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Videl runs off to fight crime. Gohan runs to the bathroom, preforms the multiform technique, and 1/2 of his power gets to go and back her up while the other 1/2 goes back to class. As Saiyaman he probably never used more than a hundredth of his power, so a 50% handicap wouldn’t have hurt anything. Heck, he could have maintained his golden fighter identity and just made sure to let Videl (and anyone else) see both him and the gold fighter side by side to secure an iron clad alibi.

I’m not sure if he ever used the technique himself, but I know he saw his Dad use it during the Cell games and I’m pretty sure he knew about it before that from Krillin. Instead of flying to Bulls for the costume after his first day, he could have flown to Kane house and asked Krillin to teach him the move

I know that the real answer is ‘because it would have broken the plot’. I’m looking for a believable in universe reason. I don’t buy that he wouldn’t have thought about it, he’s a genius. Why didn’t Gohan use the multiform technique during the Saiyaman saga?

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You make a lot of interesting assumptions. Before I explain why this wouldn't have been feasible for reasons other than "because it would have broken the plot", I would like to make three corrections with regard to some of the facts you stated.

  • The technique Krillin uses is called the Triform. Picollo and he use this technique against Nappa in the Saiyan Saga.
  • Also, Goku never uses the Multiform technique against Cell, it was Cell who uses it against him. Goku is a character who is very strongly against the usage of this technique. He was the first character who pointed out its flaw.
  • Finally, it's too much of a stretch to call Gohan a "Genius". You could consider him to be well educated and smart. He definitely isn't the combat genius his father is and his intellect cannot be compared to someone like Bulma's. It is also important to note that Gohan never came up with the idea of the suit. He consulted the smartest person he knows with regard to his identity issue and it was a suggestion of Bulma's as you see here.

    Now with regard to why this wouldn't have worked

  • The Cloning procedure can only be of 2 possibilities. The first possibility is that there is one Main Clone which acts as the brain for even the remaining clones. The second possibility is that every clone is its own being and thinks and acts on its own.
  • In case of the first scenario, it wouldn't work for obvious reasons as Gohan would have control over his clone and he obviously cannot be present in class and be able to assess the situation outside and have his clone act our accordingly and fight.
  • In case of the second scenario, how exactly would Gohan have control of his other clones and be able to destroy them when neccesary. He would have no way of communicating with his clones and it more or less would decrease Gohans power almost permanantly. If Gohan did have the ability to control the rest of his clones, it would end up being the first scenario.
  • Based on the above explanation, you see that the multiform/triform technique, cannot really be used to perform multiple activities at different locations.

Finally, even if he were to use the multiform technique, He would still require the Great Saiyaman outfit or any outfit for that matter to disguise himself outside. Even if he happens to be in class when his clone is out fighting crime, the press would still be able to to get a picture of his clone or someone would easily spot him.

  • Based on your logic, even if Gohan had his clone right next to him, "to establish an alibi", wouldn't Videl and everyone else still be suspicious as to how there exists a fighter who looks exactly like him? The Great Saiyaman's identity would have to be revealed at some point. If his identity was never to be revealed, then Videl wouldn't have known it was Gohan even without using the clones.
  • While Gohan didn't really want to reveal his identity, I really don't think he cared to the extreme extent you think, to try so hard to establish an alibi. In the Martial Arts tournament, while he was embarassed about his identity being revealed, he didn't care that much to try to fled the scene immediately. He also had no problem transforming into Super Saiyan in front of everybody to fight Kibito when he had to.

    So ultimately, Clone or No Clone, a disguise would have been necessary. A regular outfit would have been too much of a hassle to change out of, hence, Bulma. Gohan did the smartest thing he could do by consulting the Most Intelligent person he knew. The Saiyaman outfit(and the convenience to switch into the same), was realistically the best possible solution. Although, the design and Gohan's supposed Superhero Persona while wearing the same are indeed questionable.

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