When Zen-chan revealed his plan for the Tournament of Power I was ecstatic. Not only would we get the classic Budokai feel that Dragon Ball provided, but we’d also get a new “free-for-all” brawl version. It’s a great way to give the other Z-fighters some time to shine, but I was also left with a question. A question that I feel Dragon Ball Super has been very lazy with in regards to dealing with. A very simply question that kind of destroys the entire saga for me: How the Arlian hell do so many characters gain such ungoldy powers in a few fucking days?!
I am of course talking about the fight between Android 17 and Goku in episode 86 of Dragon Ball Super. And while I certainly loved the animation and the smooth fight scenes, my bullshit meter was flaring up faster than a rhino pumped full of spicy beans. I understand that Dende said that the black-haired Lapis had gotten stronger, but there absolutely no way in hell that I am going to believe that he got strong enough to the point that he could go toe to toe with a Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan. Especially when Goku has been busting his ass off training in the Otherworld, space, with Whis and various other places. Let’s not forget that he also fulfilled two ancient alien prophecies to get where he is today. Android 17 has spent his entire Dragon Ball life fighting against poachers and protecting animals. Am I supposed to believe that all of these animals are just as powerful as Cell? Has Lapis been armwrestling with gorillas and racing cheetas? It’s absolutely ridiculous and sadly this isn’t the first time that Dragon Ball Super has just dealt with making characters stronger in a very sloppy way. Other examples are Frieza, Future Trunks, Krillin and even Goku and Vegeta themselves.
Let’s start with Frieza, the most infamous example of a character who was pushed to a near-god level in the span of three months, all to get a Goku cloak. I’d say that he’s got some pretty questionable taste in decoration, but power-wise Toriyama at least tried to give an explanation that followed pre-established lore. Frieza is a mutant among his race. His family is unnaturally strong and has therefore ruled the galaxy with a iron fist. And in that time Frieza never had to train a day in his life. So it’s perfectly understandable that he’d gain considerable power if he trained. After all, Goku managed to go from a power level of 416 to Super Saiyan Blue by spending several decades training. So I can get that Frieza would get incredibly powerful and even spawn a new form, but three months seems way too short of a timeframe for this to happen. Especially since Final Form Frieza is evenly matched with God Base Form Goku. We don’t exactly know how much stronger Goku gets when he goes Super Saiyan while pumped full of God ki. So ironically the main part of the Revival of F movie, the Golden Form, isn’t as impressive as most people believe it is. The rise of power in his Final Form is what we should be amazed by.
The second example is Future Trunks. He’s the first example of how Toriyama and Toei Animations just went “fuck it” when they had to come up with an explanation. I get that Trunks has been training his entire life and that he would get equally powerful to Super Saiyan 3 Goku. The blue-haired young adult had a lot of incentive when he has to charm a laydee like Mai. But I will never buy the Super Saiyan Rage Form. The first question I’ll ask is this: if this form really existed and if it boosts your power to God ki level, why didn’t Gohan get it? His entire DBZ arc revolved around learning to control his latent powers that were unlocked when he was enraged. If ever there were a character that should have gotten that form, it’s Teen-Beating-The-Everliving-Shit-Out-of-Cell-Gohan. I would’ve found it more believable had Trunks just gotten Super Saiyan Blue because he saw Vegeta and Goku doing it and tried it himself. It’s not really believable either, but it’s at least somewhat feasible and we saw it before with Gotenks and Super Saiyan 3.
Now let’s move on to Krillin. You might be thinking: “how did he get stronger?” Well, he’s a bit of a strange phenomenon. Apparently he’s strong enough to keep up with Base Form Goku, but he’s also weak enough that bullets hurt him and he needs a scolding from his beautiful wife. Though this was during a time in the show where Toriyama tried to introduce this concept that your body goes rusty when you don’t train. And I can definitely see some logic in that, but like usual he went too fast with it. Krillin has arguably been fighting his entire life. Even when he stopped martial arts he became a police officer. As the beloved law enforcer that he surely is, he has similar to 17 been fighting humans. Keep in mind that humans don’t grow stronger after a fight; so it’s understandable that he gets weaker after years of not training and fighting against immensely weaker opponents.
But why did the same happen to Goku? I’m talking about episode 77: Goku goes to sell his radish (love the pun there, btw) and returns home. But oh noes! He is threatened by some robbers. So being the rational Saiyan that he is, he beats the shit out of them. But during the fight a gunshot harms his arm. It’s at that point that he decides he’s gotten rusty and needs more training.
What?! Goku got rusty?! The fucking dude has been training his entire life! How on earth can a bullet even phase him?! He has been training with the gods for several arcs now and has reached a power that makes a certain Templar Knight go batshit insane over. A few months of growing radishes makes his body grow rusty? Did he put Raditz extract (buy in your local Capsule Corps Inc!) in those things and then eat a billion of them? This isn’t some laser pistol from Frieza’s army that I can kind of see harming an unguarded Goku. This is a ballistic weapon, which travels in a speed Goku can produce in a tenth of a second. Even Raditz, who has been mocked at every point in the TFS version of DBZ, could easily dodge them. What’s Goku made up? Papier-Mâché?
And finally we get to the last point of DB Super that I’m just confused about. The God Super Saiyan form and how powerful Super Saiyan Blue is. So in Battle of the Gods Goku assumes the Base Form of this second ancient alien prophecy regarding the Saiyan race. Ignoring the lazy copy pasting; it was shown in that movie that this form is strong enough to push Beerus into using 70% of his power. Alright, but then how powerful is SSJ Blue? Because it was established by Toriyama in Daizenshuu that becoming a Super Saiyan multiplies your power by a factor of 50. It’s also established that Super Saiyan Blue is nothing more than going Super Saiyan while channeling God Ki. So wouldn’t that mean that Super Saiyan Blue Goku and Vegeta are more powerful than Beerus? Potentially even Whis and his father? And yet Beerus still acts under a position in which he can easily kick Goku’s ass, which he does many times for comedic effect. But if Toriyama followed his own lore for one second the Saiyan would beat the cat in a serious battle.
And at the end of the day that’s the problem here: Toriyama never really follows his own lore. Not only does he have a notoriously bad memory, to the point where he forgot about Launch, but he also has shown more than once that he’s willing to sacrifice… well, everything for the sake of flashy fights and “oooooh, soo cool” transformations. And he does the same with Dragon Ball Super. He wants to make everyone stronger and stronger to give Goku and Vegeta a proper foe, but he fails to provide even the simplest explanation as to how these characters who never leave Earth manage to become powerful enough to keep up with two Saiyans who spent half of their adult life training with angels and gods. And that’s just bad writing, regardless of how you slice it. And this, coupled with other flaws like Goku being an absolute moron, just make the show unwatchable for me.
And honestly, I’d say that Dragon Ball Super is just as bad as Dragon Ball GT at this point. Yeah, I just went there. Why? Because both shows have the same major flaw: they both bring incredibly interesting premises and plot points, but resolve them in such a boring and lore-breaking way that it just leaves you angry after you’ve watched it. There is only one thing that’s good out of this show so far and that’s the fact that’ll deal with your constipation. Because after watching all of the lore-breaking, out-of-the-ass-pulled and right down ridiculous plot points you just get so angry that shit will be flying all over the room. Just like the ridiculous shit that happens in Dragon Ball Super.
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Copyright: The images used in this article are screenshots taken from the episodes of the show. We are allowed to use them under section 107 of the US Copyright Act of 1976. Dragon Ball Super belongs to Toei Animation, Shueisha, Funimation and Akira Toriyama.