Ultra Instinct Shaggy, Explained


  • Ultra Instinct Shaggy is a popular meme that originated from a video edit of a Scooby-Doo scene set to the music from Dragon Ball‘s Ultra Instinct fight scene.
  • The meme gained popularity and evolved, transforming Shaggy into a powerful, god-like being capable of defeating anyone.
  • The meme went viral, leading to fan creations, petitions, and even official references in Mortal Kombat Legends and the game MultiVersus, making it a canonized part of the franchise.

Scooby-Doo and Dragon Ball are both classic, long-running animated television shows, and both have inspired countless creatives over the years. However, at first glance, the shows have little in common, with Scooby-Doo being a comedy mystery show and Dragon Ball being a shonen action series. But there is one place where both franchises crossover and this crossover has a bizarre history, one rooted in internet meme culture. This crossover point is Ultra Instinct Shaggy, a long-running meme that has evolved and changed significantly over the years.

Ultra Instinct Shaggy is a popular internet meme that shows Shaggy using Ultra Instinct. This technique was first seen in 2015’s Dragon Ball Z: Revival of “F” film and manga, and Goku would gain access to this ability in the 110th Dragon Ball Super episode, released in 2017. This technique is one of the most powerful in Goku’s arsenal, allowing each limb to fight without conscious thought, massively boosting his strength. This has been shown several times, with Goku using Ultra Instinct to defeat Jiren as if he were a total novice.

The Original Form Of Ultra Instinct Shaggy Was Different

An image of Ultra Instinct Shaggy from MultiVersus

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At first glance, it’s hard to see how Shaggy would become linked to such a dangerous power, as Shaggy rarely, if ever, gets involved in combat, often opting to flee when threatened. But the situation that led to the formation of the Ultra Instinct meme is surprisingly logical.

When Ultra Instinct first debuted in the Dragon Ball Super anime, it was accompanied by a unique musical piece called “Kyūkyoku no Battle.” This song was performed by Akira Kushida, a man who has made a career out of amazing battle songs, having previously sung pieces for many legendary tokusatsu shows, including Kamen Rider OOO, Space Sheriff Gavan, Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger as well as several songs for the original anime adaptation of Kinnikuman.

This song and the fight scene it soundtracked quickly became a meme, dubbed Ultra Instinct Remixes. First came two popular (but now removed) dubstep remixes of the fight and the song, made by DUBSTEP NATION and lezbeepic, both of which got viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube. These remixes were soon followed by people dubbing the track over fight scenes from other shows, usually adding cutaways, slow motion, and other effects to make the source material look more like Dragon Ball. While several of these videos would do well, including ones featuring Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and Cyborg from Teen Titans, one would become a breakout hit and transform into a meme in its own right. On October 12th, 2017, YouTube user Midya uploaded a video that put the song over a scene from the 2011 movie Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur. The scene in question sees Shaggy being confronted in a diner by Tex and his gang of bikers. While threatening Shaggy, Tex accidentally activates a hypnotic suggestion that Shaggy was given earlier in the movie. This suggestion makes Shaggy fearless, leading to him bluntly telling Tex, “This can go two ways, punk. One, you walk away. Two, I walk on your face,” before breaking free of Tex’s grip and taking out his whole gang in comical ways.

It’s easy to see why this edit quickly grabbed the public’s imagination. Despite coming from what many consider a low era for the Scooby-Doo franchise, the scene is a well-animated comic brawl, and the song fits the scene surprisingly well, lining up with several of the fight’s big moments. Plus, Shaggy’s fighting style in this scrap is markedly similar to Goku’s Ultra Instinct fighting style. When Goku is in Ultra Instinct form, he can dodge incoming blows without thinking, allowing him to avoid incoming strikes and exploit gaps in his opponent’s stance. Shaggy also does this during his fight, as he isn’t shown throwing a direct punch during the scrap. Instead, he dodges incoming attacks before tripping the bikers or using the diner’s furniture against them. These dodges are so expertly executed that it’s easy to believe that Shaggy does have some form of supernatural power or extra-sensory perception. This means that Ultra Instinct Shaggy is a joke that works on several levels, being both a surreal surprise for passers-by and a surprisingly logical reference for Dragon Ball fans.

The video quickly spread across social media, leading to many people building on the idea of Shaggy having Ultra Instinct. One of the first viral follow-ups was a piece of art drawn by Deviantart user MielSibel10032002. Posted on November 3rd, 2017, this picture shows Shaggy surrounded by the blue aura that Goku has while in his Ultra Instinct form. It should be noted that while this blue aura became a standard part of Ultra Instinct Shaggy depictions, it is not featured in the original video edit, meaning that this image is likely the origin of several of the meme’s key visual elements. Another fascinating thing is that this image was posted to the /r/TwoBestFriendsPlay subreddit on November 16th, 2017. While this post did relatively well, many of the comments suggest that Shaggy’s Ultra Instinct power increases his cowardice, with one user saying: “his body cowards out by itself,” showing that while the meme caught on quickly, it didn’t reach its most recognizable form immediately.

The next big moment in the meme’s history came on January 13th, 2018, when Tumblr user mgx0 posted a set of edited screencaps that added Shaggy to the Ultra Instinct debut fight. Not only was this post highly shared, but it further refined the meme’s key visual elements, building on the things MielSibel10032002 had done previously. From there, the meme would continue to be a cult success, with several people sharing the original media or making new things based on it. But, interestingly, much like Goku, the meme would transform and evolve over time, going from a simple parody of one specific Dragon Ball and Scooby-Doo mash-up to something with a life all of its own.

