Depending on when you’re reading this, Dragon Ball Super is either finally coming to a close or has just ended. It’s hard to believe it’s actually coming to an end. It feels like just yesterday Toei announced Battle of Gods. Regardless of your thoughts on Dragon Ball’s revival, this has undeniably been an important era in DB history. We got two new movies, a new anime, a new manga, and we’re getting a new film at the end of the year. You can argue that Toei’s milking the series for everything it’s worth, and you’d probably be right, but we’ve had some very interesting new additions to the series thanks to Super.
One such addition is Jiren.
Jiren, otherwise known as Jiren the Gray, is everyone’s (least) favorite antagonist from the Tournament of Power. He’s such a polarizing character, I had to add that “least” in parentheses because there is genuinely no consensus on his status as a character. Is he well written? Is he boring? Is he both? Who knows! What I do know, however, is 25 crazy things you never knew about Jiren.
25 Jiren Is The Only Reason Universe 6 Didn’t Win
In a world without Jiren, Universe 6 would have easily won the Tournament of Power. Unfortunately for Champa, Dragon Ball Super does not take place in a world without Jiren. Jiren is the reason Kale could barely do any damage while Berserk; Jiren is the reason Goku unlocked Ultra Instinct and knocked out Kefla; and Jiren is the reason Hit foolishly got knocked out before he could make a dent in the tournament’s roster. Every step of the way, Jiren was there to stop Universe 6. No one else could have stood up to the task, but Jiren makes the impossible possible. He's the kind of opponent that changes the game and sets new plateaus for the characters. Jiren is power on a different scale, and handily changes the stakes.
24 Hit Would Have Beaten Jiren With Teamwork
As overwhelmingly powerful as Jiren is, there are two moments in the Tournament of Power where he was dangerously close to losing. The first of which occurred in his match against Hit. While Jiren overpowered everyone's favorite time skipping boxer, Hit managed to use his time-based abilities to freeze Jiren in place. In paralyzing Jiren completely, Hit put him in a position where Universe 11 could have easily lost its MVP. Unfortunately, nobody actually bothered to help Hit.
Hit put him in a position where Universe 11 could have easily lost its MVP.
Had Cabba, Caulifla, and Kale jumped in to help Hit, instead of just watching him struggle, Jiren would have never been able to break free from the time stop and would have likely fallen off the stage. It can be debated that the risk of jumping in would mean losing four fighters instead of just one, but Jiren truly was immobilized for a while. Universe 6 missed their chance and doomed themselves to erasure without Hit.
23 Jiren Is Stronger Than A God Of Destruction
With Battle of Gods came a new standard: the God of Destruction. Stronger than a Super Saiyan, stronger than a potara fusion, and even stronger than an overpowered Saiyan with God Ki, the God of Destruction was a seemingly unreachable state of power that Goku would need to strive for forever. Then came Jiren. In one instant, one man took the wind out of the sails of destruction and redefined the ladder. With seemingly no God ki of his own, Jiren proved you don’t need to be a god to better a God of Destruction.
Confirmed by Belmod himself, Jiren is either as strong or stronger than the weakest God of Destruction. His raw power, his apparent inability to be damaged, and his ridiculous speed make him a character who can strike fear in those deities designed to be fear incarnate. Going forward, fans aren’t going to be using Gods of Destruction as power benchmarks. They’re going to be using Jiren.
22 Jiren Might Be The Fastest Character In The Series
Measuring speed has always been a tricky feat in Dragon Ball. From as early as the 21st Budokai, characters were already moving faster than human eyes could perceive. Come the start of the Saiyan saga, Raditz brought with him a level of speed unprecedented where Goku and Piccolo, the two strongest men alive, struggled to keep track of his movements. The less said about Burter, the so-called “fastest in the universe,” the better. Jiren is the next step in the speed ladder, but he’s a bit different.
