saiyan may become slightly redder due to increased blood flow, and muscle size is increased to the point of impracticality. The Saiyan's hair grows bigger, spikier and spreads in different directions. The aura no longer flows upward, but flails outward, with surges of bio-electricity becoming more frequent and prominent. Sometimes, the pupils and irises may temporarily vanish during the transformation. A notable difference between the two forms, however, is that unlike the Legendary Super Saiyan state, the Super Saiyan Third Grade doesn't increase the user's height as much after bulking up, which is especially evident with Future Trunks, where after accessing the form, he is about the same height as Cell while before he transformed he is closer to Goku's height, yet with Broly transforming, he was significantly taller than even his standard form, not to mention much taller than the various Saiyan opponents even compared to beforehand. Caulifla's version is slightly less bulky than male Saiyans, though she still has a heavily muscular feminine physique with an hourglass figure and pronounced abs, traits which would presumably apply to other female Saiyans in their Super Saiyan Third Grade form. Though Caulifla has slightly less bulk than a male Saiyan in this form, her muscles still have enough mass that it impairs her movements showing that female Saiyans can still be affected by the excess weight of their muscles despite having slightly less bulk than the males as showing that the increased muscle mass is proportional between males and females. On a similar note, female users of both the Third Grade Transformation and the Legendary Super Saiyan Transformation have noticeable differences in overall proportions. The Third Grade Transformation has the torso being relatively unchanged while their arms mass is increased significantly, while by contrast, the Legendary Super Saiyan state, while still bulking up, has the musculature of the torso and arms being within proportion.
In the series, the Super Saiyan Third Grade form is discovered as an advanced stage of Super Saiyan Second Grade (itself an advanced stage of the Super Saiyan transformation) that further increases the physical strength of the Super Saiyan form. However, due to this form making the body so muscular and heavy, the ability to move freely is impaired and whatever speed boost which the power-up could have given is negated, making the Saiyan much slower than his ki would suggest. Due to this distorted proportion of speed and power, this transformation is useless against foes who were faster than the Saiyan, to begin with - as is shown in the case of Trunks, whose brute strength exceeds Cell's own at the moment, but his speed remains inferior to that of his foe. In addition, the Saiyan's energy rapidly depletes due to the effort needed to simply maintain the transformation. Altogether, the negatives of this stage outweigh the positives.
The anime version of this transformation's hair in Dragon Ball Z is not as tall or spiky as depicted in the manga. However, in the video-games and in Dragon Ball Super, the hair looks exactly the way it was depicted in the manga.
Usage and power
According to one source Super Saiyan Third Grade is weaker than Super Saiyan 2, while according to another source, Super Saiyan Third Grade is 10x stronger than the previous form, though slows the user substantially. This form draws out the power of the Super Saiyan to its limits. Believing that he surpassed his father Vegeta in strength, Future Trunks ascended to the Super Saiyan Third Grade form to combat Perfect Cell immediately following Vegeta's defeat. Although he managed to hold his own for some time, with Cell even admitting that Trunks surpasses him in terms of pure strength, Future Trunks was also unable to defeat Cell because of his inability to maintain equality in speed. Because of his inexperience with these transformations, Future Trunks did not realize that his bulky form would be an inhibitor of his ability to battle, a characteristic that was later noted by both Goku and Cell. Future Trunks was told by Cell that Vegeta was aware of this disadvantage as well and it was the reason Vegeta did not use the 3rd Grade Super Saiyan form. Also because of the weight of the muscles, it takes tremendous force and effort to move them. As such, the user will tire out very quickly in this form. Trunks' use of the form in Dragon Ball Super could indicate it is stronger than Super Saiyan 2, being a double-bluff to make Vegeta think Trunks was trying to close the gap in power between father and son with a flawed form.
Cell has his own version of the form. He bulks up his muscles when he mocks Future Trunks for using the Super Saiyan Third Grade form. When Perfect Cell fights Super Saiyan 2 Gohan in the Cell Games, he ends up losing his temper and resorts to using his Power Weighted form to increase his physical power, which fails to raise his speed proportionately and help him win the battle.  Earlier, when Gohan was ascending to Super Saiyan 2, Cell also mistook his transformation as being the Super Saiyan Third Grade transformation, causing him to smugly chide Gohan for "making the same mistake Trunks did."
The form appears in Dragon Ball Super, being used by Future Trunks in his sparring match with Vegeta. Vegeta gets disappointed to see Future Trunks still relying on the form, calling it primitive, but is surprised and realizes that Future Trunks only pretended to use the form in order to trick Vegeta to attack and catch him off-guard, re-assuming his Super Saiyan 2 form afterward. Future Trunks uses this form again as part of his transformation into his Super Saiyan Rage state when preparing to fight Black and Zamasu at their house.
