7

In the anime version of Dragon Ball Super we can clearly see how every single universe is mad at Goku for being the one that with his proposal to Zeno brought forth the Tournament of Power, and with it the risk for every single creature in 7 whole universes (8 universe took part in the tournament but the winner one would be saved) to simply be erased from existence.

Yet, despite Goku apparently triggering the biggest genocide in Dragon Ball history no one seems to really think of a way to save everyone, only focusing on their own universe survival. Later we actually discover that out of sheer luck the Tournament actually worked in favor of the 8 Universes because Zeno was planning to erase all of them anyway but initially no one was aware of that detail.
For this reason, I always wondered if someone actually realized the simple opt-out loophole in the rules. No universe needed to win to save themselves - they simply needed to fight at their best (since refusing to battle would make Zeno angry and result in immediate deletion) while working to ensure that the winner had at least a bit of ... moral? ethics? to actually use their wish for the the only decent thing to do and save everyone else. And apparently at least in the anime that was what Zeno expected since it is afterwards pointed out that had a selfish wish been made instead, he would have erased the winner too.

In the end, 17 wins and uses the wish to restore all the other universes that were erased during the tournament. Before that during the battle Vegeta had also pointed out that he intended to wish back at least the Saiyan race from Universe 6 (he promised that to Cabba). But.... had anyone else planned anything similar?
It seems something pretty basic to realize, and I am kinda baffled that at least the likes of "Maiden of Love" Ribrianne or "Warrior of Justice" Toppo wouldn't have that figured out...

Is there any indication that anyone in the tournament had planned in advance to use the wish to save all the universes?
It is worth noticing that even Frieza apparently handwaves that the wish could be used to bring back someone from another universe when he tricks Frost into a fake alliance (at least in the anime version he offers his alliance to other universes if they use the prize to wish him back afterward). Yet it should also be mentioned that in the manga 17 only uses the wishes to save the other universes in order to spite Zeno and their rule, unlike the anime version where he does that out of compassion showing a personal growth as a result of his new life.

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  • If they had, the tournament mightn't be as interesting and Zeno might have destroyed everything because he wanted the tournament for entertainment. And Goku would've disagreed as always because he would've wanted to fight everyone at their strongest as if their survival's at stake.
    – Zero
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 9:00
  • Which would then finally show him as "evil" or "chaotic-lawful" at best. Genocide "for fun" when you have another option. Eeek, in most other shows a decent hero would have been crushed by the realization of what they started, Goku is fine and does not care. Good.
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 9:07
  • @Zero just try to imagine for fun Midoria in the same situation. Even on a smaller, non lethal scale. Imagine him triggering a school tournament where each class but the winners will be expelled. His mind would be utterly destroyed. Goku doesn't care about 7 universe being erased. Obviously in all those universes there isn't a little Pan that just wanted to grow up, there aren't friends who wanted to live, there isn't anyone worth fighting again if he already beat them in the tournament, so why keeping them around?
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 9:12
  • Goku "purity" is similar to Zeno: there is no need to keep around universes with a low mortal level, there is no need for people that aren't worth to fight to live anymore.
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 9:13
  • Exactly, there's no line between Evil and Chaotic-Lawful in Dragon Ball verse, you might have already seen it before Zeno, Beerus was destroying planets for food and spared the earth for the very same reason.
    – Zero
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 9:13

3 Answers 3

3

Does Anyone Contemplate Using the Wish to Save All the Universes?

Neither the anime, nor the manga show any of the fighters contemplate using the wish to save all of the rest of the universes, nor is there any sort of collaboration to this end. There are a few instances of the wish being discussed. Most notably, this one in volume 7 of the manga comes closest:

Wolf guy begs for mercy from Piccolo but Frieza kicks him off

It's very telling that the wolf guy says they need to figure out a way everyone can survive. This suggests that he does not currently know a way all the universes can survive. Even though it may seem obvious to us to use the wish from the Super Dragon Balls, it evidently is not to this guy. Piccolo does not have a response either.

