Dragon Ball Super
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 118 of
Dragon Ball Super ?
Episode 118 ends with the definitive defeat of both Universes 2 and 6, the two universes that had the strongest presence out of all the non-Goku or Jiren teams. As we've seen with the previous losers, having all of your fighters knocked out of the ring means your universe gets blipped from existence, and it's only once these guys are gone that I realize how much I'm going to miss them. Universe 2 being a good sport about it as they say goodbye adds a sentimentality that I wasn't ready for, and we've been with Universe 6 for most of Super's run, so losing them feels like a big deal. Obviously, the losing universes will probably get wished back into existence by the end of the arc, but for now the uncertainty leaves an emptiness in my gut.
The further we get into the Tournament of Power, the more unstoppable Universe 7 seems, as they're still standing strong with seven fighters. On one hand, it's kind of ridiculous how many enemies have fallen thanks to our heroes, making this whole ordeal at best a tough workout, but on the other hand it works in that twisted way this arc established from the get-go. I hear all the time that the never-ending heights Goku and friends keep reaching makes the story harder to take seriously, and right now I think the series is leaning into that aspect. Even when the opponents are people we like just fighting for their own survival, they can't help but lose. They can challenge Universe 7 just enough to put on a good show, but by virtue of not being the main characters, their destiny is tragically clear. Jiren's the only one who could possibly upset this pattern.
I said last week that I was worried about how entertaining the show would be as we finished off Universes 2 and 6, and I'm happy to learn my concern was unfounded. Universe 2 especially pulls out all the stops as their last three fighters, an assortment of alien dudes, adopt the magical girls' powers, committing to the costumes, poses and all. Universe 6, being 7's "twin" universe, must rely on its bizarro-world Namekians now that their Saiyans are out of the fight. This episode is Gohan and Piccolo vs. the Namekians, and Goku and the Androids vs. the magical boys. The humor doesn't stop, nor does the show's recent streak of fantastic fight animation.
An episode like this can go a long way when the character dynamics are right. Seeing the fighters of the losing universes being proud of each other is incredibly sweet, as is seeing Beerus and Champa part ways in their own annoying brotherly style. And since the Attendants don't get erased alongside their universes, it looks like Whis's sister Vados is just going to be hanging out in the Universe 7 bleachers now, so that's cool. There were a lot of little details that had me saying "aww" in both delighted and saddened ways.
Half of the universes have been taken out now, leaving Universes 7 and 11 to carry the rest of the drama. Once again, I'm left wondering what the show's going to be like as it picks off the scrubs from the less interesting teams, but Dragon Ball Super has been knocking out of the park lately as it manages to keep its story and production values worthwhile. This is easily the longest I've gone feeling great about this show, and I can't wait to find out what happens next.
Dragon Ball Super is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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