WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers from the Granolah arc of the Dragon Ball Super Chapter Manga. Read ahead at your own discretion!
Goku has been at the forefront of Dragon Ball since its inception. To quote something my mind said a long time ago:
“There’s no Dragon Ball without Goku, just like there’s no Journey to the West without Sun Wukong” (Vegeta fans. Gomenasai)
Episode 110 of Dragon Ball Super literally wrecked the internet, crashing streaming services and making anxious fans wait for a solid hour or two.
Goku’s ascendance to Ultra Instinct left fans and Gods speechless. It continues to be a spectacle even today. And it inspired a gazillion amount of memes and fans to annoyingly say “can he beat Goku though?”
The silver-haired form is the most recognized transformation amongst the Gods (at least in the Manga).
Perfected Ultra Instinct or Migatte no Goku’i no Kansei in Japanese, is the true state of Ultra Instinct. The state of being the Angels are at 24/7 with little to no repercussions or recoil.
Since the Tournament of Power, Goku has used the Divine technique and its variations a number of times. Has he actually perfected it in the truest sense?
The recent Chapters of the Dragon Ball Super Manga say no and read on to find out how and why.
Goku’s evolutionary path to Ultra Instinct
In another article, I explained the Saiyan’s passageway to achieving Ultra Instinct and it involves the teachings of Korin, Popo, King Kai and Roshi, apart from the obvious masters like Whis and Merus. So do check it out!
The first time Goku activates Ultra Instinct is in the Tournament of Power against the powerhouse known as Jiren (which also gave rise to numerous memes). The way he accomplished it differs between the Anime and the Manga.
Goku’s spirit bomb, in the Anime, was the catalyst for him to rise up as a completely different person, tranquil in both mind and heart. In the Manga, it was the turtle hermit himself.
Of course, Jiren was holding back against the old-timer but, both Whis and Beerus commended him for his experience and knowledge.
Goku activated UI Omen three times in the Anime. In the Manga, though, it wasn’t until the competition’s final stage. After UI Omen, the silver-haired form quickly followed.
The Anime depicted Goku transforming into the silver-haired form long after he uses the Omen. Goku canceling out Jiren red Ki blast attack sent fans screaming and jumping on their seats. Man, that was some serious hype!
Just when was about to give the final blow to finish off Jiren, Goku’s body ruptures. Blood gushes from his back, followed by dark purple electric discharges. He screams in pain.
Whis says it takes a huge toll on the untrained body and mind, possibly even killing the user if used for long (similar to Kaio-ken).
And it’s not easy training the mind to get rid of unnecessary thoughts and calming the heart in the face of despair. It’s so difficult that not even the G.O.Ds can master it.
According to an article published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, if the mind is left unchecked, it is not uncommon for it to generate an endless stream of judgmental thoughts, emotions, or sensations.
As a monkey swings from one limb to the other, so does the mind.
A restless can be extraordinarily rich and self-relevant, characterized by spontaneous thoughts and feelings concerning the past and future desires, anxieties, and dreams.
These can include interpersonal feelings, unfulfilled objectives, unsolved issues, and intrusive memories.
As described in the Buddhist text Nikāyas, tranquillity and serenity of mind indicate an ability to maintain attention, be clear-headed in the face of stimuli while remaining emotionally balanced.
This state is thought to arise through a mix of attention, non-conceptual observation, and discernment, all of which can be learned through mental training. And it’s not the simple kind that every tom, dick and harry can do.
In Buddhism, Nirvana is the final stage of enlightenment where the person is in complete control of his thoughts and emotions. All unnecessary thoughts have been completely nullified, almost becoming stone-like.
After he leaves the body, he enters a state of eternal bliss, never to be born again.
However, to reach that state, one must train both the mind and body for decades. It may even take lifetimes. In fact, according to its teachings, the soul keeps reincarnating until it reaches that state of absolute stillness of the mind and heart.
So you can imagine the amount of time and effort it’d take to master such a state. And even to this day, Goku just managed to scratch the surface.
Here, Whis is talking about wielding the silver-haired form at will. And he talks about how Goku is at the bottom of the ladder amongst the Ultra Instinct users.
Did Goku Master Ultra Instinct yet?
As you’ve might have guessed, Goku hasn’t Mastered Ultra Instinct yet. He has a long long way to go.
Training with Merus helped him get a sense of where he is at the moment and what he has to do.
Merus explains that strong emotions like anger powered up Goku’s earlier forms like SSJ1,2 and 3. When it came to the God forms, things slowly started moving to the other end of the spectrum. As for Ultra Instinct, it calls for the maximum degree of serenity.
