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With two all-powerful gods involved, we thought we’d get a good clean Tournament of Power in Dragon Ball Super. Turns out cheating isn’t just okay, it’s kind of encouraged.

After befriending Zen-oh, the god of all things, our hero Son Goku suggests a tournament of the strongest fighters of all 12 universes. Zen-oh obliges by holding a team battle royale, but with one major caveat: The losing teams and their universes will be erased from existence. And it’s not an empty threat—Zen-oh has followed through on that caveat by erasing two eliminated teams and their universes. Now Goku and his friends are fighting for everyone’s survival.

When we’re dealing with a tournament in an anime series like Dragon Ball Super, rules are established to make things fair for the competitors. At the same time, it makes it easy to digest for the viewers. The Tournament of Power is no different with an entire rulebook of what is and isn’t allowed. However, here are the rules we (and Goku) are told heading into the tournament. They are:

  • Team battle royale (eight ten-member teams fighting all at once).
  • Competitors are eliminated by ring-out. The only way to eliminate an opponent is to knock them out of the fighting ring—even a passed out opponent is still in the Tournament until they are pushed out of the ring.
  • There is a 48-minute time limit.
  • When the time limit is up, the team with the most surviving members wins. The losing teams and their universes are erased from existence.
  • Flight inside and outside of the fighting ring is nullified (so you literally are unable to fly).
  • No using weapons or items
  • No killing opponents

What’s important to know, though, is these rules are more or less guidelines as competitors have broken a few of them. While the reasoning is passed off as “because it’s cool,” in actuality it’s because Zen-oh finds it entertaining. Thus, rules be damned so long as our most important spectator is entertained.

So then, what rules have been broken, who broke them, and why is it allowed? Let’s take a look at the cheaters of Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power.

No Flight

Let’s start with a list of who has been flying despite the supposed “no flight” rule before getting into why this has been allowed.

From: Universe 10

Jium is a green humanoid bird. His arms double as his wings. This allows him to fly freely in and out of the fighting ring.

From: Universe 3

Kokitsukai is a robot fighter. He has two jets mounted on his back that allow him to fly.

From: Universe 10

Lilibeu is a pink humanoid butterfly. Her hair also doubles as wings. Like Jium, this allows her to fly freely.

From: Universe 3

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Narirama is a robot fighter. He has thrusters that allow him to levitate and fly about the ring.

From: Universe 3

Pancea is a robot fighter. He has a rocket propulsion system that allows him to fly.

From: Universe 9

Roselle is a combatant who looks like a demon. He has wings on his back that allow him to fly freely. During the Tournament Freeza is seen toying with Roselle, even damaging one of his wings.

From: Universe 4

Shantsa is a short blue fighter from Universe 4. The natural vents on his back allow him fly.

From: Universe 2

Vikal is a demonic looking female fighter. She has wings that protrude from her hips. This allows her to fly about the fighting ring.

From: Universe 11

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The strongest fighter of the Pride Troopers, Jiren has been seen flying during the Tournament—though you might not have noticed it. He breaks the rule when he’s in his meditative state by levitating.

Why is Flight Allowed

It’s clarified that the “no flight” idea stated in the rules applies to only to Ki-based flight. While this means every fighter can technically fly in their own universes by using their own Ki, characters like Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, and our other heroes can’t sustain their flight within the ring. However, combatants with natural flying abilities (such as wings) or don’t use Ki to fly (such as rockets) are deemed as staying within the bounds of the rule as they’re not using a technique, but rather are utilizing natural or built-in flight abilities.

And as for Jiren’s meditation flight? I don’t know… space magic?

No Items

Now on to the next rule. First lets look at who’s breaking the “no items” and then get into why it’s been deemed okay.

Caulifla & Kale
From: Universe 6

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Caulifla & Kale are the Saiyan ladies fighters. While they’re powerful fighters, they’ve struggled to defeat Goku. But, they use the power of the Potara earrings to fuse into Kefla. This is a clear violation of the rules because the earring are designed to give two fighters a distinct advantage by fusing them into one immensely powerful fighter. Granted, it’s possible Caulifla and Kale could have done the fusion dance. But, the earrings are far easier to use, are more powerful, and don’t come with the risk of messing up the dance.

