WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers from the Granolah arc of the Dragon Ball Super Manga. Read ahead at your own discretion!
Bardock’s victory over Gas in Chapter 83 of Dragon Ball Super may not involve some mind-bending strategy some fans hoped for, but it did indeed serve its purpose. Goku and Vegeta hoped to gain some light on how to further improve their respective Divine techniques and boy, there sure was plenty for them to process and break down.
The strongest low-class warrior advanced to another level besides the Oozaru transformation via sheer will and an adrenaline rush, but his responses to Gas’ questions are the main focus of this article.
A simple “no” is a single syllable word that conveys Bardock’s mindset that the Saiyan duo should take home to overcome their struggle.
Before getting into Bardock’s role in their next phase of training, let’s take a look at what Goku and Vegeta weak at.
The perplexities of Goku and Vegeta’s Self-Control and Self-Realization, respectively.
Goku is a guy known for the art of mimicry. With a couple of glances, he’s able to copy the hardest of techniques like Roshi’s Kamehameha (who took 50 years to master), the Multi-Form, the after-image technique, Solar-Flare, cloning (creating seven illusionary clones as a distraction while training with Whis.) and the Hakai.
But now, he’s at a place where mere imitation would get him nowhere.
At the beginning of the Granolah arc, Goku transforms into the silver-haired form to resume his training with Whis. The prodigal Saiyan again imitates his master by making clones to attack Whis’ blind spots.
But the Angel is far too familiar with his own strategy. So he quickly dissipates the clones and knocks the Ultra Instinct outta Goku by whacking him to the ground.
This is where Whis first mentions the need for Goku to find and bring about his own version of Ultra Instinct.
This is one of the main reasons why he hasn’t mastered the technique yet. As Whis points out, the Angels are a fundamentally different living form, and Goku’s Ultra Instinct may not be able to compete with them. But he can come really close though.
Whis did set a goal for him, i.e., to use Ultra Instinct no matter what form he’s in 24/7. But the first step is to remain in the Ultra Instinct state in base form at least in battle.
But the problem of emotional self-control still persists. And it’s not an easy one to overcome.
He had the issue ever since the Tournament of Power (actually speaking, the idea of reducing thought generation and stilling the heart is a thing in Dragon Ball since Goku’s early days). It continues to remain one of the main reasons why the accuracy of Ultra Instinct drops.
With the help of Instant Transmission and Oatmeel, Goku and Vegeta and the others managed to escape from the Heeters’ clutches (for 20 minutes).
That’s when Whis reminded him once again to seek a unique version of Ultra Instinct by looking deep within to find out what makes him HIM.
It’s a continuation of Roshi’s same instruction to Goku in the T.O.P.
Self-realization is fundamental to realizing your original identity and finding true happiness.
Goku accepted his Saiyan origins in the Frieza Saga but hasn’t found a place within the Saiyan race, specifically within his family. And because it’s tied to Ultra Instinct, he’ll surely want to view Bardock’s scouter recording and hear how he dealt with Gas.
Since his father did face similar scenarios in the past, Goku wouldn’t feel alienated about his nature. Thus, he’d want to understand his place in his family and comprehend who he is. I’ve talked about this in extensive detail in another article so check that out!
Now let’s analyze Vegeta’s psychological walls.
Guilty about the past and the Saiyans’ supposed fate
Being back on Namek, meeting Moori and the other Namekians once again in the Moro arc put the proud Saiyan prince in a precarious frame of mind.
He feels a tad bit culpable for murdering the green noblemen in the past (okay, not just a tad bit). His lust for blood and pride (courtesy of his father) became his own undoing when he perished at the hands of the person he and his father had served like a dog for years.
His fate changed when he worked with Goku on Namek, along with saving his son twice (against Guldo and Frieza). Kami and King Kai decided to resurrect those who had been slaughtered by Frieza and his men (it turns out that Vegeta wasn’t working for Frieza at the time), and lo and behold, Vegeta emerged from his grave.