There are several other times when a wish is discussed. 17 for instance, wants a yacht. And it is confirmed in the manga that Jiren would wish for the revival of his master. In exchange for his cooperation in fighting for Universe 6, Frieza asks Frost to use the wish to revive him (this is later shown to be a deception). In the anime, Vegeta suggests that he will use the wish for Universe 6.

Nobody says anything about saving all the universes.

There are four plausible conclusions here: either the fighters cannot even conceive of the idea of using the wish to save all the universes, the fighters cannot think of using the wish to save all the universes as a good idea, the fighters don't care about any universe but their own, or the narrative of Dragon Ball Super simply refuses to show us any fighters thinking about saving all the universes.

Thesis

Having established no one was shown to contemplate using the wish to save all the universes, it makes sense to try and determine why. As I will soon show, using the wish to undo the destruction of the universes is not as obvious as we might think.

There are many reasons why:

Out of Universe

  1. The narrative does not show anyone thinking this, even though some people might be thinking it, in order to retain tension during this story arc.

In Universe

  1. Making this wish would mean opposing the will of Grand Zeno, who wishes to reduce the number of universes.
  2. The majority of fighters are unfamiliar with the Dragon Balls, so they might not be capable of thinking to use them to restore all the universes.
  3. There is no trust amongst the universes and the fighters.

Out of Universe Explanation

A lot of the tension in this arc hinges on the fact that the universes are being culled. Up until the first one is completely obliterated, we wonder if Zeno is actually going to do it... and then he does.

As far as suspense goes, Dragon Ball Super inherited a very big narrative problem in the Dragon Balls. Time after time, the heroes have used their wishes to undo all the damage done by the bad guys. If that's the case, why should the audience worry about anything? The Dragon Balls make suspense very difficult. But the writers shouldn't totally give up on suspense, right? Thus, does it make sense to show any character contemplating wishing to restore all the universes ahead of time?

The answer is no. Once the audience is cued in that this is a possibility, the main source of tension is gone. The audience might wonder about it themselves, of course, which will make it frustrating to watch the tournament when the writers are deliberately avoiding talking about it at all. Still, whether or not it is truly a shock, the writers have to at least try to make 17's wish a surprise.

In Universe Explanations

Respect/Fear of the Gods

As the question points out, this whole situation doesn't seem to make sense. With some reasoning and examination of the story, I will try to provide a framework where this situation makes sense. Perhaps this is just my opinion, but I believe we should try to believe a story makes sense until the author blunders and contradicts themselves so badly it cannot be rectified and is undoubtedly a plot hole. Thus, if there are frameworks where a story makes sense and frameworks where the story does not, then we must reject the frameworks where the story does not.

Thus, what it comes down to is this: while it would seem that a wish to restore all the universes should be obvious, under close scrutiny, it is not.

Zeno is the highest level god in the Dragon Ball multiverse. He is so powerful that all of the Destroyer Gods are afraid of him. And if Zeno truly is a being of which no greater can exist, then what he says is absolute and infallible. Whether or not this is actually true is not important. What is important is that many of the combatants will believe this.

The head angel (speaking on Zeno's behalf) states many times that the universes are going to be culled, that it is necessary, and that it is Zeno's will. Now, what does making a wish to undo Zeno's will amount to? It amounts to a rejection of his words and actions. Isn't that clearly the wrong thing to do? And if Zeno is the being who decides what is right and wrong, wouldn't it be immoral?

Consider the real world Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc), for instance. According to the tenets in these religions, there are no circumstances under which it is acceptable to defy the Abrahamic God. In their stories, God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son to him. The correct answer is not to say, "Hey, this is wrong, I'm not doing that." Rather, the correct answer is to comply, and in the end God will say, "Okay, you can stop; I was just testing you."

Apply this logic to the Dragon Ball multiverse. These two cases offer answers that are exact opposites. So Zeno wants the winner to openly go against his will to destroy all but one universe? How can he expect that when even the Destroyers are afraid to speak out against him? And how can that possibly be what's right when Zeno is an infallible deity? The angels stated multiple times that Zeno wished to cull the universes because there were too many. Honestly, if I were in the position to make that wish, I would simply assume if I used the wish to restore the universes, Zeno would just blow up every single one all over again, and this time the winning universe would be included.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to call Zeno a being of whose will is absolute. He can blow up an entire universe in an instant, so what else could he be, at least in the eyes of the mortals? Some or maybe even the majority of the fighters from the universes must think of him as an unstoppable and immutable force that shouldn't be tested. In fact, this very idea is stated over and over again in the manga and anime.