Where before we saw fast characters in motion, Jiren has attacked multiple times without so much as moving. That’s not to say he hasn’t moved, though. He’s clearly moving to attack, but nobody can see him without an intense level of concentration. He’s so fast that Goku, a martial artist with decades of godly experience, couldn’t read his movements initially. It took unlocking Ultra Instinct for Goku to finally get a proper read on Jiren. That’s fast.
21 Jiren Barely Fights
For a main antagonist, Jiren might actually be the villain with the least fights under his belt in his own arc. Jackie Chun, Tien, and Piccolo fought in all the fights they possibly could have in their respective Budokais; King Piccolo fought Goku, Roshi, and Tien; Vegeta fought half the main cast; Freeza fought the entire main cast at the time; Cell foughts villains and heroes alike; Buu pretty much fought everyone; and the Super antagonists before Jiren fight everyone they possibly can.
He fights some fodder from time to time, but his main fights are all tucked away at the very end of the arc.
Comparatively, Jiren doesn’t do much in the Tournament of Power. He fights some fodder from time to time, but his main fights are all tucked away at the very end of the arc. Before Anilaza is dealt with, Jiren’s only notable fight is against UI Goku, a battle Jiren didn’t even bother fighting to completion. It’s that indifference to take action that separates Jiren from other antagonists.
20 Jiren Should Have Been Disqualified
Jiren is living proof that rules mean absolutely nothing in the Tournament of Power. Despite firing an energy ball with murderous intent at the audience in episode 130, Jiren was inexplicably not erased on the spot. This isn’t a rule oversight, either. Frost pulls something similar earlier in the arc which leads to his immediate erasure. What’s worse, Frost wouldn’t have actually done any reasonable damage while Jiren would have had Goku not blocked the attack. As far as the rules are concerned, Jiren should have been disqualified the moment he fired an attack at the audience, securing the win for Universe 7. It's a bit unfair — but what would the story be if not for this change.
19 Android 17 Put Up A Better Fight Against Jiren Than Vegeta
Jiren is cool, but you know what the coolest thing about him is? He made Android 17 awesome. Everyone would expect Vegeta to be the second banana to Goku, doing the most overall damage to Jiren, but Android 17 actually managed to put up a better fight than Universe 7’s second strongest fighter. While Vegeta exhausted his new transformation and barely made a dent in Jiren’s composure, 17 inflicted actual damage against him, used a massive barrier to save Goku and Vegeta from Jiren, and hid in the rubble until the end of Goku and Jiren’s fight in case Goku needed help. Without 17, Jiren would be truly unbeatable. The same can’t be said for Vegeta.
18 Jiren Has One Of The Most Basic Fighting Styles In The Series
In a series where just about everyone has their own fighting style rooted in martial arts, Jiren stands out as one of the few major characters do lack a definable style of their own. His style of combat is incredibly basic, relying almost exclusively on brute strength over actual skill. Keep in mind, this is all in the choreography of the character. Jiren is clearly meant to be depicted as a skilled fighter, but his overall technique is rather bland.
His style of combat is incredibly basic, relying almost exclusively on brute strength over actual skill.
He’s at his most interesting, visually, when he’s using Ki, but even that feels less like martial arts and more just a consequence of being in Dragon Ball. He’s the only main antagonist who lacks a definable fighting style of his own. It could be intentional given his almost blank slate persona, but it’s nonetheless a bit disappointing.
17 Jiren Is Basically The Only Asset In Universe 11’s Team
While other universes certainly fail to impress as much as Universe 11, the Pride Troopers are, on a whole, incredibly disappointing. A team made up pretty much entirely of fodder, Jiren is the only thing carrying their universe to victory. Toppo and Dyspo are supposedly quite powerful and forces not to be reckoned with, but neither characters manages to get an elimination under their belt before falling off the stage. Jiren is the only member of Universe 11 to actually fight more than one major battle during the entire tournament. It’s great for Jiren fans, but it’s disappointing for anyone who expected the Pride Troopers to actually do something.
