WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers from the Granolah arc of the Dragon Ball Super Manga. Read ahead at your own discretion!
Anime onlys’ be looking at this title and thinking “Whaaaaaa-? Is this some popular fanfic or somethin’?” You guys are missing a lot of heat, to be honest. But I do agree the Animated version will hype things up even more. So can’t wait for that!
(Haters may hate, but fleshing out and elaborating on existing lore is a lot more interesting, and that’s what authors do. Toyotarou is also a huge fan of Bardock, so it’s no surprise.).
Dragon Ball Super Chapter 83 finally revealed Bardock’s strategy in overpowering the muscle of the Heeter gang, Gas, 40 years ago. And boy, Bardock sure unleashed that gigachad vibes huh. The dude’s rockin’ the new glow.
But what exactly is this enigmatic force he triggered? Let’s start the discussion!
Did Bardock defeat Gas?
Bardock’s victory over Gas was already stated back in Chapter 78 by Monaito but the old Namekian had no idea how. He was unconscious during the main portion of the fight and in this chapter, we can see why.
In an attempt to save Bardock, Monaito stepped in to take the hit from Gas’ spear. The young Heeter proceeds to unleash his primal nature to the max and zoomed in to whack the two off their feet. It sent Monaito flying and crashing on a small hill, with rubble falling over.
Bardock wrongly assumed that the old Namekian is out for good, but it gave a nudge to the aftermath. The surprise counterattack annoyed Gas. And it worked well for chad Bardock by utilizing the psychological advantage.
Elec is Gas’ Jesus so his main motivation was to not disappoint the puppeteer. Even a slight drop in his odds to win will upset him, and that is exactly what happened.
By not succumbing to guilt or revenge, Bardock focused on one and one thing alone – to beat the hell outta his enemy. And that’s when he ascended.
The rise in Bardock’s power along with Gas’ mental breakdown is what led to his victory.
Now we finally address the question. What is Bardock’s new power? Some fans are under the impression that it could be Ultra Instinct. Or at least a version of it. And… I can sorta see why they come to that conclusion.
But no. It’s not the Angel’s specialty and here’s why.
Bardock did not unleash Ultra Instinct
Looks and pose-wise, it may seem similar to Ultra Instinct Sign – the form.
But the similarities stop in looks. The logic nor the feats don’t add up.
Vegeta pointed out to Pybara that Ultra Instinct emanates God Ki and that’s why the latter wasn’t able to sense Goku on Earth.
That is why Piccolo and Gohan couldn’t sense Goku’s Ki in his UI Sign form.
The quality of Ki changes when you’re removing unnecessary thoughts while keeping your emotions in check on a consistent basis. That level of skill requires a sturdy body and intense training under an expert.
And Bardock has neither. It’s pretty clear that Bardock wouldn’t emanate Divine energy out of thin air.
What’s more, Bardock did not show the clear symptoms of a person in the Ultra Instinct state (both physically and spiritually).
Roshi, while using UI’s principles, dodged Jiren’s incoming punches while Bardock blocked Gas’. UI folks seamlessly move out of the way by default, but the low-class warrior didn’t.
If Bardock didn’t activate Ultra Instinct? Then what the hell was that power up? Is it something new?
What was Bardock’s powerup?
Hate to be the bearer of bad news for those who were expecting some brand new form. But, it’s a power boost emancipated from sheer will and adrenaline rush.
Yeah, it may not be some mind-bending Earth-shattering tantalizing (I’ve run outta objectives but you get the drill) method to defeat a wildly strong opponent, but what matters here is Bardock’s mindset while going all out.
It’s kinda like Vegeta in Chapters 74 and 75. The dude was getting whooped left and right, yet he still had the psychological advantage. The Saiyan Prince grew stronger as he fought and reckoned he’d grow even further when he voluntarily received damage.