The Super Saiyan form of the meme painted Shaggy as a powerful, god-like being who could destroy anyone and anything if he used his full power. One of the first examples of this new meme form arrived on April 1st, 2018 when Deviantart user Nekroz-of-Mokey uploaded a script titled: “Shaggy Rogers vs. Madara Uchiha.” While the original version is now deleted, several lines from the script would become instant memes, including Shaggy saying: “This isn’t even 1% of 1% of 1% of my power, kid,” a phrase that has since been referenced in tonnes of Ultra Instinct Shaggy images and posts, meaning it can be considered a foundational element of the new meme.

The old and new forms of the meme would collide on July 19th, 2018, when Reddit user pizzazzle18 posted the original Ultra Instinct Shaggy video to the /r/Bossfight subreddit under the title: “The Shagster, bringer of destruction.” Most notably, most of the top-rated comments referenced lines from Nekroz-of-Mokey’s script, with the top reply simply being: “Like, you only made me use 10% of my power, man.”

This would reach another level when Reddit user narwhal-lord14 took an image of Shaggy, added a katana to it, and captioned the resulting picture: “Like, not bad man… You made me use 10% of my power,” and posted it on /r/Bossfight, leading to another smash hit viral image. This image would be used in many contexts, including appearing alongside several popular 4Chan text posts.

The Meme Returned In 2019 And Became Canon

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As 2019 dawned, the meme would once again return to prominence when, on January 13th, an edit showing Shaggy in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure was posted to Reddit’s main JoJo meme subreddit. On the same day, a picture featuring Shaggy beating Superman was posted on Reddit’s meme subreddit. A few days later, the Twitter account @GnarlyBuster posted a variation on the then-popular Sasuke Choke meme featuring Shaggy and the text from narwhal-lord14’s edited image. These images kicked off a massive wave of Shaggy-based edits, with hundreds of fans inserting the powerful mystery solver into every franchise imaginable. This led to the birth of the dedicated BadAssShaggy subreddit on January 17th.

Quickly, this subreddit filled up with two new spin-off memes, both using stills from the 2002 live-action Scooby-Doo movie. The first new meme added fake captions to stills from the behind-the-scenes interviews, making it look like the cast was talking about Shaggy’s immense power or the various supernatural feats he had performed while on set. The second meme used a screenshot from a scene where Shaggy, played by Matthew Lillard, pulls a ludicrous pose and asks Scooby: “Are you challenging me?”

OakyTheAcorn posted the first of the latter memes in a now-deleted Reddit post on the Dankmemes subreddit on January 26th, 2019. Interestingly, this meme was surprisingly meta, as it was about people complaining about the overabundance of Shaggy memes, showing how quickly this meme took off. But a few days later, the image would become absorbed into the Ultra Instinct Shaggy meme, Cell-style, with the screenshot being paired up with various famously strong anime characters, as well as other famous fictional fighters, making it look like Shaggy was challenging them to a battle.

At this time, the meme would become viral enough to get coverage online. As Mortal Kombat 11 was in development when this meme hit peak popularity, popular satirical site Woken News Network got in on the meme by launching a Change.Org petition on January 27th, demanding that Ultra Instinct Shaggy feature in the upcoming Mortal Kombat game. The meme would also catch the attention of Matthew Lillard, the man who played Shaggy in the live-action films and voiced the characters in later animated adventures. On the day the petition launched, he would tweet a link to the BadassShaggy subreddit with the caption: “Dear universe. Please never let this end.”

However, despite the noise from fans, it was confirmed that Shaggy would not be unleashing fatalities in Mortal Kombat 11. In early February, Tyler Lansdown, the game’s community manager, confirmed the news during NetherRealm’s Kombat Kast livestream, saying: “Shaggy will not be in the game, ever, sorry, dead meme!”

However, much like Goku, Ultra Instinct Shaggy refused to stay dead and proceeded to return from the afterlife. Mortal Kombat fans who watched the movie Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms in 2021 found that the intro held a surprising reference. After Scorpion appears in front of the Warner Bros logo, the logo opens like a door, revealing Shaggy. However, this Shaggy is surrounded by an ominous green glow and has glowing green eyes, making this an instantly clear nod to the Ultra Instinct meme. Shaggy then grabs Scorpion by the neck and yanks him into the logo, imitating Scorpion’s famous “get over here” catchphrase as he does. This reference would be posted on Twitter by Mortal Kombat cocreator Ed Boon, along with the hashtag #ShaggyKonfirmed.

The meme would become further canonized in 2022 with the release of platform fighter MultiVersus. The version of Shaggy featured in the game heavily references the meme, including having a move that gives him a glowing green aura. At San Diego Comic-Con 2022, this was officially verified as a deliberate reference to the enduring meme, with Game Director Tony Huynh noting: “While it’s a meme, it’s actually canon.”

It’s funny to think that two utterly disparate franchises could come together and create a meme that has developed such a rich life and lore, one so popular that it was reabsorbed into the official canon. While fans will likely never see Shaggy hang out with Goku or challenge him to an Ultra Instinct clash due to both Warner Bros and Toei being highly protective of their intellectual properties, fans of Dragon Ball and Scooby-Doo can be happy that they created one of the strangest, but most mesmerizing memes ever to hit the internet, one that has transformed more often than a Super Saiyan during a tough fight.

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