It is not unreasonable to think most of the fighters would think restoring the universes with the Super Dragon Balls was a bad idea. Over and over again, the deity characters state that Zeno is insurmountable. Going against Zeno is thus futile. And in the manga, we get this conversation between Whis and Goku from volume 6, page 68:

Goku: Yeah... Maybe I'll ask the Lord of Everything to call off this whole erasure thing.

Whis: I wouldn't do that if I were you. The Lord of Everything and the Grand Priest decided this. If you offend them, you'll just be erased.

What else do we know about Grand Zeno? Namely, that he thinks managing so many universes is a pain, and the endeavor seems pointless especially on account of their mortal levels not going up; thus, Zeno wants to get rid of some of the universes. This is shown directly in the manga between a conversation between him and the Grand Minister.

All this gives us these assumptions:

  1. Zeno wants to see a fighting tournament.
  2. Zeno wants less universes.
  3. Zeno cannot be opposed.
  4. If Goku suggests stopping the tournament or the erasure of universes, Zeno will be offended and destroy him.

From these, I would extrapolate this conclusion:

  1. If you undo the destruction of the universes, Zeno will be offended and destroy them all again, because as stated in 2, he does not want to manage so many universes.

At the very least, it is not unreasonable to think that the fighters are worried about this enough to think restoring the universes is not a viable option, or too risky. We should also question whether the fighters care enough about the other universes to risk their own in the event of their victory.

At best, Zeno's challenge is a riddle. To figure out what the correct wish is, one would have to put together the pieces: first, that perhaps the reason Zeno isn't the one saying anything is because the angels are not actually stating Zeno's will. And two, the reason that there are no restrictions on the wish is to use it to defy the destruction of every universe. But considering the destruction is in the first place being caused by the top-level god, who is supposed to determine what is good and moral, I don't think the answer to the riddle is obvious at all.

So to answer the question, I believe it is exceedingly likely that the majority of fighters did not plan on making a wish to restore all the universes if they won. Unless they have zero respect or fear for the gods (like Goku and 17), it would have been a difficult idea to even conceive of.

Evidence

I will preface with the following: fiction is a reflection of reality. Author and reader alike make default assumptions about a fictional world. Thus, ideas, even religious ones, will inevitably creep in. And indeed, though I started from a place of comparing Dragon Ball Super to real religions, I found plenty of the specific ideas I examined present in the work itself. Toriyama and Toyotarou's own views on the gods in their work can also be gleamed from this interview at the end of volume 4.

interview

It's notable that they write the deities are just. This view would likely be reflected in their writing as well.

Since it has been rightfully questioned whether the people in the multiverse of Dragon Ball hold the proper reverence for their deities, I will try to examine the matter.

What I have is this: whether it's King Kai, Supreme Kai, or Beerus, the deities are constantly shocked at Goku's lack of respect. When Goku talks to Grand Zeno casually like they're buddies, Beerus has a total flip-out. This constant shock can only lead one to conclude that Goku's behavior is completely aberrant. The majority of the people in the multiverse would understand not to question gods.

Consider Vegeta and King Vegeta as well. When Beerus shows up, they both become groveling cowards to the point of becoming comic relief.

Another example comes from the manga in volume 9. We see the Namekians praying to their Dragon Ball, saying

It is thanks to the protection of the gods that we may live in peace. We mustn't forget to be grateful.

A quote from volume 8, just before Universe 10 gets obliterated:

Lord Gowas! I'm satisfied just to be carrying out the will of Universe 10's gods.

This all seems like a general adherence to the gods to me.

