WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers from the Granolah arc of the Dragon Ball Super Manga. Read ahead at your own discretion!
Dragon Ball Super enters the realm of spirituality and intricate philosophy once again as our hero stumbles upon Bardock’s scouter which could be the key to unleashing a new form or version of Goku Ultra Instinct.
Monaito had the device for 40 years. He knew that some sort of audio data was saved inside but he didn’t know how to get it running. The scouter is practically dead so no wonder.
Also, did Bardock leave it on purpose? In the hope of someone would discover the truth about the Heeters? I’ll leave it to you to think about it.
The mysterious technique/form used by Bardock in Bardock vs Gas is the key to Goku’s next step in fine-tuning Ultra Instinct.
In Chapter 82, Whis asked Goku about the fruits of his training. As expected, Goku still has A LOT of problems with controlling his emotions in stressful circumstances.
Whis advised him to engage in self-introspection in order to discover his own version of the Angel’s special move.
This scenario represents the culmination of Goku’s training with all of his mentors. Before Whis elaborates on it, Roshi, the “God of Martial Arts,” advises Goku to investigate his nature.
The following scene immediately shows Goku listening to Bardock’s voice for the first time and remembering the send-off from Planet Vegeta. Monaito says this recording might reveal Gas’ weakness and Bardock’s true nature.
In other words, how Bardock beat Gas is linked to the next step for achieving new form of Goku Ultra Instinct.
So, what will Goku learn about himself while hearing about Bardock and his victory over Gas? What will change about Goku ultra instinct?
It’s not confirmed yet but just wanted to put out my thoughts on what it could be. So, get ready for a long trip down memory lane!
Journey Of Goku Ultra Instinct, his intrinsic nature and self-actualization
The scenario in Chapter 82 alludes to Goku discovering his actual essence in order to effectively utilize Ultra Instinct. He already knows that he’s a Saiyan from Earth but he has no clue about his place within the Saiyan race, specifically within his family.
He didn’t have a deeper connection with them until he heard Bardock’s voice. This is encapsulated by the jarring shock to his emotions illustrated in the Chapter.
So, what is the inherent nature of the Saiyans Goku discovered in Bardock and intends to employ to refine Ultra Instinct?
In short, it is the instinct to protect oneself and others, as well as the strong desire to fight and enjoy battle. It could also involve the need to further improve his Ki Control.
If you can stick around for a lengthy elaboration, let’s wind the clock way back to Age 737 when little Goku landed on Earth and was picked up by Grandpa Gohan.
I’ll explain what each moment means in the context of Goku’s relationship with Bardock, Ultra Instinct and current events.
Where it all began
Goku spent 3 years in the incubation chamber before being thrust into a pod bound for Earth. His only memory of Planet Vegeta is the faces of his parents praying for him to survive before being cast away, which he recalls in the Granolah arc.
Grandpa Gohan finds and initially struggles to tame him cause’ Goku’s a wild beast with little to no manners. Things were rusty until he hit his head a year later (Age 738) and lost all memories. Roshi sums it up well:
The nurturing Goku received is a direct contrast to most Saiyans.
Universe 7 Saiyans (including Bardock) are known to be savage beasts whose business is to wipe out civilizations and sell the barren worlds to the highest bidder.
As a warrior race, their natural inclination is to battle and used it to destroy others while protecting themselves or their inner circle.
Goku possessed these characteristics as well. But, thanks to Grandpa Gohan, Roshi, and the Earth in general, he was able to harness those tendencies and use them to protect the Earth and maintain peace, much like the benign Saiyans in Universe 6.
When it comes to Bardock, Toriyama describes him as warlike, but compared to other Saiyans, who are cold-hearted and of simple thoughts, he also happens to possess calm judgment and a small measure of humanity.
Because of his instinctual urge to “save his companions“, which is rare for a Saiyan, he is greatly adored amongst a portion of the low-class warriors.
He even had to save Gine multiple times. And Gine resembled Muezli so it was natural for Bardock to get angry when the Cerealian died.
The Dragon Ball Super Broly Light Novel describes Bardock’s true reason for his nature as follows:
“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.”
Gine tamed Bardock’s wild nature in the same way that Grandpa Gohan tamed Goku. She and Goku were the impetus for various decisions Bardock made that he didn’t expect to make, such as saving Muezli, Granolah, and Monaito. He put his own life in danger to save the Namekian and the Cerialian from Gas.
