Dragon Ball Super left fans hanging with as many questions about Jiren as it answers. Chat threads have been filling with theories about everything from the lingering mysteries of Jiren's origin to what role the enigmatic powerhouse will play in the future of the Dragon Ball series. Well, thanks to the director of Dragon Ball Super's finale episode, we are getting at least one answer about the key to Jiren's power!
When Dragon Ball Super episode 131 director Megumi Ishitani was asked about Jiren's character arc in the final episodes of the "Universal Survival Arc," she had a lengthy breakdown of Jiren's entire psychology throughout the Tournament of Power, leading up to his final battle with Goku, and final stand against the combined trio of Goku, Freeza, and Android 17. What a lot of fans will be interested to hear is the arc of Jiren's power-ups and power losses, as related to his connection with Goku.
Jiren's biggest critics tend to cite his stoic personality as a flaw, making him a banal character, who's really just a power-up springboard for Goku and Vegeta. However, as Ishitani breaks it down (via Reddit), Jiren's more raw, emotional state in the final episodes speaks volumes about his character:
"First, Jiren was influenced by his past to have faith that 'solitude is strength.' His own strength had proved the validity of this faith. However in episode 130 that validity was shattered.
Jiren lost to Goku, someone who had grown strong through his numerous allies. This caused Jiren to lose his faith that 'solitude is strength'... As a result, the battle at the start of episode 131 was extraordinarily tough for Jiren. he had lost the faith that had been his source of power, and had to battle opponents he didn't want to fight. Jiren considered Freeza and 17 to be worthless opponents. Goku was the only opponent he recognized as worthy.
When he lost to Freeza and co., Jiren didn't lose physically. Because he had already emotionally lost to Goku, he was unable to draw out his full power. Then 'Toppo's trust' replaces the faith that had supported Jiren, and so manages to lift him back up on his feet.
When Goku stood before Jiren again, Jiren was able to forget the various thoughts that had been restraining him. Jiren swelled with happiness due to his respect for Goku (who revived from his beat-up state) and for getting a second chance to finish their fight."
She also explained that, "During the Universe Survival arc, Jiren considered fighting with his full power to be the greatest way of honoring his opponent."
This little character breakdown seems to change things in the minds of a lot of fans — but not necessarily for Jiren's benefit. It certainly makes the Pride Trooper champion of Universe 11 a lot less of a "blank slate" personality-wise, but the personality it endows him with is that of a jerk!
During the Tournament of Power arc, Jiren certainly seemed unconcerned with the majority of his opponents, but that attitude was largely deemed "enigmatic" - to the point that fan theories popped up left and right, connecting Jiren's unprecedented power to some form of serene, meditative state he needed to maintain. It was only after getting Jiren's tragic origin, and seeing his deeper personality in those final episodes that it became clear that "solitude is strength" really was his overriding philosophical view. He even flipped on his teammate Toppo at one point, calling him "pathetic" - but luckily, Toppo respected Jiren enough to provide that supportive boost that Ishitani describes.
It will be interesting to see how Jiren is different in future Dragon Ball stories, now that he has been humbled and enlightened by his experience with Goku and Co. Jiren's entire outlook on power has been altered by the notion of camaraderie and teamwork - which could be important, if that evildoer who wiped out his family and friends ever pops up again.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly will hit Japanese theaters in December, and is expected to arrive in the U.S. around mid-January 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.1comments