WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for "Goku Awakes! The New Quintessence of the Awakened!," the 110th episode of Dragon Ball Super, which debuted Saturday on Adult Swim.
In the latest episode of Dragon Ball Super, Goku faced the powerful Universe 11 champion Jiren during the Tournament of Power for the fate of his own universe. Overpowered and outmatched, Goku decided to unleash his most powerful attack on the Pride Trooper, the Spirit Bomb. Taught to him at the beginning of Dragon Ball Z by King Kai, the technique has its user gather energy from all living things around them in a massive energy ball that is then flung at their opponent.
Despite this ultimate move often being used by Goku as a last resort due to the lengthy amount of time required to properly charge it up to the necessary, immense power levels, it actually has a pretty lousy track record for defeating its intended target. Here are all the times the Spirit Bomb has failed throughout the history of the Dragon Ball franchise.
The first fighter to bear the full brunt of the Spirit Bomb is the Saiyan Prince Vegeta, then still an unrepentant villain at the beginning of Dragon Ball Z. As Goku fights the Saiyan warrior, he has to amplify his use of the Kaio Ken technique to push his body above its natural limits to overpower Vegeta. In response, Vegeta transforms into a Great Ape, forcing the weakened Goku to gather energy for a Spirit Bomb while avoiding the transformed Vegeta's attacks.
Vegeta eventually crushs Goku within an inch of his life before he can unleash the attack, forcing Goku to give the energy he had gathered to Krillin while Gohan fights Vegeta in his father's place. Krillin and Gohan succeed in landing the attack on Vegeta, greatly injuring him, but not enough to take him out of the fight completely, forcing them to seek alternative means to defeat the still dangerous Saiyan Prince.
Fighting the interstellar tyrant Frieza on Namek, Goku quickly realizes he is outmatched, as the villain appears relatively unfazed by his attacks and continues growing in power despite Goku using previously unseen levels of the Kaio Ken technique. As such, Goku begins gathering energy from the entire planet for a Spirit Bomb as Piccolo, Gohan and Krillin buy him time.
The gambit seemingly pays off, with Goku hitting Frieza with a Spirit Bomb so powerful that it warps the entire contour of the planet. As the exhausted Z Fighters begin to celebrate, however, Frieza emerges from the deep crater caused by the Spirit Bomb, visibly damaged but more enraged than physically hurt, quickly mortally wounding Piccolo and killing Krillin in frustration.
The noncanonical third animated film, Dragon Ball Z: Tree of Might, has the Z Fighters face off against an evil Saiyan doppelgänger of Goku who has planted an enormous extraterrestrial tree, draining all life from Earth to produce fruit that gives those that eat it ultimate power. Beaten down after Turles successfully consumes the first fruit, Goku begins to gather energy from Earth to defeat his evil double with a Spirit Bomb.
To Goku's shock, Turles is able to extinguish the blast with a single hand, as there isn't enough life left on Earth to generate a powerful enough Spirit Bomb to defeat him. As the weakened Z Fighters rush the villain, Goku gathers energy from the Tree of Might itself to form a much more powerful Spirit Bomb, ultimately destroying Turles and the tree simultaneously, restoring life to the planet.
Super Android 13
The seventh noncanonical animated film, Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13!, sees one of Doctor Gero's secret robotics labs create three new killer androids, including the film's titular villain. Gero tasks Android 13 with hunting down and killing Goku for his role in dissolving the Red Ribbon Army. During their fight, Goku begins gathering energy for a Spirit Bomb after Android 13 absorbs component parts from Androids 14 and 15, transforming into an unstoppable killing machine.
As the lethal android defeats the assembled Z Fighters easily, Goku transforms into a Super Saiyan while powering up the Spirit Bomb. This causes the collected energy to begin to dissipate rather than continue to form into a powerful energy blast. In response, Goku absorbs all of the energy himself to temporarily boost his strength and defeat the transformed android with a mighty blow.
During the Tournament of Power in Dragon Ball Super, Goku fights Universe 11's strongest warrior, Jiren. Unable to match Jiren even in his Super Saiyan Blue state while using Kaio Ken, Goku begins charging up a Spirit Bomb from the energy of his teammates, except for a stubborn Vegeta. Completely confident in his own abilities, Jiren allows Goku to power up the attack to its maximum potential without interference.
Jiren stops the coming Spirit Bomb with a single hand, unimpressed by the attack, and redirects it back to Goku. The Saiyan is apparently obliterated by his own move, but Zeno and Future Zeno overseeing the tournament allow the competition to continue since it was Goku's own attack. However, Goku is revealed to have survived through a mysterious new transformation known as Ultra Instinct, resuming the battle in full with Jiren.
Newly translated episodes of Dragon Ball Super air on Saturdays at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Adult Swim.