From the moment One Punch Man manga chapter 37 was released back in July 2014, a character rivalry erupted in the fandoms of both Dragon Ball and One Punch Man. A fierce rivalry that has now lasted almost a decade. Since that time, countless number of debates have been held to decide who amongst the two main characters, Saitama and Son Goku, is the strongest.
Moreover, countless numbers of posts and debate systems have been made as a result of this long time battle for supremacy. Although both franchises are uniquely different, the main characters do have some things in common. Heroism and fighting styles are some of these similarities. Both Saitama and Son Goku are powerful HAND TO HAND combatants and majorly employ physical training as the basis for their physical growth and advancement. It’s no wonder both fandoms have long been drunken with rivalry and debates for supremacy between both characters.
For the longest of time, debates involving Saitama and Goku were decided by FEATS.. Son Goku in particular, have had the advantage in this regard owning largely to his accumulation of incredible FEATS over many years.
Saitama on the other hand, though had long shown signs of his overwhelming power, have always fallen short mainly because his feats were just too little and insignificant to challenge Goku’s. And so, Saitama was yet to replicate meaningful FEATS that were both comparable or equal to what Son Goku had achieved over four decades.
Things have changed in recent times though as Saitama now has FEATS that are not only comparable and equal, but are somewhat greater than Goku’s. That said, a simple show of feats isn’t THE KEY REASON why Goku can’t defeat Saitama. The reason lies in LIMITS & LIMITERS. But before we delve into that, let’s look at a popular debate system that has long hampered Saitama in Debates.
THE NO LIMITS FALLACY(NLF): A LONG STANDING DEBATE CHOKEHOLD ON SAITAMA
The ‘No limits fallacy’ is a systematic debating argument based off the show of FEATS. It dictates that the abilities and capabilities of any given character is directly proportional to the FEATS shown. And so ranking a character higher than what they’ve actually shown would be engaging in a NLF and would also be making a baseless statement based purely on speculation. That said, the No limits fallacy no longer holds water in a debate between Goku and Saitama for many reasons. Let’s look at just two of them.
1. SAITAMA’S INFINITE POTENTIAL HAS NEVER EQUALED OMNIPOTENCE
Dragon Ball fanatics have long misunderstood and misinterpreted our argument of Saitama being LIMITLESS for Omnipotence. Saitama isn’t omnipotent since there are a great many abilities he doesn’t have. Omnipotence in itself literally means ‘can do all things’ and Saitama can’t do all things. He’s just infinitely strong physically.
Like Goku, 100% of Saitama’s power lie in his body. Dr. Genus stated in One Punch Man manga chapter 89 that through arduous Physical training, he “Forced open his LIMITS & REMOVED HIS LIMITER”. This was a removal of the PHYSICAL LIMITER placed on his body. And so, all limitations placed on his body systems as a whole were removed in the process. Thus, unlocking the potential for physical infinity or Physical omnipotence if you like.
2. SAITAMA’S LIMITLESS POTENTIAL WAS ALWAYS BASED ON STATED FACTS NOT SPECULATION
Even though there were initially no concrete confirmations from Murata and ONE that Saitama had LIMITLESS capabilities, intelligent One punch man fans correctly interpreted the info in One punch man manga chapters 89 & 94. In the end, it turned out to be true and factual as an official data outline of Saitama’s Parameters were released by Murata.
With that out of the way, let’s take a deeper look at the concept of Limitations and Limiters with regards to Dragon Ball & One Punch Man.
LIMITS & LIMTERS IN DRAGON BALL & ONE PUNCH MAN
It’s important to note that LIMITATIONS are dictated by LIMITS. LIMITS are in turn dictated by the LIMITER. Once LIMITATIONS are overcome, LIMITS are broken. However, the still existing LIMTER will re-design/set new LIMITS to overcome. And so, without a LIMTER, no LIMITS can be established, which therefore allows the character to achieve LIMITLESS potential with nothing stopping them from achieving INFINITY.