And here's a quote from Zamasu I found on https://dragonball.fandom.com/wiki/Zamasu

"You give corruption far too much credit, evil does not inform good. It sullies it, like how the Babari sullied their world with violence, or how that arrogant Goku sullied this sacred ground by swinging his fists at a God. Mortals receive the divine gift of intellect, the potential for wisdom, but they misuse it to destroy the beauty of creation. Mortals do not succumb to evil, they are the evil. They create it, and spread it with minds they shouldn't possess. How can we call ourselves gods if we watch this plight and do nothing to stop it?"

Here's a similar quote from chapter 19 of the manga (volume 3, page 152):

Zamasu/Goku Black: "In this universe right now... I reign supreme! Draaah!!!"

Vegeta: "We don't need a god who forces his own twisted sense of justice on us."

Zamasu/Goku Black: "Silence, you filthy mortal!! My reign is absolute! Every action that I, the supreme god, make... is justice!"

And from volume 4:

Zamasu angry

Zamasu: Know that defying gods is a sin

Zamasu is a bad guy, but these quotes and Zamasu's disgust with Goku shows that the idea that mortals are bad, and thus that gods are good and determine good, is not foreign to the world of Dragon Ball.

Additionally, in volume 4, the Supreme Kai gives some indication towards thinking it's a particularly egregious crime to kill a god:

Supreme Kai angry over Gowasu death

Now, consider the fighters at the Tournament of Power. The most fervent believers in justice and love, such as Ribrianne and Toppo, have been questioned for seemingly not thinking of restoring all the universes with the wish. But oftentimes, the ones most dedicated to justice can be the ones most susceptible to blind obedience to higher authorities, including gods and angels, so I don't see this as contradictory. If Zeno is approving of what's happening, they might see the tournament as just, or they might simply see opposing Zeno as futile. Such thoughts will lead them away from contemplating this kind of wish.

We can see a bit of their trepidation in these panels from volume 7, so we know that their gods have told them enough about Grand Zeno.

trepidation of the fighters

Examining the final episode of the anime, Krillan and some others were shocked by 17's wish. It isn't really explained why, but we can assume either it was a surprising wish (nobody else could even conceive of it) or it was a dangerous wish (Grand Zeno might get mad).

Perhaps further evidence is the reason 17 makes the wish in the manga. As per volume 9, page 83:

Mostly, I just didn't want those little imps to have their way with things.

17 changes his wish to spite the two Grand Zenos. We see none of the "good" and "just" fighters even think of saving all the universes. The one person who actually makes the wish to restore all the universes is one with no fear or respect for the gods. And the Grand Priest bumps up Universe 7's mortal ranking for this, so evidently it is a good thing.

First Time Seeing Dragon Balls

We have to consider that for many of the fighters, this is their first time being told they can get a wish. Without the years of experience with Dragon Balls that Universe 7's heroes have, it might be difficult to even think of what that wish can be used for. I don't really have much to say about this reason, and the evidence is just that nobody seems to think of saving all the universes (see the picture at the beginning with the wolf guy).

The tournament also goes by pretty fast and is chaotic (at least in the manga, we get this impression), so a lot of the fighters might not even have a chance to stop and think. The spectators are enthralled in the match as well due to the fate of their universe being on the line.

One last point though: it is stated that there is no limitation on the wish, but there actually is one. It will be filtered through the Grand Priest, since it needs to be spoken in the language of the gods to Super Shenron. This is just another reason to be cautious with any wish. Did you want to wish Zeno destroyed to stop this from happening again? Whoops. Now you're in trouble.

Distrust Amongst the Universes

Another thing to consider is the level of trust between the universes. The gods and destroyers are all squabbling for survival, and not cooperating at all. It doesn't follow that the mortals would trust anyone from another universe to use the wish to restore theirs. Their distrust may even extend so far as to make them not want to restore any other universe. Regardless, there would be no cooperation; even someone contemplating making the wish, would not trust anyone else, and they would fight all the harder to make sure it's them who gets the prize.

We see Frieza making deals, but that's just him playing mind games, and it ends in backstabbing; that's because in the end, Frieza isn't going to trust his survival to the chance another universe would follow through on using the wish to revive him. It would be so easy not to once he's gone, after all. And that's true for any kind of deal regarding saving all the universes.

