Dragon Ball is a series that is full of fascinating antagonists. Strength is certainly important for a good villain, but so is their backstory and their motivations in the first place.
This is what makes Dragon Ball Super’s Jiren the Gray such an anomaly. He’s absolutely an antagonist to Goku and company and he’s also by far the strongest fighter that they’ve gone up against, but they encounter Jiren in a tournament.
They’re fighting because they have to be fighting, not because they’ve invaded each other’s space or have some beef with one another.
In fact, Goku and the rest of Universe 7 have absolutely no problem with Jiren and yet he’s still Dragon Ball Super’s greatest foe and he dominates a large chunk of the end of the series.
Jiren makes his mark in the Tournament of Power and it takes Universe 7’s strongest warriors pushing themselves to new limits that his elimination is even possible.
Due to Jiren’s prominence in the series, he’s been featured in a lot of the show’s promotional materials. A lot of people recognize the bulky, gray fighter, but what do they actually know about him?
Jiren is able to remain a mystery through much of Dragon Ball Super, but there are certain details about the fighter that do come to light.
Accordingly, here are the 20 Facts Only True Fans Know About Dragon Ball's Jiren.
20 He’s Stronger Than A God Of Destruction
Dragon Ball Super moves into somewhat tricky territory once it brings in Gods of Destruction and other ultra-powered deities. Goku and company continually need to grow stronger as the show goes on, but it doesn’t necessarily seem right that they should become stronger than actual Gods.
The Tournament of Power makes this territory even more problematic because it introduces the very strongest warriors that all the universes have to offer. If anyone is going to be stronger than a God of Destruction then it’s going to be one of these guys.
Towards the climax of the Tournament of Power, the God of Destruction Belmod confirms that Jiren’s either as strong as or even stronger than the weakest God of Destruction.
Furthermore, Jiren was even offered the position to be Universe 11’s God of Destruction, but he chooses to turn it down because he’s not interested in destruction. Instead the honor goes onto Toppo instead and he even unveils these Godly powers when he’s pushed to his limit in the tournament.
It makes sense that Jiren would be stronger than a God of Destruction. In the manga, Whis implies to Vegeta that he’s approximately at God of Desruction-level strength and Vegeta is nowhere at Jiren’s level.
There’s still a lot of guesswork to be done, but the mere fact that Jiren’s ultimate power impresses and shocks so many Gods of Destruction should speak to the fact that he’s probably at their plateau.
19 He And Goku Were Supposed To Fight Earlier
Dragon Ball Super rides out on the climactic showdown between Goku and Jiren. In fact, there’s a special one-hour episode that’s devoted to Goku and Jiren being allowed to go head-to-head after they both tap into new reservoirs of power.
It’s definitely satisfying to see Jiren and Goku test each other’s strength, but the two were actually supposed to face off against one another much earlier in the series.
Initially, Jiren was supposed to debut in episode 78 of Dragon Ball Super and he's even in the episode's initial preview, but instead Toppo replaces him. Jiren was also supposed to fight Goku in episode 82, but it was ultimately pulled at the last minute as well.
As satisfying as the final showdown between Goku and Jiren is, it would honestly be more suspenseful if the two had prior history and had gone up against each other once before.
The tension around a rematch between Jiren and Goku feels a little more exciting than trying to keep the character a secret until the last minute.
Who knows how the battle in the Tournament of Power would have ultimately differed if Goku was allowed to get a taste of Jiren and properly understand what he’s getting himself into here.
It’s safe to say that Jiren wouldn’t have shown his true colors in some exhibition match, but who knows what Universe 7 could have learned from the experience.
18 He’s One Of The Fastest Characters In The Series
Speed certainly becomes relative in the Dragon Ball universe. It’s actually quite remarkable to see the humble place that Goku started at in the original Dragon Ball.
It’s crazy to think that basic techniques like flight and intense speed were at one point beyond Goku’s capabilities. Thanks to the proper training and experimenting with gravity and other drastic ways that strain the human body, Goku and company have been able to move at exceptional speeds that normal humans wouldn’t even be able to recognize.
Abilities like Goku’s Kaio-Ken and other boosters put even more emphasis on speed and show what can truly be possible.
However, in spite of all of the ways that characters have improved their speed through the series, Jiren still proves that he’s on a whole other level.
When Goku enters the Tournament of Power, he’s already unlocked the powers of Super Saiyan Blue, but even at this point he can’t even read Jiren’s movements.
It’s been a while since Goku has felt so out of his league here, but he can’t even see what Jiren’s up to until he goes Ultra Instinct and hits a new plateau.