LIMITERS are of different types. Gojo, a major character in the anime franchise Jujutsu Kaisen removed the limiters on his Sorcery and acquired great power when he removed his blindfold. For Saitama and Goku, their limiters lie in their bodies. Hence, the term PHYSICAL LIMITERS.
The concept of Limits and Limiters in both Dragon Ball and OPM are quite similar. Let’s look at them.
ONE PUNCH MAN
In OPM Manga chapter 89, Doctor Genus enumerated that every living thing has a limit to how much they can grow. Wielding power greater than what you’re able to control would cause problems as the wielder could lose their sanity and go on a rampage. This is why a limiter exists to restrict excessive growth as the body would collapse if pushed any further.
Gyoro Gyoro further enumerated in chapters 89 & 94 that intense suffering to both body & mind is essential to removing one’s limiter. This suffering comes via engaging in extreme training and physical challenges to the point where the character in question nears death. In addition to pushing the body and mind to extreme limits, characters in OPM can also transform/evolve either via intense negative emotions and evil deeds (Monsterification), or via intense positive emotions and extreme training. Garou and Saitama are respective examples.
Several acts of villainy coupled with his martial arts training and near death experiences caused Garou to evolve into a monster. On the other hand, an intense desire to protect the weak, coupled with the completion of an arduous 1095 days training regime caused Saitama to remove his limiter completely and achieve infinite potential for physical growth.
The same concept in One Punch Man applies in Dragon Ball with the only tiny difference being the existence of Ki. While Ki is described as life force energy residing inside every living being, it is actually more of an EMOTIONAL concept than it is an enhancement.
Akira Toriyama classifies Ki into three compositions namely Vigor, Courage and Like-mindedness. These are emotional ingredients that fuel Physical energy in battle. There are also different types of Ki depending on the character and their state of heart. A typical example is Regular or Good ki used by anyone that holds no evil intentions and Evil Ki, which is possessed by someone with an evil heart. Quite similar to the concept of evolution as explained by Dr Genus in One Punch Man manga chapter 89.
In the Chōzenshū, that is a four-volume collection of Dragon Ball guidebooks, it’s explained that because there are Physical Limits to the body itself, it is necessary to increase one’s Ki to overcome this barrier of limitation and become stronger. And so, Ki is an aid to overcoming one’s Physical limitations and breaking one’s limits when appropriate training is undergone. A typical example is Jiren, a mere mortal who trained to the extent where his regular Ki reached monstrous levels said to be greater than those of the Gods of destruction who all posses Divine Ki. It’s also no wonder that the phrase “LIMIT BREAKING POWER” is used regularly in the Dragon Ball franchise.
A ‘limit breaking power’ is simply a power that results from a warrior shattering their limits in Dragon Ball. There’s been several forms in the Dragon Ball series that have been classified as limit breaking powers. They include Son Goku’s Super Saiyan Blue Kaiōken and Ultra Instinct transformations, Vegeta’s Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan: Evolution and Ultra Ego transformations, Son Gohan’s Ultimate Gohan, Kale’s Super Saiyan (C-type), Caulifia’s and Cabba’s Super Saiyan 2 and finally Kefla’s Super Saiyan 2 transformations.
Most of these transformations were unlocked when the bodies of the users were pushed to the brink of collapse or rather, to the point of death. Son Goku in particular have experienced this many times over the years and has undergone lots of grueling training to get stronger. His most recent training with Whis and Merus to master the Ultra Instinct are typical examples.
According to Whis, the body of any living thing is accompanied by limitations. For one to fight or to even perform basic actions, they must first process their actions and think with their Brain. Doing this limits their speed and will hamper their ability to fight effectively. He further explains that the ultimate goal of any fighter is the mastery of self-movement, the ability for each and every part of their body to act and think on it’s own; this allows for greater reaction speed as the fighter no longer needs to take the time to process their actions, and can simply do them.
