Dragon Ball Super has been building toward one big end destination: the godly evolution of Saiyan power. DBS began with Goku unlocking the ritual of the Super Saiyan God, which opened the door to a new kind of divine power. After tapping into Super Saiyan God, Goku and Vegeta merged that new power source with their Super Saiyan abilities, to unlock Super Saiyan Blue. However the true end to this Saiyan evolution was when Goku tapped into the power of Ultra Instinct during the Tournament of Power. However, Goku only achieved Ultra Instinct out of sheer desperation, and the power vanished just as quickly as it came.
In Dragon Ball Super's latest manga, Goku finally masters Ultra Instinct, and we finally get the official name of Ultra Instinct's final form (as opposed to all the ones that have been floating around in the fandom)!
Warning: Dragon Ball Super Chapter 64 SPOILERS Follow!
In Dragon Ball Super manga chapter 64, Goku is still reeling from the death of his teacher and friend, Merus. Merus chose to embrace his role as a member of the Galactic Patrol rather than his identity as an angel, and violated Angelic Law by using his divine powers on the mortal plane. As punishment, Merus was erased from existence (and has now been confirmed dead), and that trauma pushed Goku to once again manifest Ultra Instinct.
Goku achieves Ultra Instinct, yes, but it's not at all like Super Saiyan. Goku can't just cross the border of a limit break, Ultra Instinct takes the careful balance of separating emotion from battle, in its most heated moments. While Goku attempts to strike that balance within himself, Lord Beerus and Whis watch on, waiting to see if their favorite mortal can do what even gods cannot.
Thanks to Merus' training, Goku is able to take a volcanic explosion of power and emotion, and channel it into the serenity and calm that Ultra Instinct requires. As Goku is engulfed in a cocoon-like spire of energy, his Z-Fighter friends (Gohan, Piccolo) and divine allies (Beerus and Whis), look on in awe. Beerus marks the moment by saying "Seems to be going well enough." But Whis adds some much-needed wisdom and insight to the moment, when he says:
"We are about to witness Ultra Instinct Perfected!"
This is not at all the first time that we've heard the term "Perfected Ultra Instinct," as it was a popular term when Dragon Ball Super's anime first revealed it during the Tournament of Power. Since that time, there's been somewhat muddled handling when it comes to details of the power and the terms for its different levels. "Autonomous Ultra Instinct" was one of the first terms; "Mastered Ultra Instinct" is a very popular one; Goku even referred to it as "True Ultra Instinct" during a preview for the DBS anime. It gets confusing.
This latest arc of the Dragon Ball Super has done a great deal in explaining how Ultra Instinct truly works, and what the names for its two main levels are:
- Ultra Instinct Omen - The lower, unstable, form of Ultra Instinct, which leaves the user's body extremely vulnerable and depleted.
- Perfected Ultra Instinct - The state of total serenity and zen state, where a fighter surrenders conscious thought and can fight on pure instinct.