Image source: 東映アニメーション公式YouTubeチャンネル on YouTube

Right now, Dragon Ball Super is gearing up for its next big battle as Goku and Gohan go around, recruiting a team of ten to fight for the continued existence of their universe. But these episodes are also about proving one important point: In the battle to come, power isn’t nearly as important as strategy.

Goku is a straightforward person, chasing after that high that comes from fighting someone who can challenge him in power and fighting skill. He puts this want above nearly all else—causing him to get himself, his friends, and the world into various dangerous situations.

Why Goku Is Worse Than the Villains in Dragon Ball Super

After the end of the Future Trunks Arc of Dragon Ball Super, Goku became restless—jonesing so much for his next big fight that he actually hired an intergalactic hit man to kill him. Eventually, his need for stronger opponents led to the creation of the upcoming Tournament of Power. However, this is not a battle like any Goku is really used to.

Sure, Goku has been in a ton of tournaments, but it is the rules of the Tournament of Power that set it apart.

Image source: 東映アニメーション公式YouTubeチャンネル on YouTube

Rules of the Tournament of Power

  • Team battle royal (eight ten-member teams fighting all at once).
  • Elimination by ring out. The only way to eliminate an opponent is to knock them out of the circular area—even a passed out opponent is still in the fight until they are dumped off the side.
  • 48-minute time limit.
  • When the time limit is up, the team with the most surviving members wins. The losers—and their universes—are erased.
  • Flight works inside the circumference of the arena but is nullified outside—meaning if you’re knocked out of the arena you won’t be able to fly back in.
  • No using weapons or items
  • No killing opponents

Now, of course, Goku is an amazing fighter, but not one big on either teamwork or strategy. He is quick to give the planning responsibility to Gohan—presumably so Goku himself can continue fighting on like normal. But as the pair go around recruiting their team of ten to save our universe, Goku starts to learn that he will need to grow as a fighter if he wants to have a hope of winning this new kind of battle.

From the start, both Goku and Gohan can agree that experience is more important than power—hence the inclusion of Roshi and the exclusion of Goten and Trunks. The two boys would charge straight in, but Roshi would figure out the cheapest possible way to win—outthinking his opponents despite the power gap.

Image source: 東映アニメーション公式YouTubeチャンネル on YouTube

But it’s not until the Goku watches Krillin fight Gohan that he truly starts to understand how important quick thinking will be. There is no doubt that Gohan is the more powerful of the two. In a no-holds-barred fight to the death, Gohan would win easily. However, if a ring out is all that is needed, Krillin’s decades of fighting experience let him beat Gohan in a matter of minutes—simply blinding the younger man and kicking him into the water.

Goku, seeing this, is eager to try his luck against his best friend. Again, Krillin uses trickery to stand against his far more powerful opponent. The fight ends not with Krillin or Goku’s defeat but rather when Andriod 18 joins the fight on her husband’s side—pounding the point home that, in the Tournament of Power, there will rarely be true one-on-one fights like Goku is used to.

While Krillin’s battles teach Goku about the strategy and teamwork aspects of the upcoming tournament, his meeting with Android 17 lets him practice fighting while regulating his powers. In the tournament, there will be some as powerful as Goku—allowing him to go all out—but many will be far below him. If he goes full power on them, he could easily break the no killing rule by accident.

Image source: 東映アニメーション公式YouTubeチャンネル on YouTube

In his fight against Android 17, Goku can power up, but has to check himself so as to not damage the island and wildlife thereupon. Later, when the alien poachers abduct the animals en masse, Goku has to be careful to not kill the aliens, the captured animals, or break the walls of the ship they’re all on—exposing everyone and everything to the deadly vacuum of space.

All this serves as Goku’s true training for the Tournament of Power. Each time he meets a new member of his team, he becomes a bit more prepared for the battle to come. And slowly but surely, he is learning that raw power is only one small part of what will be needed to save our universe from destruction.

Dragon Ball Super is streaming on Daisuki and Crunchyroll with English subtitles and airing on Cartoon Network’s Toonami with an English dub.

Comments (2)
  1. Meh.

    We all know in the end it’s going to amount to powerlevels anyways, an asspull transformation or something

  2. The title should be: “How everyone is creating excuses to cover all the Dragon Ball Super inconsistencies?”

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