'Dragon Ball' Must Bring Back Ultra Instinct

Dragon Ball Super concluded its run by having Goku achieve 'Complete Ultra Instinct' his most [...]

Dragon Ball Super concluded its run by having Goku achieve "Complete Ultra Instinct" his most powerful transformation to date. However, as soon as the divine force of Ultra Instinct appeared in completed form, the powerup was quickly stripped away after one milestone final battle between Goku and Jiren. Goku later confessed to Vegeta in Dragon Ball Super's epilogue that he could no longer access Ultra Instinct after the Tournament of Power, leaving fans guessing when and how the technique might show up again.

The Dragon Ball franchise is currently going through some rapid and expansive changes after a year of unprecedented success, thanks in large part to Dragon Ball Super. No matter how the franchise continues going forward, there is one thing that is for sure: Ultra Instinct needs to be a part of Dragon Ball's continuing story!

Here's why:

It's All About the Powerups

Dragon Ball Super Ultra Instinct Mastered Final Form

Dragon Ball's popularity is often tied to the view that the series is essentially "empowerment fantasy." That fantasy appeals to fans with storylines of character's breaking their limits and achieving new levels of power, in order to meet the challenge of powerful foes. A lot of Dragon Ball (particularly the anime) functions like a soap opera, with viewers staying on through some of the slower and sillier times, in order to get to the big power-up twists and/or reveals that they know are coming. Those power-ups and transformations then become iconic parts of the franchise, keeping Dragon Ball alive even when interest in actual anime and managa storylines dips.

Ultra Instinct was quite possibly the most anticipated power-up the series has unveiled since Goku's first Super Saiyan transformation back in Dragon Ball Z. The early mystery of the incomplete "Ultra Instinct Omen" - and later reveal of the complete Ultra Instinct form - made headlines for Dragon Ball Super all throughout the latter half of the Tournament of Power arc. Since DBS wrapped, Ultra Instinct has kept fans buzzing and speculating about its full potential - whether it's Goku further mastering it, or other characters (Vegeta, Gohan) one day achieving it themselves. After all that hype, all that buildup, and all that marketing and promotion, it would be a major middle finger to the fandom to have Ultra Instinct appear and disappear so quickly and unceremoniously, with so much still unexplained.

It's Too Important

Dragon Ball Super When Will Ultra Instinct Return

Ultra Instinct isn't just another Dragon Ball power-up novelty. The technique actually has a lot of significance to the Dragon Ball mythos, and Goku's achievement of Ultra Instinct is an equally important milestone.

Dragon Ball Super dropped more than a few breadcrumbs that pointed to Ultra Instinct being a long held secret within the divine order of the Dragon Ball multiverse. It's a power greater than even the Gods of Destruction, and something that angels and even the Grand Priest must train in order to unlock. The conclusion of the Tournament of Power skipped past the looming question of how a mortal (Goku) achieving such power would affect the divine order, or if that milestone would some divine beings nervous about the way mortals are advancing (a key component of Zamasu's story in the "Future Trunks Saga"). But even though DBS didn't address this development in depth, a lot of fans are expecting that it could be an important focus (if not the focus) of the next anime series. With that kind of momentum behind it, ignoring the deeper story of Ultra Instinct doesn't seem like a move the Dragon Ball franchise can make, at this point.

It's Changed the Game too Much

Dragon Ball Super Ultra Instinct Goku vs Jiren

Not only did Ultra Instinct drop a major milestone into Dragon Ball's mythos, it also marked a major change in the series' visual aesthetic. The incomplete Ultra Instinct gave us teases of an entirely new fight dynamic and style for the series, but episode 130 (which saw Goku battle Jiren in complete Ultra Instinct mode) brought the series an entirely new visual aesthetic that blew fans away.

After seeing what Goku's complete Ultra Instinct looked like and functioned onscreen, fans now have a new bar for what they want and expect for Dragon Ball's biggest bouts - and there's no going back on that. It's not just the visuals that have fans so eager for more - it's all the imagined ways that Ultra Instinct could be used, or what further evolutions it could go through. Thankfully, the franchise has many ways to explore those questions:

So Many Ways to Bring it Back

Dragon Ball Ultra Instinct Goku vs Jiren Live-Action by Datrinti
(Photo Credit: Datrinti)

There will be new Dragon Ball Super movie coming in the next year, as well as a new anime series based on the Dragon Ball Heroes arcade game. Fans are also still expecting an official sequel series to Dragon Ball Super to be announced before the end of the year.

All of the above anime series and movies could potentially feature Ultra Instinct, in very different ways. The Dragon Ball Super movie could reveal more about how Goku was able to achieve it, and bring it back to help him beat his mysterious new opponent. The Heroes anime could feature it as one of several fan-fiction novelty matchups - much like the popular Goku SSB vs. Goku SSJ4 matchup that Hereos is known for. Meanwhile, the DBS sequel series could expand the technique to other characters, and explore how the divine beings (or evildoers) react to mortals achieving such power. There is one exciting prospect that's already been confirmed: Dragon Ball Super's manga series will soon debut its own version of Ultra Instinct, and it will be unveiled in a vastly different way than the anime series.

Finally, keeping the Ultra Instinct brand alive would be easy as giving the transformation a nice little shoutout in any of the Dragon Ball video games that are currently hot topics (Dragon Ball Heroes, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Dragon Ball Legends).


That's our breakdown of why Ultra Instinct needs to be a part of Dragon Ball's next phase - let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Dragon Ball Super is currently airing its English dub on Adult Swim during the Toonami programming block Saturday evenings at 9:30 p.m. 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.