The Saiyans aren’t used to this frame of mind, of course. Indeed, their primordial urge is one of annihilation and self-aggrandizement. These are qualities Beerus points out to Vegeta in order to wield Ultra Ego. And Saiyans are quite suitable for such maneuver.
Goku is going in the opposite direction. Like Vegeta, he too needs to recreate himself from scratch. A mindset that is antithetical to Saiyan inclinations and what he’s been inculcating himself most of his life.
Such a change will require loads of time. It’s not like the other techniques or transformations he has at his disposal. Ultra Instinct is a completely different ball game.
Goku in the Frieza Saga gave in to his emotions and achieved the Super Saiyan transformation. In the Moro arc, he had to do the opposite. Merus’ disappearance presented him with the critical situation he needed to replicate that same feeling he had in the T.O.P.
Just when anger was about to consume his mind, he took a deep breath and calmed down. With all the training he received from the Angel-in-trainee, Goku transformed into the silver-haired Perfected Ultra Instinct form once again.
Merus said Ultra Instinct would be far more stable than before given Goku’s level of strength in the Moro arc. And indeed it was. He finally is able to activate it at will.
However, “far more stable than before” is quite different from full perfection. Like I mentioned before, wielding UI at will is just the starting point. During the “before” period, he could only use MUI for a minute or two.
How should Goku Master Ultra Instinct?
The problem is, Goku views Ultra Instinct as a transformation and not as a state of being. He’s consciously making effort in thought reduction and stilling the heart. This will, of course, consume stamina and cannot be maintained for long.
Any artificial adjustments will have repercussions. That’s why Goku has to naturally come to that stage wherein full tranquillity of both mind and heart becomes everyday life, just like he did with Super Saiyan in the Cell Saga.
While training him, Whis has raised an important question to Goku:
As you guessed, the answer is: The Angels are always in the UI state (except when they step on shit, but the shoes have a way to think for themselves).
In other words, if Goku wants to master UI (as good as the Angels), he needs to follow the path of the Angels – the heart and mind should ALWAYS remain calm and tranquil no matter what the situation is. He shouldn’t rely on the transformation.
And, of course, it’s not a walk in the park at all. In fact, even the Angels are at different levels of UI. Grand Priest > Whis > Merus.
And Goku is at the bottom of the ladder. It basically means he has that much room to grow.
Even with the ability to activate the silver-haired form at will, the latest arc shows his command over the move has issues – the longer he remains in the silver-haired form, the more he loses stamina and accuracy.
The above image perfectly captures Goku’s ultimate goal and fine-tuning it would free him of stamina drain, a problem he has been having for a long time.
Being free of unnecessary thoughts and emotions should be a natural thing for Goku in any form. However, he just began using Ultra Instinct in conjunction with Super Saiyan God and Blue so mastering that will require more training as well.
Will Goku ever Master Ultra Instinct?
In his recent interview, Toyotaro states the characters who are ahead of Goku at the moment. He names Beerus, Whis and the Grand Priest.
When Goku said he’s at the bottom of the ladder, it means Merus is still above him. Dunno why Toyotaro didn’t mention Merus.
I guess he mentions them as checkpoints for Goku to reach and cross over, in his quest to become stronger and stronger and face new challenges while pursuing this dream.
Being the strongest or reach perfection is not his goal. That would mean stopping. He says he always wants to aim higher, to go beyond perfection and even further than that. He’ll never stop.
But what I feel is, there’ll come a time where he’d hit a wall and will not be able to break it. His mortal body will always be a source of limitation for him that no matter what he does, he cannot surpass some beings in the Multiverse.
I think he will eventually surpass Beerus, Merus and Whis. Doubtful becoming stronger than the Grand Priest.
In the Anime, Whis says his father is amongst the top five of all beings in the Multiverse.
Whereas in the Manga, the Grand Priest, as far as Whis knows (note this carefully), is the mightiest of all beings.
The accuracy of this statement is limited to Whis’ knowledge (yes, he is imperfect too) so it could change in the future. However, considering the Anime, I reckon the other 4 would be Grand Zeno, his two attendants and Zalama.
Now that future Zeno currently resides in this timeline, the Grand Priest may no longer be in the top 5.
Anyway, Whis says even he doesn’t have the slightest chance to overpower his father. So Goku surpassing him will take a loooooong time or may never happen.
Furthermore, Ultra Instinct is a specialty of the Angels. A non-Angel, say a Mortal, may never be able to completely master it. The mortal body has its own limitations that Angels do not have. The entire biological structure would be different.
Therefore, Goku’s mortality will drag him down. Unless he decides to join the hierarchy of the Gods and become an Angel someday. But I don’t see that happening in the future. Read this article to find out why.
What do you think of Goku’s progress in Ultra Instinct so far? Will he master it sooner or later? Let me know in the comments below!