Dragon Ball has been around for years now and, over time, the main character, Goku, has gone through quite a few changes. As he masters his abilities and taps into powers previously believed unattainable, Goku has been able to transform into new forms with unimaginable fighting abilities and boosts. His most recent transformation, Ultra Instinct is likely the highest possible form achievable in the Dragon Ball Universe(s), but how well do you know it?
Ultra Instinct is one of those transformations that sets the bar higher than any bar should go and many fans of the series have been wondering if this might be Goku's true final form. That's certainly a possibility, but whatever the case, Ultra instinct is, by far, the highest level of martial arts mastery Goku has yet to achieve and the fans are dying for more.
When Dragon Ball Super came to a close, it left fans on the edge of their seats with the revelation of Goku's completion of the form, but where will he go from here and what might he attain as he progresses further?
We seek to answer these questions, and more, with this list on Dragon Ball: 15 Wild Facts About Goku’s Ultra Instinct Transformation
When Goku finally made the transformation to what is being called his "Ultimate form," fans were on the edge of their seats. The series had been teasing a new transformation for quite some time on Dragon Ball Super, but now that we have seen what Ultra Instinct is and how it works, it has become apparent that the new transformation was foreshadowed as far back as Dragon Ball Z Resurrection F.
Resurrection F was released back in 2015, but it would be another two years before we learned the official name for Ultra Instinct.
Looking back to Resurrection F and the Universe Survival arc, we see Whis using Ultra Instinct so that he can both dodge and mark his disciples.
When we see it, Whis describes it as being the end result of moving without thinking in such a way as to suggest the Saiyans have more to learn before they can truly master their fighting styles. Knowing what we know now, it seems obvious Whis was foreshadowing Goku's ultimate form long before he had a chance to learn and master it. Whis' use wasn't the first time we saw Ultra Instinct in practice; Beerus was the first to use it in the anime after learning it from Whis. He had yet to master it, but demonstrated it while fighting Goku on King Kai's Planet.
While Ultra Instinct appears to be the ultimate form for Goku and the most difficult to master, it can be split into two distinct forms that fall under the Ultra Instinct name. At first, Goku succeeds in transforming into what is called Ultra Instinct -Sign-, which is notable for his silver hair. -Sign- is considerably more unstable than its counterpart, though it does excel in Ki control.
If the user happens to lose focus while in -Sign-, it fizzles out completely and leaves the person vulnerable. That isn't to say -Sign- isn't an incredibly powerful transformation for Goku, but it's nowhere near as OP as the other half of Ultimate Instinct.
Complete Ultra Instinct is the mastered form of the transformation, which is represented by a great deal of glowing light and Goku's completely white head of hair. The power levels are pretty much maxed out on Complete and it is easier to maintain (once it is achieved) than its counterpart, but losing it causes a great deal of damage so it does have its drawbacks as well.
At the climax of his battle with Jiren, Goku was about to finish off his opponent, but the toll on his body became too great and he was overtaken with a great deal of pain, which caused him to revert to his base form.
For someone to achieve Ultra Instinct in any of its forms, they need absolute control and a highly advanced mental state. In order to achieve this, Goku needs some external help even though it would seem natural for him to achieve this state on his own.
For Goku to make this transformation, he needs to clear his mind, focus all of his energy on the battle at hand, and maintain a desperate will to win the fight. That essentially means he requires an external stimuli to make Ultra Instinct happen. The first time Goku achieves Ultra Instinct, he is about to be disintegrated by the Genki Dama (Spirit Bomb), which allowed him to transform into Ultra Instinct for defensive purposes.
The second time he transformed, he was nearly defeated by Kefla. By the time he made the transformation a third time, Goku was the only one left standing who could possibly defeat Jiren.
Unlike other transformations like Super Saiyan, he can't simply transform back and forth at will— everything needs to line up just right to get Goku to make the switch to his new form.
