Krillin’s death at the hands of Frieza is an iconic moment in Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super repeats the scene with a new character.
The last death of Dragon Ball Super, it paid tribute to the moment when Frieza killed Krillin in the classic anime and manga series. As the Dragon Ball Z Frieza saga, it is widely considered the pinnacle of the Akira Toriyama franchise.
While the death of Krillin that triggered Goku’s first Super Saiyan transformation remains the most memorable scene from that arc. The scene shows the villain playing with the iconic bald character, then effortlessly lifts him up with telekinesis, finally making him explode.
Following a fit of rage at watching his best friend die, this loss becomes the incentive for Goku’s legendary Super Saiyan status, which he ultimately uses to defeat Frieza and save the day. The protagonist has come a long way since those days and has a much larger arsenal of transformations to prove it.
Krillin’s death in DBZ
The current saga of Dragon Ball Super, follows Goku and the Z warriors fighting the evil Moro, who is able to absorb the abilities of his opponents by grabbing his neck. Upon entering Chapter 63, Chi-Chi’s protagonist and husband was seriously injured.
Fortunately, he received treatment from Dende. Despite the angels’ code of non-interference, Merus descended onto the battlefield and faced the new great evil of Dragon Ball. After Goku’s recovery is complete, he teams up with Merus and reminds the angel not to get involved.
Goku reveals that angels are not simply prohibited from influencing events, but that doing so will kill them. The Saiyan then apologizes, wishing his training with Merus had unlocked the full Ultra Instinct as intended, but the angel responds with a smile.
Since he assured Goku that he can achieve the form, he only needs a little push. Merus then does his best against Moro, breaking the angelic rules for the sake of justice. Just as the Saiyan predicted, Merus’ participation in the mortal world causes the angel to slowly vanish into thin air.
This hero dies happy and leaves the fate of the universe to Goku, but once Merus leaves, Goku begins to glow with a mysterious aura. This scene is very reminiscent of Krillin’s death in Dragon Ball Z.
In both cases, Goku was on the brink of great power that could turn the tide of battle – he was strong enough, but lacked the necessary emotional trigger. First against Freeza and now against Moro. Is it the death of a friend that pushes Goku over the edge and provides the spark for transformation?
Assuming this is what Merus meant when he said that Goku still needed a “push”. Obviously, there are two major differences between the Krillin and Merus death scenes.
First of all, Merus sacrifices himself, while Krillin was very opposed to being slaughtered by Freeza. And secondly, Merus seems to know that giving his own life will throw Goku into Ultra Instinct mode.
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Moro’s current form is visually very close to Perfect Cell and a filler episode of Dragon Ball Super once perfectly recreated Yamcha’s death pose. There is no doubt that Toyotaro enjoys making these references in the manga, where Akira Toriyama is his direct supervisor.