As the Granolah the Survivor arc is approaching its climax, with its conclusive battle being Goku Vs Gas, I thought it’d be fun to look back and analyze the whole saga from a different angle.
Through my incurable addiction of scrolling up and down on Twitter and Reddit, I found that there’s been a lot of talk about the Saiyans, Granolah, and the Heeters (especially Elec’s mysterious plans for conquering Universe 7).
However, the authors are imparting several underlying themes throughout the arc that some fans fail to recognize or don’t have in the back of their minds as more and more chapters come out. Throughout the series, they’re conveyed both subtly and explicitly.
So without further ado, let’s explore them one by one!
1. Titles in Dragon Ball Super Are Fleeting
No, I’m not talking about the title of “God of Destruction” or other positions in the God hierarchy or in general, I’m referring to titles like “Strongest under-the-heavens” or “Strongest warrior in the Universe”.
Yes, I said it. In fact, even a grandeur title like “I’m the greatest” ultimately loses its meaning over time.
I mean, Mr. Satan held the title of “Strongest under-the-heavens” for multiple years and we know he ain’t really it. That title had a lot of meaning in early Dragon Ball, but as time went by, our heroes grew so much stronger that being the “Mightiest warrior on Earth” doesn’t matter much now.
That’s because the authors are reminding us that titles are temporary and it passes on from person to person as time goes by. At the 21st Tenkaichi Budokai, Master Roshi was the strongest. On the 22nd, it was Tien, next was Goku, and so forth. That’s exactly what they’re trying to imply in the Granolah arc as well.
Both Granolah and Gas claimed the title of “Strongest warrior in the Universe” with the help of the Dragon Balls. Common sense says that’s gonna be even more temporary because they didn’t earn it through hard work.
Sure, they lost their lifespan, but the abilities and experience required to narrow the gap between themselves and their opponents remain insufficient. I’ll go into more detail about this in the following section.
The fandom, as usual, was divided over the whole “battle between the 2 Universe’s strongest”. Sigh
Some fans feel it doesn’t have that ‘oomph’ while having such a grandeur title. “There should be more explosions and fireworks! Where is all that? And all they’re doing is exchanging kicks”
While a lot of others feel the authors are doing a great job by connecting various characters and fleshing out a coherent story filled with life and stakes.
My own 2 cents on the matter are the following:
This particular exchange between Gas vs Granolah or Goku vs Gas isn’t supposed to involve huge explosions or planetary storms because the focus here is mostly on hand-to-hand combat and techniques.
On the other hand, Goku Vs Beerus & Gogeta Vs Broly involved a lot of Ki blasts and fireworks because Beerus wanted to destroy the Earth and Broly is a bulldozer with no control over his explosive power.
Gas wanted to use the technique he honed for years. We’ve seen that kind of technique before, but it’s never been used in this creative fashion. It doesn’t involve many a Ki-based attack so it’s not gonna be like your usual flashy fight and I’m all in for it.
Just because Gas and Granolah are the strongest now doesn’t mean they’ll continue to be in the future.
Rankings don’t matter in the long run. It’s just a number that exists on the mental platform and has nothing to do with whether A will actually defeat B.
Both Monaito and Vegeta (who was once obsessed with rankings) have stated this.
(By the way, can I say what a chef’s kiss this dialogue is? Genius level writing by Toyotarou. I don’t know what the original Japanese says but the translator brought out the intent really well)
In fact, the whole agenda of the Granolah arc is to purposefully make fans not feel so great about the strongest warriors. Why? That’s where we come to the next underlying message of the arc.
2. Nothing Replaces Battle Experience and Grinding
Another significant point the writers want to convey is that instant power-ups or obtaining power through artificial forces can’t be a long-term substitute for experience and training.
We saw that in the Moro arc and its troupe continues in this one.
This demonstrates his colossal ego and lack of Martial Arts knowledge. This is the problem when you focus too much on power, power, power. Something Roshi reminded Goku in the T.O.P.
Gas and Granolah share the same view. That greediness will be their downfall and Elec knows this very well. That’s why his mind trick on Gas is working.