Even with this "limitation," Goku is able to make the transformation when it is ultimately necessary, which makes it as effective as his previous transformations - even if it's a transformation of last resort.
While Ultra Instinct is purported to be Goku's ultimate form, it was initially used solely as a defensive move. It makes sense when you consider the fact that the Ultra Instinct's core function is to allow the user to react without thinking.
Reaction in a fight is generally a defensive technique, though it should always be accompanied with offensive moves. The ability to instantly know an opponent's moves and avoid their attacks is one of Ultra Instinct's fundamental principles. When he first achieved Ultra Instinct -Sign-, he did so when he was at the brink of defeat and only survived when he made the transformation.
Goku was only able to achieve the transformation due to his breaking his "self-limiting shells," as described by Whis. He was able to tap into his deep potential within and negate all previous injuries. This was important given the brutal levels of damage he had taken previously in the fight. Goku was able to break through his self-limitations and defend himself successfully.
With the newly unlocked Ultra Instinct -Sign-, he was able to evolve and match opponents of greater power. This continued for more transformations before he finally achieved Ultra Instinct Complete, which is equally offensive and defensive in nature.
We all know Goku is special when it comes to the Dragon Ball Universe(s), but when it comes to Ultra Instinct, he stands even higher above his fellow mortals. As of the end of Dragon Ball Super, Goku is the only mortal to ever achieve Ultra Instinct and it seems he may hold the title indefinitely. As we have seen in Dragon Ball Super and Dragon Ball Resurrection F, the only other beings capable of achieving any mastery of Ultra Instinct have been gods.
This is an important distinction because it places Goku on the same level as the Gods of Destruction— at least in terms of being able to achieve Ultra Instinct.
If you push that logic a step further, Goku was able to transform into his Ultra Instinct form in order to defeat Jiren. Jiren's power levels have been compared to and described by many as being even greater than some of the Gods of Destruction. By beating Jiren, Goku may have stepped a little closer to the status of godhood. Even if this is a bit of a stretch, Goku's ability to transform into Ultra Instinct certainly places him above his fellow mortals - at least, for now.
We already know that Whis is able to handle Ultra Instinct rather naturally as was demonstrated in Dragon Ball Resurrection F, but we haven't seen anyone other than Goku use it in the anime. That's somewhat strange, considering Ultra Instinct is touted as the state of the gods, but thus far, we have only seen an angel and a mortal use it.
That's in the anime, but over in the manga, we have seen someone else use it though that was slightly less incredible when compared to the animated series. The guy who nailed the transformation was none other than Beerus.
At the beginning of the Universe Survival arc, the Gods of Destruction are forced to fight by Zeno, so they throw down. Beerus is seen almost instantly tapping into and using Ultra Instinct. Interestingly, the manga never adapted Resurrection F so anyone who had only read the series and not watched the anime was left in the dark as far as foreshadowing was concerned.
This left the display of Ultra Instinct a little less impactful than the one we finally saw Goku transform into on Dragon Ball Super, but you would be hard-pressed to find a reader of the manga who wasn't familiar with the anime.
Compared to Goku, Vegeta is pretty powerful, so you might think he could reach the same level and one day achieve Ultra Instinct. Unfortunately for Vegeta, this doesn't look like a possibility thanks to his inability to take each battle as it is. This was brought up in Resurrection F as Vegeta's biggest problem in combat. He can get too caught up in his own thoughts thinking about each and every one of his moves. We got to see this tendency on display when he hesitated to defeat Freeza causing the Earth to be destroyed.
His attitude is in direct conflict to how Ultra Instinct works.
It seems that Vegeta could one day overcome this "flaw," but there is no indication that may happen. His need to stay focused on the minutiae of battle is exactly what is standing in his way to reaching Ultra Instinct. Conversely, Goku finds a way to live in the moment of battle and can zone out his mind much better than Vegeta. He doesn't focus on each and every move, which is why he was able to make the jump and transform into Ultra Instinct.
