Dragon Ball Super Episode 130 Review

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With a little help from his friends.

Warning: The following review contains spoilers for the episode.

 

The stakes couldn’t be higher as Ultra Instinct Goku takes on the mighty Jiren. The two are pushed to their limits and there is precious little time remaining before the Tournament of Power ends. While Episode 130 had some narrative missteps with it’s ending, opting to drag out the fight with sudden physical ailments and character appearances, its presentation was above and beyond anything seen previously, and the story helped define Goku’s motivation beyond his hunger for battle.

The animation is leaps and bounds better than anything Super has presented before. From the subtle lines that help define the weary warriors to the bombastic fight scenes that burst with color and movement, Episode 130 displays Super at its best. With a franchise as old as Dragon Ball, it can be tough to innovate, but Super wisely didn’t rely just on the fidelity of its designs – it also went out of its way to depict battles in new and interesting ways. Ultra Instinct Goku’s movements combined with new camera angles added some much-needed zest to the fight, further giving this lead up to the finale the drama it deserves.

DBS130Jiren

Super pairs a great story with this epic battle, too, by letting us relive how Goku and Jiren made it to this final battle in the first place. Goku benefited from this most. His time in the tournament early on was rocky due to his strange behaviour and callous attitude. While the last few episodes have done a lot to make him easier to root for again, Episode 130 really nails Goku’s character by showcasing Goku not as the battle-hungry fighter, but as a protector of those he loves.

The story is elevated even further thanks to the inclusion of the crowd. A well-executed flashback sequence followed by excellent commentary from many of the knocked out warriors really brought home the threads that have been connecting everything together in the tournament. Friendship, love, and protecting those in need. Episode 130 brought these elements to the forefront that were touched on previously, and by doing so, made the fight about more than just Goku and Jiren.

DBS130KiBattle

Jiren trying to kill Goku’s friends was the perfect way to transition things into the final part of the fight – just as things were starting to drag a bit – and was an excellent way to tie the story of the episode into Goku’s sudden rise in strength. It also made for a fitting homage to the many moments in Dragon Ball where the plight of a friend was used as strength for the hero.

But for all of Episode 130’s success, I found myself highly disappointed in the ending. Goku suddenly being stricken by an illness at the most inconvenient time was a coincidence just too difficult to buy into. It makes sense that there’s always a toll to pay for such incredible power (Kaioken for example), but having it at such a perfect moment comes off as a poor excuse to drag on the fight instead of intensifying the drama.

DBS130Ending

More grievous than that is the reveal of Frieza and Android 17. Ignoring the fact Android 17 blew himself up and somehow lived, the plausibility of these two fighters staying in the ring without being noticed while Goku and Jiren absolutely decimated the arena with dozens of Ki blasts is simply impossible. Given what we’ve seen of the arena and the people watching, their reveal at the end of Episode 130 is not one of excitement, but one of confusion and shock.

The Verdict

Episode 130 showcases one of the best battles in Dragon Ball history. Excellent animation, art direction, and a strong story help propel it into the top echelon of fights, rivaling the classics like Gohan vs Cell. It’s only a shame that the last couple minutes end on a confusing if not frustrating reveal.

SOURCE: IGN.com

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