5 Point Discussions – Dragon Ball Super Episode 116

by Sage Ashford

The battle between Goku and the fused Saiyan Kefla finally comes to a climactic ending, as Goku re-discovers the power of Ultra Instinct! Which Saiyan will come out on top? Remember, if you like this article, please share it everywhere you can. And also, if you’ve got any questions or comments on 5 Point Discussions be sure to hit me up on Twitter @SageShinigami!

1. For once I don’t have much in the way of complaints. It was as good as Dragon Ball is ever going to be, and it was a pretty enjoyable way of spending 22 minutes. The only minor issue I have is how the Potara Earrings feel like they work differently here than they did in the Goku Black saga in the manga OR anime.

As stupid a retcon as it was, in that arc they laid out that fusions between non-divine beings weren’t permanent, and could only last roughly an hour. That time limit would drastically diminish the longer you remained fused, so much so that Goku and Vegeta only got a few minutes of Super Saiyan Blue Vegito against the fused Zamasu/Goku Black. Even if you claim they were only fused for a total of about four minutes, the output Kefla put out in this episode was pretty incredible for the earrings to last that long. Her energy at Super Saiyan was enough to match Goku using Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken’s spirit bomb, and she got even stronger once she hit Super Saiyan 2.

If the earrings they used to fuse really still work the same, then as much as they tried to make it seem like Goku was running out of time using Ultra Instinct, the way Kefla was burning energy she probably didn’t have all that much time left herself.

2. One of the reasons I’m so high on this episode is that they actually paid off on something they set up ages ago. Generally, Dragon Ball’s pretty garbage with that, and can’t stick to its own internal consistency–things work or don’t work “because plot”, and that’s usually the extent of it. But this time Vegeta flashes back to one of the times he and Goku were training with Whis, who explained that the key to real speed was being capable of moving one’s body independently of their mind. As much as I think it’s troublesome to do something like that because it doesn’t really leave any place for you to improve going forward, I can’t get mad at them paying off something that we all pretty much assumed was just generic martial arts advice with no meaning.

Incidentally, even though they claimed Goku and Vegeta weren’t going to get any stronger than Beerus any time soon, I can’t help thinking that training with the guy who trained Beerus in the first place could only expedite that process. Like, if I train under a guy that’s presumably stronger than you, why wouldn’t I get as powerful or even more so?

3. The other reason I liked this episode a lot was the fight was pretty solidly choreographed. There’s a bit of the usual Dragon Ball Z “swapping fast punches” recycled animation, but there’s also a lot of slick looking new moves, and I haven’t quite tired of Goku’s “dodge all the moves” animation that happens while he’s in Ultra Instinct. But easily the best part of this episode–and of any fight scene in Dragon Ball Super save when Jiren just tanked Goku’s lower Super Saiyan form attacks to the face–was the finish. After seeing all her attacks get dodged, Kefla starts blasting energy everywhere in a scene that looks almost like something out of a bullet hell game. It’s clear she’s let the worst parts of both halves of herself come out–Caulifla’s rage and Kale’s generally panicked nervousness are in control, but she’s still got more power than most of the people left on the field so she’s still pretty terrifying.

But since Goku’s in Ultra Instinct mode, it’s nothing for him to dodge the majority of her attacks with ease. But since hasn’t yet figured out the power of Ultra Instinct yet and his stamina’s running out, it’s a do or die mode for one final attack. And since the school of the Turtle only has like one move that doesn’t stand a good chance of killing you, it’s obvious that he’s going for the Kamehameha. What isn’t obvious is how he’s going to dodge in mid-air without flying, until he…uses the Kamehameha to skate on Kefla’s energy waves.

It’s completely illogical, and completely stupid, and it’s exactly what Dragon Ball Super has been missing. There are Dragon Ball fans right now speculating whether or not these characters can blow up universes–their powers hit absurd a long time ago, so I’m not sure why they don’t just lean into the absurdity. Goku using the unfired Kamehameha to skate on someone else’s energy? Go for it. Manipulating beam energy into complex weapons and traps? Yes please. Follow the inspiration of shows like JoJo or Symphogear and be as crazy as possible–the fans have already shown that they’ll be into it.

4. The last thing I really, really loved about this episode? The unexpectedness of how things have been progressing. If you had asked me a couple months ago, I was one hundred percent sure that they’d get rid of the Nameks, then the Saiyans, and finally Hit to end Universe 6’s chances at being the last surviving universe. Instead, Dragon Ball Super has completely inverted it, and all of Universe 6’s hopes are relying on the franchise’s eternal silver medal group, the Namekians.

Presumably this means they’ve got some tricks up their sleeve. We’ve seen that Zen-Oh is fine with fusion, so I’m guessing they start there…but I’ll admit I’m also hoping that they manage to slip in a loophole and fuse with Piccolo in order to extend Universe 6’s chances of existing…and make Piccolo relevant again. That’s a lot of people to keep in the guy’s head, but honestly I’m tired of Piccolo being not even slightly important. He should be the third pillar between Goku and Vegeta–he’s got the most techniques and a ton of battle experience, it’s just no one can ever keep up with the Saiyans and their infinite power-ups.

5. Next Episode: Caulifla and Kale stand eliminated, and only the Nameks of Universe 6 remain! But with Goku’s Ultra Instinct having worn off once again, it’s time for the other Universes to start targeting him again! This time, it’s down to the love warriors of Universe 2! Fortunately for Goku…his team’s got six other remaining warriors, so there are plenty of people to protect him until he gets his strength back…again.

Until Kefla and Caulifla got taken out, we hadn’t had any eliminations since Cabba and that was quite some time ago, so this might be it for Universe 2.  Ribrianne and her friends have been around for way too long to have not really been a threat, so I’m guessing we get their spotlight and then they all get summarily tossed out. There’s roughly seventeen minutes left in the tournament and 26 people still fighting inside it, meaning that at least nineteen more people can be eliminated if Toei wants to play super-favoritism and not allow anyone else in Universe 7 to get cut.

At the same time, there’s only about four months left for this arc (meaning every minute is indeed a full episode) not including this one, so only seventeen episodes left. Eliminations are about to come fast and heavy, so one way or another the teams are about to go through a thinning. One of my biggest problems with the last two episodes has definitely been how it feels like not much is happening, so obviously I’m hoping we go back to knocking people out for good.

Dragon Ball Super is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.