Vegeta may learn from Goku's example, but for now, Goku remains the only mortal capable of achieving it.
When Goku first made the transition to Ultra Instinct, he maintained a level of stoicism rarely seen in the series. This is a character who is well known for his banter and seeing him in a subdued state was somewhat jarring for fans. Over time, he is seen slowly gaining his personality and composure back, which seems to parallel his mastery of Ultra Instinct.
It seems evident that the longer he uses Ultra Instinct, the more he begins to act like his normal self. This manifested during the Tournament of Power when Goku showed a great deal of anger and spoke in his Ultra Instinct state.
If you look back at his transformations over the years, this isn't exactly a new phenomenon. When he first attained the form of Super Saiyan on Namek, he was so filled with rage that he barely seemed like Goku at all. This pure rage lowered in intensity over time allowing his personality to resurface through his conflict with Freeza. This is just one of the many ways Ultra Instinct shares some similarities with Super Saiyan - though, unlike Super Saiyan, Ultra Instinct is less about increasing strength and more about automatically defending oneself from threats and countering them.
Goku has had his fair share of transformations over the years, each of which gave him certain benefits. Unlike the ones that came before it, Ultra Instinct stands apart as Goku's most fitting form and it has a lot to do with his personality.
One of Goku's principal character traits involves always seeking to better himself. He does this through training and a number of means, but his ability to tap into different forms, which bring about enhancements and strength multipliers are only one aspect of his personality.
Looking back at something like Super Saiyan God, Goku didn't like the form due to the simple fact that he felt the strength he attained wasn't truly his. When compared to Ultra Instinct, it makes sense that it is his final form due to the simple fact that is doesn't add strength, but rather enhances his skills as a martial artist, which is what he truly cares about.
Ultra Instinct enhances his instincts to a natural conclusion of his forms so that the advantages he receives from it are entirely dependent on how he uses it.
For someone who prides himself in his skills as a martial artist, it is truly the most fitting form.
Zamasu had a problem with mortals due to what he perceived as their capabilities coupled with their destructive nature. While he was something of an extremist, to be sure, he wasn't entirely wrong in the way he thought of mortals and their use of powerful forms.
If you consider the transformation into Ultra Instinct, he may not have been too far off base given that Goku's ability to achieve Ultra Instinct means even the mortals could surpass the gods depending on the situation. As we previously mentioned, Goku's ability to defeat Jeren with Ultra Instinct, at the very least, suggests a potential ability for Goku to take on the Gods of Destruction.
Zamasu would likely have considered Goku's use of Ultra Instinct as indicative of the mortal's ability to one day lead an divine uprising against the gods. This could happen if enough people were able to achieve it. At the moment, only Goku can and has shown the ability to use Ultra Instinct and, while he wouldn't use it for any nefarious purpose, there is no reasons someone else wouldn't. If even one other mortal could achieve Ultra Instinct, Zamasu's fears could be realized. Because of this, it seems Zamasu may have been right in his thinking about mortals.
One of the most distinct features of Ultra Instinct Complete is Goku's brilliant white hair. While it isn't the most amazing of transformations, it is iconic for the character and the transformation. It, along with the shimmering glow, makes Goku appear almost godlike and it would be difficult to imagine the transformation ending up any other way. The interesting thing about the hair is that it nearly wasn't going to be white.
Thanks to development at the time, Ultra Instinct likely would have ended up being blue.
This goes back to Dragon Ball Resurrection F when, in pre-production, Akira Toriyama was asked to develop the new transformation and make the hair white. He informed the production that it couldn't be white because that would clash with a villain he was developing at the time and instead, he made the transformation blue to contrast Super Saiyan God's red color.
As a result, Super Saiyan Blue got its iconic coloring while Ultra Instinct ended up with the white. It's interesting to consider how much a simple color choice can enhance or take away from the iconic look associated with each form. Ultra Instinct's white fits perfectly; it could never have worked so well with blue.