As a result of Jiren’s exceptional speed, during the majority of the Tournament of Power it doesn’t even look like Jiren’s moving, but he’s actually just too fast to detect.
17 He Didn't Want To Enter The Tournament Of Power
Jiren is without a doubt Universe 7’s biggest obstacle in the Tournament of Power. If it wasn’t for the tremendous job that Jiren does throughout the tournament then Goku and company would have been able to win the endurance match much earlier and with little struggle.
Jiren is one of the final competitors in the Tournament of Power and he takes on Goku, Vegeta, Android 17, and Frieza all at once. Any of these fighters are a considerable challenge on their own, but the fact that Jiren can take on all of them at once is a testament to how well he does in the Tournament of Power.
However, even though Jiren is one of the final competitors in the tournament, he didn’t originally want to even enter the competition in the first place.
When the Tournament of Power is initially brought up to Jiren he’s against the idea because he thinks that it will distract him from his true purpose of keeping Universe 11 safe.
Jiren eventually gets involved, but it’s only after he learns that the Super Dragon Balls are up for grabs.
Jiren’s big wish is never revealed, but it feels like it would either have something to do with his parents or the overall safety of Universe 11.
16 He’s The Only Character From Universe 11 Who Eliminates Anyone In The Tournament Of Power
Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power is a pretty monumental competition. Not only does it consume the final arc of the series, but it’s without a doubt the longest tournament that has ever been featured in Dragon Ball.
Furthermore, the circumstances around this tournament are beyond big and literally the survival of existence is at stake.
The Tournament of Power pulls together the eight strongest universes of the twelve universes that exist and then puts all of their strongest fighters in a battle royale with each other. Even the battle royale aspect of the competition is a new concept for Dragon Ball, but it makes the stakes even higher in this case.
Universe 7 and Universe 11 are the final two universes left in the competition, but in spite of how well Universe 11 performs, the other fighters are really just coasting off of Jiren’s success.
Of the ten fighters that represent Universe 11, Jiren is the only one who actually eliminates anyone and even then he only knocks out three people. Granted, Jiren does spend a lot of time in meditation and playing the defensive, but it still seems like someone with his strength would eliminate more people.
Then again, Toppo doesn’t even knock anyone out and he becomes a God of Destruction by the end of the battle.
15 He’s The Reason Why Universe 6 Doesn’t Win The Tournament Of Power
Dragon Ball Super spends a lot of time hyping up the rivalry between Universe 7 and Universe 6. The two universes are reflections of each other and the audience really gets to know a lot of individuals from Universe 6.
Naturally, when the Tournament of Power rolls around it feels like the final two universes standing will inevitably be Universe 6 and 7.
Jiren makes sure that doesn’t come to pass, but Universe 6 actually has plenty of reasons to be resentful towards Jiren the Gray. If it wasn’t for Universe 11’s MVP, it’s very likely that Universe 6 would have won the tournament!
It’s certainly not as if Jiren specifically targets Universe 6, but all of their major damage is by his hand. Jiren is the one that handles Berserker Kale, who otherwise would have wiped out Goku and likely everyone else in the tournament.
He’s also responsible for Hit’s early elimination and if Hit stayed in the game, he likely would have been a major threat like he’s been in the past.
Jiren’s strength is also the cause for Goku to tap into Ultra Instinct, which he then uses to knock out the Caulifla and Kale fusion, Kefla. Champa must really have a bone to pick with the fighter.
14 He’s Extremely Proud Of His Strength
When it comes to Jiren’s characterization, it’s certainly a case of “less is more.” The powerful fighter is largely a question mark through most of the Tournament of Power.
What’s exciting about the Tournament of Power’s structure is that it allows many different characters to shift in and out of the spotlight because multiple fights are going on at once.
Dragon Ball Super lets many of these fringe warriors from the eight different universes get to have their fun. There are many standout characters who only get one or two episodes of focus, but the nature of the tournament means only the most interesting of fighters are involved.
As more and more competitors get eliminated, it seems like Jiren will eventually get his showcase, but he still takes a reserved approach.
However, one of Jiren’s traits that he isn’t afraid to show off is the level of pride and respect he has for his strength.
Jiren takes his training and abilities very seriously and acts like a soldier a lot of the time, too. Jiren follows orders, but he can also be impolite and rude to his superiors if he doesn’t agree with their plan.
Jiren just wants the best for his people and he isn’t afraid to defend that.
13 Tournament Of Power Is Ultimately About Jiren And Goku’s Relationship
The Tournament of Power takes up the most time in Dragon Ball Super and in many ways it brings the show back to the series’ roots. Tournaments have always been a staple of Dragon Ball, so it’s exciting to see Super pull off their biggest one yet.