Similarly, Goku’s actions invariably saved his family and the Earth so many times. In fact, he did some saving a couple of times in this arc as well:
- Saved Vegeta and interfered in his fight by smacking Granolah
- Rescued Vegeta and Granolah from the latter’s attempt to take his own life along with the Saiyan Prince
- Helped Vegeta out of Gas’ ruthless punches by interfering once again.
- Saved Granolah and Monaito from Gas by teleporting both him and Gas to Jaco’s location
- Using Teleportation to not only lose Gas’ sense of direction but also save Monaito, Granolah and Vegeta again from Macki and Oil
Goku rushing towards Gas to save Vegeta mirrors Bardock fighting Gas to save Monaito and Granolah. This indicates that Bardock’s instincts of “fighting and saving” can be utilized to construct Goku’s own unique version of Ultra Instinct.
This, of course, does not imply that Bardock is a good person or had a major impact on Goku. Gine and Goku, on the other hand, had a greater influence on him.
Next, after Bulma gives him a bath (and having a crisis over whether or not boys have a tail attached to their ass), she inquires about Goku’s parents. He suspects they abandoned him, but he is unconcerned because Grandpa Gohan was there to take care of him. Totally a nonchalant reply.
(Fun fact: This scene is inspired by Toriyama’s One-shot ‘Dragon Boy’ where the Princess asks Tangtong the same question. He replies by saying “I’m a monster! So when I was little, they threw me out. From then on, Master Roshi has always taken care of me.)
See! He doesn’t care about knowing who his parents are at that time. So why is he suddenly caring about them now?
He doesn’t care like how some folks would think. He’s been bombarded with questions about his parents from Gas and Monaito so their involvement cannot be ignored.
Goku recognizes that Gohan was the one who raised him, so he doesn’t really know much about them. But now he needs to know in order to improve his Ultra Instinct.
Not only that, he’ll now know the truth about his so-called “abandonment”. They took to great lengths to protect him, just like how he risks his life to save thousands.
He never hated his parents for “abandoning him”. He’s the kind of guy who takes everything in a positive light. A truly liberated soul.
Knowing that his parents, especially his mom, were like him in a sense, will increase his appreciation for them.
When he was born, Goku’s fighting power was lower than average and it seemed that he had little prospects as a warrior in Bardock’s POV.
However, Goku led a pretty decent life through Gohan’s teachings. He had a knack for martial arts his adventure shaped him into the guy he is now: a sweet, lovable, goofy battle-hungry maniac.
His pure nature transformed those around him into better individuals – Bulma, Oolong, Yamcha, Tien, Piccolo, Vegeta, and so on.
First encounter with his Saiyan Heritage
Fast forwards to the Saiyan Saga when Goku confronted a full-blooded family member for the first time and he was majorly disappointed.
When Raditz dropped a bombshell of a revelation, Goku refused to accept any of it. The picture of the Saiyans drafted by his elder brother was too dark and violent for our young hero to relate to. Thus, he couldn’t accept his otherworldly origin.
Pretty ironic that his family reunion with Raditz got him killed whereas an indirect one with his father could save him and the others from Gas.
Now here is where the discussion gets interesting.
Accepting his Saiyan origins but not their genocidal culture
Planet Namek. Dec 24, Age 762. Vegeta cries out profusely on his death bed and begs Goku to kill Frieza for avenging the Saiyan race. “Frieza must die by a Saiyan’s hands” – He proclaimed and went silent.
Goku showed compassion for his former enemy by giving him a respectful burial (on an unknown planet sure, but something’s better than nothing). That’s when he stated this:
See? Goku accepted his Saiyan heritage. So why is he still wondering who he is if he knew already back on Namek?
It’s important to first understand the context before jumping to conclusions.
Vegeta was emphasizing the fact that the Saiyans were used by Frieza to do his bidding. He didn’t say about how the Saiyans were ruthless in their own way. But Goku knows even that already.
He states that he cannot be merciless or heartless like Vegeta and the other Saiyans. But what he needed from him is a share of his pride for strength and to feel the need to kill Frieza.
The fight wasn’t personal to him and treated it like a contest. It was a fight to the death but it wasn’t too serious. But that changed only when a personal grudge came into the picture – the death of his best friend Krillin.
That generated the necessary anger (and S-Cells) required to finally realize the legend and transform into a Super Saiyan. In his eyes, the fight isn’t about getting stronger anymore. His agenda changed to make the evildoer pay.
He didn’t embrace this feeling until Krillin died. His wrath overtook his senses (yelling at Gohan gave a hint) and he was ready to cause some serious damage.
