Despite seeing it in action several times, Ultra Instinct remains one of Dragon Ball‘s most mysterious techniques. As far as Dragon Ball Super‘s anime, Goku is the only character besides Whis who has used this technique in battle.
Even after seeing it three times in Dragon Ball Super and three more in Dragon Ball Heroes, there are still several theories about Ultra Instinct that have either been proven false or remain uninvestigated, but as loyal Dragon Ball fans, we’d love to see them be put to the test sometime in the future to add to what we do know about this technique.
10 Wish: The catalyst to Ultra Instinct required your own attack to be thrown back at you
When they first fought, Goku was no match for Jiren, who even managed to deflect Goku’s Spirit Bomb. The following explosion appeared to have completely vaporized Goku, but it only spurred a new transformation. Many fans theorized that if a strong enough attack was deflected at its user, Ultra Instinct would be attained, but as the Tournament of Power progressed, that didn’t seem to be the case at all.
High-stress situations seem to be the main trigger for Ultra Instinct, and it just so happened that Goku’s own Spirit Bomb nearly ripping him apart happened to be pretty darn stressful.
9 True: There is a limit to how long Goku can use this form
Goku’s repeated use of Ultra Instinct during the Tournament of Power wasn’t without consequence. Because he’d tapped into the power of the gods so much in such a short amount of time, his body broke down right before he could defeat Jiren.
It became clear that Goku can’t just use Ultra Instinct for hours on end as he can with Super Saiyan. It’s best if he uses this technique in short bursts, similar to how he uses the Kaioken.
8 Wish: Someone other than a Saiyan had mastered Ultra Instinct
In the Dragon Ball Super manga, Master Roshi went up against Jiren, and to everyone’s surprise, he was able to avoid several of Jiren’s attacks despite being leagues beneath him in terms of power. This scene wasn’t in the anime, but it’s reassuring to know that beings besides Saiyans and Angels also possess the capacity to learn Ultra Instinct, even if they lack the power to blow up planets with a finger.
Although we’re not surprised that Goku became the first mortal to show any sign of mastering Ultra Instinct in the anime, part of us wishes that a Human, Namekian, or even an Android could’ve unlocked this power first. Just to be clear, even if Master Roshi had mastered Ultra Instinct, we don’t really expect him to be able to take Jiren down by himself.
7 True: Ultra Instinct -Sign- is a weaker version of Goku’s mastered Ultra Instinct
When fans first witnessed Goku attain the powers of Ultra Instinct, his hair was still black, but his eyes had turned white, making it clear that he had undergone some sort of transformation. It was revealed during his battle with Kefla that Ultra Instinct -Sign- (as it’s known across videogames like Dokkan Battle) is when his hair remains black.
As an imperfect version of Ultra Instinct, Ultra Instinct -Sign- still grants Goku the ability to dodge enemy attacks, but his own attacks lack the force required to injure high-level opponents. After growing accustomed to Ultra Instinct -Sign-, Goku was then able to master Ultra Instinct, hence the white hair.
6 Wish: Goku would’ve used Ultra Instinct in his fight against Broly
After getting slammed like a ragdoll in Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Goku attempted to transform into a Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan. For just a brief second, his hair and eyes flashed white, and fans everywhere thought Ultra Instinct Goku had finally graced the big screen, but he could only sustain this transformation for a second.
Broly improved mid-battle, even managing to turn Super Saiyan after seeing it once. It’s possible that against Ultra Instinct Goku, Broly would’ve mastered this technique after a few minutes of sparring, and seeing two Ultra Instinct Saiyans going at it would’ve taught us so much more about the transformation, not to mention it would’ve easily been the best fight of the entire franchise.
5 True: Ultra Instinct isn’t a guaranteed victory
Even after mastering Ultra Instinct, defeating Jiren was far from a walk in the park. After Jiren powered up, the two were almost equals. Despite being such an overpowered technique, a strong opponent could still break through Ultra Instinct’s automatic defensive response by hitting even harder and faster.
In Dragon Ball Heroes, Goku managed to hold back an attack from the crystal-commanding villain Lagss with his Ultra Instinct -Sign- transformation, though in doing so, he expended all of his energy. Couple this with what happened to him right before he defeated Jiren and it’s clear that the technique can actually become a huge downfall if the user fails to finish off an opponent in a timely fashion.
4 Wish: Goku could combine Ultra Instinct with other transformations
Being the natural combat genius that he is, Goku has been known to combine skills that have often left his opponents stunned. Most recently, he combined the Kaioken’s unstable nature with his imperfect Super Saiyan God Blue to defeat Hit during their first showdown.
How awesome would it be if he could go Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken while utilizing the abilities of Ultra Instinct to avoid enemy attacks without even trying? Not only would he probably be able to wipe the floor with Beerus, but he’d look pretty cool doing it.
3 True: Goku can only improve his control over Ultra Instinct through training with an Angel or the Grand Priest
During the Dragon Ball Heroes anime, fans had been led to believe that Goku perished on an exploding planet, but it was revealed later that he had been rescued by the Grand Priest, and had undergone some form of training, evident by their matching outfits.
The Grand Priest and the rest of his angelic offspring are the only ones who can teach Goku how to master Ultra Instinct, given that they’re the only ones who have mastered it themselves. While he definitely has a long way to go, it’s clear that after his rendezvous with the Grand Priest, Goku now has better control over Ultra Instinct, and given more time with the Grand Priest, he can surely master the technique.
2 Wish: Ultra Instinct Goku fought Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Evolved Vegeta
Vegeta was always following in Goku’s footsteps, especially when it came to transformations. His pride was wounded after it was Goku who became not only the first Super Saiyan but the first Super Saiyan God. When he finally accepted the fact that he and Goku would have to walk different paths as warriors, he discovered a level of power beyond Super Saiyan Blue.
Although it’s clear that Vegeta’s newest form is nothing like Ultra Instinct, it is Vegeta’s first unique transformation. If Vegeta and Goku were to duke it out in these respective forms, we’d be able to see just what each transformation was capable of, since Vegeta has most likely just scratched the surface of what his new power. Given time, it could even compete with Ultra Instinct.
1 True: The more you think, the less likely you’ll be able to master Ultra Instinct
When Whis was first shown sparring against Goku and Vegeta in Ressurection of F, his mastery of Ultra Instinct allowed him to dodge their attacks while absentmindedly admiring stray flower pedals. He pointed out during the Tournament of Power that while Vegeta is too methodic in his fighting style, Goku is more in touch with his instincts, which is why Ultra Instinct came more naturally to him.
As long as Vegeta is actively trying to attain Ultra Instinct, he won’t. Basically, the key to mastering Ultra Instinct is to think less in general, and for someone like Goku, that’s just a part of who he is.
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