5 Point Discussions: Dragon Ball Super 130

by Sage Ashford

Less than a minute remains in the Tournament of Power. The two final participants face off, and a winner is decided! …But then, at the last moment..! Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.

1. This episode pulls out all the stops in terms of the final fight scene. The majority of the first half of the episode is Goku and Jiren beating the living crap out of one another. If that’s what got you to the Tournament of Power, then 130 is worth the price of admission. None of this “Goku’s trapped under a heavy rain of energy” crap–there’s beam spam, but it’s done a lot more artfully than it was in 129. And Goku’s “mastery” of Ultra Instinct results in him being able to match Jiren…at least until Jiren has a flashback to his childhood.

2. We got a glimpse into the kind of person Jiren was when we saw his origin story a while back, but this episode finally makes it as plain as possible. I kind of liked it when he was this being with mysterious origins the show wasn’t going to delve into (because it didn’t have enough time), but they decided to trade that for making Jiren into…the worst sort of person. This week Jiren finally transforms into his ultimate form: the personification of the cynical reading of battle shonen as a genre.

Instead of Jiren seeing his family and friends as people to avenged from a great evil, he views them as people who died because they were too weak. To Jiren, weakness and failure are sins. He’s put his entire self into Might Makes Right: he’s imposing his strength and will onto a chaotic universe in order to create justice, and justice is whatever he sees fit.

When Goku’s friends talk about how he fights for them, he snaps at Goku’s “weak” dedication to strength, and decides to show Goku just how easily that can be wiped out: by blasting the stands with an energy attack in an attempt to kill them all. It fails because Goku blocks for them, but….wow. Jiren basically jumped to the top of the villain pile here, because Dragon Ball apparently can’t just give us two heroic characters fighting as the ending. You’d think he’d be erased but I guess the “Rule of Cool” is the only one that matters to Zen-Oh now.

3. More proof that this week’s episode could’ve been combined with last week: they waste several minutes on pointless flashbacks while recounting how much of a hero Goku is. What frustrates me most about Goku is that they pick and choose the moments when they want the guy to be a hero.  Most of the time he’s just a battle maniac, obsessed with testing his power against the next strong person. To that end he’s basically a garbage father and an even worse husband, and someone who’s nearly gotten the world killed because of his need to battle strong guys.

They can’t make up their mind, so moments like “Goku fights for us” rings hollow when compared to other shonen protagonists like Naruto, Natsu, or even people like Ichigo and Yusuke. I’m fine with either portrayal, but I’d love it if they picked one and stuck to it.

4. I described the ending of this week’s episode as basically an “overbooked wrestling match”. It’s not enough for Roman Reigns to beat Brock Lesnar. Apparently Brock’s manager Paul Heyman paid off the ref to smack Reigns in the back with an chairshot. And just as you think Brock’s going to win and the Pay Per View can finally go off, out come Reigns’ buddies Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose from the SHIELD, and now it’s a three-on-one handicap match!

Despite showing no signs of any real after effects after reaching semi-Ultra Instinct twice, just as Goku finally overcomes and is about to hit Jiren with the finishing blow, some kind of strange black energy erupts from his body. Whis pronounces it as the “feedback” from entering the realm of the gods, but in reality it’s just that we couldn’t simply end the series this episode.

Just as Jiren eliminates the guy, Frieza pops up. Like we said, he’d never been eliminated–they’ve been very careful to show you every elimination before then. But that’s not all! Apparently Android 17 didn’t actually sacrifice himself! He’s just been in hiding this entire time, regaining his strength.

So with…so little time left the narrator didn’t even specify, it’s now two on one between the battered Frieza and Android 17…and Jiren. Oh, and Goku isn’t even eliminated. Great.

5. Next Episode: With Goku still suffering from the after effects of going Ultra Instinct, it’s down to Android 17 and Frieza to hold off Jiren until the time is finally over. But don’t count Goku out yet either! It’s a three on one battle for the end of the Tournament of Power! At the end of all that, who will be left standing?!

That’s it, folks. We’re down to the very last episode of Super next week. I’m kind of surprised at how this tournament turned out, at least in terms of pacing. Since the tournament’s going to still be happening for most of next week’s (normal length) episode, it looks like they’re not even giving us the decency of a proper epilogue sending off these characters.

Dragon Ball Super is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.

Sage Ashford

A writer with way too many hobbies, Sage can often be found catching up on the latest anime, or reading a stack of comics between Wednesdays and Thursdays.