The latest issue of the Dragon Ball Super manga brought about the long-awaited main event bout between Goku and Jiren, as the final minutes of the Tournament of Power played out. The fight saw Goku's Ultra Instinct power set against Jiren's unprecedented power increase in pursuit of strength. Needless to say, the fight was one of the biggest that we've seen in the Dragon Ball Super manga (or any Dragon Ball manga, really).
Well, Dragon Ball fans have long memories and very keen eyes - so it didn't take them long to spot a very cool little visual Easter egg that connects Goku and Jiren's fight to a major pivotal battle in the original Dragon Ball manga:
As you can see, the side-by-side images pretty much confirm that Toyotaro's manga version of Ultra Instinct Goku vs. Jiren contained a nice visual ode to Akira Toriyama's original milestone battle between Goku and Piccolo Jr. (who we now know as series fan-fav Piccolo), near the end of the original Dragon Ball manga / anime series (Chapter #191 / Episode #147). This was a fight that Dragon Ball had been building up to since its early days with King Piccolo - and Toyotaro's reference may not be without significant purpose.
If you know your Dragon Ball lore well enough, you know that this moment between Goku and Piccolo Jr. was a pivotal turn in their fight. Goku lays Piccolo Jr. with that punch, then launches himself into the air for a major Kamehameha blast, which leaves Piccolo down for the count. For a second, Goku thinks he's locked a victory in he World Martial Arts Tournament - until Piccolo surprises Goku with a mouth blast that leaves the Saiyan warrior severly injured. It takes some intervention from Goku's friends, and some hard resolve, before Piccolo Jr. is defeated for good, in one of Goku's ugliest wins (with a torpedo headbutt).
The parallels that Toyotaro is drawing are clear, given what we know about the Dragon Ball Super anime series. In this moment of battle with Jiren, Goku thinks he's achieved victory with his new Ultra Instinct power; he even follows the punch with similar strategy of taking to the air and hitting Jiren with a massive Kamehameha blast that seemingly ends the fight for good. However, Goku once again overestimates his victory, and ends up getting beaten down hard, after Ultra Instinct suddenly runs out of power, leaving Goku spent and vulnerable - and once again reliant on his friends for help.
Did you notice the connections between Goku vs. Jiren and the classic Goku vs. Piccolo Jr. fight? Let us know in the comments!
Dragon Ball Super: Broly will hit Japanese theaters in December, and is expected to arrive in the U.S. on January 16, 2019. Dragon Ball Super is currently airing its English dub on Adult Swim during the Toonami programming block Saturday evenings at 9:30 p.m. ET. It is also available to stream on Funimation and Amazon Video. The Japanese language release of the series is complete and available to stream on Funimation, VRV and Crunchyroll.