Dragonball Super episode 126 stands and falls with its finale and how well they would play up Vegeta’s injuries. Spoilers: They screwed up and made 126 worse.
The newest episode “A Looming Obstacle! Pinning Hope on a Final Barrier!” starts off with Jiren powering up and oh my, his aura has its own aura. Now you know that he really is powerful. Topless Vegeta declares, despite him just surviving his own suicide attack, that he’ll beat Jiren and then he suddenly has power again.
Ok then, why did you even let Vegeta get damaged if you’re not going to do anything with it? You effectively made episode 126’s point to only be “Toppo is out”. Not having injuries with any consequences in either health, stamina or strength is a bad trope of old Shonen franchises. There are many reasons why there are more and more people that can’t enjoy this style of story telling, if it’s not exaggerated like One Punch Man for example.
Why is this an issue? Besides us not being able to see any wounds at all, the dirt doesn’t count, Vegeta and Goku just happily go at it again and… what? You’re telling me they’ve been fighting with these forms for these many minutes, with Goku going Ultra Instinct twice and Vegeta just firing Final Flashes like they’re the usual Slice of Life’s fireworks, while taking regular damage from Jiren? Wow, the recovery of Saiyans sure is amazing, they’re almost as good as Buu’s. Remember Buu? The one who, in hindsight, would have made this arc more interesting?
One of the highlights this time is Goku Kaioken Blue with maybe the usual “doesn’t matter multiplier” shooting a Kamehameha at Jiren.
Some more stuff happens and Goku finally figures out how to beat Jiren: When he’s off guard, you can hurt him with a strong attack!
Wow Goku, just wow. This has been one of your strategies ever since the early days. Great game plan. Literally works on everyone. But wait, another OP warrior who has, as his only weakness, to not be paying attention in a high tense situation for no reason whatsoever? Storytelling at its finest. I mean, this is THE overused cliché of Super, constantly ending a battle because of a character with life long experience in combat (Toriyama seems to have forgotten that) not paying attention to the enemies.
Surprise surprise, it doesn’t work because maybe they shouldn’t have had a three minute talk about this “strategy” right after being able to make Jiren dirty.
Some cliché antagonist origin story for Jiren is presented to us that couldn’t be more standard and boring. So why did you drag out the episode only to rush the origins of this arc’s antagonist? I think the writers were aware of how basic Jiren is at this point, but just giving up on him isn’t the way to go for either.
Now we get to the rest of the episode with the only really significant moment happening and again, just like 126, it’s good but it doesn’t help that over 13 minutes of your show feel like padding, Black Clover winks.
The episode ends with Vegeta wanting to go one on one against Jiren… again. Vegeta, maybe you should stop announcing to take him down, isn’t this like the seventh time within 4 minutes? Also the title of the next episode is worrying. The preview didn’t look all that great and if nothing else happens in the next episode then for crying out loud Toei, get your act together. I’ll make it nice and simple for you: YOU ARE IN THE FINAL ARC OF DRAGONBALL SUPER.
The episode looks… slightly above mediocre with a few bad moments. There is way too much stock footage of everyone doing nothing significant again and especially after 126, this adds salt to the dirt. We are in the final battle and yet you’re not even CLOSE to your previous animation standards. This is the time for you to put everything into it, maybe even wait a week, I don’t care, but stop reusing the same footage more and more often. The episode also keeps cutting away from the action for more boring “look at these explosions from a distance”. Even more of this episode is time padding compared to 126.
Then there is an issue I have with one of Jiren’s attacks that is simply more stock footage put in-between his hands. He makes gestures that this attack should become larger, but the animators seem to have forgotten about that as the attack is suddenly much larger after quickly cutting away from it.
In total, this was one of the worst episodes of this arc in my opinion. I’m sick of stock footage and stiff energy blast animations that appear at least five times per episode. I’m tired of Super ruining all the good episodes that came prior to this and yes, episode 126 just got a whole lot worse thanks to 127. Jiren at full power is nothing different from regular Jiren, his origin story couldn’t be more copy&pasted and I was bored up until the only meaningful moment of the episode happened… near the end. Only because you have explosions doesn’t mean you have my interest.
Maybe you should skip this one, the events can be summarized in one or two sentences.
I know my rating now seems extreme but this was one of those episodes where I would have turned off after a few minutes of watching.