The early parts of these manga arcs are always the most exciting parts of them. Maybe it’s because they’re full of potential and all the Dragon Ball obsessed bloggers and Youtubers come up with a ton of new, more interesting possibilities than the stories themselves end up being. Or am I being too cynical do you think?
The chapter begins with a flashback that confirms what many people had predicted concerning Granolah’s past. Many predicted that Granolah could possibly a Tuffle, a technologically advanced race driven to near extinction by the Saiyans during their time under Freeza’s rule. But let’s be real, the Saiyans probably would have gone and done that anyway even if not under Freeza’s thumb.
The Tuffle’s have shown up several times throughout Dragon Ball history, although not really within current canon. An anime only scene from the original anime introduced their concept during the Saiyan arc. Dr. Lychee, the villain of Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans was a Tuffle seeking revenge for the Saiyan’s actions against his people, and then there’s Baby in GT.
While Granolah isn’t a Tuffle, his flashback reveals he has a very similar history with both Freeza and the Saiyans. He’s a Cerealian, which is a hilariously terrible name for a race of people, especially with our main guy being named after granola. These people suffered a similar fate to the Tuffle’s, with the final part of Granolah’s dream prominently showing him remembering a transformed Oozaru Saiyan peering into his hiding place.
All of this is confirmed by a conversation between Granolah and his radio contact? A.I. partner? They haven’t revealed that yet. While this Cerealian might hate Saiyans, the core of his hatred is focused entirely on Freeza, the leader of the army that invaded his world. Although as far as he knows, both Freeza and all of the Saiyans are dead, thus he has nobody to direct his desire dor revenge towards.
And so as a consequence he simply roams the universe as a bounty hunter, listlessly doing one job after another. I don’t know if this is intentional, but I am feeling some heavy shades of the titular character from The Mandalorian coming from Granolah in this part compared to how Mando was in the first episode of that series.
Before get get anymore into that though, we cut to Beerus’s world, where is seems like Goku and Vegeta are right back to their training after the defeat of Moro. There’s a fun scene in which Goku captures the Oracle Fish so Whis can inject him with vitamins. The fish is suffering from Insomnia, which Whis offhandedly comments is usually the sign of an ill omen in the future. Something Vegeta enters a mild panic about before Whis brushes it all off.
There’s been something at the back of my mind ever since the introduction of Ultra Instinct. Its very concept speaks of how the form is a perfect control of one’s body, how fighting becomes truly instinctual and thinking about battle is totally unnecessary. When it was described, it felt like this was the ceiling of what it means to be a martial artist. It was difficult to conceive of how Goku might continue to get stronger from the point of mastering Ultra Instinct.
Well, the following scene on Beerus’s planet seems to act as a mild retcon to tell us not to worry, and there is still plenty of room for Goku to get stronger. In a sparring match between Goku and Whis, even using mastered Ultra Instinct, Whis easily knocks Goku on his ass. Although it does look like Whis is taking his opponent slightly more seriously than he normally does. Which is a nice little visual touch, as he takes a fighting stance.
Whis comments that Goku needs to find his own style within Ultra Instinct, and that while he may have attained the form, he is still on the bottom rung of the ladder confirming that his own mastery of the power is between Meerus’s and the Grant Priest’s. So with that, the idea of Ultra Instinct being the be all and end all is off the table and we can get back to Goku finding stronger guys.
The more interesting side of this scene, as is usually the case, focuses on Vegeta. Beerus enquiries as to whether Vegeta is going to try and master Ultra Instinct too, to which Vegeta declines, saying it doesn’t suit his style. Something he quickly figured out during the anime version of the tournament of power. It’s here that Beerus reveals that Ultra Instinct isn’t the only technique of the gods available to them.
He makes an offhanded comment that the calm hearted nature of the Angel’s technique doesn’t suit the nature of the job the Gods of Destruction. This is the part of the scene that I felt was a little big of a retcon. During the God of Destruction battle royal in the preamble to the Tournament of Power, it was heavily implied that Beerus was using Ultra Instinct to some extent in that battle. And I feel like Whis outright says Beerus can use it at some point in the anime.
I don’t mind though, because through his conversation, it seems like we’re being presented with some avenue for Vegeta to continue getting stronger and keeping pace with Goku. One of them using the technique of the angels, the other using the power of the Gods of Destruction. The true nature of which we don’t get to know about just yet, as we this is all of the Goku and Vegeta we get this chapter.
The rest of the chapter cuts back to Granolah and introduces us to the seedy world of scum and villainy he exists in. Over the years, there have been a lot of homages to other works littered throughout Toriyama’s work, but this is about as Star Wars as Dragon Ball has ever felt to me. Granolah is delivering the remains of Seven Three to Heeter base, what looks like some kind of Bounty Hunting guild manned by a bunch of dreadlocked ne’er-do-wells.
Through interacting with these guys we learn that they’re apparently very wealthy and seem to vie for dominion of the universe through that wealth and control. Brute force and power seem to be low on their agenda. The whole time this is going on, Granolah seems detached, like he’s only half paying attention to the conversation he’s having. There’s something empty about him, and I get the impression that’s how he’s been going through life for the past four decades or so.
Because as soon as Elec drops the bomb that Freeza is alive again, Granolah wakes up. Like not literally, but he has an urgency and a drive to his character we’ve not seen before now. To the point that he starts to look unhinged at the prospect of getting his revenge by re-killing Freeza. Although he is knocked down back to size when he charges as Elec demanding to know Freeza’s location. Not by Elec himself, but by his strongest henchmen Gas.
You getting the pun of the people living in Heeter base yet? If you haven’t there’s a fat guy called Oil in there too.
As Granolah cools off and walks away with his earnings, we get to see the truth behind why Elec mentioned Freeza. Apparently he is worried about how strong Granolah is becoming, and rather than risk him surpassing Gas, he would rather place the Cerealian on a collision course with Freeza and let the space emperor deal with him himself.
He then turns to Seven Three and announces his plan to use the intel inside the android to learn the location of Zuno, the information broker Bulma and Jaco met during the Goku Black arc. I guess Elec wants all the competition off the board, or to learn where the weird pervert gets his information from.
Following this, we catch up with Granolah fighting off some fellow bounty hunters trying to steal his reward. It’s here we learn that Cerealians are experts at long range combat, able to snipe deadly shots from extreme distances. And Granolah is a prodigy amongst his own people I would assume. He announces that he intents to get even stronger, and take his revenge against Freeza for what he did to his people.
All while the Oracle fish sleeps and mumbles that the strongest warrior in the universe will soon rise up. A statement as ominous as it is confusing. I’m assuming he’s talking about Granolah, but who knows maybe it’s a fake out. Although I’m spotting several parallels between Granolah and Jiren as this chapter unfolded, and Jiren got plenty strong on his own through similar means.
This is a super intriguing chapter, like most early chapters in a new story arc are. We’ve broken through that ceiling and a whole new area of growth are available to both Goku and Vegeta. After being MIA for an arc, it seems like Freeza is going to be back into the story in a big way. And we now have Granolah, someone who we could find as an ally to Goku and Vegeta, or maybe an enemy to both them and Freeza.
Hell, this entire story arc might hardly feature Goku and Vegeta at all, which would be interesting as it could be entirely driven by Granolah and Freeza. Which could be very interesting. Although I can’t imagine Super having the bottle to have an entire story arc without the Saiyans.
It seems like Universe 7 still has a ton of story to tell, and we all assumed we’ve be universe hopping at the conclusion of the tournament of power arc. I’m looking forward to seeing where this all goes.