Massive spoilers ahead for folks who aren’t caught up on Dragon Ball Super. Update: Skip on down for a follow-up on the most recent episode!
If you’ve been following along with Dragon Ball Super, you know that the show has been teasing a new transformation for protagonist Goku for a few weeks now. But if you’ve been following along with the Saiyan’s saga since Dragon Ball, you probably know that this new form is just the latest in a long line of insane power levels for the super-powerful fighter. There was the stunning reveal of the Saiyans’ beast form (a Great Ape), followed by Goku’s power-pumping Kaioken technique and, ultimately, his reveal as the legendary Super Saiyan. That transformation, in the original battle against Frieza, remains one of the most pivotal moments of the franchise.
Dragon Ball Super is attempting to recapture the nostalgia of this moment (and of previous installments in the Dragon Ball series overall) by revisiting some tried-and-true storytelling formulas. The show has already brought back the Z Fighters for the Tournament of Power, pitted Goku against foes he didn’t have a chance to face during Dragon Ball Z, and renewed the rivalry between Goku and Vegeta through vigorous training sessions and epic battles. Dragon Ball Super has also introduced new levels of Saiyan power like Super Saiyan God, Super Saiyan Rosé and Super Saiyan Blue; they’ve even introduced the first female Super Saiyans in series. But Goku has achieved an all new level of power that is hands down the best yet.
In this past weekend’s two-part episode “The Ultimate Enemy Approaches Goku! Now, Let Loose! The Killer Spirit Bomb!!” (109) and “This is the Ultimate Battle of All Universes! Son Goku vs Jiren!!” (110), Goku and the mysterious and imposing Jiren finally squared off. Heroes (and villains) from a number of universes have been competing in the Tournament of Power to determine not just who’s the best fighter among them, but to save their own universe from being erased. The Gods are playing a pretty dirty game here, threatening universe nullification, but it’s Goku’s dream come true since he gets to test his abilities against the best of the best. In fact, it’s long been Goku’s willingness and enthusiasm to challenge himself that’s given him the opportunity to grow so strong and take advantage of his unique Saiyan potential.
As Krillin and Master Roshi mention once Goku and Jiren begin to size each other up, master martial artists long to test themselves against competent opponents at the top of their games and at full power. While this is a good way to show just how strong Jiren is, it also serves as a little walk down memory lane for Dragon Ball fans. Goku goes through his successive power levels, paralleling his character’s journeys over the years while testing his strength against Jiren … who doesn’t even flinch. It takes Goku going Super Saiyan Blue with a Kaioken x20 (the most powerful we’ve ever seen him to date) to even get Jiren to engage in battle. And when these two fight … it’s a helluva thing. Goku gets his ass handed to him, a rare thing to see these days. He quickly resorts to his ultimate attack: The Spirit Bomb.