16 The Tournament Of Power Is Just As Much About Jiren As It Is About Goku
The Universe Survival arc doesn’t have much going on for it narratively, but it stands out in large part thanks to Goku’s development. In granting him the pursuit of Ultra Instinct, Goku is able to challenge himself as a martial artist into reaching a state of complete zen. As a progression of his character, it’s a turn that makes perfect sense for the series. At the same time, Jiren is seeing his idea of strength challenged by Goku, forcing him to confront his ideology.
Together, they develop a mutual understanding of one another and develop into fighters keenly aware of their own weaknesses.
In this sense, Goku and Jiren are developing alike. Goku into a martial artist aware of his surroundings, and Jiren into a warrior who understands where true strength comes from. Goku fights for himself, but he doesn’t stop fighting for others. Jiren fights for himself, but at the expense of everyone else. Together, they develop a mutual understanding of one another and develop into fighters keenly aware of their own weaknesses.
15 Jiren Fights More Stages Of Super Saiyan Than Anyone Else
With the addition of Vegeta’s new form of Super Saiyan Blue, Jiren currently holds the record for fighting the most forms of Super Saiyan. During the first round of his match with Goku, the latter busts out almost every form in his roster to test out Jiren. In order, Goku uses Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan 2, Super Saiyan God, and Super Saiyan Blue. When Blue fails, Goku triggers Blue with Kaioken and puts up a decent fight against Jiren before getting overpowered.
Had Goku used Super Saiyan 3 in their first fight, Jiren would have fought every major form of Super Saiyan in a linear progression.
From other fighters, Jiren has taken on Berserker Super Saiyan through Kale and Super Saiyan Blue Evolved through Vegeta. Had Goku used Super Saiyan 3 in their first fight, Jiren would have fought every major form of Super Saiyan in a linear progression. In hindsight, it’s a missed opportunity to skip from SSJ2 to SSG, but Toei probably wanted to avoid animating all that hair in such an animation heavy episode.
14 Jiren Is The Hero Of Another Story
In another anime, Jiren would be the stoic protagonist fighting for justice and Goku would be the antagonist endangering every universe for the thrill of battle. For as bland as Jiren can come off, he’s a conceptually strong character who clearly has a history rooted in traditional heroism. His family was murdered when he was a young boy, he spent his whole life training to become the strongest person alive, and he has a strong sense of justice. In many ways, Jiren is almost a representation of the Shonen protagonists who preceded Goku. Were the tables turned, it would be easy to believe Jiren in a main character role, especially since the Tournament of Power does double as a character arc for him.
13 Goku And Jiren Were Going To Fight Early
If an old episode description is to be believed, Jiren was originally going to fight Goku during the Tournament of Power exhibition match instead of Toppo. Some time during the writing of the episode description and the actual airing of the episode, however, Toei swapped out Jiren for Toppo. This could explain why Toppo defeats Goku during their match in the manga while further informing us as to why Toppo was there at all. Goku and Toppo never have a rematch, but squaring Goku and Jiren off early allows audiences to build up their rematch for the entire arc. For an added fun fact, many fans mistranslated Jiren’s name as “Dylen” originally. Jiren’s name is spelled “ジレン” in Japanese, but putting that through Google translate gives you “Dylen,” not Jiren.
12 Jiren Can Theoretically Be Damaged Without Ultra Instinct
Despite all the build up around Ultra Instinct hyping it up as the one clear way of defeating Jiren, it’s established that he can indeed be hurt without the need for martial artist Nirvana. Android 17 actually manages to inflict such damage by firing a blast at an off-guard Jiren. Theoretically, with enough people righting Jiren at once, it would be possible to keep catching his blind spots to thin out his energy. Of course, one wrong move would mean multiple eliminations, but that’s just the risk you take when fighting Jiren. Needless to say, the internet loved it — who doesn't want to have Ultra Instinct powers of their own to work with.
11 Jiren Is One Of The Few Villains Who Never Transforms
Demon King Piccolo, Beerus, and Jiren. What do they all have in common? They never transform. Throughout the course of Dragon Ball, villainous transformations have become nearly as important as new forms of Super Saiyan. It’s to be expected and it’s meant to be a game changer. When a villain transforms, it means the arc is about to get serious. Jiren never transforms, though. Jiren never needs to transform.
