Dragon Ball Super
Episode 125

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 125 of
Dragon Ball Super ?

The Tournament of Power is in its final stretch (as is Dragon Ball Super, it turns out) and the battle between Universe 7 and Universe 11 rages on. With Gohan out of the fight, we're down to four against two, but that doesn't mean Goku and friends are any more likely to win, as Jiren is still by far the strongest guy on the field and Toppo isn't too far behind.

The big surprise this week is that Toppo unlocks the power of a God of Destruction. It sounds like this may have been foreshadowed earlier in the manga version of Super and in online bios, but for someone just watching the anime it's entirely out of left field. Something like this being possible begs so many more logistical questions than a power-up like Ultra Instinct. From what I can tell, powerful beings like Jiren and Toppo can get tapped as candidates to be future Gods of Destruction, in the case that their universe's own god were to ever die or step down. Jiren said no and Toppo was on the fence, but being pushed far enough into a corner during this tournament leads him into accepting mid-fight, and thus his powers increase exponentially. I don't think this means he's officially Universe 11's new God of Destruction in place of Belmond, but he's been given new powers so he's up for training. Again, this is what I've been able to gather from outside research, since the show has not been clear on any of this information.

Part of me is excited to see some of this lore being played with, and the moral position that Toppo finds himself in is certainly interesting. Toppo's always seemed like an upstanding guy, using his strength to fight for peace and justice within his own universe. He was Goku's opponent way back during the exhibition match before the tournament, and stood as a great foil for our main character, who's generally pretty lax about concepts like right and wrong. In order to save his universe from deletion, Toppo's forced to sacrifice his role as a protector in favor of dedicating his life to destruction. I love the dramatic irony in theory, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

The biggest change that this leads to is that Toppo smashes up the fighting ring, turning it into a series of giant chunks of stone floating in the air and giving our fighters even less ground to stand on. The background also becomes brighter and more colorful to welcome our new god. With Dyspo out of the ring, Frieza moves on to help 17 with his fight with Toppo, and while the team-up works before the big power-up, things fall apart pretty fast once their enemy becomes stronger. I think a lot of the action in this episode turned out pretty bland, with Toppo's horrific beat-down on Frieza toward the end being the main exception. I love 17's little "Oops, my hand slipped," moment when he throws a big rock at Frieza to make sure he doesn't fall out of the ring. Toppo is completely decimating his opponents, but as of this episode there are no new ring outs, so I remain patient to see what the show does with the remaining Universe 7 fighters.

As far as stakes go, things are looking pretty crazy for our heroes as they struggle to deal with two overwhelmingly strong opponents. The God of Destruction twist is great for keeping the drama as intense as it can be, but as of this episode it doesn't feel adequately explained or set up. It doesn't really read as a twist, nor does the missing information feel deliberately mysterious. Even Vegeta's new form I can roll with because Super Saiyans coming out of nowhere is baked into the DNA of the series, but I don't think that's what they're going for here. I've got plenty of room in my heart for big dramatic changes that keep the tournament interesting, but I don't think this episode puts in the effort to make this one satisfying.

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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