Fused Zamasu possesses his own variation of the Super Saiyan Third Grade form, which he uses when fighting against Vegito and Future Trunks in the future timeline. Fused Zamasu, however, utilized this form while in the Super Saiyan Rosé state.
Caulifla attains the transformation simply by powering up after learning she is not yet ready to learn Super Saiyan Blue from Goku. Despite being way drastically stronger than before, Caulifla cannot hit Goku as she loses speed due to her massive muscles and reverts to the regular Super Saiyan form.
Video Game Appearances
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai
- Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors 2
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3
- Dragon Ball: Raging Blast
- Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2
- Dragon Ball Heroes
- Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission
- Dragon Ball Legends
In Budokai, Super Saiyan Third Grade Future Trunks is called "Super Trunks 2" (as his 2nd Grade Super Saiyan form is called "Super Trunks").
In Supersonic Warriors 2, this form is known as "Super Saiyan 1.5" and can only be used as Super Saiyan Future Trunks' ultimate move, which sees him simply using its massive power output to fire a powerful Finish Buster before reverting as soon as the move is complete.
This form also appears in Budokai Tenkaichi and Raging Blast series and the "Super Trunks" form is accurately portrayed, as body movement and the ability to charge energy are slow to the point of being hindrances, and comes complete with a signature technique called Inexperienced Power Up that mirrors Future Trunks' constant attempts at powering up.
Both Future Trunks and Cell are playable in Dragon Ball Heroes with this transformation.
In Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission, Future Trunks' version is called Trunks (Adult, Super Saiyan, Powerhouse) while Cell's is called Cell (Perfect, Powerhouse). Both forms appear character stickers that can be used in Card Creation to create custom cards.
- Krillin once referred to this form as Super Super Saiyan in the manga.
- It is hypothesized by Future Trunks that Vegeta is capable of using 3rd Grade Super Saiyan form, but refrained from using it against Perfect Cell, since he knew of its disadvantages. This is likely, as Goku immediately realized the drawbacks of the form after attaining it. In the English version of the manga, Trunks states "So that's why dad chose not to transform this way..." after Perfect Cell defeats him in his Super Saiyan Third Grade form, implying that Vegeta was capable of the transformation, but realized (as Cell and Goku did before him) that a transformation that only gives you brute strength is nothing if you cannot hit your opponent. Dragon Ball Super also supports this statement as Vegeta was disappointed when he sees the transformation.
- Krillin once compared Future Trunks' Super Saiyan Third Grade form to a Great Ape, as he said that Future Trunks should not scare him with the transformation since as far as Krillin knew, Trunks was going to go 'Great Ape' on him.
- Super Saiyan Third Grade and Super Saiyan 3 are similar in the sense that both forms were equally as powerful if not more powerful than their opponents, in this case, Cell, Majin Buu, and Kid Buu, but the forms caused too much stress on the body and required too much ki consumption, and as a result, the form was not used to defeat the villain. Though Super Saiyan 3 does not decrease speed.
- Caulifla is the first female Saiyan to achieve Super Saiyan Third Grade as well as the first Saiyan in Universe 6 to achieve this form. Interestingly, she is the first Saiyan to achieve this form after attaining the Super Saiyan 2 form.
- Though Ultra Super Saiyan is not an official name for the Super Saiyan Third Grade form, it was widely popularized by the western Dragon Ball fan base as a name for the form. Notably, in the English dub for Dragon Ball Super Caulifla refers to this form as Ultra Super.
- This form, and more specifically the transformation sequence into this form, was cited by Takao Koyama to be the direct inspiration for the design behind the Legendary Super Saiyan form, and by extension the main antagonist Broly in the film Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan.
- Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors series
- Dragon Ball Collectible Card Game, 2008
- Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission, 2019
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai, 2002
- Dragon Ball GT: La Revista Oficial
- Trunks anime comics - "Super Saiyan" section
- "Trunks acquires a force 10 times greater, but his movement skills are more limited." Dragon Ball The Legend of Manga
- Daizenshuu 2
- "BEYOND" or "ULTRA" SUPER SAIYAN (USSJ). daizex.
- Daizenshuu 2, 1995
- DRAGON BALL 大全集 6: MOVIES & TV SPECIALS (in Japanese). Shueisha. 1995. pp. 212–216. ISBN 4-08-782756-9.