It’s time for episode 130 “The Greatest Showdown of All Time! The Ultimate Survival Battle!!” and it could be considered great, as long as you don’t think about the writing.
To make one thing clear: I think the animation in this episode was fantastic and there’s nothing I can really complain about. Yes, there are some repeating animations but this is one of the best animated episodes of Super as a whole, even having scenes that, in terms of environmental effects, reminded me more of stuff like Bleach, which was a nice change of tone for the fight to come.
As for the title: It starts from the very beginning so I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, but there are problems I need to address regarding dialogues and the writing in general.
What exactly do I need to talk about? The audience, again. I can buy Piccolo being able to sense God-Ki but their idiocy is as apparent as ever. Android 18 and Supreme Kai in particular were pretty dumb this episode.
“OH MY GOD, JIREN HAS BEEN HOLDING BACK?” No crap Android 18.
“Goku unlocked the true, for real now, Ultra Insinct, we will win now. OH GOD JIREN HAD HIDDEN POWER?!?” Thank you Supreme Kai, go back to the Universe you came from and never come back, you’ve been a waste of space this entire tournament. You even infected everyone else with your… intelligence? I honestly consider the Supreme Kai to be dumber than Buu thanks to Super’s writing. The difference between the two? Buu isn’t intelligent by nature. Supreme Kai WAS smart but now he’s an idiot to waste time. That’s an even worse degradation compared to not appearing altogether, at least characters like Launch weren’t reduced to being objects for fan service only. Though to be honest, Tien, Chiaotzu and Yamcha may have fates worse than that.
Why do I focus so hard on the audience? Because they are connected to Goku’s big speech later in the episode.
So after Goku blocks a beam from Jiren with a Kamehameha… why though? We’ve seen time and time again how much energy is wasted by using this technique, why would you ever prefer this over dodging? It’s not like Ultra Instinct Goku had any trouble doing that before and this time, Jiren is also in the air so he has limited movement as flying isn’t allowed. Right?
Then Goku gets out of a huge explosion without being knocked out of the ring, how? Doesn’t matter, we need to continue the fight. Also, is it just me or does Jiren look a whole lot like Kid Buu in every full-power Jiren stand-off scene here? I’m pretty damn sure to have seen it before, I can’t help the feeling but be reminded of DBZ the entire time.
So we continue with the next chapter of “Retarded Audience Commentary” with Krillin giving Goku some motivation by saying “No matter the peril, you always brought it back.”. Yes Krillin, Goku always brought it back, remember Raditz? Cell? Literally every Arc in Super?
No wait, we got a cliche villain line incoming!
“Impossible! You shouldn’t have any stamina left!” Jiren, you immediately forgot about Vegeta AND EVEN GOKU a few seconds ago (or minutes? I lost track of in-anime time).
So we get flashbacks. Let me tell you about the difference in flashbacks:
Super already presented us with both kinds of flashbacks in a battle scenario, the good ones and the bad ones. The good ones are short and get to the point quickly, often initiated by the character in question themselves or someone who was often with them.
The bad ones are initiated by characters that have been cheerleaders for more than a dozen episodes, that serve as huge pace breakers while a battle is going on and if those characters haven’t had a lot of significance recently, then it comes off as lazy nostalgia pandering.
But then suddenly a floating platform bursts due to the battle we haven’t seen and the fight continues. What happened? Doesn’t matter, we need to keep moving!
Then Goku delivers a speech about friendship and Jiren doesn’t buy into it, saying that it’s stupid because this source of power is easily killed off. I really enjoyed this moment from Jiren, despite him being a walking stereotype of anime, I can relate to the statement he made. His parents were killed by an evil-doer, all of his friends were killed and the rest of them left him. Okay putting it like this, his personality still seems lazy but his decision makes sense. To prove his point, he attacks the audience. So Jiren, what was your big plan there? If the attack would have gone through then you would be disqualified to prove a point of Goku being weak as he believes in friendship. Luckily, Goku reacts and I think he should be angry and screaming, as his facial expression and his movement would imply but he sounds rather chill about it. It honestly sounds like every other scream of Goku whenever he attacks.
Does this sound like rage? Just compare it to how Jiren’s voice actor delivered his stubbornness in response to friendship.
And this is where the writing gets really stupid. So, Toei or Toriyama or whatever, who exactly is Goku?
“I won’t forgive anyone who hurts my friends!”
