New levels of Super Saiyan were introduced as Goku, Vegeta, and the Z Fighters entered into the world of the gods and alternate realities, but the series definitely has to work on some issues when it comes to how they introduce these new transformations over the course of the series. As Son Goku explores the power of Ultra Instinct and Vegeta walks in the path of the God of Destruction, it's clear that Dragon Ball Super has decided to lean into the new elements that have been introduced in the sequel series.
For starters, the problem revolves around not only how some of these new transformations are achieved, but perhaps more likely, how they aren't. With Super Saiyan Blue, for example, we never get to see how Goku and Vegeta are able to achieve these new levels, with Resurrection of F simply showing the two Saiyan warriors appearing with the new transformations. In the past in Dragon Ball Z, Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan 2 were big dramatic moments that didn't just leverage new energy for Goku and Gohan, it shifted their personalities and opened the world of Akira Toriyama's universe to new possibilities.
To be fair, Dragon Ball Z stumbled when it came to Super Saiyan 3, as it was simply a move that Goku was able to learn in the afterlife, and fans weren't given much of an explanation outside of that brief synopsis. With this transformation that would change the Saiyan's appearance drastically, its discovery wasn't linked to any emotional story beats, and perhaps more damning ultimately didn't help in defeating an enemy at all whereas Super Saiyan 1 helped in defeating Freeza and Super Saiyan 2 wrapped the battle against Cell. Dragon Ball Super has been far more nefarious when it comes to not linking transformations to the story itself.
Super Saiyan God was an interesting concept to start, linking to the past of the Saiyan race and moving away from the idea of rage equalling power, but Blue wasn't able to build on this momentum. Touted as "going Super Saiyan while being a Super Saiyan God," the transformation was introduced far too soon, leaving us little time to really get our heads around the technique before it was shuffled to the side. Allowing fans the opportunity to truly see Goku and Vegeta work through the process of achieving Super Saiyan Blue wasn't simply a missed opportunity, it feels like it should have been a necessity.
Ultra Instinct actually has two different origins that change between the episodes of the anime and the chapters of the manga, with the television series having Goku learn the transformation after being caught up in the Spirit Bomb that was hurled toward Jiren and the manga seeing him gain control following the defeat of Master Roshi at the hands of the Universe 11 crime fighter. In the Moro Arc, Goku masters the transformation following the death of Merus, the renegade angel, in a move that was far too close to his original acquisition to Super Saiyan to truly have an impact.
As the series moves forward, the Granolah the Survivor Arc has shown Goku now wielding the power of Ultra Instinct while also being a Super Saiyan, which was a power he clearly achieved during training, but it's a training scene that should have been shown to readers. While it might be delved into a bit further in the anime, Dragon Ball Super needs to link its transformations to the emotional core of the story and the characters in order for them to hit that much harder.
How do you think Dragon Ball has handled its transformations throughout Super? What has been your favorite transformation in the sequel series so far? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics, anime, and the world of Dragon Ball.