We remember the good ol’ days of Goku training under 300 times normal gravity while en route to Namek. All of us enthusiastic fans were so attracted to the sheer determination and the payoff was so satisfying. It’s what got us hooked on Goku and Vegeta, isn’t it?
But Granolah and Gas here used a “cheat-code”, so to speak, to acquire their strength. Yes, the word “cheat code” is used by the Old Kaioshin to describe the Dragon Balls. No Dragon can gift experience and know-how gained through training. The benefits received through grinding are one of a kind.
Of course, there was a price to pay for that wish but, the point is, they won’t be the strongest for long and it’s a risky move; considering they’d lived a happy life if they weren’t fixated on revenge and such power only attracts more trouble. Monaito took no time emphasizing this as soon as Granolah made his wish.
This was further emphasized by Vegeta while brawling with Granolah, he said “you may be stronger than me, but there’s no guarantee that I’ll lose to you.”
Here he’s talking about how experience and training play a vital role in shaping up a true warrior.
Again, just like Moro, the fact that Granolah thinks this way shows his lack of experience in what needs to be done to become truly stronger.
In fact, this idea goes way back to early Dragon Ball where Muten Roshi was afraid of the possibility of Goku becoming puffed up and giving up training after easily claiming the title of “strongest under the heavens”. These are the kinda things Gas and Granolah did after claiming the title of “strongest in the Universe”
And it’s pretty clear that the power went into their heads. At least Frieza was a prodigy and had a lot of tricks up his sleeve so he making that mistake is different from them.
Furthermore, both Goku and Vegeta could detect the sloppiness of Granolah and Gas’ rendition of Instant Transmission.
The Saiyan Hero has the knack for teleportation and knows the nuances of how it works because he has been taught by the master himself – Pybara, the Yardrat elder. Whereas Gas doesn’t know all of that because he went straight into the battlefield without learning from a proper instructor. So baiting him is a piece of cake.
Just because XYZ claims the title of “the President of the United States” and is ‘gifted’ various powers and tools doesn’t mean he/she is cut out for the role. Someone equipped with better knowledge and skills can contest and do a better job. It’s not always so straightforward. The same thing applies here as well.
Gas’ personality doesn’t matter as much cause’ he’s not the main antagonist (like Zamasu). He’s like the Androids before Cell.
3. There Are Consequences For Using The Dragon Balls Selfishly
The 7 wish-granting orbs… it is said to grant any wish put forth. But later we learn that a wish can be fulfilled if it’s within the Dragon’s capabilities. And each Dragon’s power depends on its creator.
Based on that, I think it’s safe to rank the power of the Dragon Balls in the following way:
Super Dragon Balls > Namekian Dragon Balls > Cerealian Dragon Balls > Earth Dragon Balls
The Super Dragon Balls, as told by Lord Zuno, were created by the Dragon God Zalama just after the birth of the Universe. All the other Dragon Balls are made by taking fragments from the Super Dragon Balls. In other words, the Namekians were inspired by these when designing their own.
However, we don’t have a clue on why Zalama created them in the first place. But I’m thinking it’s for the good of Universes 6 and 7, if not the entire Multiverse, and not for selfish reasons.
In other words, the wishes shouldn’t go against or be outside the realm of the original creator’s vision.
We get a glimpse of the intent behind its creation from Kami in early Dragon Ball.
The Gods are always looking for ways to maintain peace and increase the overall quality of life in the Universe.
But at the same time, Kami is opposed to the concept of “What man breaks, God mends.” He believes that ultimately, the people of Earth must find their own way to get things fixed up and not depend on the Dragon Balls for everything.
Kami says “it won’t bear well for a man to look up to God just to fix their screw-ups”.
That means he cares for the overall well-being of the people under his watch. That’s why he made such a statement. He wants to see them grow and depend less and less on the Dragon Balls.
Similarly, the Kaioshin are the primary beings in charge of maintaining peace along with their respective God of Destruction. The Rō Kaiōshin or Old Supreme Kai knows about the Dragon Balls and their purpose. And he warned that, if they’re misused for some selfish reason, it’ll cause an imbalance in the natural flow of the Universe.