With the desire to overtake Kakarrot once and for all, he unknowingly began to imbibe some of his rival’s pure nature and softness. It wasn’t until the Buu Saga that we see a big change in his character.
For the first time, Vegeta fought for someone other than himself (extending his pride, to be precise) and tried to redeem his actions by wishing the Earth back and playing a crucial role in the annihilation of Kid Buu.
Porunga considered him to be a good Saiyan, rather than an evil one. That is why the wish restored his life.
In the Moro arc, Vegeta wanted to make sure that NOT A SINGLE Namekian dies under his watch. You can say it was his way of paying back to the Namekians or an attempt to wash away his sins.
In fact, he even told Goku to make “Mission: Protecting all Namekians” his top priority. And he did make that come true by liberating the energy from Moro’s body back to its owners, thereby reviving some of the barely alive Namekians.
But the guilt of his past actions carried forward to the Granolah arc. Both the Prince and Beerus debated on whether the Saiyans were destined to die or not.
Vegeta argued that his father built his kingdom atop a pile of bodies so he feels his race was destined to die, including himself. Goku believes the same but not all Saiyans.
He felt all past Saiyans who were tyrannous do deserve their fate but those who changed (like Vegeta) don’t. Vegeta’s association with Goku cleared his bad Karma to a great extent and feels ever more remorse for his past sins.
Beerus, on the other hand, feels disgusted with Vegeta’s mindset. He, in turn, argues that the Saiyans of the past have nothing to do with him now. And he’s right.
Vegeta helped save the Universe many a time. Plus, he’s gained the approval from a God of Destruction that he could be a candidate for a Destroyer God of another Universe.
When you’re part of the God hierarchy, especially amongst the higher-ups like Supreme Kai, God of Destruction and Angels, your Karma balance amount is countable, if not single digits.
Of course, it depends on how closely you’re following Zeno’s instructions to maintain the balance of the Universe and raise overall Mortal levels.
Anyways, the crux of Beerus’ stand is nicely represented by the Soothsayer’s words to Po in Kung Fu Panda:
Recreating yourself from scratch is Beerus’ key instruction to Vegeta. And he tried to execute to the best of his ability but ended up failing.
He couldn’t revert to his earlier state of ruthlessness and physically lost to Granolah (but won in the battle of minds). Granolah was about to kill both himself and Vegeta and that’s when Vegeta prepared to accept his fate.
I’ve explained Vegeta’s development in this battle against Granolah in another piece. So do check it out!
Goku realized what Granolah and Vegeta were about to do and quickly shouldered the Cerealian, knocking him off his feet.
As of Chapter 83, Vegeta still feels guilty for his past sins and believes Saiyans like him are meant to die.
However, that’ll soon change as Bardock’s words in the flashback fight against Gas will initiate a spark in Vegeta’s future development and find his unique version of Ultra Ego.
Now that I’ve explained each of the Saiyans’ current state of mind. Let’s see how Bardock’s words can resolve their inner conflict, starting with Goku.
What can Goku and Vegeta learn from Bardock?
Bardock, unlike Goku, was able to maintain control despite failing to protect Monaito while remaining determined to defeat Gas. Let’s take a closer look at the situation.
Gas lets loose his primordial instincts and whacks Monaito and Bardock out of the way. The strike sent Monaito flying towards a small hill, with rubble falling over.
From Bardock’s POV, Monaito’s dead, Muezli’s dead and Granolah might die if he doesn’t do something. Prior to this, he told Monaito to pick up Granolah and run away as far as he can. He wanted to protect them but failed.
He should have been enraged at himself and his opponent for their demise. But no.
When Krillin died on Namek, Goku gave in to his boiling rage and triggered the Super Saiyan transformation. But what Goku seeks right now is the opposite – control of rising emotions. And Bardock did just that.
Feeling overwhelmed by Bardock’s sudden rise in power and confidence, Gas feels annoyed that he couldn’t carry out Elec’s order quickly.
In frustration, he asked 2 important questions to the Saiyan which will be a strong reference point for Goku and Vegeta.
