Dragon Ball Super
Episode 121

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 121 of
Dragon Ball Super ?

It's cool to know that even this late in the Tournament of Power, one of the nobody universes can still surprise you. This week, it turns out that the scientist of Universe 3, Dr. Paparoni (I was disappointed to learn that not all of Universe 3's fighters were named after pizza toppings), can actually merge himself with his giant robots, creating a monster made up of the team's final four combatants. This monster looks neither human nor robotic, leaning more toward a giant white alien devil who wouldn't look out of place in one of the lesser DBZ movies from the '90s.

You know what? No. Not even the movies, more like an OVA. Anyone remember Hatchiyack?

Jokes aside, this change-up is really refreshing for the battle. It allows for an unexpectedly big final confrontation with Universe 3 and gives our heroes an opponent who's big enough to team up against. The monster is strong, fast, and its punches and kicks can teleport across the arena. I like Frieza being forced to be a team player once again, and the big team-up attack where all the remaining fighters of Universe 7 pull out their strongest transformations and unleash their signature moves is so dorky that I can't help but find it charming. The episode also gives us a good moment between the Androids where No. 17 saves 18 from being eaten, and then shortly after that 18 saves 17 from being rung out, at the cost of her own foot in the tournament. "You like sappy human stuff like this, right?" she says, tossing him back into the fight and showing us how much nicer the Androids have become over the years.

The animation is fairly reserved this week, but it does get extra stylish during the finishing blow where 17 smashes the big red gem on the monster's head, intuiting that it was the source of its energy before letting the rest of the team blow it away. 17 claims it was his "instinct as an Android", but frankly this was the most that any of these opponents has been like a video game boss. Since Universe 3 bet their last four warriors on creating this monster, they're out of the tournament and get deleted. Even if they had managed to beat Goku and friends, they still would have had to deal with Jiren, which would have probably ended even worse, but they're ultimately in the camp that accepts defeat with grace.

One thing I tend to like in these stories is when you take a detour from what you really want to see (the final fight with Jiren) only for the detour itself to be surprisingly satisfying. This premise was as simple as you can make it (I'm really not kidding with that Hatchiyak comparison), but it's just weird and fresh enough for this arc that I couldn't help but smile. Also, seeing the Universe 7 team slim down even further gets us right where we want to be now that Universe 11 is our only obstacle.

It's Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Frieza, and No. 17 representing Universe 7, and Jiren, Toppo, and Dyspo representing Universe 11. The Universe 11 trio has been doing a lot of standing around on the sidelines, letting our guys tire themselves out before the real fight begins. I feel pretty good about this match-up in terms of stakes, because even if we have more guys, we know pretty thoroughly that theirs are stronger. It also assuages my concern that we were going to have too many fighters by the time we reached this point and most of our team would just be fodder for Jiren to take out. So I'd say we're in a good place right now.

Rating: B+

Dragon Ball Super is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Sam Leach records about One Piece for The One Piece Podcast and you can find him on Twitter @LuckyChainsaw

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