Seems he knows their after-effects more than the Namekians (Zalama didn’t instruct them properly?)
He said this even for what appeared to be a “noble” endeavor to bring the Earth and its people back to life and repeatedly did so.
Since they’re established to maintain order, the Kaioshin intervenes if that order is disturbed (either personally or through mortals depending on the situation). So the Old Kai’s warning is accurate and well-informed.
Now fast-forwarding to the Granolah arc. Both Monaito and Moori/Mūri have asserted that their Dragon Balls were created to aid Namekian warriors.
What Granolah and Elec wished for are clearly selfish desires which benefited no Namekian. In fact, Gas tried to kill Monaito when he found out about the Namekian’s healing ability.
Zamasu too wished for something selfish and was brought down by divine intervention (Zeno). Similarly, Gas and Granolah’s fates were sealed as soon as their wishes were made (with or without conditions). They’ll die one way or the other…
Because the Old Kaioshin commanded them to employ them solely for their own gain, it is assumed that any wish made that does not benefit them is considered selfish.
Therefore, any wish made other than for the benefit of Namekians or without the approval of the higher-ups will have consequences.
For example, Frieza’s resurrection brought forth Divine intervention in the form of Whis doing a temporal do-over in order to finish him off.
On the other hand, Android 17’s wish to bring back the erased Universes in the T.O.P was approved by the Grand Priest and the Zenos. That wish had no consequences for 17.
But what about the other unauthorized wishes?
In the Granolah arc, these statements of the purpose behind the Dragon Balls foretell a time where the consequences of their usage other than its original purpose will come to pass. It won’t exactly be like GT, but this could be a major factor in future arcs and the introduction of Zalama.
Now that I covered the 3 themes which aren’t talked about much, here are some that are commonly known.
This one is pretty straightforward. Granolah wants to kill the Heeters, especially Elec for killing his mom and Frieza for annihilating his race.
Granolah gave up everything for this singular purpose in life. Avenging his fellow Cerealians is the heart and soul of his life. Without it, he’d be an empty shell.
If that is put into question, he’d lose all sense of meaning in life. And that’s exactly what Vegeta intended to strike.
Granolah’s mind had gone for a toss. All that hatred took out the remaining sense of sanity and compassion he once held.
Seeing the frightened Sugarians was the last straw. He saw what he had become and from his P.O.V, there’s no turning back.
5. Fate of the Saiyans
A whole chapter (76) is named after this so it’s quite obvious. Beerus and Vegeta talked about the Saiyans’ downfall and the latter think they were destined to die, irrespective of Frieza’s involvement. But Beerus tells him that’s not the case.
The Prince’s whole idea behind fighting Granolah is to try to prove to himself that the Saiyans weren’t destined to die and Granolah acted like “fate” so to speak. As soon as the Cerealian decided to take Vegeta along with himself to the afterlife, Vegeta accepted his fate. But Goku intervened and prevented the “Kamikaze”.
Vegeta isn’t necessarily responsible for the sins of his ancestors. Each person’s actions are more or less on their head. No one can transfer their reactions to another.
But when Vegeta rises above the duality of right and wrong & grows stronger than Frieza and Beerus, that is when Beerus’ words will dawn on him.
Pride is not necessarily a bad thing. But, too much pride destroys a man. And that’s been repeated in the series time and again.
As soon as Granolah cheat-coded his way into becoming the strongest mortal, he thought training ain’t necessary. So he basically chilled out in his ship for 18 days until Goku and Vegeta arrived. Excessive pride twists you into doing dumb things like this.
However, Vegeta’s pride is different. Specifically in the arc. He wanted to know whether the Saiyans are destined to die so the Ultra Ego form where he tried to revert to his former prideful self is using his weakness to his advantage.
Gas’ powers and abilities too went into his head. He lost his Ego in his primal instinctual form and regained it after awakening. But the bashful pride still exists and thrives, now that Elec regained his faith in his “little brother”.
