A fair warning to all who read this article. This will include a lot of spoilers for Dragon Ball Super‘s ongoing Tournament of Power.
Let me just get one thing out: Son Goku’s character development in DBS is starting to get ridiculous, and not in a good way.
Now that I’ve said that, let me explain why I think this is the case. Here we go.
Son Goku has always been the lovable fool of the Dragon Ball franchise. Since his days back in the original Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z series decades ago, Goku had always been portrayed as pure of heart but weak of mind. Of course, the Saiyan is a genius in battle, and his potential is practically immeasurable. At his core, however, Goku has always been a character who fights first and thinks later.
Goku’s characterization in Dragon Ball Super has been nothing but consistent. Since the series began two years ago, the mighty Saiyan has proven himself to be the exact same person he was since the days of Dragon Ball Z. While Goku had reached new heights in strength, his mentality and intelligence have remained pretty much the same.
Sadly, this particular progression for Goku’s character is something that is not really working in the ongoing Tournament of Power. Since the beginning of the Universe Survival Arc, many viewers and avid anime fans in online forums such as Reddit have stated that Goku’s tendency to disregard simple logic has been thrown around so much that it is starting to damage his charm to viewers.
Take the Tournament of Power itself, for example. The grand battle royale results in the complete and utter destruction of the defeated universes. This, of course, corresponds to the loss of billions of lives.
Despite being warned of this by Beerus, however, Goku decided to remind the Omni Kings to hold the competition anyway. The reason? He just wanted to fight the strongest fighters in the DBS multiverse. As for the repercussions of the tournament, well, Goku did not really think about those.
Just a couple of episodes ago, Goku decided to do something that bordered on the ridiculous. In the middle of the Tournament of Power, and after his best friend Krillin was unceremoniously eliminated by Frost, Goku did something that was utterly unexplainable. He started giving Caulifla some lessons on reaching higher Super Saiyan forms. Considering that if Universe 7 loses, everything he cares about, including his wife and child, will get destroyed, Goku acted like his actions would have no consequences at all.
This week’s episode was yet another piece of straw that was added on the proverbial camel’s back. Being the practical fighter that he is, Android 17 attacked Universe 2’s Kamikaze Fireballs while they were in the middle of their transformation sequence. In a lot of ways, No. 17’s actions made perfect sense, considering that the Tournament of Power is literally a life-or-death situation. Despite this, however, Goku scolded the Android, telling him that he should have allowed the girls to reach their full power before engaging them in battle, as noted by DBS fan-translator Herms98.
Such actions from Goku does not really help the Saiyan’s character development much. If any, it only makes him quite annoying, especially since Goku is surrounded by other fighters who think before they act, such as his son Gohan, his former rival Piccolo and his once-mortal enemy, Frieza. Simply put, since the Universe Survival Arc began, Goku’s adorable lack of intellect is getting less and less likable by the episode.
The Tournament of Power is the Dragon Ball franchise’s most ambitious competition to date. With the fate of the DB multiverse on the line, the key fighters in the battle royale would have to be the best that the series’ writers have ever created. For Goku to become the character that could truly drive the anime’s plot forward, the Saiyan has to grow up, even if it means temporarily leaving his classic, unabashed foolishness behind.
[Featured Image by Toei Animation]