From: Universe 3

Katopesla is fighter who wears a special uniform. His uniform’s belt allows him change between different modes, such as normal and Whirl Wind Speed mode, thus giving him vastly different powers depending on the mode he’s in. Although he’s skilled enough to make Universe 3s team, the uniform and belt provide an extra edge to his fighting skills. In other words, Katopesla is technology doping.

Master Roshi
From: Universe 7

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A martial arts master, Master Roshi taught Goku and Krillin there are always bigger fish to fry. He’s known for using many different secret techniques such as hypnosis or the Kamehamaha. However, in the Tournament of Power Master Roshi brought bottles so he could preform the Evil Containment Wave. The Wave requires some object for the target to be sealed in, be it a rice cooker or small bottle. But, as a skilled fighter all this really does is provide Master Roshi with one more battle tactic, not any sort of competitive edge.

However, by producing an item for the technique Master Roshi is in clear violation of the rules and is called out for explicitly cheating.

From: Universe 3

Narirama is a robot fighter. Narirama was designed and modified with the explicit purpose of winning the Tournament of Power. As such he has augmentations such as thrusters for flight, extendable arms, suction cups to keep him from falling out of the ring, an energy cannon, and other weaponry we never got a chance to see.

Why are These Items/Weapons Allowed

Items like Master Roshi’s bottles, the Potara earrings, Katopesla’s belt, and Narirama are a clear violation of the rules. It’s because they explicitly brought items or are designed to give them an edge in battle.

However, these clear violations of the rules are all allowed for one simple reason: It entertains Zen-oh. Remember, the Tournament of Power is partially the result of Zen-oh being bored. Thus, to keep him entertained, the No Items/Weapons rule is bent a little bit. For instance, the Containment Wave is something Zen-oh hasn’t seen before. So, he wants to see Master Roshi perform it to completion. If that means breaking the rules, then so be it. As for Califla and Kale’s use of the Potara earrings, Zen-oh is delighted to see Goku fight such a strong opponent. Hence, if you somehow become vastly stronger when you use an item (enough to rival Goku), the rules can be thrown out the window.

“No Items/Weapons” Rule Grey Area

There are also quite a few people that are possible breaking the no items rule, depending on what you consider and “item” or “equipment” to be.

Android 17 & 18
From: Universe 7

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Android 17 & 18 were created for the expressed purpose of killing Goku. While they have many similar abilities to the other fighters in the Tournament, such as flight and Ki blasts, because of their nature they don’t necessarily have Ki. Instead they have an unlimited power supply. This give them an edge in terms of stamina as they will never run out.

Auta Magetta
From: Universe 6

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Despite looking like a robot, Auta Magetta isn’t one. Despite this, he has a tough exterior and appears to be powered by magma or some other source of energy. But, since he’s not deemed as a robot or even an augmented person it’s difficult to say if he’s cheating or not.

From: Universe 3

Biarra is an augmented fighter. While he hasn’t used any weapons or items per se, the mere fact parts of his body are mechanical give him the appearance he’s using items.

From: Universe 3

Borareta is a robot fighter. As a robot most of his armaments can be considered weapons. For instance, his “hands” appear to be wreaking balls.

From: Universe 11

A member of the Pride Troopers, Kahseral has a cybernetic right ear and eye and wears a communication device on his left ear. Whether or not these cybernetic implants give him an edge in the Tournament is debatable as we haven’t seen exactly what they do. This puts him is a grey area in terms of the No Items/Weapons rule.

From: Universe 3

Kokitsukai is a robot fighter. As a robot, Kokitsukai’s armaments can all be considered weapons or items. For instance, his flight ability comes from the fact he has two jets mounted on his back.

From: Universe 3

Nigirisshi is the mastermind behind the augmented and robot fighters from Universe 3. It’s stated he, himself, is modified. However, what those modifications are are unknown. Though he does appear bio-michanical. Thus, as an augmented fighter the rules are a little fuzzy with him.

From: Universe 3

Pancea is the final robot fighter from Universe 3. As a robot he can be retrofitted with different armaments, making him one giant cheater himself.

