"You two are still thinking before you move rather than just moving. I'm afraid this habit is especially strong with you, Vegeta. This overthinking is limiting your fighting speed. Messages can only travel through your nervous system so fast. When you rely on thoughts for physical action, you lose precious fighting time. (...) Your end goal should be to master the ability to have each part of your body move independently of the other parts. But I admit this is exceedingly difficult; In fact, not even Lord Beerus has mastered it, and he's a god."
- This article is about the technique. For the incomplete transformation, see Ultra Instinct -Sign-. For the complete transformation, see Ultra Instinct (transformation).
Ultra Instinct (身勝手の極意 Migatte no Gokui, lit. "Key of Egoism") is a very rare and highly advanced mental state. It is notorious among the gods for being exceptionally difficult to master, even for them.
Goku attains a transformation that enables him to utilize the defensive aspect of Ultra Instinct during the Tournament of Power, he later completes it, gaining its offensive properties and full power.
Users can automatically react to any threat without the need to acknowledge it and defend themselves. Their body can also move and adapt while in battle on its own, allowing them to attack and defend simultaneously without thinking. However, this ability is not an absolute guarantee against all danger as shown by Whis being oblivious to stepping on excrements or (in the anime) when Goku managed to bite Whis to escape his hold, possibly because they were not of genuine danger to his being as they were such obscure threats. Additionally, it does not make one completely aware of their surroundings to the point that they can avoid specific hazards, even relatively harmless ones, which is exemplified humorously by Whis when he steps in poop while explaining the technique to Goku and Vegeta. According to Whis, while dodging and moving is easy to master, attacking while in Ultra Instinct is difficult as fighters are inclined to think about their attacks before making them, thus slowing them down and weakening their attack while performing the move.
Apparently, for mortals, at least for those without sufficient divine training, there is one risk of using Ultra Instinct. Similar to the reckless over-usage of Kaio-ken, the user can only sustain the sheer power of the ability for only a minute or so before their body breaks down from pushing so far beyond their natural limits. The time limit ending is shown from blood rupturing from the user's body as well as dark ki electrical shocks that will cause them severe pain and eventually force them into unconsciousness. In more severe cases, Whis noted it could potentially kill the user.
Usage and Power
The first known user of this ability is Whis, who later teaches it to Beerus. In the manga's Zeno Expo, Beerus uses Ultra Instinct against the other Gods of Destruction, enabling him to handle multiple Gods of Destruction simultaneously; however, he is eventually restrained by Mosco due to not having yet perfected the ability.
Whis often uses this ability against Goku and Vegeta during training, and reveals its existence at around the time of Frieza's revenge. During his demonstration, Whis was able to casually observe the blooming flowers while effortlessly dodging Goku and Vegeta's combined assaults.
With the Ultra Instinct -Sign- form, Goku is capable of using the Ultra Instinct ability. However, Goku could only subconsciously activate this form after enduring prolonged stress against a stronger opponent and can only maintain it for a brief period of time before collapsing in exhaustion; his thoughts will somehow start to take control of his motions when Goku switched from defense to offense, which makes attacking less adequate. Whis commented that before Goku is capable of exerting the full potential of Ultra Instinct, he has to master it at the offensive level, by separating his body from his consciousness while attacking. Frieza also noted that Goku's body needs to withstand an overwhelming physical stress as the cost of such a gain in power. Once Goku fully focused his heart and soul into Ultra Instinct -Sign- form, he has gained access to a new transformation that gives him complete mastery of Ultra Instinct. In this ultimate state of fighting, Goku was able to ultilize both the defensive and offensive might of this ability. However, Goku can not access Ultra Instinct on his own and it only activates when he is in the most dire of situations.
Thanks to his many years of martial arts experience Master Roshi became capable of utilizing a similar but not quite as advanced automatic dodging technique by the time of the Tournament of Power - causing Beerus to believe he was actually using Ultra Instinct itself.
Video Game Appearances
Ultra Instinct -Sign- appears as Goku's super move in Dragon Ball Heroes. Dodge appears as an ability for Ultra Instinct Goku in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2. There are also three cards of Ultra Instinct -Sign- Goku in Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle, one of which can transform into Ultra Instinct.
The original Japanese term is a pun that cannot be translated neatly into English.
While the term gokui in Migatte no Gokui 身勝手の極意 can be translated as secret, quintessence or focus point, migatte usually means egoism or selfishness in Japanese. So without any contexts, Japanese people would understand this phrase as followed:
|Literal translation||egoism||<linking particle>||
|Translation||the secret to selfishness|
But in the context of DBS and its world of martial artists, migatte must be understood in a more literal way:
|Literal translation||body||to win/to surpass||hand|
|Translation||the body prevails over both hands|
With the original meaning of egoism, migatte must be understood with the body representing inner urges and the hands representing the interactions with people, thus politeness and good manners. But in the context of DBS, migatte must be re-interpreted as the inner reflexes of one's body taking over the deliberate movements of the hands.
Yet, by understanding what it's all about, most Japanese people would interpret migatte as being the contraction of the below phrase, fitting a modern Japanese view instead of the classical Chinese view of the above explanation:
|Literal translation||body||<subject particle>||one's own convenience||<adverbial particle>||to move|
|Translation||the body moves on its own as it wants|
So, the correct translation of Migatte no Gokui should be "the secret of the body [moving] on its own". This is obviously impractical to use as-is in an English adaptation of DBS. The official translation Ultra Instinct used in simulcasts still renders somewhat appropriately the original meaning by replacing the concept of an uncontrollable body with one's instincts.
- This technique closely resembles the real-life martial art concept of (無心 lit. "Empty Mind"), a mental state that highly trained martial artists are said to be capable of entering during combat. It is essentially a moment where their body reacts without the need of having any specific intentions or plans in mind, having refined their instincts and intuition to a level where they can respond to any threat without the need for thought.
- This technique is also similar to the Kiken, a technique in the Hokuto Sōka Ken, used by Zhang Taiyan from the Fist of the Blue Sky series.
- It is unclear if Whis and Beerus' EX-Fusion Whirus can use Ultra Instinct or not as the technique had not yet been fully revealed by the time that Dragon Ball Fusions was released (as only Whis' brief explanation of it to Goku and Vegeta during the Golden Frieza Saga had occurred by that point). However, as Whirus is the fusion of two users of the technique (Whis having complete mastery of it and Beerus having achieved an incomplete mastery) there is a possibility that he may be able to use it in some form (either completely or partially).
- Due to Whis' comments and the reaction of the Grand Minister, after witnessing Goku's transformation that enables him to use Ultra Instinct, it is presumed that angels are the only ones among the deities who do not have difficulty learning the technique.
- It is implied that fighters of an analytical nature are unable to learn Ultra Instinct because of their propensity to think about their attacks. This is hinted in the anime where Whis claims that Vegeta could hardly learn the skill given to his fighting style. In the manga, Vegeta reinforces this, commenting that he came to the realization that his nature was not suited for Ultra Instinct.
- Currently, Goku is the only known mortal to achieve and master the use of Ultra Instinct, even if he uses it as a transformation. However, Goku cannot access it at will, and is only able to tap into it in extreme danger.