5 Point Discussions: Dragon Ball Super 131 [Final Episode]
by Sage Ashford
The final episode of Dragon Ball Super. Which member will be left standing at the end of the Tournament of Power? And what will their wish be? 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. After fifty-five episodes it comes down to this: Jiren versus Frieza, Android 17, and Goku. Though it makes my stomach turn, one thing I have to say as this series wraps up is that Goku definitely was not the only person that matters in this arc. To be sure, they treat him like the star and as the main character he should (and did) put in the most work…but when it finally comes down to it, all three of the remaining members of Universe 7 do their part in beating Jiren. I have to admit when I’m wrong–I expected Jiren to eventually get a beat down from Goku and that would be the end of it, but they never compromised on his strength levels. Goku found a whole new form and still couldn’t hold it long enough to win. But at the end, only one man is left standing:
Android 17. Yeah, the me from six months ago would never have called that, but here we are. And it makes sense, too; 17 put in the most work of anyone in the tournament. When I talked about the latter half of the tournament with my friends, half our discussion revolved around the term “Android 17 is the MVP”, so good on the creators to let him be the last man standing.
While I’m talking about my complaints from the prior closing episodes, the animation in this week’s episode is beautiful. The web is full of crisp shots of this final fight–everything from Jiren giving out more hands to Frieza than E. Honda to Frieza and Goku going two on one on the biggest threat the Z Fighters have ever faced. If all you sought from this series was action then these last few episodes have all you want and then some.
2. Everything involving Frieza reminds you that Dragon Ball is never meant to be taken even remotely seriously. Just watching him and Goku team up together should turn everyone’s stomach. Worse though? Thanks to Frieza hanging in there until the end, Whis brings him back to life with the blessing (!) of Beerus. Frieza expressly points out that he’s not changed, he’s still evil, and he has every intention of trying to rule over everyone again…but they still bring him back anyway.
Goku talks about how they’ll stop him again, but that’s the most irresponsible response he could’ve given. Stop him now, before he conquers dozens of worlds again. The episode isn’t even over before he’s assembled an entire army, so he makes good on his words…but it doesn’t matter if other people suffer as long as it isn’t your planet, I guess.
That said, I’d love to know where Frieza’s getting all these soldiers from. Like, his key soldiers were wiped out once already–then whatever was left was taken out during the Resurrection of F story. Did he just pick up whoever was at the Galactic Target and Wal-Mart on the way back to his home planet?
3. Unsurprisingly, 17’s wish is to restore all the erased universes back to existence. That’s literally the only wish anyone with a soul could’ve possibly made, so that part wasn’t a surprise. What is a surprise is having the Grand Priest reveal that was Zen-Oh’s plan from the very beginning. So much so, that if anyone won and didn’t make that exact wish, all of creation would’ve been wiped.
That’s pretty cute as a test to see if sentient beings deserve to keep living, but it’s also impossibly shitty of a divine being. The entire tournament could’ve just been for a wish on the Super Dragon Balls, there was never any need to threaten them all with erasure from existence.
4. Easily the stupidest part of the episode is Vegeta asking Goku where Ultra Instinct is, only for Goku to respond that he doesn’t know how to do it anymore. Presumably, Ultra Instinct placed Goku too close to Beerus, and the show’s creatives didn’t want him conquering that wall any time soon. Because of that, he’s stuck back at Super Saiyan Blue levels. This would also mean Vegeta is substantially stronger than him because he has whatever that SSJ Blue Sparkling form is, but I’d bet they forget that too. Power scaling in Dragon Ball will never make sense at this point, so it’s probably best if we all gave up on it. (Unless you’re a manga fan, but that comes with its own issues lately.)
5. Final Thoughts: As a part of the Dragon Ball franchise, Dragon Ball Super is one of those extremely popular, yet deeply flawed creations that’s so polarizing it’s impossible to have a proper opinion on it. If you say it has redeeming value, elitists will roll their eyes at you. If you point out some of the stupidity inherent in the way its stories are told, then there’s a litany of excuses for why there’s nothing wrong with Dragon Ball, “you don’t get it”.
The start of the series was a rehash of the two films preceding the series’ revival for television, only with much worse animation and with the horrible pacing of the original series. The Universe 6 vs. Universe 7 arc felt like a bright spot, though: reminiscent of classic Dragon Ball Tenkaichi Budokai tournaments where everything wasn’t life or death, but characters still gave it their all. Even if I hated the anime version’s ending, as a whole it felt like Dragon Ball Z had finally figured out what worked about the original DB series and incorporated it for Super.
After that came the Goku Black arc, which I found hard to bear. The manga version managed to handle this far better, with the heroes looking far more competent instead of like characters who should’ve died a dozen times over for fighting like scrubs. It also didn’t make up a new form with no logic or reasoning for its existence. (I’ve always wanted custom Super Saiyan forms, but it should at least involve some lore development–not just “appear” for the sake of.)
By the time the Tournament of Power arrived, I was exhausted. Each new arc reminded me of why DBZ needed to go off the air in the first place. But the set up for the Tournament of Power had some great character development, and that’s what I want to remember Dragon Ball Super for. As much as I’ve hassled the anime for not being as consistent as the manga, the anime’s Tournament of Power arc has gotten one thing right: everyone was important.
Even though Goku got way too much screen time in the middle, not a single member of Universe 7 didn’t get at least a little spotlight. When you’re letting Krillin look cool, you know you’re doing something right, y’know? But it wasn’t just that. Gohan reawakened his warrior spirit. Vegeta found new pride his place in life as a father and a husband. Though they all eventually got eliminated, all of them still went on character arcs I dreamt about for them when I was a teenager.
What’s probably the most surprising for me is that despite finding the show so frustrating, I can’t help feeling like Super was too short. That sounds insane, but I can’t be mad at a show for being everything it was advertised as. I’d actually be lying if I said I wasn’t going to miss it, just a little. Still, with the manga still going, and the film due out this December, it won’t be hard to get my fix until they revive the franchise as Dragon Ball Ultra, or whatever they decide to call it.
Dragon Ball Super is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.
I won’t be doing Gegege no Kitaro, the show that replaces Dragon Ball Super, but I will be picking up a new series. Which one? Well, you’ll have to wait and see. But if you’re checking out my Spring Anime Guide, you should have some ideas!