Image source: 「ドラゴンボール超」公式‏ on Twitter

…Though not for the reasons you’d expect.

With Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power now in full swing, Goku and the rest of his ten person team are battling for the very existence of their universe against teams from 7 other universes in a massive battle royal. With one team already fully eliminated, our heroes now know for sure that the stakes are real: the Gods of All have no problem erasing any universe that loses.

And it’s in the wake of this revelation that the first of our 10 heroes is knocked out of the ring—and it’s exactly the person you’d expect to lose early on.

[This article contains spoilers for up to episode 99 of Dragon Ball Super.]

Image source: 「ドラゴンボール超」公式‏ on Twitter

Krillin.

Of course it’s Krillin. Out of the team of Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Piccolo, Master Roshi, Tien, Android 17, Android 18, Frieza, and Krillin, who else would it be? However, what makes it interesting is how and why Krillin got knocked out. It’s not likely for the reasons you’d expect.

Krillin has long been more comic relief than key player in the major battles of the Dragon Ball franchise. The last time he was really fighting against people on his own level was during the Frieza Saga. Since that time, he’s been outclassed by pretty much every enemy the heroes have come across. That’s not to say he hasn’t been useful in key moments, helping Goku and Gohan to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat. However, he’s not the one fighting on par with the likes of Cell and Buu and those who follow.

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So it’s no surprise that by the time Super rolls around, Krillin has become a cop and retired from fighting. But in a world of normal humans (and animal people) Krillin is unstoppably strong. He has nothing to fear—and that’s the key to Krillin’s being: fear.

For nearly all of Dragon Ball Z he’s scared. Because of course he’s scared. He is literally the most powerful normal human to ever live and these random aliens, demons, and time traveling bio-androids can swat him like a fly. That deep fear is his real weakpoint. All too often he gives in to his terror and doesn’t act when he should, letting vital chances pass him by.

Or rather, he used to be that way.

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A good amount of time has been spent on Krillin leading up to the Tournament of Power. The need to look strong for his wife and young daughter—combined with some special training from Roshi—has taken the fear out of the man.

Since then we’ve seen him beat Gohan in a ring-out match and go toe-to-toe Super Sayian Goku—using his brain to out-think both of the far more powerful men.

Image source: 「ドラゴンボール超」公式‏ on Twitter

In the tournament proper, we see him put the same skills to use. Without fear to hold him back, Krillin is far stronger than the old him could have possibly imagined. He gets to be the hero to his wife for the first time in years, rescuing her from a ring-out before they dispatch the offending enemy together. Then, almost immediately they’re set upon by an enemy both more powerful and immune to Krillin’s secret attack. Yet, due to quick thinking, Krillin handily defeats his new opponent all by himself.

It’s here that we learn Krillin’s new weakness: not fear, but ego. Like Gohan, Krillin let’s down his guard when he is winning. Unlike Gohan, he hasn’t been working to overcome this new flaw. Feeling unstoppable in the moment, he boasts about his new prowess and, distracted by his own glory, is knocked out of the ring with a single hit by Frieza’s Universe 6 doppleganger, Frost.

So now with the team down a member and a long way to go before the end, all Krillin can do is look embarrassed and cheer his friends on.

Image source: 「ドラゴンボール超」公式‏ on Twitter

But while he is out of the contest, it is a fitting cap to his character growth in Super so far. He has overcome one major character flaw, been tested in battle, and done something the old him would have never been capable of. Sure, in the process, he has discovered a new flaw within himself, but he has also learned he can overcome his weaknesses with hard work and the right mindset. He’s made a huge first step to being the husband, father, and fighter he wants to be. And that’s a lesson that young and old alike can learn from.

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

Comments (1)
  1. You’re a week late with this info. We’ve already watched the episode after that

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