The Tournament of Power has some exceptional stakes in play as it sees every universe fighting for their survival as well as a wish from the Super Dragon Balls also up for grabs.
This alone feels like a strong purpose for this competition, but believe it or not, the tournament is actually about something else all together.
When everything gets broken down, it’s easy to see that the Tournament of Power is really all about the relationship between Jiren and Goku.
As the Tournament of Power moves into its final stage, the proceedings are at a standstill until Jiren and Goku are able to understand and respect what the other fights for.
Furthermore, the two have alternate fighting styles that compliment each other and it’s very clear that they’re two sides of the same coin. It’s quite interesting that Jiren and Goku’s bond is given more attention than Goku and Vegeta’s relationship in the Tournament of Power, but it’s exciting to see Goku meet a new adversary that pushes him to go further.
12 He’s A Pride Trooper
One of the ways in which Universe 11 differs from the rest of the universes in Dragon Ball is that they have a defense squad that’s known as the Pride Troopers.
It’s a little surprising that more universes in the series don’t have some sort of police squad like this that keeps things in check. Then again, Universe 7 does more or less have this with Goku and company, they just aren’t so formal with labels.
All of the representatives from Universe 11 in the Tournament of Power are members of the Pride Troopers, which really speaks to the prevalence and strength of these warriors.
While not the official head of the Pride Troopers, Jiren is also a member of the defense squad and arguably the team’s greatest asset, both in terms of strength and moral integrity.
Jiren demonstrates himself to be incredibly dedicated to the Pride Troopers and he always puts his duties ahead of anything else.
Jiren is so committed to the Pride Troopers that he even says that he’ll leave the Tournament of Power if some sort of disaster happens in Universe 11 while he’s away.
The only other defense force that really comes to mind is Universe 7’s Ginyu Force and it’s clear that they wouldn’t stand a chance against Jiren and company although they may exhibit more flair.
11 His Bizarre Personality In Xenoverse 2
One of the most divisive things about Jiren is that he’s such a stoic villain. Some people love that the antagonist largely remains a mystery through the bulk of Dragon Ball Super, but others are left frustrated and wanting more in regard to this important character.
While Jiren’s reserved nature in the anime is not for everyone, a very different version of the character exists in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2.
In Xenoverse 2, Jiren is very talkative and boastful, which is certainly different than his anime counterpart. This difference has a lot to do with the lines of communication between the anime and the game’s production team not being as open as they could be.
TOEI’s take on the character would prove to be very different than what Akira Toriyama had in mind. A very similar thing can be seen with the game’s interpretation of Goku Black.
The character debuted in the game before he actually appeared in the dub of the series, so some guesswork had to be done.
The result is an interpretation of the character that’s very different than what actually shows up in the anime.
The manga’s take on Jiren is also all about justice and heroics, but it’s not as over the top and as outspoken as Xenoverse 2’s iteration.
10 Hit Could Have Beaten Him
Jiren is without a doubt one of the strongest— if not the strongest— fighter in the Tournament of Power. He’s a fighter that many other warriors need to take on at once to even make a dent in the guy. In terms of obstacles, it doesn’t get much tougher than Jiren.
Even someone like Buu seems like a pushover in comparison to Jiren, where Super Saiyan Blue warriors are like nothing to the guy. Even though Dragon Ball’s usual heavy hitters like Goku and Vegeta struggle to take out Jiren, one of Universe 6’s fighters holds an unexpected advantage over the behemoth.
One of the most celebrated new characters to come out of Dragon Ball Super is Universe 6’s assassin, Hit.
He gets to have several exciting battles with Goku and other famous fighters and he always manages to pose a challenge due to his ability to alter and stop time.
Hit is able to put his Time Skip technique to effective use against Jiren, but it’s his Cage of Time ability that really stops the guy in his tracks… literally.
Jiren is frozen and ripe for elimination, however nobody lends a hand to knock the guy out of bounds. A little teamwork with Hit and Jiren would have been done for before he could even really be a problem.
9 He’s One Of The Few Villains In The Series Who Doesn’t Transform
Dragon Ball might have started as a reasonably grounded action adventure series, but let’s be honest, at this point it’s largely turned into a showcase for the latest exciting transformation.
Even in Dragon Ball Super viewers were instantly hungry to see some new Saiyan transformation and they were not disappointed. The transformations of Saiyans have turned into a highlight in the series, but the big villains from the show have also been prone to transform.
Vegeta, Frieza, Cell, Buu— almost all of the major antagonists from the Dragon Ball canon have gone through some sort of transformation.
