Dear earthling, this is a series called the Dragon Ball ABC. Every week we take a letter of the alphabet and take a look at a character or a thing with the biggest influence on the Dragon Ball universe we all love. So if you’re into Dragon Ball you better buckle up, because we’re bringing you 26 weeks with peeks into the amazing world of Dragon Ball! Since we’re diving into some of the nitty gritty of Dragon Ball, an obvious spoiler warning applies!
SPOILER WARNING: First of all, if you are not up to speed with the latest Dragon Ball Super episodes I have to warn you that this piece will contain massive spoilers. To explain Jiren and his impact we're covering episodes all the way up until the very last one of the series. So if you prefer to watch the series without spoilers, you might want to postpone reading this blog until you have watched Super until the end!
With that being said, if you're still reading, let's dive into the depths of Jiren! We get to know him as a very stoic character. Usually standing in the background, silent and observing. Jiren is not interested in attention and he almost does not seem to be interested in fighting at all. Even when a lot of his teammates are already knocked out of the tournament he still stands back and let's Toppo and Dyspo handle the fighting. Compared to most Dragon Ball characters, especially the formidable foes, he's not just calm but maybe even a little boring. It takes until the last episodes of Dragon Ball Super until we learn more about Jiren and his character and behavior get more meaning. We'll get back to that later.
First, we need to talk a little bit about Jiren's greatest prowess, his strength. Jiren is a very proud person when it comes to his strength. He takes massive pride in being the strongest person in Universe 11 and wanting to be the strongest person in general. His relentless pursuit of strength mirrors that of Goku and Vegeta and his character actually resembles that of Vegeta quite a bit. Like Vegeta, Jiren is extremely proud of his strength and will let people know how strong he is compared to his opponents. Of course, they're not exactly the same. Vegeta actually does care about people not called Vegeta, though he does not like admitting it. Meanwhile, Jiren is a lot less about bragging in general. Compared to Vegeta, Jiren has a lot more confidence in himself to not be easily agonised when challenged. He's also a lot calmer in general. But looking at their characters, they have some striking similarities and could perhaps be great friends.
Jiren's strength also serves as a bridge to his background story and personality. As said, it isn't until the last episodes of the Super series that we find out more about Jiren and his true personality. As it turns out, Jiren isn't as noble as he first seems. Then again, it's hard to blame him. At an early age Jiren's parents were murdered. After years of training he tried taking on the person who murdered his parents, only to see the people he gathered around him to be murdered too while not defeating his enemy. After these traumatic events, Jiren turned to solitary and lost all his hope and trust in others. He began his quest for strength and covers it up with a sense of justice and a duty to serve the people of Universe 11. Deep down however, he's hiding the fact that he needs to confront his past and learn to deal with his trust issues.
That ties in to the overall story arc and morale of the Tournament of Power arc and obviously the reason why Jiren is who he is. At the end, the viewer and Jiren learn that you should never lose trust in those around you even if you have gone through rough times. In some of the final scenes of the tournament, we can see Jiren slowly change his mind and learn that it's okay to let people close. That's about as far and in-depth as his character and ties to the overall story arc go and it really isn't anything new. However, it's in other areas that he most definitely had some massive impact on the Dragon Ball universe.
The first thing Jiren has given us is perhaps the best animated fight in Dragon Ball history and maybe even in anime history. Dragon Ball Super Episode 130 gave us some truly amazing visuals.
Just look at this gif
Episode 130 really brought Dragon Ball Super to a level different from all other Dragon Ball anime series and really makes you crave another Dragon Ball series so much more. So on the visual side, the fight against Jiren has really raised the bar for future 'final boss' fights.
Meanwhile, Jiren also literally raised the bar for Goku by being way too strong for him at the start. The difference in strength between Jiren and Goku might have been among the biggest ever in a serious Dragon Ball fight. Of course, knowing Goku that never stops him, but it took a different kind of revelation for Goku to overcome Jiren.
Most of the times we see Goku simply evolve in strength and t hat is enough to overcome whatever foe challenges him. With Jiren however, the difference in strength levels was so high that it took a more subconscious level of strength increase for Goku to become strong enough. Super Saiyan one through three and the more recent Super Saiyan Blue transformations are all conscious transformations. Goku is well aware of what is going on and he's actively unlocking this new level of strength. With Ultra Instinct however, Goku required to be pretty much beaten to a pulp and be completely overwhelmed for his body to begin changing. The unlocking of Ultra Instinct is shown as a reaction of Goku's body to defeat and it is not so much Goku himself who actively tries to reach this form. The only active part about Ultra Instinct is Goku learning how to handle his new form and ultimately master it. But even mastered Ultra Instinct cannot be activated at will and takes a subconscious form of activation. Compared to what we've seen so far in Dragon Ball this is new and it took someone as strong as Jiren to make it happen. Not even a fight against Beerus could elevate Goku to this new level.
This new and mysterious form for Goku and the incredibly well animated fight with Jiren is what really defines Jiren's impact on the Dragon Ball universe compared to all other characters. Perhaps the best part of all is that, seeing how Dragon Ball Super ended, we might not have seen the last of Jiren.
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That's it for now, but don't worry, unlike Dragon Ball Super this series hasn't ended yet. We'll be back next week with the letter L!
How did you like Jiren? Leave a comment or check out the other parts of PlanetGoku's Dragon Ball ABC.
We'll leave you with episode 130's amazing Goku vs Jiren scenes. See you next week!