Mind you that he merely acted as an instrument for Karma and not fighting for the pleasure of causing pain.
In fact, when he realized that he has surpassed full-powered Frieza, he didn’t see any point in continuing this senseless violence. According to him, Frieza’s pride was ripped to pieces cause’ he was defeated by a person from a race he manipulated.
Saiyans trembled in fear in Frieza’s presence and now a member of that very same race succeeded in shaking up the tyrant himself. So he was satisfied.
Regression, or something more profound?
Now let’s look at the famous monologue critics use to diss Dragon Ball Super Goku and his current crisis.
SEE! Whis asks the same question Frieza did! Goku had an answer that time but now he blinks? Character regression, plain and simple!
Now now. Settle down kids. Take a deep breath as I provide the complete picture.
The context behind Frieza’s and Whis’ questions is completely different.
Frieza was asking out of fear, knowing that his worst nightmare has come true but refusing to believe it. And Goku just merely confirmed that by answering on a surface level. What I mean by surface level is that Goku accepted his Saiyan origins because that would shatter his enemy’s ego but not their genocidal culture.
What Whis meant is a lot deeper. It was pertaining to Goku’s place within the Saiyan race with a personal connection rather than a superfluous one.
Plus, it’s not just his identity as a pure Saiyan warrior but others as well. He’s so much more than a fighter for his family and friends. What about those identities? Aren’t they important as well?
He has only heard about his race and the Super Saiyan legend from others so there wasn’t a strong connection so to speak, unlike Vegeta who spent a lot of time with his kind and doing Frieza’s bidding.
In fact, he rejected the Saiyans’ merciless way of doing business and believed that they sowed the seeds for their own demise.
This earlier notion of the past Saiyans will change in Goku. Old Saiyans did reap for their sins but he’ll realize that NOT ALL PAST Saiyans were 100% dirty as one such Saiyan (Bardock) faced Frieza (fate) head-on, just like him.
Also, Bardock saved Granolah, Monaito and Goku himself. Therefore, the son will be grateful to his father (only for those noble actions).
Similar to Bardock, Goku felt this pure side of the Saiyans in Broly. Director Nagamine stated that, in the original manga Goku may call himself a “Saiyan raised on Earth”, but he thinks that by meeting and battling the truly pure Saiyan Broly, Goku feels a renewed sense of Saiyan pride.
Nagamine also described Bardock as a pure Saiyan. So, Goku will imbibe and respect his pure Saiyan nature in a deeper sense after hearing Bardock and his tale.
Once he knows that story, he’d appreciate his family more and feel a renewed sense of Saiyan pride but on a personal level.
Of course, Bardock is still a savage murderer so he still died for his sins. But the piety of his son made people remember his name. This is reminiscent of the Vedic idea that the forefathers reap the benefits of their son’s pious activities.
Goku’s next step in fine-tuning Ultra Instinct
It’s pretty clear that the scouter recording holds a clue in Goku’s pathway in finding his own Ultra Instinct that would suit his nature. The next step is to mold the two in a way that doesn’t add any issues to the existing ones.
Back in the Moro arc, Merus explains how a Super Saiyan transformation or any typical Saiyan power-up is completely different from the Angel’s specialty.
“It will active when you achieve self-control in the face of a jarring shock to your emotions.” said Merus with a stern expression.
Now, some fans think this idea was brought up only in the Moro arc. That’s a NO and here’s why.
Android 17 in the Universal Survival arc “sacrificed” himself in order to take out Jiren but ultimately failed. That moment was a jarring shock to Goku’s emotions. But he controlled them in order to activate Ultra Instinct.
In the original Japanese, this line goes “I’m through being distracted (by emotions) and have to keep my eyes on the prize to keep growing” (courtesy of Ian from Kanzenshuu). Viz translated to a more generic “I shouldn’t let people down”. Now that changes things, at least context-wise.
He said that watching 17 turning into a good guy made the sacrifice even harder to take. But, unlike Krillin’s death at the hands of Frieza, rage won’t help him.
That’s why the line “The legendary warrior with a pure heart and awakened by rage” is no longer applicable at this juncture. (But that doesn’t mean he’ll have no emotions whatsoever. They’ll instead be transcendental)
He needs to tap into something in the Saiyan’s instincts that will garner opposing emotions that fueled SSJ and feed his mission of cognitive reduction.
Now, Goku mentioned that he cannot keep his emotions in check as well as Whis. Angels are always in the UI state and it’s very difficult for others (even the G.O.Ds) to be in so.
