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A few weeks back, I looked into the weaknesses of Goku’s newest form. As part of the article, I ended up calculating the time it takes Goku to recover from using it—and thus came face to face with how odd time is in Dragon Ball Super.

The Critical Weaknesses of Goku’s Newest Form

In this arc of Dragon Ball Super, Goku and friends are participating in the Tournament of Power—a forty-eight minute battle royal where eight ten-person teams fight it out with the very existence of their respective universes on the line.

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Interestingly, the majority of episodes end with the narrator mentioning how many minutes are left in the tournament—making it easy to see exactly how much time has passed in the Dragon Ball Super universe each episode.

  • Episode 97: 47 minutes remain
  • Episode 98: (remaining time not mentioned)
  • Episode 99: 43 minutes remain
  • Episode 100: (remaining time not mentioned)
  • Episode 101: (remaining time not mentioned)
  • Episode 102: 39 minutes remain
  • Episode 103: 37 minutes remain
  • Episode 104: 35 minutes remain
  • Episode 105: 34 minutes remain
  • Episode 106: 32 minutes remain
  • Episode 107: 30 minutes remain
  • Episode 108: 29 minutes remain
  • Episode 109: (remaining time not mentioned)
  • Episode 110: 25 minutes remain
  • Episode 111: 24 minutes remain
  • Episode 112: 23 minutes remain
  • Episode 113: 22 minutes remain
  • Episode 114: 21 minutes remain
  • Episode 115: 19 minutes remain
  • Episode 116: 17 minutes remain
  • Episode 117: 15 minutes remain
  • Episode 118: 13 minutes remain

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Of course, while a ticking clock is one of the classic ways to build tension, it also highlights the issue of how time is perceived in Dragon Ball Super. Currently, we are 22 episodes into the arc. Each episode is approximately 21 minutes long without the opening and ending theme songs. And yet, the tournament itself is supposed to take a mere 48 minutes.

Let’s do some math to explore what’s going on.

As of the current episode, #118, we have seen 7 hours and 42 minutes of footage covering the 35 minutes of the tournament so far. Using the episode’s remaining times, we can puzzle out that the average amount of Dragon Ball time covered each episode is around 1 minute and 36 seconds—which makes sense as most episodes cover the events of only a minute or two.

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The fun thing is that this discrepancy isn’t really bad writing. Rather, it’s been built into the plot since back in Dragon Ball Z. In the Cell Games, for instance, normal people—like Mr. Satan and his camera crew—can’t even see the battle between Goku and Cell. They are just moving that fast.

That means that, since we (as normal humans) can see what’s going on, what we are watching is the fight in super slow motion. In fact, when you do the quick and dirty math, time passes at just over a 13:1 ratio. Basicly, we are seeing everything at 13 times slower than real time.

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This also helps explain why the characters appear to fly sometimes despite ki-based flight not working in the tournament arena: they stay up in the air 13 times longer than we’d expect—not to mention they can jump far higher than any real person to start with.

Of course, this begs the question: are the characters talking at 13 times normal speed or is time at a normal 1:1 ratio when talking? Or is it some kind of mix and we’re constantly watching a Zack Snyder-style speed up and slow down that we don’t even notice?

Image Source: 「ドラゴンボール超」公式 on Twitter

In the end, if things continue at the average rate, we have between 7 and 8 episodes left before the end of the tournament. Of course, it being the climax, it will likely take longer. However, as every episode so far has covered at least a minute of Dragon Ball Super time, it seems that, at maximum, we have 13 episodes left in the arc. I guess we’ll know for sure in about three months.

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

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