Why do These Characters Fall into a Grey Area

What it all comes down to is the question of whether the robotic character we meet have been specifically equipped for the tournament or not—after all, just because a piece of equipment if fused to your body doesn’t make it any less of a piece of equipment. However, while we know Narirama was altered for the tournament, we don’t know if/how the other robotic fighters were.

But, what about character like Auta Magetta, Android 17 & 18, Kahseral, or the augmented fighters from Universe 3?

While Auta Magetta isn’t a robot or android, he certainly has the appearance of one. So, does that mean he can be equipped with armaments like a robot? 

Android 17 & 18, Kahseral, and the augmented fighters, though, are humans, but with cybernetic parts or biological augmentations. Thus, it becomes a guessing game as to what is and isn’t allowed with them. Take the Androids’ barrier. It’s not a Ki based ability, but something their energy source creates. It is one of their special moves, yet it was created through engineering not immense training. So, is it allowed or not? The same can be said with Kahseral and the augmented fighters from Universe 3. It could be they’re using their natural talents. Or their attacks and skills are a byproduct of their biological enhancements.

Because it’s difficult to determine the nature of a lot of these characters skill sets or equipment, Auta Magetta, Android 17 & 18, Kahseral, and the augmented fighters from Universe 3 fall into a grey zone with the No Items/Weapons rule.

No Killing

Finally, we come to the last big rule that has been broken and then explained away: the “no killing” rule. 

From: Universe 4

Ganos is a bird like humanoid fighter. During the Tournament he challenged Master Roshi to combat. While Ganos is able to overpower Master Roshi, he’s inevitably ring-outed. At the same time, though, Master Roshi dies. Master Roshi is brought back to life when Goku uses Ki-based defibrillator to revive him.

It’s highly debatable the exact circumstances that killed Master Roshi—whether it was Ganos’ attack or Roshi using all his power in one final burst. But, the fact remains he dies and nobody steps into to save him except Goku.

From: Universe 11

Image source: 「ドラゴンボール超」公式 on Twitter

Jiren is the strongest member the Pride Troopers. In his battle with Goku, Goku uses his Spirit Bomb to try and ring-out Jiren. However, Jiren reflects the attack back on Goku. This results in Goku’s “death.”

Why Killing is Allowed

Both deaths are actually a very odd cases. With Ganos there are a number of factors that played into Master Roshi’s death. These include the beating Master Roshi took and how Master Roshi uses the last of his power to ring-out Ganos. But, what clinches it as OK is Goku revives Master Roshi before any call can be made. So, while Master Roshi dies, no one really bothers to check except Goku—who clearly isn’t a referee.

Jiren’s case is a different can of worms. Techincally it wasn’ Jiren who “killed” Goku, but rather Goku’s own attack that did him in. Because of this it’s ruled Goku committed suicide and not Jiren killing him. Thus, the No Killing rule actually is “No killing opponents with your own attacks. Killing an opponent by reflecting his or her own attack will be deemed as suicide.” And as Richard said in his article Goku’s New Form Isn’t the Only Changer in Last Weeks Episode, “This is a true game changer.” It means so long as deflect or reflect an opponents attack, any fighter can kill as much as they want.

Goku’s New Form Isn’t the Only Game Changer in Last Week’s Episode

So in the end, there are lots of reasons all this rule breaking is allowed. In some cases, the rules we told were over simplistic. Other times, there is ambiguity in the language that allows for loopholes. But really, the most important thing to remember is… that the rules are largely irrelevant. If you can make the Zen-Oh think what you did was “cool,” then you can basically do whatever you want, however you want.

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

Comments (2)
  1. Are we ignoring the parts where fighters as strong as Goku Blue and Jiren can just float in the air while trading punches for long seconds? That stuff only makes sense if you assume they are using Ki to hold themselves in place in the air.

    • Honestly, I just assumed everything was happening so fast, gravity hadn’t had time to pull them down yet. I mean, this “48 minute” battle has lasted 18 episodes so far and there are still “19 minutes” left. This means each 22 minute episode only shows just over a minute-and-a half of the battle.

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