Jiren flies by on his power alone.
Like Beerus, Jiren flies by on his power alone. It’s Goku who needs to transform and catch up. Once he does, though, Jiren is still in the lead. The goal becomes for Goku to master his transformation. Only then can he actually fight evenly with Jiren. This lack of a transformation will undeniably go down as one of the most interesting aspects about Jiren, solidifying the impact of his raw power.
10 Jiren Is The Only Super Antagonist Goku Manages To Fairly Overpower
As ridiculously strong as Jiren is, he’s also the only main antagonist in the entirety of Dragon Ball Super Goku manages to beat into the ground. Upon finally mastering Ultra Instinct, Goku gains the upper hand in their battle and never loses it. It gets to the point where Goku actually knocks Jiren into the ground, securing himself the victory. Has Ultra Instinct not betrayed Goku’s body, Jiren would have been knocked out right then and there. Still, though, it doesn’t change the fact that Goku won their fight fair and square. Jiren has the raw strength, but he didn’t have the skill to compete with a zen-like Goku. It was nice to see some of the earliest interpretations of Super Saiyan —specifically the white hare— come to fruition with Ultra Instinct.
9 Jiren Is The Only Member Of Universe 11 Who Eliminates Someone
Jiren may barely fight in the Tournament of Power, but he still manages to be the only member of Universe 11 to actually eliminate someone. Throughout the entire course of the tournament, not a single Pride Trooper save for Jiren gets knocked out with a victory under their belt. You’d expect Toppo and Dyspo, Jiren’s two main partners, to take someone out with them, but they never actually pull off a win.
Throughout the entire course of the tournament, not a single Pride Trooper save for Jiren gets knocked out with a victory under their belt.
It’s especially disappointing for Toppo considering he becomes a literal God of Destruction by the end of the tournament. It’d make sense for him to knock out Vegeta at the very least, but that honor ends up going to Jiren. It’s an especially strange choice on Super’s part because it’s not like it makes Jiren look any better. It just makes everyone else look worse.
8 Jiren Can Breathe In Space
Very few characters can breathe in space, but that’s not going to stop someone like Jiren. Revealed in the manga, Jiren is capable of flying and breathing in outer space. While we’re told Freeza and Buu can survive without oxygen, we never actually see physical proof of such a feat until Jiren’s introduction in the manga. Not only can he breathe in space, though, he’s also fast enough to travel from planet to planet without the need of a spaceship. He’s not just a fast fighter, he’s a fast being in general. Then again, a lot of characters seems to have on again off again relationships with breathing in space.
7 Jiren Is Xenoverse 2 Isn’t Himself
If you’ve played Xenoverse 2, chances are you’ve noticed how different Jiren acts in the game compared to the actual series. In the anime and manga, he’s a stoic character who doesn’t waste his breath with unnecessary dialogue. He cares about strength, but tends not to dwell on anything too much. In the game, however, he’s prone to spouting about justice and declaring his resolve for victory. It goes without saying these two personalities don’t exactly mesh. All it does is add to the confusion over the kind of person Jiren really is. This very well might be a case of too many cooks and the lack of a coherent narrative style guide. If you're charged with developing a game, but haven't seen the episodes in your won language, that might become a massive issue.
6 Jiren Could Have Won The Tournament Of Power If He Tried
Jiren’s greatest downfall is simply that he didn’t take the Tournament of Power seriously. Easily the single strongest competitor in the tournament, Jiren has what it takes to knock anyone off the stage at a moment’s notice. Should he be so inclined to do so, he could make his way around the stage knocking people off without breaking a sweat. Jiren is a flawed character, though. If he doesn’t feel someone is worth his effort, he won’t bother with them. It’s precisely this attitude that marked his universe for failure.