Jiren stands out because while he is exceptionally strong, he doesn’t actually undergo some radical transformation. That leaves Jiren with Beeurs and Demon King Piccolo for the villains throughout the franchise that don’t transform.
What’s interesting here is that many of the fighters in the Tournament of Power undergo transformations and it even feels like the fight is building to one big change on Jiren’s part.
This is why it’s so satisfying to see Dragon Ball fight this urge and create danger from Jiren in other ways.
Now, Jiren does awaken some hidden power and grow a lot more bulky muscle mass and an intimidating aura, but it’s not technically a transformation. He’s the same reserved, unpredictable Jiren.
8 He Should Have Been Disqualified From The Tournament Of Power
Rules and regulations are always a weird territory in the Dragon Ball franchise. All of the World Martial Arts Tournaments, and even less official tournaments like the Cell Games, have some sort of rules that are expected to be followed.
That being said, does anyone really want to win a competition due to technicalities or boilerplate legislature? In fact, there are many tournaments where arrogant fighters (like Vegeta, for instance) decide to throw the rules out the window and not worry about the possible consequences.
That being said, rules are still important, and in the Tournament of Power disobeying them is a big deal.
The Zeno Kings might seem fun and cute, but neither of these guys are beyond erasing fighters who can’t obey rules.
In spite of this, strangely enough Jiren pretty clearly breaks the rules of the Tournament of Power but doesn’t see disqualification. In Dragon Ball Super’s 130th episode, Jiren fires a blast of energy at the audience, which Goku ends up blocking.
However, this act should have gotten Jiren disqualified, especially since the same thing happens with Frost earlier and he does see elimination because of it.
It’s an unusual oversight and it’s treated like because Goku intervenes that Jiren shouldn’t be held responsible, but that’s not exactly fair either.
7 Toriyama Came Up With His Backstory
One of the most satisfying things about Dragon Ball Super is that Akira Toriyama had heavy involvement with the anime and was responsible for many key components from the series.
There are plenty of Dragon Ball GT fans out there, but there are also some that won’t acknowledge it at all because Toriyama’s involvement with the sequel is minimal at best.
Toriyama immersing himself back in the world of Dragon Ball had a lot to do with the fact that he wanted to make sure that the series would be in good hands and that it wouldn’t get led astray as it had in the past.
So while Toriyama isn’t responsible for every element and character in Dragon Ball Super, one that he is behind is Jiren, as well as the character’s backstory.
In fact, Toriyama personally designed Jiren and his history, which makes it a little more crushing that it’s so bland. Toriyama has created some absolutely fascinating, deep characters, but Jiren never rises to become a layered antagonist.
This works for some people and it doesn’t for others, but the decision is all Toriyama and not TOEI. Who knows, perhaps down the road Jiren will be allowed to grow even more in some new context.
6 He And Toppo Originally Had Each Other’s Personalities
The Pride Troopers are made up of many formidable fighters, but the ones that lead the pack are without a doubt Jiren and Toppo.
The two are both incredible opponents and they hold out to the bitter end of the Tournament of Power and manage to make Universe 11 proud. Jiren and Toppo may both be super strong and work for the same defense squad, but they actually have very unique personalities.
Both are very honorable fighters, but they ultimately focus on different aspects of what it means to be a hero. What’s interesting here though is that originally Jiren and Toppo’s character traits were swapped and they were actually meant to be polar opposites.
In Akira Toriyama’s outline for the Tournament of Power, he very conspicuously left the details for Jiren, Toppo, and Dypso all blank.
When it came time to put Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 together, TOEI decided that Jiren should be highly focused on justice.
However Toriyama intervened and insisted that Jiren needs to be a “stoic character with a tragic backstory.”
When that was made clear, TOEI backpedaled and changed their plan, but they still used their original plan for Jiren on Toppo in the end.
5 He Fights More Levels Of Super Saiyan Than Any Other Character
This might seem like the sort of superficial achievement that ultimately doesn’t mean anything, but there are surely some fighters that go nuts for this sort of thing and take a real satisfaction in the knowledge that they’re the “first” in some field.
In that respect, Jiren manages to be a very special antagonist because he technically sets the record for squaring off against the most different levels of Super Saiyan.
In the Tournament of Power, Jiren fights against Saiyans in the form of Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan 2, Super Saiyan God, Super Saiyan Blue, Blue with Kaio-Ken, and even Vegeta's upgraded form of Super Saiyan Blue, too.
On top of that, Jiren also fights against Kale's Berserker Super Saiyan stage as well as Goku’s Ultra Instinct, which also feel significant.
In the end, Super Saiyan 3 is the only level that Jiren doesn’t fight against and at that point doesn’t it feel like the series should have just thrown it in for completion sake?