Recall episode 1 of Tonikaku Kawaii where Nasa-Kun, who had broken legs, was driven solely by adrenaline to run and catch up to Tsukasa-Chan. Vegeta gets this quite often and this time, the desire to enjoy battles and win pushed him to endure and keep going.
Only, Saiyans rapidly increase in strength as they fight against strong opponents, so the longer they fought, the more that gap would shrink, and it might even be possible for them to eventually turn the tables.
This is basically what happened to Bardock against Gas and for Vegeta, Goku and especially Broly and Gohan on many occasions. Broly is a clear-cut example of the idea of “a Saiyan growing stronger as you fight” but on steroids.
Of course, anyone can learn and get stronger by fighting stronger opponents, but Saiyans grow at a faster rate because they are a warrior race.
Another interesting idea (that I saw on a YouTube Comment) is that the tail acted as a limiter (for long-term growth). Once that is removed, Saiyans can break their limits and evolve in ways other than the Oozaru form.
The tail lets you gain tremendous strength instantly by transforming into a giant ape, but the risks are equally great–you’ll lose your strength if it’s squeezed. Once you’re as powerful as Vegeta and Goku, the tail just gets in the way. It is thought that the bodies of Saiyans, who are a fighting species, decided that their tails are unnecessary appendages.Akira Toriyama, interview published in Shonen Jump in Jan 2003
Dragon Ball Z Kakarrot (the video game) expanded on this idea as follows:
To capture its essence, the Saiyan body, once it figures out a way to grow stronger (either through other forms or fighting stronger opponents) at a faster rate than the Oozaru multiplier (10X), the tails are no longer needed.
Actually, Goku developed at a faster rate after Kami permanently severed his tail in OG Dragon Ball.
Power level at the beginning of everything – 10
Goku vs King Piccolo – 260
Battle against Raditz – 334/416
After a span of 6+ years, Goku’s power grew by around 41.6 times (even considering the Goku when Raditz showed up). But now look at the growth a year after that.
Against Nappa and Vegeta – over 8000
Against Ginyu – 90,000
Against Frieza – 3,000,000
The rise in power after a year or so has been staggering (by around 375 times).
The Saiyan body realized that the gain through Zenkai boost while fighting stronger opponents was at a faster rate than Oozaru. Hence, as Toriyama said, it only gets in the way beyond a certain level.
Vegeta’s tail could have grown as well if he didn’t power up so much in the Frieza Saga. From 18,000 to 250,000 within a matter of months, he went beyond the 10X multiplier on his own and the tail wasn’t required.
Cabba, in Dragon Ball Super, mentions that U6 Saiyans used to have tails. But Cabba, Kale and Caulifla grew so much stronger and faster than their ancestors that they didn’t have tails beyond a level.
Plus, tails are also a recessive genetic characteristic. As a result, the more generations that pass, the less likely it is that tails will grow.
Bardock did find another way to ascend but it wasn’t as strong as the Oozaru form. That’s why the tail regrew and used the Oozaru form against a bunch of aliens at the beginning of Dragon Ball Minus.
The ascended state didn’t last long as well. After defeating Gas, the adrenaline rush subsided as he started feeling the pain and fell to the ground.
Adding the above two lines, I think we’ve found the reason why he didn’t use that state against Frieza.
It may not be some complex strategy but it gave what our heroes needed.
The main point of the flashback was to see how Bardock’s thought process would help Goku and Vegeta find their unique version of Ultra Instinct and Ultra Ego respectively.
Bardock set aside feelings of remorse (for the Sins he committed), rage, and vengeance (for the deaths of Muezli and Monaito (apparent)) and focused solely on his instinct, i.e., to fight and win. I’ll go into more detail about this in a later piece.
So Bardock defeated Gas by ascending through sheer willpower and drive to win and protect the others (including himself), along with breaking Gas’ hope of carrying out Elec’s order and losing his respect. How do you feel about Bardock’s powerup? Do you agree with our reasoning? Or does the Ultra Instinct Bardock theory still holds? Let us know in the comments below!