Alright, let’s wrap this one up once and for all. Hopefully we can make a more satisfying conclusion than the original version.
To recap: Goku Black went back to try and get Zamasu (his past self) to join him, but Zamasu refused after seeing how Black had changed. Beerus destroys Zamasu and saves Goku, then Black fled back to the future. Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, and Trunks all return to the future, armed with the Mafuba (or Evil Containment Wave, depending on your dub) to stop Black. Meanwhile, Black ambushed Future Zamasu, who was actually a pretty nice guy, and forced him to merge with him, thus creating Merged Zamasu, whom we shall still be referring to as Black. Now, the stage is set for the final battle.
But first, a few key differences you need to be aware of going forward.
- Goku doesn’t have the ‘Summon Zen-Oh’ button because that is stupid and leads to the least satisfying ending in all of Dragon Ball
- Black is not immortal yet, as he has yet to fulfill that part of his plan
- Trunks doesn’t have his Rage form or whatever the hell it was; the form didn’t make any sense, added nothing to the plot, and I feel the story is more effective without it
- Quick rule change to the Potara earrings: rather than having a time limit for mortals and not for gods, the transformation is linked to the earrings themselves; should those be broken, the transformation ends
You got all that? Good. Let’s get started.
Now in his new form, Black returns to finish his annihilation of the humans on Earth. As he launches his initial attack, our heroes arrive on the scene to confront him. This doesn’t impress Black at all; he had beaten them before, and now he was only stronger. Reasonably so, as Black immediately starts wiping the floor with all four of our heroes.
Not that they’re totally powerless. Vegeta’s training helps him keep up more than the others, and Goku can have a very brief Ultra Instinct moment to foreshadow the transformation’s appearance in the next arc. While Black is distracted, Trunks and Gohan manage to use the Mafuba and capture him. But it’s clear that he won’t stay trapped for long.
In this brief moment of respite, Goku and Vegeta come up with a desperate plan: fusion. After quickly teaching Vegeta the fusion dance technique (it makes more sense for them to use that version than for them to quickly go and get Potara earings to do Vegito; at least in this version) the two manage to fuse into Gogeta. As they do so, Black manages to escape his prison.
With the extreme power of Gogeta, they manage to fight on-par with Black. However, the time limit quickly catches up with them. Black is injured and exhausted, but still very much capable of fighting and escaping the Mafuba. He takes a moment to gloat over the exhausted and beaten Goku and Vegeta.
That’s when Trunks swoops in for the kill. Pouring all of his Ki into his sword (we can keep the Spirit Sword, just actually explain it rather than having him pull it out of nowhere), he charges in for one last attack. Black goes to dodge, but he’s too slow and fails to realize where Trunks is aiming. Rather than taking Black’s head, he slices off one ear.
Or one Potara earring, since Super wasn’t allowed to get gruesome like Z was.
Either way, Black is now missing an earring. Thus, the fusion between Future Zamasu and Black has been broken. Unfortunately, Black still has the stamina to fight, even if on his own. He lashes out at Trunks, punishing him for being a thorn in his side for all this time. Here, we can slip in the Father-Son Galick Gun as Black tries to eradicate all the Saiyans at once and Vegeta and Trunks have to deflect it (no interference from Goku this time).
However, deflecting this attack has left them all sapped of strength. Black, exhausted but determined, goes in for the kill. But that’s when a surprise ally strikes him from behind: Future Zamasu. The Supreme Kai hits Black with all he has, fatally wounding the twisted god in an effort to fulfill his duty to protect mortal life. Black, enraged to hear such words from his own mouth, murders Future Zamasu, expending an incredible amount of strength to do it.
Seeing his chance, Gohan shoots to his feet and uses the Mafuba. Weakened and barely standing, Black is unable to resist. With one last scream of rage and frustration, he is sealed away in a bottle. Thus, the battle ends.
Which brings us to the ending itself.
With Black defeated, dawn rises on the future world. Everything is in ruins and humanity has been reduced to a couple of hundred faces. But Trunks, remembering the words of encouragement from his past self, looks forward with his head held high, proud and optimistic.
Gohan is much the same way. After taking back-to-back beatings in the last few arcs, his confidence is starting to climb back up. Filled with determination, he says farewell to Trunks as he and the others return to the past, leaving the future for the last time.
Goku and Vegeta, however, aren’t satisfied. Realizing that neither one could do as much as they would have liked, they decide to fully dedicate themselves to their training once again. Vegeta seeks a new source of power to help him proceed. Goku, remembering the brief feeling of UI he had against Black, decides to try and pursue that.
In order to push them further towards those goals, both Goku and Vegeta decide to go to Beerus and Whis and ask over something promised them at the end of the Universe 6 Tournament: a competition between all universes. Little do they know that their impatience to grow will have dire consequences.
Phew! We’re finally done with the Goku Black arc! I’ll admit, it’s not my finest work. But I’m proud of it. I feel that this is a much more coherent story than the original. One with a bit more of an emotional core, a much more satisfying ending, and a much better segway into the next arc.
But we’re not going to get to that one just yet. Because I need to take a break from traditional shounen and talk about something else for a while.