One of them is “Do you feel vengeful over me for killing the Namekian and the Cerealian woman? Do you see yourself drowned in anger?” And Bardock calmly answers “Wrong”.
This is such a simple but strong answer for Goku.
When he saw Granolah’s body tumble into the water, he let his rage get the best of him. Monaito entrusted him with the task of saving Granolah, but he fell short. The utter failure of his innate instinct to protect troubled him, and he was unable to focus on the matter at hand. Take note of the stark contrast between the two characters’ reactions.
Bardock managed to put his emotions aside and focus on one singular goal – victory.
In a life or death situation, the survival instinct kicks in and tells you to either run or win against the threat no matter what.
Bardock refused to run away cause’ it was against his Saiyan nature. So the only other option is to fight, fight and fight until victory is achieved.
The Dragon Ball Super Broly Light Novel states that:
“Having a family seems to have changed something in Bardock. But the real essence of the Saiyans to fight and live for the sake of fighting hasn’t changed inside him.”
Like Goku, he loves to duke it out in order to test himself and grow. Defeating an opponent is his real pleasure in life.
So why does he fight? To claim victory. And what is his idea of victory? To enjoy a battle he believes he can win along with protecting himself and his circle of people. That’s why Gas saw the fire in his eyes but not in Goku’s.
Goku felt way too attached to things happening around him, resulting in too many distractions.
A lot of thoughts kept generating in Goku’s mind.
- “I can’t believe I let Granolah die. I let Monaito down because I’m too weak” resulted in guilt.
- “How do I defeat this guy? The wish made him the strongest in the Universe! Maybe he has no weakness?” – Doubt.
- “How do I keep Monaito and Vegeta safe? Is there any possibility we can get out of this alive?” – Anxiety and concern.
Of course, Bardock would have had similar thoughts in the back of his mind but he didn’t let their emotional weight dictate his movements. In other words, he felt detached from emotions that conflicted with his instincts to fight and claim victory.
And no, Bardock didn’t activate Ultra Instinct or any of its principles. He ascended from base in a different way through sheer adrenaline rush and willpower by following his instinct to fight, love for battle and survive to the max.
So Goku needs to learn how to let go of conflicting emotions through more mental training and Ki control and let his natural instincts do what needs to be done. Detachment from things that cause jarring shock to your emotions.
And what are Goku’s natural instincts? (Apart from eating and biting his opponent, of course) Who is Son Goku? Toriyama elegantly explains in a conversation with Masako Nozawa as follows:
What is Son Goku to Toriyama-sensei?
Toriyama: At any rate, I wanted him to have the sense of being that rare guy who seeks only “to become stronger than before”, so much so that it feels like “there’s no one as pure as this person”. And while he does end up saving everyone as a result of that, he himself at least has a very pure sincerity about “wanting to become stronger”. What I wanted to depict the most was the sense that he might not be a good guy at all, although he does do good things as a result.
But didn’t Vegeta say in the Buu Saga that Goku doesn’t fight to win?
Vegeta’s idea of victory is exactly how he described it above (involves killing enemies and feeling prideful). However, Goku’s victory is different.
Have I improved in the art of martial arts? Did my battle protect the people I care about? Did I successfully change the enemy’s mindset from evil to good? If one of these is achieved, then Goku considers it a victory.
Of course, the first priority is self-improvement. The rest naturally follows. (If he’s unable to change the other, then he has no choice but to go for the kill – for example, Moro).
By firmly focusing on that one instinct alone, he’d automatically reject other thoughts and emotions that conflict with it (at least during a battle).
When Android 17 vanished in the T.O.P, Goku felt the incoming emotions of distraught, guilt and irritation. But he was determined to set those aside for him to push his limits, grow and for his Universe to survive. He needs to do the same but on a much larger and longer scale. And that’ll surely take time.
Loving to fight and self-protection is something the Saiyans have a knack for. Goku didn’t know whether it was something new or even past Saiyans had those urges. So now Goku wouldn’t feel alienated.