Some Frieza quotes from the manga:

Entrusting the fate of your universe to another? I've never heard something quite so pathetic.

Oh of course. In the heat of the battle, I forgot to mention some key advice. Never trust anyone!

Why even hesitate? This is a survival game, and our very existence is on the line. It seems I'm the only one here with a clear idea of how this is supposed to work.

The last one continues from the picture I included of Piccolo and the wolf guy. It just goes to show that even if some of the participants are willing to work together, it only takes one Frieza on the team for things to end in betrayal.

And a quote from Vegeta too:

Need me to hold your hands, child? Don't forget--in this arena, we're foes, so don't look to other universes for aid!

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  • I don't really agree on the premise. There is no real evidence that "Zeno" is a "god" in the same way we consider god beings in the various religions. We don't know if the world of Dragonball actually has any religion in the first place (Enma exists, , Nam claims to be a Buddhist in the original manga and Christianity must exists too since Upa tries to do a cross-like pose against a vampire, but everything is then forgotten in Z and Super).
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 8:55
  • Furthermore, even if everyone was scared to death by Zeno asking him seems to be a valid option. During the Zeno Expo Bergamo had the audacity to ask for a change in the rules directly to Zeno, bypassing even the Grand Minister. He was very polite in his request but it is still worth noticing that he was not castigated for doing that, he received an equally polite response with no sign of anger and Zeno even agreed. At the very best that should have prompted someone to ask - beforehand or after winning - if they could use the wish that way without fearing to make Zeno mad.
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 9:15
  • @SPArcheon Hmm... I don't find that criticism valid because everyone present at the tournament has been informed that Zeno is a god, and no doubt the Kais and Destroyers emphasized how scary he is. Plus, as the tournament progresses, they've seen him wipe out whole universes. At that point, he's clearly very far above them. And sure, they can ask him if they're allowed to make that wish, but after the tournament starts, the only chance to do that is after someone has won, which makes the question of whether they planned in advance to make the wish moot. Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 15:54
  • 1
    Anyway, if anyone finds anything in the text of Dragon Ball Super that shows someone contemplating a wish to restore all the universes, I will gladly upvote it as the correct answer. I suspect there is no such content, however, due to my (admittedly flimsy) memory, as well as to the fact that the story seems to necessitate it coming out of left field from 17, to surprise the audience. Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 15:56
  • "the only chance to do that is after someone has won, which makes the question of whether they planned in advance to make the wish moot." I don't see why that would be a thing. I could have "planned" that idea and yet decided to "check the water" after seeing what Zeno did during the tournament. To put that in context, Frieza is implied to have planned to use the wish against some god - probably Beerus - if he had the chance to do so. Yet... I doubt he would blindly make that wish before trying to confirm the consequences.
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 16:46
2

In the anime version of Dragon Ball Super, it's not explicitly stated whether any of the participating fighters had planned to use the wish from the Super Dragon Balls to save all the universes. However, it's possible that some of the fighters may have had this in mind as a possibility.

Vegeta does mention that he intended to wish for the restoration of the Saiyan race from Universe 6, but it's not clear if he had any plans to extend this wish to include the other universes as well. It's also possible that some of the other fighters may have had similar thoughts, but it's not mentioned in the anime.

Ultimately, it's up to interpretation whether any of the fighters had considered using the wish from the Super Dragon Balls to save all the universes. However, it seems that the ultimate outcome, with 17 using the wish to restore all the universes, was not something that was planned or expected by any of the fighters. It was more of a fortunate coincidence that resulted from Zeno's decision to spare the winning universe.

1

In my opinion and going by the Dragon Ball story, if any of the universes would've planned to revive other universes using super Dragon Balls, they wouldn't fight for their survival, making the tournament boring, whereas Zeno started the tournament for entertainment.

Also, multiple characters would've disagreed, like Goku who gave the idea to Zeno for the Tournament of Power, and would participate to fight everyone at their strongest as if their survival is at stake, and would've disagreed with this proposal. I am not sure about Vegeta or other people having pride though, if they'd choose their pride over survival.

