Since the Demon King killed Shenron, no one who was killed during his rampage can be brought back to life; worse still, those killed by the Demon King do not go to the afterlife, instead spending eternity trapped in limbo. Korin has an answer for this though, and tells Goku that Kami, who resides in the sky above Korin Tower created the Dragon Balls and is the only one who can bring back the Dragon. When Goku asks how he can get up there, Korin replies that Goku's Power Pole, which has been missing since his battle with the Demon King, is designed to extend from the top of Korin Tower up to Kami's Lookout.
Goku quickly goes back to the site of his battle with King Piccolo and, not finding his pole there, then heads off to the Fortuneteller Baba who tells him that his staff is at the Kame House.
Retrieving his staff and then returning to Korin Tower, Korin shows Goku where to place his pole and gives him a little bell to show Kami that he is the "chosen one" sent by Korin. Goku then commences to extend his pole, with him on it, up to Kami's Lookout.
The pole extends upwards, and Goku has a rather harrowing experience, as he is repeatedly struck by lightning until it comes to an end once it connected to the lookout. Goku quickly climbs to the top and met a Genie who introduces himself as Mr. Popo, Kami's servant. Upon seeing his bell, Mr. Popo tells Goku that he is eligible to be tested, and must defeat Mr. Popo in a fight. An uncharacteristically-cocky Goku starts the fight carefree, believing that he is worlds above Mr. Popo, but it is soon shown that the genie is far stronger than he appears; no matter what Goku does, he cannot touch Mr. Popo.
Though Goku seemingly failed the test, he asks to stay and train himself to try again. Mr. Popo agrees and starts to give him lessons on controlling his movements, speed and sensing his opponents actions. Goku vows to do whatever it takes to get his friends out of limbo, and Kami interrupts, saying that he will see Goku.
As Kami comes into view, Goku mistakes him for King Piccolo and angrily attacks him, only to be knocked aside. After noting that he should have known that Korin would not explain because Korin thinks he is funny, Kami tells Goku that he and King Piccolo were once a single entity, but Kami split his essence in two in order to obtain the post of the Earth's Guardian. As a reward for Goku's valiant efforts against Piccolo, Kami agrees to recreate Shenron so that Goku's friends can be resurrected, but only under the condition that Goku stay on the lookout for three years in order to train and be ready to confront King's offspring at the next World Martial Arts Tournament.
Meanwhile, at Kame House, Bulma and the others notice that the Dragon Balls are once again active, and quickly summon Shenron. After explaining how he had returned and that they would see Goku at the next Tournament, the group makes their wish; though Bulma and Oolong are initially concerned with reviving Krillin, Master Roshi, and Chiaotzu, Yamcha quickly requests that Shenron also revives all of the innocent people who were also killed by Piccolo and his spawn. After Shenron disperses, Krillin, Master Roshi, and Chiaotzu come back to life, much to the others' joy. Sometime later, numerous reporters arrive, asking to see Goku, who has now become famous for defeating Piccolo.
World Martial Arts Tournament
After three years, Goku, now eighteen years old, meets up with his friends at the Tournament. Though they do not recognize him at first, Goku removes the turban that he is currently wearing to reveal his trademark hairstyle, but it is only after he notices Bulma wearing lipstick and asks her if she is bleeding that they are convinced that it is him. Soon afterwards, Krillin, Tien, Yamcha, and Chiaotzu arrive, and Krillin emotionally thanks Goku for what he did for him. When the group notices that Goku's tail is missing, Goku mentions that Kami had it permanently removed in order to restore the moon. Goku then briefly meets Piccolo Jr. and a young woman who is angry because Goku does not recognize her. Goku and Tien unanimously decide not to tell the others that Piccolo's spawn is at the tournament.
After Chiaotzu fixes the numbers so that Goku, his friends, and Jr. would not meet each other until the finals, the first elimination rounds start. The first match is a rematch between Goku and King Chappa (whom Goku defeated in the last tournament), which Goku ends with a mild tap to knock out his opponent. Yamcha, Krillin and Tien Shinhan also easily breeze through their fights, but Chiaotzu is brutally beaten by a now cyborg Mercenary Tao, who seeks revenge on Goku for nearly killing him and Tien for betraying his school. Additionally the young woman makes it to the finals as well as Hero, a nerdish looking man who, seemingly by accident, defeats a disguised Yajirobe.
This leaves the eight finalists as:
Junior (Piccolo Jr.)
