While the return of the Dragon Ball franchise with the Super anime in 2015 saw mixed reception upon initial announcement, fans eventually warmed up to the idea. The “Future” Trunks arc and the Tournament of Destroyers arc especially helped to get fans on board with the series, truly feeling like classic Z at their peak.
This was also true for Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power arc, which especially felt like classic iterations of the series during its buildup phases. One particular aspect of the buildup to the tournament was Krillin’s mini-training arc versus Goku. Fans were incredibly excited to see that in a tournament-style setting, Krillin was still a relevant Z-Fighter.
However, much of the wind was taken out of those sails once the Tournament of Power began, shortly thereafter seeing Krillin be Universe 7’s first eliminated fighter. While he did eliminate three others before being eliminated, many Dragon Ball fans are still upset at how Krillin’s arc was retroactively invalidated, especially considering that he trained with Goku.
Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power somewhat invalidates Krillin’s training arc, but for good reason
When Krillin first elected to join the Tournament of Power in Dragon Ball Super, fans were excitedly speculating what contributions he would end up making online. Considering he had previously been helpful against the likes of Frieza during the events of Z, fans had high hopes for Krillin once his intent of entry was confirmed.
This was further ballooned by the fact that he received a mini training arc with Goku, in which the two fought each other with World Martial Arts Tournament rules. Since these would be the same rules as the Tournament of Power, fans were curious to see how it would play out. With Krillin able to hold his own against the likes of Goku with these rules, fans figured he would be a major player in the coming tournament.
While Krillin did make significant contributions during his time as an active fighter in Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power, he was nevertheless the first to be eliminated. While this normally wouldn’t be an issue, fans took particular grievance with the fact that he was eliminated before Tien Shinhan after training with and getting the seal of approval from Goku.
At the very least, Krillin managed to take out three other fighters before being eliminated himself. However, to say that this is what fans expected after a training arc with Goku would not be the most accurate claim. Being on a level that Goku approves of should merit outlasting Tien Shinhan in terms of time spent as an active fighter.
While not every Dragon Ball Super fan agrees with this claim, there are some who argue that Krillin’s training arc was made retroactively useless. Given that the main argument against this claim is his eliminating three fighters before being eliminated himself, it’s somewhat hard to claim otherwise.
At best, Krillin’s training arc set fans up to expect success for him that would never come. At worst, it’s made retroactively useless by having Krillin, who is arguably the strongest pure human in the series, be eliminated before Tien Shinhan is. Regardless of one’s opinion of the arc’s retroactive significance, it’s clear fans were being set up for a delivery that would never come.