Jiren constantly stops himself from trying his hardest, and it’s come around to bite him
In disregarding other fighters as lesser, Jiren constantly found himself getting pushed back. Not only that, it’s this attitude precisely which allowed Goku to trigger and master Ultra Instinct. Jiren constantly stops himself from trying his hardest, and it’s come around to bite him as of episode 130. Had he actually gone into the tournament with a mind to try, his universe wouldn’t be left in such dire straits.
5 Jiren Is The Only Person To Toss The Genki Dama Back At Goku
Many villains have survived the Genki Dama, but none have managed to push it back towards Goku. None until Jiren, that is. During the climax of their first big match, Jiren allows Goku to charge up his strongest attack and fire it at Jiren. Despite gathering more than enough energy to disintegrate the average Dragon Ball villain, Jiren was still able to grab a hold of the Genki Dama and stop it in place. With a little bit of effort, Jiren was even able to push it back and seemingly destroy Goku.
This is a big moment, one that potentially redefines the Genki Dama’s role in the series.
This is a big moment, one that potentially redefines the Genki Dama’s role in the series. Previously, it was Goku’s trump card. It didn’t always work, but that was because of circumstance, not due to any fault of the technique. Jiren completely wrecks that notion, showing that, yes, someone can overpower the Genki Dama. It’s likely Goku will use it again in the future, but its impact will never be the same.
4 Jiren Is Goku’s Antithesis
Goku has had many antitheses over the course of the series, but Jiren stands out as a fairly complete foil, one who embodies the rivalry role in a full sense. He and Goku are true counterparts, with similar motivations but completely different outlooks on life. Both characters strive for unprecedented strength, but one fights for himself and the other fights for the betterment of himself. Goku’s motivation is a selfless selfishness while Jiren’s is a selfish selflessness. Goku doesn’t go out of his way to help others, but his desire for strength is pure. Jiren goes out of his way to be a hero, but only because he believes it will make him stronger.
3 Goku Would Have Beaten Jiren In A Regular Tournament
Remember when I wrote there were two instances where Jiren could have lost the Tournament of Power? This is that second instance. Near the end of the tournament, before Goku triggered Ultra Instinct again, Jiren found himself in a situation where he would have lost if not for the Tournament of Power’s interesting geography. Goku actually manages to cleverly knock Jiren off the stage through the use of creative Ki maneuvers. In a regular tournament, this would have rung Jiren out entirely. Unfortunately, because of the rubble of the stage, Jiren was able to step on a broken stone right at the edge of the void and properly himself back up. In a Budokai, he would have had to accept the loss.
2 Toriyama Personally Came Up With Jiren’s Backstory
Jiren’s personality has been getting a lot of flak ever since his backstory was revealed. Far plainer than fans were expecting, Jiren’s past is a rather shallow rendition of the “my family was murdered when I was young so my perspective of strength is jaded” archetype. For a franchise that’s always done a good job with giving its villains depth, many fans were naturally disappointed. As to be expected with the Super fandom at this point, fans took their disappointment out against Toei. Toei didn’t create Jiren’s backstory, though. Toriyama did.
Jiren’s backstory is so simple, so depthless that it feels so uncharacteristically Dragon Ball.
If you’re going to be mad at anyone involved in the process, it’s Toriyama who deserves your ire. Jiren’s backstory is so simple, so depthless that it feels so uncharacteristically Dragon Ball. Everything about the development screams Toei interference, but it’s all on Toriyama’s shoulders. This may be one of the few instances in DBS where Toriyama should have let Toei come up with an alternative.
1 Jiren Originally Had Toppo’s Personality
In Toriyama’s original draft for the Tournament of Power, he conspicuously left out information on Jiren’s personality along with Toppo and Dyspo. This forced Toei’s hand in trying to develop a personality for Jiren themselves. Remember when I mentioned that Jiren in Xenoverse 2 acted more like Toppo? Well, this is why. In creating their version of Jiren, Toei wanted him to be a justice-oriented character, far more heroic than Goku. When Toriyama got wind of this idea, however, he vetoed the personality and clarified that Jiren should be a stoic antagonist. Not wanting their concepts to go to waste, Toei simply transposed their original personality for Jiren onto Toppo.