Anonymous (the mysterious young woman, "Chi-Chi")
Mercenary Tao vs. Tien
Mercenary Tao starts the fight confident that he will quickly defeat Tien, but instead finds himself far outclassed. In an act of desperation, he breaks the tournament rules by removing one of his robotic hands and revealing a knife; before Tien can react, Mercenary Tao quickly slices him on his chest. The World Tournament Announcer immediately announces that Tao is disqualified, but Tao does not care. Dropping his other hand, Mercenary Tao reveals a cannon, which he then uses to fire a Super Dodon Ray at Tien; Tien nullifies the attack with a Kiai and then quickly counters, dropping Mercenary Tao with a single hit.
After being named the victor, Tien carries the unconscious Mercenary Tao to the edge of the stadium and drops him at the feet of Master Shen, his old master who was rooting for Tien's death, and tells him to take Mercenary Tao and leave, never to bother him again. Shen, carrying Mercenary Tao in his arms, leaves in shame, but not before swearing revenge.
Goku vs. Anonymous
Anonymous attacks Goku vigorously, asking Goku if he remembers who she is. When he says that he still does not, she tells him that he promised to take her as his wife, prompting Goku to ask Krillin for clarification on exactly what a wife is. In the original Japanese dub, Krillin says Goku promised to marry her, Yamcha follows this statement by saying they will become husband and wife, and they have to live together while Krillin is whining how lucky Goku is to marry a very cute girl like her (in the English dub, Krillin tells Goku that a bride means his life is over, while Yamcha tells him that they have to get married). Anonymous then says that if Goku can beat her, she will tell him her name. Goku is satisfied with this agreement and calmly creates an invisible shockwave that knocks the woman clear out of the ring.
Anonymous is pleased that she took such a strong warrior for a husband and reveals herself to be Chi-Chi, much to the shock of Goku and the others sans Oolong. Remembering the promise, Goku reveals the truth behind why he promised; the fact that he believed that marriage was a kind of food, which leaves Chi-Chi distraught. Nonetheless, for Goku, a promise is a promise and he then proposes to her before the crowd, much to Chi-Chi's happiness. The two then walk out of the ring, cheered on by the masses and congratulated by the announcer (though Goku is shown to be visibly uncomfortable with Chi-Chi's affectionate behavior).
Piccolo Jr., watching from the sidelines, notes that the techniques that Goku used are reminiscent of those used by his people.
Junior vs. Krillin
Krillin starts the fight off quickly with the Double Tsuihikidan, which Junior quickly neutralizes with blasts from his eyes. It turns out to be a distractive ploy though, as Krillin uses Junior's diverted attention to land a punch. Krillin then charges at the demon for some quick sparring until Junior seemingly kicks Krillin out of the ring; Krillin recovers though, in the process demonstrating that over his last three years training he has learned how to fly.
On seeing Krillin's endurance and techniques, Junior decides to fight somewhat seriously; he quickly grabs Krillin from across the arena by stretching his arm and delivers a fierce punch once he has reeled Krillin in. Krillin recovers from the hit and charges right back at Junior, but is kicked into the air, with Junior in close pursuit. In an act of desperation Krillin attempts to use the Kamehameha at point blank range, but Junior dodges it with the After Image Technique and ends up behind him; Junior uses the opportunity to deliver a powerful overhead smash to Krillin, sending him crashing to the arena floor.
Krillin manages to stagger to his feet, but is heavily injured and forfeits the match.
Hero vs. Yamcha
Yamcha enters the ring extremely confident due to Hero's unassuming appearance. He allows Hero to attack first and easily dodges the clumsy chop, but is kicked in the side, seemingly by accident, when Hero trips. Thinking that it was simply a lucky shot, Yamcha dismisses the attack and prepares one of his own. He launches himself at Hero with a kick but Hero ducks it, inadvertently causing Yamcha to smash his groin on Hero's head.
Blustered by Hero's extreme "luck", Yamcha states that he will fight seriously. Hero states that he will do so as well and launches a very fast attack, striking Yamcha with his elbow and knocking him down. Yamcha gets up and charges at Hero, but his attack is easily stopped and he is sent back to the ground with a quick kick to the leg. Yamcha attacks twice more, but both times is quickly countered and knocked down. The entire time they are fighting, Hero gives pointers to Yamcha, telling him what mistakes he is making, he then confesses to Yamcha that he is not actually human, and is only borrowing the body that he is in.
Unable to connect with any physical attacks, Yamcha uses his last resort attack: the Spirit Ball, a guided ki ball. Hero dodges the balls first pass, and then the second which causes the ball to crash under the ring floor; Yamcha then commands the ball to come back up directly under Hero and makes a direct hit. Hero quickly retaliates though, and smashes into Yamcha with his elbow, knocking him out of the ring.