Also, there were a few people who would've used the wish to save a few like Vegeta and Frieza to revive Universe 6 (for having soft spots for their races in Universe 6), and there would've been other fighters from other universes too (For example Cabba, Toppo, Jiren, etc.), but their stories weren't focused in detail. I highly doubt Toppo would've revived other universes, especially Universe 7, where Goku exists who started the whole idea, because of his sense of justice and thinks of him as evil, whereas Jiren's wish would've been debatable.

But 17 wished to revive all erased universe because of his humane side as he was not a fighter and has moved on from his past, whereas most of the other participants were seasoned fighters.

There are a lot more things to be noted about Tournament of Power rules though.

  • Zeno and Grand Priest told universes with low mortality rates would be wiped out, yet they allowed dead fighters to participate e.g. Frieza. So, universes could've brought out their best fighters from any timeline, which would deviate from its original purpose.
  • There were rules regarding a few forms of fighting styles, like weapon-based fighting and Ki attacks using nature's energy.
  • Killing was not allowed; Zenos wanted fighters to kill anyone with a few exceptions, which is absolute nonsense when it's a battle for survival, and the fate of their respective universes is at stake.
  • Each fighter will fight at their native gravity level, so if a person lives on a planet with a million times more gravity, they should defeat others fighting on low gravity, this is very confusing though, trying to explain this with an example here, when Vegeta and Nappa first came to earth, they were powerhouses because they lived and trained in 10 times more gravity and going to a planet with low gravity made them exceptionally faster and in turn stronger. So, fighters who would've been strong became weak due to this.
  • Since the Dragon Ball verse makes no sense due to the existence of Dragon Balls, Universe 7 could've simply wished Shenron to wake up Buu, as Buu was considered one of the strongest in the universe, 2nd only to Beerus.

And there are a few events in the tournament itself as well.

  • Caway from Universe 4 seduces Roshi and later he groped her, which was considered fine. (Episode 105)
  • Roshi used a bottle for Evil Containment Wave, whereas weapons weren't allowed, but Zenos thought it was cool.
  • Goku used Spirit Bomb, but Ki attacks using nature's energy weren't allowed.
  • Zenos said if the winner would've made any wish other than to revive other universes they would've wiped all universes, yet they let them live because of the wish. So, there wasn't any point of mortality rate or multiversal balance here, for which they started the tournament.

Other than this, possibly due to plot armor, no other race except Saiyan showed any growth, Goku took a spirit bomb and unlocked a new form, which would've killed most of the others.

So, in my opinion, it is most likely poor plot writing, where everything is about fighting and battles, not common sense.

8
  • point is, there is no evidence that Goku thinks that only a fight to the death is fun, otherwise he would behave far differently at many points of the story. In this case the out-of-universe answer is simple: they didn't want to make the already blatant deux-et-machina way out even more blatant. It was evident that the Super Dragon Ball would be used to erase the effects of the Tournament, but they tried to hide it until the end. And in the process they made an horrible story telling.
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 9:55
  • A far better option would have been removing an universe at the start of the fight because the fighters weren't playing seriously after they remarked that the winner should use the Balls to wish back everyone while also planting a red herring by making it unclear if Zeno erased them because they weren't fighting seriously or because of the proposed wish. That would make 17 actions at the end even more awesome because he would also think that he is risking erasure too in order to save everyone else.
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 9:58
  • @SPArcheon, if you're referring to 'they' as an author, yes, the author wanted to hide the fact that dragon balls can be used to revive others but if you're referring to Zeno and Grand Priest they didn't explain because it was a possibility and there could be multiple possibilites with super dragon balls.
    – Zero
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 11:12
  • Yeah, @SPArcheon, your second point is also correct, there was a lot of room for improvement in the writing, and I also updated my answer with several details to highlight the same. Also, the fact that universes can be revived is a basic point though, as every time a supervillain comes to the story, and destroys a planet Z-fighters revive the earth or revive the population, like they did on Namek and with Buu.
    – Zero
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 11:17
  • some of the other added point are interesting, if you want to discuss some just find me in chat. Fell free to ping me in the anime room.
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 11:57

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