Plus, he’ll feel very appreciative of Bardock’s instinctive heroic acts of saving Granolah and Monaito and can relate to him. Now that he knows his real parents sent him to Earth in order to save him, he won’t feel like they’ve abandoned him or anything.
Tl;dr: Using Bardock’s strong resolve and focus as an example, Goku must learn how to separate emotion from thoughts and focus only on his pure instincts wherein it becomes natural to stay detached like the Angels.
The identity Goku seeks isn’t just about his Saiyan origins, instincts or Earthly bring-up.
Is he the grandson of Grandpa Gohan? The son of Bardock? A Saiyan? An Earthling? A husband? A father/grandfather? A student of the Turtle hermit school and Whis? The first time he activated Ultra Instinct, he yelled out “I’m Son Goku of the Turtle School!”
But this time, he’ll accept all of his identities and use them to sharpen Ultra Instinct. But, his primary identities, apart from being a spirit soul, are his urge to fight, protect and change those around him.
I’ve elaborated on why Goku hasn’t found out who he is in the Frieza Saga and why it’s important now in another post. So do check it out!
Vegeta’s Enlightenment by Bardock!
The following line from Bardock is enough to gain Vegeta’s appreciation for him. Heh.
But for real, Vegeta will have a lot of respect for Bardock for two reasons – He was the only Saiyan left with their pride intact & the only one who had the balls to confront Frieza face to face, man to man.
Particularly in this flashback, the Saiyan Prince would focus on the 1st question Gas asked Bardock.
“Is this atonement as you face death? Are you atoning for the sins of all Saiyans by protecting Granolah?” Bardock replies with a stern NO.
This one answer would speak volumes for Vegeta.
As stated before, Vegeta, having been influenced by Goku and his family, wants to repent for his sins. And he felt killing Moro would relieve some of the damage.
Just like Bardock, having a family seemed to have changed something in Vegeta. The softness of Bulma’s and Goku’s hearts converted almost all of his sinful activities into pious.
But he still believes all the sins of the Saiyans are somehow concentrated on him. Even Monaito had that attitude and Bardock thought it was crazy.
Even Goku thought Vegeta was crazy for succumbing to such foolishness. The fact that Goku was able to change Bardock and survive Planet Vegeta’s destruction shows that not all Saiyans are ruined.
Each person is responsible for his/her own Karma. What the past Saiyans did are not worth the concern. And Bardock understood that. So he moved forward to concentrate on the task at hand and claim victory.
As I explained elsewhere, he needs to set aside the duality of good and evil (similar to what Toppo did) and focus on his instincts.
A V-Jump article about Vegeta’s forms describes him as the “Prince of Destruction”, implying that he embodied the Saiyan’s nature to destroy.
Furthermore, it states that Ultra Ego’s Ki is of the same nature as a Destroyer God’s whose power is driven solely on instinct (Destruction/Hakai). The more Vegeta’s fighting spirit burns, the stronger his Ultra Ego form becomes.
Vegeta needs to tap into the fighting, destructive and prideful instincts of the Saiyans to polish Ultra Ego, just like how Beerus taps into his instincts to think about destruction and nothing else.
Bardock’s strong determination to set aside his past and focus on a single agenda (to defeat the enemy standing in front of him, making sure he “destroys” his future) will motivate Vegeta to not feel guilty anymore and master Ultra Ego.
Bardock has the pride of a Saiyan (like Vegeta) and the unconscious drive to save and protect his circle of people (like Goku). Bardock is the true chad among chads. The strongest amongst the low-class. Bardock, the true father of Goku. Wishing for his sons’ well-being will have a strong foothold in Goku’s heart, inspiring him to do the same.
Now only Goku and Vegeta, even Granolah and Gas can learn a thing or two from Bardock. He really is like a universal teacher, so to speak.
So what do you think of Bardock’s battle against Gas? Will Goku and Vegeta finally find their unique versions of their respective techniques soon? Let us know in the comments below!