At this point, Goku puts two and two together and realizes that Hero is actually Kami in disguise.
Goku vs. Tien
Goku and Tien both start the fight off right away, charging into each other with a flurry of blows. After a few scuffles, and a doubly reflected ki bolt, Tien is left a bit out of breath while Goku remains in top form.
Tien then demonstrates his true speed and seems to dominate the fight after that though, landing several blows and evading all of Goku's attacks. Goku asks Tien if he can remove some of his clothing and Tien is shocked to discover that they are heavily weighted; all together, the weight of Goku's boots, wristbands, and undershirt equal a weight of one hundred kilograms (or approximately 220 lbs). With the burden removed Goku's speed is now considerably greater than Tien's, and he is able to take Tien's belt without Tien noticing, leading to a humorous scene where Tien's pants fall down, humiliating him in front of the crowd.
Realizing that he is outclassed, Tien uses his secret weapon: the ability to divide himself into four separate, thinking bodies. Each of Tien's new bodies quickly heads to an arena corner and fires a blast at Goku, who has nowhere to dodge except up; once he is in the air though, each Tien hits Goku with a blast from his third eye, bringing him crashing to the area floor.
Goku gets back up and announces to Tien that there are two flaws with the technique and that he will soon win. Tien disbelieves him and attempts to do the same attack pattern as before; he is interrupted though when Goku uses the Solar Flare technique after leaping in the air, blinding all of the Tiens' eyes. As he is recovering Goku explains that Tien's eyes are too good, and that since he relies on them so much, he is almost helpless when blinded. Goku then proceeds to quickly dispatch each Tien with one hit, demonstrating the second weakness; splitting into four bodies reduced each of them to 1/4 of the original Tien's strength and speed.
Hero vs. Junior
Hero starts the fight off quickly, catching Piccolo Jr. off-guard by demonstrating his powerful techniques right away. Piccolo Jr., shocked that such a weak looking human could present him such a challenge. Piccolo Jr. is able to then read Hero's thoughts and learn that his body is simply borrowed, when he questions Hero about this Hero responds in Namekian, causing Piccolo Jr. to piece together that it is actually Kami in disguise.
Knowing that Kami can not do him any significant harm, as Piccolo Jr.'s death would be Kami's as well, Piccolo Jr. is briefly amused by the concept but soon becomes terrified at the thought that Kami might be willing to commit suicide. Kami assures Piccolo Jr. that he has no intent on dying and instead shows Piccolo Jr. his ace-up-the-sleeve and, after placing a small jar on the ground, uses the Evil Containment Wave technique in an attempt to contain the demon. Piccolo Jr. had prepared for this though, and reversed the Evil Containment Wave against Kami, who abandoned his borrowed body to prevent the human from being trapped with him. With Kami trapped in the bottle, Kami is, of course, no longer capable of fighting and Piccolo Jr. is declared the winner of the fight. Before being trapped, Kami pleads for Goku to stop Piccolo Jr. by any means necessary.
As all this unfolds, a confused and disoriented Hero stumbles through the crowd to his family, who are in awe of his apparent "strength". Hero, unable to recall anything that happened while possessed, has absolutely no idea what his family are talking about.
After this fight is over, Piccolo Jr. taunts Goku by swallowing the bottle containing Kami. The only way to retrieve it now would be to kill Piccolo Jr., thereby killing Kami as well.
Final Round: Goku vs. Junior
Piccolo Jr. next squares off against Goku. After some initial attacks, Piccolo Jr. attempts to destroy the arena, and all the spectators, with a powerful attack; Goku manages to deflect it though. When Piccolo Jr. attempts to do it again, Goku counters with his Super Kamehameha and reflects the beam back at Piccolo Jr., scathing him and destroying some of his clothes, including his turban. Without his turban, the crowd recognizes him as King Piccolo and flees in terror; this works to Goku's advantage, as he no longer has to worry about any innocent bystanders getting hurt.
Piccolo Jr. next uses his Giant Form to grow roughly four times his size. After being thrown and taunted by Goku, Piccolo Jr. grows even further, to the size of a large building; this again works to Goku's advantage however, as he is able to enter Piccolo Jr.'s mouth and then escape with the bottle where Kami is stored. Realizing that his great size is not helping him fight Goku, Piccolo Jr. returns to his normal size.