Why’s that? Because Angels are fundamentally built differently than Mortals. So as suspected in my earlier article, Goku’s mortal body will always be a limitation to fully mastering Ultra Instinct like the Angels.
So what is the next best alternative? Find a version of Ultra Instinct that suits Goku? Yes. What does that mean though? Who is Goku?
He’s a pure-hearted Saiyan from Earth. Gohan and Goten are noble Saiyans (half) as well. Universe 6 Saiyans aren’t evil as well. But what makes him HIM?
He’s a battle-hungry maniac. So he loves to fight (and bite). That’s obvious. What else? He loves to eat. Although it is one of the most important aspects of his life, it doesn’t have anything to do with Ultra Instinct. Unless he fights with an empty stomach.
What’s that feeling which triggered the Angel’s specialty in the T.O.P? What made him rush to Earth as soon as Merus and Whis left him on that weird planet in the Moro arc? Why is he dear to his friends and family? Yes, you guessed it! It’s the instinct to protect himself and others.
Merus and Goku talk about that feeling of reacting to an extreme crisis and the former plans to replicate that scenario.
Apart from the regular urges to eat, sleep and mate, Saiyans have 4 primary instincts – To fight, destroy, protect oneself & others, and pride.
All Saiyans in both Universes 6 & 7 have these underlying natures but the degree varies from person to person.
Most Saiyans have the talent for combat but, the Universe 7’s Saiyans used their nature for genocide and planet trafficking whereas Universe 6’s counterparts save people and maintain peace. And there are Saiyans like Leek and Tarble who have a knack for engineering and aren’t cut out to duke.
Goku, Vegeta and Bardock have all 4 of them but in different proportions.
Ego and destruction are amplified in Vegeta’s psyche and that’s what he uses to boost his Ultra Ego form, along with the instinct to fight. In Goku’s case, it’s the urge to fight the strongest without any reservations and protect people when they need it.
He had no hesitation when Monaito requested him to save Granolah. In other words, Little or 0 thoughts/doubts creep into Goku’s head when deciding to fight or save someone. His merciful & compassionate nature is not limited or biased and it all happens instinctively.
Bardock, too, decided to save Muezli & Granolah. Gine’s compassionate nature rubbed off on Bardock, and the Saiyan instinct of protecting his kind kicked in when he saw Gine in Muezli.
The instinct to retaliate rushed in as soon as Muezli fell and fought harder against Gas to save Monaito and Granolah. Of course, Bardock’s protection is very limited, compared to Goku’s but all these scenarios happened just like that, without contemplation.
If you take a look at Vegeta’s drive while in Ultra Ego, you can identify what Goku’s instincts should be in Ultra Instinct.
In a V-Jump article about Vegeta’s forms, it 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.
Keep in mind that Ultra Ego and Ultra Instinct are two sides on the same coin.
Now, if Vegeta needs to tap into the fighting, destructive and prideful instincts of the Saiyans to polish Ultra Ego, then Goku taps into their fighting and protective instincts to polish Ultra Instinct.
These two natures are deep into Goku’s subconscious that it doesn’t really involve much thought if he performs those activities without attachment.
Since his father did face similar scenarios in the past, Goku wouldn’t feel alienated about his nature. Thus, he will understand his place in his family and comprehend who he is.
Son Goku, the son of Bardock. Husband to Chichi and father to Gohan and Goten. Student of the Turtle School and Whis. The Angelic Saiyan warrior raised on Earth & friends to 100s across the Multiverse. A charming man who loves a challenge.
After all the lessons he learned from his divine masters along with the acceptance of his Saiyan origins, including Bardock’s trick to defeat Gas, it’s possible that Goku Goku will now be unleashing a newer form of Ultra Instinct which we have never seen before. Although Whis did say that Goku shouldn’t equate Ultra Instinct to a transformation.
In that sense, there’ll be more of an internal change than external. Nevertheless, if the form looks godly, I wouldn’t mind at all. But it’s too soon to bring about another form in this arc itself. The next one would be appropriate in my view.
To get a sense of where Goku would head out from here, I think it’s important to know the parallels between Dragon Ball and Kung Fu Panda cause’ there are so many of them. It involves both knowing who you are and mastering Ki Control. I’ll elaborate further in another article.
Wew, that was a long read, isn’t it? But hopefully, I explained everything in a sensible way. What do you think of Goku’s journey of self-discovery? Do you find it out of place or will it lead to further character growth? Let us know in the comments below!