Chapter 61 of ‘Dragon Ball Super’ Takes Vegeta’s Character Growth to New Levels

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SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Dragon Ball Super, Chapter 61

Most anime fans, especially fans of Dragon Ball know Vegeta all too well. He’s the Prince of all Saiyans. The murderous villain turned shonen rival and trusted ally to the main protagonist, Goku, and the Z Fighters. Since his introduction to the Dragon Ball franchise, Vegeta has been one of the most popular and loved characters in the series. When it comes to strength and power he has always strived to be at the top. Even though most of he has always come in second place to Goku. However, the latest chapter of the Dragon Ball Super manga changes all of that for the Saiyan Prince.

Goku and his friends’ adventures from the best-selling manga Dragon Ball continue in Dragon Ball Super. The action-adventure comedy manga is written by Akira Toriyama and has art from Toyotarou. In the Galactic Patrol Prisoner Arc of the manga, Goku and Vegeta are recruited by Galatic Patrol to help take down Moro, a powerful wizard who threatened Universe 7 ten million years ago. After they suffered a brutal defeat by Moro, Goku and Vegeta went their separate to train and become stronger for their next battle with Moro.

While Goku went to train with Angel Merus to learn how to master Ultra Instinct, Vegeta headed towards Planet Yardrat. The very planet that Goku once visited and learned his Instant Transmission technique from many years ago. Vegeta’s intentions to train on Yardrat weren’t to learn Goku’s signature technique. Instead, he was determined to undergo the same grueling training that his long-time rival went through in a fraction of the time to learn a new technique that would help him defeat Moro.

Chapter 61 of Dragon Ball Super reveals that Vegeta’s new technique that he learned from the Yardratians is called Forced Spirit Fiasion. With his new power, Vegeta can split up combinations like Piccolo and the Namekians or fusions like Gotenks and other powerful fusions. Mastering this technique was extremely difficult, but it gives Vegeta a huge advantage against enemies like Moro, whose strength depends on the consumption of energy and life source of other beings.

Forced Spirit Fission gives Vegeta the power to tear apart things that have been combined or fused. So he can free the energy and life forces that Moror consumed and return them to where they belong. Obtaining this special technique also marks a new achievement for Vegeta. He has ascended to a new level of power that Goku couldn’t obtain before him. Not to mention all of the potential and possibilities this power could have in future battles against future powerful enemies.

The thing I appreciate the most about this chapter is that it gives Vegeta the recognition that he deserves. Since his introduction in the Dragon Ball franchise, he’s fit into the mold of the Shonen Rival trope perfect. A powerful foe or enemy that, over time becomes a trusted ally to the main character that motivates and competes with them to become stronger. Over the years, a lot of Vegeta’s motivation to become powerful was related to the goal of becoming stronger than Goku.  And while there is no arguing that Vegeta is one of Earth’s, let alone the Universe’s mightiest fighters, he would always fall a little short to surpassing Goku.

However, most recently in Dragon Ball Super, we’ve seen a slight shift in Vegeta and Goku’s dynamic. Instead of Vegeta coming second, it seems as though the series has put them both on equal footing with one another. You can see it in the way that they fight throughout this manga and the Dragon Ball Super anime series. However, there are still times when the series still puts Goku a bit ahead of Vegeta.

That finally changes in Chapter 61. After Goku fails to defeat, Moro, things look grim for him and the other Z Fighters. The roles, for once, are reversed when Vegeta arrives and joins the fight. In my opinion, switching their roles gives Vegeta the recognition that he deserves and is long overdue. For far too long, a large part of Vegeta’s character has relied on his desire to surpass Goku.

There is nothing wrong with competition and striving to be the best. However,  when it comes to Vegeta, it has always felt like Toriyama was dangling a carrot above his head that was always going to be out of his reach. It can be frustrating seeing a character like Vegeta, who trains and pushes himself to the point of death to get stronger than Goku. So this chapter was so refreshing because he finally achieves that goal and is recognized for it.

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Next, I want to talk about the symbolism that his new technique adds to his character growth. During Vegeta’s fight with Moro, Piccolo notes that he is impressed with how much Vegeta has grown as a person. He reminds Goku and the other present Z Fighters that Vegeta, while he is one of Earth’s protectors, once come to the planet with murderous intent. Not to mention the atrocities he caused while serving in Frieza’s army. Or the massacre was caused on Planet Namek years ago when he was looking for the Namakian Dragon Balls.

The energy that Vegeta separates from Moro goes back to the planets and beings that he drained from. Unfortunately, the Elder Pybara, the Yardratian that helped train Vegeta, who is observing the battle from his planet that most of the beings who lost their lives to Moro’s energy absorption won’t be restored. However, the residents of New Namek that died from Moro’s energy absorption instead of his physical attacks have their energy returned to their bodies and are revived.

Vegeta’s new technique is symbolic of how far he has come over the years. His new power allows him to save and restore the lives of the innocent beings that Moro killed. The same innocent lives that he at one point in his life had no remorse for killing without blinking. It is reminiscent of how far Vegeta has come, not just in terms of strength but as a character overall. He was once so selfish and driven by his pride that he didn’t care about destroying and taking the lives of anyone that stood his way. Now, he’s fighting with a power that allows him to be a savior and restore life.

Before reading Chapter 61 of Dragon Ball Super, I thought one of Vegeta’s most shining moments of atonement was when he sacrificed himself in an attempt to kill Majin Buu in Majin Buu Saga. But this chapter of Dragon Ball Super surpasses that moment in a completely different and more powerful way. During the battle with Moro, just when it looks like Vegeta is about to put an end to villain, Moro asks Vegeta if he believes that he wasn’t going to Hell.

On the contrary, Vegeta corrects him and says he knows he is naturally bound to go to Hell when he dies. He knows there is no amount of atonement that he can do the wash away his past since.  He even refers to himself as a villain and has made peace with the consequences that he has to face one day when he dies.

Vegeta’s acknowledgment of his fate is what makes this moment so powerful. Vegeta knows that what that no amount of good deeds or defeated villains will absolve him of his past sins. He knows that he will have to pay for his past sins to Hell when he dies. Nonetheless, he isn’t trying to defeat Moro to make up or wipe the slate clean for his sins. He’s truly doing it for the sake of others and to save the universe.

This chapter of Dragon Ball Super is appropriately titled, Vegeta Reborn and it truly takes Vegeta’s character growth to new levels that we haven’t before. It is so moving to this character to get recognition and further development he’s deserved after so many years. It is enough to make anyone to proud to be a fan of the Prince of Saiyans.

To read more of the Dragon Ball Super manga visit VIZ Media.