Spoilers ahead for anyone who’s not caught up with Dragon Ball Super or who has only been watching the English dub.
Dragon Ball Super is quickly drawing to a close, but the most recent episode just dropped some backstory for one of the anime’s most intriguing new characters. So far, the series has done a fantastic job at paying homage to some of the greatest moments throughout the franchise run of Dragon Ball, notably linking back to some of Goku & Co.’s most iconic scenes and memorable battles. But with the introduction of multiple universes, Akira Toriyama‘s creation has expanded in a big way, allowing for new storylines to thread their way into Universe 7’s own ongoing story.
So while “The Approaching Wall! The Final Barrier of Hope!” revealed the origin story of the mysterious and ultra-powerful Jiren, that story ultimately fell a bit flat. Universe 11’s God of Destruction Belmod randomly broke into some backstory exposition when the question of what Jiren’s wish would be, should he win the tournament, came up. That origin story added an emotional layer to the insanely over-powered fighter, but it fell far short in explaining how someone with a similar (and arguably less traumatic) background to the Z fighters could have surpassed them by such a wide margin. In other words, there’s much more to Jiren’s story than we’ve been told so far, but this is a decent appetizer.
Essentially, the source of Jiren’s strength all boils down to this: As a cute, little Chibi Jiren, he was happy running across the fields of his village on his home planet, until an unidentified “evil-doer” showed up and killed his parents.
Jiren survived and was taken in by a man who became his mentor and teacher. They trained together for years, growing stronger, and gathering followers who sought to do the same.
One day, the “Evil-Doer” returned again, so Jiren, his teacher, and their fellow fighters joined forces to take him down … but it was all for naught. Jiren and some of his companions managed to survive (somehow), but his teacher perished.
In the face of defeat, Jiren tried to rally once again in order to defeat the Evil-Doer once and for all. But adding insult to injury, everyone who had trained with Jiren turned their back on him. So from that day on, he vowed to focus only on increasing his own strength at the cost of everything else.