It’s also worth pointing out that Jiren fights many Super Saiyans at once, which might be a given at this point in the series, but he literally has more than one universe worth of Saiyans giving him their all.
4 He Can Breathe In Space
There was once a time in the Dragon Ball series where simply knocking someone into the cold recesses of space was enough to destroy someone.
As the series has gone on, villains have become more and more resilient, but the whole breathing in space topic has usually been an area that’s stumped even the most evil of foes.
Apparently villainy has nothing to do with oxygen levels and lung capacity. Through some very unfortunate circumstances, Dragon Ball has shown audiences that Frieza and Buu are both villains that are able to breathe in space and now Jiren joins their ranks, too.
Jiren is so powerful that the fact that he can breathe in space isn’t exactly surprising, but it’s nice to see the series get explicit on the topic, just so there’s no room for debate.
In Jiren’s introduction in the Dragon Ball Super manga, the character is seen flying and breathing through space.
Furthermore, the character is so fast and strong that he actually travels from planet to planet by his own momentum rather than require a spaceship.
It’s a crazy means of travel, but why depend on transit if you don’t have to? If Goku and Jiren ever do get around to a rematch, one easy way that Jiren can take Goku out of the picture is to just move the fight out of the Earth’s atmosphere. Easy stuff.
3 He Has A Shrink Device To Catch Criminals
This is maybe the absolute coolest thing about Jiren, yet it’s also a detail about the character that goes widely overlooked.
So many people are used to the version of Jiren that’s presented in the Dragon Ball Super anime, but there are some very specific details that come to light if you stay up to date with the manga.
While the Dragon Ball Super anime and manga both stay relatively on the same page, there are a number of occasions where the manga provides extra details that add a lot.
For instance, Dragon Ball Super’s manga devotes more time to Jiren’s exploits as a Pride Trooper before the Tournament of Power begins.
There’s even a chapter that deals with an escaped prisoner that really showcases what the Pride Troopers can do.
A trick that Jiren pulls out here is that he wears a device on his wrist that can shrink down enemies so he can then easily capture them.
It’s a very cool way to police and it’s a real shame this never comes into play in the anime. It could be a severe threat in battle.
Imagine if the final act of the Tournament of Power involved Android 17 or Vegeta getting shrunk down and needing to figure a way out of their predicament.
2 He Can Re-Direct A Spirit Bomb
There are a lot of ways to prove strength in battle. Some villains have an incredible resilience and endurance factor in battle. Other opponents have a wide arsenal of attcks at their disposal or can even heal themselves.
Jiren demonstrates just how powerful he is in a number of different ways throughout Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power, but without a doubt the coolest demonstration is when he’s able to turn one of Goku’s signature attacks back on him.
During Dragon Ball Z’s infancy it seemed like Goku’s Spirit Bomb would be the trump card that would always win a battle. The move has worked to varying degrees of success through the years, but it’s always been helpful in some way.
That is until Goku faces Jiren. It’s a fairly pivotal moment when Jiren is not only able to stop Goku’s Spirit Bomb attack, but then launch it back at him.
Some characters have (barely) survived the Spirit Bomb, but no one’s ever been capable of turning it back on its wielder.
Suddenly there’s proof that the move can be used against Goku and it’s all because he tried to cross Jiren with it.
Now every time Goku launches the Spirit Bomb against an extra strong foe there’s the sliver of a chance that they might take control of it.
1 He's The True Hero Of The Series
Believe it or not, but at the end of Dragon Ball Super the hero is actually Universe 11’s Jiren and not Goku or any of the Universe 7 folk.
Sure, Universe 7 might ultimately win the Tournament of Power and restore all of the erased universes, but the story that gets focused on is Jiren’s struggle.
Of course other fighters get plenty of time in the spotlight, but Jiren fulfills all of the qualifiers for why the Tournament of Power is actually all about him.
Jiren suffers a tragic backstory where his family is destroyed when he’s a child and so he trains to become the strongest person alive.
There’s considerable honor in this mission, Jiren never forgets about the safety of Universe 11, and by the end of the tournament he’s actually learned something and can value a contrary opinion.
Goku, on the other hand, is just some thrill seeker who causes the Tournament of Power happen for his amusement. Jiren wants to save lives and keep Universe 11 safe and Goku just wants to make sure that his skills don’t get rusty.
Who seems like the bigger hero there? What’s even more fitting is that Jiren actually sees elimination and gets to experience the catharsis of loss and see where he’s gone wrong. That degree of insight isn’t present for anyone from Universe 7.
Can you think of any other secrets about Dragon Ball's Jiren? Sound of in the comments!