Whis’ explanations are essentially summarized as LIMITER REMOVAL which is what is required to master Ultra Instinct, the ultimate martial arts technique used by the Grand Priest and his children (Angels). That said, removing one’s Limiter is no easy task as one must not only have calmness of heart, but become a Master of their mind and body. Not even Beerus, the God of Destruction of Universe 7 is yet to Master this technique after many millennia of training, choosing instead to master the Ultra Ego ability.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that through tough training, Saiyans are able to reach new levels of power, and the more intense training and fights they go through, the stronger they become. If a Saiyan survives a near-death experience through extreme injury to the body, then, when the body recuperates, the Saiyan grows much stronger than they were previously, their body adapting to compensate for the damage dealt, essentially evolving their power, the more they fight. The duration of recovery does not seem to hinder this ability as Saiyans have healed through natural, technological and mystical means and still gained substantial increases in physical strength.
Notwithstanding, because Goku hasn’t trained well enough to remove his limiter completely, his usage of Ultra Instinct has been heavily laden with drawbacks and downsides. Using Ultra Instinct takes a heavy toll on the body as a whole since the fighter is required to move effortlessly without thinking of their actions. A complete severing of the nervous system from the musculoskeletal system which always work in tandem.
There is one other limitation Goku still has. According to Vegeta in Dragon Ball Super Manga chapter 49, Saiyans are unable to survive in the vacuum of space, although they are capable of breathing in space and going to the upper levels of a planet’s atmosphere, as seen when Goku fought Beerus in Dragon Ball Super episode 11 and when Goku and Vegeta were looking for Moro in chapter 49. Prolonged exposure in the vacuum of space seems to be just as harmful to Saiyans as it is to humans.
THE OVERALL CONCLUSION
Goku, Vegeta and in a long stretch Beerus, can’t defeat Saitama in battle simply because they are all still bound by various physical limitations. The fact also remains that Goku and Vegeta haven’t trained their bodies well enough and haven’t suffered as much as Saitama have in the past. Many might argue that Goku have trained and suffered immensely over the years. While this is indeed very true, it’s incomparable to what Saitama faced for 1095 days straight with no meaningful rest.
Saitama’s training was so grueling that he lost his hair. All limitations to his body systems were completely removed. He’s now immune to nuclear poisoning as well as the effects of the vacuum of space. His musculoskeletal system can withstand extreme temperatures of billions of degrees Celsius and absorb attacks capable of destroying multiple planets. His digestive system can create an infinite amount of intestinal Gas capable of propelling him like a Rocket.
His Respiratory system no longer requires only oxygen for sustainance as he can inhale an infinite amount of Gas so powerful that he destroys the surface of Jupiter with just a sneeze. The pinnacle of it all is his ability to manipulate his own atoms to achieve time travel. I could go on and on but this is just a little of what Saitama is capable of.
Goku’s and Vegeta’s training regime have always focused mostly on anaerobic endurance and less of aerobic endurance training. Their 3yrs training in the Hyperbolic chamber is a typical example. On the other hand, Saitama’s 3yrs daily training regime of 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats and 10km runs were a combo of hardcore calisthenics and aerobic endurance exercises targeted at completely breaking the mind and drastically boosting stamina to unknown levels.
From this, we can now truly understand why Goku and Vegeta still have limitations. You can’t remove your limiter by engaging mostly in anaerobic endurance training when the very mastery of Ultra instinct rests upon the complete conquering of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems which can only happen when your limiter is removed. Usage of the Ultra Instinct transformations saps incredible amounts of stamina which means, the training regime to boost stamina must focus mostly on hardcore calisthenics as well as aerobic endurance exercises just as Saitama did.
And so, for Son Goku to stand a chance against Saitama, he must first remove his limiter completely by becoming a master of both his body and mind like Saitama. He must remove his Limiter completely and master Ultra Instinct. As limiters can’t be removed with anaerobic endurance training alone, both Goku and Vegeta must engage in extreme aerobic and anaerobic endurance training to have a chance against Saitama who now has the potential for infinite Growth.
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