The Dragon Ball series is no stranger to eleventh-hour power-ups. From the moment Goku first got so angry that it caused his hair to change color, transformations have been a defining part of the series lore. Ultra Instinct may be the newest of these forms, but it was instantly memorable due to its unique appearance, epic introduction, and an absolute banger of a theme to go with it.
We’re still learning new things about Ultra Instinct, but there are still things the casual fan might not know. For fans and newbies alike, let’s go over a few things that the average fan might not know about Ultra Instinct.
10 It Was First Used By Whis
Goku’s usage of the technique has certainly gotten the most screen-time thus far, but it had been used long before the Tournament of Power arc. Whis, the angelic servant/teacher of Beerus, was first shown using the technique during a training bout with Goku and Vegeta. Though not referred to by name, the Angel speaks of a state where a fighter can move without consciously willing themselves to.
It would be quite sometime before Ultra Instinct would make another appearance, but the groundwork had been laid for one of the most memorable moments in the show’s history.
9 Migatte No Goku’i
Many fans were introduced to the Goku’s newest power-up by its officially translated name, Ultra Instinct. But those who watched the sub instead of the dub might have noticed that the translation, of course, didn’t match up with the spoken words.
The Japanese name of the technique is Migatte No Goku’i. It can also be translated in several different ways, including Mastery of Self-Movement, Secret of Selfishness, and The Body Moves On Its Own As It Wants.
Japanese can be a tricky language to translate into English, as many phrases do not translate neatly from one to the other. Still, Ultra Instinct gets the basic point across.
8 Mushin & Flow States
Most of the techniques we see in Shonen anime don’t have any true real-life parallel. Ki and similar concepts exist in several religions and philosophies, but no reasonable person thinks such a thing will let them shoot energy blasts from their hands. However, Ultra Instinct does have a few things in common with martial arts techniques in reality.
A Flow State is often described as a mental state where a person is immersed in an activity, concentrating on it to the point that they lose all awareness of space and time. Examples can range from a guitarist playing a complex solo without ever looking at his sheet music, to becoming so absorbed in reading a book that you lose all track of time. In martial arts, the term Mushin describes such a state.
7 It Doesn’t Make The User Invincible
Ultra Instinct is the most powerful transformation seen in the series thus far. Achieving even an echo of the full form allowed Goku to instantly close the previously insurmountable gap in power between him and Jiren. Enabling its user to easily dodge and counter enemy attacks, it would be easy to say that the technique is perfect. However, this is not quite true.
When demonstrating the technique for the first time, Whis had the misfortune to step in a pile of excrement. Additionally, while sparing with Goku, he was unable to respond to the Saiyan biting him to escape a hold. This suggests that Ultra Instinct doesn’t make the user completely aware of all environmental hazards and threats, or at least ones that don’t pose a true danger to their being.
6 A Similar Technique Was Used In One Of The Movies
Long-time fans of Dragon Ball know that when the situation is looking dire, Goku will always fall back on the old’ Spirit Bomb to get him out of a jam. When he attempted this tried and true method against Jiren, the Universe 11 powerhouse sent it right back at him. Surviving this was what pushed him past his limits, and allowed him to attain Ultra Instinct.
Interestingly, something similar happens in the movie, Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13! At the climax of that film, Goku gathers up a Spirit Bomb, but instead of throwing it, absorbs it before dealing the final blow. The movie came out long before Super, so it seems likely it was an inspiration for the Ultra Instinct form.
5 Vegeta Might Not Be Able To Use It
Poor Vegeta. He may be the Prince of Saiyans, but he just can’t seem to catch up to Goku. Every power-up he gets, it seems like his rival beats him to the punch. For a time, it seemed he might have finally caught up, having achieved Super Saiyan God and Super Saiyan Blue; however, once Goku gets Ultra Instinct, Vegeta is left behind once again. What’s more, it seems like this is one upgrade he might not ever get.
Whis has previously chastised Vegeta for overthinking while he fights, limiting the speed of his reactions. During the Tournament of Power, he commented that it would be even harder for him to achieve Ultra Instinct than Goku.
4 Other Users
The Dragon Ball Super anime and manga versions are quite different from one another. For one thing, the manga is still running, while the anime has finished its run (for now). But that’s not all that’s different. Fights and characters that have not appeared in the show happen in the manga. One of these battles shows off another user of Ultra Instinct.
In the manga version, there is a brief exhibition match between the various universes’ Gods of Destruction. During this battle, the other Gods decide to focus on Beerus. For a brief time, he can completely evade and counter his fellow deities by using Ultra Instinct. However, since he has yet to master it, he is eventually caught off guard. The match is eventually called off before the participants can kill each other.
3 Similar Powers
Beerus isn’t the only character to have a brush with Ultra Instinct in the manga. During the Tournament of Power, Master Roshi gets to pad out his badass credentials by going toe-to-toe with Jiren for a time. While at first blush it would seem the turtle hermit is outmatched, he dodges his opponents attacks with an ability remarkably similar to Ultra Instinct.
But while similar, this technique is not Ultra Instinct, but an ability born from Roshi’s countless years of martial arts experience. Eventually, Jiren overpowers him, but the fact that the old master was able to hold his ground at all against such a powerful opponent is impressive.
2 The Roar
The fighters of Dragon Ball scream and shout and let it all out with an intensity that would make Will.I.Am proud. There is so much screaming in this show that when they cut it out the episode count was noticeably shorter! Naturally, Ultra Instinct also came with a fierce battle cry, though with an unusual twist.
When Goku screams while in Ultra Instinct, there is a strange, echoing roar along with it. This roar has yet to be explained, though it’s interesting to note that a similar dual-voice effect was present during the Japanese version of Goku’s first Super Saiyan transformation.
1 Appearances In Other Media
Dragon Ball is a massive franchise with all kinds of media, including books, movies, and of course, video games. So far the form has shown up in the games Dragon Ball Heroes, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, and Dragon Ball Dokkan Battle. It has also appeared in the Dragon Ball Heroes promotional web series.
To date, Goku has not been seen using Ultra Instinct in any of the movies. However, Whis used it in Dragon Ball Z Resurrection “F,” which was its first-ever appearance in the series. The Angel also used it against the titular character in Dragon Ball Super Broly.
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