That is, in theory, true but those were moments in which Goku was present, after it happened, with the exception of Zamasu telling Goku how he killed Chi-Chi and Goten. I don’t know who Goku is at this point, especially during the Tournament of Power. Is this Ultra Instinct Goku speaking, who obviously has a calmer, controlled personality (or not? Maybe?) or is it Super’s more child-like Goku? Is it the more antagonist-type Goku who appeared at the beginning of the Tournament of Power, craving so hard for a challenge after the affairs of Zamasu? So much in fact, that he’s even willing to sacrifice people for it (he did not know it at the time, but he was warned and he knew Zeno at this point). Or is this the more serious Dragonball Z Goku? I don’t know who this character is anymore to be honest. Is this a new Goku who would have burst out in rage once he realized that Gohan probably died at the hands of Buu instead of accepting it and using the last of his power to buy some much needed time?
How am I supposed to relate to a character who keeps changing personalities like a bad case of Schizophrenia?
Hey Goku, remember when you sent Gohan to fight Cell (resulting in your death)? Or the time you didn’t want to kill the Ginyu Force after they’ve almost beaten your son and your best friend to bloody pulps? Does this mean you’ll never forgive Beerus, Vegeta, yourself, Tien etc.? What are the limits of your mercy? When do you kill, when do you not? So if we account for character development, then you still denied Vegeta his vengeance against Freeza and you didn’t give much of a crap when Goku Black dealt a fatal blow to Vegeta. So this thing with “I’m going to protect all of my friends with the power of friendship for the sake of friendship!” is kinda coming out of nowhere. Both of these times have already proven that Goku thinks highly of Vegeta but didn’t think that his Super Saiyan Blue form was quick enough to stop regular Freeza from blowing up Earth, even if he would have warned him about it. At the same time, he trusts Vegeta enough to fight Goku Black on his own and also had enough faith in him to survive fatal blows. So now you can’t trust Whis, Beerus and Vegeta to block a blast from Jiren? Or the Grand Priest?
Okay, you could argue that right now, Goku doesn’t think at all as he’s acting on instinct but if he does that, then why does he even talk about friendship? Shouldn’t his instincts tell him “Dude, you’re like really low on stamina, you’ve been for a while now. You need to finish this right here, right now, or you’re out!” because, you know, energy control is something Goku excelled at?
Also, outright friendship speeches? Are we in Dragonball or Fairy Tail here?
The episode is almost over and the rest of it is awesome. With the exception of one little detail, spoilers for this section:
We don’t know how, again. So you’re telling me that he bet his very life on a hyperactive child not pressing a button?
So this was the episode. I loved the action, but I disliked the dialogues and writing here. I did love that the toll of Ultra Insinct already came into play here (does your back feel tingly yet, Goku?) and that we get a vague idea about the next episode. I am still disappointed in Jiren regarding his abilities but at least he didn’t buy into friendship, for now.
Am I excited for the next episode? In terms of action, yes. In terms of story, also yes. In terms of writing? No. I loathe every second we have to spend in dialogues in Super with only a few exceptions like Beerus and Whis.
It’s time for the question: “Is it even worth it to give Super crap for having bad writing?”
The answer is: Yes, it’s a regular occurrence with Super but you MUST criticize this.
It doesn’t matter if this was always the case in the Dragonball Franchise. Fans got used to it, but that doesn’t make it any better at all!
You can present me with the slickest graphics or the smoothest animations and I’ll still criticize it if I notice anything is off, because that’s the way I am.
The ending is now a very tricky thing. If Jiren accepts friendship as the penultimate lesson then I will feel like I’ve been screwed. Was that the point of the tournament? Normally, stuff like this is set up way before the final confrontation but Jiren’s story was rushed and that feels unnatural, making him look really generic and cliche.
I haven’t looked at ending predictions or anything like that but I assume that Freeza or Jiren will win, Goku gets knocked out because that would be in tone with the rest of Super (aka Goku never wins when it matters) and it will end on a very unfinished cliffhanger. Those are my suspicions right now. I just hope that whoever makes the wish (Freeza or Jiren) isn’t just doing something retarded like “I need ultimate strength” or something completely pulled out of the butt like “Bring back the original Super Saiyan God” which then turns out to be Bardock or some idiocy like that. I think the wish that makes the most sense is the eradication of the Zenos or the entire realm of the gods. This would literally make Freeza, Goku and Vegeta the only ones with God-Ki and it would also result in death mattering again, unless they’ll retcon it.