Ultra Instinct is purported to be Goku's final form and as such, it feels like something he can whip out at the last moment and defeat any enemy with, but that's not entirely true. Sure, Ultra Instinct is powerful and a bit OP, but there is no guarantee of victory for the user and that has to do with the way it is used and what it truly does. For one thing, if it isn't mastered, it can't be maintained for very long, and the cost of using it is immensely stressful on the body - at least for mortals.
Goku's initial uses of Ultra Instinct -Sign- ended up leaving his body weakened severely, which caused significant damage. While he was battling Jiren, he was still taking damage even in the Ultra Instinct form. Ultimately, the form allows for the user to become completely aware of everything that is going on in a fight and react accordingly without thinking. Whether or not a person succeeds in using Ultra Instinct in a fight has everything to do with how they use it. If they rely too much on the form without focusing on their skills as a martial artist, they could lose the fight.
While it may seem that Goku has mastered Ultra Instinct, he wasn't able to completely do so by the end of Dragon Ball Super. He was able to surpass Ultra Instinct -Sign- and achieve Complete Ultra Instinct in his battle with Jiren at the Tournament of Power.
It was later revealed that he only reached this level of power with Ultra Instinct due to the constant onslaught Jiren threw his way and as we pointed out previously, he couldn't reach it on his own. With this newfound level of power, he was able to take Jiren's most powerful attacks, but it took a toll.
Just as he was able to defeat Jiren into a crater and was about to finish him off, he was overcome with dark Ki electrical shocks, which overloaded his body with severe pain. This causes him to lose pretty much all of his stamina and damaged him significantly. The transformation certainly has a cost, but were he to finally master it, which he may do in the future, he should be able to maintain the form for as long as he chooses.
For now, Ultra Instinct has its limits, but Goku's ability to use it is still a testament to his skill and master of his martial arts as well as himself.
When you look at the history of Dragon Ball, you can see that, at its core, the series is all about surpassing one's limits. This is demonstrated time and time again as Goku and his comrades continuously exceed the limits that seemed all but unbreakable before they are ultimately shattered. As each character grows and becomes stronger through their mastery of martial arts and their own limits, it becomes apparent that the series is defining a specific truth: there are no limits except the ones you place upon yourself. Ultra Instinct is the perfect demonstration of this core principle.
Ultra Instinct is only achieved when a person achieves a perfect mastery of their martial arts abilities. Once Goku effectively breaks through his "self-limiting shells," he once again transcends his limitations and enters into an entirely new state of martial arts mastery. From there, he focuses on breaking through once more to master Ultra instinct.
Every time the series sets a limit, Goku finds a way to break through the barrier, which is the direction the series has always gone.
Dragon Ball teaches us that if you know your limitations, you can break them and Ultra Instinct demonstrates this perfectly for Goku.
Ultra Instinct is a transformation and Goku's final form, but there are a few arguments supporting the notion that it isn't a transformation at all, but rather, a technique.
While it does look like a transformation and Goku certainly has a new look to go with it, the truth behind Ultra Instinct is that it was always meant to be a technique rather than a true transformation.
In this regard, it is similar to Kaio-ken. As with Kaio-ken, Goku is the only person to ever use Ultra Instinct, and that technique can also look a bit like a transformation.
Goku triggers (or is triggered) into Ultra Instinct in much the same way as Super Saiyan, but unlike that form, Ultra Instinct is more a state of being than a transformation. As a technique, it allows the user to completely clear their mind and focus entirely on the battle at hand. With the ability to overcome whatever preconceived limits they have placed upon themselves, they then move on to fight to the utmost potential. This gives it the look and feel of a transformation, but in the Dragon Ball universe(s), it is treated as a technique few people could ever achieve.
Did we miss any trivia about Dragon Ball's Ultra Instinct transformation? Let us know in the comments!