7. Instinct Vs Ego
Vegeta didn’t like it when Granolah compared his new form to Goku’s Ultra Instinct. And he’s right; both imbibe different mindsets.
Toyotarou did a great job of showing Vegeta’s character development by explaining human psychology and Freudian philosophy through the character of Vegeta, which is one of the best things he did.
He beautifully summarizes the difference in one sentence: “it’s the difference between your body moving freely (Ultra Instinct) and moving your body freely (Ultra Ego)”
Gas likewise had an internal conflict between instinct and ego. While in his instinctive state, he tried to recognize his self-identity or Ego but failed until Elec reminded him of his promise and the Bardock PTSD.
8. Knowing Who You Are
Gas lost his sense of self in his berserk state and had to be reminded of Elec.
Granolah was out of commission for most of the flashback. That’s why he thought the memories he had in Chapter 68 were some sort of dream. But Monaito cleared it up and now, he’s able to comprehend what happened 40 years ago to his brethren.
Goku has no knowledge of the past Saiyans or how they behaved. He hit his head when he was little and lost all memories up to that point. So he doesn’t remember Bardock, Gine, or the emotional send-off from Planet Vegeta.
He only knew what others had told him, and on that basis, he concluded that they were all savage beasts. That’s why he even refused to accept his heritage when he heard about it from Vegeta and Raditz.
But Bardock’s story on how he was the only one who opposed Frieza will change things. “Not all Saiyans in the past were evil,” he’d remark. He’ll be even more appreciative of his Saiyan ancestry.
He and Vegeta will be proud of Bardock for not succumbing to fear. Under Frieza’s control, he was the only one who preserved his Saiyan pride and compassion for his comrades. So Goku will understand his place in his family and “comprehend who he is.” Son Goku, the son of Bardock.
Vegeta’s doing his own soul-searching to find out how to perfect UE. Is it to revert back to his old self in the Saiyan Saga or retain his compassionate heart? Who is the real him?
Vegeta felt guilty for the sins of his ancestors ever since the Moro arc. And it’s the first time he was open about it to someone. In his pursuit for power, King Vegeta slaughtered many and built his throne atop many bodies.
Even though Frieza tamed them, Vegeta believes that the Saiyans were destined to die. And all their and his suffering was well deserved.
Although not exactly confirmed, the arc implies that Gas is being manipulated into thinking Elec knows the best for everyone, including himself, hereby watering the seed of faith in his heart.
And Gas, like a child in need of attention, blindly agrees to whatever Elec says and proposes.
Does Elec have a bigger plan than just the wish he asked for Gas? The “urgent errand” he keeps mentioning seems to suggest. Could it be another wish? Whatever it is, Elec’s plan to take over Universe 7 doesn’t end here!
The Granolah arc is one of the most important storylines in Dragon Ball Super; it’s not often that a character (Granolah) is linked to so many people (the Heeters, the Sugarians, Goku, Vegeta, Bardock, Frieza, Monaito, Oatmeel, and so on).
Goku and Vegeta had nothing to do with the Cerealian massacre, but the fact that Granolah thought all Saiyans are the same is akin to Gabi’s mindset in Attack on Titan.
That didn’t change until Monaito narrated the truth about what happened 40 years ago. The psychological implications of this arc are too good to not relish it.
The addition of Ultra Ego to the narrative is one of the most fascinating things, causing many fans to heavily discuss the whole “UE vs UI” thing. Plus, Goku and Vegeta had some major developments in the arc, and I can’t wait to see where it leads them.
Elec’s method of conquering Universe 7 is rather unique and fresh, rather than the generic “I need more muscle”. Money and Intel are his keys to opening his treasure box of power and respect.
And judging by the many open plot points and the approaching climax, it’s safe to say that this arc will probably carry forward to the next.
People have mixed feelings about the Saga but I’m really excited to see how things unfold!
What do you think of the themes of the Granolah arc so far? Have I missed any theme which you think is really important? Are you enjoying it or do you find it boring? Let us know in the comments below!
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