After some more sparring, Piccolo Jr. hits Goku with his Antenna Beam (electricity from his antennas) and leaves Goku stunned. As he moves in for a follow-up blow, he is blocked by Kami who enters the fight. Goku protests this and after making Kami agree to let him fight on his own, allows Piccolo Jr. a free hit.
Piccolo Jr. next attempts his Chasing Bullet technique, a blast which follows his opponent; Goku once again turns the tables on him and manages to get the beam to hit Piccolo Jr. instead by dashing right behind him. The blast seriously damages one of Piccolo Jr.'s arms and he is forced to rip it off and grow a new one. In a fit of rage Piccolo Jr. next uses an attack which generates a massive explosion emanating from him. Though Piccolo Jr. puts a great deal of his energy into the attack, it has little effect on Goku. Goku uses Piccolo Jr.'s now exhausted state to land a series of attacks on him, finishing with a Kamehameha.
Thinking Piccolo Jr. defeated, Goku lets down his guard down while the announcer begins the countdown. As the counter approaches 10, signifying a defeat, Piccolo Jr. suddenly springs up catches Goku by surprise with a beam from his mouth, blasting a hole through Goku's shoulder. Thus weakened, Piccolo Jr. is able to systematically cripple Goku, costing him the use of all of his limbs, including his right arm, a.k.a. the one that the original Piccolo made the critical mistake of leaving Goku. To finish him off, Piccolo Jr. leaps in the air and fires a powerful ki attack at him, leaving no trace of Goku.
Piccolo Jr., though heavily battered by the battle, turns to Goku's terrified friends, gloating. His victory is short-lived though, as, unknown to all, Goku had mastered the art of flight and dodged the attack. Goku then smashed his inert body into Piccolo Jr., knocking him out of the ring and causing him to lose the tournament
With Piccolo Jr. beaten, Yajirobe approaches and gives Goku a Senzu Bean, bringing him back to perfect condition immediately. Goku begins to dance about, celebrating his victory, until he notices Kami about to finish off the defeated Piccolo Jr.. He quickly places himself between them, knowing that if Piccolo Jr. dies, Kami and the Dragon Balls will vanish as well.
Kami then laments that Piccolo Jr.'s existence is his fault, and for that he is no longer worthy of life, let alone to be the Earth's Guardian. Master Roshi then speaks up, stating that it was because of the Dragon Balls, and their setting Goku off on his grand adventure, that the world is now in peace; logic Kami accepts.
After Kami restores Goku's tattered uniform, Goku asks Yajirobe for a second Senzu Bean. To everyone's surprise, he gives the Senzu Bean to Piccolo Jr., instantly putting the demon back on his feet. Goku tells everyone that he does not want to risk Kami's health by leaving Piccolo Jr. on the verge of death; he also admits that he does not want to lose his nemesis. Piccolo Jr. shows complete contempt for Goku's mercy, thinking him soft and, just before leaving, giving his word that he will return someday to shatter Goku and take over the world.
Kami, seeing Goku's strength and pity, judges him worthy and offers Goku to take his place as Guardian of the Earth. Goku protests this though, stating that such a position was not the adventure he was looking for. At this point Chiaotzu arrives on the scene after leaving the hospital. With one final rejection of Kami's offer, Goku summons his flying cloud Flying Nimbus, grabs Chi-Chi, and flies off, shouting "Sorry Kami, it just does not get any better than this!"
In the anime, Goku's training at Kami's lookout is expanded, with him having to face various tests. After his victory over Piccolo Jr. a 5-episode mini-saga occurs which details his adventures with Chi-Chi up to their wedding.
In this mini-saga, Goku and Chi-Chi are about to get married, when Ox King's palace catches on flames. Desperate to save the wedding dress, Ox-King remains trapped in the burning castle, while Goku and Chi-Chi go off to see Master Roshi to see how they can put out the immense fire. Turtle tells them to seek the Fire Eater or the Bansho Fan. Goku and Chi-Chi find the Fire Eater, but run off to find the Bansho Fan when Emperor Pilaf and his goons interfere again. Chi-Chi meets a crazy woman who reveals she has the Bansho Fan. The two go off with the fan, but Goku can not make it stop the flames. Fortuneteller Baba reveals it is so because the flames were caused from a leak in the Furnace. So, Chi-Chi and Goku go off to the boundary of the living world, and meet the guardian of the Furnace, Ani along with Grandpa Gohan (who is dead). Goku, almost dead, is able to repair the Furnace leak, and the fire stops. Goku and Chi-Chi have their wedding, which ends Dragon Ball. Fortuneteller Baba looks into the future of Goku, and winks. This leads to the events of the Vegeta Saga on Dragon Ball Z five years later.